Anthropics and a cosmic immune system

Some peo­ple like to as­sume that the cos­mos is ours for the tak­ing, even though this could make us spe­cial to the or­der of 1 in 1080. The ar­gu­ment is that the cos­mos could be trans­formed by tech­nol­ogy—en­g­ineered on as­tro­nom­i­cal scales—but hasn’t been thus trans­formed.

The most com­mon al­ter­na­tive hy­poth­e­sis is that “we are in a simu­la­tion”. Per­haps we are. But there are other pos­si­bil­ities too.

One is that tech­nolog­i­cal life usu­ally de­stroys, not just its home­world, but its whole bub­ble of space-time, by us­ing high-en­ergy physics to cause a “vac­uum de­cay”, in which physics changes in a way that makes space un­in­hab­it­able. For ex­am­ple, the mass of an el­e­men­tary par­ti­cle is es­sen­tially equal to the en­ergy den­sity of the Higgs field, times a quan­tity called a “yukawa cou­pling”. If the Higgs field in­creased its en­ergy den­sity by or­ders of mag­ni­tude, but the yukawas stayed the same, mat­ter as we know it would be de­stroyed, ev­ery­where that the change spread.

Here I want to high­light a differ­ent pos­si­bil­ity. The idea is that the uni­verse con­tains very large life­forms and very small life­forms. We are among the small. The large ones are, let’s say, mostly dark mat­ter, galac­tic in scale, and stars and planets for them are like bio­molecules for us; tiny func­tional el­e­ments which go to­gether to make up the whole. And—the cru­cial part—they have im­mune sys­tems which au­to­mat­i­cally crush any­thing which in­terferes with the nat­u­ral ce­les­tial or­der.

This is why the skies are full of un­tamed stars rather than Dyson spheres—any small life which be­gins to act on that scale is de­stroyed by dark-mat­ter an­ti­bod­ies. And it ex­plains an­throp­i­cally why you’re hu­man-size rather than galac­tic-size: small life is more nu­mer­ous than large life, just not so nu­mer­ous as cos­mic coloniza­tion would im­ply.

Two ques­tions arise—how did large life evolve, and, shouldn’t an­throp­ics fa­vor uni­verses which have no large life, just space-coloniz­ing small life? I could spin a story about cos­molog­i­cal nat­u­ral se­lec­tion, and large life which uses small life to re­pro­duce, but it doesn’t re­ally an­swer the sec­ond ques­tion, in par­tic­u­lar. Still, I feel that this is a huge un­ex­plored topic—the an­thropic con­se­quences of “bio­cos­mic” ecol­ogy and evolu­tion—and who knows what else is lurk­ing here, wait­ing to be dis­cov­ered?