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Evolution Genetic Ethics Cosmos Probability Random Stochastic Atom De Reru Natura On the Nature of Things


Extract from poems by Titus Lucretius Carus "On the Nature of Things or the Universe" or "De Rerum Natura", (c. 50 BC), Books I and II on "Matter and Space" and "Movement and Shape of Atoms", translated into prose by R. E. Latham, Penguin Books, England, 1951.


Concepts: spontaneous generation (miracles); evolution; genetic mutations, randomness, probability, stochastic; predestination, free will, morality; matter, patterns, information (language, DNA ... ), genetic pool, cosmos ...  (W. Wertelecki. M.D.)

EPIGRAM

"Our starting-point will be this principle: Nothing can ever be created by divine power out of nothing ..."
"The second great principle is this: nature resolves everything into its component atoms and never reduces anything to nothing ..."

"The generations of living things pass in swift succession and like runners hand on the torch of life. ... the atoms ... kept in motion either by their own weight or on occasion by the impact of another atom ... all particles of matter are on the move ... the heat and the bright light which the sun emits do not travel through empty space ... cleaving their way as it were through waves of air ... when the atoms are traveling ... at indeterminate times and places they swerve ever so little from their course, just so much that you can call it a change of direction ... all movement is always interconnected - if the atoms never swerve so as to originate some new movement that will snap the bonds of fate, the everlasting sequence of cause and effect - what is the source of the free will possessed by living tings throughout the earth? What, I repeat, is the source of that will-power snatched from the fates ... "

"Lastly, we are all sprang from heavenly seed. All alike have the same father, from whom all-nourishing mother earth ... gives birth to smiling crops and lusty trees, to mankind and all the breeds of beasts ... she has well earned the name of mother ... what came from earth goes back into the earth ... death does not put an end to things ... obviously it makes a great difference in these verses of mine in what context and order the letters are arranged ... differences in their position distinguish word from word. Just so with actual objects: when there is a change in the combination, motion, order, position or shapes of the component matter, there must be a corresponding change in the object composed ... "

" ... it is in the highest degree unlikely that this earth and sky is the only one to have been created ... our world has been made by nature through the spontaneous and casual collision ... random and purposeless congregation and coalescence of atoms whose suddenly formed combinations could serve on each occasion as the starting-point of ... earth and sea and sky and the races of living creatures ... exist elsewhere in the cosmos other congeries of matter similar to this one ..."

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