The Life of the Cosmos

Lee Smolin is not afraid to think big–really, really big. His theory of cosmic evolution by the natural selection of black-hole universes makes what we can experience into an infinitesimal, yet crucial, part of an ever-larger whole. Smolin says, “the new view of the universe is light, in all its senses, because what Darwin has given us, and what we may aspire to generalize to the cosmos as a whole, is a way of thinking about the world which is scientific and mechanistic, but in which the occurrence of novelty–indeed, the perpetual birth of novelty–can be understood.” Other scientists are, to say the least, divided on whether Smolin has much chance of being right, but they agree with Paul Davies that he is “a deep and original thinker.”