climate of the time with the result that there was a qualitative transformation in the practiceof science. Hill (1965) has, in fact, gone almost to the point of interpreting the 17th-Centuryscientific revolution as merely part of an explicit political transformation in which the bourgeoisiecame out on top.This type of long-range analysis has also been done for more recent historical forces and their effects on key theoretical constructs. Thus Forman (1971) has related the emergence of quantum theory to the particular socio-economic configuration of the German Weimar Republic.He has argued that after Germany's defeat in World War I, the dominant intellectual tendencyin the Weimar academic world was a neo-romantic, existentialist philosophy of life characterizedby antagonism towards analytic rationality. Symbolic of the mood of the times was theinfluence of Spengler's book The Decline of the West which documented attacks oncausality, conceptual analysis and physics. The Zeitgeist was averse to positivist conceptions;the quantum theory, according to Forman, was 'Primarily an effort by German physicists to adaptthe context of their science to the values of their intellectual environment' (ibid. p. 7). Forman'spaper has been widely discussed and although it has been sympathetically received (for example Mulkay 1979 p. 109), there is an opinion (Hendry 1980) which believes that theexternal social climate facilitated only the acceptance of quantum physics but not its evolution.Yet whether--as is implicit in Hendry's view--the Weimar social climate helped only to legitimizethe quantum theory, rather than nourishing its creation, as posited by Forman, there seems to beagreement about the intimate connection between the historical moment and the emergence of quantum theory.Long-range historical processes can be discerned more easily--for obvious reasons--inthe social sciences. Thus the shift from mercantilism to industrial capitalism in the late 18th andearly 19th Centuries gave rise to a large number of theories of society, the economy and polity,for example, those of Adam Smith, Ricardo, Comte and Karl Marx.
The Impact of National, Economic and Political Forces on Science
The effect of long-range historical forces on science is difficult to identify and describe indetail. However, as the focus becomes less global, the social and political influences on sciencebecome more obvious, for example in the middle range, at the national level. The scientificcommunity does not exist in a social vacuum and its therefore not socially autonomous. It isbuffeted by the social, political and economic considerations of the society in which it isembedded.At the time of the birth of modern European science, the impact of politics and the macrosocial context on such key figures as Copernicus and Galileo is well known. These influencesattempted to silence the emerging scientific views, using the powers of the state and religionwhich were committed to upholding existing beliefs. Similar attempts to maintain the simplebelief of a God-governed universe have continued even in this century.Thus in the American Deep South in the 1920s, several states enacted laws which prohibitedthe teaching of evolution in schools. Consequently a young teacher, Scopes, was found guiltyof teaching evolution (Ruse 1982). The same fundamentalist sentiments are being revivedtoday in the United States under the euphemistic title of 'creation science' in biology, a demandbacked by many powerful figures including US President Ronald Reagan. This has resultedin several US states passing laws providing for the teaching of an anti-evolution God-based 'creation science'. (ibid.).