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A Sourcebook for the Worldwide Discovery of a Creative Organic Universe
Table of Contents
Genesis Vision
Learning Planet
Organic Universe
Earth Life Emerge
Genesis Future
Recent Additions

III. Ecosmos: A Revolutionary Fertile, Habitable, Solar-Bioplanet Lifescape

G. Anthropic, Biotropic, Earthropic Principles

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.

Livio, Marco and Martin Rees. Fine-Tuning, Complexity, and Life in the Multiverse. Sloan, David, et al, eds. Fine-Tuning in the Physical Universe. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2020. In a lead introduction, the veteran American and British polycosmologists (search) opine that as years go by and findings pour in, this curious Anthropic concept is lately gaining an actual validity. Akin to the Gaia view of a self-regulating biosphere, a new phase of appreciation seems underway. See the whole book review herein for more. Some sections are Prerequisites for Complexity, Non-Trivial Chemistry and Tuned Cosmic Expansion Rate. By a philoSophia view, it is amazing that human persons altogether are able to post a graphic diagram entitled The scales of stars, planets, black holes, in a log-log of mass against radius. What participant purpose might human beings whom can quantify infinities actually have? However might some grand EarthWise discover become dawn upon us?

The physical processes that determine the properties of our everyday world, and of the wider cosmos, are determined by some key numbers: the constants of microphysics and the parameters that found the expanding Universe. We identify various steps in the emergence of stars, planets, and life that are arise from their certain values and consider effects if they were different. We then outline some expansive models which might encompass domains a radical physics. If we indeed inhabit a multiverse, then we may have to accept an anthropic reasoning for some features of our world. (Abstract)

If we indeed live in a multiverse, this would be a fifth Copernican revolution. First, Copernicus showed we are not at the centre of the solar system; Harlow Shapley noted that the solar system is not at the centre of our galaxy; the Kepler Space Observatory showed that there are billions of planetary systems in the Milky Way; Edwin Hubble revealed there are trillions of galaxies; and now we find that our observable domain may be a tiny part of an infinite ensemble. However, every Copernican revolution marked an incredible human achievement. In that sense, we remain of central significance to our Universe. (17)

Livio, Mario and Martin Rees. Anthropic Reasoning. Science. 309/1022, 2005. In view of uncertainties about fundamental parameters such as the cosmological constant, the amplitude of fluctuations in the cosmic microwave background, and the amount of dark energy, it remains valid to consider the subsequent presence of human beings as an explanatory factor.

Livio, Mario and Martin Rees. Fine-Tuning, Complexity, and Life in the Multiverse. arXiv:1801.06944. Mario Livio, now at the University of Nevada, and Martin Rees, Cambridge University and UK Astronomer Royal, post a chapter to appear in the 2018 edition Consolidation of Fine-Tuning, see Anthropic Principle section for its website. As such, an astute survey of a centuries-long reckoning from our solar system to multiple cosmoses, see second quote. As we seek to orient and grasp our human presence, an array of physical qualities seem to have precise values for this occasion. CMB radiation, Baryon oscillations, cosmic expansion rate, a non-trivial chemistry, and more are each so suited that life and collaborative persons can appear.

The physical processes that determine the properties of our everyday world, and of the wider cosmos, are determined by some key numbers: the 'constants' of micro-physics and the parameters that describe the expanding universe in which we have emerged. We identify various steps in the emergence of stars, planets and life that are dependent on these fundamental numbers, and explore how these steps might have been changed, or completely prevented, if the numbers were different. Although the concept of a multiverse is still speculative, we argue that attempts to determine whether it exists constitute a genuinely scientific endeavor. If we indeed inhabit a multiverse, then we may have to accept that there can be no explanation other than anthropic reasoning for some features our world. (Abstract)

If we indeed live in a multiverse, this would be a fifth (and in some sense the grandest) Copernican Revolution. First, Copernicus showed that we are not at the center of the solar system; Harlow Shapley showed that the solar system is not at the center of our galaxy; the Kepler Space Observatory showed that there are billions of planetary systems in the Milky Way; Edwin Hubble and his namesake telescope have shown that there are trillions of galaxies in the observable universe; and now we realize that our observable domain may be only a tiny part of an unimaginably large and diverse ensemble. One thing, however, is clear. Our cosmic horizons have expanded precisely as fast as human knowledge. Every one of the five Copernican revolutions marked an incredible human achievement. In that sense, we remain of central significance to our universe. (13)

Lynden-Bell, Ruth, et al, eds. Water and Life: The Unique Properties of H2O. Boca Raton: CRC Press, 2010. The proceedings of a 2005 Templeton conference to follow-up an earlier Fitness of the Cosmos for Life (Barrow) meeting. Both were inspired the 20th century biologist and philosopher Lawrence Henderson (1878-1942) that the organic Earthly milieu seems innately conducive for evolution and human cognizance. Again a premier group was assembled such as Simon Conway Morris, John Finney, Peter Wolynes, Eugene Stanley, Steven Benner, and theologian Alister McGrath. Biophilosopher Bruce Weber contributes an essay on Henderson’s “natural teleology.”

Naumann, Thomas. Do We Live in the Best of All Worlds? The Fine-Tuning of the Constants of Nature. Universe. Online August, 2017. On the occasion of the 300th anniversary of Gottfried Leibniz’s death, the Deutsches Elektronen Synchrotron DESY, Germany, physics group leader surveys his 18th century musings as an entry to worldwise inklings of a answer. Why is cosmic dimensionality, its interactive particle and force inventory, matter-antimatter asymmetry, the mass of bosons and fermions, what if no Higgs, and more, so curiously, finely poised. The 21st century view of a stochastic multiverse adds a new dimension, but alas it is once more seen to further diminish our human worth.

Overbye, Dennis. Zillions of Universes? Or Did Ours Get Lucky? New York Times. October 10, 2003. A report on The Future of Cosmology conference which sought to evaluate the state of the anthropic premise. The latest evidence supports Stephen Weinberg’s estimate of the cosmological constant, (a number that measures the amount of cosmic repulsion caused by energy in empty space) whose precise value lends credence to the principle, but which can be explained by the immense number of possible universes predicted by versions of string theory.

Rees, Martin. Before the Beginning. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1997. In the multiverse scenario, the occasion of our local cosmos with just the right numerical constants for life to occur and evolve can be explained as a rare success amongst a vast number of incipient universes with alternative, unfavorable properties, which may expand too fast or recontract early on.

Rees, Martin. Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces that Shape the Universe. London: Weidenfield & Nicolson, 1999. If the binding energy of protons and neutrons into helium 4 of .007 of their rest mass varied by plus or minus .001 the universe would not be able to form life. The Cambridge astronomer elucidates and updates the precise values required for humans to appear and be able to learn this.

Rees, Martin. Numerical Coincidences and 'Tuning' in Cosmology. Astrophysics and Space Science. 285/375, 2003. More recent findings and conjectures on the subject.

Sandora, McCullen. Anthropics of Aluminum-26 Decay and Biological Homochirality. arXiv:1707.03484. A Tufts University cosmologist wonders, a century after Lawrence J. Henderson’s Fitness of the Environment, whether his inklings of biotropic, life-favoring chemistries could be revived and advanced. It is here suggested that the property of chirality, whence a biomolecular mirror-image cannot be superimposed on one another (Google for definitions and more), might be a viable signature. In regard, the above elemental radioactive isotope is enlisted, so as to connect living systems with physical properties and thus give an anthropic basis. See also The Origin of Biological Homochirality by Donna Blackmond in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B (366/2878, 2011). As we log with Luke Barnes multiverse fine-tuning paper (1707.03965), it seems that a flow of evidence for cosmic, natural parameters and topologies is not only keeping this oft-criticized persuasion alive, but building a case that our human presence is a significant phenomenon of a conducive genesis cosmos.

Results of recent experiment reinstate feasibility to the hypothesis that biomolecular homochirality originates from beta decay. Coupled with hints that this process occurred extraterrestrially suggests aluminum-26 as the most likely source. If true, then its appropriateness is highly dependent on the half-life and energy of this decay. Demanding that this mechanism hold places new constraints on the anthropically allowed range for multiple parameters, including the electron mass, difference between up and down quark masses, the fine structure constant, and the electroweak scale. These new constraints on particle masses are tighter than those previously found. However, one edge of the allowed region is nearly degenerate with an existing bound, which, using what is termed here as `the principle of noncoincident peril', is argued to be a strong indicator that the fine structure constant must be an environmental parameter in the multiverse. (Abstract)

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