[Milton-L] A 21st century take on Hell -- Comic Relief

Peter C. Herman herman2 at mail.sdsu.edu
Fri Jul 21 11:58:04 EDT 2006


This is why I belong to the Milton List.

Peter C. Herman

At 10:50 AM 7/21/2006, you wrote:
>The following was widely circulated on the internet in early 2005.
>
>******
>The following is supposedly an actual question given on a University of
>Washington chemistry mid-term. The answer by one student was so
>"profound" that the professor shared it with colleagues, via the
>Internet, which is, of course, why we now have the pleasure of enjoying
>it as well.
>
>Bonus Question: Is Hell exothermic (gives off heat) or endothermic
>(absorbs heat)?
>
>Most of the students wrote proofs of their beliefs using Boyle's Law
>(gas cools when it expands and heats when it is compressed) or some
>variant. One student, however, wrote the following:
>
>First, we need to know how the mass of Hell is changing in time. So we
>need to know the rate at which souls are moving into Hell and the rate
>at which they are leaving. I think that we can safely assume that once a
>soul gets to Hell, it will not leave. Therefore, no souls are leaving.
>
>As for how many souls are entering Hell, let's look at the different
>religions that exist in the world today. Most of these religions state
>that if you are not a member of their religion, you will go to Hell.
>Since there is more than one of these religions and since people do not
>belong to more than one religion, we can project that all souls go to
>Hell. With birth and death rates as they are, we can expect the number
>of souls in Hell to increase exponentially.
>
>Now, we look at the rate of change of the volume in Hell because Boyle's
>Law states that in order for the temperature and pressure in Hell to
>stay the same, the volume of Hell has to expand proportionately as souls
>are added. This gives two possibilities:
>
>1. If Hell is expanding at a slower rate than the rate at which souls
>enter Hell, then the temperature and pressure in Hell will increase
>until all Hell breaks loose.
>
>2. If Hell is expanding at a rate faster than the increase of souls in
>Hell, then the temperature and pressure will drop until Hell freezes
>over.
>
>So which is it?
>
>If we accept the postulate given to me by Teresa during my Freshman year
>that "it will be a cold day in Hell before I sleep with you," and take
>into account the fact that I slept with her last night, then #2 must be
>true, and thus I am sure that Hell is exothermic and has already frozen
>over. The corollary of this theory is that since Hell has frozen over,
>it follows that it is not accepting any more souls and is therefore,
>extinct...leaving only Heaven, thereby proving the existence of a divine
>Being which explains why, last night, Teresa kept shouting, "Oh my God."
>
>THIS STUDENT RECEIVED THE ONLY "A."
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