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We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

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Why Are the Laws of Nature What They Are?

August 7, 2013, 12:00 AM
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To call Lee Smolin a maverick is an understatement. Smolin believes that science progresses through disagreement, not by following consensus. He argued to that effect in his 2006 book The Trouble with Physics. 

The New York Times has described the work of this theoretical physicist as "fabulously ambitious and fabulously speculative." And that is precisely why we are taking this opportunity, on the occasion of YouTube Geek Week, to draw attention to one of Smolin's most controversial, but also perhaps most neglected ideas, and this is the idea of Cosmological Natural Selection.

What's the Big Idea?

As Smolin tells Big Think, physics is about discovering what the laws of nature are. For instance, Smolin asks why is the mass of an electron what it is and not 12 times larger or half the size?

To answer questions like this, Smolin adapts what he describes as "the only methodology that was really successful for explaining how choices were made in nature," and that is natural selection. From there Smolin posits the idea that new universes are born from parent universes through the mechanism of Black Holes. 

And so, following Darwinian logic, and through mathematical simulations, Smolin makes the prediction, or observation, that universes should be fine-tuned to maximize the production of hundreds of trillions of Black Holes.

Watch the video here:

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

 

Why Are the Laws of Nature ...

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