Day 097 - Biophilic universes

Submitted by Sam on 26 August, 2011 - 01:44

It is almost tautologically obvious that the conditions of our universe are very finely tuned for life. The fundamental physical constants which underlie all of time and space are all very life-friendly, and if they happened to have slightly different values then they would fall outside of a remarkably narrow range which conspire to produce a universe conducive to life. The smallest difference in the electric charge of an electron, for instance, or the ratio between the masses of a proton and an electron, or the strength of the interactions between nucleons in an atom, would produce a radically different universe, with stars with drastically different physics, unable to produce the diversity of elements necessary for the building blocks of life, where the pathway to biological evolution would be forever blocked.

These facts have been compiled into the philosophical argument called the 'strong anthropic principle, which states that the universe must necessarily take on values consistent with the conditions necessary for life, otherwise there would be no intelligent observers to observe them. In an attempt to construct a plausible scientific reasoning for this effect, complexity theorist James Gardner has synthesized the startling 'selfish biocosm' hypothesis, an explanatory paradigm that accounts for the life-friendly qualities of the anthropic principle by placing the emergence of life and intelligence not as secondary and accidental adjuncts to the primary physical phenomena of the universe, but instead as crucial parts of creation itself.

In the selfish biocosm theory, the fundamental laws and constants of nature function to encode the emergence of life and intelligence at the most fundamental level, like cosmic-scale DNA. All physical laws are therefore a developmental code, providing a blueprint prescribing how the universe will grow and how it will produce life. In this scheme, life's developmental destiny is to evolve into high intelligences with a command over the physical laws of the universe themselves, able to engineer them to give birth to new, intelligent universes. The universe itself is a replicator, guided to spawning other universes with similar life-generating properties by the intelligent life it encodes. Through experimentation and engineering, intelligent life will create a directed universe-scale evolution where the laws and constants that are conducive to life are selected and optimized in each newly created universe. The universe creates life to spawn more universes to create more life.

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