To preface this blogpost, I don’t recall reading anywhere that Harari claims science is an Imagined order and I personally am still not convinced that science by itself is an imagined order. If there is a quote from the book that says this i would very much like to know where it is.
But to answer the prompt, what makes science different from other imagined orders “was the discovery that humans do not know the answers to their most important questions.”(Harari Pg.251) Whereas “Premodern traditions of knowledge… asserted that everything that is important to know about the world was already known.”(Harari Pg.251) With this submission of ignorance it allowed science to flourish because people were now investigating how the world worked through a systematic process based in mathematics. But this realization was only part of the puzzle to the scientific revolution. The system of capitalism and specifically credit coupled with trust in the future led to scientific projects to be funded with much more ease than the rest of the world. Capitalism and Science were linked through a symbiotic relationship of science creating new technologies which lead to greater profit which leads to more investment into science. For example“ ‘The value we(Monsanto) added was dwindling—a guaranteed recipe for disaster.’ In 1982 Monsanto explained to its shareholders that it had no choice but to make big changes.”(Elmore Pg.168) The monsanto corporation understood this relationship and researched new technologies in biotech and GMOs to revitalize their growth. Imperialism is the other piece of the pie to connect capitalism and science. It connected to capitalism through “the magic circle of imperial capitalism: credit financed new discoveries; discoveries led to colonies; colonies provided profits; profits built trust; and trust translated to more credit.”(Harari Pg.317) To present Harari’s example of James Cook’s first expedition, which was imperialistic, scientific and capitalist in nature all at the same time. The voyage was financed by investors, and they set sail to observe Venus, collect ecological and geological data on the various islands and continents they came across, and claim the various islands and continents they came across which led to colonization and profit which was reinvested back into imperialistic expeditions and science.
I couldn’t agree more with Hararis explanation once again. He presents very convincing points and examples to back them up(99% of the time). Sapiens is one of my favorite books ever assigned to read by a teacher and enjoyed reading every page. Even though the book is already 400 pages long and wouldn’t be nearly as fun to read if it was bogged down with more examples and proof of his assertions. But I think some of his claims are plausible but not totally backed up, for example he claims that politicians often promise reform and achieve it to support his point of change is a constant. But i’d argue most politicians at least in america promise A LOT but rarely achieve a fraction of their ambitions. Not to say this discredits him, just found myself puzzled by the well thought out arguments and the sudden juxtaposition of claims with no evidence to back up. The end of the book was also interesting as I ponder where humans will be in the future with the prospects of becoming cyborgs, superhumans, and conscious robots.