Avi Loeb: “Was Our Universe Created in a Laboratory?”

In his 1999 book, The Life of the Cosmos, Lee Smolin suggested that the reason the universe appeared to be so fine-tuned for complexity and life was what he termed “cosmic natural selection”, in which new baby universes were born during the formation of black holes, each with physical properties that differed from their parent universe due to quantum uncertainty. Universes in which, for example, star formation was impossible would have no progeny and die out, and those that collapse to a single black hole would create only one child universe. Only those in which the initial conditions allowed the formation of massive stars would produce a multitude of black holes, and these would come to dominate the population of universes. But the massive stars that end up as black holes are the prerequisite for creating the heavy elements which are necessary to form planets and living beings. So, we shouldn't be surprised to find ourselves in a universe which appears to have been fine tuned to create the requirements for our form of life.

Now, Harvard astronomy professor Avi Loeb proposes an even more breathtaking speculation in a Scientific American opinion piece, “Was Our Universe Created in a Laboratory?”. Loeb argues that an advanced technological civilisation, which he calls “Class A”, will eventually develop the capability, perhaps by manipulating dark matter and dark energy, or via some means we haven't yet imagined, to perform the ultimate experiment—creating baby universes. If they can control the physical parameters of these universes, they would naturally fine tune them so they would, in turn, eventually produce their own Class A inhabitants. The process of natural selection would, then, operate on the scale of the multiverse, with universes that never produce a Class A civilisation producing no progeny, while those that eventually evolve Class A civilisations are fruitful and proliferate.

Loeb considers humanity at present a Class C civilisation, as we are unable to re-create a habitat for ourselves when the Sun dies. “A class B civilization could adjust the conditions in its immediate environment to be independent of its host star. A civilization ranked class A could recreate the cosmic conditions that gave rise to its existence, namely produce a baby universe in a laboratory.”


If our universe was created in a laboratory, then is that scientist our God?
And are these Class A humans also immortal? Because if so : why didn’t they pass that trait on to the humans in this their baby universe?
…and also, can we gat an address where the creator of this universe can be served with civil process?


The scientist who made the baby universe in a laboratory is, in every sense, the creator of the universe and everything in it, but not a Creator of the religious kind. As we understand the process of a baby universe budding off from a parent universe (which is highly speculative and may be either wrong or impossible), from the instant the baby universe is created there would be no causal connection between the parent and child universe. There would be no way to travel between them or send any kind of signal from one to the other. Thus, the scientist could not observe what happens after the moment of creation, or intervene in any way in the development of the baby universe. This rules out the kind of interaction between the Creator and created beings that many religions envision.

It is unlikely the inhabitants of a class A civilisation will be biological beings. They are much more likely to be machine intelligences of some kind, originally created by biological beings in their distant past. As such, they would be effectively immortal and can make backups of themselves before undertaking dangerous activities. But the universe doesn’t seem to be able to evolve machine intelligences directly, or at least not in the time that’s passed since the big bang. So the most likely trajectory is that some biological species creates the machine intelligences which then go off and do things their progenitors never could have, eventually reaching the point where they become class A. But when they create a baby universe, they must count on it following the same trajectory, first evolving simple life, then complex life, and eventually a biological civilisation that develops the first intelligent machine life.