Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Impossible Questions

As a child, I was a real pain in the arse (no change there then), particularly to my granddad. As an inquisitive, five year old, I used to ask him questions like “What’s the biggest number?” and “Why is the sky blue?”

Being an intelligent bloke, he did his best to satisfy my curiosity by answering such questions as best he could. Sadly, for certain particularly stupid questions he was unable to give me a satisfactory reply. For my sixth birthday he bought me a book called something like “Every Child’s Answer Book” which contained very simple answers to the crazy questions I asked. I loved it and read it from cover to cover. It even had the answer to “What is the biggest number?” – though when I discovered that there wasn’t one I was very disappointed - perhaps that’s why I studied Maths and Computer Science at university.

Unfortunately, as I have grown older, I am still curious about things. With the birth of the internet I can satisfy this crazed curiosity with my mate, Mr Google. However, there are some questions where the answer still eludes me. And what great questions they are. Feast your eyes on these:

What happens when an immoveable object meets an unstoppable force?

What is the exact value of pi?

What happens when you die?

What happened before the Big Bang?

Is time travel possible and if so, how can I travel through time?

Is humanity alone?

If space is constantly expanding, what is it expanding into?

Have we been visited by time travellers from the future?

Who was the first human being?

How many stars are there?
How many planets are there?

Now I realise that with some of the questions above, I am heading dangerously towards the subject of philosophy, a subject that is in the realm of the pseudo-intellectual and something I have previously spent time laughing at for its absurdity. However, in my defence, I believe that the answers to the questions above are scientific only and not a complete loads of conjectural clap-trap from the minds of people who talk pure piffle. My theory is that if you ask an impossible question to a philosopher today and ask the same question to the same philosopher in a year’s time, you will get two different answers.

Perhaps I am being a bit harsh – judge for yourself. Here are some impossible philosophical questions:

What is it like to be a rock?

What is the opposite of a duck?

What is the answer to this question?

For how long is “now” here?

Would this question still say anything if nobody could read?

Do Martians like ice cream?

Is there a planet exactly the same as Earth but populated only by unicorns?

What colour is the number six?

What does purple smell like?

Is this a trick question?

Is an apple alive when you eat it?

If I am wrong then I apologise to all philosophers for my views on their subject. I don’t think I am wrong. What kind of question is "Do Martians like ice cream?" and what kind of person asks such a bizarre question? I’d be interested for any philosophers to answer that or any of the philosophy questions above – and then answer them again in a year’s time.

Me? I think I’ll stick with the scientific questions and ponder what would happen if I were to meet my future self – or is that too philosophical?


Anonymous said...

I can answer 2 questions u raised by myself. What happens when I die? I will go to heaven to be with my Father God. What's before the Big Bang? Big Bang is a theory. It never existed because there has never been a big bang. We were all created as we are not evolving from some concepts.Who was the first human being? It's Adam.
Science is not exact that is why it's science.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Wow! Good answers, Bingkee, if that's what you believe.

Being a Roman Catholic myself I can appreciate exactly where you are coming from.

For myself I prefer to keep an open mind on the subject and am therefore more receptive to scientific ideas. I love the idea that we are all God's children and do not dismiss what the Bible tells us. Given the nature of scientific research though, I am very sceptical, particularly of the stories of Adam and Eve etc. How else does one explain dinosaur fossils etc?

Thanks very much for the comment, as always.



Anonymous said...

That is not just a belief. It is the truth. Man try to complicate their lives because of their desire to deviate away from truth. Why make things complicated when there's only one way. We ask questions where answers are already there yet we're not satisfied because we just don't let it be. And that makes life harder and more exasperating.
For 22 years I was a Roman Catholic, yet I never found God nor the truth. I was never happy nor contented. Only when I believe and accepted in my heart that Jesus died for our sins to save us from the fires of hell and by having faith and trust in His ways, I learned to be contented and became joyful amidst all troubles.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Thanks again, Bingkee.

I prefer to remain open minded, as I said. I'm quite content with the way I am and love to embrace science as well as any other beliefs. I am by nature a sceptical person and never take things on face value. For me that keeps me interested in life.

I'm delighted that you are contented and joyful because of God. I know others who share your positivity and they, like you, are extremely happy.

Once again, thanks for sharing that with me.



Anonymous said...

I was kind of enjoying the back-and-forth you had going there...

When you have a chance please stop by and pick up your award! :o)