Tuesday, July 09, 2019


Written July 9, 2018

A while ago I posted an article stating that given the size, complexity, and age of the universe, it seems absurd to me to believe there is a God who cares about humans. However, I understand it is terribly difficult to wrap our minds around the colossal numbers used to describe the universe. I thought it might be useful to share some thoughts about the scales of some common things.

Here’s a little background information:

1 centimeter (cm) is .39 inches

1 decimeter is 10 centimeters long.

1 meter is 100 centimeters and 10 decimeters long.

A cube ten centimeters on a side contains 1,000 cubic centimeters; it is a liter.

Aside: The diameter of softball is 3.8 inches or 9.88 cm. This is pretty close to a decimeter. So, if you have trouble understanding the size of a liter, think about this size of a softball in a box.

A cubic meter contains 1,000 liters.

A cubic meter contains 1,000,000 cubic centimeters.

1 kilogram (kg) is 2 lb 3.273965 oz

1 cubic centimeter of water weighs one gram.

1 liter of water weights one kilogram.

1 cubic meter of water weighs 1000 kilograms.

1000 kg is equal to 2204 pounds and 9.964800 ounces.

So, a cubic meter (about a cubic yard) contains a million cubic centimeters and weighs about a ton.

The average weight of a human is 62 kg.

The average weight of an ant is 5 micro grams. (A microgram is one thousandth of a gram.)

So, on average, each human weighs a million times more than an average ant.

Maybe that’s enough to get a feel for what a million means. How about a billion?

Think about a swimming pool that is ten meters wide, ten meters long, and ten meters deep.

That’s 32.5 feet wide, long, and deep.

That is about the size of a house.

It would contain a million cubic meters.

It would contain a billion cubic centimeters.

It would weigh a thousand kilograms, or about a thousand tons, or 2 billion pounds.

Now that you hopefully have a feel for what millions and billions are, let’s look at some facts:

The smallest length that has any meaning to physicists is the Planck length: 1.6E-35 meters.

The diameter of a proton is 87.E-16 meters. That is 5.4E19 bigger than the Planck length. That is ten times a billion times a billion bigger than the Planck length.

The diameter of a hydrogen atom is 1.2E-10 meters. That is a 1.38 million times bigger than a proton.

The diameter of blood cell is 7.5E-6 meters. That is 62,500 times bigger than a hydrogen atom.

The average human is 1.85 meters tall. That is 247,000 times bigger than a blood cell.

The diameter of the Earth is 6356 meters. That is 3,436 times bigger than a human.

The diameter of the Sun is 1.392E10 meters. That is 2.19 million times bigger than the Earth.

The diameter of the Solar system is 9E13 meters. That is 6,530 times bigger than the Sun.

The diameter of the Milky Way galaxy is 9.5E21 meters. That is 100 million times bigger than the Solar system.

The diameter of an average galaxy cluster is 3E25 meters. That is 3,260 times bigger than the Milky Way.

The diameter of the observable universe is 8.8E28 meters. That is 2,852 times bigger than an average galaxy cluster.

The diameter of the observable universe is 5.52E63 Planck lengths. That is a billion raised to the seventh power. It is a billion times a billion times a billion times a billion times a billion times a billion times a billion Planck lengths.

To me, it is absurd to think that a God created the entire universe for the benefit of creatures that are one or two meters tall who have lived for only a few tens of thousands of years on only one planet in the entire vast universe.

No comments: