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The physical constants as biosignature: an anthropic retrodiction of the Selfish Biocosm Hypothesis

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 January 2005

James N. Gardner
Gardner & Gardner, 111 S. W. Columbia Street, Suite 810, Portland, Oregon 97201, USA e-mail:


Goal 7 of the NASA Astrobiology Roadmap states: ‘Determine how to recognize signatures of life on other worlds and on early Earth. Identify biosignatures that can reveal and characterize past or present life in ancient samples from Earth, extraterrestrial samples measured in situ, samples returned to Earth, remotely measured planetary atmospheres and surfaces, and other cosmic phenomena.’ The cryptic reference to ‘other cosmic phenomena’ would appear to be broad enough to include the possible identification of biosignatures embedded in the dimensionless constants of physics. The existence of such a set of biosignatures – a life-friendly suite of physical constants – is a retrodiction of the Selfish Biocosm (SB) hypothesis. This hypothesis offers an alternative to the weak anthropic explanation of our indisputably life-friendly cosmos favoured by (1) an emerging alliance of M-theory-inspired cosmologists and advocates of eternal inflation like Linde and Weinberg, and (2) supporters of the quantum theory-inspired sum-over-histories cosmological model offered by Hartle and Hawking. According to the SB hypothesis, the laws and constants of physics function as the cosmic equivalent of DNA, guiding a cosmologically extended evolutionary process and providing a blueprint for the replication of new life-friendly progeny universes.

Research Article
2005 Cambridge University Press

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