Anthropic-Principle . ORG ... not exactly the stairway to heaven

An almost accurate biocentric form of anthropic reasoning:

Innumerable suns exist...
Innumerable earths revolve around these suns in a mannner similar to the way the planets revolve around the sun.
Living beings inhabit these worlds.

-Giordano Bruno, 1584

Last edited on 9/21/05

What is it that makes neodarwinians fanatically avoid at all costs the obvious and begged scientific question:

Is there some good physical reason why the implications for "specialness" that are common to the anthropic principle might be true?

This web page is written in rebuttal to Mark Isaak's most recent attempts to downplay the significance of the anthropic principle in the Talk.Origins Archive The archived page was created on 2-18 2001, but I can blame Mark for all of it even if he didn't write the original, since his most recent editing hasn't corrected a single bit of the scientifically lame and theoretically reaching rationale that commonly, (but without necessity), gets used against creationists in the creation/evolution debate.

Mark's approach appears to closely follow that of anti-fanatics who commonly quote atheist web sites, and people like, Vic Stenger, or Nick Bostrom, ("neo-darwinian bullies" as Lynn Margulies calls them) who have been led straight down the reactionary path by creationists to *believe* exactly what creationists want them to believe... that evidence that we are here for any other reason than pure accident constitutes proof of god's existence.

Pavlov's Dawgs

The feedback that you get from Neo-Darwinian extremists is as predictable and well rehersed as it is reactionary... keying in on words and phrases that they perceive to be creationist arguments. In other words, the devil's skeptical advocate approach that is employed against religious fanatics causes them to find ways to reject any and all points that fanatics bring forth, and so they will typically also rationalize away the relevance of valid science that gets mixed in with the creationist's fanaticism. They automatically use these same flawed, "significance-denial arguments" against meaningful science that disputes or supercedes the strength and mis-application of their argument, which quite often includes an antifanatical bias, or a denial-oriented pre-inclination toward how they will interpret evidence.

This is also the case with the following, and so it should be noted right from the "get-go" that the above mentioned significance denial is included in the archives, in the manner that the weak anthropic principle gets presented below, which actually notes that...

The observed values of all physical and cosmological quantities are not equally probable, but take on values that are restricted by the requirement that there exist sites where carbon-based life can evolve, and by the requirement that the universe be old enough for it to have already done so.

If the anthropic principle applies only to the observed universe, then there is a clear indication that we must be here for some good reason, or it wouldn't be called the anthropic principle. If that good reason is simply due to the physics of an expanding universe, where our high energy physics contributions represent a specific path of action in the universal thermodynamic process, then this good reason will make life necessarily common in the universe, and we will find "sites where carbon-based life can evolve"... along an inter-galactic plane, because they will have arisen when the universe became "old enough" for this thin layer of commonly evolved "sites" to have been created by the normal evolution of the same basic raw materials under similar conditions.

In other words, an anthropic cosmological principle isn't such a great big unexpected deal if there is some good reason for it, because "good reason" defines why we should not expect to be alone in this universe, rather, we should, as a consequence of universally applicable physics, expect that humans are just a small part of a common layer of similar beings that were forced into existence by the simple physical need for it.

Index to Creationist Claims

... as edited by Mark Isaak, 8-5-2005.

**Note that Mark's failure to credit that the weak anthropic principle is a scientific observation that creationists commonly try to use to prove the existence of god is very telling of the pureness of his motivations. He is so motivated NOT to give them an inch, that he refuses a complete recognition the facts. In reality, the anthropic principle has been used to make numerous proven predictions and many more that are testable. The fact is that neodarwinian evobiologists are ignoring an important feature of the landscape.

Nah... he didn' do that on purpose... c'mon!

Claim CI301:

The cosmos is fine-tuned to permit human life. If any of several fundamental constants were only slightly different, life would be impossible. (This claim is also known as the weak anthropic principle.)

Ross, Hugh. 1994. Astronomical evidences for a personal, transcendent God. In: The Creation Hypothesis, J. P. Moreland, ed., Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, pp. 141-172.

Mark's Response:
1) The claim assumes life in its present form is a given; it applies not to life but to life only as we know it.

No, the significance of the physics falls out of the fact that there is a runaway effect that is common to most if not all of the "anthropic coincidences", (like that which is known to occur when the cyclic tendency of the Earth toward glaciation gets accelerated toward an ice-age once the ecobalance gets tipped too far in that direction by cumulative effect), that sends conditions racing so far away from your wildest dreams for life in any form that it would make your head swim. For example, universal expansion would rapidly accelerate into a "Big-Rip" that would literally blow the universe apart if it weren't constrained to the near-flat configuration that is observed by the "attractor" that's the basis for the anthropic principle. Maybe you're foolish enough to think that life in any form could adapt under differently constrained forces, Mark?

a) The same outcome results if life is fine-tuned to the cosmos.

This seems to imply that we should accept with equal plausibility that life accidentally tuned itself to achieve the same results that the restrictions on the forces naturally bring about, except that the latter is for good reason, whereas the former is for no reason. I don't think so...

Actually, I think that Mark is saying what I previously suggested... that you could get the same outcome if life accidentally tuned itself to fit differing conditions, which is false due the cumulative runaway-effect that slight differences produce make conditions drastically non-conducive to the evolution of any form of life that Mark can realistically justify.

b) We do not know what fundamental conditions would rule out any possibility of any life.

The statement is false because we do know that changing the constants will have a cumulate effect that will run absurdly far away from what's known to be conducive to life, which most certainly does rule out the possibility of any life that we can imagine, carbon based, or otherwise.

c) For all we know, there might be intelligent beings in another universe arguing that if fundamental constants were only slightly different, then the absence of free quarks and the extreme weakness of gravity would make life impossible.

As I've previously pointed out, there's no such thing as "slightly different" when any permanent difference results in a cumulative runaway effect.

The assumption that other universes are even possible isn't justified, since the near-flat configuration of our universe represents the most energy-efficient means for dissipating energy. The extremely small positive value of the cosmological constant means the big bang actually resulted in a near perfect balance between runaway expansion and gravitational recollapse, which actually puts the universe about as far away from the tendency toward heat death as you can possibly get, and yet still be heading in that direction. The principle of least action says that it is no coincidence that this near-perfectly symmetrical configuration is also the most energy-efficient means for dissipating energy, because this means that tendency toward "heat-death" is most economically restricted to the most-even distribution of energy possible.

Without the need for the non-evidenced assumptions that come with inflationary theory, the straight-up observed universe actually expresses a grand scale natural preference toward the most economical form of energy dissipation, so if the second law of thermodynamics is telling us that the entropy of our expanding universe increases with every action, then the anthropic principle is telling us that this will occur by the most energy efficient means possible, since the flatness of the universe is one of the many coincidentally ecobalanced requirements of the principle.

If the second law of thermodynamics points the arrow of time, then the anthropic principle determines that time is maximized.

d) Indeed, many examples of fine-tuning are evidence that life is fine-tuned to the cosmos, not vice versa. This is exactly what evolution proposes.

The weak anthropic principle notes that the forces are isolated so as to produce life-conducive sites that enable life to evolve and adapt to the life-friendly landscape, so there can obviously be no conflict with the evolutionary process that it enables.

2) If the universe is fine-tuned for life, why is life such an extremely rare part of it?

Right... Life is so strange and "extremely rare" that our expectations for finding it are about like walking through a completely barren desert and tripping over a spaceship. Wouldn't you find this odd?... If not, then you're not an honest scientist. If you admit that life is rare, then you must agree that it is unusual, or an "odd" and unexpected occurrence, which *should* cause a normally curious scientist to look for good reason for why humans would be so specially required in the process, rather than to automatically attempt to dismiss and "explain-away" the implied significance of this strangeness that a physics principle is telling you something about.

The cosmic coincidences indicate that life is "extremely rare" because it only occurs ecobalanced in the middle of the range of potential, so as a universal biocentric principle, we should expect only to find life on the bands of the thin layer of spiral galaxies that are about the same age as ours. If you didn't try to hide from it with such fanatical enthusiasm, then you might find out that ecobalance that's inherent to the principle can be used by evobiologists to make valid and testable predictions about life.

3) Many fine-tuning claims are based on numbers being the "same order of magnitude," but this phrase gets stretched beyond its original meaning to buttress design arguments; sometimes numbers more than one-thousandfold different are called the same order of magnitude (Klee 2002).

a) How fine is "fine" anyway? That question can only be answered by a human judgment call, which reduces or removes objective value from the anthropic principle argument.

No, the common objective denominator is the ecobalance that must occur almost exactly between extreme opposing runaway tendencies, which is the predominant factor of every cosmic coincidence that only pre-conceived and subjectively pre-inclined prejudice would enable a scientist to willfully ignore at the expense of their own self-honesty and objectivity.

4) The fine-tuning claim is weakened by the fact that some physical constants are dependent on others, so the anthropic principle may rest on only a very few initial conditions that are really fundamental (Kane et al. 2000).

"Fundamental" to energy-efficiency, yes... "design" is inherent to this most-natural thermodynamic configuration.

a) It is further weakened by the fact that different initial conditions sometimes lead to essentially the same outcomes, as with the initial mass of stars and their formation of heavy metals (Nakamura et al. 1997), or that the tuning may not be very fine, as with the resonance window for helium fusion within the sun (Livio et al. 1989). For all we know, a universe substantially different from ours may be improbable or even impossible.

"Impossible" is correct if the configuration of the universe is required by the principle of least action in terms of energy-economy.

The anthropic principle was derived from only one of the many cosmic coincidences that have been discovered since then, so additional coincidence compounds the significance exponentially, but this isn't necessary in order for the principle to stand alone on just one coincidence, so the claim that the principle is "weakened" because "some physical constants are dependent on others" is not only false, it's a manipulative lie. Quite to the contrary, one would expect the constants to be dependent on each other if the physics for the anthropic principle constrains the forces of the universe, while at the same time defining the most accurate cosmological principle.

5) If part of the universe were not suitable for life, we would not be here to think about it.

That's a false representation of the principle, which makes no such claims.

a) There is nothing to rule out the possibility of multiple universes, most of which would be unsuitable for life.

That's false if efficient energy dissipation has anything to do with a near-flat expanding universe, but there is also no valid reason to bring un-observed theoretical speculation in without any justification for doing this, so the point is not valid against an observed phenomenon without good reason for doing so.

Maybe Santa Claus made a multiverse so that the significance of the AP would be invalidated? Yeah... that's the ticket, Mark, if science fact doesn't satisfy your anti-purpose motivations, then just make something up!!! If you think that I'm being unfair by disallowing your multiverse "reasoning", then you should take a look at the equally plausible reasoning* that came out of the creationist conference, when they used "differing conditions" and Einstein's theory to produce an equally valid young earth hypothesis by warping time via a grand scale gravitational well.

b) We happen to find ourselves in one where life is conveniently possible because we cannot very well be anywhere else.

"Convenience" being key here if efficient energy dissemination has anything to do with "convenience" in a near-flat, yet expanding universe.

6) Intelligent design is not a logical conclusion of fine tuning.

True. Goal oriented design in nature does not require intelligence, but this does say something about motive and method.

a) Fine tuning says nothing about motives or methods, which is how design is defined.

False, for the reason that I just gave, and design in nature most definitely does exist if the stuff that humans design can be called "designed". A flagerantly false leap of faith occurs when Mark assumes that "design" requires human-like-intelligence. An equally false leap in human arrogance is apparent in Marks assumption that stuff that humans design can possibly represent anything greater or less than the human expression for the same kind of natural predisposition that fungi have for making "fairy-rings".

b) (The scarcity of life and multi-billion-year delay in it appearing argue against life being a motive.)

No, the physics notes that the universe must be this old in order for the evolutionary process of the universe to bring life-conducive "sites" to fruition... "at this time in the history of the universe'. This suggests that there should be some good reason for it. It does not indicate the opposite.

c) Fine-tuning, if it exists, may result from other causes, as yet unknown, or for no reason at all (Drange 2000).

The cause is only unknown if you make leaps of faith beyond the energy efficient ramifacations of the universe's near-flat configuration in order to assume stuff that isn't evidenced in the observed universe.

7) In fact, the anthropic principle is an argument against an omnipotent creator. If God can do anything, he could create life in a universe whose conditions do not allow for it.

I'll buy that much anyway... ;)



"The problem with neo-Darwinism is that Random changes in DNA alone do not lead to speciation. It was like confessing a murder when I discovered I was not a neo-Darwinist. I am definitely a Darwinist though. I think we are missing important information about the origins of variation. I differ from the neo-Darwinian bullies on this point." -Lynn Margulis

"The only watchmaker in nature is the blind forces of physics, albeit deployed in a very special way." -Richard Dawkins

"Not just any universe would be one in which Darwinian evolution would work. For example, if a tiny reduction in the early cosmic expansion speed would have made everything recollapse within a fraction of a second while a tiny increase would quickly have yielded a universe far too dilute for stars to form, then such changes would have been disastrous to Evolution's prospects" -John Leslie

REFERENCES Dirac, P. A. M. (1937). Nature, 139, 323. Dirac, P. A. M. (1938). Proceedings of the Royal Society, A 165, 199. Eddington, A. S. (1931). Proceedings of the Cambridge Philosophical Society, 27, 15. Eddington, A. S. (1936). Relativity theory of protons and Electrons, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. Gornitz, Th. (1985). On the Connection of Abstract Quantum Theory and General Relativity. Part 1. The Cosmological Model, Internal Report, Starnberg. Gornitz, Th., and Weizsacker. C. F. v. (1985). De-Sitter representations and the particle concept in an ur-theoretical cosmological model. Hawking, S. W. (1975). Communications in Mathematical Physics, 43, 199. Hellings, R. W., Adams, P. J., Anderson, J. D., Keesey, M. S., Lau, E. L., Standish, E. M., Canuto, V. M. and Goldman, I. (1983). Physical Review Letters, 51, 1609. Misner. C. W., Thorne, K. S., and Wheeler. J. A. (1973). Gravitation, p. 1216, Freeman, San Francisco. Weizsacker, C. F. v. (1971a). The unity of physics, in Quantum Theory and Beyond, T. Bastin, ed., University Press. Cambridge. B. Carter, in IAU Symposium 63: Confrontation of Cosmological Theories with Obser-vational Data, ed. by M. Longair (Reidel, 1974). B.J. Carr and M.J. Rees, Nature 278, 605 (1979). J.D. Barrow and F.J. Tipler, The Anthropic Cosmological Principle (Clarendon, Oxford, 1986). M. Tegmark and M.J. Rees, Ap.J. 499, 526 (1998).

Entropic Principles John D. Barrow;, New Astronomy.

"The Entropic Principle"
Hartle-Hawking Wave-Function for Flux Compactifications
Hirosi Ooguri, Cumrun Vafa, Erik Verlinde;

Anthropic Reasons for Non-Zero Flatness and Lambda
J.D. Barrow, H.B. Sandvik, J. Magueijo;, Phys.Rev. D65 (2002) 123501

Anthropic predictions: the case of the cosmological constant
Alexander Vilenkin;, published by the Cambridge University Press

Dirac's hole theory versus quantum field theory
F.A.B. Coutinho, D. Kiang, Y. Nogami and Lauro Tomio;

Effects of Dirac's Negative Energy Sea on Quantum Numbers R. Jackiw;

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