Lottery Post Journal

Nat Geo: Great TV Channel

Ever since CableVision added the National Geographic ("Nat Geo") channel to its HDTV lineup, I've been an avid viewer.  They have some really interesting shows, and I especially enjoy the ones that deal with the universe/natural world.

Last Thursday night I saw a show on Nat Geo that explained how the moon was created, and how it's creation was instrumental in the development of life on this planet as we know it.

The feeling I came away with was that human beings, and perhaps other life forms that are similarly advanced, are not some common occurrence, in that it required an incredible sequence of powerful, complex, yet perfect, series of events in order to bring about Homo sapiens (us).

I'm not going to go down this road today, but I will say that it makes me wonder how anyone can definitively rule out the existence of God, given such an extraordinary recipe, on such a grand scale, that produced human beings.

The TV show is called Naked Science, and it frequently has interesting topics.  The episode I saw was called "Moon Mysteries".  I think it airs again a couple times over the next week.

According to the TV show, the moon was created some billions of years when an asteroid or planet, perhaps as big as Mars, collided with the Earth.  Nobody knows for sure how the moon was created, but this theory is among the most probable.  (Another theory — not mentioned in the show — is that the moon was a large body captured by the Earth's gravity.)

The moon was not always so far away from the Earth.  When it was created, the moon's orbit was maybe just a third of what it is today.  Over the billions of years of its existence, the moon's orbit has slowly been carrying it spiraling away from the Earth.  One day, no doubt billions of years away, the moon will escape the Earth's gravity completely, and we will once again be without a moon.

The other big difference is that the moon's orbit is a lot slower today than when it was young.  Like a spinning ice skater who slows her rate of spin by extending her arms outward, the moon's orbit slows as it grows wider.

As most people know, the tides are one of the clear influences the moon has on the Earth.  The moon's gravity pulls on the Earth's oceans, causing them to bulge upward toward the moon, which to us on the Earth simply looks like the sea has risen in the high tide.

The Earth rotates much faster than the moon moves around it, so from the standpoint of someone on Earth, the sea rises as they rotate toward the position closest to the moon, and then the sea falls as they continue rotating away from the moon.

The constant movement of the ocean caused by the moon's gravity has a mixing, churning effect on the world's oceans.  It also has an effect on the climate and on the winds.  There is a very complex relationship formed between the moon and the Earth.

Now just imagine what that relationship was like when the moon was much closer to the Earth, and had an immensely more powerful gravitational effect on the Earth.

Scientists estimate that the tides were hundreds of feet in height.  The climate effect was also profound, as it likely caused hurricane-like winds constantly.  When we see a hurricane today it comes and goes within a day, but when the moon was young the hurricane winds would rarely go away.

To one on the surface of the planet it was a violent time, to say the least.

But, according to scientists, it may well have been the period of time where life as we know it was formed.  The movement of the oceans so far inland during each high tide, followed by its retreat at low tide, scrubbed the land of minerals and nutrients and brought them into the sea, in an intense mixing of the world's oceans.  The moon would have continued to have this effect for millions of years, radically changing the face of the Earth, and bringing together the unique set of minerals, nutrients, and conditions essential for life.  They say that even the twisted strands of DNA — the basis for all living things — was greatly influenced.

The Nat Geo show no doubt explains things much better than I could, and gives a full appreciation of the subject.

It's just one example of the caliber of TV programs available, and a good example of why I enjoy watching it.

I was able to locate a 2-minute video clip that highlights the beginning of the show, explaining the theory about how the moon was formed.  You'd have to catch the show on TV to see the rest.

Moon Mysteries clip


  • I know Todd. I'm hooked.   I frequently keep it on in the background when I'm working to just keep soaking it up.

    By Jake, at 5:30 PM

  • Yeah I'm hooked on those channels also, Channel 186 on DishNetwork, 276 on HD Direct TV. I enjoy it along with Discovery Science, Discovery, and TLC. The moon is an absolute stroke of luck or just plain old divine intervention, there is one episode that outlines what it would be like if there was no moon, bad news to say the least. I made everybody a few weeks ago go out in the cold several times to see the lunar eclipse while it was happening and just take it in "live", what I call super HD 3D with temperovision and smellovision.

    By jarasan, at 6:03 PM

  • @Jarasan: I completely agree about that lunar eclipse. It was spectacular -- certainly the best I have ever seen one. Not only was it a unique lunar event, but that evening was crystal clear, and the moon so so perfectly located in the sky that one could not hope for a better show. I'll never forget it.

    By Todd, at 10:22 PM

  • Todd, you must be a lunatic to believe in that stuff. We all know the universe is only 6,000 years

    By pacattack05, at 12:54 AM

  • I watched that show also... and i am glad the moon is still with us for without it there would be no us.

    Un related i also watched some science fiction show where the moon was cracked wide open and i hope that never happens for real.

    By four4me, at 1:01 AM

  • @Pac: I'm not sure what that means, but OK.

    By Todd, at 1:05 AM

  • You know what I mean Todd. But I won't go down that road

    By pacattack05, at 1:12 AM

  • @Pac: The universe is several billion years old, maybe I'm just missing it.

    By Todd, at 1:14 AM

  • I'm sorry Todd, I always thought you held the belief that the universe was as old as what the bible claimed to be. I didn't know you had extensive beliefs that sprouted from those initial beliefs.

    My bad.

    Good to see that you are open minded.

    By pacattack05, at 1:18 AM

  • Basically, what I'm saying is that someone can't believe in both scenarios. its either or. Either you believe that the universe is billions if not more years old, or that you believe it's a few thousand years old.

    The dilemma lies with the choice. They both, cannot exist simultaneously.

    Also, you can't believe in UFOs because that would negate that whole story about "WE" as being the creation "ONLY". The fact that other creatures were born would go against every apect of the human soul being the one on the pedastal with the universe at its dispoasl, as if humans are the main theme and the universe around humans, a mere surrounding to fit the latet fashion trend so to speak.

    By pacattack05, at 1:32 AM

  • Just a reminder. Ther are currently, as we konow of, 100 billion galaxies, each contaiming 100 million stars.

    A good down to earth example is this: For every grain of sand on every beach on this planet, exists a million stars. Do the math. 14 billion years is a long long time.

    By pacattack05, at 1:39 AM

  • OH. I understand what you're talking aobut now. No, I don't interpret every word of the Bible literally. Many people do though. Personally, I don't think anybody on either side knows all the answers to the great mysteries, so neither are lunatics, IMHO.

    On your comment about them being mutually exclusive, I obviously disagree with that. It's like saying that Catholics that believe in a woman's right to choose abortion for herself is not a Catholic. I guess there are some who would make that jump, but I'm not one to judge.

    Don't be so hung up on trying to make sense of everyone's religious beliefs and trying to shove them all into the same box. With rare exception, there are no absolutes.

    By Todd, at 1:44 AM

  • Some Christians will tell you that what you hold to be true about the universe and everything in it was done so we would question these things. However god knows what he did and why. Suppose it was made 6 thousand years ago and he just imprinted into it's development. All the fossils and things we question about it's existence. It's not so much about wether it was made 6 million years ago or 6 billion years ago it's about wether we believe he created it and all its wonders.

    By four4me, at 2:29 AM

  • Four4me, I find it very difficult to believe in a God that gives us brains to calculate, problem solve, invent, rationalize, and so on, but then throw a left curve by making everyone think the universe is older than it really is, when in fact he made it early on. Why would he confuse us with contradictory info? That makes no sense to me whatsoever.

    Too many versions and interpretations out there.

    By pacattack05, at 9:23 AM

  • Todd, I was only joking about the lunatic part. You were talking about the moon and I tried to be funny.

    By pacattack05, at 9:25 AM

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