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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

How did the Scientific Revolution Change the way Europeans Viewed The World?


In spite of all the advances in literacy, astrology, science, medicine, and thinking, the common European had no idea how to interpret new findings in the world of science. Furthermore, most of these citizens did not come close to the intellectual background as the greatest minds of their time. When the Scientific Revolution began to disprove past ideals and new ideas were shown to the masses, many experienced trepidation.

Despite the advances in science and efforts of the scientists of the sixteenth and seventeenth century to demonstrate that the world and the universe were governed by discernible laws, the Scientific Revolution had little impact on the everyday lives and thoughts of the mass of European citizens.

Even though there were breakthroughs made in astronomy and physics, most Europeans retained a belief in previous ideas about magic and astrology. German princes relied on court astrologers as advisers, and even Johannes Kepler sought to confirm the power of astrology with the results of his life's work, though he did not prove those findings.

Advances in medical theory proved that there were serious misconceptions about the human body, however many Europeans widely adhered to previous beliefs set forth by Galen. Galen's theory was that the human body contained four humors-blood, yellow bile, black bile, and phlegm, and that if one of the four were present in too little or too great of an amount, illness would occur.

The most widely experienced theory of this practice was bloodletting, a long standing, accepted, practice employed in the homes of Europeans. Galen's hypothesis that the body had two blood systems and diseases could be cured by looking deeper into the four humors in the body proved to be erroneous, however Galen's principles were still strictly adhered to in medical schools.

Europeans had turned to the church for guidance, and so it seems, the church was able to tell people what to believe. When the discoveries of the Scientific Revolution overturned the tenets of the traditional belief system, they were gradually accepted by the general population of European society. Furthermore, they were often rejected by those that thought traditional beliefs were easier to understand. To put it plainly, Europeans did not want to complicate their lives by thinking outside the realm of what they had been taught in the church. The commoners had traditions of thinking and a belief system that made their living situation stable and their quality of life commonplace. The Scientific Revolution would prove that their goals or traditions were no longer valid, and this was something they didn't take lightly.

When Europeans experienced the events of the Scientific Revolution they looked upon it as a changing world, although not always open to the origins of those scientific changes. The Scientific Revolution became part of society without many people even noticing, however for those that did, it was a time of enlightenment.

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7 Comments:

ManOverBoard.com said...

Amazing how much power religion played to everything including science. Funny I just watched Inherit The Wind. Coincidence? Who knows, lol

Ratty said...

This brings back a lot of memories of great reading. It's interesting how people always seem to resist even beneficial changes. I think that part isn't much different today as it was then.

RS Wing said...

It is hard for society to embrace new ideas and technology. Most turned to their faith in God. All of these advances led to our modern theories of medicine. Really well written article.

Bob Johnson said...

Very interesting,religion has and always will play an important role in our society especially in the science area, somethings will never be able to be explained fully without it.

Carl said...

ah...yes change is hard but change that threatens an established belief system as powerful as the church has layers and levels of extreme resistance. :)
good post..interesting info..I always enjoy visiting you here.
take care,
Carl

Anonymous said...

What sources did you use to write your article?

Lauren Axelrod said...

Anonymous

This article was in response to a general question posed about Europeans views on the Scientific Revolution. I used my opinions about the readings from Spielvogel: Western Civilization until 1500 from 2009. It was the seventh edition I believe.

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