Monday, January 17, 2011

Pole Position

If you love to speculate as I do, here’s something that you might find worthwhile to consider. As a lot of my personal speculation has a tendency to do, it involves the merging of science and religion, but even if you don’t subscribe to “God”, you may still find it an intriguing topic.

Scientists have discovered that the North Pole is on the move, and they’ve been tracking its advance for several years now. Not only is the position of the North Pole moving (which is pretty fascinating all by itself), but its rate of travel is actually speeding up.

Take a look at the below National Geographic article from 2009:

North Magnetic Pole Moving Due to Core Flux
"The magnetic north pole had moved little from the time scientists first located it in 1831. Then in 1904, the pole began shifting northeastward at a steady pace of about 9 miles (15 kilometers) a year.

In 1989 it sped up again, and in 2007 scientists confirmed that the pole is now galloping toward Siberia at 34 to 37 miles (55 to 60 kilometers) a year."

Maybe it’s just me, but I sure think that fits the definition of “fascinating”. I mean, how often do you hear scientists use the term “galloping” as a description?

As interesting as this documented phenomena is all by itself, however, and despite its possible contribution to noted weather pattern and ocean current changes currently being attributed to “global warming”, I can’t help but wonder if it is part of something even bigger.

By “bigger”, I mean something that very few people would think of in the first place, and almost nobody would even begin to believe could be included within the realm of realistic possibility.

But isn’t that what makes speculation fun?

So there’s the documented science; now switch gears with me for a minute.

There’s an interesting and entirely ridiculous passage in Revelation where John is describing (as best he can) a vision he is seeing of the future.

It’s important to remember here that John is not a “high-tech” guy. He lived 2,000 years ago; he has no idea what weather satellites, carbon dating, or combustion engines are. He’s never surfed, tweeted, or emailed. Submarines, aircraft, and microwave ovens are beyond the borders of his imagination.

If we are to believe what he wrote in Revelation, he’s being shown a vision and simply describing it in the best way he can with the knowledge that he has.

So with that in mind, here’s the passage in question that I’m referring to:

“and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind. The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.”
- Revelation 6:13-14

Like I said, pretty ridiculous.

We know today – obviously – that there’s no way that the stars could ever fall to the earth. It only takes a cursory reading of that passage to understand that John has no idea what stars are, or how big they are, or that they’re all varying degrees of distance from the earth (and literally “astronomical” distances at that).

Ridiculous. Dismissed. A “busted” myth that doesn’t even merit a test.

Or is it?

Granted, if John is thinking the way we think today – with the knowledge that we have today – it would be. But remember, John doesn’t know what we know; he’s only writing what he sees in the best way he can with the knowledge and understanding that he possesses.

Imagine this as a possible hypothesis for what John is seeing in his vision: John is looking out at the Southern horizon at night when suddenly the earth starts to quickly rotate directly back towards him.

What would he see?

Because he is standing on the earth in a fixed position to the horizon and because of his limited knowledge, it would appear to him that the stars in sky – all of them – were falling towards the horizon. Falling to earth.

And if the earth did actually rotate quickly in that manner, could we expect the atmosphere to undergo violent changes (perhaps clouds “rolling up like a scroll”) as the earth spun inside? And would not every mountain and island truly be in a different position?

Whoa. Not quite so ridiculous anymore, is it?

Of course, for all of that to occur, the earth would need to physically rotate very quickly, like what might occur if the North and South Poles were to suddenly switch positions. Is that even a remote possibility?

Going back to the above National Geographic article: “Geologists think Earth has a magnetic field because the core is made up of a solid iron center surrounded by rapidly spinning liquid metal. This creates a "dynamo" that drives our magnetic field.”

I’m not a physicist, but I have played with magnets before, and without exception, if I try to “move” the pole of a magnet using another magnet or piece of steel, the entire magnet follows the pole.

So the question is, “If the earth’s core is essentially a giant magnet, and the north pole is now moving away from the axis about which the earth spins, and that spin is what is keeping the earth in it's current orientation instead of following the pole (much like a gyroscope), what happens if & when the pole moves beyond the point that the earth's rotation can continue to hold it in position?"

Well. Like I said, it’s all just speculation.

1 comment:

annest said...

Very provocative thinking. Thanks for taking the time to think this through in such a logical, well-written manner.