Chapter 27 We are so smart, aren’t we? (Our changing knowledge base)
Why we “think” we are so smart
I suppose that every generation, since the dark ages, views their existence as being at the peak of civilization and with good reason. We have progressed in many ways since those times. However, I suspect that the residents of Rome during the hay day of the Empire felt the same enthusiasm for the state of their civilization. We now know that times can change sand so can the level of civilization. I’m sure we think we have far surpassed the achievements of the Greeks & Romans, and in technological terms this is probably true. In terms of architecture and engineering there are still structures about which we are still “scratching” heads. There are many examples, but one is the quality of the concrete that they used. Much of it is still structurally sound after thousands of years and yet we have sidewalks that are crumbling after fifty!
During my formative years (50s & 60s) I was so happy to have been born during “modern” times and gave little thought to progress. Looking back it seems that those days were a bit “dark” compared to today. The rate of progress and change is accelerating. Many accepted physician practices of only 100 years ago seem like voodoo now. And yet, those seeking help with their ailments put their faith in these practices. I wonder what our view will be 50 years from now when we glance back in time. There has been more technological, transportation, information availability & communication advancement in the last 50 years than in thousands of years prior. There is every reason to believe that we will continue to advance significantly and perhaps at an accelerated rate in these areas in the next 50. Are we smart now or will we be smart then?
There is substantial evidence that earlier civilizations new that the earth was round and that we were part of both a solar system and a galaxy. A few examples are: The Mayans, the Sumerians, the Egyptians and the Greeks (there were more).
As recently at the 15th century the accepted dogma was that the earth was flat and the center of the universe. So which civilization was wiser?
At the risk of antagonizing my Creationist friends, their view that the universe is only about 6,500 years old was the accepted dogma only a few hundred years ago. Despite scientific evidence to the contrary there is still a significant portion of the population in our country that holds to that “belief”. Because it says this in the Torah it must be true. Keep in mind that the Old Testament was strictly an “oral tradition” for over 3,000 years and was first penned by Moses in 1313 BCE.
Historians that view other oral traditions that are submitted to paper at a later date consider these as myths or legends. I find this interesting. Sumerian cuneiform was scripted as early as 3,900 BCE and speaks of a history which goes back tens of thousands of years (if not even more). There are Egyptian Hieroglyphs that date prior to the written version of the bible. They speak of much earlier times and the many gods that influenced their civilization. Myths or Legends?
“Even the smartest of us don’t know much”