Some cautiously embrace the multiverse for the sake of defending Darwinism.
|July 3, 2011||Posted by News under Cosmology, Darwinism|
Including prominent molecular biologist Eugene Koonin:
Despite considerable experimental and theoretical effort, no compelling scenarios currently exist for the origin of replication and translation, the key processes that together comprise the core of biological systems and the apparent pre-requisite of biological evolution. The RNA World concept might offer the best chance for the resolution of this conundrum but so far cannot adequately account for the emergence of an efficient RNA replicase or the translation system.The MWO version of the cosmological model of eternal inflation could suggest a way out of this conundrum because, in an infinite multiverse with a finite number of distinct macroscopic histories (each repeated an infinite number of times), emergence of even highly complex systems by chance is not just possible but inevitable. This dramatically expands the interval on the scale of organizational complexity where the transition from anthropic selection to biological evolution might belong. Specifically, it becomes conceivable that the minimal requirement (the breakthrough stage) for the onset of biological evolution is a primitive coupled replication-translation system that emerged by chance. That this extremely rare event occurred on earth and gave rise to life as we know it is explained by anthropic selection alone. Under this model, a full-fledged RNA world, with a diverse population of replicating RNA molecules but without translation, was not a stage in the origin of life on earth. However, this does not defy the central role of RNA in the emergence of biological evolution and early evolution of life. Indeed, the model includes a complex ensemble of non-replicating RNA molecules as the product of anthropic selection that enabled the onset of biological evolution.
Connections between biological evolution and cosmological models have been proposed previously as analogies. Shakhnovich and coworkers developed a simple mathematical model of an “expanding” protein universe that they aptly likened to the Big Bang model of the evolution of the physical universe . From the cosmological side, Smolin proposed the model of cosmic selection that extended the Darwinian principles to the evolution of the universe[65,66]. By contrast, here I propose a direct link between specific models of evolution of the physical and biological universes, with the latter being contingent on the validity of the former (MWO) as illustrated by simple calculations. Importantly, in this context, the validity of MWO is to be understood in a rather generic sense. For the present concept to hold, the only essential assumptions are that the universe is infinite [e.g., any (island) universe under MWO; the multiverse, per se, is not a must] and that the number of macroscopic histories in any finite region of spacetime is finite.
A final comment on “irreducible complexity” and “intelligent design”. By showing that highly complex systems, actually, can emerge by chance and, moreover, are inevitable, if extremely rare, in the universe, the present model sidesteps the issue of irreducibility and leaves no room whatsoever for any form of intelligent design.
– E. Koonin (2007) “The cosmological model of eternal inflation and the transition from chance to biological evolution in the history of life,” Biology Direct.
Which is a good enough reason to accept it, of course.