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« Steps toward an energy solution 7 | Main | Reflections on Earth Day »

April 19, 2009


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Another astute summary George. I too am fascinated with the idea of emergence and the self complexifing, self emergent universe. This neatly overcomes the objections of ID and conventional religion which require a directing designing force from outside the universe. What is less well known is the fact that 'standard model' physics also assumes on a set of immutable perfect physical laws located in a 'platonic realm' also outside the universe-as does the concept of a unverifiable, unobservable multiverse. Can anything exist outside the universe? I dont think so. In a way the new cosmology and quantum mechanics are seeing the material universe in a way pre-civilised cultures saw the world -animism-the idea that everything has spirit and life and systems science is unravelling this complexity and inter-relationship Rejecting the 200yr old newtonian-cartesian view of mattter as mere dead dough which only reacts when pushed forced or gets knocked about like billiard balls makes room for a much more respectful complimentary rather than blindly reductionist world view.
At my university I run a ICP-MS (inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer)you can see the bright plasma inside the faraday cage...plasma is the earliest state of matter in the universe and I often wonder at the chances of this nebulous hot ionic gas combining to form atoms then molecules(via nuclear synthesis in stars)then 13.7 billion years later forming itself into a human brain which can self comprehend the astonishing and unlikley chances of this occuring in the randomly mindless and meaningless clockwork universe the biologists keep insisting we inhabit! Compartmentalisation of science methinks- they should have a chat with a few physicists.

One very interesting book i read a few years ago was 'The view from the centre of the universe' Joel Primack and Nancy Abrams

In which they staked the claim that humanity needs to urgently reject the newtonian-cartesian nihilistic meaningless universe-(a product of our separation from nature) which modern science has severly undermined and embrace a kind of new secular religion of involvement- supported by new views cosmology has given us of the self emerging universe. This can form a new mythology which can not only help heal the planet but bring humanity back home from the meaningless consumptive lifestyle capitalistic technology has condemned us to.

That is a noble and inspiring project.


Great. The stuff I find most deeply fascinating. Thanks. You give a lot to one who has not the time/money/information for deeper study.

I look forward to your elaborating information/knowledge vs. energy/matter. At first sight this looks both bi-polar. Where is the tri-polarity of information as seen in semiotics: syntax/semantics/pragmatics?
I suspect it's something like information/knowledge/activation vs. energy/matter.

Is it mere coincidence that the inseparable quark is also something tri-polar, not bi-polar like the electron, and that the most complex symmetry groups known contain a structure called triality at heart? Is what the world keeps spinning the triel, not the duel of things?
Questions, questions...

George Mobus


I loved "View..." In fact, we are spec'ing it as one of the textbooks for our systems science degree program!

We humans are narrative thinking beasts. We tell stories and we remember stories. Mythologies are the best stories people could come up with a long time ago, given their knowledge of reality. Yes we need a new mythology of the day. Science isn't about truth per se. It is about our best understanding to date backed up by empirical evidence and internally consistent interpretation.

I think students will respond better to the story of the universe and us rather than a bunch of dry facts about laws and relations. Good call!


George Mobus


I seem to recall that Buckminster Fuller was fond of saying "... the Universe is plural and at minimum three." He then went out and invented the geodesic dome!



excellent, i was after some useful for for my upcoming science paper, how does each component link to another?

owner of - kinetic energy

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