If we can interpret ancient myths correctly, they could lead us to more accurate and penetrating views of the history of the solar system.  They might teach us about the forces at work and explain anomalies bequeathed to us by a long-hidden past.  But how can we interpret these myths, the products of minds so far removed from ours?  How do we know which interpretation is correct, if any?  Are we doomed to speculate without ever achieving certainty?

Here we will interpret two Bronze Age myths to illustrate the high scientific value such myths might contain.  We will also see how easy it can be to understand a myth once the right interpretation becomes available.

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What makes a theory good? In his canonical 1991 book Inference to the Best Explanation, Peter Lipton attempts to answer this fraught question. The philosopher identifies eleven explanatory virtues that are often placed within four groupings: evidential, coherential, aesthetic, and diachronic. Two others, James Beebe1 and Kenneth Dillon2, draw upon the same categorical schema to present four other virtues for consideration.  All fifteen are listed and defined in the following table:

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