Dawn and enlightenment?

I would like to express disappointment at the response to my question (posted earlier this week under ‘General Questions’): Does the sun really rise in the sky each morning? It started out well; I got the response I expected. But then it petered out; and, apparently, no-one really got the point. I mean: no-one picked up the ball and ran with it. So now I’d like to ask: Has anyone tried asking the question of others in the way I asked it? I can assure you that, if you do this, you will find that very many of your friends and neighbours, your teachers, your religious leaders, your academics and intellectuals, your politicians… they will insist flatly that the sun does not really rise in the sky each morning.
What do you think about this?
Note: Since I posted my original question, I have gained the impression that ‘The Straight Dope’ is purely for entertainment, and that any seriousness in the questioning and answering is either illusory - delusory, even - or, if real, is not welcome. I would like to be proved wrong.

Blano - My best advice is for you to pick up yours and run with them, whilest you have the opportunity.

I smell BBQ!

Beware the lollipop of mediocrity. Lick it once and you will suck forever.

Your answer proves me right.

Perhaps if you’re after an interesting discussion, you could pose an interesting question.

My posting was interesting enough for you to respond to; but I note that you haven’t answered any question.

All right, all of you calm down before I have to send some of you to time-out. this is degenerating into the sort of personal attack that is more appropriately carried out in the BBQ pit.

Allow me to take a crack at your original question. The only correct answer is, it depends on your point of view. The viewpoint that the sun does rise in the sky is based on simple observation, i.e. standing outside and looking up or noting the shift in shadow length and direction, etc. and observing that relative to nearby objects, the sun changes position. conversely, the viewpoint that the sun doesn’t rise in the sky arises from using the sun as a fixed point around which its planets revolve, then concluding that the earth is moving rather than the sun, which produces the same sensory data as if the earth were a fixed point and the sun rotated around it.

Both of these positions are, of course, flawed. the truth is that bodies in space orbit each other, and therefore, the movement of one astronomical body can only properly be described relative to the other. In these terms it is just as correct to say the earth moves relative to the sun as it is to say the sun moves relative to the earth.

Live a Lush Life
Da Chef

The point of view is already implicit within the question: the sky is the open space above the skyline (note that word), it’s the wide blue yonder that stretches from horizon to horizon, it’s outer space as seen from the Earth. (We are of course talking of the terrestrial sky here, and not any other.) We all know what is the correct explanation of the sun’s rise in the sky each morning: it’s that planet Earth is rotating axially in space. (Note that you haven’t mentioned the word “sky” in your final paragraph at all.)
I expect personal attacks. After all, I am effectively saying that you deceive yourselves if you fail to acknowledge, straight - when pressed to do so - that the sun rises in the sky each morning. That may well feel like a personal attack; but it’s not supposed to be. I’m trying to help.
Now, attack away.

I’m really curious, blando, as to why you see this all as deeply significant. I’m sure you’re headed somewhere with this, but you seem to want to play Socrates here, and that role really doesn’t work so well unless you can, like Socrates, have Plato writing the dialogue for your interlocutors so that they say exactly what you expect them to say and you can herd them in the direction in which you want the discussion to go.

I have not in fact conducted your experiment of asking people if the sun really rises in the sky every morning; however, I speculate that those whom you ask it answer what they assume is your intent rather than your exact words; they assume that your intent is to ask whether the sun really moves upwards relative to a stationary Earth, and they correctly answer this question, saying, no, the sun does not really move upwards relative to a stationary earth, except in the trival sense in which we have defined the Earth as stationary and “up” relative to the direction of gravity at the point where we happen to be standing on it.

Only people with certain sorts of brain damage, and people in unusual social situations, such as taking IQ tests, respond to the precise words of a question as opposed to the perceived intent of a question.

I think that what you have discovered is that most people are not brain damaged.

Frankly, I don’t see the importance of it at all. I know that I just stand here and the earth rotates in the direction of the sun and it appears to rise. Big deal. Then we pass one point about noon and the sun appears to set…

Why I see this as deeply significant is for you to work out. I hope you can see from my answers that I’m not pretending to tell you anything which you couldn’t work out for yourself if you wanted to. But, of course, we human beings have a tendency sometimes not to want to know things that are uncomfortable to us; and that can be especially true if getting to know it involves effort. And, clearly, getting your head round what I’m trying to show you does involve effort. (It also involves considerable effort for me too, of course. As you point out, no-one is writing the dialogue for me. Though, as the responses to my question demonstrate, people often tend to do the herding themselves; and, at least in part, that should serve to satisfy you intitial curiosity - which is very well received.)

As for what people may mistakenly understand by what I ask, well, anyone can make a mistake. The trouble is that, sometimes, people simple will not acknowledge that they’ve made a mistake - not even to themselves; they will dig themselves deeper, and deeper. You’ll have to try the experiment for yourself. But as I pointed out before - see the General Questions board - there are people (supposedly serious intellectuals) who will actually write down words to the effect that they think the sun doesn’t really rise in the sky each morning; and that’s not in answer to my question. And if you were to ask them about what they’ve written down, they will insist categorically that it’s true. (Of course I’ve tried it.) This is not merely the making of a mistake - a mistake might readily be seen, acknowledged, and corrected. Rather, it’s delusion.

Your wording in the second half of the second paragraph shows that you’re not picking up on the question I asked: relating to the movement of the sun through the sky. Imagine a TV screen showing the following picture: there’s a yellow ball moving upwards across a plain blue background. Now, that could have been filmed in any number of ways. Nevertheless, the picture on the screen shows a yellow ball moving upwards across a plain blue background.

Of course I accept that what I’m trying to urge you to do is to pay very close attention to words - not only mine, but your own. But, as I’ve said, what I’m trying to get you to notice is not merely the making of mistakes. Rather, it’s the pathological tendency we humans have sometimes to fail absolutely to see and to acknowledge - especially when it really matters - what is already within our sight. Of course my example is really quite trivial; but what it demonstrates is not trivial. And if people won’t get the idea with regard to such a perfectly simple example, then they certainly won’t do so when it comes to something really weighty. You speak of brain damage. Clearly, I think, you mean that metaphorically, so I’ll continue the metaphor. Think about Serbian politicians, for example; I’m sure you’ve heard them speak. Think about their answering of questions about what their army is doing in Kosovo. (This is only an example. But I’m sure you’ll agree it’s pretty important.) Now, who - as you put it - is brain damaged?

The Earth - planet Earth - rotates on it’s axis: if we might speak of direction, it goes round and round. Beause of this, the sun rises in the sky roughly every 24 hours - at least it does in our part of the world: it appears to because it does so. Similarly, it appears to set in the evening because it does set in the evening.
And I agree; that’s no big deal at all.

Ed, sorry for my misspelling of “simply” - second paragraph, second line. (Nb. I am brain damaged in my own way: it’s called obsession.)


I’ve read this through several times, and I have to admit, I have no idea what you’re trying to ask.

No, the sun doesn’t rise, there’s no such thing as morning? Yes, you put enough yeast in it and bake it and the sun (like bread) also rises?

You’ve gone on at great length, but I fail to see what point you’re trying to make. Several have commented about rotation and orbits, but you say that’s not your issue. So, explain, what is your issue? You think maybe that God photographed the sun setting in the morning and just plays the tape backwards every day?

I have to tell you, if I ask a buncha people to tell me the word for what the sun does in the morning, the answer will be “rises” more often than not… except for the folks that think I’m asking a tricky point-of-view question about whether the earth is flat.

Blando, I wish to submit a question to you.
Is there only one right way to describe an event?

This thread recalls SO much the day I had substitute teaching a third grade class today.

I’ve subbed for this class before, and know their tricks, but I guess they decided today was “psych out the sub” day.

A group of boys tried to convince me that Pokemon cards were educational.

One girl asked me, with desperation in her eyes, to help untie a knot she had made. When I grabbed the knot with my fingernails, she laughed and showed me that I only had to pull both lead strings with my fingers to untie the knot. (Silly me.)

A group of bright girls begged me to read them a first-grade level story. In spite of the fact that I knew these girls were above that, I acquiesced, and after about twenty minutes, these girls enthusiastically started to demonstrate that they had junior high-level reading skills. HAHAHAHA, teacher!

I was quizzed on spelling by a group of the best spellers. They were disappointed when I could spell “cytopharmacology” (I didn’t even know that was a WORD!) and “onomatopoeia.” :slight_smile:

Sound familiar, anyone?



I’m a substitute teacher for the NYC Board of Ed, an Insurance Claims handler, and mother to a Kindergartener. Just TRY to give me a headache bigger than the one I already have!

Blando? The scum also rises …

Blando …

We’ve deleted posts where you’ve given nothing more than a link to the work on your website. Now it appears that you’re trying to simply preach those same ideas in a different form here on the message board.

In case you hadn’t noticed, this is not (in a direct sense, at least) a forum for philosophical discusion and metaphysics.

I’ve let this thread go on, but now I’m going to say: get to the point. Platonic dialogue doesn’t suit you well, and it’s generally frowned on in a forum like this where we deal with real, direct answers to real, direct question. As John Cage said “Music as dialogue doesn’t work. If you’re going to have a conversation, have it and use words.”

Or in my own words; get to the point or I’m closing this thread.

Saint Eutychus

Sometimes it pays to read the whole board first …

I just noticed that Blando had used the “Does the Sun Really Rise in the East” thread to provide a jumping point to an advertisement for his website. These ads we’ve deleted in the past. I strongly suspect that is what he is doing with this thread. This thread is therfore closed.

Saint Eutychus

Good morning. (As I begin to write this, it’s 10 a.m. UK-time - I don’t rise with the sun.)
You don’t know what I’m asking? Could I have posed the original question any more clearly?! (I’m not too sure about the clarity of some of your questions.) I did make some effort to explain what the point is. The issue is self-deception and delusion; and that can sometimes be effected on a mass, cultural scale. (I’ll explain further below.) As for your question about God photographing the sunset, I think perhaps what you’re referring to is what I said in response to Ed - about a TV screen showing a yellow ball moving upwards across a plain blue background. The point was this: such a picture could be produced simply by rotating the camera; but that has no bearing on the correct description of what is shown on the screen - ie. a yellow ball going up across a plain blue background. And this is why the stuff about orbits and planetary rotation is irrelevant to the simple truth of the fact that the sun rises in the sky each morning. But the one truth - ie. the structure and mechanics of the solar system - explains the other - ie. the sun’s rise in the terrestrial sky each morning. Therefore, the one truth couldn’t possibly refute the other. And, I’m saying, everyone knows that it doesn’t, since everyone knows perfectly well that the sun rises in the sky each morning; everyone knows this, whatever they might sometimes deludedly *say</>.
As for what you tell me in your final paragraph, you’re perfectly correct. But then, you would have put the matter in a different way. If however you were first to put the question to them in the way I originally put it, you’d find that very many of them - especially those who like to think of themselves as being hard-headed and rational - would answer, flatly, “No”. And, if you then tried them with your expression of the question, you’d find that they would no longer be able to acknowledge what you say - rightly - they would otherwise readily acknowledge. This, then, is self-deception: On the one hand, everyone (at least generally speaking) is in firm touch with reality - as is necessary for day-to-day life, and for survival; and yet, on the other hand, people will sometimes say things which are manifestly false - meanwhile thinking that what they say is well-informed, and even positively intelligent - and also totally at odds with the rest of the behaviour. And the bizarre pathology of this situation will be completely beyond their ken. (Please try what I suggest.) This is, I might say, the bewitchment of human intelligence by means of language; and since language is a mass, cultural means, this bewitchment may sometimes be effected on a mass, cultural scale.
There are any number of ways to correctly describe an event. But the event which my original question concerned was the sun’s rise in the sky each morning; and however you describe a sunrise, it’s still a sunrise. If however you describe the structure and mechanics of the solar system, then you’re describing something different: you’re describing the facts which explain the terrestrial sunrise. (I say “terrestrial sunrise” because I believe Mars, Venus, and Jupiter, for example, all rotate axially; and therefore, the sun also rises in the Martian sky, the Venusian sky, and the Jovian sky. For all I know, there may even be pictures available of a Martian sunrise somewhere on the internet. Certainly I’ve seen pictures of the Martian sky.)
I don’t know what Pokeman cards are, but I’ll give your pupils the benefit of the doubt. As far as I’m concerned, there isn’t anything which isn’t educational. (But, of course, there’s good education, and there’s bad. Obviously, it depends on how things are approached.) Children always have things with which to positively enlighten their teachers - unless the children are in some way disturbed. When the children begin to teach their teacher, then the teacher should know that she’s doing a good job.

So, to cut to the chase, this is all about the fact that if you ask a question in different ways, you can get different answers?

Ask: Do you describe the sun in the morning as “rising”?.. and they’ll say “yes”

Ask: Does the sun rise because it circles around the earth? and they’ll say “no”

Ask: Which direction does the sun rise? and they’ll say “east” (except the smart-asses who will say “up”)

I don’t think there’s any great revelation here. Pollsters have known for a long, long time that the wording of the question can influence the answer. So have little kids trying to get parental permission.