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III. Ecosmos: A Procreative Organic Habitable UniVerse

G. Anthropic, Biotropic, Earthropic Principles

Falk, Dan. The Anthropic Principle’s Surprising Resurgence. Sky & Telescope. March, 2004. Recent observational findings such as an infinitesimal but real value for the cosmological constant, a certain measure of what holds the universe together, are said to give credence to a finely-tuned cosmos suitable for life and inquisitive people.

Folger, Tim. A Universe Built for Us. Discover. December, 2008. As the latest visions of the Russian-American cosmologist Andrei Linde, who has for many years, (search herein), been trying to resolve our human presence with a seemingly dynamical, inflationary, fractal multiverse. In some salient way which we are not able to yet fathom, the universe, its physical laws, regnant life, and our consciousness ought to be an integrated, animate whole. On a personal note, I was privileged to be present in 1983 at the first public lecture that Linde gave at Harvard after he had arrived in the U. S. from the Lebedev Physical Institute in Moscow.

Physicists don’t like coincidences. They like even less the notion that life is somehow central to the universe, and yet recent discoveries are forcing them to confront that very idea. Life, it seems, is not an incidental component of the universe, burped up out of a random chemical brew on a lonely planet to endure for a few fleeting ticks of the cosmic clock. In some strange sense, it appears that we are not adapted to the universe; the universe is adapted to us. (54)

Goldsmith, Donald. The Best of All Possible Worlds. Natural History. July/August, 2004. A popular update which notes that just the right degree of ripple in the smooth distribution of matter after the big bang so that galaxies could form, along with a precise strong nuclear force, a critical resonate state in carbon atoms, and other certain parameters, make it possible for human beings to appear. Includes an exposition of a non-zero cosmological constant for an expanding universe and an infinite number of possible universes – the multiverse scenario – to explain these properties.

Hogan, Craig. Why the Universe Is Just So. Reviews of Modern Physics. 72/4, 2000. Although anthropic arguments are prone to circular “just so” versions, they still can be an important consideration for cosmological theory.

Holder, Rodney and Simon Mitton, eds.. Georges Lemaitre: Life, Science and Legacy. Berlin: Springer, 2013. The original contributions to cosmology by this French priest and astronomer (1894-1966) are being increasingly recognized for their vision and veracity. He was the first to propose an expanding universe, along with its Big Bang onset, known as his “hypothesis of the primeval atom.” With a Foreword by Martin Rees, and chapters such as “Multiverses, Science, and Ultimate Causation” by George Ellis, “Georges Lemaitre and Fred Hoyle,” Rodney Holder, “Multiple Reasons for a Multiverse” by Don Page, and “Lemaitre’s Prescience: The Beginning and End of the Cosmos” by Bernard Carr, the edition is a significant entry to the frontiers of cosmic philosophy and theology. In regard, even out of a seeming infinity of universes, an Anthropic creation made for people does not fade but become an even more reasonable possibility.

On the other hand, perhaps ET doesn’t exist. Earth’s intricate biosphere may be unique. That may be disappointing. But it would have its upside: it would entitle us to be less cosmically modest. Our tiny planet could then be the most important place in the Galaxy. It could perhaps even be a seed from which life could spread through the entire Galaxy. (Rees viii) Even in this concertinaed timeline – extending billions of years into the future, as well as into the past – this century may be a defining moment. It’s the first in our planet’s history where one species (ours) has Earth’s future in its hands, and could jeopardize life’s immense potential. This pale blue dot in the cosmos is a special place. It may be a unique place. And we’re its stewards at a specially crucial era. That’s a message for us all, whether we’re interested in astronomy or not. (Martin Rees viii-ix)

The apparent fine tuning of many of the constants of physics has been used as a design argument for the creation of the universe by an intelligent God. However, an alternative explanation is that there is a huge multiverse with very many different sets of constants of physics, and we are in one in which the constants have values that permit its being observed. Here I shall give several reasons for taking this possibility seriously. Even though multiverse hypotheses undercut one particular argument for design, I shall argue that they are consistent with theism and might be God’s preference for creation. (Don Page Abstract)

Jenkins, Alenandro and Gilad Perez. Looking for Life in the Multiverse. Scientific American. January, 2010. Physicists respectively at Florida State University and the Weizmann Institute for Science postulate that an alternative universe than our own, could emerge from the one, same “primordial vacuum” with optional parameters such as three fundamental forces than our four, and still conceivably harbor complex life forms. So they argue maybe this local cosmos is not as providentially “fined tuned” as has been thought. But as ever disregarding, not factoring in, the fantastic property of a human phenomenon by which to achieve its own self-observation and creation.

Kamenshchik, A. and O. Teryaev. Many-Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Theory, Mesoscopic Anthropic Principle and Biological Evolution. arXiv:1302.5545. Russian scientists consider more expansive views on the special presence of people by way of such subatomic and mesoscopic phenomena.

We suggest to combine the Anthropic Principle with the Many-Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Theory. Realizing the multiplicity of worlds it provides an opportunity of explanation of some important events which are assumed to be extremely improbable. The Mesoscopic Anthropic Principle suggested here is aimed to explain appearance of such events which are necessary for emergence of Life and Mind. It is complementary to the Cosmological Anthropic Principle explaining the fine tuning of fundamental constants. We briefly discuss various possible applications of the Mesoscopic Anthropic Principle including the Solar Eclipses and assembling of complex molecules. Besides, we address the problem of Time's Arrow in the framework of the Many-Worlds Interpretation. We suggest the recipe for disentangling of quantities defined by fundamental physical laws and by an anthropic selection. The main emphasis is made on the problem of the biological evolution. (Abstract)

Knobe, Joshua, et al. Philosophical Implications of Inflationary Cosmology. British Journal of the Philosophy of Science. 57/1, 2006. This paper is an example, it seems to me, of how physics today has become much caught in and driven by its own paradigm and arcane mathematics into netherlands disconnected from any reality. One wearies of reading about “universal doomsdays” because the vested material machine does not permit the very emergent beings who are capable altogether of such cognitive achievements.

Lee, Joohan, et al. Cosmological Coincidence without Fine Tuning. arXiv:1405.7681. The paper is posted in High Energy Physics, Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics, and General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology sections. As the Abstract notes, scientists from Korea and the US contend that precise conditions are not needed to explain a lively, user-friendly universe. One wonders why we human beings appear at a late time and are able to gain such knowledge. Rather than trying to limn a numerical signature, shouldn’t it be realized that peoples themselves are the finest anthropocosmic parameter of all?

We present a simple cosmological model in which a single, non-minimally coupled scalar field with a quartic potential and a non-canonical kinetic term is responsible for inflation at early times and acceleration at late times. No fine-tuning or unnaturally small parameters are needed to explain a current dark-energy of order 10^(-120) in Planck units. Dark energy in this theory originates in the potential energy of the scalar field, which is sourced by the appearance of non-relativistic matter at around the time of nucleosynthesis. (Abstract)

Levy, Aaron, et al. Scale-invariant Perturbations in Ekpyrotic Cosmologies without Fine-tuning of Initial Conditions. arXiv:1506.01011. With Anna Ijjas and Paul Steinhardt, Princeton physicists, by whatever theoretical entries, an inherent natural invariance, a repetition in kind on every nested stage, seems to span and distinguish the widest celestial reaches.

Ekpyrotic bouncing cosmologies have been proposed as alternatives to inflation. In these scenarios, the universe is smoothed and flattened during a period of slow contraction preceding the bounce while quantum fluctuations generate nearly scale-invariant super-horizon perturbations that seed structure in the post-bounce universe. An analysis by Tolley and Wesley (2007) showed that, for a wide range of ekpyrotic models, generating a scale-invariant spectrum of adiabatic or entropic fluctuations is only possible if the cosmological background is unstable, in which case the scenario is highly sensitive to initial conditions. In this paper, we analyze an important counterexample: a simple action that generates a Gaussian, scale-invariant spectrum of entropic perturbations during ekpyrotic contraction without requiring fine-tuned initial conditions. (Abstract)

Lewis, Geraint and Luke Barnes. A Fortunate Universe: Life in a Finely Tuned Cosmos. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016. Three decades after The Anthropic Cosmological Principle by John Barrow and Frank Tipler, University of Sydney astrophysicists provide an update technical survey within a multiverse scenario to conclude that our home cosmos which can support human intelligent observers is indeed due to a fine balance of physical parameters. A range of options from sheer chance to Divine ordination are then considered as we may wonder over this curious appearance. A succinct article by Barnes is The Fine-Tuning of Nature’s Laws in The New Atlantis (online, Fall 2015).

Over the last forty years, scientists have uncovered evidence that if the Universe had been forged with even slightly different properties, life as we know it - and life as we can imagine it - would be impossible. Conflicting notions about our place in the Universe are defined, defended and critiqued from scientific, philosophical and religious viewpoints. The authors' engaging and witty style addresses what fine-tuning might mean for the future of physics and the search for the ultimate laws of nature. Tackling difficult questions and providing thought-provoking answers, this volumes challenges us to consider our place in the cosmos, regardless of our initial convictions. (Publisher)

The Universe could have been of such a nature that no life at all could exist. The anthropic question asks why the constants of nature that enter various physical laws are such as to permit life to come into being. This engaging book is a well-written and detailed explanation of all the many ways these physical constants affect the possibility of life, considering atomic, nuclear and particle physics, astrophysics and cosmology. It then discusses in an open-minded way the variety of explanations one might give for this strange fine-tuning, possible solutions ranging from pure chance, existence of multiverses, or theistic explanations. The book is the most comprehensive current discussion of this intriguing range of issues. (George Ellis)

Linde, Andrei. Inflation, Quantum Cosmology, and the Anthropic Principle. Barrow, John, et al, eds. Science and Ultimate Reality. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004. Further theoretical ruminations always of interest by the Stanford University cosmologist.

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