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The above posts are right on in regards to this question. Until that time if someone of authority told you something it was not questioned. The scientific revolution made it okay to ask questions.
Prior to the Scientific Revolution, much of "authority" in Western civilizations lay within the Church and within historical figures and their pronouncements, as pohnpei397 correctly points out. The driving force of the Scientific Revolution was the quest to collect evidence and analyze it in order to answer questions.
When decisions are based on reasonable analysis of evidence, rather than simple reliance on respected authorities (that may or may not have evidence to support their assertions), then science and other disciplines are removed from control of any particular institution. This is why the Scientific Revolution was, in fact, a revolution.
In the time before the Scientific Revolution, the way that things were "known" was via authority. People would believe that a thing was true (the sun goes around the Earth, for example) because Aristotle had said it or because the Church said it. There was no need for evidence -- the fact that someone important had said it was all the evidence needed.
But then the Scientific Revolution came around and that changed. People wanted to see physical evidence to support claims about what was true. They came to believe that this sort of evidence was more important than what some authority figure declared.
So the Revolution was a conflict between the idea that what authorities say goes and the idea that all ideas must be proven via evidence.
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