Monday, February 8, 2010

The universe evolves from simple to complex, concludes a physicist

I recently read the book "The Wrinkles in Time" by the Noble Laureate physicist George Smoot. I found his view of evolution of the universe from simple to complex to be in complete harmony with the facts of biological evolution. It seems to me there is a universal law of evolution that underlies all changes with time, regardless of life or non-life. There has to be one if nature is a coherent whole, which it obviously is. A few quotes from the book follow:

"[Steven] Weinberg muses... 'The more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it also seems pointless.' I must disagree with my old teacher. To me the universe seems quite the opposite of pointless... The more we learn, the more we see ... there is an underlying unity to the sea of matter and stars and galaxies ... we are learning that nature is as it is not because it is the chance consequence of a random series of meaningless events; quite the opposite. More and more, the universe appears to be as it is because it must be that way; its evolution was written in its beginnings-in its cosmic DNA, if you will.”

“There is a clear order to the evolution of the universe, moving from simplicity and symmetry to greater complexity and structure.”

“Accidents and chance, in fact, are essential in developing the overall richness of the universe. In that sense (although not in the sense of quantum physics), Einstein had the right idea: God does not play dice with the universe. Though individual events happen as a matter of chance, there is an overall inevitability to the development of sophisticated complex systems. The development of beings capable of questioning and understanding the universe seems quite natural. I would be quite surprised if such intelligence has not arisen many places in our very large universe."

“My speculation, however, is that because things become simpler as we near the moment of creation, there was only a limited range of possibilities; indeed, perhaps only one, with everything so perfect that it could have been no other way.”

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