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Science DBQ Essay Sample

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Science DBQ Essay Sample

Analyze how political, religious, and social factors affected the work of scientists in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Historical Background: Between 1500 and 1700, scientists, or natural philosophers as they were called, developed a new scientific worldview. A heliocentric model of the universe replaced the traditional geocentric model. Different methods for discovering scientific laws were developed. Scientists envisioned a universe composed of matter in motion, which could best be understood through mathematics and experiment. Investigators of nature organized into scientific disciplines and societies were founded throughout Europe to facilitate the study of scientific questions.

Analyzes bias or point of view in at least three documents. • Relates authorial point of view to author’s place (position, status, etc.) OR • Evaluates the reliability of the source OR • Recognizes that different kinds of documents serve different purposes OR • Analyzes tone or intent of documents—three weak attempts equal one point of view. • Point of view can be achieved collectively through analysis of motives of a group or explanations of reasons for group’s attitudes; counts as one point of view. • Attribution may NOT be sufficient to demonstrate point of view.

Analyzes documents by grouping them in at least three groups. A group must contain at least two documents. A fallacious grouping receives no credit.

Examples of possible groups: Political (1, 2,5, 6, 7, 10, 11) Religious (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12) Social (1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11) Religious figures (1, 2, 3, 5) Philosophers/scientists (1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 12) Political figures (10, 11)

Document 1. Nicolaus Copernicus, Polish priest and astronomer, dedication to Pope Paul III in Copernicus’ book On the Revolution of the Heavenly Spheres, 1543. Does not seek to avoid criticism. Book dedicated to Pope Paul because of his importance and love of science. The Pope has influence to block slander of the work. Mathematicians will agree that the book is supportive of the Church. (political, religious, social)

Document 2. John Calvin, French Protestant theologian, Commentaries on the First Book of Moses (Genesis), 1554. Moses dealt with matters that were easily understood; astronomers study subjects that are much more complex. Such study should not be prohibited because critics do not understand it. Astronomy is useful to demonstrate the wisdom of God. (political, religious)

Document 3. Giovanni Ciampoli, Italian monk, letter to Galileo, 1615. Ciampoli urges deference to authorities in the Church in order to stop critics from imputing false claims to Galileo’s work. (religious, social)

Document 4. Francis Bacon, English philosopher of science, The Great Instauration (a plan to reorganize the sciences), 1620. Science has made little progress because it has not sought a proper goal—the improvement of human life. (religious, social)

Document 5. Marin Mersenne, French monk and natural philosopher, letter to his noble patron, 1635. Mersenne is willing to remove anything from his work to which the patron objects, though all statements are based on repeated experimentation and supported by witnesses to the experiments. (political, religious, social)

Document 6. Henry Oldenbury, Secretary of the English Royal Society, letter to Johannes Hevelius, German scientist, February 1663. Interaction among researchers is important to further development of learning. There is a need for a community of scientists. (political, social)

Document 7. Thomas Hobbes, English philosopher, Leviathan, 1668. Scientific discoveries that affect the interests of the powerful are called into question or suppressed when these ideas affect ambition, profit, or lust of the rulers. (political, religious, social)

Document 8. Walter Charleton, English doctor and natural philosopher, The Natural Philosophy of Epicurus, Gassendi, and Charleton, 1654. Creation and arrangement of matter depends upon existence of an “Infinite Wisdom and Power.” (religious)

Document 9. Margaret Cavendish, English natural philosopher, Observations on Experimental Philosophy, 1666. Cavendish would establish a school of natural philosophy if women were allowed to do so. Women’s intellect is at present less esteemed than was the case formerly. (social)

Document 10

Source: Drawing to commemorate Louis XIV’s visit to the French Royal Academy, published 1671.

Document 11. Jean Baptiste Colbert, French Finance Minister under Louis XIV, letter, 1676. Academies of letters and sciences have been established because they promote benefits to the state. (political, social, military)

Document 12. Gottfried Leibnitz, German philosopher, New System of Nature, 1695. God has arranged the world for the benefit of the human mind. The natural law governing minds transcends physical events. (religious)

3 (pretty obvious) possible Thesis
Political, religious and social forces tended on the whole to hinder the efforts of 16th and 17th century scientists. Political, religious and social forces tended on the whole to encourage the efforts of 16th and 17th century scientists. Political, religious and social forces both encouraged and hindered the work of 16th and 17th century scientists.

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