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Scientific Revolution Essay

1676 words - 7 pages

Nearing late 17th Century, towards the end of the Protestant Reformation movement in much of Europe, a new revolution was about to begin. Now-a-days dubbed the “Scientific Revolution” – it began primarily as a result of a combination of two major factors. First, the notable revolution before-hand, the Reformation, illustrated that it’s not peculiar to question popular opinion, sometimes it’s even welcoming to do so. Second, with the advancements in technology Europeans had access to at the time – specifically, advancements made to telescopes, allowing observers to peer further into the night sky – individual scientists had more tools at their disposal to observe the world around him. Employing new ways of research; scientists are lead to new conclusions based on either hard evidence/empirical data, or logical arguments based on valid reasoning. What the new thinkers were about to discover, however, would change their contemporary views of the world around them, even challenging age-old religious doctrine. The new methods of research developed during the Scientific Revolution encouraged logical reasoning when questioning phenomena, of which, doesn’t necessarily go against the Holy Catholic Church’s doctrine.
Now, to accurately base conclusions from observed data, and to prevent bias from the scientist, a ‘hypothesis’ – proposing an explanation to a phenomenon based on evidence as a starting point for further investigation – is employed. As well, to accurately conclude that the data/evidence obtained is true to its nature, all observations are based upon a human’s five in which the individual perceive the world through. Thus, basing evidence from the five senses, if a scientist cannot observe a phenomenon, then said phenomenon cannot be true (unless proven otherwise through logic, which will be discussed later). One such employer of this technique of study was Joseph Priestley, an English philosopher and chemist, 1733 – 1804. As described in his publications, Priestley obtained a mixture of nitrous air and air from mercurius calcinatus (HgO), sealed within a container. When he placed a candle to be burned inside this container, said candle, to Priestley’s disbelief and surprise, held a flame – a flame burning even brighter than in common air. Astonished by the observations of his test, and to further his studies on the different properties of air: Priestley acquired an adult mouse. His hypothesis being: if the adult mouse were to behave differently in the air from a mercurius calcinatus than in ‘common’ air, it would support the conclusion that air itself is not an element, rather, air is comprised of many elements. This conclusion would go against the commonly accepted fact at the time that air is an element. Proceeding with the mouse test, the expected life span of an adult mouse inside a sealed container with common air was roughly fifteen minutes. In the mercurius calcinatus air, however, the mouse lived for a full hour – only to be reawakened...

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