History of Science. It all starts with the Greeks. The Ancient Greeks are seen, in the west, as our intellectual forefathers. From Greece was born philosophy, drama, western artistic aesthetics, geometry, etc., etc., etc.
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History of Science
The Ancient Greeks are seen, in the west, as our intellectual forefathers. From Greece was born philosophy, drama, western artistic aesthetics, geometry, etc., etc., etc.
Theology was never an important aspect of Greek thought and Orthodoxy was practically anathema.
Ancient Greek society did not have a permanent priestly class that imposed dogma.
Greek Gods & Goddesses were NOT omnipotent nor omniscient.
1) recognition that the Bible was not the ultimate authority on nature
2) debate over the nature of Indigenous people (were they animals or humans?)
3) classification of the animals & plants.
4) the fact that no one knew anything about the Americas sparked curiosity – the need to know.
Of course, there were many other ramifications to
European domination of the Americas –
Our concern here, however, is in science.
Although Descartes and other philosophers established spaces for coexistence between science and religion, it would still be quite some time before Europe would be able to embrace evolution.
Up until Darwin, the predominant understanding of the world came from the Bible and Church doctrine. In this respect, truth had been revealed (via the Bible and Christ) . . . There was no need to question God’s creation . . . .
This set of beliefs meant that people were highly resistant to evidence to the contrary and even went so far to create elaborate explanations to “fit” contradictions into religious belief.
Several compelling Christian dogmas are important to note:
Creation was also centered around Earth & Man (we are in his image).
2)Relative Youth of the Earth
there was a lot of debate about the exact age . . . but most theologians agreed it wasn’t so long ago.
If the earth was indeed less than 6000 years old, then gradual change could not have occurred.
According to Christian thought, the appearance of earth is the result of two factors:
Otherwise, the earth had not changed over
time, it was in a state of stasis.
Likewise, after God created plants & animals, these retained their true, original form, generation after generation.
- no species had been lost
- no species had changed
Nevertheless, people did understand the process of selective (or artificial) breeding.
“The marks of design are too strong to be got over. Design must have had a designer. That designer must have been a person. That person is GOD”
Nature is a watch & GOD is the watchmaker.
Due to neo-Platonism, variation in species was disregarded.
As long as the ideal form existed (in God’s mind), then subtle, minute variations were insignificant and did not demonstrate change over time.
Wrote: Geological Evidence of the Antiquity of Man in 1863 and Principles of Geology
Lyell argued that presently observable
Geological processes were adequate
to explain geological history; the action
of the rain, sea, volcanoes, earthquakes,
etc., explained the geological history of
more ancient times.
Inheritance of acquired characteristics
Convinced others that
extinction was a fact
Known as the father of
Cuvier’s work demonstrated that some
species had become extinct this raised two issues:
1) Why would God allow some of his creations to disappear.
2. Young earth theory: how could so many strange species go extinct, be covered by sediments, if the earth was young?
If not for me, Darwin would not have published his ideas . . Yet, no one remembers my name!!