Science Tomorrow People
posted by March 11 at 11:26 AMon
A comment on this article concerning new data about the expanding universe:
“We are living in an extraordinary time,” said Gary Hinshaw of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. “Ours is the first generation in human history to make such detailed and far-reaching measurements of our universe.”
How is it that we of all the people in the history of time (and beyond time), all the billions who have come and gone, flickered and vanished—not them but the us of today are living “in an extraordinary time”? How did that come to be? How can we be so sure of this exception? And will the people of tomorrow recognize us as the modes and mediums of an extraordinary moment?
While reading the ancient Greeks, our scientific minds cringe in embarrassment when passing the pages that concern their unscientific ideas and concepts about the heavens. Will the people of tomorrow cringe when reading that the people of today believed there is a “sea of cosmic neutrinos [that] permeates the universe,” and “that the first stars took more than a half-billion years to create a cosmic fog”? Will the people of tomorrow see in us the same children that we see in the Greeks of yesterday?
Note: Plato’s most brilliant intellectual move in the The Republic is not his feminism (the second wave), nor his concept of the philosopher as ruler (the third wave), but the way he downplays astronomy. What’s important for him are not celestial objects but what is most real, and what is most real are the forms. And so to intellectually grasp (begriff) the form of a stone is far better than staring at a bright and wandering star. Because Plato, unlike Aristotle, gives astronomy almost no play in his most important work, he doesn’t look like a complete fool, a child of our day.