*The Scientific Revolution of the 16th and 17th centuries brings to mind great scientists like Galileo who dedicated themselves to math and science in order to help human learning. Advances were made in chemistry, astronomy, math, and even more branches of science by these men. However, they were not the ones whose thoughts were able to change that of the people in charge, i. e. , the Pope and the powerful rulers of that time.
Without those people, the ideas of the scientists would never have been accepted by the general public. The thoughts of those people such as religious figures, philosophers, and even men working in the state were those that most helped to push the scientific revolution forward, because they broke boundaries and changed the way even society itself reacted to new ideas and developments. **The year 1554 was one of the first years that a free thinker came into the picture.
John Calvin, a French Protestant theologian, disagreed with the fact that the study of astronomy should be outlawed by the Church, saying, “This study should not be prohibited, nor this science condemned, because some frantic persons boldly reject whatever is unknown to them,” (doc. 2). He had even formed his own religions, to become known later as Calvinism, because he so disagreed with the Church. Just a few years earlier, Polish priest and astronomer Nicholas Copernicus had agreed in a more mild way, saying, “The learned and unlearned alike may see that I shrink from no criticism,” (doc. ) meaning that he would continue his studies no matter what others told him. Both these religious men, though in different religions, thought the same thing about the fact that knowledge and learning should have no boundaries. Galileo himself was living proof of what these two men are discussing; his books were banned by the Church and put under house arrest for the last years of his life because his teachings disagreed with the Church.
Another philosopher that was way ahead of her time was Margaret Cavendish, an English natural philosopher. She said, “Were it allowable for our sex, I might set up my own school of natural philosophy,” (doc. 9). Though it would be many years before this would actually happen Cavendish, like these other men, wanted to open people’s eyes up to new possibilities. She also wanted them to accept scientists, though she was speaking of the female gender. Thomas Hobbes, an English philosopher, talks not about how the Church would limit knowledge, but how the state itself would.
He believes that, because geometry does not appear to matter to people because it has nothing to do with “ambition, lust or profit,” people will mostly leave it alone. But, he says that if some geometry postulate or theorem would “conflict with the interest of those who rule,” he knows that “it would be suppressed,” (doc. 7). Hobbes believes wholeheartedly that any king or queen would censor new discoveries should they not be want they want their people to know. *Despite Hobbes’ views, there were some people involved in the state who tried to encourage scientists to gather their knowledge together. Henry Oldenburg, secretary of the English Royal Society, had wanted scientists to all come together as a community. He said, “Friendship should be spread through the world of learning, and established among those whose minds are above partisan zeal because of their devotion to truth and human welfare,” (doc. 6).
Oldenburg believed that communities of learning would greatly benefit the world at that time, and all of mankind to come. Jean Baptiste Colbert, French finance minister under Louis XIV, wrote a letter saying how the state also must allow arts and sciences to flourish, and that he has been persuaded to establish many scientific academies to help science prosper (doc. 11). This can be shown being put into action a few years later, with a drawing of all the great minds and projects at work in the French Royal Academy, a place where learning could flourish (doc. 0). **Free thinkers of the Scientific Revolution such as religious men, philosophers, and statesmen, despite the fact that they were not considered “scientists,” made the most important contributions in these time periods. Though they did not actually change the way the people viewed the physical world like some scientists, they changed the way the people of that time period thought. These were the people that opened their eyes so that they could see the new discoveries made by scientists. These were the