Re: [asa] Star of Bethlehem presentation?

From: David Clounch <>
Date: Sat Nov 21 2009 - 19:56:26 EST


It has never occurred to me to attribute it to cosmic phenomena period. In
spite of the astronomers looking for a cosmic explanation. I just ignored
that. After all, I also don't believe St Nick was Santa Claus, and I don't
believe in weeping statues or the shroud of Turin. (However, I do believe
in St Patrick. [see footnote 1])

But on the other hand, one thing I've never noticed is anybody looking for a
non cosmic explanation.

I'm not naysaying Larson. Never heard of him. But I've been reading these
cosmic theories for decades. I think they were invented in modern times
by folks looking for a way that God didn't really get involved in the
advent. There are philosophical camps that prefer that sort of explanation,
and theologians that follow those camps of thought. But I am skeptical.
The idea that God pre-programmed the universe to give just the right solar
system is ... far out? For example, maybe the universe was also
pre-programmed to produce the pyramids without any humans getting involved?
Maybe the egyptians discovered them? *cough* *cough*

I once went to a church where the pastor taught that the constellations were
placed where they are in order to tell the advent story as a prophecy. And
that all ancients knew the story. But the pagans changed the story. The
thing about this is, for a TE type theory, one must believe that God
pre-programmed all the galaxy to present the "movie in the sky" so as to
support the Christ story. That to me is on the same level as the cosmic
Star of Bethlehem hypothesis. Its too complicated. Its easier to believe
in UFO's. (where angels have power, or technology, or both). And the
latter doesn't conflict with scripture in any way I know of.

OK, I'll look at Larson since you guys are so impressed with him. Where
was he when I was a kid having heaps of BS poured on me? ;)

Dave C

[footnote 1]
I do however, believe in St Patrick (who BTW wasn't a (S)aint with a capital
He was kidnapped in 401AD at the age of 16 and taken to Ireland as a slave
but escaped 6 years later. I've been reading "How The Irish Saved
Civilization" by Thomas Cahill. Patrick established the first Christian
civilization in the world that wasn't a co-blend with roman ways. So,
there's a myth that wasn't a myth. My personal interest is it took these
Christians over 100 years to convert Clan McCarthy who lived in Munster
(SW Ireland). I've been tracing my ancestors. So far the earliest goes
back to 123 AD. Only the Jews have an older family lineage than the
McCarthy clan. Anyway, along the way I discovered that Irish missionaries
to Europe established monastaries all over Europe. This after Rome was long
gone. For example, Salzburg and Vienna were both founded as monasteries
and later grew into towns then cities. The important part is these monks
took books, including the classics, with them. Thus they preserved the
pre-dark age knowledge. I had never heard any of this before looking at
Irish history. You see, American education focuses on the British founders,
and covers the Irish only at the point of the great immigrations. Irish
culture is COMPLETELY IGNORED in American education.

On Sun, Nov 22, 2009 at 5:12 PM, Merv Bitikofer <> wrote:

> Mr. Larson (the here discussed Star of Bethlehem researcher) is way ahead
> of you David. You should actually read his stuff before you nay say it. I
> guess John posted some excerpts which might summarize some of his points
> pretty well. I went in as a skeptic, but came out impressed with his
> methods of inquiry. He does approach it unapologetically as a Christian and
> with the stated assumption that he is going to take the Biblical record of
> the event seriously. Far be it from me to hold that against him. He does
> come away convinced that it was an astronomical event ---- but nothing so
> silly as we try to imagine that would hover in the air and stop over a
> stable, etc. You must have a lot of trouble understanding apocalyptic
> literature in Revelation with its stars falling out of the sky! :-> For
> that matter, I do too. But I guess, for all my confusion, it hasn't
> occurred to me to actually try to take it as literal commentary on cosmic
> movements according to 20th century definition!
> --Merv
> David Clounch wrote:
>> I agree. What ever made anybody think a bright light in the sky must
>> always come from a solar mass? Those in 1 BC who were looking for the
>> Christ child would have said a satellite is a star. They would have said
>> the lights on a 747 are stars. If a helicopter with a floodlamp flew over
>> them they would have said it was a star.
>> Stars which are actual solar masses rise in the east, and set in the west,
>> every night following the same path across the next few hours. They go east
>> to west. So, if you have a clock, and sample their position exactly 1/2
>> hour before dawn, you can say they are west of you. But at sunset they rise
>> east of you. In the middle of the night they are directly above you
>> (adjusted for latitude of course).
>> Contrast this to a satellite in geosynchronous orbit. If it is above
>> North America it would look to be in the west to someone in Palestine. And
>> it would stay in that position all night.
>> I don't think it was a geosynchronous satellite, but I don't think it was
>> a solar mass either.
>> If you want someone to go north to south, and you want the beacon to be an
>> astronomical object, you'd have to put it in the southern hemisphere. So,
>> after visiting the capitol, which direction did they head toward? The
>> Mediteranean? Why did they then not end up in Spain?
>> When they did find Bethlehem there's nothing to say the star didn't
>> descent vertically and hover 300 feet over the town as they approached the
>> town from the north. In fact, to be able to have them distinguish a little
>> town from an area the size of Los Angeles that is exactly what would have
>> been required. This was most likely not an astronomical event.
>> So figuring out what the actual observation was, and then drawing an
>> inference as to proximate cause, requires a complete reset in thinking. One
>> has to think forensics, not theology. But every holiday season we are
>> treated with the same dish of crapola. There is no natural explanation for
>> the event.
>> I remain "a cynic" ;)
>> On Sun, Nov 22, 2009 at 3:44 AM, John Walley <<mailto:
>>>> wrote:
>> David,
>> I'm curuious. What path would a star take? And how do you describe
>> it?
>> As far as who made it up, I guess you would have to blame the
>> gospel writers. I am not sure they had the distinction back them
>> between stars and planets, except for calling the stars that moved
>> "wandering stars". Again the astronomical understanding of the day
>> has to taken into acount.
>> If you need a visual to help you remember this distinction
>> forverer, nothing would be more effective than this priceless clip
>> of the multi-talented Lee Marvin finding his senstive side in the
>> old 60's movie Paint Your Wagon. :)
>> John
>> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> *From:* David Clounch <
>> <>>
>> *To:* John Walley <
>> <>>
>> *Cc:* Allan Harvey < <>>;
>> <>
>> *Sent:* Sat, November 21, 2009 1:48:10 PM
>> *Subject:* Re: [asa] Star of Bethlehem presentation?
>> I have never believed it was a star. Just read the scriptures. It
>> clearly doesn't describe the path a star would take. Who made
>> up this star story anyway? Sort of sounds like St Nick getting
>> turned into Santa Claus.
>> On Sat, Nov 21, 2009 at 6:53 PM, John Walley
>> < <>> wrote:
>> Although not from a scientist's perspective, I looked into
>> this a few years ago when he came to my church here. I think
>> he is on to something.
>> I was heavily in to RTB at the time and they have a
>> competing
>> theory but I still found his much more plausible. I think the
>> weakness of his that most people seize on is that he dates the
>> advent of the star (a planetary conjunction if I recall) a few
>> years earlier than 4BC which is when it is supposed to be and
>> I don't recall how he deals with that, but the rest of his
>> presentation is very convincing. It relies heavily on
>> assumptions of the astronomical and astrological knowledge and
>> accepted understandings of the day but as most of here are
>> non-literalists, that shouldn't be that much of an objection.
>> I would definitely recommend you go and check it out. I
>> think
>> you will be impressed. A quick perusal of his site ahead of
>> time would be wrothwhile as well.
>> John
>> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> *From:* Allan Harvey < <>>
>> *To:* <>
>> *Sent:* Fri, November 20, 2009 7:42:11 PM
>> *Subject:* [asa] Star of Bethlehem presentation?
>> So is anybody here (particularly any astronomers) familiar
>> with a guy named Rick Larson who has a supposedly
>> scientific inspirational DVD presentation about the Star of
>> Bethlehem. This appears to be his website:
>> It will be shown (as an Adult Ed offering) at my church
>> soon. Good, harmless, or something to steer people away from?
>> Allan Harvey, ASA Member
>> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
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Received on Sat Nov 21 19:57:06 2009

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