For the longest time, we have viewed the emergence of human beings as an inevitable consequence of evolution. But a deeper understanding of the 14 billion years of history of the universe shows that this might not be the case. The more we study about the stars, the planets, and the all the matter outside of our earth, the more we realize that the very existence of life was highly improbable. And yet, here we are, human beings, contemplating on the cause and meaning of our existence.
In this article written by Korey Haynes for Discover, she explores the ideas behind the Anthropic Principle, a philosophical proposition which states that any study of the universe must always consider that there are invisible laws that enable life to exist.
To better understand this principle, consider this: omega, the density parameter, which pits gravity’s pull against the expanding push of dark energy is exact. If gravity were any stronger, there would not have been a Big Bang, but rather, a Big Crunch as matter would not have the capacity to expand. On the other hand, if dark matter were stronger, the universe will race away from itself and it would have no capacity to form larger matter such as the elements, the stars, and the planets. The way the universe was built seems to have been so exact, that even if there were multiverses, at least one of those universes would have life. It follows then, that in that the very nature of our universe was made in such a way that life will be able to exist. And that we exist at this point in time means that the universe is at the right age, it is in a “golden era”, where new possibilities can happen.
Implications for AI
Now if we were to expand this exactness of the universe to the earth, one might ask, what were the conditions that enabled the planet to have the right balance of heat so that it will be able to support life? Was it just the position of the earth from the sun that has enabled this? Studies show that all the elements needed by life was made when the universe was birthed, and that such elements could not have been made without exact value for omega.
Such a story happens over and over in the history of the earth. For example, if it were not for the zooplankton and algae that formed long before humans did, we would not have petroleum, the main source of fuel of our modern society. If it were not for the moon, the earth would be spinning way too fast, there would be no predictable tide which could’ve led the earth to cool, and life to form.
But this is not all. Aside from the perfectly timed “coincidences” that has enabled life to exist, there is also the pattern of increasing complexity. When the Big Bang happened 14 billion years ago, it wasn’t that a single particle was destroyed. Instead, it created an environment so chaotic, but a new form or structure developed. From the Big Bang came new elements which separated, and then reformed into the stars [see Who Is Ilya Prigogine to discover the theory of dissipative structures, which states that such complexity is the norm of our universe].
And now that we look back in the long history of the universe, we begin to realize that the initial elements which later on became the stars, found themselves in a different form – the rocks, plants, and animals of the earth. All the physical beings we see today are composed of the same mineral made billions of years ago [see Human Life And Its Connection To All Of The Universe’s Creation to understand this statement better].
This field of study is so rich, that it is not enough to discuss everything in one article. But we will, in the next blogs, introduce to you researches about the universe which shows us that that the existence of humans on earth is not an inevitable product of evolution. Instead, we probably are the form the Universe has been trying to achieve.
To close this article, let me repeat the question we began with. Are the laws of the universe fine-tuned for life? Based on new researches, the apparent answer is yes. But the universe did not just evolve the capacity to breath. It has, through human consciousness, evolved the capacity to learn about itself. Hence, the more important question is: what is humanity’s place in the overall scheme of things?
The universe does seem fine-tuned for our existence. The flip side, of course, is that we are unarguably fine-tuned to the universe we find ourselves in.
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