[extropy-chat] The Personal Anthropic Principle

Lee Corbin lcorbin at tsoft.com
Thu Mar 2 07:35:51 UTC 2006

I am reading Susskind's "The Cosmic Landscape", a truly marvelous
exposition on current cosmology.

One focus of the book is on the Anthropic Principle, not too 
surprisingly. I haven't reached the end, and should not try
to describe Susskind's final take. But I have become even more
skeptical of use of the AP than formerly.

We do not know why the physical constants have the values that
they do, and it seems to me to be important that not only may
we never know, but that perhaps there aren't explanations.

For strong proponents of anthropic principles, I submit the PAP,
the Personal Anthropic Principle. Here are a few choice applications.

Don't know why your parents were attracted to each other? Well,
the PAP provides an answer: if they weren't then you wouldn't
be here!

In like vein, I have found the PAP to be useful even in explaining
facts of American history. Why did George Washington escape death
in so many notable instances? Simple: I probably wouldn't be here
if he hadn't. Of course, we could broaden that into a NAP, a 
National Anthropic Principle, which could be used to explain 
a great deal of a nation's history.

Why, I can explain all sorts of things with the PAP or NAP!
But their very silliness should serve as an additional warning
against anthropic principles.


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