David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa
Jack Alan Reynolds
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If you have taken a college biology class, or just watched Animal Planet, you may have been struck by the startling complexity of living organisms. From the grandest mammal to the lowliest cell, life displays intricacy and structure that would put a high-paid team of engineers to shame. How could such fantastically organized, complex structures arise blindly out of unintelligent matter? Speaking of matter, why is it the way it is? Though unimaginably vast, our universe has precise features, as does the matter in it. A glance at the inside back cover of a college physics textbook shows that there are extremely precise numbers describing the fundamental properties of matter. These include numbers for the speed of light in a vacuum, for the masses of fundamental particles like the electron, proton, and neutron, and for the strengths of forces like gravity and electromagnetism that act on those particles. These numbers seem utterly arbitrary. For all we know, they could have been completely different. Yet they turn out to be exactly what a universe needs in order for complex life to emerge in it. Likewise, the cosmology section of an astronomy course will teach you that there are very precise values for the temperature of the universe, for how much matter there is per cubic centimeter in the universe, for the rate at which the universe is expanding, and so on. How did those numbers get to be what they are? Were they just magically pulled out of a cosmic hat at the Big Bang?
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