Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Time is just as it should be, calculations prove it.

Damn Interesting has an article describing a group of people that think the middle ages was invented by the church. Heribert Illig and his group propose that 297 years were added to the calendar at some point and that most of the middles ages are fiction. You have to read it to believe it.

His assertions are countered by the work of Maverick Science, who show that reported historical dates correlate correctly with retrocalculated dates of observed astronomical events. Perhaps we could use transits of Venus across the sun, pictured above from June 8, 2004. The Maverick describes several solar eclipses reported in historical documents that exactly match the expected calculations, going back almost 2500 years. Thus, all is well.

The fundamentalists like to spread an urban legend that NASA scientists found an error in their calculations of the orbit of a satellite that correlated with God stopping the sun for Joshua in the bible, and turning it back 10 degrees for Isaiah. It's not true! It's an urban legend given unearthly vibrant life by the ghastly internet.

All this uncertainty about time is as scary as when I was trying to determine if the days of the week had been in their current sequence since the beginning of counting them. They have been (for at least 3000 years maybe more).

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1 comment:

The Virtual Ranger said...

What amazing theories! I loved the one about Joshua and NASA. What will those crazy god-botherers think up next? Last night my 9 yr old nipper asked at dinner "Dad, what's a conspiracy theory?" This led to some facinating conversation. We decided that 'Moon landings faked' is a classic conspiracy, 'Elvis is alive' is borderline, but 'the Loch Ness monster' definitely is not. The key thing is the element of perceived deception.