Thursday, October 28, 2010

BOB Challenge 3: The Universe

Technically the topic is something more like "the universe and its vastness." These words bring up bad memories for me, since I unknowingly signed up, in the Spring of 2010, to put myself through the torture of an astronomy class (knowledge of the signing up was there, not the future torture). Anytime the word astronomy comes up in a discussion, I tell people not to take that class, because there is so much information to learn and not enough time. You pretty much have to know everything about the universe!! It's true. And is there no thing bigger than the universe? I think not! If I wanted an A I would've had to put an hour or two a day into reading the book and memorizing things alone, and that does not include time spent on homework. The early chapters talked about some scientific laws and everything about the planets in our galaxy, but then branched out into all other possibly existing pieces of material in the universe, what the stuff is in between, and then the size of the whole thing itself.

Apparently the universe has no boundaries. Scientists try to talk about the shape of the universe, whether it is open or closed, flat, spherical, etc. It's cool and all in theory, but honestly the percentage of people on this planet that care is probably about .00001%. Because as far as I know, our own galaxy is so huge and full of exploration, how can we attempt to solve and know everything about things beyond that? I don't see how we can benefit from it. Traveling from Earth to the Sun takes 8.3 minutes, traveling at the speed of light, which frankly, is not really something I believe is physically possible for human beings and spacecraft to figure out how to do. Not that we'd want to get to the sun of course, but to give you some sense of how big the Milky Way Galaxy is, if Earth were a peppercorn and the sun was a bowling ball, the two would have to sit 78 feet away. A peppercorn! That's tiny! Plus, that's just one sun out of many in this galaxy.

In the scheme of things, I don't give a crap about how large the universe is. I know that the chances of intelligent life on other planets is calculable (we did it in a lab, there are many steps), and that it's also really small. If you want to bring the big bang theory into this, I would just flat out say that's impossible. God had to have created us, given the chances of us existing normally, and how complicated our existence IS. Just looking at the way our bodies are put together and function so creatively is ... well it's just a work of art resulting from great, detailed planning.

I appreciate the universe and the stars and everything. When I'm walking the dogs on a clear night, I'll cup my hands around my eyes and stare at the stars while still walking. They don't move at all. I can almost trick myself into thinking I'm on a treadmill and not going anywhere. It's because they're just that far away, and to us the night sky looks like a dark blanket spread out with bits of light peaking through. I read the textbook, the one that changes every year because things are being discovered so fast. I attempted to learn everything about the universe (ok, it was definitely a half-ass attempt), and I still don't see how it matters to me, or anybody else on this planet. I know studying things in our own galaxy is important to see how Earth is affected, but beyond that I don't really think it matters. Frankly, a good number of people are probably earning salaries based on useless research. Lucky them?

I maintain my position about astronomy class. Don't take it unless you want to go into that field, because you're probably thinking it's an easy, fun general that lets you chill in the planetarium all the time. Yeah, I did fall asleep a lot in my reclined chair in that secluded, dark bubble, which was nice until I tried catching up on the notes. Unless your teacher tests on the most general of material, in which case you probably won't have to study the book AS hard, you're going to spend a lot of time on this class. And it sucks. The end.


Boquavv said...

So...because you don't like astronomy, it's a useless field?
And you also think that the Big Bang theory is impossible?
The study of the cosmos shows on a larger scale just how complex things are in the universe, reinforced from the complexity of smaller systems and sub-atomic particle behavior and galactic events and evolution.
A theory that is derived from experimentation, observation and testing is much more likely to be true than what you would read in a book written before the first telescope, computer and space-age technology ever came out of human ingenuity.

And this is the best way to put what I think you should hear:
"If you have a faith, it is statistically overwhelmingly likely that it is the same faith as your parents and grandparents had. No doubt soaring cathedrals, stirring music, moving stories and parables, help a bit. But by far the most important variable determining your religion is the accident of birth. The convictions that you so passionately believe would have been a completely different, and largely contradictory, set of convictions, if only you had happened to be born in a different place. Epidemiology, not evidence."

"What worries me about religion is that it teaches people to be satisfied with not understanding."

"Just because science so far has failed to explain something, such as consciousness, to say it follows that the facile, pathetic explanations which religion has produced somehow by default must win the argument is really quite ridiculous."

I get that your opinion is all well and good for you. But you should really phrase things in a way to separate opinion from reality. You can believe that God just created us and that's all there is to it because we're complex. That does not mean however it is true, or even credible outside your own mind.

Boquavv said...

Why do you think complexity means there was planning?
Why is it important to know what goes on in our galaxy but not distant neighboring galaxies or the interaction between galaxies?

Why are you giving an opinion and advice on whether or not to take a class which A) you think is useless, B) you half-assed in studying for and C) you don't care to learn, or more accurately, do not wish to take anything from?

I will not apologize if you choose to be mad over what I said, that's your problem. Which you can prevent if you so choose to by dropping your ego for and thinking that yeah, you are most likely wrong. And there's nothing shameful about being wrong except the pointless continuation of an ignorant charade after being presented with questions unanswered and/or proof of evidence. I doubt you will actually retain anything I said. But for the record, I told you so.