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

James MacAllister

I want to say that I agree for the most part with what Ursula has said particularly to emphasize that scientists (if they are true to their calling) are not closed minded  or prejudiced. To be a scientist requires being open to surprise, but the surprise must be evidence based and science has very practical rules for what constitutes evidence in much the same way that courts do.  There is nothing wrong with metaphysical, mystical, religious, secular or other kinds of thinking or debates, but those should be known for what they are and not claim to be science when clearly they are not.  Science has rules and if you want into the game, you have to play by the rules. The same thing applies if you want to join the Catholic Church or the Marines.


Do scientists on occasion fall so in love with their ideas that they forget that nothing in science is ever certain? Yes, they do. but when they do that, they are just masquerading as scientists. Certainty is the stuff of fundamentalism, not science. So when I hear someone going on and on about how something they don’t agree with is “pseudo-science” and rather than debate why the idea lacks merit they just talk a lot of trash or do a lot of name calling, then I begin to suspect that the are victims of the temptation of certainty and they probably know little of nothing about the idea they are ridiculing.  Real scientists debate ideas using facts hence they cannot be called closed minded.


I will take issue with Carl Sagan. I have heard the quote Ursula refers to (it really didn’t originate with Sagan but he repeated it). I disagree. First of all, who says that a claim is extraordinary? Some authority? That isn’t evidence that it is extraordinary. Practically all novel ideas sound extraordinary when they are first proposed. Saying it is extraordinary is just an empty attack on the idea. Why should any idea have to produce extraordinary evidence when the ideas it is competing with are supported by just regular ordinary evidence.  I think this saying is really lopsided and absurd.  I think ideas need to be supported by evidence. The position that the Universe is a living entity is a claim and I did not see any evidence of even the regular sort to support it.