Friday, 12 March 2010

Doing an impossibility

I'd just like to take a moment to talk about a particular problem: Could god create a rock so large he couldn't lift it? Aside from the problem with the existence of god, this is about the limit to god's powers, namely could he do something logically impossible? The answer is 'yes', and this isn't a logical impossibility, although it is semantic gymnastics.

First, though, I'd like to say that this is Martin Phipps' great idea, not mine. I like it and would like to see it realised wider.

The first step is to create a massive rock. And 'mass' is definitely the point. Size, not so much (*), but mass. The order of mass we are talking about will basically destroy the universe, but the idea is that the rock becomes the centre of the universe.

So that, second, no matter where it is moved, it is always the centre, no matter how centre is measured. This is the semantic game, as 'lift' needs relative movement in order to detect a change that can be termed 'lifting'.

Thus, god has created a rock that cannot be lifted, but any definition of that word, doing what is logically impossible. (Actually... no. Most people would say that the 'rock' is the impossible part, it's really the 'lift' part. But consider this post as demonstrating that it is possible to think your way around what people usually understand and show them a new way of thinking about things. If nothing else, that's a good start.)

(*) Shorter way: create universe with only the rock in it. Again, lift cannot happen.



Fantomas said...

This comment if for the mysterious post on the doco film festival. Mysterious, as at the time of writing it appears to no longer exist.....

Anyway, I'm surprised you can't get some sort of festival pass or mini-pass to make things a bit cheaper (as the post appears no longer there I can't check the link to the festival to see if they offer such)

Quite interested in your thoughts on the docos, may give me some to look out for either at MIFF( or TV.

Jamas Enright said...

It was only up for the briefest of time before I rescheduled it for this morning!

There is no mulripass (I wish!). If the movie is less than 67 minutes it's cheaper, or if you buy 5+ tickets (for longer movies) at once you can get a discount... or if you are a student.

But no tentrip or anything. :(