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    Scientific Research & Innovation as Objects of Fear

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    I need some help with the following question:
    Why was the telescope feared? Can we name modern-day scientific equivalents to the telescope that are also important but feared? If so, what are the underlying philosophical, religious, or social reasons?

    Thank you

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    OTA 105878
    The Telescope as an Object of Fear

    The telescope, science historians propose had been around as either an idea or a not-fully-developed invention since the early 13th century - but these were not 'distance viewers' wherein you can look through and see afar. These were 'enlarging stones' - glass that magnify writing for those whose eyesight were challenged and were invented in scholastic locations (i.e. Monasteries). It was Hans Lippershey however who was credited to have 'invented' the very first telescope as a 'distance viewer'. He shares this credit with fellow optician and Middelburg neighbour Zacharias Janssen - it is debated that both of them worked on the same idea and rushed to develop their own individual prototypes. From the time of Ptolemy to that of Lippershey and Janssen, the telescope was purposed to enhance vision and optics. The Lippershey-Janssen 'Dutch Viewer' model had a magnification of 3-4x, with a convex and a concave lens and a paper tube. It was 'harmless' then as even the religious used it for reading purpose.

    Galileo Galilee, astronomer, theorist and thinker however decided to do something else with a telescope. The Dutch viewer model had its applications in warfare and the military for it allowed leaders and commanders to see far, to scout, to reconate. In Italy in particular where city-states were warring with each other (meaning noble houses fighting for supremacy), the telescope became an all-important means of gathering information on rivals. At the time of his invention of the telescope, he was professor of kinematics in the University of Pisa; teaching mathematics and early physics and dabbled in studies of astronomy and philosophy (this latter part led him to observation and fact validation as a means to establish truth which became the foundation of modern science). He was an advocate of the Copernican theory that the earth is not the center of the universe and he wanted to explore the Copernican theory via astronomical investigations to prove his ideas. He found a way to do this via the telescope. He took the Dutch design, improved it so that the magnification was increased. After presenting it to the ...

    Solution Summary

    The solution is a comprehensive 1,525-word narrative that discusses why, during the earlier years from the 13th century to the time of Galileo, the telescope was considered to be an object of fear. The narrative also tackles a modern scientific area of study - stem cell research - to show that certain scientific achievement and phenomenon still become objects of fear to certain members of society due to unfamiliarity with the research or with the fact that it goes at odds with their belief systems. References have been listed to allow room for further studies.