The Anthropic Principle

The Anthropic Principle comes in a number of flavours:

1. The Weak Anthropic Principle
definition: the universe is built the way it is because if it were any other way we wouldn’t be here to observe it.

2. The Strong Anthropic Principle
definition: the universe is built the way it is so as to create and support life.

3. The Very Strong Anthropic Principle
definition: the universe is built the way it is so as to create and support us.

In its weak form it makes for some interesting scientific philosophising. But take it two steps further and we’re talking intelligent design. This is how thin the line is between religion and science.

What I love most about the anthropic principle though is the underlying implication, in all its forms, that our reality, with its universal constants, linear time and perfectly balanced physics, is very, very unlikely in purely statistical terms. Which further implies that it is probable the creation of the universe (via big bang, bearded super-being, spaghetti monster, or whatever crazy theory you subscribe to) was not a one shot attempt, instead must have taken many attempts to get it right.

So does this mean there are parallel universes; earlier attempts to get the chemistry right and/or later attempts to improve on the mess made this time around? I read a lot of comic books, so I’m saying YEAH! but I can understand how to many people this idea may take a little getting one’s head around. But, if you follow the latest in string theory, which you’d be forgiven for not doing, you might accept that parallel worlds are actually one of the simpler explanations for the way the universe fits together.

So occam’s razor alone might suggest that there is another world out there where I am the one reading these words off the screen, and you are the one who posted them. In which case, I’ll leave it up to you to try and make a salient point out of this. Thanks.



posted April 6th, 2008



« »
Comments are closed. But you can still hurl abuse at me on twitter if it makes you happy.


Generative Art book cover Generative Art: A Practical Guide (Manning 2011)

The complete beginners guide to the philosophy and practice of using a programming language as an artistic tool. Foreword by Marius Watz.



Novelty Waves book cover Novelty Waves: A Short Book About Digital Art (Leanpub 2014)

Five long articles and two short stories exploring the current state of digital art. Foreword by Jeff Noon.

Name your own price.