Thursday, 15 March 2012


There is something quite awe inspiring about astronomy. Standing there beneath all those billions of stars can give you a great perspective on matters.
It is the distances and sheer size of everything up there that always makes me pause and i have spent hours this week staring up at the dazzling spectacle of Jupiter and Venus side by side in the night sky.
We seem to take for granted the night sky without actually stopping to consider that there is this thing in the sky tonight, approximately 400 million miles away, and we can see it beside something else approximately 26 million miles away.
That's staggering but then the second thing that strikes me is that what i am looking at at this moment out of my window as i type this, can be seen by every other single person on the planet. All 7 billion of us can turn up our faces and see the same moon that I am looking at right now and was seen by every human that has ever lived.
The very first cavemen, if they looked up, saw the same stars and planets that we are looking at today in 2012 and there is something beautiful about that thought. Everybody in our history books, famous and infamous, would
have seen those same constellations, stars, planets and nebula's that are above us tonight and everyone from this day until the earth dies in billions of years time will see them also.
You can't help but feel very small and insignificant yet awestruck by it all.


Anonymous said...

yeah the randomn and pure luck of it all is amazing isn't it? there was nothing and then suddenly nothing evolved into something. evolution is awesome!


Cheezy said...

Q: You seem to be making the same mistake that a lot of creationists do, in thinking that evolution purports to explain the origins of things. It does nothing of the sort. It is a theory about how existing things change over time. 'Simplicity into complexity' is very different to 'something from nothing'... So this leaves ample room for creationists to believe in God, Buddha, Allah, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, or L Ron Hubbard, just as they see fit. Knock yourselves out.

Science has demolished a great many religious 'sacred cows' lately, particularly over the past two hundred years (which is the blink-of-an-eye in terms of millennial time) but not yet this one.

Lucy: I've been feeling starstruck this week too. I was up in rural Bedfordshire on the weekend and we were outside cooking some food over an open fire (yes, in early March!) and we noticed those two bright lights side-by-side. Luckily my friend had his iPad with him and it's got this fantastic app that lets you hold it up to the night sky and find out what stars/constellations/planets you're looking at, so we found out pretty quickly that it was Jupiter and Venus (the latter of which was particularly bright, easily the brightest in the sky). We'd have looked for the other two planets that are apparently also visible at the moment, but we got sidetracked with another iPad app that lets you hold it up to overflying aircraft and find out exactly what they are! Freaky... 'Hello 20.05 Ryanair to Stockholm'.

Anonymous said...

yes i know that cheeezy. i was actually repeating what evolutionists tell me over and over again. i see eveolution like you. stuff changes over time...

they say evolution disproves god. i say it disproves the interpretation of the bible by various religions. i then ask them "how did nothing evolve into something?"

then the conversation ends and they tell me how much of a stupid, uneducated, backwoods, gun totin, cheap-beer guzzlin, boot wearin, racist, sexist, blood thirsty, truck drivin hick from texas i am (kinda like david g. only he takes the brainwash angle) and tell me how smart they are... but they never answer my question. how does nothing evolve into an atom (or even a subatomic particle)?

i don't know the origin of god, but then i don't pretend that i do... physicists haven't helped either. the big bang is all cool and everything, but what banged? recently even hawkins (who has a strong emotional and physical case for hating god) admitted that he can't disprove god as a possible answer to creation.


Cheezy said...

"hawkins (who has a strong emotional and physical case for hating god) admitted that he can't disprove god as a possible answer to creation."

We're definitely still at a point where these things are impossible to disprove, so Hawking is being candid in admitting this much.

But I'd be very careful in attributing Hawking's views about cosmology and the origins of the universe to his disability. A couple of good reasons for this: Firstly, a great many people who are similarly afflicted are devout theists. A cynic might suggest that this is because they'd like to imagine a better & less painful 'life' for themselves after they die, floating around with the angels in heaven etc... But that would be just as presumptuous as thinking that Hawking is a non-believer because of his own physical problems. And secondly, I reckon that any random sampling of scientists (particularly cosmological scientists and/or physicists) would turn up a majority of (at-least-agnostics but probably mainly) atheists. So it's no surprise that Hawking is one of them.

"physicists haven't helped either."

Well, we have physicists to thank for a wealth of knowledge that we now have, that we did not have before the enlightenment and the widespread uptake of the scientific method. Just because they can't answer every question at this current point in time doesn't mean that a) they haven't advanced our knowledge hugely during the past few hundred years, and b) they won't continue to advance our knowledge in a similarly profound way in the years, decades, centuries, and millennia to come. You must admit that we've made serious strides in understanding our planet and the wider universe since we stopped listening to the church on these matters...

Anyhow, I don't think that people who believe in any of mankind's gods are stupid**. That would be writing off an altogether too big a chunk of humanity for my liking. The sort of bickering and emnity that often accompanies the God vs No God debate is a bit of a waste of time, and actually an impediment to the honest and unfettered pursuit of knowledge, in my opinion.

**Although I do believe that 'Young Earth Christians' and evolution-deniers and others who simply ignore scientific fact probably are quite stupid - in that particular way anyway.

Anonymous said...


candid indeed, still a rare admission by him.

i didn't assume anything about hawking. i said "he has a good case". i stand by that. i didn't say it was his motivation.

i didn't say physicists add no value. i said they haven't provided the answer to the specific question of creation... they have disspelled many myths that substantiated self-serving religions. they have helped us improve the human condition in many ways - bravo!

you may not consider believers to be stupid, but lots of people do...


Cheezy said...

"you may not consider believers to be stupid, but lots of people do..."

Sure, just like there are loads of religious people who will cheerfully tell me that I'm destined for an eternity in the burning pit of hell, all because I don't share their liking for a particular flavour of supernatural belief.

Take any random sample of humanity and you'll find a good number of the rude, the pig-headed, the ignorant, the arrogant... No particularly group has a mortgage on these 'qualities'.

I try to avoid any stress by refusing to give a nutty shit about what any of them may think. And I generally succeed ;-)

Lucy said...

I look at the stars and planets and feel amazed at what they are and where they are and how all my past and future ancestors will see the same thing as me. I accept the big bang theory because there is evidence for it, show me your evidence to the contrary and i will rethink.

Anonymous said...

call it big bang it that makes you feel better...

sounds a lot like genesis - and god said let there be light...


Lucy said...

Genesis? As soon as you bring Phil Collins into it i know you have no argument.

Didn't God create light before he created the Sun?

Anonymous said...

kinda like the big bang huh? there was a big bang (light) then the universe expanded, the stars (suns), planets and the like were formed from the expanding matter...

further, supposedly god took 6 days to create everything. crazy say the biologists and geologists. physicists however say that as an object approaches the speed of light time slows down for that object relative to everthing else. what if god existed at the speed of light. maybe a few billion geologist years would just be a few days to god?

and don't underestimate phil collins...


Cheezy said...

"maybe a few billion geologist years would just be a few days to god"

I reckon that, if there is a God, then he'd definitely be in a union. So there's no way the bosses would trick him into working more than an 8 hour day by using that old 'time slowing down' trick. He'd be wise to that.