The March Philosophy Book of the Month is Final Notice by Van Fleisher. Discuss Final Notice now.
The April Philosophy Book of the Month is The Unbound Soul by Richard L. Haight. Discuss The Unbound Soul Now
The May Philosophy Book of the Month is Misreading Judas by Robert Wahler.
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"The atom is mostly empty space." This statement has been repeated so many times by so many scholars and experts that it is accepted without question by nearly all educated people in the modern world. It is advanced as proof of the puzzling nature of atomic structure, and of the uselessness of common sense as a guide to truth and reality. Yet physical objects are made of atoms, and are impenetrably solid. The statement is obviously fallacious.
To understand why requires little more than a thoughtful exercise of high school mathematics. An atom of hydrogen has a radius of 53e-12 metres and a volume of 624e-33 cubic metres. The single electron is bound to the single proton comprising the nucleus with an energy of 13.6eV. Beyond this, recourse is nowadays had to Quantum Mechanics, and conceptual interpretations are thus abandoned in accord with the Copenhagen Interpretation.
A new interpretive direction appears if we pursue traditional analysis. The energy density within a hydrogen atom is obtained by dividing the electrical binding energy by its volume, giving 3.49e+12 joules per cubic metre; a very large number, but without significance unless compared with a reference.
Consider a room measuring 6 x 5 x 4 metres that is filled with energy at the same density as in hydrogen. The total energy in the room is then 419e+12 joules. The energy released by the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945 was about 15 kilotons or 63e+12 joules, so the energy in the room is that of a moderately-sized atomic explosion. Were this energy quiescent - static and unchanging - it might be of little consequence; but all atoms possess magnetic fields, and these only result from dynamic electric fields. Physical matter cannot withstand such a huge energy flux: any physical object in the room would be torn to shreds.
The above applies to hydrogen, the simplest element. Lead has eighty-two electrons within it, the inmost with binding energies of 88keV. Those so inclined can calculate the energy density within an atom of lead to arrive at a value so enormous as to be far beyond any physical interpretation. So atoms are only 'empty' in having nothing outside the nucleus corresponding to solid substance. The enormous energy density within them, however, demands consideration.
The first point of note is that atoms do not have a shell surrounding them to contain the energy as does an egg. Were such a structure present, it would long ago have been revealed due to resonances within it. Instead, we are faced with a most unusual situation for those who have never thought about these things. The space inside an atom - the atomic volume or body - is different from the space surrounding it:
An atom is a 'bubble' of a different kind of space within the space of the Physical Realm in which we exist.
But how can one kind of space differ from another? The answer lies in the two fundamental properties of space: permittivity and permeability. Permittivity measures the amount of electric charge that a space can contain, whilst permeability measures the strength of magnetic flux that it can sustain. Their values within atoms differ from those of Physical Realm space, and are unique for each element. Why does this occur, and what does it imply?
Recall that energy is a relationship, either between mass and motion or between time and space. Almost all of the mass of an atom is in the nucleus, so the electrons could never move fast enough to account for the energy. Therefore the energy concentration within atoms results from a different relationship between time and space within them.
This alternative time-space relationship cannot presently be interpreted within the Western scientific tradition, but can so be within those more advanced. A beginning can be made with the multiple 'dimensions' postulated by Quantum Mechanics and string theory, anything from ten to twenty-six. These dimensions are said to be 'rolled up' so tightly that - most conveniently - they cannot be detected, except - even more conveniently - by the superior intelligence of Physicists. No explanation or interpretation is offered as to what these 'dimensions' are in reality. They are, in fact, mathematical inventions used to justify speculation: in other words, concepts within human imagination, as are energy, power, and many other parameters that have no physical reality.
Let us take a broader view. Nature is everywhere fecund; if she creates something such as a fish, she does so most generously. Not just one fish, nor even many of the same kind, but many different species and sub-species evolve over countless millennia, each slowly changing and evolving, gradually mutating into entirely new species. So too with plants, animals, humans, planets and stars. Nature is not monogenetic but polygenetic. The Earth was once thought to be the only planet in the whole universe, and Earth humanity the only race of Men. The discovery of other stars - other Suns - suggested that there may be other Earths, but this was resisted right up to the 1990s when the first exoplanets, those outside the Solar System, were proved to exist. It is now amply evident that Earth-like planets are extremely common throughout the galaxy.
Modern Western Science still insists that there is only a single space-time continuum; but why should this be so? Polygenesis should surely apply to space-time continua just as to all else in creation. We can make use of this concept to propose that the one we inhabit is not singular and unique, but just one, albeit vast and impressive, of many. If one exists, then others most certainly do. We therefore postulate that our ordinary physical surroundings constitute one space-time continuum that is permeated by at least one other. That is, they are coterminous: they occupy the same 'space', yet maintain their autonomy. For convenience, let us name them Realms, using capitalization to differentiate from the general case, and for simplicity consider just one other continuum, the Alternate Realm. This Alternate Realm cannot be detected by direct physical means because our physical senses only respond to stimuli within the Physical Realm, and even our electronic instruments are similarly limited.
Realms are 'causally closed': all events within the Physical Realm, for example, arise from causes within it, and the same is true of the Alternate Realm. In short, they are isolated, and do not normally interact. However, if atoms are conceived as 'bubbles of Alternate Realm space' within Physical Realm space, then events within the Alternate Realm can influence processes within atoms. Specifically, electron orbital transitions that are presently regarded as stochastic - completely random and without known cause - may occur as a result of events within the Alternate Realm. Conversely, physical events that modify electron states within atoms may transmit influences into the Alternate Realm. These mutual interactions will be most effective if they occur within structures that have correlated Physical Realm and Alternate Realm components. The most likely candidates are organic and biological structures that demonstrate what we call 'life' and 'consciousness'.
Should this conception be correct, atoms are not just the building blocks of matter, but provide an interface between coterminous Realms. If the question, "Can living creatures be constructed from dead matter" be answered in the negative, then it is obvious that everything is possessed of life in some degree. Furthermore, atoms must have both biological aspects, and modes of response to influences that are presently invisible and unknown, suggesting a whole new field of investigation and experimentation for those to whom such possibilities have appeal.
For more see: http://vitency.com/npt/Ch07.html
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The situation within an atom is analogous to that of a black hole in that there is a region of space around an extremely small and dense zone, and that space is separated from the rest of space. However, permittivity and permeability are ultimately relative and impermanent states - towards the end of the posited Degenerate Era of the universe, in perhaps some quadrillions of years' time, atoms will be torn apart by dark energy and black holes will dissipate via Hawking radiation, returning their inner space to the space of the environment.