The scientific revolution brought something new: the concept that we didn’t know everything. Before its inception the world was largely based on religious and moral dictates all of which were contained in scriptural ancient texts. We didn’t need to know why the hummingbird can levitate or the butterfly comes from a cocoon; it wasn’t part of needed information to live. We could just ask the local parish priest for answers.

Once we began to develop the language of mathematics to capture the movement of planets and objects moving under gravity and were able to see microorganisms did we begin to realize that there was much more waiting to be discovered. The world was more than just about moral and religious dictates meant to tell us how to govern our behavior. These discovery processes seeded doubt into simple ideas about celestial bodies. Suddenly the earth wasn’t the center of the universe and slowly began to realize that there were other universes begging to be studied and mapped.

I like this lack of certainty because it has unraveled orthodoxies which hinged on black and white principles. Ideas formulated around the nature of God suddenly became suspect and those with an appetite for knowledge became increasingly agnostic in their beliefs.

This changes nothing for me because I have always understood that humankind is wrong about mostly everything and we have only glimpsed at morsels of truth which we cling to. Our best weapon is our own self-effacing character which, if we are smart enough to recognize its power, helps keeps us humble and modest as we marvel at the massive intelligence all around us.

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