I stayed in bed a little later this morning for a couple of reasons. Firstly, that nasty insomnia bit me in the ass again and I really needed the extra hour of horizontal time. Secondly, I was absolutely transfixed to the TV watching the live news conference from the European Space Agency as they gleefully updated the progress of the Philae lander that successfully touched down on comet 67P. It was exciting to watch these grizzled scientists act as though they had been given the keys to Willy Wonka's Chocolate factory. Their life's work has just been validated.
If you haven't been following this truly historic experience I really need to ask...why the hell not? This is the astrophysics equivalent of catching a tiger by the tail. Comets are the most mysterious of all known entities in our solar system, and scientific advancement is now giving us an up close and personal look at their composition and movements in real time. We are being gifted with a few more morsels as to the origins of our universe and perhaps a quick glance of what lies ahead. It is a glimpse into the unknown and we as a civilization should be hanging on every photograph and every detail. It is truly fascinating.
But instead of bearing witness to what may be one of the greatest scientific endeavours in decades, too many are being distracted by frivolities. Do you know what the number one story posted by so many on my Facebook feed was yesterday? Kim Kardashian's naked ass. Seriously?
When did we as a society become so incurious? According to recent polls, more than 45% of Americans believe in ghosts while 42% subscribe to a creationist theory of the universe, dismissing all thoughts of evolution. Don't even get me started on the climate change deniers or anti-vaxers. Now far be it from me to dismiss anybody's experiences with the hereafter, but I seriously cannot remember a time in my life when science has been so fully and seriously under attack, and dismissed by so many in favour of mind-numbing trivia. Come on! A pseudo-celebrity's bare buttocks has more people transfixed than clues to the genesis of civilization as we know it.
I was six and half years old when Apollo 11 landed on the moon. I have vivid memories of my parents waking both my brother and me so that we could witness history. I watched Armstrong and Aldrin take those portentous first steps on a grainy black and white in my parent's bedroom. It was a singular moment in time when the entire world united in collective awe. Have we really become so very jaded and so hyper-critical that we can't recognize another when it is presented to us?
It is true that my relationship with The Divine Being has been difficult as of late. I have struggled, as did Abraham, Jacob, and Moses. But I do believe that when presented with an opportunity such as we have been given this week, we must open our eyes and see the truth that is unfolding before us. We must continue to explore and question, and we must find ways of reconciling our theology with our scientific discovery. Maybe then our faith will be rewarded....and I don't mean with images of Kim's derriere.