"The universe could so easily have remained lifeless and simple -just physics and chemistry, just the scattered dust of the cosmic explosion that gave birth to time and space. The fact that it did not -the fact that life evolved out of literally nothing, some 10 billion years after the universe evolved literally out of nothing -is a fact so staggering that I would be mad to attempt words to do it justice. And even that is not the end of the matter. Not only did evolution happen: it eventually led to beings capable of comprehending the process by which they comprehend it."
Steven Dick, NASA's chief historian and former astronomer of the United States Naval Observatory, has a vastly different view of the emergence of life in the universe: to Dick the emergence of life and the evolution of intelligence is literally pre-programmed by the laws and constants of physics, which function similar to cosmic DNA.
The emergence of life and intelligence, according to Dick, was coded into the cosmic playbook from the first moment of the Big Bang. Intelligent life is destined to eventually dominate the cosmos and ultimately to serve as the instrument of cosmic replication.
In his famous essay, and our World View at the Turn of the Millennium, Dick argues that at the dawn of the 21st century calls for us to take into account the Copernican principle that life on earth and humanity is in no way physically central in the universe: "we are located on a small planet around a star on the outskirts of the Milky Way galaxy."
The first concept, the question of life beyond our home planet, Dick explained in his essay, has exercised human imagination, and has stirred irrational fears, since the ancient Greeks, fears that in large part were responsible for the death more than 400 years ago, on February 17, 1600, when Giordano Bruno was summoned from his Inquisition prison cell in Castel S'ant Angelo across the Tiber from the Vatican, marched to the Campo dei Fiori, and burned at the stake in large part for his belief in an infinite number of inhabited worlds. So anathema, Dick writes, was the subject of other worlds that even historians of science avoided it until the 1970s.
This worldview of the cosmos as a biological universe is a revolutionary perspective as profound a revision in our way of think as the Copernican and Darwinian revolutions. It is a worldview that believes that "planetary systems are common, that life originates wherever conditions are favorable, and that evolution culminates with intelligence."
The Noble Laureate, Christian de Duve, describes the biological cosmos as: "The universe is not the inert cosmos of the physicists, with a little life added for good measure. The universe is life, with the necessary infrastructure around; it consists foremost of trillions of s generated and sustained by the rest of the universe."
Posted by Casey Kazan