Edward Harrison

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In existographies, Edward Harrison (1919-2007) (CR:4) (LH:4) (TL:8), aka “Ted”, was an English astronomer and cosmologist, noted for his 1964 solution to Olber’s paradox, retrospectively noted for his 1995 philosophy that people are evolved or transformed hydrogen atoms, a type of anti-chance, deism-based hydrogen to human model.

Overview

See main: Hydrogen is a light, odorless gas, which, given enough time, turns into people

In 1981, Harrison published Cosmology: the Science of the Universe, wherein he discusses basic “big bang” cosmology, the abstract of which is as follows:[1]

“A comprehensive introductory treatment of cosmology including discussions of the many potential universes that are candidates for the real universe, the early universe and the end of time, the cosmic numbers and their importance in the ‘design’ of the universe, the receding horizons of the observable universe, and the issues arising from the possibility of intelligent life in the galaxy.”

In Mar 1995, Harrison, in his “The Natural Selection of Universes Containing Intelligent Life”, published in the Quarterly Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society, building on William Prout’s 1840 Chemistry, Meteorology, and the Function of Digestion, considered with reference to Natural Theology, the eight and last Bridgewater Treatise (Ѻ), Lawrence Henderson’s 1913 Fitness of the Environment (1913), attempted to argue the following:

“It is proposed that our universe was created by life of superior intelligence existing in another physical universe in which the constants of physics were finally tuned and therefore essentially similar to our own. More intelligent beings, perhaps our own descendants in the far future, might possess not only the knowledge to design but also the technology to build universes. This forms the basis of a theory of natural selection of universes.”
— Edward Harrison (1995), “The Natural Selection of Universes Containing Intelligent Life” (pg. 193) [2]
“In a universe containing luminous stars and chemical elements essential for the existence of organic life, the physical constants are necessarily precisely adjusted or finely tuned.”
— Edward Harrison (1995), “The Natural Selection of Universes Containing Intelligent Life” (pg. 193) [2]

Harrison’s argument, in short, was survival of the fittest coated intelligent design creationism theory, framed around fine-tuning arguments, mixed with the idea that universes might be created out of blackholes.

In Dec 1995, John Wiley, in his “Phenomena, Comments, and Notes”, in the blog “Science & Nature”, of Smithsonian.com, gave a review of Harrison’s natural selection of universes theory, wherein, after opening to a few precursory comments about Harrison’s article, stated the following:

“The history of the Universe has been summed up thusly: ‘Hydrogen is a light, odorless gas, which, given enough time, turns into people.’ When our universe began, it consisted mostly of hydrogen. That gas condensed into galaxies of stars, in whose cores heat and pressure fused atoms into heavier elements, including those necessary for life. Some of those stars exploded, spewing the heavier elements out into space. New stars and planets formed, including our own. On one of those planets, life appeared. Harrison contends that none of it could have happened unless all the physical constants (the speed of light, the charge and mass of the electron, and similar numbers) were just right.”
— John Wiley (1995), “Phenomena, Comments, and Notes” [3]

Now, the problem here, is that Harrison NEVER said the above statement that "Hydrogen is a light, odorless gas, which, given enough time, turns into people", anywhere in the article. In fact, Harrison never even discusses hydrogen, nor uses the term "people". Wiley, here, seems to have basically attempted to whitewash Harrison's strongly theistic article, and make it sound secular and scientific. The "hydrogen, given enough time, turns into people", in short, is a mis-attributed paraphrase-attempting agenda-based quote.

In any event, in the years to follow, the quote began to be attributed to Harrison, via the Wiley (1995) citation; such as: David Christian (2004) in: Maps of Time; Edward Zanders (2011) in: Background to Chemistry of Small and Large Molecules (pg. 30); Max Tegmark (2017) in Life 3.0 (pg. 49), etc.

Quotes

Quotes | By

The following are quotes by Harrison:

“Here is the cosmological proof of the existence of god - the design argument of Paley - updated and refurbished. The fine tuning of the universe provides prima facie evidence of deistic design. Take your choice: blind chance that requires multitudes of universes or design that requires only one.... Many scientists, when they admit their views, incline toward the teleological or design argument.”
— Edward Harrison (1985), Masks of the Universe [4]
“By convention there is color, by convention sweetness, by convention bitterness, but in reality, ‘there are atoms and the void,’ announced Democritus. The universe consists only of atoms and the void; all else is opinion and illusion. If the soul exists, it also consists of atoms.”
— Edward Harrison (1985), Masks of the Universe (pg. 54) [5]
Life exists on earth because protons are shy creatures. When brought face to face, they take a considerable time in deciding whether to like each other. Before their minds are made up they have moved apart and gone their separate ways. A similar thing happens to people in cities; they move about, encountering one another on the streets and in the subway, and sometimes a person meets another for a fleeting moment and feels a strong attraction. But in their movement and hurry they turn aside and go separate ways, perhaps never again to meet. An attitude of reserve between strangers prevents instant intimate friendship. Protons have an equivalent inhibition, and their shyness and inability to make instant friendships is due to what is called the weak interaction.
— Edward Harrison (1985), Masks of the Universe (pg. 134) [6]

End matter

References

  1. Harrison, Edward. (1981). Cosmology: the Science of the Universe (abs), Cambridge.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Harrison, Edward P. (1995). “The Natural Selection of Universes Containing Intelligent Life” (Ѻ), Quarterly Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society, 36:193-203.
  3. Wiley, John P. (1995). “Phenomena, Comments & Notes” (WB), Smithsonian Magazine, Dec.
  4. (a) Harrison, Edward. (1985). Masks of the Universe: Changing Ideas on the Nature of the Cosmos (blind chance, pgs. 252, 263; soul, pg. 54). Cambridge University Press, 2003.
    (b) Zacharias, Ravi. (2010). Beyond Opinion: Living the Faith We Defend (pg. 123). Thomas Nelson.
  5. Harrison, Edward. (1985). Masks of the Universe: Changing Ideas on the Nature of the Cosmos (blind chance, pgs. 252, 263; soul, pg. 54). Cambridge University Press, 2003.
  6. Harrison, Edward. (1985). Masks of the Universe: Changing Ideas on the Nature of the Cosmos (pg. 134). Cambridge, 2001.

Further reading

  • Harrison, Edward. (1987). Darkness at Night: a Riddle of the Universe. Harvard University Press.

External links

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