Did they think the universe had always existed? And was there even any serious scientific inquiry into the question, or was it pure speculation?

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    $\begingroup$ Might this be better suited for History of Science? In any event, the time before Hubble accounts for most of human history, and in fact most of scientific history, so this will need a long answer indeed. $\endgroup$
    – user10851
    Jan 16, 2016 at 20:27
  • $\begingroup$ So many different historic civilizations have comments on this, from the civilizations for example under an Abrahamic God and so on. $\endgroup$ Jan 16, 2016 at 21:16
  • $\begingroup$ While this is clearly off-topic, statistically most "people" never thought about the question and they are still not thinking about it, so the phase transition between cosmologically naive and cosmologically educated humanity simply hasn't happened, yet, and that is completely independent of how you define "standard cosmology" of the local cultures. $\endgroup$
    – CuriousOne
    Jan 17, 2016 at 3:04
  • $\begingroup$ To whomever voted to close this as primarily opinion-based: A question about the opinions of past generations may be "based on their opinions", but it has possible factual answers (derived from records of that time) and is not "primarily opinion-based" as a question. I do, however, think that this is not a physics question, and should be migrated to History of Science and Mathematics. $\endgroup$
    – ACuriousMind
    Jan 17, 2016 at 15:46


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