"I have lived with the prospect of an early death for the last 49 years. I'm not afraid of death, but I'm in no hurry to die. I have so much I want to do first. I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark."
- Stephen Hawking, interviewed in The Guardian, quoted in the Sydney Morning Herald at http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/heaven-is-a-fairy-story-says-stephen-hawking-20110517-1eq8f.html#ixzz1MZEAHd9d
If there is no Heaven, then where is John Malkovich coming from when he reverses time and stops the piano falling on George Clooney, in return for George’s Nespresso machine? And where do Bill and Ted go on their bogus journey? And what is my woman’s name, if it isn’t Heaven?
If there is no Heaven, then it must follow that there is no Hell, which is a perfect segue for this item (and another tomorrow). . .
The following story is often prefaced by a statement that it is an actual exam answer. In reality it is based on a tongue in cheek work by scientist Paul Darwin Foote in 1920. The sexual references at the end were added in later years by others. See http://www.snopes.com/college/exam/hell.asp
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 off when it expands and heats up 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 that souls are moving into Hell and the rate they are leaving. I think that we can safely assume that once a soul goes 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. Some of these religions state that if you are not a member of their religion, you will go to Hell. Since there are 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 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 number 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."