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The Big Myths In And On Science

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If there are two concepts that ought to be antithetical those are science and myths. Science, after all, began with the Pre-Socratic philosophers, who made the very conscious move of rejecting the worldview of “the poets,” that is, people like Homer and Hesiod, in favour of looking at the cosmos as the result of natural phenomena that could, at least potentially, be understood by the human mind.Xenophanes (c. 570 – c. 475 BCE), for instance, was the first philosopher to explicitly attack the authority of the poets, as nicely recounted in Peter Adamson’s Classical Philosophy, volume 1 of his History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps. Far from being the movers and shakers of the universe, Xenophanes recognised that the gods were made in human image. The Trojans did not lose their war against the Greeks because the gods were divided by Paris’ justified but incautious choice of Aphrodite as the most beautiful of the goddesses (thus ticking off the other two competitors, Hera and Athena). They...

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