4. The basic matter of the world is neutral with regard to value. Matter is inert. The universe is made of inert material which blindly follows laws of combination and transformation.

Even the enormous changes in physics which have taken place during the 20th century, have not fundamentally changed this view. In the 19th century physicists thought that the world was made of little atoms, like billiard balls, moving and rearranging themselves on the billiard table of space. Today, we have a conception of ultimate matter which is vastly more interesting, where particles are more like whirlpools of energy, wavelike in character, and where the process of combination and destruction, more resembles some beautiful dance.

However, the physicist’s idea that this matter of energy is essentially lifeless, and moves blindly according to the laws of its process, has not changed. […] The matter, or energy, is still conceived as essentially machine-like, following certain rules, blindly buffeting, pushing, changing, fascinating, capable of amazing surprises and great combinations, but still, nevertheless, at bottom a machine made of inert parts dancing neutrally according to the rules. […] And it should be said, too, that recent developments in complexity theory, for all their ability to simulate complex life-like systems, also remain machine-like in their ultimate character. They illustrate the advances made in our understanding of complexity, and our ability to define machines (models) which create life-like structures. But our cosmology itself, the machine-like picture of space, substance, and process, remains unaltered by these developments.

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