Thursday, September 14, 2006

Actually Mr. President, that's the Third Great Snooze Button

Joel Achenbach at achieved this week's High Point in Blogging with a post that made my brain smile.

After discussing a report on observing galaxies at a new record proximity to the origin of galaxies and stars, and a new book on our second-most underappreciated Founding Father of America, George Mason, Achenbach ties such hallmark Enlightenment legacies into contrast with George Bush's world:

The president says we are having a Third Great Awakening...

Here are a few things we didn't know when Jonathan Edwards & Co. ushered in the First Great Awakening:

1. The world is billions of years old.
2. There are hundreds of billions of stars in our galaxy and at least tens of billions of galaxies and the whole shebang is expanding at an accelerating rate and there may even be other universes outside our own.
3. Life evolves and all living things come from a common ancestor.
4. Continents drift.
5. Complicated stuff involving Relativity.
6. Really complicated stuff involving Quantum Mechanics.
7. Stuff so complicated it cannot even be alluded to.

Maybe the real awakening will come when, after staring into a telescope at a galaxy 12.88 billion light years away, and studying the world around us, we finally grasp our humble place in the universe and our good luck in having evolved in a place that has remained habitable for something like four billion years. And then we'll decide to take better care of it.

Thank you Joel!

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