I imagine the first computers were rather simple, running through a set of instructions and producing a result. Load a new program (or, as it were, rewire the entire computer with a giant patch panel), load a new set of data and set it going yet again. Until stored programs came about, and someone had the idea of a "jump" instruction. This implies a "conditional" part, if the accululator is 0, then jump. Thus was born the conditional statement. And Ruby has no shortage of conditional statements (though a bit more sophisticated than the description above).