‘Nullius in verba: don’t take anyone’s word for it. Examine it; observe it; record it; experiment. Modern science tells us that what we perceive is untrue. It frequently contradicts common sense. It is obvious that a heavy object will fall to the earth faster than a lighter one, so obvious that Aristotle stated the fact and its factuality was accepted for two thousand years. Galileo showed ‘the fact’ to be untrue by experiment and measured observation, science’s techniques of disenchantment. We do not sit on a stationary earth at the centre of the universe. This appears to be the case to our unexperimental senses, certainly. But science has established that we inhabit a tiny space inside an unimaginably vast one; that we spin around, although we do not appear to be doing so to ourselves; that the sun does not rise above our settled selves and then set later in the day, while our point of observation remains unmoving. The old perceptions that this is precisely what does happen continue their afterlives in our use of the words ‘sunrise’ and ‘sunset’.’


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