No sooner had I sat down at my desk. Maria buzzed me. I was feelin’ shot. I just came back from staking out the moon and sun. My first all-nighter since college. Worst year of my life. The Earth had approached a couple of days ago. The broad was in a panic. I knew enough to just shut up and listen. She thought the moon and the sun were having an affair.
I never saw the moon, and around 1 pm, I see something passing in front of the sun, but never got a look at her face. All I got were burger wrappers in my car and a possible burned retina in right eye.
I told Maria to let her in. I needed the work and maybe it was a client. She walked in and even with my 1.5 eyes I could tell she was the most beautiful dame I ever laid eyes on. She said her name was Fiona, she was an astronomer and I could tell from the way she was holding her telescope she was kinky. But when you see a face this serious, you know it ain’t the right time to ask her if you can widen her aperture. She tells me, “I was just mindin’ my own business y’know, looking out my telescope here, just during my lunch break. I saw everything. The moon, the sun. She saw his corona.”
I told the dame we better go tell the Earth together. It was a lie. I could’ve told the Earth myself, but I wanted to dance slow with her, without any music, and have her keep an eye on the stars while I got some shut-eye.
I wear an Eye of Horus around my neck. While not uncommon it may seem strange to those who know me as a fairly outspoken atheist. Unfortunately my reason for wearing it is not what most people would think. It is only because I am a big Alan Parsons Project fan and the symbol appears on their most well known album Eye in the Sky. lol
But in searching for that symbol, which I had no idea what it is called I came across the story of it. Recently in reading one of a fellow blogger’s post, spouting some theist rhetoric equating faith as being a plausible substitute where uncertainty exists, it reminded of the story of the Eye of Horus.
Long story short, the myth involves Horus and Set (in some accounts are brothers, in some nephew and uncle respectively). Set kills Osiris (Horus’ father) and in revenge Horus kills Set, but in that battle Horus is injured. Set struck at the eye of Horus shattering it. As luck would have it the eye is broken into a fun set of mathematically progressive pieces. The symbol of the Eye of Horus is drawn with 6 strokes, each stroke represents what they believed were the 6 senses: sight, hearing, touch, taste, smell, and thought. This shattered eye is broken into 6 pieces in specific proportions: 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/16, 1/32, 1/64. Horus took the pieces of his eye to a local magician to reassemble the eye, but if you do the math, you will of course discover that you are 1/64th short of a whole eye. This magician had to use ‘magic’ to fill in what was missing. This was the left eye of Horus, which represents the moon, and is why the moon is supposedly more mysterious (because part of the eye was reconstructed with magic). The right eye of Horus represents the sun, and this became the more common eye used later in Egyptian culture as a symbol of protection.
Anyway, where I am going with all this is that it seems to me that our human uncomfortability with uncertainty is what drives us to put faith into the missing picture. You have something that is a whole, you only understand a part of it, and the other part you fill in with faith, instead of remaining uncertain. This seems hardly surprising to me. What it does feel like to me is that as we learn more about any particular thing the proportion of what we don’t know gets smaller and smaller. The God of the Gaps has less of a Gap to cover, and yet we want to give that magic the same level of importance. We can go from no idea of our origin, to a very substantial set of empirical evidence about evolution, but no matter how little uncertainty remains it seems magic must still prevail as long as any proportion still remains.
I think there could be beauty in the things we come up with to explain the unexplainable, but it’s perhaps the dogmatism that concerns me the most. The inability to be cognizant of the fact that in that space of uncertainty there are many types of magic we could conjure up to fill in that gap, none being more valid than the other. And yet different religions will try to tell you their magic is better than yours. In the end, being comfortable with uncertainty seems the more important goal, because it in no way prevents you from enjoying a good story. I rather like the story of the Eye of Horus. 🙂
In a surprise reversal of position, numerous climate scientists now say they could be all wrong about climate change, thanks to a plucky group of public skeptics who have spent numerous hours on the internet reading articles by people not associated with the climate research in any way. For years climate researchers have failed to listen to these pleas for reason and understanding. Much to the chagrin of the climate community, a major misstep has been brought to light, climate researchers have forgotten to take into account the sun in the now shaky theory about human-induced climate change.
The moment of truth came Dec. 9th when an article that was reporting 2016 was shaping up to be the hottest year on record when a commenter who goes by the name “drillbaby” said the warming we are seeing is caused by the sun. We were able to track down this commenter as internet climate expert and full-time real estate agent, Derek Laskin, to ask him how this revelation came to him. “It really was the stuff of stories the way I was inspired,” exclaimed an excited and proud Laskin, “it was a cool morning, but the sun was out, and I noticed that throughout the day things started to get warmer. That’s when I came upon this article about climate change and global warming, where the scientists are blaming on carbon dioxide from fossil fuels, but based on my experience on how the sun seemed to be working, I decided to comment on this article to suggest that maybe we shouldn’t be looking at carbon dioxide, and that the sun is responsible for the warming.”
This comment may have been missed by the climate science community if not for a bit a random luck. Climate researcher, Dr. Mike Hulme, received a text message from his sister who happened in the article that simply read “Holy shit, some guy commented on an article and mentioned the sun! I’ve never heard you talk about the sun before in telling me about your work. WTF!?” The word spread at the speed of light in the scientific community, and while some resistance remains to this new development, the change has been visible and scientists are now contemplating a spectrum of new ideas in regards to the warming we are seeing. We had a chance to go to King’s College in London to talk to Hulme. “Needless to say I am shocked.,” said a shaken Hulme, ” All those years in school studying weather and climate, and nobody ever brought up this glowing orb in the sky called the sun. I’ll admit it made the physics of climate somewhat implausible, but you know we tend to respect our teachers and believe what they tell us without every going through that process of discovery on our own. I am just glad that we have internet commenters like drillbaby to clue us in to important things we have missed.”
When asked why some researchers are still resistant to this very pervasive idea of the sun causing warming, Hulme replied “Well I have no idea why they would prefer to remain in the dark as it were, but I guess most scientists care more about money, and it’s a tragedy really. But I have no other explanation. I will say that there really is a lot of confusion right now and so some scientists are reticent about changing their views yet until all the information comes out. Currently we are still mining internet comments and finding out all sorts of things we previously did not know. As it turns out there are many people who haven’t spent years studying atmospheric physics and research climate data who are writing some pretty in depth articles about how we got it all wrong.” We then asked Hulme if there was anything else these internet comments were shedding important light on. “Absolutely,” responded Hulme, “Quite a lot really, but one thing stands out. As it turns out there are many people saying that the climate has actually changed naturally over the course of Earth’s history and there really is no need to worry. Apparently if things change naturally any suggestion that changes may be enhanced or made more severe unnaturally is a pointless argument. I’ve even changed my views about gun control. People die naturally, thus homicide is irrelevant. I’m just going to retire early and hang out with my Scottish Terrier”
Silence ensued for a few minutes as the exasperated Hulme simply shook his head in quiet contemplation. I then asked him about the field of paleoclimatology that looks at how climate has changed in the past. Hulme looked up at me wild-eyed and said, “Don’t you understand, it’s all been a lie? We missed the part about the sun and so you can’t trust any of our understanding about past climate either! Honestly how can you trust us or anything we say ever again?!”
We left the sobbing Hulme, but there still seemed to be some questions. Previously computers models had demonstrated the warming could only be explained with the additional CO2 going into the atmosphere, and not by natural causes alone. What then were those computer models even showing? We sat down with a distraught Dr. Michael Mann at his office at Penn State University to ask him. “We’ve all been taken aback by this sun thing, and it’s really made us look more carefully at the qualifications of the people involved in this research. Models are really complex and most of us don’t really understand it. As it turns out those who make these models don’t have years of experience studying computational fluid dynamics, but are rather out of work video game designers. Apparently it’s quite common to randomize things in a video game, and this is apparently what the designers were doing – just randomly throwing in some false warming into the models. Overall it’s pretty disappointing that we missed the sun in our models. Right now I’m in the processing of going through my old syllabi that I have from my many years in college to make sure that there was no section called “the sun”. If not, I think I have grounds to ask for a refund on my tuition.”
Finally, we asked Mann when the climate research community would have an official statement to make to the public they lied to all these years. Mann, like Hulme, said there are many more internet comments to troll through, but he did say this “Right now I’d just like to say thank you to all those who persevered through perhaps 6 or 7 articles from right wing media outlets and were still able to find time to post their well-defended comments underneath articles with our nonsensical babbling which represents, to be honest, some of the shoddiest science mankind has ever seen.”
As the night kissed the dawn,
You revealed to me only a thin,
Beaming sliver of shining light,
But from me you could not hide,
You were whole in my reflection,
As I faced you with bright smile,
I introduced you to the day,
But you paled at the rising sun,
I turned away and you were gone,
Wishing there was a way to go back.
But I still remember that light,
I still remember all of you,
I patiently wait for night,
And hope it all begins anew.