Peter Bowler's The Fontana History of the Environmental Sciences PDF

By Peter Bowler

ISBN-10: 0006861849

ISBN-13: 9780006861843

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Extra resources for The Fontana History of the Environmental Sciences

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And the new sciences that so obviously challenged the Genesis story of creation were seized upon by the emerging commercial and professional classes to argue that social progress was merely a continuation of natural evolution - the movement known as 'social Darwinism'. If there is an ideological component within science, that component forms a seamless web ii1 which practical and more general social interests combine to define what kind of world view a particular group regards as acceptable. Modern discussions of the ideological component in the environmental sciences are more likely to be based on our current preoccupation with the overexploitation and pollution of the natural world.

Science and Ideology This debate is especially active over the question of whether or not scientific theories reflect the social and political framework of the groups that articulate them. Exponents The Nature of Science · 27 of the 'sociology of knowledge' have long maintained that what is accepted as knowledge within any community reflects the interests of those who dominate that com­ munity. This is obvious enough in the case of religious 'knowledge', where the commands of God or the gods often endorse the values of the priests who interpret those commands.

Within such a limited vision of the earth's history, divine creation seemed the only way of explaining how the modem state of affairs had been established. Yet by the time Ussher published his estimate, some scholars were already beginning to wonder if the biblical story of human origins was acceptable. Natural­ ists began to suggest that the fossils hidden within the rocks indicated a period of earth history antedating the creation of humankind by many thousands, if not millions, of years. Although many geologists at first retained the view that the earth's development must be guided by a divine plan, the destruction of the biblical view of creation nevertheless established the wider framework within which a theory of natural evolution would be articulated.

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The Fontana History of the Environmental Sciences by Peter Bowler

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