The Changing Nature of Science

The nature of science has changed over time, even during the foundations of the practice. One of the most iconic advocates for science him in history has entered the mythos of scientific activism in a world surrounded by Church-patronized theorists following thousand-year-old models is Galileo Galilei Lynceo. A closer analysis of the myth however proves that Galileo and his contemporaries, Copernicus and Tycho, were just continuations of the told scholastic tradition, and their lives shed light on the nature of science as an evolution of a process over time.


Galileo, for all his reputation, would have been condemned by scientists today for bad practice. Galileo followed the scholars of his age, called Scholastics, in basing his entire reasoning on theories and assumptions. Galileo’s ship is a famous one of these thought experiments. Galileo performed very few experiments, and relied on hypotheticals he assumed to be true to carry out the rest of his science. For example, in Galileo’s ship, Galileo posits that the force of gravity will carry an obstacle to keep pace with the momentum or the ship. In this, he turns out to be right, but he offers absolutely no evidence that this is the case.


Galileo’s Ship thought experiment: Physics Central


The nature of science is thereby one that is constantly changing, and constantly improving. Only recently has the idea of science as a disprovable, experimental art solidified.


I was surprised by these findings reading deeper into articles about the nature of science and its purpose – like any idea: capitalism, medicine, and the like, science is a constantly evolving idea whose purpose keeps changing and improving over time. While people of the time might have considered Galileo a revolutionary advocate for a new brand of science (in a time when the word Scientia simply meant “knowledge”), today he would be thrown out of any publication house for pseudoscience.


Physics Central




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s