iSoul In the beginning is reality

Fourfold history and cosmology

As a generalist I tend to think of the big picture and push global conceptions, which can get speculative, but should provide insight in some way. There are many ways of slicing up history that show a pattern, but we crave meaning and so expect patterns. For example, it is helpful to adopt a rather conventional division of history into periods of primeval, ancient, medieval, modern, and post-modern (for lack of a better term). At least this gives us something to start with and modify or clarify later on.

I have written before briefly about the fourfold Church. Here is a division of Christian history and cosmology that corresponds to the fourfold Gospel and the fourfold Church:

Patristic period – ca. first through fifth century, which is championed by the (Eastern) Orthodox Church. Their authoritative writings are the Bible and the seven ecumenical councils. This corresponds to a cosmology of the seven celestial bodies visible to the naked eye (Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, and Saturn).

Medieval period – ca. fifth through fifteenth centuries, which is championed by the (Roman) Catholic Church. Their authoritative writings are the Bible and that of the Magisterium centered in Rome. This corresponds to a geocentric cosmology in which space and time are absolute.

Modern period – ca. fifteenth through twentieth centuries, which is championed by the churches of the Reformation. Their authoritative writings are the Bible and the various confessions or statements of faith. This corresponds to a heliocentric cosmology in which time is absolute.

Post-modern period – ca. from the twentieth century, which is championed by the Pentecostal and Charismatic churches. Their authoritative writings are the Bible and the writings of the various spirit-led teachers. This corresponds to a relativistic cosmology in which space and time are relative.

When we learn about history, we should learn the importance of the change from a geocentric to a heliocentric cosmology. Changes in cosmology go beyond theories of physics or astronomy. They correspond to spiritual changes as well.

Motion science basics

Motion science is variously called mechanics, dynamics, kinetics, or kinematics. This post will be concerned with the study of motion apart from its causes or consequences.

Kinematics is the branch of classical mechanics which describes the motion of points (alternatively “particles”), bodies (objects), and systems of bodies without consideration of the masses of those objects nor the forces that may have caused the motion. (Wikipedia)

What is a motion? Let’s define motion initially as a continuous change of position of a body in space versus time. Movement is the act or process of moving.

There are two types of simple motion: translation (linear) and rotation (angular). Translation means motion in a straight line. Rotation means motion around a fixed point or axis (line). In linear motion all parts of an object move in the same direction and each part moves an equal distance. In angular motion some parts of an object move further or faster than other parts.

How is motion measured? A motion is measured by comparing it with a standard motion, called a clock, or a standard object such as a marked rod or protractor. A clock has two parts: a standard movement and markings for measurement.

A movement is measured in two ways. One way is synchronously, by matching of the beginning and ending of the movement to be measured with the moving part of a clock and noting the corresponding marking. The result is a number of units of the clock.

The other way to measure a movement is asynchronously, by matching of the beginning and ending of the movement to be measured with the markings on a measurement device such as a marked rod or protractor. The result is a number of units of the device. It is possible for the markings on a clock to be used for asynchronous measurement, too.

The units of a standard movement depend on the type of clock and how it is marked. An angular clock may be marked by its angles or its circumferential distances (as a distance wheel). A linear clock may be marked by the distance moved.

For example, the hands of a circular clock are the moving part, and the circumferential numbers from one to twelve are the marked part. Examples of linear clocks are this animation and this diagram of a light clock:


Linear motion is measured by a ratio and a direction. Conceptually, the ratio is between the asynchronous measurement of motion and the synchronous measurement of motion. In practice, a motion is measured by (1) fixing an independent, standard movement and measuring the asynchronous, dependent, standard movement, or by (2) fixing an independent, standard movement and measuring the synchronous, dependent standard movement. (1) is the speed in length per unit of time. (2) is the pace in time (or duration) per unit of length.

Flow of motion

Note: previous posts on this topic are here and here.

Motion flows. That is, there is always motion independent of us. We can also make standard motions that are effectively independent of us. They are called clocks. They can be used as standards of comparison to measure other motions.

Clocks are needed for synchronous measurement of motion. They can also be used for asynchronous measurement of motion, but simpler devices can be used for that, too. For example, a circular clock provides a standard angular motion to compare synchronously with another motion. The marked angles or circumferential lengths could be used for asynchronous measurement. So could protractors and rigid rods.

Clocks can have various units of measure. A population clock estimates current population growth (or its decline). Mechanical clocks use an escapement to count periods of standard motion. A water clock measures the flow of water in units of volume. An hourglass measures the flow of sand. A clock can be made from any regular motion that can be associated with or marked in units.

Thus clocks, or “flowkeeping devices,” are independent, standard movements to compare with other motions, either synchronously or asynchronously.

From common experience we know there are three dimensions of motion. These three dimensions of motion can be measured synchronously or asynchronously. Synchronous measurements measure time; asynchronous measurements measure space.

For every motion one can associate six measurements: three synchronous measurements and three asynchronous measurements. That is, there are three dimensions of time and three dimensions of space.

To associate motion with position or location one must sum or integrate motions. One takes an arbitrary starting point, an origin, and integrates motion in different dimensions to construct a coordinate system for positions. Asynchronous integration leads to spatial coordinates. Synchronous integration leads to temporal coordinates.

Uniformity and naturalism

My previous posts on this topic are here, here, and here. I am indebted to John P. McCaskey’s writings on the subject of induction (see here). In this post I want to make the connection between the principle of the uniformity of nature with naturalism.

In the 18th century there was a decline in understanding induction and an increase in skepticism about it, notably from David Hume and Immanuel Kant. The “problem of induction” in philosophy stems from this time and is often considered insoluble. The simplest solution is to accept as a principle that nature is uniform. J. S. Mill endorsed this solution, which became widely accepted in the 19th century. Today many consider science impossible without it.

The possibility of scientific history arises with a principle of uniformity. Uniformitarianism is “uniformity in time” (James Hutton), which was taken as the foundation of historical geology. Similarly, evolutionism is uniformity in time, taken as the foundation of historical biology. Among other things, that confuses history and science. Genuine induction encapsulates history into observation-based definitions of changes and processes, which keeps science and history distinct.

Modern inferential induction is less concerned with justification than with quickly finding new discoveries. It takes generalizations with some data behind it (possibly cherry-picked) and applies the uniformity of nature so that future observations will show the same result. But that requires similarity and what counts as similar? That is the key question that real induction answers with evidence-based universal concepts and definitions.

What would geology for example look like with no principle of uniformity? It would mean that geologists defined terms and processes based on observations, then went out looking for things that matched those definitions. The result would not be a pseudo-history of the earth but a real science of the earth that is systematic, consistent, and as complete as geologists can make it. Such a science could be used by historians and archaeologists with their documents and artifacts to develop a history of the earth. That’s how science and history should work together.

Naturalism is the application of uniformity to the whole search for truth. Previous posts tell how it became the dominant philosophy of science in the late 19th century (see here). Naturalism is based on an absolute uniformity of nature. It makes nature an autonomous, all-encompassing substitute for God.

John McCaskey has good news for us. Science doesn’t need naturalism or a principle of uniformity. Evidence and intuitions of uniformity can be embedded into definitions instead. Science can be demonstrably true.

3D time + 1D space, pace, and legerity

Although there are three dimensions of space and three dimensions of time, I have pointed out before that we measure movement as either 3D space + 1D time (3+1) or 1D space + 3D time (1+3) or 1D space + 1D time (1+1). The (1+3) perspective is the focus of this post.

The measurement of movement in which time is multidimensional but space is not requires that instead of speed and velocity, one must use pace and legerity. That is, movement is measured by the change in time (duration) per unit of movement in space (length). Pace is the directionless version of this.

For example, instead of speed in metres per second, one would use pace in seconds per metre or the like. This is not exactly the inverse of speed because the dependent units are different. Speed normally means the space speed, that is, the distance traveled in a fixed period of time. The time speed is a fixed travel distance per the corresponding travel time (which is strange because the independent variable is in the numerator). The pace is the time speed inverted, which puts the independent variable back in the denominator.

Legerity is the directional version of pace. An inertial system is a frame of reference that is at rest (zero velocity) or moves with a constant linear velocity. This can be expanded to include a frame of reference that is at zero or constant linear legerity.

Zero legerity means there is no change in time (duration) per unit of distance moved. We easily understand no change in distance per unit of time but this is strange. We have to remember that here the independent unit of motion is distance, not duration. In this context the distance measures the flow of movement (misleadingly called the flow of time).

So zero legerity means there is no change in time (duration) while a unit of distance passes, as by a “distance clock” like the odometer of an automobile moving at a constant rate. I have written about this here.

In classical (3+1) physics, time has an absolute meaning, independent of an observer. For a classical version of (1+3) physics space has an absolute meaning, independent of the observer. That is, either time or space continue indefinitely, and always serve as an independent variable, never as a dependent variable.

So there is always available information about an independent, inertial movement that provides a standard reference to measure any other movement. For absolute time this is called a clock or watch. For absolute space it could be called a distance clock (discussed here, here, and here). Then movement could always be measured by reference to this independent, standard movement.

Three dimensional clock

I have a “metric cube” which is a decimeter-sized cube that was used in the 1990s to promote the metric system:


It was useful to hold 90mm discs but could also be used as a 3D ruler to measure length in three dimensions at the same time. One could instead use a 1D ruler three times to do that.

The situation is similar with clocks, or rather stop-clocks, which like stopwatches can measure a movement from beginning to end. One stop-clock could be used to measure the duration of a movement in each direction. But there could be a 3D (or 2D) stop-clock that measures duration in all directions.

Today the easiest way to do that would be a GPS-enabled smartphone with an app to record the duration of movement in each direction, N, S, E, or W. Alternately, a GPS device with an electronic compass and a clock could be used. Or a device attached to a vehicle could measure the speed and duration of movement in each direction.

3D clock

Yes, a 3D clock is possible. You heard it here first.

Is All Truth God’s Truth?

“All truth is God’s truth” is a common paraphrase of Augustine of Hippo’s writings, such as On Christian Doctrine, (II.18):

“A person who is a good and true Christian should realize that truth belongs to his Lord, wherever it is found, gathering and acknowledging it even in pagan literature, but rejecting superstitious vanities and deploring and avoiding those who ‘though they knew God did not glorify him as God or give thanks but became enfeebled in their own thoughts and plunged their senseless minds into darkness. Claiming to be wise they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for the image of corruptible mortals and animals and reptiles’ [Rom. 1:21-3].”

But that is different from the meaning today that “Christians should recognize that whatever people say is true, must be true for God, too.”

Read more →

3D time in ancient culture

I’m returning to a topic I wrote about here: time in ancient culture and thought.

Look at Genesis 1, verse 3:
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness.

Now a modern person is thinking spatially and expecting God to separate the place of light from the place of darkness. So the next verse would be expected to say something like, “God called the light Sunnyland, and the darkness he called Shadyland.” But instead Genesis is written in a temporal way, and it says “God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.” Later, space arises within time, contrary to the modern way of imagining that space came first and time was added.

Modern people describe how far away a place is by referring a length but it seems this way of speaking wasn’t common until the Roman road system. Before that (and even during the Roman era) distances were given in terms of how many day’s journey it was, that is, the travel time of a typical traveler. Also, maps were rare and crude so spatial representations were lacking. People’s mental maps must have been in units of time (duration), not space (length).

Moderns look at the (night) sky as outer space, a vast spatial expanse. But for ancient people the sky was first of all a calendar and a clock: the positions of the heavenly bodies told them the time of the year, the time of the month, and the time of day. The sky was also an aid to navigation so maps were not necessary. The sky, the calendar, and navigation were united in the zodiac.

Ancients used a geostationary (geocentric) frame of reference, which is characterized by a zero speed, that is, all speeds were relative to the frame, as though it were absolute. This is the complement to Galilean relativity: space is a scalar but time is multidimensional. Space is a river, and time is the sky.

In that case the characteristic (modal) speed c is zero, or equivalently, the characteristic pace is infinite, and the gamma factor is one. To make this fully relativistic requires recognizing the finite pace (1/c) of light in 1D space and 3D time (see here). Tachyons galore!

What difference does this make? Moderns think of the universe primarily in spatial terms, and wonder how the vast expanse could be created in a short time. But ancients thought of the universe primarily in temporal terms, and were amazed by the order of the heavens and the God of that order.

Les Déplorables

2016 presidential candidate Clinton’s remark that half of her opponent’s supporters are “a basket of deplorables”, which means they are “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic”, triggered strong negative reactions. Calling millions of ordinary citizens such names shows more about the speaker than it does about the apparent referents.

There must be a new acronym here; how about “SHRIX” for these phob-isms? (Phob-ism here means an ideologically-defined phobia or ism.) This acronym encapsulates the progressive narrative about America: that Americans are SHRIX, and can never do enough to earn a non-SHRIX descriptor. (So salvation from SHRIX is by faith alone? Hardly. Progressivism is works-based.)

Daniel Henniger’s Sept. 14th Wall Street Journal op-ed piece on Les Déplorables called it “the revolt of the politically incorrect”. People have had enough of this name-calling. Like many others I do not consider myself to be at all SHRIX but I’m sure a progressive would consider me SHRIX in their eyes. At a minimum there is a breakdown of communication. But there’s also a breakdown of what society – and politics – is about.

2016 presidential candidate Trump’s deplorable side has received much press. That makes it easier to write off his supporters. But people with a variety of political views are very cynical about politics, about politicians, and about the political system. They want an “outsider”, someone who is not a politician, who speaks from their heart, and who challenges the political status quo. Well, here’s your candidate. Beware of what you ask for.

Red is commonly associated with the Left and républicanisme, but in the US today it is associated with the Republican Party. At this point the Left is the Establishment and the next revolution will have to come from another direction. What that direction is no-one knows but the birth pangs are beginning.

One does not have to go back far in history to find views that today would be very SHRIX were very mainstream. Our ancestors were SHRIX. We’re sons and daughters of the SHRIX. Does that mean the generations of today can look down on their ancestors? Hardly. If our ancestors knew what people today were doing, they would be quick to condemn us for many things — and they would be right. “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” (Rom. 3:23)

Relativity at any speed

This is a summary of posts (such as here and here) about the application of relativity theory to transportation. This is different from applying theories of physics to other subjects such as economics since here it is real relativity, not some analogy. However, the application is an approximation, but that is the nature of transportation, which has both physical and social aspects.

Transportation (or transport) modes are means of transporting goods and/or people. The common modes are roads (including motorized and non-motorized modes), railroad (passenger and freight), pipeline, maritime (ferry and shipping modes), air (aviation), etc. One can consider information a good and the telecommunication of information as a form of transportation. In that sense any signal or high-speed particle can be considered a mode of transportation.

Transportation is subject to a variety of obstacles, including excess volume per available capacity (called congestion) and stoppages caused by crashes, storms, construction, or other disruptions (which may also cause congestion). There may be complicating factors such as the mixing of modes (e.g., bike and pedestrian traffic).

The minimum, maximum (free-flow), or typical speeds of a transportation mode are characteristic of the transportation mode as a system, rather than the speed of a particular vehicle or particle (even though a particular vehicle or particle might have this value in a particular context). As such, these characteristic or modal speeds are constants within the transportation system under consideration.

There are contexts in which a speed characteristic of a transportation mode (perhaps under congestion) is a constant, at least for a certain period of time. In these contexts relativity theory plays a role similar to high-speed physics with the speed of light in a vacuum. Such characteristic speeds are constants that are independent of the speed of particular objects (vehicles) in that mode.

So, for example, a free-flow highway speed may be considered a constant over a region or transportation network. Then in this context such a constant speed would play the role of c, the speed of light in a vacuum. This speed would relate space and time. The Lorentz transform would be needed to determine relative speeds.

The characteristic speed may be a maximum speed within the mode or it may be less than the maximum, such as a typical speed, in which case some vehicle speeds greater than the typical speed would be expected. This may be different from physics, in which tachyons may not exist. In any case, relativity theory can cover these cases, which would arise in transportation.