The clearest and most thorough discussion of the Cosmic Natural Selection conjecture that I have seen so far is Is there a Darwinian Evolution of the Cosmos? Some Comments on Lee Smolin's Theory of the Origin of Universes by Means of Natural Selection Rudiger Vaas http://arxiv.org/abs/gr-qc/0205119 as a sample, here is the final paragraph: "Smolin's scenario cannot explain everything (nor does it want to, so this remark is not meant to criticize it but to stress an important limitation). Suppose, Smolin is right. Then we would know why the fundamental physical parameters are the way they actually are. They would be explained, or we would need no explanation anymore. However, this merely shifts the crucial question further back, because • we would still not know why the laws are the way they actually are, for instance, why quantum gravity implies the birth of universes out of black holes and why quantum gravity is true at all, • we would still not know how the first universe (the "mother of all universes") came into being, or, if there is an infinite chain of universes, why there are universes at all. Thus, Smolin's hypothesis does not give us a sufficient reason. Probably, a sufficient reason cannot be given at all [cf. 72, ch. 6] which is not to deny that it may play an important heuristic role in the development of science. But Cosmological Natural Selection is not a First Cause or a principle proven by itself. It cannot help us to overcome contingency. It cannot answer why there is anything at all (nor can the speculations about cosmic engineers). And it cannot explain why the physical laws are the way they are. In the ultimate sense, the cosmos remains a mystery."