Jared Cooney Horvath is a globally recognized Science of Learning expert committed to helping teachers, students and parents achieve better outcomes through applied brain and behavioral science.

The Fiction of Facts

One of my all-time favorite movie quotes is from the 1997 SciFi comedy Men in Black.


It occurs early in the film, when veteran government agent Kay (Tommy Lee Jones) sits with newcomer Jay (Will Smith) on a park bench and tries to help him grapple with the knowledge that aliens exist on earth:


‘Fifteen hundred years ago everybody knew the Earth was the center of the Universe; Five hundred years ago everybody knew the Earth was flat; and fifteen minutes ago you knew that humans were alone on this planet. Imagine what you’ll know tomorrow.’


Now, at least to my knowledge, aliens don’t actually exist on Earth …

But regardless, there is no shortage of bizarre and mysterious episodes on our planet that might compel you to question the validity of things you previously assumed to be ‘fact’.


In my latest From Theory to Practice video (which is a bit different than usual), I explore a piece of research that has the potential to do just that:


Myth and Reality in the Battle Between the Pygmies and the Cranes (Asher Ovadiah and Sonia Mucznik, 2017)


Now, this research deals with a strange tale from ancient mythology that is quite interesting in its own right …


But my larger purpose with this video is to shed some light on the important concept of academic humility.


Give it a watch, and let me know what you think in the YT comments section.


And, as always, if you find this video valuable, interesting and/or entertaining, you can support us by liking, sharing and subscribing to our YouTube channel ;)



Video Transcript

Hello everybody, and welcome to this week's From Theory to Practice, where I take a look at the research so you don't have to.


The article I've selected this week is a bit different than usual -- it's called Myth and Reality in the Battle Between the Pygmies and the Cranes by Asher Ovadiah and Sonia Mucznik.


So, I heard about this idea a few months ago, and it has been stuck with me ever since. I guess you could say I’m becoming somewhat obsessed, and I wanted to share this idea with you because I think it is incredibly cool.


Now, to understand this paper, we have to come to terms with the concept of the geranomachy. This is a Latin phrase that, loosely translated, means ‘war of the cranes’. Yes, that is cranes -- as in those big birds.


But who are these cranes fighting? Well, for the answer, let’s turn to the ancient Greek author Homer, where in the Iliad he writes, “The Trojans came on with clamor like the clamor of cranes bringing slaughter and death to the pygmy men”.


Yes, the geranomachy describes a thousand-year war between cranes and pygmies

Click to view remainder of the transcript ...

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