Thursday, December 2, 2010

It's Official - We Don't Know Much

                                             Spiral galaxy M101. Image credit: Hubble
Spoiler alert!  This just in from the scientific community - the universe is far more complicated, much larger and there is much more that we don't know - than we ever dreamed!

Well, color me dumbfounded.  I'm simply shocked.  Aren't you?

The Sacramento Bee contained a major article and the evening news with Diane Sawyer did a major video report on the latest scientific "discovery" that the number of stars, and by implication, the size of the universe is approximately three times bigger than previously thought.

Get ready for a big number....even bigger than the nearly 14 trillion dollars of national debt (but that is a whole 'nother article) ... 300 sextillion.  Yep, just rolls off the tongue, doesn't it?

And talk about a titillating number - my guess is that adolescents think it has something to do with hormones run amouk.

But no, 300 sextillion, that is the new number the finest minds in our galaxy have now come up with to define the number of stars in the universe.  That would be 300 with 23 zeroes after it - or some such goofiness.

What really amuses me, is the fact that the scientific community (for whom I generally have a good deal of respect) is so amazed that they were so far off in their prior estimate of the number of stars.  Actually, it turns out it was more of a guesstimate, but let's not be petty.

They are truly flummoxed, astonished, and as an old friend of mine used to say "just plumb bumfuzzled" that they were so far off the mark.  They thought they had a bead on this thing.  They actually believed they could comprehend the incomprehensible.

So, now it's official.  We don't know how big the universe is, although the better minds have in recent years concluded that it is not finite, but rather an ever expanding universe.  Uh - huh, makes sense to me.  Why would the creator suddenly stop creating, just because He hit 100 sextillion stars?  Pretty silly supposition if you ask me, but of course, no one did.  I'm just saying.

In my through-the-Bible daily readings, I just finished the Psalms again - and I was impressed again with David so humbly saying "such knowledge is too wonderful for me."

Of course it is.  And "them" too, if only they could admit it.  And as for their new math number of 300 sextillion ... well, that just makes me smile.  It may have been yesterday's number, but my guess is that it isn't today's number, and surely will not be tomorrow's either. 

For anyone who has ever read Silmarillion by C.S. Lewis, it won't surprise them to learn that He is still at it.  When all the morning stars sang together ....  what, did we think they only knew the one song?

Excuse me, I have to go off now and grin a silly grin for awhile.  I just love it when, every so often, God decides to burst our little balloon.  And when I am done grinning, well, then I will just be smiling thankfully that I serve such an awesome God.  He is, indeed, beyond finding out. ... Have a really fun day!