10 thoughts on “A Very Strong Anthropic Principle ?”

  1. My mistake… one guy stole at least a part of my own theory:

    These guys too:

    And now, a modestly strong Anthropic Principle.

    The weak version says this universe is life-friendly because the only universes we could ever observe are those that are life-friendly. The strong version says that there is an implicate order that is inherently benign and therefore that life-friendly universes are the rule rather than the exception.

    My modestly strong version says:

    One: Living organisms are dissipative structures; by definition, they siphon off prevailing entropy-flows to create localized syntropy (negentropy) in the form of evolution (increases over time in the complexity and diversity of organisms in and of themselves, and in the complexity and diversity of relationships among and between organisms).

    Two: If, in a given universe, life is possible, then, in that universe, life, including intelligent life, is mandatory. The simple physics of dissipative structures dictate that when you get one that is composed of self-reproducible molecules, for example certain protiens and amino acids, it will reproduce, and over time it will mutate, and as examples of its type continue to accumulate energy from prevailing entropy flows (sunlight, thermal venting on the ocean floor, etc.), they will increase their dissipative activity and thereby increase their internal complexity, and eventually the process of random mutation and natural selection will lead to speciation and an increase in diversity of species. And this process is inexorable up through the point where you get organisms with critical-mass brains that can support consciousness, and then beyond.

  2. Hi Island,
    I buy that “modestly strong” version. Your earlier arguments were highly mathematical / physical … about G close to zero in the cosmos, etc … I’ve still never quite grasped the connection.

    When you use the term “dissipative” … what is being dissipated ?

    (Saw your response to my comment on your site too.)

  3. Energy, baby, per the second law of thermodynamics. The third link, above, talks about this in layman’s terms, but only as it applies locally.

    But we affect the whole universe when we isolate the release of enough energy to create real massive particles from vacuum energy, and this will eventually cause the universe to “evolve”… and that’s the anthropic link.

    And no physicist dares to even try to shoot me down, because I’m right!


    Not that it’ll ever matter to the dogmatic fools.

  4. OK so the dissipation of energy into entropy … ?

    Can’t see why this is specific to people as systems, as opposed to systems of things generally. I see also the local reversals where energy is fixed into higher forms of organisation … which again is why I see it odd to single humans out as dissipators … specifically.

    Anyway, I have to say I’m still not picking up where this relates to anthropic principles particularly.

    Let me look at that third link …

  5. Hi Island. I fear not. So let’s recap, I don’t think I’m stupid so I must be missing something 😉

    By “the third link above” You mean the “G2Geek” comment on the Daily Kos thread – this one: http://www.dailykos.com/comments/2007/11/24/144015/43/322?mode=alone;showrate=1#c322

    Which you then quote (your own words originally, in italics) as point (1) and point (2) above. I think I understand both those points except:

    Why “by definition” is a dissipative structure one which creates local “syntropy” – negative entropy peaks (entropy troughs) where complexity and organisation occur. Surely that’s a special kind of dissipative structure called “life”. Surely a more general dissipative structure simply dissipates energy and increases the entropy in the unverse – the more common physical / mechanical case. (That was my original question about what exactly you meant by a dissipative structure.)

    That said I buy (1) as what defines what life is (about creating negative entropy gradients)

    OK, so (2) I also buy.

    The only variable unspoken is time. Like, it probably takes a finite time for that to happen, so given enough time it must happen. That’s something I’ve held strongly for a long time, and all evidence seems to re-inforce it. Enough that I will argue it strongly against Darwin-skeptics and the like. (This is just Dawkins’ “Climbing Mount Improbable” isn’t it ?)

    BUT, That just says in any universe where these kinds of laws of physics apply, life and intelligence must arise.

    What I don’t get is why that is “anthropic” ?

    The other point I don’t get is the connection to your own particular “Einstein was right / G equates to zero” thesis. Except for the time angle. Clearly if G is too far from zero the life of a universe is too short for the necessary evolution to occur – the universe either implodes too soon or explodes towards too dilute nothingness, before we get out of the primordial swamp – so to speak.

    But again that is about a set of physical constants in any given universe needing to be within a set of ranges to allow evolution of life and intelligence – which is therefore mandatory, if conditions permit and time allows.

    (David Deutsch has an interesting spin, that it might not even be possible to conceive of a “universe” where that is not the case … ie any conceivable physical laws must actually exist, or Inconceivable physical laws cannot exist in anything we could call a universe … but I think I digress.)

    So all I see here is the truism, that in any universe we could conceive of (with a set of phsyical laws we could conceive of), we MUST expect intelligent life (and more) to evolve, if the balance of physical costants and time permit. (This is Ian Stewart or Martin Rees – “Just Six Numbers”)

    So again.

    Why is this “anthropic” ?
    Why should we humans see humans as a unique and necessary outcome of inevitable intelligent life ?

    Why your specific Einstein point ? Wht not just “any” reasonably open but sufficiently closed universe ?

    Of course I may have misunderstood the reference you meant me to follow ?

  6. However, following on from the above, if you meant this link …

    This is just a popular media summary of life as creating local negative entropy structures.

    It adds only one thing. Life is not just a dissipative structure – its a particularly effective dissipative structure – the act of organising structure and complexity out of the available energy, dissipates the pre-existing energy faster than more general “degradation” processes (Which seems intuitively obvious – the energy is being consumed to build the structure and complexity, locked-up as future “potential” energy I’d guess, but “inefficiently” so as to consume – dissipate – more net energy that a simple degradation progress – life rolls up its sleeves and puts the energy to work so to speak. Though there is a possible opposite effect to consider too … that life locks-onto or resonates-with sweet spots in the structure of the cosmos, and actually finds more efficient ways to exploit the energy being dissipated.)

    Anyway … agreed, we humans are therefore “just” the natural outcome of these natural proceses in this kind of universe. In any universe “of this kind” intelligent life (and more) must evolve, but not necessarily humans.

    We’ve been here before …
    Why “anthropic” ?
    Why “Einstein was right” ?

    And in this particular article why the spurious introduction of the “purpose” of the universe – why the teleology ?

    If you didn’t mean either of those two links … then I’m stumped. The other link is to your own site … which is where I came in a couple of years ago.

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