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Tue Feb 13, 2018, 10:14 PM

Is the Universe a conscious mind?

Cosmopsychism might seem crazy, but it provides a robust explanatory model for how the Universe became fine-tuned for life

Edited by Nigel Warburton


In the past 40 or so years, a strange fact about our Universe gradually made itself known to scientists: the laws of physics, and the initial conditions of our Universe, are fine-tuned for the possibility of life. It turns out that, for life to be possible, the numbers in basic physics for example, the strength of gravity, or the mass of the electron must have values falling in a certain range. And that range is an incredibly narrow slice of all the possible values those numbers can have. It is therefore incredibly unlikely that a universe like ours would have the kind of numbers compatible with the existence of life. But, against all the odds, our Universe does.

Here are a few of examples of this fine-tuning for life:

  • The strong nuclear force (the force that binds together the elements in the nucleus of an atom) has a value of 0.007. If that value had been 0.006 or less, the Universe would have contained nothing but hydrogen. If it had been 0.008 or higher, the hydrogen would have fused to make heavier elements. In either case, any kind of chemical complexity would have been physically impossible. And without chemical complexity there can be no life.

  • The physical possibility of chemical complexity is also dependent on the masses of the basic components of matter: electrons and quarks. If the mass of a down quark had been greater by a factor of 3, the Universe would have contained only hydrogen. If the mass of an electron had been greater by a factor of 2.5, the Universe would have contained only neutrons: no atoms at all, and certainly no chemical reactions.

  • Gravity seems a momentous force but it is actually much weaker than the other forces that affect atoms, by about 1036. If gravity had been only slightly stronger, stars would have formed from smaller amounts of material, and consequently would have been smaller, with much shorter lives. A typical sun would have lasted around 10,000 years rather than 10 billion years, not allowing enough time for the evolutionary processes that produce complex life. Conversely, if gravity had been only slightly weaker, stars would have been much colder and hence would not have exploded into supernovae. This also would have rendered life impossible, as supernovae are the main source of many of the heavy elements that form the ingredients of life.

  • More:
    https://aeon.co/essays/cosmopsychism-explains-why-the-universe-is-fine-tuned-for-life

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    Reply Is the Universe a conscious mind? (Original post)
    Judi Lynn Feb 13 OP
    thbobby Feb 13 #1
    OhNo-Really Feb 14 #4
    Binkie The Clown Feb 13 #2
    dweller Feb 13 #3
    OhNo-Really Feb 14 #5
    Kablooie Feb 14 #6
    byronius Feb 14 #7
    hunter Feb 14 #8
    cstanleytech Feb 16 #9

    Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

    Tue Feb 13, 2018, 10:33 PM

    1. Am I atheist or agnostic?

    The idea of the universe being conscious is doubtful to me.

    But, the idea of an all-powerful loving God is also doubtful.

    I sometimes lean agnostic as the universe does seem fine-tuned to allow life to form - perhaps a God did design it. Is the idea of God more doubtful than a conscious universe? Are both they same idea? With my low IQ, I just do not have the mental prowess to decide.

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    Response to thbobby (Reply #1)

    Wed Feb 14, 2018, 12:51 AM

    4. Neuro Science is proving a thread of energy/light/intelligence permeates all

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    Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

    Tue Feb 13, 2018, 10:53 PM

    2. Definitely a fun idea to toy with.

    I suppose it's possible, and wouldn't that be a hoot if it were?

    As an atheist I have no belief in god or gods of any kind, but I also have no belief in the non-existence of any kind of god or gods, so I'm open to science-based possibilities like this one.


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    Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

    Tue Feb 13, 2018, 11:57 PM

    3. enlightening essay

    bookmarking for further study... but was happy to read this...
    "Life is something of great objective value; God in Her goodness wanted to bring about this great value, and hence created laws with constants compatible with its physical possibility"

    👍🏻
    ✌🏼
    🙏🏻

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    Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

    Wed Feb 14, 2018, 01:02 AM

    5. Science and Meditation/metaphysics

    The Science Behind Meditation

    "Scientific study of meditation has exploded in the last two decades. Not only has there been study after study of the health and wellbeing benefits of meditation but there is now also a much deeper understanding of what actually happens physiologically, neurologically, metabolically, genetically, energetically, and quantum physically.

    There is now ample scientific evidence that regular meditation significantly affects you through:

    Physiology: Transforms our entire body chemistry cellularly and systemically

    Neuroplasticity: Restructures and rewires the brain

    Epigenetics: Activates positive genes and deactivates negative genes.

    Science is now also able to confirm the reality of the more subtle experiences of your meditation:

    Quantum neuroscience: Explains how meditation creates neurological connections to quantum reality

    String theory: Provides the scientific foundation of a high-frequency, circumambient reality that interpenetrates our physical world and body

    Entanglement: Reveals the bridge between Intelligent life force and the physical body

    The Holographic Principle: Forms the paradigm that we are continuously creating our bodies, even small changes in consciousness instantly manifest physical changes"

    https://www.onlinewithananda.org/shop/live-events/the-science-behind-meditation/

    The long-term benefits of meditation and living meditatively are too many to chronicle.

    My personal favorite benefit is intuition.

    The short-term benefits are stress reduction and joy.

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    Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

    Wed Feb 14, 2018, 01:51 AM

    6. Also the total universe may be 10,000 times bigger than what's observable

    And even within the observable universe we know that about 95% of what's out there we can't see and know nothing about. Visible matter is only about 5%. The rest is dark matter and dark energy. We know it's there because of its effects on the part we can see.

    With all these unknown elements the total universe could be almost anything. Maybe it is sentient.

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    Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

    Wed Feb 14, 2018, 03:04 AM

    7. Laurence Krauss wrote about this; he suggested a different notion --

    That our universe is a breathtakingly rare universe among nearly infinite numbers of other universes where the laws of physics were different and life therefore did not develop.

    The implication is that we've evolved to perceive our special status only because we can, because the conditions support it.

    Still, I appreciate this different take. Thought-provoking.

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    Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

    Wed Feb 14, 2018, 01:08 PM

    8. No, it is not. Next question...

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    Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

    Fri Feb 16, 2018, 05:12 PM

    9. If the current universe is just one of many prior ones

    (not to mention an infinite amount of other ones currently existing at the same time) then it only stands to reason that at least one of those universes would have the varies laws of physics that we currently have thus no need for any conscious mind to be behind it or involved with it.

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