Wednesday, January 07, 2009

How fast are you moving?

I had a thought the other day, how fast am I moving? We all "know" that the earth rotates about once a day (sometimes it seems faster), exactly how fast is that? Well it turns out to be easy to calculate, according to this website, the earth is about 24,901 miles in circumference, doing a little math tells me that it's a little under 24,000 miles in Greenville, SC.

And don't forget, we're moving around the sun in an orbit once a year (last year seemed very slow to me, maybe it was that leap second?) That's a journey of some 585 million miles according to this site.

So we're spinning at around 1,000 miles per hour and hurling around the sun at just under 67,000 miles per hour. And of course this ignores the fact that our solar system is traveling through the galaxy (thinking about the Milky Way makes me want a candy bar). My question is: Do you believe this 100%

I have to confess that I don't. Oh I accept it. I've been on a plane, the "fact" that the earth is round makes sense to me. I've made models of our solar system, seen the sun rise over the ocean and even seen it set over a different ocean. But somehow the numbers are just mind-boggling.

A couple of my readers will know first hand that I love those tea-cups at Disney World. You're spinning a cup that is on a spinning saucer that is on a spinning plate. You're spinning in three different directions at once. Hopefully, you have a good stomach and the walks of the cup will hold you in.

But what holds us on the earth? Well, you're probably thinking I've lost my mind, gravity of course! But do you believe in gravity 100%? Sure, I took physics in high school and college, I've done all the math and know that all masses have gravity. But if that's true, why aren't I attracted to things around me? I admit, I'm attracted to my wife, but that's a different attraction.

I remember doing the math in high school on gravity and the earth's gravity is so much, that everything else close by pales in comparison. But who measured the earth's mass? And how? did they use a big scale? No wait, scales measure weight, not mass.

By now you're convinced that I've lost my mind. That may be true. But there is an ulterior motive here if you'll be patient. I wasn't up too late last night, and I promise there's a point here. Simply put, how many things in life do you accept as being true without honestly believing 100%? You just accept someone else's word?

Let's think about that for a day and then I'll explain a little more.

5 comments:

4simpsons said...

Good questions, Randy. You prompted me to add something to an upcoming post on evidence. Atheists often insist that they only trust empirical evidence and not that of eyewitnesses, but that would mean they'd have to create their own test equipment and replicate every experiment before they trusted the results. They obviously don't do that. They use their judgment and experience to determine who they think is trustworthy and they rely on their conclusions.

Brooke said...

Cue the X-Files theme... Just kidding! ;) LOL!

That one extra second totally screwed up my circadian rythym...

"The Edge" said...

Here's the thing.....the very logic you use to deny something exists is almost enough proof to show it does exist....ALMOST. The burden of proof on those who do believe by those who don't is not always a fair question. Think of it this way....if someone questioned you as to when you stopped committing a crime, be careful of your answer - if you say "I never did" - do you mean that you never committed the crime in the first place, or do you mean that you never stopped committing it? Your words will be twisted by those on the other side to mean what they want it to, regardless of what you said and how you said it.

In the end, many issues have already been decided in people's minds....abortion, capital punishment (death penalty), etc. Their minds are already made up so it is pointless to argue, ahem, discuss your views.

But on the creation/evolution debate, consider this: Darwin basically convinced himself that evolution was not possible. Also consider that if someone came up to you and asked what is more feasible: a first cause of an event, or a first theory of an event, most people will take the cause. Why? Because by definition, the cause is much more of a certainty than a theory is. Keep in mind that there are zero scientific principles which support evolution. But there are a whole host of scientific principles which support the after-effects of creationism. Notice I did not say creation itself. Why? Because we cannot re-produce creation in a laboratory. Neither can we reproduce evolution. But we can fully demonstrate that each "theory" about evolution is false. The tests are reproducible. So in the end, it comes down to this -- you have a first cause (creation) which is not reproduceable but which has after-effects which we can verify (and thus the first cause must be taken on faith), or you have a first theory (evolution) where we already know that the very "principles" supporting it can be demonstrated to be false (and thus you must take it on faith that contrary to the observable laws of science, it still happened). So it is really a question of faith. Where is your faith placed? And for that matter, what is faith but the tenant of a religion, i.e., the concept that you will believe in an orderly system of principles which guide your life (be they self-serving, God-serving, or whatnot). Thus evolution is at the level of a religion (organized belief system), just as creationism is the foundation of several religions, including Christianity.

Many would argue that it takes more faith to believe in evolution than in creationism. Why? Because you have to believe contrary to the observable laws of science to believe evolution, and in order to believe creationism, you only have to believe what science has already observed to be true.

Let me also add here that for anyone who claims to believe in a hybrid of these two options - you are selling yourself short, and you are wasting your own time. That is not a viable possibility. The universe cannot come into being by random chaos and also by organized scientific laws simultaneously. It simply makes no sense. The presupposition in both cases is that all things continue as they were previously. If you believe that is true, then you cannot say that chaos breeds anything but chaos. You also cannot say that order breeds disorder. Either the universe operates by orderly scientific laws or it doesn't. Take your pick....

Alli and Erik said...

ummmm...Randy, my husband "blogged" on your blog. I am so sorry!! :)

Randy said...

Neil, I'll be watching for your post on evidence. I'm glad you take the battle to the front!

Brooke, yep, that extra second made the year seem SO long...

Alli, not a problem. Maybe it was the cold meds getting to him, or the recovery from that cold... :)