Between Science and Theology: How science learns about unobservable entities

An excellent and apposite addition to our recent posts on science and the scriptures. Thank you…

Science and Belief

hairy_dark_matter Cropped from Hairy Dark Matter By NASA/JPL-Caltech [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons In 1800, someone took the temperature of a rainbow. This story isn’t as strange as it sounds because that ‘someone’ was not the sort of person to look for a pot of gold, but a scientist called William Herschel.

1024px-william_herschel01Lemuel Francis Abbott [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons Herschel was a German musician and astronomer who became famous for discovering the planet Uranus. He built the best telescopes of his day, was funded by King George III, became a fellow of the Royal Society, first president of the Royal Astronomical Society, and was eventually knighted for his work. So why was such a sensible person taking a rainbow’s temperature?

In Herschel’s day, all astronomers used coloured filters to protect their eyes when they were observing the sun. The light coming through the filter was obviously a bit warm, but…

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