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Thread: Do you believe that the universe is conscious of itself ?

  1. #1 Do you believe that the universe is conscious of itself ? 
    Forum Professor leohopkins's Avatar
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    Do you believe that the universe is conscious of itself ?


    The hand of time rested on the half-hour mark, and all along that old front line of the English there came a whistling and a crying. The men of the first wave climbed up the parapets, in tumult, darkness, and the presence of death, and having done with all pleasant things, advanced across No Man's Land to begin the Battle of the Somme. - Poet John Masefield.

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    Ditto.
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    Quote Originally Posted by leohopkins View Post
    Do you believe that the universe is conscious of itself ?
    We exist, don't we? Yes.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
    "All people know the same truth. Our lives consist of how we chose to distort it." - Harry Block
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  6. #5  
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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by leohopkins View Post
    Do you believe that the universe is conscious of itself ?
    We exist, don't we? Yes.
    Thank you Kalster !! Absolutely, correct. We are part of the universe and not separate from it and the atoms within the universe that make us also make our consciousness, so the universe is absolutely conscious of itself. The problems and flaws in "God" or "Creator" theories exists only when you think of "God" as a being separate from universe. So, lets forget for a moment about all of the religious texts and varying mainstream beliefs and instead ask ourselves, what do they all agree on? They agree the following: 1. God is eternal 2. God created the universe 2. God is everywhere 3. God sees everything. 4. God is all powerful. Look at this from another angle 1. The universe/multiverse is eternal 2. The universe created itself 3.The universe is everywhere 4.and so obviously 'sees everything'. And we have proven that through us, at least the universe is conscious of itself. Therefore, one could say with ease that the universe or multiverse fits very nicely into the category of what is described as "God".
    Last edited by leohopkins; January 19th, 2013 at 05:07 AM.
    The hand of time rested on the half-hour mark, and all along that old front line of the English there came a whistling and a crying. The men of the first wave climbed up the parapets, in tumult, darkness, and the presence of death, and having done with all pleasant things, advanced across No Man's Land to begin the Battle of the Somme. - Poet John Masefield.

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    Since we are a (vanishingly) small part of the universe how can you claim (or even think) that THE UNIVERSE is aware of ITSELF?
    The (unspecified) microbe on my foot (I'm assuming there is one - now I'll have go bathe!) is a larger portion of me (by orders of magnitude) than we are of even the observable universe.
    I consider it hubristic in the extreme to think that the universe even notices (forgive the pathetic fallacy) we're here.
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  8. #7  
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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by leohopkins View Post
    Do you believe that the universe is conscious of itself ?
    We exist, don't we? Yes.
    Disappointed.
    ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat
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  9. #8  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Since we are a (vanishingly) small part of the universe how can you claim (or even think) that THE UNIVERSE is aware of ITSELF?
    The (unspecified) microbe on my foot (I'm assuming there is one - now I'll have go bathe!) is a larger portion of me (by orders of magnitude) than we are of even the observable universe.
    I consider it hubristic in the extreme to think that the universe even notices (forgive the pathetic fallacy) we're here.
    I will answer this Dywyddyr but first I must ask you a question. Would you say that you are conscious of yourself?
    The hand of time rested on the half-hour mark, and all along that old front line of the English there came a whistling and a crying. The men of the first wave climbed up the parapets, in tumult, darkness, and the presence of death, and having done with all pleasant things, advanced across No Man's Land to begin the Battle of the Somme. - Poet John Masefield.

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  10. #9  
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    Quote Originally Posted by leohopkins View Post
    Would you say that you are conscious of yourself?
    Absolutely.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Since we are a (vanishingly) small part of the universe how can you claim (or even think) that THE UNIVERSE is aware of ITSELF?
    The (unspecified) microbe on my foot (I'm assuming there is one - now I'll have go bathe!) is a larger portion of me (by orders of magnitude) than we are of even the observable universe.
    I consider it hubristic in the extreme to think that the universe even notices (forgive the pathetic fallacy) we're here.
    Well, I am thinking about what is meant by the term Universe in this context, i.e. is the question if the whole structure of the universe works together to be self aware, or should it be seen as analogous to how your brain is aware of the whole you as an organ of that body? With the latter, I'd have to conclude that it is aware of itself, no matter how small a part life turns out to be of it. If you say we are too insignificant, where do you draw the line?
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

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    Ok, so I'm God.
    Cool.

    It's about time I got a little respect around here.
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  13. #12  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by leohopkins View Post
    Do you believe that the universe is conscious of itself ?
    We exist, don't we? Yes.
    Disappointed.
    I did qualify my statement in a subsequent post. I think I would agree with your answer (no, I presume) given for the way you interpreted the question.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
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  14. #13  
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    Can the universe fall in love and get married?
    Can the universe run 100m in under 10s?
    Does the universe sit around drinking beer and watching day-time TV?

    Yes!
    ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Can the universe fall in love and get married?
    Can the universe run 100m in under 10s?
    Does the universe sit around drinking beer and watching day-time TV?

    Yes!
    We are not separate from the Universe, but we are not the entirety of the Universe, either.
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  16. #15  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by leohopkins View Post
    Would you say that you are conscious of yourself?
    Absolutely.
    Then perhaps you could see your own contradiction if I were to now say "How can you say that you are conscious of yourself, I bet your foot, or your arms, or the hair on top of your head does not even know you are there." They are part of you, but they have no consciousness, your brain is the only organ in your body which creates consciousness. Now let's define consciousness for what it is: It is created by nothing more than electro-chemical reactions and particle exchanges within the clump of matter we call out brains.
    The hand of time rested on the half-hour mark, and all along that old front line of the English there came a whistling and a crying. The men of the first wave climbed up the parapets, in tumult, darkness, and the presence of death, and having done with all pleasant things, advanced across No Man's Land to begin the Battle of the Somme. - Poet John Masefield.

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  17. #16  
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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER View Post
    I did qualify my statement in a subsequent post. I think I would agree with your answer (no, I presume) given for the way you interpreted the question.
    Your answer would have been a perfectly reasonable answer to the question "Are parts of the universe conscious of it?"

    But to argue that the universe is conscious or has 11 fingers because we are/do is just silly.
    ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat
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  18. #17  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neverfly View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Can the universe fall in love and get married?
    Can the universe run 100m in under 10s?
    Does the universe sit around drinking beer and watching day-time TV?

    Yes!
    We are not separate from the Universe, but we are not the entirety of the Universe, either.
    Nor are our brains the entirety of our bodies.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
    "All people know the same truth. Our lives consist of how we chose to distort it." - Harry Block
    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    or has 11 fingers because we are/do is just silly.
    You, too? I thought I was the only one...
    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER View Post
    Nor is are our brains the entirety of our bodies.
    Eh... close enough.
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  20. #19  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neverfly View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Can the universe fall in love and get married?
    Can the universe run 100m in under 10s?
    Does the universe sit around drinking beer and watching day-time TV?

    Yes!
    We are not separate from the Universe, but we are not the entirety of the Universe, either.
    Neither is our brain the entirety of our body. but we need the entirety of our body (and the entirety of the universe.) in order for our consciousness to exist.
    The hand of time rested on the half-hour mark, and all along that old front line of the English there came a whistling and a crying. The men of the first wave climbed up the parapets, in tumult, darkness, and the presence of death, and having done with all pleasant things, advanced across No Man's Land to begin the Battle of the Somme. - Poet John Masefield.

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  21. #20  
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    Quote Originally Posted by leohopkins View Post
    Now let's define consciousness for what it is: It is created by nothing more than electro-chemical reactions and particle exchanges within the clump of matter we call out brains.
    So you isolate consciousness to single part of the human body (accurately or not, we don't know) but at the same time you want to extend it to the entire universe? Our hair isn't conscious? Our entire body isn't conscious? But the universe is?
    ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat
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  22. #21  
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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER View Post
    Well, I am thinking about what is meant by the term Universe in this context, i.e. is the question if the whole structure of the universe works together to be self aware, or should it be seen as analogous to how your brain is aware of the whole you as an organ of that body? With the latter, I'd have to conclude that it is aware of itself, no matter how small a part life turns out to be of it. If you say we are too insignificant, where do you draw the line?
    I don't agree with either view.
    I am aware of my body (in my brain/ mind/ whatever) because I have sensory organs that inform me of what that body is doing and how its behaving/ reacting and can use that awareness to adjust/ adapt.

    Wiki says Awareness is the state or ability to perceive, to feel, or to be conscious of events, objects, or sensory patterns. (Okay, I doubt we'll come up a fully satisfactory agreement on what exactly "awareness" means in this thread, but this'll do to start).
    The universe is, according some posters here, aware of objects/ events etc.To what extent? And to what extent does our awareness of the universe feed back to the universe as a whole and inform the universe? What "use" is my awareness to the nearest rock, let alone something so vast I can't actually imagine (let alone understand) how big it really is?
    Even as a sensory organ for the universe we're too small to be significant, let alone a mind/ awareness system.
    If you're claiming that WE make the universe aware then you might as well claim that it also breathes and talks.
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  23. #22  
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    Quote Originally Posted by leohopkins View Post
    Then perhaps you could see your own contradiction if I were to now say "How can you say that you are conscious of yourself, I bet your foot, or your arms, or the hair on top of your head does not even know you are there." They are part of you, but they have no consciousness, your brain is the only organ in your body which creates consciousness. Now let's define consciousness for what it is: It is created by nothing more than electro-chemical reactions and particle exchanges within the clump of matter we call out brains.
    Already covered: there's a feedback - a sensory system - from my foot etc to my brain.
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  24. #23  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by leohopkins View Post
    Now let's define consciousness for what it is: It is created by nothing more than electro-chemical reactions and particle exchanges within the clump of matter we call out brains.
    So you isolate consciousness to single part of the human body (accurately or not, we don't know) but at the same time you want to extend it to the entire universe? Our hair isn't conscious? Our entire body isn't conscious? But the universe is?
    Are humans conscious? Yes, with the brain being the seat of that consciousness. Why not extend the same qualitative concept of consciousness to the universe?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER View Post
    Well, I am thinking about what is meant by the term Universe in this context, i.e. is the question if the whole structure of the universe works together to be self aware, or should it be seen as analogous to how your brain is aware of the whole you as an organ of that body? With the latter, I'd have to conclude that it is aware of itself, no matter how small a part life turns out to be of it. If you say we are too insignificant, where do you draw the line?
    I don't agree with either view.
    I am aware of my body (in my brain/ mind/ whatever) because I have sensory organs that inform me of what that body is doing and how its behaving/ reacting and can use that awareness to adjust/ adapt.
    Do quadriplegics possess consciousness?
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

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    It's a point. I could also argue that we're neither alive, nor aware. Just very complex and programmed in a very complicated way.
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  26. #25  
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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    Do quadriplegics possess consciousness?
    Do quadriplegics have a sensory system?
    Regardless of whether anyone actually has a foot/ limbs or not their awareness extends to their entire body. And is informed by that body.
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  27. #26  
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    Quote Originally Posted by leohopkins View Post
    Neither is our brain the entirety of our body. but we need the entirety of our body (and the entirety of the universe.) in order for our consciousness to exist.
    Flu viruses need our entire bodies to survive. Does that mean that when I have flu I am a pathogen that has killed billions?
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  28. #27  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Wiki says Awareness is the state or ability to perceive, to feel, or to be conscious of events, objects, or sensory patterns. (Okay, I doubt we'll come up a fully satisfactory agreement on what exactly "awareness" means in this thread, but this'll do to start).
    I agree that an argument could be made that the universe is "aware" (given a suitable definition of what that means). But the question said conscious. It is even less clear what that means.

    Even if one argues that the universe is aware, what is the point? Apart from some "clever" word play with the definition of aware? It doesn't mean we are going to start a conversation with the universe. (Unless you think scientific research is a conversation, I suppose. More word play.)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    Do quadriplegics possess consciousness?
    Do quadriplegics have a sensory system?
    Regardless of whether anyone actually has a foot/ limbs or not their awareness extends to their entire body. And is informed by that body.
    Every bit of the universe is connected to every other bit, no? Gravity has infinite reach.

    Quote Originally Posted by Strange
    Flu viruses need our entire bodies to survive. Does that mean that when I have flu I am a pathogen that has killed billions?
    That is like saying the universe is a primate that lives on planet earth, which is absurd.
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  30. #29  
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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER View Post
    Every bit of the universe is connected to every other bit, no? Gravity has infinite reach.
    Can you signal with it?
    If we're the "seat of awareness" for the universe what information are we getting from gravity?
    Conversely, if we're not the seat (e.g. the "awareness" of the universe is somewhere else) what information are we sending it? Gravitationally or otherwise?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    I am aware of my body (in my brain/ mind/ whatever) because I have sensory organs that inform me of what that body is doing and how its behaving/ reacting and can use that awareness to adjust/ adapt.
    Was that your left frontal lobe or right occipital lobe posting that message?
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  32. #31  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Was that your left frontal lobe or right occipital lobe posting that message?
    Fingers.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    I agree that an argument could be made that the universe is "aware" (given a suitable definition of what that means). But the question said conscious. It is even less clear what that means.

    Even if one argues that the universe is aware, what is the point? Apart from some "clever" word play with the definition of aware? It doesn't mean we are going to start a conversation with the universe. (Unless you think scientific research is a conversation, I suppose. More word play.)
    Auuugh! Major brain f*rt.
    For some reason I've been working along the lines of "aware" rather than "conscious". (Tell me no one noticed).
    In which case I'm even more opposed to the concept.
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    thing.jpgIt's alive!
    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Was that your left frontal lobe or right occipital lobe posting that message?
    Fingers.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER View Post
    Every bit of the universe is connected to every other bit, no? Gravity has infinite reach.
    Can you signal with it?
    If we're the "seat of awareness" for the universe what information are we getting from gravity?
    Conversely, if we're not the seat (e.g. the "awareness" of the universe is somewhere else) what information are we sending it? Gravitationally or otherwise?
    You could signal in theory, if you had a powerful enough detector, though there are bits the signal would never reach due to expansion. How about sectors of the universe that are causally connected with a living consciousness at the centre being conscious then?

    Anyway, I am not aware of a prerequisite for consciousness to be part of a functioning body, apart from the bit of mechanism responsible for consciousness. All I am saying is that the consciousness in our brains and our convention of calling "us" conscious beings, is directly analogous to our consciousnesses rendering the "universe" conscious. Our bodies and the universe are both attached to a consciousness through mechanistic means.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

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  36. #35  
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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER View Post
    You could signal in theory, if you had a powerful enough detector
    In other words (at this present time(: no.

    How about sectors of the universe that are causally connected with a living consciousness at the centre being conscious then?
    Meh, again, even causally connected what effect does our consciousness have on anything?

    Our bodies and the universe are both attached to a consciousness through mechanistic means.
    Well, the Universe (as a whole) is "connected" to our consciousness in that we're a part of it, but what help is that? How does our consciousness affect even the parts we see? Even the parts we can reach? We left a bit of junk on the Moon, we dropped some more on Mars, etc. What effect did that have on the universe? Do you think it "noticed"? At all?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by leohopkins View Post
    Neither is our brain the entirety of our body. but we need the entirety of our body (and the entirety of the universe.) in order for our consciousness to exist.
    Flu viruses need our entire bodies to survive. Does that mean that when I have flu I am a pathogen that has killed billions?
    Your statement bears no logic. We are discussing consciousness, not descriptive names.
    The hand of time rested on the half-hour mark, and all along that old front line of the English there came a whistling and a crying. The men of the first wave climbed up the parapets, in tumult, darkness, and the presence of death, and having done with all pleasant things, advanced across No Man's Land to begin the Battle of the Somme. - Poet John Masefield.

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    Forum Professor leohopkins's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER View Post
    You could signal in theory, if you had a powerful enough detector
    In other words (at this present time(: no.

    How about sectors of the universe that are causally connected with a living consciousness at the centre being conscious then?
    Meh, again, even causally connected what effect does our consciousness have on anything?

    Our bodies and the universe are both attached to a consciousness through mechanistic means.
    Well, the Universe (as a whole) is "connected" to our consciousness in that we're a part of it, but what help is that? How does our consciousness affect even the parts we see? Even the parts we can reach? We left a bit of junk on the Moon, we dropped some more on Mars, etc. What effect did that have on the universe? Do you think it "noticed"? At all?
    This all comes down to what you mean by 'noticed'. As we know consciousness arises from electro-chemical reactions and particle exchanges, so let's take things down to the most basic level of sub-atomic particles. Two electrons repel due to particle exchange, quarks bind to each other due to particle exchange. One might say then that an electron has a fundamental awareness that another electron is near-by and the effect of that awareness is the repulsion.
    The hand of time rested on the half-hour mark, and all along that old front line of the English there came a whistling and a crying. The men of the first wave climbed up the parapets, in tumult, darkness, and the presence of death, and having done with all pleasant things, advanced across No Man's Land to begin the Battle of the Somme. - Poet John Masefield.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Strange
    Flu viruses need our entire bodies to survive. Does that mean that when I have flu I am a pathogen that has killed billions?
    That is like saying the universe is a primate that lives on planet earth, which is absurd.
    Oh, didn't that analogy work? I was trying to say that if you can extend some property of humans to the universe, why not some property of the flu virus to the entire body. Silly but ....

    Quote Originally Posted by leohopkins View Post
    Your statement bears no logic. We are discussing consciousness, not descriptive names.
    If "consciousness" is not a descriptive name for something, then the discussion is even more pointless.
    ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat
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    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by leohopkins View Post
    This all comes down to what you mean by 'noticed'. As we know consciousness arises from electro-chemical reactions and particle exchanges, so let's take things down to the most basic level of sub-atomic particles. Two electrons repel due to particle exchange, quarks bind to each other due to particle exchange. One might say then that an electron has a fundamental awareness that another electron is near-by and the effect of that awareness is the repulsion.
    Agreed. But, as previously asked: what actual effect would we have? Are we large enough to be worthwhile as a sensory system?
    What "use" as the universe's consciousness are we? Given the time scales we could well be here and gone altogether before any information passes to... just about anywhere really.
    I think to claim us as the consciousness of the universe you'd also have to posit some sort of much faster communication, so that we are actually useful, or go the other way and declare that consciousness in and of itself is essentially pointless - no worth whatsoever.
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    Your body hosts the flu virus, and it may use your body (by inducing coughing or sneezing) to spread itself to other people, so in this sense, yes your body does play a role in 'killing billions' as both the pathogen and your body are part of the same system. Just as all matter is part of the same system. It is ripples in the pond isn't it though...because the further away you move from the effect that your consciousness has had on the universe, the less effect it has on the universe as a whole, however the effect, however small or immeasurable by humans, will never be zero.
    The hand of time rested on the half-hour mark, and all along that old front line of the English there came a whistling and a crying. The men of the first wave climbed up the parapets, in tumult, darkness, and the presence of death, and having done with all pleasant things, advanced across No Man's Land to begin the Battle of the Somme. - Poet John Masefield.

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    Part of the universe is conscious as Kalster said, amazing that consciousness was created from a certain amount of matter, and that if configured correctly can create amazing wonders. I wonder, what else is out there we have yet to discover. Can we please get off this rock and go into space yet?
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    The original question was poorly phrased, hence the subsequent discussions are essentially misunderstandings of semantics.

    I voted Yes, for the reason noted by Kalster. The most remarkable fact I am aware of, after the fact that the universe exists, is that the universe though us - at least - is aware of itself. If one is not blown away by that observation then one has failed to think about it properly, or - perhaps - you are not yourself actually conscious.
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    The original question was poorly phrased, hence the subsequent discussions are essentially misunderstandings of semantics.
    Agreed. It is fairly meaningless, like those "does a tree fall" questions.

    The most remarkable fact I am aware of, after the fact that the universe exists, is that the universe though us - at least - is aware of itself.
    Synecdoche is a rhetorical device, not a definition of reality. Although, perhaps the reason that metonymy in general works so well is that it reflects some underlying structure in the way we think. This might explain why some people think that "yes" is a reasonable answer; perhaps they have more "metonymic" (imaginative) brains than us poor linear thinkers.

    If one is not blown away by that observation then one has failed to think about it properly, or - perhaps - you are not yourself actually conscious.
    I'm not sure what that has to do with the truth or otherwise of the proposition. (Yes, the fact that consciousness was able to evolve is amazing. Even if it is rather a tedious truism to say so. )
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    if you say that universe is conscious of itself then you must mean that its conscious through us, but thats it.
    If an asteroid hits in a few years and kills all life ( or most of it ) the universe has lost its mind
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    so the question becomes if the human race were to destroy itself, would the universe create another species that would be capable of examining the universe?(why am i thinking of carl sagan?..lol)

    science is on the way to answering that question..
    they are currently finding planets all over the place..some even in the goldilocks zone..

    its a matter of time before they find one that has vegatation on it..

    the question becomes whether there is more than one inteligent species living in the universe at the same time as us..
    iow they may not find intelligent life on another planet, but would they be able to ascertain whether there was inteligent life on another planet at some time in its history..
    The term 'Free' in Free thinking, does not imply control....
    Intelligence is being able to entertain a thought without accepting it.
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