Home Forums Deep Time Journey Forum Is the universe a "living system"? Reply To: Is the universe a "living system"?

Jon Cleland Host


Good conversation, (and, Linda, welcome!).


    OK, so metabolism being the ability to take in energy from the surroundings to keep systems going, the first question that comes up with me is “what ‘surroundings’ are we referring to?”.   Since the Universe is by definition everything, it seems that there aren’t any clear “surroundings” to take anything from.  While multiverses are possible, they certainly haven’t been shown to be real.


Next, “energy”.  We understand well what the different forms of energy are (thermal, electromagnetic, kinetic, etc.).  Is there evidence of any of them coming from outside the Universe?  


Brian Swimme is a great popularizer and a huge asset to our human species – but he is not a scientist.   If we can get the source he used to base his statement on, then it might be useful.


Dr. Bohm was a great physicist, but I’m not sure how his statement that “the universe is a unified whole in flowing movement.” really means anything.  I mean, we already agree that we can see the Universe as a unified thing (after all, that’s it’s name), and of course it is filled with flowing movement (as the res-shift shows) – but that doesn’t show that the Universe is taking in energy from someplace else.  


Perhaps more to the point, we need to look at actual research, and be careful not to fall into the trap of  treating quotes as data.  This means that wherever possible, we need to favor data over quotes – and especially favor consensus views over individual statements.  After all, scientists are humans, and with millions of scientists, some are going to have wrong ideas about some things.  Dr. Bohm is a good example of this – he was regularly fooled by charlatans.  

The fact that we don’t know what dark energy is, is not a reason to conclude that it is coming from somewhere else or that it is categorically different from the known forms of energy.  Sure it could be, but one could have said that same thing about radiation energy in 1920 – and further work showed that radiation energy is just another type of energy.  

The Wheeler quote is about the quantum phenomena of matter coming into existence  on a quantum level.  Without more data or explanation from Wheeler explaining what he means about that, I don’t see that it supports the idea of metabolism of the ability to take in energy from the surroundings to keep systems going.  That’s especially because particle coming into existence this way are balanced by anti-particles, and hence the sum energy or matter is zero (nothing is being taken in).  


The scientific American article sounds interesting.  Could you explain what details it gives that are useful here, since I don’t have it?


Thanks all-