From: Burgy (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Tue May 13 2003 - 09:54:24 EDT
Howard -- your last question is tangential so I'll label the subject that way. The problem of theodicy exists in almost any theological construct (perhaps least in that of panentheism, as argued by David Ray Griffin). I don't know anyone who has a good answer to the natural disasters of the Lisbon earthquake (if God had been advanced or delayed just an hour or so then tens of thousands of hristians, worshipping on Easter morning, would not have been killed when their stone churches collapsed).
As it happened, Metanexus published an essay on this just this morning, and I'm attaching it below. I have to think about it for awhile before I can fairly place the writer's ideas into my own theology. But at first reading it seems to hold together rather well.
Participants and lurkers of this LISTSERV may do well by subscribing to the Metanexus series of essays (see the end of the article for how to do this -- it can be done free gratis). I find them terribly useful, as many views are accepted as worthy of discussion.
Metanexus Views. 2003.05.12. 5848 Words.
In this essay, entitled "A Natural Philosophy of Human Suffering," Mario
Zatti argues that the universe is better understood as a deliberate
project of love rather than of mere chance and accident. In this far
reaching essay, Zatti discusses Darwinism, autopoiesis, quantum
indeterminacy, the Anthropic Principle, and the problem of free will and
suffering. He cites some thirty different scientists and philosopher in
constructing this compelling and highly technical argument.
In the course of the essay, Zatti argues against radical determinism and
radical happenstance, promoting instead for an interpretation of the
Anthropic Principle that includes free will and the necessity of natural
evil and suffering, both in the form of natural mistakes and as a
precondition for free will. He concludes:
"Yet, if creation was a 'very good thing' in the eyes of the omnipotent,
should also consider that implicit suffering could also make sense within
the context of a love that saves. Pain could begin to make sense if
in a context that takes account of the relationships between men and
each man and the Creator. The Creator's love is bent upon perfecting man
the very midst of his suffering."
Mario Zatti is a professor in the Department of Clinical Biochemistry at
Verona University in Verona, Italy.
A Natural Philosophy of Human Suffering
Mario Zatti, Verona University
The order and harmony of the universe can be much more easily reconciled
with the iniquity of nature (incomprehensible natural calamities) if we
consider that the universe is accidental and not something responding to
deliberate creative project. The exercise of free will, however, is
only in the presence of a certain measure of indeterminacy, and this
necessarily entails the possibility of unpredictable disaster. It must be
said, then, in the light of the Anthropic Principle, that if man were to
exist as a subject endowed with free will, then the iniquity of nature,
and suffering would also have to exist. The latter are profoundly related
free will, not only because they may stem from an evil use of it, but
because they are the sine qua non for its very existence.
In addition to the evil directly due to human perversity, we also witness
the cruelty of nature. In addition to the victims of the ravages of war,
see those caused by the violence of hurricanes and earthquakes, or by the
malignant nature of so many diseases. And it is by no means so easy for
rational mind to accept the many faces of nature itself, the beauty and
order of which, according to many, are the expression of a creative
Unquestionably, the harmony of the universe requires the changing of its
parts, and St. Augustine identifies the fundamental limitation of being
confined to a temporal existence as the metaphysical root of all evil.
St. Augustine himself, when recounting the death of Tagaste's
twenty-year-old friend, expresses desperation, and an inability to
any meaning to it (Confessiones, IV).
It is indeed comprehensible that the process of becoming and of being in
time may already be a form of dying and suffering, but what is outrageous
"is often the absurd way people die. Death does not always come about
as a natural biological process, as when a ripe fruit drops from the
but often it occurs in circumstances which our sense of piety finds most
repugnant" (Moschetti, 1989).
It is this aspect of pain and suffering that we wish to address in this
"The tragic thing (...( is indeed tragic, in that, whenever an
incomprehensible calamity occurs, it profoundly undermines any religious
sentiment, giving rise to the suspicion of a profound disconnection of
The Darwinian response
The Darwinian response is precisely along these lines.
Natural philosophy, as suggested by post-Darwinian biology, is, in fact,
mainly a philosophy of human desperation. As Jacques Monod says (1972),
is true that science attacks values; not directly, since it is no judge
values and has to ignore their existence, but it destroys all the
ontogenetic myths or philosophies on which the animistic tradition has
founded its values, morality, duties, rights and prohibitions. The
alliance is shattered; man is at long last aware of being alone in the
indifferent immensity of the universe from which he has emerged by
In effect, there is no reason to wonder at the coexistence of harmony and
precariousness if everything is governed by chance and the universe is
The same philosophy has been voiced more recently by D.C. Dennett (1995)
when he says: Darwin has changed forever what it means to ask and answer
question Why? There is no future for any of our sacred myths. And he
passage from Locke, defining it as the "conceptual block" existing prior
the Darwinian revolution ..."Matter can never begin to be; if we assume
it exists ab aeterno as Matter pure and simple without Motion, Motion
cannot begin to be; if we assume that Matter and Motion are pre-existent
eternal, then Thought can never begin to be". Darwin, on the other hand,
says: give me time, and I will produce evolution, complexification,
and thought through a process of selection among mutations produced by
In the generalisation of the use of the algorithm (selection among
probable variants) discovered by Darwin and which was then to become, in
application to prebiological and cosmological evolution, "omnivorous"
(according to the definition suggested by Dennett himself) (Dennett,
lies the reason for the evolution of Darwinism itself from a scientific
model to a fully fledged philosophy of chance and necessity.
According to Atkins' application of this algorithm (Atkins, 1997)
"...universes are created all the while and the present collection of
universes is infinite". One deduces that it is necessary that our
ordered universe should exist, because, Atkins claims, "any event occurs,
whatever its likelihood, so long as it is not absolutely impossible", or,
other words, the selection among infinite variants is a game where
is assured, a game in which the Darwinian algorithm leads to a kind of
metaphysics which is the metaphysics of material actual infinity. 
But with such arguments, i.e. invoking the condition of infinite time
and/or matter, the concept of probability is annulled and everything can
demonstrated (Dembsky, 2002).
Intrinsic laws of order of complex unities
Darwinism ignores inner causes of evolution, preferential laws for the
stability of structures without which, even if they formed, their
would not be explained, - forms, archetypes, attractors.
The fundamental integration, for a theory of evolution, requires the
acknowledgement of the unity of sets capable of self-organisation: thus,
life may have originated in a kind of sudden phase change, in which a
network of molecules, replicating by virtue of their interdependence,
from a primitive set of independent chemical reactions (Kauffman, 1993).
emergence of collective behaviours allows the generation of new forms in
context of complexification.
Biology also rediscovers its specificity in these concepts, above and
beyond the reductionism that does not allow one to escape from a
of aggregates of components held together by fortunate accidental
in the process of environmental selection. What escapes from this
perspective is the significance of formal unity, which today is
and is increasingly the subject of thorough, in-depth investigation with
study of complex systems in their entirety (Prigogine and Stengers, 1979;
Thom, 1975; Nicolis and Prigogine, 1989, Cramer, 1993; Kauffman, 1993).
Let us recall that complexity (in the technical sense) appears in
non-linear systems far from thermodynamic equilibrium (so-called
systems, as are living beings). The maximum complexity can be represented
that of a structure containing an amount of information which cannot be
compressed in an algorithm, or rather, which can be described only by an
algorithm composed of a number of bits of information comparable to that
the structure itself: i.e. complexity corresponds to the size of the
calculation program needed to describe it, and what is defined as
fundamental complexity is that of a structure (e.g. a sequence) which,
having no limits of symmetry, periodicity or redundance, but rather an
aperiodic order, possesses for that very reason the prerequisite for the
maximum possible information content, though no analytical expression
thereof can be found.
Monod, on failing to find it for the sequence of amino acids of a
deduced that it was a matter of absolute chance, taking no account of the
brilliant definition which Erwin SchrÓdinger (1944) had used several
earlier to describe proteins, namely as "aperiodic crystals".
Monod's natural philosophy has managed to make a powerful impact on the
world view of many men, both scientists and non-scientists, and continues
do so. His philosophy, however, is based on totally erroneous
Monod expressed his faith in the absence of any design in the
of the biological order, claiming that the message, though objectively
with significance, contained in the sequence of 200 amino acids of a
constituted by the 20 different types of amino acids available, is
by chance, by a "completely blind game", given that, even when knowing
amino acids, nobody would be able to say which one would be the
two-hundredth. But this means identifying the non-blind game as
or symmetry: conversely, symmetry may be a factor limiting the
content, such as, for instance, in the case of a homogeneous sequence
up of the monotonous repetition of a single symbol and which is
characterised by the maximum symmetry, but certainly not by the maximum
intelligence and creativity. The misunderstanding is explained if we
that the mathematical quantification of entropy (entropy is a measure of
disorder and is the logarithm of the number of possible microstates) is
similar to that of complexity, and, in fact, the algorithmic
non-compressibility of the information program required to specify an
entirely random sequence, is analogous to the non-compressibility of that
required to describe a sequence which is characterised by the maximum
complexity, i.e. precisely owing to the lack of symmetry limits to the
information content (non computability): the message in the protein is
the product of blind chance, but of the degree of complexity achieved,
finds its explanation in the principles of self-organisation and in form
fields rather than in the sufficiency of time of a blind game (Zatti,
It is for these reasons that many aspects of the development of organisms
and their evolution are profoundly robust, and the evolutionary path much
less contingent than the Darwinists believe, because it is constrained by
the topology of its own phase space.
It is for these reasons that evolution, in a relatively short space of
time, has been able to construct the sequence of 100 amino acids
characteristic of cytochrome c with the 20 different types of amino acids
available, choosing among all the possible sequences, and which, if one
wanted to reproduce it by chance, making one attempt per second, would
10120 years to appear. A protein with 100 amino acids takes on
and practically instantaneously a highly specific and complex
three-dimensional structure, capable of an intramolecular mobility that
conditions its function. It has been calculated that a super computer
applying plausible rules for the molecular refolding would take 10127
(to be added to the previous total!) to find the final form of such a
protein (Casti, 1996) . Nature does not find the problem of
so difficult, and indeed it would seem clear that the self-organised
allowed by non-equilibrium physics are produced with probability one.
Order from self-organisation is the result of a morphogenetic field, of
attractor archetypes (Thom, 1975), albeit through the instability of
associated with chaotic dynamics, which enables the system to explore its
phase space, finding its forms there.
This means that matter, as Cramer (Cramer, 1993) says, is "a priori
with ideas". Let us return to the borderline with philosophy, which is no
longer the philosophy of Monod, but that expressed in the title of
Kauffman's work (Kauffman, 1995) "At Home in the Universe", a book which
ends with "In the beginning was the Word".
But if, as we have said, the incomprehensible calamity is not a problem
a philosophy of chance, the same cannot be said when one believes that in
the beginning was the Word, i.e. the Law.
This is a problem of meaning, and therefore philosophical and not
scientific, but strictly implied by the demonstrable incompleteness of
natural order, and particularly of the biological order.
The indeterminacy of the biological order
The characteristic feature of biological machines is that they have
mono-macromolecular instruments consisting of delicate, unstable organic
molecules, which is fairly obvious if we think that their functional
would not be functional if it were distinctly stable.
It is well known that quantum indeterminacy plays a role in events on a
submicroscopic scale at the atomic/molecular level. If, however, the DNA
molecule is involved and the genetic message contained in it is altered
the indeterminacy game, the effect of the molecular "mutation" is
and becomes macroscopic in the living organism which depends on the
message, written and transcribed in the molecular alphabet, but
and reflected in the structure and functioning or malfunctioning of
tissues and organs.
This amplifying action is a notable characteristic of the biological
to the extent to which the phenotype depends on the genotype, i.e. on the
Now, the force of the chemical bonds in a macromolecule may vary with the
fluctuations in vibrational energy, responsible for an uncertainty
which allows the mutations to take place unpredictably.
In the DNA replication process, the molecular chain that acts as a model
has to form activated ternary complexes with the enzyme and with one of
four bases (nucleotides) that constitute the four letters of the alphabet
the genetic code, which are progressively mounted according to their
compatibility with those of the model chain. The accuracy of the process
due to the specificity of the bonds (of intermolecular type) so that the
correct coupling of a given base requires a ternary complex activation
energy less than that required for the coupling of a "wrong" base.
This difference in energy (also conditioned by the structural and
superstructural constraints of the DNA) can be overcome, though with low
probability, by the thermal fluctuations possible at physiological
temperature and in physiological conditions: in this way, the confines of
the pre-existing codified order, the barrier against "mutations", may be
crossed. In non-physiological conditions, mutations can be facilitated or
induced by a variety of "perturbations" caused by chemical and physical
The principles involved in the mutations are two:
a) the second law of thermodynamics, which promotes replication errors as
ways whereby configurational randomness is increased, and this ensures
there will be mutations;
b) the quantum indeterminacy of thermal energy, for the reasons outlined
above, and this ensures that the mutations occur by chance.
Hence, the opening to evolution, but also at the same time necessarily to
pain and suffering because in biology mistakes mean suffering, even in
form of the most incomprehensible calamity, such as the agony and death
Submicroscopic indeterminacy has more than one way of reflecting itself
a macroscopic scale in the biological world: one way consists in the
amplification that a molecular mutation of the genotype undergoes in the
course of the phenotypic expression of the mutated gene. Another has to
with the statistical microevents that generate a kind of biochemical
coupled, across a critical threshold, with cellular quantal macroevents
the law of all or nothing. This second behavioural mechanism dependent on
(unpredictable) fluctuations comes into play when the number of
intracellular ions or molecules involved is relatively low, and not if it
greater than 60,000 per cell. For example, the concentration of Ca(( in
resting cells is approximately 100 nM, and therefore there are not more
20,000 in any given cell. The number of membrane receptors for many
is even lower and the number of channels for the transmembrane transport
the main cations in many cells is of the order of only a few hundred,
(Hallett, 1989). To give a familiar example, the rarefied atoms of a neon
tube manifest a macroscopic behaviour at ignition consisting in the fact
that they are all characterised by uncertainty. In the same way, given
above-mentioned role of receptors and ions in cell behaviours, these
not appear to be deterministic, in that, though they are observable on a
large scale, they are related not to a mean of very large numbers of
independent submicroscopic states, but to a small number or even only one
these microstates, each of which is governed by indeterminacy.
Hence, in addition to the possibility of suffering as a mistake, we also
have the guarantee, for the purposes of the exercise of freedom,
in a certain, albeit controlled degree of indeterminacy at the level of
mental action on cerebral matter.
In this connection, J.C. Eccles (1986) described the quantum uncertainty
demonstrable in the junctions between neurons (synapses) in which the
stimulus passes from one neuron to another via the release of biochemical
quanta of neurotransmitters.
These are contained in vesicles whose membrane can fuse, as a result of
actions produced by the nerve stimulus, with that of the junction
(presynaptic membrane) causing the emptying of the vesicle and the
of the neurotransmitter.
One might understand that in the cortical synapses mental events (that is
to say, intentions, acts of will) interfere with the likelihood of
of these biochemical quanta, i.e. with the vesicles and thus with the
neuronal activity, if one could apply the uncertainty equation of quantum
states to the relationship between these vesicles and the presynaptic
i.e. in the prefusion stage. The mass of a synaptic vesicle, in fact, is
such as to exceed the limits of Heisenberg's uncertainty equation and
therefore could be affected by the magnitude of the effect produced by a
quantum mechanics probability wave. 
Hameroff and Penrose (1996) suggested that consciousness may be related
a quantum wave function collapsing in structures in the brain's neurons
According to Penrose (1989 and 1997), Swinburne (1986) and others, even
the only source of indeterminacy in the physical world were that of the
quantum states, this would be enough to guarantee scope for
non-computability, the possibility of behaviour unrelated to algorithmic
processes allowing the exercise of human intelligence and freedom.
This basically echoes the attempts made by the ancients Epicurus and
Lucretius to describe the indeterminacy (clinamen) of the atomic motions
a justification of free will. Be that as it may, we are talking about an
unpredictability related to amplifications on a macroscopic scale of
submicroscopic fluctuations, whether such amplifications be related to
non-linear dynamics in the presence of non-equilibrium constraints, or
cellular quantal events, produced according to the law of all or nothing,
a result of a threshold effect, when the threshold is crossed by
fluctuations governed by indeterminacy.
The cerebral hardware thus contains the conditions necessary for man to
exercise his freedom, i.e. his creative causality freed in some way from
laws of determinism, - necessary, but perhaps not sufficient conditions
the exercise of freedom.
Thomistic philosophy justifies the possibility of freedom only if the
per s« needed for the production of an effect are in s« contingent, with
result that "the effect in relation to the cause of a physical process,
unlike the consequence in relation to the premise in a logical procedure,
will not derive unequivocally from its existence. If everything is
predetermined right from the outset [...] man's freedom becomes an
If the matter of which our bodies and particularly our brains are
totally obeyed the laws of causal determinism, as Laplace believed, every
neural event would have a proportionate physical cause, in turn related
other previous causes, with the result that one could hardly postulate
neural events (with their behavioural correlates) not determined by the
chain of physical causes. Any exercise of freedom would be precluded.
But some domain of relative indeterminacy would appear to exist.
We have also demonstrated that these conditions of indeterminacy, being
widely represented in the laws of matter, also imply the occurrence of
events of the "incomprehensible calamity" type, events involving
and death which therefore appear to us as the hard price that the matter
this universe has had to pay in order to accommodate the existence of
subjects (Zatti, 1994).
Suffering, which is implicit in the conditions described, would be
and absurd if there were not a subject free to exercise
The problem of freedom thus becomes crucial: if man only had an illusion
free choice, every incomprehensible calamity would, in fact, remain
incomprehensible, and all suffering would be totally absurd, at least for
non-casual natural philosophy.
Physicists today talk about the "anthropic principle" to interpret the
universe (Bertola and Curi Eds, 1993). According to this principle, for
presence of observers such as ourselves to be possible, this universe had
be in certain respects exactly what it is: there had to be strictly
mandatory initial conditions, a series of unlikely coincidences,
thermostatically regulated planets, stars capable of constant energy
radiation for billions of years, etc. With a slight shift in viewpoint,
application of the anthropic principle might be the following: if the
observers such as ourselves had to be subjects endowed with freedom, then
was necessary that the matter of the universe should not be strictly
conditioned by deterministic laws, thereby proving as rigid as the bars
prison; on the contrary, it would have had to guarantee a setting
characterised to some extent by aleatory processes, by non-determination,
with scope and means whereby the influence of free will could be
so that mental events could cause neural events.
Yet matter not completely determined in the succession of possible
though capable of serving as a support for subjects endowed with freedom
action, is, however, a clock that may not keep good time; it is a device
subject to error and therefore to pain. The application of the anthropic
principle thus enables us to say: for the presence of free observers such
ourselves to be possible this universe had to be as it is; it had to be a
place of pain.
Every sort of suffering is therefore causally related to freedom, either
because it can be caused by potentially defective free will - the curse
Cain - or because the very existence of freedom, of free subjects, in
universe is permitted solely by that algorithmic incompleteness which
permits catastrophes to happen and which is described today by the
of indeterminacy and chaos. The laws governing nature are not rigidly
deterministic, but leave ample scope for indeterminacy and
and therefore for incomprehensible calamities (also in the case of a
calamity that can only be indirectly attributed to the creativity of
evolution in its more strictly Darwinian aspects, which are most
not annulled by the self-organizing capacities that trace the main lines
the evolutionary process). Only matter of this type, moreover, can permit
the existence of subjects capable of exercising freedom in this universe
At this point a question arises that would appear to be harder to answer:
do the flexibility, plasticity and indeterminacy permitted or amplified
chaotic dynamics and certainly necessary for the exercise of freedom also
constitute a sufficient condition for it?
The question can be summed up as follows. The problem of free choice has
do with the possibility that a system possessing indeterminacy or
fundamental instability, such as that of the neural networks, may be
oriented in such a way that, after the choice has been made, it may find
itself in one of its 2n possible states, inasmuch as this compression
(reduction of entropy) corresponds to the act of free will. Every time
reduction of entropy of the synaptic states, operated by a mental choice,
takes place, it will necessarily be accompanied (as the laws of
thermodynamics teach us) by heat exchanges with the environment or by
equivalent variations of the entropy of a memory. If the system is
in fact, it has to expend energy in order to effect the instability
orientation (reduction of entropy), which hypothetically should
to the act of free will: that is to say, the system should want to expend
energy, and therefore the free act would be prior to and different from
instability orientation and also from the related expenditure of energy
itself. But what would it be? One would have to resort to infinity.
This can be avoided if we have a system that does not require physical
means in the act of choosing: what is needed is an uncaused causality, an
immaterial intelligence that any exclusively physical system (in which
every bit of information deleted there must simultaneously be a
energy of kT loge 2) (Landauer, 1988) does not possess and is not. Or man
not free (Dennett, 1991).
Pain and creative omnipotence
The creative choice has proved doubly limiting in relation to original
omnipotence because 1) it contemplates the existence of free subjects,
2) it allows a measure of chance that introduces contingency and the
unpredicted, thereby limiting the action of fixed mathematical laws.
freedom is permitted by the "freedom" of nature. The introduction of
stochasticity at a fundamental level (the intrinsically statistical
character of atomic events) may imply, albeit within a limited framework,
kind of attenuation of the principle of sufficient reason, given that
individual quantistic event can be genuinely unpredictable, whereas a
collection of such events conforms to the statistical predictions of
mechanics" (Davies, 1992).
On the one hand, there is clearly an "impressive symmetry" underlying the
universe, but, on the other, we see that the symmetries "are invariably
quasi-symmetries and that the minor violations we observe are just as
necessary for our existence" (Barrow and Silk, 1983). There is then a
but fundamental scope left to "indeterministic causes" or - and it comes
the same thing - partially outside the principle of sufficient reason,
for creativity left to the created, and which is also occurrence of (non
creation of) evil; lack of participated being, i.e., good; penetration of
the Nothingness (das Nichtige; Barth, 1950) into evolution. In view of
freedom of living creatures, God has had to leave a part of creation to
chance (to dem Nichtiges).
In this regard, the conceptual difficulty of omnipotence as it is
habitually understood is both well-known and dates back to ancient times,
from Epicurus to H. Jonas (Venturini. 2000) and is shared by R. Pannikar
(1999). "Suffering exists only to the extent that God is not omnipotent
(Jonas, 1987). Apart from suffering due directly to the action of men, it
is, in fact, not merely related to the finiteness of creation, but also a
matter of privation of due perfection since the algorithmic
and indeterminacy that are the cause of it are not necessary qualities of
finite matter. They become necessary, as stated above, in order to
the possibility of free self-determination and it is for this purpose and
for this good that the Creator has left part of creation to chance.
According to N. Venturini (2000), "it is necessary that there [...] be a
link between the superior good desired and the evil permitted of such a
nature that it is not possible to want the one without permitting the
but we have not been allowed to grasp the nature of this link". Isn't
pessimism perhaps excessive?
M. Ruse (2001) provides reasons and examples that demonstrate that
ills cannot be avoided if living beings have to be part of nature as
sentient beings, and concludes; "The hard nature of physical existence
being is not therefore a rebuke against an all-powerful God".
To have a metaphysics of freedom, there must be a Creator who as such is
free agent. If the creative choice has wanted man to be free, then it
have seen his suffering, i.e. the prerequisite of his freedom, as
"a very good thing" (Gen 1, 31). According to Ruse (2001), "No sound
argument has been mounted showing that Darwinism implies atheism". It
to me, on the contrary, that the Christian believer needs (also) chance,
hence Darwinism, to solve the classic problem of theology, the problem of
In any event there remains a difficulty in relation to omnipotence,
why is pain (in the form of a calamity) not overcome by miracles? To what
extent can respect of the Creator for creation and its laws be a factor?
There can be no doubt that respect for the freedom of living creatures
in His image in flesh and blood must allow them the power to decide to
accomplish independently determined deeds even if these entail suffering
calamities. Can there be any miraculous salvation for those who suffer
at the hands of nature, whose "freedom" could be annulled on any
occasion? But if Abel cannot be saved, can one in all justice save a man
is killed by a tiger? Or by a hurricane? Can an infant child at least be
saved from leukaemia? But up to what age?
Yet, if creation was a "very good thing" in the eyes of the omnipotent,
should also consider that implicit suffering could also make sense within
the context of a love that saves. Pain could begin to make sense if
in a context that takes account of the relationships between men and
each man and the Creator. The Creator's love is bent upon perfecting man
the very midst of his suffering (Varillon, 1981).
1 A number of Darwinists claim that causally isolated new universes
originate from the black holes of previous universes, from which they
to some extent, and this "filiation" with random variations and
multiplications lends itself to the application of the Darwinian
in that the physical constants that favour the formation of black holes
correspond to those necessary for the formation of stars, planets and
forms (J. Maynard Smith, E. Szathmary, "On the Likelihood of Habitable
Worlds", in Nature 1990, 384, 107): the most suitable universes for the
appearance of life would be those which have more black holes and
multiply more often.
2 The age of the universe is 1.5 x 1010 years.
3 Analysis of the synaptic transmissions of the CNS has revealed possible
influences of changes in the postsynaptic membrane, taking all due
however, of the presynaptic significance of some of the parameters (n,
number of active zones; l, likelihood of release of a quantal package).
H. Korn, D.S. Faber, "Quantal analysis and synaptic efficacy in the CNS",
Trends in Neurosciences 1991, 14, 439-445; cfr. also J.M. Bekkers, C.H.
Stevens, "Presynaptic mechanisms for long-term potentiation in the
hippocampus", in Nature 1990, 346, 724-729; R. Malinow, R.W. Tsien,
"Presynaptic enhancement shown by whole-cell recordings of long-term
potentiation in hippocampal slices" in Nature 1990, 346, 177-180. The
critical point of the neuronal activity is activation of
Ca2+ channels and the subsequent presynaptic exocytosis of the
neurotransmitter, contained in vesicles whose protein p65 interacts with
syntaxins of the active zone of the presynaptic membrane. The literature
describes quantal variability of these junctional activities, stochastic
properties of the interactions between receptors and transmitters, the
possibility of interference of various types with the efficiency of
communication between nerve cells (D.S. Faber et al., in Science 1982,
1494; P. Greengard et al., in Science 1993, 259, 780). One of the
consists in changes in the number of vesicles in the reserve pool
with the number that can be released in a synaptic ending with a
regulated by the phosphorylation/dephosphorylation of a protein. By and
large, it can be said that there are multiple fluctuation settings
potentially subject to the influence of a quantum mechanics probability
wave. See also the interesting recent review of D. Choquet and A. Triller
Nature Rev. Neuroscience 2003, 4, 251-265 and its references.
Atkins P.W., Creation Revisited, Freeman, Oxford 1997, p. 134.
Barrow J.D., Silk J., The Left Hand of Creation, Basic Books, New York
Barth K., Gott und das Nichtige, in: Die Kirchliche Dogmatic,
Verlag, Zurich 1950.
Basti G., Filosofia dell' uomo, Edizioni Studio Domenicano, Bologna 1995,
Bertola F., Curi U. eds, The Anthropic Principle, Cambridge University
Press, Cambridge 1993.
Casti J.L., Confronting Science's Logical Limits, Sci. American 275 (4),
1996, pp. 78-81.
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