Monday, January 22, 2007

anthropic principle

The Carina Nebula (NGC 3372) courtesy, NASA National Space Science Data CenterIn physics and cosmology, the anthropic principle is an umbrella term for various dissimilar attempts to explain the structure of the universe by way of coincidentally balanced features that are necessary and relevant to the existence on Earth of biochemistry, carbon-based life, and eventually human beings to observe such a universe. The common (and "weak") form of the anthropic principle is a truism or tautology that begins with the observation that the universe appears surprisingly hospitable to the emergence of life, particularly complex multicellular life, that can make such an observation and concludes with that premise that in only such a fine-tuned universe can such living observers be.

Given the extreme simplicity of the universe at the start of the Big Bang, the friendliness of the universe to complex structures such as galaxies, planetary systems, and biology is unexpected by any normal model of turbulence driven structuring that science has been able to derive.

Much of the controversy arises from the perception that some versions of the Principle re-introduce the Argument from Intelligent Design for the existence of God.


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