Author: nranit20

Was “The Scientific Revolution” actually the, scientific or revolutionary?

The first lecture of the Continuing Revolutions seminar was about “The Scientific Revolution”, by Dan Cohen. The main idea of the lecture was actually proof-checking whether that event that we so proudly call the scientific revolution was that special after all. In order to answer this question we primarily have to actually be sure we know what do we mean by the term revolution. Revolution represents a sudden radical change in absolutely new direction that affects an enormous number of people who are not interconnected. Now, what Cohen successfully explains in his lecture is that we should not take things we hear for granted, but question them, not for the sake of the argument or just to spite the others, but in order to check if a certain statement is true or not. Even John Stuart Mill has come to this conclusion in his book “On Liberty”. He states that if something that is taken as a truth is not questioned or is protected from questioning, it becomes a dead dogma where the truth actually loses its strength because the ones who believe in it, believe in it without actually understanding why they think that is truth. It is important to notice that here we do not talk about the revolutions that might exist on the personal level and whether they can actually be called revolutions, as that is a completely different discussion.

So, was “The scientific revolution” the, scientific or revolutionary?

As it was shown during the lecture, many scientific parts of this revolution were not exactly that scientific. The scientists of that time had many bigot perspectives and have actually not made any experiments (something essential to any scientific process), but just tried to support the hypothesis they had in any possible way. They actually even ridiculed the scientist who, as we can see now, were right the whole time. That was the time when it was more important who you were and who supports than what you were saying. Continuing further, we can see that there were many different events in our history that can be seen as more important for the scientific community than the one we call “The one”. The difference does exist between them: Only The revolution took place in the western world, while when the major mathematic discoveries were created together with incredible advances in medicine much before this revolution in Arabic world, for example, nobody even thought of calling that “The one”. Following this argument, one can say that The scientific revolution was not even that revolutionary, as some of the things were only rediscovered by the western scientists – in other parts of the world knowledgable people knew about those things long time before that.

Nevertheless, The scientific revolution was definitely an important time in the history of mankind, but was not necessarily the only time when changes of that kind were made, or when the changes of that size were made. The truth is, however, that the history is written by the winners and we all know who colonized the rest of the world – white male christian western European. Thus, what these people have considered to be the most important remained written in the history books that we read now as the most important, even though it did not have to be. Hopefully, we learned from that and are ready now to appreciate revolutions wherever they are, just for the sake of their utility and impact.

Tambora – The eruption that changed the world

Following the first lecture, where, in my opinion, one of the most important takeaways was the fact that we should question even worldwide accepted “facts”, such as “The scientific revolution”, where it was shown that mankind tends to have prejudice and follow the lead of the most powerful, western voice.

This weak, Gillen D’Arcy Wood, in his book, “Tambora: The eruption that changed the world”, once again demonstrates us that we should broaden the framework we look the world through and not only think that where the voice is the strongest, the truth is the biggest. Tambora talks about the year of 1815, and most of the people, even historians, would primarily connect this year to Napoleon Bonaparte and France in that time. Yet, that was also the year when Tambora, volcanic mountain on the small island in the Dutch West Indies, has erupted creating what was one of the greatest natural disasters in history, where its impact on the whole world could be observed in several years following the eruption as well. Even though there are not many written documents about this event created and preserved by people in that part of the world, Wood still finds enough resources to portrait just how important this natural event was, by also using literary sources like Mary Shelley’s journals and personal letters.

Yet, modern world remained pretty much blind to the whole thing happening. Tambora is rarely even considered to be the greatest eruption, and it is definitely not the most famous one, especially when compared to Vesuvius even though its impact has been exponentially stronger. Sadly, the prejudice of people can be seen throughout the history and also in the modern world. Yes, one can argue that if a similar event would occur now the world would react differently due to the globalization. However, I personally believe that this is true only to an extent as I think people would be informed about it, but would not necessarily care about what happened as long as it does not influence them directly.

In order to support my argument, I will use an example of Ebola and Syria. Ebola reached the world news only when there were infected people in the US or western Europe. Before that, yes there were some news on that topic, but it was not a major event and rarely who was talking about Ebola vaccines or other possible cure. Yet, when first US citizen was infected, he immediately received the treatment none of the people in western Africa have gotten. This means that the possible, still not completely approved, cure was available, but not used. Same things follows the revolution and ciil war in Syria. It reached the news and earned its importance for the world, only when ISIS terroristic attacks have occurred in Paris, or when the refugees as an immediate consequence of the war started emigrating to the countries of the western world. This is why many journalists and activist have said that media-wise 1 US and western European life equals 10 Eastern european and lives of the more developed countries in Africa, Asia and South America, which equals 100 lives of less developed countries in Asia, South America and Middle Eastern countries, which finally, equals 1000 lives in undeveloped countries in Africa. As sad as this sounds, this is truth, because being able to be informed does not mean being informed and not being ignorant.

We, as the whole world society, especially the countries with more power and media influence, should question are own current decisions and learn at least something from the mistakes of mankind in past, in order to ensure that we actually truly are prosperous society which goal is to develop not only in crude oil using industries, but even more in the are of knowledge, human rights and consciousness.