Science, Science, Science

Harari asserts that during the European takeover of the world, all three were integrally linked. He says that the first explorers were scientists, merchants, and governments because all these people saw a chance of capitalizing on new discoveries. Scientists wanted to learn about biology and zoology, merchants wanted to find new commodities to exploit and governments wanted new territories for both domination and exploitation. An example Harari provides is the invention of the steam engine, which eventually led to railways. He says that because Europeans had a scientific mindset, that’s why they not only figured out the steam engine, but were then able to take that and turn it into railroads and other engines. This was a scientific invention made so that coal mining could become more profitable. 

After Columbus discovered the New World in 1492, there was a shift in thinking in Europe. His discovery of a brand new continent, made people realize the many unknowns of the world, and modern science was born. Scientific thinking allowed people to embrace the world’s unknowns and try to explain them in rational ways. This type of thinking was a departure from the existing beliefs that religion taught. This new scientific mindset allowed people to make astounding discoveries and inventions and, according to Harari, why Europe took over. I agree with him that science is funded through capitalism and empires, and that the three cannot really be separated. I also agree with Michael Reidy of the importance of religion, however. The first section of Sapiens Harari tells of the importance of the collective imagination during the Cognitive Revolution. Religions and beliefs were a big part in colonialism, in addition to trade and science. Religion is a system of control that has power over people and needs to be integrated into the equation. 

Leave a Reply