I Bet It's Okay to Look at the Eclipse


I’m not a scientist. But I am a man with common sense. Am I giving you an order? Not at all. Call it a hunch.

I’m not anti-science. Nor am I one to go on harangues about conventional wisdom. But sometimes, when everyone out there is yelling the same thing, it behooves you to ask yourself: Should I really believe this? Or, on the other hand, should I not believe it? Is this something that requires a rarefied degree from an accredited institution to figure out? Or is it something that I might be able to figure out myself, using the natural critical thinking skills that have gotten me this far in life just fine?

And who stands to profit?

We all know there’s an eclipse in America today. Now here’s where it gets crucial. Every “expert” on TV and elsewhere is saying one thing: “Don’t look at the eclipse without special glasses.” Should we blindly believe them? Let’s analyze the facts.

First, tell the truth: Have you ever looked at the sun before? In your entire life? I bet you have. We all know what the sun looks like. I’m sure you’ve glanced at it a number of times. And—are you blind? I doubt it. If you are, that’s fine as well. But is the blindness directly related to glancing at the sun? Odds are, it’s not. Statistically it’s more likely to be genetic, or due to some other injury.

What is an eclipse? It’s when the sun is partly covered up. By definition that means that less of the sun is showing than on a normal day. If you’ve ever seen the sun on a normal day—and I know you have—that means you looked at more of the sun than will be showing during the eclipse. And by the formula of (Sun area showing)=(How much light), we can deduce that all the times you’ve looked at the sun before today, you’ve seen more of it than you would see during an eclipse. That, to me, is a strong indication that it’s okay to look up at the eclipse for just a little bit.

Is there something special about an eclipse that makes it more dangerous to look at than the sun on a regular day? It’s hard to say, because any attempt to google this question quickly puts you “down the rabbit hole” of hysterical stories telling you not to look at an eclipse. But I don’t see why an eclipse would be anything other than “less sun.” If I do happen to find more info on this, my views could evolve. As it stands, though, I really don’t see why that would happen.

So, should you not look at the eclipse without special “eclipse glasses?” I know one group of people who think so: The eclipse glasses manufacturers, who stand to make a bundle if everyone heeds these doubtful warnings. Is everything here above board? Or is there a deeper, more sinister motivation for the scaremongering we’re hearing? Since the eclipse will be here in just a few hours, we may not have time to find the definitive answers to these questions. Moreover, I’m not even going to try—I’ll be too busy looking at the eclipse. See you there.

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