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Monday, December 23, 2013

A New Law

Since I am moving the serious divrei Torah to Beis Vaad, the opportunity presents itself to use this site for things that do not fall under that heading.  In that spirit, I want to present a novel theory.

Analysis of fossil evidence reveals the existence of a massive dinosaur, named Argentinosaurus huinculensis.  This is the largest dinosaur ever discovered for which there is substantial physical evidence.  There is also Amphicoelias, but that is more speculative, being based on extremely scant fossil remains.

Argentinosaurus huinculensis is estimated to have been 115 feet long and weigh 100 tons.  Now please look at the drawing of it and other similar dinosaurs.

Please note how small their heads are.  Now think about how disproportionately small their mouths are.

What I don't understand is how a plant eater with such a small mouth could ingest enough calories to produce such a massive body.  Plant material is not calorie dense, even assuming a symbiotic or inherent means of metabolizing cellulose- I assume that however it was metabolized, it was done no more efficiently than what we have now.  It would have to eat ceaselessly, and even then, I don't understand how it could possibly get so big.  I've read that a 7.5 ton elephant eats around three hundred pounds of plant material a day to maintain that weight, and even that requires that the elephant grasp and push his food into his mouth with his trunk.  The equivalent here would be 4000 pounds a day.  Judging from the illustrations I've seen, their mouths were no larger than those of modern-day elephants.  This is like inflating an air mattress through a pin-hole.

To resolve this quandary, I propose the following.
Many of our Rabbeim tell us that these dinosaurs never existed  Therefore, their metabolic requirements were zero, and their net caloric surplus was 100%.  This net caloric surplus enabled them to accumulate enormous amounts of mass over time.

great Unknown proposed a fascinating corollary to this law:

You can determine if something never existed by seeing how massive it is.
In fact, one could postulate that an object's mass is directly proportional to how much it never existed.

This, he says, also helps to explain another phenomenon.
The reason I am accumulating mass is that I also am not all there.

I think we may have stumbled upon something important here.  This proposed law deserves a name.

Rabbi Dr. Stone suggests "The Mamash Doctrine."  This is an excellent name, neatly comprising the essence of the theory.  It economically describes the proposed mamashus that is associated with non-mamashus.  The name also alludes to one of the baalei hashkafa that says dinosaurs may never have existed, an essential element in explaining their mass.  I say that this proposal is יש בו ממש.


Reb Chaim HaQoton said...

הבלים: כשמו כן הוא.

Barzilai/Eliezer Eisenberg said...

If I had a social or emotional need for external approbation, I would be hurt. Unfortunately, לִבִּי חָלַל בְּקִרְבִּי.

I say "unfortunately" because of Rashi in Kiddushin 40b, end of the daf- ופסול לעדות. דכיון שאינו מן היישוב אין מקפיד על עצמו ואין לו בושת פנים וכן האוכל בשוק הואיל ואין מקפיד על כבודו אינו בוש לזלזל בעצמו וליפסל:

By the way, yours is not the first time that point was made. In the other cases, it stemmed from a failure on the part of the reader to pay sufficient attention- I remember one such remark in regards to my post on Muscovy ducks. In this case, it stems from your having takeh paid attention.

DaBear said...

I believe that the dinasour would be a classic case of yesh me'ayin

Barzilai/Eliezer Eisenberg said...

Dr. Stone, we have a contender. The Yeish Mei'Ayin proposition is gantz fayn.