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19 Oct 2021 12:20:41 EDT (-0400)
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From: Cousin Ricky
Subject: Re: First "Christmas Star" in Nearly 800 Years
Date: 18 Dec 2020 20:09:42
Message: <5fdd52d6$1@news.povray.org>
On 2020-12-04 2:54 PM (-4), Bald Eagle wrote:
> For the several solar system modelers amongst us:
> 
> Jupiter and Saturn Will Align to Create the First "Christmas Star" in Nearly 800
> Years
> 
> https://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/jupiter-saturn-christmas-star-48024008

Here we go again...

   "As 2020 comes to a close, the solar system has decided to grace us
   with a cosmic Christmas miracle that hasn't been witnessed in nearly
   800 years."

I am curious as to how Ms Vargas defines "miracle."  I was under the 
impression that this event was a predictable outcome of the regular 
clockwork of the Solar System.

   "On Dec. 21 (aka the December solstice), Jupiter and Saturn will align
   so closely in the night sky that they'll almost appear to collide from
   our vantage point here on Earth, creating a radiant point of light..."

No they won't.  First of all, they will appear about 6 arcminutes apart, 
or half the distance between Mizar and Alcor of the Big Dipper.  This is 
impressively close, but not close enough to appear as a single point for 
someone well-corrected vision.  But even for people with bad vision, the 
pair will not appear much more "radiant" than Jupiter does alone.

   "... often referred to as the 'Star of Bethlehem' or the 'Christmas
   Star.'"

Pure speculation, among many.  Back when I was a Christian, I read an 
article arguing that since the account in Matthew was a faith-based 
story, attempts to identify an actual corresponding astronomical event 
are misguided.  I was convinced, and stopped trying to find a scientific 
explanation for the star.  It's a nice story, provided you read between 
the lines that all those murdered babies are living it up in heaven, but 
it's just a story.  The sad fact is that the circumstances surrounding 
Jesus' birth are unknown.

Lest you call me a killjoy, the reality not meeting an expectation would 
be a bigger letdown than my explaining what is actually going on.  It 
will be pretty.  Go out and enjoy it!


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From: Thomas de Groot
Subject: Re: First "Christmas Star" in Nearly 800 Years
Date: 19 Dec 2020 02:28:34
Message: <5fddaba2@news.povray.org>
Op 19/12/2020 om 02:09 schreef Cousin Ricky:
> On 2020-12-04 2:54 PM (-4), Bald Eagle wrote:
>> For the several solar system modelers amongst us:
>>
>> Jupiter and Saturn Will Align to Create the First "Christmas Star" in 
>> Nearly 800
>> Years
>>
>> https://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/jupiter-saturn-christmas-star-48024008 
>>
> 
> Here we go again...
> 



> 

> impression that this event was a predictable outcome of the regular 
> clockwork of the Solar System.
> 



> 


> impressively close, but not close enough to appear as a single point for 

> pair will not appear much more "radiant" than Jupiter does alone.
> 


> 

> article arguing that since the account in Matthew was a faith-based 
> story, attempts to identify an actual corresponding astronomical event 


> the lines that all those murdered babies are living it up in heaven, but 

> Jesus' birth are unknown.
> 
> Lest you call me a killjoy, the reality not meeting an expectation would 



I agree.

Or this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Star_(Clarke_short_story)

-- 
Thomas


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From: Ton
Subject: Re: First "Christmas Star" in Nearly 800 Years
Date: 19 Dec 2020 05:10:00
Message: <web.5fddd080992b80f88987c46d0@news.povray.org>
One of the most interesting youtube-videos I ever saw (besides POV-ray movies)
is this one. I am not a historian or theologian, but it all makes sense to me.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88GTUXvp-50


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From: Ash Holsenback
Subject: Re: First "Christmas Star" in Nearly 800 Years
Date: 19 Dec 2020 12:05:14
Message: <5fde32ca$1@news.povray.org>
On 12/18/20 8:09 PM, Cousin Ricky wrote:
> On 2020-12-04 2:54 PM (-4), Bald Eagle wrote:
>> For the several solar system modelers amongst us:
>>
>> Jupiter and Saturn Will Align to Create the First "Christmas Star" in 
>> Nearly 800
>> Years
>>
>> https://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/jupiter-saturn-christmas-star-48024008 
>>
> 
> Here we go again...
> 



> 

> impression that this event was a predictable outcome of the regular 
> clockwork of the Solar System.
> 



> 


> impressively close, but not close enough to appear as a single point for 

> pair will not appear much more "radiant" than Jupiter does alone.
> 


> 

> article arguing that since the account in Matthew was a faith-based 
> story, attempts to identify an actual corresponding astronomical event 


> the lines that all those murdered babies are living it up in heaven, but 

> Jesus' birth are unknown.
> 
> Lest you call me a killjoy, the reality not meeting an expectation would 



hey why is it you can't find a flux capacitor when you need it... sheesh 
we could go and see for ourselves


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From: Cousin Ricky
Subject: Re: First "Christmas Star" in Nearly 800 Years
Date: 19 Dec 2020 14:58:16
Message: <5fde5b58@news.povray.org>
On 2020-12-19 6:05 AM (-4), Ton wrote:
> One of the most interesting youtube-videos I ever saw (besides POV-ray movies)
> is this one. I am not a historian or theologian, but it all makes sense to me.
> 
> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88GTUXvp-50

Wow.  I am neither historian nor theologian, but my bullshit meter is 
off the charts on this video.

My first hint that something was amiss (and I've been seeing claims like 
these for 15 years) was the Sun = Son equivalence.  This is an artifact 
of the English language, which did not exist at the dawn of Christianity!

It is easily verified that the Sun is *never* in the vicinity of the 
Southern Cross (Crux), and certainly never appears south of it, as in 
the illustration.  My first thought was that the Sun is aligned 
north-to-south with Crux, and the illustrator just made a boneheaded 
mistake.  (I've seen similar mistakes on the likes of The Science 
Channel.)  But even this interpretation has its problems.  Precession 
means that this alignment takes place at different times through the 
ages.  When has the alignment been on the solstice?  When the Horus myth 
was developed?  At 4 BCE?  At 2010 CE?  I consulted my planisphere, and 
the Sun is nowhere near alignment with Crux in December 2020.  Even 
worse, going back into the past has the alignment moving in the wrong 
direction!  The last time the alignment occurred was before recorded 
history.  This claim appears to have been fabricated out of whole cloth, 
along with that illustration.

And then there is the near alignment of Sirius with Orion's belt.  Maybe 
the belt stars have been called "the three kings" by some people at some 
time, but I have never heard of it until seeing this video just now, and 
as an amateur astronomer, I have been exposed to a lot of astrological 
mythology.  Maybe they were so claimed in the movie _Zeitgeist_, but I 
haven't bothered myself to waste time on that movie.  Wikipedia confirms 
this moniker, but aside from having no [citation], says that the name 
was derived from the Bible, not the other way around.  The Bible doesn't 
say how many magi there were, or that they were kings, so this is 
clearly later tradition.  If the videographer wishes to tie Orion's belt 
to Matthew's birth story, he needs to find a mythology that pre-dated 
the Middle Ages.

The near alignment is true all year round, not just on December 24.  And 
it *cannot* point toward sunrise at any time, ever, because it points 
away from the ecliptic.  Both of these facts were known to the ancients. 
  So far, we have two claims of the Sun wandering far outside the zodiac 
constellations, an anomaly which should be instantly spotted by any 
astrologer, let alone someone who is knowledgeable about astronomy.

But maybe the illustrator just made the same boneheaded mistake as they 
did with Crux, and painted the Sun in the wrong direction?  Nope, that 
would have the Sun in Taurus, when it would have been in Capricornus[1] 
during December of the year Jesus was born, and in Aquarius when Moses 
was alleged to have lived.

There is nothing about these astronomical claims that comports with 
reality, and even during the time when astronomy and astrology were the 
same discipline, the ancients could not have observed any such patterns.

I haven't gone though all the claims of parallels between Jesus and the 
other gods.  I just know that some of them are true, and some are just 
extrapolations on the part of religious skeptics who fancy themselves 
immune to wishful thinking.

Of course, it is well known that Jesus was not born on December 25.  No 
one knows when Jesus was born, so early Christians just picked a day 
when all the other gods were celebrating their birthdays.  This is no 
revelation, and about the only Christians who have a problem with this 
are the Jehovah's Witnesses, who are bigger killjoys than I will ever be.

Less known is that the video has a point about the virginity.  No one 
knew Jesus was born of a virgin until nearly a half century after he 
died.  The first written mention of the Virgin birth was in Matthew, 
written ca. 80 CE, and the author based his claim on a "prophecy" that 
was based on a mistranslation of Isaiah!  The author of Luke knew of the 
virgin birth story, but it is clear from his genealogy in chapter 3 than 
the mythology was as yet incomplete and was still being worked out. 
(The author of Matthew never noticed that his genealogy totally 
subverted the virgin birth idea.)

It's complicated.

The human brain is a pattern matcher.  It is so efficient it finds 
patterns that aren't there.  There are many facts in this video, and 
certainly Judaism and Christianity borrowed extensively from the 
religions surrounding them; but many of the conclusions in the video are 
spurious.  It seems that the author was first bent on disproving Jesus 
and Christianity, then collected every claim he could without verifying 
them.  The video should not be dismissed out of hand, but each claim 
needs to be evaluated individually.

_________________
[1] "Capricorn" is the astrological name.  "Capricornus" is the 
astronomical name.  Since I am describing stars, not signs, in this 
context, I used the latter.


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From: Thomas de Groot
Subject: Re: First "Christmas Star" in Nearly 800 Years
Date: 20 Dec 2020 02:39:12
Message: <5fdeffa0@news.povray.org>
Op 19/12/2020 om 18:05 schreef Ash Holsenback:
> On 12/18/20 8:09 PM, Cousin Ricky wrote:
>> On 2020-12-04 2:54 PM (-4), Bald Eagle wrote:
>>> For the several solar system modelers amongst us:
>>>
>>> Jupiter and Saturn Will Align to Create the First "Christmas Star" in 
>>> Nearly 800
>>> Years
>>>
>>> https://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/jupiter-saturn-christmas-star-48024008 
>>>
>>
>> Here we go again...
>>



>>

>> impression that this event was a predictable outcome of the regular 
>> clockwork of the Solar System.
>>



>>

>> apart, or half the distance between Mizar and Alcor of the Big 


>> with bad vision, the pair will not appear much more "radiant" than 
>> Jupiter does alone.
>>


>>

>> article arguing that since the account in Matthew was a faith-based 
>> story, attempts to identify an actual corresponding astronomical event 


>> read between the lines that all those murdered babies are living it up 

>> circumstances surrounding Jesus' birth are unknown.
>>
>> Lest you call me a killjoy, the reality not meeting an expectation 
>> would be a bigger letdown than my explaining what is actually going 

> 
> hey why is it you can't find a flux capacitor when you need it... sheesh 
> we could go and see for ourselves

Dangerous stuff. You could end up like Karl Glogauer in Michael 
Moorcock's "Behold the Man". ;-)

-- 
Thomas


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From: Cousin Ricky
Subject: Re: First "Christmas Star" in Nearly 800 Years
Date: 20 Dec 2020 12:15:01
Message: <web.5fdf8670992b80f860e0cc3d0@news.povray.org>
Thomas de Groot <tho### [at] degrootorg> wrote:
>
> Dangerous stuff. You could end up like Karl Glogauer in Michael
> Moorcock's "Behold the Man". ;-)

Or this.


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From: Thomas de Groot
Subject: Re: First "Christmas Star" in Nearly 800 Years
Date: 21 Dec 2020 02:25:01
Message: <5fe04dcd$1@news.povray.org>
Op 20/12/2020 om 18:14 schreef Cousin Ricky:
> Thomas de Groot <tho### [at] degrootorg> wrote:
>>
>> Dangerous stuff. You could end up like Karl Glogauer in Michael
>> Moorcock's "Behold the Man". ;-)
> 
> Or this.
> 

LOL, yes! I followed this on Spanish TV at the time. Totally surreal 
indeed. If I remember correctly, she did it again!

-- 
Thomas


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From: Patrick Elliott
Subject: Re: First "Christmas Star" in Nearly 800 Years
Date: 21 Dec 2020 06:57:32
Message: <5fe08dac$1@news.povray.org>
On 12/19/2020 12:58 PM, Cousin Ricky wrote:

> knew Jesus was born of a virgin until nearly a half century after he 

> written ca. 80 CE, and the author based his claim on a "prophecy" that 

> virgin birth story, but it is clear from his genealogy in chapter 3 than 
> the mythology was as yet incomplete and was still being worked out. (The 
> author of Matthew never noticed that his genealogy totally subverted the 
> virgin birth idea.)
> 
Not going to address all of this, but this one is pretty much an 
absolute "invention". The world specifically used in the original texts 
- before it became "translated" into Roman, specifically referred to 
"maiden", as in "young girl/woman". The language actually has a word for 
virgin in it, which was not used at all. There are all sorts of 
arguments, back and forth, over whether or not this was somehow an 
accident, and they did mean virgin, but.. this just seems like its own 
sort of special pleading to me - "It has to be an accident, because we 
know they had to mean virgin!"

Don't even get me started on the "existence" of Jesus, as described in 
the Bible, or the fact that only two accounts of the resurrection can 
even be called "common to the time it happened, sort of..", one of them 
almost copies the other verbatim, except for adding supernatural stuff 
to it, while the "first" account included none of the elements that made 
it a supernatural event, or implied in any way he had reappeared.

The whole book is a mess, honestly, but the New Testament not only 
mangles its own content, it warps and twists the OT, making claims about 
fulfillment of prophecies that where already fulfilled in the original 
passages, and didn't refer to the times of Jesus at all, etc. The only 
thing more mad is the attempts to explain away all of it, by doing 
things like copying lines out of the King of Tyr, to "invent" the Devil 
(which is not the same as Satan at all, even if they, again, insisted on 
conflating their new invented enemy with that prior character.

The only thing, honestly, sillier is the mess of gibberish added, again, 
when the Quran was written, and, once again, half the contents where 
"rewritten" to create even more confusion, nonsense, cosmology and 
gibberish to explain things than this video contains. (It includes, for 
example, Allah arguing with the Earth over whether or not it would do as 
he commanded and actually come into existence... lol)

-- 
Commander Vimes: "You take a bunch of people who don't seem any 
different from you and me, but when you add them all together you get 
this sort of huge raving maniac with national borders and an anthem."


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From: Cousin Ricky
Subject: Re: First "Christmas Star" in Nearly 800 Years
Date: 26 Dec 2020 12:13:52
Message: <5fe76f50$1@news.povray.org>
On 2020-12-21 7:57 AM (-4), Patrick Elliott wrote:
> On 12/19/2020 12:58 PM, Cousin Ricky wrote:

>> knew Jesus was born of a virgin until nearly a half century after he 

>> written ca. 80 CE, and the author based his claim on a "prophecy" that 

>> the virgin birth story, but it is clear from his genealogy in chapter 
>> 3 than the mythology was as yet incomplete and was still being worked 
>> out. (The author of Matthew never noticed that his genealogy totally 
>> subverted the virgin birth idea.)
>>
> Not going to address all of this, but this one is pretty much an 
> absolute "invention". The world specifically used in the original texts 
> - before it became "translated" into Roman, specifically referred to 
> "maiden", as in "young girl/woman". The language actually has a word for 
> virgin in it, which was not used at all. There are all sorts of 
> arguments, back and forth, over whether or not this was somehow an 
> accident, and they did mean virgin, but.. this just seems like its own 
> sort of special pleading to me - "It has to be an accident, because we 
> know they had to mean virgin!"

Agreed, except the translation was into Greek, not Latin.  The Greek 
word for "virgin" appears in the Septuagint translation, which was 
completed in Alexandria in the 2nd century BCE.  This apparently was the 
translation referenced by the author of Matthew, and Christians have 
been running with this ever since.  (Why was a purveyor of God's good 
news working from a translation?  And Christians wonder why Jews don't 
buy claims that Jesus fulfilled prophesy.)

> Don't even get me started on the "existence" of Jesus, as described in 
> the Bible, or the fact that only two accounts of the resurrection can 
> even be called "common to the time it happened, sort of..", one of them 
> almost copies the other verbatim, except for adding supernatural stuff 
> to it, while the "first" account included none of the elements that made 
> it a supernatural event, or implied in any way he had reappeared.

As I said, I am not a historian, so I am loath to contradict the 
historical consensus on Jesus' historicity, although I have met a 
prominent mythicist (Richard Carrier).  Not that this debate is of any 
existential concern to me.  But yes, it is clear that the Jesus of the 
gospels has been embellished to the extent that we can know nothing of 
the historical figure(s) he was based on.

And if any Christians are wondering what Patrick is talking about, the 
last 12 verses of Mark 16 were not in the original gospel.  If your 
Bible doesn't have a footnote acknowledging this, chuck it and buy an 
honest translation.

> The whole book is a mess, honestly, but the New Testament not only 
> mangles its own content, it warps and twists the OT, making claims about 
> fulfillment of prophecies that where already fulfilled in the original 
> passages, and didn't refer to the times of Jesus at all, etc. The only 
> thing more mad is the attempts to explain away all of it, by doing 
> things like copying lines out of the King of Tyr, to "invent" the Devil 
> (which is not the same as Satan at all, even if they, again, insisted on 
> conflating their new invented enemy with that prior character.

The gospel writers were using a school of scriptural interpretation 
called midrash, which would have made perfect sense to people of that 
mindset, but to everyone else--the Jewish establishment in 
particular--it just looked like they were making shit up.  Thus, a 
prophecy in Isaiah of a young woman who is pregnant *right now* being a 
sign that King Ahaz's victory is imminent can simultaneously be read as 
messianic prophecy for centuries into the future.

And yeah, the Christian Satan is clearly not the same guy as the Satan 
in the Tanakh, and the idea that the snake in the Garden of Eden was 
Satan in disguise was a straight up Christian invention.

> The only thing, honestly, sillier is the mess of gibberish added, again, 
> when the Quran was written, and, once again, half the contents where 
> "rewritten" to create even more confusion, nonsense, cosmology and 
> gibberish to explain things than this video contains. (It includes, for 
> example, Allah arguing with the Earth over whether or not it would do as 
> he commanded and actually come into existence... lol)

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLXJ4dsU0oGMJ5KT5rTLYCYQOAOU4qvIDi


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