When you are studying the history of science, it means you will be reading about how science developed over time. In simple words, science refers to knowledge about the natural world. Since the appearance of Homo Sapiens, humankind has to know many truths and rules of nature to ensure that they survive in the long run. One such understanding of nature that actually falls in the category of scientific knowledge is the rotational movements of the Sun and the Moon. The daily movement of the sun is quite easy to notice and understand, but the annual movement is challenging to fathom. Both these movements cause essential events related to the physical world. Day and night help the human race to survive, and the various seasons determine the movement and habitation of the animals on whom human beings are dependent on food and other items. Once human beings learned to cultivate vegetables, the importance of season change became all the more important. Thus, it became essential to understand the cycle of the seasons to make sure that the right plant gets cultivated at the right time. It was all science from the very beginning of humanity that worked as knowledge of the natural occurrences.
An Insight into the Science History
It should be kept in mind that the necessary recognition of the regularities of nature does not entirely constitute towards the meaning of science. This is primarily because the routines can simply be the constructions of the human mind and might not have any scientific base. Human minds tend to jump to conclusions. Given the fact that the human mind does not handle chaos very well, it tends to draw certain regularities in a situation where none actually exists. For example, in the Middle Ages, there prevailed an astronomical observation that announced the sight of comets hinted at some great danger as the Norman Conquest of the British Empire happened after the 1066 comet. This is why it is essential to establish accurate data that are not biased and are not based on a single detached event. Therefore throughout the history of the development of science, it has been seen that science tends to add a certain amount of skepticism to make sure there is no unnecessary generalization of the found data.
There are certain regularities that are expressed through mathematics as nature’s law and yet are not entirely satisfactory to everyone. Many people believe that there should be an explanation behind the cause of any incident to make sure that the understanding of that incident is correct. However, in the field of defining objectives, there exist many conflicts. For example, the area of modern quantum mechanics has stopped searching for causation and ultimately believes in the descriptions provided by mathematics. On the other hand, modern biology depends entirely on various chains that help in the understanding of the evolutionary process of the physical activities of the bodily organisms like cells, molecules, etc.
Even if both explanation and causation are taken to be necessary, there will still be a dispute over the types of causes that are possible or permissible in the field of science. In order to make sense out of the history of science, it is essential to deal with that history on its own term, and the truth here is that for the most part of the development of science the ancient philosophers believe in causes that would be readily rejected by the modern-day scientists. Both divine and spiritual forces were taken to be necessary and real till the 18th-century end, and in areas of biology, it existed till the 19th century as well.
Certain conventions in society appealed to gods or God or even to spirits. It was considered to be sure about the works of spirits and gods could not be random, and there must be some kind of reason behind their actions. This conviction made the response to these actions rationally investigative and not merely based on propitiation. Given the fact the human beings believed that the divine did hold some meaning or rationality, it was possible for them to look for logical reasons behind the occurrences of the nature. The interesting point here is that faith in the rationality of the creator of the world actually helped people to dig deeper into scientific studies as they firmly believed there was some logical flow of reason behind the natural incidents. Be it Newton’s absolute space of Kepler’s law or the rejection of Einstein of the randomness of quantum mechanics; all were inspired by theological assumptions, not scientific ones.
The history of science refers to the development of the subject as a way of perceiving the world and studying it as well. It starts right from the primitive days of humankind that consisted of noting the various occurrences of nature and trying to find a pattern in them to the understanding of reality in 20th-century physics. The development of the history of science refers to this entire process and helps us understand how modern science has reached the stage that it stands on today. In order to understand modern science, it is essential to know the history that shaped it.
Thus the history of science presents science in a light that defines it as a consideration of the regularities of nature that are subjected to somewhat skepticism and are tried to be explained by causes of rationality. However, one thing should be kept in mind here. Nature can be known only with the help of senses like sight, hearing, and touch. Human beings perceive the reality of things and occurrences through these senses only. Thus, the invention of the microscope or the telescope helped in understanding a massive range of natural phenomena that could previously be perceived only with the help of the senses. The knowledge gained through science thus remains partial, and the progress of science is nothing but the procedure that enables human beings to understand the occurring phenomena.