Introduction[edit | edit source]
The many worlds interpretations of quantum mechanics suggest that there are many "parallel worlds" to our own. Many worlds interpretations are based on the idea that quantum uncertainty generates multiple alternative universes. Critics of the many worlds interpretation such as Asher Peres have asked if the many worlds interpretation adds anything useful to science. The multiple alternative universes are "non-communicating"; if there is no information exchange between the multiple universes, how can their assumed existence be demonstrated or have practical implications for us?
Reading and discussion[edit | edit source]
Reading: The cosmological model of eternal inflation and the transition from chance to biological evolution in the history of life by Eugene V Koonin in Biology Direct (2007); 2: 15.
Discussion[edit | edit source]
Q1. Do you agree with one of the reviewers of Koonin's article that it is "vastly metaphysical"?
Q1a. Is the "many worlds in one" multiverse idea a falsifiable concept? Does Koonin defend the idea that a many worlds interpretation is scientific or does he just assume that it is?
Q3. One of the reviewers makes the point that if translation arises by anthropic selection with probability = 1, then even more complex biological systems can too (for example, see Boltzmann brain). Intelligent design advocates have argued that many biological systems cannot have evolved by natural selection. If Koonan's theory of the origin of translation by anthropic selection is a scientific explanation, what prevents all theories of intelligent design from being labeled as scientific explanations?
Q4. In the context of the anthropic principle Koonin mentions Dan Dennett and the book, Darwin's Dangerous Idea. Related reading: read Dennett's book, "Darwin's Dangerous Idea", particularly Chapter 7. Does Dennett conclude that random chemical events could have produced molecular replicating systems that could have become life as we know it? Does Dennett agree with the idea that "anthropic selection" is needed to explain such a chemical origin of life?
Q5. Koonin says that the "specific parameters" of the observable universe could have been such that life would have been impossible. He also says that the "many worlds in one" point of view easily accounts for "complex systems that would have to be considered virtually impossible" without MWO. How does he know this?
Q6. Koonin suggests that the origin of molecular replication is part of "the hardest problem in all of biology". Is the origin of molecular replication a problem of biology or a matter of non-biological chemistry? Where is the boundary between pre-biological chemical processes and biological processes that characterize living systems?
[edit | edit source]
- The Many-Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics Strongly recommended as an introductory text.
- Michael Price's Everett FAQ -- a very clear presentation of the theory with some additional insights