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Revolutions that made the Earth$
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Tim Lenton and Andrew Watson

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199587049

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199587049.001.0001

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(p.2) (p.3) 1 Origins
Revolutions that made the Earth

Tim Lenton

Andrew Watson

Oxford University Press

This chapter describes how humans are ceaseless, inveterate storytellers, making up stories to explain to ourselves how the world was formed and what our place in it is. For the most part, these are myths and metaphors, and we recognise them as such. However, in just the last few hundred years, with the help of the ‘scientific method’, we have begun to construct a story that is different from these. After many revisions we can hope that this new story will converge on what actually happened. This method consists of making narratives of possible cause and effect, and then testing them against the real world to see if they are consistent with what we see. Where they are not, the narrative is revised. Where they are, we accept them, for now.

Keywords:   humans, storytellers, myths, metaphors, scientific method

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