Religion and the scientific revolution
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Religion and the Scientific Revolution . Readings: Spodek, pps. 526-531. Aristotle/Ptolemy Universe. Medieval Universe. Sixteenth Century . Collapse of Certainties Islamic conquest of Constantinople Discovery of New World Protestantism—no religious certainty

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Religion and the scientific revolution l.jpg

Religion and the Scientific Revolution

Readings: Spodek, pps. 526-531




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Sixteenth Century

  • Collapse of Certainties

  • Islamic conquest of Constantinople

  • Discovery of New World

  • Protestantism—no religious certainty

  • Skepticism; Question Everything


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Calendar Problem and the Gregorian Calendar of 1582

  • Different calendars in use in different parts of world

  • Pope Gregory XIII – couldn’t figure out when Easter ought to be any more (1st Sunday after the 1st full moon after the Vernal Equinox)

  • Needed to fix calendar – based on movements of moon or sun


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Nicolas Copernicus

  • Polish Clergyman

  • Cracow

  • Italy

  • Idea that God must do things in the simplest way!

  • Contribution: Hypothesis


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Tycho Brahe (1546-1601)

  • Danish Nobleman

  • Assisted by sister Sophie

  • Built Observatory

  • Observed new star

  • Earth fixed at center

  • Sun, Moon around the earth.

  • Contribution: Data


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Sophie Brahe

  • Chemist, Horticulturist, healer, historian, astronomer

  • Maybe more systematic than older brother

  • He wasn’t always convinced that women could do science, but recognized her intelligence


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Johannes Kepler (1571-1630)

  • Worked with Brahe

  • Liked Simplicity of Copernican Theory

  • Analyzed Data

  • Three Laws of Motion were his three theories – mathematical, but main conclusions:

    • Orbits ellipses

    • Time it takes to move around the sun related to distance

  • Contribution: Analyzed data to shed light on hypothesis


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Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)

  • Improved one of first telescopes

  • Used glasses (first in West, China had them from Song Dynasty)

  • Experiments dropping things

  • Contribution: Experiments to Test Theories, Mathematics as Language of Science

  • Church tried him

    • Forced to recant ideas

    • Could only publish in Holland



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Sir Francis Bacon

  • English

  • Scientific advances will bring social PROGRESS

  • Establish Progressive Stages of Certainty

  • Foundation of experimental science

  • Gather data—through experiments if necessary

  • Must be repeatable

  • Contribution: Inductive Method of Science


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Rene Descartes (1596-1650)

  • French Mathematician

  • Extreme Skeptic

  • Doubt could be used to produce certainty

  • Deductive Method

  • Analytic Geometry

  • Foundation of theoretical science

  • Human reason could unlock universe and prove existence of God

  • Emphasis on human reason irked Church—moved to Holland

  • Contribution: Deductive Method of science: a+b+c = a+ (b+c) = (b+c) + a = c+(b+a)


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Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727)

  • English

  • Religious

  • Felt that the order in the universe proved God’s existence.

  • Developed mathematics of moving bodies: Differential calculus

  • Laws of Universal Gravitation

  • Foundation of modern science and social science thought

  • Contribution: synthesis of “scientific revolution”


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Law of Universal Gravitation

  • Planets and the Earth’s moon move at uniform speeds proportional to their weight and to their distance from the sun

  • Every body in the universe attracts every other body with a force directly proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them

  • This same law explains both motion in the heavens and on earth

  • So perfect, these rational principles must prove the existence of God

  • For Newton, little contradiction between human reason and the existence of a Creator/God