The Moon, Religion, and Evidence

Original Post: 18 December 2012
Posted Here: 2 December 2017

Annular eclipse in progressThe March 2013 issue of Analog Science Fiction and Fact published a thoughtful letter by Leonard R. Cook in their letters to the editor section, Brass Tacks. Mr. Cook mentioned that a deeply religious friend had been "told that the proof of Creationism was that the size of the Moon and its distance from Earth was intentionally determined so that the Moon could exactly eclipse the sun during a total eclipse. He was told that this was done deliberately to prove that an intelligent force was involved in Creation." There was no supporting evidence that this assertion was the Word of God from the Bible, so I assume that, like much of modern day religion, the assertion was the Word of Man.

Mr. Cook pointed out to his friend, futilely, that the distance of the Moon has been changing for millions of years, that at one time it was much closer, and in the future, as it draws away, it will cover only a part of the sun during any eclipse. Of course, that assertion was deemed wrong: The Earth is only about five thousand years old. (More of the Word of Man.)

If the exact coverage of the sun during a solar eclipse can be considered evidence for an intelligent designer, then it would also be evidence that this designer was pretty sloppy. On 20 May of this year, and many times previously, the Moon was not close enough to exactly eclipse the sun. Millions of people in the western United States, Canada, and Mexico were treated to an annular (which means "ringlike") solar eclipse. This event is more poetically called a "Ring of Fire" because the Moon is far enough away that it only covers most, but not all, of the sun - leaving the outer edge of our star plainly visible.

Almost unnoticed are the eclipses when the Moon is so close to Earth that it appears large enough that it more than exactly hides the sun.

If the distance of the Moon varies so that sometimes it appears larger, sometimes smaller, than the sun, then it doesn't take an intelligent designer to figure out that occasionally the distance will be "just right" for the Moon to exactly eclipse the sun.

So much for "evidence" for Creationism!

Keep reading/keep writing - Jack