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Cosmogony

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Cosmogony

Postby Dr. Goodword » Fri Jun 21, 2013 10:39 pm

• cosmogony •


Pronunciation: kahz-mah-gê-nee • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. The scientific study of the origin of the universe. 2. A specific theory (explanation) of the origin and evolution of the universe.

Notes: Today's word covers a lot of space, so to speak. I will not have time here to get into all the theories of the universe, just the major ones, which are (1) God created it and (2) the Big Bang Theory. The first of these leaves open the question, who or what created God? The second is that the universe resulted from an enormous explosion of a small ball of compressed matter 10-20 billion years ago. It leaves open the question: where did the small ball of matter come from? Today's word comes with the usual derivational accessories of Latinate words: two adjectives, cosmogonic and cosmogonical, and a personal noun, cosmogonist.

In Play: After a lecture, perhaps on the changes in human perceptions of the world, the famous American psychologist, William James, was met outside the classroom by a little old lady who told him she believed the Earth in fact was flat and was supported by a huge turtle. "But, my dear lady", Professor James asked, "what holds up the turtle?" "Ah", she said, "He is standing on the back of another turtle." "Oh, I see", said Professor James. "But what holds up the second turtle?" "It's no use, Professor", said the little old lady, seeing the logical trap into which she was being led, "It's turtles all the way down!" This is the logical problem of all cosmogonies: infinite regression.

Word History: Today's Good Word ultimately comes from Greek kosmogonia "creation of the world". This compound noun was put together from kosmos "order, decoration, the world" + gonia "begetting". We borrowed kosmos directly, changing only the initial letter: cosmos. Cosmetics comes from the same source. We borrowed it from the Latinized version of Greek kosmetike technike "the art of dressing beautifully", from the second meaning of kosmos. Gonia comes from a particularly prolific ancient root, gen-/gon- "beget, give birth to", found in many words borrowed from Latin and Greek: generate, genus, genetic among them. English received this root via its Germanic ancestors, too, as kin, king, and kind. (We owe a note of gratitude to Susan Ardith Lee, a Lexiterian in the Alpha Agora, for suggesting today's cosmic Good Word.)
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Re: Cosmogony

Postby MTC » Sat Jun 22, 2013 7:27 am

I would like to congratulte Dr. Goodword for an excellent article on cosmogony. The core problem is infinite regression, or its more folksy formulation, "It's turtles all the way down." The "Something from Nothing" issue received an airing when cosmologist Lawrence M. Krauss, author of A Universe From Nothing, was taken to task for his views by David Albert, a professor of Philosophy, in the Sunday Book Review section of the New York Times. (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/25/books ... rauss.html) The article is worth a read.
Last edited by MTC on Sat Jun 22, 2013 9:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Cosmogony

Postby LukeJavan8 » Sat Jun 22, 2013 11:31 am

Good word, Susan.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
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Re: Cosmogony

Postby Perry Lassiter » Sat Jun 22, 2013 12:18 pm

Aristotle, followed by Aquinas, couldn't take infinite regression, so postulated the unmoved mover and the uncaused cause. Paul Tillich deftly said God does not "exist," meaning cannot occupy the space-time continuum. Rather he posits Him as "The Ground of Being," which I translate as the source of existence. Remember Bill Clinton, " it depends on what 'is' is?"
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Re: Cosmogony

Postby LukeJavan8 » Sat Jun 22, 2013 8:18 pm

Bill Clinton is God?
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Re: Cosmogony

Postby MTC » Sat Jun 22, 2013 9:26 pm

LukeJavan8 wrote:Bill Clinton is God?


That dependes on what "is" is, Luke.
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Re: Cosmogony

Postby Philip Hudson » Sat Jun 22, 2013 9:36 pm

MTC: The NY Times reference was very good. The philosopher David Albert is trying to get his mind around the cosmologist Lawrence M. Kraussr's book about something from nothing. There is a song in "The Sound of Music", sung by Maria, where she sings, "Nothing comes from nothing. Nothing ever could." She is searching her past to discover something good she has done to deserve the love of Captain von Trapp. The writers were not sure whether the song fit the musical or not, so it is left out of some performances. Of course, Maria is wrong. She did nothing to deserve the Captain’s love. In millions of ways something comes from nothing. However the Big Bang Theory does not posit something from nothing. There was something that went bang. Perry’s reference to President Clinton’s asking for a definition of “is” is appropriate here.

Christian cosmology, at least the kind I subscribe to, agrees with an expanding universe that came into existence from nothing. It leaves the details to science, as it should. The Big Bang might not be the final scientific theory. If it is, it fits Christian cosmology nicely. If it isn’t, then the next one, if it is real progress toward truth, will fit even better.

The Oxford don, C. S. Lewis, is my spiritual mentor. I don’t subscribe much to fundamentalist Christian doctrine. There is an eschatological argument amongst some Christians about how the universe will end. The parties in the discussion call themselves pre-s, post-s, and a-s for reasons not germane to this discussion. I proudly announce myself a pan-. Everything will pan out in the end.
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.
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Re: Cosmogony

Postby MTC » Sun Jun 23, 2013 5:08 am

Glad you enjoyed the article, Philip. Perry's comments were also instructive. It is my belief our origins are shrouded in a permanent mist.

About Christian doctrine fitting scientific theory, "Those who make a leap of faith should land on two feet."

from the Apocrypha of MTC
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Re: Cosmogony

Postby DavidLJ » Sun Jun 23, 2013 5:47 am

Good Doctor,

I think you're being disingenuous about the origins of God and the universe. It seems pretty obvious to me:

The Big Bang is the technicque God used for creating this particular universe.

God was created by random quantum variations of the void.

Aren't you glad you brought the question up? :-)

-dlj.
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Re: Cosmogony

Postby Perry Lassiter » Sun Jun 23, 2013 6:17 pm

Now there is a positively brillian idea! Who said there was nothing new under the son. The God of Random Variations!
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Re: Cosmogony

Postby Dr. Goodword » Sun Jun 23, 2013 10:53 pm

I am, indeed, glad I brought the topic up. I was hoping someone would figure out that God compressed the ball of matter with his large and powerful hands.
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