How Science change our perspective of Nature

At the beginning of mankind, people thought that nature was something unfathomable, something grander than their simple minds could comprehend. They believed that their surroundings were a creation of a divine being, who granted them everything they needed in life, from food and clothing to the basic tools to build a civilization. Any phenomenon beyond the ancient understanding was considered as mystical and divine messages, bearing good fortune or signalling destruction. For example, ancient people feared seeing meteors because they thought that it was a sign of the Earth’s demise from a celestial deity.

Before information became accessible to the majority, humans succumbed to obsolete beliefs and a general ignorance of science. This reflected in their culture – like how a storm must have been caused by the God of the Wind, or earthquakes were the work of a God of the Earth. The outdated beliefs restrained the development of research and study into nature as well as undermined the scholars who attempted to speak up and protect their scientific views. Any scholar who did not adhere to the strict dogmatic ideas of the time were heavily persecuted – Galileo was forced to recant his statements on the Earth’s orbit, and Bruno was burned at the stake for his radical ideas about astrology and theology, to name just a few.

These beliefs, however, met an end as soon as more people realized how integral science is to their existence. They dispelled misconceptions that had blocked the way of progress, and allowed curiosity to lead the way. The original fears were replaced by the prevalence of modern science. Little by little, knowledge began to take shape – knowledge of the environment that we humans were living in. We wouldn’t now know about the existence of gravity without Newton’s findings, for instance. Before such discovery, people thought that there were tiny particles that pushed everything down to the surface of the Earth, or that everything was held together with magic crystals. And if it were not for Darwin’s theories of evolution, most common folks would still have believed that humans were creations of God. With the help of science, the false explanations of old soon found a way to terminate themselves, once again this confirms the vitality of practical scientific knowledge in transforming our society.

Nature and mankind have always had an intimate relationship. While the Earth is constant, we change. We become more developed, more civilized, more curious, changing the Earth as we saw fit. Science has changed our relationship with the environment in significant ways
But are those changes for what to come? That remains to be seen.

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