The penalties for disobedience

Apparently water refuses to obey the rules. It is one minute and three seconds in here:
BBC teaching video: Why water is one of the weirdest things in the universe
Does this not mean that there is something wrong somewhere? Apparently water is made up of two very light chemicals, hydrogen and oxygen and the rules say that…Coco shall not repeat the obvious mistake.

In many way perhaps Coco should not be surprised at the attitude shown here. You may have heard, or read, elsewhere about two exceedingly dangerous chemicals chlorine, a gas, and sodium, a metal. You would not want to find yourself in an atmosphere of chlorine otherwise known as mustard gas. It was used with terrible effect in WWI. Nor would you want to be near neat sodium, especially if there were any water (so we come back to water) in the vicinity. Water and sodium do not get on very well. Sodium will rip the water apart releasing hydrogen whilst hydrolising itself. The heat generated will melt the sodium and ignite the hydrogen in the atmospheric oxygen, thus producing water again. You may get hurt.

But we are told that if you burn sodium in an atmosphere of chlorine then you will obtain nothing more potent than table salt.

Is that not wonderful, two dangerous chemicals produce, in combination, a substance that is essential to, at least some forms of, life? But wait a moment, please, is not the combination also a dangerous substance? A lethal dose may be as low as 25g. Please do not mistake salt for sugar. Even dissolved in water brine can cause a prophylactic shock when ingested.

The headline, Sodium and chlorine made safe (in table salt) is a much better strap line than Sodium and Chlorine when combined produce sodium chloride, with a discussion of the uses and dangers of the novel compound.

And so, Water does not obey the normal rules is a strap line that grabs the attention. It is thought better to say this than to say that Water demonstrates the inadequacy of our understanding of chemistry. That is a turn off, is it not? Even worse to say, In order to understand the behaviour of water, we must understand something of the nature of the hydrogen bonds within it.

How arrogant we are! Surely the rules are not set by us. We may be able to formulate them, but the rules are set in the world around us, and all of creation obeys those rules. Water certainly does obey the rules in every way. By the oxidisation of hydrogen, hydrogen and oxygen become water, with all of the properties that belong to water. If this substance water does not follow the rules of our chemistry, then that can only mean one thing: the rules of our chemistry are inaccurate, inadequate or simply wrong. They are out of line with the rules of the chemistry of this world. And if our rules are wrong for water, for what other compounds are they wrong? In what ways are other compounds going to surprise us when they behave in unexpected ways because they do not obey the rules that we have defined?

Surely, we should not be so arrogant, but humbly bow before the Maker of all things, who alone knows fully, and accurately, all of the rules that he has set for the operation of every element and every possible combination of those elements in this vast universe.

If the phenomenon does not accord with our understanding, we do not dismiss the phenomenon, but rather our understanding. As James Clerk Maxwell said to the one Bishop ‘..in accordance with the science of 1876 (which may not agree with that of 1896) it would be very tempting to say that … but I should be very sorry if an interpretation founded on a most conjectural scientific hypothesis were to get fastened to a text .. the rate of change of scientific hypothesis is naturally much more rapid than that of Biblical interpretation, so that if an interpretation is founded upon such an hypothesis, it may help to keep the hypothesis above ground long after it ought to be buried and forgotten.’ How truly did he speak.

Apologies to my chemical friends for any exaggeration, inaccurate or otherwise erroneous descriptions contained in this article. Coco sees that it is not just the BBC that has this false view.



Nobody has hosted a project a nobody.purechocolate.org.uk.

Register your interest here, or continue going nowhere, finding something else not to do.

Coco may add to this block, on the other hand it may just sit here doing as much as any other block does.