Steven Dutch, Natural and Applied Sciences, University of Wisconsin - Green Bay
Cosmos #7 the Backbone of Night Parallels between social and personal growth External exploration = self-discovery Stars are Suns - "a very big thought" How did anyone figure it out? Stars should have planets/life - Why not? Everyone begins life with open mind and driving curiosity Why do people love it? Early speculations on stars !Kung - Milky Way = "Backbone of night" Heavenly beings gods Greek - milk of Hera (Greek milk Galaxy) Ionian "Awakening" 6th Cent BC Universe is knowable "First known conflict between science & mysticism" Outside frontiers of Empires Can explain nature w/o gods Did anyone ever explain nature this way? Ionian Tradition loses to Mysticism Pythagoras Mathematical basis of nature Ironies and Contradictions Emphasis on pure logic Crisis in doctrine - SQRT 2 = irrational Discovery suppressed Mathematics as Mystery cult Pythagoras Plato "Ideas more real than natural world" Linkage to Kepler "Rationale for corrupt social order" Why was science relegated to slaves? Why were "liberal arts" considered elite? Plato Christianity "Long mystical sleep" Aristarchers - heliocentric astronomy Huygens' method of estimating distance to stars Sirus ~ l.y. (8.8 l.y.) How to detect distant planets? Eclipse method Oscillation or perturbation method Why do people lose their sense of wonder? Galaxy - Greek for milk Conflict - natural laws vs supernatural Practical - Theoretical cooperation/tension Pythagorean cult Pythagoras - Plato - Christianity Mathematics - Pure thought Quintessence - Dodecahedron Secret Knowledge - SQRT 2 Plato - cave analogy Slave economy How far are the stars? Do other stars have planets?

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Created 13 January 1998, Last Update 13 January 1998

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