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بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

حُجَّة الضَّبط الدَّقيق للكون

تاريخ حُجَّة التَّصميم:

الفيلسوف «ويليام كريج»: [ قد تكون الحُجَّة الغائيَّة هي أقدم الحُجج وأكثرها شُهرة من بين كلّ حُجج إثبات وُجُود الله. إنَّها حُجَّة التَّصميم الشَّهيرة، والتي تستنتج وُجُود مُصمِّم ذكي (صانِع مُتقِن) للكون، تماماً كما نستنتج وُجُود مُصمِّم ذكي وراء أيّ مُنتَج نملك أدِلَّة على أنَّه مصنوع بطريقة مخصوصة لتحقيق هدف مُعيَّن.][1]

عالِمة النَّفس «ماريلويز فرانز»: [ بالطَّبع، تمَّ الاعتراف​​ بالتَّصميم في العالم الطَّبيعي مُنذ بداية التَّاريخ المُسجَّل. فالتَّصميم الإلهي هو رسالة كل واحدة من مئات النُّصُوص التي تحكي قِصَّة الخلق، القِصَّة التي تُشكِّل أساس ديانات العالم. فكرة أنَّ العالم الطَّبيعي صُمِّم خِصِّيصاً لأجل البشرية هي حجر الأساس للتَّصوُّرات العالمية اليهودية واليونانية والمسيحية. وقد تعمَّق الفلاسفة الغربيون في عصر ما بعد الرُّومان في هذا التَّصوُّر إلى درجة أنَّهم أسَّسوا عِلْم الغائية (teleology)، وهو دراسة الأدِلَّة التي تُثبت التَّصميم العام والغاية في الطَّبيعة.][2]

تعريف الضَّبط الدَّقيق للكون:

الفيزيائي «روبن كولنز»: [ الوضع المُحدَّد للكون الذي يسمح بنشأة الحياة يُسمَّى​​ الضَّبط الدَّقيق للكون. هذا الضَّبط الدَّقيق ينقسم إلى ثلاثة أقسام كُبرى: قوانين الطَّبيعة، والثَّوابت الفيزيائية، وظُرُوف الكون الأوَّلِيَّة.][3]

الفيلسوف «ويليام كريج»: [ ما المقصود بمُصطلح "الضَّبط الدَّقيق"؟ القوانين الفيزيائية في الطَّبيعة، عندما يتمّ التَّعبير عنها بمُعادلات رياضية، نجد أنَّها تحتوي على ثوابت أو كمّيّات مُختلفة، مثل: ثابت الجاذبية، أو كثافة الكون، والتي لا تُعيِّن القوانينُ نفسُها قِيَمَها (القانون لا يُحدِّد قيمة الثَّابت)؛ ممَّا يعني أنَّ كوناً ما، محكوم بهذه القوانين، سيأخذ حالته بناءً على نِطاق واسع من قِيَم هذه المُتغيِّرات. فالمقصود بـ "الضَّبط الدَّقيق" عادةً هو أنَّ القِيَم الفِعْلِيَّة لِتِلْك الثَّوابت​​ والكمّيات المَعنِيَّة، مضبوطة بالطَّريقة التي لو حدث أيّ انحرافات طفيفة عن قِيَمِها الفعلية، فإنَّ هذا سيجعل نشأة الحياة في كوننا مُستحيلاً.][4]

الفيزيائي «روبن كولنز»: [ الثَّوابت الفيزيائية عبارة عن قِيَم رئيسية، عند استخدام هذه القِيَم في قوانين الفيزياء، يتمّ تحديد بنية (أو هيئة أو طبيعة) الكون. كمثال على أحدى الثوابت الفيزيائية: ثابت الجاذبية لنيوتن​​ G، والذي يُحدِّد قُوَّة الجاذبية من خلال قانون نيوتن.][5]

الفيلسوف «ويليام كريج»: [ الآن، ما أذهل العُلماء عند اكتشافه هو أنَّ تِلْك الثَّوابت والكمّيّات لابُدَّ وأن تدخل في نطاقٍ مِن القِيَم محدود -فوق العادة- للسَّماح بنشأة الحياة في هذا الكون.][6]

تبرير الضَّبط الدَّقيق:

الفيلسوف «ويليام كريج»: [ الأسباب الثلاثة المُمكنة لتبرير ضَبْط الكون بدِقَّة لأجل نشأة الحياة هي:​​ (1) الضَّرورة الفيزيائية:​​ لابُدَّ وأن يكون للثَّوابت والكمّيّات تِلْك القيم التي لديها.​​ (2) الصُّدفة:​​ الثَّوابت والكمّيّات لها تِلْك القِيَم التي هي عليها ببساطة عن طريق الصُّدفة.​​ (3) التَّصميم:​​ الثَّوابت والكمّيّات مُصمَّمة لتكون بالقِيَم التي​​ هي عليها.][7]

الفيلسوف «ويليام كريج»: [ يُمكننا تقديم حُجَّة بسيطة جدًّا في ثلاث خُطُوات:​​ (1)​​ الضَّبط الدَّقيق للكون يرجع إلى: إمَّا الضَّرورة الفيزيائية، أو الصُّدفة، أو التَّصميم.​​ (2)​​ وهو لا يرجع إلى الضَّرورة الفيزيائية أو الصُّدفة.​​ (3)​​ لذلك، فهو يرجع إلى التَّصميم.][8]

مُلاحظات هامَّة:

باحث في علم الفلك «لوك بارنيز»: [السَّبب في أنَّ الضَّبط الدَّقيق ادِّعاء مُثير للاهتمام هو أنَّه يجعل نشأة الحياة في هذا الكون تظهر على أنَّها شيء مُدهِش، شيء يحتاج إلى تبرير.][9]

الفيلسوف «ويليام كريج»: [ لاحظ أنَّه بالتَّركيز على حُجَّة الضَّبط الدَّقيق للكون، فإنَّك لا تتعرَّض نهائياً لقضِيّة التَّطوُّر البيولوجي المُثارة عاطفيًّا. فحُجَّة الضَّبط الدَّقيق -حال نجاحها- ستُظهر أنَّ تطوُّر الحياة الذَّكِيَّة في كلّ أنحاء الكون يعتمد على تصميم الظُّرُوف الأوَّلِيَّة للكون. أيّ حُجَّة لإثبات التَّصميم مبنِيَّة على نشأة الحياة، أو التَّعقيد البيولوجي، أو الوعي، وهلُمَّ جرًّا؛ سترتكز ببساطة على المزيد من عدم احتمالية الصُّدفة، وهذا يجعل الأمر كلّه في النِّهاية غير مُحتمل​​ أن يكون قد جاء​​ عن طريق الصُّدفة، ولا يُمكن تبريره بدون وُجُود مُصمِّم.][10]

باحث في علم الفلك «لوك بارنيز»: [ إنَّ الضَّبط الدَّقيق واضح بدرجة كفاية تجعله لا يختلط مع ادِّعاءات أخرى يُساء فهمها كثيراً. الضَّبط الدَّقيق ليس هو الادِّعاء بأنَّ هذا الكون هو الأمثل للحياة، وأنَّه يحتوي على أكبر مساحة سامحة لنشأة الحياة، أو أنَّ الحياة القائمة على الكربون هي النّوع الوحيد المُمكن من الحياة، أو أنَّ الأنواع الوحيدة للأكوان التي تسمح بنشأة الحياة هي الأكوان التي تختلف بنسبة بسيطة جداً عن هذا الكون. هذه الادِّعاءات، بغضّ النَّظر عن مدى صحتها، ببساطة خارجة عن الموضوع.][11]

حقيقة الضَّبط الدَّقيق:

بروفيسور الفيزياء والفلك «كريج هوجان»: [ خلال تاريخ الكون، يبدو الآن أنَّ مجموعة محدودة جدًّا من الظُّرُوف الفيزيائية، الفاعلة في العديد من مراحل الظُّهُور الرَّئيسية، كان باستطاعتها السَّماح بنشأة الحياة.][12]

الفيزيائي الفلكي «هيو روس»: [ قائمة خصائص الكون المضبوطة بدِقَّة مُستمِرَّة في الزِّيادة. كُلَّما ازدادت قِياس رُوَّاد الفضاء للكون دِقَّة وشُمُولاً؛ ازداد اكتشافهم​​ لضبطه الدَّقيق.][13]

باحث في علم الفلك «لوك بارنيز»: [ تلقَّى الضَّبط الدَّقيق للكون الذي يسمح بنشأة الحياة الذَّكِيَّة اهتماماً بالغاً في الآونة الأخيرة. بدءً من الأوراق البحثية الكلاسيكية لكارتر و كارّ وريس، والمُناقشة التَّفصيلية لبارو وتبلر، حيث لاحظ عدد من الأكادميين أنَّ تغييرات طفيفة في قوانين الفيزياء وثوابتها، والظُّرُوف الأوَّلِيَّة للوُجُود الفيزيائي، كانت ستُنْتِج كوناً عاجزاً عن الاستمرار، ودعم الحياة الذَّكِيَّة.][14]

الفيزيائي الفلكي «هيو روس»: [ والآن، بما أنَّنا نستطيع معرفة حُدُود وقِيَم هذه الثَّوابت الكونية، حيث تمَّ قِياس بعضها بشكلٍ مُباشرٍ، بدأ الفلكيُّون والفيزيائيُّون في مُلاحظة وُجُود عِلاقة بين هذه الثَّوابت ونشأة الحياة. وجدوا أنَّه من المُستحيل افتراض كون يسمح بنشأة الحياة وهذه الثَّوابت الأساسية للفيزياء أو أيٌّ من المُتغيِّرات الكونية العديدة، مُختلفة قليلاً بشكل أو بآخر (عما هي عليه في الواقع). وهذا الاعتراف نشأه عنه ما يعُرف بالمبدأ الإنساني (anthropic principle)، والذي يقول أنَّ كلّ خصائص الكون مضبوطة من أجل نشأة الإنسان، ومن أجل السَّماح بنشأة الحياة وبقائها. المُروِّج الأول لهذا المبدأ -الفيزيائي الأمريكي جون ويلر- يصفها كالآتي: "هناك عامِل مانح للحياة​​ في مركز (مسئول بشكل رئيسي عن) آليَّات وتصميم الكون بالكامل."][15]

الفيلسوف المُلحد سابقاً «أنتوني فلو»: [ قد يُقال ثلاثة أشياء بخُصُوص الحُجج المُتعلِّقة بالضَّبط الدَّقيق.​​ أولاً، الحقيقة الثابتة هي أنَّنا نعيش في كونٍ ذي قوانين وثوابت مُعيَّنة، وأنَّ الحياة لم تكن لتنشأ لو كانت تِلْك القوانين والثَّوابت مُختلفة.​​ ثانيًّا، حقيقة أنَّ القوانين والثَّوابت الموجودة تسمح ببقاء الحياة لا تُجيب على سؤال نشأة الحياة. فهذا سؤال مُختلف​​ تمامًا، كما سأحاول بيانه، فتِلْك الظُّرُوف ضرورية لنشأة الحياة، لكنَّها ليست سبباً كافياً.​​ ثالثًا، حقيقة أنَّه مُمكن منطقيًّا وُجُود أكوان مُتعدِّدة ذات قوانين طبيعِيَّة خاصَّة بها، لا يعني أنَّ هذه الأكوان موجودة فعلاً. لا يوجد حالياً أي دليل يدعم وجود الأكوان المُتعدِّدة، لذلك ستظلّ مُجرَّد تكهُّنات.][16]

استبعاد الحتمية:

الفيزيائي «جون بارو»: [ اليوم، من المُدهش جدًّا لكثيرٍ مِن العُلماء، أنَّ الثَّوابت الكونية، والقوانين​​ الفيزيائية، والممرَّات البيوكيميائية، والظُّرُوف الأرضية (أو ظُرُوف المجموعة الشَّمسية)، مُناسبة تمامًا لنشأة الحياة وازدهارها. بالطَّبع، ليس من المُدهش أنَّه بما أنَّ الحياة موجودة، فإنَّ ظُرُوفها الكونية والكيميائية لابُدَّ وأنَّها ضُبِطت لأجل هذا الظُّهُور. ولكنَّ المُدهش مع ذلك هو أنَّ الظُّرُوف كانت من المُمكن أن تكون مُختلفة، وبالتَّالي لن تسمح بنشأة الحياة.][17]

الفيزيائي «بول ديفيس»: [ حتى إذا كانت قوانين الفيزياء فريدة من نوعها، فهذا لا يعني أنَّ الكون الفيزيائي نفسه فريد من نوعه ... القوانين الفيزيائية لابُدَّ أن تكون مدعومة من قِبَل الظُّرُوف الكونِيَّة الأوَّلِيَّة ... لا توجد أيّ آراء حالية -ولو من بعيد- حول "قوانين حاكمة للظُّروف الأوَّلِيَّة" الحالات​​ البدائية" تتفترض أنَّ تَنَاسُقهم مع القوانين الفيزيائية قد تدل على التَّفرُّد، ولكن على العكس من ذلك .... يبدو إذًا أنَّ الكون الفيزيائي لا يلزم أن يكون على الحالة التي هو عليها الآن: كان من المُمكن أن يكون على خِلاف ذلك.][18]

الفيزيائي «ستيفن هوكينج»: [ حتى عندما نفهم النَّظرية النِّهائية (نظرية كلّ شيء)، فلن تُخبرنا كثيرًا عن كيف بدأ الكون؛ لا يُمكن أن تتنبَّأ بأبعاد الزَّمكان، ولا بمجموعة القياس​​ the gauge group، ولا بِقِيَم نظرية الطَّاقة المُنخفضة المُؤثِّرة ... لن تُحدِّد كيفية تقسيم هذه الطَّاقة بين المادَّة التَّقليدية، ولا بقيمة الثَّابت الكوني ... فلنعد مرَّة أخرى للسُّؤال ... هل تتنبأ نظرية الأوتار بوضع الكون؟ الإجابة: لا. إنَّها تسمح بعددٍ كبيرٍ جدًّا من الأكوان المُمكنة؛ والتي نشغل فيها موقِعاً يسمح بوُجُود البشر.][19]

الفيلسوف «جون ليسلي»: [ الادِّعاء بأنَّ الضَّرورة العمياء هي السَّبب، بمعنى أنَّ وُجُود أكوان لها قوانين وثوابت مُختلفة قليلاً ليس احتمالاً فيزيائيًّا حقيقياً، مردود عليه بوُجُود النَّظرِيَّات الفيزيائية المُختلفة، وخُصُوصاً نظريات كسر النِّظام العشوائي (random symmetry breaking)، والتي تُظهر احتمالية وُجُود مجموعة مُتنوِّعة من الأكوان.][20]

عالِم الكونيات «مارتن ريس»: [ حتى لو كان من المُمكن تفسير كلّ الأحداث المُتسلسلة ظاهرياً للسَّماح بوجود الحياة الإنسانية، من خلال ما يُسمَّى بنظرية كبيرة مُوحَّدة، فسيظل من المُدهش أنَّ العلاقات التي أملتها النَّظرية الفيزيائية هي أيضًا التي تسمح بنشأة الحياة.][21]

استبعاد الصُّدفة:

الفيلسوف «ويليام كريج»: [ إنّ اكتشاف الضَّبط الكوني الدَّقيق الذي يسمح بنشأة الحياة الذَّكِيَّة، قد قاد الكثير من العُلماء لاستنتاج أنَّ​​ التَّوازن الدَّقيق للثَّوابت والكمّيّات الفيزيائية، والتي تسمح بنشأة الحياة، لا يُمكن أن تُستَبعَد باعتبارها مُجرَّد صُدفة، ولكن بالأحرى تصرخ من أجل نوع من التَّفسير.][22]

الفيزيائي الفلكي «جورج أليس»: [ ضبط دقيق مُذهل في القوانين جعل هذا (التَّعقيد) مُمكناً. إنَّ إدراك تعقيد ما قد تحقَّق يجعل من الصُّعُوبة بمكان تحاشي استخدام كلمة "مُعجِز" من دون الوُقُوف على المكانة الأنطولوجية للكلمة.][23]

استنتاج التَّصميم:

عالِم الكونيات والفلك «ادوارد هاريسون»: [ ها هو الدَّليل الكوني على وُجُود الله، هو نفسه حُجَّة التَّصميم لـ بيليه، ولكن مع تحديث وإعادة طرح. يُقدِّم الضَّبط الدَّقيق للكون دليلاً بديهياً على التَّصميم الرُّبوبي. لك أن تختار بين صُدفة عمياء تستلزم أكوان مُتعدِّدة، أو تصميم يستلزم كوناً واحداً ... حين يُدلي عُلماء كُثُر بآرائهم؛ يميلون إلى الحُجَّة الغائية أو التَّصميم.][24]

باحث في علم الفلك «لوك بارنيز»: [ نستنتج أنَّ الكون مضبوط بدِقَّة من أجل نشأة الحياة. فمن بين كلّ الطُّرُق التي كان يُمكن لقوانين الطَّبيعة وثوابت الفيزياء وظُرُوف الكون الأوَّلِيَّة، لا يسمح بنشأة حياة ذكية منها سوى مجموعة​​ صغيرة جدًّا.][25]

عالِم الكيمياء الحيوية «مايكل دينتون»: [ لو كانت نشأة الحياة مُمكنة من خِلال نطاق أوسع من القِيَم فيما يخُصّ الثَّوابت الأساسية، أو بمعنى آخر، لو كان مِن المُمكن أن يكون الكون مُختلفاً عمَّا هو عليه، ومع ذلك يسمح بنشأة الحياة واستمرارها؛ حينها ستقِل جدًّا احتمالية أن يكون هذا الكون نِتاج تصميم. من الضَّروري أن يكون تمامًا كما هو مضبوط عليها، في مُقابل ما يُقارب فعليًّا قِيَم لا​​ نهائية في سلسلة طويلة من الأشياء، ممَّا يجعل الاستنتاج الغائي (استنتاج التَّصميم) مقطوع به.][26]

الحمد لله الذي بنعمته تتم الصالحات

1

​​ William Lane Craig,​​ Reasonable Faith: Christian Faith and Apologetics, Crossway Books 2008, 3rd​​ edition, Page 99, 100.

2

​​ Marie-Louise Franz,​​ Patterns of Creativity Mirrored in Creation Myths​​ (Zurich: Spring, 1972); Albert R. Kitzhaber and Stoddard Malarkey, eds.,​​ Myths, Fables, and Folktales​​ (New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1974), 113–14. Cited in: Hugh Ross:​​ The Fingerprint​​ of God (Recent Scientific Discoveries Reveal the Unmistakable Identity of the Creator)​​ (Kindle Locations 1470-1474). Reasons To Believe. Kindle Edition.

3

​​ The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology, Edited by: William Lane Craig and J. P. Moreland, 2009 Blackwell Publishing Ltd, Page 202.

4

​​ J. P. Moreland & William Craig:​​ Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003,​​ p482, 483.

5

​​ The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology, Edited by: William Lane Craig and J. P. Moreland, 2009 Blackwell Publishing Ltd, Page 213.

6

​​ William Lane Craig,​​ On Guard: Defending Your Faith with Reason and Precision​​ (Kindle Locations​​ 1627-1630). David C. Cook. Kindle Edition.

7

​​ William Lane Craig,​​ On Guard: Defending Your Faith with Reason and Precision​​ (Kindle Locations 1687-1691). David C. Cook. Kindle Edition.

8

​​ William Lane Craig,​​ On Guard: Defending Your Faith with Reason and Precision​​ (Kindle Locations 1681-1684). David C. Cook. Kindle Edition.

9

​​ Luke A. Barnes:​​ The Fine-Tuning of the Universe for Intelligent Life,​​ University of Sydney, Australia, June 11, 2012. P3.

10

​​ William Lane Craig,​​ On Guard: Defending Your Faith with Reason and Precision​​ (Kindle Locations 1704-1708). David C. Cook. Kindle Edition.

11

​​ Luke A. Barnes:​​ The Fine-Tuning​​ of the Universe for Intelligent Life, University of Sydney, Australia, June 11, 2012. P3.

12

​​ J. D. Barrow:​​ Fitness of the Cosmos for Life: Biochemistry and Fine-Tuning, Cambridge University Press. Cambridge University Press 2007. ​​ p31.

13

​​ In my books on this subject the list of known characteristics of the universe that must be fine-tuned for physical life to be possible grew from 15 in 1989, to 16 in 1991, to 25 in 1993, to 26 in 1995, and now to 35. Cited in: Hugh Ross,​​ The Creator and the Cosmos: How the Latest Scientific Discoveries Reveal God​​ (Kindle Locations 2502-2504). Reasons To Believe. Kindle Edition.

14

​​ Luke A. Barnes:​​ The Fine-Tuning of the Universe for Intelligent Life, University of Sydney, Australia, June 11, 2012. p2.

15

​​ John A. Wheeler, foreword to​​ The Anthropic Cosmological Principle, by John D. Barrow and Frank J. Tipler (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986), vii. Cited in: Hugh Ross:​​ The Fingerprint​​ of God (Recent Scientific Discoveries Reveal the Unmistakable Identity of the Creator)​​ (Kindle Locations 1464-1470). Reasons To Believe. Kindle Edition.

16

​​ Antony Flew with Roy Abraham Varghese:​​ There is a God (How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind), HarperCollins e-books, p119.

17

​​ J. D. Barrow:​​ Fitness of the Cosmos for Life: Biochemistry and Fine-Tuning, Cambridge University Press. Cambridge University Press 2007. ​​ p31.

18

​​ Paul Davies, The Mind of God​​ (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992), 169. Cited in: William Lane Craig,​​ Reasonable Faith: Christian Faith and Apologetics, Crossway Books 2008, 3rd​​ edition, Page 163.

19

​​ S. W. Hawking, “Cosmology from​​ the Top Down,” paper presented at the Davis Cosmic Inflation Meeting, U. C. Davis, May 29, 2003. Pages 4, 5. Cited in:William Lane Craig,​​ Reasonable Faith: Christian Faith and Apologetics, Crossway Books 2008, 3rd​​ edition, Page 162, 163.

20

​​ John Leslie,​​ Universes​​ (London: Routledge, 1989), 202. Cited in: William Lane Craig and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong:​​ God? A Debate Between a Christian and an Atheist, Oxford University Press 2004, p10.

21

​​ B. J. Carr and M. J. Rees, “The Anthropic Cosmological Principle and the Structure of the Physical World,” Nature 278 (12 April 1979): 612. Cited in: William Lane Craig and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong:​​ God? A Debate Between a Christian and an Atheist, Oxford University Press 2004, p64.

22

​​ William Lane Craig,​​ Reasonable Faith: Christian Faith and Apologetics, Crossway Books 2008, 3rd​​ edition, Page 157.

23

​​ Ellis, G.F.R. 1993.​​ The Anthropic Principle: Laws and Environments. The Anthropic Principle, F. Bertola and U.Curi, ed. New York, Cambridge University Press, p. 30.

24

​​ Harrison, E. 1985.​​ Masks of the Universe. New York, Collier Books, Macmillan, pp. 252, 263.

25

​​ Luke A. Barnes:​​ The Fine-Tuning of the Universe for Intelligent Life, University of Sydney, Australia, June 11, 2012. P63.

26

​​ Michael J. Denton,​​ Nature's destiny: How the Laws of Biology Reveal Purpose in the Universe, The Free Press, New York 1998, p15.

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

The Kalam Cosmological Argument

By: William Lane Craig

للتحميل: (PDF) (DOC)

إعداد: أ. مصطفى نصر قديح

kalam-cosmological

PART I: Historical Statements of the Kalam Cosmological Argument

· Peters remarks, When the polemic finally abated Islam found that the experience of al-Ash’ari had been repeated: falsafah as such was further weakened, but in its place stood the scholastic kalam, faithful in principle to the revelatio11 of the Qur’an, but unmistakably the product, in shape and procedure, or the Hdlenic: tradition in philmophy, orthodox and at the same time Aristotelian. [Peters, Arabs, p. 187.] [William Lane Craig, The Kalam Cosmological Argument, THE Macmillan Press LTD, 1979, p.7]  

· We have already commented on the origin of this popular Kalam argument for God’s existence. Ghazili’s terse summary may be outlined as follows: 1. There are temporal phenomena in the world. 2. These are caused by other temporal phenomena. 3. The series of temporal phenomena cannot regress infinitely. 4. Therefore, the series must stop at the eternal. [William Lane Craig, The Kalam Cosmological Argument, THE Macmillan Press LTD, 1979, p.45]

· The conclusion must therefore be: the series must stop at the eternal. The series of temporal phenomena must have a beginning. Therefore, according to the principle of determination (premiss one in the lqtisad), an agent must exist who creates the world. Ghazali states, ” … the people of the truth … hold that the world began in time; and they know by rational necessity that nothing which originates in time originates by itself, and that, therefore, it needs a creator. Therefore, their belief in the Creator is understandable. [Goodman, ‘Creation’, p.75.] [William Lane Craig, The Kalam Cosmological Argument, THE Macmillan Press LTD, 1979, p.47]

· Now placing this argument within the logical context of Ghazali’s thought, we can see why Ghazali concludes that the world must have a cause: the universe had a beginning; while it was nonexistent, it could either be or not be; since it came to be, there must be some determinant which causes it to exist. And this is God. Thus, Ghazali says, “So either the series will go on to infinity, or it will stop at an eternal being from which the first temporal being should have originated” [Al-Ghazali, Tahafot, p.33] [William Lane Craig, The Kalam Cosmological Argument, THE Macmillan Press LTD, 1979, p.48]

· Ghazali assumes that the universe could not simply spring into existence without a determinant, or cause. We may schematise his argument as follows: 1. Everything that begins to exist requires a cause for its origin. 2. The world began to exist (a) There are temporal phenomena in the world. (b) There are preceded by other temporal phenomena. (c) The series of temporal phenomena cannot regress infinitely. (i) An actually existing infinite series involves various absurdities. (d) Therefore, the series of temporal phenomena must have had a beginning. 3. Therefore, the world has a cause for its origin: its Creator. [William Lane Craig, The Kalam Cosmological Argument, THE Macmillan Press LTD, 1979, p.48-49]

· In sum, Ghazali’s cosmological argument is squarely based on two principles, as pointed out by Beaurecueil: ‘There remain … to the scepticism of Ghazalai two great limits, which appear now with a majestic clarity: one, the impossibility of the infinite number, and the other, the necessity of a principle of determination amongst the possible.[Carra de Vaux, Gazali, pp. 80-81] These are the two pillars of all Ghazali’s reasoning in his proof for the existence of God: the impossibility of the infinite number permits him to establish that the world has a beginning; on the other hand, if it has begun, it is necessary that one being should give preference to its existence over its non-existence: this being is God, its creator. [Beaurecueil, Ghazali et S Thomas’, p 211.] [William Lane Craig, The Kalam Cosmological Argument, THE Macmillan Press LTD, 1979, p.49]

Ch2: Proposed Formulation of the Argument

· In my opinion the cosmological argument which is most likely to be a sound and persuasive proof for the existence of God is The Kalam Cosmological Argument based on the impossibility of an infinite temporal regress of events. [William Lane Craig, The Kalam Cosmological Argument, THE Macmillan Press LTD, 1979, p.63]

· We may present the basic argument in a variety of ways. Syllogistically, it can be displayed in this manner: 1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause of its existence. 2. The universe began to exist. 3. Therefore the universe has a cause of its existence. [William Lane Craig, The Kalam Cosmological Argument, THE Macmillan Press LTD, 1979, p.63]

· The point of the argument is to demonstrate the existence of a first cause which transcends and creates the entire realm of finite reality. Having reached that conclusion, one may then inquire into the nature of this first cause and assess its significance for theism. [William Lane Craig, The Kalam Cosmological Argument, THE Macmillan Press LTD, 1979, p.64]

Second Premiss: The Universe Began to Exist

PHILOSOPHICAL ARGUMENT

· Turning first to the philosophical reasoning, I shall present two arguments in support of the premiss: (I) the argument from the impossibility of the existence of an actual infinite and (2) the argument from the impossibility of the formation of an actual infinite by successive addition. [William Lane Craig, The Kalam Cosmological Argument, THE Macmillan Press LTD, 1979, p.65]

· This conception of the infinite privailed all the way up to the nineteenth century. The medieval scholastics adhered to Aristotle’s analysis of the impossibility of an actual infinite, and the post-renaissance thinkers, even Newton and Leibniz with their infinitesimal calculus, believed that only a potential infinite could exist.[4] One of the foremost mathematicians of the nineteenth century, Georg Friedrich Gauss, in an oft-printed statement, decried any use of the actual infinite in mathematics: I protest … against the use of infinite magnitude as if it were something finished; this use is not admissible in mathematics. The infinite is only a facon de porler: one has in mind limits approached by certain ratios as closely as desirable while other ratios may increase indefinitely. [5] [William Lane Craig, The Kalam Cosmological Argument, THE Macmillan Press LTD, 1979, p.66]

· First Philosophical Argument: Our first argument in support of the premiss that the universe began to exist is based upon the impossibility of the existence of an actual infinite. We may present the argument in this way. 1. An actual infinite cannot e1mt. 2. An infinite temporal regress of events is an actual infinite. 3. Therefore an infinite temporal regress of events cannot exist. [William Lane Craig, The Kalam Cosmological Argument, THE Macmillan Press LTD, 1979, p.69]

· As a creation of the human mind, state Rotman and Kneebone, the Zermelo-Fraenkel universe of sets exists only in a realm of abstract thought … the ‘universe’ of sets to which the … theory refers is in no way intended as an abstract model of an existing Universe, but serves merely as the postulated universe of discourse for a certain kind of abstract inquiry.” [B. Rotman and G. T Kneebone, The Theory of Sets and Transfinite Numbers (London: Oldbourne, 1966), p. 61.] [William Lane Craig, The Kalam Cosmological Argument, THE Macmillan Press LTD, 1979, p.70]

· In point of fact, no non-denumerable infinity could exist in reality, since things in reality can be numbered. The examples of non-denumerable infinites like mathematical points and functions have no real existence. (More of this later.) Needless to say, then, the infinites possessing even greater power than these also could not exist in reality. [William Lane Craig, The Kalam Cosmological Argument, THE Macmillan Press LTD, 1979, p.87]

· These examples serve to illustrate that the real existence of an actual infinite would be absurd. Again, I must underline the fact that what I have said in no way attempts to undermine the theoretical system bequeathed by Cantor to modern mathematics. Indeed, some of the most eager enthusiasts of the system of transfinite mathematics are only too ready to agree that these theories have no relation to the real world. Thus, Hilbert, who exuberantly extolled Cantor’s greatness, nevertheless held that the Cantorian paradise from which he refused to be driven exists only in the ideal world invented by the mathematician; he concludes, ” … the infinite is nowhere to be found in reality. It neither exists in nature nor provides a legitimate basis for rational thought-a remarkable harmony between being and thought .. The role that remains for the infinite to play is solely that of an idea-if one means by an idea, in Kant’s terminology, a concept of reason which transcends all experience and which completes the concrete as a totality-that of an idea which we may unhesitatingly trust within the framework erected by our theory.” [Hilbert, ‘Infinite’, p. 151.] [William Lane Craig, The Kalam Cosmological Argument, THE Macmillan Press LTD, 1979, p.87]

· All this strikes at the heart of the Platonist-realist thesis that .numbers and sets are component parts of independently existmg reality. The logical antinomics in naive set theory  are fetale to this thesis because if numbers and sets do exist extra-mentally, then such sets as are encountered in the antinom..ies seem inevitable There is no reason for denying that the set of all ordinals or the power set of all cardinals should exist. On this basis, Stephen Barker scores the logicist theory of types as without foundation: … Russell’s avowed philosophy was that of realism, and realism offers no philosophical rationale for rejecting impredicative definitions [definitions which, in defining a thing, refer to some totality to which the thing being defined belongs]. If a set has independent reality, then why may not members of the set be defined by reference to the set itself? [31] [William Lane Craig, The Kalam Cosmological Argument, THE Macmillan Press LTD, 1979, p.91-92]

· In summary, we have argued in support of the first premiss of our syllogism: (1) that the existence of an actual infinite would entail various absurdities; (2) that the Cantorian analysis of the actual infinite may represent a consistent mathematical system, but that this carries with it no ontological import for the existence of an actual infinite in the real world; and (3) that even the  mathematical existence of the actual infinite has not gone unchallenged and therefore cannot be taken for granted, which would then apply doubly so to the real existence of the actual infinite. Therefore, we conclude that an actual infinite cannot exist. [William Lane Craig, The Kalam Cosmological Argument, THE Macmillan Press LTD, 1979, p.95]

· The second premiss states that an infinite temporal regre:is of events is an actual infinite. By ‘event’ we mean ‘that which happens’. Thus, the second premiss is concerned with change, and it asserts that if the series or sequence of changes in time is infinite, then these events considered collectively constitute an actual infinite. The point seems obvious enough, for if there has been a sequence composed of an infinite number of events stretching back into the past, then the set of all events would be an actually infinite set. [34] [William Lane Craig, The Kalam Cosmological Argument, THE Macmillan Press LTD, 1979, p.95]

· It is interesting that at least one prominent Thomist agrees that Aquinas and Aristotle fail to carry their case; thus Fernand Van Steenberghen states, ” For him [Aristotle] an infinity in act is impossible; now a universe eternal in the past implies an infinite series in act, since the past is required, is realized; that this realization has been successive does not suppress the fact that the infinite series is accomplished and constitutes quite definitely an infinite series in act. [37] [William Lane Craig, The Kalam Cosmological Argument, THE Macmillan Press LTD, 1979, p.96]

· The importance of this difference between future and past events becomes evident when we turn to qustions concerning the actual infinite. For clearly, past events are actual in a way in which future events are not. In the real sense, the set of all events from any point into the future is not an actual infinite at all, but a potential infinite. It is an indefinite collection of events, always finite and always increasing. But the series of past events is an actual infinite, for at any point in the past the series of prior events remains infinite and actual. [William Lane Craig, The Kalam Cosmological Argument, THE Macmillan Press LTD, 1979, p.97]

· Since an actual infinite cannot exist and an infinite temporal regress of events is an actual infinite, we may conclude that an infinite temporal regress of events cannot exist. This conclusion alone will be sufficient to conv:ince most people that the universe had a beginning, since the uruverse is not separate from the temporal series of events. But for the sake of completeness. we may add another argument to eliminate the possibility suggested by al-‘Allaf that the temporal sequence of events had a beginning, but that the universe did not, that is lo say,

· the temporal series of events was preceded by an eternal, quiescent universe, absolutely still. The first event occurred when motion arose in the universe; this was then followed by other events, and the temporal series of events was generated. There dre thus two possibili1ies: since an infinite temporal regress of events cannot exist, then either (1) the universe began to exist or (2) the finite temporal regress of events was preceded by an eternal, absolutely quiescent universe. Accordingly, we may argue as follows: 1. Either the universe began to exist or the finite temporal regress of events was preceded by an eternal, absolutely quiescent universe. 2 The finite temporal regress of events was not preceded by an etrernal, absolutely quiescent universe. 3. Therefore the universe began to exist. [William Lane Craig, The Kalam Cosmological Argument, THE Macmillan Press LTD, 1979, p.99]

· The first premiss is true in the light of the foregoing argument, which eliminated the possibility of an infinite temporal regress of events. This means that the sequence of events is finite and had a beginning. [43] Either this was an absolute beginning of the universe itself or only a relative beginning of events within an utterly immobile universe. Hence the second premise, which eliminates one of these disjuncts, is dearly the key premiss. [William Lane Craig, The Kalam Cosmological Argument, THE Macmillan Press LTD, 1979, p.99-100]

· Theoefore, we conclude the universe began to exist. And this is the second premiss of our original syllogism which we set out to prove. To recapitulate: since an actual infinite cannot exist and an infinite temporal regress of events is an actual infinite, we can be sure that an infinite temporal regress of events cannot exist, that is to say, the temporal regress of events is finite. If the temporal regress of events is finite, then either the universe began to exist or the finite temporal regress of events was preceded by an eternal, absolutely quiescent universe. But the finite temporal regress of events could not have been preceded by an eternal, absolutely quiescent universe. Therefore, since the temporal regress of events is finite, the universe began to exist. [William Lane Craig, The Kalam Cosmological Argument, THE Macmillan Press LTD, 1979, p.102]

Second Philosophical Argument

·  We may now turn to our second philosophical argument in support of the premin that the universe began to exist, the argument from the impossibility of the formation of an actual infini1e by successive addition. The argument may be exhibited in this way: 1. The temporal series of events is a collection formed by successive addition. 2. A collection formed by successive addition cannot be an actual infinite. 3. Therefore the temporal series of events cannot be an actual infinite. [William Lane Craig, The Kalam Cosmological Argument, THE Macmillan Press LTD, 1979, p.102-103]

· The only way a collection to which members arc being successively added could be actually infinl1e would be for it to have an infinite ‘core’ to which additions are being made. But then it would not be a collection formtd by successive addition, for there would always exist a surd infinite, itself not formed successively

· but simply given, to which a finite number of successive additions have been made. But clearly the temporal series of events cannot be so characterised, for it is by nature successively formed throughout. Thus, prior to any arbitrarily designated point in the temporal series, one has a collection of past events up to that point which is successively formed and completed and cannot, therefore, be infinite. [William Lane Craig, The Kalam Cosmological Argument, THE Macmillan Press LTD, 1979, p.105]

· Contemporary philosophers have proved. impotent to refute this reasoning. John Hospers, himself no friend of philosophical theism, acknowledges that it is insufficient simply to assert that an infinite series of events is possible because an infinite series of integers is impossible. For, he asks, If an infinite series of events has preceded the present moment, how did we get to the present moment? How could we get to the present moment-where we obviously are now-if the present moment was preceded by an infinite series of events? [48] [William Lane Craig, The Kalam Cosmological Argument, The Macmillan Press LTD, 1979, p.105]

· Presumably to such thinkers the beginning of the temporal series of events would not entail a beginning to time itself On the other hand, those who adhere to a relational view of time generally take the beginning of events to be synonymous with the beginning of time itself. Zwart, for example, asserts, “According to the relational theory the passage of time consists in the happening of events. So the question whether time is finite or infinite may be reduced to the question whether the series of events is finite or infinite.’ [Zwart, Time, p. 237.] [William Lane Craig, The Kalam Cosmological Argument, The Macmillan Press LTD, 1979, p.107]

· This completes the philosophical case in support of the second premiss. We have argued that the impossibility of the existence of an actual infinite implies that the universe began to exist and that even if an actual infinite could exist, the inability of this infinite to be formed by successive addition implies that the universe began to exist. We may now turn to the empirical confirmation of this argument. [William Lane Craig, The Kalam Cosmological Argument, THE Macmillan Press LTD, 1979, p.110]

· With astounding rapidity, one breakthrough has come upon the heels of another so that now the prevailing cosmological view among scientists is that the universe did have a beginning. Our empirical Second Premiss argument is divided into two parts: (1) the argument from the expansion of the universe and (2) the argument from thermodynamics. To put the empirical evidence into a proper framework, I shall argue that a model of the universe in which the universe has an absolute beginning is not only logically consistent but also ‘fits the facts’ of experience. [William Lane Craig, The Kalam Cosmological Argument, The Macmillan Press LTD, 1979, p.110-111]

· First, we shall consider the argument from the expansion of the univene. When Einstein formulated his relativity theories, he assumed that (l) the universe is homogeneous and isotropic, so that it appears the same in any direction from any place and (2) the universe is in a steady state, with a constant mean mass density and a constant curvature of space. But finding that his original general relativity theory would not permit a model consistent with these two conditions, he was forced to add to his gravitational field equations the cosmological constant A in order to counter-balance the gravitational effect of matter and so ensure a static model of the universe. Another solution to Einstein’s difficulty was noted by de Sitter, who observed that in an empty universe the conditions and field equations would be satisfied. [William Lane Craig, The Kalam Cosmological Argument, The Macmillan Press LTD, 1979, p.111]

· Thus, according to the big bang model, the universe began with a great explosion from a state of infinite density about 15 billion years ago. Four prominent scientists describe that event in these words: ” the universe began from a state of infinite density about one Hubble rime ago. Space and time were created in that event and so was all the matter in the universe. It is not meaningful to ask what happenful before the big bang; it is somewhat like asking what is north of the North Pole. Similarly, it is not sensible 10 ask where the big bang took place. The point-universe was not an object isolated m space; it was the entire universe, and so the only answer can be that the big bang happened everywhere. [76] [William Lane Craig, The Kalam Cosmological Argument, The Macmillan Press LTD, 1979, p.116]

· Some are unhappy about a theory of the origin of the universe which implies a beginning ex nahilo. But if one denies such an origin, then one is left with two alternatives; a steady state model or an oscillating model. Hoyle, the perennial champion of the steady state model, recoils at the notion of the origin of the universe from nothing (we shall see why later): According to our observations and calculations, this was the situation from 15,000 million years ago. This most peculiar situation is taken by many astronomers to represent the origin of the universe. The universe is supposed to have begun at this particular time. From where? The usual answer, surely an unsatisfactory one, is: from nothing The elucidation of this puzzle forms the most important problem of present day astronomy, indeed, one of the most important problems of all science. [Fred Hoyle, Astronomy Today (London: Heinemann, 1975), p 165.] [William Lane Craig, The Kalam Cosmological Argument, The Macmillan Press LTD, 1979, p.118]

· The other model of the universe which attempts to escape the necessity of an absolute beginning is the oscillating model. John Gribbin comments, ” The biggest problem with the Big Bang theory of the origin of the Universe is philosophical-perhaps even theological what was there before the bang? This problem alone was sufficient to give a great initial impetus to the Steady State theory; but with that theory now sadly in conflict with the observations, the best way round this initial difficulty is provided by a model in which the universe expands from a singularity, collapses back again, and repeats the cycle indefinitely.” [john Gribbin, ‘Oscillating Universe Bounces Back’, Nature 259 (1976):15] [William Lane Craig, The Kalam Cosmological Argument, The Macmillan Press LTD, 1979, p.122]

· The evidence therefore appears.; to produce an oscillating model of the universe, since such a model requires a universe of closure density A model m which the universe begins a a singuldnty and expands indefinitely seems to be the model that best fits the facts. Adherents of the oscillating model might retreat to the position (though none to my knowledge have done so) that the current expansion is the last of a prior series of expansion, each of which was finite and ended in contraction. But besides being unable to explain how the universe could jump from a finite expansion to a potentially infinite expansion, this model would seem to be only a theoretical, not a real! posibili1y; as Tinsley comments with regard to oscillatory models: even though the mathematics says that the universe oscillates, there is no known physics to reverse the collapse and bounce back to a new expansion. The physics seems to say that those models start from the big bang, expand, collapse, then end. [Tinsley, personal letter.]. In such a case one does not escape the necessity of an absolute beginning of the universe. [William Lane Craig, The Kalam Cosmological Argument, The Macmillan Press LTD, 1979, p.129-130]

· In summary, we have seen that (1) the scientific evidence related to the expansion of the universe points to an absolute beginning of the universe about fifteen billion year ago; (2) the steady state model of the universe cannot account for certain features of observational cosmology, and (3) the oscillating model of the universe violates several constraints of observational cosmology which indicate that the universe is open. Therefore, we conclude that the universe began to exist. [William Lane Craig, The Kalam Cosmological Argument, The Macmillan Press LTD, 1979, p.130]

Second Empirical Confirmation

· We may now tum to our second empirical argument in support of our second premiss, the argument from thermodynamics. About the middle of the nineteenth century, several physicists sought to formulate a scientific law that would bring under a general rule all the various irreversible processes encountered in the world. The result of their efforts is now known as the second law of thermodynamics. [The following survey is taken from Zwart, Time, pp. 93-116] First formulated by Clausius, it stated that heat of itself only nows from a point of high temperature toward a point of low tl”mperature; the reverse is never possible without compensation. But heat is only an instance of an even more general tendency toward levelling in nature; the same is true, for example, of gases and electricity. [William Lane Craig, The Kalam Cosmological Argument, The Macmillan Press LTD, 1979, p.130]

· Thus, the second law could be formulated: all systems have the tendency to pass from a more ordered to a less ordered state. A third important step in the development of the second law was the realisation that disorder is connected with entropy: the greater the disorder the greater the entropy. This yields a third formulation of the law: all systems have the tendency to pass from a state of lower entropy into a state of higher entropy. [William Lane Craig, The Kalam Cosmological Argument, The Macmillan Press LTD, 1979, p.131]

· Only two obstacles could prevent such a transition: (1) since the law concerns probabilities, it is conceivably possible for the transition to be avoided, and (2) the system could leak energy to its surroundings. But in the first case, these logical possibilties are inconsequential in macroscopic systems. It is theoretically possible for the bath to be boiling at one end and frozen at the other, but this is a practical impossibility in the second case, a further stipulation must be introduced the system must be closed. This leads to a fourth formulation of the second law: spontaneously proceeding processes in closed systems are always attended by an increase in entropy. The law m this form is virtually certain. [William Lane Craig, The Kalam Cosmological Argument, The Macmillan Press LTD, 1979, p.131]

· Our interest in the second law concerns what happens when it is applied to the universe as a whole. For by definition the universe is a closed system, since it is all there is. [121] [William Lane Craig, The Kalam Cosmological Argument, The Macmillan Press LTD, 1979, p.131]

· No energy leakage or input is possible. What this seems to imply is that eventually the universe and all its processes will, so to speak, ‘run down’, and the entire universe will slowly grind to a halt and reach equilibrium. Zwart describes such a state: ” … according to the second law the whole universe must eventually reach a state of maximum entropy. It will then be in thermodynamical equilibrium; everywhere the situation will be exactly the same, with the same composition, the same temperature, the same pressure etc., etc. There will be no objects any more, but the universe will consist of one vast gas of uniform composition. Because it is m complete equilibrium, absolutely nothing will happen anymore. The only way in which a process can begin in a system in equilibrium is through an action from the outside, but an action from the outside is of course impossible if the system in question is the whole universe. So in this future state of maximal entropy, the universe would be in absolute rest and complete darkness, and nothing could disturb the dead silence. Even if there would by chance occur a small deviation from the state of absolute equalization it would of itself rapidly vanish again. Because almost all energy would have been degraded, i.e. converted into kinetic energy of the existing panicles (heat), this supposedly future state of the universe, which will also be its last state, is called the heat death of the universe. [Zwart, Time, p. 136.] [William Lane Craig, The Kalam Cosmological Argument, The Macmillan Press LTD, 1979, p.131-132]

الحمد لله الذي بنعمته تتمّ الصَّالِحات

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Life of The Cosmos

By: Lee Smolin

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life-cosmos

· The theory that we do have, the standard model of particle physics, is very far from being unique. In spite of the fact that it represents our deepest knowledge about what the world is made of, it leaves open many questions about the properties of the elementary particles. These open questions have to do with the values of certain numbers that characterize the particles. These numbers measure things like the masses of the different particles and the strengths of their electrical charges. According to our best present understanding, these numbers are free to vary within wide ranges. They are then parameters, whose values may be set arbitrarily. Physicists set the values of the parameters so as to make the theory agree with observation. By doing so, for example, we make the electron, proton, neutron and neutrino all have the right masses. But as far as we can tell, the universe might have been created so that exactly the same laws are satisfied, except that the values of these parameters are tuned to different numbers. [Lee Smolin: The Life of the Cosmos, Oxford University Press, Inc., 1997. P37]

· There are about twenty of these parameters in the standard model of particle physics. The question about why the universe has stars can then be posed in the following way: We may imagine that God has a control panel on which there is a dial for each parameter. One dial sets the mass of the proton, another the electron’s charge and so on. God closes his eyes and turns the dials randomly. The result is a world governed by the laws we know, but with random values of these parameters. What is the probability that the world so created would contain stars? The answer is that the probability is incredibly small. This is such an important conclusion that I will take a few pages to explain why it is true. In fact, the existence of stars rests on several delicate balances between the different forces in nature. These require that the parameters that govern how strongly these forces act be tuned just so. In many cases, a small turn of the dial in one direction or another results in a world not only without stars, but with much less structure than our universe. [Lee Smolin: The Life of the Cosmos, Oxford University Press, Inc., 1997. P37]

· The incredible smallness of the gravitational constant is one of the mysteries associated with the parameters of particle physics. Suppose we had a theory that explained the basic forces in the universe. That theory would have to produce, out of some calculation, this ridiculous number, 10~38. How is it that nature is so constructed that one of the key quantities that govern how it works at the fundamental level is so close to zero, but still not zero? This question is one of the most important unsolved mysteries in all of physics. It may seem strange that a force as weak as gravity plays such an important role on earth and in all the phenomena of astronomy and cosmology. The reason is that, in most circumstances, none of the other forces can act over large dis-tances. For example, in the case of the electrical force, one almost always finds equal numbers of protons and electrons bound together, so that the total charge is /ero. This is the reason that most objects, while being composed of enormous numbers of charges, do not attract each other electrically. [Lee Smolin: The Life of the Cosmos, Oxford University Press, Inc., 1997. P39]

· The incredible weakness of the gravitational constant turns out to be necessary for the existence of stars. Roughly speaking, this is because the weaker gravity is, the more protons must be piled on top of each other before the pressure in the center is strong enough that the nuclear reactions ignite. As a result, the number of atoms necessary to make a star turns out to grow as the gravitational constant decreases. Stars are so huge exactly because the gravitational constant is so tiny. It is fortunate for us that stars are so enormous, because this allows them to burn for billions of years. The more fuel a star contains the longer it can produce energy through nuclear fusion. As a result, a typical star lives for a long time, about ten billion years. [Lee Smolin: The Life of the Cosmos, Oxford University Press, Inc., 1997. P39].

·  Were the gravitational force somewhat stronger than it actually is, stars would still exist, but they would be much smaller, and they would burn out very much faster. The effect is quite dramatic. If the gravitational force were stronger by only a factor often, the lifetime of a typical star would decrease from about ten billion years to the order of ten million years. If its strength were increased by still another factor of ten, making the gravitational force between two protons still an effect of order of one part in 10 , the lifetime of a star would shrink to ten thousand years. [Lee Smolin: The Life of the Cosmos, Oxford University Press, Inc., 1997. P39]

· But the existence of stars requires not only that the gravitational force be incredibly weak. Stars burn through nuclear reactions that fuse protons and neutrons into a succession of more and more massive nuclei. For these processes to take place, protons and neutrons must be able to stick together, creating a large number of different kinds of atomic nuclei. For this to happen, it turns out that the actual values of the masses of the elementary particles must be chosen very delicately. Other parameters, such as those that determine the strengths of the different forces, must also be carefully tuned. [Lee Smolin: The Life of the Cosmos, Oxford University Press, Inc., 1997. P39]

· Let us think of the three most familiar particles: the proton, neutron, and electron. The neutron, it turns out, has almost the same mass as the proton, it is in fact just slightly heavier, by about two parts in a thousand. In contrast, the electron is much lighter than either, it is about eighteen hundred times lighter than the proton.  In the masses of these three particles there are as many mysteries. Why are the neutron and proton so close in mass? Why is the electron so much lighter than the other two particles? But what is most mysterious is that the two small numbers in this problem, the electron mass and the tiny amount by which a neutron is just slightly more massive than a proton, are quite comparable to each other. The neutron outweighs the proton by only about three electron masses. [Lee Smolin: The Life of the Cosmos, Oxford University Press, Inc., 1997. P39-40]

· We are so used to the idea that protons and neutrons stick together to make hundreds of different stable nuclei, that it is difficult to think of this as an unusual circumstance. But in fact it is. Were the electron’s mass not about the same size as the amount that the neutron outweighs the proton, and were each of these not much smaller than the proton’s mass, it would be impossible for nuclei to stick together to form stable nuclei. These are then facts of great importance for the world as we know it, for without the many different stable nuclei, there would be no nuclear or atomic physics, no stars and no chemistry. Such a world would be dramatically uninteresting. [Lee Smolin: The Life of the Cosmos, Oxford University Press, Inc., 1997. P41]

·  Since stars cannot burn if there are not stable nuclei, only those possible universes that lie within that small region may have stars. These are not the only parameters that must be tuned carefully if there are to be stars. For example, there is the mass of the neutrino. Here we face an embarrassing situation: we still do not know whether the neutrino has any mass at all. The experimental evidence is inconclusive, but we can assert that if it does have a mass, it is no more than one hundred thousandth that of the electron. But in spite of our ignorance as to its actual value, we do know that the mass of the neutrino cannot be too large if the nuclear reactions that energize the stars are to happen. [Lee Smolin: The Life of the Cosmos, Oxford University Press, Inc., 1997. P41]

· While we are discussing physical constants that must be finely tuned for the universe to contain stars, we may consider another kind of question. Why is the universe big enough that there is room for stars? Why is it not much smaller, perhaps even smaller than an atom? And why does the universe live for billions of years, which is long enough for stars to form? Why should it not instead live just a few seconds? These may seem silly questions, but they are not, because the fact that the universe can become very big and very old depends on a particular parameter of the standard model being extremely tiny. This parameter is called the cosmological constant. [Lee Smolin: The Life of the Cosmos, Oxford University Press, Inc., 1997. P41]

· The cosmological constant can be understood as measuring a certain intrinsic density of mass or energy, associated with empty space. That a volume of empty space might itself have mass is a possibility allowed by Einstein’s general theory of relativity. If this were si/able, it would be felt by matter, and this would effect the evolution of the universe as a whole. For example, were there enough of it, the whole universe would quickly pull together and collapse gravitationally, as a dead star collapses to a black hole. In order that this not happen, the mass associated with the cosmological constant must be much smaller than any of the masses we have so far mentioned. In units of the proton mass, it can be no larger than about 10-40. If this were not the case, the universe would not live long enough to produce stars. [Lee Smolin: The Life of the Cosmos, Oxford University Press, Inc., 1997. P41]

· It seems that physics is full of ridiculously tiny numbers. For example, we may wonder what might be the most massive elementary particle that could be imagined. This is one that would be so massive that it would be overwhelmed by its own gravitational force and collapse instantly to a black hole. There is an actual mass, above which this must happen. It is called the Planck mass, after Max Planck, the founder of quantum mechanics. The Planck mass is enormous compared to the scale of the elementary particles. In units of the proton mass it would be about 1019. In ordinary units it is about 10-5 of a gram—about the size of a living cell. To turn it around, this means that in units of the largest possible mass, the proton’s mass is 10-19 , the electron’s is 10-22 and the cosmological constant is no larger than l0-60.. [Lee Smolin: The Life of the Cosmos, Oxford University Press, Inc., 1997. P41-42]

· To an elementary particle theorist, there is no greater mystery than the values of the different masses of which we have been speaking. Mystery number one is why the proton mass is so tiny compared to the Planck mass. Mystery number two is why the cosmological constant is so much tinier still. Between the scale of the cosmological constant and the Planck mass is a ratio of 1060. It is extraordinary that such a huge ratio should come into fundamental physics. But this is not all. Taking these values into account, it turns out, apparently coincidentally, that the lifetime of a typical star is about the same as the lifetime of the universe, measured as best we can by the speed of its expansion. Why should the expansion rate of the universe have been set to the scale of the lifetime of stars, if the first stars formed millions of years after the big bang? What kind of physical mechanism could account for this? It is in mysteries like this that we see most clearly the limitations of the philosophy of radical atomism, according to which properties of the elementary particles (such as the mass of the proton or the strength of the gravitational force) should have nothing to do with the history of the universe. [Lee Smolin: The Life of the Cosmos, Oxford University Press, Inc., 1997. P42]

· The importance of electromagnetism for our modern picture of nature cannot be overstated, as almost all of the phenomena of everyday life which are not due to gravity are manifestations of it. For example, all chemistry is an aspect of electromagnetism. This is because chemical reactions involve rearrangements of electrons in their orbits around atomic nuclei, and it is the electrical force that holds the electrons in those orbits. Light is also an aspect of electromagnetism, for it is a wave traveling through the fields that convey the electric and magnetic forces. [Lee Smolin: The Life of the Cosmos, Oxford University Press, Inc., 1997. P42]

· Electromagnetism differs in two important respects from gravity. The first is that the electrical force between two fundamental particles is much stronger than their gravitational attraction. The strength of the electrical interaction is measured by a number, which was called alpha by the physicists of the last century, because it is a number of the first importance for science. Alpha, which is essentially a measure of the strength of the electric force between two protons or electrons, has a value of approximately 1/137. Physicists have been wondering about why alpha has this value, without resolution, for the whole of the twentieth century. The second way in which electricity differs from gravity is that its effect is notonly attractive: two electrical charges may attract or repel each other, depending on whether they are like or unlike. [Lee Smolin: The Life of the Cosmos, Oxford University Press, Inc., 1997. P42-43]

· However, the existence of electrical forces makes another problem for stars. Like charges repel, and the nucleus of most atoms contain a number of protons, all of like charge, which are packed closely together. What keeps the nuclei from being blown apart by the repulsion of all the protons in them? There is no way either electricity or gravity could save the situation. What is needed if nuclei are to exist is another force with certain properties. It must act attractively among protons and neutrons, in order to hold the atomic nuclei together. It must be strong enough to counteract the repulsions of all the protons. But it cannot be too strong, otherwise it would be too difficult to break the nuclei apart, and chain reactions of nuclear reactions could not take place inside of stars. This force must also be short-ranged, otherwise there would be danger of its pulling all the protons and neutrons in the world together into one big nucleus. For the same reason, it cannot act on electrons, otherwise it would pull them into the nuclei, making molecules and chemistry impossible. It turns that there is a force with exactly these required properties. It is called the strong nuclear force, and it acts, as it should, only over a range which is more or less equal to the size of an atomic nucleus.   [Lee Smolin: The Life of the Cosmos, Oxford University Press, Inc., 1997. P43]

· Remarkably, the existence of more than a hundred kinds of stable nuclei is due to the fact that the strength of the attractive nuclear force balances quite well the electrical repulsion of the protons. To see this, it is necessary only to ask how much we have to increase the strength of the electrical force, or decrease the strength of the nuclear force, before no nuclei are stable. The answer is not much. If the strong interaction were only 50% weaker, the electrical repulsion is no longer overcome, and most nuclei become unstable. Going a bit further, perhaps to 25%, all nuclei fall apart. The same effect can also be achieved by holding the strong interaction unchanged and increasing the strength of the electrical repulsions by no more than a factor of about ten. Thus we see that the simple existence of many species of nuclei, and hence the possibility of a world with the complexity of ours, with many different types of molecules each with distinct chemical properties, is ultimately the result of a rather delicate balance between two of the basic interactions, the electromagnetic and strong nuclear force.  [Lee Smolin: The Life of the Cosmos, Oxford University Press, Inc., 1997. P43]

· If we are to genuinely understand our universe, these relations, between the structures on large scales and the elementary particles, must be understood as being something other than coincidence. We must understand how it came to be that the parameters that govern the elementary particles and their interactions are tuned and balanced in such a way that a universe of such variety and complexity arises. Of course, it is always possible that this is just coincidence. Perhaps before going further we should ask just how probable is it that a universe created by randomly choosing the parameters will contain stars. Given what we have already said, it is simple to estimate this probability. For those readers who are interested, the arithmetic is in the notes. The answer, in round numbers, comes to about one chance in 10229. [Lee Smolin: The Life of the Cosmos, Oxford University Press, Inc., 1997. P44-45]

· To illustrate how truly ridiculous this number is, we might note that the part of the universe we can see from earth contains about 1022 stars which together contain about 1080 protons and neutrons. These numbers are gigantic, but they are infinitesimal compared to 10229. In my opinion, a probability this tiny is not something we can let go unexplained. Luck will certainly not do here; we need some rational explanation of how something this unlikely turned out to be the case. [Lee Smolin: The Life of the Cosmos, Oxford University Press, Inc., 1997. P45]

· I know of three directions in which we might search for the reason why the parameters are tuned to such unlikely values. The first is towards some version of the  anthropic principle. One may say that one believes that there is a god who created the world in this way, so there would arise rational creatures who would love him. We may even imagine that he prefers our love of him to be a rational choice made after we understand how unlikely our own existence is. While there is little I can say against religious faith, one must recognize that this is mysticism, in the sense that it makes the answers to scientific questions dependent on a faith about something outside the domain of rationality. [Lee Smolin: The Life of the Cosmos, Oxford University Press, Inc., 1997. P45]

· A different form of the anthropic principle begins with the hypothesis that there are a very large number of universes. In each the parameters are chosen randomly. If there are at least 10229 of them then it becomes probable that at least one of them will by chance contain stars. The problem with this is that it makes it possible to explain almost anything, for among the universes one can find most of the other equally unlikely possibilities. To argue this way is not to reason, it is simply to give up looking for a rational explanation. Had this kind of reasoning been applied to biology, the principle of natural selection would never have been found. [Lee Smolin: The Life of the Cosmos, Oxford University Press, Inc., 1997. P45]

· A second approach to explaining the parameters is the hypothesis that there is only a single unique mathematically consistent theory of the whole universe. If that theory were found, we would simply have no choice but to accept it as the explanation. But imagine what sense we could then make of our existence in the world. It strains credulity to imagine that mathematical consistency could be the sole reason for the parameters to have the extraordinarily unlikely values that result in a world with stars and life. If in the end mathematics alone wins us our one chance in 10229 we would have little choice but to become mystics. This would be an even purer mysticism than the anthropic principle because then even God would have had no choice in the creation of the world. [Lee Smolin: The Life of the Cosmos, Oxford University Press, Inc., 1997. P45]

الحمد لله الذي بنعمته تتمّ الصَّالِحات

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Quantum Questions

Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists

By: Ken Wilber

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quantum-questions

1-Introduction: Of Shadows and Symbols BY KEN WILBER

· When relativity theory entered the scene, the whole drama repeated itself. Cardinal O’Connell of Boston warned all good Catholics that relativity was “a befogged speculation producing universal doubt about God and his creation”; the theory was “a ghastly apparition of Atheism.” Rabbi Goldstein, on the other hand, solemnly announced that Einstein had done nothing less than produce “a scientific formula for monotheism.” Similarly, the works of James Jeans and Arthur Eddington were greeted by cheers from the pulpits all over England-modern physics supports Christianity in all essential respects! The problem was, Jeans and Eddington by no means agreed with this reception, nor in fact with each other, which prompted Bertrand Russell’s famous witticism that “Sir Arthur Eddington deduces religion from the fact that atoms do not obey the laws of mathematics. Sir James Jeans deduces it from the fact that they do.” [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 2]

· To attempt to bolster a spiritual worldview with data from physics-old or new-is simply to mis under- stand entirely the nature and function of each. As Einstein himself put it, “The present fashion of applying the axioms of physical science to human life is not only entirely a mistake but has also something reprehensible in it.” [Interview contained in M. Planck, Where Is Science Going? (New York: Norton, 1932), p. 209.] When Archbishop Davidson asked Einstein what effect the theory of relativity had on religion, Einstein replied, “None. Relativity is a purely scientific theory, and has nothing to do with religion”- about which Eddington wittily commented, “In those days one had to become expert in dodging persons who were persuaded that the fourth dimension was the door to spiritualism.” [ Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington, The Nature of the Physical World (New York: Macmillan, 1929).] [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 3]

· Eddington, of course, had (like Einstein) a deeply mystical outlook, but he was absolutely decisive on this point: “I do not suggest that the new physics ‘proves religion’ or indeed gives any positive grounds for religious faith. . .. For my own part I am wholly opposed to any such attempt. ” [Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington, New Pathways in Science, (New York: Macmillan, 1935), pp. 307- 8 .] [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 3]

· None of the physicists in this volume believed that assertion. Bohr himself stated quite plainly that “the notion of complementarity does in no way involve a departure from our position as detached observers of nature. . . . The essentially new feature in the analysis of quantum phenomena is the introduction of a fundamental distinction between the measuring apparatus and the objects under investigation [his ita!.]. . . . In our future encounters with reality we shall have to distinguish between the objective and the subjective side, to make a division between the twO.” [Niels Bohr, Atomic Physics and Human Knowledge (New York: Wiley, 1958),p74],[ Quoted in W. Heisenberg, Physics and Beyond, p. 88.] Louis de Broglie was even more succinct: “[It has been said that] quantum physics reduces or blurs the dividing region between the subjective and the objective, but there is . . . some misuse of language here. For in reality the means of observation clearly belong to the objective side; and the fact that their reactions on the parts of the external world which we desire to study cannot be disregarded in microphysics neither abolishes, nor even diminishes, the traditional distinction between subject and object.”[ Louis de Broglie, Matter and Light (New York: Dover, 1946), p. 252. ] Schroedinger-and keep in mind that these men firmly acknowledged that in mystical union subject and object are one, they simply found no support for this idea whatsoever in modern physics-stated that “the ‘pulling down of the frontier between observer and observed’ which many consider [a] momentous revolution of thought, to my mind seems a much overrated provisional aspect without profound significance.”[ E. Schroedinger, Nature and the Greeks, p. 15.] [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 5]

· Briefly, the critique is this. The central mystical experience may be fairly (if somewhat poetically) described as follows: in the mystical consciousness, Reality is apprehended directly and immediately, meaning without any mediation, any symbolic elaboration, any conceptualization, or any abstractions; subject and object become one in a timeless and spaceless act that is beyond any and all forms of mediation. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 5]

· Now, when the physicist “looks at” quantum reality or at relativistic reality, he is not looking at the “things in themselves,” at noumenon, at direct and nonmediated reality. Rather, the physicist is looking at nothing but a set of highly abstract differential equations-not at “reality” itself, but at mathematical symbols of reality. As Bohr put it, “It must be recognized that we are here dealing with a purely symbolic procedure. . . . Hence our whole space-time view of physical phenomena depends ultimately upon these abstractions.”12 Sir James Jeans was specific: in the study of modern physics, he says, “we can never understand what events are, but must limit ourselves to describing the patterns of events in mathematical terms; no other aim is possible. Physicists who are trying to understand nature may work in many different fields and by many different methods; one may dig, one may sow, one may reap. But the final harvest will always be a sheaf of mathematical formulae. These will never describe nature itself. . . . [Thus] our studies can never put us into contact with reality. ” [Sir James Jeans, Physics and Philosophy, pp. 15-17.] [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 6]

· Eddington, as usual, put it most trenchantly: “We should suspect an intention to reduce God to a system of differential equations. That fiasco at any rate [must be] avoided. However much the ramifications of [physics] may be extended by further scientific discovery, they cannot from their very nature trench on the background in which they have their being. . . . We have learnt that the exploration of the external world by the methods of physical science leads not to a concrete reality but to a shadow world of symbols, beneath which those methods are unadapted for penetrating.” [A. Eddington, The Nature of the Physical World, p. 282.]  [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 7]

· The great difference between old and new physics is both much simpler and much more profound: both the old and the new physics were dealing with shadow-symbols, but the new physics was forced to be aware of that fact-forced to be aware that it was dealing with shadows and illusions, not reality. Thus, in perhaps the most famous and oft-quoted passage of any of these theorists, Eddington eloquently states: “In the world of physics we watch a shadowgraph performance of familiar life. The shadow of my elbow rests on the shadow table as the shadow ink flows over the shadow paper. . . . The frank realization that physical science is concerned with a world of shadows is one of the most significant of recent advances.” [A. Eddington, The Nature of the Physical World, p. 282.] Schroedinger drives the point home: “Please note that the very recent advance [of quantum and relativistic physics] does not lie in the world of physics itself having acquired this shadowy character; it had ever since Democritus of Abdera and even before, but we were not aware of it; we thought we were dealing with the world itself.” [E. Schroedinger, Mind and Matter (Cambridge University Press, 1958).] And Sir James Jeans summarizes it perfectly, right down to the metaphor: “The essential fact is simply that all the pictures which science now draws of nature, and which alone seem capable of according with observational fact, are mathematical pictures. . . . They are nothing more than pictures-fictions if you like, if by fiction you mean that science is not yet in contact with ultimate reality. Many would hold that, from the broad philosophical standpoint, the outstanding achievement of twentieth-century physics is not the theory of relativity with its welding together of space and time, or the theory of quanta with its present apparent negation of the laws of causation, or the dissection of the atom with the resultant discovery that things are not what they seem; it is the general recognition that we are not yet in contact with ultimate reality. We are still imprisoned in our cave, with our backs to the light, and can only watch the shadows on the wall.” [Sir James Jeans, The Mysterious Universe (Cambridge University Press, 193I), p.1II.]  [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 7-8]

· “The symbolic nature of physics,” Eddington explains, “is generally recognized, and the scheme of physics is now formulated in such a way as to make it almost self-evident that it is a partial aspect of something wider.” However, according to these physicists, about this “something wider” physics tells us-and can tell us-nothing whatsoever. It was exactly this radical failure of physics, and not its supposed similarities to mysticism, that paradoxically led so many physicists to a mystical view of the world. As Eddington carefully explains: “Briefly the position is this. We have learnt that the exploration of the external world by the methods of physical science leads not to a concrete reality but to a shadow world of symbols, beneath which those methods are unadapted for penetrating. Feeling that there must be more behind, we return to our starting point in human consciousness-the one centre where more might become known. There [in immediate inward consciousness] we find other stirrings, other revelations than those conditioned by the world of symbols. . . . Physics most strongly insists that its methods do not penetrate behind the symbolism. Surely then that mental and spiritual nature of ourselves, known in our minds by an intimate contact transcending the methods of physics, supplies just that. . . which science is admittedly unable to give. “[A. Eddington, Science and the Unseen World (New York: Macmillan, 1929).] [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 8]

· Start with “science.” As I said, we are free to define “science” any way we wish, as long as we are consistent. But it seems to me that at the very least we must distinguish between the method of science and the domain of science. The method of science refers to the ways or means that whatever it is we call science manages to gather facts, data, or information, and manages to confirm or refute propositions vis a vis that data. Method, in other words, refers to ways in which “science” (still unspecified) manages to gather knowledge. Domain, on the other hand, simply refers to the types of events or phenomena that become, or can become, objects of investigation by whatever it is we mean by science. “Method” refers to the epistemology of science, while “domain” refers to its ontology. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 10]

· Instead of asking vaguely “What is science?”, let us therefore ask “What is a scientific method?” and “What is a scientific domain?” As for scientific method, general science texts seem to be in agreement: a method of gaining knowledge whereby hypotheses are tested (instrumentally of experimentally) by reference to experience (“data”) that is potentially public, or open to repetition (confirmation or refutation) by peers. In bare essentials, it means that the scientific method involves those knowledge-claims open to experiential validation of refutation. Notice that this definition-which we will accept for the moment-correctly makes no reference to the domain or objects of the scientific method. If there is a way to test a knowledge-claim in whatever domain by appeal to open experience, then that knowledge can properly be called “scientific.” [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 11]

· Likewise, a typical knowledge-claim in the spiritual realm is, “Does a dog have Buddha-nature?” There is a specific, repeatable, verifiable, experiential test and answer to that question-a bad answer can most definitely be refuted-but it has virtually nothing to do with physical measurement or mental intentionality. [I have dealt with all this in greater detail; see K. Wilber, Eye to Eye (New York: Doubleday/Anchor, 1983).] [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 21]

· As it is now, most new-age approaches simply irritate the orthodox, not because these approaches are mystical but, to the contrary, because they are so reductionistic! Thus Gould, who started out his review of The Turning Point by saying that “This enormously right-minded general theme surely wins my approval,” ended it with: “I found myself getting more and more annoyed with his book, with its facile analogies, its distrust of reason, its invocation of fashionable notions. In some respects, I feel closer to rational Cartesians [he despises them] than to Capra’s California brand of ecology.” (New York Review of Books, March 3, 1983.) [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 27]

WERNER HEISENBERG: (1901-1976 )

· IN THE SUMMER of 1925, suffering from a bout of hay fever and exhausted from wrestling with the perplexities of atomic spectral lines, Werner Heisenberg-then only twenty-four years old-took a short vacation from the Physics Institute at Gottingen University, where he was studying with Max Born, and traveled to the hills of Helgoland. There, in one fevered day and night, he invented what was to be known as matrix quantum mechanics. With the help of Max Born, Pascual Jordan, Paul Dirac, and Wolfgang Pauli, matrix quantum mechanics was formalized (one of the results of which was the famous Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, which, in plain language, says that the more we know about half of the subatomic world, the less we can know about the other half). Erwin Schroedinger, working independently and along different lines, developed a wave mechanics; these two formalisms were quickly shown to be equivalent, and, almost at one stroke, modern quantum mechanics was born. In 1932 Heisenberg was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for his crucial and brilliant contributions. The following sections are taken from Physics and Beyond (New York: Harper and Row, 1971), Across the Frontiers (New York: Harper and Row, 1974), and The Physicist’s Conception of Nature (New York: Harcourt and Brace, 1955). His central point is that physics can make only statements “about strictly limited relations that are only valid within the framework of those limitations [his italics].” If we want to go beyond physics, however, and begin to philosophize, then the worldview that can most easily explain modern physics is that not of Democritus, but of Plato. Heisenberg was an excellent philosopher (probably, with Eddington, the most accomplished in this volume), and a metaphysician or mystic of the Pythagorean-Platonic variety. Capable of being rigorously analytical and empirical, he nonetheless despised mere positivism-or the attempt to be only analytical and empirical-and thus in the opening section, Heisenberg, Pauli, and Bohr lament the attempt of philosophy to ape physics. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 31-32]

2-Truth Dwells in the Deeps

· Niels had this to say: “Some time ago there was a meeting of philosophers, most of them positivists, here in Copenhagen, during which members of the Vienna Circle played a prominent part. I was asked to address them on the interpretation of quantum theory. After my lecture, no one raised any objections or asked any embarrassing questions, but I must say this very fact proved a terrible disappointment to me. For those who are not shocked when they first come across quantum theory cannot possibly have understood it. Probably I spoke so badly that no one knew what I was talking about.” [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 33-34]

· Wolfgang objected: “The fault need not necessarily have been yours. It is part and parcel of the positivist creed that facts must be taken for granted, sight unseen, so to speak. As far as I remember, Wittgenstein says: ‘The world is everything that is the case.’ ‘The world is the totality of facts, not of things.’ Now if you start from that premise, you are bound to welcome any theory representative of the ‘case.’ The positivists have gathered that quantum mechanics describes atomic phenomena correctly, and so they have no cause for complaint. What else we have had to add-complementarity, interference of probabilities, uncertainty relations, separation of subject and object, etc.-strikes them as just so many embellishments, mere relapses into prescientific thought, bits of idle chatter that do not have to be taken seriously. Perhaps this attitude is logically defensible, but, if it is, I for one can no longer tell what we mean when we say we have understood nature.” [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 34]

· Niels [commented]: “For my part, I can readily agree with the positivists about the things they want, but not about the things they reject. All the positivists are trying to do is to provide the procedures of modern science with a philosophical basis, or, if you like, a justification. They point out that the notions of the earlier philosophies lack the precision of scientific concepts, and they think that any of the questions posed and discussed by conventional philosophers have no meaning at all, that they are pseudo problems and, as such, best ignored. Positivist insistence on conceptual clarity is, of course, something I fully endorse, but their prohibition of any discussion of the wider issues, simply because we lack clear-cut enough concepts in this realm, does not seem very useful to me this same ban would prevent our understanding of quantum theory. ” [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 34]

· “Positivists,” I tried to point out, “are extraordinarily prickly about all problems having what they call a pre scientific character. I remember a book by Philipp Frank on causality, in which he dismisses a whole series of problems and formulations on the ground that all of them are relics of the old metaphysics, vestiges from the period of pre scientific or animistic thought. For instance, he rejects the biological concepts of ‘wholeness’ and ‘entelechy’ as pre scientific ideas and tries to prove that all statements in which these concepts are commonly used have no verifiable meaning. To him ‘metaphysics’ is a synonym for ‘loose thinking,’ and hence a term of abuse.” [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 34]

· “This sort of restriction of language doesn’t seem very useful to me either,” Niels said. “You all know Schiller’s poem, ‘The Sentences of Confucius,’ which contains these memorable lines: ‘The full mind is alone the clear, and truth dwells in the deeps.’ The full mind, in our case, is not only an abundance of experience but also an abundance of concepts by means of which we can speak about our problems and about phenomena in general. Only by using a whole variety of concepts when discussing the strange relationship between the formal laws of quantum theory and the observed phenomena, by lighting this relationship up from all sides and bringing out its apparent contradictions, can we hope to effect that change in our thought processes which is a sine qua non of any true understanding of quantum theory. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 34-35]

· We walked on in silence and had soon reached the northern tip of the Langelinie, whence we continued along the jetty as far as the small beacon. In the north, we could still see a bright strip of red; in these latitudes the sun does not travel far beneath the horizon. The outlines of the harbor installations stood out sharply, and after we had been standing at the end of the jetty for a while, Wolfgang asked me quite unexpectedly: “Do you believe in a personal God? I know, of course, how difficult it is to attach a clear meaning to this question, but you can probably appreciate its general purport.” [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 38]

· “May I rephrase your question?” I asked. “I myself should prefer the following formulation: Can you, or anyone else, reach the central order of things or events, whose existence seems beyond doubt, as directly as you can reach the soul of another human being? I am using the term ‘soul’ quite deliberately so as not to be misunderstood. If you put your question like that, I would say yes. And because my own experiences do not matter so much, I might go on to remind you of Pascal’s famous text, the one he kept sewn in his jacket. It was headed ‘Fire’ and began with the words: ‘God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob-not of the philosophers and sages.’ ” “In other words, you think that you can become aware of the central order with the same intensity as of the soul of another person?” “Perhaps. ” “Why did you use the word ‘soul’ and not simply speak of another person?” “Precisely because the word ‘soul’ refers to the central order, to the inner core of a being whose outer manifestations may be highly diverse and pass our understanding. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 38]

3-Scientific and Religious Truths.

· Of the beginnings of modern science, the discoveries of Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, and Newton, it is usually said that the truth of religious revelation, laid down in the Bible and the writings of the Church Fathers and dominant in the thought of the Middle Ages, was at that time supplemented by the reality of sensory experience, which could be checked by anyone in possession of his normal five senses and which-if enough care was taken—could, therefore, not in the end be doubted. But even this first approach to a description of the new way of thought is only half correct; it neglects decisive features without which its power cannot be understood. It is certainly no accident that the beginnings of modern science were associated with a turning away from Aristotle and a reversion to Plato. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 40] 

· The place of immediate experience, has therefore been taken by an idealization of experience, which claims to be recognized as the correct idealization by virtue of the fact that it allows mathematical structures to become visible in the phenomena. There can be no doubt that in this early phase of modern science the newly discovered conformity to mathematical law has become the true basis for its persuasive power. These mathematical laws, so we read in Kepler, are the visible expression of the divine will, and Kepler breaks into enthusiasm at the fact that he has been the first here to recognize the beauty of God’s works. Thus the new way of thinking assuredly had nothing to do with any turn away from religion. If the new discoveries did in fact contradict the teachings of the Church at certain points, this could have little significance, seeing that it was possible to perceive with such immediacy the workings of God in nature. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 41]

· The God here referred to is, however, an ordering God, of whom we do not at once know whether He is identical with the God to whom we turn in trouble, and to whom we can relate our life. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 41]

· First, there is the fact that man can develop his mental and spiritual powers only in relation to a human society. The very capacities that distinguish him above all other living creatures, the ability to reach beyond the immediate sensory given, the recognition of wider interrelations, depend upon his being lodged in a community of speaking and thinking beings. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 42]

· History teaches that such communities have acquired in their development not only an outward but also a spiritual pattern. And in the spiritual patterns known to us, the relation to a meaningful connection of the whole, beyond what can be immediately seen and experienced, has almost always played the deciding role. It is only within this spiritual pattern, of the ethos prevailing in the community, that man acquires the points of view whereby he can also shape his own conduct wherever it involves more than a mere reaction to external situations; it is here that the question about values is first decided. Not only ethics, however, but the whole cultural life of the community is governed by this spiritual pattern. Only within its sphere does the close connection first become visible between the good, the beautiful, and the true, and here only does it first become possible to speak of life having a meaning for the individual. This spiritual pattern we call the religion of the community. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 42]

· The word “religion” is thereby endowed with a rather more general meaning than is customary. It is intended to cover the spiritual content of many cultures and different periods, even in places where the very idea of God is absent. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 42]

· Religion proper speaks not of norms, however, but of guiding ideals, by which we should govern our conduct and which we can at best only approximate. These ideals do not spring from inspection of the immediately visible world but from the region of the structures lying behind it, which Plato spoke of as the world of Ideas, and concerning which we are told in the Bible, “God is a spirit.” [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 43]

· I have already sought to enunciate the thesis that in the images and likenesses of religion, we are dealing with a sort of language that makes possible an understanding of that interconnection of the world which can be traced behind the phenomena and without which we could have no ethics or scale of values. This language is in principle replaceable, like any other; in other parts of the world there are and have been other languages that provide for the same understanding. But we are born into a particular linguistic area. This language is closer akin to that of poetry than to the precision-orientated language of natural science. Hence the words in the two languages often have different meanings. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 43]

· Science tries to give its concepts an objective meaning. But religious language must avoid this very cleavage of the world into its objective and its subjective sides; for who would dare claim the objective side to be more real than the subjective? Thus we ought not to intermingle the two languages; we should think more subtly than we have hitherto been accustomed to do. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 43]

· Consideration of such problems has nothing to do with any watering down of ethical principles. Nor am I able to conceive that such questions are capable of being answered by pragmatic considerations of expediency alone. On the contrary, here too it will be necessary to take into account the connection of the whole the source of ethical principles in that basic human attitude which is expressed in the language of religion. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 44]

· We must try to overcome the isolation which threatens the individual in a world dominated by technical expediency. Theoretical deliberations about questions of psychology or social structure will avail us little here, so long as we do not succeed in finding a way back, by direct action, to a natural balance between the spiritual and material conditions of life. It will be a matter of reanimating in daily life the values grounded in the spiritual pattern of the community, of endowing them with such brilliance that the life of the individual is again automatically directed toward them. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 44]

4-The Debate between Plato and Democritus.

· The philosophy of materialism, developed in antiquity by Leucippus and Democritus, has been the subject of many discussions since the rise of modern science in the seventeenth century and, in the form of dialectical materialism, has been one of the moving forces in the political changes of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. If philosophical ideas about the structure of matter have been able to play such a role in human life, if in European society they have operated almost like an explosive and may yet perhaps do so in other parts of the world, it is even more important to know what our present scientific knowledge has to say about this philosophy. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 46-47]

· If I may already anticipate at this point the outcome of such a comparison; it seems that, in spite of the tremendous success that the concept of the atom has achieved in modern science, Plato was very much nearer to the truth about the structure of matter than Leucippus or Democritus. But it will doubtless be necessary to begin by repeating some of the most important arguments adduced in the ancient discussions about matter and life, being and becoming, before we can enter into the findings of modern science. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 47]

THE CONCEPT OF MATTER IN ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY

· At the beginning of Greek philosophy there stood the dilemma of the “one” and the “many.” We know that there is an ever-changing variety of phenomena appearing to our senses. Yet we believe that ultimately it should be possible to trace them back somehow to someone principle. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 47]

· The founders of atomism, Leucippus and Democritus, tried to avoid the difficulty by assuming the atom to be eternal and indestructible, the only thing really existing. All other things exist only because they are composed of atoms. The antithesis of “being” and “non being” in the philosophy of Parmenides is here coarsened into that between the “full” and the “void.” Being is not only one; it can be repeated infinitely many times. Being is indestructible, and therefore the atom, too, is indestructible. The void, the empty space between the atoms, allows for position and motion, and thus for properties of the atom, whereas by definition, as it were, pure being can have no other property than that of existence. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 47]

· Still, the atomic hypothesis does go a large part of the way in the right direction. The whole multiplicity of diverse phenomena, the many observed properties of matter, can be reduced to the position and motion of the atoms. Properties such as smell or color or taste are not present in atoms. But their position and motion can evoke these properties indirectly. Position and motion seem to be much simpler concepts than the empirical qualities of taste, smell, or color. But then it naturally remains to ask what determines the position and motion of the atoms. The Greek philosophers did not attempt at this point to formulate a law of nature; the modern concept of. natural law did not fit into their way of thought. Yet they seem to have thought of some kind of causal description or determinism, since they spoke of necessity, of cause and effect. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 48]

· The intention of the atomic hypothesis had been to point the way from the “many” to the “one,” to formulate the underlying principle, the material cause, by virtue of which all phenomena can be understood. The atoms could be regarded as the material cause, but only a general law determining their positions and velocities could actually play the part of the fundamental principle. However, when the Greek philosophers discussed the laws of nature, their thoughts were directed to static forms, geometrical symmetries, rather than to processes in space and time. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 48]

· When Plato himself took up the problems raised by Leucippus and Democritus, he adopted the idea of smallest units of matter, but he took the strongest exception to the tendency of that philosophy to suppose the atoms to be the foundation of all existence, the only truly existing material objects. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 49]

· This whole description fits exactly into the central ideas of Plato’s idealist philosophy. The structure underlying the phenomena is not given by material objects like the atoms of Democritus but by the form that determines the material objects. The Ideas are more fundamental than the objects. And since the smallest parts of matter have to be the objects whereby the simplicity of the world becomes visible, whereby we approximate to the “one” and the “unity” of the world, the Ideas can be described mathematically-they are simply mathematical forms. The saying “God is a mathematician,” which in this form assuredly derives from a later period of philosophy, has its origin in this passage from the Platonic philosophy.  [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 50]

THE ANSWER OF MODERN SCIENCE TO THE OLD PROBLEMS

· If we trace the history of physics from Newton to the present day, we see that, despite the interest in details, very general laws of nature have been formulated on several occasions. The nineteenth century saw an exact working out of the statistical theory of heat. The theories of electromagnetism and special relativity have proved susceptible of combination into a very general group of natural laws containing statements not only about electrical phenomena but also about the structure of space and time. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 50]

· In our own century, the mathematical formulation of the quantum theory has led to an understanding of the outer shells of chemical atoms, and thus of the chemical properties of matter generally. The relations and connections between these different laws, especially between relativity and quantum theory, are not yet fully explained. But the latest developments in particle physics permit one to hope that these relations may be satisfactorily analyzed in the relatively near future. We are thus already in a position to consider what answers can be given by this whole scientific development to the questions of the old philosophers. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 50-51]

·  The mathematically formulated laws of quantum theory show clearly that our ordinary intuitive concepts cannot be unambiguously applied to the smallest particles. All the words or concepts we use to describe ordinary physical objects, such as position, velocity, color, size, and so on, become indefinite and problematic if we try to use them of elementary particles. I cannot enter here into the details of this problem, which has been discussed so fre- quently in recent years. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 51]

CONSEQUENCES FOR THE EVOLUTION OF HUMAN THOUGHT IN OUR OWN DAY

· The search for the “one,” for the ultimate source of all understanding, has doubtless played a similar role in the origin of both religion and science. But the scientific method that was developed in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the interest in those details which can be tested by experiment, has for a long time pointed science along a different path. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 53]

· The necessity of constantly shuttling between the two languages is, unfortunately, a chronic source of misunderstandings, since in many cases the same words are employed in both. The difficulty is unavoidable. But it may yet be of some help always to bear in mind that modern science is obliged to make use of both languages, that the same word may have very different meanings in each of them, that different criteria of truth apply, and that one should not, therefore, talk too hastily of contradictions. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 55]

· If we wish to approach the “one” in the terms of a precise scientific language, we must turn our attention to that center of science described by Plato, in which the fundamental mathematical symmetries are to be found. In the concepts of this language we must be content with the statement that “God is a mathematician”; for we have freely chosen to confine our vision to that realm of being which can be understood in the mathematical sense of the word “understanding,” which can be described in rational terms. Plato himself was not content with this restriction. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 55]

· the language of images and likenesses is probably the only way of approaching the “one” from more general domains. If the harmony in a society rests on a common interpretation of the “one,” the unitary principle behind the phenomena, then the language of poetry may be more important here than the language of science. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 55]

5- Science and the Beautiful

· Perhaps it will be best if, without any initial attempt at a philosophical analysis of the concept of “beauty,” we simply ask where we can meet the beautiful in the sphere of exact science. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 56]

· Beauty, so the first of our ancient definitions ran, is the proper conformity of the parts to one another and to the whole. The parts here are the individual notes, while the whole is the harmonious sound. The mathematical relation can, therefore, assemble two initially independent parts into a whole, and so produce beauty. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 58]

· Aristotle, in his Metaphysics, reports that the Pythagoreans, “. . . who were the first to take up mathematics, not only advanced this study, but also having been brought up in it they thought its principles were the principles of all things. . . . Since, again, they saw that the modifications and the ratios of the musical scales were expressible in numbers; since, then, all other things seemed in their whole nature to be modelled on numbers; and numbers seemed to be the first things in the whole of nature, they supposed the elements of numbers to be the elements of all things, and the whole heaven to be a musical scale and a number.” [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 59]

· Aristotle, as an empiricist, was critical of the Pythagoreans, who, he said, “are not seeking for theories and causes to account for observed facts, but rather forcing their observations and trying to accommodate them to certain theories and opinions of their own”  [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 60]

·  Some years later, Kepler succeeded in discovering new mathematical forms in the data of his very careful observations of the planetary orbits and in formulating the three famous laws that bear his name. How close Kepler felt himself in these discoveries to the ancient arguments of Pythagoras, and how much the beauty of the connections guided him in formulating them, can be seen from the fact that he compared the revolutions of the planets about the sun with the vibrations of a string and spoke of a harmonious concord of the different planetary orbits, of a harmony of the spheres. At the end of his work on the harmony of the universe, he broke out into this cry of joy: “I thank thee, Lord God our Creator, that thou allowest me to see the beauty in thy work of creation.” [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 61-62]

· “Beauty is the proper conformity of the parts to one another an  to the whole.” That this criterion applies in the highest degree to a structure like Newtonian mechanics is something that scarcely needs explaining. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 62]

· The significance of the beautiful for the discovery of the true has at all times been recognized and emphasized. The Latin motto HSimplex sigillum veri”-“The simple is the seal of the true”-is inscribed in large letters in the physics auditorium of the University of Gottingen as an admonition to those who would discover what is new; another Latin motto, HPulchritudo splendor veritatis”-“Beauty is the splendor of truth”—can also be interpreted to mean that the researcher first recognizes truth by this splendor, by the way it shines forth. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 62]

· The first passage is to be found in Kepler’s Harmony of the World: That faculty which perceives and recognizes the noble proportions in what is given to the senses, and in other things situated outside itself, must be ascribed to the soul. It lies very close to the faculty which supplies formal schemata to the senses, or deeper still, and thus adjacent to the purely vital power of the soul, which does not think discursively, i.e., in conclusions, as the philosophers do, and employs no considered method, and is thus not peculiar only to man, but also dwells in wild animals and the dear beasts of the field. . . . Now it might be asked how this faculty of the soul, which does not engage in conceptual thinking, and can therefore have no proper knowledge of harmonic relations, should be capable of recognizing what is given in the outside world. For to recognize is to compare the sense perception outside with the original pictures inside, and to judge that it conforms to them. Proclus has expressed the matter very finely in his simile of awakening, as from a dream. For just as the sensorily presented things in the outer world recall to us those which we formerly perceived in the dream, so also the mathematical relations given in sensibility call forth those intelligible archetypes which were already given inwardly beforehand, so that they now shine forth truly and vividly in the soul, where before they were only obscurely present there. But how have they come to be within? To this I answer that all pure Ideas or archetypal patterns of harmony, such as we were speaking of, are inherently present in those who are capable of apprehending them. But they are not first received into the mind by a conceptual process, being the product, rather, of a sort of instinctive intuition of pure quantity, and are innate in these individuals, just as the number of petals in a plant, say, is innate in its form principle, or the number of its seed chambers is innate in the apple.  [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 65-66]

· Ideas similar to those of Kepler have been put forward in an essay by Pauli. He writes: The process of understanding in nature, together with the joy that man feels in understanding, i.e., in becoming acquainted with new knowledge, seems therefore to rest upon a correspondence, a coming into congruence of preexistent internal images of the human psyche with external objects and their behavior. This view of natural knowledge goes back, of course, to Plato and was . . . also very plainly adopted by Kepler. The latter speaks, in fact, of Ideas, preexistent in the mind of God and imprinted accordingly upon the soul, as the image of God. These primal images, which the soul can perceive by means of an innate instinct, Kepler calls archetypes. There is very wide-ranging agreement here with the primordial images or archetypes introduced into modern psychology by C. G. Jung, which function as instinctive patterns of ideation. At this stage, the place of clear concepts is taken by images of strongly emotional content, which are not thought but are seen pictorially, as it were, before the mind’s eye. Insofar as these images are the expression of a suspected but still unknown state of affairs, they can also be called symbolic, according to the definition of a symbol proposed by Jung. As ordering operators and formatives in this world of symbolic images, the archetypes function, indeed, as the desired bridge between sense perceptions and Ideas, and are therefore also a necessary precondition for the emergence of a scientific theory. Yet one must beware of displacing this a priori of knowledge into consciousness, and relating it to specific, rationally formulable Ideas. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 66-67]

·  It is the amazed awe that Plato speaks of in the Phaedrus, with which the soul remembers, as it were, something it had unconsciously possessed all along. Kepler says: HGeometria est archetypus pulchritudinis mundi”; or, if we may translate in more general terms: “Mathematics is the archetype of the beauty of the world.” [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 68]

· Perhaps at the very end I may remind you once more of the second definition of the concept of beauty, which stems from Plotinus and in which no more is heard of the parts and the whole: “Beauty is the translucence, through the material phenomenon, of the eternal splendor of the ‘one.’ “There are important periods of art in which this definition is more appropriate than the first, and to such periods we often look longingly back. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 69]

·  But in our own time it is hard to speak of beauty from this aspect, and perhaps it is a good rule to adhere to the custom of the age one has to live in, and to keep silent about that which it is difficult to say. In actual fact, the two definitions are not so very widely removed from one another. So let us be content with the first and more sober definition of beauty, which certainly is also realized in natural science, and let us declare that in exact science, no less than in the arts, it is the most important source of illumination and clarity. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 69]

6-if Science Is Conscious if Its Limits · · ·

· By way of conclusion, I shall quote the introduction to the Principles of Mechanics (1876) by Heinrich Hertz (1857-1894), for here it emerges clearly how physics began to remember once more that a natural science is one whose propositions on limited domains of nature can have only a correspondingly limited validity; that science is not a philosophy developing a worldview of nature as a whole or about the essence of things. Hertz points out that propositions in physics have neither the task nor the capacity of revealing the inherent essence of natural phenomena. He concludes that physical determinations are only pictures, on hose correspondence with natural objects we can make but the single assertion, viz., whether or not the logically derivable consequences of our pictures correspond with the empirically observed consequences of the phenomena for which we have designed our picture. In other words, the hypothetical picture of a causal relationship with which we invest natural phenomena must prove its usefulness in practice. The criteria for assessing the suitability of a picture are that (I) it must be admissible, i.e., correspond with our laws of thought; (2) it must be correct, i.e., agree with experience; (3) it must be relevant, i.e., contain the maximum of essential and the minimum of superfluous or empty relations of the object. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 73-74]

· Here already we get a foretaste of the essential insight of modern physics stated with such impressive brevity by Eddington: “We have found that where science has progressed the farthest, the mind has but regained from nature that which the mind has put into nature. We have found a strange footprint on the shores of the unknown. We have devised profound theories, one after another, to account for its origin. At last, we have succeeded in reconstructing the creature that made the footprint. And Lo! it is our own.” [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 74]

· I should like to stress the following: I. Modern science, in its beginnings, was characterized by a conscious modesty; it made statements about strictly limited relations that are only valid within the framework of these limitations. 2. This modesty was largely lost during the nineteenth century. Physical knowledge was considered to make assertions about nature as a whole. Physics wished to turn philosopher, and the demand was voiced from many quarters that all true philosophers must be scientific. 3. Today physics is undergoing a basic change, the most characteristic trait of which is a return to its original self-limitation. 4. The philosophic content of a science is only preserved if science is conscious of its limits. Great discoveries of the properties of individual phenomena are possible only if the nature of the phenomena is not generalized a priori. Only by leaving open the question of the ultimate essence of a body, of matter, of energy, etc., can physics reach an understanding of the individual properties of the phenomena that we designate by these concepts, an understanding which alone may lead us to real philosophical insight. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 74]

ERWIN SCHROEDINGER (1887-1961)

· At about the same time that Heisenberg et al. were developing matrix mechanics, Erwin Schroedinger independently discovered a form of “wave mechanics” that was quickly shown to be equivalent to, but in many respects simpler and more elegant than, the matrix mechan- ics. It was therefore “Schroedinger’s wave equation” that soon became the heart of modern quantum mechanics and its most widely used mathematical tool. For this seminal work, Schroedinger was awarded the 1933 Nobel Prize in Physics. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 77]

· The following sections are taken from My View of the World (Cambridge University Press [“C.U.P.”], 1964), Mind and Matter (C.U.P.,1958), Nature and the Creeks (C.U.P., 1954), Science and Humanism (C.U.P., 1951), and What Is Life? (C.U.P., 1947). Schroedinger’s mystical insight, I believe, was probably the keenest of any in this volume, and his eloquence was matched only by Eddington’s. The last selection (Chapter 10), in particular, contains some of the finest and most poetic mystical statements ever penned, and stands eloquently as its own remark. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 77]

7-Why Not Talk Physics?

· Schroedinger acknowledges that quantum mechanics shows, if anything, an interaction between objects, not between subject and object. The reason he denies the latter-and the reason he seems to have so little use for the alleged impact of quantum interaction on philosophy and mysticism-is explained in the following paragraphs. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 80]

· Cassirer’s lucid discussion makes one feel so strongly the absurdity of basing free will, including ethics, on physical haphazard that the previous difficulty, the antagonism between free will and determinism, dwindles and almost vanishes under the mighty blows Cassirer deals to the opposite view. “Even the reduced extent of predictability” (Cassirer adds) “still granted by Quantum Mechanics would amply suffice to destroy ethical freedom, if the concept and true meaning of the latter were irreconcilable with predictability.”  [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 83]

· Indeed, one begins to wonder whether the supposed paradox is really so shocking, and whether physical determinism is not perhaps quite a suitable correlate to the mental phenomenon of will, which is not always easy to predict “from outside,” but usually extremely determined “from inside.” To my mind, this is the most valuable outcome of the whole controversy: the scale is turned in favour of a possible reconciliation of free will with physical determinism, when we realize how inadequate a basis physical haphazard provides for ethics.  [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 83]

· The net result is that quantum physics has nothing to do with the free will problem. If there is such a problem, it is not furthered a whit by the latest development in physics. To quote Ernst Cassirer again: “Thus it is clear. . . that a possible change in the physical concept of causality can have no immediate bearing on ethics.” [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 83]

SCIENCE CANNOT TOUCH IT

· The scientific picture of the real world around me is very deficient. It gives a lot of factual information, puts all our experience in a magnificently consistent order, but it is ghastly silent about all and sundry that is really near to our heart, that really matters to us. It cannot tell us a word about red and blue, bitter and sweet, physical pain and physical delight; it knows nothing of beautiful and ugly, good or bad, God and eternity. Science sometimes pretends to answer questions in these domains, but the answers are very often so silly that we are not inclined to take them seriously. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 83]

· So, in brief, we do not belong to this material world that science constructs for us. We are not in it; we are outside. We are only spectators. The reason why we believe that we are in it, that we belong to the picture, is that our bodies are in the picture. Our bodies belong to it. Not only my own body, but those of my friends, also of my dog and cat and horse, and of all the other people and animals. And this is my only means of communicating with them. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 83-84]

· Moreover, my body is implied in quite a few of the more interesting changes-movements, etc.-that go on in this material world, and is implied in such a way that I feel myself partly the author of these goings on. But then comes the impasse, this very embarrassing discovery of science, that I am not needed as an author. Within the scientific world-picture all these happenings take care of themselves-they are amply accounted for by direct energetic interplay. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 84]

· Even the human body’s movements “are its own” as Sherrington put it. The scientific world- picture vouchsafes a very complete understanding of all that happens-it makes it just a little too understandable. It allows you to imagine the total display as that of a mechanical clockwork which, for all that science knows, could go on just the same as it does, without there being consciousness, will, endeavor, pain and delight and responsibility connected with it-though they actually are. And the reason for this disconcerting situation is just this: that, for the purpose of constructing the picture of the external world, we have used the greatly simplifying device of cutting our own personality out, removing it; hence it is gone, it has evaporated, it is ostensibly not needed. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 84]

· In particular, and most importantly, this is the reason why the scientific worldview contains of itself no ethical values, no aesthetical values, not a word about our own ultimate scope or destination, and no God, if you please. Whence came I, whither go I? Science cannot tell us a word about why music delights us, of why and how an old song can move us to tears.  [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 84]

· Science, we believe, can, in principle, describe in full detail all that happens in the latter case in our sensorium and “motorium” from the moment the waves of compression and dilation reach our ear to the moment when certain glands secrete a salty fluid that emerges from our eyes. But of the feelings of delight and sorrow that accompany the process science is completely ignorant-and therefore, reticent. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 84]

· Science is reticent too when it is a question of the great Unity-the One of Parmenides-of which we all somehow form part, to which we belong. The most popular name for it in our time is God-with a capital “G.” Science is, very usually, branded as being atheistic. After what we said, this is not astonishing. If its world-picture does not even contain blue, yellow, bitter, sweet-beauty, delight, and sorrow-, if personality is cut out of it by agreement, how should it contain the most sublime idea that presents itself to human mind? [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 84]

· The world is big and great and beautiful. My scientific knowledge of the events in it comprises hundreds of millions of years. Yet in another way it is ostensibly contained in a poor seventy or eighty or ninety years granted to me-a tiny spot in immeasurable time, nay even in the finite millions and milliards of years that I have learnt to measure and to assess. Whence come I and whither go I? That is the great unfathomable question, the same for everyone of us. Science has no answer to it. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 85]

8-The Oneness of Mind

· Let me quote, as an example outside the Upanishads, an Islamic-Persian mystic of the thirteenth century, Aziz Nasafi. I am taking it from a paper by Fritz Meyer and translating from his German translation: On the death of any living creature the spirit returns to the spiri-tual world, the body to the bodily world. In this however only the bodies are subject to change. The spiritual world is one single spirit who stands like unto a light behind the bodily world and who, when any single creature comes into being, shines through it as through a window. According to the kind and size of the window less or more light enters the world. The light itself however remains unchanged. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 87]

· If I say that there cannot be more than one consciousness in the same mind, this seems a blunt tautology-we are quite unable to imagine the contrary. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 88]

· I will give you the main conclusion in Sherrington’s own words: It is not spatial conjunction of cerebral mechanism which com- bines the two reports. . . . It is much as though the right-and left-eye images were seen each by one of two observers and the minds of the two observers were combined to a single mind. It is as though the right-eye and left-eye perceptions are elaborated singly and then psychically combined to one. . . . It is as if each eye had a separate sensorium of considerable dignity proper to itself, in which mental processes based on that eye were developed up to even full perceptual levels. Such would amount physiologically to a visual sub-brain. There would be two such sub-brains, one for the right eye and one for the left eye. Contemporaneity of action rather than structural union seems to provide their mental collaboration. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 88]

· This is followed by very general considerations, of which I shall again pick out only the most characteristic passages: Are there thus quasi-independent sub-brains based on the several modalities of sense? In the roof-brain the old “five” senses instead of being merged inextricably in one another and further submerged under mechanism of higher order are still plain to find, each demarcated in its separate sphere. How far is the mind a collection of quasi-independent perceptual minds integrated psychically in large measure by temporal concurrence of experience? . . . When it is a question of “mind” the nervous system does not integrate itself by centralization upon a pontifical cell. Rather it elaborates a million-fold democracy whose each unit is a cell. . . the concrete life compounded of sublives reveals, although integrated, its additive nature and declares itself an affair of minute foci of life acting together. . . . When however we turn to the mind there is nothing of all this. The single nerve-cell is never a miniature brain. The cellular constitution of the body need not be for any hint of it from “mind”. . . . A single pontifical brain-cell could not assure to the mental reaction a character more unified, and non-atomic than does the roof-brain’s multitudinous sheet of cells. Matter and energy seem granular in structure, and so does “life,” but not so mind. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 88-89]

· Sherrington says: “Man’s mind is a recent product of our planet’s side. ”  [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 89]

· When an archeologist reconstructs a city or a culture long bygone, he is interested in human life in the past, in actions, sensations, thoughts, feelings, in joy and sorrow of humans, displayed there and then. But a world, existing for many millions of years without any mind being aware of it, contemplating it, is it anything at all? Has it existed? For do not let us forget: to say, as we did, that the becoming of the world is reflected in a conscious mind is but a cliche, a phrase, a metaphor that has become familiar to us. The world is given but once. Nothing is reflected. The original and the mirror-image are identical. The world extended in space and time is but our representation (Vorstellung). Experience does not give us the slightest clue of its being anything besides that-as Berkeley was well aware.  [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 90]

· Let me briefly mention the notorious atheism of science which comes, of course, under the same heading. Science has to suffer this reproach again and again, but unjustly so. No personal god can form part of a world-model that has only become accessible at the cost of removing everything personal from it. We know, when God is experienced, this is an event as real as an immediate sense perception or as one’s own personality. Like them, he must be missing in the space-time picture. I do not find God anywhere in space and time-that is what the honest naturalist tells you. For this, he incurs blame from him in whose catechism is written: God is spirit. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 91]

9-The I That Is God

· So let us see whether we cannot draw the correct, non-contradictory conclusion from the following two premises: (i) My body functions as a pure mechanism according to the Laws of Nature. (ii) Yet I know, by incontrovertible direct experience, that I am directing its motions, of which I foresee the effects, that may be fateful and all-important, in which case I feel and take full responsibility for them. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 92-93]

10-The Mystic Vision

· According to our usual way of looking at it, everything that you are seeing has, apart from small changes, been there for thousands of years before you. After a while-not long-you will no longer exist, and the woods and rocks and sky will continue, unchanged, for thousands of years after you. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 97]

· Thus you can throw yourself flat on the ground, stretched out upon Mother Earth, with the certain conviction that you are one with her and she with you. You are as firmly established, as invulnerable, as she- indeed, a thousand times firmer and more invulnerable. As surely as she will engulf you tomorrow, so surely will she bring you forth anew to new striving and suffering. And not merely, “some day”: now, today, every day she is bringing you forth, not once, but thousands upon thousands of times, just as every day she engulfs you a thousand times over. For eternally and always there is only now, one and the same now; the present is the only thing that has no end.  [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 98]

ALBERT EINSTEIN: ( 18 79- 1 9SS)

· A LBERT EINSTEIN is generally regarded, quite simply, as the greatest physicist ever to have lived. His contributions to physics are legion: special and general relativity theory, quantum photoelectric effect, Brownian movement theory, the immortal E=mc 2 . He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921.  [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 101]

· The following sections are taken from Ideas and Opinions (New York: Crown Publishers, 1954). Einstein’s mysticism has been described as a cross between Spinoza and Pythagoras; there is a central order to the cosmos, an order that can be directly apprehended by the soul in mystical union. He devoutly believed that although science, religion, art, and ethics are necessarily distinct endeavors, it is wonderment in the face of “the Mystery of the Sublime” that properly motivates them all.  [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 101]

12- Science and Religion

· For the scientific method can teach us nothing else beyond how facts are related to, and conditioned by, each other. The aspiration toward such objective knowledge belongs to the highest of which man is capable, and you will certainly not suspect me of wishing to belittle the achievements and the heroic efforts of man in this sphere. Yet it is equally clear that knowledge of what is does not open the door directly to what should be. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 107-108]

· It would not be difficult to come to an agreement as to what we understand by science. Science is the century-old endeavor to bring together by means of systematic thought the perceptible phenomena of this world into as thorough-going an association as possible. To put it boldly, it is the attempt at the posterior reconstruction of existence by the process of conceptualization. But when asking myself what religion is, I cannot think of the answer so easily. And even after finding an answer which may satisfy me at this particular moment, I still remain convinced that I can never, under any circumstances, bring together, event to a slight extent, the thoughts of all those who have given this question serious consideration. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 109]

· Accordingly, a religious person is devout in the sense that he has no doubt of the significance and loftiness of those superpersonal objects and goals which neither require nor are capable of rational foundation. They exist with the same necessity and matter-of-factness as he himself. In this sense, religion is the age-old endeavor of mankind to become clearly and completely conscious of these values and goals and constantly to strengthen and extend their effect. If one conceives of religion and science according to these definitions then a conflict between them appears impossible. For science can only ascertain what is, but not what should be, and outside of its domain value judgments of all kinds remain necessary. Religion, on the other hand, deals only with evaluations of human thought and action: it cannot justifiably speak of facts and relationships between facts. According to this interpretation, the well-known conflicts between religion and science in the past must all be ascribed to a misapprehension of the situation which has been described. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 110]

· Now, even though the. realms of religion and science in themselves are clearly marked off from each other, nevertheless there exist between the two strong reciprocal relationships and dependencies. Though religion may be that which determines the goal, it has, nevertheless, learned from science, in the broadest sense, what means will contribute to the attainment of the goals it has set up. But science can only be created by those who are thoroughly imbued with the aspiration toward truth and understanding. This source of feeling, however, springs from the sphere of religion. To this there also belongs the faith in the possibility that the regulations valid for the world of existence are rational, that is, comprehensible to reason. I cannot conceive of a genuine scientist without that profound faith. The situation may be expressed by an image: science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 110-111]

· The main source of the present day conflicts between the spheres of religion and of science lies in this concept of a personal God. It is the aim of science to establish general rules which determine the reciprocal connection of objects and events in time and space. For these rules, or laws of nature, absolutely general validity is required-not proven. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 111]

· If it is one of the goals of religion to liberate mankind as far as possible from the bondage of egocentric cravings, desires, and fears, scientific reasoning can aid religion in yet another sense. Although it is true that it is the goal of science to discover rules which permit the association and foretelling of facts, this is not its only aim. It also seeks to reduce the connections discovered to the smallest possible number of mutually independent conceptual elements. It is in this striving after the rational unification of the manifold that it encounters its greatest successes, even though it is precisely this attempt which causes it to run the greatest risk of falling a prey to illusions. But whoever has undergone the intense experience of successful advances made in this domain is moved by profound reverence for the rationality made manifest in existence. By way of the understanding he achieves a far-reaching emancipation from the shackles of personal hopes and desires, and thereby attains that humble attitude of mind toward the grandeur of reason incarnate in existence, and which, in its profoundest depths, is inaccessible to man. This attitude, however, appears to me to be religious in the highest sense of the word. And so it seems to me that science not only purifies the religious impulse of the dross of its anthropomorphism, but also contributes to a religious spiritualization of our understanding of life. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 113]

· The interpretation of religion, as here advanced, implies a dependence of science on the religious attitude, a relation which, in our predominantly materialistic age, is only too easily overlooked. While it is true that scientific results are entirely independent from religious or moral considerations, those individuals to whom we owe the great creative achievements of science were all of them imbued with the truly religious conviction that this universe of ours is something perfect and susceptible to the rational striving for knowledge. If this conviction had not been a strongly emotional one and if those searching for knowledge had not been inspired by Spinoza’s Amor Dei lntellectualis, they would hardly have been capable of that untiring devotion which alone enables man to attain his greatest achievements. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 113]

PRINCE LOUIS DE BROGLIE: (1892-1987)

· LOUIS DE BROGLIE is best known for his theory of “matter waves,” the crucial formulations of which he presented in two papers of September 1923, while he was still a student. These papers became part of his doctoral thesis, a copy of which was sent to Einstein, who, much impressed, widely circulated the ideas. Erwin Schroedinger heard of de Broglie’s thesis-that moving electrons produce waves-and that directly led him to develop the Schroedinger wave equations so central to quantum mechanics. The actual existence of matter waves was experimentally verified in 1927, and two years later de Broglie received the Nobel Prize in Physics… The following sections are taken from Physics and Microphysics (New York: Pantheon, 1955). In the first section, de Broglie argues (as did Einstein) that all genuine science is motivated by what, in fact, are spiritual ideals. But science itself cannot pronounce on these ideals, and thus, in the second section, he argues that, in addition to science, we need “a supplement of the soul.” [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 117]

13-The Aspiration Towards Spirit

· the development of science has progressively allowed for a great number of inventions and practical applications which have completely transformed, often for good and sometimes for evil, the living conditions of humanity.  [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 119]

· At bottom, these distressing questions raise, above all, a moral problem. Scientific discoveries and the applications of which they are capable are, in themselves, neither good nor bad; all depends on the use which we make of them. Tomorrow, as today, it will be, therefore, the will of mankind that is called upon to decide on the beneficial or evil character of these applications. To be able to survive the appropriate progress of his attainments, mankind of tomorrow will have to find in the development of his spiritual life and in the uplifting of his moral ideal, the wisdom not to abuse his increased forces. This is what Henri Bergson has splendidly expressed in one of his last works when saying: “Our enlarged body clamours for an addition to the spirit.” Shall we be able to acquire this addition to the spirit as rapidly as the advances of science will develop?  [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 125]

14-The Mechanism Demands a Mysticism

· And wishing to make us appreciate the essential point and the disquieting side of the problem, he added: “Now, in this excessively enlarged body, the spirit remains what it was, too small now to fill it, too feeble to direct it,” and further. on, “Let us add that this increased body awaits a supplement of the soul and that the mechanism demands a mysticism.” Finally, the work finishes on these words, pregnant with meaning: “Humanity groans half-crushed under the weight of the advances that it has made. It does not know sufficiently that its future depends on itself. It is for it, above all, to make up its mind if it wishes to continue to live. . . .” [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 126]

· We perceive the almost tragic magnitude of the moral problem which is here raised. “Humanity does not know sufficiently that its future depends on itself. It is for it to see first if it wishes to continue to live,” said Bergson. How precise and profound a meaning these words hold today on the threshold of the unknown, and perhaps formidable, future which opens before us! [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 127]

· Confronted by the dangers with which the advances of science can, if employed for evil, face him, man has need of a “supplement of soul” and he must force himself to acquire it promptly before it is too late. It is the duty of those who have the mission of being the spiritual or intellectual guides of humanity to labour to awaken in it this supplement of the soul.  [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 129]

SIR JAMES JEANS (1877- 1946)

· SIR JAMES JEANS was a mathematician, physicist, and astronomer. He made fundamental contributions to the dynamical theory of gases, the mathematical theory of electromagnetism, the evolution of gaseous stars, the nature of nebulae-to name a few. He was knighted in 1924 and went on to become one of the most popular and prominent philosophers of science…. The following is taken from The Mysterious Universe (Cambridge University Press, 193I). Sir Jeans concludes that, since we can only understand the physical world through mathematics, then we might rightly conclude that, to use his favorite phrase, “God is a mathematician, and the universe begins to look more like a great thought than a great machine.” He makes it very clear he is talking now as a philosopher, not a scientist, but his Pythagorean mysticism inspires a style that manages to embrace both with delight, rigor, and wit. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 133]

15- In the Mind of Some Eternal Spirit

· The essential fact is simply that all the pictures which science now draws of nature, and which alone seem capable of according with observational fact, are mathematical pictures. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 135]

· Most scientists would agree that they are nothing more than pictures-fictions, if you like, if by fiction you mean that science is not yet in contact with ultimate reality. Many would hold that, from the broad philosophical standpoint, the outstanding achievement of twentieth-century physics is not the theory .9f relativity with its welding together of space and time, or the theory of quanta with its present apparent negation of the laws of causation, or the dissection of the atom with the resultant iscovery that things are not what they seem; it is the general recognition that we are not yet in contact with ultimate reality. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 135]

· To speak in terms of Plato’s well-known simile, we are still imprisoned in our cave, with our backs to the light, and can only watch the shadows on the wall. At present, the only task immediately before science is to study these shadows, to classify them and explain them in the simplest possible way. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 135]

· When we try to discover the nature of the reality behind the shadows, we are confronted with the fact that all discussion of the ultimate nature of things must necessarily be barren unless we have some extraneous standards against which to compare them. For this reason, to borrow Locke’s phrase, “the real essence of substances” is forever unknowable. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 137]

· If the philosopher now says, “What you have found is nothing new: I could have told you that it must be so all the time,” the scientist may reasonably inquire, “Why, then, did you not tell us so, when we should have found the information of real value?” Our contention is that the universe now appears to be mathematical in a sense different from any which Kant contemplated or possibly could have contemplated-in brief, the mathematics enters the universe from above instead of from below. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 139]

· Two thousand years after Plato, Kepler spent much time and energy in trying to relate the sizes of the planetary orbits to musical intervals and geometrical constructions; perhaps he, too, hoped to discover that the orbits had been arranged by a musician or a geometer. For one brief moment, he believed he had found that the ratios of the orbits were related to the geometry; of the five regular solids. If this supposed fact had been known to Plato, what a proof he might have seen in it of the geometrising propensities of the deity! Kepler himself wrote: “The intense pleasure I have received from this discovery can never be told in words.” It need hardly be said that the great discovery was fallacious.  [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 140]

· Considerations such as these led Berkeley to postulate an Eternal Being, in whose mind all objects existed. And so, in the stately and sonorous diction of a bygone age, he summed up his philosophy in the words: All the choir of heaven and furniture of earth, in a word all those bodies which compose the mighty frame of the world, have not any substance without the mind. . .. so long as they are not actually perceived by me, or do not exist in my mind, or that of any other created spirit, they must either have no existence at all, or else subsist in the mind of some Eternal Spirit. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 145]

· Modern science seems to me to lead, by a very different road, to a not altogether dissimilar conclusion. Biology, studying the connection between the earlier links of the chain, A, B, C, D, seems to be moving towards the conclusion that these are all of the same general nature. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 145]

· This is occasionally stated in the specific form that, as biologists believe C, D to be mechanical and material, A, B must also be mechanical and material, but apparently there would be at least equal warrant for stating it in the form that as A, B are mental, C, D must also be mental. Physical science, troubling little about C, D, proceeds directly to the far end of the chain; its business is to study the workings of X, Y, Z. And, as it seems to me, its conclusions suggest that the end links of the chain, whether we go to the cosmos as a whole or to the innermost structure of the atom, are of the same nature as A, B-of the nature of pure thought; we are led to the conclusions of Berkeley, but we reach them from the other end. Because of this, we come upon the last of Berkeley’s three alternatives first, and the others appear unimportant by comparison. It does not matter whether objects “exist in my mind, or that of any other created spirit” or not; their objectivity arises from their subsisting “in the mind of some Eternal Spirit.” [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 145-146]

16-A Universe of Pure Thought

· This concept of the universe as a world of pure thought throws a new light on many of the situations we have encountered in our survey of modern physics. We can now see how the ether, in which all the events of the universe take place, could reduce to a mathematical abstraction and become as abstract and as mathematical as parallels of latitude and meridians of longitude. We can also see why energy, the fundamental entity of the universe, had again to be treated as a mathematical abstraction-the constant of integration of a differential equation. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 149]

· In brief, a mathematical formula can never tell us what a thing is, but only how it behaves; it can only specify an object through its properties. And these are unlikely to coincide in toto with the properties of any single macroscopic object of our everyday life. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 149]

· If the universe is a universe of thought, then its creation must have been an act of thought. Indeed, the finiteness of time and space almost compel us, of themselves, to picture the creation as an act of thought; the determination of the constants such as the radius of the universe and the number of electrons it contained imply thought, whose richness is measured by the immensity of these quantities. Time and space, which form the setting for the thought, must have come into being as part of this act. Primitive cosmologies pictured a creator working in space and time, forging sun, moon, and stars out of already existent raw material. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 150]

· Modern scientific theory compels us to think of the creator as working outside time and space-which are part of his creation-just as the artist is outside his canvas. It accords with the conjecture of Augustine: HNon in tempore, sed cum tempore, finxit Deus mundum.” Indeed, the doctrine dates back as far as Plato: Time and the heavens came into being at the same instant, in order that, if they were ever to dissolve, they might be dissolved together. Such was the mind and thought of God in the creation of time. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 150]

· We cannot claim to have discerned more than a very faint glimmer of light at the best; perhaps it was wholly illusory, for certainly we had to strain our eyes very hard to see anything at all. So that our main contention can hardly be that the science of today has a pronouncement to make, perhaps it ought rather to be that science should leave off making pronouncements: the river of knowledge has too often turned back on itself. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 151-152]

MAX PLANCK (I858- I947)

· It was Max Planck’s bold, brilliant, daring, and wholly unprecedented leap of genius that, in 1900, ushered in the entire quantum revolution, for it was Planck who hit upon the idea that nature is not continuous, but rather comes in discrete packets or quanta. Justly regarded as the father of modern quantum theory, Planck was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1918. Of Planck, who was deeply respected and loved by all his colleagues, Albert Einstein had these memorable words: “The longing to behold harmony is the source of the inexhaustible patience and perseverance with which Planck has devoted himself to the most general problems of our science, refusing to let himself be diverted to more grateful and more easily attained ends. I have often heard colleagues try to attribute this attitude of his to extraordinary will-power and discipline-wrongly, in my opinion. The state of mind which enables a man to do work of this kind is akin to that of the religious worshipper or the lover; the daily effort comes from no deliberate intention or program, but straight from the heart. There he sits, our beloved Planck, and smiles inside himself at my childish playing-about with the lantern of Diogenes. Our affection for him needs no thread-bare explanation. May the love of science continue to illumine his path in the future and lead him to the solution of the most important problems in present-day physics, which he has himself posed and done so much to solve.” … The following sections are taken from Where Is Science Going? (New York: Norton, 1932). [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 157]

17- The Mystery of Our Being

· [In the German philosophic tradition in which Planck is writing, the term “ego” means “the I,” or the inward sense of “I-ness” constituting your sense of self. It doesn’t mean “egotistical,” but rather that irreducible, immediate, inward sense of consciousness or awareness.-Ed. Note] It is a small point in the universal realm of being, but, in itself, it is a whole world, embracing our emotional life, our will, and our thought. This realm of the ego is, at once, the source of our deepest suffering and, at the same time, of our highest happiness. Over this realm, no outer power of fate can ever have sway, and we lay aside our own control and responsibility over ourselves only with the laying aside of life itself. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 160]

· And what holds good for the present moment of our being holds good also for our own future conduct in which the influences of our present ego plays a part. The road to the future always starts in the present. It is, here and now, part and parcel of the ego. And for that reason, the individual can never consider his own future purely and exclusively from the causal standpoint. That is the reason why fancy plays such a part in the construction of the future. It is in actual recognition of this profound fact that people have recourse to the palmist and the clairvoyant to satisfy their individual curiosity about their own future. It is also on this fact that dreams and ideals are based, and here the human being finds one of the richest sources of inspiration. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 160]

· Science thus brings us to the threshold of the ego and there leaves us to ourselves. Here it resigns us to the care of other hands. In the conduct of our own lives, the causal principle is of little help; for by the iron law of logical consistency, we are excluded from laying the causal foundations of our own future or foreseeing that future as definitely resulting from the present. . [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 161]

· the ethical fruit. Science enhances the moral values of life because it furthers a love of truth and reverence-love of truth displaying itself in the constant endeavor to arrive at a more exact knowledge of the world of mind and matter around us, and reverence, because every advance in knowledge brings us face to face with the mystery of our own being.  [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 161]

“THE PURE RATIONALIST HAS No PLACE HERE”

· Planck: The churches appear to be unable to supply that spiritual anchorage which so many people are seeking. And so the people turn in other directions. The difficulty which organized religion finds in appealing to the people nowadays is that its appeal necessarily demands the believing spirit, or what is generally called Faith. In an all-round state of skepticism this appeal receives only a poor response. Hence you have a number of prophets offering substitute wares. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 162]

· Murphy: Do you think that science in this particular might be a substitute for religion?

Planck: Not to a skeptical state of mind; for science demands also the believing spirit. Anybody who has been seriously engaged in scientific work of any kind realizes that over the entrance to the gates of the temple of science are written the words: Ye must have faith. It is a quality which the scientists cannot dispense with. The man who handles a bulk of results obtained from an experimental process must have an imaginative picture of the law that he is pursuing. He must embody this in an imaginary hypothesis. The reasoning faculties alone will not help him forward a step, for no order can emerge from that chaos of elements unless there is the constructive quality of mind which builds up the order by a process of elimination and choice. Again and again the imaginary plan on which one attempts to build up that order breaks down and then we must try another. This imaginative vision and faith in the ultimate success are indispensable. The pure rationalist has no place here. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 162]

· Murphy: How far has this been verified in the lives of great scientists? Take the case of Kepler, whose 300th anniversary we were celebrating, you remember, that evening when Einstein gave his lecture at the Academy of Science. Wasn’t there something about Kepler having made certain discoveries, not because he set out after them with his constructive imagination, but rather because he was concerned about the dimensions of wine barrels and was wondering which shapes would be the most economic containers?

Planck: These stories circulate in regard to nearly everybody whose name is before the public. As a matter of fact, Kepler is a magnificent example of what I have been saying. He was always hard up. He had to suffer disillusion after disillusion and even had to beg for the payment of the arrears of his salary by the Reichstag in Regensburg. He had to undergo the agony of having to defend his own mother against a public indictment of witchcraft. But one can realize, in studying his life, that what rendered him so energetic and tireless and productive was the profound faith he had in his own science, not the belief that he could eventually arrive at an arithmetical synthesis of his astronomical observations, but rather the profound faith in the existence of a definite plan behind the whole of creation. It was because he believed in that plan that his labor was felt by him to be worthwhile and also in this way, by never allowing his faith to flag, his work enlivened and enlightened his dreary life. Compare him with Tycho de Brahe. Brahe had the same material under his hands as Kepler, and even better opportunities, but he remained only a researcher, because he did not have the same faith in the existence of the eternal laws of creation. Brahe remained only a researcher; but Kepler was the creator of the new astronomy. Another name that occurs to me in this connection is that of Julius Robert Mayer. His discoveries were hardly noticed, because in the middle of last century there was a great deal of skepticism, even among educated people, about the theories of natural philosophy. Mayer kept on and on, not because of what he had discovered and could prove, but because of what he believed. It was only in 1869 that the Society of German Physicists and Physicians, with Helmholtz at their head, recognized Mayer’s work. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 162-163]

· Murphy: You have often said that the progress of science consists in the discovery of a new mystery the moment one thinks that something fundamental has been solved.

Planck: This is undoubtedly true. Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and, therefore, part of the mystery that we are trying to solve. Music and art are, to an extent, also attempts to solve or at least to express the mystery. But to my mind, the more we progress with either, the more we are brought into harmony with all nature itself. And that is one of the great services of science to be individual. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 163]

· Murphy: Goethe once said that the highest achievement to which the human mind can attain is an attitude of wonder before the elemental phenomena of nature.

Planck: Yes, we are always being brought face to face with the irrational. Else we couldn’t have faith. And if we did not have faith but could solve every puzzle in life by an application of the human reason, what an unbearable burden life would be. We should have no art and no music and no wonderment. And we should have no science; not only because science would thereby lose its chief attraction for its own followers-namely, the pursuit of the unknowable-but also because science would lose the cornerstone of its own structure, which is the direct perception by consciousness of the existence of external reality. As Einstein has said, you could not be a scientist if you did not know that the external world existed in reality, but that knowledge is not gained by any process of reasoning. It is a direct perception and, therefore, in its nature akin to what we call Faith. It is a metaphysical belief. Now that is something which the skeptic questions in regard to religion, but it is the same in regard to science. However, there is this to be said in favor of theoretical physics, that it is a very active science and does make an appeal to the lay imagination. In that way it may, to some extent, satisfy the metaphysical hunger which religion does not seem capable of satisfying nowadays. But this would be entirely by stimulating the religious reaction indirectly. Science as such can never really take the place of religion. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 164]

WOLFGANG PAULI (1900 – 1958)

· In terms of sheer intellectual brilliance, Wolfgang Pauli was probably second to no physicist of this or any period (according to Max Born, Pauli’s genius exceeded even that of Einstein). Intellectual sloppiness or logical inconsistency would bring down the wrath of Pauli on the poor soul unfortunate enough to be its author. He was a brilliant and ruthless critic of ideas, and virtually every physicist of his generation looked to the mind of Wolfgang Pauli as one of the mandatory tests to pass if a theory had any chance of survival. Pauli’s own positive contributions were profound and numerous, including the famous “exclusion principle” and the prediction of the existence of the neutrino some two decades before it was discovered. He received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1945. In spite of, or rather precisely because of, Pauli’s analytical and intellectual brilliance, he insisted that rationality had to be supplemented with the mystical. I had originally planned to include in this section Pauli’s essay, “The Influence of Archetypal Ideas on Kepler’s Construction of Scientific Theories,” which sets forth his Platonic-Pythagorean worldview, and which was written in collaboration with C.G. Jung. But his lifetime friend and colleague, Werner Heisenberg, wrote a beautiful summary of Pauli’s position, which is not only briefer but considerably more elegant reading, and so I have presented that instead (“Wolfgang Pauli’s Philosophical Outlook,” chapter 3 in Across the Frontiers). [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 167]

18- Embracing the Rational and the Mystical

· A first central topic of philosophical reflection for Pauli was the process of knowledge itself, especially that of natural knowledge, which ultimately finds its rational expression in the establishment of mathematically formulated laws of nature. Pauli was not satisfied with the purely empiricist view whereby natural laws can be drawn solely from the data of experience. He allied himself, rather, with those who “emphasize the role of intuition and the direction of attention in framing the concepts and ideas necessary for the establishing of a system of natural laws (i.e., a scientific theory)-ideas which in general go far beyond mere experience.” [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 170]

· He therefore sought for a connecting link between sense perceptions on the one hand and concepts on the other: All consistent thinkers have come to the conclusion that pure logic is fundamentally incapable of constructing such a linkage. The most satisfactory course, it seems, is to introduce at this point the postulate of an order of the cosmos distinct from the world of appearances, and not a matter of our choice. Whether we speak of natural objects participating in the Ideas or of the behavior of metaphysical, i.e., intrinsically real things, the relation between sense perception and Idea remains a consequence of the fact that both the soul and what is known in perception are subject to an order objectively conceived. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 170]

· The scientific pursuit of knowledge led in the nineteenth century to the limiting concept of an objective material world, independent of all observation, while at the end point of the mystical experience there stands as a limiting situation the soul entirely divorced from all objects and united with the divine. Pauli sees Western thought as strung out, so to speak, between these two limiting ideas. “There will always be two attitudes dwelling in the soul of man, and the one will always carry the other already within it, as the seed of its opposite. Hence arises a sort of dialectical process, of which we know not wither it leads us. I believe that as Westerners we must entrust ourselves to this process, and acknowledge the two opposites to be complementary. In allowing the tension of the opposites to persist, we must also recognize that in every endeavor to know or solve we depend upon factors which are outside our control, and which religious language has always entitled ‘grace.’ ” [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 172-173]

· Pauli came to think that in the abstract territory traversed by modern atomic physics and modern psychology, such a language could once more be attempted: For I suspect that the alchemistical attempt at a unitary psychophysical language miscarried only because it was related to a visible concrete reality. But in physics today we have an invisible reality (of atomic objects) in which the observer intervenes with a certain freedom (and is thereby confronted with the alternatives of “choice and sacrifice”); in the psychology of the unconscious we have processes which cannot always be unambiguously ascribed to a particular subject. The attempt at a psychophysical monism seems to me now essentially more promising, given that the relevant unitary language (unknown as yet, and neutral in regard to the psychophysical antithesis) would relate to a deeper invisible reality. We should then have found a mode of expression for the unity of all being, transcending the causality of classical physics as a form of correspondence (Bohr); a unity of which the psychophysical interrelation, and the coincidence of a priori instinctive forms of ideation with external perceptions, are special cases. On such a view, traditional ontology and metaphysics become the sacrifice, but the choice falls on the unity of being. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 173-174]

· No better account could well be given of Pauli’s attitude to this most general of questions than that which he himself has offered in the concluding section of his lecture on science and Western thought: I believe, however, that to anyone for whom a narrow rationalism has lost its persuasiveness, and to whom the charm of a mystical attitude, experiencing the outer world in its oppressive multiplicity as illusory, is also not powerful enough, nothing else remains but to expose oneself in one way or another to these intensified oppositions and their conflicts. Precisely by doing so, the inquirer can also more or less consciously tread an inner path to salvation. Slowly there then emerge internal images, fantasies or Ideas to compensate the outer situation, and which show an approach to the poles of the antitheses to be possible. Warned by the miscarriage of all premature endeavors after unity in the history of human thought, I shall not venture to make predictions about the future. But, contrary to the strict division of the activity of the human spirit into separate departments-a division prevailing since the nineteenth century-I consider the ambition of overcoming opposites, including also a synthesis embracing both rational understanding and the mystical experience of unity, to be the mythos, spoken or unspoken, of our present day and age. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 175]

SIR ARTHUR EDDINGTON: (I882 – I944)

· Sir Arthur Eddington made important contributions to the theoretical physics of the motion, evolution, and internal constitution of stellar systems. He was one of the first theorists to grasp fully relativity theory, of which he became a leading exponent. No mere armchair theorist, Eddington led the famous expedition that photographed the solar eclipse which offered the first proof of Einstein’s relativity theory. For his outstanding contributions, he was knighted in 193 o. The following sections are taken from Science and the Unseen World (New York: Macmillan, 1929), New Pathways in Science (New York: Macmillan, 1935), and The Nature of the Physical World (New York: Macmillan, 1929). Of all the physicists in this volume, Eddington was probably the most eloquent writer; with Heisenberg, the most accomplished philosopher; and with Schroedinger, the most penetrating mystic. Moreover, he possessed an exquisite intellectual wit, evidenced on almost every page of his writings (it sometimes takes the reader a while to realize just how humorous Eddington is being, so set your mind in that direction now). I have divided his topics into three rough sections, the first dealing with the shadowy limitations of physical science, the second with the necessity to equate the reality behind the shadows with consciousness itself, and the third, his famous defense of mysticism. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 179]

19- Beyond the Veil of Physics

· [before we enter into Eddington’s sophisticated arguments, it is necessary to allow him to speak for himself as to what exactly he is, and especially is not, trying to accomplish. His masterpiece, The Nature of the Physical World, was so persuasive and eloquent on the themes of physics and mysticism that his actual conclusion-namely, that the two are dealing with entirely different issues and domains-was quickly overlooked by the public (and especially the theologians), and Eddington earned the wholly undeserved reputation of claiming that the new physics supported (or even offered proof for) a mystical worldview. This rankled Eddington no end, for it was exactly the opposite of his views. When Bertrand Russell unleashed his considerable philosophic wit on Eddington’s supposed derivation of mysticism from physics, Sir Arthur could no longer contain himself, and, in New Pathways in Science, Eddington answered sharply:] My last round will be with Bertrand Russell. I think that he, more than any other writer, has influenced the development of my philosophical views, and my debt to him is great indeed. But this is necessarily a quarrelsome chapter, and I must protest against the following accusation: Sir Arthur Eddington deduces religion from the fact that atoms do not obey the laws of mathematics. Sir James Jeans deduces it from the fact that they do. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 181]

· One might have regarded the foregoing as a casual sacrifice of accuracy to epigram, but other passages make the same kind of accusation: It will be seen that Eddington, in this passage, does not infer a definite act of creation by a Creator. His only reason for not doing so is that he does not like the idea. The scientific argument leading to the conclusion which he rejects is much stronger than the argument in favour of free will, since that is based on ignorance, whereas the one we are now considering is based upon knowledge. This illustrates the fact that the theological conclusions drawn by scientists from their science are only such as please them, and not such as their appetite for orthodoxy is insufficient to swallow, although the argument would warrant them. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 182]

· Memories are short, and one man is sometimes saddled with another man’s opinions. It seems worthwhile, therefore, to give quotations showing how completely Russell has misstated my view of the relation of science and religion. I think that every book or article in which I have touched on religion is represented in these extracts, except an early essay which does not provide a passage compact enough to quote. The starting-point of belief in mystical religion is a conviction of significance or, as I have called it earlier, the sanction of a striving in the consciousness. This must be emphasised because appeal to intuitive conviction of this kind has been the foundation of religion through all ages and I do not wish to give the impression that we have now found something new and more scientific to substitute. I repudiate the idea of proving the distinctive beliefs of religion either from the data of physical science or by the methods of physical science.  (The Nature of the Physical World, p. 333.) [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 182]

· The lack of finality of scientific theories would be a very serious limitation of our argument, if we had staked much on their permanence. The religious reader may well be content that I have not offered him a God revealed by the quantum theory, and therefore liable to be swept away in the next scientific revolution. (The Nature of the Physical World, p. 353.) [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 183]

· It is probably true that the recent changes of scientific thought remove some of the obstacles to a reconciliation of religion with science, but this must be carefully distinguished from any proposal to base religion on scientific discovery. For my own part, I am wholly opposed to any such attempt. (Science and the Unseen World, p. 45.) [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 183]

· The passages quoted by Mr. Cohen make it clear that I do not suggest that the new physics “proves religion” or indeed gives any positive grounds for religious faith. But it gives strong grounds for an idealistic philosophy which, I suggest, is hospitable towards a spiritual religion, it being understood that the guest must provide his own credentials. In short, the new conception of the physical universe puts me in a position to defend religion against a particular charge, viz. the charge of being incompatible with physical science. It is not a general panacea against atheism. If this is understood, . . . it explains my “great readiness to take the present standing of certain theories of physics as being final”; anybody can defend religion against science by speculating on the possibility that science may be mistaken. It explains why I sometimes take the essential truth of religion for granted; the soldier whose task is to defend one side of a fort must assume that the defenders of the other side have not been overwhelmed. (Article in The Freethinker).  [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 183]

· I now turn to the question, what must be put into the skeleton scheme of symbols. I have said that physical science stands aloof from this transmutation, and if I say anything positive on this side of the question it is not as a scientist that I claim to speak. (Broadcast Symposium, Science and Religion). [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 183]

· [Eddington’s point, as the following sections will make much clearer, is that physics-classical or quantum-can in no way offer positive support or even encouragement for a religious-mystical worldview. It is simply that, whereas classical physics was theoretically hostile to religion, modern physics is simply indifferent to it-it leaves so many theoretical holes in the universe that you may (or may not) fill them with religious substance, but if you do, it must be on philosophic or religious grounds. Physics cannot help you in the least, but it no longer objects to your efforts. This is what Eddington meant by, “If I interpret the present situation rightly, a main-line signal which had been standing at danger has now been lowered. But nothing much is going to happen unless there is an engine.” Physics does not support mysticism, but it no longer denies it, and that, Eddington felt, opened a philosophic door to Spiritbut mysticism, not physics, must provide the “engine.” Eddington’s view, which I fully endorse, would indeed be extremely good news-there is no longer any major physical-theoretical objection to spiritual realities-had not the new-age writers promised us the moon with “proofs” of mysticism from physics. Many people are therefore disappointed or let down by the apparently thin or weak nature of Eddington’s pronouncement, whereas, in fact, this view-which is supported by virtually every theorist in this volume-is probably the strongest and most revolutionary conclusion vis a vis religion that has ever been “officially” advanced by theoretical science itself. It is a monumental and epochal turning point in science’s stance towards religion; it seems highly unlikely it will ever be reversed, since it is logical and not empirical in nature (or a priori and not a posteriori); therefore, it, in all likelihood, marks final closure on that most nagging aspect of the age-old debate between the physical sciences and religion (or the geistsciences). What more could one possibly want?]  [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 184]

· Einstein’s law, in its analytical form, is a statement that in empty space certain quantities called potentials obey certain lengthy differential equations. We make a memorandum of the word “potential” to remind us that we must later on explain what it means. We might conceive a world in which the potentials at every moment and every place had quite arbitrary values. The actual world is not so unlimited, the potentials being restricted to those values which conform to Einstein’s equations. The next question is: What are potentials? They can be defined as quantities derived by quite simple mathematical calculations from certain fundamental quantities called intervals. (mem. Explain “interval.”) [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 186]

· But I would say that when from the human heart, perplexed with the mystery of existence, the cry goes up, “What is it all about?” it is no true answer to look only at that part of experience which comes to us through certain sensory organs

· and reply: “It is about atoms and chaos; it is about a universe of fiery globes rolling on to impending doom; it is about tensors and non-commutative algebra.” Rather, it is about a spirit in which truth has its shrine, with potentialities of self-fulfillment in its response to beauty and right. Shall I not also add that even as light and colour and sound come into our minds at the prompting of a world beyond, so these other stirrings of consciousness come from something which, whether we describe it as beyond or deep within ourselves, is greater than our own personality? It is the essence of religion that it presents this side of experience as a matter of everyday life. To live in it, we have to grasp it in the form of familiar recognition and not as a series of abstract scientific statements. The man who commonly spoke of his ordinary surroundings in scientific language would be insufferable. If God means anything in our daily lives, I do not think we should feel any disloyalty to truth in speaking and thinking of him unscientifically, any more than in speaking and thinking unscientifically of our human companions. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 190]

· The Definition of Reality. It is time we came to grips with the loose terms Reality and Existence, which we have been using without any inquiry into what they are meant to convey. I am afraid of this word Reality, not connoting an ordinarily definable characteristic of the things it is applied to but used as though it were some kind of celestial halo. It is, of course, possible to obtain consistent use of the word “reality” by adopting a conventional definition. My own practice would probably be covered by the definition that a thing may be said to be real if it is the goal of a type of inquiry to which I personally attach importance. But if I insist on no more than this I am whittling down the significance that is generally assumed. In physics, we can give a cold scientific definition of reality which is free from all sentimental mystification. But this is not quite fair play, because the word “reality” is generally used with the intention of evoking sentiment. It is a grand word for a peroration. “The right honourable speaker went on to declare that the concord and amity for which he had unceasingly striven had now become a reality (loud cheers).” The conception which it is so troublesome to apprehend is not “reality” but “reality (loud cheers).” [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 190-191]

20- Mind-Sttuff

· The mind-stuff is not spread in space and time; these are part of the cyclic scheme ultimately derived out of it. But we must presume that in some other way or aspect it can be differentiated into parts. Only here and there does it rise to the level of consciousness, but from such islands proceeds all knowledge. Besides the direct knowledge contained in each self-knowing unit, there is inferential knowledge. The latter includes our knowledge of the physical world. It is necessary to keep reminding ourselves that all knowledge of our environment from which the world of physics is constructed, has entered in the form of messages transmitted along the nerves to the seat of consciousness.  [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 200]

· The mind-stuff is the aggregation of relations and relata which form the building material for the physical world. Our account of the building process shows, however, that much that is implied in the relations is dropped as unserviceable for the required building. Our view is practically that urged in 1875 by W. K. Clifford: “The succession of feelings which constitutes a man’s consciousness is the reality which produces in our minds the perception of the motions of his brain.” [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 200]

· That is to say, that which the man himself knows as a succession of feelings is the reality which when probed by the appliances of an outside investigator affects their readings in such a way that it is identified as a configuration of brain-matter. Again Bertrand Russell writes: What the physiologist sees when he examines a brain is in the physiologist, not in the brain he is examining. What is in the brain by the time the physiologist examines it if it is dead, I do not profess to know; but while its owner was alive, part, at least, of the contents of his brain consisted of his percepts, thoughts, and feelings. Since his brain also consisted of electronics, we are compelled to conclude that an electron is a grouping of events, and that if the electron is in a human brain, some of the events composing it are likely to be some of the “mental states” of the man to whom the brain belongs. Or, at any rate, they are likely to be parts of such “mental states”-for it must not be assumed that part of a mental state must be a mental state. I do not wish to discuss what is meant by a “mental state”; the main point for us is that the term must include percepts. Thus a percept is an event or a group of events, each of which belongs to one or more of the groups constituting the electrons in the brain. This, I think, is the most concrete statement that can be made about electrons; everything else that can be said is more or less abstract and mathematical. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 200-201]

· It is difficult for the matter-of-fact physicist to accept the view that the substratum of everything is of mental character. But no one can deny that mind is the first and most direct thing in our experience, and all else is remote interference-inference either intuitive or deliberate. Probably it would never have occurred to us (as a serious hypothesis) that the world could be based on anything else, had we not been under the impression that there was a rival stuff with a more comfortable kind of “concrete” reality-something too inert and stupid to be capable of forging an illusion. The rival turns out to be a schedule of pointer readings, and, though a world of symbolic character can well be constructed from it, this is a mere shelving of the inquiry into the nature of the world of experience.  [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 202]

· We try to express much the same truth when we say that the physical entities are only an extract of pointer readings and beneath them is a nature continuous with our own. But I do not willingly put it into words or subject it to introspection. We have seen how in the physical world the meaning is greatly changed when we contemplate it as surveyed from without instead of, as it essentially must be, from within. By introspection we drag out the truth for external survey, but in the mystical feeling the truth is apprehended from within and is, as it should be, a part of ourselves. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 207]

Symbolic knowledge and intimate knowledge

· we shall have lost all inclination we may ever have had to laugh at it. It simply does not do to expose the inner workings of a joke. The classification concerns a symbolic knowledge of humour which preserves all the characteristics of a joke except its laughableness. The real appreciation must come spontaneously, not introspectively. I think this is a not unfair analogy for our mystical feeling for Nature, and I would venture even to apply it to our mystical experience of God. There are some to whom the sense of a divine presence irradiating the soul is one of the most obvious things of experience. In their view, a man without this sense is to be regarded as we regard a man without a sense of humour. The absence is a kind of mental deficiency. We may try to analyse the experience as we analyse humour, and construct a theology, or it may be an atheistic philosophy, which shall put into scientific form what is to be inferred about it. But let us not forget that the theology is symbolic knowledge, whereas the experience is intimate knowledge. And as laughter cannot be compelled by the scientific exposition of the structure of a joke, so a philosophic discussion of the attributes of God (or an impersonal substitute) is likely to miss the intimate response of the spirit which is the central point of the religious experIence. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 208]

21- Difense of Mysticism

· A DEFENCE OF THE MYSTIC might run something like this. We have acknowledged that the entities of physics can from their very nature form only a partial aspect of the reality. How are we to deal with the other part? It cannot be said that that other part concerns us less than the physical entities. Feelings, purpose, values, make up our consciousness as much as sense impressions. We follow up the sense impressions and find that they lead into an external world discussed by science; we follow up the other elements of our being and find that they lead not into a world of space and time, but surely somewhere. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 209]

· The mystic, if haled before a tribunal of scientists, might perhaps end his defence on this note. He would say: “The familiar material world of everyday conception, though lacking somewhat in scientific truth, is good enough to live in; in fact, the scientific world of pointer readings would be an impossible sort of place to inhabit. It is a symbolic world and the only thing that could live comfortably in it would be a symbol. But I am not a symbol; I am compounded of that mental activity which is, from your point of view, a nest of illusion, so that to accord with my own nature I have to transform even the world explored by my senses. But I am not merely made up of senses; the rest of my nature has to live and grow. I have to render account of that environment into which it has its outlet. My conception of my spiritual environment is not to be compared with your scientific world of pointer readings; it is an everyday world to be compared with the material world of familiar experience. I claim it as no more real and no less real than that. Primarily, it is not a world to be analysed, but a world to be lived in.” [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 210]

· If the defence may be considered to have held good against the first onslaught, perhaps the next stage of the attack will be an easy tolerance. “Very well. Have it your own way. It is a harmless sort of belief-not like a more dogmatic theology. You want a sort of spiritual playground for those queer tendencies in man’s nature, which sometimes take possession of him. Run away and play then, but do not bother the serious people who are making the world go round.”  [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 210]

REALITY AND MYSTICISM

· Reality seems to concern religious beliefs much more than any others. No one bothers as to whether there is a reality behind humour. The artist who tries to bring out the soul in his picture does not really care whether and in what sense the soul can be said to exist. Even the physicist is unconcerned as to whether atoms or electrons really exist; he usually asserts that they do, but, as we have seen, existence is there used in a domestic sense and no inquiry is made as to whether it is more than a conventional term. In most subjects (perhaps not excluding philosophy), it seems sufficient to agree on the things that we shall call real, and afterward try to discover what we mean by the word. And so it comes about that religion seems to be the one field of inquiry in which the question of reality and existence is treated as of serious and vital importance. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 211]

· Dr. Johnson felt himself getting tied up in argument over “Bishop Berkeley’s ingenious sophistry to prove the non-existence of matter, and that everything in the universe is merely ideal,” he answered, “striking his foot with mighty force against a large stone, till he rebounded from it, ‘I refute it thus.’ ” [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 212]

· The conflict [between science and religion] will not be averted unless both sides confine themselves to their proper domain, and a discussion which enables us to reach a better understanding as to the boundary should be a contribution towards a state of peace. There is still plenty of opportunity for frontier difficulties; a particular illustration will show this. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 219]

· A belief not, by any means, confined to the more dogmatic adherents of religion is that there is a future non-material existence in store for us. Heaven is nowhere in space, but it is in time. (All the meaning of the belief is bound up with the word future; there is no comfort in an assurance of bliss in some former state of existence.) On the other hand, the scientist declares that time and space are a single continuum, and the modern idea of a Heaven in time but not in space is, in this respect, more at variance with science than the pre-Copernican idea of a Heaven above our heads. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 219-220]

MYSTICAL RELIGION

· We have seen that the cyclic scheme of physics presupposes a background outside the scope of its investigations. In this background we must find, first, our own personality, and then perhaps a greater personality. The idea of a universal Mind or Logos would be, I think, a fairly plausible inference from the present state of scientific theory; at least it is in harmony with it. But if so, all that our inquiry justifies us in asserting is a purely colourless pantheism. Science cannot tell whether the world-spirit is good or evil, and its halting argument for the existence of a God might equally well be turned into an argument for the existence of a Devil. [Ken Wilber: Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, Shambhala, Boston, 2001. P 221]

الحمد لله الذي بنعمته تتمّ الصَّالِحات

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

The Last Three Minutes

Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of The Universe

 By: Paul Davies

للتحميل: (PDF) (DOC)

إعداد: أ. مصطفى نصر قديح

last-three-minutes

Chapter I: Doomsday

· The sun is a typical dwarf star, lying in a typical region of our galaxy, the Milky Way. The galaxy contains about a hundred billion stars, ranging in mass from a few percent to a hundred times the mass of the sun. These objects, together with a lot of gas clouds and dust and an uncertain number of comets, asteroids, planets, and black holes, slowly orbit the galactic center. Such a huge collection of bodies may give the impression that the galaxy is a very crowded system, until account is taken of the fact that the visible part of the Milky Way measures about a hundred thousand light-years across. It is shaped like a plate, with a central bulge; a few spiral arms made up of stars and gas are strung out around it. Our sun is located in one such spiral arm and is about thirty thousand light-years from the middle. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.4]

· All this space means that cosmic collisions are rare. The greatest threat to Earth is probably from our own backyard. Asteroids do not normally orbit close to Earth; they are largely confined to the belt between Mars and Jupiter. But the huge mass of Jupiter can disturb the asteroids’ orbits, occasionally sending one of them plunging in toward the sun, and thus menacing Earth. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.5]

· Comets pose another threat. These spectacular bodies are believed to originate in an invisible cloud situated about a light year from the sun. Here the threat comes not from Jupiter but from passing stars. The galaxy is not static; it rotates slowly, as its stars orbit the galactic nucleus. The sun and its little retinue of planets take about two hundred million years to complete one circuit of the galaxy, and on the way they have many adventures. Nearby stars may brush the cloud of comets, displacing a few toward the sun. As the comets plunge through the inner solar system, the sun evaporates some of their volatile material, and the solar wind blows it out in a long streamer-the famous cometary tail. Very rarely, a comet will collide with the Earth during its sojourn in the inner solar system. The comet does the damage, but the passing star must bear the responsibility. Fortunately, the huge distances between the stars insulate us against too many such encounters. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.5]

· Can humanity, in principle, survive forever? Possibly.  But we shall see that immortality does not come easily and may yet prove to be impossible. The universe itself is subject to physical laws that impose upon it a life cycle of its own: birth, evolution, and-perhaps-death. Our own fate is entangled inextricably with the fate of the stars. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.7]

CHAPTER 2: THE DYING UNIVERSE

· In the year 1856, the German physicist Hermann von Helmholtz made what is probably the most depressing prediction in the history of science. The universe, Helmholtz claimed, is dying. The basis of this apocalyptic pronouncement was the so-called second law of thermodynamics. Originally formulated in the early nineteenth century as a rather technical statement about the efficiency of heat engines, the second law of thermodynamics (now often termed simply “the second law”) was soon recognized as having universal significance-indeed, literallycosmic consequences.  [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.9]

· Overall, the entropy never goes down. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.11]

· If the universe as a whole can be considered as a closed system, on the basis that there is nothing “outside” it, then the second law of thermodynamics makes an important prediction: the total entropy of the universe never decreases. In fact, it goes on rising remorselessly. A good example lies right on our cosmic doorstep-the sun, which continuously pours heat into the cold depths of space. The heat goes off into the universe, never to return;  this is a spectacularly irreversible process. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.11]

· An obvious question is, Can the entropy of the universe go on rising forever? Imagine a hot body and a cold body brought into contact inside a thermally sealed container. Heat energy flows from hot to cold and the entropy rises, but eventually the cold body will warm up and the hot body will cool down so that they reach the same temperature. When that state is achieved, there will be no further heat transfer. The system inside the container will have reached a uniform temperature-a stable state of maximum entropy referred to as thermodynamic equilibrium. No further change is expected, as long as the system remains isolated; but if the bodies are disturbed in some way-say, by introducing more heat from outside the container-then further thermal activity will occur, and the entropy will rise to a higher maximum. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.11-12]

· Although Hermann von Helmholtz knew nothing of nuclear reactions (the source of the sun’s immense energy was a mystery at that time), he understood the general principle that all physical activity in the universe tends toward a final state of thermodynamic equilibrium, or maximum entropy, following which nothing of value is likely to happen for all eternity. This one-way slide toward equilibrium became known to the early thermos-dynamicists as the “heat death” of the universe. Individual systems, it was conceded, might be revitalized by external disturbances, but the universe itself had no “outside” by definition, so nothing could prevent an all-encompassing heat death. It seemed inescapable.[Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.12]

· The discovery that the universe was dying as an inexorable consequence of the laws of thermodynamics had a profoundly depressing effect on generations of scientists and philosophers. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.12]

· Bertrand Russell, for example, was moved to write the following gloomy assessment in his book Why I Am Not a Christian: All the labours of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and. . . the whole temple of man’s achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruins-all these things, if not quite beyond dispute, are yet so nearly certain that no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand. Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul’s habitation henceforth be safely built. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.12-13]

· Many other writers have concluded from the second law of thermodynamics and its implication of a dying universe that the universe is pointless and human existence ultimately futile. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.13]

· The prediction of a final cosmic heat death not only says something about the future of the universe but also implies something important about the past. It is clear that if the universe is irreversibly running down at a finite rate, then it cannot have existed forever. The reason is simple: if the universe were infinitely old, it would have died already. Something that runs down at a finite rate obviously cannot have existed for eternity. In other words, the universe must have come into existence a finite time ago. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.13]

· It is remarkable that this profound conclusion was not properly grasped by the scientists of the nineteenth century. The idea of the universe originating abruptly in a big bang had to await astronomical observations in the 1920s, but a definite genesis at some moment in the past seems to have been strongly suggested already, on purely thermo-dynamic grounds. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.13]

· Because this obvious inference was not made, however, nineteenth-century astronomers were baffled by a curious cosmological paradox. Known as Olbers’ paradox, after the German astronomer who is credited with its formulation, it poses a simple yet deeply significant question: Why is the sky dark at night? At first, the problem seems trivial. The night sky is dark because the stars are situated at immense distancesfrom us and so appear dim. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.14-15]

· But suppose that space has no limit. In this case, there could well be an infinity of stars. An infinite number of dim stars would add up to a lot of light. It is easy to calculate the cumulative starlight from an infinity of unchanging stars distributed more or less uniformly throughout space. The brightness of a star diminishes with distance, according to an inverse-square law. This means that at twice the distance the star is one-quarter as bright, at three times the distance it is one-ninth as bright, and so on. On the other hand, the number of stars increases the farther away you look. In fact, simple geometry shows that the number of stars, say, two hundred light-years away is four times the number one hundred light-years away, while the number three hundred light-years away is nine times the latter. So the number of stars goes up as the square of the distance, while the brightness goes down as the square of the distance. The two effects cancel each other out, and the result is that the total light coming from all the stars at a given distance does not depend on the distance. The same total light comes from stars two hundred light-years away as from those one hundred light-years away. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.15]

· The problem comes when we add up the light from all the stars at all possible distances. If the universe has no boundary, there seems to be no limit to the total amount of light received on Earth. Far from being dark, the night sky ought to be infinitely bright! [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.15]

· The problem is ameliorated somewhat when account is taken of the finite size of stars. The farther away a star is from Earth, the smaller is its apparent size. A nearby star will obscure a more distant star if it lies along the same line of sight. In an infinite universe this will happen infinitely often, and taking it into account changes the conclusion of the previous calculation. Instead of an infinite flux of light arriving on Earth, the flux is merely very large-roughly equivalent to the sun’s disk filling the sky, as would be the case if the Earth were located about a million miles from the solar surface. This would be a very uncomfortable location indeed; in fact, the Earth would be rapidly vaporized by the intense heat. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.15-16]

· The conclusion that an infinite universe ought to be a cosmic furnace is actually a restatement of the thermodynamic problem I discussed earlier. The stars pour heat and light into space, and this radiation slowly accumulates in the void. If the stars have been burning forever, it seems at first sight that the radiation must have an infinite intensity. But some radiation, while traveling through space, will strike other stars and be reabsorbed. (This is equivalent to noticing that nearby stars obscure the light from more distant ones.) Therefore, the intensity of the radiation will rise until an equilibrium is established at which the rate of emission just balances the rate of absorption. This state of thermodynamic equilibrium will occur when the radiation in space reaches the same temperature as the surfaces of the stars-a few thousand degrees. Thus the universe should be full of heat radiation with a temperature of several thousand degrees, and the night sky, instead of being dark, should glow at this temperature. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.16]

· Heinrich Olbers proposed a resolution to his own paradox. Noting the existence of large amounts of dust in the universe, he suggested that this material would absorb most of the starlight and thus darken the sky. Unfortunately, his idea, though imaginative, was fundamentally flawed: the dust would eventually heat up and start to glow with the same intensity as the radiation it absorbed. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.16]

· Another possible resolution is to abandon the assumption that the universe is infinite in extent. Suppose the stars are many but finite in number, so that the universe consists of a huge assemblage of stars surrounded by an infinite dark void; then most of the starlight will flow away into the space beyond, and be lost. But this simple resolution, too, has a fatal flaw-one that was, in fact, already familiar to Isaac Newton in the seventeenth century. The flaw concerns the nature of gravitation: Every star attracts every other star with a force of gravity, therefore all the stars in the assemblage would tend to fall together, congregating at the center of gravity. If the universe has a definite center and edge, it seems that it must collapse in on itself. An unsupported, finite, static universe is unstable, and subject to gravitational collapse. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.16-17]

· Here we need simply note the ingenious way in which Newton attempted to sidestep it. The universe can collapse to its center of gravity, Newton reasoned, only if it has a center of gravity. If the universe is both infinite in extent and (on average) uniformly populated with stars, then there will be no center and no edge. A given star will be pulled every which way by its many neighbors, like a gigantic tug-of-war in which ropes bristle in all directions. On average, all these tugs will cancel one another, and the star won’t move. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.17]

· So if we accept Newton’s resolution of the collapsing- cosmos paradox, we are back with an infinite universe again, and the problem of Olbers’ paradox. It seems that we must face either one or the other. But with the benefit of hindsight we can find a way between the horns of the dilemma. It is not the assumption that the universe is infinite in space that is wrong but the assumption that it is infinite in time. The paradox of the flaming sky arose because astronomers assumed that the universe was unchanging, that the stars were static and had been burning with undiminished intensity for all eternity. But we now know that both these assumptions were wrong. First, as I shall shortly explain, the universe is not static but expanding. Second, the stars cannot have been burning forever, because they would have long since run out of fuel. The fact that they are burning now implies that the universe must have come into existence at a finite time in the past. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.17-18]

· If the universe has a finite age, Olbers’ paradox goes away immediately. To see why, consider the case of a very distant star. Because light travels at a finite speed (300,000 kilometers a second, in a vacuum) we do not see the star as it is today but as it was when the light left it. For example, the bright star Betelgeuse is about six hundred and fifty light-years away, so it appears to us now as it was six hundred and fifty years ago. If the universe came into existence, say, ten billion years ago, then we would not see any stars located more than ten billion light-years away from Earth. The universe may be infinite in spatial extent, but if it has a finite age we cannot in any case see beyond a certain finite distance. So the cumulative starlight from an infinite number of stars of finite age will be finite, and possibly insignificantly small. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.18]

· The same conclusion follows from thermodynamic considerations. The time taken for the stars to fill space with heat radiation and reach a common temperature is immense, because there is so much empty space in the universe. There has simply been insufficient time since the beginning for the universe to have reached thermodynamic equilibrium by now. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, Basic Books, 1994, p.18]

· All the evidence points, then, to a universe that has a limited life span. It came into existence at some finite time in the past, it is currently vibrant with activity, but it is inevitably degenerating toward a heat death at some stage in the future. A host of questions immediately arises. When will the end come? What form will it take? Will it be slow or sudden? And is it conceivable that the heat- death conclusion, as scientists currently understand it, might turn out to be wrong? [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, Basic Books, 1994, p.18]

· the laws of thermodynamics suggest a universe of limited longevity. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.19]

· The fact that space can stretch may seem surprising, but it is a concept that has been familiar to scientists since 1915, when Einstein published his general theory of relativity. This theory proposes that gravity is actually a manifestation of the curvature, or distortion, of space (strictly, spacetime). In a sense, space is elastic, and can bend or stretch in a manner that depends on the gravitational properties of the material in it. This idea has been amply confirmed by observation. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.20]

· If the universe is expanding, it must have been more compressed in the past. Hubble’s observations, and the much improved ones made since, provide a measure of the rate of expansion. If we could run the cosmic movie backward, we would find all the galaxies merging together in the remote past. From a knowledge of the present rate of expansion, we can deduce that this merged state must have occurred many billions of years ago. However, it is hard to be exact, for two reasons. First, the measurements are difficult to perform precisely and are subject to a variety of errors. Even though modern telescopes have greatly increased the number of galaxies investigated, the expansion rate is still uncertain to within a factor of two, and is the subject of lively controversy. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.22]

· In other words, the material that makes up all the galaxies we can see today emerged from a single point, explosively fast! This is an idealized description of the so-called big bang. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.22-23]

· But are we justified in extrapolating the curve all the way back to the beginning? Many cosmologists believe so. Given that we expect the universe to have had a beginning (for the reasons I discussed in the previous chapter), it certainly looks as though the big bang is it. If so, then the beginning of the curve marks more than merely an explosion. Remember that the expansion being graphed here is that of space itself, so zero volume doesn’t mean merely that matter is squashed to an infinite density. It means that space is compressed to nothing. In other words, the big bang is the origin of space as well as of matter and energy. It is most important to realize that according to this picture there was no preexisting void in which the big bang happened.

· If the big-bang theory, with its strange implications for the cosmic origin, rested only upon the evidence for the expansion of the universe, many cosmologists would probably reject it. However, important additional evidence in support of the theory came in 1965, with the discovery that the universe is bathed in heat radiation. This radiation comes at us from space with the same intensity in all directions of the sky and has been traveling more or less undisturbed since shortly after the big bang. It thus provides a snapshot of the state of the primeval universe. The spectrum of the heat radiation matches exactly the glow that exists inside a furnace that has reached a state of thermodynamic equilibrium-a form of radiation known to physicists as blackbody radiation. We are thus led to conclude that the early universe was in such a state of equilibrium, with all regions at a common temperature. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.24]

· False vacuums, it should be emphasized, remain a purely theoretical idea, and their properties depend a great deal on the particular theory that is being invoked. They emerge naturally, however, in most recent theories that aim to unify the four fundamental forces of nature: gravitation and electromagnetism, familiar from daily life, and two short-range nuclear forces called the weak force and the strong force.[Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.34]

· In the case of the false vacuum, there is both a colossal energy and a comparably colossal pressure, so that they vie for gravitational dominance. The crucial property, however, is that the pressure is negative. The false vacuum doesn’t push: it sucks. A negative pressure produces a negative gravitational effect-which is to say, it antigravitates. So the gravitational action of the false vacuum involves a competition between the huge attractive effect of its energy and the huge repulsive effect of its negative pressure. It turns out that the pressure wins, and the net effect is to create a repulsive force so large that it can blow the universe apart in a split second. It is this gargantuan inflationary push that causes the universe to double in size as rapidly as every 10-34 seconds. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.34]

· The false vacuum is inherently unstable. Like all excited quantum states, it wants to decay back to the ground state-the true vacuum. It probably does this after a few dozen ticks. Being a quantum process, it is subject to the inevitable indeterminism and random fluctuations discussed above in connection with the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. This means that the decay will not occur uniformly throughout space: there will be fluctuations. Some theorists suggest that these fluctuations may be the source of the COBE ripples. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.34-35]

· If the inflationary scenario is on the right track-and many leading cosmologists believe that it is-then the basic structure and physical contents of the universe were determined by processes that were complete after a mere 10– 32 seconds had elapsed. The postinflationary universe underwent many additional changes at the subatomic level, as the primeval material developed into the particles and atoms that constitute the cosmic stuff of our epoch, but most of the additional processing of matter was complete after only three minutes or so. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.35]

· How do the first three minutes relate to the last? Just as the fate of a bullet fired toward a target depends critically on the aim of the gun, so the fate of the universe depends sensitively on its initial conditions. We shall see how the way in which the universe expanded from its primeval origins, and the nature of the material that emerged from the big bang, serve to determine its ultimate future. The beginning and the end of the universe are deeply inter-twined.[Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.35-36]

CHAPTER 4: STAR DOOM

· There is a simple relation between the pressure of a gas and its temperature. When a gas of fixed volume is heated, the pressure normally rises in proportion to the temperature. Conversely, when the temperature falls, so does the pressure. The interior of a star has an enormous pressure because it is so hot-many millions of degrees. The heat is produced by nuclear reactions. For most of its lifetime, the principal reaction that powers a star is the conversion of hydrogen into helium by fusion. This reaction requires a very high temperature to overcome the electric repulsion that acts between nuclei. Fusion energy can sustain a star for billions of years, but sooner or later the fuel runs low, and the reactor starts to falter. When this happens, the pressure support is threatened and the star begins to lose its long battle with gravity. A star essentially lives on bor- rowed time, staving off gravitational collapse by marshaling its reserves of fuel. But every kilowatt that flows away from the stellar surface into the depths of space serves to hasten the end. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.42]

· The end of the nuclear-burning chain is marked by the element iron, which has a particularly stable nuclear structure. The synthesis of elements heavier than iron by nuclear fusion actually costs energy rather than liberates it, so that by the time a star has synthesized a core of iron, it is doomed. Once the central regions of the star can no longer produce heat energy, the odds tip fatally in favor of the force of gravity. The star teeters on the edge of catastrophic instability, eventually toppling into its own gravitational pit. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.43]

· If the mass of the core is somewhat larger-say, several solar masses-it cannot settle down as a neutron star. The force of gravity is so strong that even neutronic matter- the stiffest-known substance-cannot resist further compression. The stage is then set for an event more awesome and more catastrophic than the supernova. The core of the star continues to collapse, and in less than a millisecond it creates a black hole and disappears into it. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.43]

· Our very existence in the universe is a consequence of the extraordinary stability of stars like the sun, which can burn steadily with little change for billions of years, long enough to allow life to evolve and flourish. But in the red-giant phase this stability will come to an end. The succeeding stages in the career of a star like the sun are complicated, erratic, and violent, with relatively sudden changes of behavior and appearance. Aging stars may spend millions of years pulsating, or sloughing off shells of gas. The helium in the star’s core may ignite to form carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen-thereby providing vital energy that will sustain the star a while longer. By blowing off its outer envelope into space, a star can end up stripped down to its carbon-oxygen core. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.47-48]

CHAPTER 5: NIGHTFALL

· The Milky Way blazes with the light of a hundred billion stars, and everyone of them is doomed. In ten billion years, most that we see now will have faded from sight, snuffed out from lack of fuel, victims of the second law of thermodynamics.[Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.49]

· The end of the universe will not come when the cosmic lights go out, however, for there is another source of energy even more powerful than nuclear reactions. Gravity, the weakest of nature’s forces at the atomic level, becomes dominant on the astronomical scale. It may be relatively gentle in its effects, yet it is utterly persistent. For billions of years, stars shore themselves up against their own weight by nuclear burning. But all the while gravity is waiting to claim them. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.50]

· The gravitational force between two protons in an atomic nucleus is a mere ten-trillion-trillion-trillionth (10-37 ) of the strong nuclear force. But gravity is cumulative. Every additional proton in a star adds to the total weight. Eventually, the gravitational force is overwhelming. And this overwhelming force is the key that unlocks immense power. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.50]

· If the black hole has a mass of ten million suns-similar to the hole that may lie at the center of the Milky Way-and is nonrotating, then the duration experienced by the astronaut in falling from the event horizon to the annihilating singularity will be about three minutes. Those last three minutes will be very uncomfortable; in practice, spaghettification will kill the hapless individual long before the singularity is reached. During this final phase, the astronaut will in any case be unable to see the fatal singularity, because light cannot escape from it. If the black hole in question is of just one solar mass, its radius is about three kilometers, and the journey from event horizon to singularity will occupy just a few microseconds. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.64]

CHAPTER 6: WEIGHING THE UNIVERSE

· In fact, it turns out that the expanding universe behaves in a manner closely analogous to a body projected from Earth, even if there is no well-defined edge. If the rate of expansion is fast enough, the retreating galaxies will escape from the cumulative gravity of all the other material in the universe, and the expansion will continue forever. On the other hand, if the rate is too slow, the expansion will eventually be brought to a halt and the universe will start to contract. The galaxies will then “come down” again, and the ultimate cosmic catastrophe will ensue, as the universe collapses. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.68]

· Which of these scenarios will come to pass? The answer depends on a comparison of two numbers. On the one hand, there is the rate of expansion; on the other, there is the total gravitational pull of the universe-in effect, the weight of the universe. The bigger the pull, the faster the universe must expand to overcome it. Astronomers can measure the rate of expansion directly by observing the redshift effect; however, there is still some controversy over the answer. The second quantity- the weight of the universe-is even more problematical. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.68]

· How do you weigh the universe? It seems a daunting task; clearly we cannot do it directly. Nevertheless, we might be able to deduce its weight using the theory of gravitation. A lower limit is straightforward to attain. It is possible to weigh the sun by measuring its gravitational pull on the planets. We know that the Milky Way contains about a hundred billion stars of roughly one solar mass on average, so this provides a crude lower limit to the mass of the galaxy. We can now tot up how many galaxies there are in the universe. You can’t add them individually- there are too many-but a good guesstimate is ten billion. This comes to 10 21 solar masses, or about 10 48 tons in all. Taking the radius of this assemblage of galaxies to be fifteen billion light-years, we can calculate a minimum value for the escape velocity from the universe: the answer turns out to be about 1 percent of the velocity of light. We can conclude that if the weight of the universe were due only to the stars the universe would escape its own gravitational pull and go on expanding indefinitely. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.68-69]

· Overall, estimates of the amount of dark matter in the universe vary from one astronomer to another. It is likely that dark matter outweighs luminous matter by at least ten to one, and figures of a hundred to one are sometimes ­quoted. It is an astonishing thought that astronomers don’t know what most of the universe consists of. The stars that they had long supposed accounted for most of the universe turn out to make up a rather small portion of the total. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.78-79]

· Given our present state of knowledge, we cannot say whether the universe will expand forever or not. If it will eventually start to contract, the question arises of when this will happen. The answer depends on precisely by how much the weight of the universe exceeds the critical weight. If it is 1 percent more than the critical weight, the universe will start contracting in about a trillion years; if it is 10 percent more, contraction is hastened to one hundred billion years from now. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.79]

· One of the predictions of the inflationary theory concerns the amount of matter in the universe. Suppose the universe starts out with a mass density much greater or less than the critical value at which collapse just fails to occur. When the universe embarks on the inflationary phase, the density changes dramatically, and in fact the theory predicts that it rapidly approaches the critical density. The longer the universe inflates, the closer the density gets to criticality. In the standard version of the theory, inflation lasts for only a very brief duration, so unless by a miracle the universe began with exactly the critical density, it will emerge from the inflationary phase with a density slightly greater or less than criticality. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.80]

· How long did inflation last? Nobody knows, but for the theory to successfully explain the numerous cosmological puzzles I have described, it must endure for a certain min­imum number of ticks (roughly one hundred; the figure is rather elastic). However, there is no upper limit. If by some extraordinary coincidence the universe inflated by only the minumum needed to explain our current observations, then the density after inflation could still be significantly above (or below) the critical value-in which case forthcoming observations should be able to determine the epoch of contraction, or that there will be no contraction. Much more likely is that inflation continued for many more ticks than the minimum, resulting in a density very close indeed to the critical value. This means that if the universe is going to contract it won’t do so for an enormous length of time yet-very many times the present age of the universe. If that is the case, human beings will never know the fate of the universe they inhabit. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.80-81]

CHAPTER 7: ­FOREVER IS A LONG TIME

· The important thing about infinity is that it is not just a very big number. Infinity is qualitatively different from something that is merely stupendously, unimaginably huge. Suppose the universe were to continue expanding forever so that is has no end. For it to endure for all eternity means that it would have an infinite lifetime. If this were the case, any physical process, however slow or improbable, would have to happen sometime, just as a monkey forever tinkering on a typewriter would eventually type the works of William Shakespeare. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.83]

· The Hawking effect can be properly understood only with the help of the quantum theory of fields, a difficult branch of physics that I have already alluded to in connection with the inflationary-universe theory. Recall that a central tenet of the quantum theory is Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, according to which quantum particles do not possess sharply defined values for all their attributes. For example, a photon or an electron cannot have a definite value for its energy at a specific moment of time. In effect, a subatomic particle can “borrow” energy, as long as it is paid back promptly. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.86]

· As I noted in chapter 3, energy uncertainty leads to some curious effects, such as the fleeting presence in apparently empty space of short-lived, or virtual, particles. This leads to the strange concept of the “quantum vacuum”- a vacuum that, far from being vacuous and inert, seethes with restless virtual-particle activity. Although this activity usually goes unnoticed, it can produce physical effects. One such effect occurs when the vacuum activity is disturbed by the presence of a gravitational field. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.86]

· An extreme case concerns the virtual particles that appear near the event horizon of a black hole. Recall that virtual particles live on borrowed energy for a very short time, after which the energy must be “paid back” and the particles obliged to disappear. If for any reason the virtual particles receive a big enough energy boost from some external source during their brief allotted time, the loan can be cleared on their behalf. There is then no longer any obligation for the particles to disappear to pay it off. The effect of this benefaction is therefore to promote the virtual particles to real particles, which are able to enjoy a more or less permanent existence. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.87]

· The distance a virtual particle may traverse depends on how long it lives, which in turn is dictated-via the Heisenberg uncertainty principle-by the size of the energy loan. The bigger the loan, the shorter the life of the particle. A major component of the energy loan is the particle’s rest-mass energy. In the case of an electron, the loan has to be at least equal to the electron’s rest-mass energy. For a particle with a larger rest mass-for example, a proton-the loan would be bigger and hence briefer, so the distance traveled would be less. Therefore the production of protons by the Hawking effect requires a black hole even smaller than one of nuclear dimensions. Conversely, particles with a lower rest mass than electrons-for example, neutrinos-would be created by a black hole of greater than nuclear dimensions. Photons, which have zero rest mass, will be created by a black hole of any size. Even a black hole of one solar mass will have a Hawking flux of photons, and possibly neutrinos too; however, in such cases the intensity of the flux is very feeble. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.88]

· We can now paint a picture of what the universe would be like after all these incredibly slow processes have been completed. First, there will be the stuff left over from the big bang, the cosmic background that has been there all along. This consists of photons and neutrinos, and maybe some other completely stable particles we don’t yet know about. The energy of these particles will go on declining as the universe expands, until they form a totally negligible background. The ordinary matter of the universe will have disappeared. All the black holes will have evaporated. Most of the mass of the black holes will have gone into photons, though some will also be in the form of neutrinos, and a very tiny fraction, emitted during the final explosive burst of the holes, will be in the form of electrons, protons, neutrons, and heavier particles. The heavier particles all rapidly decay, and the neutrons and protons decay more slowly, leaving a few electrons and positrons to join those others that are the last remaining residue of the ordinary matter we see today. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.98]

· The universe of the very far future would thus be an inconceivably dilute soup of photons, neutrinos, and a dwindling number of electrons and positrons, all slowly moving farther and farther apart. As far as we know, no further basic physical processes would ever happen. No ­significant event would occur to interrupt the bleak sterility of a universe that has run its course yet still faces eternallife-perhaps eternal death would be a better description. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.98-99]

· This dismal image of cold, dark, featureless near-noth- ingness is the closest that modern cosmology comes to the “heat death” of nineteenth-century physics. The time taken for the universe to degenerate to this state is so long that it defies human imagination. Yet it is but an infinitesimal portion of the infinite time available. As remarked, forever is a long time. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.99]

· Although the decay of the universe occupies a duration so vastly in excess of human time scales that it is virtually meaningless to us, people are still eager to ask, “What will happen to our descendants? Are they inevitably doomed by a universe that will slowly but inexorably shut down around them?” Given the rather unpromising state that science predicts for the universe of the far future, it seems that any form of life must ultimately be doomed. But death is not that simple. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.99]

CHAPTER 8: ­LIFE IN THE SLOW LANE

· In chapter 2, I noted that Bertrand Russell, in a fit of depression over the consequences of the second law of thermodynamics, wrote in anguished terms about the ­futility of human existence given the fact that the solar system is doomed. Russell clearly felt that the apparently inevitable demise of our habitat somehow rendered human life pointless or even farcical. This belief certainly contributed to his atheism. Would Russell have felt better had he known that black-hole gravitational energy could outperform the sun many times and last for trillions of years after the solar system had disintegrated? Probably not. It is not the actual duration of time that counts but the idea that sooner or later the universe will become uninhabitable; this idea makes some people feel that our existence is pointless. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.102-103]

· A characteristic feature of information processing is that it dissipates energy. This is the reason the word processor on which I am typing this book must be connected to the main electricity supply. The amount of energy expended per bit of information depends on thermodynamic considerations. Dissipation is least when the processor operates at a temperature close to that of its environment. The human brain and most computers operate very inefficiently, and dissipate copious uantities of excess energy in the form of heat. The brain, for example, produces a sizable fraction of the body’s heat, and many ­computers need a special cooling system to prevent them from melting. The origin of this waste heat can be traced to the very logic on which the information processing operates, which necessitates discarding information. For example, if a computer carries out the computation 1 + 2 = 3, then two bits of input information (1 and 2) are replaced by one bit of output information (3). Once the computation has been performed, the computer may discard the input information, thus replacing two bits by one. Indeed, to prevent its memory banks from clogging up, the machine has to discard such extraneous information all the time. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.108-109]

· The process of erasure is by definition irreversible, and therefore involves an increase in entropy. So it seems that on very basic grounds information gathering and processing will inevitably irreversibly deplete the available energy and raise the entropy of the universe. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.109]

· Freeman Dyson has contemplated the limitations faced by a community of sentient beings-who are restricted by the need to dissipate energy at a certain rate, if only in order to think-as the universe cools toward a heat death. The first constraint is that the beings must have a temperature higher than that of their environment, otherwise the waste heat would not flow out of them. Secondly, the laws of physics limit the rate at which a physical system can radiate energy into its environment. Obviously, the beings cannot operate for long if they produce waste heat faster than they can get rid of it. These requirements place a lower limit on the rate at which the beings inevitably dissipate energy. An essential requirement is that there must exist a source of free energy to fuel this vital heat outflow. Dyson concludes that all such sources are destined to dwindle in the far cosmic future, so that all sentient beings eventually face an energy crisis. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.109]

· As far as we can tell, the universe started out in a more or less featureless state. With time, the richness and variety of physical systems we see today has emerged. The history of the universe is therefore the history of the growth of organized complexity. This seems like a paradox. I began my account by describing how the second law of thermodynamics tells us that the universe is dying, sliding inexorably from an initial state of low entropy to a final state of maximum entropy and zero prospects. So are things getting better or getting worse? [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.116]

· There is actually no paradox, because organized complexity is different from entropy. Entropy, or disorder, is the negative of information, or order: the more informa­tion you process-that is, the more order you generate the greater the entropic price paid: order here gives rise to disorder somewhere else. Such is the second law; entropy always wins. But organization and complexity are not merely order and information. They refer to certain types of order and information. We recognize an important distinction between say, a bacterium and a crystal. Both are ordered, but in a different way. A crystal lattice represents regimented uniformity-starkly beautiful but essentially boring. By contrast, the elaborately arranged organization of a bacterium is richly interesting. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.116-117]

CHAPTER 9: ­LIFE IN THE FAST LANE

· The early stages of cosmological contraction are not in the least threatening. Like a ball reaching the top of its trajectory, the universe will start its inward fall very slowly. Let us suppose for the moment that the high point is reached in a hundred billion years’ time: there will still be plenty of stars burning then, and our descendants will be able to follow the motions of galaxies with optical telescopes-watching as the galactic clusters gradually slow in their retreat and then begin falling back toward each other. The galaxies we see today will be about four times farther away at that time. Because of the greater age of the universe, astronomers will be able to see about ten times as far as we can, so their observable universe will encom­pass many more galaxies than are visible to us at our cosmic epoch. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.119-120]

· The “big crunch,” as far as we understand it, is not just the end of matter. It is the end of everything. Because time itself ceases at the big crunch, it is meaningless to ask what happens next, just as it is meaningless to ask what happened before the big bang. There is no “next” for any-thing at all to happen-no time even for inactivity nor space for emptiness. A universe that came from nothing in the big bang will disappear into nothing at the big crunch, its glorious few zillion years of existence not even a memory. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.123]

· CHAPTER 10: ­SUDDEN DEATH-AND REBIRTH

· As I have explained, when astronomers peer at the heavens, they do not see the universe in its present state, displayed like an instantaneous snapshot. Because of the time that light takes to reach us from distant regions, we see any given object in space as it was when the light was emitted. The telescope is also a timescope. The farther away the object is situated, the farther back in time will be the image we see today. In effect, the astronomer’s universe is a backward slice through space and time, known technically as the “past light cone,” and epicted in figure 10.1. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.127]

· According to the theory of relativity, no information or physical influence can travel faster than light. Therefore, the past light cone marks the limit not only of all knowledge about the universe but of all events that can possibly affect us at this moment. It follows that any physical influence coming at us at the speed of light comes entirely without warning. If catastrophe is heading our way up the past light cone, there will be no harbinger of doom. The first we will know about it will be when it hits us.  [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.127-128]

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· FIGURE 10.1: ­From a particular point P in space and time-which might be here and now, for example-an astronomer looking out into the universe actually sees the universe as it was in the past, not as it is now. The information arriving at P travels up along the “past light cone” through P, marked by the oblique lines. These are the paths of light signals converging on Earth from distant regions of the universe in the past. Because no information or physical influence can travel faster than light, the observer at the moment depicted can know only about influences or events happening in the shaded region. An apocalyptic event outside the past light cone might be sending disastrous influences (wavy line) racing toward Earth, but the observer would be blissfully unaware of this until the influences arrived. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.128]

· To give a simple hypothetical example, if the sun were to blow up now, we would not be aware of the fact until about eight and a half minutes later, this being the time it takes for light to reach us from the sun. Similarly, it is entirely possible that a nearby star has already blown up as a supernova-an event that might bathe Earth in deadly radiation-but that we shall remain in blissful ignorance of the fact for a few more years yet while the bad news ­races across the galaxy at the speed of light. So although the universe may look quiet enough at the moment, we can’t be sure that something really horrible hasn’t already happened. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.128-129]

· But what about events of universe-wrecking proportions? Is it possible that a convulsion can occur that would destroy the entire cosmos at a stroke-in midlife, so to speak? Could a truly cosmic catastrophe already have been triggered, its unpleasant effects even now sweeping up our past light cone toward our fragile niche in space and time? [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.129]

· In 1980, the physicists Sidney Coleman and Frank De Luccia published a portentous paper with the innocuous title “Gravitational Effects on and of Vacuum Decay” in the journal Physical Review D. The vacuum to which they refer is not merely empty space but the vacuum state of quantum physics. In chapter 3, I explained that what appears to us as emptiness is in reality seething with ephemeral quantum activity, as ghostly virtual particles appear and disappear again in a random frolic. Recall that this vacuum state may not be unique; there could be several quantum states, all appearing empty but enjoying different levels of quantum activity and different associated energies. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.129]

· It is a well-established principle of quantum physics that higher-energy states tend to decay into lower-energy states. ­An atom, for example, may exist in a range of excited states, all of which are unstable, and will try to decay to the lowest energy, or “ground,” state, which is stable. Similarly, an excited vacuum will try to decay to the lowest energy, or “true,” vacuum. The inflationary-universe scenario is based on the theory that the very early universe had an excited, or “false,” vacuum state, during which time it inflated frenetically, but that in a very short time this state decayed to the true vacuum and inflation ceased. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.129-130]

· The usual assumption is that the present state of the universe corresponds to the true vacuum; that is, empty space at our epoch is the vacuum with the lowest possible energy. But can we be sure of that? Coleman and De Luccia consider the chilling possibility that the present vacuum may be not the true vacuum but merely a long-lived, metastable, false vacuum that has lulled us into a false sense of security because it has endured for a few billion years. We know of many quantum systems, such as uranium nuclei, that have half-lives of billions of years. Suppose the present vacuum falls into this category? The “decay” of the vacuum mentioned in the title of Coleman and De Luccia’s paper refers to the catastrophic possibility that the present vacuum may suddenly fail and pitch the cosmos into an even lower energy state, with dire consequences for us (and all else besides). [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.130]

· The key to the Coleman and De Luccia hypothesis is the phenomenon of quantum tunneling. This can best be illustrated with the simple case of a quantum particle trapped by a barrier of force. Suppose the particle sits in a little valley bounded on either side by hills, as shown in figure 10.2. Of course, these don’t have to be real hills; they could be electric or nuclear force fields, for example. In the absence of the energy needed to surmount the hills (or overcome the force barrier), the particle appears to be trapped forever. But recall that all quantum particles are subject to Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, which permits energy to be borrowed for small durations. This opens up an intriguing possibility. If the particle can borrow enough energy to reach the top of the hill and get across to the other side before having to pay the energy back, it can escape from the well. In effect, it will have “tunneled” through the barrier. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.130-131]

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· FIGURE 10.2: ­Tunnel effect. If a quantum particle is trapped in a valley between two hills, there is a small probability that it can escape by borrowing energy and hopping over the hill. In effect, it is observed to tunnel through the barrier. A familiar case occurs when alpha particles in the nuclei of certain elements tunnel through the nuclear force barrier and flyaway, a phenomenon known as alpha radioactivity. In this example, the “hill” is due to nuclear and electric forces, and the picture drawn here is schematic only. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.131]

· The probability for a quantum particle to tunnel out of a well like this depends very sensitively on both the height and the width of the barrier. The higher the barrier, the more energy the particle must borrow to reach the top, and so, according to the uncertainty principle, the shorter the duration of the loan must be. Hence high barriers can be tunneled through only if they are also thin, enabling the particle to traverse them quickly enough to repay the loan on time. For this reason, the tunnel effect is not noticed in daily life: macroscopic barriers are far too high ­and wide for significant tunneling to occur. In principle, a human being can walk through a brick wall, but the quantum-tunneling probability for this miracle is exceedingly small. On an atomic scale, however, tunneling is very common; for example, it is the mechanism by which alpha radioactivity occurs. The tunnel effect is also exploited in semiconductors and other electronic devices, such as the scanning tunneling electron microscope. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.131-132]

· With regard to the problem of the possible decay of the present vacuum, Coleman and De Luccia speculate that the quantum fields making up the vacuum might be subject to a (metaphorical) landscape of forces like that shown in figure 10.3. The present vacuum state corresponds to the base of valley A. The true vacuum, however, corresponds to the base of valley B, which is lower than A. The vacuum would like to decay from the higher energy state A into the lower energy state B, but it is eterred from so doing by the “hill,” or force field, that separates them. Although the hill impedes decay, it does not entirely prevent it, on account of the tunnel effect: the system can tunnel through from valley A to valley B. If this theory is correct, then the universe is living on orrowed time, hung up in valley A, but with an ever present chance that it will tunnel into valley B at some arbitrary moment. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.132-133]

· Coleman and De Luccia were able to model the decay of the vacuum mathematically-to trace the manner in which the phenomenon occurs. They found that decay will start at a random location in space, in the form of a tiny bubble of true vacuum surrounded by the unstable false vacuum. As soon as the bubble of true vacuum has formed, it will expand at a rate that rapidly approaches the speed of light, engulfing a larger and larger region of the false vacuum and instantaneously converting it into true vacuum. The energy difference between the two states-which might have the sort of enormous value I discussed in chapter 3-is concentrated in the bubble wall, which sweeps across the universe spelling destruction to everything in its path. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.133]

· The first we would know about the existence of a true-vacuum bubble would be when the wall arrived and the quantum structure of our world suddenly changed. We wouldn’t even have three minutes’ warning. Instantaneously, the nature of all subatomic particles and their interactions would alter drastically; for example, protons might immediately decay, in which case all matter would abruptly evaporate. What was left would then find itself inside the bubble of true vacuum-a state of affairs very different from what we observe at the moment. The most significant difference concerns gravitation. Coleman and De Luccia found that the energy and pressure of the true vacuum would create a gravitational field so intense that the region embraced by the bubble would collapse, even as the bubble wall expands, in less than microseconds. No ­gentle fall toward a big crunch this time; instead, abrupt annihilation of everything, as the bubble interior implodes into a spacetime singularity. In short, instant crunch. “This is disheartening,” remark the authors, in a masterful understatement, and they continue: ­The possibility that we are living in a false vacuum has never been a cheering one to contemplate. Vacuum decay is the ultimate ecological catastrophe; . . . after vacuum decay not only is life as we know it impossible, so is chemistry as we know it. However, one could always draw stoic comfort from the possibility that perhaps in the course of time the new vacuum would sustain, if not life as we know it, then at least some structures capable of knowing joy. This possibility has now been eliminated. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.133-134]

· The appalling consequences of vacuum decay became the subject of much discussion among physicists and astronomers following the publication of Coleman and De Luccia’s paper. In a follow-up study published in the journal Nature, the cosmologist Michael Turner and the physicist Frank Wilczek arrived at an apocalyptic conclusion: “From the point of view of microphysics, then, it is quite conceivable that our vacuum is metastable. . . without warning a bubble of true vacuum could nucleate somewhere in the Universe and move outwards at the speed of light.” [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.134]

· Shortly after the Turner and Wilczek paper appeared, Piet Hut and Martin Rees, also writing in Nature, raised the alarming specter that the formation of a universe-destroying vacuum bubble might be inadvertently triggered by particle physicists themselves! The worry is that the very high-energy collision of subatomic particles might create conditions-just for an instant, in a very small region of space-which would encourage the vacuum to decay. Once the transition had occurred, even on a microscopic scale, there would be no stopping the newly ­formed bubble from rapidly ballooning to astronomical proportions. Should we place a ban on the next generation of particle accelerators? Hut and Rees gave welcome reassurance, pointing out that cosmic rays achieve higher energies than we can make inside our particle accelerators, and that these cosmic rays have been hitting nuclei in the Earth’s atmosphere for billions of years without triggering vacuum decay. On the other hand, with an improvement by a factor of a few hundred or so in accelerator energies, we might be capable of creating collisions more energetic than any that have occurred from cosmicray impacts on Earth. The real issue, however, is not whether bubble formation could occur on Earth but whether it has occurred anywhere in the observable universe at any time since the big bang. Hut and Rees noted that on very rare occasions two cosmic rays will suffer a head-on collision, with energies a billion times higher than those possible in existing accelerators. So we don’t need a regulatory authority yet. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.134-135]

· Paradoxically, vacuum-bubble formation-the same phenomenon that threatens the very existence of the cos-mos-could, in a slightly different context, prove to be its inhabitants’ only feasible salvation. The one sure way to escape the death of the universe is to create a new one and escape into it. This may sound like the last word in fanciful speculation, but “baby universes” have been much discussed in recent years, and the argument for their existence has a serious side to it. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.135]

· The subject was originally raised by a group of Japanese physicists in 1981, who studied a simple mathematical model of the behavior of a small bubble of false vacuum surrounded by true vacuum-a situation the inverse of that just discussed. What was predicted is that the false vacuum would inflate in the manner described in chapter 3, rapidly expanding into a large universe in a big bang. At first, it seems that the inflation of the false-vacuum bubble ­must cause the bubble wall to expand so that the region of false vacuum grows at the expense of the region of true vacuum. But this contradicts the expectation that it is the lower energy true vacuum that should displace the higher energy false vacuum and not the other way about. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.135-136]

· Oddly, viewed from the true vacuum, the region of space occupied by the bubble of false vacuum does not appear to inflate. In fact, it looks more like a black hole. (In this it resembles the Tardis, Dr. Who’s time machine, which appears bigger on the inside than it does on the out-side.) A hypothetical observer situated inside the false-vacuum bubble would see the universe swell to enormous proportions, but, viewed from outside, the bubble remains compact. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.136]

· One way to envisage this peculiar state of affairs is by analogy with a rubber sheet that blisters up in one place and balloons out (see figure 10.4). The balloon forms a sort of baby universe connected to the mother universe by an umbilical cord, or “wormhole.” The throat of the worm-hole appears, from the mother universe, as a black hole. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.136]

· This configuration is unstable; the black hole quickly evaporates by the Hawking effect, and disappears from the mother universe completely. As a result, the wormhole is pinched off, and the baby universe, now disconnected from the mother universe, becomes a new and independent universe in its own right. The development of the child universe following this budding-off from the mother is the same as it supposedly was for our universe: a brief period of inflation followed by the usual deceleration. The model carries the obvious implication that our own universe may have originated in this way-as the progeny of another universe. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.136]

· None of these ideas amounts to much more than wild conjecture, but the subject of cosmology is still a very young science. The fanciful speculations considered above at least serve as an antidote to the gloomy prognoses developed in the earlier chapters. They hint at the possibility that even if our descendants must one day face the last three minutes, conscious beings of some sort may always exist somewhere. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.139]

CHAPTER II: ­WORLDS WITHOUT END?

· The appeal of the cyclic model is that it evades the specter of total annihilation, without replacing it by eternal degeneration and decay. To avoid the futility of endless repetition, the cycles should be somehow different from each other. In one popular version of the theory, each new cycle emerges phoenix like from the fiery death of its predecessor. From this pristine condition, it develops new systems and structures and explores its own rich novelty before the slate is wiped clean once more at the next big crunch. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.142]

· Attractive though the theory may seem, it unfortunately suffers from grave physical problems. One of these is identifying a plausible process that will allow the collapsing universe to bounce at some very high density rather than to annihilate itself in a big crunch. There has to be some sort of antigravitational force that becomes overwhelmingly large at the late stages of collapse in order to reverse the momentum of implosion and counter the formidable crushing power of gravity. No such force is known at present, and if it existed its properties would have to be very strange. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.142]

· Even supposing that such problems could be circumvented somehow, there remain serious difficulties with the cyclic-universe idea. One of these I discussed in chapter 2. Systems subject to irreversible processes that proceed at a finite rate will tend to approach their final state after a finite period of time. It was this principle that led to the prediction of universal heat death in the nineteenth century. Introducing cosmic cycles does not circumvent the difficulty. The universe can be compared to a clock, slowly running down. Its activity will inevitably eventually cease unless it somehow gets rewound. But what mechanism could rewind the cosmic clock without itself being subject to irreversible change? [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.143]

·  The upshot of all this is a net transfer of energy from matter to radiation. This has an important effect on the way the universe contracts, because the gravitational pull of radiation is quite different from that of matter of the same mass energy. Tolman showed that the extra radiation ­in the contracting phase causes the universe to collapse at a faster rate. If by some means a bounce were to occur, the universe would then emerge expanding at a faster rate too. In other words, each big bang would be bigger than the last. As a result, the universe would expand to a greater size with each new cycle, so the cycles would gradually get both bigger and longer. (See figure 11.2). [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.144-145]

· The irreversible growth of the cosmic cycles is no mystery. It is an example of the inescapable consequences of the second law of thermodynamics. The accumulating radiation represents a growth of entropy, which manifests itself gravitationally in the form of bigger and bigger cycles. It does, however, put an end to the idea of true cyclicity: the universe clearly evolves over time. Toward the past, the cycles cascade together into a complicated and messy beginning, while the future cycles expand without limit, until they become so long that any given cycle would be for the most part indistinguishable from the heat-death scenario of the ever-expanding models. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.145]

· Since the work of Tolman, cosmologists have been able to identify other physical processes that break the symmetry of the expanding and contracting phases of each cycle. One example is the formation of black holes. In the standard picture, the universe begins without any black holes, but as time goes on stars collapse and other processes ­FIGURE 11.2 ­Irreversible processes cause the cosmological cycles to grow and grow, thus destroying true cyclicity. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.145]

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· cause black holes to form. As the galaxies evolve, more and more black holes appear. During the late stages of the collapse, the compression will encourage the formation of yet more holes. Some of the black holes may merge to form larger holes. The gravitational arrangement of the universe near the big crunch is therefore much more complicated-indeed, distinctly more holey-than it was near the big bang. If the universe were to bounce, the next cycle would begin with many more black holes than this one. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.146]

· The conclusion seems inescapable that any cyclic universe that allows physical structures and systems to propagate from one cycle to the next will not evade the degenerative influences of the second law of thermodynamics. There will still be a heat death. One way to sidestep this dismal conclusion is to suppose that the physical conditions at the bounce are so extreme that no information about earlier cycles can get through to the next. All preceding physical objects are destroyed, all influences annihilated. In effect, the universe is reborn entirely from scratch. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.146]

· It is hard to see, however, what attraction such a model holds. If each cycle is physically disconnected from the others, what meaning does it have to say that the cycles succeed each other, or represent the same universe somehow enduring? The cycles are effectively distinct separate universes, and might just as well be said to exist in parallel rather than in sequence. The situation is reminiscent of the doctrine of reincarnation, whereby the reborn person has no memory of previous lives. In what sense can one say that the same person is reincarnated? [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.146]

· Another possibility is that the second law of thermodynamics is somehow violated, so that “the clock gets rewound” at the bounce. What does it mean for the damage caused by the second law to be undone? Let’s take a simple example of the second law at work: the evaporation of perfume from a bottle, say. A reversal of fortunes ­for the perfume would entail a gigantic conspiracy of organization, in which every perfume molecule throughout the room was knocked back into the bottle. The “movie” would be played in reverse. It is from the second law of thermodynamics that we obtain the distinction between past and future-the arrow of time. A violation of the second law therefore amounts to a reversal of time. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.146-147]

· In the 1980s, Stephen Hawking also toyed with the idea of a time-reversing universe for a while, only to drop it with the admission that it was his “greatest mistake.” Hawking at first believed that applying quantum mechanics to a cyclic universe required detailed time symmetry. It turns out, however, that this is not so-at least, in the standard formulation of quantum mechanics. Recently, the physicists Murray Gell-Mann and James Hartle have discussed a modification to the rules of quantum mechanics, in which the time symmetry is simply imposed, and then they have asked whether this state of affairs would have ­any observable consequences at our cosmic epoch. So far, it is not clear what the answer might be. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.147-148]

· A very different way of avoiding cosmic doom has been proposed by the Russian physicist Andrei Linde. It is based on an elaboration of the inflationary-universe theory discussed in chapter 3. In the original inflationary-universe scenario, it was supposed that the quantum state of the very early universe corresponded to a particular excited vacuum that had the effect of temporarily driving runaway expansion. In 1983, Linde suggested that the quantum state of the early universe might instead vary from place to place in a chaotic manner: low energy here, moderately excited there, very excited in some regions. Where the state was excited, there inflation would occur. Furthermore, Linde’s calculations of the behavior of the quantum state showed clearly that highly excited states inflate the fastest and decay the slowest, so that the more excited the state was in a particular region of space, the more the universe would inflate in that region. It is clear that after a very short time the regions of space where the energy was accidently greatest, and inflation fastest, would have swelled the most and would occupy the lion’s share of the total space. Linde likens the situation to Darwinian evolution, or to economics. A successful quantum fluctuation to a very excited state, although it means borrowing a lot of energy, is immediately rewarded by a huge growth in the volume of that region. So the high-borrowing, superinflating regions soon come to predominate. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.148]

· As a result of chaotic inflation, the universe would become divided into a cluster of miniuniverses, or bubbles, some inflating like crazy, others not inflating at all. Because some regions-simply as a result of random fluctuations-will have a very large excitation energy, there will be much more inflation in those regions than was assumed in the original theory. But because these are precisely the regions to inflate the most, a point selected at ­random in the post-inflationary universe would be very likely located in such a highly inflated region. Thus our own location in space very probably lies deep within a superinflated region. Linde calculates that such “big bubbles” may have inflated by a factor of 10 to the power 108 which is 1 followed by a hundred million zeros! [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.148-149]

· Our own megadomain would be but one among an infinite number of highly inflated bubbles, so on an enormous scale of size the universe would still look extremely chaotic. Within our bubble-which extends beyond the currently observable universe by a stupendously large distance-matter and energy are distributed approximately uniformly, but beyond our bubble lie other bubbles, as well as regions that are still in the process of inflating. In fact, inflation never ceases in Linde’s model: there are always regions of space where inflation is taking place, where new bubbles are forming even as other bubbles pass through their life cycles and die. So this is a form of eternal universe, similar to the baby-universes theory discussed in the last chapter, where life, hope, and universes spring eternal. There is no end to the production of new bubble universes by inflation-and probably no beginning either, although there is currently some contention about that. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.149]

· Does the existence of other bubbles offer our descendants a lifeline? Can they avoid cosmic doom-or, more accurately, bubbledoom-by always transferring to another, younger bubble in the fullness of time? Linde addressed precisely this question in a heroic paper on “Life after Inflation,” published in the journal Physics Letters in 1989. “These results imply that life in the inflationary universe will never disappear,” he wrote. “Unfortunately, this conclusion does not automatically mean that one can be very optimistic about the future of mankind.” Noting that any particular domain, or bubble, will slowly become uninhabitable, Linde concludes: “The only possible strat­egy of survival which we can see at the moment is to travel from old domains to the new ones.” [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.149-150]

· The discouraging thing in Linde’s version of the inflationary theory is that the size of a typical bubble is enormous. He computes that the nearest bubble beyond our own might be so far away that its distance in light-years must be expressed as 1 followed by several million zeros-a number so large it would need an entire encyclopedia of its own to be written out in full! Even at close to the speed of light, it would take a similar number of years to reach another bubble, unless by some extraordinarily good fortune we just happen to be situated near the edge of our bubble. And even this happy circumstance, Linde points out, would obtain only if our universe continues to expand in a predictable manner. The most minute physical effect-one that would be utterly inconspicuous at the pres ent epoch-could eventually determine the way in which the universe expands once the matter and radiation that dominate it at present become infinitely diluted. For example, there could remain in the universe an exceedingly weak relic of the inflationary force that is at present completely’swamped by the gravitational effects of matter but which, given the oceans of time needed for beings to escape from our bubble, would eventually make itself felt. In that case, the universe would, after a long enough duration, begin to inflate once more-not in the frenetic manner of the big bang but exceedingly slowly, in a sort of pale imitation of the big bang. However, this feeble whimper, weak though it might be, would continue forever. Although the growth of the universe would accelerate only at a tiny rate, the fact that it accelerates at all has a crucial physical consequence. The effect is to create an event horizon within the bubble, which is rather like a black hole inside out and just as effective a trap. Any surviving beings would become helplessly entombed deep within our bubble, because as they sped toward the edge of the ­bubble the edge would recede even faster, as a result of the renewed inflation. Linde’s calculation, although fanciful, nicely makes the point that the ultimate fate of humankind or our descendants may hinge on physical effects so small that we can have no real hope of detecting them before they start to manifest themselves cosmologically. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.150-151]

· Linde’s cosmology is in some respects reminiscent of the old steady-state theory of the universe, which was popular in the fifties and early sixties and is still the simplest and most appealing proposal for avoiding the end of the universe. In its original version, expounded by Hermann Bondi and Thomas Gold, the steady-state theory assumed that the universe remains unchanged on a large scale for all time. It therefore has no beginning or end. As the universe expands, new matter is continuously created to fill the gaps and maintain an overall constant density. The fate of any given galaxy is similar to what I have described in the earlier chapters: birth, evolution, and death. But more galaxies are always forming, from the newly created material, which is supplied inexhaustibly. The general aspect of the universe as a whole therefore looks identical from one epoch to the next, with the same total number of galaxies in a given volume of space, consisting of a mixture of various ages. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.151]

· The concept of a steady-state universe does away with the need to explain how the universe came into existence from nothing in the first place, and it combines interesting variety through evolutionary change with cosmic immortality. In fact, it goes beyond this and provides eternal cosmic youth, because although individual galaxies slowly die, the universe as a whole never grows old. Our descendants never have to grub around scavenging for ever more elusive energy supplies, because the new matter provides it for free. The inhabitants just move on to a younger galaxy when the old one runs out of fuel. And this can ­continue ad infinitum, with the same level of vigor, diversity, and activity being maintained for all eternity. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.151-152]

· There are, however, some physical requirements needed to make the theory work. The universe doubles in volume every few billion years, due to the expansion. To maintain a constant density requires 10 50 tons or so of new matter to be created over that period. This seems a lot, but on average it amounts to the appearance of just one atom per century in a region of space the size of an aircraft hanger. It is unlikely that we would notice such a phenomenon. A more serious problem concerns the nature of the physical process responsible for creating matter in this theory. At the very least, we should want to know where the energy comes from that supplies the additional mass, and how this miraculous jar of energy manages to be inexhaustible. This problem was tackled by Fred Hoyle, who, with his collaborator Jayant Narlikar, developed the steady-state theory in great detail. They proposed a new type of field-a creation field-to supply the energy. The creation field itself was postulated to have negative energy. The appearance of each new particle of matter with mass m had the effect of contributing an energy -mc 2 to the creation field. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.152]

· Although the creation field provided a technical solution to the problem of creation, it left many questions unexplained. It also seemed rather ad hoc, as no other manifestations of the mysterious field were apparent. More seriously, observational evidence began to mount against the steady-state theory in the 1960s, the most important of which was the discovery of the cosmic background heat radiation. This uniform background receives a ready interpretation as a relic of the big bang, but it is hard to explain convincingly in the steady-state model. In addition, deep-sky surveys of galaxies and radio galaxies showed unmistakable evidence that the universe is evolving on a large scale. When this became clear, Hoyle and ­his coworkers abandoned the simple version of the steadystate theory, although more complicated variants make fitful reappearances from time to time. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.152-153]

· Quite apart from physical and observational problems, the steady-state theory raises some curious philosophical difficulties. For example, if our descendants have truly infinite time and resources at their disposal, no obvious limits can be placed on their technological development. They would be free to spread across the universe, gaining control over ever greater volumes of space. Thus a large portion of the universe in the very far future would essentially be technologized. But by hypothesis the large-scale nature of the universe is supposed to be unchanging with time, so the steady-state assumption obliges us to conclude that the universe we see today is already technologized. Because the physical conditions in the steady-state universe are overall the same at all epochs, intelligent beings must arise at all epochs too. And because this state of affairs has existed for all eternity, there should be some communities of beings that have been around for an arbitrarily long time and will have expanded to occupy an arbitrarily large volume of space-including our region of the universe-technologizing it. This conclusion is not evaded by supposing that intelligent beings generally have no desire to colonize the universe. It takes only one such community to arise an arbitrarily long time ago for the conclusion to be valid. It is another case of the old conundrum that in an infinite universe anything that is even remotely possible must happen sometime, and happen infinitely often. Following the logic to its bitter conclusion, the steady-state theory predicts that the processes of the universe are identical to the technological activities of its inhabitants. What we call nature is, in fact, the activity of a superbeing, or a community of uperbeings. This seems like a version of Plato’s demiurge (a deity who works within the bounds of physical laws already laid ­down), and it is interesting that Hoyle, in his later cosmological theories, explicitly advocates such a superbeing. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.153-154]

· If there is a purpose to the universe, and it achieves that purpose, then the universe must end, for its continued existence would be gratuitous and pointless. Conversely, if the universe endures forever, it is hard to imagine that there is any ultimate purpose to the universe at all. So cosmic death may be the price that has to be paid for cosmic success. Perhaps the most that we can hope for is that the purpose of the universe becomes known to our descendants before the end of the last three minutes. [Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, BasicBooks, 1994, p.155]

الحمد لله الذي بنعمته تتمّ الصَّالِحات

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe

By: Behe, Dembski & Meyer

للتحميل: (PDF) (DOC)

إعداد: أ. مصطفى نصر قديح

science-design

1. Introduction

· Philosophers and scientists have disagreed not only about how to distinguish these modes of explanation but also about their very legitimacy. The Epicureans, for instance, gave pride of place to chance. The Stoics, on the other hand, emphasized necessity and design but rejected chance. In the Middle Ages Moses Maimonides contended with the Islamic interpreters of Aristotle who viewed the heavens as, in Maimonides’ words, “the necessary result of natural laws”. Where the Islamic philosophers saw necessity, Maimonides saw design. [Moses Maimonides, The Guide for the Perplexed, trans. M. Friedlander (New York: Dover, 1956), p. 188.] [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe, Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, P.17]

· The Islamic philosophers, intent on keeping Aristotle pure of theology, said no. Maimonides, arguing from observed contingency in nature, said yes. His argument focused on the distribution of stars in the night sky: What determined that the one small part [of the night sky] should have ten stars, and the other portion should be without any star? . . . The answer to [this] and similar questions is very difficult and almost impossible, if we assume that all emanates from God as the necessary result of certain permanent laws, as Aristotle holds. But if we assume that all this is the result of design, there is nothing strange or improbable; the only question to be asked is this: What is the cause of this design? The answer to this question is that all this has been made for a certain purpose, though we do not know it; there is nothing that is done in vain, or by chance. . . . How, then, can any reasonable person imagine that the position, magnitude, and number of the stars, or the various courses of their spheres, are purposeless, or the result of chance? There is no doubt that every one of these things is . . . in accordance with a certain design; and it is extremely improbable that these  things should be the necessary result of natural laws, and not that of design. [Moses Maimonides, The Guide for the Perplexed, trans. M. Friedlander (New York: Dover, 1956), p. 188.] [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe, Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, P.18]

· in the General Scholium to his Principia, Newton claimed that the stability of the planetary system depended not only on the regular action of the universal law of gravitation but also on the precise initial positioning of the planets and comets in relation to the sun. As he explained: Though these bodies may, indeed, persevere in their orbits by the mere laws of gravity, yet they could by no means have at first derived the regular position of the orbits themselves from those laws. . . . [Thus] this most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful being. [Isaac Newton, Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, trans. A. Motte, ed. F. Cajori (Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 1978), pp. 54344] Like Maimonides, Newton saw both necessity and design as legitimate explanations but gave short shrift to chance. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe, Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, P.18-19]

· When asked by Napoleon where God fit into his equations of celestial mechanics, Laplace famously replied, “Sire, I have no need of that hypothesis.” In place of a designing intelligence that precisely positioned the heavenly bodies, Laplace proposed his nebular hypothesis, which accounted for the origin of the solar system strictly through natural gravitational forces [Pierre Simon de Laplace, Celestial Mechanics, 4 vols., trans. N. Bowditch (New York: Chelsea, 1966).] [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe, Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, P.19]

· Since Laplace’s day, science has largely dispensed with design. Certainly Darwin played a crucial role here by eliminating design from biology. Yet at the same time science was dispensing with design, it was also dispensing with Laplace’s vision of a deterministic universe (recall Laplace’s famous demon who could predict the future and retrodict the past with perfect precision provided that present positions and momenta of particles were fully known). [See the introduction to Pierre Simon de Laplace, A Philosophical Essay on Probabilities, trans. F. W. Truscott and F. L. Emory (New York: Dover, 1996)] [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe, Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, P.19]

· To sum up, contemporary science allows a principled distinction between necessity and chance but repudiates design as a possible explanation for natural phenomena. [Owen Gingerich: God’s Planet. Harvard university press, London, 2014. P.20]

2. Rehabilitating Design

· For Aristotle, to understand any phenomenon properly, one had to understand its four causes, namely, its material, efficient, formal, and final cause. [See Aristotle, Metaphysics, bk. 5, chap. 2, in The Basic Works of Aristotle, ed. R. McKeon (New York: Random House, 1941), p. 752.] [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe, Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, P.20]

· If design is so readily detectable outside science, and if its detectability is one of the key factors keeping scientists honest, why should design be barred from the actual content of science? There is a worry here. The worry is that when we leave the constricted domain of human artifacts and enter the unbounded domain of natural objects, the distinction between design and nondesign cannot be reliably drawn. Consider, for instance, the following remark by Darwin in the concluding chapter of his Origin of Species: Several eminent naturalists have of late published their belief that a multitude of reputed species in each genus are not real species; but that other species are real, that is, have been independently created. . . . Nevertheless they do not pretend that they can define, or even conjecture, which are the created forms of life, and which are those produced by secondary laws. They admit variation as a vera causa in one case, they arbitrarily reject it in another, without assigning any distinction in the two cases.[Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species (1859; reprint, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1964), p. 482] [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe, Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, P.22-23]

· There does in fact exist a rigorous criterion for discriminating intelligently from unintelligently caused objects. Many special sciences already use this criterion, though in a pretheoretic form (for example, forensic science, artificial intelligence, cryptography, archeology, and the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence). In The Design Inference I identify and make precise this criterion. I call it the complexity-specification criterion. When intelligent agents act, they leave behind a characteristic trademark or signature—what I define as specified complexity. The complexity-specification criterion detects design by identifying this trademark of designed objects. [Strictly speaking, in The Design Inference I develop a “specification / small probability criterion”. This criterion is equivalent to the complexity-specification criterion described here] [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe, Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, P.23]

3. The Complexity-Specification Criterion

· To sum up, the complexity-specification criterion detects design by establishing three things: contingency, complexity, and specification. When called to explain an event, object, or structure, we have a decision to make—are we going to attribute it to necessity, chance, or design? According to the complexity-specification criterion, to answer this question is to answer three simpler questions: Is it contingent? Is it complex? Is it specified? Consequently, the complexity-specification criterion can be represented as a flow chart with three decision nodes. I call this flow chart the Explanatory Filter. [See figure on p. 32.] [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe, Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, P.31]

· 5. False Negatives and False Positives

· Consider first the problem of false negatives. When the complexity-specification criterion fails to detect design in a thing, can we be sure no intelligent cause underlies it? The answer is No. For determining that something is not designed, this criterion is not reliable. False negatives are a problem for it. This problem of false negatives, however, is endemic to detecting intelligent causes. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe, Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, P.33]

· One difficulty is that intelligent causes can mimic necessity and chance, thereby rendering their actions indistinguishable from such unintelligent causes. A bottle of ink may fall off a cupboard and spill onto a sheet of paper. Alternatively, a human agent may deliberately take a bottle of ink and pour it over a sheet of paper. The resulting inkblot may look identical in both instances but, in the one case, results by chance, in the other by design. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe, Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, P.33]

· Another difficulty is that detecting intelligent causes requires background knowledge on our part. It takes an intelligent cause to know an intelligent cause. But if we do not know enough, we will miss it. Consider a spy listening in on a communication channel whose messages are encrypted. Unless the spy knows how to break the cryptosystem used by the parties on whom he is eavesdropping, any messages passing the communication channel will be unintelligible and might in fact be meaningless. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe, Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, P.33-34]

· This objection is readily met. The fact is that the complexity-specification criterion does not yield design all that easily, especially if the complexities are kept high (or, correspondingly, the probabilities are kept small). It is simply not the case that unusual and striking coincidences automatically yield design. Martin Gardner is no doubt correct when he notes, “The number of events in which you participate for a month, or even a week, is so huge that the probability of noticing a startling correlation is quite high, especially if you keep a sharp outlook.” [Martin Gardner, “Arthur Koestler: Neoplatonism Rides Again”, World, August 1, 1972, pp. 87-89.] The implication he means to draw, however, is incorrect, namely, that therefore startling correlations / coincidences may uniformly be relegated to chance. Yes, the fact that the Shoemaker-Levy comet crashed into Jupiter exactly twenty-five years to the day after the Apollo 11 moon landing is a coincidence best referred to chance. But the fact that Mary Baker Eddy’s writings on Christian Science bear a remarkable resemblance to Phineas Parkhurst Quimby’s writings on mental healing is a coincidence that cannot be explained by chance and is properly explained by positing Quimby as a source for Eddy.[Walter Martin, The Kingdom of the Cults, rev. ed. (Minneapolis: Bethany House, 1985), pp. 127-30.] [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe, Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, P.37]

· There is one last potential counterexample we need to consider, and that is the possibility of an evolutionary algorithm producing specified complexity. By an evolutionary algorithm I mean any clearly defined procedure that generates contingency via some chance process and then sifts the so-generated contingency via some law-like (that is, necessitarian) process. The Darwinian mutation-selection mechanism, neural nets, and genetic algorithms all fall within this definition of evolutionary algorithms. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe, Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, P.37-38]

· Now, it is widely held that evolutionary algorithms are just the means for generating specified complexity apart from design. Yet this widely held view is incorrect. The problem is that evolutionary algorithms cannot generate complexity. This may seem counterintuitive, but consider a well-known example by Richard Dawkins in which he purports to show how a cumulative selection process acting on chance can generate specified complexity. [Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker (New York: Norton, 1986), pp. 47-48] He starts with the target sequence. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe, Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, P.38]

METHINKS·IT·IS·LIKE·A·WEASEL

· If we tried to attain this target sequence by pure chance (for example, by randomly shaking out Scrabble pieces), the probability of getting it on the first try would be around 1 in 1040, and correspondingly it would take on average about 1040 tries to stand a better than even chance of getting it. Thus, if we depended on pure chance to attain this target sequence, we would in all likelihood be unsuccessful (granted, this 1 in 1040 improbability falls short of my universal probability bound of 1 in 10150, but for practical purposes 1 in 1040 is small enough to preclude chance and, yes, implicate design). As a problem for pure chance, attaining Dawkins’ target sequence is an exercise in generating specified complexity, and it becomes clear that pure chance simply is not up for the task. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe, Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, P.38]

· But a probability amplifier is also a complexity attenuator. Recall that the “complexity” in the complexity-specification criterion coincides with improbability. Dawkins’ evolutionary algorithm vastly increases the probability of getting the target sequence but in so doing vastly decreases the complexity inherent in the target sequence. The target sequence, if it had to be obtained by randomly throwing Scrabble pieces, would be highly improbable and on average would require a vast number of iterations before it could be obtained. But with Dawkins’ evolutionary algorithm, the probability of obtaining the target sequence is high given only a few iterations. In effect, Dawkins’ evolutionary algorithm skews the probabilities so that what at first blush seems highly improbable or complex is nothing of the sort. It follows that evolutionary algorithms cannot generate true complexity but only the appearance of complexity. And since they cannot generate complexity, they cannot generate specified complexity either. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe, Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, P.40]

6. Why the Criterion Works

· My second argument for showing that specified complexity reliably detects design considers the nature of intelligent agency and, specifically, what it is about intelligent agents that makes them detectable. Even though induction confirms that specified complexity is a reliable criterion for detecting design, induction does not explain why this criterion works. To see why the complexity-specification criterion is exactly the right instrument for detecting design, we need to understand what it is about intelligent agents that makes them detectable in the first place. The principal characteristic of intelligent agency is choice. Even the etymology of the word “intelligent” makes this clear. “Intelligent” derives from two Latin words, the preposition inter, meaning between, and the verb lego, meaning to choose or select. Thus, according to its etymology, intelligence consists in choosing between. For an intelligent agent to act is therefore to choose from a range of competing possibilities. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe, Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, P.41]

7. Conclusion

· Albert Einstein once said that in science things should be made as simple as possible but no simpler. The materialistic philosophy of science that dominated the end of the nineteenth and much of the twentieth century insists that all phenomena can be explained simply by reference to chance and / or necessity. Nevertheless, this essay has suggested, in effect, that materialistic philosophy portrays reality too simply. There are some entities and events that we cannot and, indeed, do not explain by reference to these twin modes of materialistic causation. Specifically, I have shown that when we encounter entities or events that manifest the joint properties of complexity and specification we routinely, and properly, attribute them, not to chance and / or physical / chemical necessity, but to intelligent design, that is, to mind rather than matter. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe, Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.44]

· Clearly, we find the complexity-specification criteria in objects that other human minds have designed. Nevertheless, this essay has not sought to answer the question of whether the criteria that reliably indicate the activity of a prior intelligent mind exist in the natural world, that is, in things that we know humans did not design, such as living organisms or the fundamental architecture of the cosmos. In short, I have not addressed the empirical question of whether the natural world, as opposed to the world of human technology, also bears evidence of intelligent design. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe, Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.44-45]

Evidence for Design in Physics and Biology

From The Origin of the Universe to The Origin Of Life

1. Introduction

· As an illustration of the concepts of complexity and specification, consider the following three sets of symbols: “inetehnsdysk]idmhcpew, ms.s/a” . “Time and tide wait for no man.” . “ABABABABABABABABABAB”

Both the first and second sequences shown above are complex because both defy reduction to a simple rule. Each represents a highly irregular, aperiodic, and improbable sequence of symbols. The third sequence is not complex but is instead highly ordered and repetitive. Of the two complex sequences, only the second exemplifies a set of independent functional requirements—that is, only the second sequence is specified. English has a number of functional requirements. For example, to convey meaning in English one must employ existing conventions of vocabulary (associations of symbol sequences with particular objects, concepts, or ideas), syntax, and grammar (such as “every sentence requires a subject and a verb”). When arrangements of symbols “match” or utilize existing vocabulary and grammatical conventions (that is, functional requirements) communication can occur. Such arrangements exhibit “specification”. The second sequence (“Time and tide wait for no man”) clearly exhibits such a match between itself and the preexisting requirements of English vocabulary and grammar. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe, Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, pp.53-54]

· Thus, of the three sequences above only the second manifests complexity and specification, both of which must be present for us to infer a designed system according to Dembski’s theory. The third sequence lacks complexity, though it does exhibit a simple pattern, a specification of sorts. The first sequence is complex but not specified, as we have seen. Only the second sequence, therefore, exhibits both complexity and specification. Thus, according to Dembski’s theory, only the second sequence indicates an intelligent cause—as indeed our intuition tells us. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe, Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.54]

· Dembski’s work shows that detecting the activity of intelligent agency (“inferring design”) represents an indisputably common form of rational activity. His work also suggests that the properties of complexity and specification reliably indicate the prior activity of an intelligent cause. This essay will build on this insight to address another question. It will ask: Are the criteria that indicate intelligent design present in features of nature that clearly preexist the advent of humans on earth? Are the features that indicate the activity of a designing intelligence present in the physical structure of the universe or in the features of living organisms? If so, does intelligent design still constitute the best explanation of these features, or might naturalistic explanations based upon chance and / or physico-chemical necessity constitute a better explanation? This paper will evaluate the merits of the design argument in light of developments in physics and biology as well as Dembski’s work on “the design inference”. I will employ Dembski’s comparative explanatory method (the “explanatory filter”) to evaluate the competing explanatory power of chance, necessity, and design with respect to evidence in physics and biology. I will argue that intelligent design (rather than chance, necessity, or a combination of the two) constitutes the best explanation of these phenomena. I will, thus, suggest an empirical, as well as a theoretical, basis for resuscitating the design argument. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe, Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, pp.55-56]

2.1 Evidence of Design in Physics: Anthropic “Fine Tuning”

· During the last forty years, however, developments in physics and cosmology have placed the word “design” back in the scientific vocabulary. Beginning in the 1960s, physicists unveiled a universe apparently fine-tuned for the possibility of human life. They discovered that the existence of life in the universe depends upon a highly improbable but precise balance of physical factors. [K. Giberson, “The Anthropic Principle”, Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies 9 (1997): 63-90, and response by Steven Yates, pp. 91-104.] [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe, Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.56]

· The constants of physics, the initial conditions of the universe, and many other of its features appear delicately balanced to allow for the possibility of life. Even very slight alterations in the values of many factors, such as the expansion rate of the universe, the strength of gravitational or electromagnetic attraction, or the value of Planck’s constant, would render life impossible. Physicists now refer to these factors as “anthropic coincidences” (because they make life possible for man) and to the fortunate convergence of all these coincidences as the “fine tuning of the universe”. Given the improbability of the precise ensemble of values represented by these constants, and their specificity relative to the requirements of a life-sustaining universe, many physicists have noted that the fine tuning strongly suggests design by a preexistent intelligence. As well-known British physicist Paul Davies has put it, “the impression of design is overwhelming.” [P. Davies, The Cosmic Blueprint (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1988), p. 203] [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe, Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.56-57]

· Imagine that you are a cosmic explorer who has just stumbled into the control room of the whole universe. There you discover an elaborate “universe-creating machine”, with rows and rows of dials, each with many possible settings. As you investigate, you learn that each dial represents some particular parameter that has to be calibrated with a precise value in order to create a universe in which life can exist. One dial represents the possible settings for the strong nuclear force, one for the gravitational constant, one for Planck’s constant, one for the ratio of the neutron mass to the proton mass, one for the strength of electromagnetic attraction, and so on. As you, the cosmic explorer, examine the dials, you find that they could easily have been tuned to different settings. Moreover, you determine by careful calculation that if any of the dial settings were even slightly altered, life would cease to exist. Yet for some reason each dial is set at just the exact value necessary to keep the universe running. What do you infer about the origin of these finely tuned dial settings? [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe, Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.57]

· Not surprisingly, physicists have been asking the same question. As astronomer George Greenstein mused, “the thought insistently arises that some supernatural agency, or rather Agency, must be involved. Is it possible that suddenly, without intending to, we have stumbled upon scientific proof for the existence of a Supreme Being? Was it God who stepped in and so providentially crafted the cosmos for our benefit?”[G. Greenstein, The Symbiotic Universe: Life and Mind in the Cosmos (New York: Morrow, 1988), pp. 26-27] For many scientists,[Greenstein himself does not favor the design hypothesis. Instead, he favors the so-called “participatory universe principle” or “PAP”. PAP attributes the apparent design of the fine tuning of the physical constants to the universe’s (alleged) need to be observed in order to exist. As he says, the universe “brought forth life in order to exist . . . that the very Cosmos does not exist unless observed” (ibid., p. 223).] the design hypothesis seems the most obvious and intuitively plausible answer to this question. As Sir Fred Hoyle commented, “a commonsense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature.”[F. Hoyle, “The Universe: Past and Present Reflections”, Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics 20 (1982): 16.] Many physicists now concur. They would argue that, given the improbability and yet the precision of the dial settings, design seems the most plausible explanation for the anthropic fine tuning. Indeed, it is precisely the combination of the improbability (or complexity) of the settings and their specificity relative to the conditions required for a life-sustaining universe that seems to trigger the “commonsense” recognition of design. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.57-58]

2.2 Anthropic Fine Tuning and the Explanatory Filter

· Yet several other types of interpretations have been proposed: (1) the so-called weak anthropic principle, which denies that the fine tuning needs explanation; (2) explanations based upon natural law; and (3) explanations based upon chance. Each of these approaches denies that the fine tuning of the universe resulted from an intelligent agent. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.58]

· Of the three options above, perhaps the most popular approach, at least initially, was the “weak anthropic principle” (WAP). Nevertheless, the WAP has recently encountered severe criticism from philosophers of physics and cosmology. Advocates of WAP claimed that if the universe were not fine-tuned to allow for life, then humans would not be here to observe it. Thus, they claimed, the fine tuning requires no explanation. Yet as John Leslie and William Craig have argued, the origin of the fine tuning does require explanation. [W. Craig, “Cosmos and Creator”, Origins & Design 20, no. 2 (spring 1996): 23.] [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.58-59]

· Though we humans should not be surprised to find ourselves living in a universe suited for life (by definition), we ought to be surprised to learn that the conditions necessary for life are so vastly improbable. Leslie likens our situation to that of a blindfolded man who has discovered that, against all odds, he has survived a firing squad of one hundred expert marksmen.[J. Leslie, “Anthropic Principle, World Ensemble, Design”, American Philosophical Quarterly 19, no. 2 (1982): 150.] [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.59]

· Though his continued existence is certainly consistent with all the marksmen having missed, it does not explain why the marksmen actually did miss. In essence, the weak anthropic principle wrongly asserts that the statement of a necessary condition of an event eliminates the need for a causal explanation of that event. Oxygen is a necessary condition of fire, but saying so does not provide a causal explanation of the San Francisco fire. Similarly, the fine tuning of the physical constants of the universe is a necessary condition for the existence of life, but that does not explain, or eliminate the need to explain, the origin of the fine tuning. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.59]

· While some scientists have denied that the fine-tuning coincidences require explanation (with the WAP), others have tried to find various naturalistic explanations for them. Of these, appeals to natural law have proven the least popular for a simple reason. The precise “dial settings” of the different constants of physics are specific features of the laws of nature themselves. For example, the gravitational constant G determines just how strong gravity will be, given two bodies of known mass separated by a known distance. The constant G is a term within the equation that describes gravitational attraction. In this same way, all the constants of the fundamental laws of physics are features of the laws themselves. Therefore, the laws cannot explain these features; they comprise the features that we need to explain. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.59]

· As Davies has observed, the laws of physics “seem themselves to be the product of exceedingly ingenious design”. [P. Davies, The Superforce: The Search for a Grand Unified Theory of Nature (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1984), p. 243] Further, natural laws by definition describe phenomena that conform to regular or repetitive patterns. Yet the idiosyncratic values of the physical constants and initial conditions of the universe constitute a highly irregular and nonrepetitive ensemble. It seems unlikely, therefore, that any law could explain why all the fundamental constants have exactly the values they do—why, for example, the gravitational constant should have exactly the value 6.67 x 10-11 Newton-meters2 per kilogram2 and the permittivity constant in Coulombs law the value 8.85 x 10-12 Coulombs2 per Newton-meter2, and the electron charge to mass ratio 1.76 x 1011 Coulombs per kilogram, and Planck’s constant 6.63 x 10-34 Joules-seconds, and so on.[D. Halliday, R. Resnick, and G. Walker, Fundamentals of Physics, 5th ed. (New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1997), p. A23.] These values specify a highly complex array. As a group, they do not seem to exhibit a regular pattern that could in principle be subsumed or explained by natural law. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.60]

· Explaining anthropic coincidences as the product of chance has proven more popular, but this has several severe liabilities as well. First, the immense improbability of the fine tuning makes straightforward appeals to chance untenable. Physicists have discovered more than thirty separate physical or cosmological parameters that require precise calibration in order to produce a life-sustaining universe.[J. Barrow and F. Tipler, The Anthropic Cosmological Principle (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986), pp. 295-356, 384-444, 510-56; J. Gribbin and M. Rees, Cosmic Coincidences(London: Black Swan, 1991), pp. 3-29, 241-69; H. Ross, “The Big Bang Model Refined by Fire”, in W. A. Dembski, ed., Mere Creation: Science, Faith and Intelligent Design (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1998), pp. 372-81.] [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.60]

· Michael Denton, in his book Nature’s Destiny (1998), has documented many other necessary conditions for specifically human life from chemistry, geology, and biology. Moreover, many individual parameters exhibit an extraordinarily high degree of fine tuning. The expansion rate of the universe must be calibrated to one part in 1060.[A. Guth and M. Sher, “Inflationary Universe: A Possible Solution to the Horizon and Flatness Problems”, Physical Review 23, no. 2 (1981): 348.]A slightly more rapid rate of expansion—by one part in 1060—would have resulted in a universe too diffuse in matter to allow stellar formation.[For those unfamiliar with exponential notation, the number 1050 is the same as 10 multiplied by itself 60 times or 1 with 60 zeros written after it] An even slightly less rapid rate of expansion—by the same factor—would have produced an immediate gravitational recollapse. The force of gravity itself requires fine tuning to one part in 1040.[P. Davies, God and the New Physics (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1983), p. 188.] [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.60]

· Thus, our cosmic explorer finds himself confronted not only with a large ensemble of separate dial settings but with very large dials containing a vast array of possible settings, only very few of which allow for a life-sustaining universe. In many cases, the odds of arriving at a single correct setting by chance, let alone all the correct settings, turn out to be virtually infinitesimal. Oxford physicist Roger Penrose has noted that a single parameter, the so-called “original phase-space volume”, required such precise fine tuning that the “Creator’s aim must have been [precise] to an accuracy of one part in 1010^123”(which is ten billion multiplied by itself 123 times). Penrose goes on to remark that, “one could not possibly even write the number down in full . . .[since] it would be ‘1’ followed by 10123 successive ‘0’s!”—more zeros than the number of elementary particles in the entire universe. Such is, he concludes, “the precision needed to set the universe on its course”.[R. Penrose, The Emperor’s New Mind (New York: Oxford, 1989), p. 344.] [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.60-61]

· To circumvent such vast improbabilities, some scientists have postulated the existence of a quasi-infinite number of parallel universes. By doing so, they increase the amount of time and number of possible trials available to generate a life-sustaining universe and thus increase the probability of such a universe arising by chance. In these “many worlds” or “possible worlds” scenarios—which were originally developed as part of the “Everett interpretation” of quantum physics and the inflationary Big Bang cosmology of André Linde—any event that could happen, however unlikely it might be, must happen somewhere in some other parallel universe.[A. Linde, “The Self-Reproducing Inflationary Universe”, Scientific American 271 (November 1994): 48-55] So long as life has a positive (greater than zero) probability of arising, it had to arise in some possible world. Therefore, sooner or later some universe had to acquire life-sustaining characteristics. Clifford Longley explains that according to the many-worlds hypothesis: There could have been millions and millions of different universes created each with different dial settings of the fundamental ratios and constants, so many in fact that the right set was bound to turn up by sheer chance. We just happened to be the lucky ones.[C. Longley, “Focusing on Theism”, London Times, January 21, 1989, p. 10] [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.61]

· According to the many-worlds hypothesis, our existence in the universe only appears vastly improbable, since calculations about the improbability of the anthropic coincidences arising by chance only consider the “probabilistic resources” (roughly, the amount of time and the number of possible trials) available within our universe and neglect the probabilistic resources available from the parallel universes. According to the many-worlds hypothesis, chance can explain the existence of life in the universe after all. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.62]

· The many-worlds hypothesis now stands as the most popular naturalistic explanation for the anthropic fine tuning and thus warrants detailed comment. Though clearly ingenious, the many-worlds hypothesis suffers from an overriding difficulty: we have no evidence for any universes other than our own. Moreover, since possible worlds are by definition causally inaccessible to our own world, there can be no evidence for their existence except that they allegedly render probable otherwise vastly improbable events. Of course, no one can observe a designer directly either, although a theistic designer—that is, God—is not causally disconnected from our world. Even so, recent work by philosophers of science such as Richard Swinburne, John Leslie, Bill Craig,[W. Craig, “Barrow and Tipler on the Anthropic Principle v. Divine Design”, British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 38 (1988): 389-95] Jay Richards,[J. W. Richards, “Many Worlds Hypotheses: A Naturalistic Alternative to Design”, Perspectives on Science and Christian Belief 49, no. 4 (1997): 218-27.] and Robin Collins have established several reasons for preferring the (theistic) design hypothesis to the naturalistic many-worlds hypothesis. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.62]

2.3 Theistic Design: A Better Explanation?

· First, all current cosmological models involving multiple universes require some kind of mechanism for generating universes. Yet such a “universe generator” would itself require precisely configured physical states, thus begging the question of its initial design. As Collins describes the dilemma: In all currently worked out proposals for what this universe generator could be—such as the oscillating big bang and the vacuum fluctuation models . . .—the “generator” itself is governed by a complex set of laws that allow it to produce universes. It stands to reason, therefore, that if these laws were slightly different the generator probably would not be able to produce any universes that could sustain life.[R. Collins, “The Fine-Tuning Design Argument: A Scientific Argument for the Existence of God”, in M. Murray, ed., Reason for the Hope Within (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1999), p. 61] Indeed, from experience we know that some machines (or factories) can produce other machines. But our experience also suggests that such machine-producing machines themselves require intelligent design. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.62-63]

· Second, as Collins argues, all things being equal, we should prefer hypotheses “that are natural extrapolations from what we already know” about the causal powers of various kinds of entities.23 Yet when it comes to explaining the anthropic coincidences, the multiple-worlds hypothesis fails this test, whereas the theistic-design hypothesis does not. To illustrate, Collins asks his reader to imagine a paleontologist who posits the existence of an electromagnetic “dinosaur-bone-producing field”, as opposed to actual dinosaurs, as the explanation for the origin of large fossilized bones. While certainly such a field qualifies as a possible explanation for the origin of the fossil bones, we have no experience of such fields or of their producing fossilized bones. Yet we have observed animal remains in various phases of decay and preservation in sediments and sedimentary rock. Thus, most scientists rightly prefer the actual dinosaur hypothesis over the apparent dinosaur hypothesis (that is, the “dinosaur-bone-producing-field” hypothesis) as an explanation for the origin of fossils. In the same way, Collins argues, we have no experience of anything like a “universe generator” (that is not itself designed; see above) producing finely tuned systems or infinite and exhaustively random ensembles of possibilities. Yet we do have extensive experience of intelligent agents producing finely tuned machines such as Swiss watches. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.63]

· Thus, Collins concludes, when we postulate “a supermind” (God) to explain the fine tuning of the universe, we are extrapolating from our experience of the causal powers of known entities (that is, intelligent humans), whereas when we postulate the existence of an infinite number of separate universes, we are not. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.63-64]

· Third, as Craig has shown, for the many-worlds hypothesis to suffice as an explanation for anthropic fine tuning, it must posit an exhaustively random distribution of physical parameters and thus an infinite number of parallel universes to insure that a life-producing combination of factors will eventually arise. Yet neither of the physical models that allow for a multiple-universe interpretation—Everett’s quantum-mechanical model or Linde’s inflationary cosmology—provides a compelling justification for believing that such an exhaustively random and infinite number of parallel universes exists, but instead only a finite and nonrandom set. [Craig, “Cosmos”, p. 24] The Everett model, for example, only generates an ensemble of material states, each of which exists within a parallel universe that has the same set of physical laws and constants as our own. Since the physical constants do not vary “across universes”, Everett’s model does nothing to increase the probability of the precise fine tuning of constants in our universe arising by chance. Though Linde’s model does envision a variable ensemble of physical constants in each of his individual “bubble universes”, his model fails to generate either an exhaustively random set of such conditions or the infinite number of universes required to render probable the life-sustaining fine tuning of our universe. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.64]

· Fourth, Richard Swinburne argues that the theistic-design hypothesis constitutes a simpler and less ad hoc hypothesis than the many-worlds hypothesis. [R. Swinburne, “Argument from the Fine Tuning of Universe”, in J. Leslie, ed., Physical Cosmology and Philosophy (New York: Macmillan, 1990), pp. 15473] He notes that virtually the only evidence for many worlds is the very anthropic fine tuning the hypothesis was formulated to explain. On the other hand, the theistic-design hypothesis, though also only supported by indirect evidences, can explain many separate and independent features of the universe that the many-worlds scenario cannot, including the origin of the universe itself, the mathematical beauty and elegance of physical laws, and personal religious experience. Swinburne argues that the God hypothesis is a simpler as well as a more comprehensive explanation because it requires the postulation of only one explanatory entity, rather than the multiple entities—including the finely tuned universe generator and the infinite number of causally separate universes—required by the many-worlds hypothesis. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.64-65]

· Swinburne and Collins arguments suggest that few reasonable people would accept such an unparsimonious and farfetched explanation as the many-worlds hypothesis in any other domain of life. That some scientists dignify the many-worlds hypothesis with serious discussion may speak more to an unimpeachable commitment to naturalistic philosophy than to any compelling merit for the idea itself. As Clifford Longley noted in the London Times in 1989,[Originally the many-worlds hypothesis was proposed for strictly scientific reasons as a solution to the so-called quantum-measurement problem in physics. Though its efficacy as an explanation within quantum physics remains controversial among physicists, its use there does have an empirical basis. More recently, however, it has been employed to serve as an alternative non-theistic explanation for the fine tuning of the physical constants. This use of the MWH does seem to betray a metaphysical desperation.] the use of the many-worlds hypothesis to avoid the theistic-design argument often seems to betray a kind of special pleading and metaphysical desperation. As Longley explains: The [anthropic-design argument] and what it points to is of such an order of certainty that in any other sphere of science, it would be regarded as settled. To insist otherwise is like insisting that Shakespeare was not written by Shakespeare because it might have been written by a billion monkeys sitting at a billion keyboards typing for a billion years. So it might. But the sight of scientific atheists clutching at such desperate straws has put new spring in the step of theists.[Longley, “Focusing”, p. 10.] [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.65]

· Indeed, it has. As the twentieth century comes to a close, the design argument has reemerged from its premature retirement at the hands of biologists in the nineteenth century. Physics, astronomy, cosmology, and chemistry have each revealed that life depends on a very precise set of design parameters, which, as it happens, have been built into our universe. The fine-tuning evidence has led to a persuasive reformulation of the design hypothesis, even if it does not constitute a formal deductive proof of God’s existence. Physicist John Polkinghorne has written that, as a result, “we are living in an age where there is a great revival of natural theology taking place. That revival of natural theology is taking place not on the whole among theologians, who have lost their nerve in that area, but among the scientists.” [J. Polkinghorne, “So Finely Tuned a Universe of Atoms, Stars, Quanta & God”, Commonweal, August 16, 1996, p. 16.] Polkinghorne also notes that this new natural theology generally has more modest ambitions than the natural theology of the Middle Ages. Indeed, scientists arguing for design based upon evidence of anthropic fine tuning tend to do so by inferring an intelligent cause as a “best explanation”, rather than by making a formal deductive proof of God’s existence. (See Appendix, pp. 213-34, “Fruitful Interchange or Polite Chitchat: The Dialogue between Science and Theology”.) Indeed, the foregoing analysis of competing types of causal explanations for the anthropic fine tuning suggests intelligent design precisely as the best explanation for its origin. Thus, fine-tuning evidence may support belief in God’s existence, even if it does not “prove” it in a deductively certain way. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.65-66]

3.2 Molecular Machines

· Nevertheless, the interest in design has begun to spread to biology. For example, in 1998 the leading journal, Cell, featured a special issue on “Macromolecular Machines”. Molecular machines are incredibly complex devices that all cells use to process information, build proteins, and move materials back and forth across their membranes. Bruce Alberts, President of the National Academy of Sciences, introduced this issue with an article entitled, “The Cell as a Collection of Protein Machines”. In it, he stated that:We have always underestimated cells. . . . The entire cell can be viewed as a factory that contains an elaborate network of interlocking assembly lines, each of which is composed of a set of large protein machines. . . . Why do we call the large protein assemblies that underlie cell function protein machines? Precisely because, like machines invented by humans to deal efficiently with the macroscopic world, these protein assemblies contain highly coordinated moving parts. [B. Alberts, “The Cell as a Collection of Protein Machines: Preparing the Next Generation of Molecular Biologists”, Cell 92 (February 8, 1998): 291.] Alberts notes that molecular machines strongly resemble machines designed by human engineers, although as an orthodox neo-Darwinian he denies any role for actual, as opposed to apparent, design in the origin of these systems. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.66-67]

· In recent years, however, a formidable challenge to this view has arisen within biology. In his book Darwin’s Black Box (1996), Lehigh University biochemist Michael Behe shows that neo-Darwinists have failed to explain the origin of complex molecular machines in living systems. For example, Behe looks at the ion-powered rotary engines that turn the whip-like flagella of certain bacteria.[M. Behe, Darwin’s Black Box (New York: Free Press, 1996), pp. 51-73.] He shows that the intricate machinery in this molecular motor—including a rotor, a stator, O-rings, bushings, and a drive shaft—requires the coordinated interaction of some forty complex protein parts. Yet the absence of any one of these proteins results in the complete loss of motor function. To assert that such an “irreducibly complex” engine emerged gradually in a Darwinian fashion strains credulity. According to Darwinian theory, natural selection selects functionally advantageous systems.[According to the neo-Darwinian theory of evolution, organisms evolved by natural selection acting on random genetic mutations. If these genetic mutations help the organism to survive better, they will be preserved in subsequent generations, while those without the mutation will die off faster. For instance, a Darwinian might hypothesize that giraffes born with longer necks were able to reach the leaves of trees more easily, and so had greater survival rates, than giraffes with shorter necks. With time, the necks of giraffes grew longer and longer in a step-by-step process because natural selection favored longer necks. But the intricate machine-like systems in the cell could not have been selected in such a step-by-step process, because not every step in the assembly of a molecular machine enables the cell to survive better. Only when the molecular machine is fully assembled can it function and thus enable a cell to survive better than cells that do not have it.] Yet motor function only ensues after all the necessary parts have independently self-assembled—an astronomically improbable event. Thus, Behe insists that Darwinian mechanisms cannot account for the origin of molecular motors and other “irreducibly complex systems” that require the coordinated interaction of multiple independent protein parts. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.67-68]

· To emphasize his point, Behe has conducted a literature search of relevant technical journals. [Behe, Darwin’s, pp. 165-86.] He has found a complete absence of gradualistic Darwinian explanations for the origin of the systems and motors that he discusses. Behe concludes that neo-Darwinists have not explained, or in most cases even attempted to explain, how the appearance of design in “irreducibly complex” systems arose naturalistically. Instead, he notes that we know of only one cause sufficient to produce functionally integrated, irreducibly complex systems, namely, intelligent design. Indeed, whenever we encounter irreducibly complex systems and we know how they arose, they were invariably designed by an intelligent agent. Thus, Behe concludes (on strong uniformitarian grounds) that the molecular machines and complex systems we observe in cells must also have had an intelligent source. In brief, molecular motors appear designed because they were designed. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.68]

3.3 The Complex Specificity of Cellular Components.

· During the 1950s, scientists quickly realized that proteins possess another remarkable property. In addition to their complexity, proteins also exhibit specificity, both as one-dimensional arrays and as three-dimensional structures. Whereas proteins are built from rather simple chemical building blocks known as amino acids, their function—whether as enzymes, signal transducers, or structural components in the cell—depends crucially upon the complex but specific sequencing of these building blocks.[B. Alberts, D. Bray, J. Lewis, M. Raff, K. Roberts, and J. D. Watson, Molecular Biology of the Cell (New York: Garland, 1983), pp. 91-141.] Molecular biologists such as Francis Crick quickly likened this feature of proteins to a linguistic text. Just as the meaning (or function) of an English text depends upon the sequential arrangement of letters in a text, so too does the function of a polypeptide (a sequence of amino acids) depend upon its specific sequencing. Moreover, in both cases, slight alterations in sequencing can quickly result in loss of function. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.69]

3.4 The Sequence Specificity of DNA

· The discovery of the complexity and specificity of proteins has raised an important question. How did such complex but specific structures arise in the cell? This question recurred with particular urgency after Sanger revealed his results in the early 1950s. Clearly, proteins were too complex and functionally specific to arise “by chance”. Moreover, given their irregularity, it seemed unlikely that a general chemical law or regularity governed their assembly. Instead, as Nobel Prize winner Jacques Monod recalled, molecular biologists began to look for some source of information within the cell that could direct the construction of these highly specific structures. As Monod would later recall, to explain the presence of the specific sequencing of proteins, “you absolutely needed a code.”[Judson, Eighth Day, p. 611] [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.70]

· According to Crick’s hypothesis, the specific arrangement of the nucleotide bases on the DNA molecule generates the specific arrangement of amino acids in proteins.[Judson, Eighth Day, pp. 335-36]The sequence hypothesis suggested that the nucleotide bases in DNA functioned like letters in an alphabet or characters in a machine code. Just as alphabetic letters in a written language may perform a communication function depending upon their sequencing, so too, Crick reasoned, the nucleotide bases in DNA may result in the production of a functional protein molecule depending upon their precise sequential arrangement. In both cases, function depends crucially upon sequencing. The nucleotide bases in DNA function in precisely the same way as symbols in a machine code or alphabetic characters in a book. In each case, the arrangement of the characters determines the function of the sequence as a whole. As Dawkins notes, “The machine code of the genes is uncannily computer-like.” [R. Dawkins, River out of Eden (New York: Basic Books, 1995), p. 10] Or, as software innovator Bill Gates explains, “DNA is like a computer program, but far, far more advanced than any software we’ve ever created.” [B. Gates, The Road Ahead (Boulder, Col.: Blue Penguin, 1996), p. 228] In the case of a computer code, the specific arrangement of just two symbols (0 and 1) suffices to carry information. In the case of an English text, the twenty-six letters of the alphabet do the job. In the case of DNA, the complex but precise sequencing of the four nucleotide bases adenine, thymine, guanine, and cytosine (A, T, G, and C)—stores and transmits genetic information, information that finds expression in the construction of specific proteins. Thus, the sequence hypothesis implied not only the complexity but also the functional specificity of DNA base sequencing. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.71] ..

4.1 The Origin of Life and the Origin of Biological Information

· Developments in molecular biology have led scientists to ask how the specific sequencing—the information content or specified complexity—in both DNA and proteins originated. These developments have also created severe difficulties for all strictly naturalistic theories of the origin of life. Since the late 1920s, naturalistically minded scientists have sought to explain the origin of the very first life as the result of a completely undirected process of “chemical evolution”. In The Origin of Life (1938), Alexander I. Oparin, a pioneering chemical evolutionary theorist, envisioned life arising by a slow process of transformation starting from simple chemicals on the early earth. Unlike Darwinism, which sought to explain the origin and diversification of new and more complex living forms from simpler, preexisting forms, chemical evolutionary theory seeks to explain the origin of the very first cellular life. Yet since the late 1950s, naturalistic chemical evolutionary theories have been unable to account for the origin of the complexity and specificity of DNA base sequencing necessary to build a living cell.[For a good summary and critique of different naturalistic models, see especially K. Dose, “The Origin of Life: More Questions than Answers”, Interdisciplinary Science Review 13, no. 4 (1998): 348-56; H. P. Yockey, Information Theory and Molecular Biology (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992), pp. 259-93; C. Thaxton, W. Bradley, and R. Olsen, The Mystery of Life’s Origin (Dallas: Lewis and Stanley, 1992); C. Thaxton and W. Bradley, “Information and the Origin of Life”, in The Creation Hypothesis: Scientific Evidence for an Intelligent Designer, ed. J. P. Moreland (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1994), pp. 173-210; R. Shapiro, Origins (London: Heinemann, 1986), pp. 97-189; S. C. Meyer, “The Explanatory Power of Design: DNA and the Origin of Information”, in Dembski, Mere Creation, pp. 119-34. For a contradictory hypothesis, see S. Kauffman, The Origins of Order (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993), pp. 287-341.] This section will, using the categories of Dembski’s explanatory filter, evaluate the competing types of naturalistic explanations for the origin of specified complexity or information content necessary to the first living cell. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.72]

4.2 Beyond the Reach of Chance

· While some scientists may still invoke “chance” as an explanation, most biologists who specialize in origin-of-life research now reject chance as a possible explanation for the origin of the information in DNA and proteins.[C. de Duve, Blueprint for a Cell: The Nature and Origin of Life (Burlington, N.C.: Neil Patterson Publishers, 1991), p. 112; F. Crick, Life Itself (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1981), pp. 89-93; H. Quastler, The Emergence of Biological Organization (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1964), p. 7.] Since molecular biologists began to appreciate the sequence specificity of proteins and nucleic acids in the 1950s and 1960s, many calculations have been made to determine the probability of formulating functional proteins and nucleic acids at random. Various methods of calculating probabilities have been offered by Morowitz, [H. J. Morowitz, Energy Flow in Biology (New York: Academic Press, 1968), pp. 5-12.] Hoyle and Wickramasinghe,[F. Hoyle and C. Wickramasinghe, Evolution from Space (London: J. M. Dent, 1981), pp. 24-27.] Cairns-Smith,[A. G. Cairns-Smith, The Life Puzzle (Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd, 1971), pp. 91-96] Prigogine,[I. Prigogine, G. Nicolis, and A. Babloyantz, “Thermodynamics of Evolution”, Physics Today, November 1972, p. 23] and Yockey.[Yockey, Information Theory, pp. 246-58; H. P. Yockey, “Self Organization, Origin of Life Scenarios and Information Theory”, Journal of Theoretical Biology 91 (1981): 13-31; see also Shapiro, Origins, pp. 117-31.] For the sake of argument, such calculations have often assumed extremely favorable prebiotic conditions (whether realistic or not), much more time than there was actually available on the early earth, and theoretically maximal reaction rates among constituent monomers (that is, the constituent parts of proteins, DNA and RNA). Such calculations have invariably shown that the probability of obtaining functionally sequenced biomacromolecules at random is, in Prigogine’s words, “vanishingly small . . . even on the scale of . . . billions of years”.[Prigogine, Nicolis, and Babloyantz, “Thermodynamics”, p. 23.] As Cairns-Smith wrote in 1971: Blind chance . . . is very limited. Low-levels of cooperation he [blind chance] can produce exceedingly easily (the equivalent of letters and small words), but he becomes very quickly incompetent as the amount of organization increases. Very soon indeed long waiting periods and massive material resources become irrelevant.[Cairns-Smith, Life Puzzle, p. 95.] [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.73]

· Consider the probabilistic hurdles that must be overcome to construct even one short protein molecule of about one hundred amino acids in length. (A typical protein consists of about three hundred amino acid residues, and many crucial proteins are very much longer.) [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.73-74]

· First, all amino acids must form a chemical bond known as a peptide bond so as to join with other amino acids in the protein chain. Yet in nature many other types of chemical bonds are possible between amino acids; in fact, peptide and nonpeptide bonds occur with roughly equal probability. Thus, at any given site along a growing amino acid chain the probability of having a peptide bond is roughly 1/2. The probability of attaining four peptide bonds is: (1/2 x 1/2 x 1/2 x 1/2) = 1/16 or (1/2) 4. The probability of building a chain of one hundred amino acids in which all linkages involve peptide linkages is (1/2)99, or roughly 1 chance in 1030. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.74]

· Secondly, in nature every amino acid has a distinct mirror image of itself, one left-handed version, or L-form, and one right-handed version, or D-form. These mirror-image forms are called optical isomers. Functioning proteins use only left-handed amino acids, yet the right-handed and left-handed isomers occur in nature with roughly equal frequency. Taking this into consideration compounds the improbability of attaining a biologically functioning protein. The probability of attaining at random only L-amino acids in a hypothetical peptide chain one hundred amino acids long is (1/2)100, or again roughly 1 chance in 1030. The probability of building a one hundred-amino-acid-length chain at random in which all bonds are peptide bonds and all amino acids are L-form would be roughly 1 chance in 1060. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.74]

· Finally, functioning proteins have a third independent requirement, which is the most important of all; their amino acids must link up in a specific sequential arrangement, just as the letters in a sentence must be arranged in a specific sequence to be meaningful. In some cases, even changing one amino acid at a given site can result in a loss of protein function. Moreover, because there are twenty biologically occurring amino acids, the probability of getting a specific amino acid at a given site is small, that is, 1/20. (Actually the probability is even lower because there are many nonproteineous amino acids in nature.) On the assumption that all sites in a protein chain require one particular amino acid, the probability of attaining a particular protein one hundred amino acids long would be (1/20)100, or roughly 1 chance in 10130. We know now, however, that some sites along the chain do tolerate several of the twenty proteineous amino acids, while others do not. The biochemist Robert Sauer of MIT has used a technique known as “cassette mutagenesis” to determine just how much variance among amino acids can be tolerated at any given site in several proteins. His results have shown that, even taking the possibility of variance into account, the probability of achieving a functional sequence of amino acids [Actually, Sauer counted sequences that folded into stable three-dimensional configurations as functional, though many sequences that fold are not functional. Thus, his results actually underestimate the probabilistic difficulty.] in several known proteins at random is still “vanishingly small”, roughly 1 chance in 1065—an astronomically large number.[J. Reidhaar-Olson and R. Sauer, “Functionally Acceptable Solutions in Two Alpha-Helical Regions of Lambda Repressor”, Proteins, Structure, Function, and Genetics 7 (1990): 306-10; J. Bowie and R. Sauer, “Identifying Determinants of Folding and Activity for a Protein of Unknown Sequences: Tolerance to Amino Acid Substitution, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 86 (1989): 2152-56; J. Bowie, J. Reidhaar-Olson, W. Lim, and R. Sauer, “Deciphering the Message in Protein Sequences: Tolerance to Amino Acid Substitution”, Science 247 (1990): 1306-10; M. Behe, “Experimental Support for Regarding Functional Classes of Proteins to Be Highly Isolated from Each Other”, in J. Buell and G. Hearns, eds., Darwinism: Science or Philosophy? (Dallas: Haughton Publishers, 1994), pp. 60-71;Yockey, Information Theory, pp. 246-58] (There are 1065 atoms in our galaxy.)[See also D. Axe, N. Foster, and A. Ferst, “Active Barnase Variants with Completely Random Hydrophobic Cores”, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 93 (1996): 5590.] [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.74-75]

· Moreover, if one also factors in the need for proper bonding and homochirality (the first two factors discussed above), the probability of constructing a rather short functional protein at random becomes so small (1 chance in 10125) as to approach the universal probability bound of 1 chance in 10150, the point at which appeals to chance become absurd given the “probabilistic resources” of the entire universe.[W. Dembski, The Design Inference: Eliminating Chance through Small Probabilities (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), pp. 67-91, 175-223. Dembski’s universal probability bound actually reflects the “specificational” resources, not the probabilistic resources, in the universe. Dembski’s calculation determines the number of specifications possible in finite time. It nevertheless has the effect of limiting the “probabilistic resources” available to explain the origin of any specified event of small probability. Since living systems are precisely specified systems of small probability, the universal probability bound effectively limits the probabilistic resources available to explain the origin of specified biological information (ibid., 1998, pp. 175-229)] Further, making the same calculations for even moderately longer proteins easily pushes these numbers well beyond that limit. For example, the probability of generating a protein of only 150 amino acids in length exceeds (using the same method as above) [Cassette mutagenesis experiments have usually been performed on proteins of about one hundred amino acids in length. Yet extrapolations from these results can generate reasonable estimates for the improbability of longer protein molecules. For example, Sauer’s results on the proteins lambda repressor and arc repressor suggest that, on average, the probability at each site of finding an amino acid that will maintain functional sequencing (or, more accurately, that will produce folding) is less than 1 in 4 (1 in 4.4). Multiplying 1/4 by itself 150 times (for a protein 150 amino acids in length) yields a probability of roughly 1 chance in 1091. For a protein of that length the probability of attaining both exclusive peptide bonding and homochirality is also about 1 chance in 1091. Thus, the probability of achieving all the necessary conditions of function for a protein 150 amino acids in length exceeds 1 chance in 10180.]1 chance in 10180, well beyond the most conservative estimates for the small probability bound given our multi-billion-year-old universe.[Dembski, Design Inference, pp. 67-91, 175-214; cf. E. Borel, Probabilities and Life, trans. M. Baudin (New York: Dover, 1962), p. 28.] In other words, given the complexity of proteins, it is extremely unlikely that a random search through all the possible amino acid sequences could generate even a single relatively short functional protein in the time available since the beginning of the universe (let alone the time available on the early earth). Conversely, to have a reasonable chance of finding a short functional protein in such a random search would require vastly more time than either cosmology or geology allows. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.] [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.75-76]

· More realistic calculations (taking into account the probable presence of nonproteineous amino acids, the need for vastly longer functional proteins to perform specific functions such as polymerization, and the need for multiple proteins functioning in coordination) only compound these improbabilities—indeed, almost beyond computability. For example, recent theoretical and experimental work on the so-called “minimal complexity” required to sustain the simplest possible living organism suggests a lower bound of some 250 to 400 genes and their corresponding proteins. [E. Pennisi, “Seeking Life’s Bare Genetic Necessities”, Science 272 (1996): 1098-99; A. Mushegian and E. Koonin, “A Minimal Gene Set for Cellular Life Derived by Comparison of Complete Bacterial Genomes”, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 93 (1996): 10268-73; C. Bult et al., “Complete Genome Sequence of the Methanogenic Archaeon, Methanococcus Jannaschi”, Science 273 (1996): 1058-72.] The nucleotide sequence space corresponding to such a system of proteins exceeds 4300000. The improbability corresponding to this measure of molecular complexity again vastly exceeds 1 chance in 10150, and thus the “probabilistic resources” of the entire universe. [Dembski, Design Inference, pp. 67-91, 175-223.] Thus, when one considers the full complement of functional biomolecules required to maintain minimal cell function and vitality, one can see why chance-based theories of the origin of life have been abandoned. What Mora said in 1963 still holds: Statistical considerations, probability, complexity, etc., followed to their logical implications suggest that the origin and continuance of life is not controlled by such principles. An admission of this is the use of a period of practically infinite time to obtain the derived result. Using such logic, however, we can prove anything. [P. T. Mora, “Urge and Molecular Biology”, Nature 199 (1963): 212-19.] [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.76]

· Though the probability of assembling a functioning biomolecule or cell by chance alone is exceedingly small, origin-of-life researchers have not generally rejected the chance hypothesis merely because of the vast improbabilities associated with these events. Many improbable things occur every day by chance. Any hand of cards or any series of rolled dice will represent a highly improbable occurrence. Yet observers often justifiably attribute such events to chance alone. What justifies the elimination of the chance is not just the occurrence of a highly improbable event, but the occurrence of a very improbable event that also conforms to an independently given or discernible pattern. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.76-77]

· If someone repeatedly rolls two dice and turns up a sequence such as: 9, 4, 11, 2, 6, 8, 5, 12, 9, 2, 6, 8, 9, 3, 7, 10, 11, 4, 8 and 4, no one will suspect anything but the interplay of random forces, though this sequence does represent a very improbable event given the number of combinatorial possibilities that correspond to a sequence of this length. Yet rolling twenty (or certainly two hundred!) consecutive sevens will justifiably arouse suspicion that something more than chance is in play. Statisticians have long used a method for determining when to eliminate the chance hypothesis that involves prespecifying a pattern or “rejection region”. [I. Hacking, The Logic of Statistical Inference (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1965), pp. 74-75] In the dice example above, one could prespecify the repeated occurrence of seven as such a pattern in order to detect the use of loaded dice, for example. Dembski’s work discussed above has generalized this method to show how the presence of any conditionally independent pattern, whether temporally prior to the observation of an event or not, can help (in conjunction with a small probability event) to justify rejecting the chance hypothesis.[Dembski, Design Inference, pp. 47-55.] [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.77]

· Origin-of-life researchers have tacitly, and sometimes explicitly, employed precisely this kind of statistical reasoning to justify the elimination of scenarios that rely heavily on chance. Christian de Duve, for example, has recently made this logic explicit in order to explain why chance fails as an explanation for the origin of life: A single, freak, highly improbable event can conceivably happen. Many highly improbable events—drawing a winning lottery number or the distribution of playing cards in a hand of bridge—happen all the time. But a string of improbable events—drawing the same lottery number twice, or the same bridge hand twice in a row—does not happen naturally.[C. de Duve, “The Beginnings of Life on Earth”, American Scientist 83 (1995): 437.] [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.77]

· De Duve and other origin-of-life researchers have long recognized that the cell represents not only a highly improbable but also a functionally specified system. For this reason, by the mid-1960s most researchers had eliminated chance as a plausible explanation for the origin of the information content or specified complexity necessary to build a cell.[H. Quastler, The Emergence of Biological Organization (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1964), p. 7.] [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.77-78]

5.1 The Return of the Design Hypothesis

· Our experientially based knowledge of information confirms that systems with large amounts112 of specified complexity or information content (especially codes and languages) always originate from an intelligent source—that is, from mental or personal agents. Moreover, this generalization holds not only for the specified complexity or information present in natural languages but also for other forms of specified complexity, whether present in machine codes, machines, or works of art. Like the letters in a section of meaningful text, the parts in a working engine represent a highly improbable and functionally specified configuration. Similarly, the highly improbable shapes in the rock on Mount Rushmore in the United States conform to an independently given pattern—the face of American presidents known from books and paintings. Thus, both these systems have a large amount of specified complexity or information content. Not coincidentally, they also resulted from intelligent design, not chance and / or physical-chemical necessity. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.92]

· This generalization about the cause of specified complexity or information has, ironically, received confirmation from origin-of-life research itself. During the last forty years, every naturalistic model (see n. 44 above) proposed has failed precisely to explain the origin of the specified genetic information required to build a living cell. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.92]

· Thus, mind or intelligence, or what philosophers call “agent causation”, now stands as the only cause known to be capable of generating large amounts of specified complexity or information content (from nonbiological precursors). [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.92-93]

· Indeed, because large amounts of specified complexity or information content must be caused by a mind or intelligent design, one can detect the past action of an intelligent cause from the presence of an information-rich effect, even if the cause itself cannot be directly observed.[Meyer, Clues, pp. 77-140] For instance, visitors to the gardens of Victoria harbor in Canada correctly infer the activity of intelligent agents when they see a pattern of red and yellow flowers spelling “Welcome to Victoria”, even if they did not see the flowers planted and arranged. Similarly, the specifically arranged nucleotide sequences—the complex but functionally specified sequences—in DNA imply the past action of an intelligent mind, even if such mental agency cannot be directly observed. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.93]

· Scientists in many fields recognize the connection between intelligence and specified complexity and make inferences accordingly. Archaeologists assume a mind produced the inscriptions on the Rosetta Stone. Evolutionary anthropologists argue for the intelligence of early hominids by showing that certain chipped flints are too improbably specified to have been produced by natural causes. NASA’s search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) presupposed that the presence of functionally specified information imbedded in electromagnetic signals from space (such as the prime number sequence) would indicate an intelligent source.[T. R. McDonough, The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence: Listening for Life in the Cosmos (New York: Wiley, 1987).] As yet, however, radio-astronomers have not found such information-bearing signals coming from space. But closer to home, molecular biologists have identified specified complexity or informational sequences and systems in the cell, suggesting, by the same logic, an intelligent cause. Similarly, what physicists refer to as the “anthropic coincidences” constitute precisely a complex and functionally specified array of values. Given the inadequacy of the cosmological explanations based upon chance and law discussed above, and the known sufficiency of intelligent agency as a cause of specified complexity, the anthropic fine-tuning data would also seem best explained by reference to an intelligent cause. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.93-94]

5.2 An Argument from Ignorance?

· Of course, many would object that any such arguments from evidence to design constitute arguments from ignorance. Since, these objectors say, we do not yet know how specified complexity in physics and biology could have arisen, we invoke the mysterious notion of intelligent design. On this view, intelligent design functions, not as an explanation, but as a kind of place holder for  ignorance. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.94]

· And yet, we often infer the causal activity of intelligent agents as the best explanation for events and phenomena. As Dembski has shown,116 we do so rationally, according to clear theoretic criteria. Intelligent agents have unique causal powers that nature does not. When we observe effects that we know from experience only intelligent agents produce, we rightly infer the antecedent presence of a prior intelligence even if we did not observe the action of the particular agent responsible.117 When these criteria are present, as they are in living systems and in the contingent features of physical law, design constitutes a better explanation than either chance and / or deterministic natural processes. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.94-95]

· While admittedly the design inference does not constitute a proof (nothing based upon empirical observation can), it most emphatically does not constitute an argument from ignorance. Instead, the design inference from biological information constitutes an “inference to the best explanation.”118 Recent work on the method of “inference to the best explanation”119 suggests that we determine which among a set of competing possible explanations constitutes the best one by assessing the causal powers of the competing explanatory entities. Causes that can produce the evidence in question constitute better explanations of that evidence than those that do not. In this essay, I have evaluated and compared the causal efficacy of three broad categories of explanation—chance, necessity (and chance and necessity combined), and design—with respect to their ability to produce large amounts of specified complexity or information content. As we have seen, neither explanations based upon chance nor those based upon necessity, nor (in the biological case) those that combine the two, possess the ability to generate the large amounts of specified complexity or information content required to explain either the origin of life or the origin of the anthropic fine tuning. This result comports with our ordinary and uniform human experience. Brute matter—whether acting randomly or by necessity—does not have the capability to generate novel information content or specified complexity. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.95]

· Yet it is not correct to say that we do not know how specified complexity or information content arises. We know from experience that conscious intelligent agents can and do create specified information-rich sequences and systems. Furthermore, experience teaches that whenever large amounts of specified complexity or information content are present in an artifact or entity whose causal story is known, invariably creative intelligence—design—has played a causal role in the origin of that entity. Thus, when we encounter such information in the biomacromolecules necessary to life, or in the fine tuning of the laws of physics, we may infer based upon our present knowledge of established cause-effect relationships that an intelligent cause operated in the past to produce the specified complexity or information content necessary to the origin of life. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.95-96]

· Thus, we do not infer design out of ignorance but because of what we know about the demonstrated causal powers of natural entities and agency, respectively. We infer design using the standard uniformitarian method of reasoning employed in all historical sciences. These inferences are no more based upon ignorance than well-grounded inferences in geology, archeology, or paleontology are—where provisional knowledge of cause-effect relationships derived from present experience guides inferences about the causal past. Recent developments in the information sciences merely help formalize knowledge of these relationships, allowing us to make inferences about the causal histories of various artifacts, entities, or events based upon the complexity and information-theoretic signatures they exhibit.120 In any case, present knowledge of established cause-effect relationships, not ignorance, justifies the design inference as the best explanation for the origin of specified complexity in both physics and biology. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.96]

5.3 Intelligent Design: A Vera Causa?

· Yet some would still insist that we cannot legitimately postulate such an agent as an explanation for the origin of specified complexity in life since living systems, as organisms rather than simple machines, far exceed the complexity of systems designed by human agents. Thus, such critics argue, invoking an intelligence similar to that which humans possess would not suffice to explain the exquisite complexity of design present in biological systems. To explain that degree of complexity would require a “superintellect” (to use Fred Hoyle’s phrase). Yet, since we have no experience or knowledge of such a super-intelligence, we cannot invoke one as a possible cause for the origin of life. Indeed, we have no knowledge of the causal powers of such a hypothetical agent. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.97-98]

· This objection derives from the so-called vera causa principle—an important methodological guideline in the historical sciences. The vera causa principle asserts that historical scientists seeking to explain an event in the distant past (such as the origin of life) should postulate (or prefer in their postulations) only causes that are sufficient to produce the effect in question and that are known to exist by observation in the present.121 Darwin, for example, marshaled this methodological consideration as a reason for preferring his theory of natural selection over special creation. Scientists, he argued, can observe natural selection producing biological change; they cannot observe God creating new species. [V. Kavalovski, The Vera Causa Principle: A Historico-Philosophical Study of a Meta-theoretical Concept from Newton through Darwin (Ph.D. diss., University of Chicago, 1974), p. 104] [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.98]

5.4 But Is It Science?

· Of course, many simply refuse to consider the design hypothesis on the grounds that it does not qualify as “scientific”. Such critics affirm an extraevidential principle known as “methodological naturalism”.[M. Ruse, “Witness Testimony Sheet: McLean v. Arkansas”, in M. Ruse, ed., But Is It Science? (Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 1988), p. 301; R. Lewontin, “Billions and Billions of Demons”, The New York Review of Books, January 9, 1997, p. 31; Meyer, “Equivalence”, pp. 69-71] Methodological naturalism (MN) asserts that for a hypothesis, theory, or explanation to qualify as “scientific” it must invoke only naturalistic or materialistic causes. Clearly, on this definition, the design hypothesis does not qualify as “scientific”. Yet, even if one grants this definition, it does not follow that some nonscientific (as defined by MN) or metaphysical hypothesis may not constitute a better, more causally adequate, explanation. Indeed, this essay has argued that, whatever its classification, the design hypothesis does constitute a better explanation than its naturalistic rivals for the origin of specified complexity in both physics and biology. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.99-100]

· Surely, simply classifying this argument as metaphysical does not refute it. In any case, methodological naturalism now lacks a compelling justification as a normative definition of science. First, attempts to justify methodological naturalism by reference to metaphysically neutral (that is, non-question begging) demarcation criteria have failed.[Meyer, “Laws”, pp. 29-40; Meyer, “Equivalence”, pp. 67-112; S. C. Meyer, “Demarcation and Design: The Nature of Historical Reasoning”, in Jitse van der Meer, ed., Facets of Faith and Science, vol. 4, Interpreting God’s Action in the World (Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 1996), pp. 91-130; L. Laudan, “The Demise of the Demarcation Problem”, in Ruse, Science?, pp. 337-50; L. Laudan, “Science at the Bar—Causes for Concern”, in Ruse, Science?, pp. 351-55; A. Plantinga, “Methodological Naturalism”, Origins & Design 18, no. 1 (1997): 18-27, and no. 2 (1997): 22-34] (See Appendix, pp. 151-211, “The Scientific Status of Intelligent Design”.) Second, asserting methodological naturalism as a normative principle for all of science has a negative effect on the practice of certain scientific disciplines. In origin-of-life research, methodological naturalism artificially restricts inquiry and prevents scientists from seeking the most truthful, best, or even most empirically adequate explanation. The question that must be asked about the origin of life is not “Which materialistic scenario seems most adequate?” but “What actually caused life to arise on earth?” Clearly, one of the possible answers to this latter question is “Life was designed by an intelligent agent that existed before the advent of humans.” Yet if one accepts methodological naturalism as normative, scientists may not consider this possibly true causal hypothesis. Such an exclusionary logic diminishes the claim to theoretical superiority for any remaining hypothesis and raises the possibility that the best “scientific” explanation (as defined by methodological naturalism) may not, in fact, be the best. As many historians and philosophers of science now recognize, evaluating scientific theories is an inherently comparative enterprise. Theories that gain acceptance in artificially constrained competitions can claim to be neither “most probably true” nor “most empirically adequate”. Instead, at best they can achieve the status of the “most probably true or adequate among an artificially limited set of options”. Openness to the design hypothesis, therefore, seems necessary to a fully rational historical biology—that is, to one that seeks the truth “no holds barred”.[P. W. Bridgman, Reflections of a Physicist, 2d ed. (New York: Philosophical Library, 1955), p. 535.] [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.100-101]

5.5 Conclusion

· For almost 150 years many scientists have insisted that “chance and necessity”—happenstance and law—jointly suffice to explain the origin of life and the features or the universe necessary to sustain it. We now find, however, that materialistic thinking—with its reliance upon chance and necessity—has failed to explain the specificity and complexity of both the contingent features of physical law and the biomacromolecules upon which life depends. Even so, many scientists insist that to consider another possibility would constitute a departure from both science and reason itself. Yet ordinary reason, and much scientific reasoning that passes under the scrutiny of materialist sanction, not only recognizes but requires us to recognize the causal activity of intelligent agents. The sculptures of Michelangelo, the software of the Microsoft corporation, the inscribed steles of Assyrian kings—each bespeaks the prior action of intelligent agents. Indeed, everywhere in our high-tech environment, we observe complex events, artifacts, and systems that impel our minds to recognize the activity of other minds—minds that communicate, plan, and design. But to detect the presence of mind, to detect the activity of intelligence in the echo of its effects, requires a mode of reasoning—indeed, a form of knowledge—the existence of which science, or at least official biology, has long excluded. Yet recent developments in the information sciences now suggest a way to rehabilitate this lost way of knowing. Perhaps, more importantly, evidence from biology and physics now strongly suggests that mind, not just matter, played an important role in the origin of our universe and in the origin of the life that it contains. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.101]

Michael J. Behe: Evidence for Design At The Foundation Of Life, Urea and Purpose

Explaining the Eye

· And if evolution could explain the eye . . . well, what could it not explain? But there was a question left unaddressed by Darwin’s scheme—where did the light-sensitive spot come from? It seems an odd starting point, since most objects are not light sensitive. Nonetheless, Darwin decided not even to attempt to address the question. He wrote that: “How a nerve comes to be sensitive to light hardly concerns us more than how life itself originated.” [C. Darwin, On the Origin of Species (1876; reprint, New York: New York University Press, 1988), p. 151.] [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.116]

· He wrote in the Origin of Species that: “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.” [Darwin, Origin, p. 154]But what sort of organ or system could not be formed by “numerous, successive, slight modifications”? Well, to begin with, one that is irreducibly complex. “Irreducibly complex” is a fancy phrase, but it stands for a very simple concept. As I wrote in Darwin’s Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution, an irreducibly complex system is: “a single system which is composed of several well-matched, interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, and where the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning.”[M. J. Behe, Darwin’s Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution (New York: Free Press, 1996), p. 39.M. J. Behe, Darwin’s Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution (New York: Free Press, 1996), p. 39.] Less formally, the phrase “irreducibly complex” just means that a system has a number of components that interact with each other, and if any are taken away the system no longer works. A good illustration of an irreducibly complex system from our everyday world is a simple mechanical mousetrap. The mousetraps that one buys at the hardware store generally have a wooden platform to which all the other parts are attached. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.119]

The Scientific Status of Intelligent Design

The Methodological Equivalence of Naturalistic and Non-Naturalistic Origins Theories.

· Thus, Darwin would emphatically dismiss the creationist account of homology, for example, by saying “but that is not a scientific explanation.” [Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection (1859, reprint, Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1984), p. 334; N. C. Gillespie, Charles Darwin and the Problem with Creation (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979), pp. 67-81.] [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.151-152]

· Underlying Darwin’s repudiation of creationist legitimacy lay an entirely different conception of science than had prevailed among earlier naturalists.[Gillespie, Darwin, pp. 1-18, 41-66, 146-56.] Darwin’s attacks on his creationist and idealist opponents in part expressed and in part established an emerging positivistic “episteme” in which the mere mention of unverifiable “acts of divine will” or “the plan of creation” would increasingly serve to disqualify theories from consideration as science qua science. This decoupling of theology from science and the redefinition of science that underlay it was justified less by argument than by an implicit assumption about the characteristic features of all scientific theories—features that presumably could distinguish theories of a properly scientific (that is, positivistic) bent from those tied to unwelcome metaphysical or theological moorings. Thus, both in the Origin and in subsequent letters one finds Darwin invoking a number of ideas about what constitutes a properly scientific explanation in order to characterize creationist theories as inherently “unscientific”. For Darwin the in-principle illegitimacy of creationism was demonstrated by perceived deficiencies in its method of inquiry, such as its failure to explain by reference to natural law5 and its postulation of unobservable causes and explanatory entities such as mind, purpose, or “the plan of creation”.[Darwin, Origin, pp. 201, 430, 453; V. Kavalovski, The Vera Causa Principle: A Historico-Philosophical Study of a Meta-Theoretical Concept from Newton through Darwin (Ph.D. diss., University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, 1974), pp. 10429.] [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.152]

Part 1: The General Failure of Demarcation Arguments

· As problems with using methodological considerations grew, demarcationists shifted their focus again. Beginning in the 1920s, philosophy of science took a linguistic or semantic turn. The logical positivist tradition held that scientific theories could be distinguished from nonscientific theories, not because scientific theories had been produced via unique or superior methods, but because such theories were more meaningful. Logical positivists asserted that all meaningful statements are either empirically verifiable or logically undeniable. According to this “verificationist criterion of meaning”, scientific theories are more meaningful than philosophical or religious ideas, for example, because scientific theories refer to observable entities such as planets, minerals, and birds, whereas philosophy and religion refer to such unobservable entities as God, truth, and morality. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.157-158]

· With the death of positivism in the 1950s, demarcationists took a different tack. Other semantic criteria emerged, such as Sir Karl Popper’s falsifiability. According to Popper, scientific theories were more meaningful than nonscientific ideas because they referred only to empirically falsifiable entities. [Laudan, “Demise”]Yet this, too, proved to be a problematic criterion. First, falsification turns out to be difficult to achieve. Rarely are the core commitments of theories directly tested via prediction. Instead, predictions occur when core theoretical commitments are conjoined with auxiliary hypotheses, thus always leaving open the possibility that auxiliary hypotheses, not core commitments, are responsible for failed predictions. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.158]

· The “demise of the demarcation problem”, as Laudan calls it, implies that the use of positivistic demarcationist arguments by evolutionists is, at least prima facie, on very slippery ground. Laudan’s analysis suggests that such arguments are not likely to succeed in distinguishing the scientific status of descent vis-à-vis design or anything else for that matter. As Laudan puts it, “If we could stand up on the side of reason, we ought to drop terms like ‘pseudo-science.’. . . They do only emotive work for us.”[Laudan, “Demise”, p. 349] [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.159-160]

· If philosophers of science such as Laudan are correct, a stalemate exists in our analysis of design and descent. Neither can automatically qualify as science; neither can be necessarily disqualified either. The a priori methodological merit of design and descent are indistinguishable if no agreed criteria exist by which to judge their merits. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.160]

Part 2: Specific Demarcation Arguments against Design

· Unfortunately, to establish this conclusively would require an examination of all the demarcation arguments that have been used against design. And indeed, an examination of evolutionary polemic reveals many such arguments. Design or creationist theories have been alleged to be necessarily unscientific because they (a) do not explain by reference to natural law, [Ruse, “Witness”, p. 301; Ruse, “Philosopher’s Day”, p. 26; Ruse, “Darwinism”, pp. 1-6.] (b) invoke unobservables,[Skoog, “View”; Root-Bernstein, “Creationism Considered”, p. 74.] (c) are not testable,[Gould, “Genesis”, pp. 129-30; Ruse, “Witness”, p. 305; Ebert et al., Science, pp. 8-10] (d) do not make predictions, [Root-Bernstein, “Creationism Considered,” p. 73; Ruse, “Philosopher’s Day,” p. 28; Ebert et al., Science, pp. 8-10.] (e) are not falsifiable,[Kline, “Theories,” p. 42; Gould, “Evolution,” p. 120; Root-Bernstein, “Creationism Considered,” p. 72.] (f) provide no mechanisms,[Ruse, Darwinism, p. 59; Ruse, “Witness,” p. 305; Gould, “Evolution,” p. 121; Root-Bernstein, “Creationism Considered”, p. 74.] (g) are not tentative,[A. Kehoe, “Modern Anti-evolutionism: The Scientific Creationists”, in What Darwin Began, ed. L. R. Godfrey (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1985), pp. 173-80; Ruse, “Witness”, p. 305; Ruse, “Philosopher’s Day”, p. 28; Ebert et al., Science, pp. 8-10.] and (h) have no problem-solving capability.[Kitcher, Abusing Science, pp. 126-27, 176-77.] [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.161-162]

· Explanation via natural law. Now let us examine the first, and according to Michael Ruse [Ruse, “Philosopher’s Day”, pp. 21-26.] most fundamental, of the arguments against the possibility of a scientific theory of design. This argument states: “Scientific theories must explain by natural law. Because design or creationist theories do not do so, they are necessarily unscientific.” [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.162]

· Many contemporary philosophers disagree with Ruse and Lewontin about this, as have a number of good scientists over the years—Isaac Newton and Robert Boyle, for example. The action of agency (whether divine or human) need not violate the laws of nature; in most cases it merely changes the initial and boundary conditions on which the laws of nature operate. [This dichotomy between “unbroken law” and the action of agency is merely a species of the same genus of confusion that led Ruse and others to insist that science always explains via laws. In Ruse’s case the dichotomy is manifest in his assertion that invoking the action of a divine agent constitutes a “violation of natural law”. I disagree. Pitting the action of agents (whether seen or unseen) against natural law creates a false opposition. The reason for this is simple. Agents can change initial and boundary conditions, yet in so doing they do not violate laws. Most scientific laws have the form “If A, then B will follow, given conditions X.” If X is altered or if A did not obtain, then it constitutes no violation of the laws of nature to say that B did not occur, even if we expected it to. Agents may alter the course of events or produce novel events that contradict our expectations without violating the laws of nature. To assert otherwise is merely to misunderstand the distinction between antecedent conditions and laws. C. S. Lewis, God in the Dock (London: Collins, 1979), pp. 51-55. See R. Swinburne, The Concept of Miracle (London: Macmillan, 1970), pp. 23-32, and G. Colwell, “On Defining Away the Miraculous”, Philosophy 57 (1982): 327-37, for other defenses of the possibility of miracles that assume and respect the integrity of natural laws.] But this issue must be set aside for the moment. For now it will suffice merely to note that the criterion of demarcation has subtly shifted. No longer does the demarcationist repudiate design as unscientific because it does not “explain via natural law”; now the demarcationist rejects intelligent design because it does not “explain naturalistically”. To be scientific a theory must be naturalistic. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.167-168]

· Unobservables and testability. At this point evolutionary demarcationists must offer other demarcation criteria. One that appears frequently both in conversation and in print finds expression as follows: “Miracles are unscientific because they cannot be studied empirically.[See also Kavalovski, Vera Causa, pp. 104-29, for a discussion of the so-called vera causa principle, a nineteenth-century methodological principle invoked by Darwin to eliminate from consideration creationist explanations judged to be unobservable (Darwin, Origin, pp. 201, 430, 453).] Design invokes miraculous events; therefore design is unscientific. Moreover, since miraculous events can’t be studied empirically, they can’t be tested.[Skoog, “View”; Gould, “Genesis”, pp. 129-30; Ruse, “Witness”, p. 305.] Since scientific theories must be testable, design is, again, not scientific.” Molecular biologist Fred Grinnell has argued, for example, that intelligent design cannot be a scientific concept because if something “can’t be measured, or counted, or photographed, it can’t be science”.[Grinnell, “Radical Intersubjectivity: Why Naturalism Is an Assumption Necessary for Doing Science”, paper presented at the conference on “Darwinism: Scientific Inference or Philosophical Preference?” Southern Methodist University, Dallas, March 26-28, 1993] Gerald Skoog amplifies this concern: “The claim that life is the result of a design created by an intelligent cause can not be tested and is not within the realm of science.” [Skoog, “View”.] This reasoning was invoked in a 1993 case at San Francisco State University as a justification for removing Professor Dean Kenyon from his classroom. Kenyon is a biophysicist who has embraced intelligent design after years of work on chemical evolution. Some of his critics at SFSU argued that his theory fails to qualify as scientific because it refers to an unseen Designer that cannot be tested or, as Eugenie Scott said, “You can’t use supernatural explanations because you can’t put an omnipotent deity in a test tube. As soon as creationists invent a ‘theo-meter’ maybe we could test for miraculous intervention.” [S. C. Meyer, “A Scopes Trial for the ‘90s”, The Wall Street Journal, December 6, 1993, p. A14; S. C. Meyer, “Open Debate on Life’s Origin”, Insight, February 21, 1994, pp. 27-29. Eugenie Scott, “Keep Science Free from Creationism”, Insight, February 21, 1994, p. 30.] [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.168-169]

· It turns out, however, that both parts of this formula fail. First, observability and testability are not both necessary to scientific status, because observability at least is not necessary to scientific status, as theoretical physics has abundantly demonstrated. Many entities and events cannot be directly observed or studied—in practice or in principle. The postulation of such entities is no less the product of scientific inquiry for that. Many sciences are in fact directly charged with the job of inferring the unobservable from the observable. Forces, fields, atoms, quarks, past events, mental states, subsurface geological features, molecular biological structures—all are unobservables inferred from observable phenomena. Nevertheless, most are unambiguously the result of scientific inquiry. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.169-170]

· Second, unobservability does not preclude testability: claims about unobservables are routinely tested in science indirectly against observable phenomena. That is, the existence of unobservable entities is established by testing the explanatory power that would result if a given hypothetical entity (that is, an unobservable) were accepted as actual. This process usually involves some assessment of the established or theoretically plausible causal powers of a given unobservable entity. In any case, many scientific theories must be evaluated indirectly by comparing their explanatory power against competing hypotheses. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.170]

· During the race to elucidate the structure of the genetic molecule, both a double helix and a triple helix were considered, since both could explain the photographic images produced via X-ray crystallography.[H. Judson, The Eighth Day of Creation (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1979), pp. 157-90.] While neither structure could be observed (even indirectly through a microscope), the double helix of Watson and Crick eventually won out because it could explain other observations that the triple helix could not. The inference to one unobservable structure—the double helix—was accepted because it was judged to possess a greater explanatory power than its competitors with respect to a variety of relevant observations. Such attempts to infer to the best explanation, where the explanation presupposes the reality of an unobservable entity, occur frequently in many fields already regarded as scientific, including physics, geology, geophysics, molecular biology, genetics, physical chemistry, cosmology, psychology, and, of course, evolutionary biology. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.170]

· The prevalence of unobservables in such fields raises difficulties for defenders of descent who would use observability criteria to disqualify design. Darwinists have long defended the apparently unfalsifiable nature of their theoretical claims by reminding critics that many of the creative processes to which they refer occur at rates too slow to observe. Further, the core historical commitment of evolutionary theory—that present species are related by common ancestry—has an epistemological character that is very similar to many present design theories. The transitional life forms that ostensibly occupy the nodes on Darwin’s branching tree of life are unobservable, just as the postulated past activity of a Designer is unobservable.[Meyer, Of Clues, p. 120; Darwin, Origin, p. 398; D. Hull, Darwin and His Critics (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1973), p. 45.] [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.170]

· Transitional life forms are theoretical postulations that make possible evolutionary accounts of present biological data. An unobservable designing agent is, similarly, postulated to explain features of life such as its information content and irreducible complexity. Darwinian transitional, neo-Darwinian mutational events, punctuationalism’s “rapid branching” events, the past action of a designing agent—none of these is directly observable. With respect to direct observability, each of these theoretical entities is equivalent. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.170-171]

· Each is roughly equivalent with respect to testability as well. Origins theories generally must make assertions about what happened in the past to cause present features of the universe (or the universe itself) to arise. They must reconstruct unobservable causal events from present clues or evidences. Positivistic methods of testing, therefore, that depend upon direct verification or repeated observation of cause-effect relationships have little relevance to origins theories, as Darwin himself understood. Though he complained repeatedly about the creationist failure to meet the vera causa criterion—a nineteenth-century methodological principle that favored theories postulating observed causes—he chafed at the application of rigid positivistic standards to his own theory. As he complained to Joseph Hooker: “I am actually weary of telling people that I do not pretend to adduce direct evidence of one species changing into another, but that I believe that this view in the main is correct because so many phenomena can be thus grouped and explained”[C. Darwin, More Letters of Charles Darwin, ed. F. Darwin, 2 vols. (London: Murray, 1903), 1:184.] (emphasis added).[Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.171]

· The preceding considerations suggest that neither evolutionary descent with modification nor intelligent design is ultimately untestable. Instead, both theories seem testable indirectly, as Darwin explained of descent, by a comparison of their explanatory power with that of their competitors. As Philip Kitcher—no friend of creationism—has acknowledged, the presence of unobservable elements in theories, even ones involving an unobservable Designer, does not mean that such theories cannot be evaluated empirically. He writes, “Even postulating an unobserved Creator need be no more unscientific than postulating unobserved particles. What matters is the character of the proposals and the ways in which they are articulated and defended.” [Kitcher, Abusing Science, p. 125. While Kitcher allows for the possibility of a testable theory of divine creation, he believes creationism was tested and found wanting in the nineteenth century.] [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.172-173]

· Similarly, the requirement that a scientific theory must provide a causal mechanism fails to provide a metaphysically neutral standard of demarcation for several reasons. First, as we have already noted, many theories in science are not mechanistic theories. Many theories that explicate what regularly happens in nature either do not or need not explain why those phenomena occur mechanically. Newton’s universal law of gravitation was no less a scientific theory because Newton failed—indeed refused—to postulate a mechanistic cause for the regular pattern of attraction his law described. Also, as noted earlier, many historical theories about what happened in the past may stand on their own without any mechanistic theory about how the events to which such theories attest could have occurred. The theory of common descent is generally regarded as a scientific theory even though scientists have not agreed on a completely adequate mechanism to explain how transmutation between lines of descent can be achieved. In the same way, there seems little justification for asserting that the theory of continental drift became scientific only after the advent of plate tectonics. While the mechanism provided by plate tectonics certainly helped render continental drift a more persuasive theory,[The same could be said of the neo-Darwinian selection-mutation mechanism vis-à-vis the theory of common descent. In both cases, however, issues of warrant and issues of scientific status should not be confused.] it was nevertheless not strictly necessary to know the mechanism by which continental drift occurs (1) to know or theorize that drift had occurred or (2) to regard the continental drift theory as scientific. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.173-174]

Part 3: The Methodological Character of Historical Science

· In other words, a fundamental methodological equivalence between design and descent derives from a common concern with history—that is, with historical questions, historical inferences, and historical explanations. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.176]

· So the evolutionary demarcation arguments above seem to fail in part because they attempt to impose (as normative) criteria of method that ignore the historical character of origins research. Indeed, each one of the demarcationist arguments listed above fails because it overlooks a specific characteristic of the historical sciences. But what are these characteristics? And could they provide grounds for distinguishing the scientific, or at least methodological, status of design and descent? [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.178]

· The nature of historical science. Answering these questions will require briefly summarizing the results of my doctoral research on the logical and methodological features of the historical sciences.[Meyer, Of Clues.] Through that research I have identified three general features of historical scientific disciplines. These features derive from a concern to reconstruct the past and to explain the present by reference to the past. They distinguish disciplines motivated by historical concerns from disciplines motivated by a concern to discover, classify, or explain unchanging laws and properties of nature. These latter disciplines may be called “inductive” or “nomological” (from the Greek word nomos, for law); the former type may be called “historical”.80 I contend that historical sciences generally can be distinguished from nonhistorical scientific disciplines by virtue of the three following features: 1. The historical interest or questions motivating their practitioners: Those in the historical sciences generally seek to answer questions of the form “What happened?” or “What caused this event or that natural feature to arise?” On the other hand, those in the nomological or inductive sciences generally address questions of the form “How does nature normally operate or function?”  2. The distinctively historical types of inference used: The historical sciences use inferences with a distinctive logical form. Unlike many nonhistorical disciplines, which typically attempt to infer generalizations or laws from particular facts, historical sciences make what C. S. Peirce has called “abductive inferences” in order to infer a past event from a present fact or clue. These inferences have also been called “retrodictive” because they are temporally asymmetric—that is, they seek to reconstruct past conditions or causes from present facts or clues. For example, detectives[A. C. Doyle, “The Boscome Valley Mystery”, in The Sign of Three: Peirce, Holmes, Popper, ed. T. Sebeok (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1983), p. 145.] use abductive or retrodictive inferences to reconstruct the circumstances of a crime after the fact. In so doing they function as historical scientists. As Gould has put it, the historical scientist proceeds by “inferring history from its results”.[S. J. Gould, “Evolution and the Triumph of Homology: Or, Why History Matters”, American Scientist 74 (1986): 61.] 3. The distinctively historical types of explanations used: In the historical sciences one finds causal explanations of particular events, not nomological descriptions or theories of general phenomena. In historical explanations, past causal events, not laws, do the primary explanatory work. The explanations cited earlier of the Himalayan orogeny and the beginning of World War I exemplify such historical explanations.83 In addition, the historical sciences share with many other types of science a fourth feature. 4. Indirect methods of testing such as inference to the best explanation: As discussed earlier, many disciplines cannot test theories by direct observation, prediction, or repeated experiment. Instead, testing must be done indirectly through comparison of the explanatory power of competing theories. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.178-179]

· As already discussed, Darwin also (with respect to feature 4 above) employed a method of indirect testing of his theory by assessing its relative explanatory power. Recall his statement that “this hypothesis [that is, common descent] must be tested . . . by trying to see whether it explains several large and independent classes of facts.”[Quoted in Gould, “Darwinism”, p. 70.] He makes this indirect and comparative method of testing even more explicit in a letter to Asa Gray: I . . . test this hypothesis [common descent] by comparison with as many general and pretty well-established propositions as I can find—in geographical distribution, geological history, affinities &c., &c. And it seems to me that, supposing that such a hypothesis were to explain such general propositions, we ought, in accordance with the common way of following all science, to admit it till some better hypothesis be found out [emphasis added]. [F. Darwin, ed., Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, 2 vols. (London: D. Appleton, 1896), 1:437.] [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.182]

· Design as historical science. The foregoing suggests that evolutionary biology, or at least Darwin’s version of it, does conform to the pattern of inquiry described above as historically scientific. To show that design and descent are methodologically equivalent with respect to the historical mode of inquiry outlined above, it now remains to show that a design argument or theory could exemplify this same historical pattern of inquiry. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.182-183]

· In the case of feature 1, this equivalence is quite obvious. As just noted, a clear logical distinction exists between questions of the form “How does nature normally operate or function?” and those of the form “How did this or that natural feature arise?” or “What caused this or that event to occur?” Those who postulate the past activity of an intelligent Designer do so as an answer, or partial answer, to questions of the latter historical type. Whatever the evidential merits or liabilities of design theories, such theories undoubtedly represent attempts to answer questions about what caused certain features in the natural world to come into existence. With respect to an interest in origins questions, design and descent are clearly equivalent.  [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.183]

· Design and descent are also equivalent with respect to feature 2. Inferences to intelligent design are clearly abductive and retrodictive. They seek to infer a past unobservable cause (an instance of creative mental action or agency) from present facts or clues in the natural world, such as the informational content in DNA, the irreducible complexity of molecular machines, the hierarchical top-down pattern of appearance in the fossil record, and the fine tuning of physical laws and constants. [Denton, Evolution, pp. 338-42; C. Thaxton, W. Bradley, and R. Olsen, The Mystery of Life’s Origin (New York: Philosophical Library, 1984), pp. 113-65, 201-4, 209-12] Moreover, just as Darwin sought to strengthen the retrodictive inferences that he made by showing that many facts or classes of facts could be explained on the supposition of common descent, so too may proponents of design seek to muster a wide variety of clues to demonstrate the explanatory power of their theory. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.183]

· With respect to feature 3, design inferences, once made, may also serve as causal explanations. The same reciprocal relationship between inference and explanation that exists in arguments for descent can exist in arguments for design. Thus, as noted, an inference to intelligent design may gain support because it could, if accepted, explain many diverse classes of facts. Clearly, once adopted it will provide corresponding explanatory resources. Moreover, theories of design involving the special creative act of an agent conceptualize that act as a causal event,[Thaxton, Bradley, and Olsen, Mystery, pp. 201-12] albeit involving mental rather than purely physical antecedents. Indeed, design theories—whether posited by young-earth Genesis literalists, old-earth progressive creationists, theistic macromutationalists, or religiously agnostic biologists—refer to antecedent causal events or express some kind of causal scenario just as, for example, chemical evolutionary theories do. As a matter of method, advocates of design and descent alike seek to postulate antecedent causal events or event scenarios in order to explain the origin of present phenomena. With respect to feature 3, design and descent again appear methodologically equivalent. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.183-184]

· Much has already been said to suggest that with respect to feature 4 design may be tested indirectly in the same way as descent. Certainly, advocates of design may seek to test their ideas as Darwin did—against a wide class of relevant facts and by comparing the explanatory power of their hypotheses against those of competitors. Indeed, many biologists who favor design now make their case for it on the basis of its ability to explain the same evidences that descent can as well as some that descent allegedly cannot (such as the presence of specified complexity or information content in DNA).[E. J. Ambrose, The Nature and Origin of the Biological World (New York: Halstead, 1982); Denton, Evolution; R. Augros and G. Stanciu, The New Biology (Boston: Shambhala, 1987); D. Kenyon and P. W. Davis, Of Pandas and People: The Central Question of Biological Origins (Dallas: Haughton, 1993)] Thus design and descent again seem methodologically equivalent. Both seek to answer characteristically historical questions; both rely upon abductive inferences; both postulate antecedent causal events or scenarios as explanations of present data; and both are tested indirectly by comparing their explanatory power against that of competing theories. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.184]

· The preceding considerations suggest that allowing the design hypothesis as the best explanation for some events in the history of the cosmos will not cause science to come grinding to a halt. While design does have the required features of some scientific (historical) explanations, it cannot be invoked appropriately in all scientific contexts. Furthermore, because effective postulations of design are constrained by empirical considerations of causal precedence and adequacy, and by extraevidential considerations such as simplicity and theological plausibility, concerns about design theory functioning as a “theory of everything” or “providing cover for ignorance” or “putting scientists out of work” can be shown to be unfounded. [Following Sober, I regard simplicity as a notion that cannot be formally explicated but which, nevertheless, plays a role in scientific theory evaluation. Like Sober I believe that intuitive notions of simplicity, economy, or elegance express or are informed by tacit background assumptions. I see no reason that theistic explanations could not be either commended or disqualified on the basis of such judgments just as materialistic explanations are. Sober, Reconstructing, pp. 36-69] Many important scientific questions would remain to be answered if one adopted a theory of design. Indeed, all questions about how nature normally operates without the special assistance of divine agency remain unaffected by whatever view of origins one adopts. And that, perhaps, is yet another equivalence between design and descent.[Theists who invoke the special assistance or activity of divine agency to explain an origin event or biblical miracle, for example, are not, as is commonly asserted, guilty of semideism. Those who infer that God has acted in a discrete, special, and perhaps more easily discernible way in one case do not deny that he is constantly acting to “uphold the universe by the word of his power” at all other times. The medievals resisted this false dichotomy by affirming two powers of God, or two ways by which he interacts with the world. The ordinary power of God they called his potentia ordinata and the special or fiat power they called his potentia absoluta. W. Courtenay, “The Dialectic of Omnipotence in the High and Late Middle Ages”, in Divine Omniscience and Omnipotence in Medieval Philosophy, ed. T. Rudavsky (Norwell: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1984), pp. 243-69. Many modern theists who affirm the special action of God at a discrete point in history have this type of distinction in mind.] [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.192]

Conclusion: Toward a Scientific Theory of Creation

· So what should we make of these methodological equivalencies? Can there be a scientific theory of intelligent design? At the very least it seems we can conclude that we have not yet encountered any good reason in principle to exclude design from science. Design seems to be just as scientific (or unscientific) as its naturalistic competitors when judged according to the methodological criteria examined above. Moreover, if the antidemarcationists are correct, our lack of universal demarcation criteria implies there cannot be a negative a priori case against the scientific status of design—precisely because there is not an agreed standard as to what constitutes the properly scientific. To say that some discipline or activity qualifies as scientific is to imply the existence of a standard by which the scientific status of an activity or discipline can be assessed or adjudicated. If no such standard presently exists, then nothing positive (or negative) can be said about the scientific status of intelligent design (or any other theory, for that matter). [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.192-193]

· But there is another approach that can be taken to the question. If (1) there exists a distinctively historical pattern of inquiry, and (2) a program of origins research committed to design theory could or does instantiate that pattern, and (3) many other fields such as evolutionary biology also instantiate that pattern, and (4) these other fields are already regarded by convention as science, there can be a very legitimate if convention-dependent sense in which design may be considered scientific. In other words, the conjunction of the methodological equivalence of design and descent and the existence of a convention that regards theories of descent as scientific implies that design should—by that same convention—be regarded as scientific too. Thus, one might quite legitimately say that both design and descent are historically scientific research programs, since they instantiate the same pattern of inquiry. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.193]

· So the question is not whether there can be a scientific theory of design or creation. The question is whether design should be considered as a competing hypothesis alongside descent in serious origins research (call it what you will). Once issues of demarcation are firmly behind us, understood as the red herrings they are, the answer to this question must clearly be yes—that is, if origins biology is to have standing as a fully rational enterprise, rather than just a game played according to rules convenient to philosophical materialists. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.195]

· Naturalism: the only game in town? G. K. Chesterton once said that “behind every double standard lies a single hidden agenda.”[G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy (London: John Lane, 1909)] Advocates of descent have used demarcation arguments to erect double standards against design, suggesting that the real methodological criterion they have in mind is naturalism. Of course for many the equation of science with the strictly materialistic or naturalistic is not at all a hidden agenda. Scientists generally treat “naturalistic” as perhaps the most important feature of their enterprise.[As Basil Willey put it: “Science must be provisionally atheistic or cease to be itself” (“Darwin’s Place”, p. 15). See also Ruse, Darwinism, p. 59; Ruse, “Witness”, p. 305; Gould, “Evolution”, p. 121; Root-Bernstein, “Creationism Considered”, p. 74; Ruse, “Darwinism”, pp. 1-13.]Clearly, if naturalism is regarded as a necessary feature of all scientific hypotheses, then design will not be considered a scientific hypothesis. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.195]

· But must all scientific hypotheses be entirely naturalistic? Must scientific origins theories, in particular, limit themselves to materialistic causes? Thus far none of the arguments advanced in support of a naturalistic definition of science has provided a noncircular justification for such a limitation. Nevertheless, perhaps such arguments are irrelevant. Perhaps scientists should just accept the definition of science that has come down to them. After all, the search for natural causes has served science well. What harm can come from continuing with the status quo? What compelling reasons can be offered for overturning the prohibition against nonnaturalistic explanation in science? [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.195-196]

· An openness to empirical arguments for design is therefore a necessary condition of a fully rational historical biology. A rational historical biology must not only address the question “Which materialistic or naturalistic evolutionary scenario provides the most adequate explanation of biological complexity?” but also the question “Does a strictly materialistic evolutionary scenario or one involving intelligent agency or some other theory best explain the origin of biological complexity, given all relevant evidence?” To insist otherwise is to insist that materialism holds a metaphysically privileged position. Since there seems no reason to concede that assumption, I see no reason to concede that origins theories must be strictly naturalistic. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.197-198]

William A. Dembski and Stephen C. Meyer

Fruitful Interchange or Polite Chitchat?

The Dialogue Between Science and Theology

· The difficulties attendant on the interdisciplinary conversation between physics and philosophy, and between the humanities and the natural sciences more generally, often pale by comparison to those encountered in the interdisciplinary dialogue between theology and the natural sciences. Distinct disciplines have a hard time communicating, even those which prima facie we might think would want to communicate, for example, philosophy and physics. How much more difficult it is, then, to get theology and science communicating when, especially over the last one hundred years, they have been increasingly characterized in terms of either a warfare or a partition metaphor (that is, either they are in unresolvable conflict or they are so thoroughly compartmentalized that no possibility of meaningful communication exists). [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.214]

· Failure to distinguish between a strong and a weak form of epistemic support has led to confusion in the dialogue between science and theology. Consider, for instance, what Ernan McMullin means when he denies that the relation between the Big Bang and the creation of the universe by God can be characterized in terms of epistemic support: “What one could say . . . is that if the universe began in time through the act of a Creator, from our vantage point it would look something like the Big Bang that cosmologists are talking about. What one cannot say is, first, that the Christian doctrine of Creation ‘supports’ the Big Bang model, or, second, that the Big Bang model ‘supports’ the Christian doctrine of Creation.”[Ernan McMullin, “How Should Cosmology Relate to Theology?” in The Sciences and Theology in the Twentieth Century, ed. Arthur R. Peacocke (Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press, 1981), p. 39.] Contra McMullin, we insist that the Big Bang model does support the Christian doctrine of Creation, and vice versa. Yet we will develop a more liberalized notion of epistemic support that allows fruitful interdisciplinary dialogue without requiring that scientific evidence compel religious beliefs or the reverse. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.216]

Rational Compulsion

· We wish to stress that both strict and partial entailment yield what we have been calling rational compulsion. This is immediately obvious for strict entailment. Indeed, if it is impossible for B to be false if A is true, then if we affirm A we surely had better affirm B also. Still, we may wonder why partial entailment should also yield rational compulsion. Whereas strict entailment leaves no room for either (1) fallibility or (2) contingency or (3) degree or (4) doubt, partial entailment leaves room for all of these. If A strictly entails B, then (1) there is no possibility of being wrong about B if we are right about A; (2) B follows necessarily from A; (3) A epistemically supports B to the utmost and cannot be made to support B to a still higher degree; and (4) not only need we not but we also ought not to doubt B if we trust A. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.218]

· On the other hand, none of these properties holds in general for partial entailment. Consider the following two claims: A: There will be a heavy snowfall tonight. B: Schools will be closed tomorrow. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.218-219]

· Suppose that nine times out often when there is a heavy snowfall at night, schools close on the next day. Then if we see heavy snow accumulating tonight, we have good reason to expect that school will be closed tomorrow. Nevertheless, the four claims we just made about strict entailment in the last paragraph fail to hold for partial entailment. Thus (1) even though A may hold, we may still be mistaken for holding B; (2) there is no necessary connection between A and B; (3) the relation of support between A and B admits of degrees (for instance, the relation would be still stronger if ninety-nine times out of a hundred school were closed following a heavy snowfall, weaker if only two times out of three); and (4) we are entitled to invest B with a measure of doubt even if we know A to be true. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.219]

· Nevertheless, partial entailment and rational compulsion remain inextricably linked. To see this, consider the following rumination by C. S. Peirce: If a man had to choose between drawing a card from a pack containing twenty-five red cards and a black one, or from a pack containing twenty-five black cards and a red one, and if the drawing of a red card were destined to transport him to eternal felicity, and that of a black one to consign him to everlasting woe, it would be folly to deny that he ought to prefer the pack containing the larger portion of red cards, although, from the nature of the risk, it could not be repeated. . . . But suppose he should choose the red pack, and should draw the wrong card, what consolation would he have?[Charles S. Peirce, “The Red and the Black” (1878), in The World of Mathematics, ed. J. R. Newman, 4 vols. (Redmond, Wash.: Tempus, 1988), pp. 1313-14.] [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.219]

Explanatory Power

This section summarizes the second author’s treatment of explanation in his doctoral dissertation (Stephen C. Meyer, Of Clues and Causes: A Methodological Interpretation of Origin of Life Studies [diss., University of Cambridge, 1990])

· To sum up, whereas in the logic of deduction, A epistemically supports B because A logically entails and therefore rationally compels B, in the logic of explanation, A epistemically supports B because B provides a good explanation of A. As Peirce showed, both logics provide legitimate inference patterns and underwrite robust relations of epistemic support. Yet although these logics often work in tandem, they are nevertheless distinct. Moreover, the logic of explanation suggests an important role for theology in enhancing our understanding of some scientific data, results, or theories. Unlike the logic of entailment, which left theology little to do beyond (in the most negative case) questioning the empirical findings of science, the logic of explanation suggests that theology might provide science with a source of (albeit in many cases metaphysical) hypotheses and explanations for its empirical findings and results. This logic further suggests a way that scientific data might provide epistemic support for theological propositions or doctrines. In particular, it suggests that scientific data can provide epistemic support for theological propositions just in case those propositions suggest a better explanation for the data than do the alternatives under consideration. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.225-226]

The Big Bang and the Divine Creation

· With explanatory power rather than rational compulsion characterizing epistemic support, the cosmological theory of the Big Bang and the Christian doctrine of divine Creation can now be brought into a relation of mutual epistemic support. To show this in detail far exceeds the scope of this modest essay. Still, a few brief observations will suggest how the Big Bang and the divine Creation might provide epistemic support for each other, once epistemic support is reconceptualized by reference to the logic of explanation. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.229]

· Curiously, in the very passage in which he denies that relations of epistemic support obtain between the Big Bang model and the Christian doctrine of Creation, Ernan McMullin actually opens the door to such relations. In a passage already quoted, McMullin remarks, “What one could say . . . is that if the universe began in time through the act of a Creator, from our vantage point it would look something like the Big Bang that cosmologists are talking about. What one cannot say is, first, that the Christian doctrine of Creation ‘supports’ the Big Bang model, or, second, that the Big Bang model ‘supports’ the Christian doctrine of Creation.”[McMullin, “Cosmology”, p. 39.] Yet if we take explanatory power as our basis for epistemic support, it seems that what McMullin denies in the second part of this quotation he actually affirms in the first. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.229]

· For consider what it means to say, “If the universe began in time through the act of a Creator, from our vantage point it would look something like the Big Bang that cosmologists are talking about.”[McMullin, “Cosmology”, p. 39.] Does this not simply mean that if we assume the Christian doctrine of Creation as a kind of metaphysical hypothesis, then the Big Bang is the kind of cosmological theory we have reason to expect? Does this not also mean that the Christian doctrine of Creation is consonant with the Big Bang? We submit that the answer is yes to both questions. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.229]

· Suppose now that we take the Big Bang as given (= data) and pose the question of how we might best explain the Big Bang in metaphysical terms. The playing field is potentially quite large. Metaphysics offers a multitude of competing explanations for the nature and origin of the material universe, everything from solipsism to idealism to naturalism to theism. Nevertheless, in practice we tend to consider only the competing explanations advocated by parties in a dispute. Since McMullin’s foil is the scientific naturalist, let us limit the competition to Christian theism and scientific naturalism. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.229-230]

· If we limit our attention to these two choices, Christian theism and its doctrine of Creation may with some justification be regarded as providing a more causally adequate explanation of the Big Bang than any of the explanations offered to date by scientific naturalism. Since the naturalist assumes that, in Carl Sagan’s formulation, “the Cosmos is all that is, or ever was or ever will be”,[Carl Sagan, Cosmos (New York: Random House, 1980), p. 4] naturalism denies the existence of any entity with the causal powers capable of explaining the origin of the universe as a whole. Since the Big Bang (in conjunction with general relativity) implies a singular beginning for matter, space, time, and energy,[Stephen Hawking and Roger Penrose, “The Singularities of Gravitational Collapse and Cosmology”, Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, series A, 314 (1970): 529-48.] it follows that any entity capable of explaining this singular event must transcend these four dimensions or domains. Insofar as God as conceived by Christian theism possesses precisely such transcendent causal powers, theism provides a better explanation than naturalism for the putative singularity affirmed by the Big Bang cosmology. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.230]

· To be sure, the argument that the Big Bang provides epistemic support for the Christian doctrine of Creation can be more fully developed and nuanced. Still, the general idea of how a fruitful interdisciplinary dialogue between theology and science may proceed should be clear. Note that in the example involving the Big Bang and the Christian doctrine of Creation, we only examined the case of a scientific claim (that is, the Big Bang) providing epistemic support for a theological claim (the Christian doctrine of Creation). We could, of course, turn this around. Thus, we could fix the Christian doctrine of Creation as data and ask which cosmological theory of the origin of the universe is best supported by the Christian doctrine of Creation. The answer to this question is left as an exercise to the reader. [Behe, Dembski & Meyer: Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2000, p.231-232]

الحمد لله الذي بنعمته تتمّ الصَّالِحات

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

The Fifth Miracle

The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life

By: Paul Davies

للتحميل: (PDF) (DOC)

إعداد: أ. مصطفى نصر قديح

fifth-miracle

· In August 1996, the world was electrified by news that an ancient meteorite may contain evidence for life on Mars. President Clinton himself conveyed the story to the public and a startled scientific community. The momentous implications of the discovery, if such it was, were expressed in appropriate superlatives. This memorable event marked one of the few occasions when a scientific result had a direct impact on the public. Yet the plaudits and the banter glossed over the true significance of the findings. [Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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· The problem of how and where life began is one of the great outstanding mysteries of science. But it is more than that. The story of life’s origin has ramifications for philosophy and even religion. Answers to such profound questions as whether we are the only sentient beings in the universe, whether life is the product of random accident or deeply rooted law, and whether there may be some sort of ultimate meaning to our existence, hinge on what science can reveal about the formation of life. [Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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·  The origin of life appears . . . to be almost a miracle, so many are the conditions which would have had to be satisfied to get it going.[Francis Crick, Life Itself: Its Nature and Origin (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1981), p. 88] [Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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· One of the principal ways in which life distinguishes itself from the rest of nature is its remarkable ability to go “against the tide” (in the above example literally) and create order out of chaos. By contrast, inanimate forces tend to produce disorder. There is in fact a very basic law of nature at work here, called the second law of thermodynamics. To understand how life began, we first need to know how it copes with the vagaries of this law. [Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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· In essence, the second law of thermodynamics forbids the creation of a perfect machine, or perpetuum mobile. It acknowledges that all large-scale physical processes are less than 100 percent efficient: there is inevitable waste, or degeneration. Steam engines, for example, do not use all the energy liberated by the coal that is burned; much of the heat from the boiler radiates away uselessly into the environment, and some of the kinetic energy is lost to friction in the moving parts. A good way to characterize this waste is in terms of order and disorder, or useful and useless energy. The motion of the steam locomotive along the track represents ordered or useful energy; the waste heat is disordered or useless energy. Heat is disordered energy because it is the chaotic motion of molecules. It is useless because it is randomly distributed. The second law describes the inevitable and irreversible trend from ordered to disordered forms of energy. Without a supply of fuel, or useful energy—often called “free” energy—the steam locomotive would soon run out of puff. [Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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· The second law of thermodynamics is not restricted to engineering. It is a fundamental law of nature; there is no escaping it. The British astronomer Sir Arthur Eddington regarded it as occupying the supreme position among the laws of nature. He once wrote, “if your theory is found to be against the second law of thermodynamics I can give you no hope; there is nothing for it but to collapse in deepest humiliation.”[ A. S. Eddington, The Nature of the Physical World (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1928), p. 74.] It is easy to find everyday examples of the second law at work, cases where order surrenders to chaos. The destruction of sand piles and footprints I have already mentioned. Think also of a melting snowman or a breaking egg. All these processes produce disordered states of matter from relatively ordered ones. The changes are irreversible. You won’t see the tide create a footprint or the sunshine make a snowman. And even the king’s horses and men were unable to put Humpty Dumpty together again. [Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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· Physicists measure the loss of useful energy in terms of a quantity termed entropy, which roughly speaking corresponds to the degree of chaos present in the system. When a physical process occurs, such as a piston-and-cylinder cycle in a steam engine, it is possible to compute how much entropy is produced as a result. Armed with the concept of entropy, we can state the second law as follows: In a closed system the total entropy cannot go down. Nor will it go on rising without limit. There will be a state of maximum entropy or maximum disorder, which is referred to as thermodynamic equilibrium; once the system has reached that state it is stuck there. [Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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· To make these principles clear, let me illustrate them with a simple example concerning the direction of heat flow. If a hot body is put in contact with a cold body, heat passes from hot to cold. Eventually the two bodies reach thermodynamic equilibrium—i.e., a uniform temperature. The heat flow then ceases. Why is this a transition from order to disorder? The uneven distribution of heat at the start can be regarded as a relatively more ordered, hence lower-entropy, state than the final one, because in the final state the heat energy is distributed chaotically among the maximum number of molecules. In this example, the second law demands that heat flow from hot to cold, never the other way. [Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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· When the laws of thermodynamics are applied to living organisms, there seems to be a problem. One of the basic properties of life is its high degree of order, so, when an organism develops or reproduces, the order increases. This is the opposite of the second law’s bidding. The growth of an embryo, the formation of a DNA molecule, the appearance of a new species, and the increasing elaboration of the biosphere as a whole are all examples of an increase of order and a decrease of entropy. [Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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· Some eminent scientists have been deeply mystified by this contradiction. The German physicist Hermann von Helmholtz, himself one of the founders of the science of thermodynamics, was one of the first to suggest that life somehow circumvents the second law.[ A. I. Zotin, “The Second Law, Negentropy, Thermodynamics of Linear Processes,” in I. Lamprecht and A. I. Zotin, eds., Thermodynamics of Biological Processes (New York: de Gruyter, 1978), p. 19.] Eddington likewise perceived a clash between Darwinian evolution and thermodynamics, and suggested either that the former be abandoned or that an “anti-evolution principle” be set alongside it.[A. S. Eddington, “The End of the World: From the Standpoint of Mathematical Physics,” Nature 127( 1931 ):447.] Even Schrödinger had his doubts. In his book What Is Life? he examined the relationship between order and disorder in conventional thermodynamics and contrasted it with life’s hereditary principle of more order from order. Observing that an organism avoids decay and maintains order by “drinking orderliness” from its environment, he surmised that the second law of thermodynamics may not apply to living matter. “We must be prepared to find a new type of physical law prevailing on it,” he wrote.[Erwin Schrödinger, What Is Life? (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1944), p. 81.] [Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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· The second law can also be applied to biological evolution. The appearance of a new species marks an increase in order, but Darwin’s theory identifies the price that is paid to achieve this. To evolve a new species requires many mutations, the vast majority of which are harmful and get eliminated by the sieve of natural selection. For every successful surviving mutant, there are thousands of unsuccessful dead ones. The carnage of natural selection amounts to a huge increase in entropy, which more than compensates for the gain represented by the successful mutant. [Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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· As such a weak force, it is hard to see how gravitation could play a direct role in biochemical processes. However, suggestions have been made along those lines. Roger Penrose, an Oxford mathematician and a world expert on gravitation theory, has speculated that gravity may affect biomolecules through quantum processes. [Roger Penrose, The Emperors New Mind (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989), and Shadows of the Mind (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994).] Mathematical physicist Lee Smolin has also compared the subjects of life and gravitation in his recent book The Life of the Cosmos. He develops an analogy between the behavior of ecosystems and spiral galaxies. Drawing inspiration from computer models of self-organization, Smolin finds close parallels in the processes of feedback and pattern formation in star clusters and biology. He believes that life is part of a “nested hierarchy of self-organized systems that begins with our local ecologies and extends upwards at least to the galaxy.” [Lee Smolin, The Life of the Cosmos (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997), p. 159.] [Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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· Thus, both quantum mechanics and relativity suggest that information is a global rather than a local physical quantity. You cannot simply inspect a location in space and detect information. What you see—a particle, for example—becomes information only in an appropriate global context. Yet whether or not the particle does represent information is not a trivial or purely semantic matter. It may have dramatic physical consequences, as the bomb example graphically demonstrates. [Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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· How does all this relate to the origin of life? It suggests that we will not be able to trace the origin of biological information to the operation of local physical forces and laws. In particular, the oftrepeated claim that life is written into the laws of physics cannot be true if those laws are restricted to the normal sort, which describe localized action and proximate forces. We must seek the origin of biological information in some sort of global context. That may turn out to be simply the environment in which biogenesis occurs. On the other hand, it may involve some nonlocal type of physical law, as yet unrecognized by science, that explicitly entangles the dynamics of information with the dynamics of matter. [Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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· A thousand years of history is about forty generations. Each of us had two parents, four grandparents, and eight great-grandparents. For every generation one goes back, the number of ancestors doubles. Using this rule, it seems that forty generations ago I would have had 240 or about a trillion ancestors. That is much more than all the people on Earth who have ever lived, so something must be wrong with the arithmetic. [Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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· The mistake is to assume that human ancestry spreads out forever into the past, as family trees suggest. In reality, at some point as you trace a family tree back in time, the lines start to cross and recross. Genes, and royal blood, diffuse across the planet, making us all distant cousins. I too have royal blood in my veins; it’s just that, unlike Lord Mountbatten, I don’t have the necessary documentation to prove it. [Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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· Searching the fossil record might be described as a top-down approach to the investigation of biogenesis. Starting with what is known about life today, we try to follow its evolutionary path back in time, and down in size, to the simplest organisms and the earliest traces, until the record peters out in obscurity. Some time prior to 3.5 billion, and quite possibly earlier than 3.8 billion years ago, the very first terrestrial organism dwelt somewhere on our planet. But where? And what was it like? I shall address these questions when I return to the top-down route in chapter 6, but now I should like to turn to the alternative, bottom-up, approach. The idea here is to ask what we know about the conditions on the young Earth, and then try to reconstruct the physical and chemical events that sparked the beginning of life all those years ago. [Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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· As it happens, belief in the spontaneous generation of life has a long history, dating back at least to Plato. In the seventeenth century, it was widely believed that many sorts of living creatures could be generated de novo under appropriate conditions. Adult mice, for example, were said to appear from a heap of sweaty underwear and wheat.[ Gerald Feinberg and Robert Shapiro, Life Beyond Earth (New York: William Morrow, 1980), p. 113.]Other favorite recipes were old socks and rotting meat from which lice, flies, and maggots might duly emerge. [Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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· Today these stories seem ridiculous, but it took a scientist of the caliber of Louis Pasteur to settle the matter. In 1862, under the incentive of a public prize, Pasteur performed a series of careful experiments to demonstrate that living organisms come only from other living organisms. A truly sterile medium would, he claimed, remain forever sterile. Pasteur declared triumphally: “Never will the doctrine of spontaneous generation recover from the mortal blow of this simple experiment!” [Charles Thaxton, Walter Bradley, and Roger Olsen, The Mystery of Life’s Origin (New York: Philosophical Library of New York, 1984), p. 12.] . [Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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· Important though this demonstration was, Pasteur’s conclusion came into direct conflict with Darwin’s theory of evolution. Darwin’s celebrated tome On the Origin of Species, which had been published just three years before Pasteur’s experiments, sought to discredit the need for God to create the species by showing how one species can transmute into another. But Darwin’s account left open the problem of how the first living thing came to exist. Unless life had always existed, at least one species—the first—cannot have come to exist by transmutation from another species, only by transmutation from nonliving matter. Darwin himself wrote, some years later: “I have met with no evidence that seems in the least trustworthy, in favour of so-called Spontaneous Generation.”[ Bendall, ed., Evolution from Molecules to Men, p. 128.]Yet, in the absence of a miracle, life could have originated only by some sort of spontaneous generation. Darwin’s theory of evolution and Pasteur’s theory that only life begets life cannot both have been completely right. [Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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· At that time, the very notion that life might spring into being spontaneously from a nonliving chemical mixture was greeted with fierce criticism from theologians, and even from some scientists. The eminent British physicist Lord Kelvin dismissed the whole idea as “a very ancient speculation,” opining that “science brings a vast mass of inductive evidence against this hypothesis.” He stated unequivocally, “Dead matter cannot become living without coming under the influence of matter previously alive.”[11. Quoted in Svante Arrhenius, Worlds in the Making (London: Harper, 1908), p. 216.] This left only two alternatives: either life has always existed or its origin was a miracle. [Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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· Theorizing about the origin of life seemed altogether too speculative in the 1920s, and few people paid much attention to the ideas of Oparin and Haldane. One person who did take notice, however, was Harold Urey, an American chemist who would one day win the Nobel Prize for the discovery of deuterium. Urey realized that it might be possible to test the theory of the primordial soup in the laboratory. Many years later, in 1953, he set out to do just that. [Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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· Two major obstacles stand in the way of further progress towards life in a primordial soup. One is that in most scenarios the soup is far too dilute to achieve much. Haldane’s vast ocean broth would be exceedingly unlikely to bring the right components together in the same place at the same time. Without some mechanism to concentrate the chemicals greatly, the synthesis of more complex substances than amino acids looks doomed. Many imaginative suggestions have been made on how to thicken the brew. For example, Darwin’s warm little pond may have evaporated to leave a potent scum. Or perhaps mineral surfaces like clay trapped and concentrated passing chemicals from a fluid medium. However, it is far from clear whether any of these suggestions is realistic in the context of the early Earth, and no souplike state has been preserved in the rocks to guide us. [Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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· The other obstacle is even deeper and goes back to the second law of thermodynamics. Recall how this law describes a natural tendency towards degradation and corruption, and away from increasing order and complexity. The synthesis of complex biomolecules therefore runs “against the tide,” thermodynamically speaking. At first sight this seems to lead to a contradiction, because amino acids form readily under a wide range of conditions. In fact, there is no conflict with the second law. As I explained in chapter 2, order can appear in one place as long as a greater quantity of disorder, or entropy, is delivered to the environment. This is what happens when a crystal forms from a solute. The crystalline solid is a more ordered arrangement of atoms than a liquid, so it has less entropy. However, the formation of a crystal is accompanied by a release of heat into the environment, which raises the entropy. The second factor outweighs the first. The same applies to amino-acid synthesis, which, like crystal formation, is thermodynamically favored. The reason for this concerns the role of free energy. If a process lowers the energy of a system,—i.e., if it goes “downhill”—then it has the second law’s blessing. By contrast, an “uphill” process defies the second law. Water runs downhill, not uphill. You can make water go uphill, but only if you work for it. A process that happens spontaneously is always a downhill process. Amino-acid production has this character of being a downhill process, which is why amino acids are so easy to make. [Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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· To be sure, there would have been no lack of available energy sources on the early Earth to provide the work needed to forge the peptide bonds, but just throwing energy at the problem is no solution. The same energy sources that generate organic molecules also serve to destroy them. To work constructively, the energy has to be targeted at the specific reaction required. Uncontrolled energy input, such as simple heating, is far more likely to prove destructive than constructive. The situation can be compared to a workman laboriously building a brick pillar by piling bricks one on top of another. The higher the pillar goes, the more likely it is to wobble and collapse. Likewise, long chains made of amino acids linked together are very fragile. As a general rule, if you simply heat organics willy-nilly, you end up, not with delicate long chain molecules, but with a tarry mess, as barbecue owners can testify. [Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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· It is true that the second law of thermodynamics is only a statistical law; it does not absolutely forbid physical systems from going “the wrong way” (i.e., uphill). But the odds are heavily weighted against it. So, for example, it is possible, but very unlikely, to create a brick pillar by simply tipping a pile of bricks out from a hopper. You might not be surprised to see two bricks ending up neatly on top of one another; three bricks would be remarkable, ten almost miraculous. You would undoubtedly wait a very long time for a ten-brick column to happen spontaneously. In ordinary chemical reactions that take place close to thermodynamic equilibrium, the molecules are jiggled about at random, so again you will likely wait a very long time for a fragile molecular chain to form by accident. The longer the chain, the longer the wait. It has been estimated that, left to its own devices, a concentrated solution of amino acids would need a volume of fluid the size of the observable universe to go against the thermodynamic tide and create a single small polypeptide spontaneously. Clearly, random molecular shuffling is of little use when the arrow of directionality points the wrong way.[Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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· One possible escape route from the strictures of the second law is to depart from thermodynamic-equilibrium conditions. The American biochemist Sidney Fox has investigated what happens when a mixture of amino acids is strongly heated. Driving out the water as steam makes the linkage of amino acids into peptide chains much more likely. The thermal-energy flow generates the necessary entropy to comply with the second law. Fox has produced some quite long polypeptides, which he terms “proteinoids,” using this method. Unfortunately, the resemblance between Fox’s proteinoids and real proteins is rather superficial. For example, real proteins are made exclusively of left-handed amino acids (see here), whereas proteinoids are an equal mixture of left and right. .[Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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· There is a more fundamental reason why the random self-assembly of proteins seems a nonstarter. This has to do not with the formation of the chemical bonds as such, but with the particular order in which the amino acids link together. Proteins do not consist of any old peptide chains; they are very specific amino-acid sequences that have specialized chemical properties needed for life. However, the number of alternative permutations available to a mixture of amino acids is superastronomical. A small protein may typically contain a hundred amino acids of twenty varieties. There are about 10130 (which is one followed by 130 zeros) different arrangements of the amino acids in a molecule of this length.  Hitting the right one by accident would be no mean feat.[Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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· Let me spell out what is involved here. I have already emphasized that the complex molecules found in living organisms are not themselves alive. A molecule is a molecule is a molecule; it is neither living nor dead. Life is a phenomenon associated with a whole society of specialized molecules, millions of them, cooperating in surprising and novel ways. No single molecule carries the spark of life, no chain of atoms alone constitutes an organism. Even DNA, the biological supermolecule, is not alive. Pluck the DNA from a living cell and it would be stranded, unable to carry out its familiar role. Only within the context of a highly specific molecular milieu will a given molecule play its role in life. To function properly, DNA must be part of a large team, with each molecule executing its assigned task alongside the others in a cooperative manner. [Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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· You might get the impression from what I have written not only that the origin of life is virtually impossible, but that life itself is impossible. If fragile biomolecules are continually being attacked and disintegrated, surely our own bodies would rapidly degenerate into chemical mayhem spelling certain death? Fortunately for us, our cells contain sophisticated chemical-repair-and-construction mechanisms, handy sources of chemical energy to drive processes uphill, and enzymes with special properties that can smoothly assemble complex molecules from fragments. Also, proteins fold into protective balls that prevent water from attacking their delicate chemical bonds. As fast as the second law tries to drag us downhill, this cooperating army of specialized molecules tugs the other way. As long as we remain open systems, exchanging energy and entropy with our environment, the degenerative consequences of the second law can be avoided. But the primordial soup lacked these convenient cohorts of cooperating chemicals. No molecular-repair gangs stood ready to take on the second law. The soup had to win the battle alone, against odds that were not just heavy but mind-numbingly huge. [Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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· In the previous section I presented the fantastic odds against shuffling amino acids at random into the right sequence to form a protein molecule by accident. That was a single protein. Life as we know it requires hundreds of thousands of specialist proteins, not to mention the nucleic acids. The odds against producing just the proteins by pure chance are something like 1040000 to 1. This is one followed by forty thousand zeros, which would take up an entire chapter of this book if I wanted to write it out in full. Dealing a perfect suit at cards a thousand times in a row is easy by comparison. In a famous remark, the British astronomer Fred Hoyle likened the odds against the spontaneous assembly of life to those for a whirlwind sweeping through a junkyard and producing a fully functioning Boeing 747. [Fred Hoyle, The Intelligent Universe (London: Michael Joseph, 1983), p. 19.] [Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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· I often give public lectures on the possibility of extraterrestrial life. Invariably, someone in the audience will remark that there must be life on other planets because there are so many stars offering potential abodes. It is a commonly used argument. On a recent trip to Europe to attend a conference on extraterrestrial life, I flipped through the airline’s in-flight entertainment guide, only to find that the search for life beyond Earth was on offer as part of their program. The promotional description said “With a half-trillion stars wheeling through the spiral patterns of the Milky Way Galaxy, it seems illogical to assume that among them only one world supports intelligent life.”[Omnia (British Airways in-flight magazine), September-October 1997, p. 26.] The use of the word “illogical” was unfortunate, because the logic is perfectly clear. There are indeed a lot of stars—at least ten billion billion in the observable universe. But this number, gigantic as it may appear to us, is nevertheless trivially small compared with the gigantic odds against the random assembly of even a single protein molecule. Though the universe is big, if life formed solely by random agitation in a molecular junkyard, there is scant chance it has happened twice. [Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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· As a simple-minded physicist, when I think about life at the molecular level, the question I keep asking is: how do all these mindless atoms know what to do? The complexity of the living cell is immense, resembling a city in the degree of its elaborate activity. Each molecule has a specified function and a designated place in the overall scheme so that the correct objects are manufactured. There is much commuting going on. Molecules have to travel across the cell to meet others at the right place and the right time in order to carry out their jobs properly. This all happens without a boss to order the molecules around and steer them to their appropriate locations. No overseer supervises their activities. Molecules simply do what molecules have to do: bang around blindly, knock into each other, rebound, embrace. At the level of individual atoms, life is anarchy—blundering, purposeless chaos. Yet somehow, collectively, these unthinking atoms get it together and perform the dance of life with exquisite precision. [Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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· Can science ever explain such a magnificently self-orchestrating process? Some people flatly deny it.1 They believe that the living cell is just too elaborate, too contrived, to be the product of blind physical forces alone. Science may give a good account of this or that individual feature, they say, but it will never explain the overall organization, or how the original cell was assembled in the first place. [Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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· Proteins are a godsend to DNA, because they can be used both as building material, to make things like cell walls, and as enzymes, to supervise and accelerate chemical reactions. Enzymes are chemical catalysts that “grease the wheels” of the biological machine. Without them metabolism would grind to a halt, and there would be no energy available for the business of life. Not surprisingly, therefore, a large part of the DNA databank is used for storing instructions on how to make proteins. [Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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· When the protein synthesis is complete, the ribosome receives a “stop” signal from the mRNA “tape” and the chain cuts loose. The protein is now assembled, but it doesn’t remain strung out like a snake. Instead it rolls up into a knobbly ball, rather like a piece of elastic that’s stretched and allowed to snap back. This folding process may take some seconds, and it is still something of a mystery how the protein attains the appropriate final shape. If it is to work properly, the three-dimensional form of the protein has to be correct, with the bumps and cavities in all the right places, and the right atoms facing outwards. Ultimately, it is the particular amino-acid sequence along the chain that determines the final three-dimensional conformation, and therefore the physical and chemical properties, of the protein. [Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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· This whole remarkable sequence of events is repeated in thousands of ribosomes scattered throughout the cell, producing tens of thousands of different proteins. It is worth repeating that, in spite of the appearance of purpose, the participating molecules are completely mindless. Collectively they may display systematic cooperation, as if to a plan, but individually they just career about. The molecular traffic within the cell is essentially chaotic, driven by chemical attraction and repulsion and continually agitated by thermal energy. Yet out of this blind chaos order emerges spontaneously. [Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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· The genetic code, with a few recently discovered minor variations, is common to all known forms of life. That the code is universal is extremely significant, for it suggests it was used by the common ancestor of all life, and is robust enough to have survived through billions of years of evolution. Without it, the production of proteins would be a hopelessly hit-or-miss affair. [Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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· Questions abound. How did such a complicated and specific system as the genetic code arise in the first place? Why, out of the 1070 possible codes based on triplets, has nature chosen the one in universal use? Could a different code work as well? If there is life on Mars, will it have the same genetic code as Earthlife? Can we imagine uncoded life, in which interdependent molecules deal directly with each other on the basis of their chemical affinities alone? Or is the origin of the genetic code itself (or at least a genetic code) the key to the origin of life? The British biologist John Maynard Smith has described the origin of the code as the most perplexing problem in evolutionary biology. With collaborator Eörs Szathmáry he writes: “The existing translational machinery is at the same time so complex, so universal, and so essential that it is hard to see how it could have come into existence, or how life could have existed without it.”[ John Maynard Smith and Eörs Szathmáry, The Major Transitions in Evolution (Oxford and New York: Freeman, 1995), p. 81.] [Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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· An even tougher problem concerns the coding assignments—i.e., which triplets code for which amino acids. How did these designations come about? Because nucleic-acid bases and amino acids don’t recognize each other directly, but have to deal via chemical intermediaries, there is no obvious reason why particular triplets should go with particular amino acids. Other translations are conceivable. Coded instructions are a good idea, but the actual code seems to be pretty arbitrary. Perhaps it is simply a frozen accident, a random choice that just locked itself in, with no deeper significance. On the other hand, there may be some subtle reason why this particular code works best. If one code had the edge over another, reliability-wise, then evolution would favor it, and, by a process of successive refinement, an optimal code would be reached. It seems reasonable. But this theory is not without problems either. Darwinian evolution works in incremental steps, accumulating small advantages over many generations. In the case of the code, this won’t do. Changing even a single assignment would normally prove lethal, because it alters not merely one but a whole set of proteins. Among these are the proteins that activate and facilitate the translation process itself. So a change in the code risks feeding back into the very translation machinery that implements it, leading to a catastrophic feedback of errors that would wreck the whole process. To have accurate translation, the cell must first translate accurately. [Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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· Viewed this way, the problem of the origin of life reduces to one of understanding how encoded software emerged spontaneously from hardware. How did it happen? How did nature “go digital”? We are dealing here not with a simple matter of refinement and adaptation, an amplification of complexity, or even the husbanding of information, but a fundamental change of concept. It is like trying to explain how a kite can evolve into a radio-controlled aircraft. Can the laws of nature as we presently comprehend them account for such a transition? I do not believe they can. To see why not, it is necessary to dig a bit deeper into the informational character of life. [Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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· Now, you might be thinking that, if biological organization is random, its genesis should be easy. It is, after all, a simple matter to create random patterns. Just take a jar of coffee beans and tip them on the floor. Surely nature is full of haphazard and chaotic processes that might create a random macromolecule like a genome? This is a good question, and it marks the point where we encounter the truly subtle and mysterious nature of life in the starkest manner. Fact one: the vast majority of possible sequences in a nucleic-acid molecule are random sequences. Fact two: not all random sequences are potential genomes. Far from it. In fact, only a tiny, tiny fraction of all possible random sequences would be even remotely biologically functional. A functioning genome is a random sequence, but it is not just any random sequence. It belongs to a very, very special subset of random sequences—namely, those that encode biologically relevant information. All random sequences of the same length encode about the same amount of information, but the quality of that information is crucial: in the vast majority of cases it would be, biologically speaking, complete gobbledygook. [Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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· The conclusion we have reached is clear and it is profound. A functional genome is both random and highly specific—properties that seem almost contradictory. It must be random to contain substantial amounts of information, and it must be specific for that information to be biologically relevant. The puzzle we are then faced with is how such a structure came into existence. We know that chance can produce randomness, and we know that law can produce a specific, predictable end-product. But how can both properties be combined into one process? How can a blend of chance and law cooperate to yield a specific random structure? [Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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· To get some idea of what we are up against with this dilemma, it is rather like tipping out the coffee beans from a jar to make a particular random pattern. Not just any old random pattern, but a definite, narrowly specific, predetermined random pattern. The task seems formidable. Could a law on its own, without a huge element of luck (i.e., chance), do such a thing? Can specific randomness be the guaranteed product of a deterministic, mechanical, lawlike process, like a primordial soup left to the mercy of familiar laws of physics and chemistry? No, it couldn’t. No known law of nature could achieve this[Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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· It appears as if the information processing needed to generate a genome might also be computationally intractable. Sorting out a particular random sequence from all possible sequences looks like a problem every bit as daunting as that of a traveling salesman faced with visiting a million cities. Which casts the central paradox of biogenesis in the following terms. Given that it requires a long and arduous computation (i.e., a sequence of information-processing steps) to evolve a genome from microbe to man, could the (already considerable) genome of a microbe come into being without a comparably long and arduous process? How, in the phase before Darwinian evolution kicked in, could a very particular sort of information have been scavenged from the nonliving environment and deposited in something like a genome? [Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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CHAPTER 5: The Chicken-and-Egg Paradox

· All known life revolves around the cozy accommodation between DNA and proteins: the software and the hardware. Each needs the other. So which came first? We have already encountered this sort of chicken-and-egg paradox in chapter 2, concerning the so-called error catastrophe that limits the number of copying mistakes in genetic replication, but the problem is much more general. There seems to be an enigmatic circularity to life, a type of irreducible complexity that some people regard as utterly mysterious. [  See, for example, Michael Behe, Darwin’s Black Box (New York: Free Press, 1996).] [Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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· In recent years, attempts have been made to build small and simple replicator molecules in the lab, and to subject them to environmental stresses to see if they evolve into better replicators. [Julius Rebek, “Synthetic Self-Replicating Molecules,” Scientific American 271, no. 1 (1994):34.] Modest success has been claimed. However, these experiments do not demonstrate molecular evolution in nature. They have yet to show that the sort of small replicators that have been painstakingly designed and fabricated in the laboratory will form spontaneously under plausible prebiotic conditions, and if they do, whether they will replicate well enough to evade the error catastrophe. In short, nobody has a clue whether naturally occurring mini-replicators are even possible, let alone whether they have got what it takes to evolve successfully. [Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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· Where might all this have taken place? Oparin envisaged his coacervate cells in some pond or sea, but if life started on or beneath the seabed, as recent evidence suggests, then oily blobs may not be the answer. The porous basalt rock of the sea floor provides a natural network of tiny tunnels and cavities which could trap large organic molecules. The mineral surfaces might also act as convenient catalysts and serve to concentrate the organic material. Unfortunately, rock cavities can’t multiply by fission. Euan Nisbet of the University of London has suggested that perhaps membranes might form within cavities, like creatures trapped in tiny caves, to be liberated in due course by some geological upheaval.[ E. G. Nisbet, The Young Earth (London: Allen & Unwin, 1987), chap. 8.] [Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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· Another imaginative idea for a primitive cell has been proposed by Mike Russell of the University of Glasgow. [Michael Russell, Roy Daniel, Allan Hall, and John Sherringham, “A Hydrothermally Precipitated Catalytic Iron Sulphide Membrane as a First Step Toward Life,” Journal of Molecular Evolution 39(1994):231. For a popular account, see Michael Russell, “Life from the Depths,” Science Spectra 1(1996):26.] His theory focuses on regions of the seabed somewhat removed from volcanic vents, where water seeps gradually into the rock to a depth of several kilometers. Convection eventually returns it to the surface, rich with dissolved minerals. The emerging water is alkaline, and very hot—perhaps reaching two hundred degrees Celsius under high-pressure conditions. By contrast, the overlying ocean would have been acidic, on account of dissolved carbon dioxide, and much cooler. Russell has found that the conjunction of the two fluids triggers the formation of a colloidal membrane made of iron sulfide. As we shall see, iron and sulfur are two chemicals strongly implicated in early life. Moreover, the membrane is semipermeable: it lets through some chemicals but not others, just like a living cell. Russell has managed to grow large cell-like bubbles in the laboratory, and has found evidence for similar structures fossilized in Irish rocks. He believes that osmotic and hydraulic pressure would inflate the bubbles and make them divide. A bonus of his theory is that the juxtaposition of acid-membrane-fluid acts like an electrical battery, which could have provided the initial power source to drive early metabolism. In modern cells there is also a small voltage across the membrane. So maybe electricity was, after all, the original life force! [Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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· A completely different theory for the origin of life has been given by the British biochemist Graham Cairns-Smith, also from the University of Glasgow, who shares the belief that nucleic acids came late in the piece. [ A popular account of his theory is given in A. G. Cairns-Smith, Seven Clues to the Origin of Life (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985).] In fact, as far as the chicken-and-egg (or nucleic-acids-and-proteins) argument goes, he thinks that life started with neither. Cairns-Smith begins by reminding us that nucleic acids function primarily as software—the repositories of genetic information. That being so, their specific chemical form is irrelevant. Just as we can store the same digital information on magnetic tape or floppy disk, so genetic information could be contained in physical structures other than RNA or DNA. Perhaps life started with information encoded in some other manner, and only at a relatively late stage was the genetic function entrusted to nucleic acids. [Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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· So what can be concluded from these various speculations about life’s origin? They all share one assumption. Once life of some sort had established itself, the rest was plain sailing, because Darwinian evolution could then take over. It is therefore natural that scientists should seek to invoke Darwinism at the earliest moment in the history of life. As soon as it kicks in, dramatic advances can occur with nothing fancier than chance and selection as a driving force. Unfortunately, before Darwinian evolution can start, a certain minimum level of complexity is required. But how was this initial complexity achieved? When pressed, most scientists wring their hands and mutter the incantation “Chance.” So, did chance alone create the first self-replicating molecule? Or was there more to it than that? [Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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Self organization: something for nothing?

· Life is but one example of complexity found in nature. Many other examples occur in the world about us. We see complexity in the spangled pattern of frost on a window, in the intricate wiggles of a coastline, in the filigrees and whorls that adorn the surface of Jupiter, and among the jostling eddies of a turbulent river. Life is not haphazard complexity, it is organized. Disorganized complexity is found all over the place, from the spatter of raindrops on the ground to the tea leaves at the bottom of the cup. But organized complexity, though scarcer, is by no means restricted to biology. A spiral galaxy, a rainbow, and a diffraction pattern from a laser beam are both complex and organized. Yet they form without any genes to specify them or any Darwinian evolution to create them. If nonliving systems can generate organized complexity spontaneously, just by following the laws of physics, why can’t life do it that way, at least in the beginning? [Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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· Some people think it can. The Belgian chemist Ilya Prigogine has given examples of chemical mixtures that behave in a lifelike manner, forming elaborate spirals or undergoing rhythmic pulsations. [Ilya Prigogine and Isabelle Stengers, Order Out of Chaos (London: Heinemann, 1984), chap. 5.] The hallmark of these reactions is that they take place far from thermodynamic equilibrium, and require a continual throughput of matter and energy—as does life. The spontaneous ordering doesn’t clash with the second law of thermodynamics because the systems are open; entropy is exported into the environment to pay for the increase in order. Characteristic of such self-organizing systems is their tendency to reach critical “bifurcation” or indecision points, where their behavior is unpredictable. They may leap abruptly to a new state of greater complexity and stabilize, or descend into chaos. Prigogine and his many devotees envisage a sequence of self-organizing transitions, where matter driven by an energy flow jumps to higher and higher levels of organized complexity, until it is truly living. [Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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· Attractive though self-organization may seem, it faces two major obstacles when it comes to the origin of life. The first is the paucity of convincing experiments. So far, most of the “experiments” have been computer simulations rather than the real thing. This has earned the subject of complexity theory something of a bad name in biology. In a now famous put-down of Kauffman’s ideas, John Maynard Smith once described them, somewhat harshly, as “fact-free science.”[ John Maynard Smith, “Life at the Edge of Chaos?,” New York Review of Books, March 2, 1995, p. 28.] [Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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· There is, however, a deeper problem of a conceptual nature. Life is actually not an example of self-organization. Life is in fact specified—i.e., genetically directed—organization. Living things are instructed by the genetic software encoded in their DNA (or RNA). Convection cells form spontaneously by self-organization; there is no gene for a convection cell. The source of order here is not encoded in software; it can instead be traced to the boundary conditions on the fluid. The flux of heat and entropy across the boundaries triggers the self-organization, and the shape, size, and nature of the boundaries determine the patterning details of the cells. In other words, a convection cell’s order is imposed externally, from the system’s environment. By contrast, the order of a living cell derives from internal control, from its genes, which are located on a microscopic molecule buried deep within the system that chemically broadcasts its instructions outwards. To be sure, the environment enveloping a living cell’s membrane will influence to some extent what goes on within the cell, but the principal characteristics of an organism are determined by its genes. [Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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· The theory of self-organization as yet gives no clue how the transition is to be made between spontaneous, or self-induced, organization—which in even the most elaborate nonbiological examples still involves relatively simple structures—and the highly complex, information-based, genetic organization of living things. An explanation of this genetic takeover must account for more than merely the origin of nucleic acids and their potent entanglement with proteins at some later stage. It is not enough to know how these giant molecules arose or started to interact. We also need to know how the system’s software came into existence. Indeed, we need to know how the very concept of software control was discovered by nature. To revisit the analogies I gave in chapter 4, we seek an explanation for how a kite can turn into a radio-controlled plane, or a steam-engine governor can evolve into a digital data-processing electronic regulator. This is not merely a matter of adding an extra layer of complexity; it is about a fundamental transformation in the very nature of the system. [Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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· Related to the latter criticism is the need to draw a careful distinction between order and organization. In the foregoing I have used the terms interchangeably, but they often have opposite meanings. Properly speaking, order refers to simple patterns. A periodic sequence of ones and zeros—like figure 4.4 on here, for example—is ordered. Likewise, a crystal is ordered. Both are highly nonrandom and so, as I explained in the last chapter, they cannot possess the complex organization and information storage of a genome. Attempts to seek a route to life via self-organization often fall into the trap of mistaking organization with order. Cited examples of self-organization are often nothing of the sort; rather, they involve spontaneous ordering instead. For instance, chemical reactions that display rhythmic cycles are often given in accounts of self-organization,17 but periodic behavior is clearly a case of nonrandom order. Similarly, the hexagonal convection cells I described above are more reminiscent of crystalline order than of the organized complexity of biological organisms. In the absence of some new principle of self-organization that induces the production of algorithmic complexity, a crucial part of the biogenesis story has been left out. [Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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· So much for the bottom-up approach to the origin of life. It has yielded some useful pointers, but it leaves many bewildering riddles. However, it is not the only approach available. We can also pursue a top-down route. The idea here is to start with extant life and follow it back in time, hoping to guess where and how the earliest organisms lived. We can then employ this knowledge to tell us something about how these organisms may have come to exist. It turns out that, to track down the first living things on Earth, we must first take a look into space. [Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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CHAPTER 6: The Cosmic Connection

· Astronomers have confirmed from spectroscopic observations that atoms are indeed the same throughout the cosmos. A carbon atom in the Andromeda Galaxy, for example, is identical to one here on Earth. Five chemical elements play a starring role in terrestrial biology: carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, and phosphorus. These elements seem to be among the most plentiful in the universe. [Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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· Carbon is the truly vital element. It qualifies for pride of place because of a unique chemical property: carbon atoms can link together to form extended chain molecules, or polymers, of limitless variety and complexity. Proteins and DNA are two examples of these long chain molecules. If it wasn’t for carbon, life as we know it would be impossible. Probably any sort of life would be impossible. [Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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· Even today a comet or asteroid could hit Earth with enough force to destroy most life. It now seems likely that massive collisions have caused several major annihilation events over geological time. The most famous mass extinction occurred sixty-five million years ago (relatively recently in geological terms), when the dinosaurs suddenly died out, along with a large number of other species. Evidence that a huge cosmic impact was responsible comes from the discovery of a worldwide layer of the rare element iridium, deposited in clay strata laid down at that time. This iridium was almost certainly delivered by the impactor. Dramatic confirmation of the theory came in 1990, with the discovery of a gigantic crater of the right age buried under limestone in Mexico. It measures at least 180 kilometers across, and was probably made by an object about 20 kilometers in diameter. [Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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· Cosmic impacts are examples of what biologists refer to as contingent events. They take no account of terrestrial biology. They just happen, out of the blue, without any causal connection to the evolution of life on Earth. They are both creative and destructive, good and bad. The origin of life on Earth—and perhaps other planets too—may well have depended on their volatile-rich material; the death of the dinosaurs served to clear the way for the ascent of mammals and, eventually, mankind. It seems we owe our very existence to a chance astronomical catastrophe. Whether mankind will someday go the way of the dinosaurs remains to be seen. [Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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· A few years ago, Kevin Maher and David Stevenson of Caltech sought to redefine what is meant by the origin of life in the light of the bombardment scenario. [Kevin Maher and David Stephenson, “Impact Frustration of the Origin of Life,” Nature 331(1988):612.] Life could be said to have started, they reasoned, when the time it took for self-replicating organisms to emerge was less than the time between sterilizing impacts. If it took, say, ten million years to make life from a primordial soup, the bombardment would have needed to leave at least ten-million-year windows in order for life to begin. Maher and Stevenson then asked how far back you could go into the bombardment era and still expect gaps of that duration. They came up with an answer of two hundred million years. So life might have arisen at any time after about four billion years ago, flourishing in the calmer periods, only to be wiped out again by the next sterilizing impact. Like the mythical Sisyphus, condemned to keep rolling the stone up the hill only to fall back again each time, life may have struggled over and over to establish itself, only to get zapped repeatedly from space. [Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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· It is a curious thought that, if life did form anew several times, then humans would not be descendants of the first living thing. Rather, we would be the products of the first life forms that just managed to survive the last big impact in this extended stop-go series. Which raises an interesting point about the 3.85-billion-year-old rocks at Isua. A sterilizing impact could have occurred after life had transformed them. If so, the organisms that left their subtle traces in that ancient terrain may not be ancestral to our form of life at all. They may have belonged to an earlier, alternative biology that was totally wiped out by the cosmic bombardment. The rocks of Greenland may thus contain evidence for what is, in a sense, an alien life form. [Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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· From what we know of the early history of the solar system, the Earth’s surface was a hazardous place for a living organism to be for at least several hundred million years after the planet’s formation. Even the bottom of the ocean would afford little protection against the violence of the larger impactors. The heat pulses from these cataclysms would have been lethal to a depth of tens or even hundreds of meters into the Earth’s crust itself. Hardly a Garden of Eden. Where, then, would one expect the earliest life forms to have taken up residence? What refuge existed that might have spared the first faltering ecosystem wholesale annihilation by vaporized rock? The answer would seem to be: somewhere deep. Somewhere below ground. But what on Earth can live there? [Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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CHAPTER 7: Superbugs

· A basic question about these deep-sea organisms is: how do they make a living? Biologists long supposed that all life on Earth depends ultimately on the Sun for energy. Plants won’t grow without light, and animals must eat plants (or each other) to survive. However, that far beneath the sea it is pitch-black. [Actually, it may not be completely dark. There can be an eerie glow around the vents caused by some as yet ill-understood process. Some scientists have conjectured that photosynthesis might have started from this faint submarine light, rather than from sunlight. See Ruth Flanagan, “The Light at the Bottom of the Sea,” New Scientist, December 13, 1997, p. 42.]No sunlight penetrates. This isn’t a problem for the crabs and worms, because they scavenge for food among the smaller creatures on the seabed. But something must lie at the base of the food chain. It turns out that microbes act as primary producers, obtaining their vital energy directly from the hot chemical broth vomiting from the volcanic depths. [Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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· Organisms that don’t eat organic matter but manufacture their own biomass directly are known as autotrophs (“self-feeders”). Plants are the most familiar autotrophs; they use the energy of sunlight to turn inorganic substances like carbon dioxide and water into organic material. Autotrophs that make biomass using chemical energy rather than light energy have been dubbed chemoautotrophs, or chemotrophs for short. The discovery of true chemotrophs was a pivotal event in the history of biology. Here was the basis of a completely independent life chain, a hierarchy of organisms that could exist alongside familiar surface life, yet without being dependent on sunlight for its primary energy source [Most of the organisms living near black smokers are indirectly dependent on sunlight, either by making use of dissolved oxygen (a byproduct of photosynthesis) or by eating organic scraps that descend from the surface. Thirty years ago the biologist George Wald wrote: “It may form an interesting intellectual exercise to imagine ways in which life might arise, and having arisen might maintain itself, on a dark planet; but I doubt very much that this has ever happened, or that it can happen.” See “Life and Light,” Scientific American 201, no. 4(1959):92. However, Wald was wrong. Chemotrophs that are truly independent of surface life are known.] For the first time it became possible to conceive of ecosystems free of the complexities of photosynthesis. Scientists began to glimpse a vast new biological realm that has lain hidden for billions of years. [Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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· It is clear from these recent discoveries that Earth possesses a pervasive living underworld, the vast extent of which is only just being revealed. There must be a huge amount of biomass in total down there. If bacteria proliferate to a depth of half a kilometer or more, as the surveys suggest, then, totted up over the whole planet, they would account for a tenth of the Earth’s biomass. Even this could be an underestimate, because some types of microbe live happily at yet greater depths. If 110 degrees Celsius is as hot as they can stand, the microbial realm might go as deep as four kilometers under the ground and seven kilometers beneath the ocean floor. And if Parkes is to be believed, the top temperature might be as high as 170 degrees Celsius, and the habitable zone would go even deeper. [Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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· An obvious question to ask is how living organisms got to be in such deep locations in the first place. Did they infiltrate the rocks from above, swept along in the groundwater? Or did they get trapped long ago, when the sediments were first formed? It seems likely that both routes have been followed to some extent. However, these explanations proceed from the assumption that surface life is “normal,” and subterranean life is an offbeat adaptation. Can we be sure of this? Could it be that the reasoning is literally upside down, and that the truth is just the opposite? [Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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· Still unanswered is how and when the three great domains arose: archaea, bacteria, and eucarya. It seems probable that the great split in the tree of life between archaea and bacteria occurred before the invention of photosynthesis, perhaps as early as 3.9 billion or 4 billion years ago—well inside the era of heavy bombardment. The evidence points to the archaea’s being the oldest and most primitive organisms, with bacteria arising somewhat later. So deep was the cleft between the archaea and the bacteria that they have never really been rivals; they still occupy different niches after several billion years of evolution. Finally, the deep rift that produced the eucarya domain probably occurred when conditions were somewhat cooler. For some reason, perhaps by being exposed to the challenges of a less stable environment, the lower-temperature eukaryotes evolved at a much faster rate. The subsequent flowering of life, its diversification into many species, and the huge rise in biological complexity stemmed directly from the branching away of eucarya on the tree of life. Without this momentous step, it is unlikely that we—or any other sentient beings—would exist on Earth today to reflect on the significance of it all. [Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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CHAPTER 8: Mars: Red and Dead?

· In 1977, NASA finally put the matter to the test directly, by landing two Viking spacecraft on the Martian surface. The craft were specifically designed to seek out life. By this stage, few people hoped for more than some microbes in the Martian soil. The data sent back by Viking confirmed the skeptics’ opinion. The soil tests failed to find any convincing evidence for Martian microbes. To the disappointment of many, the red planet was pronounced a dead planet. [Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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· Concerning the possibility of life, the fact that Mars was warm and wet between 3.8 and 3.5 billion years ago is highly significant, for it means that Mars resembled Earth at a time when life existed here. This has led some scientists to conclude that Mars would have been a suitable abode for life at that time too. On its own, however, the presence of liquid water is only part of the story. What makes the prospects for life seem so good is that Mars had not only liquid water but also volcanoes. [Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Orion productions, 1999, p.]

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الحمد لله الذي بنعمته تتمّ الصَّالِحات

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Rare Earth

By: Peter Ward & Donald Brownlee

للتحميل: (DOC) (PDF)

إعداد: أ. مصطفى نصر قديح

rare-earth

Why Life Might Be Widespread in the Universe

· The discovery that life is abundant and diverse in extreme environments is one of the most important of the Astrobiological Revolution. It gives us hope that microbial life may be present and even common elsewhere in the solar system and in our galaxy, for many environments on Earth that are now known to bear extremophile life are duplicated on other planets and moons of the solar system. [Peter Ward & Donald Brownlee: Rare Earth, Why Complex Life Is Uncommon in the Universe, Copernicus Books, 2000, p3-4]

· Life is tougher than we thought. [Peter Ward & Donald Brownlee: Rare Earth, Why Complex Life Is Uncommon in the Universe, Copernicus Books, 2000, p4]

· Although many types of archaeans have been found in hot-water settings, it is clear that they can live in other subterranean settings, including within solid rock itself. The first clue that life might exist hundreds to thousands of meters below Earth’s surface came in the 1920s, when geologist Edson Bastin of the University of Chicago began to wonder why water extracted from deep within oil fields contained hydrogen sulfide and bicarbonates. [Peter Ward & Donald Brownlee: Rare Earth, Why Complex Life Is Uncommon in the Universe, Copernicus Books, 2000, p7]

· Extremophiles are not only adapted to hot and high-pressure conditions. Other groups are found in conditions thought too cold for life. All animal life eventually ceases at below-freezing temperatures. When the bodies of animals are cooled below the freezing point, they can enter a state of suspended animation, but the metabolic functions do not continue. Some extremophiles, however, circumvent this. Microbiologist James Staley of the University of Washington discovered a new suite of extremophiles living in icebergs and other sea ice. This habitat was long considered too cold to harbor life, yet life has found a way to live in the ice. This particular finding is as exciting and as relevant to the astrobiologist as the heat-loving extremophiles, for many places in the solar system are locked in ice. Other extremophiles relish chemical conditions inimical to more complex life, such as highly acidic or basic environments or very salty seawater. [Peter Ward & Donald Brownlee: Rare Earth, Why Complex Life Is Uncommon in the Universe, Copernicus Books, 2000, p11]

· Conditions on the Martian surface today are highly inimical to life: subject to harsh ultraviolet radiation, lack of water, numbing cold. [Peter Ward & Donald Brownlee: Rare Earth, Why Complex Life Is Uncommon in the Universe, Copernicus Books, 2000, p11]

· And even if life is now totally extinct on Mars, what of its past? Since the Viking landing of 1976, scientists have known that the ancient Mars had a much thicker atmosphere and had water on its surface, at least for a brief period of time. Three billion years ago, Mars could have been warmer because of its cloaking atmosphere.  Such conditions still would have been too harsh for animal life, but judging from what we now know about the extremophiles on Earth, the early Martian environment would have been quite conducive to colonization by microbes. The extremophiles need water, nutrients, and a source of energy. All would have been present on Mars. It may be that life does not exist on Mars today. Yet there may be a great deal that we can learn about ancient Mars in its fossil record—a fossil record perhaps populated by Martian analogs to Earth’s extremophiles. Andrew Knoll of Harvard University has pointed out that for very old rocks, the fossil record may be fuller on Mars than it is on Earth, because there has been little erosion or tectonic activity on Mars to erase the billions of years of fossil records. Knoll has even told us where on Mars to search for fossils: on an ancient volcano named Apollinaris Pater, whose summit shows whitish patches interpreted to be the minerals formed by escaping gases, or in a place called Dao Vallis, a channel deposit on the flank of another ancient volcano where hot water may have flowed out from a hydrothermal system within the Martian interior. Mineral deposits there might yield a rich fossil record of ancient Martian extremophiles. [Peter Ward & Donald Brownlee: Rare Earth, Why Complex Life Is Uncommon in the Universe, Copernicus Books, 2000, p12]

· The extremophiles have rendered the original concept of the habitable zone obsolete. In our solar system, surface water exists only on Earth (and perhaps on Europa), so if we assume that we will find life only on planets with water, then we would have to conclude that only these two bodies should harbor life of any sort. [Peter Ward & Donald Brownlee: Rare Earth, Why Complex Life Is Uncommon in the Universe, Copernicus Books, 2000, p13]

Habitable Zones of the Universe

· We cannot know for certain what the limits are for life’s environments, but looking at what is needed to support Earth life provides a basis for estimating where in the Universe life might exist. [Peter Ward & Donald Brownlee: Rare Earth, Why Complex Life Is Uncommon in the Universe, Copernicus Books, 2000, p15]

· One of Earth’s most basic life-supporting attributes is indeed its location, its seemingly ideal distance from the sun. In any planetary system there are regions—distances from the central star—where a surface environment similar to the present state of Earth could occur. The favorable region or distance from the star is the basis for defining the “habitable zone” (referred to by astrobiologists as the HZ), the region in a planetary system where habitable Earth clones might exist. Since its introduction, the concept of habitable zone has been widely adopted and has been the subject of several major scientific conferences, including one held by Carl Sagan near the end of his brilliant career. [Peter Ward & Donald Brownlee: Rare Earth, Why Complex Life Is Uncommon in the Universe, Copernicus Books, 2000, p16]

· The defining aspect of the HZ is that it is the region where heating from the central star provides a planetary surface temperature at which a water ocean neither freezes over nor exceeds its boiling point . The actual width of the HZ depends on how Earth-like we decide a planet must be to be deemed habitable. [Peter Ward & Donald Brownlee: Rare Earth, Why Complex Life Is Uncommon in the Universe, Copernicus Books, 2000, p16]

· Astronomers held the first discussions of the habitable zone in the 1960s. The range of the habitable zone was considered to be bounded by two effects: low temperature at the outer edge and high temperature at the inner edge. [Peter Ward & Donald Brownlee: Rare Earth, Why Complex Life Is Uncommon in the Universe, Copernicus Books, 2000, p16]

· In 1978 the astrophysicist Michael Hart performed detailed calculations and reached a stunning conclusion. His work included the well-known fact that the sun becomes slightly brighter with time. About 4 billion years ago, the sun was about 30% fainter than at present. As the sun brightens, the HZ drifts outward. Hart called the small region wherein Earth would remain within the HZ over the entire age of the solar system the continuously habitable zone, or CHZ. His computations indicated that sometime during its history, Earth would have experienced runaway glaciation if it had formed 1% farther from the sun and would have experienced runaway greenhouse heating if it had formed 5% closer to the sun. Both of these effects were considered irreversible. [Peter Ward & Donald Brownlee: Rare Earth, Why Complex Life Is Uncommon in the Universe, Copernicus Books, 2000, p18]

· The idea of a habitable zone is a very important concept of astrobiology, but being within an HZ is not an essential requirement for life. Life can exist outside the habitable zones of stars. Astronauts in an “ideally” supplied, powered, and designed spacecraft could survive almost anywhere in the solar system and (for that matter) almost anywhere in the vast, empty regions of the entire Universe. [Peter Ward & Donald Brownlee: Rare Earth, Why Complex Life Is Uncommon in the Universe, Copernicus Books, 2000, p19]

· We believe that the concept of habitable zones should be expanded to include other categories. For planets like Earth, the animal habitable zone (AHZ) is the range of distances from the central star where it is possible for an Earth-like planet to retain an ocean of liquid water and to maintain average global temperatures of less than 50°C. This temperature appears to be the upper limit above which animal life cannot exist (at least animal life on Earth). Because water can exist on a planetary surface at temperatures up to the boiling point, a planet with liquid water on its surface (the original criterion of the habitable zone) might be much too hot to allow animal life. [Peter Ward & Donald Brownlee: Rare Earth, Why Complex Life Is Uncommon in the Universe, Copernicus Books, 2000, p19-20]

· Although the habitable zone is described in terms of distance from a central star, it must also be thought of in terms of time. In the solar system, the HZs have definable widths; and as the sun constantly gets brighter, they move outward. Earth will eventually be left behind as the greenhouse effect causes it to become more like Venus. This will happen between 1 and 3 billion years from now, and Earth will have had about 5 to 8 billion years in the HZ. [Peter Ward & Donald Brownlee: Rare Earth, Why Complex Life Is Uncommon in the Universe, Copernicus Books, 2000, p20]

· Biological evolution requires vast periods of time to arrive at complex organisms—periods on the order of hundreds of millions to billions of years. The AHZ and the MHZ are therefore both spatial and temporal domains. Our newly defined AHZ is obviously the most highly restrictive, but paradoxically, it also allows for the greatest diversity of life. Earth is in this zone [Peter Ward & Donald Brownlee: Rare Earth, Why Complex Life Is Uncommon in the Universe, Copernicus Books, 2000, p20]

Habitable zones in other stellar systems

· The concept of habitable zones is perhaps most interesting as applied to stars other than the sun. The brightness of the star determines the location of its habitable zone, but brightness in turn depends on the star’s size, type, and age. [Peter Ward & Donald Brownlee: Rare Earth, Why Complex Life Is Uncommon in the Universe, Copernicus Books, 2000, p22]

· Ultraviolet (UV) light breaks the bonds of most biological molecules, and life must be shielded from it to survive. UV also can be disastrous for the atmospheres of Earth-like planets. It is strongly absorbed at the top of such atmospheres and is a potent high-altitude heat source than can lead to escape  of the atmosphere. [Peter Ward & Donald Brownlee: Rare Earth, Why Complex Life Is Uncommon in the Universe, Copernicus Books, 2000, p23]

· It is often said that the sun is a typical star, but this is entirely untrue. The mere fact that 95% of all stars are less massive than the sun makes our  planetary system quite rare. Less massive stars are important because they are much more common than more massive ones. For stars less massive than the sun, the habitable zones are located farther inward. [Peter Ward & Donald Brownlee: Rare Earth, Why Complex Life Is Uncommon in the Universe, Copernicus Books, 2000, p23]

· Astrobiologist Alan Hale, who has written on the problems of habitability in binary or multiple star systems, notes, “The effects of nearby stellar companions on the habitability of planetary environments must be considered in estimating the number of potential life-bearing planets within the Galaxy.” [Peter Ward & Donald Brownlee: Rare Earth, Why Complex Life Is Uncommon in the Universe, Copernicus Books, 2000, p24]

· The most pressing question is whether planets, once formed in a multiple star system, can achieve stable orbits. The rise of life (at least on Earth) seems to require long periods of constant conditions, which require stable or bits. Highly elliptical orbits wherein a planet moves in and out of the CHZ might allow microbial life to form and even flourish but probably would be lethal to animal life. In such systems planets might form, but their orbits would be perturbed by the various gravitational forces of more than a single star, which would eventually either eject the planets or cause them to fall into one of the stars. [Peter Ward & Donald Brownlee: Rare Earth, Why Complex Life Is Uncommon in the Universe, Copernicus Books, 2000, p24-25]

· Finally, the