Thursday, December 31, 2015

There's Nothing There - Part 8

Wow, that's a lot of Parts. Especially for a universe with nothing in it. You wouldn't think it would take 8 Parts to explain, well, nothing.

Except, as we now know, Nothing Matters. Nothing is really Something. And completely without irony, Everything came from Nothing.

OK. Gravity. And the General Theory of Relativity. And the universe is wildly different than the way that anyone thinks it is.

Here's what we learned - the universe is made of space-time. Space-time can warp and bend, and for a photon, which is a little piece of light, the universe is really really different than it is for us normal, not-going-at-the-speed-of-light people. All the places in the universe are in the same place, and all the events that happen in time happen at the same time. Everything that happens, happens in the same place at the same time.

That's the Special Theory. It's not about Gravity.

The General Theory. That's about Gravity.

And Gravity does the same thing to space-time. It bends it. That's actually what Gravity is. Bent space-time. Looks like this. If you could see space-time. Kind of. Actually, it goes in towards the center of the earth from all directions. But that's hard to draw.

What Gravity is, is rolling down a hill of bent space-time. The earth bends space-time because the earth is made of matter and has mass. Mass bends space-time, creates what you might call a gravitational well. So, for example, when you jump off a diving board, you're just falling down into the gravitational well that the earth creates in space-time.

Weird. True, though.

Even weirder is this. "Down" is not "down" the way you think "down" is.
"Down" is going where time is passing more slowly.


Because the closer you get to the center of the earth (or anything made of matter), the slower time passes.

Are you ready for this?

The more mass there is, the more gravity.

No big surprise there.

But. If you take a lot of mass and concentrate it into a very, very small region, space-time bends into a sphere and collapses in on itself.

We'd call that a "Black Hole". Here's what one would look like if you could see it, which you can't, because light can't get out of a black hole.

And inside a black hole, space and time go away.

In fact, on the edge of black hole, which is called the "Event Horizon", it's just like traveling at the speed of light. If you went there (bad idea), you could see all of space and all of time. In an instant.

In fact again, since time stops at the Event Horizon, it would take you an infinite amount of time (we'll call that Eternity) to enter the black hole. I mean, for those of us watching from outside. We would never see you go into the black hole.

For you, just like a photon, it would only take an instant, and you would see all of time and space.

But for us, you would never go in.

(Einstein didn't say this. He didn't know about Black Holes.
Comedian Stephen Wright said it. Probably.)
In fact again again, what that means is that it would take an eternity for any black hole to actually become a black hole. It would take an infinite amount of time.

So there are no black holes. There are just a lot of things that are almoooooooost black holes, and they get closer all the time, but they never ever will ever become a black hole.

For us, I mean. For the black holes, they instantly become black holes

And both are true. At the same time. Sort of. Since time for us is an infinity, and an infinity for them is instantaneously, it's kind of hard to know how to talk about it.

So black holes are places in the universe where there are no places, and where everything happens at once.

So let me say this again.

What the heck does all of that mean?

It means that the world you look at, live in, and experience is only a tiny, insignificant fraction of the way the universe actually is.

It means that when you try to fit your understanding of God into your understanding of his universe, you come up infinitely short, and make of God something that he is not.

Just in case you forgot.

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