Rochelle Forrester deposited The Invention of Glass, Microscopes and Telescopes – the advancement of Microbiology and Astronomy on Humanities Commons 4 years ago
The ultimate cause of much historical, social and cultural change is the gradual accumulation of knowledge of the human environment. The invention of glass and microscopes and telescopes, substantially increased human knowledge of the human environment. Microscopes and telescopes would not have been possible without the prior discovery of glass-making and some knowledge of the law of refraction. Without the microscope we would have no knowledge of micro organisms and the causes of many diseases. Without the telescope we would probably still believe the sun and planets orbited a stationary earth. The change from an earth centered universe, the common sense theory for societies with unassisted vision, to a sun centered theory such as the Newtonian system, and then to General Relativity was inevitable. This was because the knowledge provided by unassisted vision, naturally led to an earth centered universe, the knowledge available from 17th to 19th century telescopes and mathematics led naturally to a sun centered system, such as the Newtonian system and better telescopes led naturally to a theory such as General Relativity. The human environment has a particular structure so that human knowledge of the environment is acquired in a particular order. The simplest knowledge is acquired first and more complex knowledge is acquired later. The order of discovery determines the course of human social and cultural history as knowledge of new and more efficient means of meeting human needs, results in new technology, which results in the development of new social and ideological systems. This means human social and cultural history, has to follow a particular course, a course that is determined by the structure of the human environment.