One group of scientists proposed that there was some kind of ‘vital force’ acting within them that accounted for this distinction while others argued that living things were reducible to physical and chemical laws. Their theory was called the ‘mechanistic’ theory. The advocates of the ‘vital force’ theory declared that certain aspects of living organisms could not be explained with science and in fact science should not even attempt to meddle with the study of life. Early Greek thinkers, Hippocratus, Galen etc held the view that the body mind and soul were inseparable. Rene Descartes in early seventeenth century brought in the duality of the mind (soul) and body. This settled an issue that the scientifically inclined were facing vis a vis the Christian Church which decreed that scientific study of the human body was against the will of God. Now the body was a separate entity, scientists could study it as long as they kept the soul out of their reckoning.For obvious reasons the human body, particularly mortality fascinated man the most. Different cultures developed different philosophies about what happens to man after he dies. The ancient Egyptians made elaborate arrangements for the supposed ‘afterlife’ of the deceased (we got the fantastic monuments as a fallout). The Hindus burnt their dead at the funeral pyre with great many rituals. Meanwhile human anatomy was being studied overtly and sometimes surreptitiously since most religions frowned upon scientists as since they seemed to challenge the authority of the scripts. In late 16th century, Andreas Vesalius published a book named On the Fabric of the Human Body where he attempted to draw vessels, bones and muscles of the human body. The drawings were by no means perfect but it was a clear step in making accurate observation.By this time Scientific investigation had come to be, what we know it as, a systematic body of study that uses extensive observation and experimentation. However the limiting factor in our sense perception, in our inability to perceive things too large or too small, often slowed the progress of science. Invention of more sophisticated tools to make better observation, measurements as well as carry out more complex experiments has more than once hastened the pace. Galileo had discovered that by using a pair of lenses of the correct focal length small objects could be magnified.
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