Fitness of the Cosmos for Life

Biochemistry and Fine-Tuning

Author: John D. Barrow

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 0521871026

Category: Science

Page: 501

View: 4041

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An interdisciplinary book for scientists interested in the origin and existence of life in our universe, first published in 2007.

Life's Solution

Inevitable Humans in a Lonely Universe

Author: Simon Conway Morris

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 9780521603256

Category: Science

Page: 488

View: 472

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Life's Solution builds a persuasive case for the predictability of evolutionary outcomes. The case rests on a remarkable compilation of examples of convergent evolution, in which two or more lineages have independently evolved similar structures and functions. The examples range from the aerodynamics of hovering moths and hummingbirds to the use of silk by spiders and some insects to capture prey. Going against the grain of Darwinian orthodoxy, this book is a must read for anyone grappling with the meaning of evolution and our place in the Universe. Simon Conway Morris is the Ad Hominen Professor in the Earth Science Department at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of St. John's College and the Royal Society. His research focuses on the study of constraints on evolution, and the historical processes that lead to the emergence of complexity, especially with respect to the construction of the major animal body parts in the Cambrian explosion. Previous books include The Crucible of Creation (Getty Center for Education in the Arts, 1999) and co-author of Solnhofen (Cambridge, 1990). Hb ISBN (2003) 0-521-82704-3

Islands in the Cosmos

The Evolution of Life on Land

Author: Dale A. Russell

Publisher: Indiana University Press

ISBN: 0253352738

Category: Science

Page: 453

View: 545

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The evolution of life on Earth from its origins to the present day

Calculating the Cosmos

How Mathematics Unveils the Universe

Author: Ian Stewart

Publisher: Basic Books

ISBN: 0465096115

Category: Mathematics

Page: 360

View: 9625

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A prize-winning popular science writer uses mathematical modeling to explain the cosmos. In Calculating the Cosmos, Ian Stewart presents an exhilarating guide to the cosmos, from our solar system to the entire universe. He describes the architecture of space and time, dark matter and dark energy, how galaxies form, why stars implode, how everything began, and how it's all going to end. He considers parallel universes, the fine-tuning of the cosmos for life, what forms extraterrestrial life might take, and the likelihood of life on Earth being snuffed out by an asteroid. Beginning with the Babylonian integration of mathematics into the study of astronomy and cosmology, Stewart traces the evolution of our understanding of the cosmos: How Kepler's laws of planetary motion led Newton to formulate his theory of gravity. How, two centuries later, tiny irregularities in the motion of Mars inspired Einstein to devise his general theory of relativity. How, eighty years ago, the discovery that the universe is expanding led to the development of the Big Bang theory of its origins. How single-point origin and expansion led cosmologists to theorize new components of the universe, such as inflation, dark matter, and dark energy. But does inflation explain the structure of today's universe? Does dark matter actually exist? Could a scientific revolution that will challenge the long-held scientific orthodoxy and once again transform our understanding of the universe be on the way? In an exciting and engaging style, Calculating the Cosmos is a mathematical quest through the intricate realms of astronomy and cosmology.

Lost in the Cosmos

The Last Self-Help Book

Author: Walker Percy

Publisher: Open Road Media

ISBN: 1453216340

Category: Fiction

Page: 256

View: 5150

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“A mock self-help book designed not to help but to provoke; a chapbook to inveigle us into thinking about who we are and how we got into this mess.” —Los Angeles Times Book ReviewPublished at the height of the 1980s self-help boom, Lost in the Cosmos is Percy’s unforgettable riff on the trend that swept the nation. Filled with quizzes, essays, short stories, and diagrams, Lost in the Cosmos is a laugh-out-loud spin on a familiar genre that also pushes readers to serious contemplation of life’s biggest questions. One part parody and two parts philosophy, Lost in the Cosmos is an enlightening guide to the dilemmas of human existence, and an unrivaled spin on self-help manuals by one of modern America’s greatest literary masters.

Science, Religion, and the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence

Author: David Wilkinson

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 019166961X

Category: Science

Page: 240

View: 2480

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If the discovery of life elsewhere in the universe is just around the corner, what would be the consequences for religion? Would it represent another major conflict between science and religion, even leading to the death of faith? Some would suggest that the discovery of any suggestion of extraterrestrial life would have a greater impact than even the Copernican and Darwinian revolutions. It is now over 50 years since the first modern scientific papers were published on the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI). Yet the religious implications of this search and possible discovery have never been systematically addressed in the scientific or theological arena. SETI is now entering its most important era of scientific development. New observation techniques are leading to the discovery of extra-solar planets daily, and the Kepler mission has already collected over 1000 planetary candidates. This deluge of data is transforming the scientific and popular view of the existence of extraterrestrial intelligence. Earth-like planets outside of our solar system can now be identified and searched for signs of life. Now is a crucial time to assess the scientific and theological questions behind this search. This book sets out the scientific arguments undergirding SETI, with particular attention to the uncertainties in arguments and the strength of the data already assembled. It assesses not only the discovery of planets but other areas such as the Fermi paradox, the origin and evolution of intelligent life, and current SETI strategies. In all of this it reflects on how these questions are shaped by history and pop culture and their relationship with religion, especially Christian theology. It is argued that theologians need to take seriously SETI and to examine some central doctrines such as creation, incarnation, revelation, and salvation in the light of the possibility of extraterrestrial life.

The Physics of Theism

God, Physics, and the Philosophy of Science

Author: Jeffrey Koperski

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 1118932773

Category: Science

Page: 288

View: 6831

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The Physics of Theism provides a timely, critical analysis of the ways in which physics intertwines with religion. Koperski brings clarity to a range of arguments including the fine-tuning argument, naturalism, the laws of nature, and the controversy over Intelligent Design. A single author text providing unprecedented scope and depth of analysis of key issues within the Philosophy of Religion and the Philosophy of Science Critically analyses the ways in which physics is brought into play in matters of religion Self-contained chapters allow readers to directly access specific areas of interest The area is one of considerable interest, and this book is a timely and well-conceived contribution to these debates Written by an accomplished scholar working in the philosophy of physics in a style that renders complex arguments accessible

Water and Life

The Unique Properties of H2O

Author: Ruth M. Lynden-Bell,Simon Conway Morris,John D. Barrow,John L. Finney,Charles Harper

Publisher: CRC Press

ISBN: 1439803579

Category: Medical

Page: 396

View: 4549

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Reflecting a rich technical and interdisciplinary exchange of ideas, Water and Life: The Unique Properties of H20 focuses on the properties of water and its interaction with life. The book develops a variety of approaches that help to illuminate ways in which to address deeper questions with respect to the nature of the universe and our place within it. Grouped in five broad parts, this collection examines the arguments of Lawrence J. Henderson and other scholars on the "fitness" of water for life as part of the physical and chemical properties of nature considered as a foundational environment within which life has emerged and evolved. Leading authorities delve into a range of themes and questions that span key areas of ongoing debate and uncertainty. They draw from the fields of chemistry, biology, biochemistry, planetary and earth sciences, physics, astronomy, and their subspecialties. Several chapters also deal with humanistic disciplines, such as the history of science and theology, to provide additional perspectives. Bringing together highly esteemed researchers from multidisciplinary fields, this volume addresses fundamental questions relating to the possible role of water in the origin of life in the cosmos. It supports readers in their own explorations of the origin and meaning of life and the role of water in maintaining life.

A Year in the Life of the Universe

A Seasonal Guide to Viewing the Cosmos

Author: Robert Gendler,Timothy Ferris

Publisher: Voyageur Press (MN)

ISBN: 0760326428

Category: Science

Page: 160

View: 770

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Full-color photographs by renowned astrophotographer Robert Gendler that identifies over 120 objects in the galaxy throughout the four seasons.

Universe in Creation

A New Understanding of the Big Bang and the Emergence of Life

Author: Roy R. Gould

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 0674985044

Category: Science

Page: 256

View: 3149

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We know the universe has a history, but does it also have a story of self-creation to tell? Yes, in Roy R. Gould’s account. He offers a compelling narrative of how the universe—with no instruction other than its own laws—evolved into billions of galaxies and gave rise to life, including humans who have been trying for millennia to comprehend it. Far from being a random accident, the universe is hard at work, extracting order from chaos. Making use of the best current science, Gould turns what many assume to be true about the universe on its head. The cosmos expands inward, not outward. Gravity can drive things apart, not merely together. And the universe seems to defy entropy as it becomes more ordered, rather than the other way around. Strangest of all, the universe is exquisitely hospitable to life, despite its being constructed from undistinguished atoms and a few unexceptional rules of behavior. Universe in Creation explores whether the emergence of life, rather than being a mere cosmic afterthought, may be written into the most basic laws of nature. Offering a fresh take on what brought the world—and us—into being, Gould helps us see the universe as the master of its own creation, not tethered to a singular event but burgeoning as new space and energy continuously stream into existence. It is a very old story, as yet unfinished, with plotlines that twist and churn through infinite space and time.

Darwin's Pious Idea

Why the Ultra-Darwinists and Creationists Both Get It Wrong

Author: Conor Cunningham

Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing

ISBN: 0802848389

Category: Religion

Page: 543

View: 1695

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According to British scholar Conor Cunningham, the debate today between religion and evolution has been hijacked by extremists: on one side stand fundamentalist believers who reject evolution outright; on the opposing side are fundamentalist atheists who claim that Darwin s theory rules out the possibility of God. Both sides are dead wrong, argues Cunningham, who is at once a Christian and a firm believer in the theory of evolution. In Darwin s Pious Idea Cunningham puts forth a trenchant, compelling case for both creation and evolution, drawing skillfully on an array of philosophical, theological, historical, and scientific sources to buttress his arguments.

The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning

Why the Universe Is Not Designed for Us

Author: Victor J. Stenger

Publisher: Prometheus Books

ISBN: 1616144440

Category: Science

Page: 345

View: 6197

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A number of authors have noted that if some physical parameters were slightly changed, the universe could no longer support life, as we know it. This implies that life depends sensitively on the physics of our universe. Does this "fine-tuning" of the universe suggest that a creator god intentionally calibrated the initial conditions of the universe such that life on earth and the evolution of humanity would eventually emerge? In his in-depth and highly accessible discussion of this fascinating and controversial topic, the author looks at the evidence and comes to the opposite conclusion. He finds that the observations of science and our naked senses not only show no evidence for God, they provide evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that God does not exist.

A Fortunate Universe

Life in a Finely Tuned Cosmos

Author: Geraint F. Lewis,Luke A. Barnes

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 1316715221

Category: Science

Page: N.A

View: 9061

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Over the last forty years, scientists have uncovered evidence that if the Universe had been forged with even slightly different properties, life as we know it - and life as we can imagine it - would be impossible. Join us on a journey through how we understand the Universe, from its most basic particles and forces, to planets, stars and galaxies, and back through cosmic history to the birth of the cosmos. Conflicting notions about our place in the Universe are defined, defended and critiqued from scientific, philosophical and religious viewpoints. The authors' engaging and witty style addresses what fine-tuning might mean for the future of physics and the search for the ultimate laws of nature. Tackling difficult questions and providing thought-provoking answers, this volumes challenges us to consider our place in the cosmos, regardless of our initial convictions.

Lonely Hearts of the Cosmos

The Story of the Scientific Quest for the Secret of the Universe

Author: Dennis Overbye

Publisher: Back Bay Books

ISBN: 9780316648967

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 464

View: 4266

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In southern California, nearly a half century ago, a small band of researchers -- equipped with a new 200-inch telescope and a faith born of scientific optimism -- embarked on the greatest intellectual adventure in the history of humankind: the search for the origin and fate of the universe. Their quest would eventually engulf all of physics and astronomy, leading not only to the discovery of quasars, black holes, and shadow matter but also to fame, controversy, and Nobel Prizes. Lonely Hearts of the Cosmos tells the story of the men and women who have taken eternity on their shoulders and stormed nature in search of answers to the deepest questions we know to ask.

The Life of the Cosmos

Author: Lee Smolin

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780198026792

Category: Science

Page: 368

View: 324

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Lee Smolin offers a new theory of the universe that is at once elegant, comprehensive, and radically different from anything proposed before. Smolin posits that a process of self organization like that of biological evolution shapes the universe, as it develops and eventually reproduces through black holes, each of which may result in a new big bang and a new universe. Natural selection may guide the appearance of the laws of physics, favoring those universes which best reproduce. The result would be a cosmology according to which life is a natural consequence of the fundamental principles on which the universe has been built, and a science that would give us a picture of the universe in which, as the author writes, "the occurrence of novelty, indeed the perpetual birth of novelty, can be understood." Smolin is one of the leading cosmologists at work today, and he writes with an expertise and force of argument that will command attention throughout the world of physics. But it is the humanity and sharp clarity of his prose that offers access for the layperson to the mind bending space at the forefront of today's physics.

Cosmos: The Infographic Book of Space

Author: Stuart Lowe,Chris North

Publisher: Aurum Press Limited

ISBN: 9781781316450

Category: Science

Page: 224

View: 4683

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In this truly mind-blowing book, we use cutting edge infographics to illuminate - in a new and unique way - the most amazing places and objects that modern science has laid bare.

The Believing Primate

Scientific, Philosophical, and Theological Reflections on the Origin of Religion

Author: Jeffrey Schloss,Michael Murray

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191567841

Category: Religion

Page: 384

View: 9770

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Over the last two decades, scientific accounts of religion have received a great deal of scholarly and popular attention both because of their intrinsic interest and because they are widely seen as potentially constituting a threat to the religion they analyse. The Believing Primate aims to describe and discuss these scientific accounts as well as to assess their implications. The volume begins with essays by leading scientists in the field, describing these accounts and discussing evidence in their favour. Philosophical and theological reflections on these accounts follow, offered by leading philosophers, theologians, and scientists. This diverse group of scholars address some fascinating underlying questions: Do scientific accounts of religion undermine the justification of religious belief? Do such accounts show religion to be an accidental by-product of our evolutionary development? And, whilst we seem naturally disposed toward religion, would we fare better or worse without it? Bringing together dissenting perspectives, this provocative collection will serve to freshly illuminate ongoing debate on these perennial questions.

Weave the Heart of the Universe Into Your Life

Aligning to Cosmic Energy

Author: Meg Beeler

Publisher: Findhorn Press

ISBN: 9781844097395

Category: Body, Mind & Spirit

Page: 240

View: 7516

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For people who seek spirit in nature, harmony in the cosmos, and strategies for connection and transformation.

I Ate the Comos for Breakfast

Author: Melissa Studdard

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: 9780988944763

Category:

Page: 90

View: 4594

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Melissa Studdard's high-flying, bold poetic language expresses an erotic appetite for the world: "this desire to butter and eat the stars," as she says, in words characteristically large yet domestic, ambitious yet chuckling at their own nerve. This poet's ardent, winning ebullience echoes that of God, a recurring character here, who finds us Her children, splotchy, bawling and imperfect though we are, "flawless in her omniscient eyes." -Robert Pinsky In so many ways the poems in this book read like paintings, touching and absorbing the light of the known world while fingering the soul until it lifts, trembling. Gates splayed, bodies read as books, and hearts born of mouths, Studdard's study, which is a creation unto itself, would have no doubt pleased Neruda's taste for the alchemic impurity of poetry, which is, as we know, poetry that is not only most pure of heart, but beautifully generous in vision and feeling. -Cate Marvin