For a Kinder, Gentler Society
Living within Limits -
A Scientific Search for Truth
  • Kenneth M. Merz, Sr.
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Living within Limits - . A Scientific Search for Truth
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The author, a research scientist, explores without jargon or mathematics the scientific search for truth, the nature of life and the future of man.Explaining and appreciating the scientific method and major scientific challenges such as measuring the known universe, the theoretical and experimental underpinnings for theories of evolution, and the unraveling of DNA, he discusses the difference between knowledge and belief. As the only conscious, rational beings on earth, he concludes that humans must take responsibility for our role overseeing the living kingdom on our planet.

About the Author

Kenneth Merz, Sr., earned a PhD in Chemistry and Ceramics at Rutgers University and worked as a research scientist and a research and development administrator for 25 years at National Lead Co., Carborundum Co., Cornell Aeronautical Labs, IRC Co., and TRW Inc. His scientific papers have been published in the journals of the American Chemical Society, Applied Physics, and the American Ceramic Society, and in Zeitschrift fur Kristallographie. He and his colleagues won 26 US patents and over 100 related international patents.

About the Book
Presenting his view of life as Ã??'optimism triumphant,Ã??' Dr. Ken Merz, Sr., reflects on the limits of life, the limits of the physical universe, and the role of humans in that universe. He explains various laws of science in a clear and...
Presenting his view of life as Ã??'optimism triumphant,Ã??' Dr. Ken Merz, Sr., reflects on the limits of life, the limits of the physical universe, and the role of humans in that universe. He explains various laws of science in a clear and accessible style while reviewing aspects of physical reality, aspects of biological reality, and definitions of scientific reality. Discussing mankindÃ??'s ongoing search for truth, he examines the distinction between believing and knowing. The bookÃ??'s themes include time and change, with a consideration of the work of Darwin, Mendel, and Watson and Crick. Explaining the basics of the double helix of DNA and the micro evolution of life, Dr. Merz ponders individualism and evolution, and makes a plea for humans to wield their power over life responsibly. Recent events forcefully show that humans live on a limited planet and themselves have limited abilities. Limits face us from every direction. The Earth has a limited surface with limited arable and to farm, oxygen to breathe, water to drink, atoms to use, and oil to burn. We are pressing against EarthÃ??'s resources with unachievable demands.Humans have limits in their sensory ability, memory, perception of truth, and endurance in the face of unending change. Science is limited to 92 elements and phenomena that are observable. Economics is limited to raising prices or seeking alternates. In a universe of unending change, existence itself is limited.Malthus, Toynbee, Tainter, Meadows, Diamond, and many others have warned us of looming limits that would someday engulf our civilization. Nevertheless, we have continued to exploit resources wastefully, pollute the environment, and cause extinctions. Man has searched for millennia but only since the time of Copernicus (1473Ã??'1543), Galileo (1564Ã??'1642), and Newton (1642Ã??'1727) has a reasonably useful procedure been found for finding truth Ã??' the scientific method of investigation. That method is the present source of humanityÃ??'s ascendancy over the Earth and its creatures.The book explains the scientific method in terms of logic as well as the day to day activities of scientists. The method is the basis of higher living standards, improved health and longevity, and population growth. These are now diffusing into the countries of the third world, increasing the pressure on natural resources.We have learned from science that living creatures, including humans, were created by and are controlled by DNA Ã??' the double helix of deoxyribonucleic acid Ã??' which has been evolving for at least 3.5 billion years. DNA controls behavior as well as our physical bodies. If, as the only conscious and rational creature, we are to accept and fulfill the role as Natural Selector of life on Earth, we must somehow achieve a collective ethical nature commensurate with the task. We cannot wait hundreds of centuries for DNA to do it; there is no time. We must solve the problems of Earth and human survival with what we now have. Our only trustworthy hope is to follow the methods of science, listening carefully along the way.The Earth is now our home and responsibility; we must finally heed BuddhaÃ??'s injunction of 2500 years ago: Ã??'The self is master of the self: for who else could be the master?Ã??'
Table of Contents
Part I Limits Chapter 1. The Limits of Life Limits to Growth The Collapse of Complex Societies Collapse Dawn to Dusk on Easter Island Limits of a Finite Earth Fossil Fuel Limits Oil Sa
Part I Limits Chapter 1. The Limits of Life Limits to Growth The Collapse of Complex Societies Collapse Dawn to Dusk on Easter Island Limits of a Finite Earth Fossil Fuel Limits Oil Sands, Oil Shale, and Coal Conversion Alternate Energy Sources Atomic Fusion Global warming Conclusions Bibliography Chapter 2. Living within Limits The Limits of Population The Winemakers The Limits of Economics Human Inventiveness Limits of Capitalistic Economics Limits of Science Societies That Survived The Diffusion of Science Bibliography Chapter 3. Life is Optimism Triumphant The Natural Our Companions The Methods of Science Evolution and Natural Selection The Gifts of Natural Selection Bisexuality and Ethics A Rational Life Life Is Optimism Triumphant Stand in Awe Bibliography Part II. Aspects of Physical Reality Chapter 4. The Search for Truth The Limits of Human Truth Human Sensory Limits The Search for Truth The Deductive Method, the Syllogism The Nature and Limits of Inference The Axiomatic Method The Inductive Method, MendelÃ??'s Peas The Scientific Method, The Source of Knowledge The Expanding Universe The Probable Truth The Trial and Error Method The Truer Truth Authoritarian and Absolute Truth Bibliography Chapter 5. Believe or Know On Uncovering Truth The Nature of Knowing The Scientific Method The Dangers of Scientific Fraud The Nature of Believing Motives for Belief Separating Belief and Knowledge Bibliography Chapter 6. Time and Events Some Views of Time Events and Existence Present Events Ã??' Action and Change The Ascent of Man The Ascent of Homo sapiens Homo sapiens Matter, Mass and Energy The Nature of the Past Revents, Remembered Events Ã??' DNA Duration, Past and Future Events Dates in TimeBibliography Chapter 7. Things Change Change in Motion The Neutrino The Expanding Universe Change in Quantity Change in Quality Coming to Be and Passing Away Change and Duration The Source of Change Ã??' Thermodynamics Second Law of Thermodynamics Entropy Summary Bibliography Chapter 8. Scientific Reality Dual Reality and Reductionism Science and Numbers Scientific Models The Atomic Model The Quantum Paradox The Photoelectric Effect Quantum Waves The Flowering of the Two-Slit Experiment The Copenhagen Interpretation and EPR Objection BellÃ??'s Theorem A. AspectÃ??'s Experiment Bibliography Part III. Aspects of Biological Reality Chapter 9. Darwin and Mendel The Problem with Time Natural Selection and Evolution Bacteria and the Prokaryotes The Eukaryotes and Symbiosis The Evidence for Evolution and Natural Selection Embryology, Morphology, and Physiology Domestication as Selection Bacterial Resistance to Drugs Paleontology and the Fossil Record Fossils Genetics Ã??' MendelÃ??'s Peas Bibliography Chapter 10. Individualism and Evolution The Fossil Evidence Natural Selection The Gifts of Natural Selection Species Individuals The Individual and Reproduction Advantages of Bisexuality The Emergence of Choice Purpose Complex Purposes Humans in Space Alone in the Throes of Change The Natural Selector Bibliography Chapter 11. The Double Helix X-Rays Crystal Structures Ã??' Von Laue and Bragg The Watson and Crick Model of DNA, 1953 On Deoxyribonucleic Acid, DNA DNA Replication DNA Transcription DNA Translation Lord Kelvin and the Problem with Time Tautology and Falsifiability DarwinÃ??'s Problems Bibliography Chapter 12. The Micro Evolution of Life The Emergence of Purpose The Facts of Evolution Timely Design, Result, or Outcome The Measurement of Time Major Physical Events The Accumulating, and Micro Nature of Evolution The Meaning of Death and Extinction The Meaning of Life Conflict between Individuals and Organizations The Natural Selector Bibliography Glossary (Some Facts of Science)
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Pages 200
Year: 2008
LC Classification: Q175.32.T78M47 2008
Dewey code: 121--dc22
BISAC: SCI075000 SCIENCE / Philosophy & Social Aspects
BISAC: SCI000000 SCIENCE / General REL106000 RELIGION / Religion & Science
BISAC: SCI043000 SCIENCE / Research & Methodology
Soft Cover
ISBN: 978-0-87586-585-0
Price: USD 22.95
Hard Cover
ISBN: 978-0-87586-586-7
Price: USD 32.95
ISBN: 978-0-87586-587-4
Price: USD 22.95
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