Oct 01 2015
If I had to choose the one thing that has most transformed human civilization it is science. Prior to this remarkable invention history was characterized by conflicting ideologies, philosophies, superstitions, and religions.
Some practical knowledge managed to move forward, including various technologies and even enlightenment philosophy, but our attempts to understand and manipulate the world were burdened with magical thinking. Science set us on a new track, and in the last few centuries we have systematically replaced our old traditional thinking about the world with scientific thinking.
A thousand years ago European physicians attempted to understand and treat illness by manipulating the four humors while their eastern counterparts were faring no better with an astrology-based system of blood letting. If we wanted to anticipate future events, an astrologer would consult fanciful charts that have no actual influence on reality. If we wanted to make our lives better, ensure a good harvest, or survive a plague we would pray to imaginary powerful beings.