When we first started as a species, we were the first to realize there was a beginning and an end and there was something more to life. We looked at the stars for answers. Stars were the first usages for measurement navigation, harvesting, and many many others. Without any of the modern conveniences of today, we started to fill the blanks by ourselves. Those turned to word of mouth, and those words were exaggerated to the point in which they became myths, those myths had a following, those followings were called religion. The proactive parts at the time is that religion came to answer all questions. The bad part? All those questions were convenienced to the listener. They were wrong answers!!

When humans introduced observation, data keeping, and testing to the equation, it opened up a chapter to a whole new system, with better concrete answers: Science. Science never meant to harm religion or other philosophies, but through test after test, discovery after discovery, Science champion all and continues to this very day. With religion man looked up at the stars, with Science we observed and understand how they worked and reacted.

What's the next step for human kind? If science is the study of how everything works, what's the next step? Will there be a day in which we collectively know everything? Will we ever find the answers, or will our species will be doomed to the point of just being curious for the rest of humankind's lifetime?

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Comment by Torwaechter on July 30, 2010 at 7:42pm
Hm, probably we won't ever find all answers, but who knows if we can get past the barrieres of our very human bodies and minds someday. Our species has developped its senses and its brain because it was helpful to be intelligent and rational (and, we have to admit: it probably helped our species to be religious, too -> it stabilized early societies, it brought order, and birth control), but we as a species where never confronted in our every day life with quantum physics for example. And that's why it's so hard for us to bend our mind around that stuff. They're so small that it's really hard for us to make observations. On the other hand, our galaxy and our universe are so vastly big that we only do observe from a very confined point of view. As a kid I was amazed to realize that we never see space as it really is. We look into the past. We don't really know what's happening around us *now*, we have to wait till we can observe it. Somewhere I read recently that we do know more about the early stages of the universe after the big bang than about the other side our very own galaxy. It's the core of the galaxy which blocks our view, so that we can't look behind it. It's like the other side of the moon, always in shadow. When can we expect to be able to get to a position where we could make observations? It'll take long, very long. But who knows, transhumanism is something that could happen someday. Although that would be a really tough decision. Enhancing the brain to be able to understand more. Becoming immortal. So I really do think, that this is the more interesting question: If we can't know everything - how far would we go to be able to know everything?
Comment by Jack Matirko on July 29, 2010 at 12:25am
I think that even if this total collective knowledge is possible, and is achieved by our ancestors that by the time it was achieved those ancestors would be about as human as we are Eosimias. So technically yes, we're doomed to the point of just being curious ... But doomed is a bit strong of a term for the insanely improbable fact of our existence in the first place. We're pretty lucky I'd say. Just curious is great when there's so much stuff to learn.
Comment by Herk on July 28, 2010 at 11:52pm
I've read a couple of Hancock's books, though it's been a long time ago. He's been trying to connect civilizations all over the world into a single source, and one of his rather strange conclusions was to do with Pharaohs flying around in the sky on metal plates. He wrote about the pyramids matching Orion's belt and so on, but he reminds me of Erich von Däniken talking about the chariots of the gods. He's got the god Quetzalcoatl coming from a lush Antarctica.

He also goes on about the measurements of the pyramid being something to do with the diameter of the earth, but that doesn't explain earlier pyramids that collapsed because of their being too steep, and the development that took place to reach a shape that was stable enough to survive the ages.

Many things are possible, but without some actual documentation by those who built the pyramids as to their actual knowledge and purposes, we are just guessing.
Comment by David Sensei on July 28, 2010 at 10:53pm
Thanks for the alert, Herk. I'm no fan of pseudo-science' myself. I was trying to make some general observations on the sociology of religion using the Egyptians as an example. But you're right, it's just a theory and I should have said so.

I'm not familiar with Hancock so I 'wikied' him. I think I got it from the earlier Belgian writer Bauvel, who wrote the 'Orion mystery'. I remember coming across this book some time ago and his explanation of the alignment of the three great pyramids (or lack of) appealed to me at the time. It seemed to me to make sense that Egyptian priests would try to 'communicate' with their gods in this grandiose way - 'We know you're up there watching over us - see?'

But I acknowledge the theory is controversial and I don't go for any of that 'Atlantis' stuff. All the same, thanks for reminding me to qualify my statements. People who participate in this site - like you - are too sharp for that. Best wishes.
Comment by Herk on July 28, 2010 at 10:09pm
To David Sensei - it sounds as if you're channeling Graham Hancock. He's a bit of a whack job, what with the Orion theory and so on. He leaps to fantastic conclusions based on little evidence.

He has no formal training in archeology. His latest book is "Supernatural: Meetings With the Ancient Teachers of Mankind" There are better sources for Egyptian lore.
Comment by David Sensei on July 28, 2010 at 10:36am
Due to a lot of archeological diligence (and digging) over the last 100 years or so, it seems we know a lot more about the ancient Egyptians than we do of other ancient cultures.

We know, for example, their belief systems were locked in with the stars. That's where the pharoahs went after death. That's why the pyramids were built. Their carefully calculated placement was actually a scale model of the constellation of Orion.

It's really not surprising when you consider that in that clear desert air, the stars could be contemplated and studied like nowhere else. Also, the lifegiving annual floods came only when the stars were in the right position and the sun was at the right angle. They even worked out that the world was round and gave a reasonably accurate estimate of its size.

They knew there was something going on up there, something much greater and grander than our terrestrial world. No wonder they worshipped them, and their priests were astronomers. If you could understand the stars, you had the secret, the power to understand everything.

Of course they didn't have science, and they never did really understand. They could observe and understand the 'what', but not the 'how' or the 'why'. As for us, we're a lot closer to understanding the 'how' than they were, though we still have much to learn.

As for the 'why', theists try to answer it. Non-theists know better. But that shouldn't stop us from looking up in wonder. Nor from helping to understand the 'how'.
Comment by Be Aware on May 28, 2010 at 11:27am
This planet will eventually die or the sun will explode, this is a fact. Learning how to leave this place and stay alive will eventually be the goal, that is if we don't breed more generations of fox news watching religious people who want to stop progress and just pray that we all go to heaven. Our survival depends on the children of this world and the their children see reality as it is and not living in a delusion like most of the world does today. Not buying into propaganda but researching and finding out facts for themselves.

As for the beginning and end, scientifically matter is never destroyed, it only changes form, or a chemical change. Maybe, like time, Beginning and end are inventions of man.
Comment by Herk on May 27, 2010 at 9:36am
"When we first started as a species" doesn't seem quite the right way to put it. We didn't start all that science and stuff until about 8,000 years ago. Even the famous Greek philosophers didn't begin to emote until around 2,500 years ago. We were around for perhaps 100,000 to 200,000 years before we began to be organized enough to produce such things as writing.

And we have only a little knowledge about previous species - did they, too, look up at the stars and wonder? Neanderthaler was around for about 400,000 years and the way things look, we may not have quite that good of a run.
Comment by Christopher Berman on May 26, 2010 at 1:01pm
One of the delightful things about the history of science is that individuals in the past have been so willing to say 'This is the end, there is nothing new to discover,' only to be proven wrong within a few short years.

Will there ever be an end to phenomena? Who knows? Will we ever be able, by way of example, to synthesize for ourselves new senses, such as echolocation? What sorts of discoveries of the world might be possible through echolocation that are not possible through other senses? Might there not be an infinite number of senses we might invent and produce within ourselves?

There does appear to be a limit to what we can know; not because of data storage (either in our brain or in databases), but because of the way we are situated. For example, on the smallest level, quantum mechanics asserts that we cannot simultaneously know a particle's position and trajectory. This may sound trivial, but the manipulation of sub-atomic particles in mass quantities may very well become an important part of our scientific advancement, and this will be made all the more difficult by our lack of knowledge, which cannot be remedied in this case.

This area of thought is full of speculation, and is quite fascinating. I do agree, as you imply, that science is shaving away religion. If the statistics and their trends are any indication, religion is on the decline; advances in science will only aid that, I imagine.
Comment by Loren Miller on May 26, 2010 at 8:08am
"Knowing everything" is likely a fool's errand, especially considering the vastness of this reality and its nearly infinite diversity. I think what is more important is that we have the tools to investigate and at least attempt to understand what we are looking at, and the discipline to do so methodically.

There may be no foreseeable end to new and unknown phenomena, but so long as we have the means to examine them rigorously, we will also have the means of incorporating them into our knowledge base ... and grow from that knowledge as a result.

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