Science and Magic 001

Science is classically defined as both a method for investigation and a body of knowledge or "facts" revealed by a certain method of inquiry.  Perhaps more fundamentally, both of these can be considered a collection of stories with unique characteristics which distinguish science from other narratives.  After having seen the sun come up every morning in the east and travel across the sky, we've all heard the story that this is a sleight of hand on a cosmic scale with a gigantic Earth slowly turning our point of view.  The story goes: after a colossal burst of energy a zillion years ago, gigantic collection of rocks accumulated, tiny bits of life arose and mistook themselves for the center of everything, until Copernicus claimed the Earth moved and rotated, and over the next few hundred years, that story became the most popular.

In the western, European tradition we like to mock "flat-Earthers" who believe(d) that the Earth was flat, but this would overlook the profound, revolutionary benefits of the view to the people who adopted it.  To understand why, we have to look at what makes for good evidence, good explanations, or a good story: the context.


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