Science: A Hellish Heaven

Which is hotter, heaven or hell?

That question, seemingly appropriate for medieval theological tomes, is raised this month in a highly unlikely place: the current issue of Applied Optics. Even more surprising, the usually serious technical journal gives tongue-in-cheek scientific arguments to provide a totally unexpected answer.

Citing as its source "an unnamed environmental physicist of several decades back," Applied Optics points out that the temperature of heaven (considered by the ancients to be the entire firmament, including sun, moon and stars) can be accurately computed from data available in the Bible. The data can be found in an Old Testament passage from...

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