Five billion years ago it was poker night at Buddha's house. For the previous 9 billion years, every Wednesday evening he would invite his chums Jesus, Mithra, Horus, Krishna, and Tammuz around for a no-limit game of Texas hold 'em. This being Wednesday was no exception...
Krishna: Ah, Jesus. I see you brought the wine again. Nice. Look, you didn't bring Yahweh with you again did you? He's still barred. Anyway, whose turn is it to deal?
Mithra: Look, I'm bored with this crap. Every week we play the same damn game, and we all know Buddha is going to win. Every time you get a better hand than him he starts giving that "Nothing is real" crap.
Buddha: Yeah, that’s the sound of my one hand beating yours. Hey! Hang on. What the hell am I doing here anyway? I never even claimed to be an omnipotent being!
Tammuz: Shut up fat boy. Go and put the kettle on or something. Oh, and get something for dessert and some cigars too.
- Buddha goes to make the coffee, and Horus appears over the horizon
Horus: He's right though, I'm bored with this too. I say we spice things up a bit.
Krishna: We are not playing dice again.
Horus: Well, I say we create a planet. Toss some life on it and let them evolve for a while. Then we can place bets on how long they manage to go before they figure out what we are up to.
Jesus: Sounds like an earthy idea. How would it work?
Horus: Well, we would each leave some clues for them. Something which appears to be such a ridiculously unlikely coincidence that only a total fool would think that it could have happened by chance.
Mithra: Hey, that sounds like a laugh. But how would the betting work?
Horus: Well, we will each leave them some clues, and the God whose clue is accepted by them as proof of their existence gets out of doing the washing up for the next 10 billion years.
Krishna: Ha. Dude, awesome idea.
Horus: Right. Well, what about leaving some bloody great enormous piles of rocks all over the place. When they find them, they are sure to think there is something going on.
Tammuz: What is it with you and the rocks man? That monolith thing is so passe. You can't just hide a few 4-sided slabs here and there and expect them to catch on that easy, you'll just end up convincing them that ancestors must have worshipped stone penises or something.
Horus: Look, I'm going to do it, but be a bit subtle about it. I will put a load of stones around the place, but line them all up with the Sun 4 times a year. When they find those they will catch on especially as they will all use the same unit of measurement, the “Megalithic yard”. Anyway, I think I'm all Set.
Mithra: You think? They will just think their ancestors must have worshipped the Sun or something.
Krishna: Sap. Messing about with little rocks and "units of measurement" what on earth are you talking about? Look, you are thinking far too small man. I'm going to give them a bloody great Moon. What I'm going to do is make it so that the moon appears exactly the same size in the sky as the Sun.
Mithra: Na, they probably will not even notice that.
Krishna: They might not, but on the the midwinter solstice, spring equinox, summer solstice, and autumn equinox the sun will set in exactly the same place. On the equinoxes the Moon will set in the same place as the Sun, but on the solstices, it will have exactly the opposite setting point. That will get them looking up in the sky. When my Moon passes in-front of their Sun and perfectly blocks it out it's going to be blinding obvious. They will be like "Wow, what are the chances of that?"
Mithra: Na, they will still just think it's just luck. Look, how far away are you going to put your Moon?
Krishna: Um, not sure. I was thinking of putting it 400 times closer than the Sun, but make it 400 times smaller so it all lined up right.
Mithra: Well, that would only work if the Earth had a perfectly circular orbit, and that would be cheating, you have to use an elliptical orbit just like everything else in the dam universe.
Krishna: Hmm, OK. Fair point. Look, so long as the 400 thing works when there is an eclipse that will crown it.
Mithra: Fair enough. You have got no chance though, they still won't get the ring of it. I'm going to take your 400 thing and run with it... I'm going to make the Moon turn 400 kilometres on its axis each day, but make the Earth turn at 40,000 kilometres per day. I will make it 40,000 Megalithic yards in 1 megalithic second of arc of the Sun. I will also make the Moon 100 megalithic yards to each second of arc which as the Sun is 400 times bigger makes it 40,000 Megalithic Yards per second of arc of the Sun.
Jesus: What? Oh, right. So that's Krishna and Mithra sorted then, but stop going on about Megalithic yards Mithra. No one knows what the hell you are talking about.
- Buddha returns from the kitchen 40 seconds later with the dessert.
Buddha: While you are at it make Venus draw a heart every 400 days. Oh, and also make Venus draw a 5 pointed star every 8 years, and every 40 years make it all line up again perfectly. Actually toss in a 40 day regression, and to blow them a kiss make 5 Venus cycles 8 years. That should make it dawn on them.do that.
Tammuz: Anyway, I'm going for the number of days in the year. I'll make it 366 days a year and make the Earth 366% the size of the Moon, and to top it off make it 10,000 days in 366 lunar orbits as well as having 366 Megalithic yards in 1 Mg second of arc of the Earth.
Jesus: Look, we said no friggin' Megalithic anything. Anyway I will have some of this 366 action. If Tammuz is having percentage size of Earth to Moon, I'm having percentage size of Moon to Earth which is 27.322. I'll make it 27.322 days in 1 lunar orbit when measured from the stars. There is absolutely no reason why the Earth/Moon size percentage should be the same as how many times the thing spins around the bugger. To 3 decimal places... They will go nuts over this one.
Horus: Oh Mother.
Jesus: Also, sticking with the 4 thing, I will take my 27.322 * 4 to get 109.28. I will make the Sun 109.25 times bigger than the Earth and put the Earth 109.26 Sun-widths away from it at its farthest point. Just for a laugh I will make the Moon's equatorial circumference 10,920 kilometres as well.
- Buddha returns with the coffee and cigars...
Buddha: Anyone got a light?
Jesus: What am I, the light of the world?
Buddha: To be honest, if they haven't spotted what is going on by then they will soon blow themselves up, so all bets will be off anyway.
Krishna: He's got a point you know guys. We don't want them to blow themselves up before we get a result on this one. We had better chuck a few more coincidences at them, just to make sure they do actually spot it at some point.
Horus: OK then, I will put my biggest pyramid on a latitude exactly matching the speed of light. That should illuminate them.
Mithra: That's a bit more on the money. We can also make the Moon orbit at a speed of 1 kilometre a second, and make the node cycle a round 6,800 days. Oh, let's set the mass of the Moon to be 1.234% that of the Earth.
Horus: You think they will spot that the circumference of the Earth multiplied by that of the Moon divided by 100 gives you the circumference of the sun to 99.9 per cent?
Horus: Which also obviously means that if you divide the circumference of the Sun by that of the Moon and multiply by 100 you get the circumference of the Earth. Also if you divide the size of the Sun by the size of the Earth and multiply by 100 you get the size of the Moon. Oh, and we can also make a pendulum which swings at a rate of once a second on the Earth have length of 1 meter.
Krishna: Horus, you are getting really boring now. Look, I'm just going to make the Moon look like some big dude with a cheesy grin looking back at them, and leave it at that. Anyway, all this is going to take us ages to set up so Buddha put some decent music on. Actually, nip down to hell and borrow some CDs from Satan. I couldn't Adam and Eve the rubbish you played last week.