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272). There were great changes taking place during that period in history, and not all of those changes had to do specifically with science. Some of them stemmed from science in other ways, and were encouraged to develop because they had a better framework during that time.

Philosophy during that time also had a "momentous transfer of allegiance from religion to science" (Tarnas, 1993; p. 272). That deeply affected how people felt about themselves and their world, and it changed the way many of them thought. Those who embraced science did so willingly, and those who embraced religion were also afforded that right. In other words, whether a person focused on science or religion, that person had a choice. Things were no longer all about the Church, and what the Church had always taught people. During that time in history, many people were afraid of the Church and thought that God was an angry, vengeful being. There were many rules to be followed, and life could be tricky for those who did not conform. When science became another "religion" of sorts, people were able to see two (or even more) sides to the story of life.

That gave people the freedom to choose what they felt best about. This benefited the Church just as much as the scientific community. At the time the Church may not have realized that it would see a benefit, because it was likely much more focused on how the addition of science was changing what people believed. However, ultimately the Church kept the people who thought it through, saw the other options, and decided that God was still the right answer. The people who did not feel that way were able to make their choice - and they chose science. That left the Church with fewer members, but with (generally) only true believers instead of some believers and some people who were there out of a sense of duty or obligation to the Church or society.

Tarnas (1993) addresses much more than the Church in his work, however. He also discusses the people who were at the heart of the Scientific Revolution and how much they impacted the world during their lifetimes. Francis Bacon, for example, focused on "a new era in which natural science would bring man a material redemption to accompany his spiritual progress toward the Christian millennium" (Tarnas, 1993; p. 272). This was the type of philosophy that many of the thinkers of the day held. Even as they delved deeper into the scientific realm, they looked for ways in which they could relate that science back to something spiritual.

Over time, it seemed as though spirituality and religion were not the same thing, because philosophy started moving into the issue, as well. People were learning that they could become interested in science and that they could still be spiritual, philosophical, and even religious at the same time. This opened new doors, and was one of the most important issues where the Scientific Revolution was concerned. Before that time, there was a very all-or-nothing style of religiousness that was no longer present as a pervasive, societal idea once the revolution began in earnest.

Were it not for Plato and his Pythagorean ideals, the Scientific Revolution may never have taken place. During the revolution, the science that was created and discovered was addressed with the idea that "the language of the physical world was one of number" (Tarnas, 1993; p. 292). Scientists today still believe that with quantum physics and other discoveries that have been made. Science has always been about numbers to some degree, and religion was tied to it so strongly that numbers were related to it, as well. The Scientific Revolution worked to separate the Church from science in some ways, and tie it more closely together in others. Much of the revolution was related to enlightening people about their world, whatever that meant to them, personally.

Plato and his Pythagorean ideals might have started the entire issue, but the Scientific Revolution "would culminate two thousand years later" (Tarnas, 1993; p. 48). In other words, it took a very long time for people to get from Plato to Kepler and Copernicus. But they did get there, and then they kept going from that point to where science is today. Not everyone agrees that there was an actual Scientific Revolution during the 17th and 18th centuries, of course. Some people state that there were significant events but nothing that would qualify as an actual revolution. However, the world certainly changed during that time. Religion became less prominent and science became more important. Some people chose sides, some mixed both together, and people generally felt as though they had a choice in what they did, which was vital to their happiness and their desire to continue pushing forward to see what else they could discover about their world.


Marguin, J (1994) (in fr). Histoire des instruments et machines a calculer, trois siecles de mecanique pensante 1642 -- 1942. Hermann..

Pedersen, O. (1993). Early physics and astronomy: A historical introduction, 2nd. ed., Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press Tarnes, R. (1993). The passion of the western mind: Understanding the ideas that have shaped our world view. New York, NY: Ballantine Books. 1993.

Taton, R (1963) (in fr). Le calcul mecanique. Paris: Presses universitaires de France.

Smith, DE (1929). A Source Book in Mathematics. New York and London: McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc.

The Scientific Revolution: Its Impact on the Church and Philosophy of Modern Europe

When the Scientific Revolution first began, the Church was highly against it (Tarnas, 1993). There was a belief that science was blasphemous, and that it was being used to pull people away from the Church and lead them down a path that would separate them from God. Naturally, that was a frightening time for the Church and a very conflicted time for a large number of people. Did they stay with the Church, that they had always followed and that has always told them what to believe? Or did they decide to follow science? What if science told them what to believe, as well? Could they work with both or blend them in some way, so that they could think for themselves and decide what was right for them? There were so many questions that people who were part of the Church faced during that time in history, and they were understandably confused.

The Church was not the only area that science was changing, though. The entire philosophy of modern Europe was changed by the Scientific Revolution (Taton, 1963). When it first began there was not much concern, but it gained ground. Instead of being seen as something radical and new, it was seen as an extension of what had already been discovered by past thinkers, philosophers, and scientists. Much of the Scientific Revolution was built around Plato and the ideas that he had for how the Earth and the Sun worked together (Tarnas, 1993). He came up with a theory, and when the evidence did not seem to support it he decided that it was not the correct evidence.

In other words, he believed very deeply in his ideals, and he was not going to let the lack of evidence stop him from believing in what he knew was right. Instead of worrying over issues like the evidence, he focused on the idea that the correct evidence had not yet been discovered. Because of his strong belief, he kept pushing forward. Others took his lead, and they also started pushing forward. Ultimately, although it took many years, that led to the Scientific Revolution and everything that came after that time.

Many of the people who became part of the Scientific Revolution in a notable way did not leave the Church or let go of their faith. They studied science because it fascinated them and because they could learn more about their world and figure out how to do things like treat disease. More people could survive and thrive because of science, but that did not mean that there was a need to give up religion. The Church lost some of its followers during that time, though (Marguin, 1994). That generally too place because the people of that time period felt as though they had a choice. They could choose to follow the doctrines of the Church or not, instead of feeling as though the Church was the ultimately authority on everything and could not be questioned.

The people who stayed with the Church did so because they believed in their faith (Pedersen, 1993). That did not mean that they were not interested in science or did not spend any time learning about it, but only that they either (a) felt God was more significant, or (b) found a way in which they could enjoy and appreciate…[continue]

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