Ryle in Relation to Modern Science
Modern science presents a view of the universe which is very different from that which was available to previous generations. Man is now thought of much more as simply part of nature, rather than as set over nature. Even statistically there has been a great change in emphasis. Thirty years ago it seemed quite likely that the origin of the solar system was due to a highly improbable celestial accident and that it was not unreasonable to suppose that our own planet was the only place of intelligent life in the universe. There are at present still a number of competing theories of the origin of the solar system, none of them completely satisfactory, but opinion seems to have moved towards thinking it much more plausible that planetary systems and intelligent life should be a feature of innumerable stars even in our galaxy alone. We get an even greater sense of the relative unimportance of the human race in the universe as a whole when we consider the huge number of galaxies in the observable part of the universe. It is even quite a salutary corrective for human arrogance to look at a photograph of (say) the great nebula in Andromeda and reflect on the huge number of stars which appear as a misty cloud.
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