Re: The Odds of the Big Bang, Abiogenesis, and Evolution

Glenn R. Morton (
Fri, 08 Jan 1999 20:00:07 -0800

Hi David,

As usual I will bow to your knowledge. and thanks for sending this to me
since I am not on the list. I want to make two comments though. In the
above case where the exponent is between 2 and 3 with eliptic orbits, there
does come a place where the eccentricity will take the earth out of the
continuously habitable zone, then that is the limit for my epsion. A deeply
frozen earth cannot have higher life forms. Secondly, in response to this,

At 10:20 PM 1/7/99 EST, David Bowman wrote:
>> .... Obviously the way
>>out of this argument is that 2 is chosen for the exponent by some logically
>>apriori set of physical laws. But if one choses that out, then I think it
>>is incumbent upon them to demonstrate such a theory.
>Actually the exponent for long range interactions such as those of EM and
>gravitation is exactly 2 as an *automatic consequence* of deeper physical
>laws than classical Newtonian mechanics.


I should also have added, that one must show why those deeper physical laws
took the values they did so that they can then give gravity the values it
needs. One can possibly construct an infinitely regressing sequence of
anthropic questions.
>It should also be noted that if (as recent measurements of distant
>Type Ia supernovas seem to indicate) the Cosmological Constant is nonzero
>then the Newtonian 1/R^2 force law is *incorrect* as it stands and must
>be modified by the addition of a long-range repulsive term. In this case
>the attractive gravitational field strength g due to a mass M at a
>distance R from the mass has the form: g = G*M/R^2 - b*R where the
>repulsive last term is a consequence of the extra curvature of spacetime
>caused by the Cosmological constant giving the background vacuum an
>effective residual energy density. The constant b above is *very tiny*
>and directly proportional to the correspondingly tiny Cosmological
>constant. This modified force law says that 2 masses attract each other
>at sufficiently short distances like Newton claimed, but they tend to
>repel at sufficiently large distances with the strength of the repulsion
>*growing* with further distance. We don't have to worry about the - b*R
>term above causing any problems for us on distances a small as the solar
>system. This term tends to only become significant at Cosmologically
>great (i.e. multi-billion light year) distances.
>>So why shouldn't a randomly chosen universe have a gravitational force with
>>an exponent of 10?
>Because that then would not be a gravitational-type force. It would be
>something else. Gravitation has to do the effects and the means by which
>matter curves spacetime and spacetime's curved geometry influences the
>behavior of the matter in it. The effects of curved spacetime do not and
>cannot produce an exponent of 10.

But that is the point of the anthropic argument. even assuming the many
universe hypothesis of Everett, where all conditions are found in one of
the universes, in a truly randomly chosen universe the exponent could be 10
and life would be impossible.

>Regarding the business of attempting to calculate the a priori
>probabilities for the various constants of nature, I agree with Howard's
>comments on that score.

Then do you discount the anthropic principle? Barrow and Tipler do not
calculate probabilities, but the entire anthropic argument is that it is in
some emotional sense, difficult to belief that all the constants could be
correct for life to exist. If this isn't an implicit probability
calculation I don't know what is.

Copy me with your reply, cause I am still off list.

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