Posted by: Jim | December 6, 2006

Death of a Star

First John Huston, then Milton Friedman, and now and unnamed star from the bootes constellation.An entire star!As an aside, I bought a book today–a compilation of lectures given by Carl Sagan. Sagan was a sort-of “man of faith” who also believed in the rigorous pursuit of knowledge via science. Sagan did not play well with his peers, because he felt most scientists disallowed themselves from being awed by their own craft. And while atheists split hairs over whether I am an agnostic or a “weak atheist,” I can’t help but be filled with wonder at this event. A star has died.

Stars live longer than planets. Were talking “billions and billions” of years. And if there is a creator of the universe, its cold eye watched from the black maw of space as this star was first torn assunder by a nearby black hole, and is now being swallowed by it. It’s the first time humanity has been able to watch such an event from beginning to end.

There is something about being an atheist that does not sit right with me. Mostly, it’s because I am aware of my own bias–I want there to be a god. I really do. While I cannot simply accept anything by faith alone, I hope that science one day will pull back a veil and find something …. something.

Were there planets around this star? Was there life on those planets? Perhaps they peered through their telescopes and saw a distant pale blue dot rotating around a small yellow sun.

I will never know.

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Responses

  1. I recall a line from an obscure 1980’s action flick, Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins, starring Fred Ward (also of note was that hot older woman who played Captain Katherine Janeway in Star Trek Voyager, Kate Mulgrew – yes, hard to believe I’m actually getting married).

    Remo was under the tutelage of a wise old man who taught him how to dodge bullets and walk without making a sound. At one point, Remo asked the sage, “How old are you?” The wise man responded with, “Compared to a tree, very young, but to a head of lettuce, I am aged.”

    It’s all perspective. We live, we die. Plants, animals, rock formations, stars…come and go. Someday our own star will burn out, making it impossible to exist within the environment we currently know. This is why I am a huge fan of Stephen Hawking and his peers who support the exploration of space to colonize and allow the human race survive as the years ebb on.

    Sign me up, er, beam me up.

  2. isn’t never knowing the best part? i like answers too, but if everything is answered there won’t be any more mysteries. and it’s the mystery that make life exciting.

  3. A truly awesome occurence this is. It’s an example of how science has certainly made strides in pulling back veils and finding things.
    In my opinion, science is discovering God every day.
    God is the label we use to describe the indescribable; seen and unseen. Through faith, more of God is revealed to us. For some things there is no explanation that man’s mind can grasp, and one simply has to trust. Just doing that, certainly creates peace.


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