The universe is an ever-expanding vast space full of everything that we know, and don’t know.
As we begin understanding that in reality, we are but small creatures in an enormous space; our mind evolves and becomes more apt to process complexity. During the old ionian enlightenment, this became a revolutionary idea when Aristarchus (c. 310 BC-c. 230 BC), an ancient Greek astronomer, proposed that we were ordinary inhabitants of the universe, not the centre of it. He created a model in which he placed the sun as the centre of the solar system, with our planet revolving around it. He believed that our sun was bigger than Earth. Moreover, he concluded that the stars we see in the sky at night, were distant suns. Back then, these ideas were radical. Today, we call them facts.
Some ionians were seen as radical scientists in old times. They disturbed a multitude of free thinkers back then, as some of them based their theories on reason, rather than dogma. And like any revolution, there were those who rejected new ideas. Epicurus (341 BC-270 BC) refused to accept the atomism started by Democritus because it was in conflict with his mythological beliefs about the gods. Stephen Hawking, when speaking about Ionian scientists in his book The Grand Design, states: “Aristotle too rejected the concept of atoms, because he could not accept that human beings were composed of soulless, inanimate objects”.
Some Ionians challenged the best minds. Their knowledge was innovative. Many of their ideas became a human milestone when it came to the understanding the cosmos, even though their methods were not constructed for experimentation; but instead, their theories were built on philosophical reasoning. This caused many of the great minds to have different beliefs, and convictions; and due to the lack of empirical evidence, there was no way to objectively determine who was right and who was wrong at that time.
Many have tried to battle the theories that exclude external forces, or authority figures defining existence. A Christian philosopher named Thomas Aquinas (c. 1225-1274) when arguing about the existence of god, stated that “[inanimate bodies] reach their end not by chance but by intention… There is therefore, an intelligent personal being by whom everything in nature is ordered to its end”. Later on, Johannes Kepler (1571-130) came up with a more eccentric idea. He believed that planetary movements were conscious choices defined by the “minds” of the planets. As if these had sense perception.