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

James MacAllister

Having spent some time on this discussion/debate in an attempt to bring some scientific rigor to it, I am not satisfied to let it close with any suggestion that there has been any evidence presented that the Universe is any kind of “living entity”.  This is not a hypothesis. A hypothesis is an attempt to explain data or evidence (facts). What Duane has presented is conjecture.  


To quote Duane, “The self-organizing behavior of DNA–putting itself together with other strands, even at a seemingly impossible distance–suggests that some level of “knowing” or “consciousness” is operating at this level that fits the form and function of the system being self-organized.”  is getting close to creationism. 


Statements such as the this call on the supernatural, forces or entities not in evidence and therefore are equal to saying that God did it. There is nothing wrong with that, but it is not science because science considers that to not be an answer.  Answers have to be explainable by natural elements and forces.  A scientist is not satisfied calling something “junk DNA” because that is an example of giving something a name that gives the illusion that you know what it is or what Alfred North Whitehead called “the fallacy of misplaced concreteness”.  A scientist finds out what that DNA doe or doesn’t do.  A polymer molecule like DNA or RNA has innate physical properties and chemical bonds that are responsible for its ability to replicate. Nothing else required.  The shoreline of a lake does not fit due to any kind of “consciousness”. 


Science does not rob the world of wonder. Reality is so much more amazing, surprising, complicated, creative–you name it–than anything you dream up or can see on the big screen in computer generated imagery by Hollywood.  I took Lynn Margulis to see the movie Avatar in 3D which borrows liberally from ideas coming from symbiosis. We agreed that it was a retreaded cowboys and indians story with symbiotic window dressing that paled in comparison to the things we witnessed daily in the lab. If you are looking for adventure and discovery, become a scientist who works with systems.