Bill Nye Boo'd In Texas For Saying The Moon Reflects The Sun

Bill Nye, the harmless children's edu-tainer known as "The Science Guy," managed to offend a select group of adults in Waco, Texas at a presentation, when he suggested that the moon does not emit light, but instead reflects the light of the sun.

As even most elementary-school graduates know, the moon reflects the light of the sun but produces no light of its own.

But don't tell that to the good people of Waco, who were "visibly angered by what some perceived as irreverence," according to the Waco Tribune.

Nye was in town to participate in McLennan Community College's Distinguished Lecture Series. He gave two lectures on such unfunny and adult topics as global warming, Mars exploration, and energy consumption.

But nothing got people as riled as when he brought up Genesis 1:16, which reads: "God made two great lights -- the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars."

The lesser light, he pointed out, is not a light at all, but only a reflector.

At this point, several people in the audience stormed out in fury. One woman yelled "We believe in God!" and left with three children, thus ensuring that people across America would read about the incident and conclude that Waco is as nutty as they'd always suspected.

This story originally appeared in the Waco Tribune, but the newspaper has mysteriously pulled its story from the online version, presumably to avoid further embarrassment.

http://www.wacotrib.com/news/content/news/stories/2006/04/06/040620...

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Comment by Heather Spoonheim on May 18, 2013 at 10:53pm

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Comment by SteveInCO on May 19, 2013 at 1:24pm

(Brookelyn said)

interesting fact : the word used for "greater" in that verse means the size- not power. But from the earths perspective the moon looks bigger bc its closer, so if that verse had been written by man alone, they wouldve called the moon greater (bigger) but it was written by God so it says the sun is bigger -because it is.

(to which Don replied)

In fact, Brookelynn, from the our perspective, the moon and the sun appear to be the same size.  "Greater" unquestionably refers to luminosity, not to apparent size.

Technically the moon does appear every so slightly larger (usually).  If it looked exactly the same size solar eclipses would have totality phases lasting an instant and paths of totality would be a line rather than a 100 mile or so wide swath on the earth's surface.

Though sometimes the moon appears smaller and when a solar eclipse occurs under these circumstances, you get an annular eclipse like happened last year (the path of annularity went through Albuquerque).  That was preceded half a month earlier by one of those overhyped "super moons" where the full moon was a bit larger than usual.  That's not a coincidence, if the moon appears large when it's full it's at or near perigee (closest to the earth), it's going to appears small half a month later as a new mone, at the other end of its orbit, when it's at apogee, further from the earth.  And of course the moon can't get any newer than it does during a solar eclipse.

Comment by brookelynn rainwater on May 19, 2013 at 2:53pm

the Hebrew word used for "greater" was גָּדוֹל (gadol) meaning size, as in "the gadol wilderness" Duet 2:7, "a gadol feast" 2 kings 6:23 or "a gadol rock"1samuel 14:33 instead of words like khazak (חזק)powerful  Chozek, Otzmah, Koach, or Gevurah(חוזק, עוצמה, כוח, גבורה) strength  (ko-ach) כוחכחKoach power, dunamis-ability power  or  rav atsmah (רב עצמה) mighty

Comment by Albert Bakker on May 19, 2013 at 5:43pm

Moot point. The moon is not a light.

If the verse would be about appearances of sizes or luminosity, then the Moon appears about the same size as the Sun and is actually a bit bigger as StevelnCO correctly observed. If apparent luminosity is what is meant to be compared, then the text would be factually wrong. This appears to be completely out of context with the rest of the text. There is no qualitative distinction made between the Sun and the Moon, they are both "great lights." So that's a big fail. It goes on then to mention God making the stars,"setting them in the firmament of the heavens" for the purpose of "giving light on Earth" and to "divide light from darkness." All big fails too, but fitting nicely with the then generally accepted astronomical model.

The distance between Moon and Earth aswel as the distance between Earth and the Sun increases with time. In the time since God created the Earth and the Universe according to Genesis about 6000 years ago, the Moon would now be about 750 feet further away from Earth, while the Earth has receded from the Sun in the meantime by about 3000 feet on average. So, without further calculations being necessary, given the enormous sizes and distances we're talking about here, we can safely ignore the differences in apparent (angular) sizes as a consequence of these minute alterations.

Comment by archaeopteryx on May 19, 2013 at 6:36pm

RE: "'setting them in the firmament of the heavens' for the purpose of 'giving light on Earth' and to 'divide light from darkness.'" - Add to that, Albert, the fact that it would have taken four years for light from only the nearest star to reach earth, and over the period of many, many years, the others would have gradually filled in the night sky, but if earth is only 6000 years old, only stars from 6000 light years away could possibly be seen without a telescope. I'm not sure how much light that relative handful of stars could have shed on the earth.

Comment by Strega on May 19, 2013 at 6:59pm

if earth is only 6000 years old, only stars from 6000 light years away could possibly be seen without a telescope

That's a perfect repudiation!

Comment by Rio Santana on May 19, 2013 at 7:17pm

sad, how close minded people are when their religion is questioned even in the smallest reference.

Comment by Robert Germanovich on May 19, 2013 at 7:19pm

strega, your words are slightly out of form for something that i am sure i would agree with. the age of the earth itself has no bearing on the age of the stars out there emitting light. However, creationists contend the universe is the same age as the earth. If you rewrote that with "if the universe is only"... it would be both correct and a useable defense.

Comment by brookelynn rainwater on May 19, 2013 at 7:42pm

God said let there be light, then He made the sun and moon. There was already light then its like He formed the sources and seperated them and put them in their place. Thats how i would do it

Comment by Strega on May 19, 2013 at 7:48pm

Thanks, Robert Germanovich!  You are quite correct :) 

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