Main   Terms   People   Interviews   Resources   Events

Scientific Revolution

A development which arose in the early sixteenth century with the cosmological discoveries of Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543). Copernicus, going against the current belief that the Earth was stationary and at the center of the universe, hypothesized a Sun-centered (heliocentric) universe with a moveable Earth. Further discoveries by Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) confirmed the second of these hypotheses, and added two other discoveries: 1) planetary orbits in the shape of ellipses, and 2) an explanation of the varying speeds of the planets as they orbited - fastest near the Sun, slowest the more outward a planet is from the Sun. In connection to these discoveries, the movement of the planets, the maintenance of their orbits, the basic mathematical structure of the universe, and gravity all came to be understood. From these discoveries, and many more, came an understanding of the universe as a mechanistic structure, dictated by a few principles which seemed to be arranged with amazing mathematical precision.

Many of the discoveries which initiated the Scientific Revolution were greeted with great opposition because of their challenge to traditional and religious conceptions of the universe, e.g., the traditional belief in the Earth being the center of the universe, and thus humanity's ultimate significance in the grand scheme of things. However, centuries later it became common knowledge that God had created this complex universe, with neither the Earth, nor the Sun, being at its center. Further, the laws which were once thought to only govern the realms of "space" were now seen to be applicable to Earth as well. When all was said and done, the major thinkers of the Scientific Revolution (Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Newton, Descartes) had revealed a universe which seemed like a perfectly run machine, comprehensible by the human mind and the enlightened scientific understanding it had now gained.

Related Topics:


Contributed by: CTNS

To return to the previous topic, click on your browser's 'Back' button.

Topic Sets Available

AAAS Report on Stem-Cells

AstroTheology: Religious Reflections on Extraterrestrial Life Forms

Agency: Human, Robotic and Divine
Becoming Human: Brain, Mind, Emergence
Big Bang Cosmology and Theology (GHC)
Cosmic Questions Interviews

Cosmos and Creator
Creativity, Spirituality and Computing Technologies
CTNS Content Home
Darwin: A Friend to Religion?
Demystifying Information Technology
Divine Action (GHC)
Dreams and Dreaming: Neuroscientific and Religious Visions'
E. Coli at the No Free Lunchroom
Engaging Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence: An Adventure in Astro-Ethics
Evangelical Atheism: a response to Richard Dawkins
Ecology and Christian Theology
Evolution: What Should We Teach Our Children in Our Schools?
Evolution and Providence
Evolution and Creation Survey
Evolution and Theology (GHC)
Evolution, Creation, and Semiotics

The Expelled Controversy
Faith and Reason: An Introduction
Faith in the Future: Religion, Aging, and Healthcare in the 21st Century

Francisco Ayala on Evolution

From Christian Passions to Scientific Emotions
Genetic Engineering and Food

Genetics and Ethics
Genetic Technologies - the Radical Revision of Human Existence and the Natural World

Genomics, Nanotechnology and Robotics
Getting Mind out of Meat
God and Creation: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Perspectives on Big Bang Cosmology
God, Humanity and the Cosmos: A Textbook in Science and Religion
God the Spirit - and Natural Science
Historical Examples of the Science and Religion Debate (GHC)
History of Creationism
Intelligent Design Coming Clean

Issues for the Millennium: Cloning and Genetic Technologies
Jean Vanier of L'Arche
Nano-Technology and Nano-ethics
Natural Science and Christian Theology - A Select Bibliography
Neuroscience and the Soul
Outlines of the Science and Religion Debate (GHC)

Perspectives on Evolution

Physics and Theology
Quantum Mechanics and Theology (GHC)
Questions that Shape Our Future
Reductionism (GHC)
Reintroducing Teleology Into Science
Science and Suffering

Scientific Perspectives on Divine Action (CTNS/Vatican Series)

Space Exploration and Positive Stewardship

Stem-Cell Debate: Ethical Questions
Stem-Cell Ethics: A Theological Brief

Stem-Cell Questions
Theistic Evolution: A Christian Alternative to Atheism, Creationism, and Intelligent Design...
Theology and Science: Current Issues and Future Directions
Unscientific America: How science illiteracy threatens our future
Will ET End Religion?

Current Stats: topics: >2600, links: >300,000, video: 200 hours.