“All that is human must retrograde if it does not advance.” This is a statement by Edward Gibbon. The history of the decline and fall of the Roman empires made more than a hundred years ago is evident in the declining support for modern science. There is a need to reverse the trend. The world’s scientific and technological end has gained root with the increasing knowledge. The process of scientific progress via a revolution in the history of humankind is dated to the 16th century with the emergence of publications on the transformation of scientific ideas. This period witnessed the birth of new scientific institutions and organizations for the promotion of the study of the natural world. This was pivotal in the foundation of modern science. An intensive transformation of ideas cutting across physics, anatomy, astronomy, chemistry, and biology is attributed to the explosion of knowledge.
The scientific revolution age was courageous in challenging the position of the church during the late renaissance period. Reason and knowledge were the tools used by scholars to advance their arguments and challenging the doctrine of the church on faith, and replacing this with logical thinking in the attempt to explain the natural world. The period of rebirth, i.e., the renaissance, was the origin of intense desire and searched for knowledge with empirical facts. It is from this background that modern science has found itself in a crisis. This study aims to investigate the crisis of modern science in the presence of advanced philosophical age, and the future of science is determined. The influence of modern science has affected philosophical literature, politics, religion, and business. These are all domains of intellectual inquiry. Science, in general, refers to the human endeavor to unravel and discover truths about the universe. As knowledge is acquired, the scientist satisfied his deep needs. Charles Darwin, in the theory of evolution, states that all living things resulted from natural changes from lifeless matter. The science crisis begins with such a scientific domain. Even among the scientists themselves, there is disagreement on whether Darwinism is a scientific theory or a materialistic myth. The varying patterns in the belief of people are carried on to the interpretation of the faith people subscribe to. At the same time, the scientific method is hinged on observable, empirical, and quantifiable evidence subject to principles of reasoning, while religion orientates its followers on the supremacy of faith. This has caused modern science harm when philosophical statements are presented as scientific positions supported by observable evidence.
It is one of the procedures of the whole study with which we have to deal that the most sensational step leading to the scientific revolution in astronomy was taken long before the discovery of the telescope, it was still possible to achieve in observations made with the naked eye. The progress of scientific studies such as astronomy was a major historical force in the 13th to 20th century. Tycho Brache, a Danish astronomer of the 16th century, discovered the telescope, and this was years after the scientific revolution in astronomy had taken place. The current discoveries and innovations in science have their root in the age of the renaissance. Modern science is faced with a crisis of identity with traditional science or with the emerging new science.
Is modern science a challenge to religion? Science is not all about advancement in technology as held by modern society. It is a vision of life. The comfort in transport, communication, business, and the internet is a result of science. The penetration of science into all domains of life has caused a challenge, especially to religion. The conflict between science and religion traces its origin in the geocentric interpretation of the heavenly bodies by Corpenicus, which replaced the dominating biblical creation story. Scientific discoveries held that the world’s beginning is traced to eons of time process. This was a challenge to the conservative medical concept of religion. Just as religion aims at winning followers, science also has its followers. Modern science is faced with a crisis of explaining phenomena in the physical world. While religion interprets this in terms of miracles, modern science attempts to provide an empirical explanation of the phenomena. Dogmatism emanates from the superstitions fears of people who cannot change their position. Science scholars depend on their own authority, and disciplined mind of reason in explain the world (Tarnas, 1993, pp 45-56).
Modern science is in a crisis of uniting religion and bringing it into the sphere of modern thought to demonstrate nature and the world. It has often been the general consensus that the rise of Christianity has been overshadowed by the ever-emerging scientific revolutions. Furthermore, the evolution of science has resulted in the reduction of a renaissance. The greatest menace to modern science is the conflict between giant organized systems that are out to find the wicked in science. Modern developments in science such as blood transfusion and the use of contraceptives have met fierce opposition from the church.
The modern philosophy of science is hinged on the assumptions, foundations, and implications of metaphysical, epistemic, and ethical issues. Scientific realism asserts and builds up from past scientific success in the prediction of future trends. The success of a scientific finding lies in subsuming phenomena under general law. Isaac Newton’s discovery of the force of gravity and his works in corpuscular or emission theory, among others, are used as bases for further research. This has had a great impact in modern society, modern science. The works of Einstein in generalization of a theory in gravitation isolated him, and his attempts are considered unsuccessful by most physics. Modern scientists are faced with a situation where they have to maintain trends with previous researches in the same field in their studies. Historical changes in thought and belief, which began with Nicholas Copernicus and ended with Isaac Newton, proposed universal in a mechanical universe. The laws of nature provide modern scientists with excellent exercise for thinking (Tarnas, 1993, pp 76-88).
It is not possible for scientists to have tested every incident in action and found a reaction. The way in which scientific statements are derived from observation relies on our understanding and set of beliefs. The justification of scientific statements according to science refers to other scientific findings. Modern science is still far from solving the world’s problems, especially in third-world countries. On the contrary, it has been used as an instrument of subjecting the third world into dependency. Advancements in science have left these countries under the manipulation of the developed world. Technology transfers from the developed world to the developing world further delay the adoption of their own infrastructure to develop domestic technology. Indigenous science has been suppressed by modern science.
The potential for high-tech holocaust borne from scientific development is a threat to humankind. Science and technology in industrialization have resulted in hazardous technology. The presence of a legitimate environment for independent scientists to advance his philosophy has created a conflict with humankind. Machines are increasingly replacing human labor. Scientists, being human, show a great variety of beliefs, attitudes, and characters like any other politician, teacher, doctor; they try to fix their evidence into their general philosophy. Unpopular ideas propelled by the scientists have landed the field into a crisis. For instance, the design error that leads to the destruction of the orbiter in 1998.
The systematic change from the traditional natural philosophy to modern science has been facilitated by the advocacy of realism by the modern philosopher—the practice of scientific study aimed at making the irreducible elements of a wholly simple and few. Simplification of the surrounding world in an attempt to demonstrate a new social order depends on an understanding of how the world works. An observation is not made passively, but a person is involved in the things being observed. The history of science in the renaissance accelerated the process of moving from the old world to the present world. This consequently had an influence on contemporary theology. The political intrigue in the idle ages, especially the authority of the papacy. This led to the break of the Roman Catholic Church and hence changes from the traditional natural philosophy. Complex services of new developments were needed to support arguments raised against the traditional dogmatic philosophy (Tarnas, 1993, pp 98- 102).
Rene Descartes opposed the old authorities and emphasized the practical character of philosophy. Philosophy is said to be the perfection of knowledge held by man that determines the conduct of his livelihood and direction of his discovery of art. It is from Descartes view that modern science ventures into all domains of tee existence. Modern science is concerned with impressions made on the intellect, empiricism have presented a crisis in modern science, where the former adopts mathematical deduction, the latter learns towards scientific orientation. The question yet to be answered by modern science is can the knowing subject be certain of the existence of known objects? In an attempt to solve the crisis, modern science adopts the laws of the Cartesian method in problem solving as foregrounded by Rene Descartes. These are:
- Accept nothing as true as long as it is not clear.
- Adopt as analytical approach in solving a problem.
- The order of study should arrange the thoughts from simple and build up to complex.
- Adopt a complete coherent enumeration that is all-inclusive.
Modern scientists honor Blaise Pascal, a challenging thinker who sought the peace of mind. Pascal was convinced that self-complacency is the main obstacle in search of true knowledge. He protested with determination any attempt to convert man to any creed by force. Modern science, just like Pascal, deals with the fundamental concern of human existence. Existentialism has presented a challenge to modern science. The principle of identity and the principle of sufficient reason find themselves in crisis in search of knowledge. Philosophical schools of thought such as that embraced by Christians wolf and Godfrey Wilhelm von Leibniz considers problems of metaphysics and is not building on data. Leibniz opposed empirism thinking. The modern scientist is opened to a new philosophical synthesis in understanding current systems.
Scientific revolution influenced the development of the world by presenting a new world order in commerce, culture, history, and science. Intellectual curiosity investigates into the historical development of modern science. The works of ancient philosophers and scientists such as Galileo, Isaac Newton, Blaise Pascal, Rene Descartes, among others, have been sustained by modern philosophers. The modern science still faces opposition from the conservative positions held by the church. The explosion of knowledge in the 20th century has enhanced the shift from the traditional natural science and focus onto the contemporary science. New knowledge and understanding of reality is a product of the scientific revolution.
Labor peer and pioneering expert Lord Winston warns that the “international crisis in science is brought about by irresponsible protesters, the media and fellow scientists.” Scientists are reluctant to engage the media in boosting scientific research. The renaissance catapulted the birth of modern science, which is a major character of modern philosophy. The history of the revolutionist traced in the 13th century and 14th century can still be felt in the modern concern of global warming and evolution. Modern philosophy has been dominated by questions about knowledge. Major innovations in the 19th and 18th centuries were influenced by the epistemological transformation. Technical change at this time drove enormous amounts of knowledge in medicine, astronomy, electricity, and chemistry. Systematically this extensive knowledge and the explanation of the relationship between human beings and his nature is the concern of modern science.
Tarnas, R. Passion of the Western Mind. Ballantine Books, 1993.