Galaxy Song’s Accuracy Evaluated in Light of Recent Findings


In a few months, I will be making my thirteenth trip to Australia to compete in a couple of triathlons and participate in a series of events with co-author Grant Donovan from Australia promoting our new book, “The Wellness Orgasm: The Fun Way to Live Well and Die Happy. “.

I love so many things about Australia. It’s always a pleasure to be there, but one thing about visiting that I really dread is the flights to and from Australia from the west coast of the United States. The distance from Los Angeles to Sydney, for example, is 7,497 miles. The flight lasts about 17 hours. I always feel like a zombie when I arrive. However, that journey pales in comparison to the time it takes to get to some places. Just guess how long it would take to fly to an exotic vacation resort 5.88 billion miles away. Go ahead, guess.

The correct answer is one light year. Unfortunately, no means of transport reaches the speed of light.

A little perspective

Consider this: There are over 100 billion stars in our Milky Way galaxy, and there are at least 100 billion galaxies. Try to calculate how many stars you get, and don’t bother estimating how many planets must be circling all those stars! Just thinking about it makes my head spin, and these numbers only account for galaxies and stars in the known universe.

So isn’t it a bit strange that no god of any religion, including the current sky god of modern-day Abrahamic religions, has ever made reference to the vastness of the cosmos? No Bible or other holy book offers a perspective of the extremely microscopic place that Earth represents in the grand scheme of things. In fact, the Vatican had our sun circling the Earth until the 16th century. It makes me wonder about the reliability differences between science and religions as sources of knowledge about reality.

The 100,000 light years of our galaxy side by side. Most of us non-professional astronomers know this from listening to Eric Idle’s “Song of the Galaxy” featured in Monty Python’s movie “The Meaning of Life.”

Criticized “The Galaxy Song” by Eric Idle

Paul Kohlmiller wrote an essay for the San José Astronomical Association that examined every line in Eric Idle’s “The Galaxy Song.” I wanted to see how it held up after decades of advances in scientific knowledge about the universe. Before you notice how accurate it was at the time, listen to the song, as it was an Eric Idle song in the movie:

So, here is each line of the song, and Mr. Kohlmiller’s assessment of the degree to which these lyrics have held up over the years.

* “Just remember that you are standing on a planet that is evolving” – Yes, it is still spinning and life on the planet is still evolving, the creationist claims otherwise.

* “and rotates at nine hundred miles per hour”: Earth’s rotation is once a day and its circumference varies with respect to the equator, but 900 mph is close enough.

* “That is orbiting at nineteen miles per second, so it is calculated” – That is still quite true.

* “A sun that is the source of all our energy” – Well, the sun is responsible for all wind, hydro, coal and oil and solar energy. It may not be uranium, but it is all basically true.

* “The sun and you and I and all the stars we can see are moving at a million miles a day.” Actually, it is a little over 6 million miles per day.

* “On an outer spiral arm, sixty thousand miles per hour”: the first part is correct, the second part (at the new figure of 6 million miles per day) would now be 250,000 miles per hour.

* “From the galaxy we call ‘Milky Way'”: it is still called that and it is not likely to change its name anytime soon.

* “Our own galaxy contains a hundred billion stars” – Some astronomers suspect there might be a little more, but the dormant number still holds up well. While there have been some estimates that are slightly higher than 100 billion stars, this is still a pretty good estimate.

* “It’s a hundred thousand light years from side to side”: about 20,000, this is still the current estimate.

* “It bulges in the middle, is sixteen thousand light years thick” – Estimates vary widely from 10 to 30 thousand light years for the center of the galaxy.

* “But for us, it’s only three thousand light-years wide” – Check.

* “We are thirty thousand light years from the galactic central point” – Check

* “We go around every two hundred million years” – Check

* “And our galaxy is only one in millions of billions” – Oops. Current thinking is that there are “only” billions, but astronomers are still counting.

* “In this amazing and expanding universe” – Check.

* “The universe itself keeps expanding and expanding in every direction it can fly.” – Check

* “As fast as I can, at the speed of light, you know” – This one is a bit tricky. As Kohlmiller explains: “But matter generally cannot move at the speed of light, so the rate of expansion is somewhat slower. On the other hand, there was a time in the early universe when it appears to have expanded at a rate. speed greater than that of light. speed of light. “

* “Twelve million miles per minute, and that’s the fastest speed there is” – Check

* “So remember, when you feel very small and insecure, how incredibly unlikely your birth is” – Kohlmiller: “The human genome project has found 30,000 genes. It would take only 33 genes to make each living person unique.”

* “And pray there is intelligent life somewhere in space” – Kohlmiller: “Hence my membership in the SETI Team.”

* “Because there are bastards down here on Earth” – Kohlmiller: “An impregnable truth.”


Well, if these facts about the universe and our modest place in it don’t give you pause or evoke a healthy WO, you might want to play the song one more time.

Be well and, more than ever, look on the bright side of life.

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