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The Universe Is a Green Dragon: A Cosmic Creation Story Paperback – June 1, 1984
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"Seldom, if ever, within the scientific tradition, has the excitement of the universe been expressed in such memorable phrasing." (Thomas Berry, Creation magazine)
About the Author
Brian Swimme, Ph.D., a specialist in mathematical cosmology, was educated at Santa Clara University and the University of Oregon. At the present time, he is the director of the Center for the Story of the Universe, a research affiliate of the California Institute of Integral Studies, in San Francisco.
Top Customer Reviews
The shark also provides a useful test of the assertion that the shark got to its present state of maturity by continuing to question, develop, hope, live in awe and in the depths of wonder. We are to believe the shark developed a greater awareness by the process of "self-reflexion" and that explains its perfect fit in the universe. I believe the opposite is true: the shark is a "matured" species precisely because it was (and is) incapable of any of the activities Swimme claims as prerequisites for maturation.
One paragraph in Swimme's book reads:
"Can Earth sustain our violence? Can a great beauty grow from the ruins we leave? Concerning this question, it is important to understand the temporal nature of the Earth's creativity. The Earth at one time was able to create life, but that time has gone. The first life forms consumed the very conditions that enabled life to emerge. The fertility of the Earth is different now. If the higher life forms disappear, they cannot be re-created. When life forms vanish, they vanish forever."
Several thoughts come to mind. In the geologic past at the Cretaceous-Tertiary transition, current evidence suggests an immense event took place. Just about all life forms vanished. We can safely assume that one of those life forms qualified as the "highest". It very likely vanished too. And at the transition we find no evidence of any life form like Homo sapiens, or any evidence of a life form that remotely approaches the intellectual capacity of Homo. Now, 65 million years later, there is Homo sapiens. Swimme's assertion is that when T. rex (for example) was erased, there was no possibility of anything "higher" in the future. This is clearly not the case, for if it were, Homo wouldn't be here.
The fertility of this planet is amazingly resilient and is the same now, 65 million years ago, and two thousand million years ago. Even the suspect extraterrestrial impact marking the Cretaceous-Tertiary transition did not prevent Homo from appearing later. Furthermore, any ruins we might leave pale in comparison to extraterrestrial impacts, repeated continental glaciations, magnetic pole reversals, mega-thrust earthquakes, gigantic eruptions of theoliitic flood basalts, cratonic rifting, lateral strike-slip displacements with 1000 kilometer length scales, subduction of entire landmasses, and the list goes on and on. If the Earth can "endure" all those events, then it can easily handle the worst we can throw at it. No, I am not suggesting we are therefore granted license to continue on an irresponsible path of environmental degradation, but I do think we need to be willing to confront root-causes for our lousy stewardship and do something about them.
One classic root-cause for our ills is greed. I find greed a better explanation for our ills rather than from our failure to appreciate the workings of the universe. Said another way, I have trouble accepting the idea that once the Theory of Everything is formulated (and withstands the rigors of experimental verification), all we need to do is embrace it and then greed will vanish and the Earth will bloom once again. Based on that thinking, you would expect the Copernican Revolution, Newton's Principia, and Einstein's General Relativity to have at least provided some incremental improvements in the condition of Homo, yet I find no evidence of that.
Swimmes writes at length about violence. I have even more trouble with the idea of a link between the explosion of a star and the violence Homo perpetrates on itself and its environment. In fact, the idea that there is violence apart from Homo amounts to anthropomorphism. The explosion of a star is not a violent event: it's simply another event just as its ignition is an event. Don't ask me to accept the proposition that protons and neutrons perpetrate violence. Furthermore, no shark kills based on ideological differences with its prey. Blue stars don't conspire to blow up red stars because of a prejudice against the color red. Violence is a unique trait of Homo.
Of course, the very simple solution to the problem of violence is to love our neighbors as ourselves; but alas, that doctrine is rooted in one of those out-moded, eroded religous systems (which might be why Swimme doesn't write about it). And it requires that we change ourselves. Leo Tolstoy said it best: everyone wants to change the world, but no one wants to change himself.