“All people by nature desire to know.” This quote from Aristotle highlights a very prominent feature of the Scientific Revolution and that was this concept of curiosity. Many huge discoveries and break-throughs in the scientific world occurred during the scientific revolution, and this is fitting because we do after all refer to this time in history as The Scientific Revolution. Almost as if to say that the scientific revolution was specifically one revolution in science. As we know this is not the case and the scientific revolution had many incredible scientists and discoveries. The question still remains that although we may know that many discoveries were made, how much influence and how truly ground breaking were these discoveries at the time when looked at now by modern scientists? The answer seems to be that given the time period of these discoveries, they were truly remarkable and revolutionary. This of course is subjective, and has varying responses from scientists nowadays. There is controversy over this time being referred to as The Scientific Revolution, and this controversy isn’t unreasonable or unjustifiable. Sure, it is clear the discoveries of Aristotle, Descartes, Galileo, and Newton are all astronomical for the time period considering how little was known before this scientific revolution. However, just because of some of these major names in science, is it fair to call this period The Scientific Revolution?
Let’s take a closer look at some of the thinking as to why it is unreasonable to refer to this period as THE Scientific Revolution instead of perhaps specifying the Scientific Revolution of the 1500s-1800s. Professor Cohen mentioned many examples of arguments made by prevalent and intelligent scientists during this time that had no basis in science whatsoever and were for the most part just blatantly not true. Some of these examples include: Copernicus arguing that the sun deserves to be in the center because it is so noble, Kepler invoking the beauty of the platonic solids to explain the organization of the planets, Galileo’s inability to get past circular orbits, and Francesco Sizzi arguing by analogy there couldn’t be more than 7 planets. As you can see many of these examples are from well known scientists during this time, but despite this fact, many of the claims being made are just false and are not even based in experimentation but merely in opinion.
This observation that many claims made by well known and respected scientists, were not based in anything but opinion, is something that I find extremely interesting and I find to almost denounce the true sole importance of this time period as THE Scientific Revolution. How can this period be referred to as the one true Scientific Revolution in human history if we can prove many of the scientists of the time were attempting to put forth false information based solely on their own beliefs. What this makes this time seem like to me, is many people all attempting various experiments and testing various theories and trying to push them as a new scientific discovery despite the results of said testing. The product of this is in turn many people actually making many incredible discoveries sometimes even by accident. Which in my opinion would make this whole concept of this time period being The Scientific Revolution unreasonable based solely on the fact that the people weren’t attempting make these scientific discoveries based in logic and fact. Of course I cannot prove this to be more true than this time period just being ground breaking and that one person just influenced the next and a good majority of experiments were actually based solely on facts. However it does lead to an interesting line of thought, one that can also not necessarily be disproved, that although we know “all people by nature desire to know” how absurd is it to think that this same extremely common curiosity allowed people the opportunity to put out false information they wished to be correct in hopes that because they were already considered a scientist or an intellectual, it would be believed regardless? It is clear The Scientific Revolution was scientific. It is also clear The Scientific Revolution was revolutionary at the time. But it is not clear to me whether or not The Scientific Revolution should be referred to as THE Scientific Revolution.