THE ROBERT W. WHITAKER ARCHIVE

archives
articles

TO GET SOMEWHERE YOU HAVE TO STOP BEING STUPID TRYING TO LOOK SMART | 2003-09-20

Every science starts out as primitive as history is today. Astrology was silly. Astronomy isn't. Alchemy was laughable. Chemistry isn't.

University-educated doctors bled George Washington to death when he had pneumonia.

How did alchemy become chemistry? How did astrology become astronomy? How did the murderous medicine that began the nineteenth century become the life-saving medicine of our age?

I'll tell you how they DIDN'T do it. They DIDN'T make their insanity into science by blindly going on with the nonsense they had. Medicine began to cure people when doctors faced the fact that bleeding was INSANE. Astronomy got somewhere when every intelligent person stopped believing that your mother's toothache could be deduced from the stars.

History will get somewhere when historians face the fact that they are ridiculous. So will conservatism.