Humanity has long wondered how the stars, galaxies and life itself began? For stars to create atoms needs the stability of galaxies that would fly apart without dark matter that just so happens to stop that. We make energy by nuclear fission that breaks nuclei apart but stars make energy by nuclear fusion that merges Hydrogen nuclei into Helium, which needs neutrons that the weak force also just happens to allow. The laws of physics didn’t let nuclear fusion create the carbon atoms life needs until a just right energy resonance was found:
“The energy at which the carbon resonance occurs is determined by the interplay between the strong nuclear force and the electromagnetic force. If the strong force were slightly stronger or slightly weaker … the universe might very well be devoid of life and go unobserved.” (Davies, 2006)
The Goldilocks Effect is that our universe has an unreasonable number of parameters set just right for life, without which we couldn’t exist. For example:
“Take, for instance, the neutron. It is 1.00137841870 times heavier than the proton, which is what allows it to decay into a proton, electron and neutrino—a process that determined the relative abundances of hydrogen and helium after the big bang and gave us a universe dominated by hydrogen. If the neutron-to-proton mass ratio were even slightly different, we would be living in a very different universe: one, perhaps, with far too much helium, in which stars would have burned out too quickly for life to evolve, or one in which protons decayed into neutrons rather than the other way around, leaving the universe without atoms. So, in fact, we wouldn’t be living here at all—we wouldn’t exist.” Ananthaswamy (2012)
Were these values set “just so” by a kind creator or did a vast system spawn many universes and we just happen to be on the life-supporting one? The conclusion isn’t that the universe is designed for life as if so, it is a poor design because most of the universe is inhospitable to life. Yet it is true that the parameters of our universe are balanced on a knife edge, for as Susskind says:
“The great mystery is not why there is dark energy. The great mystery is why there is so little of it [10−122]… The fact that we are just on the knife edge of existence, [that] if dark energy were very much bigger we wouldn’t be here, that’s the mystery.”
Other “cosmic coincidences” are (Barnes, 2012):
1. Strong force. If the strong force was stronger or weaker by just 1% there would be no carbon or heavier elements anywhere in the universe.
2. Weak force. If the weak force was any weaker the hydrogen in the universe would be greatly decreased, starving stars of nuclear fuel and leaving the universe a cold and lifeless place.
3. Neutrons. If neutrons were slightly less massive the universe would be entirely protons and if lower by 1%, then all protons would decay into neutrons so no atoms other than hydrogen, helium, lithium and beryllium could form.
4. Cosmic microwave background. This radiation has a slight anisotropy, roughly one part in 100,000, just enough to allow stars and galaxies to form. Any smaller and the early universe would have been too smooth for stars and galaxies to form and any larger and stable stars with planetary systems would be extremely rare.
5. Cosmological constant. The positive and negative contributions to the vacuum energy density cancel to 120-digit accuracy, but the 121st digit makes our universe possible.
Since all the above and more apply, our “luck” is hard to explain. If the entire universe is fine-tuned to evolve, one can’t conclude a lucky accident from a sample of one, unless there are many universes, so multiverse theory is popular despite it being scientifically worthless. Yet to conclude that there had to be many universes in order to make our universe an accident isn’t scientific. The fine-tuning of our universe is based on evidence but the multiverse is based on no evidence at all:
“The multiverse has only ever existed, so far as we know, in the mind of man. Its most promising research programs, string theory and early rapid cosmic inflation theory, have bounced along on enthusiasm alone, prompting ever more arcane speculations for which there may never be any possibility of evidence.” (O’Leary, 2017)
In a recent variant, Smolin speculates that black holes spawn universes based on Hawking’s 1987 proposal, again with no evidence, but that a black hole is a mathematical infinity doesn’t mean it can create a universe.
In quantum realism, our universe was born from a preexisting quantum reality whose nature defined every universal parameter from the start. This predicts that the key parameters of nature reduce to core network properties like refresh rate (the speed of light), density (Planck’s constant) and expansion rate (the cosmological constant). From these, simulations based on quantum reverse engineering could derive other parameters, such as electron mass and charge. Our universe has the laws it does because it was born from quantum reality.
It follows that if other “bubble universes” arose in the quantum bulk as ours did, they would have exactly the same laws of physics except they might break the anti-matter way. In this view, the parameters of our universe were neither accidental nor chosen but inherited from the primal quantum reality. Again, that our universe was born from quantum reality suggests it is alive, so does it have the ability to evolve?