THE OLDEST SCIENCE IN THE WORLD Before we can discuss what is the oldest science in the world, we must arrive at some conclusion as to the definition of science. What exactly is science? Buckets and buckets of ink have been used in defining the word, but they all boil down to this statement: Science is knowledge arrived at by the scientific method. Even more buckets of ink have been used in trying to define “scientific method.” The essential of the method may be easily described. They are a series of steps, the first of which is direct observation. Of course, what the scientist observes is often the result of deliberately contrived experimentation. Contrived in some cases, as it were, to reveal what the scientist wants to see. After such a scientist has made a whole string of direct observations, he goes into a huddle with himself, then emerges and forms a hypothesis or an explanation of some kind for the things he designed the observations and experiments to reveal. This hypothesis is a guess – an educated guess, perhaps, but still a guess. The next step is a simple one. The scientist says to himself, “I know my idea is right, and if I do some more experiments, I will be able to prove it.” The final step then, for this scientist, is to do the new experiment. If the experiment proves his guess, everything is fine. But if it doesn’t – which is often the case – he uses Finagler’s Law and introduces a constant into the mathematics, or a “fudge factor” into the experiment. Frequently, merely “fudging” a little doesn’t really prove the original hypothesis, so he takes one other step and draws on the truly mystical realm of mathematics – the art of juggling figures. Now the hypothesis is substantiated, and it can be called a theory. The theory is nothing then, but a well-tested guess. Yet such scientists have overwhelming confidence in their own ability, and thus make no attempts to teach the limitations of science. In fact, they rarely recognize the limitations. But there are limitations to science. Let us consider this question: Can science disprove ghosts? Many students of modern science would agree that science has found no evidence – or reason-to-suspect evidence – of spirits. Such things are only superstitions. But ghosts and spirits can appear when the psychological conditions are exactly right. Perhaps one of the very necessary conditions for the appearance of any ghost is the absence of the scientists! What then? Science could and would investigate ghost after ghost, but no evidence of ghosts would be found. And ghosts would continue to appear when the cynical scientists weren’t looking. This is a very simple case, yet it illustrates the true impossibility of disproving things by the “scientific method.” Not too many years ago, any claim about unknown forces from outside our world affecting the lives and behavior of human beings would have thrown scientists into an uproar. To accept such a concept would have been to acknowledge a belief in astrology. To the cynical scientist, believing in astrology is like believing in ghosts or witchcraft. Paradoxically, scientists the world over consider Isaac Newton one of the greatest of all scientists. What they constantly and conveniently forget is that Isaac Newton chose astrology as his life’s work! It was with great reluctance that he took up the study of astronomy. He accused his colleagues of thinking too materialistically. He accused them of neglecting the real cause of events. When fellow members of the Royal Society – true-blue scientists – asked Newton why he believed in astrology, he replied, “I do not believe in a Universe of accidents, and, after all, I have studied the subject and you have not.” Other notable men who firmly believed in astrology were Chaucer, Dante, Shakespeare, Cromwell, Copernicus, Kepler, Plato and Bacon. The great French seer Nostradamus based all his predictions on astrology.