I’m Ignorant, You’re Ignorant, we’re all Ignorant

Imagined orders and scientific revolutions fall hand in hand. The scientific revolution was the gateway to explaining many phenomena that could not be explained. It also opened many doors into the development of technology which reshaped the direction of mankind. Previous traditions of knowledge stemmed from beliefs and assumptions that helped explain the in-explainable. “The Scientific Revolution has not been a revolution of knowledge. It has been above all a revolution of ignorance. The great discovery that launched the Scientific Revolution was the discovery that humans do not know the answers to their most important questions” (Harari, 250-251). Harari’s explanation for how modern science differs from all previous traditions of knowledge is three-fold. The first is the willingness to admit ignorance, because it assumes that we don’t know everything, and that it accepts that the things that we think we know might be proven wrong as we gain more knowledge. The second is centrality of observation and mathematics by gathering observations and then using mathematical tools to connect these observations into comprehensive theories. Lastly the acquisition of new powers. Modern science theorizes in order to acquire new powers and develop new technologies. “Modern science and European imperialism became wedded together when both scientist and conqueror began by admitting ignorance – they both said, ‘I don’t know what’s out there.’ They both felt compelled to go out and make new discoveries. And they both hoped the new knowledge thus acquired would make them masters of the world” (Harari, 283-284).

2 thoughts on “I’m Ignorant, You’re Ignorant, we’re all Ignorant

  1. I totally agree with pretty much everything in your post! Imagine if I just left the comment at that. Anyway, I find it interesting that you aren’t taking a stance on whether some of these things are good or bad. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, of course! Your quote use was really good, especially the ending quote. I think one more thing I would informally add to how the scientific revolution differs is just straight up speed. We’re innovating things at an unparalleled rate right now, and it’s been exponential ever since modern electronic innovations were created. Anyway, awesome job with the post!

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  2. I like that you focused your post on ignorance because it is what the Scientific Revolution really comes down to. It was successful because of all of the unknown and the incertitude people realized there was around them. As you said, this revolution was the gateway to explaining many phenomena that could not be explained. It was the start of finding out how things really work. However, what kept it going was the acceptance that there wasn’t going to be an end result to it. There is always more to find, and that’s what makes science so powerful to people. All of a sudden there are no more assumptions and beliefs. For a very long time, people were comfortable in that, but they became more and more uncomfortable in the established truths and decided they needed to actually challenge their assumptions and find proofs for their beliefs. As soon as they started finding stuff, they just kept going and never stopped.

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