From Chain to Tree: Ancient and Modern Structures for the Universe

Speaker: Categories: Apr 30, 2016


[ 15min / 1hr,1min,19sec ]



For two millennia a philosophical construct called “The Great Chain of Being” defined the relationship between God and all living things on earth, including humans, for the Western world. The Chain of Being was important not only for philosophers, but also for religion, culture, and the arts. Beginning in the 18th Century, the Chain of Being faded in importance as experimental science discredited major conclusions from it, although some of the undermined conclusions still survive in public thinking. We will discuss an organizing concept from contemporary science that might be thought of as a replacement for the Chain of Being: “The (Great) Tree of Complexity.” From the structure of the Tree, strengths and weaknesses of current science can be clarified and a scientifically-credible description can be generated for the relationship between science and religion.



Dr. Mailen Kootsey has spent his career developing mathematical models as interactive simulations for research and learning in the fields of physiology, pharmacokinetics, biophysics, physics, computing including software development and user interface design, biomedical engineering, and physical chemistry. After receiving his undergraduate degree in physics at Pacific Union College, Dr. Kootsey continued in physics at Brown University, receiving his Ph.D. in 1966. He has held numerous leadership and academic positions at Loma Linda University, Andrews University, Duke University, and private firms.

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