Why does the universe favour the creation of life?
Pulling together a couple of more or less sound assumptions I had this slightly odd thought that the universe is trying to come to an end as fast as possible by creating life as the ultimate means to this end in order to return the energy that was borrowed in the course of the big bang.
I am taking the following for granted:
- As the second law of thermodynamics states, entropy is and will always be increasing (for a beautiful explanation for the layman check out this video from Steve Mould)
- This will ultimately result in the heat death of the universe, which means that everything is at (roughtly) the same temperature. This is the ultimate level of disorder; if everything is at the same temperature, no work can be done, and all the energy will end up as the random motion of atoms and molecules.
Now let’s look at a couple of wilder claims:
- Living matter will increase entropy faster than non-living matter. Life is not a coincidence, it is a consequence of the laws of the universe fundamentally favoring the creation of life over lifeless matter. There’s at least one physicist who thinks that this is true and for which we recently found more clues:
The origin and subsequent evolution of life follow from the
fundamental laws of nature and “should be as unsurprising as rocks
From the standpoint of physics, there is one essential difference
between living things and inanimate clumps of carbon atoms: The former
tend to be much better at capturing energy from their environment and
dissipating that energy as heat.
Coffee cools down because nothing is heating it up, but England’s
calculations suggested that groups of atoms that are driven by
external energy sources can behave differently: They tend to start
tapping into those energy sources, aligning and rearranging so as to
better absorb the energy and dissipate it as heat. He further showed
that this statistical tendency to dissipate energy might foster
The universe can borrow energy in the form of virtual particles that are created as a disturbances in various quantum fields. The Casimir effect is one example of this, Hawking radiation would be another where energy is somehow borrowed for a limited amount of time.
And the final assumption: The big bang originated out of quantum fluctuations as outlined in this article:
One of the great theories of modern cosmology is that the universe
began in a Big Bang. This is not just an idea but a scientific theory
backed up by numerous lines of evidence.
For a start, there is the cosmic microwave background, which is a kind
of echo of the big bang; then there is the ongoing expansion of the
cosmos, which when imagined backwards, hints at a Big Bang-type
origin; and the abundance of the primordial elements, such as
helium-4, helium-3, deuterium and so on, can all be calculated using
But that still leaves a huge puzzle. What caused the Big Bang itself?
For many years, cosmologists have relied on the idea that the universe
formed spontaneously, that the Big Bang was the result of quantum
fluctuations in which the Universe came into existence from nothing.
Putting all of this together I was wondering:
Is the universe creating life to accelerate its own heat death in order to give back the energy it borrowed during the big bang but never returned?