The Manhattan Project — Recycled Gold 10-01-15

Ya know, one thing I love about blogging (when I actually do it) is that I’m able to capture a moment of clarity, of pure philosophical gold, and save that moment for my kids.

Ya know… to show them that Daddy does more than scream and holler and drive them crazy. But I digress…

Since I have most of these moments while I’m on Facebook, I sometimes forget to save them. In an hour, the post is halfway down my wall. The next day, I’m scrolling for minutes to find it. Wait too long, and the post is lost to the ether. Thankfully, Facebook Memories recycles posts from years back, to remind you of the place you were in on this day in your history.

Today’s Facebook memory is one such nugget, from one year ago today 🙂

***

Back in the 1940s, the Manhattan Project was working on a nuclear bomb to end the war. At the time, implosion — the idea of crushing plutonium until the internal pressure causes it to explode — was considered impossible because there was no way to absolutely synchronize the detonators where the explosions would perfectly compress the plutonium enough to cause it to implode.

Their math was sound, their calculations perfect. Implosion WAS impossible… until they looked at it from a different perspective. See, the reason implosion was impossible is because the detonators sent out shockwaves that hit the plutonium unevenly, like ripples in a pond. The ripples were convex, so the outer edge of the shortwave would hit the plutonium later than the inner edge, leaving places where the plutonium would not compress, thus making implosion impossible. It wasn’t unto they realized this problem that they thought to invert the shockwaves, using shaped charges to make the shockwaves concave so that ALL of the wave hits the plutonium simultaneously, causing total compression, and thus making implosion possible. The Trinity explosion was the result.

Thing is, until Trinity, implosion was a “fairy tale” because well meaning and highly educated people made assumptions based on the evidence they had at hand. They were geniuses in their field… and they were wrong, because for all their genius, they forgot that they didn’t know everything.

Remember that, the next time you assume that there is no God, simply because we cannot prove Him to be real.

***

That insight is just as thrilling to me today as it was in 2014, but I do want to clarify one thing. Though I am a Christian, I DO NOT suggest that this is an argument for Christ’s existence that might sway an atheist. As with my own experience with this argument, I can tell you that it most likely will not. The only thing is DID — and still DO — want to point out is that no matter how intelligent or educated someone is, they do not know everything, so it is the height of arrogance to act as if they DO know everything — to discount an argument or an explanation because they assume that they have taken all factors into account.

I can’t speak for anybody else, but when I discuss philosophy or politics or matters of faith, nothing is off limits. I put everything on the table — even my most sacred and centrally held beliefs — for the simple fact that cream always rises to the top. If my argument is sound, it will withstand the scrutiny. If it is not, I have the sheer BLESSING to reevaluate and form a stronger argument — something I would NOT have been able to do, if I skipped the scrutiny by presuming that my argument was already rock solid and not up for debate.

See, that’s precisely where the majority of the Manhattan Project was at. They were so certain that implosion wouldn’t work that they flatly refused to try it — even to the point of condemning those few who DID try it. And condemn them they did… right up until the first mushroom cloud.

The greatest blessing we have as beings is the ability to seek knowledge and wisdom, to recognize that we are NOT all that we can be, and to choose to rectify that. We learn. We explore. We reach out in faith. We blaze new paths.

And if we are wise, we’ll ignore people when they tell us “it’s impossible”. It MAY be impossible, but if we don’t try, we guarantee it.

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