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  #11  
Old 3rd June 2010, 03:00 PM
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Default Re: Is the universe a living thing?

Does this living thing have a brain? Or are we comparing it to a ginormous microorganism?
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  #12  
Old 3rd June 2010, 03:07 PM
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Default Re: Is the universe a living thing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Davo
what do you mean by living?
I can't think of any way I could label the universe with the attribute "living".

A clearer explanation of what you mean by "living" would be appreciated.
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  #13  
Old 3rd June 2010, 03:14 PM
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Default Re: Is the universe a living thing?

GOHARM is the acronym I carry from my earliest days studying biology.
Life exhibits :growth, organisation, homeostasis, reproduction, adaptation and metabolism.
Viruses only exhibit O and A until they have a host to fuel them, so they exist in a half state somewhere between what I accept as living organisms (humans, flying fish, little dogs, bacteria) and what I perceive in the universe (a bunch of rocks and stuff obeying physical laws but only obviously exhbiting the G of the GOHARM criteria, something even salt crystals can do). The virus reminds me that there is some scope for a spectrum of livingness but the rocks/stars/blackholes component of the universe would fit at the non-living end. The definition might fail to take scale into account (who knows what our universe might get up to in a multiverse sense) but as far as comparing life on Earth with life as a systems of galaxies etc. the universe can't compete.
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  #14  
Old 3rd June 2010, 03:38 PM
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Default Re: Is the universe a living thing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kookaburra Jack View Post
If I were to believe that the universe is a living thing would that make me an atheist or a theist or something else entirely?


It would make you an atheist in the literal sense of not having any belief in god(s).

However, you would be at odds with most (but admittedly not all) of the principles that tend to give rise to atheism in the first place. Namely, principles and philosophies that emphasise evidence, skepticism, and use of scientific methodology.
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Old 3rd June 2010, 04:22 PM
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Default Re: Is the universe a living thing?

Interesting, yea if you define life that way as it quite simply shows that there is no need for supernaturalism.
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  #16  
Old 3rd June 2010, 04:24 PM
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Default Re: Is the universe a living thing?

I read up about Crick, and what is being meant here ..

http://newhumanist.org.uk/1518/thinker-francis-crick

Quote:

It is all very well saying that a gene can copy itself. But what does it do? What's a gene's job? To make proteins, said Crick and set out to prove how. That code running down the DNA backbone must be a code spelling out the sequence of amino acids in a protein, written in three-letter words and translated at ribosomes by a mechanism involving an “adaptor”, a molecule that can both read in DNA-ish and write in protein-ish. Crick set all this out in 1957 in a paper of sublime deduction and proved some of it himself with experiments of surpassing ingenuity. By 1966 it was all proved correct and the code itself had been cracked and set out in a format devised by Crick himself.
Why do I say this was such a great scientific moment? Because it answered a really big question – what is life? – with a simple, beautiful and unexpected answer. Life is the use of linear digital codes to construct machinery that can cause eddies in the entropy stream. There is a universal genetic code, common to all living things, and what Crick called a central dogma (that nucleic acid sequences determine protein sequences, not vice versa).
The concept seems to break down the barriers between what we would call animate and inanimate .. you kinda gotta read the whole thing ..
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  #17  
Old 3rd June 2010, 05:05 PM
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Default Re: Is the universe a living thing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kookaburra Jack View Post
I asked a question. Whether more beautiful things beyond our ability to conceive exist in this universe, and that science is the vessel to that discovery, is another question.
All things are part of something greater. That is one of languages systems for labelling. The knife is a part of cutlery, the cutlery belongs in the kitchen, the kitchen is a room in the house, the house is part of a street etc.

The word Universe is the ultimate embracement of everything in it. Therefore as there is life in the Universe, the Universe is alive. I am alive, although my hair, nails and shit et al are not. So having dead stuff in it doesn't preclude calling the universe alive.

that probably leads to some kinda supplementary question along the lines of 'does the Universe have a combined consciousness'?

Science, the best vehicle we have for ascertaining the probable truth of our environment, cannot answer anything with absolute certainty. All it can offer is proof that it is reasonable to believe a thing. If science cannot prove a thing to be useful to believe in, then it's not useful to believe it.

If you think the Universe might have a mind of its own, that's a hypothesis. If you want to verify that, it will be neccessary to do so through experimentation. Good luck with that
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  #18  
Old 3rd June 2010, 05:18 PM
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Default Re: Is the universe a living thing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GodwinGrey View Post
All things are part of something greater. That is one of languages systems for labelling. The knife is a part of cutlery, the cutlery belongs in the kitchen, the kitchen is a room in the house, the house is part of a street etc.

The word Universe is the ultimate embracement of everything in it. Therefore as there is life in the Universe, the Universe is alive. I am alive, although my hair, nails and shit et al are not. So having dead stuff in it doesn't preclude calling the universe alive.

that probably leads to some kinda supplementary question along the lines of 'does the Universe have a combined consciousness'?

Science, the best vehicle we have for ascertaining the probable truth of our environment, cannot answer anything with absolute certainty. All it can offer is proof that it is reasonable to believe a thing. If science cannot prove a thing to be useful to believe in, then it's not useful to believe it.

If you think the Universe might have a mind of its own, that's a hypothesis. If you want to verify that, it will be neccessary to do so through experimentation. Good luck with that
I very much agree with this, I just want to expand upon the idea of mind and consciousness for an object to have that it needs this:
Feelings, thoughts, memory, volition, awareness and self-awareness if you can prove that the universe has that well done.

Assuming that you do, well, does that make you a theist, if you call it god and worship it and claims it has power over you life, then yes.
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  #19  
Old 3rd June 2010, 05:55 PM
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Default Re: Is the universe a living thing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GodwinGrey View Post
The word Universe is the ultimate embracement of everything in it. Therefore as there is life in the Universe, the Universe is alive. I am alive, although my hair, nails and shit et al are not. So having dead stuff in it doesn't preclude calling the universe alive.
I disagree. This is akin to claiming that a set must have a certain property because there is a subset within that has that property. The set might have that property, but it is not contingent upon the properties of the subset.

Additionally, you use yourself (as you are composed of both living and non-living components) as an analogy to explain why "dead stuff doesn't preclude calling the universe alive". This is true, but it is also true that having living components doesn't preclude calling the universe dead.

If we use a similar example of soil (which, like you, has both living and non-living components) we can see that the components actually have nothing at all to do with how we would define soil as being living or non-living. Soil, yourself, and the universe can only be defined as living or non-living by looking at whether or not each one has the properties associated with being living. Having living components has no relation to whether or not the object in question is actually alive.
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  #20  
Old 3rd June 2010, 06:09 PM
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Default Re: Is the universe a living thing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kookaburra Jack View Post
If I were to believe that the universe is a living thing would that make me an atheist or a theist or something else entirely?


Sounds like a form of deism but as others have said, depends on what you mean by living.
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