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

Karen Chaffee

I’m really behind, but I am just mulling over some ideas on page 11 (let alone page ten) that I think I _can_ mull over even before my questions are answered!  So just randomly:

  1. From Ed: What is the difference between a “biological system” and a “living system?” 

There is, I think, a big difference.  I think if the universe is a living system, in any narrow ‘western scientific’ sense we choose (and I am not now addressing Elisabet Sahtouris‘ nonwestern-science definition, because I am not ready to apply it until I can read all the tenets) the universe would have to be a non biological life form.
 I googled the phrase: What is the difference between a “biological system” and a “living system” and came up with this from Wikipedia:
A biological system is not necessarily alive.  Your respiratory system is a biological system. (according to wiki).  A biological system is not to be confused with a living system, which is commonly referred to as life. For further information see e.g. definition of life or synthetic biology.
When I went to look at these definitions, I see they are too complex, and there are many different definitions from different people.  As I said before, we as a group would have to agree on one.  I kind of suspect we as a group will never do that, because it’s a lot of work, and we are so different.  We may just have to fall back on “Ursula’s definition of life’ and ‘Elisebet’s definition of life’, etc, etc.    I am interested to learn more about the non-western-science definition, by the way! 

  1. from Ed: The universe is, by definition, “all that is.”

I don’t think Duane and Ed agree on this definition, and because scientists don’t agree, both Ed and Duane are right! 
Duane thinks there is something outside the universe. 
I googled  ‘what’s outside the universe’ and came up with this:  http://www.geek.com/science/geek-answers-whats-outside-the-universe-1567885/

  1. One idea of the universe says that it is finite but never-ending. (Ed)
  2. Then there are the multiverse explanations. These postulate that the universe split off after the Big Bang into everything from bubbles to sheets. Our universe is just one of many, possibly a finite number or possibly infinite. In this conception, what’s “outside” our universe is simply another universe.  (Duane)

My understanding is point B can’t be discounted.
III.   from Duane:  “Guy Murchie, in his book Music of the Spheres, writes that if you were to look at a yellow dress for just one second, the electrons in the retinas of your eyes would vibrate with more waves than all the waves that have beaten upon all the shores of all the Earth’s oceans in the last 10 million years.
I didn’t read this book, but the numbers involved in small bits of matter are both more astounding and more mundane than meets the eye.
I couldn’t find how many retinol molecules are in an eye.  I don’t have the math to calculate how many ‘waves’ would be in a a typical retinol (molecular) orbital involved with photon absorption.  But suppose instead, we say one gram of hydrogen absorbs photons and every electron within is promoted (and this takes less than a second).  This is 6.02 x 10^23 electrons.  Since electrons are waves, you can clearly say these 6.02 x 10^23 electrons are ‘vibrating with waves’
This is a huge number, in only one gram.  Probably it is a MUCH bigger number than all the waves that have beaten upon Earth’s shore in 10 million years.
What a nerd I am!  Let’s do the math!! (I am doing this really quick and dirty!)
total coastline , Earth:  0.8 million km  (http://world.bymap.org/Coastlines.html)
lenght of coastline per wave (my estimate) 0.1 km  (so, ten per km)
How many waves per minute:  6  (every ten seconds)
waves total per minute : 48 million.
Minutes in 10 million years
1 x 10^7 years x 354 day per year x 24 hour per day x 60 minutes per hour = 5 x 10^12 minutes.
Take this times waves per minute and total is 2.4 x 10^20.
Yes, there are one thousand times more ‘electrons are ‘vibrating with waves’ in a gram of hydrogen in a split second than waves here on earth in 10 million years (ten million is a tiny number, in the scheme of things)
But what does this mean?  And I after taking a graduate course in entropy, I don’t truly understand it.  Thanks Ed, for your attempt to show how it apples here, which is helpful. 
I have looked up Guy Murchie book.  It looks interesting, put it on my to read list, maybe I will understand better.
This is fun!


Edit: 365 days per year, I mean!!  But, it doesn’t change anything.