Steven J. Dick & Mark L. Lupisella's Cosmos and Culture PDF

By Steven J. Dick & Mark L. Lupisella

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The recent finding that universal expansion is accelerating should not much affect these curves. (b) Hubble deep field: This fabulously rich collection of thousands of galaxies, with their measured red shifts (proportional to galaxy recessional velocity) superposed, bolsters the standard Big Bang model of the universe, as characterized by the curves of density and temperature above. However complex astronomical structures may seem, including huge galaxy clusters and peculiar filaments and voids on even larger scales than that shown here, all physical systems are simpler than any biological systems—grand spiral galaxies much less complex than the most primitive microbes.

As always, the necessary though perhaps not sufficient conditions for the growth of complexity depend on the environmental circumstances and on the availability of energy flows in such (here, galactic) environments. On and on, the cycle churns; build up, break down, change—a stellar “evolution” minus any genes, inheritance, or overt function, for these are the value-added qualities of biological evolution that go well beyond the evolution of physical systems. Next, consider plants as an example of biological evolution.

Recent research, guided by notions of mathematical elegance and bolstered by vast new observational databases, suggests affirmative answers to some of those queries: islands of ordered complexity—namely, open systems that are galaxies, stars, planets, and life-forms—are more than balanced by great seas of increasing disorder elsewhere in the environments beyond those systems. All is in quantitative agreement with valued precepts of thermodynamics, especially nonequilibrium thermodynamics. Indeed, the underlying, ubiquitous phenomenon mentioned above may simply be energy itself.

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Cosmos and Culture by Steven J. Dick & Mark L. Lupisella


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