By Roland Zielke (auth.)
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The Solar System II. Earth and Space Travel III. Aspects of Technology IV. Aspects of Evolution Bibliography Preface The rapid advance of science is exciting and exhilarating to anyone who is fascinated by the unconquerability of the human spirit and by the continuing efficacy of the scientific method as a tool for penetrating the complexities of the universe. But what if one is also dedicated to keeping up with every phase of scientific advance for the deliberate purpose of interpreting that advance for the general public?
I do not mean to say that the changing of an axiom is a minor matter. When mathematicians of the nineteenth century challenged Euclid’s axioms and developed “non-Euclidean geometries” based on other assumptions, they influenced thought on many matters in a most profound way: today the very history and form of the universe are thought to conform to a non-Euclidean geometry rather than the “commonsense” geometry of Euclid. But the revolution initiated by Copernicus entailed not just a shift in axioms but eventually involved a whole new approach to nature, This revolution was carried through in the person of the Italian Galileo Galilei toward the end of the sixteenth century.
Once this myth was accepted, farmers had a plausible basis for the art of bringing rain—namely, appeasing the god by appropriate rites. These rites might well be orgiastic in nature—an attempt to influence heaven and earth by example. THE GREEKS The Greek myths are among the prettiest and most sophisticated in our Western literary and cultural heritage. But it was the Greeks also who, in due course, introduced the opposite way of looking at the universe—that is, as something impersonal and inanimate.