Eclipse Mania — The Discoveroids, Part 6

Yes, we’re all getting tired of whacky eclipse stories, but the Discovery Institute is still in the grip of their uncontrollable frenzy, so we couldn’t resist this one. It’ll probably be our last.

Their new post is I Witnessed the Perfect Solar Eclipse in Missouri. Amazing!, written by Discoveroid “fellow” Jonathan Witt. The last time we wrote about him was Discoveroids Present Their Scientific Evidence. Here are some excerpts from his latest, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

I wanted to freeze time. We had travelled to Meramec State Park in Missouri and waited nervously through the weekend as the weather forecast for Monday alternately called for partly cloudy — no, overcast — no, partly cloudy — no, overcast. Monday dawned clearer than predicted.

Nobody cares about that trivial stuff, so we’ll skip a large portion of Jonathan’s post until he says:

For those for short moments of totality [Huh?], sun and moon fit hand and glove. Like a key and its lock. So here is the take-home question: What is the best explanation for perfect solar eclipses?

[*Begin Drool Mode*] Ooooooooooooh! [*End Drool Mode*] What is the best explanation?

Jonathan tells us about a conversation he had with a family of other eclipse watchers, and one of them responded that: “the sun and moon fit perfectly because the moon was much closer than the sun, so that made up for the sun being so much bigger.”

Jonathan wasn’t impressed. He tells us:

Yes, of course. The sun was 400 times bigger, but the moon was 400 times closer than the sun. But I had hoped they would wrestle with the question of final causes. What was the deeper explanation for why we had been allowed, on rare occasions, to enjoy something that has dazzled humans for ages and, in recent generations, helped scientists to discover and test some truly amazing things about our universe?

[*Begin Drool Mode*] Ooooooooooooh! [*End Drool Mode*] What a profound question! Why are we allowed to witness such things? He continues:

We need to step back and ask this bigger question? What is the ultimate explanation for why we can enjoy perfect solar eclipses? What is the ultimate explanation for why mathematics proves curiously effective at describing so much about our physical universe? Why so many elegant and discoverable mathematical laws? And why are the laws and constants of physics and chemistry fine-tuned so that we can both exist and discover those finely tuned laws?

[*Gasp*] The mind boggles! Let’s read on:

Is the explanation chance? That we just happen to live in a universe fine-tuned for observers like ourselves, and fine-tuned — extravagantly so!– to give us things like perfect eclipses that weren’t strictly necessary for our existence? Is the ultimate explanation chance? Or is it design? What is the best explanation?

[*Begin Drool Mode*] Ooooooooooooh! [*End Drool Mode*] What is the ultimate explanation?

Jonathan gives us the answer at the very end of his post:

I am convinced that the best explanation for that feeling of reverence is that there is a maker worthy of reference at work here. And I’m convinced that this explanation — design and not chance — is both the most imaginative, the most reasonable explanation. Today I was not alone in giving praise to the maker of sun and moon for a perfect solar eclipse. Hallelujah!

So there you have it, dear reader. One of the finest minds of our time — a Discoveroid fellow! — has given you the answer. Only a hell-bound fool could deny it.

Addendum: See also Eclipse Mania — The Discoveroids, Part 7

Copyright © 2017. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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27 responses to “Eclipse Mania — The Discoveroids, Part 6

  1. Charles Deetz ;)

    “both the most imaginative, the most reasonable explanation.” Well, he got that half-right.

  2. If the celestrial mechanical cycles were designed for us to enjoy and learn about them, what has the creator got against the far side of the moon? Asking for a friend.

  3. Michael Fugate

    Apologetics all the way down. Not a single bit of science in the DI message, but loads of religion.

  4. I have never understood the idea that the universe is “fine tuned” for us when, as far as we know, this is the only place in the huge universe where we could survive for more than a microsecond, and, indeed, only a small portion of the volume of this planet is hospitable to us. If Jonathan’s favorite sky fairy did the engineering for this universe, I hope he/she/it stays away from my next car.

  5. And why are the laws and constants of physics and chemistry fine-tuned so that we can both exist and discover those finely tuned laws?
    According to evolution-deniers, there are laws of physics and chemistry – the 2nd law of thermodynamics, the conservation of complex specified information, Borel’s law of probability – that prevent the possibility of life.
    According to Young Earth Creationists the the constants of physics and chemistry – the speed of light, half-lifes of radioactive decay, etc. – are varying by factors of a million, not fine-tuned for anything.
    According to certain anti-evolutionary philosophers, nothing in nature -physics or chemistry, in particular – have anything to do with our capacity to discover or reason.

  6. “….to enjoy something that has dazzled humans for ages ….” B!S!
    Like comets,& lightning, eclipses terrified most as most were controlled by religious BS so as to hold back science for generations.

  7. Without a shred of evidence, Jonathan and Co. want us to place his religious believes into everything we do — whether or not we agree with them and also whether or not they add anything. If not, then he’ll be disappointed. Well I hope he is prepared to live with lots and lots of disappointment.

  8. Apparently he fails to understand the difference between ‘possible’ and ‘plausible’ It’s one of probability. If it ‘possible’ to ski through a revolving door, but the probability of success make it implausible.

  9. Nice try.
    But we know that there is no such place as Idaho.

  10. I was close enough to the eclipse path to be able to travel to the area of totality.

    I can assure Mr. Witt that until recently, without the advances in science, the vast majority of human that have witnessed totality were absolutely terrified. It is one of the most awesome sights imaginable and most witnesses must have thought that their world was coming to an end. I despise IDiots like Witt that continue to try to spread darkness instead of light. It seems that they want people terrified instead of enlightened.

  11. “sun and moon fit hand and glove. Like a key and its lock.”
    I don’t know about Johnny, but I’d rather not buy a key and its lock when they have an error margin of 2,5 %.

  12. 2.5%, that is small potatoes. How about 36,525,000%?
    2 Peter 3:8 (KJV)
    “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”

  13. Dave Luckett

    It strikes me that the astronomer-priests of the Chaldees were absolutely correct not to tell how they predicted eclipses. It kept them in meat, beer and girls for thousands of years, which cannot be a bad thing; and what was the good of letting the secret out, anyway? You still get idiots who put it down to the gods.

  14. “For those for short moments of totality [Huh?], sun and moon fit hand and glove.”
    Ah, except for partial and annular solar eclipses, likewise for partial and total lunar eclipses.

  15. Not even for total eclipses, DavidK.
    The Sun’s diameter is 400,452 as large as the Moon’s diameter.
    The Sun is 389,121 as far away from the Earth as the Moon.

    The source is a reliable creacrapper:

    http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/08/20/are-solar-eclipses-proof-god.html

    Like I wrote, that’s an error margin of about 2,5%. I’d rather not buy a lock and a key with such an error margin.

  16. @mnbo
    How much does the distance to the Sun vary? To the Moon?
    How much does the polar diameter of the Sun vary from the equatorial diameter? Of the Moon?
    In other words, how much can an annular eclipse fall short of covering the solar disk, and how big an umbral shadow can a total eclipse cast?

  17. Mark Germano

    I read on the Smithsonian website that studies of the chimp and human genomes indicate a difference of about 1.2%.

    So, it must be a “perfect” match.

  18. @Mark Germano
    Just another proof that the same designer is responsible.

    But why, in both cases, is it not 0.0% different?

    For example, why are vertebrate eyes all rather the same, but not all the exactly the same. And why insect eyes – all rather the same, but not exactly so?

  19. Mark Germano

    I suppose the designer could have made all genotypes identical, but with diverse phenotypes like we have now. Or, maybe the designer has constraints?

  20. “I am convinced that the best explanation for that feeling of reverence is that there is a maker worthy of reference at work here.”

    Op cit?

  21. “Reference”? Evidently Jonathan needs to rely less on Word’s spelling-and-grammar checker and more on the good old Mark One eyeball in proofing his screeds.

    And while he’s certainly entitled to be “convinced” of anything whatever, the fact that he’s sure something is true doesn’t mean it is true.

  22. TomS | 22-August-2017 at 10:38 pm |
    2.5%, that is small potatoes. How about 36,525,000%?
    2 Peter 3:8 (KJV)
    “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”

    So does that mean Genesis 1 is really saying it took the Almighty six thousand years to create life, the universe and everything, and then another millennium to catch His breath?

  23. @Eric Lipps

    Re: “reference”

    I fear we must lay the blame at the feet of Our Dear Curmudgeon.

    That typo does not appear in the cited article.

  24. Random says: “That typo does not appear in the cited article.”

    It originally did, because my quote was a cut-and-paste job. They must have corrected it later.

  25. Maybe it isn’t so much that the world is “fine-tuned” to support life as it is that life (through evolution) is fine-tuned to live on Earth.

    And when the Earth environment changes catastrophically (like when an asteroid smacks into it) we see life forms that are unable to change their tune go extinct.

  26. I had entertained that possibility, and should have articulated it at once.

    NHF?