WHAT THE HELL

Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like

Shady business

My thoughts on yesterday’s eclipse were a lot like those of Nicholas Kristof, who reminds us that the prediction of eclipses is so accurate because of science.

We know the time and place of every partial and total eclipse that will occur from now till Kingdom Come, yet a large chunk of our population – maybe even a majority – won’t accept the science that warns us to do something about global warming or there’ll be hell to pay. Almost literally. It’s gawn get hot.

It’s the same science that got human beings to the moon, that has sent probes into deep space, that has cured polio and tuberculosis, that has given us computers and cell phones and television and brain surgery and coronary stents and air travel and DNA and electron microscopy and meteorology and quantum physics. (Granted, it has also given us nuclear weapons.) There is no getting around the fact that the scientific method works. It tests its propositions with rigor and demands repetition of its results.

Unlike some approaches to life on Earth I could mention …

But as long as more than half of our politicians reject science and pander to that section of the population that doesn’t want to accept certain facts because to do so would let the air out of their worldview, we’re going to stare in awe at the eclipse that arrives right on time but turn our backs on the inconvenient omens of trouble ahead.

I hope everyone enjoyed the miracle in the sky that the gods staged for us yesterday!

8 comments on “Shady business

  1. Ilona Elliott
    August 22, 2017

    My sentiments exactly Kevin. UGH! These are hard times for thinking people.

    • Kevin Brennan
      August 22, 2017

      Indeed. I don’t get the whole idea of willfully wearing blinders …

      • Ilona Elliott
        August 22, 2017

        I don’t know Kevin–can’t handle the truth?

  2. pinklightsabre
    August 22, 2017

    The image of that DB staring at the sun says it all.

    • Kevin Brennan
      August 22, 2017

      He was metaphorically blind before that anyway … 😎

  3. 1WriteWay
    September 4, 2017

    Some reflections on seeing the eclipse: it was a beautiful sight and the fact that I could see the black disc of the moon snapped over the sun with a ring of white fire awed me to no end. I just looked up and there it was. Of course, through our binoculars, it was even more spectacular and I really can’t wait until my husband can share some photos. And then there was twilight all around us. It didn’t get nighttime dark, especially since all the streetlights and neon lights came on but the twilight was both eerie and exhilarating.
    My husband and I were quite anxious about running into fundamentalists who choose to see the eclipse as the beginning of the end. Sure, millennia ago I imagine the total solar eclipse would have put a kink in the belief system of any hunter-gatherer, especially since sometimes the eclipse might last much longer than 2.5 minutes (which, frankly, felt like 8 seconds … just sayin’). We were reading about these “the end of the world is near” types in the NY Times and Washington Post and thanked (god?) that we had decided NOT to go to Oregon where most of them were headed. Instead we went to a convention of astronomers. You know, safe, sane people.
    Interestingly, on the way home, we listened to a debate between Richard Dawkins and Charles Moore and a couple of other folk on whether there should be a resolution saying that Atheism is the new Fundamentalism (or something like that). It was quite heated; in particular, Charles Moore couldn’t seem to keep himself from lobbing ad hominems at Dawkins. Anyway, I got heated when either Moore or another adherent to Western Christianity suggested that Christians experience nature in a deeper way because of their belief in God; any joy atheists experience is so much more shallow. What rubbish! I almost became apoplectic. I had just seen the Total Solar Eclipse and I didn’t need any God or gods to define how awe-inspiring that was. Frankly, knowing how eclipses occur is pretty awe-inspiring in and of itself. I’m grateful that we got to see it and I’m also grateful that we didn’t cross paths with the looney toons 😉

    • Kevin Brennan
      September 5, 2017

      It must have been spectacular! And I’d sure rather watch the eclipse with a bunch of science nerds than a posse of fundamentalists. A lot of these people are actually praying for the end of the world.

      Sue and I — probably you too — think of nature as our religion, so I can’t imagine Christians getting a bigger bang out of it. Plus, we consider the Big Bang part of nature, so we get a bang out of that too!

      • 1WriteWay
        September 5, 2017

        lol … another problem I have with the alt-religious is that they feel they can absolve themselves of responsibility by always invoking “God’s will.” Sad, very sad 😉

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