The World's Largest Coalition of Nontheists and Nontheist Communities!

# Is gravity weaker than magnetism (or electromagnetism)

So, fun little experiment. Take an electromagnet and a piece of metal (or even just a regular magnet and some metal), place them close together and watch the metal "stick" to the magnet. You can have some fun making the metal move, and even suspend the metal in air.

HOLY SHIT YOU JUST DEFEATED GRAVITY!!!! woooo! this must mean that magnetic forces are billions upon billions upon billions times more powerful than gravity right? Eh, not really.

(Also claims that magnetic forces are billions upon billions ect times more powerful than gravity have no basis in realty at all, they are simply erroneous assertions from a fantasy filled mind. The actual numbers and calculations can be found at Khan Academy a link is provided below)

Something important about magnets, first they are incredibly weak, and their power diminishes the further apart they are from the object you want to interact with. Basically they can be pretty strong IF you're standing right next to one. However the effect quickly diminishes. If you'd like to see a real world example go to a hospital, find an MRI machine while it's on and see how close you need to be before the watch rips off your arm and sticks to the machine (be prepared to be sued if you break their machine). You'll see however after a relatively short distance there will be no noticeable effect at all from the electromagnet.

These calculations aren't that hard to figure out if you want to learn a bit of math, if not you'll fall easy prey to stupid pseudoscience nonsense. If you're interested in understanding it, Khan academy has a great video here

The important thing to remember that the strength of the attraction diminishes as an inverse proportion to the distance between the two objects. These principles are very well known, very easily demonstrated, understood and proven. In fact its so solid its a natural law! Coulombs Law, happens to be the one you'd want to look up if you want to understand the phenomena. The attractive force can be easily measured and is very precise, and it's something we HAVE to understand for a large number of technological inventions to even exist.

The interesting thing however is Gravity works in a slightly different method, if in fact the claim that magnetism was billions of times stronger than gravity was true we'd have a number of problems. First if gravity had the same effect on us as it does on planets we'd never be able to jump, or even walk. Bit of a bummer if that were true. Thankfully it's not. The thing about gravity is its power of attraction is dependent on the mass of the objects involved, this is why magnetism can "overcome" gravity in limited situations. If we increased the masses involved however Gravity would win over electromagnetic attraction. Gravity has an effect on each of us in direct proportion to the relative masses involved. The same extends to planets which have much larger masses than most humans (I mean.... there's some pretty fat humans, but.... I'm pretty sure NO ONE has as much mass as a celestial body). For this reason you can walk run and jump AND the planets can stay in orbit at the same time. If we were as big as Mars and as close to the Earth as we currently are we'd squish right into the  planet. It wouldn't be much fun, good thing Mars isn't that close.

Another important thing to understand is just like space ships and satellites celestial bodies are essentially "falling" around each other. If we hadn't learned how this mechanism works we would never have been able to put satellites in geosynchronous orbit around earth, in fact we'd never be able to keep satellites in orbit at all. Also if objects were kept in space by "electric plasma" or whatever bullshit EU wants to put forward, well we also could not keep satellites in place. The mechanisms behind magnetic attraction are quite different than the mechanisms of gravity, either the pull would be too strong plummeting our satellites to earth, or too weak. The problem is there's no mathematical model where you could replace electromagnets with gravity and have things work here on earth, at the level of satellites, at the level of the moon, and at the level of celestial bodies such as mars and the sun. The calculations to understand magnetism are no mystery to us, they are so well known we have laws to describe it. If we were to make magnetism strong enough to hold a planet in place the iron in your blood would sink to the center of the Earth. Sounds unpleasant to say the least.

Now all of this debunk is kinda surface level so far, the reality goes way deeper than I could prolly fit into a single blog post. But the information, and evidence is out there for anyone to find. And there's a shit ton of it. Logic alone can blow EU pseudoscience out of the water if one were to but apply just a little thought to the subject, rather than blindly accepting its bullshit claims. I will continue my research and blog and debunk of EU as apparently its become necessary, just like we have to continually fact check Flat Earthers and Young Earth Creationists and Climate Science Deniers. The funny thing is all of those positions make the same mistakes, there's literally no reason if you accept any one of them that you shouldn't by extension accept all the others. Unless of course you engage in a special pleading fallacy.

Once again I offer NO defense or support for Big Bang, simply a thorough  debunk of EU. One of the problems is nailing down exactly what the claim is that's being made, the more specific one gets with their Hypothesis the easier it is to disprove EU. There's literally no end to the problems with EU, its a completely impossible hypothesis, Just like Flat Earth. I opted to avoid getting to heavy into the math, but it is available and not that hard too understand if one simply tries. I could write an encyclopedia alone just on a debunk of how wrong this one claim of EU is, its that bad. So its hard to nail down the perfect debunk. Because of this I'll provide more as it becomes needed.

Views: 184

Comment

Join Atheist Nexus

Comment by Michael Penn on February 21, 2017 at 4:01pm

With thanks now to BenGee and John Elder maybe I understand more about gravity and how it works. The explanations you both gave make sense. The intrinsic forces of nature are awesome. It's pretty plain that we know very little about them really.

Comment by BenGee on February 21, 2017 at 12:41pm

Well said John, yea my perspective tends to be a bit odd. I look at the Lincoln monument and see the bands of twigs under his hands and remember the concept that individually a twig is weak, but together they are strong. At the atomic scale gravity is by far the weakest of the forces, however it scales in proportion to the relative masses, and as John accurately pointed out acts on all other matter. This is where its strength comes from.

Comment by BenGee on February 21, 2017 at 10:10am

This again is the difference between magnetism and gravity, gravity  grow's based on the relative mass, it gets stronger the bigger things get. Magnetism is far weaker over all and doesn't scale at the same rate. Magnetism also looses attraction as a direct function of distance. These forces can be measured and calculated, they are consistent enough to warrant natural laws written to describe them. We still don't fully understand gravity but we've come a long way since the days of Sir Issac Newton.

Comment by BenGee on February 21, 2017 at 10:06am

Interesting, I had always heard gravity taught like objects on a blanket  bending space time by the presence of the object. I'm not sure this is the best method to understand the phenomena. Gravity is a function of mass though, its constant regardless of the presence or lack of spin.

I mean ask yourself, If gravity was a function of spin then would a faster spin increase the  pull of gravity? In reality its a function of size, more specifically mass, this is why the moon, and mars have  lower gravity compared to earth and larger planets than earth have higher gravity.

The important thing to remember is all mass generates a gravitational force, the higher the mass the more force. This is why if I were to stand next to you you're not going go slamming into me, I generate gravity but my mass is so small that the gravitational pull generated by my presence isn't enough for anyone to notice, and certainly not enough to overcome our combined attraction to the planet.

Comment by Michael Penn on February 21, 2017 at 6:47am

Seriously, although I have seen good answers here by BenGee and John Elder I still have many questions on gravity. It appears that most of the bodies in space that we call planets spin like a top and they also have an orbit. The smaller spin would be the bodies (or planets) themselves and the larger one would be the orbits. I always thought that these actions are what makes up gravity, whatever it is. This "gravity" would then be a motion related thing. It helps hold things together as well as keep us all grounded on terra firma so that we do not float off in space.

This program I watched on TV about this claims that isn't true. It went into detail of how there would be no tides (just one example) if the earth stopped spinning and many things would change, but people and objects are not going to float off in space.

This presents an earth that is round with people and animals all over it and somehow they remain stuck to it (gravity?) just because it is big and round and because it is there. Why would this be so? What is the purpose of spinning globes and spinning orbits if it has nothing to do with gravity? How would a giant orb like a planet have gravity if it simply was in space somewhere and was not spinning?

Honestly, I don't get it. Within the above you can plainly see that I believe gravity has to do with spin and rotation. Somewhere in this mystery is the nature of gravity and electromagnetism.

Comment by BenGee on February 19, 2017 at 9:21pm

By the way, I'd give my left nut (and right one too) for the chance to go to school and actually work as a scientist for a living. That's the level of my desire, and passion for learning.

Comment by BenGee on February 19, 2017 at 9:19pm

Incidentally, when I was a child I was called a "scholar." Now I'm pretty sure the people who said this were simply trying to belittle and insult me, however for a long time I wrote under the pen name "Your humble scholar." Not that anything I wrote was ever published. When I was very young one of the first things I taught myself was the ideals behind the word scholar, and the ethics, and methodologies, and ideas that encompassed a scholarly approach to learning.

This seems to be a common quality lacking in pseudoscience proselytizers. Admittedly some (particularly many of the people who initially promote these ideas) are fakes and scam artists. They know full well they are full of shit. However many honest people get bamboozled those people love learning, they just don't really know how. They don't understand how to separate the grain from the chaff so to speak and end up falling for pseudoscience as a result. It's not really their fault no matter how much they buy into these ideological faith based beliefs and myths.

Many people think that by engaging people with wrong ideas, those ideas get "normalized" or gain "Credibility" this of course is foolish to a logic motivated scientific mind. That's not how credibility works. However there have been successful attempts at ignoring bad ideas, like EU and Flat Earth because those ideas are so ridiculous no one would ever feel like such idiotic ideas should warrant a response.

This is a terrible mistake in my view as it only adds power to the myths, and allows the illness to go un-diagnosed within our society, until one day people are making YouTube videos trying to teach people that the Earth "must" be flat, or that there's a viable alternative to literally every known element of physics we know today (which is what EU would require us to believe to accept it). To quote Larwance Krauss "We know science is true because it works." And yet most people have no idea how the technology they depend on works, so they literally DON"T know that it works, or how at any level. Can we really blame them when there's been such little effort for so long to educate people?

This is why we need to open up higher learning to everyone, and we need to focus on teaching science and math to everyone, from people qualified to teach it, regardless of their desired field. Cause they might not need this for work, but they do need it in life to protect them from bullshit like EU.

Comment by BenGee on February 19, 2017 at 8:58pm

Also some of those, "good" science show's kinda disappoint me too. They mean well, however... Well for example, my friend (whom I highly suspect was legitimately low IQ), was watching the weather channel, he was watching a show on Tornado's. My friend told me some bizarre thing he had just heard on that show that was very wrong, I told him "that's not how that works dude" and explained the phenomena to him, we argued for a moment and then I went to the kitchen to make some food. Within moments the show corrected itself and stated exactly what I explained almost word for word. I broke up laughing in the kitchen so loud, when I came out he had the most pissed off grumpy cat face I've ever seen on a human. The difference was he listened to the announcer say some off the wall misinterpretations, the show corrected itself by having someone qualified to talk on the subject go into further detail. My problem with those show's is 1 their main goal is to get viewers, not educate people. And 2 while they do strive to do the right thing, sometimes the accuracy and quality of even the most well intentioned show can be rather lacking.

The one's I liked the best were Carl Sagan, and Bill Nye, however neither of them were journalist or TV personalities, Carl Sagan was a highly educated Astronomer, and BIll Nye was an Engineer, both highly qualified to talk about science from an informed literate position. This is why so many Americans are so illiterate with regards to math and science, its not just on TV until you get to University level education you'll likely NEVER encounter an educator really qualified to teach Math or Science. Add to that that most of them have deeply held religious views that depend on them fucking the subjects up, you're simply not likely to leave with any meaningful understanding of the topics. You'd either have to spend many years in higher education as John has, or simply love learning so much that lack of access won't stop you from gaining the correct information (which is my case, I claim no specific expertise beyond an A.S. In computer networked systems).

Comment by BenGee on February 19, 2017 at 8:50pm

Oh no no no Michael that was not at all my intent in mentioning it. I apologize for being unclear. I just brought it up because I find it sad and comical but I know people like that are out there. In no way did I intend to make it sound like you were one of those people.

Comment by Michael Penn on February 19, 2017 at 8:48pm

Let me mention that I made claims of not being too smart in this area of gravity and magnetism. I then gave an idea of what I got from a TV program on the subject and gave my take on that. Later John Elder straightened out that issue to a great degree. At no time did I say the TV program was ancient aliens, cartoons, or any other such nonsense. I'm not the atheist who accepts anything he sees or reads as truth and I do not believe in the supernatural. I am, however, and atheist who studied all sorts of woo for 20 years. Religion was also a part of that woo.

There are science programs too you know. Why would I be watching aliens, bigfoot, and Nessie? This is just to set the record straight, Ben.

Update Your Membership :

Nexus on Social Media:

45 minutes ago
55 minutes ago
1 hour ago
2 hours ago
2 hours ago
2 hours ago
2 hours ago
3 hours ago