....continued And how does this all happen? Surely not by pure chance, yet also not by divine command. Those are the 2 extremes that Hazen addressed in his lecture @ Carnegie Institute of Science. He proposes that "evolution" happens via a probabilistic mathematical function that depends on inherent potentials and things will eventually become expressed given sufficient time and necessary resources. (David Bohm's "enfolded order" becoming expressed in "unfolded reality") In this dynamic universe things happen stochastically but always via "mathematical physical permission". If something is not mathematically permitted it cannot happen. This is why I use the term "a quasi-intelligent universe". It is a state of proto-consciousness. IOW, consciousness is an evolved extension of a dynamic universe that follows generic mathematical "guiding principles" that begin at the very simplest cellular level. There it is! A nervous system is not a necessary requirement for intra-cellular and inter-cellular communication. Microtubules in the cellular cytoplasm do communicate all by themselves. Botanists call it "problem solving". Bacteriologists call it "quorum sensing" But that is a false equivalence. Plants may not be aware of the trail, but they are certainly aware of the "packed soil" on the trail and avoid trying to grow there unless the trail reverts to its original composition by weather conditions "over time". I agree with Tegmark that consciousness is an emergent result of certain information processing patterns. There is no law that says this pattern must be founded on biological substrate, but may well be possible by say a crystal substrate. p.s. Microtubules are biochemical crystals.