Home > Atheism, Hitchens, Hubble, Reason, Science vs Religion, secular, space > Well, it’s not the light from the burning bush but…

Well, it’s not the light from the burning bush but…

“If you will devote a little time to studying the staggering photographs taken by the Hubble telescope, you will be scrutinizing things that are far more awesome and mysterious and beautiful-and more chaotic and overwelming and forbidding-than any creation or “end of days” story. If you read Hawking on the “event horizon,” that theoretical lip of the “black hole” over which one could in theory plunge and see the past and the future (except that one would, regrettably and by definition, not have enough “time”), I shall be surprised if you can still go on gaping at Moses and his unimpressive “burning bush.”” – Christopher Hitchens God is Not Great

“FOUR hundred years ago our understanding of the universe changed for ever. On August 25th 1609 an Italian mathematician called Galileo Galilei demonstrated his newly constructed telescope to the merchants of Venice. Shortly afterwards he turned it on the skies. He saw mountains casting shadows on the moon and realised this body was a world, like the Earth, endowed with complicated terrain. He saw the moons of Jupiter—objects that circled another heavenly body in direct disobedience of the church’s teaching. He saw the moonlike phases of Venus, indicating that this planet circled the sun, not the Earth, in even greater disobedience of the priests. He saw sunspots, demonstrating that the sun itself was not the perfect orb demanded by the Greek cosmology that had been adopted by the church. But he also saw something else, a thing that is often now forgotten. He saw that the Milky Way, that cloudy streak across the sky, is made of stars.” –The Economist

“[H]e asked, in what might be seen as an act of either modesty or bravura, that the telescope be pointed at a typical patch of sky and left there for the whole period, to see what it could see.

The result was the Hubble Deep Field, a fantastically detailed image of a small region in a constellation called Ursa Major. The field of view is so narrow that only about 20 stars from the Milky Way, the galaxy in which the Earth resides, lie within it. What it shows instead is almost 3,000 galaxies, some of which are the most distant (and hence the youngest) ever observed. The image demonstrates that the universe is, indeed, uniform over large scales and that the Earth occupies a typical region of it.” – The Economist

“”But the whole universe is outside us. Look at the stars! Some of them are a million light-years away. They are out of our reach forever.”
“What are the stars?” said O’Brien indifferently. “They are bits of fire a few kilmeters away. We could reach them if we wanted to. Or we could blot them out. The earth is the center of the universe. The sun and the stars go round it.”
“For certain purposes, of course, that is not true. When we navigate the ocean, or when we predict an eclipse, we often find it convenient to assume that the earth goes round the sun and that the stars are millions upon millions of kilometers away. But what of it? Do you suppose it is beyond us to produce a dual system of astronomy? The stars can be near or distant, according as we need them. Do you suppose our mathematicians are unequal to that? Have you forgotten doublethink?”
Winston shrank back upon the bed. Whatever he said, the swift answer crushed him like a bludgeon. And yet he knew, he knew, that he was in the right. The belief that nothing exists outside your own mind-surely there must be some way of demonstrating that it was false? Had it not been exposed long ago as a fallacy? There was even a name for it, which he had forgotten. A faint smile twitched the corners of O’Brien’s mouth as he looked down at him.
“I told you, Winston,” he said, “that metaphysics is not your strong point. The word you are trying to think of is solipsism.” -George Orwell 1984
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