Homework due on 8/31/2010

Question One:  Dr. Primack’s chief complaint about “scientific” attempts to explain the universe is that the “universe” is a broad term used to describe everything that human beings can imagine exists.  He argues that the problem with using this term, is that the universe itself is not something that is permanent; it is always changing and developing.  More importantly though, is that what scientists generally see as the “universe” is everything in the universe, but not the universe itself.  He believes that instead of trying to “picture” the universe, like we all want to do, we should instead envision the universe as the ancient, and widely accepted, symbol of the “Uroboros”.  His first argument in favor of the Uroboros is that the symbol has come to represent the basic values of many cultures, and that, even used in this new way, it is still perpetuating that tradition, just with a different goal.  Next, he believes that it is a good representation of the scale of different aspects of the universe that are all important.  The symbol features a snake swallowing it’s tail, joining together the smallest part but also the largest.  In terms of the universe, Dr. Primack believes that it is crucial for humans to be able to picture the universe not just as something as large as the galaxy, but also as something as small as a nucleus.  He wants human beings to be able to see that the universe isn’t only everything thats larger, but everything that’s smaller as well.  Human beings are not the smallest part of the universe; we are in the middle.

Question Two:  Primack’s tangent begins with him explaining that human being’s need to make the transition from consumers to inhabitants of the universe.  In addition, he is comparing the substantial growth of knowledge about the universe to that of the human beings that belong in it.  Essentially, he is saying that the growth of human discoveries about the universe could be attributed to growth and development of the universe.  In addition, he is saying that being a scientist isn’t only educating oneself in the mysterious ways of the universe, it’s in a sense, a religion.  Primack argues that because it’s a religion, it has the ability to inspire many people to change a consumerism geared lifestyle to one that will benefit everything that exists.

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