Star of Wonder

It is hard to imagine that our ancestors all of the way back through time ‘believed’ that the sky was 2-dimensional and that the stars were pasted on a dome surrounding our earth.  Hell, Copernicus was laughed-at by non-thinking imbeciles in his society when he suggested that we were not the center of the universe.  And that was just 500 years ago. Imagine the ignorance that prevailed for all of the millenia before Copernicus, including the mythical cosmology contained in the Bible when they believed the sky was a solid dome or firmament and the Sun, Moon, and stars embedded in it.

   Imagine that. Now imagine a religion based on that kind of thinking- a religion that still operates here in the first decade of the 21st century.

O star of wonder, star of night,
Star with royal beauty bright;
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to Thy perfect light.

A star ‘guiding’ the travelers as it moved in the firmament.

A star that then stood still over the Dead Sea.

A star that pinpointed with a narrow beam of light in GPS fashion a specific piece of earth, a cave   opening.

Of course, as children we sang that song believing that such an event had occurred some 2000 years ago. But then, we also believed that Santa came down our chimney but that his red suit was soot-proof.

Two days ago NASA scientists discovered two more earth-sized planets in our Milky Way Galaxy, Kepler 20-e and 20-f. These are the 713th and 714th extrasolar planets discovered so far. The latest two mark the first time that planets as small as our own have been detected. Astrophysicists tend to think that our size of planet is the Goldilocks ‘just right’ size on which lifeforms could develop.  

Neither of these two newly discovered planets, however, could sustain the type of life forms that we have on earth because the surface temperatures are way-too hot. That’s the other Goldilocks test.

“We’ve crossed a threshold: For the first time, we’ve been able to detect planets smaller than the Earth around another star,” lead researcher François Fressin of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass., told “We proved that Earth-size planets exist around other stars like the sun, and most importantly, we proved that humanity is able to detect them. It’s the beginning of an era.”

The beginning of a brand-new era in science for sure.
Back in 1543, Nicolaus Copernicus lay on his deathbed not knowing that the printing of his book had been completed. He had delayed finishing the book because he did not want to offend the church with his ideas. He asked two Lutheran theologians to review the book and was unsure if they would find it acceptable to the church. Imagine that!
Today in Europe one can find a 10 Euro coin honoring Kepler and in Poland a coin honoring Copernicus. Not only that, but the Episcopalian Church honors both men with a special feast day, May 23.
Star of wonder. Wonder indeed and isn’t it a pathetic wonder that, here in the 21st century, there are still millions of Americans who don’t believe in science, but do believe in the myth, mystery and magic of the wonders of the Bible?

19 thoughts on “Star of Wonder

  1. Great looking coins, mudrake! But what this country REALLY needs is a coin bearing YOUR image! :-)

  2. You say that it is hard to imagine that our ancestors all of the way back through time believed that the sky was 2-dimensional and that the stars were pasted on a dome surrounding our earth. I remember well as a young boy in living in the suburbs of Baltimore, we watched the space launch in school as it was history in the making of John Glen on February 20, 1962 when he circled the earth.

    A couple of days later a classmate said in front of his father when we and others were talking about John Glen as the first American to go around the earth, this boy’s father, a devout “Old Testament” Christian, slapped his son along side of his head because he had made a “Blasphemous Religious Statement” against the teachings of the Bible. The adult man’s reply was that the Bible says the world is flat and he had better not hear him making another statement like that again or he was going to get a “Good Whippin.”

    Well as young boys that saw this man’s outlandish actions, we were all shocked and embarrassed for our classmate, but more to the fact that we as young boys knew more truth of science fact than that older adult man. He refused to accept that an earth bound man had gone into space and circled the earth because it was against the Bible’s teachings.

    Now when you comment on those who have the “Religious Conservative Blog Sites” threatening you with attacks and violence by commenting and posting the flaws of their viewpoints along with inaccurate facts….I think of this young classmate’s father.

    Those “Bloggers” on the sites you mentioned, are just as ignorant, with blinders to science truth, those who still perpetuate a religion based on this kind of “Old Testament” thinking. Yes, here in the first decade of the 21st century where “Evolutionary Facts” are denied in favor of inconsistent writings from the Bible’s book of Genesis. They not only deny this science but other sciences too such as Genetic DNA, Astrophysics, Chemistry, Physics, etc.

    Now to those we are now referring to would say that recognizing these science facts are a sin against God. Well I say that it is a sin to squander the talents that God gave you such as critical thinking, reasoning, employing your intelligence, and just as God gave us “Freedom of Choice” to accept these truths and facts. To reject and deny those gifts that God gave us….IS MUCH MORE OF A SIN because you are throwing these gifts right back into his face.

    Those Bible Thumping Fundamentalist Christians who attach those of us who expand and practice those talents….I would venture to say it is you who is going to have to answer to God for your sins in due time.

  3. I had a glimpse of the Lovejoy comet last week as it became visible to the naked eye here in Europe in the morning daylight as it neared the sun. My neighbor is an astronomy buff and we located it. It was a a real thrill, but we knew what we were looking at. I heard that the Lovejoy comet was visible as it survived it’s orbit around the sun, but the clouds returned…. and then it was catapulted back out of the solar system in its lonely orbit. I’m not sure when it will make its next visit. You write of Kepler and Kopernicus, but they are recent history in the time line of mans fascination with the stars. It’s only been a short time span that mankind has had even an inkling of what is really happening beyond his all too limited horizon. Myths have had ages to evolve. It has taken a long time for what we call religion to etch its fear based system of dealing with the infinite into the core of our beings. We are mere humans, we want simple answers to complex questions.
    The truth will always be more fantastic than we can grasp in our little spans…that’s the magnificence of science. Knowledge stands on the shoulders of knowledge and we always reach higher.

  4. Hello Microdot,
    Well stated my friend with “Knowledge stands on the shoulders of knowledge and we always reach higher.”

    One of my favorite quotes and I have it on a photo of Frank Lloyd Wright’s famous house, Falling Water. It goes:

    “Man, unlike any other thing organic or inorganic in the universe, grows beyond his work, walks up the stairs of his concepts, and emerges ahead of his accomplishments.”

    John Ernst Steinbeck (The Grapes of Wrath)

    As far as the other group, they want to start an argument were there was none with the non-issue of saying “Merry Christmas” or not. If you take into consideration of other of different faiths and just wish a Season’s Greetings, “Then It Is An Attack On Christmas.”

    The “Nut Jobs” can be so easily “Whipped Up.”

  5. Who the F##k are you calling Reactionary, you Son-of-a-B###h?????…..:)

    Actually, I always enjoyed Earth-Space Sciences more than Biology,or Chemistry…………………………………

  6. It’s not just old and new facts they refuse to recognize. Now they’re just plain making stuff up. Here’s a quote from the masthead of one of the “unwashed masses”:
    “It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible.”
    -George Washington

    Easily disproved and research shows this particular misquote started turning up around 1835. In a blog entry, he also makes claims about Christianity; seems he’s unaware of any of the older or more widespread religions of the World. And these people want to carry guns. I really think the requirements for gun ownership should include an I.Q. test.

    (And today he’s claiming to have been in Desert Storm. Only problem is he was out of the military, serving 1988-1990, and married before that took place. Well, I think he should have gone all the way and claimed to be the Shepherd Boy who saw the star!)

      1. Ah, the beauty of the Internet. You sure got it down; must’ve learned that from your buddy Sepp. Talk all the smack you want about people and never have to prove anything. But before tying that trick too often, you should review what you have previously posted taking special care to review any dates.

        And isn’t it ironic you’re encouraging people who work for a living to break the law. And then there’s your total lack of any understanding of bills being debated in Washington; but that doesn’t stop you from making nonfactual observations.

  7. It’s not just old and new facts they refuse to recognize. Now they’re just plain making stuff up.

    Of course, but then, it makes him/them happy. Mixing bits of truth with fiction has always been the ‘game’ of the swindler, the snake oil salesman. And when there is a cadre of like-minded people to whom you preach, then the entire group shouts, “AMEN!”

    That’s why I enjoy the conversation over here in the real world. As you know NON, I’ve used the metaphor of bubble universes to separate our reality from their fiction. My post above is actually much about that same point. The blogger to whom you refer has a small amount of knowledge and a large reservoir of propaganda which is a perfect combination for shysters to prey upon [and ministers to pray on]. It really is pathetic to watch that combination unfold day after day. It’s bad enough when this type has private conversations with buddies, but terribly shocking when they publish their ‘thoughts’ on the Internet for the whole world to witness.

    I have no doubt that he would have been one of the rubble who would have shouted down and condemned Kepler and Copernicus for their ‘radical and liberal’ ideas about cosmology.

    As you referenced him, NON, I just now checked his blog to find this interesting statement: Jesus existed. We have irrefutable proof of that. Jesus was crucified. Again, rock solid.

    Rock solid? Irrefutable proof? Oh, I suppose he refers to the Gospels and I’m betting that he ‘believes’ that Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were Jesus’s disciples who wrote biographies of their own experiences with the man.

    A little knowledge, wide open for propaganda.

    This is why I enjoy the comments on this blog, NON. They are fact-based and sensible. Not only that, but interesting and diverse as well, from people who have actually gotten out of the turnip truck.

    1. Ya know, I wouldn’t have minded if the Bible were a collection of moral stories that could be read to children. I mean, there are a lot of really good stories that could be modified to fit today’s world.

      But what I could never understand is why there were some stories that were just plain mean and hateful…….Ah-ha! Then I learned the history of the Bible and how it was put together by men with less than honorable intentions. I assume some chapters were left as is, but many were “translated” to mean something entirely different. And of course, many chapters were just plain left out.

      I’ve been trying to study the history of the Bible to understand why it was changed and the consequences of those changes. Once again I’ll add my favorite opinion of the Bible: “If the King James’ version was good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for me!”

      1. I wouldn’t have minded if the Bible were a collection of moral stories that could be read to children.

        That’s exactly the idea of the authors of the O.T. It is Hebrew Midrash or storytelling. The [c]hristian fundamentalists don’t get the story part and ‘believe’ that it is all real, all historical fact.

  8. Hello All,
    I would like to pass on this thought. According to the Bible within the Gospel of Matthew associates the birth of Jesus with the reign of Herod the Great, who is generally believed to have died around 4 BC during the birth of Jesus. Then we have the inconsistency when Matthew 2:1 states that: “Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the King.” Then there is Luke 1:5 mentions the reign of Herod shortly before the birth of Jesus. Matthew also suggests that Jesus may have been as much as two years old at the time of the visit of the Magi and hence even older at the time of Herod’s death. But the author of Luke also describes the birth as taking place during the first census of the Roman provinces of Syria and Judea, which is generally believed to have occurred in 6 AD. These are known as the “Synoptic Gospels.” All inconsistant with each other but all taken as “Bible Facts” by Fundamental Evangelical Christians. An odd non-critical thinking group I may note.

    Anyway the story goes on when King Herod hears of Jesus’ birth from the Wise Men and tries to kill him by massacring all the male children in Bethlehem under the age of two, which is known as the “Massacre of the Innocents.” But before the massacre, Joseph is warned by an angle in his dreams and the family flees to Egypt and remains there until Herod’s death, after which they leave Egypt and settle in Nazareth to avoid living under the authority of Herod’s son and successor Archelaus. So to summarize, Joseph, Virgin Mary, and Jesus when threatened took off for Egypt for safety.

    The “Key Thought” to remember here is “Flees To Egypt” which was NOT out of the norm back then for those being persecuted. This is very much accepted, believed, and preached by Fundamental Evangelical Christians and taken as Bible facts today.

    Now let’s address the death of Jesus’ time frame.

    After Jesus was crucified the disciples were hunted down, turn in as criminals and executed. As an example Peter and Paul only lived about two years after Jesus and were killed by the Romans along with James, Jesus’ brother, and anyone else who they thought were connected with Jesus and his teachings.

    (A point of interest is that Peter and Paul, the founders of Christianity, were constantly arguing that the other was not passing on the teachings of Jesus correctly. Peter said that you had to first become Jewish, which meant “become circumcised,” before you could become a Christian; where as Paul dealing with the Greek and other Gentile or “Goy” populations took a person’s acceptance as good enough. Paul’s congregation would eat pork and not practice other Jewish traditions which really pissed off Peter’s congregation.)

    Now let’s interject the Gospels of Mary Magdalene, Thomas, and John. After Jesus death, these three “Fled to Egypt” and wrote their Gospels and accounts with Jesus. According to all three of these disciples’ accounts, Mary Magdalene was married to Jesus and was pregnant with their child, “Sophia,” (Hebrew for Princes) where she was born in Egypt. These are know as the “Gnostic Gospels” and named for the area of Egypt were the three disciples escaped to and lived for many years.

    Now for some reason these Holy Gospels passed on and by Jesus disciples and written down, are not to be considered accurate and even blasphemy by the same Fundamental Evangelical Christians.

    I will close by restating again, “An odd non-critical thinking group.”

  9. but all taken as “Bible Facts” by Fundamental Evangelical Christians. An odd non-critical thinking group I may note.

    Engineer- exactly so. The greatest sadness about the entire scenario is that they don’t know that they are hoodwinked. They turn it on us and condemn us for not ‘believing’ in this nonsense.

    Wow! I’ll bet that +90% ‘believe’ that he was born on 25 December. Of course, that line from the Gospel that notes that the shepherds were tending their flocks [Luke 2:8] might give anyone with a brain that shepherds don’t tend their flocks in winter. But then as you said, Engineer, they are “An odd non-critical thinking group.”

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