Simulating Reality, Prophecy and Physics Revisited
In my recent article, Simulating Reality, I discussed the interaction between physics and the prophesied redemption of Israel from its two or two and a half thousand year diaspora. I stated there that events which God put into motion at the moment of the Big Bang remain on precise course, totally predictable by the laws of physics. The only exceptions are those eventualities with which Man has interfered, changing the "predetermined" course of history. Our competency to predict everything via physics is of course predicated on our ability to carry out all the necessary calculations. These are extremely complicated and multidimensional.
In other words, the laws of the universe allow for the precise predication of any future event of which man is not a part. I suggested as a possibility that, at the time of the redemption, the world may be struck by asteroids. We do not currently possess sufficient computational capability to predict the time and location of such a strike. However some of the consequences of a cosmic onslaught fit neatly into prophecies of the cataclysmic times (e.g. Zachariah 12).
An asteroid attack, however, is not the only natural way that the words of the prophets may be fulfilled. A second possibility involves solar activity. Our sun is not a constantly functioning body. It's nuclear reactions are cyclic. Until recently it was thought that the solar cycle was approximately eleven years. The beginning of each cycle exhibits increased solar activity including solar flares and coronal mass ejections. The middle of a cycle displays little to no perceivable activity. Today, in addition to our telescopes, we have satellites monitoring the far side of the sun. This provides us with a complete picture of solar functionality.
It has long been known that an increase in the sun's activity can disrupt navigation and power systems and threaten astronauts in space [cf. James Michener's Apollo 18 mission in Space]. Anyone who has used short wave and ham radios knows that the quality of reception varies greatly during a cycle.
A new computer model simulating the Sun's cycles predicted the next cycle to be up to fifty percent stronger than its predecessor. It should reach its peak around 2013 according to the National Center for Atmospheric Research's Mausumi Dikpati who developed the model (3rd March, 2006 issue of Geophysical Research Letters).
The new predictions could mean that Earth may experience more intense solar flares and related space weather in the upcoming years. "This prediction suggests we're potentially looking at more communications and navigation disruptions, more satellite failures, possible disruptions of electrical grids and blackouts and more dangerous conditions for astronauts," said Richard Behnke, director of the U.S. National Science Foundation's division of atmospheric sciences, which funded the research.
The Russians have upped the ante. A new "Little Ice Age" could begin in just four years, predicted the head of space research at St. Petersburg's Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory, Habibullo Abdussamatov, in May. (So much for the Al Gore's global warming myth, but by the time the world knows the truth, Gore and his colleagues will have exited with a small fortune. Abdussamatov has shown global warming to be occurring on Mars where there are no so-called man-made carbon gases. This warming, he claims, is related to action by our common sun.) Earth's last "Little Ice Age", occurred after an era known to scientists as the "Medieval Warm Period". This Ice Age is typically defined as a period of about two hundred years, from around 1650 and extending through 1850. (Yes Al, even without our intervention, the planets suffer global warming and cooling.)
Abdussamatov further explains that through 2014, the earth will go through a series of unstable variations in which global temperature will oscillate around the maximum reached in the years 1998-2005.
Don't assume that this knowledge belongs solely to the Russians. NASA too is worried. "Earth and space are about to come into contact in a way that's new to human history. To make preparations, authorities in Washington DC are holding a meeting: The Space Weather Enterprise Forum at the National Press Club on June 8th ." I haven't yet found reports of the discussions held at this meeting, but as much of our 21st century technologies are vulnerable to solar storms, NASA better be making preparations.
Richard Fisher, head of NASA's Heliophysics Division, explains what it's all about. "The sun is waking up from a deep slumber, and in the next few years we expect to see much higher levels of solar activity. At the same time, our technological society has developed an unprecedented sensitivity to solar storms. The intersection of these two issues is what we're getting together to discuss."
The National Academy of Sciences framed the problem two years ago in a landmark report entitled "Severe Space Weather Events--Societal and Economic Impacts." They noted how reliant we have become on high-tech systems for the basics of daily life. Smart power grids, GPS navigation, air travel, financial services and emergency radio communications can all be knocked out by intense solar activity. A century-class solar storm, the Academy warned, "could cause twenty times more economic damage than Hurricane Katrina.
"Much of the damage can be mitigated if managers [bureaucrats?] know a storm is coming. Putting satellites in 'safe mode' and disconnecting transformers can protect these assets from damaging electrical surges. Preventative action, however, requires accurate forecasting--a job that has been assigned to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)."
"Space weather forecasting is still in its infancy, but we're making rapid progress," says Thomas Bogdan, director of NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colorado.
Bogdan sees the collaboration between NASA and NOAA as key. NASA's fleet of heliophysics research spacecraft provides us "with up-to-the-minute information about what's happening on the sun. They are an important complement to our own Geostationary and Polar Operational Environmental Satellites, positioned to focus on the near-Earth environment".
A third possibility?
Two independent events occurred in August 2005, thousands of mile apart. The first was a man-made disaster, the second was, to use insurance parlance, "an act of God".
On Shabbat, 13th August, 2005, Gush Katif was totally sealed after two weeks of closure to non-residents. This was all in keeping with Ariel Sharon's Israeli government plan to forcibly evacuate the population of the bloc [Gush in Hebrew]. Though effectively violating the disengagement law, which residents, a large segment of Israelis and all non-antisemitic thinking people around the world viewed as highly immoral and illegitimate, almost no settlers voluntarily left their homes or even packed in preparation of the eviction. On Monday, 15th August, the forcible evacuation of the towns commenced. The residents of the last settlement, Netzarim, were evicted on 22nd August. Residents subsequently returned to pack the contents of their homes into stifling containers, after which the army commenced the destruction of all houses. On 12th September, the army withdrew from each settlement leaving the Arabs free to enter. This policy was totally sanctioned and supported by the enlightened government of George Bush II.
On 23rd August, 2005, the day after the last forced expulsion, Hurricane Katrina crossed southern Florida as a moderate Category 1 hurricane, causing some deaths and flooding before strengthening rapidly in the Gulf of Mexico, scooping up tons of water in its forward motion. It made its second landfall as a Category 3 storm in south-east Louisiana on 29th August. It caused severe destruction along the Gulf coast from central Florida all the way to Texas. The most severe loss of life occurred in New Orleans, which flooded as the levee system catastrophically failed. [Perhaps we should call this a man-caused disaster, as the defence system was later shown to have been improperly maintained.]
At the time I viewed these twin events as unrelated, not even a coincidence. Our rabbis of old teach that there is no such thing as coincidence -- everything is planned. I admit I would like to have thought that Katrina was divine retribution against Eisav for his support in the war against religious, believing Jews, but I had no way of really knowing, of making a connection. Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, amongst others, was certain. I don't believe he had inside information but at the same time I would not want to rob him of his right to his opinion.
Many articles were subsequently circulated claiming a linkage. WorldNetDaily was one such publisher.
Here are some of their arguments, published on 8th September, 2005:
So, you are probably asking yourself, why am I bringing this up? now?
First, the anniversary of the fall of the Gush [and of New Orleans] is approaching. It is good to remember the evil of man against man, especially Jew against Jew. Remember the main motto of the anti-expulsion camp was "A Jew does not expel a Jew". (Can't help this, but some of you know me well by now -- in Hebrew the motto is very sloppy Hebrew.)
I am always loathe to attribute events to divine intervention. Of course I believe in God's controlling hand in the world. But how obvious is this control? Of course with all my criticism of the above arguments, which were presented by many in numerous variations, I cannot deny the possibility of divine retribution.
But with what certainty, before the final redemption, can we ever make statements linking current events to the divine.
Do we have the moral audacity to claim that without the shoa, the holocaust, the murder of six million Jews and the displacement of nearly that number again, the State of Israel would not have come into existence? How can we articulate such a thing? Six million people had to be tortured and murdered as the only way Israel could come into existence? God had no other way to achieve this? Even if He 'wanted' to use non-miraculous means? to act via the history of mankind?
On the other hand it may be a true statement. The guilt of the planned genocide of six million Jews was certainly, at a minimum, a contributing factor. But if there is a connection, then why six million? Would not three million have been enough? For three million the world's guilt would not have been sufficient? Then how about four million? Maybe just five million? Why only Jews in Europe? My question reminds me of Abraham pleading before God for the lives of the Sodomites.
The world has moved on. Much has happened in the last five years. For those who can see, for those who want to see, the redemption is approaching. Events occurring around the world need to be interpreted and understood in the context of the divinely inspired redemptive process. The Bush Israelis thought they loved, who was so good for Israel, Gush Katif or not, has been replaced by a Hussein, who, to Israelis, is the most unpopular president ever (not that it matters what we think of POTUS -- we don't elect him and we cannot in all honesty expect him to act in our interests).
A couple more scenarios
ScienceDaily.com reported on 25th May, 2010, "The major earthquakes that devastated Chile earlier this year and which triggered the catastrophic Indonesian tsunami of 2004 are more than just a distinct possibility to strike the Pacific Northwest coast of the United States, scientists say."
"There is more than a one-in-three chance that it will happen within the next 50 years."
Thus far I have concentrated on "acts of God", read physics as defined by the Big Bang. But at this point let's introduce mankind into the picture. Scenarios in which man diverts the natural course of the world, and loses control. We have all seen the mad scientist movies, where a green slime escapes from the laboratory and threatens the entire population. However even in this vein, I prefer to stick to real physics.
The huge deposit of oil beneath the Gulf of Mexico was created as a logical consequence of the Big Bang. But it was Man who bored a ten kilometre deep hole into the sea and into the earth's crust. Yes the laws of physics still apply, but not as a continuation of God's creation. We detoured God's creative process and it has gone haywire.
On 19th March, Hussein Obama announced that, immediately effective, there would be a change in the longstanding, official policy of the U.S. administration re Israel, namely that Obama would no longer automatically side with Israel in the U.N. and in other international fora. The following day B.P.'s [originally a British government company originally called Anglo-Persian, later Anglo-Iranian and finally British Petroleum] Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in flames. Two days later it sank into the Gulf. Since then between 1.5 and 2.5 million gallons of oil have flowed daily into the gulf's waters. And it "could continue until Christmas".
This is an environmental disaster, one which makes Alaska's Valdez oil spill look like a picnic. It is destroying the coastline, the beaches, the wildlife and the fishing industry. But the surrounding neighbourhood is not all who will suffer. If the spill increases greatly, it may emerge from the Gulf into the Atlantic. From there it would be picked up by the Gulf Stream and carried to England. Next summer we may see a strong resemblance between the shoreline of Bournemouth and the Florida Keys.
This year's U.S. hurricane season has begun . . . and they're expecting a busy season. The NOAA expects "twenty-three storms this year, around eight to fourteen of them could strengthen into hurricanes and three to seven are expected to take the form of major hurricanes". We've already had Hurricane Alex. A small introduction to the season, 'only' striking Mexico.
Let's briefly review how a hurricane works. I don't know if cyclones are effected by man-made events, but what is certain is that they are far outside of our control. Tropical cyclones, what the Americans call hurricanes, are areas of extremely low atmospheric pressure. A tropical storm begins to brew over the ocean. As it makes contact with warm ocean waters -- if the temperature of the water is above 26.5°C, 80°F -- the storm's heat and energy intensify. Winds rotate around a calm centre (called the "eye"). If the speed of the winds reaches 119 km per hour, the storm is officially classified as a hurricane (or cyclone or typhoon depending only in which ocean it appears). The system sucks up water at a tremendous rate, growing in size with its retention, thus fueling it own growth. "Hurricane warnings" are issued when a hurricane is expected within twenty-four hours.
The rain that falls onto land from a hurricane is "picked up" from the sea. In our case this is from the Gulf. Were the hurricane to pass over our increasingly expanding oil spill, the wind system will also pick up some oil, slime and muck or whatever form the gushing oil and auxiliary chemicals have now taken. These chemicals may be reacting with each other in the Mexican spicy soup or be broken down under the bright, warm sub-tropical sunshine. And our hurricane will indiscriminately dump all of this oil, benzene and other gases wherever it makes landfall, along the Gulf shoreline, somewhere along the eastern seaboard or somewhere deep into the southern States. Whatever was picked up will be dropped, in enormous quantities. Areas located hundreds of miles from the spill could be rendered barren for an inestimable amount of time.
Back in the seventies and eighties, before we had catalytic converters on our cars, we worried about caustic acid rain, rainwater mixed with acids from exhaust fumes that are mixed into the clouds. I suppose that any cloud, and not just a hurricane, originating in the Gulf of Mexico is likely to contain lots of undesired chemicals.
I am sorry to say that thus far I have portrayed the better case scenarios.
A bubble seems to be developing under the ocean floor. Oil is escaping via fissures and cracks, along with poisonous gases including hydrogen sulfide, methylene chloride and benzene. The bubble has been located using GPS tracking. The government has reported detecting the chemicals in the air.
B.P. is attempting to scatter the leaked petroleum with Corezit 9500, a chemical 'dispersant', in an attempt to prevent oil from reaching the surface. This chemical may be more poisonous than the petroleum. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ordered B.P. to immediately stop using Corezit, but B.P. refuses, claiming that their only alternative poses an even greater danger.
Were this bubble to burst, the ocean floor would rise with the explosion, and then fall back into the newly produced rift. This resultant rise and fall of the ocean will undoubtedly cause tidal waves, tsunamis. Estimates for the timing of the explosion vary from as soon as mid-August to early September. Such a tsunami would drive a wave of poisoned water across the low-lying state of Florida at a velocity of 400 or more m.p.h. (faster than the speediest land vehicles -- cf Katrina), creating a six to twenty-five metre high wave washing over the land. This could flood from eighty to three hundred kilometres inland. Most of Florida could end up under the wave.
I'm going to stop here. I'm finding more and more information on the web re dangers resulting from the Gulf spill and it is wearing even me down. You can continue the search on your own. There's a lot of stuff out there in the public domain, much from official government instrumentalities. Please write to me below if you have new information to share with us all.
I am truly sorry to be the bearer of these tidings. But I cannot emphasis enough the Maimonides's position when discussing prophecy. That until the events have transpired, no-one can know for sure how the words of the prophets will be played out. Despite his caution though, the Rambam himself suggests that we cannot be excused from making intelligent guesses.
I saw a strange Gemara yesterday (Sanhedrin 98a). I profess to not understanding it, nor Rashi's comment, but the words seem relevant to our subject. "The son of David (viz Mashiach) will not come until people will search for fish with which to feed the sick, and none will be found, as it says in Yechezkel 32:14, 'I will make their waters to settle and cause their rivers to run like oil, says the Lord God'".*
Earlier in the same chapter [verse 7], "I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not give its light".
May God, in his wisdom and mercy, bless all of us.
6th July, 2010
* Rashi in the Gemara says the reason there are no fish is because the waters are frozen. Why is frozen water likened to oil? Unless "frozen" means thick with oil and chemicals, congealed perhaps, making swimming impossible for a fish.
In the Tanakh however, Rashi says, "since God has killed all of Egypt's animals [the previous verse], there are no animals left to drink from the river. Thus their hooves no longer stir up the mud on the floor of the river, so the river can now flow as smoothly as oil."
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