Re: [philosophy-31] Life older than earth?

From: Roy
Sent on: Friday, April 26, 2013 7:36 AM
Thanks, James--

I only recalled that Anaxagoras had views that in some general way prefigured the idea of evolution.

Advocates of panspermia believe that its truth is clearly at the stage of empirical test and is meeting that test. Has anybody posted a link to this website--*What's New in Cosmic Ancestry?* http://www.panspermia.org/whatsnew73.htm.  The article under discussion is referenced there also. 

There's a classic question posed by somebody, is the universe ultimately a friendly place or not?  Presumably, for human beings, I reckon.   I hope panspermia turns out to be true because I think it would provide some soft support for my own philosophical prejudice, e.g. the universe *is* a friendly place, etc.  

R.  


 
http://gg9-tto.blogspot.com/

From: James I Davis <[address removed]>
To: [address removed]
Sent: Friday, April 26,[masked]:17 AM
Subject: RE: [philosophy-31] Life older than earth?

I am not sure what to explain, but here are some general comments related to my earlier comment: "This work supports a very old theory, going back to Anaxagoras 5th century BC."

Anaxagoras developed a general model which led him to conclude that life must be spread throughout the universe. Obviously, he was not aware of microorganism which we know can live at extreme temperatures and pressures, so he could not provide the type of detailed model that astro-biologists are able to offer today. There are many articles on the internet describing Anaxagoras general model. Here is my take:

He invented an entire cosmography and was a pivotal figure in Greek philosophy. His basic idea is that everything was created from an eternal and inexhaustible supply of infinitesimal atoms. [It is noteworthy that modern physics depends on the idea that there is an inexhaustible supply of particles which can and do emerge as needed from the “vacuum”.] The infinite chaos of atoms was molded by an eternal intelligence (nous) to produce an orderly world and all the objects in it. The laws governing the universe were established according to nous, and only those kinds of things derivable from the original atoms and the governing laws are possible in the world. His cosmography is similar to that produced by modern physics; namely, all objects and phenomena emerge, in a hierarchical structure, from the interaction of elementary particles governed by universal forces according to a set of natural laws.

Notwithstanding Anaxagoras’ probable influence, Leucippus (ca. [masked]), born in Abdera, is credited with founding the atomic theory. The great insight was to recognize that the world is made up of atoms that do not have the properties of sensible things, e.g. there are no atoms of wood, rock, or water. If we could repeatedly divide any sensible object, we would eventually reach the indivisible---the atoma, the fundamental reality. There is an infinite variety of atoms with peculiar shapes and sizes such that they can fit together and grab hold of each other. Different aggregations of atoms produce the many different objects that we experience in the sensible world, i.e. all sensible objects are an emergent property of atoms and the void, and the objects have qualities unique to the aggregation itself, not present in the atoms themselves. Atoms can also disaggregate; consequently, creation and destruction are just different aspects of a timeless process which is the fate all perceptible objects---animals, plants, mountains and, yes, even worlds. Although these early atomists did not have all the details right, they presaged the idea of emergent phenomena accepted in modern science.

I don't know if this brief summary Greek thought is helpful or not. My only point in the original remark I made was that the Greeks had a model that was consistent with the idea that life forms were spread throughout the universe. The modern computer models certainly add support to this idea.
  


From: [address removed]
To: [address removed]
Subject: RE: [philosophy-31] Life older than earth?
Date: Thu, 25 Apr[masked]:30:31 -0400

See, for example, 

Anaxagoras and the Origin of Panspermia Theory [Paperback]

Margaret O'Leary (Author) 


From: [address removed]
To: [address removed]
Subject: Re: [philosophy-31] Life older than earth?
Date: Wed, 24 Apr[masked]:53:34 -0400

Can you explain? I'm not familiar with Anaxagoras's work.



On Apr 24, 2013, at 12:43 PM, James I Davis <[address removed]> wrote:

This work supports a very old theory, going back to Anaxagoras 5th century BC. Jim


From: [address removed]
To: [address removed]
Subject: [philosophy-31] Life older than earth?
Date: Tue, 23 Apr[masked]:36:52 -0400

This is more theoretical science than philosophy, but I thought it interesting considering some of the recent discussions:

http://news.yahoo.com/could-life-older-earth-itself-175255318.html





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