In theory, if the Scientific Revolution of the 16th and 17th centuries was truly what we teach it to be, it should have been a time that was inspired largely by mankind’s natural curiosity, backed entirely by scientific evidence, and fundamentally changed the way we look at science today. However, following the lecture last Tuesday, a new side of the Scientific Revolution was exposed. I’ve come to view the Scientific Revolution as largely unscientific. Many of the conclusions reached and theories developed during the Scientific Revolution were largely based in speculation and assumptions that were poorly supported with scientific evidence.
The lack of scientific evidence that was provided in the Scientific Revolution undermines the work of the scientists during this time. It calls into question every “development” that was made and brings doubt about the accuracy of these claims. Yet, despite the lack of evidence, the Scientific Revolution continues to be taught as moments that developed the scientific community in ways that have never been done before. The scientists of this time period are praised and credited with fundamental scientific truths that stood unsupported by data. It causes you to question whether this period is truly what it is taught to be.
Professor Dan Cohen did a fantastic job breaking down each word in “the Scientific Revolution”. Despite revealing the lack of evidence that the scientists provided for their claims, he consequently calls into question whether this was even a revolution at all. I personally, agree with Professor Cohen’s claims that this was not in fact a revolution. Fundamentally, the field of science has remained the same. Science still involved questioning the world around them and searching for evidence to understand how it works. Nothing about science as a discipline changed during this time. This leads one to conclude that this was not in fact a revolutionary time.
The Scientific Revolution is a period of creativity, no doubt. There were many important thinkers that published ideas and theories that were innovative and unique. It got people to question and to challenge, however, I do not believe that all of the developments made during this time period were scientific. In fact, a lot of the “scientific concepts” that developed during the Scientific Revolution would not pass for scientific evidence in modern science. The science work that is being published today is more thorough, researched, and concrete than the work that was done during the Scientific Revolution. This period, while containing many creative ideas, is similar in many ways to other time periods as far as scientific content is concerned.
The published work during the Scientific Revolution was not particularly scientific. It includes too much speculation and not enough evidence to be deemed revolutionary. The scientists during the Scientific Revolution were creative in their thinking, but lacked the evidence to publish their concepts as fact. Assumptions must be able to be tested and data must support ideas before they are called scientific. The Scientific Revolution is deceptive in that it is presented as a grand time of change and scientific development, when it was a time filled largely with unsupported arguments.