Tuesday, May 03, 2016

The Sun Isn't a Star!!?? Light Relief Time

No surprise old man Sun has got a smirk on his face!
That's right, according to some Christian fundamentalists the Bible tells them that the Sun can't be a star. Let's start at the fairly moderate (?) end of the spectrum with Answers in Genesis' Danny Faulkner. At the end of this AiG link:

https://answersingenesis.org/astronomy/sun/not-just-another-star/

....we find an article by Faulkner entitled "Not Just Another Star". Faulkner tells us that (My emphases): 

Given everything we now know about the brightness of other stars, it’s fashionable today to call the sun a star, even an average star. But is that really the case? While the sun has many characteristics similar to stars, the Bible never refers to it as a star.

My first reaction is "Of course the Bible isn't going to refer to the Sun as a star, that requires modern science!" .....but more about that later. Faulkner then goes on to say that the Sun is rather unique compared to the stars because:

a) The Sun is relatively lithium sparse, although Faulkner doesn't know if this is of (anthropic) significance.
b) The Sun is relatively stable in its energy/particle output compared to similar stars - a fact necessary for life on Earth.

Starting to crack up...
Even assuming Faulkner's facts are right it is difficult to register them as startling. The solar system as a whole with its many adjustable variables such as planet spacing, size and composition etc. is not going to be duplicated very often elsewhere in the Galaxy, least of all the peculiar conditions of the Earthly environment. Remember also how different and unique are many of the planets themselves - each seems to have its own story. In short, uniqueness isn't very unique! Of course Christians can see providence are work here, but given our modern scientific perspective there is not enough reason in my view to be coy about classing the Sun as a star and therefore calling it a star. It appears that on the basis of his slavish Biblical literalism Faulkner is reluctant to even call the Sun a star!

But fundamentalist David Lowe goes much further than Faulkner. Taking the pre-scientific Biblical perspective on the Sun as sacred Lowe straightforwardly denies that the Sun has anything in common with stars and even suggests that the Sun doesn't use nuclear power but instead he supports the "electric Sun" theory.  His ideas about the Sun can be read on this document. His web site is:

....in fits of laughter....
http://www.geocities.ws/rebornempowered/

I have made mention of  this guy before: See here.  

But really we can very easily see why such people think the Bible teaches that the Sun isn't a star, just as some fundamentalists think the Bible teaches geocentricity or a flat Earth. In all cases we recall that the Bible is written from the perspective of the people of the day; not having access to sophisticated science meant that they described and categorised the cosmos from the point of  view of folk-level observation unaided by instruments and modern theoretical narratives. Given this fact it is no surprise that the all too obvious Sun is put into a category of its own - from the perspective of plain observation, not to mention life on Earth's Solar dependence, such categorization is perfectly understandable, entirely legitimate and Biblical!  For most of the history of the human race the Sun has, from the point of view of appearance, dominated life on Earth and therefore looked to be of an entirely different genus to the stars. This human perspective effect is enough to justify and explain the special place that the Sun has in the Bible. But that special place is down to a pre-scientific culture. Great differences in appearance etc. relative to location do not in themselves necessarily imply intrinsic category differences. The same applies to geocentricity and flat Earth. The perspective driven Bible majors on neither the shape of the Earth nor its relative position in the Cosmos. (But see here). Faulkner and Lowe like other fundies are treating the Bible as if it were a formal science textbook. Add that to fundamentalist's religious observance based obsession with "Obey! obey! obey! submit!" then we can see why categorizing the Sun as a star is taboo for Faulkner and Lowe.  
....paralytic!

Finally the joker in the pack. This article entitled "The Sun is not a star" is clearly on a spoof website. But having said that I find myself peering very carefully even at spoofs like this; I don't want to become a fool to Poe's law! But this site is worth a visit: it goes to show how fundamentalists are making Christianity a laughing stock - in fact I find myself laughing too!

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