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Word Count: 1,016
Science has been steadily moving in on the territory of religion When the moons of Jupiter were discovered in the beginning of the 17th century shattered the current belief In traditional cosmology there was only one center of motion the center of the universe which was the place of the Earth The motions of all heavenly bodies centered on the Earth But according to the Copernican theory the Earth went around the Sun while the Moon went around the Earth There were thus two centers of motion which seemed an absurdity Moreover if the Earth was a planet like Mercury Venus Mars Jupiter and Saturn why was it the only planet to have a Moon Galileos discovery answered this question The Earth was in fact not the only planet to have a moon Jupiter had four Later Darwins theory of evolution turned humans from little lower than the angels to near relatives of monkeys and apes Penzias and Wilson listened to the microwave hum from the birth of the universe and took cosmology away from the theologians Whole new fields of research are opening up however bringing science into much more direct conflict with our private sense of our selves New techniques allow researchers to study brain activity directly observing which parts of our brains are active when we do logical puzzles or when we consider meanings A network of neurons has been identified which connects brain centers and which may form the material basis of consciousness At the same time evolutionary theory and modern anthropology are making clearer how self-consciousness evolved according to the simple but powerful process of repeated genetic mutation and natural selection not through divine intervention Self-consciousness now seems to have appeared in recognizable form between forty and one-hundred thousand years ago with the evolution first in Africa of modern humans created an explosion of creative tool-making the first art and ritual burials Consciousness seems to be a natural material thing
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