The Birth of the Scientific Method

Bacon (1620)

  1. This chapter and later ones refer to the “Baconian Method”- explain what this means.
  2. Research and explain the difference between deductive and inductive reasoning?
  3. Bacon suggested that one should first come up with an idea, second test the idea, and third come up with a theory to explain the ‘truth’. What three steps of the scientific method is he outlining?
  4. Why was Bacon’s work so important at the time?

Harvey (1628)

  1. Harvey was a teacher of human anatomy. He was expected to base his work on the anatomy texts of Galen. Why was this problematic?
  2. Galen’s explanation of the cardiovascular system was utterly wrong. Pick one element he claimed to be true, explain why it is wrong, and how things actually work.
  3. Galen relied on deductive thinking instead of inductive thinking. What does this mean, and explain specifically what Galen was doing.
  4. What were Harvey’s four main problems with Galenic theory?
  5. What evidence did Harvey gather using direct observations?
  6. In his work De Motu Cardis, Harvey described the cardiovascular system exactly, except for one part. What is this one part, what was his explanation, and was he right or wrong? Explain.

Galileo (1632)

  1. The text talks about how “authority” and “tradition” made it difficult to advance new theories in science. Is this still happening today? Explain using a specific example.
  2. In 1592 Galileo wrote a set of essays on force and motion. In these essays, which theory of Aristotle’s did he test and refute? How did he do it?
  3. Around the time of Galileo’s research, a new ‘technology’, the telescope, was invented by a Dutch spectacle maker. What was the significance of this invention for Galileo?
  4. Describe the “Inquisition” mentioned in this chapter. Explain the effect it had on Galileo and his work. Give at least one specific example.
  5. Galileo’s Dialogue put an end to the geocentric model of our solar system and replaced it with the heliocentric model. Explain.


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