Adapted for the Internet from:

Why God Doesn't Exist
The
center of mass
point

    You replace the elephant with a point. This point represents the animal's center of mass. This point is
    not a physical dot. In this context, the word point means location. The center of mass of an elephant is a
    location. To visualize the concept known as center of mass imagine taking all the matter that comprises
    the elephant and making a ball with it. The center of mass is something like the center of this ball. So far
    no problem.

    Now something scary happens. It is scary because you were under the impression all along that you had
    a rational person present before you. It turns out that this fellow escaped from the Funny Farm last night.
    The mathematician now tells you that he is going to move the center of mass.

    " For any system with no external forces, the center of mass moves with constant
      velocity." [1]

    You look at him and smile an uncertain smile. Surely you jest, Dr. Einstein? That was funny. But in a few
    seconds you realize that he is dead serious, and that's when you press the button and the men with the
    white jackets come in to restrain one of you two.

    The mathematician can perhaps move an elephant and make a movie of the event. He will be hard-pressed
    to move a static location (Fig. 1). What's he gonna film? A bouncing 0-D point? The shifting of an abstract
    location?



    A prosecutor should be able to make a movie of his theory because this is what a theory is: an
    explanation. A theory is a story of how or why something happened. Every verb, adjective, and adverb
    that the prosecutor pronounces implicitly alludes to a physical object. We cannot visualize concepts like
    we do with stand-alone objects because concepts are relations between objects. Words such as love,
    freedom, beauty, and taste are all traceable to two objects or to a before and after of one object. When a
    prosecutor converts the entire mass of an elephant into a point and calls it the center of mass, he is no
    longer talking about an object. He has now dispensed with the object and is going to talk about the
    concept center of mass. It would be irrational for the prosecutor to attempt to move the center of mass
    later on during his dissertation, but this is exactly what the mathematicians do:

    " the trajectory of the center of mass must obey Newton's Laws." [7]

    The center of mass is a concept and has no location. If the mathematician wishes to move something at
    theory, he must convert the center of mass back to an elephant. We can move objects. We cannot move
    concepts.

    Mathematical Physics fails because it is in the business of moving concepts. We refer to these concepts-
    turned-objects as avatars, incarnations, or emoticons. A mathematician converts a concept into an object
    with a swift stroke of his magic wand. The elephant suddenly become the center of mass. Then, when you
    stare at him like you would at a fellow bound by a straight jacket, he adds that rigorous math backs his
    theory (as if one had something to do with the other). Relativists rotate the concept tesseract and move
    the concept point particle. They also transfer energy, move mass, accelerate fields, travel through time,
    and carry forces. The idiots of relativity morph concepts into objects and then proceed to move them
    around like Christians move spirits. Indeed, this tradition comes to them from theologians who have for
    centuries converted verbs – compassion, love, soul, spirit, grace, eternity – into nouns (e.g., God, heaven,
    hell, angel, ghost). Mathematical Physics is in the same camp as traditional religions. The religion of
    Mathematical Physics differs from science in that it offers supernatural and irrational explanations for
    physical phenomena.

    Christian Mathematics wouldn't be so bad in an informal context and as long as the mathematicians
    don't lose track of the metaphor. Unfortunately, they take their avatars seriously. The mathematician
    replaces the concept location with the object dot, for example, to designate the center of mass of an
    elephant. Then, he forgets the context in which he did this. He forgets about the elephant and,
    henceforth, does 'physics' with the abstract concept.  A mathematician routinely:

        chops the elephant in half, thinking that he has also cut its location in half

    The highjumper’s body passes over the bar, but his center of mass
      passes under it. [2]

    Denote the center of mass of F by M. We cut F by straight lines through
      M into two parts [3]

        moves the dot that represents its center of mass and believes that he is
              moving an elephant.

    the center of mass moves with constant velocity [4]

    it will not be possible for the robot to move without moving its center
      of mass. [5]

        takes the location and constructs circles and cubes with it.

    we fix an exact 'here,' a point in space... the straight line is derived from
      a point by an infinite repetition of the same infinitesimal translation... the
      plane is derived affinely by sliding one straight line along another... If  
      we now displace the plane E along a straight line... the plane passes
      through all space. (pp. 11-19) [6]

    The mathematician can perhaps move an elephant. He would be hard-pressed to move its center of
    mass. If the mathematician wants to move something during his presentation, he has no choice but to
    replace the dot with the elephant again. The dot represents the static concept 'center of mass' and not
    the object 'elephant'. We can make a movie of elephants stampeding through the plains. We cannot
    make a movie of a bunch of dots at different locations and expect the audience to figure out that they
    are watching an elephant stampede, more so if in addition we deprive the dot of shape and make it 0D.

    The mathematician may also argue that he can construct lines with dots. He may not argue that he can
    construct lines with locations. It is irrational to use locations as a building blocks of geometric figures.
    In Physics, it works in reverse. A location is what you find once you have a line.  For the purposes of
    Physics, a location is not a brick, but a static concept. A location moves only when you've had one beer
    too many.
Whoooaaa! I think
I overdid the rum a
bit! Now my
center of mass
is starting to rotate.
Mathematical Physics Productions presents:

The Center of Mass

the exciting adventures of a static location

Directed by Al Einstein and Steve Hawking

with
Dumbo and the abstract concept
center of mass
Stunt double: dot

Fig. 1   The dynamic Center of Mass
The mathematicians replace the elephant with a
dot that supposedly represents the elephant's
center of mass. Is this dot the point they use to
make lines and solids in Geometry? No! This
dot is a location. The dot is a place. If you took
every atom comprising the elephant and made
the whole thing into a ball, the dot would
represent the center of this sphere. So far there
is no problem. The scary part starts when the
idiot of Mathematics begins to move the center
of mass. The static location suddenly moves
and your hairs stand on end! The center of
mass is a concept. In Science, only objects
have the ability to move.
Are you crazy,
Newt? This is
NOT what I was
planning to sell
to the people in
Hollywood!

    ________________________________________________________________________________________


                                  Home                    Books                    Glossary            




        Copyright © by Nila Gaede 2008