Chapter 12: The Principle of Computational Equivalence

Section 12: Historical Perspectives

Universe as intelligent

Whether or not something like thinking can be attributed to the universe has long been discussed in philosophy and theology. Theism and the standard Western religions generally attribute thinking to a person-like God who governs the universe but is separate from it. Deism emphasizes that God can govern the universe only according to natural laws—but whether or not this involves thinking is unclear. Pantheism generally identifies the universe and God. In its typical religious form in Eastern metaphysics—as well as in philosophical idealism—the contents of the universe are identified quite directly with the thoughts of God. In scientific pantheism the abstract order of the universe is identified with God (often termed "Nature's God" or "Spinoza's God"), but whether this means that thinking is involved in the operation of the universe is not clear. (See also pages 822 and 1191.)

From Stephen Wolfram: A New Kind of Science [citation]