Royal Society: Then and Now

The royal society may have overall been influenced by Francis Bacon, Thomas Sprat, and Isaac Newton, but today has now surpassed those original ideals. Today, the Royal Society doesn’t just challenge the laws of nature or scientific law (rules discovered by observation and experimentation), but also challenge natural law (rules discovered by reason, human nature, and governments). The Society began by acquiring knowledge through experimental investigation, and embracing the idea that no one and no idea is safe from criticism and today the Royal Society still follows this model, but today challenging the norm is even more dangerous. As today, there are leaders, media, and governments which try to silence the truth. For instance, fellow Royal Society member Stephen Hawking made headlines when he stated the need for space travel rather than putting all our faith on God for human civilization in the future. He also stated that the ‘Big Bang’ proved that there was no God. This caused much controversy even among fellow scientists. Hawking had to later restate his claim more clearly so that he wouldn’t offend some scientists. Another Royal Society fellow and zoologist Richard Dawkins made his career on challenging  religion and the effects that it has on governments and people’s way of thinking, and he was most definitely shunned by the public. The Royal Society has also lead scientists in a stand against ‘Brexit’ and discussed the effects that leaving the European Union would have on England and its government. Therefore, I think that the Royal Society doesn’t just focus on scientific laws, but all aspects of the world. Their motto has changed from ‘Take nobody’s word for it’ to ‘No idea, governing body, or ideology is exempt from criticism or judgement’. This idea is what makes people think and challenge the norm.

-Ben Montes

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