Three Big Bangs

Three Big Bangs: Matter-Energy, Life, Mind

Holmes Rolston
Copyright Date: 2010
Pages: 160
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  • Book Info
    Three Big Bangs
    Book Description:

    By dividing the creation of matter, energy, life, and mind into three big bangs, Holmes Rolston III brings into focus a history of the universe that respects both scientific discovery and the potential presence of an underlying intelligence. Matter-energy appears, initially in simpler forms but with a remarkable capacity for generating heavier elements. The size and expansion rate of the universe, the nature of electromagnetism, gravity, and nuclear forces enable the the explosion of life on Earth. DNA discovers, stores, and transfers information generating billions of species. Cognitive capacities escalate, and with neural sentience this results in human genius.

    A massive singularity, the human mind gives birth to language and culture, increasing the brain's complexity and promoting the spread of ideas. Ideas generate ideals, which lead life to take on spirit. The nature of matter-energy, genes, and their genesis therefore encourages humans to wonder where they are, who they are, and what they should do.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-52684-5
    Subjects: General Science, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-xii)
  5. CHAPTER 1 The Primordial Big Bang: Matter-Energy
    (pp. 1-40)

    Scientists have been discovering astronomical deep space and deep time, as well as pushing “deep down” from molecular to micro nature. Time has expanded to almost forever, the universe expanded to staggering, inconceivable distances across intergalactic space. We now know of phenomena at structural levels from quarks to quasars. We measure distances from picometers to the extent of the visible universe in light-years. We measure time from picoseconds to the billions-of years age of the universe. Putting such discoveries together, we have found dramatic interrelationships between astronomical and atomic scales that give us a startling picture of our physical universe....

  6. CHAPTER 2 Life: Earth’s Big Bang
    (pp. 41-86)

    The most spectacular thing about planet Earth, says Richard Dawkins, is an “information explosion,” even more remarkable than a supernova among the stars (1995:145). Nature on Earth has spun quite a story, going from zero through several billion species, evolving microbes into persons. M. J. Benton concludes: “Analysis of the fossil record of microbes, algae, fungi, protists, plants, and animals shows that the diversity of both marine and continental life increased exponentially since the end of the Precambrian” (Benton 1995). Steven M. Stanley agrees: “The empirical record of diversification for marine animal life since Paleozoic time represents actual exponential increase”...

  7. CHAPTER 3 Mind: The Human Big Bang
    (pp. 87-124)

    The third big bang is the explosive growth of the human brain, sponsoring the human mind. Uniquely among the species on Earth, Homo sapiens is cognitively spectacular. Consider a graph of increasing cranial capacity in the hominoid line (fig. 3.1, Pilbeam 1972/Wilson 1975). That trajectory makes virtually a right-angle turn. Edward O. Wilson remarks: “No organ in the history of life has grown faster” (Wilson 1978:87). Steve Dorus and his team of neurogeneticists conclude: “Human evolution is characterized by a dramatic increase in brain size and complexity” (Dorus et al. 2004:1027). Theodosius Dobzhansky puts it this way: “The biological evolution...

    (pp. 125-136)
  9. INDEX
    (pp. 137-148)