Adapted for the Internet from:

Why God Doesn't Exist

    1.0   Atom

    Chemists and physicists have never seen an atom, yet they use this word to designate a shape. They postulate the atom
    as a hypothetical entity that comprises part of the initial scene of a theory. The atom is an assumption, a proposal for the
    fundamental constituents of matter. The prosecutor intends to explain the workings of the Universe relying on this
    hypothesis. The only requirement for the atom to qualify as an object is for the prosecutor to be able to illustrate her piece
    of mind for the jury (i.e., shape).

    Note that this renders immaterial whether the atom is artificial, whether it is a faithful reflection of reality, whether we can
    touch, see, or test it, or whether we believe in it. There is no way to ‘test’ an atom other than for the prosecutor to illustrate
    it. The skeptic’s task is to demonstrate that a sphere – if this is what the prosecutor exhibited at hypothesis – cannot be
    reconciled with the theory that follows, or to show that the proposal contradicts observation.


    2.0   Air / gas

    The word air also forms part of a hypothesis. Air is an arbitrary name we assigned to a gas that envelopes the Earth like a
    shell. As a concept, air is one category among gases. Non-air gases include hydrogen, phosphine, and CO2. Air qualifies
    as an object only if the artist draws a sphere enveloping the Earth, points to it, and calls it air (Fig. 1). An ET does not yet
    understand that air is a gas, that it is made of atoms, or that we breathe it. All that he visualizes for the moment is a finite
    ‘something’ surrounding a sphere.

    When we introduce the word air as an exhibit, we tacitly treat this gas as a continuous entity. We apply
    the word air to a cloud of gas taken as a whole rather than as the aggregate of its individual constituents (atoms). All
    objects in Science are made of a single piece. The prosecutor can later describe that air is made of tiny molecules, in
    which case he is now talking about the concept air.  Air is a medium (i.e., thing, object, material, physical) because,
    irrespective of our ability to see it, we can synthesize it in a single frame and designate it with a single word. Air is the
    name we give to a finite bundle of gas.

    Considered in its entirety this gas has shape on its own; there is no need to introduce extrinsic objects
    into the picture. Note, again, that whether we can see air (proof/experiment) is immaterial to its use as a hypothesis.
    A hypothesis necessarily precedes a theory and a theory necessarily precedes a proof. The only requirement for a
    valid exhibit is shape. All mass nouns qualify as objects in this sense. We point to a gold bar and call it gold, and we
    point to a stick of butter and call it butter. The ET does not yet know whether gold or butter is made of simpler parts
    and he is not comparing the designated object with anything else for the moment. He's just trying to learn a word.
Are air, wind, fire, ocean, and
gases objects or concepts?

    3.0   Wind

    On the other hand, we cannot draw or take a picture of wind. Unlike atom and air, which have shape under particular
    circumstances, wind always remains a dynamic concept. Atoms and air are static ‘concepts’ invented by man (words)
    that, upon illustration, become objects for the purposes of the presentation. Wind does not refer to an object the
    prosecutor can illustrate or point to. In order to understand the meaning of the word wind, we must watch a movie.
    The wind is not a hypothesis, but a theory, a name given to an explanation for how most humans believe atoms and
    air behave.

    The devil’s advocate may argue that a painter can sketch a few short, parallel curves on a picture of the sky to simulate
    the wind. Surely even children will identify the illustration as the wind.

    This argument actually highlights how deceiving the word wind really is. The jury gets the misleading impression that
    the prosecutor is referring to a physical medium when what we have before us is a verb. Whether the wind is an object,
    a hypothesis, or a theory is not an epistemological issue, but a matter of definition. We think of wind as moving air.

    " Wind is the flow of air." [1]

    If you ever manage to take a snapshot of wind what will show up on the photo is air. Children identify three curves with
    the wind because they have a priori knowledge of the wind. The lines stealthily represent motion, a situation that is not
    readily discernible. The juror fills in the blanks by resorting to experience. Objectively, the painting is nothing but a
    collage of images of air. The painter superposed three frames of a film onto a still picture and prays that the juror with
    prior experience ‘understands’ that these lines represent dynamic air (Fig. 2). The definitions of ocean, forest, or air
    make no provision for motion. The definitions of current, orbit, and wind do. Air is what something is. Wind is what
    something does. Wind always remains a movie. When a tornado blows away the barn, what actually came in contact
    with the wood was air and ultimately atoms. Any cross-section of the movie of wind – a single frame of the film – is
    called air.  Wind is nothing but traveling air. Perhaps children read more into the picture than is there and understand
    that the three lines represent a wind. The ET only sees three curved lines.

Fig. 1   The shape of air

Fig. 2

Aeolus: God of the Wind
Air

    4.0   Fire and ocean

    These arguments can be extended to any dispute involving objects and concepts. For instance, the word fire denotes a
    process rather than a thing, a movie as opposed to a photograph. A cross-section or snapshot of fire is called flame. Fire is
    dynamic whereas flame is conceptually static.

    The word field is more closely related to fire than it is to flame, but actually neither word serves as an analogy. Theorists have
    made the word field both static and dynamic. They point to a still image of   Jupiter’s magnetosphere and call it field. Then, they
    show you a movie of the magnetosphere keeping the solar wind at bay and also call it field. Thus, when astronomers depict the
    shape of the magnetic field they use a notion comparable to flame, and when they explain the origin or an interaction of a field
    they rely on the notion of fire. The word field is simultaneously an object and a process, a noun and a verb. This accounts for its
    explain-it-all power and usefulness to mathematical physicists.
Air qualifies as a physical object if
we treat this gas as a single
entity, point to it and name it: air.
The ET visualizes what we are
pointing to and now associates
the word '
air' with the blue ring in
the picture. Only up to this point
is air an object. As soon as the
prosecutor describes air (e.g.,
made of molecules) or uses it to
explain a theory, he summarily
converts the word air into a
concept.

Fig. 4
The word ocean qualifies as an
object when you point and say
the word. If ocean is compared
against river or requires that it
have waves, the word ocean is
now treated as a concept.

Fig. 3
Fire and smoke may have shape
and travel upwards (against
gravity), but this doesn't make
them objects. Smoke consists of
a bunch of particles, but both
fire and smoke fail as objects
because they are intrinsically
dynamic.
Forget my daughter, Bill. She's just an illusion. Let
me show you the real objects of the Universe.


    The words river, lake, creek, pond, sea, and ocean are bodies of water. When we point to a body of water and say ocean, the ET
    associates the word with the image and nothing more. This is the only time the word ocean qualifies as an object. The ET does
    not yet understand the differences between, say, a river and an ocean until you make a comparison.

    When using the word ocean as a concept, we are implicitly distinguishing this body of water from others. By looking at a picture
    of a small portion of any of these bodies, all we have is water. If you include in your definition of ocean that it must have waves,
    then clearly an ocean is not a physical object. The object is water. Ocean is just a concept in this context.

    ________________________________________________________________________________________


                                  Home                    Books                    Glossary            




        Copyright © by Nila Gaede 2008