QUESTION: If physics is tuned or adjusted to guarantee some physical event takes place – what would that event be?
CONJECTURE: If the physics of our universe is indeed ‘tuned’ then it is optimized to ensure star formation.
We know that the physical universe we observe and measure is finely tuned. We also know that if any of the ‘settings’ such as the Planck Constant or the speed of light are off by just a little bit, our universe would not exist. Therefore my hypothesis is that our physics is ‘tuned’ to ensure some specific physical event. And if so, my conjecture is that it is optimized to guarantee that a star is born.
Why, star formation? Well before I get into this let me comment on the idea of a tuned universe because this begs another very important question: ‘Who is doing the tuning?’ I don’t need to rehash the entire creationism versus evolution argument but suffice it to say there are probably trillions of words written on this topic. The great thing is that my tuned universe can exist within either paradigm, intelligent creator or natural selection. If we exist within a ‘simulation’ coded by an intelligent creator, then I propose this designer optimized our simulation for star formation. If our universe is a result of natural selection, then the definition of a ‘fittest’ universe is the universe that can birth stars.
Now on to ‘why, star formation and not atom formation or galaxy formation?’ The answer is because each of these other processes (as well as many others) are either required for star formation or a direct result of the physics related to star formation. In order for a star to form you need stable atoms. And if you fine tune physics to ensure stars are born, the rest of the stuff we see happening such as galaxy formation, falls out in the wash. In fact I propose that some of the strange stuff we see falling out of the proverbial wash such as dark energy and matter – also are a product of this tuning.
Furthermore, stars are the ‘engines’ of our universe. Stars drive all subsequent processes from plate tectonics to photosynthesis. So if you tune the universe settings to ensure stars form, energy is created to drive everything that takes place downstream.
And finally, the conditions required to create stars include all of the forces found in modern physics such as: matter attraction (gravity), thermodynamics, mass-energy exchange (e=mc²), stability of elements essential for fusion, and so on.
Another nice feature of a star is that its life cycle, from nebula to supernova, fertilizes the universe with all of the known elements. Stars are element factories. The life cycle of a star also creates and anchors solar systems. If you get stars right, you get planets right and you get a lot of other stuff right.
So can we prove or disprove this conjecture? Maybe. I propose that a computer simulation of the universe be coded up that runs iterative simulations. With each simulation run, randomly adjust the physics settings, keeping the settings that improve fitness for star formation. If the simulation evolves towards a universe that looks like ours, then a proof for this tuned universe where star formation is ensured, would be strengthened. Furthermore, if the anomalies we observe such as dark matter and dark energy are required to create a ‘fitter’ universe for star formation – this may explain the ‘need’ for these observed constructs.
So there you have it – my conjecture for a star optimized tuned universe.
P.S. If you are curious about where quantum physics fits into this conjecture – read my other blog entries on that topic.