At the Heart of the Web: The Inevitable Genesis of Intelligent Life

George A. Seielstad, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P $24.95 (294p) ISBN 978-0-15-139814-0
One interpretation of quantum mechanics implies the necessary existence of self-conscious intelligence, e.g., human beings. Radio astronomer Seielstad here offers a sweeping vision of the evolution of the universe from the forging of heavy elements like carbon and iron in supernovae to their incorporation in human brains. He explains how complex living things arose in a universe that tends toward ever-greater levels of disorganization. He wonders why the number of protons is what it is; why gravity is not stronger; and if the universe will continue to expand forever. If some of the constants like the strength of gravity had been only slightly different, life as we know it would have been impossible, he observes. And, provocatively, he argues that humans have a transcendent mission to spread Earth's ``lifestream'' throughout the universe. This is a delightful and thought-provoking book, albeit slightly marred by jejune observations on sociopolitical issues. Illustrations not seen by PW. (July)
Reviewed on: 07/06/1989
Release date: 07/01/1989
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