>>534>why would people try to debunk the atom
If we are talking about the philosophical atom, as in the smallest, most fundamental, indivisible, fragment of matter:
There are many reasons.
Hardcore idealists believe that the reality is made out of thoughts, they want to get rid of the Atom because that's not a thought. Basically the atom is the building block of a physical world, they don't want a conception of reality that acknowledges a physical world that has definitively measurable objective reality. They try to incrementally undermine the concept of physical reality by getting rid of the atom first. The most hardcore subset of these idealists are solypsists who think that only their mind exists.
Sometimes it can also be very banal stuff like an intelligentsia that seeks to make their theories as incomprehensible as possible, so they can seem to be more intellectually impressive than they actually are. Hard materialism is the opposite of obscurantism, and doesn't help with big-brain-vanity.
The concepts in Greek atomism is what kick-started modern science. And people in power have a tendency to interfere with science, because scientific know how can lead to technological change and changing relations of power.
Theocratic societies try to suppress science because scientifically literate people are much harder to trick. If i know that the sun is a giant ball of mostly hydrogen gas that is producing light and heat via fusion that will continue for billions of years, you can't trick me into worshiping a sun-god, and manipulate me with fear that the sun-god might not come up in the morning unless i do what you say.
Even today there can be anti-science tendencies in the power structures, while capitalism is somewhat supportive, science can still have a precarious position. Scientists that figure out new stuff can set off unpredictable developments that can overturn entire economies. That can induce interference from up top. Interference can also come from the lesser echelons of Social status seekers. Those also have a tendency to inject them selves as middle-man in between measured physical evidence and theoretic conclusions for scientific models. I went on a tangent, sorry.Post too long. Click here to view the full text.