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

Jon Cleland Host


Hi Duane-


   Yes, we are both very busy, and that’s OK.  There is no rush.  If you’d prefer I wait to reply after you put in a partial reply, so you can put the rest of the reply up, just let me know and I’ll wait.   I had just split up a post like that yesterday.    


To keep things from getting messed up, I went back and labelled the current topics using ((A)) type tags.  These are, we should remember, all sub topics under “metabolism”, itself being the first part of the examination of whether the Universe fits David Christian’s definition of “life”.


 Also, thank you, additional posters, for clarifying the metabolic, catabolic, etc, details of metabolism.  I agree that those are relevant, but think that Duane and I have quite a bit already started, and suggest we get to those topics after finishing at least the lettered topics ((A)) through ((H)).


With that, let’s see if we can continue here.

((A))   “Universe” definition   Also, your “fourth” from the last post.

you wrote:

I am suggesting there is a useful distinction to be made and explored. Your closed-minded description does not leave room for open-minded inquiry–which is what this dialogue is all about. 


Whoa, you are calling me “closed minded” because I used a dictionary to get a definition?  How are you suggesting we get definitions?  By making them up?   If we don’t have an established word for what we are talking about, we can try to coin a new word, but I don’t we should be making up definitions. Right?

Is there a definition of a multiverse as a larger context for individual universes that opens a door for inquiry?

Well, that word too has a definition.  I just looked it up in the dictionary.  Instead of me posting the definition here (since that didn’t seem helpful last time), would you like to look it up, and see if you’d like to use that word?



((B))   “Multiverse” references

You wrote:

Third, you say that references to multiverse theory in the Google Scholar search engine are “irrelevant” as are articles in “The New Scientist.” Does this mean you dismiss multiverse theory as “irrelevant”?  

No, it doesn’t – I don’t dismiss it.  It means that if you are going to cite a reference to support your point, you need to cite a credible reference that actually supports your point.  Those two (the fact that there are many hits and the fact that it was discussed in “New Scientist”) don’t support your point.  I’m happy to talk about the possibility of the multiverse, and what evidence supports it.


((C))  “Multiverse” – not proven

     (no response in your last post on whether or not your response indicates that it doesn’t belong in Big History).


((D))  Particles  popping into existence

     (no response in your last post on whether or not your response indicates that it doesn’t belong in Big History).



((E))  Swimme “Scientist”

You wrote:

Second, you say (with regard to Brian Swimme) that being a mathematician does not make one a scientist. I’ve been exploring definitions of the sciences and mathematics is regularly included as a “science.” How do you justify removing mathematics from science?  



There are at least three reasons why Swimme’s math degree doesn’t make him a scientist (and by the way, I didn’t “remove” math from science – math is a formal science, like logic, not an empirical science, like chemistry).  

1. “Scientists” are those who are doing (or retired from) active research in empirical science.  Math is not an empirical science.

2.  Swimme has not published experimental results in peer-reviewed journals to my knowledge.

3.  Even if 1 and 2 weren’t the case, his statement would still be irrelevant because it is outside the field where he has published work.  Specifically, if you want to use a quote about the galaxy from someone, that person needs to have published research about the galaxy, or have expertise in, and have reviewed work by others about experimental research about the galaxy.  Using a quote about, say, biochemistry, from a published astrophysical scientist, for instance, is fallacious.


************more later.  Please wait to reply.  My turn to be out of time  *********************   : )


((F))  Text of “Living Galaxy” article

((G))  David Bohm

((H))   Pseudoscience List