FAQ'S

[1] Why do you have [1:], [2:] and [3:] scattered throughout your web site?
Answer: To assist you in navigating around this web book, I have established a few conventions. [1]  is a link within the same file as you are currently in. [2] is a link to another file within the same web page. [3]  is a link to another URL or web page. [g]  is a link to the glossary, with a return link to where you were in the web book. [r] is a link to the reference list, with a return link.

[2]  Sometimes I click on a link and nothing seems to happen.
Answer: The webpage has been designed to frequently open new windows. Images, for example, open into a new window and the glossary has its own window. If the glossary window is already opened, at say glosae.htm and you open glosfn.htm, the window, being already opened, does not pop up again. The new file simply opens into the same window.

[3] Yin and yang are mystical and religious concepts. How can you include them as the foundation of a supposedly scientific book?
Answer: Yin and yang belongs to an ancient science with many applications, one of which is mystic and spiritual. To this extent, Paul Davies, in his book, " The Fifth Miracle ", on discussing the source of the life-force, speaks of the ". . . the unashamedly mystical ideas of yin and yang energy flows . . .". Yet, later in his book, he has a chapter, " The entropy gap: gravity as the fountainhead of order " where he discusses the  big-bang theory. He explains how physicists solved the source of cosmic energy in the 1980's in that the total energy of the universe can be zero, while still containing 10 50 tons of matter. This idea is confirmed by Hawking (1988) and explained in his book "A brief history of time". Davies goes on to use a yin and yang principle discovered by scientists, but not recognised as such. He says while a " . . . convincing mechanism was found to explain how positive energy was channeled into matter, and an equal quantity of negative energy went into the gravitational field." Yin and yang is here in its essence right at the creation of the universe! As if reading from the Tao Te Ching, he goes on to say, "So, in effect, all the cosmic matter was actually created for free!"  ("Everything in the universe comes out of nothing"  . . . "These two are the same, only called different names". (Kwok et al, 1993); "Nonbeing is called the beginning of heaven and earth" . . . "These two come from the same source but differ in name" (Cleary, T., 1991)).This "natural physical process" , he says, was regarded as "superior and more scientific". Clearly, yin and yang represent a mechanism as well. Hawking, a physicist and proponent of a field called quantum cosmology, the uniting of cosmology and quantum theory, also unconsciously propounds such ideas: "The matter of the universe is made out of positive energy. However the matter is all attracting itself by gravity."  . . . "in a sense, the gravitational field has a negative energy". . . "this negative gravitational energy exactly cancesl the positive energy  represented by the matter" (Hawking, 1988).

[4] Comment on the title, "Nature's Holism" : I always find it rather distasteful when the word "holism" is used  in this context: to my mind, holism and reductionism are ways of looking  at systems, not properties of systems themselves. Having said that, I just looked in my Oxford english dictionary and found to my horror that "wholism" and "holism" should be regarded as synonyms -  the "new age" has a *lot* to answer for!    Tim Tyler Organization   University of Bristol, UK.
Reply : "It is possible that some may think I have pressed the claims of Holism and the whole too far; that they are not real operative factors, but only useful methodological concepts or categories of research and explanation. There is no doube that the whole is a useful and powerful concept under which to range the phenomena of life especially. But to my mind there ise clearly something more in the idea. The whole as a real character is writ large on the face of Nature." (General J.C. Smuts, in "Holism and Evolution", 1926.) - Hence Nature's Holism.
Holism: " . . .reality is not diffuse and dispersive; on the contrary, it is aggregative, ordered, structural. Both matter and life consist, in the atom and the cell, of unit structures whose ordered grouping produces the natural wholes which we call bodies or organisms. This character or feature of "wholeness" which we found in the case of matter and life has a far more general application and points to something fundamental in the universe, fundamental in the sense that it is practically universal, that it is a real operative factor, and that its shaping influence is felt ever more deeply and widely with the advanve of evolution. Holism is the term here coined to designate this fundamental facotr operative towards the making or creation of wholes in the universe." (General J.C. Smuts, in "Holism and Evolution", 1926.)


Nature's Holism - whole-making by nature, of nature, through nature.
[5] " . . . it seems that this definition of "Holism" is an attempt to take the standard and accepted theories of species interaction and create a philosophy, quasi-religon, or political system out of it."
Firstly, this site is emphatically non-religious. It does not deal with the spiritual nature at all. However as the majority of people find a conflict between religion and evolution, it has had to deal briefly (one short chapter) with "religion". This emphasis is also necessary, due to the danger of being accused of being some type of heretic. This is not a religious thesis, so cannot be a "quasi-religion"!
This is the first time this site, an appreciation of nature, has been described as a "political system" - quite amazing! As for the philosophy of it, I repeated what Smuts said - that this is not a system of philosophy, but the expression of an idea that some people seem to find difficult to think about.


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