The Role of Scientists in 16th and 17th Century

Topics: Science, History of science, Natural science Pages: 2 (659 words) Published: January 18, 2011
Jay Peters
AP European History

Throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, scientists began to emerge with a new scientific worldview. They discerned new ways of experimentation and built off of scientists of the past. But these scientists were affected and pressured by different religious, social, and political factors. As scientists, or natural philosophers, made new discoveries and theories they often dedicated them to the church, whether it was literal dedication or whether the finding supported the church. Even though they meant to support the church, many of those who did not understand the findings rejected them, but the fact that the common man could not always understand what an astronomer had investigated does not mean that it should be rejected. For the beauty and usefulness of the discoveries support what the common man knows and understands which is that God is God. (Doc. 2) The pressure that came from being rejected pushed scientists to search for acceptance in many cases for fear of being outcast, and there was no greater place to search for acceptance than from the church. Nicolaus Copernicus, Polish priest and astronomer, dedicated his works to Pope Paul III stating how he was not one to shrink from another’s criticism and that his findings contribute to the well being of the Church. (Doc. 1) Copernicus was a man of the church as well, making his words to the Pope weighted, however. Natural philosophers used the church as evidence in their findings as well. Once atoms and the structure of the world were discovered, it was too mind-blowing to not believe that all this perfect complexity was not brought together by an all-powerful being. But seeing that most men during this time were in some way affiliated with the church, it was very common for men to make these sorts of assumptions. (Doc. 8) Religion thus gave scientists a reason for discovery and evidence supporting discoveries. Scientists were also pressured by the...
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