Listening to episode 1 from “Wonders of the Solar System” I hear Brian Cox use phrases like:
“Spectacular.” “Wonderful.” “Powerful.” “Intimacy and delicacy.” “The alignment is absolutely perfect.” “That’s the solar system coming down and grabbing you by the throat.” “That’s the hidden wonder of the Sun.” “This is the beginning of an epic journey.” “One of the most beautiful sights of nature… the mystical aurora.” “It is quite incredibly beautiful… it is all the more wonderful.” “An impressive display.” “It is beautiful.” “Astonishingly…” “Full of possibilities.” “The greatest story.”
Accompanying this is music seen fitting for this aesthetic gush-fest over nature. The beautiful, orchestral, suitable-for-awe, epic music.
Then there is the way the word “billions” is said. It serves doubly as a superlative, for emphasis, with a stress, an accent, an umph. It’s more than just a number.
When I hear nature/science popularizers/mainstreamers gush like this over how exquisite, elegant, beautiful, amazing, fascinating, stunning, marvelous, and wonderful everything around us is, I smile (or sometimes scream) and say:
You are NOT merely doing dispassionate inductive reasoning. You are marveling over aesthetics and glory and value and greatness!
Here is what Brian Cox insists in the video is “a quirk of fate”, a “sheer coincidence” and an “accidental arrangement”:
“Consider that the sun is about 400 times the diameter of the moon, which would make it awfully hard for the lunar disk to fit so perfectly over the solar one—except that the sun is also about 400 times more distant, meaning that the two bodies appear to be the same size in the earthly sky. Consider the way the moon’s ragged mountains, which are impossible to see from as far away as Earth, form a sawtooth pattern at the lunar edges through which the last of the sun’s light streams in the moments before a total eclipse is complete, creating the brilliant burst of light astronomers call the diamond ring effect.” (http://time.com/4829265/total-solar-eclipse-beauty-science/)