Does the Periodic Table Evolve ?

Discussion in 'Chemistry' started by river, Jan 19, 2021.

  1. Beaconator Valued Senior Member

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    Correct. Though I also would have accepted a turtle because it has 24 elements
     
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  3. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    Does that mean "it's turtles all the way down" is wrong?
     
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  5. Beaconator Valued Senior Member

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    Only if seven elephants can’t hold up a turtle.
     
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  7. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    Are you a supporter of "irreducible complexity"?
     
  8. Beaconator Valued Senior Member

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    I’m more a fan of complex observation. Don’t remember sending such an absurd remark
     
  9. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    It was a question and you have not answered it.
     
  10. Beaconator Valued Senior Member

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    I don’t think god is controlling every genomic complexity that comes into existence. I don’t believe it takes any form of intelligence to create consciousness initially. But I do believe in a higher consciousness that can be reached through the evolution of chemistry
     
  11. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    An example is abiogenesis on earth. It all started with chemistry and evolved into the human mind.
     
  12. Beaconator Valued Senior Member

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    But we don’t know what chemistry precisely, so what better way to start than every element. It might even be the answer
     
  13. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    But that is already applying the concept of "irreducible complexity", which is an untenable position.
    Atoms are complex patterns, self-assembled from smaller particles, which in turn emerged from the quantum foam that apparently emerged from the cooling plasma sometime after the first instant of inflation.
    https://www.livescience.com/37206-atom-definition.html#

    You cannot just start somewhere because that allows you to argue for Intelligent Design.
    You must begin at the beginning when information becomes very fuzzy and does not allow for the ID argument.

    And according to our best knowledge the beginning was at the BB and the beginning of universal time.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2022
  14. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    Thanks for that correct answer to the question posed by Carl Zorn in post #7.
    He was addressing fossils older than a certain age that should have lost all their C-14 and could no longer be dated.
    Therefore another dating mechanism must be applied as you graciously provided.
     
  15. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    The table itself? I'm not up to speed on the history of chemistry, but there were probably earlier versions of the table and the one in today's chemistry textbooks is only the latest one. So very likely yes.

    Do the elements listed in the table themselves evolve? I'm inclined to say yes to that one too.

    If we accept the stronger versions of the 'Big Bang' creation story that traces reality back to an initial infinite energy singularity, then for the first short period after the bang there were no atoms and only a very-dense very-high-energy collection of subatomic particles. I suppose that the variety of these particles multiplied as energies dropped, symmetries were broken etc.

    Then atoms began to condense from those particles, light atoms first, hydrogen initially I guess. And as time went on, heavier atoms were brewed up, resulting in our periodic table. The underlying principles of quantum chemistry that governed the unfolding of the periodic table would seem to be eternal and outside time in that kind of scheme, and not subject to explanation. But since the atoms of the periodic table are imagined to have appeared over time in some succession, their appearance would qualify as evolution in the basic change-over-time sense of the world. There might conceivably even be a natural-selection aspect to it as the raw possibility space of what might have happened interacted with the eternal p-chem principles, pruning the tangle of possibilities back to the the ones that were actually realized, those possibilities that were consistent with the principles.

    Maybe, in the sense of new isotopes appearing that were always possible in some sense but never actually existed until suitable conditions existed in the fusion hearts of stars or wherever. I don't think that would be an example of the definition of the element changing though.

    Circling back to the history of chemistry, and it's obvious that the definitions of the elements do change. In ancient times the elements were air, water, earth and fire. (In some traditional schemes a fifth "quintessential" element was added, sometimes a heavenly element and sometimes an ethereal element of pure space.) Today our lineup of elements is entirely different and is defined entirely differently. There's obviously a history of how that conceptual change happened, which could probably be described as an intellectual evolution.

    The history of chemistry is a fascinating thing, but sadly I'm not up to speed on it.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2022
  16. Beer w/Straw Transcendental Ignorance! Valued Senior Member

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    Off the top of my head I'd say you're wrong...

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    But, it may be the gravitation of the sun make it a whole other playing field.
     
  17. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    Good point. I suppose the best answer (to the question, "What is the largest compound containing the most different elements?") would be "the universe".
     
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