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

Ed Lantz

Thanks for sharing, Elisabet!

Jon, I do think that scientists make some of the assumptions that Elisabet posits:

>1) the universe exists objectively (not subjectively) as matter located in three-dimensional space and linear time

The subjective domain of experience has been almost completely dismissed by mainstream science until fairly recently. There is clearly much to learn from phenomenological approaches to discovery and it is a great loss to not be exploring this domain.

>2) that the universe is non-living, describable and measurable in terms of matter and energy,


This is true per the currently accepted definition of “life” which is intended to differentiate between biological systems and non-biological systems. Of course this is a conceptual differentiation and indeed there are gray areas (i.e. is a virus alive?).

>3) that the universe has linear causal order discoverable through the science of physics, using mathematical models supported by logical reason (including induction and deduction),


This is a well-known assumption of science (see: http://undsci.berkeley.edu/article/basic_assumptions).

>4) that the material universe is accidentally assembled from the smallest physical units into larger structures and interactive patterns through the workings of discoverable natural laws,


This “accidental universe” theory relies on “natural selection” alone as a shaping force of biological life and has been promoted by many prominent scientists and has been a point of debate with many religious and spiritual paths. 

>5) that large structures can be understood by reducing them to their component parts


True, reductionism is a common assumption of many scientists, but has been abandoned by most quantum physicists who have had to accept paradoxical, non-reducable properties of the universe.
>6) that life is a rare and peculiar emergent phenomenon in a non-living universe, possibly restricted to a single planet’s surface and ultimately subject to the laws of physics.

Most but not all scientists would agree with this.

Here is where I lose you, Elisabet:

>Autopoiesis (continuous self-creation within a context) shall be adopted as the core definition of life. Since galaxies, stars, planets, organisms, cells, molecules, atoms and sub-atomic particles all fit this definition, this implies that, using this definition, life is the fundamental process of the cosmos, a self-creating living whole with self-creating living components in co-creative interaction.

This sounds like a wholesale re-definition of life. Correct? Aren’t you “stealing” away from scientists an important differentiator between biological organisms and inert matter?