Van Doren: Could you be a God?

The scientific revolution had a huge influence as to why people thought they could be God. Van Doren explains how parts of science led these individuals to believe that they could be God if they could understand how the world worked and why it worked that way. He explains that there are five parts of science. These parts of science were biology, physics, mathematics, chemistry, and psychology.

With the knowledge of these five parts of science, people thought they could answer any questions by using scientific method and play the role of God in explaining how the world works, why it works that way, what the world was made up of, and also what people think and why they think a certain way in certain situations. Biology allowed people to know the make up of the world and people. Physics and mathematics allowed individuals to see how the world worked and why it worked a certain way. Psychology showed the people that we could figure out what and how people thought by doing experiments on groups of people.

Van Doren explains how these five parts of science are not better than any certain one. He explains how everyone in that day believed that the world was flat and not round as we know it today. He explains how they thought that science is the one method that will allow them to arrive at the “truth. ” He explains how science was a common thing that “everyday people” could understand. This led many to believe that they could answer a lot of questions thus making them think they could be God. Van Doren tells us that there are three assumption of science.

The first assumption of science is that we can describe what goes on in a physical world. He explained how scientists are both honest and humble. They never claim more than they can prove and love to talk about their findings with other scientists or poets. This first assumption gives people the ideas that we can know what is going on in the physical world, why it goes that way, and how it works. The second assumption of science is we can explain why something is happening. This deals more with actual things and not ideas or feelings as Van Doren said.

This assumption dealt more with the issues concerning the external world and its working rather than the inner part and how it works. Van Doren gives us the example of the human body. He explains how scientists would study the human body and it’s parts but not the soul because they did not think it existed. The last assumption that comes from science is prediction. This meant that science deals with whatever it deals with in a special way. He explains how scientists use all of the parts of science to know how things work and why they work the way they do. Experiments were a big part of this.

Scientists would think of an idea, make a hypothesis about it, and then test that hypothesis in a controlled environment to see whether or not their hypothesis was valid or invalid. Math played a big role in this because the observations had to be turned into numbers. Van Doren used many examples to show how science was a big part of the seventeenth century. He explained that science made giant steps within their culture unless you lived in a Protestant state. If you lived in a Protestant state then you did not care if you knew how the world worked or why it worked the way that it did.

Protestants did not care because their religion led them to believe that only God knows all and we should not try to sit here on earth spending days and hours trying to figure it out. He explained how the introduction of science changed the lives of people and made it so that we could never go back living the way we lived at the time of the renaissance but can only wonder whether the change was in all ways for the better. All of these examples shown by Van Doren show us how human beings believed that they could be God because they thought they could understand how the world worked and why it worked that way.


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