Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Tuesday

I should have mentioned last week that I took Mary out to a movie. We saw the new James Bond "Casino Royale." Being a monday night it was pretty much a private showing. I like this actor as Bond. I liked that there were less of Q's gimmicks and more painful consequences to the hero. It's a movie that doesn't leave you wishing you could be a secret agent like Bond and in a way, gives a bit more of an appreciation for what covert agents give of themselves.

Tuesday I spent writing sermons and working on hymn planning. I've got a couple of news items that tripped me up. Mind if I babble and blather?

First: NASA announced that it is planning on building a base on the moon. That's news. Ha! It's supposed to be built on the lunar south pole because it gets more sunlight. Lunar Santa will have a longer way to go, but since the moon is only 1/6th the size of earth it should still be a picnic for him. NASA has a page explaining why there should be a moon base.

Their first reason is "to settle the moon" that means to put people on the moon permanently. Forget the problems with low gravity and degenerative bone disease; Forget that the moon doesn't protect against the radiation of solar flares; Forget that there is no atmosphere and that they don't even know if there is water available. I hear a chorus starting "We shall overcome." Swing your hands in the air. Hold up those cigarette lighters--oops, no smoking, use your cell phones instead.

Their second reason is to "Pursue scientific activities that address fundamental questions about the history of Earth, the solar system and the universe - and about our place in them." In other words, they haven't found any solid evidence of evolution on earth, perhaps they might find it on the moon. Or they may manufacture it on the moon.

Their third reason is to "Test technologies, systems, flight operations and exploration techniques to reduce the risks and increase the productivity of future missions to Mars and beyond." That begs the question "Why go to Mars?" NASA's answer? "Robotic missions have found evidence of a watery past, suggesting that simple life forms may have developed long ago and may persist beneath the surface today. Human exploration could provide answers to some profound questions." In other words, they don't know anything, but they hope that evolution is true and that they can prove it by going to Mars.

Yes, I'm more than a bit cynical when it comes to NASA and their reasons for doing things. Most of their reasons are not basic "see what we can find" but rather "see what we can find to prove evolution." Don't get me wrong. I love the idea of space exploration. I love the idea of settling new worlds. I'm a big fan of science fiction. But I remember that the key word is "fiction." There's a lot of it being made to justify some humungous expense. I think private industry is going to pass NASA in the next decade or so. The only problem is governmental regulation and NASA's monopoly. But the Chinese and Japanese will end that in a few years.

Why go to space? What's a legitimate reason? Well, if you are an entrepeneur the reason is simple: to do or make something there that people here would be willing to pay so they could do or get whatever it is. Some medicines can be refined much better in zero gravity. Some products can be done better in low/zero gravity. And tourism. If it were inexpensive enough, I'd love to go to the moon for a vacation. But I ain't (it is in the dictionary, I checked) riding on no death trap space shuttle. And as far as "discovering our origins" I'd rather trust Genesis than the designers of the NASA programs.

Second News Item: It looks like the Seattle Airport can put it's Christmas Tree back up. It is hard for me to take seriously any of those people who defame Christianity or anything to do with Christianity in the name of "Tolerance." Many of them say that there are too many hypocrites in organized Christian congregations. I say that there is no shortage of hypocrites outside of Christianity either.