OSLIST Digest - 20 Jun 2004 to 21 Jun 2004 (#2004-167)

Ralph Copleman rcopleman at comcast.net
Tue Jun 22 06:25:49 PDT 2004

On 6/22/04 2:00 AM, Chris Corrigan wrote:

> One of my faves at the moment is the fact that all elements that are not
> Hydrogen or Helium were produced by nuclear fission in stars.  The early
> universe had only those two primary elements once things settled down.
> By fusing together nuclei, stars produce all of the heavier elements,
> including oxygen, carbon, silicon and calcium.  The heavier elements are
> released into space when stars explode at the end of their lives.  And
> so, through this wonderful self-organizing process, we are made up of
> both Hydrogen and many of the other elements...both traces of the
> original material of the universe and, literally, star dust.

All the hydrogen and helium that exists in the known universe were created
in the first second or two following the initial flaring forth (Thomas
berry's term for the "big bang", which probably wasn't a bang at all, since
at the time nothing could carry sound).

> In the Ojibway creation story humans are said to be unique because we
> contain both spirit and matter in equal proportion.  I don't know what
> the ratio nof Hydrogen to all the other elements is in our body, but if
> you think of the original material as Spirit and the rest as matter, you
> have the Creation story told through a scientific lens.

The proportion of hydrogen in our bodies is very high, given that we're
two-thirds water.  Hydrogen is far and away the most abundant element in the
universe.  And it is the only thing that gets added to the Earth.  While all
other earthly elements remain constant, we are bathed in hydrogen rain every
moment by the sun.
> So I like the idea that we are made from stuff processed in the heart of
> stars.  And I like the way we have assembled ourselves using those
> resources.  That's my favourite story right now.

I like it, too.  But like it or not, it's a fact.  And the story is still
unfolding (or self-organizing).

Sounds like open space to me...

Ralph Copleman

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