Atheist philosopher Antony Flew dies

| 156 Comments

Flew is of interest to PT readers in part because of his supposed conversion to deism a few years ago. You may find a detailed obituary here. The National Center for Science Education has also run a brief obituary here.

We covered Flew’s conversion to deism here, with an update here. Flew was an influential philosopher and was an atheist for the bulk of his career. His essay Theology and Falsification was widely read and translated into 40 languages. You may see my take on it here. The paper is also available here, with an introduction by Flew, but without the discussion with R. M. Hare.

In later years, evidently influenced by Gerald Schroeder and the intelligent-design creationists, Flew “converted” to deism and was badly misused by creationists. He later admitted that Mr. Schroeder had “mistaught” him, but he continued to believe that life could not have begun without some intelligent or purposeful creator.

According to NCSE, Flew published 2 monographs on evolution, but they say that these works were “arguably marred by a fondness for claims of genetic linkage between intelligence and race.” I do not know anything about these monographs and so will not comment further. I will remember Flew for the essay in which he showed just how foolish it is not just to believe without evidence, but more, to prop up your belief with untestable speculations.

156 Comments

There is nothing wrong with being a deist, and if Anthony Flew converted to that from atheism, so what? At least he didn’t totally sell out like C S Lewis did two generations ago!

Seriously, have you ever read Lewis’ book Mere Christianity? As a teenager, I thought it was a brilliant work. Now I despise it.

Seriously, have you ever read Lewis’ book Mere Christianity? As a teenager, I thought it was a brilliant work. Now I despise it.

I have read it. Serious question for you: Why do you now “despise it” after previously considering it to be “a brilliant work”?

Not looking to generate a debate on this one. But I would like to hear your answer. The book didn’t change, so what changed your opinion of the book?

FL

There is nothing wrong with being a deist, and if Anthony Flew converted to that from atheism, so what?

No, there is nothing wrong with being a deist or even a theist, provided that you recognize that your “belief” is more of the nature of a hypothesis – and especially that you do not let it get in the way of the facts.

Flew’s reputation, however, was based largely on an essay in which he demonstrated the futility of holding beliefs not in spite of but in defiance of a complete lack of evidence. It is therefore at least newsworthy that he converted to a more-deistic belief and indeed startling that he was initially swayed by the completely phony arguments of Gerald Schroeder.

I can’t wait to read the several touching deathbed confessions he will have made.

FL said: Why do you now “despise it” after previously considering it to be “a brilliant work”? … The book didn’t change, so what changed your opinion of the book?

He grew up?

Some of us manage to put childish myths such as creationism behind as we leave the ignorance of childhood - others, such as yourself, fail to heed 1 Corinthians 11:13:

When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”

Why do you disobey your own holy book, FL?

The philosophical stance of Idealism which invariably pops up from ancient times to the present tends to see reality more as an Idea or energy. This sort of thing is not contrary to modern physics. This is of course thinking metaphoricaly, but how else can we think about reality? As one increasingly acknowedges that religious thinking and beliefs are metaphorical there can be an easy meeting of the two. It is of course a view(s) that tend not to be very doctrinaire.

huh?

This comment has been moved to The Bathroom Wall.

FL said:

I have read [Mere Christianity]. Serious question for you: Why do you now “despise it” after previously considering it to be “a brilliant work”?

Not looking to generate a debate on this one. But I would like to hear your answer. The book didn’t change, so what changed your opinion of the book?

FL

Because of two things:

1. The historical and logical flaws in the Bible I discovered later that led me to conclude it was not the Word of God.

2. I was able to debunk one of the arguments Lewis put out that seemed so strong, until I removed my previous bias about it:

http://circleh.wordpress.com/2008/1[…]rd-argument/

Debunking the Liar, Lunatic, or Lord argument

Posted by Dale Husband on October 31, 2008

One of the favorite arguments put forth by Christian apologists is that of ”Liar, Lunatic, or Lord” in reference to Jesus. It was published by C.S. Lewis in his book Mere Christianity, and later repeated by Josh McDowell in his works. Basically, it goes like this:

“Jesus claimed to be God. If so, he must have been God incarnate in order to be accepted as a great moral teacher. If he was NOT God incarnate, then he must have been either a liar (evil) or a lunatic (diseased in the mind) and by definition someone who is evil or diseased in the mind cannot be a good moral teacher, so the only logical conclusion is that Jesus must have indeed been God incarnate, and therefore his teachings were infallible and was by nature superior to any other moral teacher that ever lived.”

This argument is completely bogus! And here’s why:

First, we know NOTHING about Jesus that came directly from him. Everything written about him, including all quotations of his words, are second-hand or third-hand sources. See my earlier blog entry for more details:

http://circleh.wordpress.com/2008/1[…]ty-and-weak/

Second, it is perfectly possible for someone to teach good morals and yet be a con artist. Indeed, you wouldn’t expect someone to openly proclaim “I am a liar and am immoral, corrupt, and serve evil causes!” You would expect someone to USE issues of morality to attract the well-meaning but gullible followers that the con artist could exploit for his personal gain later.

Third, even most insane people have some elements of lucidity in their characters. There is not an absolute distinction between the insane and those of normal mentality. Mental illness has many different manifestations and degrees of severity.

Fourth, there is an incident recorded in the Gospels of Jesus cursing a fig tree just because it had no figs to give him at the time (and it wasn’t even the season for them) and the tree soon dies: Mark 11:14, 20-23, Matthew 21:19-21. He uses this irrational action as an example of the power of faith. Sounds like insanity to me!

Fifth, the same liar, lunatic, or lord argument could be just as well applied to the founders of every other religion, including those with teachings very different from Christianity. Yet to be a Christian, you must assume that all those other religions are false!

Quite simply, this argument is an appeal to religious and cultural prejudice. It is no more valid than arguments to support astrology, palm-reading, or belief in a flat Earth.

As far as I am able to discern from his recorded words, Jesus never claimed to be God. That was a spin his followers later put on them.

He claimed to be the Son of God. But he claimed that every human being was the child of God, so why would he exempt himself? He taught his followers, when praying, to address God as “our Father”. Not as his father, but as our father, the father of us all. He continually taught them about their heavenly father. This is further to complicate the fact that his usual self-deprecatory epithet for himself was “son of Man”, which appears to be an actual Aramaic saying, meaning “this fellow” or “yours truly”.

He said once, “Before Abraham was, I am.” That’s a metaphor easily misunderstood, and Christians have usually misunderstood it, just as the Pharisees did, as the passage records. They, too, failed to take it as metaphorical, and the Gospel writer actually mocks them for it. Jesus was saying metaphorically that his role as Messiah was known to God from the first covenant with the patriarch of the Jews. Do you really think Jesus was so ignorant of the generations of the Patriarchs given in Genesis as to claim to have been God by this? Had he been doing so, he would have said, “Before Adam was, I am.”

He did think he was the Messiah of the Jews, at least until his trial, but that’s a different matter altogether. The Messiah was not, as later Christian apologists tried to make out, merely some kind of uber-prophet, a spiritual leader alone. He would be a ruler, a governor who would rule his people Israel, a prince, a king. There was, however, never any suggestion in the prophecies that he would be God in person, and no sort of idea like that existed in the day. The Messiah would be the spokesman of God, and would he the final prophet; but his role would be to free Israel of foreign rule, and restore the Holy Land as the covenant promised. David Ben-Gurion has more claim to that title than Jesus.

As a claimant to governorship, he was of course a threat to the Romans, and he certainly was involved in some sort of riot or insurrection in Jerusalem that Passover. At his trial, he did apparently renounce his Messiahship with his famous “My Kingdom is not of this world,” but it was by that time too late.

So I believe Lewis’s argument falls to the ground, not only because it appeals to a cultural prejudice of Christians, but because of plain matter of fact. Jesus did not claim to be God, and hence was no con-artist, no scammer, no rogue. He was mistaken in his belief about his Messiahship, but I am happy to forgive that, for after all he died in torment for it.

And for the rest, he uttered words that appear to me to be both wise beyond any I know, and true gold, even though he uttered others I cannot agree with. I will not go further, and I don’t believe he was the Son, nor God in his person any more than I am. But he was a great teacher of ethics to humanity; perhaps the greatest of all. In the face of his words and of his cross, I am happy to bow my head; and if that be inconsistent, so be it.

The simple fact that Jesus prayed to God (the Father) in many passages shows that they are two separate entities. The Christians of Gentile background were so immersed in Paganism that they could not understand how someone could speak with the authority of God and yet not be God. Note that the Jews did not consider Moses to be equal to God, even though he spoke with as much divine authority as Jesus would 1500 years later. If the early Christians had been content with Jesus as a new version of Moses, then they would not have had to come up with the absurdity of the Trinity to account for what Jesus was like. But they had to make Jesus look even greater than Moses to make their own religion look greater than Judaism. Good for public relations, bad for intellectual honesty.

No doubt, fanatics like FL will point to passages where Jesus appeared to do things only God could do (forgive sins, accept worship) and insist that the Holy Spirit was also a person within the Godhead, but that only illustrates how unreliable the scriptures (and those who interpret them) are. God may be unknowable, but he does not suffer from a multiple personality disorder. The Jews said their god was ONE God. Either that is true or it isn’t. There is NO Trinity.

Dale Husband said:

The Christians of Gentile background were so immersed in Paganism that they could not understand how someone could speak with the authority of God and yet not be God.

Ah, Dale? The Oracles? All of them were the god speaking through a human being. Pagans were perfectly used to the notion.

Dave Luckett said:

Dale Husband said:

The Christians of Gentile background were so immersed in Paganism that they could not understand how someone could speak with the authority of God and yet not be God.

Ah, Dale? The Oracles? All of them were the god speaking through a human being. Pagans were perfectly used to the notion.

Noted. So you are saying that the dogma that Jesus = God was NOT derived from Paganism?

It’s hard, at this remove, to understand where it came from. The critical years - the decade or so after Jesus’ death are unrecorded. But weren’t there other miracle worker legends abroad? And the existing pagan acceptance of divine progeny might have influenced the shape of the legend.

Dale Husband said:

Dave Luckett said:

Dale Husband said:

The Christians of Gentile background were so immersed in Paganism that they could not understand how someone could speak with the authority of God and yet not be God.

Ah, Dale? The Oracles? All of them were the god speaking through a human being. Pagans were perfectly used to the notion.

Noted. So you are saying that the dogma that Jesus = God was NOT derived from Paganism?

Rewriting my earlier statement: The simple fact that Jesus prayed to God (the Father) in many passages shows that they are two separate entities. The Christians of Gentile background were so immersed in Paganism that they understood Jesus’ claim to be the “Son of God” as also being God, so they invented the Trinity. Note that the Jews did not consider Moses to be equal to God, even though he spoke with as much divine authority as Jesus would 1500 years later. If the early Christians had been content with Jesus as a new version of Moses, then they would not have had to come up with the absurdity of the Trinity to account for what Jesus was like. But they had to make Jesus look even greater than Moses to make their own religion look greater than Judaism. Good for public relations, bad for intellectual honesty.

No doubt, fanatics like FL will point to passages where Jesus appeared to do things only God could do (forgive sins, accept worship) and insist that the Holy Spirit was also a person within the Godhead, but that only illustrates how unreliable the scriptures (and those who interpret them) are. God may be unknowable, but he does not suffer from a multiple personality disorder. The Jews said their god was ONE God. Either that is true or it isn’t. There is NO Trinity.

FL said:

Seriously, have you ever read Lewis’ book Mere Christianity? As a teenager, I thought it was a brilliant work. Now I despise it.

I have read it. Serious question for you: Why do you now “despise it” after previously considering it to be “a brilliant work”?

Not looking to generate a debate on this one. But I would like to hear your answer. The book didn’t change, so what changed your opinion of the book?

FL

They grew up? I used to think that Fletch was a great movie but I don’t any more because the humour is very stupid.

Dale Husband said:

Noted. So you are saying that the dogma that Jesus = God was NOT derived from Paganism?

Not quite. I think there are pagan influences there, but not so direct. Pagans, for example, were also perfectly used to the idea of demi-gods, sons of gods. These were sorta kinda deities - Herakles, for example, had quite a cult - yet they were by no means exemplary people in a moral sense. The same for the deified Caesars. The attribute required was apparently a qualified immortality. Jesus appeared, at first glance, to fit into that category. The early Christians had to move him into a slot above it, and there was only one such available: God Himself.

Yet Christianity derived directly from Jewish monotheism, and Jesus himself was uncompromising about that. “God” was “the Lord your God”, your Heavenly Father, and He was one. Hence the invention of the Trinity, and the eventual insistence that Jesus was very God, uniquely God in his person, miraculously perfectly divine and perfectly human, of the same substance of the Father, and he and the Father were one.

Well… except that that was true in a sort of transcendental sense, and they were both one and separate persons, in both states at the same time. I’ve always thought that a rather quantum notion, but that, of course, is no more than my ignorance of quantum mechanics talking.

It has often been said that Christianity itself is an uneasy compromise deriving from the collision of Greek ethics with Jewish monotheism. Like most short statements about vast historical events, it is inadequate; but there’s a piece of the truth there all the same.

Dave Luckett said:

Well… except that that was true in a sort of transcendental sense, and they were both one and separate persons, in both states at the same time. I’ve always thought that a rather quantum notion, but that, of course, is no more than my ignorance of quantum mechanics talking.

Sounds a bit like Schrödinger’s poor cat in a superposition of dead and undead states until observed; and then its wave function collapses into one state or the other.

Or, in the Many Worlds interpretation, it’s alive in one new world and dead in another.

Mike Elzinga said:

Dave Luckett said:

Well… except that that was true in a sort of transcendental sense, and they were both one and separate persons, in both states at the same time. I’ve always thought that a rather quantum notion, but that, of course, is no more than my ignorance of quantum mechanics talking.

Sounds a bit like Schrödinger’s poor cat in a superposition of dead and undead states until observed; and then its wave function collapses into one state or the other.

Or, in the Many Worlds interpretation, it’s alive in one new world and dead in another.

Maybe that would explain Jesus’ resurrection too?

I really hope that FL points to Jesus “forgiving sin” as proof of his Godhead.

I really hope that FL points to Jesus “forgiving sin” as proof of his Godhead.

Actually, that’s not a bad place to start, Dale. But unfortunately, I was serious when I said I wasn’t trying to generate debate. A big reason being time crunch, though I’m sure I can get some posts in. I genuinely appreciate your specific replies there, though.

FL

Dale Husband said:

Maybe that would explain Jesus’ resurrection too?

:-)

Now all we have to do is figure out what constitutes an “observation.”

FL said:

I really hope that FL points to Jesus “forgiving sin” as proof of his Godhead.

Actually, that’s not a bad place to start, Dale. But unfortunately, I was serious when I said I wasn’t trying to generate debate. A big reason being time crunch, though I’m sure I can get some posts in. I genuinely appreciate your specific replies there, though.

FL

It was DAVE, not me who said that.

It was DAVE, not me who said that.

You’re right, that’s my mistake Dale.

Of course, Dave may have been piggybacking off of your statement here:

No doubt, fanatics like FL will point to passages where Jesus appeared to do things only God could do

(forgive sins, accept worship)

and insist that the Holy Spirit was also a person within the Godhead, but that only illustrates how unreliable the scriptures (and those who interpret them) are.

FL

Hmmm. We’ve got two posters here who have mentioned me in connection with discussing the divine implications of Jesus’s ability to directly forgive sins, even though I’ve said nothing about the issue at all.

So let’s give the amigos something to mention me about, hmm…?

Jesus and the Power to Forgive Sin (Mark 2:1-12; cf. Matthew 9:1-8; Luke 5:17-26)

In these accounts, four men carried a paralytic man (“palsy” – KJV) to Jesus lying on a bed. Since they could not get near Jesus, they went up on the roof, removed the covering, and let the man down through the roof into Jesus’ presence (Mark 2:2-4; Luke 5:18,19).

Jesus told the man to cheer up because his sins were forgiven. This is just one of several occasions during Jesus’ lifetime in which He claimed the power to directly forgive sins simply by speaking. Cf. Luke 7:48,49; 23:43.

No mere human being, with God’s approval, before or after Jesus, ever claimed to have the power to directly speak people’s sins forgiven. Not even Peter (Acts 8:22). Such power is possessed, not by men, but only by God. Yet Jesus clearly claimed it, even in the presence of these doctors of the law.

The Jewish scholars thought in their hearts that Jesus had spoken blasphemy, because only God can forgive sin (Mark 2:6,7; Luke 5:21). It is true that only God can forgive sin. Hence, it is blasphemy today when men claim that they can directly forgive the sins of people who come to them to confess sin.

But the point missed by these Jewish leaders is that Jesus DOES possess Deity. There was no blasphemy in His statement, since God can forgive sins and Jesus was God in the flesh. Note that this is proved to be the case by the fact that Jesus immediately proceeded to do a miracle to prove His claim is valid.

But Jesus knew what these men thought in their hearts, so He set about to prove them wrong. The first thing He did to prove them wrong was to read the thoughts of their hearts. This is a power no man has (1 Cor. 2:10ff). Only God has the power (I Kings 8:39), yet Jesus possessed it (John 2:24f). So He responded by asking them about the evil in their thoughts.

Jesus asked these experts in the law whether it was easier to say a man is forgiven or to tell a paralyzed man to rise and walk. Of course, Jesus refers, not to the ease of SAYING the words, but to the ability to make them come true.

Had He simply healed the man, they would have been amazed but would not have recognized that He was God in the flesh.

But Jesus then proceeded to prove that He was God in the flesh: He told Him to arise, take up his bed, and go home. The man did as He was told, and the people were amazed and glorified God that such power had been given to men.

But note that Jesus had stated His reason for healing the man. It was not primarily an act of mercy on the man, though mercy for his health was no doubt involved. But more than that, He said it was so they would know He had power on earth to forgive sins. It would confirm His word and prove the truthfulness of His claims.

The point is that, whether He spoke a man’s sins forgiven or healed him of paralysis, either act would require the power and authority of God. Hence, if Jesus claimed He could forgive sins and then raised the man, this ought to prove to any honest mind that His claim to forgive sins was also valid.

Hence, instead of accusing Jesus of blasphemy, these men ought to have recognized and honored Him as being from God. And when He claimed power that only God could possess and then confirmed His word by miracles, then they should have granted that He was God, instead of accusing Him of blasphemy and denying even that He was a good man. Surely if He were guilty of blasphemy, God would never immediately give Him the power to do such miracles.

David E. Pratte, Dec. 2006

http://www.gospelway.com/topics/god[…]ing-sins.php

So, now it’s on the table. Is there something you want to say to me about this issue, Dave and Dale?

FL

What’s missing, FL, is direct proof from the Hebrew scriptures that only God is supposed to forgive sins. What about the high priests of the Jewish faith? Didn’t they do the sacrifices that were supposed to atone for sin? If a human being, speaking for God or quoting the Word of God, could not claim to forgive sins, then how could anyone ever be sure that sins were forgiven by God himself?

David E. Pratte really screws up here:

Hence, instead of accusing Jesus of blasphemy, these men ought to have recognized and honored Him as being from God. And when He claimed power that only God could possess and then confirmed His word by miracles, then they should have granted that He was God, instead of accusing Him of blasphemy and denying even that He was a good man. Surely if He were guilty of blasphemy, God would never immediately give Him the power to do such miracles.

But Jesus himself said:

Matthew 24:24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

When you contradict Jesus in order to defend him, you only look rediculous.

In the first place, Jesus never said “I forgive your sins.” He said “Your sins are forgiven”, which is clearly different.

He did say that he had been given authority to forgive sins. He had it, then, as an agent of God, not as being God himself. Later, he passed that power on to others. At John 20:23 he makes perfectly clear that he can pass that agency on to people who were definitely not God; and he says that this is exactly the same agency arrangement as he has with God; “As the Father has sent me, so I send you”, he says.

This is in perfect accord with his perceived role as Messiah. The Messiah was to be God’s agent on Earth. To say that he was by these acts claiming to be God is to force unnecessary and unnatural meanings on them.

Jesus was not claiming to be God. He never did that.

Ah, Dale and Dave offer comments. Let’s look. Dale’s up first:

What’s missing, FL, is direct proof from the Hebrew scriptures that only God is supposed to forgive sins. What about the high priests of the Jewish faith? Didn’t they do the sacrifices that were supposed to atone for sin? If a human being, speaking for God or quoting the Word of God, could not claim to forgive sins, then how could anyone ever be sure that sins were forgiven by God himself?

Oh, sure sure, those high priests performed those sacrifices, and thus (based upon the Law of Moses) could proclaim forgiveness.

In fact, the Jews had those priests (and that Law) in mind when they were calling Jesus a blasphemer. You see, what Jesus was doing and saying was shockingly DIFFERENT than the system they were acquainted with so well.

After all, those high priests were saying “you’re forgiven” based on the penitent’s completion of the Law’s requirements. The Law of God said they were forgiven upon the completion of the sacrifice, so the priest was just pronouncng what had already taken place anyway, once everything was done. It was a Delegated or Derivative authority, as it were. Middlemen, honestly. The priests always made clear that the forgiveness was not emanating from them but from the great God whom the sacrifices were being made to.

But Jesus skipped all that, and did DIRECT ABSOLUTION right on the spot, straight from HIMSELF. No middlemen. No priests. No Angus Burgers on the Temple grill. Just Jesus. He said it, that cleared it. Face to face.

And the Jews knew that only two rational possibilities could follow from that. ONLY TWO.

(1) Jesus had just assigned himself–a mere human–a purely divine function. Which constituted blasphemy, which was a death penalty offense.

(2) Jesus assigned himself a divine function because THAT’s where he was really coming from anyway. God Himself, the God of Abraham Isaac Jacob, right there in the flesh, looking right at your face, trying to tell you the real deal.

There was–and is–no middle ground, Dale. Jesus was–and is–one or the other, and the Jews knew that too. A blasphember, or God Himself. They chose “blasphemer.” Which label do YOU choose?

FL

To continue. Dale also criticizes Platte thusly:

Hence, instead of accusing Jesus of blasphemy, these men ought to have recognized and honored Him as being from God. And when He claimed power that only God could possess and then confirmed His word by miracles, then they should have granted that He was God, instead of accusing Him of blasphemy and denying even that He was a good man.

Surely if He were guilty of blasphemy, God would never immediately give Him the power to do such miracles.

Dale objects, appealing to the words of Christ:

Matthew 24:24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

First of all, one could point out (and I’m surprised that nobody pointed it out before now) that Matt 24:24 says absolutely nothing about GOD giving any false prophets or blasphemers such powers. There’s a Devil out there too, remember? So in fact you can’t use this verse to knock out Platte’s highlighted sentence.

Secondly, we’re talking about the way the Jews themselves viewed or should have viewed what was going on. This would not be the only occasion in which Platte’s logic would (or should have) risen up within their own minds. Indeed in John 9:16 we see some of Platte’s logic already starting to take root among some of the Jews:

Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.” But others asked, “How can a sinner do such miraculous signs?” So they were divided.

So again, Dale’s objection is answered.

There was–and is–no middle ground, Dale. Jesus was–and is–one or the other, and the Jews knew that too. A blasphember, or God Himself. They chose “blasphemer.” Which label do YOU choose?

FL vents the usual black-or-white, either-or fundamentalist gibberish. It’s a comfort to him, no doubt. That’s a mind so rigid it clanks.

But there’s no logic to it. It doesn’t have to be either. Jesus was proclaiming a new idea, certainly, the idea that God would forgive sins without a third party intervening, but if FL thinks this is blasphemy, he’s got a large bone to pick with Christianity itself.

Funny how these guys nearly always end up with exactly the opposite end of the stick.

Andrew Stallard said:

I hope you your new area will get you a trip to Stockholm!

Hardly. I’m a geezer who retired from research about 18 years ago, and then retired permanently from teaching about 6 years ago.

It was a good run; and retirement is fun also.

Now, since all non-zero rest mass particles also have gravity, they can curve spacetime.

I thought zero rest-mass particles also produced some gravity force, just less of it? (Proportional to the amount of energy present, whether that energy is “rest mass” or not.)

Henry J

Henry J said:

Now, since all non-zero rest mass particles also have gravity, they can curve spacetime.

I thought zero rest-mass particles also produced some gravity force, just less of it? (Proportional to the amount of energy present, whether that energy is “rest mass” or not.)

Henry J

I’m now headed to the corner to affix my dunce cap. There are a set of solutions for general relativity for electromagnetic radiation. Pp wave solutions. So as far as theory goes, the answer is yes. (I was a biophysics major so general relativity was an elective I passed by.)

Andrew Stallard said:

Henry J said:

Now, since all non-zero rest mass particles also have gravity, they can curve spacetime.

I thought zero rest-mass particles also produced some gravity force, just less of it? (Proportional to the amount of energy present, whether that energy is “rest mass” or not.)

Henry J

I’m now headed to the corner to affix my dunce cap. There are a set of solutions for general relativity for electromagnetic radiation. Pp wave solutions. So as far as theory goes, the answer is yes. (I was a biophysics major so general relativity was an elective I passed by.)

You don’t even have to go that far. We know that photons have momentum and we know that there is actually gravitational lensing, i.e. gravity can change that momentum. Combine that with conservation of momentum and you have your answer. It’s overly simplistic, but it does give you an answer that is fine, so long as you limit the conclusions drawn from it and go back to something that requires a lot of math that is over my head if you want a deeper understanding.

Completely off-topic, but it looks like PT has come under heavy attack from blogspammers. I know nothing about this, but is there anything that can be done about it.

Dave Luckett said:

Completely off-topic, but it looks like PT has come under heavy attack from blogspammers. I know nothing about this, but is there anything that can be done about it.

You can make people register. You can also ban the crap out of ip addresses, but that is a never ending job and it only serves to slow them down. Not to mention that other problems get introduced.

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This page contains a single entry by Matt Young published on April 13, 2010 8:02 PM.

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