Some people resent reductionism because it sweeps away many mysteries. Behind spooky phenomena, reductionists have shown, are the ordinary ticktocks of nature’s machinery, the concealed ropes and pulleys of cosmic-scale Penn and Teller tricks. Indeed, reductionism has reinforced the old philosophical suspicion that there is something vaguely unreal about ”reality”: as the Greek philosopher Democritus said, it’s all just atoms and the void. To a hyper-reductionist, the invisibly small microworld is more ”real” than everything else. Bigger objects — cats, toasters, people, the sun, galactic superclusters — are just second-order consequences. The atoms or quarks or leptons (or ”strings,” if you follow the latest trendy theories) are what count, while you and I are just ephemera.