Summary of Our Improbable Universe
Chapter 13: Where Is The Signature?
The energy of the Big Bang has evolved into all of the complexity and beauty that we see. The previous chapters have broadly described some of this complexity. In order for this to have happened spontaneously, there had to be at least fourteen stepping stones to life that were properly in place. Was this improbable process the result of a trillion trillion throws of the universe creating dice, as the Anthropic Principle assumes? Or was it all designed from the start in such a clever way, that the subsequent evolutionary developments were, in a general sense, inevitable? For example, it is almost inevitable that Nazi like civilizations will destroy themselves in this universe before they have the opportunity to destroy neighboring life forms. Was there a creator behind all of this? What was the motivation to create? Why didn't the artist sign the canvas? Is there a signature? Where is the signature? Why should there be a signature?
There are a large number of directions that the guessed at answers to these questions can take. Assuming that there is a creator, the question at the top of the list is: what can we know about the creator from creation itself? If the universe was created, then the creator had to be a fantastic artist/engineer/philosopher/very thing. So much had to be just right that many have called it the Goldilocks Universe. Such an achievement must have been a supreme act of creativity. The creator must have been fascinated with the task and derived satisfaction from the results. How could a creators keep it a secret? Wouldn't a signature on the canvas be compulsory? How could the creator possibly resist signing? Why would a creator resist the temptation to sign?
Perhaps a good answer is to observe that the signature paradox (lack of) is nested in a anthropomorphism. Just because a human might feel compelled to claim recognition for the fantastic achievement of creating such a creative universe, is no reason to assume that the creator would feel this way. But is an obvious signature really absent? Maybe we are just too insensitive to see it. Even before the age of science, many poets, artists, and prophets clearly saw the hand of a creator in the incredible reality that was before their faces. Now, with the eyes, of science we can see just how complex and improbable it all is at deeper levels than before. The Anthropic Principle may deny us scientific proof of the existence of a creator but it does not exclude suspicion. Sherlock Holms would stay on the case.
One line of investigation that will be possible in the future is to theoretically determine just how fertile and improbable this universe is in relationship to other possible universes. The Anthropic Principle merely requires that the universe have some potential for fertility. If our universe was found to be superfertile in relationship to other more probable but less fertile candidates, then we would be justified in suspecting the hand of the Master Watchmaker of Reverend Paley. It would then appear to be fine tuned for life in relationship to these less hospitable and more probable places. If greater scientific knowledge, or the discovery of numerous E.T.'s enables us to call our universe "Superfertile", then we might have caught the creator in the act.
A creator might be tempted to provide a sign post, that guides, instead of a signature. Is the existence of fissionable materials in this universe such a sign post? Does it say "go this way and not that way"? Is it likely to be in any universe merely by accident? In my view the existence of semi-stable uranium and thorium is very suspicious. It looks allot like a sign post. It even smells like one. It certainly tells us something about how we can expect to live a successful life in this universe. If we don't pay attention, humanity will blow its chance and some other animal will have a shot at being the way of the future. The warning that is written on this sign post is stark. To a creator, that has chosen natural selection as a tool for creating intelligent life, this sign post probably seemed necessary.
A careful examination of the chances of getting a randomly structured universe in which nuclear weapons exist but are controllable, adds to the suspicion that our political reality was a set up. The odds of getting this kind of political reality are only one in five to twenty. Nuclear Weapons Free Universes would be far more probable if the charge on the electron were determined by a random process. In these alternate universes the charge on the electron would be only 1/3% greater than it is in our universe. These Nuclear Weapons Free Universes would also be fertile (provided that the electron charge was not more than two to eight percent larger than that of ours) so they are not excluded by the Anthropic Principle. Though these places seem nicer, they would probably be dominated by Nazis. The fact that only good neighbors survive in the long run in our kind of universe, and the fact that our kind is much less probable, is very suspicious. This line of thought hints in favor of the hypothesis that the design of our universe was thought out by a creator.
Among the many more directions of speculation that the signature question spawns is the one which I like the best. This answer rests on the observation that if there is divine purpose in creation, then it is to be as creative as possible in every possible way. This universe is a fantastically creative place. The vast number of stars and species of beetles attests to this. The huge potential for variety that this universe offers must not be muted in any way. We have a universe in which three varieties of conscious psychic beings are possible. In this universe it is possible to intellectually sustain either a theistic, deistic, agnostic or atheistic approach to life. The kinds of meaning that can be found in life by all four types of beings are found in this most creative universe. If the canvas had been obviously signed, the added meaning to life, that the created could provide for the creator, would be greatly diminished. The contributions that come from agnostics and atheists would be absent. The meaning that the created could supply to the creator would be primarily derivative. It would have to come from the creator in the first place. How could the creator learn anything from it? A universe with a signature would be a less creative and meaningful place.
An answer to the signature question that is related to the preceding suggestion and to a reason that an E.T. would maintain a hands off policy is the following. Only humanity can create the evolutionary changes in our individual and collective spirit that are necessary for us to produce a sustainable civilization in the long run. Any intervention of any sort, would result in a dependency mentality that would derail the process. If there was a signature, we would have someone to depend on and someone to blame. As it is we are stuck with ourselves. If we don't do it, we have no expectation that anyone else will. We either grow up or we take ourselves out of the running and some other species gets its chance. If the universe was created, then we better accept this tough love, and get on with the creativity of life.