What is learned by trial and error must begin by being crude, whatever the character of the beginner. The very same pot which would prove its maker a genius if it were the first pot ever made in the world, would prove its maker a dunce if it came after milleniums of pot-making. The whole modern estimate of primitive man is based upon the idolatry of artefacts which is a great corporate sin of our own civilisation.
C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain, Collier (New York: 1962) p. 74. In other words, the things we make are at least as much a product of history up to us as they are a product of our intelligence or moral character; that 'primitive man' had no reliable anesthetics is not a sign that they were less compassionate, and that they had no reliable medicine is not a sign that they lacked the cognitive skills required for having reliable medicine. Our brilliance is not measured by smartphones, our rationality is not measured by wifi, and our virtue is not measured by the internet; we may, for all we can tell, be massively overtopped in all three by someone who has nothing more than basic language and fire.