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A2 The Big Bang Theory

Submitted by rjzaar on April 30, 2017 - 1:56pm

The Big Bang theory is currently the best theory we have to explain the origin of the universe. Modern science believed that the universe had always been around. Einstein had developed his theory of relativity which actually predicts a start to the universe. He thought this can't be right and so added a fudge factor (Einstein's Cosmological Constant) to maintain what many scientists held to be true that the universe had always existed. A physicist by the name of George Lemaître looked at the equations and realised that the fudge factor should not be there and wrote a paper to explaining his theory that the uniserse was expanding. started from some 'primeval atom'. Einstein said he was wrong. When Hubble discovered evidence that the universe was expanding and some scientists were getting together to work out how to understand this, George sent his paper to them. They realised he got it right and Einstein then congratulated George on his achievement and they travelled together giving a lecture series on their understanding. You can read about it in, "'A Day Without Yesterday': Georges Lemaitre & the Big Bang"

Big Bang

Submitted by rjzaar on April 30, 2017 - 1:56pm
NASA / WMAP Science Team

A representation of the evolution of the universe over 13.77 billion years. The far left depicts the earliest moment we can now probe, when a period of "inflation" produced a burst of exponential growth in the universe.

A3 Flat Earth

Submitted by rjzaar on April 30, 2017 - 1:56pm

The ancients were well aware the world was a sphere. Pythagoras (6th century B.C.) is generally credited with having first suggested a round Earth. Aristotle (4th century B.C.) agreed and supported the theory with observations such as that the southern constellations rise higher in the sky when a person travels south. He also noted that during a lunar eclipse, the Earth’s shadow is round.  Eratosthenes (3rd century B.C., head librarian at the Library of Alexandria) built on their ideas and calculated the circumference of the Earth with remarkable accuracy at about 252,000 stadia.  Depending on which stadion measurement he was using, his figure was either just 1% too small or 16% too large; many scholars think it likely that he was using the Egyptian stadion (157.5 m), being in Egypt at the time, which would make his estimate about 1% to small… remarkable.

Among the Catholics St. Augustine (354–430) wrote,  “it be supposed or scientifically demonstrated that the world is of a round and spherical form.” (De Civitate Dei, Book XVI, Chapter 9). There are many other examples such as Bede, "Now the Earth's roundness and the Sun's orbit constitute the obstacle to the day's being equally long in every land." St Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) wrote, "For the astronomer and the physicist both may prove the same conclusion: that the earth, for instance, is round: the astronomer by means of mathematics (i.e. abstracting from matter), but the physicist by means of matter itself." (ST I, 1, 1, ad2) You can find more at "Spherical Earth".

The idea that Columbus sailed to the “New World” against the wisdom of his day is a complete myth, if a very persistent one. So then where did this myth actually come from? Jon Sorensen identified the earliest source as Washington Irving's A History of the Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus (1828) in his article How to Answer the "Flat Earth" Charge. That's a long time after Columbus left Spain in 1492. In this work, there is a scene depicted in the book where shadowy Catholic clergymen warn Columbus that he might sail off the end of the Earth. This, of course, is not supported by any real historical data. 

Columbus’ Error

The Reasonableanswers blogger explains what really was happening in his day.

Columbus did indeed face resistance while searching for sponsors for his voyage, but the issue of contention was not whether the earth was flat or round, but over the size of the earth. Those who opposed Columbus believed that the circumference of the earth was too great for ships to sail around to the other side. There was no talk about “falling off the edge of the world.” Columbus had calculated that the distance for his trip from the Canary Islands to Japan would be about 4,450 km, which is one-fifth the actual distance of 22,000 km. If not for the placement of the Americas in between, Columbus and his crew would have surely perished, as his critics predicted. Columbus’ voyage—and later explorations by others—did not change the perception of the shape of the earth, but merely added new land masses to the Middle Age maps of the world.

Rather than being a bold triumph of science over superstition, Columbus’ voyage is proof that sometimes even dumb blind luck can make you famous.


Figure of the heavenly bodies

Submitted by rjzaar on April 30, 2017 - 1:56pm
Bartolomeu Velho

Figure of the heavenly bodies - Illuminated illustration of the Ptolemaic geocentric conception of the Universe by Portuguese cosmographer and cartographer Bartolomeu Velho (?-1568). From his work Cosmographia, made in France, 1568 (Bibilotèque nationale de France, Paris).

The Examen Prayer

Here are the original steps of the daily examen from Ignatius’ spiritual exercises of 1584


It contains in it five Points.

First Point. The first Point is to give thanks to God our Lord for the benefits received.

Second Point. The second, to ask grace to know our sins and cast them out.

Third Point. The third, to ask account of our soul from the hour that we rose up to the present Examen, hour by hour, or period by period: and first as to thoughts, and then as to words, and then as to acts, in the same order as was mentioned in the Particular Examen.

Fourth Point. The fourth, to ask pardon of God our Lord for the faults.

Fifth Point. The fifth, to purpose amendment with His grace.

Crossroad Publishing Company
New York
Timothy M Gallagher OMV