The Confused Astronomers of Babylon 1
❧ in which Moe does battle with slippery plates and diabolical sixes ❧
Flying Plates - Base Sixes
Moe made it clear that the One True God he was talking about was not the sun god Shamash -- and certainly not Ra or the fiery Aten. What had the sun done for anyone lately? Moe wanted to make sure that no one in his family would bend their knee to a fiery ball that kept flying around the earth. There one minute, gone the next.
Moe took this opportunity to make a clean break from the astronomers who were leading everyone into airy fantasies. Some of these astronomers said the earth wasn't the centre of space and time. Some said the earth wasn't flat. Some even imagined it was an enormous ball, spinning at demonic speed around an iron pole. Yet anyone could see the earth was the centre of everything. What else was there? Even idiots could see that it was flat and that it wasn’t going anywhere. If it was spinning, your hat would fly off your head, wouldn’t it? Moe slapped his hand on the table in front of him and asked rhetorically, Do you see any plates flying across the room?
In Moe’s story, his One True God made it clear that the earth was the centre of everything and that they were NOT in fact hurtling through space. This would remind them that the One True God was always above them, always watching. Recording everything on a giant stone tablet. All the sins committed against Him would be read aloud to the foreign sinners for all eternity. Indian and Persian apple merchants would also walk on red hot coals. He thought to himself, Let's see how they perform their magic tricks then!
Moe also had a bone to pick with the geometers of Babylon. Like the Sumerians and Akkadians, they divided everything into tens and sixties -- 360 degrees in a circle, 12 months in a year, 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour. Base six, base ten, base sixty! Infernal geometrical and astronomical prestidigitations! Their numbers gave Moe a headache. The Devil himself lay in all these sixes! Six, six, six!