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Ancient Knowledge vs. Modern Knowledge

Why are people convinced that ancient people knew some great secret to the universe that all our modern knowledge just can’t figure out today? This is not just an issue with religion, but with supernatural mysteries also.

I’m not saying that we know everything. That would be stupid. But I am saying that we know more today than we knew yesterday. That’s called learning and it generally doesn’t go backwards. We don’t generally lose knowledge and yet most people seem to be convinced that ancient people who had far less knowledge then we do today knew some great secret that we have missed.

Whether it is the secrets of Atlantis or the secret knowledge written in holy books that only the faithful can decipher, the belief is the same. Ancient people who didn’t even come close to the level of knowledge we have today knew an amazing thing that we don’t know today.

Don’t get me wrong, there were some pretty smart people in the past who had some really great ideas that modern science much later confirmed. Religious people always jump on this by taking obscure Bible verses and taking them to mean things that were only confirmed by modern science within the last few hundred years.

But I think of Democritus who thought up the idea of atomic particles 2500 years ago. The thing is that while Democritus thought up the idea, he had no way to test it or to confirm it as a fact. It was just an idea and Democritus had a million of them. Some were really good and we remember them, but most probably weren’t. Besides, there is a difference between coming up with an idea and actually proving that the idea is a reality.

The fact is that today we know more about the world around us then we ever have known and we are still learning. While we can learn new things from the past, it is extremely unlikely that people in the distant past who knew far, far, less about the world then we do today knew some ancient secret for profound significance that we just can’t figure out with our modern science. It is such a counter-intuitive idea that I am genuinely surprised so many people buy into it.

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