I Want A Physicist To Speak At My Funeral

“You want a physicist to speak at your funeral. You want the physicist to talk to your grieving family about the conservation of energy, so they will understand that your energy has not died. You want the physicist to remind your sobbing mother about the first law of thermodynamics; that no energy gets created in the universe, and none is destroyed. You want your mother to know that all your energy, every vibration, every Btu of heat, every wave of every particle that was her beloved child remains with her in this world. You want the physicist to tell your weeping father that amid energies of the cosmos, you gave as good as you got.

And at one point you’d hope that the physicist would step down from the pulpit and walk to your brokenhearted spouse there in the pew and tell him/her that all the photons that ever bounced off your face, all the particles whose paths were interrupted by your smile, by the touch of your hair, hundreds of trillions of particles, have raced off like children, their ways forever changed by you. And as your widow rocks in the arms of a loving family, may the physicist let him/her know that all the photons that bounced from you were gathered in the particle detectors that are her/his eyes, that those photons created within her/him constellations of electromagnetically charged neurons whose energy will go on forever.

And the physicist will remind the congregation of how much of all our energy is given off as heat. There may be a few fanning themselves with their programs as he says it. And he will tell them that the warmth that flowed through you in life is still here, still part of all that we are, even as we who mourn continue the heat of our own lives.

And you’ll want the physicist to explain to those who loved you that they need not have faith; indeed, they should not have faith. Let them know that they can measure, that scientists have measured precisely the conservation of energy and found it accurate, verifiable and consistent across space and time. You can hope your family will examine the evidence and satisfy themselves that the science is sound and that they’ll be comforted to know your energy’s still around. According to the law of the conservation of energy, not a bit of you is gone; you’re just less orderly.”

~Aaron Freeman




9 Responses to “I Want A Physicist To Speak At My Funeral”

  1. This is so true. I would find solace in this if I was at the funeral.

  2. Greetings Aron,

    Nice post. I’ll come to your funeral, but if it is premature, I’ll have to conserve your energy and bring you back. For a purposeful reason as a disclaimer to my forthcoming statements I’m going to hazard the assumption that you probably have some Jewish background primarily judging by your name, and by the large red “A” an atheist. If I allow as a given that you possess a sufficiently large capacity of heart and understanding, my reason for hazarding this assumption might be unnecessary; but I’d rather err on the side of caution if there is error. If you feel strong antagonistic reactions against the belief system in that religious association I mention below, please know that I am not entirely defined by it as it is simply a meaningless label. I have found that I have had to transcend that label in virtually ever way imaginable. You might say, well why do you even make reference to it; and I will tell you, maybe it’s what people seem to know albeit a necessary “unfortunacy” (for lack of a better work I make one up). I appeal to you to moderate your justified contempt to which you might be tempted till at least you’ve consider what I suggest below.

    Who says Christians can’t learn anything from Atheists? You know where I first started to get a clue about all this Aron? When I saw where Jesus said he is light, and to make the point he did the transfiguration thing (energy conservation), you know…. the boson/fermion thing…. the ponderable/imponderable thing. The other red flag that caught my attention was where Adam and Eve were supposed to be naked yet did not know it as they were in the energy state, but the catalyst or (precipitant factor) for that phase change was “sin’. Then I looked into the world of subatomic particles and found out that everything that happens down there at that level is what Jesus demonstrated at the scale of human life because he is electromagnetic radiance actually. That is what all of Christianity can’t seem to grasp. Physicists will agree that the world of subatomic particles as weird as it is, describes not just that, but our world of the entire cosmos because those particles are everywhere, however as you approach our scale of things those imponderable properties of are conserved rendering us with the fixed state we think of as “real”.

    Frankly Atheists and Christians are the same animal on different sides of the same fence. On the one side the Christian finds it impossible to ponder God as the true mass/energy phenomenon that he is. On the other side you have the Atheist who equally cannot fathom the personhood phenomenon, mass/energy dimension of God as a complete sentient person without our familiar forms. That’s why it was not possible for him to render any other name to Moses other than I AM THAT I AM and still be true, or without limits. These are the very same properties as are characteristics of the electron, a jumble of possibilities. The invisible things of God’s power it is said, are clearly seen being understood by the things that are made even the very nature of the godhead.

    Atheists, Christians, and Scientists of either stripes greatly limit themselves in the way that Einstein decried saying: science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. We’ve been hobbling each other for years and will never realize any exponential leap in our understanding for the duration of eternity if we cannot get beyond this irrational blockage. By this I mean any significant progress for instance in the area of Einstein’s spooky action at a distance is stymied because, where such action they observe and cannot explain, as they cannot identify any capability of velocity faster than lights-peed such action is dismissed as spooky. In time they may discover neutrinos with such capacity or maybe other particles but that will never address the heart of what I see as this evident conundrum. Because they would never consider the personhood dimension of mass/energy they would never conceive of another rate of velocity that dwarfs light-speed exponentially. By that I mean the speed of thought, a dimension that has only been contemplated a property of sentient personhood which they cannot allow as applied to mass/energy.

    How long actually do you suppose it might take science or man to comprehend another leap in this elegant refinement of the unification of all forces? Perhaps it may take them as long as it took them to arrive at the conservation of energy. To us the gift of speech is possible because of the vibration of our vocal chords making sonud we assing values to, much the same way elementary string particles vibrate in unison with the cosmos. If they make music then the logical extension is to realize that speech is merely a form of music, and is expressive of thought which isn’t possible without sentient intelligence. The concept of brute facts, are a near relative to the concept of brute energy. If we manage to make the leap and assign a name to the sentient personhood phenomenon of mass/energy and call it ahhhh, lets say God, then a lot might be cleared up for both science and religion. Just look at the forensic evidence of the trail we have traveled so far, and just know that that is the ultimate conclusion of the matter entire. Not only is matter/energy sentient with the dimension of personhood, but it has an undeniable predisposition to morality as it goes to behavior, specifically human behavior. The mistake we often make is to think God wants to limit man when he desires man to experience existence without limitations as he is without limits.

    Frankly I don’t think God cares much about religion, anymore than electromagnetic radiance is religiously inclined; he has no race, color, religious affiliations or for that matter any of the peculiarities of human limitations that we enshrine and invest so much divisive ideological value in.

  3. I’d love that physicist to speak at my funeral. Actually, it really is a comforting thought.

  4. Ahhh churchies… they’re so arrogant. Fist off – atheist is not a religion. It is the absence of religion. We may be the same species (animal) but we aren’t on the same side of the fence. We aren’t even on the same planet with regards to your rhetoric.

    We use scientific discovery to explain the way things work. The scientific method. Take a look around. The fruits of our efforts have pretty much explained everything and have given you everything you see and use, no thanks to, and in spite of the oppression from religion ALL along the way.

    You pick and choose which parts of your sacred texts you wish to prioritize, or even acknowledge, and then you borrow on our hard work to try to justify your petty, genocidal patriarchal, racist, homophobic, misogynistic fables. Science is not petty, genocidal, patriarchal, racist, homophobic or misogynistic btw.

    Scientists are not looking for the meaning of life, or trying to find evidence to support predetermined notions in our work. We observe, predict and prove/disprove based upon evidence. You refer to the Higgs Boson. The discovery of which led to the proof of the master equation, and thereby the understanding of how matter was created. You can call the Higgs the Brahma particle, or the Apollo particle, or the Thor particle, or the “god” particle if you like, but it doesn’t change the significance of the discovery. One more gap in knowledge of the way things work has been filled, and yet again the finger of any sort of god was not needed.

    Religions will always attempt to adapt in order avoid the inevitable – losing followers (e.g. money). Even the current pope is speaking out on behalf of the gays and against income inequality. Yet another shift to try to stay relevant.

    As the late great Christopher HItchens said, “Gullibility and credulity are considered undesirable qualities in every department of human life — except religion.” and “Take the risk of thinking for yourself, much more happiness, truth, beauty, and wisdom will come to you that way.”

  5. Aron, newgenesisres, and other, you might like Seven Candles: Science for a Deeper Spirituality. Aron’s essay is closely aligned with Seven Candles, which finds spiritual inspiration and comfort in the findings of science. You can layer any religious sentiments you’d like on top of it, but the findings of science over the last 200 years are deeply spiritual, as in they tap into deep human longings for awe, wonder, connection, and transcendence. http://sevencandles.org


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