Monday, October 31, 2016

2 Divergent, Contradictory Ways of Human Perceiving

Poetry versus prose, fact versus story,
symbolic versus technologic,
intuitive versus rational,
emotion versus logic,
experience versus learning,
reason versus tradition,

religion versus science,
transcendent versus temporal,
sacred versus secular,
spiritual versus material,
supernatural versus natural,
personal versus impersonal—

What bipolar opposites!

Yet within everyone of us, the human species, homo sapiens.

Some thinkers claim they are irreconcilable.

Yet from a different angle, these 2 ways of perceiving, “seeing,”
so often divergent and opposite, do sometimes interrelate.

They aren’t always extreme clashers/antithetical/
contradictory/mutually incompatible/
not always (as in never shall the twain meet)
like “fundamentalists” of religion
and “scientilists” of science adamantly claim--incompatible.

But they do, indeed, offer 2 very different ways of perceiving reality.

The HUGE question is whether those perceptions are mutally exclusive
or complimentary, even married as in the old saw--opposites attract:-).

The issue of these 2 divergent ways of perceiving is like the old joke about sex:
Is the word, sex, an acronym for
“sensitive experiential ecstasy”?
the short term for biological interaction between a primate
with XY chromosomes with one with XX chromosomes?

Or like the joke about the elephant versus the mouse in the room?

It’s ‘irrelevant’;-
like these last few lines.)

#1 Our first contrast:


From the Jewish, Christian, Islamic religions,
the ancient text of Genesis (written 500 B.C.E.
in Babylon by Jewish scribes as a poem to honor
the 7th day of Shabbat)

1 In the beginning of G-d’s preparing the heavens and the earth — 2 the earth hath existed waste and void,
and darkness on the face of the deep, and the Wind of G-d fluttering on the face of the waters,
And G-d said, "Let light be; and light is."

On the 4th day of Creation:
14 And G-d said, "Let luminaries be in the expanse of the heavens...and the stars..."
And there is an evening and there is a morning, day 4.



From the Lecture 113--8. Early Universe
by astronomer Chris Impey,
University of Arizona, Tucson

"...the frontier of knowledge is...the Planck Era. An amazing ten to the minus 43 seconds after the big bang.

Conceptually, this is a time in the infinite universe when space itself was as curved as a particle. When the distinction between space and time did not exist. Or the objects in space and the space that contain them. This was when the universe was smaller than the smallest subatomic particle.

Just thinking about the Big Bang, it's an extraordinary event. A 100 billion galaxies and a 100,000 billion billion stars they contained were all compressed into a space smaller than a sub atomic particle. What the big bang theory really says is that...
The universe itself was created in a quantum event...

...a theory of black holes, of galaxies, and a theory of, of atoms, of light, of force. So we have two great theories of physics, the theory of the very big, Einstein's Theory of Relativity, and the theory of the very small, the Quantum Theory...

The exponential expansion of inflation essentially blew up quantum fluctuations to macroscopic size, where they would subsequently become the seeds for galaxy formation. That same expansion of course, is responsible for the flatness and smoothness of space. Whatever the initial curvature, and it must have been extreme, space has now inflated to an enormous size, or space curvature in any large region is negligible.

This idea puts the microwave sky in a whole new light. What is says is that when we look at the microwave background radiation through a radio telescope, we're look at quantum fluctuations writ large on the sky, the seeds for galaxy formation.

So hypothetically, about a microsecond after the Big Bang, the universe would have had a temperature of about a trillion degrees. That's the energy from which neutrons and protons can have their anti-particle pairs created spontaneously out of pure energy. Below that temperature, or after that time, such creation is not possible. The speculation is that there was a very slight imbalance in the amount of matter versus anti-matter.

From the time a few minutes after the Big Bang until just under 400,000 years after the Big Bang, the universe was simply an expanding and cooling plasma, cooling from a temperature of 10 million Kelvin down to about 3,000 Kelvin. When the universe reached this size, density and temperature, it reached the point where electrons could combine with protons to form stable hydrogen and also helium atoms.

It takes perhaps 100 or 200 million years after the Big Bang for the first objects to switch on
as light bulbs in the sky. Stars and galaxies."

The first account is poetic story, from us finite primates looking up and creating,
telling a narrative of meaning.

The second account is factual prose, from us observing,
discerning objective facts in the cosmos.

Are these two perspectives totally contradictory?

Is a complete divorce necessary as some secular scientists
such as biologist Jerry Coyne
and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins think?

Or are the two opposite accounts, a sharing couple, committed to interaction
like geneticist Francis Collins
and cell biologist Kenneth R. Miller think?

According to the astronomer Chris Impey, the two views are interelated:

"We're made of tiny subabtomic particles and are part of a vast space-time arena,
yet we hold both extremes in our heads....the powerful narrative that science
has created to help us organize and understand the world.

We have a story of how the universe grew from a jot of space-time to the splendor
of 50 billion galaxies. We have a story of how a broth of molecules on the primeval
Earth turned into flesh and blood.

And we have a story of how one of the millions of species
evolved to hold those 50 billion galaxies
inside its head."
How It Began page xii,
How It Ends, page 11

BOTH the poetic and the factual intrigue me; I love both ways of perceiving.


In the Light,

Daniel Wilcox

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