As humans, we—most of us anyway—like to be certain about the forces which govern our lives. There isn’t anything innately wrong with this as long as we at least give a passing thought to UNCERTAINTY.
Like it or not, in spite of how certain many people are about many things, EVERYONE has to realize that most of the planet’s problems do not exist in a universe of certainty.
IF we’re to find solutions for them—if indeed solutions exist for ALL of them, even the ones that we’re yet to become aware are problems—we’ll have to find them in a universe of uncertainty, where only two rules apply: POSSIBILITIES and PROBABILITIES.
And at the outset, this has nothing to do with God, real or imagined. So please don’t send me endless emails about how taking prayer out of public schools is causing all of our social ills!
For example, the argument FOR evolution far exceeds anything AGAINST it. And it’s backed by oodles of empirical scientific data.
Geology shows that fossils are of differing ages. We’ve discovered, through Paleontology, a fossil sequence, a list of species that represent changes over time. Taxonomy shows biological relationships among species.
And finally, EVOLUTION is the most robust scientific explanation as to how Mother Nature ties it all together.
However, none of this amounts to conclusive evidence that God’s just a cruel hoax. But insisting, based on pure anecdotal-driven emotional investment, that GOD created EVERYTHING some 10,000 or so years ago is plain silly, not to mention dangerous.
But many people do it. However, whether such people believe it or not, the Bible and Ten Commandments do NOT trump the Constitution and Bill of Rights.
In science, FACT can only mean “confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional assent.” But counter-arguments are alive and well; it’s human nature.
Humans attack fact with counter-arguments, even though they know that the counter-arguments are wrong. And WHY? It’s because people HATE to be wrong.
They will fight with all they have in defense of their position. It’s not about objective truth, but rather about winning the point. Objective truth does not matter; it’s what people BELIEVE to be the truth that matters.
Politics, religion, business, and even science itself are all examples of the human propensity to bastardize objective reality (truth) in order to “prove” subjective “realities.”
Life flourishes on Earth because God placed our planet at precisely the right distance from the Sun to make it so. About 30% of Americans, according to Gallup, believe this as a FACT!
About 24% of Americans, again according to Gallup, believe that the Sun revolves around EARTH. Why do they believe this? It’s because they see the Sun move across the daytime sky! And many of them believe that the Sun literally rises and sets.
It never dawns on such people to realize that Earth spins counter-clockwise about its polar axis; that our polar axis tilts 23-degrees to the perpendicular; and that our planet is hurtling through space on its annual trip AROUND the Sun at about 66.5-THOUSAND miles per hour.
It’s the tilt of our polar axis and our annual orbital trip around the Sun that gives us our 4-seasons, not our distance from the Sun. And, it’s our daily rotational spin about our polar axis that gives us our nights and days; the Sun neither rises nor sets.
We constantly permit intuitive logic to dictate our objective realities pursuant to virtually everything, and we complain mightily whenever counter-intuitive reality knocks us on our collective butt.
A case in point is a good friend of mine. He’s 68-years old and “knows” emphatically that the circumference of the Earth is 24-THOUSAND miles and it’s spinning on its axis at 1-THOUSAND miles per hour because it takes 24-HOURS to complete a whole day.
And he’ll tell you in no UNCERTAIN terms that he learned all of this way back in “grade” school, which also was “a lot tougher back in HIS day.”
I believe him because, although I’m older, I learned the same thing from the good Sisters of St. Joseph who had the inalienable right to kill us with their rulers if we didn’t believe what they told us.
But the fact is that Earth’s circumference is RELATIVE, not absolute. If you live on at the Equator, the Earth’s circumference is actually 24,901 miles.
But if you live on the Canadian border, the circumference is significantly less than this. The same is true if you live, say, midway between the Equator and the South Pole.
But, no matter where you live on this planet, it’s still going to take 23.9345 hours to complete each day’s rotation—why it’s not a full 24-hours is a matter for later explanation.
But my point is that living at the Equator where the circumference is 24,901 miles, in order to make the trip in 23.9345 hours requires a spin rate of a tad more than 1,040 miles per hour.
As we move farther north or south in latitude, the circumference of this somewhat round rock becomes smaller. But it’s a fact that if we shorten the trip but keep the time for completing it at a constant (23.9345 hours), we’re going to be moving at a slower rate.
If you want to know the circumference of the Earth where YOU live and the rate of spin at YOUR location, do the following:
Click here and check the box for “Latitude and Longitude.” Type in your zip code (preferably a zip plus four. It will return both the latitude and longitude for the zip code you entered.
Make sure you choose the latitude, NOT the longitude. Using a standard scientific calculator, calculate the cosine for that latitude—just enter the latitude and hit the COS key. Then multiply that cosine by the spin rate at the Equator (1040.38 mph).
The result will be the spin rate at the zip code you entered. Multiply this by 23.9345 hours. The result will be the circumference of the Earth at YOUR zip code!
I live at latitude 39.7480. The cosine of 39.7480 is 0.76886. Multiplying this by 1040.38 mph at the equator results in MY zip’s spin rate of 799.91 mph. And multiplying this by 23.9345 hours tells me that the circumference of the Earth at MY zip code is 19,145 miles.
What we all “KNOW” is not always a FACT. As well, CERTAINTY is most often a subjectively-based perception that is mostly based on pure myth. The same applies to SECURITY.
UNCERTAINTY is an objectively-based REALITY with which ALL of us must learn to live. In fact, the most effective form of security is learning how to live with UNCERTAINTY.
There are NO guarantees and money is limited. So we’d better soon learn the difference between what’s worth the effort and what’s NOT!