If you like your history simple, and if you like it confident, John Gribbin is your man. To him the scientific revolution of the seventeenth century is a straightforward triumph of light over darkness. Before it, ‘ideas about the universe’ were ‘mainly superstitious nonsense’. ‘What passed for science’ was ‘the ancient lore of Aristotle’, with its ‘really bad’ assumption that ‘the truth about the world could be determined by pure thought’. ‘Enshrined by centuries of tradition’, Aristotlelianism was ‘unsullied by anything as basic as an experiment’.