Four-dimensional space (Words To That Effect Ep29)

Ep29: Travels in Four-Dimensional Space

We have no problem thinking mathematically about four-dimensional space.

Where a 3-d cube has 8 vertices, a 4-d hypercube has 16
vertices.

Where a cube has 6 faces, like a dice, a 4-d hypercube has
24 faces.

The problem is imagining what that actually looks like. We live in a three-dimensional world where we can’t see a fourth dimension. We simply can’t imagine what a 4-D world would look like. 

However, that doesn’t mean that lots and lots of people haven’t tried to, in a huge variety of ways:
mathematicians and physicists, philosophers and theologians, occultists and
mystics, artists, architects, designers, authors.

The fourth dimension, when you start to look for it, is
everywhere.

Four-Dimensional Space and Other Worlds

On this week’s episode I’m joined by Professor Christopher White who has just written a book, Other Worlds, with a fascinating central premise: in the U.S, and in many parts of the Western world, the number of people identifying as Christian has been consistently falling, for about 30 years now. Yet the number of people who describe themselves as “spiritual but not religious”, people who still believe in a god of some sort, has remained very high.

So, if people believe in spirits or angels, in God or life after death, in heaven or another world of some sort, but not in traditional religious institutions, how are they constructing these supernatural worlds?

Four-dimensional space (Words To That Effect Ep29)
Look at this image like one of those magic eye puzzles!

Well, in many ways, as Professor White explains, they are relying on science and maths. On four-dimensional space, multiverses, quantum entanglement, string theory, parallel universes.

There is, and has been for well over a century now, a type of scientific supernatural.

Guest

Professor Christopher White is Professor and Chair of Religion at Vassar College in New York. You can read his full bio here

Other Worlds is available here

Other Worlds (WTTE Four-Dimensional Space)
Other Worlds

List of Works Mentioned

Edwin Abbott Flatland:
A Romance of Many Dimensions

Charles Howard Hinton

Claude Bragdon (architect)

Max Weber (artist)

John W. Dunne An Experiment
with Time

H.G. Wells The Time
Machine

Madeleine L’Engle A
Wrinkle in Time

C.S. Lewis The Chronicles
of Narnia

W.E.B. Du Bois

Interstellar (film)

Stranger Things (TV
Show)

Inception (film)


Spirits, spirit worlds, spritualism. Check out this episode on Arthur Conan Doyle and spritualism

Need more science fiction? Try this episode on Irish science fiction, or this one on pulp fiction

How about some common myths about perception and the brain. Head over to this episode

If you enjoy the episode and want to find out how to support the show then click here for more information.

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Full Transcript

Coming later today

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