Tuesday, July 05, 2005

For Damages to Extraterrestrial Tempel Temple

A Russian astrologer (note: that's astrologer, not astronomer) is suing NASA for the damage inflicted on Comet Tempel 1 yesterday.


Andy said...

This is another case of science interacting with a religion — albeit a case made more strange because the interaction is physical.

Not knowing much about astrology, what strikes me as odd is that Comet 9P/Tempel 1 influences astrology at all. The comet was discovered in 1867, the religion has been in use since at least the ancient Babylonians.

Do pulsars & gravastars matter to today's astrologists? I guess they do. Do developments in Big Bang Theory matter to them? I guess they do.

Whether for astrology or nighttime navigation, our forebearers looked to the sky to understand more about their world. Today's astronomers and astrophysicists continue one half of that tradition. I guess it surprises me that their discoveries influence the other half in this trickle-down manner.

Garfield said...

Sure it influences astrology. I mean the cosmic waves that influence the course of human events have to have some source, right? Makes perfect sense to me......too much sense in fact.

I'm curious to see how this case is resolved (assuming its not dropped behind the scenes or settled in some way). It seems to me that in a case like this the courts would need to take some stand on what's admissible scientific evidence and what's not.

In this case I think even other astrologers would doubt her claim, but how about something like evolution? Here's a case where a disturbing number of Americans, some with PhDs and all that, think evolution to be a bunk science. I think its only a matter of time before we see some case brought against a public school on the grounds that their teaching of evolution "damaged" their child in some way or, more bannal, on the grounds that the school is knowingly teaching unsupported doctrine. Thoughts, lawyers?

Andy said...

Since this astrologer wouldn't have standing to bring the case in America, this is a dispute that will see its beginning and end entirely within the confines of the Russian judiciary. Even if the case runs its course through the Russian courts, its geography will keep it from establishing any kind of precedent in our country's laughable Evolution/Intelligent Designism debate.

If you're looking for precedent that will invariably frame the ID's assault on epistemology, the slings and arrows of the ongoing Kansas evolution hearings will provide the foundation for a Red State debate that will continue well into my golden years.

Concerning the likelihood of a court finding evolutionary theory damaging to school children, I'm amused to read an excerpt from this Wikipedia definition that might open the door for a claim exactly counter to the one you mention above:

Concerns have also been raised that such a public attack on accepted theory could hamper the abilities of Kansas students to excel in science, as well as endanger their later prospects regarding universities and the job market.

Unfortunately for students damaged by any false equivalence thrust upon the Evolution/Intelligent Designism debate, beliefs that help students suceed at Liberty University or Bob Jones University are not the same beliefs that help students succeed at Harvard or Yale.