The Emergence of Everything: How the World Became Complex

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Oxford University Press, Nov 7, 2002 - Science - 209 pages
9 Reviews
When the whole is greater than the sum of the parts--indeed, so great that the sum far transcends the parts and represents something utterly new and different--we call that phenomenon emergence. When the chemicals diffusing in the primordial waters came together to form the first living cell, that was emergence. When the activities of the neurons in the brain result in mind, that too is emergence.In The Emergence of Everything, one of the leading scientists involved in the study of complexity, Harold J. Morowitz, takes us on a sweeping tour of the universe, a tour with 28 stops, each one highlighting a particularly important moment of emergence. For instance, Morowitz illuminates the emergence of the stars, the birth of the elements and of the periodic table, and the appearance of solar systems and planets. We look at the emergence of living cells, animals, vertebrates, reptiles, and mammals, leading to the great apes and the appearance of humanity. He also examines tool making, the evolution of language, the invention of agriculture and technology, and the birth of cities. And as he offers these insights into the evolutionary unfolding of our universe, our solar system, and life itself, Morowitz also seeks out the nature of God in the emergent universe, the God posited by Spinoza, Bruno, and Einstein, a God Morowitz argues we can know through a study of the laws of nature.Written by one of our wisest scientists, The Emergence of Everything offers a fascinating new way to look at the universe and the natural world, and it makes an important contribution to the dialogue between science and religion.
  

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - NielsenGW - LibraryThing

As soon as human beings became self-aware, they became universe-aware as well. While we seek to understand our place and our origins as individuals, we also have a need to explain the origin of all ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - millsge - LibraryThing

The topic is as fascinating as any and the author gives a very thorough description of how the insights of the science of emergence are advancing practically every scientific field. However, my eyes began to cross once or twice because of the overly detailed explanations. Read full review

Contents

1 The Emergence of Emergence
1
2 Ideas of Emergence
15
3 The TwentyEight Steps
25
The PrimordiumWhy Is There Something Rather Than Nothing?
39
Making a Nonuniform Universe
44
6 The Emergence of Stars
48
7 The Periodic Table
54
The Solar System
58
20 Reptiles
124
21 Mammals
127
22 The Niche
131
23 Arboreal Mammals
136
24 Primates
140
25 The Great Apes
143
26 Hominization and Competitive Exclusion in Hominids
147
27 Toolmaking
155

9 Planetary Structure
63
10 The Geospheres
67
11 The Emergence of Metabolism
70
12 Cells
78
13 Cells with Organelles
86
14 Multicellularity
92
15 The Neuron
98
16 Animalness
106
17 Chordateness
111
18 Vertebrates
115
From Fish to Amphibians
120
28 Language
159
29 Agriculture
163
30 Technology and Urbanization
167
31 Philosophy
170
32 The Spirit
175
33 Analyzing Emergence
179
34 Athens and Jerusalem
185
35 Science and Religion
192
36 The Task Ahead
197
Index
201
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About the author (2002)


Harold J. Morowitz is Clarence Robinson Professor of Biology and Natural Philosophy at George Mason University and the former Director of the Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study, in Fairfax, Virginia. A leading figure in the study of complexity, he was Editor-in-Chief of the journal Complexity and is co-chair of the science board of the Santa Fe Institute. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Discover, The Washington Post, The Sciences, and Psychology Today.

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