The earliest Greek philosophers, known as the pre-Socratics, The pre-Socratic philosopher Thales (640-546 BC), dubbed the "father of science", was the first to postulate non-supernatural explanations for natural phenomena.For example, that land floats on water and that earthquakes are caused by the agitation of the water upon which the land floats, rather than the god Poseidon.For example, the domestication of maize for agriculture has been dated to about 9,000 years ago in southern Mexico, before the development of writing systems.The development of writing enabled knowledge to be stored and communicated across generations with much greater fidelity.Aaboe, "all subsequent varieties of scientific astronomy, in the Hellenistic world, in India, in Islam, and in the West—if not indeed all subsequent endeavour in the exact sciences—depend upon Babylonian astronomy in decisive and fundamental ways." In Classical Antiquity, the inquiry into the workings of the universe took place both in investigations aimed at such practical goals as establishing a reliable calendar or determining how to cure a variety of illnesses and in those abstract investigations known as natural philosophy.The ancient people who are considered the first scientists may have thought of themselves as natural philosophers, as practitioners of a skilled profession (for example, physicians), or as followers of a religious tradition (for example, temple healers).Their development of geometry was a necessary outgrowth of surveying to preserve the layout and ownership of farmland, which was flooded annually by the Nile river.
Even today, astronomical periods identified by Mesopotamian proto-scientists are still widely used in Western calendars such as the solar year and the lunar month.
While empirical investigations of the natural world have been described since classical antiquity (for example, by Thales and Aristotle), and scientific method has been employed since the Middle Ages (for example, by Ibn al-Haytham and Roger Bacon), modern science began to develop in the early modern period, and in particular in the scientific revolution of 16th- and 17th-century Europe.
From the 18th century through late 20th century, the history of science, especially of the physical and biological sciences, was often presented in a progressive narrative in which true theories replaced false beliefs.
However, while Egyptian medicine had some effective practices, it was not without its ineffective and sometimes harmful practices.
Medical historians believe that ancient Egyptian pharmacology, for example, was largely ineffective.