A Courteous Contrararian

What’s Up With? 2

Written By: Jon Jaroszewski - Apr• 04•15

Maybe this will be a sporadic series about things I don’t understand about science.

I have a theory about Christian thought and science. Some of the major tenets:

1.) The Bible in no way contradicts science – and vice versa. For example, I believe the nearly 14 billion years the universe has existed is exactly the same length of time as the seven days of Genesis. (Thanks to Dr. Gerald Schroeder) I don’t subscribe to young earth creationism or gap theory or any quasi-scientific attempts to reconcile the two time spans. I just believe they are the same when we take perspective into account.

2.) Whenever a Christian “thinker” tries to reconcile the two, he or she invariably gets it wrong. On the one hand, the words science uses to describe the measurements and theories they have found are only that – words. On the other hand, when Christians try to use those words and concepts, they appear foolish to actual scientists.


In celebration of these two ideas, I think an occasional blog poking fun of my own scientific inadequacies might be in order. I think of myself as a reasonably intelligent being. I like to think I understand many of the latest ideas and observations from within the fields of cosmology and quantum physics, and yet in some areas my own ignorance astounds me. This post (like my last with the same title about the spring equinox) is about one of those areas.

This one is about logical discrepancies between phases of the moon and lunar eclipses.

First, the phases of the moon. When we observe a crescent moon, that fingernail-clipping shaped sliver that occurs every 28 days, we “know” that the earth is between the moon and the sun and keeping the sun’s ray from hitting the moon and reflecting back toward earth.

During a new moon phase (Why do we call it a new moon? The moon is as old as it ever was, in fact it is 28 days older than it was during the previous new moon. And it’s not like it appears to be new. We can’t see it at all during this phase.) the earth totally blocks the sun’s light so there is no reflection.

So what’s the difference between a new moon and a lunar eclipse? Isn’t the earth blocking the sun’s light in both events? Is the new moon an eclipse that just lasts longer than the event we think of as so spectacular and noteworthy?

By the way, there will be a lunar eclipse Saturday night visible in the western United States. During Passover and Christianity’s holiest weekend. It is one of four this year. End Times Christians (a majority in the US but a minority worldwide) say it is one of the four “blood moons” that portend significant events in Israel. But can it be significant to Israel if Israelis are unable to observe it?

All of this has been a little tongue in cheek, as I said, to poke fun of my own ignorance. But there is one thing about the moon that really does puzzle me. Back to the crescent moon, it is a sliver shaped like a fingernail clipping because the moon is round and the earth is round. So what about a half moon? Why is the delineation between light and shadow a straight line instead of curved? Does the earth suddenly change shape, becoming a square without its inhabitants being aware of the fact, and so casting the edge of a square shadow over half the moon?

I can’t reconcile this discrepancy logically. There is some type of conspiracy at work. I’ve come up with these possible explanations.

A.) There is a huge square extraterrestrial spaceship that blocks half of the light that would otherwise reflect back off the moon. It would have to have the capability to bend light around it for the rest of the month so we can’t observe it with our telescopes and satellites. The intentions of this alien race, besides giving us a half moon every 28 days, is unclear to me.

B.) The sun itself is a square.

C.) God has created a second moon with the appearance of half-ness.

D.) The moon is self-illuminating from within. Every 28 days someone (or SomeOne) turns off the lights in half of it.  Or

E.) It is some type of conspiracy by the NSA or the Trilateral commission, in which mass hypnosis is employed to bring us under the delusion that half the moon is no longer there.

Well, that’s it. Those are the only possibilities I can imagine. Perhaps someone else has a better idea.



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  1. Tony says:

    Since the date on this blog entry is not April 1st, I’ll assume it’s not an April Fool’s joke.

    Your statements of observation and fact are wrong (sorry to be indelicate). Crescent moons are in the sky near the Sun at dusk and dawn, and are actually physically closer to the Sun than the Earth. Full moons are opposite in the sky from the setting or rising Sun, and are physically farther away from the Sun than the Earth.

    The Moon is a big ball. Get a racquet ball and hold it behind you (but out of your shadow) some place dark with a single light nearby. You will see an almost total circle of blue (I’ve only ever seen blue racquet balls). Hold it out to your side (while facing the light) and you will see half a circle of blue (a D shape). Finally hold the ball toward the light (but not blocking the light) and you will see a blue crescent.

    By the way, there are two types of eclipse: a Lunar eclipse where the shadow of the Earth falls upon the full moon (and gives it a reddish hue because some light goes through the Earth’s atmosphere and turns red, like at a sunset or sunrise), and a Solar eclipse where the Moon gets between the Earth and Sun so as to cast a shadow on the Earth.

    The reason we don’t have Lunar and Solar eclipses every month is that the path of the Moon around Earth in not in the same plane as the path of the Earth around the Sun.

    Without tone of voice to go by, it is hard to know how much ignorance you are poking fun at. If I went overboard – D’OH!

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