Thought For The Day #4220 March 2015
Broadcast 20th of February 2015 on BBC Radio Bristol
So literally, as I speak, the Moon is passing in front of the Sun. They do both spend a lot of time in the sky, so it’s not totally surprising that one would occasionally eclipse the other. Still, it’s quite a rare event for the UK, partial eclipses occur every few years and total eclipses can sometimes take many decades before happening again.
We probably know from the movies that ancient civilisations thought eclipses were mysterious acts of the gods. But now we know, it’s just because of the orbit of the planets.
I’m a computer programmer and mostly an atheist too. But even so, there are times when things happen on my computer that I have no explanation for. I’ll be doing the same thing that I’ve done every day in the same way for months, then suddenly it doesn’t work. I try to fix it but nothing helps. Then just as mysteriously as it broke, it fixes itself for no reason. And for a moment I can’t help but wonder if it was just that the planets were misaligned or something.
In fact, in all seriousness, you can actually get software that will stop you doing things on your computer if any of the planets are in alignment. Of course it’s a bit of a joke, but I think it says something true about humans. Even the most logical minds amongst us appreciate that there are hidden movements in the universe that can’t be completely explained.
I don’t personally believe in any kind of god, but that doesn’t stop me being in awe of how the universe works. So I shall be waiting until the eclipse is over before I get back to my programming this morning.