Thursday, December 13, 2007

In awe

Hat tip to Berlzebub for sharing this website.


The link contains the Top Ten Astronomy Pictures of 2007. All of the pictures are amazing and beautiful and awe inspiring, but it's this one that touched me.



It's amazing. It's a picture of IC 342, which- the site tells us- is only 11 million light years away.

I don't understand. I don't understand how a person can look at something like this and say, "Yeah. God made the earth." How? When here, this close to our own galaxy, is this amazingly complex and awesome collection of stars, smaller galaxies, and planets? How could someone on this planet be so arrogant, and ignorant, as to suggest that their perception of God dominates this vast sky scape? How can they be so arrogant as to assume that all of this (in the picture) can be explained by saying, "God did it." It can't! It shouldn't! Just in this one picture, there are thousands of things that can be said that give us a better understanding of space, matter, time, distance, energy, light, planets, stars, development of the cosmos,....but, to the Christian, all of those lessons are silenced by two things: 1) the need to place God as a creator and 2) their need to answer anything beyond their immediate capacity to understand with an embarrassingly crude sentence: God did it. I look at this picture and think, "There is so much I don't know and I want to know it. I want the beautiful and, possibly, devastating answers." And, if I don't know enough to understand those answers, then I want someone to teach me. Saying, "God did it...let's light the barbecue!" is pathetic, in response to something like this.

Possum1 and Possum2 looked at this picture and were full of questions. And, honestly, I couldn't answer them all. I was like, "Errr...mmmm...I'll have to see if I can find that answer for you, 'cause mommy's not that smart." :) But, I was amazed by their observations and thought processes. What kind of parent shuts that down with "God did it."? It's the worst extravagance to throw away those questions and light bulbs in children. The worst!

Ok. Now that I'm all worked up... *breathes* ----- *looks at the television*

Who put McCauley Caulkin in the Nutcracker? Tchaikovsky has probably done a double back pike in his grave.

17 comments:

Robert said...

Wait... you've never been to Bad Astronomy????????????

Thats gotta be some negative internet atheist points right there or something.

Atheist in a mini van. said...

I'm pretty sure I've been there before...but, it's one of those sites that I would go check out, love, and then forget it. Now it's in my favorites. I won't be forgetting it. :)

I know. I should be forced to take my Scarlet A down. LOL

Mark said...

Worse is when they don't just ignore the stars but try to bend the reality in front of them to fit their world view, jumping on studies which question whether the speed of light has always been constant (because of course if it isn't then that's a great reason to believe the entire cosmos is only 6000 years old!)

http://www.youngcosmos.com/blog/

overcaffein8d said...

you just put into words something I couldn't for the life of me.

really beautiful.

i have tried to tell people this, and they reply with a simple "why can't you just say 'god did it' and move on?"

Rasputin said...

Check out the Saturn picture from 2006.

http://www.badastronomy.com/bablog/2006/12/27/the-top-ten-astronomy-images-of-2006/

About seventeen times as awe inspiring as the Sistine Chapel.

Vamp said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Joe said...

Y'know, its just so much easier to say "God did it" than actually use a few pieces of the gray matter and think about it for a touch or two. Easier and so much sadder.

Wog the Bugger said...

Thanks for the thoughts... I can't agree more. There is a quote, "Everything in the universe is enough for me". I don't recall to whom to credit the quote. But I love it. Why in the hell would anyone need MORE then the awe and majesty of the natural universe? Sad what folks miss by devoting their lives to mythology.

PiGuy said...

That's exactly what I think, too. How can you be so freaking arrogant. As you no doubt know, this is often referred to as the Anthropic Principle. In its 'weak' form, it's essentially summarized by saying "The world (universe) was made for god's children here on Earth."

I was pretty sure that you used to be a gymnast. Certain now. Very cool. Gymnastics is the family sport here at Chateau Pi.

Atheist in a mini van. said...


I was pretty sure that you used to be a gymnast. Certain now. Very cool. Gymnastics is the family sport here at Chateau Pi.

I was, I was. ;)

I made it to Level 9 and then had to stop due to an injury. I then made a hobby (skating) and a pasttime (baseball) my new sports of choice - but, I'll always consider my true love to be gymnastics.

Dingle said...

Delurking :)

It's exactly views like this that make the theists say "Goddidit!".

They see something so awe inspiring and they seek to explain it... the only reason they come up with is a big sky fairy.

They don't like things they can't explain. The unknown scares them. Being able to say "Goddidit!" comforts them.

I just call it cowardice and a lack of imagination. :P

Berlzebub said...

P-Momma

When there are astronomy questions that you can't answer, you can email Mr. Plait (mailto:badastro_at_badastronomy_dot_com), or you can go to the BA Forum and ask a question. There are quite a few professional and hobbyist astronomers who can answer questions, if Phil somehow doesn't have the time, himself.

I hope to get Munchkin (and myself) a telescope, soon. That was something I really enjoyed, growing up. She's getting to that "why" stage, and I'm hoping I can show her there really are answers, if you're willing to look for them.

djt said...

Have seen McCaulkey in "Saved" and "Club Kids" (or something like that)? He does a really good job. I think you might enjoy the movie "Saved" ;-0 - would be great fodder for this blog.

Country Wife said...

Possum1 and Possum2 looked at this picture and were full of questions. And, honestly, I couldn't answer them all. I was like, "Errr...mmmm...I'll have to see if I can find that answer for you, 'cause mommy's not that smart." :) But, I was amazed by their observations and thought processes. What kind of parent shuts that down with "God did it."? It's the worst extravagance to throw away those questions and light bulbs in children.

Aren't kids amazing? We homeschool, so we run into stuff like this all the time, and our answer is always, "I don't know, let's look it up," and then it's off to the library.

I just cannot fathom squelching all that curiosity with "gawd did it".

Thranil said...

Your post made me think of this video of Neil deGrasse Tyson:

Soul of a nerd

Jim said...

For a real overwhelming sense of awe, try the Powers of Ten site.

http://micro.magnet.fsu.edu/primer/java/scienceopticsu/powersof10/

From the site: "View the Milky Way at 10 million light years from the Earth. Then move through space towards the Earth in successive orders of magnitude until you reach a tall oak tree just outside the buildings of the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory in Tallahassee, Florida. After that, begin to move from the actual size of a leaf into a microscopic world that reveals leaf cell walls, the cell nucleus, chromatin, DNA and finally, into the subatomic universe of electrons and protons."

It puts you in your place, literally and figuratively.

Jim said...

Hmmm... the link seems to get cut off if I try to paste it.

http://micro.magnet.fsu.edu/primer
/java/scienceopticsu/powersof10/