Tuesday, June 3, 2008

New Discovery: We Don't Know As Much As We Think.

We have a confluence of new discoveries made recently that are really making me ponder my existence. I'm sure this coincides with my recent purchase of The Complete C.S. Lewis Signature Classics, which in turn coincided with me checking out the official audio version of said collection from my local library.

Up first, this story about a tribe of people in Brazil/Peru that has absolutely no idea that we, this internet-connected, GMO-consuming, gas-price-worrying society, exists. Here they are, obviously feeling threatened by the noisy, enormous bird flying over them:

Follow this link for more photos and the complete story, which contains this intriguing bit:

In our overcrowded world their very future hangs in the balance. Almost all of these tribes are threatened by powerful outsiders who want their land. These outsiders - loggers, miners, cattle ranchers - are often willing to kill the tribespeople to get what they want.

Even where there is no violence, the tribes can be wiped out by diseases like the common cold to which they have no resistance.

According to Miriam Ross of Survival International, which campaigns to protect the world's remaining indigenous peoples, "These tribes represent the incredible diversity of humankind. Unless we want to condemn yet more of the earth's peoples to extinction, we must respect their choice. Any contact they have with outsiders must happen in their own time and on their own terms."

Secondly, we have this bulletin from NASA, which shows, apparently, a patch of ice uncovered by the Phoenix Mars Lander's thrusters last week:

And, from the story:

"We were expecting to find ice within two to six inches of the surface," said Peter Smith of the University of Arizona, Tucson, principal investigator for Phoenix. "The thrusters have excavated two to six inches and, sure enough, we see something that looks like ice. It's not impossible that it's something else, but our leading interpretation is ice."

(Please note that the researchers are from the University of Arizona and that this whole Mars Lander thing was not orchestrated nor sponsored by the University of Phoenix. Presumably, if there is extraterrestrial life, the boosters at U of A are hoping to make them Wildcat fans before any of the other schools can get to them.)

Jocularity aside, read these stories (and while you're at it, The World Without Us isn't a bad idea, either) and then consider this: if we didn't know about either of these things, what else do we not know, and what should that teach us about our own humility?


Mark Keefer said...

Some news items seem to take me back to the elemental question, "what does it all mean?"

Life on another planet. Why not? Is it possible I'm limiting God's creation again? Yeah, it's possible.

Adam said...

The more sophisticated our technology gets, the more we find out how little we know about the universe; and the more stars we find that are similar to Sol, our sun. It's completely plausible that there is life out there somewhere.

In the movies, extraterrestrial life is always represented as being way smarter than us; how come it's never the other way around, though? What if extraterrestrial life is still in the stone age? That would make us the smart ones.

Scary thought.

Mark Keefer said...

You're right, it seems it's that in those situations, we're the stupid/underdeveloped ones. Maybe their reasoning is that, "hey, if they can build a ship that can make it all the way to Earth, then they HAVE to be smarter than us."

I will now reveal a nerdy thing about myself (as if you needed more proof). When we watched Star Trek TNG back in the day, there was an episode where the enemy WAS slow and stupid, but they had stolen technology from others and were now holding all this power though they were ill-equipped mentally to wield it. It wasn't pretty for Gordy LeForge for a while there, but he did get away. Whew!

mike rucker said...

ah, but SOMEONE claims to know an awful lot over at Ur ...

especially about how 'the Shack' presents the faith ...

who might that be?

one of the things that changed my faith was finally seeing where the earth and the sun are in relation to the rest of the universe. doesn't rule out God, but certainly makes man a mite more miniscule...

mike rucker
fairburn, georgia, usa

Adam said...


Long before the internet, I owned a book (purchased from Suncoast Video in the mall) called The Nitpicker's Guide to the Next Generation Universe.

Yes. It is what you think it is. The author even pointed out inconsistencies in stardates.


I can't tell if you're being sarcastic or are legitimately picking a bone with my comments about "The Shack" on that other website. I think it's the former.

Isn't it interesting that long ago, we thought the Earth was the center of everything? Then it became the sun as the center of the solar system. And now we realize that our solar system is far from the center of the Milky Way.

It's a nice celestial reminder that man is not the center of anything. Now if we could only remember that on a consistent basis...

Thanks for visiting.