For the Darwinian faithful troubled by our "against-all-odds" cosmos, the "multiverse" has been a comforting sedative. According to the theory, the multiverse is a supercosmos made up of an infinite number of universes, ensuring that the intricate network of coincidences necessary for life will be actualized in one of them. As to where the multiverse came from...well, there are a few ideas about that.

One, called the "many-worlds theory", depends on a controversial interpretation of quantum mechanics in which an endless stream of universes is created by every object in the cosmos at every moment in time. For rank-and-file physicists this theory is, at best, tedious.

In another theory, the multiverse originates from something called "chaotic inflation." In 1981, by a set of mathematical gyrations, Stanford cosmologist Andre Linde demonstrated that if a quantum-sized "nugget" of space fluctuated suddenly and violently, it could become a "bubble" of intense energy ballooning into a whole universe. Then, if the initial "bubble" quickly disintegrated into a constellation of bubbles, much like the fizz created after opening a bottle of soda, it would spawn multiple universes. And, if inflation is a continuing process, then the increasing number of universes would guarantee the existence of ours. (Anyone counting the number of "ifs" here?).

For those unsatisfied with many-worlds and inflation, "black holes" have come to the rescue. Black holes are those cosmic cannibals gobbling up everything in their "field of vision" through their intense gravitational fields. Problem is, although there are many stellar objects that have been labeled as "black hole candidates," there are no confirmed black holes. What's more, even the theoretical basis for the existence of black holes seems to be crumbling.

According to new calculations performed by physicist Lawrence Krauss and his colleagues, a black hole should evaporate before it is formed, much like a glutton with chronic dysentery. That's bad news for the materialist discomforted by the implications of a Goldilocks cosmos where, from the infinitesimal to the infinite, everything appears to be meticulously tweaked for the very existence of the world in which we find ourselves.

(What are your thoughts about black holes? Post them here.)