No two people on earth can agree precisely.
And as Earth spins on we best watch out that we do not fall:
Under lying premises?
God is nice. God is mean. God created everything. God forbid! No God is the truth. Yes it is true there is no God. Well I'll be! Why? This is dogonmatically confusing! :^\
Assumptions we adopt to explain the world to ourself so color our perception of the information we receive that it often does seem as though others who do not share our strongly held beliefs are alien to us. Does this have anything to do with protecting ourselves from recognized danger? Probably so.
As we extend our manipulative and sensory capabilities we tread more and more into the domain long thought to be only reachable and changeable by divine power. So deeply rooted are such radical premises that an easy to detect segment of humanity has developed the notion that these new abilities have to be the due to the efforts of the Devil or Space aliens. Rapid changes tax the adaptability of individuals and societies. The fast flux of new, different, and often not in sync with the old, ideas and beliefs can quickly become very socially divisive. Can we mitigate such looming rifts? Should we try? What would Darwin do? ;^)
The prior query is meant as a play on the question: "What would Jesus do?" that is often displayed on tee shirts and bumper stickers around this part of the world (USA). It is indicative of a divide that ostensibly separates the objective from the subjective view of reality. This as yet subdued conflict is also waged by affixing to one's vehicle either a stylized fish in support of the Fisher-of-Men or a similar design with legs advocating a Darwinian view.
Starkly, this is the magical soul tester versus the mechanical meat market world view and it is unlikely that either picture is an adequate explanation for the phenomenon of Life.
A self-similar view is what I find to be most consistent with what we have observed to date. What does that mean and how does it relate to Earth defense?
One of the chief frustrations I experienced while trying to relate information about the danger of impact events in the early eighties was due to strongly adopted premises about how things were and how they got that way (principally the slow and gradual Lyell/Darwinian dogma). Though many of these once formally accepted beliefs have been adjusted due to the trend of new information there are still quite a few imbedded ideas and assumptions that tend to produce conflict among parties that have become interested in this field of inquiry. I think that it would be a good exercise to identify some of these 'givens' that often get in the way of clear communication. Among divisive issues are: attitude towards nuclear tools, our place in nature, our ability to constrain aggressiveness, the fragility of Life, the robustness of the living environment, the predictive value of statistics, our understanding of the past, our competence in general, priorities, as well as our personal tolerance for risk in either taking or not taking action.
Obviously I cannot state what ideas or assumptions other people actually embrace with any accuracy--even people who you know well can surprise you. What I can do is expose my own currently accepted root notions and premises with the hope that it may clarify why I argue for certain actions.
Most influential for me is that I do not believe in nothing. ;^) This does not mean that I am a nihilist with poor grammar--rather it is a positive statement that I think the idea of excluding all from a region of space is bogus. If someone can show me naught--in the absolute sense--they can destroy my gestalt! Actually my understanding is that contemporary theorizing in physics abhors nothingness too. A significant difference in my view from the generally accepted is I'm not convinced of the need for an absolute beginning of space-time.
From that premise which, of course, may be incorrect, come most of my other notions of what's-up. For instance, since I exclude absolute nothingness I cannot accept the notion of an irreducible particle--rather, I look for patterns and pragmatic limits. I think it rather more likely that reality is driven by common laws that span all measure over all scales of realizable patterns. This can be thought of somewhat like the relationship between notes in music--the frequency of various notes differ yet there is a patterned relationship that repeats periodically with harmonically related vibrations. Stated more bluntly: I am comfortable with speculating that what we presently label THE UNIVERSE might be little more than a cell in the next 'octave' up relational-reality.
As an amateur follower of cosmology I was most interested to read the suggestion from Andrei Linde that our Universe may be represented by a fractal (New Scientist, Science, 12 November). Andrei Linde...
Letters | Author: PAUL GODDARD | 17/12/94
New Scientist magazine, vol 144 issue 1956, 17/12/1994, page 50
A dissident group of astronomers is claiming that the Universe is not the smooth, homogeneous place that Einstein envisaged. If they're right, says Marcus Chown, the foundations of cosmology could crumble to dust
Features | Author: Marcus Chown | 21/8/99
New Scientist magazine, vol 163 issue 2200, 21/08/1999, page 22
I suspect that the phenomenon of Life might well be the agitator that prevents absolute homogeneity when considering the Whole of it All. Stated more broadly, I view the notions of absolute zero or nothingness and 'THE BEGINNING' as conceptual artifacts that perhaps have more to do with our inherited world-view than with the way change (time) continues. Locally, on a pragmatic level, we can find a limit to how thin we can slice time or when our 'neck of the woods' began to acquire its present structure, but this perceptual-bandwidth constrained gauge of reality will not reveal absolutes to us. The nature of that 'first critter' and where/how s/he is founded can only be valid as a local or regional question. THE ORIGIN OF LIFE is not a possibility if Life is an intrinsic component of space-time composition!
I've a saying: A tetrahedron is a tetrahedron, no matter how small, no matter how tall. This reflects the fact that the relationship of the four points that describe a tetrahedron are not bounded by any scale. In other words, the pattern of 'regular tetrahedron' is defined by assigning the same arbitrary size to four spheres and requiring that all spheres touch the other three. What I'm getting at here is that patterns are more important to understand than particles (which in my view are dynamic patterns our senses or sensors perceive as discrete things)--even the rocks don't last forever locally but I would guess that there will always be rocks where the conditions (read patterns) are right for rocks. Similarly, I view Life as an intrinsic pattern that will emerge where conditions are favorable. Nothing emerges from nothing--everything emerges from the interaction of prior actions.
I think that purposeful motion--organic growth, metabolism, pursuit of sustenance, etc.--is quite likely the Deus of the dynamic we experience. Life can counter an inertia system as well as dynamically order the space it occupies and hence keep patterns stirred sufficiently to prevent a universally simultaneous energy ground state--the end of change, exchange, and so time--the projected result of the Second Law of Thermodynamics operating in a closed box. So my cosmology is that of similar patterns, which are defined by the same rules, and scaled so as to allow the smaller to participate in the substance of the larger. The principal difference between similar patterns of different scale is the relative amount of space they occupy and their rate of change (clock speed). An observer within a pattern of any given scale would not perceive any difference in the way their world behaved because the rules of observation (as well as all other discrete pattern interactions i.e. chemistry, thermodynamics, etc.) would be locked to the local clock of that scale. To function, the ratio of one scale to the next size up or down would need to be enormous and I suspect that if reality is constructed in this fashion the minimum ratio might be between the width of an atom and the girth of a galaxy (~10^30 based on dividing the distance across a galaxy such as ours by the diameter of a carbon atom). Using this ratio and keeping the speed of energy propagation constant within the shared inertia environment yields a time reckoning difference of: one second for an up-scale observer equaling around 10^23 years (a virtual eternity) for down-scale viewers. It is this huge temporal difference that could allow such a system to exist--though relational rules and space are shared, different scales are effectively event-disconnected by their rate of change. In other words if you were to smash a bug beneath the heel of your shoe there would be immediate consequences for the insect but no lower scale observer living within the dynamic space that had been created by the critter you just squashed would have a life-span long enough to witness the change in bug-space. Observers in that flattened bug's space would experience a slow change of cosmic environment over billions of their years.
An interesting aspect of this notion is that it is testable. There is no pulling a universe out of a singularity or through a black-hole here. We can learn whether reality works this way by continuing to expand our perceptual abilities across a greater bandwidth as well as extend our period of observation until we have databases that accurately chronicle the motion of other galaxies and such over thousands of years. Not a snappy conclusion but in principle there is no out-of-this-universe physics to postulate with this view--an advantage I think. Too, there may be other ways to build confidence in this idea:
I think that the rules that produce our reality are not created by an all powerful god, a fortuitous random event, or an ALL inclusive Big-Bang, but are intrinsic to what I call Omniverse (all meter). Wherever Life emerges, regardless of scale, it's going to be pounded along in the general direction of increasing adaptability by the lingering process of planet formation. Only if an accretion event is too large to leave the planet viable will this staggering but directional march fail to produce critters with abilities similar to our own repertoire. What this means, from my point of view, is that we are apt to be a pretty time proven product of the processes that operate according to the rules that are required for change or time to exist. My own euphemism for this eternal-kernel that keeps everything rolling is Grand Omniverse Design, which yields a useful acronym. So I would say that we are an emergent product of GOD that pops up when conditions are suitable and has at least the potential to extend its range in space and time largely by developing a better understanding of how GOD manages to keep all this change going.
So from my point of view the pertinent question with regard to planetary protection is: Has GOD pounded enough sense into us yet? And if the answer is no, EDEN (Earth doing ecologically nicely) will remain an elusive and ephemeral state, subordinate to local cosmic weather.