The reception of this mindset was either received with caution, with disapproval, or with flying colors. As this Scientific Revolution was a new mindset across Europe, there were many political, religious and social factors that affected the work of scientists in the sixteenth and seventeenth century.
To begin, political factors affected the work of scientists in several ways. High ranking officials in the political world did not typically work in science related fields. However, their input greatly affected the work that scientists worked so hard to put out. On a positive note,
(11) Jean Baptiste Colbert, the French finance minister under Louis XIV, stated in a 1676 letter that “because of the splendor and happiness of the State… we have been persuaded for many years to establish several academies for both letters and sciences”. In essence, what
Colbert is conveying in this message is that because of the prosperity within the country of
France at the time, the finance department within the government decided to create academies for the Sciences, which was something that was largely unheard of across Europe until the Scientific Revolution. In contrast, the beginning of the Scientific Revolution was during a time when the Pope controlled both religious and political power over the citizens and clergy of Europe. New ideas were typically not taken lightly when it came to the ideas that were first brought up in the Aristotle era which were eventually taught in Catholic teachings at the time. People with new ideas typically approached them with caution when telling them to the Pope. Nicolaus Copernicus had this very problem, as the founder of the heliocentric theory (which explained that the earth is not the center of the universe, but the sun was instead). However, because of the fear instilled because of the Pope, (1) Copernicus states in his 1543 book,
On the Revolution of the Heavenly Spheres
, that “[he] had chosen to dedicate the studies to Pope Paul III”. With the dedication of the book to Pope Paul III, Copernicus hoped to have his ideas accepted by the Catholic Church if they were dedicated to the main leader of the church, although the book/ideas were coincidentally not published until the year of his death. Allinall, political factors affected scientists in both a negative and positive way.
To continue, religious factors were correlated with a large portion of the Scientific
Revolution. some figures during the time concluded that science was merely an extension of the power and wisdom that God had given them. Examples of this can be found in (2) John
Calvin’s 1554 book
Commentaries on the First Book of Moses (Genesis), as he states “This study should not be prohibited… it cannot be denied that this art unfolds the admirable wisdom of God”. Also, (8) Walter
Charleton states in
The Natural Philosophy Epicurus, Gassendi and Charleton that “It appears impossible to imagine that atoms could be eternal and selfgoverning… the atms can be connected to no other cause, but to an Infinite Wisdom and Power”. What these two scientists were conveying in their writings was that it was acceptable to have science and religion blended together, and some of these ideas were taken very well. On the other hand, there were also strong opinions to negate the idea that religion and science could go well together.
In one instance, (3) Giovanni Ciampoli, and Italian monk, wrote a letter to Galileo to discuss his disagreement, stating that “[i]t is indispensable, therefore, to remove the possibility of