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Xenophanes (c.570–475 BC)

Greek philosopher and native of the city of Colophon. Xenophanes had a particular gripe against the anthropomorphism of popular religion. Why, he asked, did people suppose their gods to be human in appearance? Wouldn't cows, if they were inclined to pray, worship bovine gods? Xenophanes urged that people should stop assuming they were the center of cosmic attention or that either they or the Earth were unique. To him the idea of unlimited worlds was irresistibly attractive, and he added a new possibility – that the Moon might support life (see Moon, life on).

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   • ancient philosophy, related to the possibility of extraterrestrial life
   • Greek astronomy

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