On Science & Nature


Since the beginning of time, and the creation of our universe itself, every process and every change that has taken place was adhered to by impermeable rules of nature that would be discovered billions of years in the future by men and women with curious minds and a passion for truth.




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Science is about the past, present, and future. It's about peering into the outer observable reaches of the universe, or measuring the smallest molecular structures inside the ordinary house fly. It can be as complex as the human mind or as simple as an ocean wave. Scientists have fought against the orthodoxies of their time to catapult man's knowledge to ever changing paradigm shifts. They have fought against the biased, the political, and the superstitious ideas that have misled or corrupted the masses. It is about giving order to an otherwise chaotic world and lastly it is about a process of understanding, a method to solve the mysteries which we observe all around us. Scientific knowledge allowed man to exit the caves and to eventually explore or create all that we see and know. Sometimes we are driven by survival and sometimes by curiosity, but it is the systematic arrangement of observable facts that has progressed man's knowledge and therefore advanced civilization to our current place.

Science and its methods must be the corner stone of all knowledge. Philosophy and art should give life perspective and man contentment, but they still must be reflected within the reality we observe. Unfortunately science itself is a mystery to most. Who can answer how astronomers gage stellar distances or understand the mechanisms that cause nuclear explosions. How many can even understand the workings of a television or a smart phone, which are things we all use daily? We should not leave the beauty and power of science to the few, but keep learning throughout our life.
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We sometimes think of the Earth as simply moving in a circular motion around the Sun. That would be true if our Sun and galaxy were in a static state. Because we are rotating on the surface of the Earth, the Earth is revolving around the Sun, and the Sun itself is revolving around the center of our galaxy, our path is complex and actually resembles a corkscrew in motion if observed independently. The Earth spins on its axis each day and the rotational speed near the equator exceeds 1,000 miles per hour (mph). The Earth revolves around the Sun at 67,000 mph. The Sun revolves around the core of our Milky-way galaxy at 514,495 mph. Our local group of galaxies are moving 89,477 mph within our super cluster of galaxies, which is moving at an incredible rate of 1,342,162 mph through our Universe. Yes, that means that the Earth is moving (with us on it), as you read this, at a total possible speed of over two million miles per hour (3,218,688 kph). But of course, it is all relative!

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The Universe was created from a vast explosion whose violent forces created and transformed all that we see and experience. These forces are still with us making our ever changing world. Recent research has advanced our understanding of events prior to the cosmological equations of the Standard Big Bang theory. M-Theory postulates a Universe conceived through the impact of ephemeral membranes which created the Big Bang 13.8 Billion years ago. Prior to that explosion the place we call Universe had no matter, time or space. That explosive reaction spewed all the energy of the known Universe from an infinitesimally small point in space called a gravitational singularity. Eleven dimensions were created and matter formed from Super Strings. These Superstrings exhibits Super-symmetry and Supergravity. All matter, from the smallest particles (quarks) to the largest galaxies are made of Superstrings. Space expanded and with it the energy followed together and accelerated dramatically outward (Hyper-inflation). As the universe expands it naturally decreases in temperature since the matter density is decreasing to fill the expanding space volume. With lower temperatures it became possible for sub-atomic particles (hadrons, leptons) to form, then atoms, elements, followed by molecules. Molecules clumped together into large dust clouds which then formed large primordial galaxies, who's dust coalesced into solar systems, stars, and planets. Supermassive black holes were created at the center of most galaxies including ours. The explosion of nova and supernova fused and created denser elements and radiated high energy particles throughout the Universe.

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During stellar formation there is leftover material that swirls around the star and forms planets in accordance with gravitational forces and the laws of motion. The dynamics of planets vary widely. Some planets are nothing but churning gas or large chunks of rock, while other planets form complex ecosystems with liquid oceans and atmospheres composed of lighter elements. If a planet has a dynamic iron core a magnetosphere will be created and block the harsh radiation from its local star it circles, therefore allowing delicate and complex compounds to form.

As the planet evolves it proceeds from a tumultuous state to one of relative geological stability. This cooling and stability allows elements to chemically bonds to each other. Life is a chemical process based primarily on carbon and oxygen compounds. Carbon is critical because of its valence bonding ability to form large and complex compounds. Oxygen is a highly reactive element making it ideal to stimulate the growth process. The reason complexity is required for life is simple, it is because it must be complex. You can’t create an organism capable of regulating its internal state, of moving, eating and excreting, and of replicating itself to create offspring, without a wide variety of molecules.
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Heat from deep undersea hydrothermal vents circulates sedimentary elements and an environment for living cells is created. From simple carbon compounds to the creation of amino acids, proteins and polymers the ingredients of life are staged. The phylogenic tree blossoms and bacteria and archaea develop. These complex molecules start autonomous cell division through the
DNA chain and life as we define it has begun. Small seemingly indifferent changes would sometimes occur within the DNA and reproduce a small change in the life form. If the small change produces a superior characteristic (faster, stronger, taller etc.), then that variety will survive the weaker member of their group and produce offspring. Each environment will produce different adaptive characteristics. Each evolution so small as to be unmeasurable or observable in real time. Eventually the sea creatures crawled out of the murky waters and inhabited every conceivable place on Earth to form the various plants and animals we see today. Although over eight and one half million species live on Earth today, 99% of the documented species produced on Earth are now gone, including some of the largest creatures that ever lived. The 99% fact is not an indication of the weakness of life, but a testament to the massive geological changes the Earth has gone through. Looking back through the archeological evidence, it seems life is not just resilient, but down right unstoppable. From the miraculous first living single-celled protozoa to the wondrous variety of creatures we see today flying through the atmosphere, swimming the ocean depths, or roaming the mountains and plains, we are witness to the result of a prolific evolutionary adaptation and specialization. It took 18 billion years from the initial Big Bang which consisted of nothing but homogenous radiation, to form a creature so complex as to look into the night sky and feel the awe and wonder of his very existence.
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Now what? But things are not slowing down. Continents move, ice ages form and dissolve, there will be future mass extinctions of species. The Earth, Sun, and galaxies are still in constant motion. Stars explode and galaxies collide. We see things as a snap shot of time, but the reality is we live in constant change and motion. The Big Bang that created the Universe is still exploding with us as inside observers!


W
e live in a time of profound change and are witness to an explosion of discoveries and new ideas. From the industrial revolution to today's digital revolution science has given mankind very powerful tools. We can use our technological tools such as nuclear energy to operate a hospital or kill millions of people. Science, like nature, does not contain an inherent objectivist morality, but it does contain an objectivist truth. As humans we give the world meaning, passion, reason, and ethics. Our inherited trait of self preservation, must extend outward to our ethical and moral behavior if we are to coexist with all the complex planetary eco-systems. Many people mistrust science or blame today's technological problems on science. A mistrust in science is a mistrust in ourselves. It belies the notion that Man is not a noble race and can not be trusted to have power over nature. But we cannot crawl back into the genie's lamp and revert back to the dark ages. Scientific advancement is not in contradiction to nature, but works in concert with all the natural laws and the principles of nature. Science can help us understand the Earth as a single organism and help us bring society in balance with nature, but that can only be accomplished if we understand the underlining principles of nature itself. Science can create problems, but interestingly enough, only science can overcome those problems created by science. Many of the issues that we face today such as overcrowding and resource depletion are due to the successes of science; for example the progress in the medical field which has resulted in human population growth. We continually find ourselves pressed against the limits of science when a new discovery propels us forward to yet another limit that appears in front of us only to be challenged by the next generation of thinkers.
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Science will never tame the world, but it can help us better adapt to it. There are numerous challenges and mysteries to be solved. There are the esoteric questions such as understanding the fundamental elements of matter (such as dark matter or dark energy), or the mysteries of the human mind (such as the mind-body paradox and perception). But there is also the basic and immediate benefits which produce the gradual improvement of daily living, such as medical research, communications, transportation, energy production, resource management, building & construction techniques to name a few.

D
iscovery is like peeling an onion where every new discovery brings forth deeper questions. We cannot understand where science will take us in the future, but today we see the transforming effects everywhere. Science is like an extension of our natural evolution, whereby our human abilities are not constrained by our biological limitations. Our mind, which directs scientific inquiry, is the new evolution. Today's evolution is not the evolution of small biological changes, but leaps in human thought and reason. That new evolution will be the catalyst to our future progress as a species.
As we go forward in time and the challenges we face become increasingly complex, it is the human spirit of creativity and discovery that will foretell our future. For it is the advancements in the sciences and our understanding of the world that could be the difference between the basic survival of our society or indeed the very extinction of the human race.

Joe Donzanti
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"Every science begins as philosophy and ends as art; it arises in hypothesis and flows into achievement." - Will Durant
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