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Induction Lecture

Induction Lecture - Lecture Two Induction and Inductivism...

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Lecture Two: Induction and Inductivism The historical development of the Scientific Method In the late 16 th and 17 th centuries, there were revolutionary changes in our world view. There were many theoretical developments in the sciences such as astronomy, physics, and physiology. For example, beginning with Galileo (1564-1642) and culminating with Isaac Newton (1642-1727) the study of mechanics was completely overhauled (mechanics is a branch of physics that deals with energy and forces such as gravity and their effect on bodies in motion). There were spectacular achievements in science. Even today, NASA uses Newton’s own formulations to calculate the orbit of spacecrafts. These theoretical developments in science were accompanied and driven by new technologies—such as the telescope and the microscope. Thus, in an extraordinary way, what scientists could observe was greatly extended. To get a sense of just how the invention of the telescope helped to drive the revolutionary views in science, the following is a short article by Michio Kaku, a co-founder of String Field Theory and professor of theoretical physics at City University of New York: The Telescope: 400 Years and Counting ( Michio Kaku ) Quick -- name the invention that has done most to redefine our place in the universe. Hint: This invention was also the most seditious, blasphemous instrument of all time, shaking the very foundations of society. The answer, if you haven't already guessed it, is the telescope. It's hard to believe that this instrument, often sold as a cheesy toy in gift shops, is perhaps the single most important scientific instrument of all time. Now that the telescope is celebrating its 400th anniversary, it's a good time to take stock of this marvelous invention. For 99.9 percent of human history, most people held a Neolithic viewpoint of our world. It was a natural viewpoint: All our senses scream out to us that Earth is the center of the universe, and everything revolves around us. It's also a comforting point of view, since it means that we stand at the very center of God's creation. Once in a while, scientists challenged this viewpoint -- the Greeks even calculated the size of the Earth around 200 B.C. -- but for the most part, it stuck around, largely because it dovetailed with powerful religious interests. The invention of the telescope dealt a deathblow to that Earth-centric cosmology. In antiquity, it was known to glassblowers that, while making stained glass, spherical blobs of 1
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glass could magnify images. But it took centuries for anyone to make the inventive leap of assembling two lenses into a telescope. Most reliable accounts place the invention of the telescope in 1608 in the Netherlands, by Hans Lippershey, Zacharias Janssen and Jacob Metius. But it was the refinement of the telescope the following year by Galileo that triggered one of the greatest scientific revolutions of all time. Before Galileo, debates were won not by making careful observations, but by arguing from the Bible and religious texts. According to church dogma, Earth was full of sin because of our expulsion
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