[For folks coming to this link looking for scientific information about planetary alignments, please go to this more recent article I wrote. Otherwise, enjoy this popular post about a silly book I found. And thanks for visiting!]
So my wife’s friend was throwing out a bunch of old books and I came across this:
I took this book with me to IPS. I told my wife I could get $20 within hours of getting there if I wanted to, but then I decided to just keep it for myself. I did get the opportunity to show it off to my friend Carolyn Petersen who said “What a find! What are you asking for it?” hehe. The inside cover gives the book the title “Prehistoric and the Genesis Truth (part I)” with a print date of 1976. Neat, huh? It’s exactly what you’d expect it to be. Some nut who thinks he found some Biblical code that explains the history of everything without us actually doing any research. Well, that’s not entirely true. He actually proposes some — I hate to say it — very interesting ideas concerning evolution and Biblical history. Let me explain…
The Stupid. This is printed right inside the cover (nothing has been changed… it really is this poorly written):
As the planets move into alignment at the end of 1982, their gravitational pull may cause huge storms on the sun. These storms could alter wind directions on earth, reducing the speed of the planet’s rotation, triggering serious earthquakes — Science quote.
“The picture on the front cover does not entirely pertain to the articles in this volume, but we use it to show the creation and handy work of God!” (Ps. 19:1) “But we do speak of this particular lineup in other prophetic books, that can be ordered concerning events!” — “This important book here, “contains the pre-historic and the Genesis truth, mysteries, revelation and various secrets of God’s cosmic force and creation!” [sic]
Okay, let’s start with the first paragraph. Wow, just wow. I want to go into all the bad things written in those two sentences, but I know you don’t have that kind of endurance. I’ll just hit the major ones. The planets did get in a fairly close alignment in 1982. I was 12 and I can remember all the doomsayers pushing books and interviews and other scary stuff off on us. I found the whole thing stupid at the time, but my classmates were really freaked out. Someone had calculated the exact moment of the alignment (as if that makes any sense) and on the day of we stopped class and watched the clock tick down our final seconds of existence. About 30 or 40 seconds after the end of time class resumed as normal. Later in life I learned that the computer monitor you’re reading this post on has more gravitational influence on you than all the other planets no matter where they are in their orbits.
But then it goes on to describe how solar storms actually mess with OUR weather! Not only that, but the destruction seems quite severe and very much like a real doomsday. This is justified because, of course, *science* said it. Or something. Not really sure what “science quote” means.
That second paragraph is just mind boggling. But it’s true, the book has absolutely nothing to do with the cover. With all the grammatical errors you can be assured this book was not an easy read. And read it I did. Almost as soon as I had it in my hands my curiosity overwhelmed me and I couldn’t put it down! And with all those exclamation points to let me know when I should be amazed!
The Interesting. The book is actually a transcript of a preacher’s sermon, complete and obviously unedited. In it he makes the claim that evolution is real, yet we were not a part of it. He claims, contrary to many of his contemporaries, that when science teaches about the age of the Earth and evolutionary processes we should accept it. Scientists have no ulterior motive in their publications and there’s nothing in the Bible to contradict them. Intrigued, aren’t you? heh. He goes on to explain that after the last mass extinction event the Earth was repopulated with creatures placed here by God, including us. This allows for Genesis to be true while not exactly refuting science. Okay, I know there’s a ton of things wrong with this view, but you have to admit from a religious standpoint it would seem logical if not downright reasonable compared to teaching the earth is 6000 years old!
The logic he uses is persuasive enough to actually be more dangerous than the doomsday claims of the planetary alignment. I can see myself as a teenager getting wrapped up in his argument and believing it. It would appeal to anyone who wishes to see a reconciliation between faith and science yet who doesn’t really understand either. Then again, the preacher was going on 1970’s theories and much has changed since then. That was when it was believed that the dinosaurs died out in an ice age. Don’t know if the incomplete scientific understanding of the time lends him any leniency, but I’m just sayin’. Enough of this… back to the astronomy!
The Truth. We see people so often persuaded into a position out of fear. [Why are you against free elections? Do you *want* the terrorists to win?] Sometimes fear is good [Grabbing the downed power line might make you dead.], but spreading fear irrationally is pure evil. The bottom line is you can’t think yourself out of a position you didn’t think yourself into. People who blindly believe that the planets influence their lives aren’t looking for truth, and they’re certainly not going to believe that scientists, much less someone like my ten-year-old, might understand better than they how the solar system works. They’re going to believe whomever they trust. And trust is something most skeptics have a hard time building with the common Joe.
Anywho, this has been my weak attack on the morons who claim planetary alignments have unpredictable results. Morons.