In any case, beyond simple commonsense, people critically thought and discussed about many things. This school of thought is known as philosophy. It invoked and created many ideas such as prime mover (the first root cause of all the chain of cause and effects) and Zeno’s paradox (how motion is impossible). The concept of God is one such idea. Many philosophers critically analyzed it. Some developed great faith in the concept of God beyond human reasoning, yet tried to explain it at philosophical level. This specialized school thought is known as theology. After a while, philosophy as a knowledge gathering process reached its limitation, and stagnated at certain level with just mere back and forth arguments without yielding any new insights about us and the world we live in.
Our commonsense may suggest, heavier objects reach the ground sooner than lighter ones. Galileo first showed experimentally that all objects reach the ground at the same time. Instead of making philosophical and fantasy stories about the moon, planets, the sun and stars, he observed through his telescope. He showed the importance of experimentation, verification and objectiveness. Ultimately he and many others created a systematic process which involves observation, theory making, verification, etc. This school of thought is known as science. It allowed us to understand life and 3.5 billion years of life evolution. It showed our universe that consists of billions of galaxies, each galaxy consists of billions of stars, and 14 billion years of cosmic evolution.
Science is a systematic knowledge gathering process. Based on our brain's architecture (the way it evolved to be) with its capabilities and limitations, science is the best technique we invented so far to understand the complex world we live in and gain deeper insights.
Achilles: But there is science and there is art!
Tortoise: Science = A systematic understanding process. If you want to understand anything, you can have a scientific study for it. There is science of life (biology), and there is science of cosmos (cosmology). There is science of love and there is science of art. There is science of religion and even there is science of science!
Achilles: But science cannot tell us how to live our life...
Tortoise: Our life is infinitely complex and unpredictable. Even ultra powerful super computers cannot fully solve our life choices and decisions. Scientific facts and understandings or philosophical ideas or spiritual and religious teachings can only offer some guidance. It is up to us, how we use those guidelines and live our life artfully.
Achilles: Yet, there are so many things we do not understand...
Tortoise: Our known universe is 14 billion years old, our earth is 4 billion years old, life evolved 3.5 billion years ago, humans evolved few millions years ago, modern humans evolved 100 thousand years ago, recorded human history is few thousand years, science has been around few hundred years, and you have been around few decades! Now you want an easy answer for everything. It takes time and effort.
Achilles: But science cannot answer everything...
Tortoise: Science is not a magic! Science cannot answer anything! We have to find answers ourselves. Science is just a method, a process, a tool for us to find answers.
We use many methods to understand and gain knowledge about anything. These methods could be categorized as below.
- Intuition: Our brain comes with many inborn intuitive mechanisms that are shaped over the course of our evolution.
- Commonsense: Our brain automatically learns from the environment and experience, and collects many inferences about the causal effects with no or limited insights.
- Philosophy: It is based on established belief system that is fundamentally derived and extended from Intuition and Commonsense; and hence, it is constrained by our subjectivity.
- Theology: This subset category of Philosophy is biased towards one particular belief system. It is highly liberal belief system, and hence heavily constrained by our subjectivity.
- Science: It is based on highly conservative belief system that "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence". It requires observation, theory/sense making, verification, validation, etc. It offers some window to go beyond our intuitive and commonsense constrains and reach for objectiveness.