English professor Aaron Hanlon separated his lecture and discussed the origins of the Novel and The Royal Society. The latter captivated me the most. The Royal Society of London was the elite science institution of its day. Science overtook religion as the dominant field in society. This was and a result of the scientific revolution that eventually birthed the society during the end of the 17th Century. Professor Hanlon spoke on its first pioneers such as Robert Boyle who’s generosity helped see the society through during its early stages of formation. Francis Bacon who leadership and vision played crucial roles. John Wilkins and Christoper Wren whose inventions gave the society early respected reputation.
During its initial years, the Royal society was dedicated to the pursuit of objective knowledge. Tables however quickly turned and the society served to promote now larglely discredited sciences of racial and gender inequality through restricted memberships and various policies.
The state (British) chartered the scientific society in order to provide technical capability. The 15th Century saw widespread European exploration and due to the prevalent ignorance of the time, theories that claimed human variances owing to differences in geographical location were published and widely consumed. With the rise of the age of knowledge, Europeans became further dedicated to the possibilities of human difference, leading to new fields of study to promote the concept.
The need and motivation behind the creation of these new fields of study (the sciences of inequality) was to position the Europeans on top of the new human race hierarchy. The Europeans discovered already civilizations away from Europe in the new world, Asia, and in Africa, and firmly wanted to secure a superior status backed by scientific findings. Early enlightenment writers aligned their research to this cause. The Royal Society provided the much needed materials and equipment to prove racial differences, and acknowledged and funded scientists who were committed to creating new content. The society’s fellows pioneered new fields of study such as craniology, phrenology and anthropological sciences to promote racial views.
The partnership between the state and science societies brought about a shift from the initial efforts to invent, experiment and discover non-bias findings. During this time, The British empire was on a mission to establish themselves as the hegemon of the world. The same period saw the rise of nationalism in Europe: Nations felt that they had to acquire colonies overseas for national prestige. Nations claimed superiority over others. They wanted to acquire colonies to prove superiority.