“Evolution’s a natural process. But it’s not exactly the fastest. You can reach your potential with just a little help…” It’s a song from a cartoon. But it does make you think, right?
Evolution and natural selection were first popularized by Charles Darwin. Natural selection is defined as the process by which living organisms that adapt better to their environment tend to survive and reproduce more. It is believed to be the main factor that drives evolution. But that’s oversimplifying the whole process, of course.
Natural selection doesn’t just happen. Well, mainly it does to ensure survival and facilitate reproduction. The main question though is: which traits should an organism ‘enhance’ to be able to adapt to its environment better and out-reproduce everybody else? No one can exactly explain it. All we know is that it doesn’t happen completely at random; somehow, there’s always a purpose behind it.
That’s biological natural selection (BNS). It isn’t the only type of natural selection, though. There’s also cosmological natural selection (CNS). And it’s just as mind-boggling.
Introduced in the early 1990s by theoretical physicist Professor Lee Smolin, the theory is that black holes are an adaptation designed by cosmological natural selection, and life is a by-product of selection of black holes. Universes multiply through black holes, and the more black holes there are in a universe, the more natural selection favors it, so the more they are able to self-replicate.
There’s a new (opposing) take on that theory and it’s from evolutionist Dr. Michael Price of Brunel University London.
According to Dr. Price, biological natural selection is the strongest known universal process that creates complex order out of random disorder. It is also the strongest anti-entropic process, with entropy being defined as the degree of disorder or chaos in a physical system.
Dr. Price says that kind of mechanism possibly holds true at the cosmological level as well. He asserts that life is more complex and ordered. It is thus less likely to arise randomly than a black hole, and is more likely to be an adaptation for universe replication rather than its by-product — exactly the opposite of Smolin’s view.
As he explained to Phys.Org: ‘I suggest that both intelligent life and black holes are plausible candidates to be CNS-designed adaptations but the probability of being such an adaptation is higher for life than black holes or indeed, for any other known object in the universe, because life is the most complexly improbable thing we know of.’
Dr. Price and Smolin’s views may be totally different in terms of how they approach their respective theories, however, the main issue here is finding out which one is the accurate one. Both theories are basically like a choice between intelligent life arising from black holes, or intelligent life giving rise to universes (known as cosmological natural selection with intelligence). Or maybe, there’s something linking both theories and making them equally correct.
As. Dr. Price put it: ‘BNS and CNS may together be ultimately responsible for much of the order that we observe in the universe….The process of selection may be far more fundamental to explaining the nature of our universe than is generally supposed.”
You can read more about Dr. Price’s theory in the journal Complexity under the title ‘Entropy and Selection: Life as an Adaptation for Universe Replication’.