Lunar Eclipse

I got up early this morning and headed into campus to view the lunar eclipse. Wow! It was as beautiful as ever. Before this year, I had never taken the time to view a lunar eclipse. However, this is the second one I’ve seen this year. Sure, I lost a few hours sleep, but man was it worth it.

This was a two-for-one morning, since the eclipse was right at sunrise. First I got to see the beautiful red-moon, and then watch it disappear as the sun rose in the opposite sky.

There has been a rumor going around, re-enforced by legitimate news sources reporting that Mars will be as big as the moon for a while. This is completely false, of course, but looking up at the moon this morning, I can see how the rumor could have gotten started. It took only the tiniest leap of the imagination to think of the moon as mars up close. Never-the-less, it was still imaginary.

So if you missed out this morning, too bad! Next time around, take my advice: Lose a couple hours of sleep and see something beautiful.

Creativity and a War on Science

Lifehacker is talking about the benefits of skepticism.

Creativity – The best way to prevent new solutions is to believe you already have the answer. Allowing a gap of doubt can allow creative alternatives to flow in. If you are adamant that advertising will not work for your product, you might cut off hundreds of ideas for improving your business.

Amen to that!  There are several others listed, and I completely agree with what is being said.  Skepticism has been the route to balance in my life, the route to understanding.

There is also an amusing story from The Big Room calling for a government War on Science. I find the idea amusing.

What If? A Hypothetical Look at the Bible

The Friendly Christian was asking what turns us off from Christianity. I gave my answer there, but I want to expand a bit on one point.

One of the main reasons I can’t be a Christian is what I call the ‘non-uniqueness’ of Christianity. If Christianity was really the one source truth, and all other religions were wrong, wouldn’t there be some very obvious indicators for it? Having posed that question, the first thing that needs to be discovered is what would be an indicator of truth?

There could be a long discussion here about ‘what is truth,’ and/or ‘how do we know what truth is,’ but I’m bored of such discussions. Truth is a representation of realit y. In other words, a ‘true statement’ would be an statement that accurate reflects reality. We verify that something is true through logic, reason, and emperical evidence.

With that out of the way, it’s time to pose my hypotheticals about the bible. What if the following would have happened?

Hypothetical #1
What if the Genesis actually followed the path of creation we know to be true? For example, there was an explosion, and then gas formed, and the gas gathered into stars, and the stars formed into galaxies, and eventually our own star was formed, and around that star was our planet. Et cettera. It would not be difficult to describe this even to a primitive people roaming the desert four thousand years ago. They may not have understood at the time, but it would be something for them to marvel, and then eventually come to understand. And how glorifying that would have been for god! It would be a win-win all around.

Hypothetical #2
[EDIT:  This wording was terrible]
What if instead of portraying men as superior to women, the bible explicitely stated that all people were equal, without regard for gender, ethnicity, or anything else? What if god had given them a morality we could recognize today as ‘good’ instead of something that believers today try very hard to ignore and rationalize away?

Hypothetical #3
What if instead of burnt offerings and other ceremonies, god decided he wanted to have us show our devotion through service to others? You say that Jesus did that? Why the hell wasn’t it like that from the beginning? Some might say that the people weren’t ready, and God was just guiding them along with what they could handle. Can you honestly believe that? Are we better moral beings than what existed a few thousand years ago? The ideas simply hadn’t been invented yet, which is quite obvious when we look at how quickly democracy and similar ideas were adopted after their invention among multiple civilazations. It’s also interesting to note how opposed the church has always been to these ideas, which we know to be good, or at the very least, better than what we had before.

Ok, there are three examples of possible ‘truth indicators’ that could have been unique to Christianity/Judaism. Instead what we see time and time again is that both are copycat religions. They take ideas that have been in use elsewhere, steal them, and use them as their own. And even then, we can see that they still have bad ideas, with little verifiable truth to be found. Sure there’s lots of stuff they say is true, but can’t be proven, but those things are meaningless because of it.

The fact of the matter is that where Christianity has the opportunity to shine as a beacon of truth, it fails miserably. And that is cause for great consideration.