Humans first drawings date to thirty thousand years ago even with Homo Erectus using fire for hundreds of thousands of years . . . all in all, human intellectual activities has been a source of wonder and fear for humanity for awhile now . . . witness the destruction of Jericho so many times . . . the destruction of Athens by the Spartans, Persians, and the killing of Archimedes by a Roman soldier . . . and then, there's the destruction of the Library of Alexandria and the killing of Hypatia around 400 A.D.
Scientists themselves have had misunderstandings about the nature of their activity. In fact, even Galileo thought the euclidean geometry as the very substance of the world. Mathematians were slow to take seriously the philosophical ramifications of non-euclidean geometry; they even made non-standard algebras before Einstein's General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics threw the Newtonian world in a tail spin. Then, Kurt Godel came up with his incompleteness theorems of finite axiomatic systems and a few intellectuals wondered about the very nature of the mathematical sciences. To me, Jacob Bronowski's "Origins of Knowledge and Imagination" is the best synthesis of all these intellectual events,
but, perhaps Crease and Mann's "The Second Creation" is a good place to start seeing some of the issues of the scientific process General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics had on mathematical science as a whole. What's remarkable is that outside of the final chapters realization that scientific theory is about syntheses and analyses is really syntheses, is that they don't understand the nature of abstraction in mathematical science and the unified treatment of mathematics and science that Jacob Bronowski shows in his "Origin's of Knowledge and Imagination."
Still, outside of initial physics courses, most people don't have the time to study the mathematics of the symmetry theories of the unified field theories mathematical science has pointed towards(and cosmology); better to read a good physics book like "Project Physics Course" and then "The Second Creation", and then! Jacob Bronowski's "Origins of Knowledge and Imagination." Also, Weinburg's "First three Minutes", and Guth's "Inflationary Universe." are good reads for the cosmology end of where man stands intellectually today.
I'd like to end with saying that "The Second Creation" is great for showing the human spirit of exploration which 99% of humanity has and will continue to miss even in a post molecular nanotechnology world where they don't have to learn . . . anything! ever!
If you have the intellectual spirit, you'll read this book . . . so, it goes without saying that I hope I've pointed out some interesting things for those who've had enough natural curiousity that every human child is born with anyways to search out this book anyways!