Anthropic Principle – Why the Fuss ?

I must have passed over the Anthropic Principle quite some time ago, because it leaves me unmoved. The reason to mention it is the debate about physical fundamentals of the universe and the recurring intelligent design debate, where I have also gone beyond debate to peremtory dismissal.

I got a combative comment on my report about the quantum information developments at BCS / CASYS below. “Crap”, to quote the comment in fact. The anonymous commenter “Island” runs a web-site called “Anthropic-Principle.Org“, and a blog called “Uncommon Ascent” with the URL “evolutionarydesign” under blogspot.

Also picked up via a Google / Technorati cross-hit a link to a blog by Melbourne student Will G with some extended Christian reasoning on the subject that Island liked. It includes this erroneous application of Occam

1. The universe has the appearance of design
2. There are no simpler explanations of design with evidential support
3. I am justified in believing the universe is designed

Very simple (not), except the absence of any explanation of the existence of the design itself, or any agent behind use of the verb “designed”. Just moved the “first cause” problem.

Unfortunately neither can I take seriosuly anyone who dismissess neo-darwinism with the rhetorical summary “where everything somehow happens this way for no good reason”. Of course Darwinism supplies plenty of “good reasons” and “explanations” – just not a teleological design from any intelligence higher than nature itself, with any pre-planned outcomes.

Anyway Wikipedia restored my belief that weak or strong the Anthropic Principle is just a truism that can explain nothing. Anyway, Island’s case on a brief read looks like “evolutionary design” – where design exists in nature itself, and the natural laws in this universe, but to me that design is a recipe for possible processes not a blue-print for an outcome of intelligent humans with any further pre-ordained destinies. With that spin, I wouldn’t argue against design. Design = Physics = Evolution in fact.

I might actually largely agree with Island.
Choose your metaphor for the fundamental existence of a universe containing these particular laws of physics.

58 thoughts on “Anthropic Principle – Why the Fuss ?”

  1. So, what’s the verdict… crackpot or honest scientist?… 😉

    It’s interesting that you’ve again referenced cybernetics, i.e., “Cybsoc links Nilpotence with Ashby”… because this mechanism, “asymmetric transitions” that’s referenced in the following linked article from my website is the same thing that happens when you make particles from vacuum energy, and they almost made that connection at the bottom of the page:

    The mechanism defines the link between the evolution of the universe and humans… assuming that I’m right about Einstien’s model.

  2. Hi Island, sorry, I’ve not forgotten about you – I just happen to be travelling away on business, with not much time for the “hobby” this week.

    “Honest until proven crackpot” in my book.

    Interesting that link is at VUB – quite a few roads in my research lead to Brussels. And what’s more I see the link is not just VUB it’s Francis Heylighen’s Principia Cybernetica – what a small interconnected world this is.

    I notice Heylighen’s piece ends with this quote “Recent cosmological theories hypothesize a similar spontaneous separation of negative and positive energies to account for the creation of the universe out of a zero-energy vacuum (Hawking, 1988).” Which is where we started when you responded “Crap” to my something from nothing reference ? Am I right ?

  3. It really is a small world. Hawking has most recently at the GR17 conference contradicted this speculation with a new theory that, like mine, says that information is never lost because a true event horizon never forms, so there is no absolute cosmic singularity, which invalidates the idea that the universe started with a random, quantum fluctuation.

    There is no “spontaneous” separation, it’s the inherent imbalance/asymmetry that can’t be reconcilled that keeps the effort moving perpetually forward.

    Think about it, information is never lost if we have a big bang right now, because the “footprint” for this universe will be convolved into the next universe.

    The matter/antimatter asymmetry is one of the problems that is listed on the site that I said the new physics resolves.

    Asymmetric transitions occur when we make particles from the vacuum.

    Tension grows between matter and the vacuum as a result, and this necessarily results in a big bang when the integrity of the forces that bind the universe are finally compromised.

    Time restarts as the universe “leaps”, via a metasystems transition to a more efficient configuration of the same structure:

    This is what the anthropic principle is about.

  4. In case ya missed it, ian… an evolutionary leap is analogous to a big bang as punctuated equilibrium is to a “near”-static universe.

    This and the stuff that I talked about above is discussed at the bottom of the first page of my website.

    It relates dirac’s hole theory to dirac’s large numbers hypothesis which is where Robert Dicke got the coincidence for the anthropic principle from. Dirac’s hole theory in einstein’s “near” static model repairs dirac’s cosmological model, in other words, so the anthropic principle is completed and clarified, no longer “tautologous” and circular, since there is now good reason for it.

  5. This joint’s got an uncertain “air” about it… although it’s becoming more and more apparent that’s exactly what’s causing the stink!… lol

  6. Sorry if I missed something, but I don’t see any reference to Lee Smolin’s notion of Comological Natural Selection as a nonteleological alternative to Intelligent Design when accounting for anthropic coincidences. Basically, he taps Darwinian logic to come up with a model of the evolution of universes in which physical constants that skew universes toward black hole production give those universes an adaptive advantage in the ensemble of universes. More at

  7. Thanks for the comment Heresiarch ?

    I have seen references to Lee Smolin, but not picked up on them. If Anthropic Principles were my main subject – I would certainly support your summary …

    “a nonteleological alternative to Intelligent Design when accounting for anthropic coincidences”

    However since I also see these are coincidental rather than causal, it’s just re-inforcing what I already believe – so I’ve moved on – the cosmological physics is not my main issue. Of course if I ever need scientific support for what I believe, then I may have to come back 😉

    Thanks again – I’ll browse your site too.

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