I was lucky enough to edit Aaron Adair’s superb book The Star of Bethlehem: A Skeptical View which looks at the claims within the Gospel of Matthew concerning the Star of Bethlehem. Over the many hundreds of years, various people have advanced theories to explain the apparent phenomenon, to triple conjunctions of planets and stars to comets, from hypernovae to UFOs. Yes, UFOs. Aaron has started getting on the speaking circuit to talk about his favoured subject, and may even be compiling a book looking into the Bible and astronomy
I recently had the pleasure of having an interview/conversation on the subject of Big Bang Cosmology and the implications for the universe having an absolute beginning. The question is also wrapped up with theistic claims that a god is a necessary precursor to the universe (or not). Also, some will argue that the Big Bang is just the scientists’ way of avoiding the conclusion that God made everything.
Great news for those following the exploits of the first lander to find purchase on a comet (Philae). As the…
The holidays are approaching fast, and the first snows are coming over the United States. The ever-expanding day of Christmas will truly be here soon. And all around the world, both preachers and even some scientists will be talking about a perennial subject: the Star of Bethlehem and what it could have been
I am flying back home now from the amazing conference on the Star of Bethlehem at the University of Groningen. It was quite the success of collecting experts and scheduling events, including a trip to the oldest working planetarium in the world. This was also my first academic conference in the area of history and biblical studies, and I was surrounded by scholars in Iranian studies, Jewish astrology, Latin literature, ancient science, and of course New Testament studies. And it looks like I did well among this august group. Heck, after my talk a few whispered to me that it seemed like I already answered all the questions about the subject!
This is a great way to spend 10 minutes:
Skydive Phil has produced, with his partner, some tremendous videos. In fact, I have interviewed them here at SIN. They…
Counter Apologist has produced an awesome series detailing issues with William Lane Craig’s Kalam Cosmological Argument, which is a pet obsession of mine. This must have succeeded enough, since it warranted a response from Craig himself. Here is Counter’s response to Craig.
Good ole Brian Cox. I miss his wistful stares from mountaintops as he regales the audience with soundbites of majestic physics.
The TV presenter/scientist/ex-keyboardist of D-REAM has recently come to Twitter blows with blowhard Chopra and his rather dubious use of real science to espouse his spiritualistic nonsense. There is a great article, here, at The New Statesman:
A few weeks ago on the History Channel’s sister station, H2, the astronomy-based series The Universe went on a quest to solve an ancient mystery. Previous episodes in the previous few weeks had covered the construction and purpose of the pyramids (which was pretty good), Stonehenge, and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. The first two certainly have an astronomical connection, such as the solstice alignment of Stonehenge, but explaining Sodom’s ruin via astronomical body begs the very serious question: was this simply a theological story or etiological myth? Apparently that skepticism couldn’t find its way to the heart of the show.
Astounding. H/T Russ Rogers
A few days ago at the National Catholic Register, a blog post was put up about the Yuletide star that I have been so interested in. The author of the piece, Jimmy Akin, wrote up about how the text of the Gospel of Matthew does not necessarily talk about a Star that moves around in such a way that it can only be supernatural. Akin, who besides having a cool red beard, is a Catholic apologist, and he categorizes his efforts here about the Star under apologetics (as seen on the blogs tag). I read the blog entry after I saw it come up in a search on Twitter, and the first thing I noted was that he said that the text does not support the supernatural reading, but he never actually cited the Greek text!
The BBC report this fascinating discovery which seems to confirm the start of inflation (I would take issue with the slight implication that the BB is definitely the start of everything coming into being) or the Big Bang:
Scientists say they have extraordinary new evidence to support a Big Bang Theory for the origin of the Universe.
Researchers believe they have found the signal left in the sky by the super-rapid expansion of space that must have occurred just fractions of a second after everything came into being.
The long-awaited debate (well, by me, anyway) is here, on You Tube: Having only listened to the opening…
So, God and cosmology will be debated tomorrow as cosmologist Sean Carroll takes on theologian William Lane Craig. I, for one, am…
William Lane Craig is ubiquitous in conversations about theistic and Christian apologetics. Being the foremost modern philosopher/theologian still operating, he is often called upon or used as a source for theistic and Christian arguments, winning many debates in the process (on technique and rhetoric, in the main). I have part critiqued his Reasonable Faith book here.
Another fascinating video from skydivephil, the pair whom I interviewed here (well worth checking out). This time, the ‘before the Big Bang’ idea is investigated in interviewing Sir Roger Penrose with regard to the cyclical universe.
Richard Carrier plugs a book I have just edited and published, a book by Aaron Adair, contributor here. The…
The year 2013 is nearly over, and it has been quite a good one for me. I’ve finished the research and been awarded my PhD in physics, I’m in the prospects for a new job to continue my research in physics education, and I published my first book on the Star of Bethlehem. And that last point I have seen get around in the news, thanks to the holiday interests of many media outlets.
As part of the continuing efforts to get the message out about the Star of Bethlehem and the failure to explain it with astronomy, I was interviewed on the Exposing Pseudoastronomy podcast, run by Stuart Robbins, an young planetary scientist and skeptic. In the past, the podcast has tackled lots of material from Coast to Coast AM and some of their top guests, such asRichard Hoagland, in great but comfortable detail. That should be enough reason to subscribe to this skeptical outlet.