Shakespeare on Astrology

Edmund ‘This is the excellent foppery of the world, that, when we are sick in fortune,—often the surfeit of our own behaviour,—we make guilty of our disasters the sun, the moon, and the stars; as if we were villains on necessity; fools by heavenly compulsion; knaves, thieves, and treachers by spherical pre-dominance; drunkards, liars, and adulterers by an enforced obedience of planetary influence; and all that we are evil in, by a divine thrusting on: an admirable evasion of whoremaster man, to lay his goatish disposition to the charge of a star! My father compounded with my mother under the dragon’s tail, and my nativity was under ursa major; so that it follows I am rough and lecherous.—Tut!’

– Reed International Books Ltd. 1992. The Illustrated Stratford Shakespeare London, Great Britain: Chancellor Press (1996) p. 836

Conversations: Arrogant Scientists?

As many critics of religion have pointed out, the notion of a creator poses an immediate problem of an infinite regress. If God created the universe, what created God?

The God of most monotheists is believed to be an uncreated entity.

To say that God, by definition, is uncreated simply begs the question. The truth is that no one knows how or why the universe came into being. It is not clear that we can even speak coherently about the creation of the universe, given that such an event can be conceived only with reference to time, and here we are talking about the birth of space-time itself.

The physicist Stephen Hawking, for instance, pictures space-time as a four dimensional, closed manifold, without beginning or end (much like the surface of a sphere). Having said that, any intellectually honest person will admit that he does not know why the universe exists. Scientists, of course, readily admit their ignorance on this point. Religious believers do not. Continue reading

On the Closed Universe

“The universe is like a safe to which there is a combination, but the combination is locked in the safe.”

– Peter de Vries

Conversations: Civilization of Ignorance

All complex life on earth has developed from simpler life forms over billions of years. This is a fact that no longer admits of intelligent dispute. If you doubt that human beings evolved from prior species, you may as well doubt that the sun is a star.

Well, not to be facetious, but the sun doesn’t look like any other star.

Granted, the sun doesn’t seem like an ordinary star, but we know that it is a star that just happens to be relatively close to the earth.

The point is this: imagine your potential for embarrassment if your religious faith rested on the presumption that the sun was not a star at all. Imagine millions of Christians in the United States spending hundreds of millions of dollars each year to battle the godless astronomers and astrophysicists on this point. Imagine them working passionately to get their unfounded notions about the sun taught in our nation’s schools. This is exactly the situation Christians are now in with respect to evolution. Continue reading

On Humility

“I have always thought it curious how poorly humility is reconciled with the egocentric belief that the Universe has been created with you in mind and that its creator takes a constant interest in your sordid personal affairs.”

– Willem Etsenmaker

Earth is Born

Birth of a planet
4.5 billion years ago

Earth grew from a cloud of dust and rocks surrounding the young Sun. Earth formed when some of these rocks collided. Eventually they were massive enough to attract other rocks with the force of gravity, and vacuumed up all the nearby junk, becoming the Earth. The Moon probably formed soon after, when a planet-sized chunk of rock smashed into the Earth and threw up a huge cloud of debris. This condensed into the Moon.

See other: History of Life