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Old 02-07-2020, 03:00 AM   #183 (permalink)
AlericB
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Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Chester, UK
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Yes, good to talk about something else...

The fourth sphere in the picture has clearly been doctored. But that doesn't mean it's been doctored by NASA...

I don't know if you've ever seen any of Carl Sagan's TV programmes or read any of his books but as a boy I remember watching his brilliant TV series "Cosmos". He was a scientist who was a brilliant communicator, also a bit of an atheist but very good at raising deep questions. You may know about his writing about "the pale blue dot" but let me tell you what that is in case you haven't come across it. It's all about the space probe Voyager going out to explore the far parts of the distant solar system and Sagan persuaded NASA to turn it's cameras backwards so that instead of seeing where it was going it would look back from where it had come. And back came a picture of complete blackness but with one pixel that was pale blue, and that's the Earth. And Sagan just said look this is amazing. That is our world. It's so tiny, so infinitesimal but to us its what really matters.

I agree with that but I do think there's more to be said. One of the Psalms says something like "When I survey the heaven's, the work of your fingers, what is man (and woman!) that you are concerned about him. But you made us knowing that we matter to you."

And that's one of the things that the Christian, and I'm sure all other faiths, does. It makes conceptual space for science but also allows us to talk about questions like meaning, purpose and value. And gives us a world in which although we are very small we still matter to someone who is very big if I can put it like that! I think the point is that though we exist biologically, we live meaningfully.
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