Did the universe evolve to make black holes?

May 06, 2013
Did the universe evolve to make black holes?

(Phys.org) —The maths underpinning Darwin's theory of natural selection could explain how the universe may be 'designed' to make black holes.

New Oxford University research builds on the 'cosmological natural selection hypothesis' – an idea first put forward in the 1990s to explain the apparent 'fine-tuning' of the universe's basic parameters to allow for the existence of atoms, galaxies, and life itself.

Cosmological natural selection proposes that, if new universes are born inside black holes, a '' of many possible universes could be shaped by a process similar to natural selection so that successive generations of universes evolve to become better at making black holes.

The Oxford team of evolutionary Andy Gardner and Joseph Conlon found that a basic equation from evolutionary genetics – called Price's theorem – can capture the process of cosmological natural selection and explain how the universe seems designed for the purpose of making rather like a fish can seem 'designed' to swim underwater or a bird can appear 'designed' to fly.

A report of the research is published in the journal Complexity online.

'This idea of cosmological natural selection is controversial, and physicists have pointed out all sorts of problems with it. But we were interested in seeing if its basic evolutionary logic actually works,' said Dr Andy Gardner of Oxford University's Department of Zoology, lead author of the paper.

'We found that a general equation from , Price's theorem, can help us to model how selection can work not only at the scale of genes and organisms but also at that of something as unimaginably vast as multiple universes,' said Dr Gardner. 'Our model uses maths similar to the underlying Darwinian adaptation in biology, which explains how the dynamics of natural selection leads to organisms appearing designed to maximize their fitness.'

The researchers point out that the evolution of universes is in many ways very different from the evolution of animals. For a start, in a multiverse of many possible universes there is no real concept of change over time. However, their models of evolving universes are quite similar to models of bacterial evolution – where generations evolve out of the asexual budding of cells.

Explore further: How the physics of champagne bubbles may help address the world's future energy needs

More information: Complexity paper: www.zoo.ox.ac.uk/group/gardner… rdnerConlon_2013.pdf

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HannesAlfven
1.7 / 5 (12) May 06, 2013
Re: "... and explain how the universe seems designed for the purpose of making black holes rather like a fish can seem 'designed' to swim underwater or a bird can appear 'designed' to fly."

There's probably not a whole lot of sense to running through the process of ad hoc modeling for a couple of decades, altering the black hole construct to match observations, and then at the end of that process, wondering at the construct's fit to the data.

Our resources might be better applied to thoroughly scrutinizing the underlying mathematics, as Stephen Crothers has attempted to do. One gets the sense that the reason nobody seems to pay attention to Crothers' critique is because few understand the math involved, to begin with -- and that the reason that we are talking about universes with extra dimensions instead is because this is a sexy idea which has basically been overplayed on cable science channels.

Put simply, it's not clear that people believe in black holes for the right reasons.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (10) May 06, 2013
I'm having a bit of a problem with the premise of the article. After a quick sashay over to wikipedia for Price's theorem I acem away with the follwoing statement
"If a certain inheritable characteristic is correlated with an increase in fractional fitness, the average value of that characteristic in the child population will be increased over that in the parent population."

So far, so good. But 'fitness' is detemined by a context (environment). But since we're dealing with universes we're dealing with stuff that doesn't have a context.

Unless we postulate a bigger context (like branes). But that would just move the goalpoast and not solve the 'why' (i.e. not where the postulated fitness criterium comes from)

Or am I missing something here?
Q-Star
3.9 / 5 (14) May 06, 2013
To be sure the good Dr Gardner, Professor of ZOOLOGY, hasn't run out of objects in the ANIMAL kingdom to study. Has he?

Maybe he should take up philosophy or religion, that is the arena for creationist intelligent design and anthropic universe proponents. WHY indeed. Science is about how, not why.
Bogey
1 / 5 (2) May 06, 2013
Thats so my Idea. Again.
While were at how about this one.
Intelligent life evolved in this universe to ensure Intelligent life evolves in the next universe.
That should keep everyone happy, and busy. My god.
TehDog
5 / 5 (1) May 06, 2013
Q-Star, I think this is more of "I wonder if [this] can be applied to [that]," some maths was done, and "Ohh, thats interesting, lets see what others think."
Then maybe a mathematician or cosmologist or two look at it and go "I wonder if ...."
Then again, I see most stuff like that, a chain of "I wonder" and "what if" 's
As to whether the idea has any merit, I havent a clue :)
Q-Star
3.5 / 5 (11) May 06, 2013
Q-Star, I think this is more of "I wonder if [this] can be applied to [that]," some maths was done, and "Ohh, thats interesting, lets see what others think."


Being an astronomer, I'll grant the Zoologist some of my time seriously pondering if black holes are the result of Darwinian evolution,,,, if he'll grant me an equal amount of time seriously explaining why they aren't seeking out the last extant unicorn before the species is lost forever.

By the By: There are no maths in Darwinian evolution with which to assess the formation of black holes. This seems like last week when the biologist using Moore's Law to decide that life existed prior to the formation of the Earth. And that article wasn't posted on April 1st either.
SpiffyKavu
1 / 5 (3) May 06, 2013
antialias: I believe fitness is to be defined relative to the parent universe and should be taken roughly as the number of black holes (baby universes -- progeny as put by Smolin). This assumes typicality -- our universe is a random selection of a universe from a random generation. Universes which spawn more black holes will overwhelm the space of choices, i.e. the probability is significantly higher that our universe comes from a universe which spawns a lot of black holes. Our universe would then also spawn lots of black holes: this "natural selection" principle would force us to share most characteristics with the parent universe. I, of course, do no believe in this though it may be interesting. Nor do I know whether this definition of fitness is even valid.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (4) May 06, 2013
antialias: I believe fitness is to be defined relative to the parent universe and should be taken roughly as the number of black holes

That doesn't work as the two aren't connected in a way that would allow the parent universe to judge that fitness.

If universes are inside black holes then everything is strictly one-way: from the parent to the child universe. So it doesn't matter what the parent universe looks like as nothing that happens in the child universe can affect it.

Evolution works via feedback. An entity mutates and is selected for by feedback from the environment with the mutation. That mutual feedback doesn't work in the given scenario.

Since each universe is in its own black hole in the parent universe (in his theory) there's no also selection among competitors (as they don't interact)
ValeriaT
1 / 5 (11) May 06, 2013
In random universe model of AWT the universe has no beginning or end and it's infinite and time symmetric in every extent at the most general/global scales. The black holes are creating in form of dense stars, coalescing and evaporating again. They're merely a random extensions of observable universe like the hollows inside of foggy landscape. All seeming evolution of Universe is just a anthropocentric projection of our own evolution.
Expiorer
2.3 / 5 (6) May 07, 2013
...if new universes are born inside black holes...
sounds like
...if God exists...
monger
1 / 5 (2) May 07, 2013
I don't think anyone is claiming that this is anything but speculation at this point, but the explanation gives a possible rational solution to the question of why our universe seems finely tuned for, well let's say "longevity", which seems necessary for life.

The idea is principally that 'if' big bangs spawn other big bangs in which the physical constants are similar but not identical, then a situation could be set up in which big bangs compete for space and or material, which could then lead to more of these local universes which have constants that are fine-tuned for 'survival' and/or 'reproduction'. And we, living things on earth, happen to benefit from those characteristics in our local universe.

Personally, I find it plausible, and a much better idea than the only other competing theory out there which is: god did it.

antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (3) May 07, 2013
but the explanation gives a possible rational solution to the question of why our universe seems finely tuned

Not really. A rationale (hypothesis) only means something if it's testable. Being inside a black hole isn't a testable hypothesis.
Even if it were testable: we'd need to look inside OTHER black holes for analysis to see whether there is any merit to the idea. A hypothesis only starts to accrue merit if it works for a number of instances. Looking into other black holes ia a no-go, however.

Personally, I find it plausible,

Personal plausibility means nothing. What we find 'plausible' is based on OUR evolution of the brain and OUR everyday experiences - which are VERY far removed from the subjects of black holes and universe creation(s).
The theory is no worse (and no better) than 'god did it' from a POV of 'plausibility'.
SpiffyKavu
1 / 5 (1) May 07, 2013
Now, I haven't read through Smolin's papers on cosmic natural selection. He claims that the idea provides testable predictions for our universe; no need to look inside black holes. The examples he gives are that our universe must have: maximum neutron star mass < 2 solar masses and only a single-parameter inflation (how did he get this ... good question).

Your comment on the validity of the fitness definition is certainly good. The maths behind evolution require the definition as you stated, with the feedback and everything. And it is true the separate universes are causally disconnected. What is used in this paper, however, is a simplified version of this: merely what set of (physical) parameters yield the "best." This simplified version is consistent with the typicality assumption in cosmic natural selection: just a choice from an ensemble. I'm not concerned with correctness. The analogy with biology, however, is a stretch. People like to stretch analogies beyond the breaking point.
typicalguy
5 / 5 (1) May 10, 2013
I'm glad I'm not the only one that thinks this is a bunch of nonsense. Seriously, the Universe evolved to MAKE black holes? Why not say it evolved to MAKE more space since space is expanding?

The Black Holes are here because they can be and that's it.
Bogey
1 / 5 (1) May 12, 2013
I formulated my meta physical theory back in the day when It was assumed that the universe was cyclical/ closed. Big Bang followed by Big Crunch add infiniteum, and the universe physical constraints almost manufactured. That would put our god in the previous universe. ie before the big bang, and make everyone of us, until the big crunch, gods, of the next universe.
I hope that makes sense.
or,
I hope, therefore I am, I think.
ValeriaT
1 / 5 (6) May 12, 2013
Just try to realize, that the older galaxy is, the less significant its central black hole is. The black hole is finite end of matter only in general relativity theory, which predicts, that all massive bodies will end in singularity with no mercy. But the quantum mechanic theory provides quite different perspective. It doesn't recognize the gravity at all, and it predicts instead, each object will expand into infinity instead.
In AWT we are living at the energy density/distance scale, where the predictions of both theories average, so that nothing in real life expands neither collapses permanently - and the same we can expect about black holes. Which would be probably similar to other dense stars and they will suffer with gradual evaporation of matter via neutrino and gamma ray jets and occasional explosions. This is the most probable scenario when both relativity, both quantum mechanics are considered in equally balanced way.
mohammadshafiq_khan_1
Jun 02, 2013
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Fleetfoot
5 / 5 (4) Jun 02, 2013
The article 'On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies' by Albert Einstein is based on trickeries is proved beyond any doubt ...


The most interesting question you raise is ... how did you exceed the 1000 character limit imposed by this site?

Following is the open challenge which You could see it on ..


Both your links give "Page not found".
Fleetfoot
5 / 5 (3) Jun 02, 2013
I openly challenge all the professors, researchers & teachers of physics/philosophy of physics to come forward & show me where I am wrong or else they have to accept that they are teaching incorrect physics based on trickeries.


I got almost as far as eqn (1). Just before that you say:

The crucial confusion is that the light path could be taken as AO or BO


This is incorrect. The velocity is defined within the coordinate system and the light was emitted at location A therefore the only correct interpretation is that the distance is AO. Specifically the light was emitted at event (A, t_A) and detected at event (0, t_C). Note that the value of distance A is conventionally negative as you have drawn it to the left of the origin at C.

Since you say that point is "crucial", I won't waste my time reading farther as the rest of the paper will also be wrong if you weren't clear on that and have used BO instead of AO anywhere.

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