The Age of Enlightenment and Truth

The Age of Enlightenment was a time when many scientific principles and the methods for uncovering those truths came to light. Previous to this period, oppressive governments, ideologies, and religion ruled supreme in establishing Truth. Many people had to spend all of their time in activities related to survival and basic life. There was little time for and less encouragement of critical thinking. Many people were taught to accept the Truth as established by kings and priests. The Age of Enlightenment arose in this context of stifled ideas. The scientists and researchers who drove the Age of Enlightenment mainly developed their ideas and work not to discredit the church or governments but rather to show that truth could be discovered through objective, replicable means. Most of the scientists did not reject the teachings of the Church, except on scientific matters; they merely sought to establish objective methods for discovering truth independent of the church or government. Some of the scientists stood up for their observations and theories and were excommunicated (or killed) by the church not so much because they were refuting the teachings of the Church but because they stated that all Truth does not come solely from the Church.

Galileo was one of the Enlightenists who spurred the age of science onward. He used systematic observations to observe the movements of the planets, the moon, the sun, and the stars. His precision and sound methods led him to say without doubt that the earth was not the center of the universe; in fact, it revolved around the sun. His teaching of heliocentrism offended the Church leaders and they excommunicated him and denounced his beliefs as heretical. The Church’s pronouncements would not stop the progress of science and scientific investigation.

This scientific progress that was part of the Enlightenment continued on into the 20th century. The 19th century was a great time of scientific advancement. A lot of this advancement came through technology, which goes hand in hand with science. As science progresses, technology improves. As technology improves, it is often used in turn to advance science. One such scientist who advances science through technology and technology through science was Benjamin Franklin. Franklin through a series of experiments discovered a lot about electricity. He used this knowledge about electricity to invent the lightning rod. Through the invention of the lightening rod scientists were able to learn more about electricity and continue to advance science and technology.

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