That SHONE Episode thingy

Lightmindedness

Posted July 4th, 2017

At long last. Here it is. Glenn and a bunch of listeners guide you through the Universe. Bang. A big one. And don’t worry — you always end up right where you started when exploring the universe. Because, you know…. science.

Glenn

  • JaceSaFyre

    The Speed of the Light of Christ

    Working my way through this on a road trip… and I also just happily passed a physics course with a research project on the speed of light.

    And you know what? I was honestly surprised to find out that the Speed of Light isn’t just some number measured by experimentation… it’s just the rate of propagation of electromagnetic waves.

    That rate isn’t some arbitrary number either… it’s the inverse-square root of 2 things… electric permittivity and magnetic permeability… big made up words that represent how far electrons can reach and how far magnets can reach…

    But know what else has these kind of relationships? Resonance… when you’re doing audio editing and you need to use a low pass or high pass filter, you use this relationship between the strength of some capacitor and some inductor in a circuit, and you get a certain resonant frequency… go above or below that and one component will quickly drown out the other… tap into one of those (the capacitor or the inductor) and you get that fantastic audio filter.

    A similar relationship works to keep so much in good balance, and these balances and equilibriums are critical to our universe… they also tend to happen naturally in some cases, and by critical design in others.

    You can rely on a rocket scientist to get a satellite into a steady orbit, but you’d need a hand on the controls if you want to make it meet well with a space station…

    A physics professor could calculate the exact angle and velocity for a baseball to land exactly in an outfielder’s glove, but couldn’t tell you a thing about the outcome of even a single swing of a bat, let alone how to play a whole game.

    In short, the laws of physics will govern all agent actions, but can’t do a damn thing to predict or manage their actions.

    What does this have to do with the so-called “Light of Christ”?

    The light of Christ is what let’s the sun shine, lets the moon orbit the earth and go through its phases… it keeps the earth spinning and, according to Smith, gives natural order to all life.

    You could easily replace the word “Light” with “law” (or logos, if you prefer).

    The light of Christ is what gives all men (supposedly) an inate sense of purpose, of right and wrong.

    And, as Smith pointed out in the Infants on Thrones sermon (because I have wanted to call it that sense before I ever heard your podcast 🙂 ), if man does not learn anything more than these instincts (to eat, sleep, and mate) then he is no more than a beast of the field.

    But here is the Agency of man, and also the condemnation of man… that we are absolutely the only animals dumb/ smart enough to question these laws… to be skeptical, to ask questions that don’t even need to be asked, and dare to seek for their answers… to knock on doors we weren’t even designed to knock on.

    So we will ask, we will seek, and we will knock. And only a fool would try to command us to do otherwise.

    Needless to say, I think Joseph Smith, in his last days before his religion killed him, had come to understand quite a lot about how things work in this universe.

    Call him a fraud if you want, but that dude, by the end, was so close to ruling God right out the equation… especially with lines like “God did not have the power to create us”, or deferring to the concept that God is just another man like us… or that he is a whole council of beings, not one entity…

    Joseph even taught in that sermon that man can know truth by what “tastes right”… cognitive dissonance, cognitive resonance… exactly what we always grew up calling the “holy ghost.”

    I don’t know where his intent was at his last days… was he a con artist? Or was he a man that understood so much about the nature of the universe and knew that the only way to get other people to understand what he did was to make up visions and new scriptures and revelations.

    I might not be sticking around much longer in the LDS church, but I would have loved to sit and get to know Joseph with his facade dropped.

    In the end… even in physics, we get to the point where we just start making up words for stuff… hell, even the word “spectrum” comes from scientists (Newton? Correct me) seeing diffracted light and considering the new images to be “ghosts” or “spectres.”

    So maybe the best way to reach the common man is with base instinct words… demons, curses, spirits, visions, magic…

    If so, Joseph was a genius.

    But the church today is just a bunch of people pretending to be prophets for the sake of perpetuating tradition… and they do nothing but fuck up lives with the notion that every damn policy change they decree is an holy revelation from God.

    Thank you for your hard work!
    -Sean

    Ps… if you want I can record this when I get to a good quiet spot

  • Sean Bates

    Please check spam filter, I wrote out a whole long response ^_^

  • Zeke

    This comment refers to the doctrine that matter is eternal and cannot be either created or destroyed. It gets a little technical so you may want to stop here.

    While it’s technically true that matter cannot be created or destroyed, this really only applies if one is talking about the very small subatomic particles, protons and neutrons. If talking about the elements that make up a human being, hydrogen, oxygen, carbon, iron, etc., it’s definitely not true. In fact, if one looks at the mass of a human weighing say 200 lbs, we are over 98% energy, not matter. This is because both energy and matter have mass.

    For example, the sun loses over 4 million tons of mass every second, remember Einstein and his equation E=M*C^2. It’s because the mass of a helium nucleus is less than the mass of the two hydrogen nuclei that combined to form it. Where did the mass go? It left the sun in the form of energy (heat and light). The amount of matter however (protons and neutrons) remain unchanged.

    Long way of saying that if we and our intelligences are eternal and made of matter, then it’s at the level of protons and neutrons where the specialness occurs.

  • Larry

    Loved the episode. It seems odd to keep harping on the improbability of our existence. It has a place and creates a sense of awe but continually begs the wrong question and focuses us on the idea that the universe was somehow created just for us and that we are beyond lucky to be alive. Which while true leaves out half the equation. When the opposite end of the spectrum is given it’s proper focus we can appreciate the idea that the universe is not finely tuned for our existence rather we are finely tuned to its existence. We couldn’t exist in any other universe because we are not from any other universe or made from it’s properties. Life has evolved on this particular planet due and in response to the forces exerted on the life. In this way these natural forces are our gods and we their spawn. We exist in response to these forces not the other way around. So really it’s not amazing at all that we could and do exist in only this universe and couldn’t exist in an almost infinite number. We are a small smudge of life, or in other words, a smudge of this universe.

  • efil ym fo flah

    SHONE is such a fun book! When I first heard it I had to share it with everyone in the office. “Hear, oh hear, the word of Bryson!”

    This was a fun riff on the starting chapters, reminiscent of those awesome “deep doctrine” chats we used to have back when we were TBM and the stars were just the homes and heavens of our distant relatives, and we were never going to die because the stuff we were made of was eternal.

    Anyone else ever get into the Cleon Skousen stuff about the elements being eternal and that matter was bound up with intelligence, even at the subatomic level, so that each atom was able to hear and obey the will of God? (I got a copy of a copy of some Skousen essay on the mission) He referred to Abraham where it said that the Gods ordered all that “matter unorganized” that was over yonder… “And the Gods watched those things which they had ordered until they obeyed.” (Abraham 4:18.) — a taste of that here: http://emp.byui.edu/marrottr/Nibley/AbrahamCreation-BeforeAdam.htm

    Brigham Young said there is an infinity of matter and an infinity of space. I used to think that when I looked out into the night sky. I still prefer that thought to traveling to the edge of the universe and then popping back right where you started. *Your head asplode*

    I eventually came to terms with my mortality sans afterlife beliefs, but I still can’t think about a heat death of the universe without it inducing a panic feeling. It’s okay now that I won’t be around to see the universe do its thing for the next few billion years, as much as I would like that. But for my emotional benefit, I need the physicists who preach eternity to win (even if it’s big bang then big crunch forever)