Let’s have a discussion about science and religion. Don’t get nervous we won’t be passing the collection plate or having a commitment time for the congregation. We are going to look at the world and universe we have and the science that makes it tick and see if there is any evidence or reasonable deductions we can draw from that analysis.
We won’t be looking into the far corners of the universe, checking out matters that are light years away. We can save that for another day. All we need for today is to examine the relationship between our home, earth, and the Sun. The Sun after all is our ultimate life-source. Without it we would simply not exist. It is also the genesis of all our energy. Whether you are talking wind, solar or fossil fuels the Sun is the beginning point. We are about 93 million miles from the Sun which is the life-giving and life-nourishing sweet spot. Closer and we would be too hot to support life and farther away and we would be too cold. It is that Goldilocks distance–just right. Even though we see the Sun crossing across the sky each day we know that it is not what is moving it is the earth rotating. You can appreciate why ancient man would think it was the Sun that moved because that is what they could see with their eyes. But long ago many had figured out that indeed it was the earth’s motion that made it appear that the Sun moved. Earth’s spin is what also gives us life. If our rotation period was a 100 days, not 24 hours we wouldn’t exist. Maybe amoebas would but not humans. Two other critical astronomical factors allow us to exist. It takes 365 days to orbit the Sun and earth is tilted on its axis.
That tilt is vital to life because it is one of the main facts that gives us seasons and thus life. As we circle the Sun our planet doesn’t spin exactly straight up and down relative to the Sun. The tilt is about 23 1/2 degrees. That tilt and the 365 days is what gives us our seasons which allows both plant and animal life to exist. The tilt is what makes the days so short in winter and so long it summer in the northern and southern hemispheres. During the arc from spring to summer that tilt causes the Sun to rise farther in the north each day and the Sun will be directly over head at the Summer Solstice at 23 1/2 degrees north of the equator in the northern hemisphere. Likewise the Sun on that same day will be 23 1/2 degrees farther north in the southern hemisphere. That rhythm of the Sun moving up and down the horizon during the seasons makes it possible to grow our crops and all life to rejuvenate itself with the cycles. If there was no tilt to the earth we would have more or less constant summer most everywhere on earth. That might be nice for some who enjoy beaches but the unrelenting heat would prevent any but the most primitive life forms. We’ve known of the position of the Sun for centuries. We even have names for those two locations of the Sun’s highest points in the sky in both hemispheres. North of the equator we call it the Tropic of Cancer which runs through Mexico and over to North Africa and on to the Pacific regions. In the southern hemisphere is it called the Tropic of Capricorn which crosses through Brazil, on the South Africa and across mid Australia. You will see them marked on all world maps and globes.
You can use a stick to mark the movement of the Sun yourself by measuring the length of the shadow cast by the stick. It has a fancy name called a gnomon. As you move from spring to summer the shadow will grow shorter with the passing days until it reaches Summer Solstice and then it will be its slow but steady lengthening until the Winter Solstice when it will be the longest because the Sun will be so low in the southern sky. It is very similar to marking the time of day with a sundial just extended over a longer period. Again that tilt is just right.
The laws and actions of physics, chemistry and biology are there and real. They do what they do every time. Two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atoms will produce water every time. That is unless the temperature or pressure will prevent it formation but again that is expected under the rules of physics and chemistry. It just happens. Those rules and laws of science do not care, they do not want. They have no purpose. For short hand we call those laws and rules Mother Nature. But she is not like any “Mother” you know or have ever heard of. She is indifferent to any offspring or whether there is any offspring at all. Things happen–period.
Something blessed earth. Pure science would dictate that our earth should be just another dead lump floating in space or supporting only basic life forms at best of viruses or single cell organisms. What if it took 1200 days to orbit the Sun? What if the tilt was 50 degrees? What if our rotation was 10 days long not 24? In all those cases and all the others you can imagine we simply wouldn’t be here. Just luck? Guess again. Of all the literally trillions of options available for a lump circling a Sun what are the odds of that? My mind leads me to God and my heart is gladdened at the revelation. That is the greatest discovery that each man must make on his own. When considering the existence of a divine Providence I encourage you to never be afraid of scientific inquiry. It is enticing to want to believe there is no purpose to life because then there is no accountability for our actions. Something gave us this Eden in the universe and it wasn’t merely Mother Nature. You figure it out. I can only say I believe there is a road map to the truth but you have to find the road on your own.
“Quo Vadis” –where are you going? www. olcranky.wordpress.com