The Anthropic Principle Boundary Conditions

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Date: Wed, 24 May 2000 00:10:44 EDT

The Anthropic principle has been discussed numerous times before. There are
many versions going around. I just want to make a point which I think is

First let me state some of these principles quoted from Barrow and Tipler

Weak Anthropic Principle (WAP): The observed values of all physical and
cosmological quantities are not equally probable but they take on values
restricted by the requirement that there exist sites where carbon-based life
can evolve and the requirement that Universe be old enough for it to have
already done so.
[Barrow and Tipler are not explicit, but this principle implies the requires
the existence of conscious observers.]
Strong Anthropic Principle (SAP): The Universe must have those properties
which allow life to develop within it at some stage in its history.
[The emphasis here is on the world "must" which implies that the Universe is
the way it is by design.. at least this is the way most people interpret
this. This version implies the existence of a creator. Its religious
connotations makes it unscientific]

Participatory Anthropic Principle (PAP): Observers are necessary to bring the
Universe into being. [ As I mentioned to Russell, this version supported by
Wheeler implies that observers, have some kind of magical ability to make
things happen... Who needs the MWI with this approach? You might as well
stick with the old fashion Copenhagen school!]

Final Anthropic Principle (FAP): Intelligent information-processing must come
into existence in the Universe, and, once it comes into existence, it will
never die out. [Again, this word "must" implies the design argument. The
authors of this principle, Barrow and Tipler, succomb to mysticism,
especially Tipler, in his book "The Physics of Immortality" in which he
expounds his concept of the "Omega Point" and identifies the Holy Ghost with
the universal wave-function. So much for scientific objectivity!]

The WAP is the only one that makes any sense. You can define an initial
boundary conditions for an arbitrary causal chain (aka Shoedinger wave) and
then observes how it propagates. This boundary condition could be "carbon
life" or "vertebrate," or "mammal" or "human" or "american" .... or "I." "I"
is the boundary condition that I prefer as I''ll explain below.

Now to my point.
The essence of the anthropic principle requires OBSERVERS. But it does not
require LIFE. We can imagine a universe somewhere in the plenitude in which
the conditions are suitable for the existence of at least one non-reproducing
sentient being. To explain its existence, let's say that fundamental
particles in this universe (atoms or maybe, more conveniently, naturally
existing logical gates) got together by chance to form some kind of computer.
(Very unlikely scenario but not impossible). This "computer" can think and
can observe its world but is not "alive" in the sense that it cannot
How would such a creature state the Anthropic principle? Certainly not in
terms of carbon life, not even in terms of life. Its version would simply
state the reverse causal assertion:

The world is the way it is, because I am what I am --- I am, therefore the
world is.

Given that insight, this being would probably try to deduce if other being
like itself also exist in its world.

The world is, therefore others like me also exist.

This last assertion, if proven valid, would preclude this being from adopting
a solipsit philosophy.

Again. the point that Barrow and Tipler fail to emphasize, is that the
Anthropic Principle rests on the observer. My preference is to use "observer"
in the singular: "I." "You" can be deduced. :-)


Received on Tue May 23 2000 - 21:33:07 PDT

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