January 1, 1637 - Scientific Method
After 500 B.C., Ancient Greek Philosophers became the earliest known humans to engage with rational theoretical science, with the intention to move towards a more logical understanding of nature and more. These early Greek philosophers would later inspire and influence how the modern generation gained knowledge. When the enlightenment began in the 16th century, many great thinkers would inspire the scientific revolution. One thing, among many other great invention and ideas that came from this era, was the Scientific Method. The scientific method was developed and advanced during the scientific revolution by many great thinkers, and this is how it happened.
The revolutionary thinking from scholars like Copernicus, Kepler and Galileo would eventually develop a new approach to science, which is known as the scientific method. It starts with a question coming from an observation, or a hypothesis. A hypothesis is essentially an assumption that has yet to be proven or disproven. To test that assumption, the scientist goes through a series of tests and experiments to collect data. With the newly collected data, the scientist analyzes it and reaches a conclusion, based on the data they collected. In the conclusion, the hypothesis is either proven true or false. This method wasn’t just developed by those scholars, and in 1600s, 2 men contributed significantly to the advancement of the scientific method. These 2 men were Francis Bacon and René Descartes.
Bacon had a passion for science, and he believed in better understanding of the world. He criticized medieval scholars for relying too heavily on ancient teachings from people like Aristotle, and not actually coming up with new ideas. He wrote works like the Novum Organum to urge other sciences to come to conclusions based on experimental data, not theories. This was one of the major contributions to the advancement of the scientific method.
Another huge contributor was René Descartes, who also had a deep passion for science. He developed analytical geometry, which helped by providing a new tool for scientific research. Like Bacon, he believed that scientists needed to reject the ancient theories. However, Descartes believed in using math and logic for science. He wrote a book called Discourse on the Method or Discourse in 1637, where he explained his thinking. He believed that everything should be doubted until proven by reason, believing that the only thing he knew for certain was that he existed. One of his more famous quotes was “I think, therefore I am,” which supported his claim that his existence is the only thing that is certain.
Bacon and Descartes contributed significantly to the development of the modern-day scientific method, which has now been advanced to the order of asking a question, doing background research, coming up with a hypothesis, testing with an experiment, and analyzing the data to make a conclusion. If the conclusion lines up with your hypothesis, the scientist can share the results. If not, the scientist can use the data as even more background research for the next set of experiments. The development of the scientific method revolutionized the way scientists, and many other scholars, thought about knowledge and the world. It is one of the greatest things to come out of the scientific revolution, and who knows where we would be without it.
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