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

G. Anthropic, Biotropic, Earthropic Principles

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)

I define the Anthropic Principle as follows. The human-type intelligence (neural intelligence) and humanity-type civilization supported by techno-science, is the minimal type intelligence/civilisation capable of the true observation at the cosmic scale. I will also argue that there are no fundamental differences between the observing capacities of, for example, bacteria and Homo sapiens. Intelligence emerges not only in the case of interacting neural cells but also in the case of interacting bacteria that turn their colonies into brain-like entities. My argument is rooted in the notion that the process of life is inherently an observation-like process whereby all organisms are cognitive or semiotic agents and the process of evolution is a cognitive process, or semiotic scaffolding. (5)

In conclusion, natural intelligence may be viewed as a process equivalent to semiotic scaffolding, an important principle behind biosemiotics. Other disciplines, including relational biology, evolutionary epistemology and the systems view of life, interpret natural intelligence in a similar way to biosemiotics. Thus, the process of cognition/semiosis – the essence of natural intelligence – is a biological universal. The novelties explicated in this study include the concepts of true observers, biocivilisations and the cognitive/semiotic multiverse. (20)

Sloan, David, et al, eds. Fine-Tuning in the Physical Universe. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2020. This latest collection is broadly about Anthropic Principle findings since the 1980s drawn that many physical, biochemical and cosmic parameters actually have precise values so that life and people can exist. A controversy has gone on whether this is really so, a misunderstanding, or spurious happenstance. After a lead introduction by Mario Livio and Martin Rees reviewed above, chapters such as Hierarchy of Fine Structure Constants by Bernard Carr, Fine-Tuning: From Stars to Galaxies by Joseph Silk, and On the Temporal Habitability of the Universe by Abraham Loeb sense a new validity as cosmic physics advances into a multiversal milieu.

Soler Gil, Francisco and Manuel Alfonseca. Is the Multiverse Hypothesis Capable of Explaining the Fine Tuning of Nature Laws and Constants? The Case of Cellular Automata. Journal for General Philosophy of Science. 43/1, 2013. The paper is also online at arXiv:1105.4278. University of Seville, and University of Madrid physicists contend that beyond fleeting bosons and string gyrations, a natural phenomena akin to an algorithmic program seems to be running the evolutionary scenario. With Alan Turing as main mentor, Stephen Wolfram is melded with Max Tegmark (note his 2014 book above) to foster insights into its operational, formative presence.

The objective of this paper is analyzing to which extent the multiverse hypothesis provides a real explanation of the peculiarities of the laws and constants in our universe. First we argue in favor of the thesis that all multiverses except Tegmark’s “mathematical multiverse” are too small to explain the fine tuning, so that they merely shift the problem up one level. But the “mathematical multiverse" is surely too large. To prove this assessment, we have performed a number of experiments with cellular automata of complex behavior, which can be considered as universes in the mathematical multiverse. The analogy between what happens in some automata (in particular Conway’s “Game of Life") and the real world is very strong. But if the results of our experiments can be extrapolated to our universe, we should expect to inhabit—in the context of the multiverse—a world in which at least some of the laws and constants of nature should show a certain time dependence. Actually, the probability of our existence in a world such as ours would be mathematically equal to zero. In consequence, the results presented in this paper can be considered as an inkling that the hypothesis of the multiverse, whatever its type, does not offer an adequate explanation for the peculiarities of the physical laws in our world. (Abstract)

In this paper, we have checked on the fact that the only version of the multiverse that could be a suitable candidate for explaining the fine tuning of the laws of our universe to make the existence of complex entities in general and of intelligent beings in particular possible is Tegmark's mathematical multiverse. Then we have focused on the question whether the peculiar laws of our universe can be explained from the hypothesis that ours is a typical «complex-universe» or «life-enabling universe» among the set of all the worlds which includes all the consistent mathematical structures. In order for this to be the case, the laws of our universe should be the most general among those consistent with our existence. To test this, in the previous section we have analyzed and proved that the most general form of those complex universes (which must exist, according to Tegmark's hypothesis) whose structure corresponds to that of cellular automata, are those whose rules exhibit some kind of temporal variability. (29)

If this result can be extrapolated −and we should not forget that there are numerous authors from Martin Gardner to Daniel Dennett who have suggested the existence of a very close relation between the «game of life» and our universe−, it would imply that our universe is not typical at all, since it attains a high degree of complexity with laws and physical constants specially simple, as they are not a function of time. On the other hand, it is obvious that the number of possible universes compatible with life which would exhibit some kind of temporal dependence in their laws and physical constants, while keeping within the allowable margins of values, must be infinitely more probable than those of our type, which means that the probability of our existence in a world such as ours would be mathematically equal to zero. (29)

Sudoh, Takahiro, et al. Testing Anthropic Reasoning for the Cosmological Constant with a Realistic Galaxy Formation Model. arXiv:1607.00180. University of Tokyo theorists contend that this celestial parameter, nuanced as “the energy density of the vacuum of space,” has a finely poised value for this universe. Any slight variation would not permit a multi-billion year span for matter and life to complexify and develop so that sentient beings could learn this. As a consequence, it could be validly surmised that the presence of phenomenal people explains why. OK

Susskind, Leonard. The Cosmic Landscape. New York: Little, Brown, 2005. Reviewed more in Current Vistas, this work claims to dispel any impression of a universe specially contrived for human beings by explaining it away as just one favorable contingency among a vast number of bubbling possibilities.

Vilenkin, Alexander. Anthropic Approach to the Cosmological Constant Problems. International Journal of Theoretical Physics. 42/6, 2003. Further insights into the validity of anthropic reasoning on a cosmic scale.

There are now two cosmological constant problems: (i) why the vacuum energy is so small and (ii) why it comes to dominate at about the epoch of galaxy formation. Anthropic selection appears to be the only approach that can naturally resolve both problems. (1193)

Vilenkin, Alexander. Open Universes, Eternal Inflation, and the Anthropic Principle. International Journal of Theoretical Physics. 38/11, 1999. A cosmologist argues for an open, inflating universe where the observed value of the density parameter is seen to require an anthropic explanation.

Zenil, Hector. Introducing the Computable Universe. Zenil, Hector, ed. A Computable Universe: Understanding and Exploring Nature as Computation. Singapore: World Scientific, 2012. This opening chapter by the University of Sheffield information theorist is also available at arXiv:1206.0376. In the subsection excerpt next, if this cosmological alternative distinguished by a dual “software and hardware” is engaged then the anthropic issue shifts from exact material parameters to digital variations in its operating “computer program,” an entirely new approach.

4.1 An Algorithmic Approach to the Problem of Fine Tuning. The anthropic principle can now have a plausible interpretation under this algorithmic approach, providing a (more reasonable) answer to the question of the apparent fine tuning of the universe, that is, the question of why the universe looks just right for accommodating everything in it. A single value changed in the equation would produce a universe where nothing would be possible, certainly not life. But if the universe is a computer program, parameters are not only coupled together but there may be many computer programs producing the same output, especially an output of low algorithmic complexity, that is, a structured universe rather than a random looking one. (17-18)

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