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

Elisabet Sahtouris
Thanks, Duane, 
Unless people see how assumptions define a science, Western science will continue to maintain its hegemony unless overthrown by a paradigm shift, and I’m not into that conquest model any more….especially as we so need the checks & balances there could be among sciences seeing each other as legit. I do not want to replace Western science with any other, as its assumptions have led it to technological applications I would not like to do without.  In other words, I no longer consider myself a paradigm shifter, but I am a strong parallel sciences advocate.
‘Non-life’ is a concept that was coined to distinguish from ‘life’.  We all know life through direct experience of it, and as my favorite Swiss botanist Walter Pankow once said “It takes a living system to know a living system” (quote from his chapter of that old book on Conciousness co-edited I believe by Erich Jantsch, a great pioneer in the Living Universe concept!  The first or 2nd chapter by Ralph Abraham.)  
Life has been notoriously difficult to define, and what I so love about the Maturana & Varela autopoiesis definition is that it is the first core definition that avoids the usual recourse of simply listing a string of attributes.  I wrote Varela a four-page single-spaced argument for Earth as alive in the mid 90s and, although he had not “considered anything that large as alive,” he accepted my arguments and that thrilled me. 
THERE IS NO WAY TO PROVE THAT THE UNIVERSE IS EITHER ALIVE OR NON-LIVING. It is either one or the other depending on how we experience it and/or what conceptualization of life we accept. I am perfectly clear on my choice and I believe the bulk of humanity has been and is with me (my Islamic foundations of science symposium, for example, made it clear that the entire Islamic world opts for a living universe, since Allah declared it so).  My choice, like yours Duane, is for life, AND I have no need to convince those making the other choice that they are wrong.
Why don’t we just take a straw vote of how many in this dialogue make each choice and get on with defining the other terms?