Pretty Cool Video; Terrible Conclusion

These are great images for getting a feel for the relative sizes of celestial bodies, but... the ending is just dumb. No one ever thought humanity was important because of humans' size! Let's take, say, a medieval Christian. Do you think she wasn't aware of the existence of elephants and whales? That she didn't realize that she was pretty small compared to the Alps? Do you think she didn't know that the number of ants or grains of sand dwarfed the number of humans? Why would discovering even bigger things, or more numerous things, make any difference at all to her view about being "the center of the universe"?


  1. I know, what a cool video, up until the end.

    I learned the point from you Gene--but did you invent it?--that Dante put hell in the center of the universe?

  2. Anonymous6:13 PM

    Oh why ruin a perfectly good video with superstitious rabble?

  3. I learned it from my history of science lecturer at King's College in London, who also said he had never found a single instance of anyone objecting to Copernicus at that time because it removed humanity from the center -- "The center was a horrible place to be!" he would add. Getting lifted into the heavens was quite a promotion for Earth!

    Did you mean "babble"?

  4. If I weren't at the center of the universe, then clearly I would be able to see the parallax of the fixed stars. This Copernican blasphemy gets more ridiculous every day. "That star isn't moving -- it must just be really far away and like a gajillion zillion miles across!"

  5. It was a interesting falsification of Popper that Copernicus made an ad hoc adjustment of the stellar distances, and was correct to do so!

  6. Your example of the medieval she-Christian neglects her aura.


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