We, and creation itself, actualize the possibilities of the God who sustains the world, towards becoming in the world in a fuller, more deeper way. - R.E. Slater

There is urgency in coming to see the world as a web of interrelated processes of which we are integral parts, so that all of our choices and actions have [consequential effects upon] the world around us. - Process Metaphysician Alfred North Whitehead

Kurt Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem says (i) all closed systems are unprovable within themselves and, that (ii) all open systems are rightly understood as incomplete. - R.E. Slater

The most true thing about you is what God has said to you in Christ, "You are My Beloved." - Tripp Fuller

The God among us is the God who refuses to be God without us, so great is God's Love. - Tripp Fuller

According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater

Our eschatological ethos is to love. To stand with those who are oppressed. To stand against those who are oppressing. It is that simple. Love is our only calling and Christian Hope. - R.E. Slater

Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger

Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton

I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – Anon

Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII

Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut

Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest

People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – Anon

Certainly, God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater

An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater

Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann

Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner

“Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh” means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14) or, conversely, “I AM who I AM Becoming.”

Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton

The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens, we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – Anon

The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul

The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah

If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – Anon

Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson

We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord

Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another, so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

To promote societal transition to sustainable ways of living and a global society founded on a shared ethical framework which includes respect and care for the community of life, ecological integrity, universal human rights, respect for diversity, economic justice, democracy, and a culture of peace. - The Earth Charter Mission Statement

Christian humanism is the belief that human freedom, individual conscience, and unencumbered rational inquiry are compatible with the practice of Christianity or even intrinsic in its doctrine. It represents a philosophical union of Christian faith and classical humanist principles. - Scott Postma

It is never wise to have a self-appointed religious institution determine a nation's moral code. The opportunities for moral compromise and failure are high; the moral codes and creeds assuredly racist, discriminatory, or subjectively and religiously defined; and the pronouncement of inhumanitarian political objectives quite predictable. - R.E. Slater

God's love must both center and define the Christian faith and all religious or human faiths seeking human and ecological balance in worlds of subtraction, harm, tragedy, and evil. - R.E. Slater

Saturday, June 11, 2022

The Primordial World of Early Evolution

JURASSIC WORLD DOMINION | Official Trailer 2 (Universal Pictures) HD

Earth's entire planetary development is an example of how entropy works in bringing balance to unbalanced systems. It is also why it would be wrong to think of entropy as a destructive breakdown of things when in actuality its very process "creates" life as a very necessary assist to earth's cooling geologic processes.

It is also why we can describe entropy as a processual response cycle to endless evolutionary changes occurring in a planet's living ecosystem. And as the idea of "process" implies interactional relationality then a cosmoecological evolutionary system is inhabited by processual relationality as shown through the complex primordial development and organisation of living and nonliving systems found within these entropic webs of life.


R.E. Slater
June 11, 2022

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I'm always amazed by the great age and high development of new dinosaur discoveries. But even at that, ancient sea life goes much further back than did the dinosaur eras of the ancient earth: 
"Dinosaurs lived during most of the Mesozoic era, a geological age that lasted from 252 million to 66 million years ago. The Mesozoic era includes the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods."

An artist's impression of a dinosaur scene from the Triassic Period.
Dinosaurs first appeared in the Triassic Period, around 245 million years ago

When did dinosaurs live?

Explore the age of the dinosaurs. Discover what the prehistoric world was like and how it changed between when dinosaurs first appeared and the mass extinction at the end of the Cretaceous Period.

Non-bird dinosaurs lived between about 245 and 66 million years ago, in a time known as the Mesozoic Era. This was many millions of years before the first modern humans, Homo sapiens, appeared.

Scientists divide the Mesozoic Era into three periods: the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous. During this era, the land gradually split from one huge continent into smaller ones. The associated changes in the climate and vegetation affected how dinosaurs evolved.

Triassic Period (252 to 201 million years ago)

All continents during the Triassic Period were part of a single land mass called Pangaea. This meant that differences between animals or plants found in different areas were minor.

The climate was relatively hot and dry, and much of the land was covered with large deserts. Unlike today, there were no polar ice caps.

It was in this environment that the reptiles known as dinosaurs first evolved. Reptiles tend to flourish in hot climates because their skin is less porous than, for example, mammal skin, so it loses less water in the heat. Reptile kidneys are also better at conserving water.

Coelophysis lived towards the end of the Triassic Period,

Toward the end of the Triassic, a series of earthquakes and massive volcanic eruptions caused Pangaea to slowly begin to break into two. This was the birth of the North Atlantic Ocean.

Jurassic Period (201 to 145 million years ago)

At the end of the Triassic Period there was a mass extinction, the causes of which are still hotly debated. Many large land animals were wiped out but the dinosaurs survived, giving them the opportunity to evolve into a wide variety of forms and increase in number.

Artists impression of a dinosaur scene from the Jurassic Period. Lush vegetation
grew in the Jurassic Period, providing plenty of food for plant-eating dinosaurs.

The single land mass, Pangaea, split into two, creating Laurasia in the north and Gondwana in the south. Despite this separation, similarities in their fossil records show that there were some land connections between the two continents early in the Jurassic. These regions became more distinct later in the period.

Temperatures fell slightly, although it was still warmer than today due to higher amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Rainfall increased as a result of the large seas appearing between the land masses.

These changes allowed plants such as ferns and horsetails to grow over huge areas. Some of this vegetation became the fossil fuels that we mine today. Elsewhere there were forests of tall conifer trees such as sequoias and monkey puzzles.

The large sauropod dinosaur Diplodocus lived in the Jurassic Period.

The plentiful plant supply allowed the huge plant-eating sauropods - such as Apatosaurus, Diplodocus and Brachiosaurus - to evolve. These are some of the largest animals to have ever walked the Earth. By the end of the Jurassic their herds dominated the landscape. Sauropods became even larger in the Cretaceous.

Cretaceous Period (145 to 66 million years ago)

During the Cretaceous the land separated further into some of the continents we recognise today, although in different positions. This meant that dinosaurs evolved independently in different parts of the world, becoming more diverse.

Artists impression of a dinosaur scene from the Cretaceous Period
Can you spot the dinosaur in this Cretaceous environment?

Other groups of organisms also diversified. The first snakes evolved during this time, as well as the first flowering plants. Various insect groups appeared, including bees, which helped increase the spread of flowering plants. And mammals now included tree climbers, ground dwellers and even predators of small dinosaurs.

Did you know?

Sea levels rose and fell repeatedly during the Cretaceous Period. At the highest point there were many shallow seas separating parts of the continents we know today. For example, Europe was made up of many smaller islands. Thick layers of sediment built up at the bottom of these seas as single-celled algae died and their skeletons fell to the seabed.

This is how most of the chalk we use today was first formed. So much so, that 'Cretaceous' comes from the Latin word for chalk, 'creta'.

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The ancient seas held even earlier forms of life which go much further back than did the dinosaur eras of the ancient earth:

"...Evidence shows that life probably began in the ocean at least 3.5 billion years ago."

Early Life on Earth - Animal Origins
In the Beginning

The article linked above briefly describes how the geologic processes of the earth required primal biologic life to assist with earth's cooling.

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However, the first cells of life occurred in the hot, slimy mud flats around volcanoes before moving to the sea to flourish as land formed:
"First cells likely arose in steamy mud pots, study suggests. Earth's first cellular life probably arose in vats of warm, slimy mud fed by volcanically heated steam—and not in primordial oceans, scientists say."

The History of Life

The history of life on Earth traces the processes by which living and fossil organisms evolved, from the earliest emergence of life to present day. Earth formed about 4.5 billion years ago (abbreviated as Ga, for gigaannum) and evidence suggests that life emerged prior to 3.7 Ga.[1][2][3] Although there is some evidence of life as early as 4.1 to 4.28 Ga, it remains controversial due to the possible non-biological formation of the purported fossils.[1][4][5][6]

The similarities among all known present-day species indicate that they have diverged through the process of evolution from a common ancestor.[7] Only a very small percentage of species have been identified: one estimate claims that Earth may have 1 trillion species.[8] However, only 1.75–1.8 million have been named[9][10] and 1.8 million documented in a central database.[11] These currently living species represent less than one percent of all species that have ever lived on Earth.[12][13]

The earliest evidence of life comes from biogenic carbon signatures[2][3] and stromatolite fossils[14] discovered in 3.7 billion-year-old metasedimentary rocks from western Greenland. In 2015, possible "remains of biotic life" were found in 4.1 billion-year-old rocks in Western Australia.[15][5] In March 2017, putative evidence of possibly the oldest forms of life on Earth was reported in the form of fossilized microorganisms discovered in hydrothermal vent precipitates in the Nuvvuagittuq Belt of Quebec, Canada, that may have lived as early as 4.28 billion years ago, not long after the oceans formed 4.4 billion years ago, and not long after the formation of the Earth 4.54 billion years ago.[16][17]

Microbial mats of coexisting bacteria and archaea were the dominant form of life in the early Archean Epoch and many of the major steps in early evolution are thought to have taken place in this environment.[18] The evolution of photosynthesis, around 3.5 Ga, eventually led to a buildup of its waste product, oxygen, in the atmosphere, leading to the great oxygenation event, beginning around 2.4 Ga.[19] The earliest evidence of eukaryotes (complex cells with organelles) dates from 1.85 Ga,[20][21] and while they may have been present earlier, their diversification accelerated when they started using oxygen in their metabolism. Later, around 1.7 Ga, multicellular organisms began to appear, with differentiated cells performing specialised functions.[22] Sexual reproduction, which involves the fusion of male and female reproductive cells (gametes) to create a zygote in a process called fertilization is, in contrast to asexual reproduction, the primary method of reproduction for the vast majority of macroscopic organisms, including almost all eukaryotes (which includes animals and plants).[23] However the origin and evolution of sexual reproduction remain a puzzle for biologists though it did evolve from a common ancestor that was a single celled eukaryotic species.[24] Bilateria, animals having a left and a right side that are mirror images of each other, appeared by 555 Ma (million years ago).[25]

Algae-like multicellular land plants are dated back even to about 1 billion years ago,[26] although evidence suggests that microorganisms formed the earliest terrestrial ecosystems, at least 2.7 Ga.[27] Microorganisms are thought to have paved the way for the inception of land plants in the Ordovician period. Land plants were so successful that they are thought to have contributed to the Late Devonian extinction event.[28] (The long causal chain implied seems to involve the success of early tree archaeopteris (1) drew down CO2 levels, leading to global cooling and lowered sea levels, (2) roots of archeopteris fostered soil development which increased rock weathering, and the subsequent nutrient run-off may have triggered algal blooms resulting in anoxic events which caused marine-life die-offs. Marine species were the primary victims of the Late Devonian extinction.)

Ediacara biota appear during the Ediacaran period,[29] while vertebrates, along with most other modern phyla originated about 525 Ma during the Cambrian explosion.[30] During the Permian period, synapsids, including the ancestors of mammals, dominated the land,[31] but most of this group became extinct in the Permian–Triassic extinction event 252 Ma.[32] During the recovery from this catastrophe, archosaurs became the most abundant land vertebrates;[33] one archosaur group, the dinosaurs, dominated the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods.[34] After the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event 66 Ma killed off the non-avian dinosaurs,[35] mammals increased rapidly in size and diversity.[36] Such mass extinctions may have accelerated evolution by providing opportunities for new groups of organisms to diversify.[37]

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Entropy's Importance in Evolution
by R.E. Slater

One last observation... a very specific reason life developed was in response to the thermodynamic property of entropy which demands that temperature, volume, and pressure equalize itself when conserving energy.

More simply, the earth's hot, primordial volcanic surface needed cooling which occurred through the universal process of entropy which cooled the forming planet through massively released gas transmissions into the heated atmosphere swirling above the hot earth.

But rather than bake itself to a tinder additional help came in the form of early first life forms responding to the release of sulfuric and methane gases. These primordial microorganisms fed on the world's overheated surfaces. By and by the released CO2 gas the microbes used as fuel was released in a toxic gas known as oxygen. As oxygen slowly replaced the methane atmosphere the methane-eating microbes died off over the eons to be replaced by oxygen-loving flora to fauna.

Subsequently, trees and grass, woods and fields became a new form of ecological entropy responding to a cooling earth. Of necessity, life evolved from microbial bacteria to multicellular eukaryotes resulting in an oxygen-based complex  of ecosystem structures arising from land and in the sea which then evolved to included the necessary terrestial and aquatic biologic life to caretake such a system. This is the entropic era where the algaes, sponges, reefs, and land insects arose.

Earth's entire planetary development is an example of how entropy works in bringing balance to unbalanced systems. It is also why it would be wrong to think of entropy as a destructive breakdown of things when in actuality its very process "creates" life as a very necessary assist to earth's cooling geologic processes.

It is also why we can describe entropy as a processual response cycle to endless evolutionary changes occurring in a planet's living ecosystem. And as the idea of "process" implies interactional relationality then a cosmoecological evolutionary system is inhabited by processual relationality as shown through the complex primordial development and organisation of living and nonliving systems found within these entropic webs of life.

R.E. Slater
June 11, 2022

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Entropy (classical thermodynamics)
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In classical thermodynamicsentropy is a property of a thermodynamic system that expresses the direction or outcome of spontaneous changes in the system. The term was introduced by Rudolf Clausius in the mid-nineteenth century from the Greek word τρoπή (transformation) to explain the relationship of the internal energy that is available or unavailable for transformations in form of heat and work. Entropy predicts that certain processes are irreversible or impossible, despite not violating the conservation of energy.[1] The definition of entropy is central to the establishment of the second law of thermodynamics, which states that the entropy of isolated systems cannot decrease with time, as they always tend to arrive at a state of thermodynamic equilibrium, where the entropy is highest. Entropy is therefore also considered to be a measure of disorder in the system.

Ludwig Boltzmann explained the entropy as a measure of the number of possible microscopic configurations Ω of the individual atoms and molecules of the system (microstates) which correspond to the macroscopic state (macrostate) of the system. He showed that the thermodynamic entropy is k ln Ω, where the factor k has since been known as the Boltzmann's constant.

Tree of life (biology)

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[Click to enlarge] A 2016 (metagenomic) representation of the tree of life using ribosomal protein sequences[1]

The tree of life or universal tree of life is a metaphor, model and research tool used to explore the evolution of life and describe the relationships between organisms, both living and extinct, as described in a famous passage in Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species (1859).[2]

The affinities of all the beings of the same class have sometimes been represented by a great tree. I believe this simile largely speaks the truth.

— Charles Darwin[3]

Tree diagrams originated in the medieval era to represent genealogical relationshipsPhylogenetic tree diagrams in the evolutionary sense date back to the mid-nineteenth century.

The term phylogeny for the evolutionary relationships of species through time was coined by Ernst Haeckel, who went further than Darwin in proposing phylogenic histories of life. In contemporary usage, tree of life refers to the compilation of comprehensive phylogenetic databases rooted at the last universal common ancestor of life on Earth. Two public databases for the tree of life are TimeTree,[4] for phylogeny and divergence times, and the Open Tree of Life, for phylogeny.