Cosmological natural selection (fecund universes)

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Cosmological natural selection, also known as fecund universes, is a theory of eminent theoretical physicist and quantum gravity scholar Lee Smolin.

Universe reproduction via black holes

According to this theory every time a Black hole forms in any universe within the Multiverse, the matter and energy within the black hole emerge to form a new universe in a different region of space time.

Rather than a ‘dead’ singularity at the center of black holes, a point where energy and space go to extremely high densities, what occurs in Smolin’s CNS model is a ‘bounce’ that produces a new universe with parameters stochastically different from the parent universe. Smolin theorizes that these new universes will be likely to have similar fundamental physical parameters (such as the speed of light, the Planck constant, the gravitational constant, the electric constant, the cosmological constant and others) to the parent universe but that these parameters, and perhaps the laws that derive from them, will be slightly altered in some stochastic fashion during the replication process. Each universe therefore gives rise to as many new universes as it has black holes. In a process analogous to Darwinian natural selection, those universes best able to reproduce will predominate in the lineage.

Smolin states that his theory began as an attempt to explore the fine tuning problem in cosmology via an alternative landscape theory to string theory, one that might provide more readily falsifiable predictions. According to The Life in the Cosmos (1997) by the mid-1990’s his team had been able to sensitivity test, via simple mathematical simulations, eight of approximately twenty apparently fundamental parameters. In such tests to date, Smolin claims our present universe appears to be fine tuned both for long-lived universes capable of generating complex life and for the production of hundreds of trillions of black holes, or for ‘fecundity’ of black hole production.

McCabe (2006) states that research in loop quantum gravity “appears to support Smolin’s hypothesis” of a ‘bounce’ at the center of black holes forming new universes (see also Ashtekar 2006). If true, such a mechanism would suggest an organic type of reproduction with inheritance for universes, and the universe ensemble might be characterized as an extended, branching chain exploring a ‘phenospace’ of potential forms and functions within the multiverse.

Brief Antecedents to Smolin's Theory

Beginning in the 1980’s theorists in quantum gravity began postulating that our universe might ‘give birth’ to new universes via fluctuations in spacetime over very short distances (Baum 1983; Strominger 1984; Hawking 1987,1988,1993; Coleman 1988). Some theorists (Hawking 1987; Frolov 1989) proposed that new universe creation might be particularly likely in the singularity region inside black holes.

As Victor J. Stenger observes (1999), Quentin Smith (1990) independently proposed that random symmetry breaking events in the initial Big Bang singularity, and in black hole singularities that form in universes of our type, might lead to the production of new universes via black holes, and this could provide a naturalistic explanation for the emergence of the basic laws and constants of our universe.

Prior to this, John A. Wheeler et. al's oscillating universe model (1973) also proposed that the basic laws and constants of the universe would be likely to fluctuate from cycle to cycle.

Other universes generation suggestions

Many ways of generating new universes are proposed. Current cosmological models suggest that the parameters are reset at random each time this happens. The exception is Fecund universes described above. If cosmologists can develop models where daughter universes resemble the parent universe in other cases Darwinian natural selection will apply there as well.

“The Descent of the Universe Smith (1990) and Smolin (1992) have independently suggested a mechanism for the evolution of universes by natural selection. They propose a multi-universe scenario in which each universe is the residue of an exploding black hole that was previously formed in another universe.

An individual universe is born with a certain set of physical parameters—its "genes." As it expands, new black holes are formed within. When these black holes eventually collapse, the genes of the parent universe get slightly scrambled by fluctuations that are expected in the state of high entropy inside a black hole. So when the descendant black hole explodes, it produces a new universe with a different set of physical parameters—similar but not exactly the same as its parent universe. (To my knowledge, no one has yet developed a sexual model for universe reproduction.)The Anthropic Coincidences: A Natural Explanation by Victor J. Stenger. “

Colliding Universes and possible sexual reproduction

The Ekpyrotic theory suggests that the state of our universe was radically changed when our universe collided with another universe in the 11th dimension. ”(…)nobody knows if the scale invariant spectrum will be destroyed by the big crunch, or even what happens when two branes collide.” [1] If cosmologists can develop models where after a collision one or both universes have the parameters of both ‘parent’ universes or have some of the parameters of both ‘parent’ universes this will be a model of possible sexual reproduction.

The daughter universes need not form directly after “genetic exchange” or exchange of parameters has taken place. Daughter universes may form through black holes or by other means at any later time. If the parent universe has exchanged parameters with another universe through a collision the 11th dimension or by other means daughter universes will share the parameters of both colliding universes, “ slightly scrambled”.

See also

  • Meduso-Anthropic Principle
  • Selfish Biocosm Hypothesis


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