The Merton thesis is an argument about the nature of early experimental science proposed by Robert K. Merton. Similar to Max Weber's famous claim on the link between Protestant work ethic and the capitalist economy, Merton argued for a similar positive correlation between the rise of Protestant Pietism and early experimental science. The Merton thesis has resulted in continuous debates.
Although scholars are still debating it, Merton's 1936 doctoral dissertation (and two years later his first monograph by the same title) Science, Technology and Society in 17th-Century England raised important issues on the connections between religion and the rise of modern science, became a significant work in the realm of the sociology of science and continues to be cited in new scholarship. Merton further developed this thesis in other publications.