There are certain people who consider conscious beings or "life", however that is define, to be important in the sense that there is some form of intrinsic value in them or that they are axiomatically mandated for the functioning of the universe.
Notable examples include Alfred North Whitehead, possibly Julian Jaynes and some obscure Stefan Schindler.
My question is, what are some arguments, preferably those based on physical sciences, that suggest life and conscious existence to be more than a stable arrangement of particles not unlike rocks or stars?
When I talk about the relationship between science and values, I am looking for arguments that suggest some kind of objective sanctity in life or consciousness. For example, so likely misinterpreted "theories" of quantum mechanics treats conscious observers as having more physical effect on the universe than the amalgamation of flesh and blood they are. Whitehead seems to adopt some strain of such ideas, but his arguments are obscure and by no means exclusive, hence the question.