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How the Creator God Plays Craps
In Defense of the Faith
Wednesday, October 18, 2017
Wendy Wippel

Neils Bohr and Albert Einstein, in the 1920s, held regular debates regarding the nature of our universe, specifically whether our reality was made up of particles (which had one constant role to play) or waves (which could have more than one function). The debates  were wildly popular (think 1935 version of the Super Bowl. Yeah, it was a different era).  Today that issues been settled, and it turns out that only one answer left anyone to care.

As it happens, it’s all about our sun.

Which, by the way, seems to be fitted specifically for life on earth. Our sun is a yellow sun, but if it was just slightly redder or bluer, photosynthesis would not proceed. It’s the right size.

Our sun is also the right mass. If it was much bigger, it would emit too much high-energy radiation and life would not exist here. Much smaller and we’d be too far away for photosynthesis to proceed as well. As it happens, we are exactly the right distance away from our sun: much closer and our water would boil away, much further away and our water would be ice.

Our sun in perfectly situated to provide us with the components for liquid water, warm but not scalding temperatures, and photosynthesis.

The big three when it comes to supporting life.

And it does this by fusion of lighter nuclei into heavy nuclei, which releases energy. In the sun’s center, at temps of 27 million degrees, hydrogen and helium progressively become heavier, more stable elements, steadily releasing energy as they go.

That’s what makes our sun shine, and give us lazy days on a warm beach, and gives us that crop of sweet corn by the fourth of July.

And, as it happens, our sweet corn depends very much on the answer to the debates Einstein and Bohr held way back in the 1920s.

Einstein, if you remember, insisted that a particle could have only one action associated with it, expressing his viewpoint, famously, “God does not play dice!"

Meaning if you are playing craps, and you roll the dice it will only land one way. A four or a five.  Not one of each.

Bohr thought, in the strange world of quantum physics, that might be exactly what happens.

Now, finally, we know. In the 1970s, in an experiment called the two slit experiment, scientists showed that particles did, in fact, have the capacity to act in more than the expected manner.

And, as it happens, that if they did not, we would not be here.

Scientists now know that at the sun’s core, 40,00,00,00,000,000,0000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 protons fuse into helium every second. The core is packed with protons, and the protons move with tremendous speed  (500km/sec, so zillions of collisions are occurring all the time). And when the protons crash into each other and fuse—Shazzam! We have ignited nuclear fusion, the source of all of the sun’s power. 

But there’s a problem. Protons are always  positively charged, so two of them together repulse each other. Enough to make sure that nuclear fusion never happens.

Which basically means lights out across the universe, because as it just happens, (smirk, smirk), our sun is in the top 5% of all known suns with respect to temperature in its interior.

Here’s the end-around.

Scientists in the 70s discovered that particles can also act as waves, remember?

Because each proton is by definition a quantum particle, (meaning anything smaller than an atom), they do not have rigidly set parameters, and in the wave state, when they crash into each other, their wave probability functions allow them to overlap ever so slightly. Just enough to allow them to fuse and become helium.

Nuclear fusion ensues, and the sun shines bright on that Old Kentucky Home. As well as yours and mine.

The fool has said in his heart, there is no God.

About Wendy Wippel

Last week: Kvetch Like an Egyptian



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