Overestimating Advancement

Everyone who knows me well enough knows that I’m kind of a science geek. If you didn’t, for SHAME! But, anyway, I am. A lot of the time at work when there’s nothing going on, and in master control, that’s a LOT of the time, I’m bouncing around sites like Space.Com.

There are people who look at the people in the past as less intelligent because they didn’t know as much Science With A Capital S (if you didn’t notice) as we do now, and look down on anyone who believes in the paranormal as uneducated and ill-informed.

Let’s look at the first case. Say there’s an island tribe, for instance. There’s a VOLCANO. Volcano erupts, destroys the village, paves over the crops, and generally ruins Sunday afternoon. Now, the People In Charge in the village might look at the volcano and say, “How do we keep this from happening again?” Someone who might be anthropomorhphizing the volcano may say, “Well, the mountain was PISSED. Maybe it was hungry. I know when I get hungry I get pissed. Maybe if we give the mountain an early lunch, it’ll be like me and take a nap.”

Now, remember the Sciencey people I was talking about earlier? Sure you do; you’re a smart audience. They would SCOFF at this assumption. “A volcano erupts because of pressure from inside the Earth,” showing all the hubris and the bad linguistic habit of saying THE Earth. Does anyone say, “THE Jupiter?” Or “THE Mars?” Sure they say THE Sun, but shut up, okay? These villagers are a nice bunch, clever, but they’re in subsistence mode, not research mode. Gathering pineapples and fishing all day leaves NO time for geophysical research.

Now, eventually, after tossing goats, pineapples, virgins, more pineapples, live sharks, good grief Charlie Brown MORE pineapples and another virgin into the lava the stupid mountain erupts AGAIN. Maybe they’ll realize living on the corner of Krakatoa Lane and Vesuvius Boulevard is a bad idea and move. But once upon a time, ALL society was in that place, including the scientists. Don’t pat yourself on the back too much because you were born into a supposedly enlightened time.


~ by Sean on July 10, 2014.

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