Whether this, that, and the other sprang from the shell of a cosmic egg, the corpse of a dismembered giant, an endless oceanic hellscape, or just an otherworldly emptiness, dreaming up the origin of everything must have been the highlight of our earliest primordial block parties. This mythopoeia, or "myth making," can trace its visionary taproot down into the heart of human need, our desire to wrangle the terrible powers of the natural world into something equal parts more understandable and less terrifying. Armed with the budding authority of language, early peoples were able to give names to the many places, objects, creatures, and phenomena with which they shared their world, and thus breathed vitality — and perhaps more importantly, significance — into otherwise foreign and insentient figures. Shadows and seashells, leopards and lightning storms — all were transformed into gods, monsters, and icons of their age; a metamorphosis of the imagination with no final stop. Myth, steeped long in the fiction of our forbearers, is a wealth of wonder.

So why is it when our truest origins are hauled forward for questioning (and so often refuse to answer) that our long-awaited ability to cough up some conclusions is regarded with a mix of appreciation and... disappointment? Take The Infinite Monkey Cage, a BBC radio show about the exploits of science and rationalism hosted by physicist Brian Cox and comedian Robin Ince. In a 2011 TED Talk, Ince cited their listeners' foremost concern: "The main complaint we get, and one I find most worrying, is that people say ‘Oh, why do you insist on ruining the magic? You bring in science and it ruins the magic.'"

While it would likely be difficult to find someone who outright decries the import of advances made by the scientific community (though surely some such people do exist, somewhere, perhaps living within the recesses of an abandoned badger den), venturing across the occasional disenchanted "person of faith" is not as improbable. These are people who believe that with every inclusion of equations, measurements, and strings of raw data we're heartlessly discarding pieces of ourselves. This proverbial wet blanket among the sheets of the more faithfully inclined is most often summed up for exactly what it is: science.

Their discontent lies in the prediction that each new discovery, while useful, might also serve to further render our surroundings into a bleak vista that falls miserably short of the vibrancy of the human spirit. This new world will be one that is calculated and measured, not marveled. For those who feel compelled to fill their minds with the dreams of others, who manage to see understanding as limitation, science has long been quelling the magic of the untested unknown. Our species has been robbed of some poorly conceived notion of wonder, and the things that awe us are being endlessly tainted by fact. And perhaps they're right.

But every treasured belief that science may disprove is in turn replaced with something even better. Better perhaps for its physical simplicity or numerical elegance, the Occam's razor just short of the ordained — better for being true. It is better for being true. As Ince illustrated for his audience four years ago, "I look out the window and I realize that... framed in that window, wherever [I am], I am observing more life than there is in the rest of the known universe beyond the planet Earth."

Within this window, turn your eyes to Switzerland and the colossal subterranean tunnel-ring housed within its soil: the Large Hadron Collider — the biggest and most powerful particle accelerator in the world. Complete with a seventeen-mile circumference, this massive experimental research facility has allowed for the analysis of many theories in the fields of particle and high-energy physics. In colliding two opposing particle beams both moving at almost the speed of light, scientists are able to recreate elements of space and time as they might have been in the earliest stages of our universe, i.e. The Big Bang. Thousands of years after our ancestors first contemplated the earth, the stars, and themselves, the LHC has become a modern day Galilean telescope, a revolutionary instrument of truth-seeking that investigates the least-illuminated corners of our universe.

Is the thought that life began on the impulsive whim of a lonely god really more miraculous an origin to consider than the reality that everything we know likely came about through a single explosive, luck of the draw event? Where is the "wonder" to be found in stories where early humanity is more often than not eradicated like so much errant vermin? Or a mistake, like in the myths of the Mayan god Hurakan — a creator deity of wind and storms and fire — presiding over their repeated destruction after they fail to thrive with bodies of mud and lumber? Is this the sense of "majesty" some people are so determined to protect, to piece back together with spit and tissue paper? Billions of years of cosmic violence and biological evolution condensed into a matter of days?

It was through the fields of science, after all, that humanity railed against the boundaries of ignorance and set itself upon wildly branching avenues of exploration, discovery, and the ultimate search for truth and meaning — better to be a tempted Eve than a wary Adam growing ever-stagnant in the haze of an outdated pipe dream. Yet perhaps, as American mythologist Joseph Campbell argues, humanity requires a bit of myth to better navigate the internal tidewaters that the "outside" sciences could scarcely hope to glimpse, much less travel.

It is remarkable to note (and in many ways not at all so) just how closely myths — our "public dreams," as Campbell calls them — can mirror scientific fact and theory. One such similarity can be seen in Campbell's assessment of the metallic symbols assigned to each of the cosmic spheres by the ancient Greeks. Campbell states, "And the soul descending from heaven to be born on Earth picked up, as it came down, the qualities of those metals; so that our souls and bodies are compounds of the very elements of the universe and sing, so to say, the same song." Those "metals" are the atomic elements present in our bodies that we now know originated in the hearts of dying stars. That "song" is perhaps the laws of our universe, the cosmic directive that all things that ever were, are, or will be must follow and uphold. Here we can see that science and myth need not be so estranged. Yet dashing the former to pieces in the name of convention rather than tested fact seems like the below the belt jab of a stuffy traditionalist, not a member of a species breaking new technological ground with each passing week.

We can still gaze heavenward and make our predictions, just as we did over the course of millennia when we first turned our naked eyes upon the stars, but it is science that serves as the cloth with which we have since wiped clean our collective lens. It is through those same numbers and figures that supposedly suck all the color and splendor from the world that we can best appreciate a universe that evidence suggests more or less assembled itself from a single mote of matter suspended in the void.

Megan E. Smith is a sophomore English major. Her dependency on coffee and Rumiko Takahashi's manga increases daily.