Dr. R. L. Wysong's Blog -
TOUCHY FEELY MATTER IS AN ILLUSION
(Adapted from Solving The Big Questions As If Thinking Matters)
We tend to think of our physical reality as solid, touchy feely. But it is all a grand illusion—as is our pretentious materialistic-evolutionary hubris that we have it all pretty much figured out.
Picture a pile of about four tablespoons of table salt. A little over half of that pile would represent sodium and the rest would be chlorine. How many atoms of sodium would be present? About 6.02 x 1023. That’s scientific notation for 602 followed by 21 zeros—602,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. That’s the number of atoms in 1 mole of sodium, a measurement known as Avogadro’s number.
If each of the billions of people on Earth were to count the sodium atoms in this small (one mole) pile of salt at the rate of one atom every second, it would take four million years to count them all. That gives only the slightest inclination of the magnitude (‘minitude’) of the dimensions in the invisibly small, the stuff of which all matter is made.
More importantly, let’s consider the distances between the components within each one of these atoms. If we take one of the tiny sodium atoms out of the above pile and expand the nucleus to the size of a pea, the distance between it and the outer-most electrons encircling it would be a radius of about two football fields. Just imagine a pea on the center of the 50-yard line of a football stadium. The outer walls of the stadium and parking lot would be where the electrons are.
The point being, atoms that comprise the physical world we perceive as solid, are 999,999,999,999,999/1,000,000,000,000,000ths empty space.
If the matter of our bodies is essentially all space, and if the same is true of walls, it would seem that we could walk right through them. We can’t because the electrons are streaking about the nucleus at 600 miles per second. This creates an electromagnetic wall. Similarly an airplane propeller creates what appears as a solid disc at its rotating tips. The apparent solidarity of matter is an illusion created by motion and energy in space, not because there are little atomic billiard balls all packed together. Paul Valery cleverly put it, “God made everything out of nothing, but the nothingness shows through.”
What we “see” and what we “feel” when we touch things are simply the electromagnetic effects of nothingness. We and everything about us are actually nothing in the material sense. Matter, like the laws that govern it, are nothing. Yet out of this invisible nothingness emerges the something of our universe…and us thinking, intelligent beings with free will.
No scientist has a clue where the underpinnings of matter and natural law came from, much less where intelligent beings with free will came from. Yet, by the droves they have bought into the idea that evolution explains it all. This is a knowing that does not exist and a confidence, even arrogance, where there should be only prostrate humility.
Such humility is the beginning of wisdom because it demands investigation and the open-minded search for truth, the ultimate religion.
Thinking Thought — "I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me."
Thinking Word — hubris- \hy·bris\ Click for pronunciation -adjective: Overbearing pride or presumption; arrogance: There is no safety in unlimited technological hubris.