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

Ursula Goodenough

Various responses.


Ed wrote: “I cannot build a living, reproducing being from scratch. There are missing ingredients.” This isn’t the case. Craig Venter’s team almost achieved this in 2010 http://www.theguardian.com/science/2010/may/20/craig-venter-synthetic-life-form, though they cheated a little, and they are working away at doing it without cheating http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn23266-craig-venter-close-to-creating-synthetic-life.html I have every reason to believe that they will be successful, but fine to hold this opinion until then!


“We do not understand how information encoded in DNA expresses from microscopic to macroscopic spatial forms.” This also isn’t the case. We have a deep understanding of how this happens.


“We do not understand neural coding. We do not understand memory and consciousness. And we do not understand how computational processes work in the brain.” We understand quite a bit about neural coding, and a bit about memory. Consciousness, however defined, is still a mystery. But, of course, all of these brain-based processes occur only in animals and aren’t general properties of life.


James — Totally awesomely spot-on. Thanks!


And Karen, I love your observation that the notion that the universe is conscious is related to our being enamored with our own consciousness. I fully agree. Love the cat example!