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

Jon Cleland Host

  Great to see Michael join us!   Duane, you wrote:

*****My key point was simply that consciousness does not require complex neural networks or a brain.  ******

But your example didn’t show this in any way.  Your example showed a cell that does something in response to it’s environment – the exact same thing a plane on autopilot does – changing it’s response when the environment changes.  You have not shown any reason to think that this cell is conscious which doesn’t also apply to a plane on autopilot, a self-driving car, or a mousetrap.  The only difference is that you, personally, do not understand all the gears in the cell, while you do for the mousetrap.  Do you consider a mousetrap conscious because it can respond to it’s environment?

  *****If “consciousness” is the capacity to be aware of one’s surroundings, then the behavior of this single-celled organism satisfies that definition.  *****

Does anyone have any reason to think that this cell is aware of it’s surroundings?  A self-driving car is obviously aware of it’s surroundings, right, because it can drive?  I would say no in both cases.  

Regarding the plane on autopilot, who programmed the auto-pilot?  In turn, are you saying the single celled organism is running on automatic? If so, where did the automatic program come from?   

  Who cares?  I don’t see how that’s relevant.  Is the fact that a mousetrap is made by a conscious human make the mousetrap conscious?  Is the fact that my conscious child makes a pile of blocks make the pile of blocks conscious?   I think this comes down to basic process of logic, where one’s conclusions need to follow from the data.   Thanks-                          -Jon