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Unformatted text preview: The dwindling significance of humans and their particular planet had dwindled further still. Shapley noted a historical progression from belief in a small universe, with humankind at its center, to a larger universe with the Earth further from the center. The geometry had been transformed from geocentric to heliocentric to a-centric. The psychological change was no less, he insisted, from homocentric to a-centric. Some astronomers had long doubted that the solar system was near the center of the galaxy and that people enjoyed a privileged place in the universe. They felt that the odds, given a random distribution, were small. Now Shapley gave this philosophical position scientific substance. The physical universe was anthropocentric to primitive man.... the significance of man and the Earth in the sidereal scheme has dwindled with advancing knowledge of the physical...
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- Fall '10