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Epic Of Evolution: Seven Ages Of The Cosmos



How did everything around us-the air, the land, the sea, and the stars-originate? What is the source of order, form, and structure characterizing all material things? These are just some of the grand scientific questions Eric J. Chaisson, author of the classic work Cosmic Dawn, explores in his enthralling and illuminating history of the universe. Explaining new discoveries and a range of cutting-edge ideas and theories, Chaisson provides a creative and coherent synthesis of current scientific thinking on the universe's beginnings. He takes us on a tour of the seven ages of the cosmos, from the formless era of radiation through the origins of human culture. Along the way he examines the development of the most microscopic and the most immense aspects of our universe and the complex ways in which they interact.




Epic of Evolution: Seven Ages of the Cosmos


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Washington University in St. Louis offers a course on the epic of evolution.[52] The Epic has also been taught at Northern Arizona University.[53] The course engaged the task of formulating a new epic myth that is based on the physical, natural, social, and cultural sciences for which there are as yet few textbooks. The course was presented in three segments: the cosmos before humans appeared, the human phenomenon, and scenarios for the future of evolution. An annual undergraduate course on "cosmic evolution" has been taught at Harvard University for most of the past 35 years.[54]


Husband and wife team Connie Barlow and Michael Dowd's Great Story divides the epic into 8 phases eons or eras: the Great Radiance, the Galactic, Hadean, Archean, Proterozoic, Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and Cenozoic. (Of these, apart from Radiance (= Big Bang) and Galactic (stars and galaxies prior to the formation of the Earth), the rest follow the standard geological timescale) Dowd uses the term 'Epic of Evolution' to help construct his viewpoint of evolution theology (a form of theistic evolution). His position is that science and religious faith are not mutually exclusive. He preaches that the epic of cosmic, biological, and human evolution, revealed by science, is a basis for an inspiring and meaningful view of our place in the universe. Evolution is viewed as a spiritual process that it is not meaningless blind chance (as explained in his book Thank God for Evolution). The position here, in contrast to creationism but in keeping with writers like Stephen Jay Gould, is very much that science and traditional religion (I'm not talking Einsteinian or Teilhardian pantheism) can co-exist, and that religious faith does not mean giving up a naturalistic understanding of the material universe; see also Clergy Letter Project. Note that unlike Hegel and Teilhard, the New Story and Epic of Evolution people are not stating that the cosmos is teleological)


The Big History Project website mentions eight Thresholds of Increasing Complexity, involving the sudden emergence of new qualities that had not existed before. These are more or less equivalent to Jantsch's three stages, Chaisson's Seven Ages, and the seven evolutionary stages I (MAK) mention in my cosmic evolution diagram. They are:


How did everything around us-the air, the land, the sea, and the stars-originate? What is the source of order, form, and structure characterizing all material things? These are just some of the grand scientific questions Eric J. Chaisson, author of the classic work Cosmic Dawn, explores in his enthralling and illuminating history of the universe. Explaining new discoveries and a range of cutting-edge ideas and theories, Chaisson provides a creative and coherent synthesis of current scientific thinking on the universe's beginnings. He takes us on a tour of the seven ages of the cosmos, from the formless era of radiation through the origins of human culture. Along the way he examines the development of the most microscopic and the most immense aspects of our universe and the complex ways in which they interact. Drawing on recent breakthroughs in astrophysics and biochemistry, Chaisson discusses the contemporary scientific view that all objects-from quarks and quasars to microbes and the human mind-are interrelated. Researchers in all the natural sciences are beginning to identify an underlying pattern penetrating the fabric of existence-a sweepingly encompassing view of the formation, structure, and function of all objects in our multitudinous universe. Moreover, as Chaisson demonstrates, by deciphering the scenario of cosmic evolution, scientists can also determine how living organisms managed to inhabit the land, generate language, and create culture.Epic of Evolution offers a stunning view of how various changes, operating across almost incomprehensible domains of space and nearly inconceivable stretches of time and through the evolutionary combination of necessity and chance, have given rise to our galaxy, our star, our planet, and ourselves.


The Epic of Evolution can be seen as seven different stages, each new stage building on the prior stage. These stages include the Great Radiance, Chemical Evolution, Celestial Evolution, Biological Evolution, Cooperative Evolution, Cultural Evolution and Enlightened Evolution.


Before the dark ages of the universe, the cosmos was so hot that all the atoms that existed were split into positively charged nuclei and negatively charged electrons. These electrically charged ions blocked all light from traveling freely.


The dark ages lasted for some 400 million years after the universe cooled following the Big Bang. During this period, a fog of neutral hydrogen gas permeated the cosmos between infant galaxies. Over time, however, the collective radiation from the enormous, hot stars that filled these growing galaxies slowly burned off the fog by ionizing the hydrogen. The gradual clearing allowed radiation to traverse the cosmos.


Galaxies like EGSY8p7 will offer new insights into how re-ionization lifted the cosmos out of its dark ages, noted Adi Zitrin, another CalTech astronomer and the lead author of a paper describing the observation and set for publication in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.


'Here, on the edge of what we know, in contact with the ocean of the unknown, shines the mystery and the beauty of the world. And it's breathtaking.' These seven short, simple lessons guide us through the scientific revolution that shook physics in the twentieth century and still continues to shake us today. Theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli, a founder of the loop quantum gravity theory, explains Einstein's theory of general relativity, quantum mechanics, black holes, the complex architecture of the universe, elementary particles, gravity, and the nature of the mind. In under eighty pages, readers will understand the most transformative scientific discoveries of the twentieth century and what they mean for us


P(EAH)is obviously 1 but P(EAH) is certainly not zero. Indeed galaxies, the building blocks of the cosmos, are notoriously difficult to age and some could well be much older thanτE. Thus L(EAH) presumably increases the odds on H, but by how much? There is no obvious or objective answer. It would be unwise to either ignore the evidence altogether, or to give it too much weight. A reasonable compromise might be to assign the Likelihood a value of 5 say, i.e. assume that the observed ages increase the odds-on H by 5. 041b061a72


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