But archaeologists and anthropologists remain fascinated by religion because figuring out where we came from can tell us why - and so people in the life sciences and even physics will hunt for knowledge about people and religion. Let's face it, the scientist who figured out why religion exists is going to get the biggest Nobel prize ever.
So if you're inclined to do something more than watch the Discovery Channel shows on the Apostles (I know I am - every time they leave me hanging on the story of Paul I want to slap that Luke guy, though that's probably evidence it wasn't completely made up - people who are making up stories tend to finish them) you can read about what's happening and its tangential relationship to science.
If you haven't read Erika Hert's defense of radiocarbon dating and skepticism about the Shroud of Turin, take a look. The nature of faith is such that even in the light of science truth people will believe but why they believe in medieval cloth is unknown. Dating can be wrong, of course, but not by 1300 years.
On Livescience, anthropologist Heather Whipps tackles Who Was Jesus, the Man? There isn't a lot. Unlike Julius Caesar, he didn't take over the world during his lifetime so there isn't a lot of data about him outside religious belief, but there is some.
Garth Sundem declares the Easter Bunny both dead and alive, which is similar to Jesus. I guess they both existed in a quantum state before it was cool.
The Guardian wants to talk about Why do we believe in God? including some of the odder religious rituals that help people affirm their beliefs.
If you like your Easter a little more secular, Martha Stewart (yeah, that's right, I linked to Martha Stewart) shows you how to make your own peeps. I did, and even made my own peep show, which almost got me yelled at by the wife.
The New York Times tackles egg dyeing (I know, I know, the only thing that belongs on a science site less than Easter is the NY Times science section but show some tolerance) and tells us 36% of people favored blue eggs. Only a few preferred black, which means on religious holidays Goths get even less respect than they deserve the rest of the time.
I tackled Why Does Religion Still Exist? because exist it does, and en masse, despite science being on equal footing since the 20th century.
If you want, you can calculate the date of next year's Easter yourself. Now you just need to figure out how to know the date of the Paschal Full Moon:
First we calculate two values called the solar correction, s, and the lunar correction, l.
s = (y - 1600) div 100 - (y - 1600) div 400
l = (((y - 1400) div 100) × 8) div 25
Next we calculate an uncorrected date for the Paschal full moon, p'; then we apply a minor correction to get the exact date, p, as the number of days after 21st March.
p' = (3 - 11g + s - l) mod 30
if (p' == 29) or (p' == 28 and g > 11) then
p = p' - 1
p = p'
Now we need to determine the date of the following Sunday. First we calculate the 'Dominical number', d:
d = (y + (y div 4) - (y div 100) + (y div 400)) mod 7
Note that this is the number from which the Dominical letter is determined, and we calculate d', which is the date on which the first Sunday of the year falls:
d' = (8 - d) mod 7
We already have p, the date of the Paschal full moon in days after 21st March. Next we determine p'' the first date in the year which falls on the same day of the week as the Paschal full moon. First we determine the 'day number' of p with respect to 1st January. This is 31 + 28 + 21 + p = 80 + p. (Note that we can disregard possible occurences of 29th February, because the calculation of d has already taken this into account, and we shall see that these two values will cancel each other out.) p'' is then given by the formula: p'' = (80 + p) mod 7
= (3 + p) mod 7
The difference between d' (the first Sunday in the year) and p'' (the day of the week when the Paschal full moon falls) gives us the number of days that must be added to p to get the date of the following Sunday, which is Easter Day. There is one further subtlety. This number must lie in the range 1-7, rather than 0-6, since Easter is not allowed to fall on the same day as the Paschal full moon. We first determine x', the difference between d' and p'': x' = d' - p''
= (8 - d) mod 7 - (3 + p) mod 7
= (8 - d - (3 + p)) mod 7
= (5 - d - p)) mod 7
To force this to lie in the range 1-7, we calculate x x = (x' - 1) mod 7 + 1
= (4 - d - p)) mod 7 + 1
We can now calculate e, the number of days Easter falls after 21st March:
e = p + x
e = p + 1 + (4 - d - p) mod 7
In other words Easter Day is:
if e < 11 then
(e + 21) March
(e - 10) April
Oh, never mind, I will just use an online calculator.
If you have a gardening mindset, you can learn about Easter lilies. If you are chemically inclined you can learn what Easter egg dyes taught science about DNA fingerprinting.
If you have an addiction and just need someone to tell you to stop, read An Equation About Easter Miracles - Should Captain Carrot Quit Smoking?
If space is your thing, the best we have is a year ago when Paranal got a new mirror and if you're a history buff, you can learn about the pagan history of the Easter bunny. That's right, it 's named after the Anglo-Saxon pagan goddess named Eastre, whose symbol was a bunny. Goddesses? Yep, so whether you are an Easter bunny or more of a Playboy bunny type, there's something here for you.
Alessandra Ambrosio is not actually a Playboy bunny. She is a mom.
Did I miss any Easter articles worth noting? You can tell me in the comments so we can show them some brotherly love.
(1) Try it yourself. A small study of macaques found they didn't create Shakespeare, as infinite monkey theorem said they would, though they didn't use infinite monkeys, they used six. Still, you'd think even six monkeys could do more than type the letter 's' over and over and then pee on the typewriter.