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Re: Three Ways To Explain

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Posted by Harvey on January 11, 2002 20:28:34 UTC

In a post below, Alex said the following:


Drop a basketball and watch it bouncing before it settles on the ground.

Why does it bounce? Three ways to explain:

1) (Harvey) It is God's will.

2) (Same source) It is simply the way things work.

3) It bounces because when it deforms on impact, pressure of air inside it rizes (due to decreased volume) and thus exerts large force on the deformed spot (as well as on the rest of the ball) pushing them away.


Alex, let me suggest an alternative list of choices on why (ultimately) the basketball bounces:

1) (Alex) It bounces (ultimately) because one=existence and zero=non-existence.

2) There is no ultimate why. A 'why' answer is merely a human construction to make the world more sensible to humans.

3) It ultimately bounces because the world conforms to certain principles that are all tied into one ultimate principle that supercedes all others.

#1 (Alex's choice) is inadequate since number theory is not rich enough to produce all the axioms and theorems of the math used in physics.

#2 (antirealism) is inadequate since the world conforms to human theories beyond the expectations one would expect if we merely invented our answers to why questions.

#3 is the basis of scientific theory as humans uncover general principles (e.g., symmetry, unification, relativity, etc) that hold true so that new theories are able to be constructed. So far every principle used in science has ultimately been reduced to fewer and fewer principles (that are more general and cover more interesting areas of science), therefore pointing to one unifying principle that is simply true for no other identifiable reason (i.e., undefined outside of itself).

Hence, God as the ultimate answer to why is a far better choice. One not equal to zero (which somehow translates into existence and non-existence, whatever the heck that means) is certainly an inadequate approach to any ultimate answer on why basketballs bounce.

Warm regards, Harv

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