III. Ecosmos: A Procreative Organic Habitable UniVerse
G. Anthropic, Biotropic, Earthropic Principles
Livio, Mario and Martin Rees.
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)
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)
Sandora, McCullen. The Fine Structure Constant and Habitable Planets. arXiv:1604.03151. The recent discovery of a conducive cosmos filled with planetary systems allows a Post Doc (2014 physics UC Davis) at the University of Southern Denmark, CP3 Origins (Centre for Cosmology and Particle Physics Phenomenology) to consider their influence on its fundamental parameters, along with implications for the presence of cooperative Earthlings able to learn this. This novel vista is seen to expand the issue of whether and how much an evolutionary universe does in fact possess an anthropic inherency and intent.
We use the existence of habitable planets to impose anthropic requirements on the fine structure constant, α. To this effect, we present two considerations that restrict its value to be very near the one observed. The first, that the end product of stellar fusion is iron and not one of its neighboring elements, restricts α−1 to be 145±50. The second, that radiogenic heat in the Earth's interior remains adequately productive for billions of years, restricts it to be 145±9. A connection with the grand unified theory window is discussed, effectively providing a route to probe ultra-high energy physics with upcoming advances in planetary science. (Abstract)
Schellekens, Albert N.. Life at the Interface of Particle Physics. Reviews of Modern Physics. Online June, 2013. A senior National Institute for Subatomic Physics (NIKHEF), Amsterdam researcher considers the latest “Anthropic Landscapes” across a multiple of universes of every variety. While wary of a human bias, the subject of “Habitable Universes” is undertaken. (How curious it is that we people are able to learn of such vistas, yet our cognizant presence is so rarely factored in). In any event, by these lights, might it be asked “Is Life Generic in Quantum Field Theories?” After some fifty mathematical pages, the issue remains whether sapient beings appearing in a cosmos really have something to do with the vast scheme of things. See also Luke Barnes herein for another recent take.
If the results of the first LHC run are not betraying us, many decades of particle physics are culminating in a complete and consistent theory for all non-gravitational physics: the Standard Model. But despite this monumental achievement there is a clear sense of disappointment: many questions remain unanswered. Remarkably, most unanswered questions could just be environmental, and disturbingly (to some) the existence of life may depend on that environment. Meanwhile there has been increasing evidence that the seemingly ideal candidate for answering these questions, String Theory, gives an answer few people initially expected: a huge “landscape" of possibilities, that can be realized in a multiverse and populated by eternal inflation. At the interface of “bottom-up" and “top-down" physics, a discussion of anthropic arguments becomes unavoidable. We review developments in this area, focusing especially on the last decade. (Abstract)
Slijepcevic, Predrag. Natural Intelligence and Anthropic Reasoning. Biosemiotics. July, 2020. From our worldwide vantage, the Brunel University biophilosopher lays out a proposal that life’s Earthly evolution from bacterial to global cultures may well be appreciated as a relative increase in cognitive, information-gaining, semiotic intelligence. The oriented trajectory is seen to bolster an Anthropic Principle such that human persons have a cosmic agency so to bring quantified, descriptive knowledge into conscious awareness. Guidance along the way is provided by J. A. Wheeler’s participatory universe, Jesper Hoffmeyer’s semiotic scaffolding, and more. The notable surmise is once again of an encompassing reality made and meant for our late, vital act of informed observation and selective affirmation. See also Principles of Information Processing and Natural Learning in Biological Systems in Journal for General Philosophy of Science (October 2019) and Evolutionary Epistemology: A New Research Programme for Distributed Biological Intelligence in Biosystems (163/23, 2018) by the author.
This paper aims to justify the concept of natural intelligence in a biosemiotic context. I will argue that the process of life is a cognitive/semiotic process and that organisms, from bacteria to animals, are cognitive or semiotic agents. To justify this, the neural-type intelligence represented by the form of anthropic reasoning will be compared and with intelligences from four disciplines of biology – relational biology, evolutionary epistemology, biosemiotics and the systems view of life. The comparison will be done by asking questions related to observation and the notion of true observers. To answer the questions I will rely on a range of concepts including SETI (search for extraterrestrial intelligence), Fermi’s paradox, bacterial cognition, versions of the panspermia theory, as well as some new concepts including biocivilisations, cognitive/semiotic universes, and the multiverse. The key resolve is that the process of cognition/semiosis – the essence of natural intelligence – can be seen as a biological universal. (Abstract)