Monday, 10 December 2012

Look at this hand

Today I was reading an online comic that I read each time there is a new one. I read it because it provokes thoughts even though quite a few of the conclusions the writer draws are different that what I would conclude. Today was a particularly interesting comic dealing with the color of the sky: blue. The question asked by the child is why isn't the sky violet? The question is based on the fact that the common answer for the sky being blue is that light is scattered by the molecules in the atmosphere and blue is scattered to the greatest degree so while the sun is high in the sky that is what we see. But violet is even shorter in wavelength than blue and thus is scattered at even greater angles. Anyhow, the comic can be found at and also has a mouseover comment about something similar which is why are words held up in the mirror reversed from left to right but not vertically?

Both of these questions are magic tricks in essence. The core of magical tricks are distraction and misdirection. Look at this hand while something else is happening elsewhere. The first question asks why the sky isn't violet, and the reason has nothing to do with the physics and the wavelengths of light present in the sky because ultimately there are nearly equal parts blue and violet wavelengths in the sky we look at. The reason we see blue has more to do with perception and our eyes than what is present in the sky. See the article here for a short explanation. Likewise the question about the mirror has to do with perception and not the horizontal and vertical axes. The reason its reversed is because we are holding a sign in the opposing direction, away from us. We have reversed the direction horizontally by turning the sign around. We haven't turned it around vertically, so the writing is not reversed vertically, but would be if we had turned the sign that way to flip it around. It would be reversed vertically, but NOT horizontally. Also think of it this way. If you had a glass board or something transparnet on which to write with some markers, we could write a sentence and hold it up to the mirror(without turning it around) and what we would see by the mirror is the writing in the correct order and orientation. Its not turned around because of the mirror. It is turned around because we turned it around.

This started me all on a whole other frame of thought. This type of questioning is very common when we think about it. Especially in the realm of debate on controversial subjects such as Evolution and Creation. One of the most common questions I hear evolutionists ask creationists is if the earth is so young, how do you explain dinosaurs? Its yet another misleading question! The age of the earth has nothing to do with dinosaurs, only to do with our perception of where they come from. The Bible does not deny the existence of dinosaurs. In fact, several terms used to describe certain types of beasts in the Bible can easily be attributed to what we now call dinosaurs(a term that is rather recent, hence why the term is not used in the Bible). The question builds within itself the assumption that it is supposedly trying to prove, the age of the earth and evolution. Of course its easy to prove something when your explanation assumes as true that which you're trying to prove. Thats why much of modern explanations about the history of the earth are more akin to magic tricks than anything like science. They have very little to do with the actual physics and science of the events but rather the perceptions and assumptions of the ones looking at it. Just keep that in mind. How many times am I doing this myself? How often do you?

For His Glorious Name,

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