by Meghan Rouilard
“Thought, which has no resting place in the history of knowledge, is free to wander in these unlimited regions whither and how it pleases, and may therefore return to the point from which it started in the dawn of science. I do not in the least censure such thought in any respect, but when my thoughts turn to this region they always rest steadfastly on the fact that we are unable to comprehend matter, force, and the soul in their substance or reality, but are only able to study them in their manifestations in which they are invariably united together, and that beyond their inherent indestructibility they also have their tangible, common, peculiar signs or properties which should be studied in every possible aspect.”
The above quote might remind you of Vladimir Vernadsky’s writings on the three phase spaces of lithosphere, biosphere, and noosphere, or Lyndon LaRouche’s own emphasis upon the fact that it is the domain of mind which organizes and accounts for expressions of those domains from the top down.
The quote is actually from Dmitri Mendeleev’s Principles of Chemistry. Mendeleev, who discovered the organization of chemical elements which we know as the Periodic Table, was no reductionist. He apparently only worked in the chemical domain but stated that the study of so-called matter must be done with a view towards the real (not simply “emergent”), higher processes which it is able to participate in, contrary to the approach of Alexander Oparin which Lyndon LaRouche has discussed in his recent reports, as “a person whose conception was based on blind faith in randomly ordered collisions.”
Just how “elementary” is chemistry?
Mendeleev himself notes that “the long forgotten 'idea' of a primary matter from which all the simple bodies are supposed to have originated has been more and more frequently brought forward as the periodic law has taken root.” Unfortunately, much of what has become of his periodic table is highly steeped in reductionist and a priori thinking. For example, in a modern high school classroom, students are taught that the periodic table is organized based on the “bottom-up” criterion of the number of electrons in the outer orbital shells of the elements. Mendeleev did not assemble the table based on the knowledge of the smallest constituent parts of the elements, but rather, and only in part, on their macroscopic properties and combinations, called “valence.”
The Periodic Table was a challenge to construct, as elements such as hydrogen, for example, possessed characteristics which did not seem to fit within the organization of the table. Its chemical characteristics did not seem to fit with its mass, and vice versa. In the first version of the Table, it was left in a column on its own. But Mendeleev did not even see his final Periodic Table as being a finished product. According to him:
“To explain and express the periodic law is to explain and express the causes of the law of multiple proportions and of the differences between the elements, and the variation of their atomicity and at the same time to understand what mass and gravitation are. It is generally thought that this is still premature.
The above mentioned peculiarity of the laws of chemistry respecting definite compounds and the atomic weights leads one to think that the time has not yet come for their full explanation, and I do not think that it will come before the explanation of such a primary law of nature as the law of gravity."
Keep in mind that Mendeleev was writing this in the early 20th century, claiming that even gravitation had not yet been explained! For someone like Oparin, the domain of the inert chemical elements and physical forces is safe territory because it seems to be a closed book-- everything is simple and subject to basic kinematic laws, and there aren’t any bothersome “philosophical” questions to answer. Without even yet touching upon the paradoxes posed by the likes of matter/anti-matter reactions, I think that Mendeleev, one of the most accomplished chemists of the past century, would disagree.
“Overturning The Big Lie”
In his Origin of Life, Oparin describes the “evolution” of the solar system, ultimately to get at which elements could have been present on earth and in what state, based on a simple kinematic unfolding. In our recent report on Planetary Defense , we also discuss this astrophysical evolution, but with an eye towards the characteristics of the system which are not simply explained by this bottom-up, Big Bang approach, and which point towards a higher causality which must ultimately be resonant with the evolution of creative life. From that report:
“Here, we aim to permanently dispel the idea of an assumed entropic fate of heavenly bodies. What we can discover in a study of galaxies, unhindered by false assumptions, is the creation and growth of galaxies, evolving into new states — indicating not only a maturation (as opposed to death), but even what we could call creativity.”
This evidence comes from the early work of the American astronomer Halton Arp, studying the systemic associations and physical interactions between very high redshift galaxies and low redshift galaxies, something which is prohibited in the doctrine of Second Law cosmology. The entirety of present cosmology demands that two galaxies with vastly different redshifts must be greatly separated in space and in time — yet we see clear examples where this is not the case.
This demonstration explodes the standard Big Bang theory. However, our focus here is not a treatment of the Big Bang as such, but of the much larger issue of the underlying assumption of the fraudulent Second Law of Thermodynamics.”
Click on the link to the report for more which elaborates that point.
So, In Part 1, we reviewed Oparin’s intention to reduce living matter to its non-living constituents, because in this way the notion of directionality and intention which we see in human and non-human life could possibly be reduced to simple parts which interact only mechanically, and by chance produce “life” and its products as a kind of epiphenomenon. This itself is a major assumption, and something which Oparin could not prove, but only suggest. However, his other implicit fallacy and assumption is the idea that when we get to the level of the chemical elements, none of the bothersome questions posed by life exist. While there may be a distinction between life and non-life, Oparin cannot escape the creative evolution of matter in our universe, which has characteristics and harmonics which basic physical laws don’t explain, as was also demonstrated early on in the history of science by Johannes Kepler in his Harmonices Mundi.
To end, here is an excerpt from LaRouche’s recent report , extending this discussion of the fallacy of reductionism, typical of Oparin, to both the proper and improper self-conception of the human individual in the solar system and the galaxy:
“We human beings are not “individual” objects in space; we are a part of the realities of space which are, by implicit design, existences implicitly challenged by the concept of a quality of “survivable” existence which converges on an implied “motivated-destined” characteristic embedded in the existence of the model provided as visualizing the role of the human species in Solar or galactic space. This is a conception intrinsically absent from the presumptions of such as either a wicked Bertrand Russell, or those of the pitiable likeness of an Alexander I. Oparin.”
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ABOUT THE BASEMENT
The Basement Project began in 2006 as a core team of individuals tasked with the study of Kepler's New Astronomy, laying the scientific foundations for an expanded study of the LaRouche-Riemann Science of Physical Economics. Now, that team has expanded both in number, and in areas of research, probing various elements and aspects of the Science of Physical Economy, and delivering in depth reports, videos, and writings for the shaping of economic policy.
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