I was always fascinated by men in previous eras that were specialists in many, many fields of study. This week’s readings looked into that, and helped me understand the change in laypeople and their relation to the sciences. The scientific revolution caused societies to be rethought in this era. Instead of relying on the church or common sense to solve everything, people began to look to science and educated people. The educated people became specialists, as the sciences became more in-depth and specialized. This sort of upheaval in the way of understanding the world had to deeply change the way people viewed the world, and it certainly did. There became a greater degree of openness to new ideas in this time period, where people stopped to listen to new ideas, instead of shutting them down completely and calling them ungodly.
Instead of seeing the world as a place to completely understand, in this era it became evident that knowledge and understanding was ever expanding. The more science discovers, the more to discover there is. This changed society completely, and allowed for more and more new ideas to spring up. There was finally no ‘right answer’ to be had. Also mass education was becoming popular, bringing those who would otherwise have not been educated into the mix. I’m sure that new ideas came out of the expansion of teaching.
I am interested, as always, in understanding why of all times did this sort of intellectual revolution occur at this time period. Why should people start listening to new ways of thinking now, when their old ideas usually worked in the past? Also, I find it interesting that religion and knowledge could not be reconciled. How and why did people start turning their backs on religion when this new intellectualism came about? Can the two live side by side?