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Thread: Philosophical question to play with.

  1. #1

    Default Philosophical question to play with.

    Could the universe exist without life?

  2. #2

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    Yes and no... Depending on what you mean by "could".

    Really "could" implies that it was possible for the universe to be different to what it turned out to be. And it's easy to imagine that IF whatever chemical reactions and evolution hadn't occurred anywhere in the universe, THEN the universe would now exist without life.

    But, you could argue that, really, if it was possible for the universe to exist in a particular way, then that possibility would be realised. If the possibility isn't realised, then it must be because it couldn't happen. So the universe could only exist precisely as it does now. In which case, no, this universe couldn't exist without life because, if it did, it wouldn't be this universe (which we know contains life).

  3. #3

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    I think it's certainly a scientific possibility that the universe could've been created without life - indeed, there must have been a point in history in which there was a universe, but life was yet to evolve. In terms of the laws of physics, there's nothing that necessitates life to exist in order for the physical universe to exist.

    I think the more interesting question is this: if there was no life to perceive the universe in existence... Is it really there? Is there anything that exists beyond our own sensory perception of existence?
    Last edited by NikJ; 03-Mar-2013 at 18:25.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drifter View Post
    Could the universe exist without life?
    The universe existed for quite a long time- billions of years- before life. So, yes.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drifter View Post
    Could the universe exist without life?
    The stars like us

  6. #6

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    Unless you hold that life was created in the exact same instant the universe was (only possible by some divine event of creation), then it must hold true that there was a period of time where the universe existed and life had not yet developed - therefore the universe can exist without life.
    The more interesting question, which maybe you wanted to ask, is "Could a stable universe exist without life developing at some point within it?". That's a very good question, and the answer depends on what you categorise as life, a stable universe, etc. You'd have to set your conditions quite specifically. It also happens to be impossible to answer for reasons below.



    Quote Originally Posted by tiny View Post
    But, you could argue that, really, if it was possible for the universe to exist in a particular way, then that possibility would be realised. If the possibility isn't realised, then it must be because it couldn't happen. So the universe could only exist precisely as it does now. In which case, no, this universe couldn't exist without life because, if it did, it wouldn't be this universe (which we know contains life).
    The problem with this is the anthropic principle: We observe a universe that supports life, because if the universe didn't support life we as sentient beings could not exist to observe it. Therefore your argument falls down because if the universe could have existed without life, and indeed did at one point, we could never possibly know.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by WoodlandWanderer View Post
    The problem with this is the anthropic principle: We observe a universe that supports life, because if the universe didn't support life we as sentient beings could not exist to observe it. Therefore your argument falls down because if the universe could have existed without life, and indeed did at one point, we could never possibly know.
    I disagree :-) I was interpreting the question about "the universe" to refer to the whole of space-time. Even if the universe at one time did not support life, it's the same universe as the one we see now. So... if you could step outside of space-time to "observe" the universe, this universe will always be one that supports life (just not continuously throughout all of space-time).

  8. #8

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    Since I decided to just go with "Dear Baby Jesus" having existed before the world began, and presumptively by extension the universe , as my explanation, I don't waste too many brain cells sorting it out. But now; since Jesus is fully God and fully man, doesn't that actually mean that life existed before the universe? Maybe the universe can't exist without life!

  9. #9

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    It did and it may do so in the future, even if only for a fraction of a second. We serve no grand purpose to the universe as do all other organisms.

  10. #10

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    If the tree falls and nobody is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

    I think therefore I am. If I do not think, than I can not perceive or conceptualize anything. So while there may well be something out there, it means nothing to me.

    So while the universe can exist without life, only something that thinks can conceive and interpret something like a "universe". Thus the only way a universe could have meaning, would be through some form of intelligence, higher or lower.

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