A miracle is an event not explicable by natural or scientific laws. Such an event may be attributed to a supernatural being, magic, a miracle worker, a saint, or a religious leader. Informally, the word miracle is used to characterise any beneficial event, statistically unlikely but not contrary to the laws of nature, such as surviving a natural disaster, or a "wonderful" occurrence, regardless of likelihood, such as a birth, a human conclusion reached after an actual, or supposed event, has occurred. Other such miracles might be: survival of an illness diagnosed as terminal, escaping a life-threatening situation or'beating the odds'; some coincidences may be seen as miracles. A true miracle would, by definition, be a non-natural phenomenon, leading many thinkers to dismiss them as physically impossible or impossible to confirm by their nature; the former position is expressed for instance by the latter by David Hume. Theologians say that, with divine providence, God works through nature yet, as a creator, is free to work without, above, or against it as well.
The word "miracle" is used to describe any beneficial event, physically impossible or impossible to confirm by nature. Wayne Grudem defines miracle as "a less common kind of God's activity in which he arouses people's awe and wonder and bears witness to himself." Deistic perspective of God's relation to the world defines miracle as a direct intervention of God into the world. A miracle is a phenomenon not explained by known laws of nature. Criteria for classifying an event as a miracle vary. A religious text, such as the Bible or Quran, states that a miracle occurred, believers may accept this as a fact. Statistically "impossible" events are called miracles. For instance, when three classmates accidentally meet in a different country decades after having left school, they may consider this as "miraculous". However, a colossal number of events happen every moment on earth. Events that are considered "impossible" are therefore not impossible at all — they are just rare and dependent on the number of individual events.
British mathematician J. E. Littlewood suggested that individuals should statistically expect one-in-a-million events to happen to them at the rate of about one per month. By Littlewood's definition miraculous events are commonplace; the Aristotelian view of God has God as pure actuality and considers him as the prime mover doing only what a perfect being can do, think. Jewish neo-Aristotelian philosophers, who are still influential today, include Maimonides, Samuel ben Judah ibn Tibbon, Gersonides. Directly or indirectly, their views are still prevalent in much of the religious Jewish community. In his Tractatus Theologico-Politicus Spinoza claims that miracles are lawlike events whose causes we are ignorant of. We should not treat them as having no cause or of having a cause available. Rather the miracle is like a political project. According to the philosopher David Hume, a miracle is "a transgression of a law of nature by a particular volition of the Deity, or by the interposition of some invisible agent".
The crux of his argument is this: "No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind, that its falsehood would be more miraculous, than the fact which it endeavours to establish." Hume defines a miracles as "a violation of the laws of nature", or more "a transgression of a law of nature by a particular volition of the Deity, or by the interposition of some invisible agent." By this definition, a miracle goes against our regular experience of. As miracles are single events, the evidence for them is always limited and we experience them rarely. On the basis of experience and evidence, the probability that miracle occurred is always less than the probability that it did not occur; as it is rational to believe what is more probable, we are not supposed to have a good reason to believe that a miracle occurred. According to the Christian theologian Friedrich Schleiermacher "every event the most natural and usual, becomes a miracle as soon as the religious view of it can be the dominant".
The philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, following Hume and Johann Georg Hamann, a Humean scholar, agrees with Hume's definition of a miracle as a transgression of a law of nature, but Kierkegaard, writing as his pseudonym Johannes Climacus, regards any historical reports to be less than certain, including historical reports of miracles, as all historical knowledge is always doubtful and open to approximation. James Keller states that "The claim that God has worked a miracle implies that God has singled out certain persons for some benefit which many others do not receive implies that God is unfair." According to a 2011 poll by the Pew Research Center, more than 90 percent of evangelical Christians believe miracles still take place. While Christians see God as sometimes intervening in human activities, Muslims see Allah as a direct cause of all events. "God’s overwhelming closeness makes it easy for Muslims to admit the miraculous in the world." The Haedong Kosung-jon of Korea records that King Beopheung of Silla had desired to promulgate Buddhism as the state religion.
However, officials in his court opposed him. In the fourteenth year of his reign, Beopheung's "Grand Secretary", devised a strategy to overcome court opposition. Ichadon schemed with the king, convincing him to make a procla
Deism is the philosophical belief which posits that although God exists as the uncaused First Cause – responsible for the creation of the universe – God does not interact directly with that subsequently created world. Equivalently, deism can be defined as the view which asserts God's existence as the cause of all things, admits its perfection but rejects divine revelation or direct intervention of God in the universe by miracles, it rejects revelation as a source of religious knowledge and asserts that reason and observation of the natural world are sufficient to determine the existence of a single creator or absolute principle of the universe. Deism as a form of natural theology gained prominence among intellectuals during the Age of Enlightenment in Britain, France and the United States. Deists had been raised as Christians and believed in one God, but had become disenchanted with organized religion and orthodox teachings such as the Trinity, Biblical inerrancy, the supernatural interpretation of events, such as miracles.
Included in those influenced by its ideas were leaders of the American and French Revolutions. Deism is considered to exist in the classical and modern forms, where the classical view takes what is called a "cold" approach by asserting the non-intervention of a deity in the natural behavior of the created universe, while the modern deist formulation can be either "warm" or "cold"; these lead to many subdivisions of modern deism. Deism is a theological theory concerning the relationship between the natural world. Deistic viewpoints emerged during the scientific revolution of 17th-century Europe and came to exert a powerful influence during the 18th-century Enlightenment. Deism stood between the narrow dogmatism of the skepticism. Though deists rejected atheism, they were called "atheists" by more traditional theists. There were a number of different forms in the 18th centuries. In England, deists included a range of people from anti-Christian to non-Christian theists. For deists, human beings can know God only via reason and the observation of nature, but not by revelation or by supernatural manifestations – phenomena which deists regard with caution if not skepticism.
Deism is related to naturalism because it credits the formation of life and the universe to a higher power, using only natural processes. The classical deism of the 17th and 18th centuries is a form of natural theology and denies that that power has any continuing involvement with the world. Modern deism may include a spiritual element, involving experiences of God and nature; the words deism and theism synonyms in English, both derive from words for "god": the former from Latin deus, the latter from Greek theos. By the 17th century the English terms were starting to diverge, with deism referring to the new form of belief; the term deist first appeared in its new sense in Robert Burton's The Anatomy of Melancholy. Deism is thought of as having taken root first in England and subsequently spread to mainland Europe, but the term déiste appears in French, in the new sense, as early as 1564. Pierre Viret, a Swiss Calvinist, wrote of deism as a heretical development from Italian Renaissance naturalism, resulting from misuse of the liberty conferred by the Reformation to criticise idolatry and superstition.
Lord Herbert of Cherbury is considered the "father of English deism", his book De Veritate the first major statement of deism. Deism flourished in England between 1690 and 1740, at which time Matthew Tindal's Christianity as Old as the Creation called "The Deist's Bible," gained much attention. Deism spread to France, to Germany, to North America; the concept of deism covers a wide variety of positions on a wide variety of religious issues. Reviewing classical deism a century Sir Leslie Stephen presented it as having "constructive" and "critical" aspects. Elements common to the deist writers, on the constructive side, identify deism as a form of natural theology, include: God exists and created the universe. God gave humans the ability to reason. Most regarded themselves as Christians. Deists differed more from one another in their critical concerns, these were their chief differences from their orthodox contemporaries. Critical elements common to deist thought include: Rejection of religion based on books claiming to contain the revealed word of God.
Rejection of religious dogma and demagogy. Skepticism of reports of miracles and religious "mysteries". Most, at least, rejected the doctrine of the Trinity; some deists rejected the claim of Jesus' divinity but continued to hold him in high regard as a moral teacher, a position known as Christian deism, exemplified by Thomas Jefferson's famous Jefferson Bible and Matthew Tindal's Christianity as Old as the Creation. According to the deists reason provides all the information needed, they attempted to use it as a critical tool for exposing and rejecting what they saw as nonsense; some deists used the cosmological argument for the existence of God - as did Thomas Hobbes in several of his writings. A central theme of deist thinking was that the religions of their day were corruptions of an original, natural religion and rational: subsequently corrupted by "priests" manipulating it for personal gain and for the class interests of the priesthood in general, thus encrus
Evolution is change in the heritable characteristics of biological populations over successive generations. These characteristics are the expressions of genes that are passed on from parent to offspring during reproduction. Different characteristics tend to exist within any given population as a result of mutation, genetic recombination and other sources of genetic variation. Evolution occurs when evolutionary processes such as natural selection and genetic drift act on this variation, resulting in certain characteristics becoming more common or rare within a population, it is this process of evolution that has given rise to biodiversity at every level of biological organisation, including the levels of species, individual organisms and molecules. The scientific theory of evolution by natural selection was proposed by Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace in the mid-19th century and was set out in detail in Darwin's book On the Origin of Species. Evolution by natural selection was first demonstrated by the observation that more offspring are produced than can survive.
This is followed by three observable facts about living organisms: 1) traits vary among individuals with respect to their morphology and behaviour, 2) different traits confer different rates of survival and reproduction and 3) traits can be passed from generation to generation. Thus, in successive generations members of a population are more to be replaced by the progenies of parents with favourable characteristics that have enabled them to survive and reproduce in their respective environments. In the early 20th century, other competing ideas of evolution such as mutationism and orthogenesis were refuted as the modern synthesis reconciled Darwinian evolution with classical genetics, which established adaptive evolution as being caused by natural selection acting on Mendelian genetic variation. All life on Earth shares a last universal common ancestor that lived 3.5–3.8 billion years ago. The fossil record includes a progression from early biogenic graphite, to microbial mat fossils, to fossilised multicellular organisms.
Existing patterns of biodiversity have been shaped by repeated formations of new species, changes within species and loss of species throughout the evolutionary history of life on Earth. Morphological and biochemical traits are more similar among species that share a more recent common ancestor, can be used to reconstruct phylogenetic trees. Evolutionary biologists have continued to study various aspects of evolution by forming and testing hypotheses as well as constructing theories based on evidence from the field or laboratory and on data generated by the methods of mathematical and theoretical biology, their discoveries have influenced not just the development of biology but numerous other scientific and industrial fields, including agriculture and computer science. The proposal that one type of organism could descend from another type goes back to some of the first pre-Socratic Greek philosophers, such as Anaximander and Empedocles; such proposals survived into Roman times. The poet and philosopher Lucretius followed Empedocles in his masterwork De rerum natura.
In contrast to these materialistic views, Aristotelianism considered all natural things as actualisations of fixed natural possibilities, known as forms. This was part of a medieval teleological understanding of nature in which all things have an intended role to play in a divine cosmic order. Variations of this idea became the standard understanding of the Middle Ages and were integrated into Christian learning, but Aristotle did not demand that real types of organisms always correspond one-for-one with exact metaphysical forms and gave examples of how new types of living things could come to be. In the 17th century, the new method of modern science rejected the Aristotelian approach, it sought explanations of natural phenomena in terms of physical laws that were the same for all visible things and that did not require the existence of any fixed natural categories or divine cosmic order. However, this new approach was slow to take root in the biological sciences, the last bastion of the concept of fixed natural types.
John Ray applied one of the more general terms for fixed natural types, "species," to plant and animal types, but he identified each type of living thing as a species and proposed that each species could be defined by the features that perpetuated themselves generation after generation. The biological classification introduced by Carl Linnaeus in 1735 explicitly recognised the hierarchical nature of species relationships, but still viewed species as fixed according to a divine plan. Other naturalists of this time speculated on the evolutionary change of species over time according to natural laws. In 1751, Pierre Louis Maupertuis wrote of natural modifications occurring during reproduction and accumulating over many generations to produce new species. Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon suggested that species could degenerate into different organisms, Erasmus Darwin proposed that all warm-blooded animals could have descended from a single microorganism; the first full-fledged evolutionary scheme was Jean-Baptiste Lamarck's "transmutation" theory of 1809, which envisaged spontaneous generation continually producing simple forms of life that developed greater complexity in parallel lineages with an inherent progressive tendency, postulated that on a local level, these lineages adapted to the environment by inheriting changes caused by their use or disuse in parents.
These ideas were cond
The creation–evolution controversy involves an ongoing, recurring cultural and theological dispute about the origins of the Earth, of humanity, of other life. Creationism was once believed to be true, but since the mid-19th century evolution by natural selection has been established as an empirical scientific fact; the debate is religious, not scientific: in the scientific community, evolution is accepted as fact and efforts to sustain the traditional view are universally regarded as pseudoscience. While the controversy has a long history, today it has retreated to be over what constitutes good science education, with the politics of creationism focusing on the teaching of creationism in public education. Among majority-Christian countries, the debate is most prominent in the United States, where it may be portrayed as part of a culture war. Parallel controversies exist in some other religious communities, such as the more fundamentalist branches of Judaism and Islam. In Europe and elsewhere, creationism is less widespread, there is much less pressure to teach it as fact.
Christian fundamentalists repudiate the evidence of common descent of humans and other animals as demonstrated in modern paleontology, genetics and cladistics and those other sub-disciplines which are based upon the conclusions of modern evolutionary biology, geology and other related fields. They argue for the Abrahamic accounts of creation, and, in order to attempt to gain a place alongside evolutionary biology in the science classroom, have developed a rhetorical framework of "creation science". In the landmark Kitzmiller v. Dover, the purported basis of scientific creationism was exposed as a wholly religious construct without formal scientific merit; the Catholic Church now recognizes the existence of evolution. Pope Francis has stated: "God is not a demiurge or a magician, but the Creator who brought everything to life... Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve." The rules of genetic evolutionary inheritance were first discovered by a Catholic priest, the Augustinian monk Gregor Mendel, known today as the founder of modern genetics.
According to a 2014 Gallup survey, "More than four in 10 Americans continue to believe that God created humans in their present form 10,000 years ago, a view that has changed little over the past three decades. Half of Americans believe humans evolved, with the majority of these saying God guided the evolutionary process. However, the percentage who say God was not involved is rising." A 2015 Pew Research Center survey found "that while 37% of those older than 65 thought that God created humans in their present form within the last 10,000 years, only 21% of respondents between the ages of 18 and 29 agreed."The debate is sometimes portrayed as being between science and religion, the United States National Academy of Sciences states: Today, many religious denominations accept that biological evolution has produced the diversity of living things over billions of years of Earth's history. Many have issued statements observing that the tenets of their faiths are compatible. Scientists and theologians have written eloquently about their awe and wonder at the history of the universe and of life on this planet, explaining that they see no conflict between their faith in God and the evidence for evolution.
Religious denominations that do not accept the occurrence of evolution tend to be those that believe in literal interpretations of religious texts. The creation–evolution controversy began in Europe and North America in the late 18th century, when new interpretations of geological evidence led to various theories of an ancient Earth, findings of extinctions demonstrated in the fossil geological sequence prompted early ideas of evolution, notably Lamarckism. In England these ideas of continuing change were at first seen as a threat to the existing "fixed" social order, both church and state sought to repress them. Conditions eased, in 1844 Robert Chambers's controversial Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation popularized the idea of gradual transmutation of species; the scientific establishment at first dismissed it scornfully and the Church of England reacted with fury, but many Unitarians and Baptists—groups opposed to the privileges of the established church—favoured its ideas of God acting through such natural laws.
By the end of the 19th century, there was no serious scientific opposition to the basic evolutionary tenets of descent with modification and the common ancestry of all forms of life. The publication of Darwin's On the Origin of Species in 1859 brought scientific credibility to evolution, made it a respectable field of study. Despite the intense interest in the religious implications of Darwin's book, theological controversy over higher criticism set out in Essays and Reviews diverted the Church of England's attention; some of the liberal Christian authors of that work expressed support for Darwin, as did many Nonconformists. The Reverend Charles Kingsley, for instance supported the idea of God working through evolution. Other Christians opposed the idea, some of Darwin's close friends and supporters—including Charles Lyell and Asa Gray—initially expressed reservations about some of his ideas. Gray became a staunch supporter of Darwin in America, collected together a number of his own writings to produce an influential book, Darwiniana.
These essays argued for a conciliation between Darwinian evolution and the tene
The Big Bang theory is the prevailing cosmological model for the observable universe from the earliest known periods through its subsequent large-scale evolution. The model describes how the universe expanded from a high-density and high-temperature state, offers a comprehensive explanation for a broad range of phenomena, including the abundance of light elements, the cosmic microwave background, large scale structure and Hubble's law. If the observed conditions are extrapolated backwards in time using the known laws of physics, the prediction is that just before a period of high density there was a singularity, associated with the Big Bang. Physicists are undecided whether this means the universe began from a singularity, or that current knowledge is insufficient to describe the universe at that time. Detailed measurements of the expansion rate of the universe place the Big Bang at around 13.8 billion years ago, thus considered the age of the universe. After its initial expansion, the universe cooled sufficiently to allow the formation of subatomic particles, simple atoms.
Giant clouds of these primordial elements coalesced through gravity forming early stars and galaxies, the descendants of which are visible today. Astronomers observe the gravitational effects of dark matter surrounding galaxies. Though most of the mass in the universe seems to be in the form of dark matter, Big Bang theory and various observations seem to indicate that it is not made out of conventional baryonic matter but it is unclear what it is made out of. Since Georges Lemaître first noted in 1927 that an expanding universe could be traced back in time to an originating single point, scientists have built on his idea of cosmic expansion; the scientific community was once divided between supporters of two different theories, the Big Bang and the Steady State theory, but a wide range of empirical evidence has favored the Big Bang, now universally accepted. In 1929, from analysis of galactic redshifts, Edwin Hubble concluded that galaxies are drifting apart. In 1964, the cosmic microwave background radiation was discovered, crucial evidence in favor of the Big Bang model, since that theory predicted the existence of background radiation throughout the universe before it was discovered.
More measurements of the redshifts of supernovae indicate that the expansion of the universe is accelerating, an observation attributed to dark energy's existence. The known physical laws of nature can be used to calculate the characteristics of the universe in detail back in time to an initial state of extreme density and temperature. In 1922, Russian mathematician Alexander Friedmann proposed on theoretical grounds that the universe is expanding, rederived independently and observationally confirmed soon afterwards by Belgian astronomer and Catholic priest Georges Lemaître in 1927 Lemaître proposed what became known as the "Big Bang theory" of the creation of the universe calling it the "hypothesis of the primeval atom".: in his paper Annales de la Société Scientifique de Bruxelles under the title "Un Univers homogène de masse constante et de rayon croissant rendant compte de la vitesse radiale des nébuleuses extragalactiques", he presented his new idea that the universe is expanding and provided the first observational estimation of what is known as the Hubble constant.
What will be known as the "Big Bang theory" of the origin of the universe, he called his "hypothesis of the primeval atom" or the "Cosmic Egg". American astronomer Edwin Hubble observed that the distances to faraway galaxies were correlated with their redshifts; this was interpreted to mean that all distant galaxies and clusters are receding away from our vantage point with an apparent velocity proportional to their distance: that is, the farther they are, the faster they move away from us, regardless of direction. Assuming the Copernican principle, the only remaining interpretation is that all observable regions of the universe are receding from all others. Since we know that the distance between galaxies increases today, it must mean that in the past galaxies were closer together; the continuous expansion of the universe implies that the universe was denser and hotter in the past. Large particle accelerators can replicate the conditions that prevailed after the early moments of the universe, resulting in confirmation and refinement of the details of the Big Bang model.
However, these accelerators can only probe so far into high energy regimes. The state of the universe in the earliest instants of the Big Bang expansion is still poorly understood and an area of open investigation and speculation; the first subatomic particles to be formed included protons and electrons. Though simple atomic nuclei formed within the first three minutes after the Big Bang, thousands of years passed before the first electrically neutral atoms formed; the majority of atoms produced by the Big Bang were hydrogen, along with helium and traces of lithium. Giant clouds of these primordial elements coalesced through gravity to form stars and galaxies, the heavier elements were synthesized either within stars or during supernovae; the Big Bang theory offers a comprehensive explanation for a broad range of observed phenomena
An extinction event is a widespread and rapid decrease in the biodiversity on Earth. Such an event is identified by a sharp change in the diversity and abundance of multicellular organisms, it occurs. Estimates of the number of major mass extinctions in the last 540 million years range from as few as five to more than twenty; these differences stem from the threshold chosen for describing an extinction event as "major", the data chosen to measure past diversity. Because most diversity and biomass on Earth is microbial, thus difficult to measure, recorded extinction events affect the observed, biologically complex component of the biosphere rather than the total diversity and abundance of life. Extinction occurs at an uneven rate. Based on the fossil record, the background rate of extinctions on Earth is about two to five taxonomic families of marine animals every million years. Marine fossils are used to measure extinction rates because of their superior fossil record and stratigraphic range compared to land animals.
The Great Oxygenation Event, which occurred around 2.45 billion years ago, was the first major extinction event. Since the Cambrian explosion five further major mass extinctions have exceeded the background extinction rate; the most recent and arguably best-known, the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event, which occurred 66 million years ago, was a large-scale mass extinction of animal and plant species in a geologically short period of time. In addition to the five major mass extinctions, there are numerous minor ones as well, the ongoing mass extinction caused by human activity is sometimes called the sixth extinction. Mass extinctions seem to be a Phanerozoic phenomenon, with extinction rates low before large complex organisms arose. In a landmark paper published in 1982, Jack Sepkoski and David M. Raup identified five mass extinctions, they were identified as outliers to a general trend of decreasing extinction rates during the Phanerozoic, but as more stringent statistical tests have been applied to the accumulating data, it has been established that multicellular animal life has experienced five major and many minor mass extinctions.
The "Big Five" cannot be so defined, but rather appear to represent the largest of a smooth continuum of extinction events. Ordovician–Silurian extinction events: 450–440 Ma at the Ordovician–Silurian transition. Two events occurred that killed off 27% of all families, 57% of all genera and 60% to 70% of all species. Together they are ranked by many scientists as the second largest of the five major extinctions in Earth's history in terms of percentage of genera that became extinct. Late Devonian extinction: 375–360 Ma near the Devonian–Carboniferous transition. At the end of the Frasnian Age in the part of the Devonian Period, a prolonged series of extinctions eliminated about 19% of all families, 50% of all genera and at least 70% of all species; this extinction event lasted as long as 20 million years, there is evidence for a series of extinction pulses within this period. Permian–Triassic extinction event: 252 Ma at the Permian–Triassic transition. Earth's largest extinction killed 57% of all families, 83% of all genera and 90% to 96% of all species.
The successful marine arthropod, the trilobite, became extinct. The evidence regarding plants is less clear; the "Great Dying" had enormous evolutionary significance: on land, it ended the primacy of mammal-like reptiles. The recovery of vertebrates took 30 million years, but the vacant niches created the opportunity for archosaurs to become ascendant. In the seas, the percentage of animals that were sessile dropped from 67% to 50%; the whole late Permian was a difficult time for at least marine life before the "Great Dying". Triassic–Jurassic extinction event: 201.3 Ma at the Triassic–Jurassic transition. About 23% of all families, 48% of all genera and 70% to 75% of all species became extinct. Most non-dinosaurian archosaurs, most therapsids, most of the large amphibians were eliminated, leaving dinosaurs with little terrestrial competition. Non-dinosaurian archosaurs continued to dominate aquatic environments, while non-archosaurian diapsids continued to dominate marine environments; the Temnospondyl lineage of large amphibians survived until the Cretaceous in Australia.
Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event: 66 Ma at the Cretaceous – Paleogene transition interval. The event called the Cretaceous-Tertiary or K–T extinction or K–T boundary is now named the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event. About 17% of all families, 50% of all genera and 75% of all species became extinct. In the seas all the ammonites and mosasaurs disappeared and the percentage of sessile animals was reduced to about 33%. All non-avian dinosaurs became extinct during that time; the boundary event was severe with a significant amount of variability in the rate of extinction between and among different clades. Mammals and birds, the latter descended from theropod dinosaurs, emerged as dominant large land animals. Despite the popularization of these five events, there is no definite line separating them from other extinction events.
Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe. The earliest roots of science can be traced to Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia in around 3500 to 3000 BCE, their contributions to mathematics and medicine entered and shaped Greek natural philosophy of classical antiquity, whereby formal attempts were made to explain events of the physical world based on natural causes. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, knowledge of Greek conceptions of the world deteriorated in Western Europe during the early centuries of the Middle Ages but was preserved in the Muslim world during the Islamic Golden Age; the recovery and assimilation of Greek works and Islamic inquiries into Western Europe from the 10th to 13th century revived natural philosophy, transformed by the Scientific Revolution that began in the 16th century as new ideas and discoveries departed from previous Greek conceptions and traditions. The scientific method soon played a greater role in knowledge creation and it was not until the 19th century that many of the institutional and professional features of science began to take shape.
Modern science is divided into three major branches that consist of the natural sciences, which study nature in the broadest sense. There is disagreement, however, on whether the formal sciences constitute a science as they do not rely on empirical evidence. Disciplines that use existing scientific knowledge for practical purposes, such as engineering and medicine, are described as applied sciences. Science is based on research, conducted in academic and research institutions as well as in government agencies and companies; the practical impact of scientific research has led to the emergence of science policies that seek to influence the scientific enterprise by prioritizing the development of commercial products, health care, environmental protection. Science in a broad sense existed in many historical civilizations. Modern science is distinct in its approach and successful in its results, so it now defines what science is in the strictest sense of the term. Science in its original sense was a word for a type of knowledge, rather than a specialized word for the pursuit of such knowledge.
In particular, it was the type of knowledge which people can communicate to share. For example, knowledge about the working of natural things was gathered long before recorded history and led to the development of complex abstract thought; this is shown by the construction of complex calendars, techniques for making poisonous plants edible, public works at national scale, such as those which harnessed the floodplain of the Yangtse with reservoirs and dikes, buildings such as the Pyramids. However, no consistent conscious distinction was made between knowledge of such things, which are true in every community, other types of communal knowledge, such as mythologies and legal systems. Metallurgy was known in prehistory, the Vinča culture was the earliest known producer of bronze-like alloys, it is thought that early experimentation with heating and mixing of substances over time developed into alchemy. Neither the words nor the concepts "science" and "nature" were part of the conceptual landscape in the ancient near east.
The ancient Mesopotamians used knowledge about the properties of various natural chemicals for manufacturing pottery, glass, metals, lime plaster, waterproofing. The Mesopotamians had intense interest in medicine and the earliest medical prescriptions appear in Sumerian during the Third Dynasty of Ur. Nonetheless, the Mesopotamians seem to have had little interest in gathering information about the natural world for the mere sake of gathering information and only studied scientific subjects which had obvious practical applications or immediate relevance to their religious system. In the classical world, there is no real ancient analog of a modern scientist. Instead, well-educated upper-class, universally male individuals performed various investigations into nature whenever they could afford the time. Before the invention or discovery of the concept of "nature" by the Pre-Socratic philosophers, the same words tend to be used to describe the natural "way" in which a plant grows, the "way" in which, for example, one tribe worships a particular god.
For this reason, it is claimed these men were the first philosophers in the strict sense, the first people to distinguish "nature" and "convention." Natural philosophy, the precursor of natural science, was thereby distinguished as the knowledge of nature and things which are true for every community, the name of the specialized pursuit of such knowledge was philosophy – the realm of the first philosopher-physicists. They were speculators or theorists interested in astronomy. In contrast, trying to use knowledge of nature to imitate nature was seen by classical scientists as a more appropriate interest for lower class artisans; the early Greek philosophers of the Milesian school, founded by Thales of Miletus and continued by his successors A