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Galactic Alignment 2012?
Posted: 08 January 2009 12:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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Let me put some of this in context. The reason for so much interest in astronomy was its importance to agriculture; a good calendar was crucial to knowing the best times to plant and to harvest. As such, astronomy was really more interested in predicting weather than exploring the cosmos. The problem for the ancients was that the seasons seemed to jerk around randomly, and so they kept refining their measurements. When the first-order work (measuring the length of the year precisely) did not yield the predictive resolution they desired, they (rather reasonably) extrapolated to the planets. After all, the motion of the sun obviously controlled the seasons; the motion of the moon controlled female menstruation; surely those other moving objects, the planets, that moved along the same path, had some role to play.

Unfortunately, this gave them a mountain of data, and they tried fitting the data to all sorts of patterns. And with that much data, there were plenty of hypotheses that passed the 5% probability test (even though the ancients didn’t use probability tests). So they kept fiddling and fiddling with the data, trying to come up with a good fit. The result was astrology.

Since this effort seemed so important, they were able to get funding for the observational equipment they needed.

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Posted: 08 January 2009 02:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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GdB - 07 January 2009 10:35 AM

. We are used to think of old cultures that the people were stupid because their science was way behind ours. But science is not all there is.GdB

I don’t think people thought of these people as stupid, just scientifically unsophisticated. Certainly there IS more to a culture than science, but typically all cultures try to find a way to explain their world, their place in the universe and how they got there. Everyone starts out with superstition and magic to explain things they don’t understand, even our children.

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Church; where sheep congregate to worship a zombie on a stick that turns into a cracker on Sundays…

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Posted: 26 January 2009 12:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
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I can’t stand Nostrodamus tv shows.  If anyone of us wrote volumes and volumes of nonsense, someday some of the things we wrote would be somewhat similar to future events. 

I am not a Nostrodamus scholar, but I remember all the dire predictions about the end of the world in 2000 and I know Nostradamus was in that number predicting a comet would strike at the millenium. 

X-72
In the year 1999 and seven months [July],
A great King of Terror will come from the sky.
He will bring back the great King Genghis Khan.
Before and after Mars rules happily.


http://www.apocalipse2000.com.br/english/nostradamus.htm

I went an found the quatrain above.  Of course when the comet did not strike, the Nostradamus advocates either dropped it or claimed the phrase was misinterpreted.  See the rather defensive response inth above website.  And why not?  The above verse is cryptic enough to mean almost anything—except for one problem—Nostradamus dated his prediction.  He couldn’t be disproved in the 1600s for obvious reasons, and his advocates are too feeble minded.

[ Edited: 26 January 2009 12:29 PM by JRM5001 ]
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