The Elizabethan age considered itself scientific, indeed the word ‘science’ was used to mean ‘knowledge’. The so called Age of Reason was a much later term applied by historians of science to broad-brush the slow ascent of experimental-based knowledge. What we now call science originated from the attempts to separate the observer from the method of experiment; a method that would employ only the intellectual functions to arrive at a repeatable conclusion, backed up by numbers – the mathematics of quantity.
In so doing, the kind of knowledge that became ‘science’ cut itself off from any intimacy, religious or otherwise, that mankind had felt towards the cosmos – his home – for thousands of years. It is said that the average Elizabethan farmworker would have known the heavens much more intimately than most of us do, today. For them, it was life and death, planting and reaping – and…
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