Main Question or Discussion Point
Another quote:The Selfish Biocosm hypothesis
The essence of the Selfish Biocosm hypothesis is that the universe we inhabit is in the process of becoming pervaded with increasingly intelligent life—but not necessarily human or even human-successor life. Under the theory, the emergence of life and increasingly competent intelligence are not meaningless accidents in a hostile, largely lifeless cosmos but at the very heart of the vast machinery of creation, cosmological evolution, and cosmic replication. However, the theory does not require or even suggest that the life and intelligence that emerge be human or human-successor in nature.
The hypothesis simply asserts that the peculiarly life-friendly laws and constants that prevail in our universe serve a function precisely equivalent to that of DNA in living creatures on Earth, providing a recipe for development and a blueprint for the construction of offspring.
Finally, the hypothesis implies that the capacity for the universe to generate life and to evolve ever more capable intelligence is encoded as a hidden subtext to the basic laws and constants of nature, stitched like the finest embroidery into the very fabric of our universe. A corollary—and a key falsifiable implication of the Selfish Biocosm theory—is that we are likely not alone in the universe but are probably part of a vast, yet undiscovered transterrestrial community of lives and intelligences spread across billions of galaxies and countless parsecs. Under the theory, we share a possible common fate with that hypothesized community—to help shape the future of the universe and transform it from a collection of lifeless atoms into a vast, transcendent mind.
The inescapable implication of the Selfish Biocosm hypothesis is that the immense saga of biological evolution on Earth is one tiny chapter in an ageless tale of the struggle of the creative force of life against the disintegrative acid of entropy, of emergent order against encroaching chaos, and ultimately of the heroic power of mind against the brute intransigence of lifeless matter.
Complete rubbish or a brilliant insight into the workings of the universe?The conventional wisdom among evolutionary theorists, typified by the thinking of the late Stephen Jay Gould, is that the abstract probability of the emergence of anything like human intelligence through the natural process of biological evolution was vanishingly small. According to this viewpoint, the emergence of human-level intelligence was a staggeringly improbable contingent event. A few distinguished contrarians like Simon Conway Morris, Robert Wright, E. O. Wilson, and Christian de Duve take an opposing position, arguing on the basis of the pervasive phenomenon of convergent evolution and other evidence that the appearance of human-level intelligence was highly probable, if not virtually inevitable. The latter position is consistent with the Selfish Biocosm hypothesis while the Gould position is not.
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