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« Who's Counting? | Main | Tell me it's not true »

Thursday, 31 May 2012


Mannie Sherberg
This very rich and evocative post deserves not a comment but a book, which I am most assuredly not qualified to write. So I'll restrict myself to a single observation, occasioned by Dr. Schroeder's remark about the workings of entropy: In the physical world, because order never arises from disorder spontaneously, we can produce order only by expending considerable time and energy; but -- and this thought is hardly original with me -- we can produce disorder from order with a very small expenditure of time and energy. Put simply, creating is hard, destroying is easy. We cannot even begin to calculate the amount of time and energy required to create the Twin Towers; from the inception of the idea to the opening of the actual buildings required an incalculable amount not only of time and energy but of wealth and labor and materials and human ingenuity. But it's quite easy to calculate the small amount of time and energy required to reduce the towers to rubble. That's true of everything in the physical world; a painter may spend years creating a painting; a vandal with acid can destroy it in seconds. Worse yet, human beings can never restore to its original form something that has been destroyed; if my computer burns to ash in a house fire, not all the cyber-wizards in Silicon Valley will be able to put it back into working order. We can make ashes from computers; we cannot make computers from ashes. One of the terrifying lessons of history is that we can also make ashes from people -- but never people from ashes. The human world is a very fragile place. I'm sure Nachmanides figured that out a long time ago.
Tom Glennon
Let me add a quote from Dr. Schroeder about the effect of relativity and time. "Today, we look back in time and we see approximately 15 billion years of history. Looking forward from when the universe is very small - billions of times smaller - the Torah says six days. In truth, they both may be correct. What's exciting about the last few years in cosmology is we now have quantified the data to know the relationship of the "view of time" from the beginning of stable matter, the threshold energy of protons and neutrons (their nucleosynthesis), relative to the "view of time" today. It's not science fiction any longer. A dozen physics textbooks all bring the same number. The general relationship between nucleosynthesis, that time near the beginning at the threshold energy of protons and neutrons when matter formed, and time today is a million million. That's a 1 with 12 zeros after it. So when a view from the beginning looking forward says "I'm sending you a pulse every second," would we see a pulse every second? No. We'd see it every million million seconds. Because that's the stretching effect of the expansion of the universe." The bottom line that the good Doctor is making is that if we view creation from out vantage point, we see 15 billion years. However, if we view it from the starting point of the Big Bang (where Gd would see it), we see six days. Amazing. Six days.

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