What were the effects of the scientific revolution?

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The Scientific Revolution represented a revolution in thought and a dramatic break with the intellectual traditions that preceded it. If you look back towards the Medieval era, western thought was largely shaped by the influences of Aristotle and Plato and was closely bound with theology and scripture. Even Humanism, itself...

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The Scientific Revolution represented a revolution in thought and a dramatic break with the intellectual traditions that preceded it. If you look back towards the Medieval era, western thought was largely shaped by the influences of Aristotle and Plato and was closely bound with theology and scripture. Even Humanism, itself a break with Medieval Scholasticism's theological focus, was still fundamentally a backwards looking movement, drawing its focus on the rediscovery of the Greco-Roman past.

Critical in shaping the Scientific Revolution was Copernicus, who advocated for a heliocentric model of the universe (a viewpoint that clashed with both Church teachings as well as the teachings of Aristotle). This moment would unleash a debate in intellectual circles. In the meantime, further intellectuals and scientists would emerge, not afraid to challenge conventional wisdom.

Critical to this work was the Scientific Method, which held that knowledge could be actively built over time, through the use of experimentation and the publication and retesting of those results. This viewpoint would serve as a foundation for centuries of technological and scientific advancements. Indeed, this model remains the paradigm for scientific research today.

Additionally, this scientific vision would prove a critical influence on those writers and thinkers associated with the Enlightenment, who would apply this progressive vision of scientific endeavor towards politics and society. Here we see the use of reason championed as a tool for creating social and political progress. In this mindset, one can trace a direct continuity stretching back to the Scientific Revolution itself.

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The Scientific Revolution, championed by Copernicus, the Polish mathematician and astronomer born in 1473, changed the concept of the relationship between Man and Nature. At the beginning of this so-called revolution, there was no theory of gravity and everything was explained according to the elements of air, fire, earth and water. The laws of nature according to Ptolemy and Aristotle, dictated that the heavier elements (earth and water) move downwards whereas air and fire move upwards, therefore maintaining the equilibrium; which we now know is the result of gravity. 

The Church, at the center of all philosophical beliefs and the main proponent of certain "truths" and theories based on Aristotle's teachings, mistrusted the more mathematical approach and mechanical views of Copernicus whose observations confirmed that the sun is at the center of the universe and that the earth moves. However, despite the resistance of the Church, his notions persisted and the actions of many new scientists and mathematicians who followed, set the basis for modern science, presented logical arguments, explained the theory of motion and, eventually, through Isaac Newton, gravity (first conceptualized in 1666). Newton's theory of calculus and a whole new approach to cause and effect paved the way for modern views of science. It also allowed for significant inroads into the causes and treatments of disease, previously thought to have been a result of problems associated with the four "humors,"through a better understanding of human anatomy. 

Sir Francis Bacon, The Scientific Method and the period known as the Enlightenment (the Age of Reason) which began in the sixteen hundreds continued the Scientific Revolution, and expanded on its capacity to promote the workings of the human mind and its ability to rationalize, overcoming the misconception that anything related to the senses was to be mistrusted. 

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