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LuckyGuy's avatar

How many Angels can dance on the head of a pin?

Asked by LuckyGuy (29288 points ) May 23rd, 2011

I know this is a rhetorical question but I need some kind of humorous calculation that proves any aspect. Heisenberg uncertainty principle? Maxwell? Schrödinger? Energy balance? Entropy?

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21 Answers

ninjacolin's avatar

calculation? hmm.. Biblically, you could say angels are always represented in human-size and hence, none. But the bible isn’t always right I guess…

Qingu's avatar

It depends if angels are made of bosons (infinite) or fermions (area of pinhead divided by size of angel + dancing penumbra)

flutherother's avatar

If they can stand on each others shoulders and balance then there is no theoretical limit.

Lightlyseared's avatar

Zero. Angels can’t dance.

LuckyGuy's avatar

You’re getting the idea. Energy density?
42 is always a good answer.

wundayatta's avatar

The problem with angels is that they are beings of negative entropy. This is not a well-known fact because I just made it up. I don’t even know what negative entropy is, but take my word for it, when it comes to negative entropy, angels are where it’s at!

In essence, they are little black holes, sucking up all the useless bits of universal flotsam and jetsam. Dark matter, for instance.

Thus, over time, angels become rather enormous and somewhat unwieldy. They grow in their stomachs, but not in their wings and legs and arms, and so what you’ve got is this very large black hole that has these cute little wings attached to it. Probably doesn’t matter. Wings don’t help much in a vacuum environment.

Oh dear. Then there’s the issue of pins. All different kinds of pins. We could go all semantic on your ass but what would be the point? What we need is a concept that is the essence of pinness—one that is immune to negative entropy.

Pins are shiny. And pointy. This does not bode well for angels, who are mesmerized by shiny objects. They always reach out to touch the pin, and invariably get pricked and then there is, excuse the term, hell to pay! Angels, it turns out, are big wusses.

Ok. I’ve gone long enough. How the hell do I get out of this? Where is Erich893784902385908734 when you need him?

Oh yeah. Dancing. Well, angels can’t dance when they are giant black holes. So really, the proper question, is how many pins can dance on the heat head of an angel????

flutherother's avatar

“In an instant the angels can pass from one place to another no matter the distance” Saint Thomas Aquinas.

An infinite number of angels could visit the head of a pin each for an instant so that for each moment of our time all the angels appear there together.

Lightlyseared's avatar

@wundayatta This is not a well-known fact because I just made it up. Classic

ratboy's avatar

All of them.

Kardamom's avatar

Depends on how many of them have spray tans and face glitter.

Apparently those are the qualities one needs to dance, at least on TV

AstroChuck's avatar

About the same amount of Santa Clauses, Easter Bunnies, and leprechauns.

debait's avatar

This is not a trivial question. It calls to mind Plato’s shadows. If the Essence of “angleness” is first and angels are born of essence then to existance, the number in infinite. On the other hand, if there are beings first and the “essence” of “angelness” is derived from those pre existing physical entities there is a finite number.

This brings to mind the current political debate. The Tea Party was first a group of people who got together then solified their “essence”. Obama first defined his Essence but the physical reality is yet to manifest itself into existance

Nullo's avatar

Angels do not necessarily interact with three-dimensional space in the same way that we lesser beings do. They have demonstrated the ability to do so when they like, but are not bound by the limitations of our four little dimensions.

ninjacolin's avatar

do you have any evidence to support that opinion, nullo?
(just curious!)

Nullo's avatar

@ninjacolin The Bible pretty much states that Earth is a high-traffic combat zone, spiritually speaking, yet the thickness of the air is rather solidly linked to the size, makeup, and relative proximity of summertime waterways. Geography seems to figure in, in a hazy sort of way, and there is a hefty eternal component to a person, so really the issue is about the limitation of our senses.
Accounts in Genesis, the Gospels, and Acts demonstrate that they can interact with the physical world (i.e. operating doors), but are not limited to it (i.e. appearing in locked rooms), suggesting a different relationship with space (but not necessarily time) than we have.

ninjacolin's avatar

hmm.. interesting response. “states”

I was thinking that the bible doesn’t really “demonstrate” (per se) anything about angel ability. Rather, the bible only asserts these abilities in the books you’ve noted. These books don’t provide observable evidence about angels that can be verified unanimously by peer review.. not sure where I’m going with this but yea..

Nullo's avatar

@ninjacolin “States,” in its capacity as a record, though I am not quoting any specific verse.

I am extrapolating from my observations. I operate on the belief that the Bible is in its essence (since anybody with the will and wonga can print an altered copy) without error. Observation, then, is of the record, and while there are no peer-reviewed journals that I am aware of (though it would be pretty cool if that were practicable) there are various standards.

Yetanotheruser's avatar

—I like @wundayatta‘s question about the heat of the pin.

If the question is: How many angels can dance on the “heat” of a pin?

The answer: Ifpin is infinitely hot, all the fallen angels in hell.

Inspired_2write's avatar

Depends on how big their feet are?

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