Saturday, October 26, 2013

Could Wright’s new books harm you?

Well, perhaps Newton can help us out with this one. The basic laws of motion relevant to our enquiry are  v2=v1+a∆t, v22=v12+2a(x2-x1), E=1/2mv2, and ∑ F=ma.

Now let’s collect the necessary data.

  • Our acceleration is the gravitational constant, g, which is 9.8 m/s2.
  • Although I do not precisely know the weight of Wright’s two books, I have two clues. First, I have held them, and second they probably approximate to a comparably sized book that I do have to hand (namely Eberhard Busch’s Meine Zeit mit Karl Barth – which weighs in at 1.5kg). I therefore estimate their sum weight to be ≈ 2.2kg (allowing for a little extra for the “heavenly glory” anointing factor)
  • We celebrated the book launch in Westminster Abbey, a building 69 m high.
  • Amazon also furnishes us with the following (presumably combined) dimensions of the books, namely 23 x 16.4 x 8.8 cm.

A plausible scenario: Let Person A drop the books from the top of Westminster Abbey, assuming no high winds or storms (here’s hoping, anyway). Feeding our data into the equations, this means that the book will obtain a velocity (v2) of 36.8 m/s2 at ground level. Apparently, Mike Tyson’s hardest punch was approximately 1100 Joules of Energy.

But the kinetic energy of Wright’s Volume 4, at the point it connects with pedestrian Person B’s head, is a shocking 1489.7 Joules of energy, which is like Tyson punching you on one side of your head, and Tiger Woods smacking the other side with a sand wedge. It’s going to get messy.

So, yes, Wright’s books could harm you, well, kill you to be precise.

(I’m hoping to add this argument to the appendix of John Piper’s new volume on defending orthodoxy, and I’m suggesting the title: “The pen really is mightier than the sword. Redeeming Wright from beyond the bounds via the godliness of non-redemptive violence. On dropping Volume 4 on Catholics”)


At 10/27/2013 2:00 AM, Anonymous Dan said...

Oh, but it would hurt so good!

At 10/27/2013 7:14 AM, Blogger Drewe said...

But did you account for wind resistance on said dimensions? It may just be a Tyson punch alone....

At 11/01/2013 10:49 PM, Anonymous Martin Shields said...

v₂ should be 36.8m/s (not m/s² which is acceleration). But I reckon air resistance (which could be substantial unless the books remain closed during descent) could easily reduce Wright's impact to roughly the equivalent of a Tyson knockout!


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