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The universe in a nutshell, according to a Physics Today reviewer


Reviewing Howard Bloom’s latest, The God Problem: How a Godless Cosmos Creates, reviewer Frank Wilczek explains how “science can now propose” explanations of God is not necessary to an account of the existence of the universe, life, or the mind:

Big Bang cosmology tracks down the origin of the universe to a simple, remarkably uniform condition early in its history. Small inhomogeneities grew in amplitude through gravitational instability and eventually collapsed and fragmented to produce the galaxies, stars, and planets we see today. Dissipation through radiation allows the formation of stable systems, without the need for fine adjustment. The standard model of particle physics, which embodies quantum field theory, accounts for the uniformity of molecules in rich detail and for the structure of matter in general. And the Darwin-Wallace theory of evolution by natural selection, conceptually grounded in Mendelian genetics and explained physically by Francis Crick and James Watson, answers Paley.

Nor is mind (or consciousness, free will, or the soul) a safe refuge for the supernatural. It has come to seem quite plausible, at least since the works of Alan Hodgkin, Andrew Huxley, and Alan Turing, that human thought is grounded in electrochemical processes that manipulate patterns of activation in the brain.

He adds that you can still believe in God if you want.

He must have missed a few of the memos going round. But this is a great summary of what the kids are probably learning at school in lots of places.

Mung: It's obviously a nutshell around a cat's neck! gpuccio
Yeah, there is indeed a problem with an unstable or probabilistic anything at the Beginning. If there is Nothing to begin with, even Time does not exist. There are no billions of years, no space, no quantum fluctuations, no events, and no probability for anything to ever happen. And the only tangible multiverse domain that I'm aware of is the Bible! Sorry Mung, but you started it. ;-) Querius
I thought the universe was inside a bell around a cat's neck. Is it now in a nutshell? Just the thought of it makes me feel very small. Mung
Isn't gravity a property of matter? Perhaps he refers to Stephen Hawkings statement that as long as there is a law such as gravity the universe can and will create itself. This makes no sense to me, how can there be gravity without matter? LoneShaman
Whoa!!! there were gravitational fields that had stuff grow in it? Hahahahaha What caused the unstable gravitational fields? I had to ask.... Andre

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