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Our Place in the Cosmos

Started by Unbeliever, October 18, 2006, 12:59:25 pm

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October 18, 2006, 12:59:25 pm Last Edit: October 18, 2006, 01:05:49 pm by Unbeliever
Quote from: John D. Barrow, in [i]The Origin of the Universe[/i] (1994),As far as the meaning of life in general, or in the abstract, as far as I can see, there is none. If all life were to suddenly disappear from earth and anywhere else it may exist, or if none had ever formed in the first place, I think the universe would continue to exist without perceptible change. However, it is always possible for an individual to invest his own life with meaning that he can find significant. He can so order his life that he can find as much beauty and wisdom in it as he can, and spread as much of that to others as possible.

Quote from: Isaac Asimov, in a book proposal for [i]The Meaning of Life[/i], edited by Hugh S. Moorehead, 1989,There is no reason that the universe should be designed for our convenience.

Quote from: Helena Curtis, on the formation of the planet Earth, in [i]Biology[/i] (1968),You and I are flesh and blood, but we are also stardust.

Quote from: Susan Schiefelbein, in [i]The Incredible Machine[/i] (1986),We see the universe the way it is because if it were different, we would not be here to observe it.

Quote from: Stephen Hawking, in the [i]Washington Post[/i], April 15, 1988,The universe is not hostile, nor yet is it friendly. It is simply indifferent.

Quote from: John Haynes Holmes, [i]A Sensible Man's View of Religion[/i] (1932),Myths and science fulfill a similar function: they both provide human beings with a representation of the world and of the forces that are supposed to govern it. They both fix the limits of what is considered as possible.

Quote from: Francois Jacob, [i]The Possible and the Actual[/i] (1982),Within our bodies course the same elements that flame in the stars.

Quote from: Victor Frederick Weisskopf, in [i]Knowledge and Wonder[/i] (1962),We are all but recent leaves on the same old tree of life and if this life has adapted itself to new functions and conditions, it uses the same old basic principles over and over again. There is no real difference between the grass and the man who mows it.

Quote from: Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, in [i]Free Radical[/i] by R.W. Moss (1988),In man's brain the impressions from outside are not merely registered; they produce concepts and ideas. They are the imprint of the external world upon the human brain. Therefore, it is not surprising that, after a long series of searching and erring, some of the concepts and ideas in human thinking should have come gradually closer to the fundamental laws of the world, that some of our thinking should reveal the true structure of atoms and the true movements of the stars. Nature, in the form of man, begins to recognize itself.

Quote from: Freeman Dyson, in [i]Infinite in All Directions[/i],It is impossible to calculate in detail the long-range future of the universe without including the effects of life and intelligence. It is impossible to calculate the capabilities of life and intelligence without touching, at least peripherially, philosophical questions. If we are to examine how intelligent life may be able to guide the physical developement of the universe for its own purposes, we cannot altogether avoid considering what the values and purposes of intelligent life may be.

Quote from: Stephen Hawking,  'Quantum Cosmology', in [i]The Nature of Space and Time[/i], 1996,The trouble with the hot big bang model is the trouble with all cosmology that has no theory of initial conditions: it has no predictive power. Because general relativity would break down at a singularity, anything could come out of the big bang. So why is the universe so homogeneous and isotropic on a large scale, yet has local irregularities such as galaxies and stars? And why is the universe so close to the dividing line between collapsing again and expanding indefinitely? In order to be as close as we are now, the rate of expansion early on had to be chosen fantastically accurately. If the rate of expansion one second after the big bang had been less by one part in 10^10, the universe would have collapsed after a few million years. If it had been greater by one part in 10^10, the universe would have been essentially empty after a few million years. In neither case would it have lasted long enough for life to develop. Thus one has to either appeal to the anthropic principle or find some physical explanation of why the universe is the way it is.
"Some say God is living there [in space]. I was looking around very attentively, but I did not see anyone there. I did not detect either angels or gods....I don't believe in God. I believe in man - his strength, his possibilities, his reason."
Gherman Titov, Soviet cosmonaut, in The Seattle Daily Ti