While Professor Cohen gave his talk that questioned how revolutionary, how scientific and how unique The Scientific Revolution was, a question popped in my mind. That question was, are we, as a human race, taking for granted the “knowledge” we think we know? In other words, are we being misled when we think we know almost all there is to know in the science realm. How is the mindset of our predecessors in the era of The Scientific Revolution any different than the mindset we currently have today? For example, for a long time people took for granted that the Earth was flat and that the sun revolved around the Earth. How do we know whether or not we believe in something that is completely false but is taken for granted to be true or that something thought to be ridiculous is actually true?
While modern technology and science allow us to understand much more about life and the Earth than was known around the time of The Scientific Revolution, there could be knowledge to be discovered that may seem completely false and impossible. One such notion could be the concept of extraterrestrial life. While in no way has it been proven that aliens do not exist, there seems to be a general consensus that it may be a bit ridiculous to believe in them. Someone who claims to have been abducted by aliens or claims to have seen a U.F.O. is generally considered crazy, but that may not be the case once technology improves and the vast reaches of space are discovered.
My favorite part of Professor Cohen’s talk came when he discussed discoveries of The Scientific Revolution that were not all too scientific. Copernicus reasoned that the sun should be at the center of the “universe” because it’s so noble, Kepler invoked the beauty of the Platonic solids to explain the organization of the planets, and Francesco Sizzi argued by analogy that there could not be more than the seven known planets. It’s fascinating to think some of the era’s most revolutionary discoveries were first deemed true based on absurd explanations. To revert back to the alien example, someone may have a ridiculous explanation for why they “know” alien life exists, but technology is not at a level to prove it yet. Some amazing revelations may be currently ignored or put down because the believer’s reasoning is bizarre or foolish or the idea itself is far-fetched to our understanding.
This is not meant to be a piece obsessing about the possibility of life outside Earth, but the point is that current scientific beliefs or understandings could be wrong. Seemingly ridiculous proposals could be true, our technology just may not be at a level to prove them yet. In just the past century, science and technology have developed greatly and will continue to do so. Many scientific subjects encourage questioning life’s many aspects, we have not made every discovery and some “discoveries” we have made could be wrong. Don’t take science for granted.