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Landmarks in the History of Science » Geoscience » Exceptionally Rare 1st Edition: Earth, Universe, Cosmos. An Inquest into Our Creeds, University of Tasmania, Hobart, 1996

Exceptionally Rare 1st Edition: Earth, Universe, Cosmos. An Inquest into Our Creeds, University of Tasmania, Hobart, 1996

Autor: S. Warren Carey
Cod: 8815
In stoc: Da

Detalii produs

''This book crowns a 60-years saga - a staircase, each step of which rises from its predecessor with addition of a fundamental new concept - a procession without having to recant...

This saga is not complete. I am now 85, [in 1996] so do not expect to live to recognize the next step. Another must take over the baton.''

                 S. Warren Carey, Preface to Earth, Universe, Cosmos

''Man's vision of Nature is a mosaic of memes. Whereas a gene is a self replicating organic unit, a meme is a self-replicating mental concept. Richard Dawkins coined the term meme, which starts from observed fact and is extended by intuition or faith to embrace apparent greater truths as a creed.


The flat Earth concept is a meme. In the beginning it was natural to believe it. The concept was passed on from person to person as an article of faith. Nothing seemed to gainsay it. It replicated for millennia. Until Pythagoras saw the shadow of the Earth as it eclipsed the moon, and concluded that the Earth was round. But the flat-Earth meme lives on in some minds even to this day! On the far side of a spherical Earth rain would have to fall upward, lakes could not be, and people would stand with their feet in the air! Several generations passed before the round Earth was generally believed...

Through the Middle Ages, the spherical Earth of Pythagoras and Aristotle, now blessed by the church, remained stationary at the centre of the Universe. If the Earth were moving, we would feel it. If we jumped, we would land farther back. Individual crystal spheres bore the Sun, Moon, and stars in their daily rotation around the static Earth. Planets had a looping course, so they had additional crystal spheres which gave them epicyclic motions about the Earth...


In the sixteenth century, Copernicus finally deduced that everything was much simpler if the Earth rotated daily, and Sun, Moon, and planets appeared to move across the sky as the Earth turned. Rejection of this absurd and blasphemous idea by the establishment and by the church was so strong that Copernicus published it in another state just before he died. So entrenched was the meme that Bruno was burned at the stake for repeating Copernicus' blasphemy, and Galileo was forced to recant. The Copernican model had been proposed two millennia earlier by Aristarchus, but rejected, and even 3,000 years before that by Sanskrit savants, who were ignored by Egypt and Greece...


In 1718 George Stahl, a Bavarian professor of medicine, solved the mystery of burning phlogiston was a substance possessed by all combustible substances, which they release when they burn. This meme caught on, and soon became the standard creed. Half a century later, Lavoisier showed that burning substances gained in weight as they combined with the newly discovered active component of air (oxygen). Lavoisier was fiercely opposed by British Royal Society scientists including Henry Cavendish and Joseph Priestley, who argued that the mass gain implied that phlogiston had negative mass. Besides, they knew that French science was inferior to British!

Lavoisier, when shown by some peasants a meteorite they had witnessed to fall, kindly told them that stones can't fall from the sky - there are none up there.

Goethe, when told of Newton's rainbow rings, said that the idea of white light being a mixture of coloured lights is childish twaddle - quite unconceivable!

Newton's alchemy meme was more important to him than his physics. But this did not lead to any great harm and stimulated others to probe deeper. When he formulated his law of gravitation to explain Kepler's elliptical orbit of Mars, Newton extended it from fact to meme when he applied it to the scale of the cosmos. Although his data did not extend beyond the solar system, those who followed him applied his law to infinite distance...

Lord Kelvin, master physicist of his generation, calculated that the Earth is only 20 million years old, and taunted geologists that even on extreme assumptions the Earth could not be more than 100 million years old. His mathematics was faultless, but involved his meme, that gravity is the only ultimate source of energy, which nullified his conclusion.


Early this century, the world's greatest geologists were agreed on the meme of the permanence of the continents and oceans.  When Wegener shocked the world with his argument that South America originally conjoined Africa, that North America had been contiguous with Europe, and indeed that all the continents of the world were separated parts of a single Pangea in the latest tenth of geologic time, it was rejected by the establishment-a pipe-dream, a seductive fairy tale!

From the beginning, a few of us had shared the stigma and supported Wegener's continental dispersion. We agreed that the oceans had been and were rapidly growing along their medial ridgeswhich was compensated by consumption at the ocean trenches. In the mid-sixties the establishment turned about to agree that this was indeed so, but in doing so adopted the new American name 'plate tectonics' because continental drift, the name invented to discredit Wegener, was tarnished.

Plate tectonics is also a meme, involving the creeds that orogenesis is due to shortening of the Earth's crust and that the diameter of the Earth is permanent, inductions which could be true. But as I will argue in Chapter 3, orogenesis is diapiric on a stretching crust, and the Earth is expanding and has been expanding exponentially since the beginning. But the meme reigns supreme. Everybody knows that ocean-floor subduction is a fact...


To multiply l444 by 3888 is quite easy, but to multiply MCDXLIV by MMMDCCCLXXXVIII (the same numbers in Roman notation) is very difficult, but the difficulty stems only from the unsuitable notation. The Roman notation is perfectly valid, and for some purposes might be the ideal notation.

Ptolemy's geocentric description of the Universe gave simple motions for the Sun, the Moon, and the stars, but the paths of the planets became complex epicyclic orbits, which were measured and defined only after centuries of meticulous observation and calculation. We still do not know the absolute motions of any of these bodies, only their relative motion. By shifting the origin of co-ordinates from Earth to Sun, however, Copernicus reduced the motions to simple terms. But there is little inherently false about the Ptolemaic observations and equations, which correctly predicted conjunctions and eclipses, but with Ptolemy's notation our sums become un-necessarily complicated...

Theorists send identical twins on different space journeys and on returning home Find their ages differ. Any closed loop journey would surely cancel algebraically (notwithstanding the Dingle-McCrea debate), even outward accelerations negated by reverse returning accelerations so however the loops differed, their difference on return would be zero.

But the problem may not be as simple as that. Physicists, with their intense mathematical training, reduce everything to their billiard-ball Universe...

Mathematicians enjoy themselves in five, ten, twenty dimensions. Fine, unless they apply it to physical hardware! Mathematics is a fine notation, but false memes, no matter how elegant the operations, yield only teratoid paradigms...


As Pickering (1993) points out, physicists, so grounded in the sophisticated mathematics of their apprenticeship, could do no other than model their experimental observations in mathematical terms. How real are their imagined quarks and gluons? Would a different culture, devoid of mathematical indoctrination, have evolved a wholly different Universe in full harmony with experiment?

Contemplating the evolution of human belief over the centuries, we find that at any point there was a general creed, accepted as truth by the establishment, but one by one specific elements of it have been discarded, though in most cases still held by a stubborn minority. This process has continued right up to the present day.


The flat Earth was abandoned a couple of millennia ago. The stationary Earth at the centre of the solar system was universally believed until the sixteenth century. That blood circulated was adopted at about the same time. Phlogiston was only abandoned two centuries ago. It's only 90 years since Kelvin insisted that the Earth could not be as much as 100 million years old. The permanence and fixity of continents and oceans was only abandoned in the middle of this century. Astrology is still rife, even believed by many educated people! What about the present creed of the establishment? The big bang is universally taught as fact. So is subduction. So is the constant radius of the Earth, the permanence of mass...

In our fabric of standard belief, are there still false fundamental strands that have been with us from the beginning?

The exercise I have attempted, is to survey our classical dogma of geology, which is part of the wider fabric of astronomy, to ask whether some of the things we are taught as facts, indeed which I myself taught, are really valid.''

          S. Warren Carey, Earth, Universe, Cosmos, 1996, pp. 1-7

Both 1996 and 2000 editions of this book are extremely rare.
We found only four copies of Earth, Universe and Cosmos located at:
Canberra - National Library of Australia (2 copies: 1996, 2000)
Hobart - University of Tasmania Library (1996 edition), and
Our copy.

In our opinion, the entire print run of these editions was bought by someone after a rather short interval of time from the appearance, and then he/she destroyed it.





Earth, Universe, Cosmos by S. Warren Carey, 1st Edition, 1996, University of Tasmania, Geology Department, Hobart; p. xiii, 232 : 127 figs., 2 Appendix, references, index; 29 cm. Soft covers. Fine condition.




Price USD 1,500,000.00