We've made incredible scientific and technological strides as a society, but do we as individuals know anything more than we ever have? Everything I know about science I've learned from books, magazines, newspapers, teachers, family and friends. I mean, I haven't done any of the research myself, and I can't imagine being able to do enough of the research myself to really know even a small fraction of what the scientific facts we take for granted. So do I just take all these books, teachers, friends, etc. at their word? If so, how is my situation any different than somebody who lived 500 years ago and also got all his information from books, teachers and friends?