The Cosmic Blueprint: New discoveries in nature's creative ability to order the universe, by Paul Davies, Simon and Schuster (Orion), 1988; Templeton Foundation Press, 2004, 240 ff.
The self-organizing universe
By Howard A. Jones
The key issue of this book is the author's contention that there is meaning in the universe, even if organization and emergent complexity are built into the nature of the atoms and the structures of the molecules that they form, especially the molecules of living matter. Paul Davies was on the staff of Macquarie University, Sydney, when this book was written but is now on the staff of the State University of Arizona where he is Director of a Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science, exploring subjects as diverse as cancer and the search for extra-terrestrial life.
The quotation from Ilya Prigogine that heads Chapter 1 sets the tone of this book and makes it clear why it was republished by the Templeton Foundation: `God is no more an archivist unfolding an infinite sequence he had designed once and forever. He continues the labour of creation throughout time.' This is the constantly evolving God of Whitehead's Process Theology. Though Davies totally rejects vitalism (the presence of a special `life force' in living organisms), he accepts that the universe behaves "as if" it was designed with a purpose, and he skilfully uses a fusion of particle physics, biology, psychology and cosmology to show how `the universe evolves its own destiny' in such a way as to `leave room for there to be a meaning behind existence.' This organizing principle or consciousness is what some mystics of the East and theists of the West call God or Infinite Mind. The laws of physics and the natural constants provide the blueprint or software for the universe to evolve.
The chapter headings deal with subjects as diverse as Complexity, Self-Organization and Chaos, the Nature, Origin and Evolution of Life, the Quantum Factor, and Mind and Brain. As usual with Davies, the writing is clear and he covers complex subjects without any of the underlying mathematics, except for a couple of brief references to Lagrangians and differential equations (without the sums!). The book is a challenging and thought-provoking read but some grounding in science for readers is desirable if they are to get the best out of it. There are 17 pages of References, Further Reading and an Index.
Dr Howard A. Jones is the author of The Thoughtful Guide to God (2006) and The Tao of Holism (2008), both published by O Books of Winchester, UK.
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The Cosmic Blueprint: New Discoveries in Nature's Creative Ability to Order the Universe Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
©1988 Orion Productions (P)2010 Redwood Audiobooks
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|Listening Length||9 hours and 9 minutes|
|Audible.com.au Release Date||07 September 2010|
|Publisher||University Press Audiobooks|
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The self-organizing universeReviewed in the United Kingdom on 7 January 2010
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