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

Jon Cleland Host

Sorry for the delay.  Here is my response continued.


Duane wrote:

***you offer the statement that the physicist, Dr. David Bohm “was regularly fooled by charlatans.” I am interested in the actual data that supports this important assertion.  ***

  Yes, it is always quite fair to ask for support for any claim.  Here is a start – though there is more out there if you’d like.    

“Bohm’s creative work in physics is undisputable, but in other fields he was almost as gullible as Conan Doyle. He was favorably impressed by Count Alfred Korzybski’s Science and Sanity, with the morphogenic fields of Rupert Sheldrake, the orgone energy of Wilhelm Reich, and the marvels of parapsychology. [1] For a while he took seriously Uri Geller’s ability to bend keys and spoons, to move compasses, and produce clicks in a Geiger counter, all with his mind.”   from: http://thinkg.net/david_bohm/martin_gardner_on_david_bohm_and_krishnamurti.html  

*****You also say that “particles coming into existence this way are balanced by anti-particles, and hence the sum energy or matter is zero (nothing is being taken in).” I have had the understanding that there is, in fact, a slight but significant asymmetry in the universe such that there are more particles than anti-particles and this provides the basis for the physical universe we live within. See, for example, the Stanford article: https://www.slac.stanford.edu/pubs/beamline/26/1/26-1-sather.pdf which states that, “If we work out what the Universe was like one billionth of a second after it began, it turns out that for every billion particle-antiparticle pairs there was just one extra particle. To that particle we and stars owe our existence.”****

  Yes, that was the case during the Big Bang – but not now.  Now, there is no residual particle from the pairs.  As pointed out, they are not clearly real – as a mathematical model.  



A major concern I have is that much of this appears to follow a similar approach as does a lot of pseudoscientific fields.  Specifically:

  1. Redefining words (“Universe”)
  2. Use of quotes as evidence in itself (Bohm)
  3. suggesting that other ideas are “assumptions”
  4. citing non-scientists as evidence (this also applies in cases, not seen here, where scientists are quoted outside their field).
  5. Vague, unsupported assertions (such as “There appears to be a permeating sentience or knowing capacity infusing the universe…”)
  6. etc.

  These are the types of approaches used by pseudosciences such as creationism.  We need to be especially careful to avoid them, both because we want to make accurate claims, and because we need to maintain the credibility of Big History (and the Deep Time Journey Network).  There is room for philosophical speculation, and for poetic and metaphorical use of language  – but when we do that, we need to be clear about what we are doing, and we need to keep that out of forums/area/publications that are for scientific articles, so that we avoid even the appearance of presenting speculation as fact.
So far, it seems to me that the reasons cited for claiming that the Universe has metabolism are not helping to support that claim.   Thoughts?   Jon