Human mind started to long for intellectuel liberty instead of fixed religious dogmas at one time in the past. This freedom has enabled it to discover the laws of nature through experiments. Nowadays, explanations are being sought in scientific researches.
I often wonder how all these scientific results can be unconditionally accepted by common people. Neither the necessary theoretical nor the technical background is at our disposal to run experiments or double-check the public findings. We are expected to trust the shared relevations and scientific calculations about our food, organs or the universe. Meanwhile, the credibility of science is starting to erode due to scandalous corruption and political impact.
Are scientist the modern apostles? How did science gain this dominant influence?
In Christian theology, the apostles, the main lecturers of gospel message, founded churches throughout the world. By the 2nd century, connection with them was considered proof of power (i.e. line of succession of bishops) and several Christian texts were ascribed to them. The Catholic Church had powerful effect on the whole Western civilisation from Late Antiquity.
In the 16th century, the Protestant Reformation challenged the Church mainly because its religious authority and corruption. In the 17th century, it was attacked by the Enlightenment advocating individual liberty, religious tolerance and scientific methods instead of fixed religious dogmas. In the 18th century, the French Revolution transferred power from the Church to the State. It was the first major political event to declare the authority of human reason. The end of the Napoleonis Wars resulted the temporary revival of Papal States. In the 20th century anti-clerical movements reshaped the political map and nowadays most states are run on secular basis.
Until the 19th century, science was more closely linked to philosophy and it included astronomy, medicine, and physics. In the 16th century, Galileo was persecuted by the Church for writing about the Copernican system. However, the importance of observation and calculation over contemplation was increasingly emphasized. In the age of Enlightenment (17-18th centuries), new physics stated general laws of nature confirmed by experiment and applied maths. Assumptions were abandonned and experiments became prevailing.
In the 19th century, the fields of biology, chemistry and phycics were significantly extended and scientific activities became professionalized and institutionalized. Becoming integrated in the operation of states shows their significance. Their promotion and financing are based on two assumptions.
Science has been expected to boost the citizens’ life, to guarantee military security and to maintain leading political position. Applied science is acknowledged for the abolishment of the past’s hard work.