Slashdot has a new post (Identify Galaxies Using Spare Wetware Cycles), about using people (“wetware”=brains) to classify galaxies by their type. There are billions of stars in a galaxy, and it’s estimated that there are hundreds of billions of galaxies. For the YECs (young earth creationists), these are just neat things to look at – nothing more. They might even pull out the “Heavens declare the glory of God” quote from Psalms, but they barely get a mention in Genesis (“He also made the stars.”) right after making the Sun and Moon. God then spends a few days making animals and humans. It’s kind of funny, but the stars seem to be nothing more than little ornaments for people to look at. Yet, the vast majority of them were unobservable and unknown for the vast majority of human history. Nearly a trillion galaxies, each with billions of stars – just a footnote – overshadowed by the central drama, all the important stuff, taking place right here on earth. Gee, the YECs live in a tiny little world comforted by their own myth of self-importance. Based on Genesis, you could scarcely believe that aliens exist elsewhere in the universe (did God pack their creation into the same day that He made the stars? Because he was busy the next three days making things on earth). The thought process of YECs reminds me of a five year-old child who thinks that their little neighborhood is where “all the important stuff happens” while being blissfully unaware that other places exist in the world, that things are occurring outside their sight.
Back when I was a Christian, I remember seeing a book describing the vastness of the universe and the nearly uncountable number of galaxies inside it when a friend of mine said, “Isn’t it amazing how God cares for us, even though we’re in just a tiny little corner of the universe?” Looking back, I can’t help but laugh a little bit and think, “Isn’t it amazing that we construct fictional gods who love and care for us, like children who construct imaginary friends?” The YECs take a vast universe and reduce it to ornaments for us to look at, they take the vast age of the universe and reduce it to 6,000 years of human-centered history, and half of humanity is reduced to submissive “helpmates” made for men. What a tiny, little world.
Below is a picture taken by Hubble. The first panel (on the left) is a photo of the night sky including Big Dipper. A tiny slice of that image is enlarged and shown in the second panel. A section of the second panel is blown-up and shown in the third panel. Can you count the number of galaxies in that third panel? That third panel – filled with galaxies – looks like an area of empty space in the first panel. (Click on the image to see the entire image.) A high-res version of this image can be found here.