reply to post by PhotonEffect
I was on that 'intelligent first cause' thread, too. I have to say I didn't find any of the arguments for or against the proposition at all
compelling; it is impossible logically to prove or disprove a first cause.
Your present thread is more interesting, because there are some senses in which your hypothesis is true and some in which it is false – and the two
do not cancel each other out.
Yes, the universe is intelligent and conscious, because we are in it, and we are intelligent and conscious. As you correctly point out, we are the
universe looking back at itself and thinking about itself. To paraphrase
, the worm really is the apple, because ultimately it is made of
the apple it is eating.
But while that is true, it is also rather trivial. Clearly you have on your mind the more exciting possibility that the universe itself is a sort of
conscious, which has thoughts and perhaps acts on them too.
That idea, I'm afraid, runs into some prohibitive physics.The universe is expanding faster than the speed of light. A signal sent from any point
within it to another sufficiently distant point will never reach it. And even within the 'observable universe' (that is, the portion of the universe
from which light has had time to reach Earth since the Big Bang), it can take literally billions of years. That's a long time to take to complete a
So if the universe is intelligent and conscious, it's still in the process of having its very first thought. Meanwhile, all kinds of uncontrolled hell
is breaking loose and the universe can do nothing about it.
Some may argue that there was never any Big Bang, and the universe (conscious or not) has always been here. To them I say, look up into the sky. The
evidence for the Big Bang is in front of your eyes, plain as dirt.
Others may argue that the principle of nonlocality, derived from quantum mechanics, may make it possible for this vast universal intelligence to
communicate with itself. However, nonlocality does not allow for faster-than-light communication. Neither, I'm sorry to say, do the hypothetical
'wormholes' that space-opera writers sometimes rely on to get their heroes from Betelgeuse to Tau Ceti in a couple of days.
The idea that the material universe has intrinsic, pervasive consciousness is therefore untenable.
But 'intelligence' is a different matter. 'Intelligence' has many definitions. You could argue that if there are universal laws – that is, matter
and energy behave the same way throughout the universe – then those laws constitute a program for the universe to follow. Programs are not
intelligent but they are logical. The universe, therefore, acts in a logical way; randomness exists, but it is contained within a framework of rules.
You might say that the universe is working out logical problems, and is therefore some kind of computer. The results of these workings-out, that is to
say changes in the universe, are logical outcomes of the rules according to which the universe is run. You might call this a kind of intelligence; the
same rudimentary intelligence a thermostat has.
Isn't it curious that we exist at almost the perfect scale to be able to simultaneously observe the universe in both the macro/cosmological and
We don't, particularly. It just seems like that because we exist at the centre of our own perceptual spectrum – as any sensory system obviously
must. In fact, the scale of the universe is so wide that an intelligent atom or an intelligent star could make the same claim with as much justice as
any of us. Symptomoftheuniverse
pointed out that there are as many stars
in the universe as atoms in our bodies. I don't know if that's true, but even if it was, it wouldn't mean anything at all. It's just numbers. Not even
numbers, really, but orders of magnitude.
Isn't it also curious that it's in our nature (our DNA) to learn and explore as much as we possibly can about the universe;
Not really. Curiosity has proved its survival value in the evolutionary struggle. A few members of our species have ended up with more curiosity than
they strictly need for survival and reproduction, but genetic drift is more than enough to explain that.
I'm not just being dismissive. I'm trying to make a serious point. The idea that the universe as a whole is conscious arises, psychologically
speaking, out of the ancient superstition that we are at the centre of the cosmos, the most important thing in it. Copernicus quashed that
superstition five hundred years ago.
Star and flag, by the way, not for the topic but the way you presented and are dealing with it.
edit on 12/6/13 by Astyanax because: of typos.