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

James MacAllister


You are asking for my definition of “woo-woo”. What I meant was those things that are not observable, measureable, reproducible or require forces that are supernatural. Science is the study of nature and natural forces. I don’t mean to denigrate things that are not science there are many good things that are not science. It is useful though to distinguish between things that are evidence-based and things that are speculation, beliefs, art, ritual, visions, wishes, dogma, etc. Science is not the only way of knowing, but it is a way of knowing that anyone anywhere can participate in and by following the evidence can arrive at conclusions that other scientists would agree with even if they don’t speak the same language or share anything else in common. There are also large areas of hypothesizing in science where what is hypothesized is supported by what is known but may have many other interpretations. Things like the Big Bang, dark matter, black holes, string theory are often presented as fact when, in my humble opinion, they are hypotheses, not facts. Even science facts are corrigible if new or better evidence shows them to be in error. This uncertainty can be disconcerting to folks who believe that facts should be certain, but certainty is not scientific. So am I certain that the Universe is not alive? I am highly skeptical. Life as defined in biology which is the study of living matter that is limited by all available evidence to Earth originated cells is not applicable to the Universe as a whole. I keep a scientifically open mind to convincing evidence that the Universe is alive, but no such evidence has been presented in what I have read in this discussion. David Bohm said, “Science is the search for truth, whether we like it or not.” So, if the evidence does not support the idea that the Universe is alive (in the manner of cells) that is the scientific truth even if you don’t like it. J.B.S. Haldane said that “the universe is not only queerer than we suppose but queerer than we can suppose.” So even if not alive, the Universe is nonetheless full of mystery, wonder and surprises.