[extropy-chat] Anthropic Principle

Lee Corbin lcorbin at tsoft.com
Fri Mar 3 03:35:23 UTC 2006

Russell wrote

> > > 2. Of course we find ourselves living on an object where
> > >   conditions are suitable for life, however small a percentage
> > >   of the total such objects may be - we couldn't have evolved
> > >   in a place where they aren't! 
> >
> > I don't think that (2.) is any explanation at all! But that
> > it is not a very good explanation, I'm sure you agree.
> 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 explanation?

It's clearly in lieu of a better explanation: observe how strenuously
physicists attempt to account for the constants some other way. And we
would all be delighted if it turned out that there was an Occam-simple
theory (like string theory) that led to a unique answer. (For one thing,
it would be extremely interesting.)  And if someone ever found one,
then the paucity of the current lack of explanation (if you'll forgive
the expression) would be evident, and people would just start laughing
at themselves.

> I'll add that the anthropic principle has at least one successful 
> prediction under its belt - the future duration of complex life on 
> Earth in the absence of technological intervention being on the 
> order of hundreds of millions of years, rather than billions as 
> previously thought - so it is not quite the trivial tautology it 
> has sometimes been claimed to be.

I don't understand how that's a prediction that's been verified. How
could it be if it's about millions of years in the future?

Ned wrote

> And our existence isn't quite as marvelous as we'd like to think; 
> we're still darwinist integers, so for every marvelous aspect of 
> existence there is some aspect that is mundane, even disgusting. 

Tastes vary!  As for me, I do find it quite marvelous.

> The human body is, to me, more or less disgusting.

Me, too.  But I am sure that there is an EP explanation for this,
no doubt having to do with religion (like me, you perhaps were
raised in what the libertines call an "uptight society"  :-)

But we digress from the Anthropic Principle. Oh, and by the way,
that article reminded me that "PAP" has already been taken as
the Participatory Anthropic Principle.  So I'm renaming my
contributions to this thread.


More information about the extropy-chat mailing list