This post started out as a simple throwaway tweet, as several of my articles have, which was:
Someone came back and told me that my statement was flawed. In his words:
“in the future there may be no wheels and they may also die out, you are comparing specifics with concepts”
And from there a minor conversation grew, or at least it would have if he hadn’t bailed very quickly with the following:
We can extrapolate this argument to infinity but that would be time consuming and non-productive.
I thought this was quite an interesting topic and decided that I would expand upon the premise.
The main thrust of his argument, such as it was, was that religion being a concept could never die and the wheel also being a concept rather than a thing couldn’t die either, but it could be replaced and die out like religion… I know. I said he debated, i didn’t say he was good at it.
My position was not that religion would die out, however much I might like that to happen, and soon please, but instead that religions die. Which is obviously true. After all, how many people still make offerings to Zeus and the rest of the Ancient Greek Pantheon? How many can truly say that they offer worship to Thor during a thunder storm?
Religions die, and that’s all there is too it! They may be replaced, but the actual religions themselves, as individual entities, die.
The same cannot be said for the wheel. Lets be honest the wheel has a long, long history. It is after the simplest and the first of all the machines devised by mankind.
From the arrangement of logs used to roll heavy weights all the way to the high tech confections found on modern super cars. The wheel has stayed pretty much the same way for its entire existence, that is to say moving a load from one place to another by converting rotary motion into linear motion.
That’s what a wheel does, nothing more and nothing less. But it relies on certain scientific principles to work, mainly friction and leverage amongst others.
And although the wheel itself may become obsolete and be replaced with, oh I don’t know, hover boots and anti-gravity sleds, the scientific principles behind it are the basis for all, and I do mean all of our modern and future technology.
“Ah!, I hear you cry, “But don’t newer religions also take ideas and concepts from older ones… Just before they usurp them and then carry on the motion, just like the sciencey types do?”
To that the answer is simple… No. They don’t.
What you find with religion is a denial of knowledge, it will attempt to stunt new information and research just in case it would interfere with the blessed dogma, as has been clearly seen throughout history, I will mention the name of Gallileo here. Tired and old as this particular example is, it is used frequently because it is such a good example of an established religion attempting to hold back the development of the human race, purely because the truth of the universe was in direct conflict with the truth of the Catholic Church!
Also if any religion uses ideas and concepts from earlier ones, they will file off the serial numbers, change the names of the guilty and claim it all as their own divine revelation. Add in a few ridiculous miracles and a genocide here and there and voila, brand new religion, one careful owner and keep it below 60MpH for the first few years.
Science on the other hand has never done that. Once a natural law or scientific principle is discovered and proven. It will never be denied by future scientists because a newer law or principle supersedes it, instead it will be built upon, developed and refined.
A classic illustration of this is Newton’s Principia Mathematica, particularly his work on bodies in motion and gravity. It was found to fail under certain circumstances, until Einstein came along with his Theory of Relativity and filled in a few gaps.
Did science then try to hide Newton’s groundbreaking work? Were they embarrassed by the fact that it didn’t have all the answers? No, because the principles of it were still useful, and still relevant.
Don’t believe me? Okay, ring NASA and ask them which work they relied upon, the Principia Mathematica or Einstein’s paper, when they put Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the moon. Go on, ask them. The answer might surprise you.
Religion denies knowledge and hampers new ideas. Science celebrates knowledge and comes up with new ideas.
And it all started with the, far from obsolete, wheel.