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Ed Lantz

Here’s my personal take on the “Living Universe” discussion:


1) Elisabet Sahtouris’ “autopoiesis” argument aside (I did not fully understand her argument), I see no evidence for the universe being a self-replicating living being in the same way that a biological organism is alive. Planets and galaxies do not have nervous systems. They do not avoid fatal collisions. They do not learn from their mistakes. They do not behave as if they are alive.


2) We can say, however, that the earth’s biosphere has an ecology that is affected by our actions, and that we are all interdependent. We do not have to subscribe to the Gaia Hypothesis to see that this is the case. Our continued existence (as we know it) could be threatened by the choices made by humankind in the coming years. This is a highly robust argument for respecting our planet, the living creatures on it, and being good stewards of our biosphere and the earth’s natural resources.



3) Science operates by conceptually/physically isolating systems from one another so they can be studied, classified, and causal relationships between the separate parts can be explored. So when biological organisms are separated from non-biological matter, we see that “non-living” matter behaves differently from biological “living” matter. However you might say that at a “big picture” level, the universe is indeed alive and intelligent because intelligent biological life is an integral outgrowth of the universe. We are intelligent, we are (ultimately) inseparable from the universe, therefore we are the universe and the universe is intelligent.  


4) According to quantum information science, the entire universe is non-locally interconnected on an informational level, and has vast computational capacity as well. While there is currently not sufficient evidence that such information retains coherency, or that biological organisms can access this informational and computational capacity of the universe, quantum consciousness theories suggest this may be the case. Should one of these theories be substantiated it could shed new light on the notion of a “living universe,” which might be better framed as an “intelligent universe.”