On 3/2/06, <b class="gmail_sendername">Lee Corbin</b> <<a href="mailto:email@example.com">firstname.lastname@example.org</a>> wrote:<div><span class="gmail_quote"></span><blockquote class="gmail_quote" style="border-left: 1px solid rgb(204, 204, 204); margin: 0pt 0pt 0pt 0.8ex; padding-left: 1ex;">
> 2. Of course we find ourselves living on an object where<br>> conditions are suitable for life, however small a percentage<br>> of the total such objects may be - we couldn't have evolved<br>> in a place where they aren't!
<br>><br>> Do you really think the first answer is better than the second?<br><br>I don't think that (2.) is any explanation at all! But that<br>it is not a very good explanation, I'm sure you agree.</blockquote><div>
Not really - I think it's a complete and correct answer to the
question, and simple and elegant too; what more can one ask from an
</div><br><blockquote class="gmail_quote" style="border-left: 1px solid rgb(204, 204, 204); margin: 0pt 0pt 0pt 0.8ex; padding-left: 1ex;">But really, let's examine that question "How is it that we<br>were lucky enough to find ourselves on just such a planet?"
<br><br>It's probably not a good question either, and to show why,<br>consider a parallel situation. Say you bump into an<br>long-lost friend in some strange city and ask "how is<br>it that we were lucky enough to run into each other?"
<br>There may turn out to be an answer: he could have arranged<br>it as a surprise, or you were both drawn to the same event,<br>or something really far-fetched. But it could easily be that<br>there is no explanation.</blockquote>
I don't think it's a parallel situation though. We could not have found
ourselves living on Mercury (at least not at our present stage of
development!); we could not have found ourselves living in a region of
the multiverse where the proton is more massive than the neutron; but
we _could_ have concluded our business in the city and gone home
without ever having run into each other.<br>
</div><br><blockquote class="gmail_quote" style="border-left: 1px solid rgb(204, 204, 204); margin: 0pt 0pt 0pt 0.8ex; padding-left: 1ex;">Both your example and mine are predicated on pre-existence.<br>Given that we exist, yes, as you say "Of course we find
<br>ourselves..." in such a situation. Another analogy could be<br>to say to my long-lost friend "Well, of course we had to meet<br>here or we wouldn't be having this conversation!" (which is<br>predicated upon our being face-to-face).
It's true that my example, like most things, is predicated on our
existence. The question I'm arguing the anthropic principle is a good
explanation for is "how is it [given that we exist] that we find
ourselves in a region of the multiverse where conditions are suitable
for life?". Are you objecting that this leaves unanswered the larger
question of "how is it that we find ourselves existing at all?" If so I
can have a shot at that; but being a different question it will
naturally have a slightly different answer.<br>