Tuesday, November 07, 2006

A Very Strong Anthropic Principle

Steven Weinberg quoted by Susskind in and interview by Greg Ross of American Scientist

Finally, I have heard the objection that, in trying to explain why the laws of nature are so well suited for the appearance and evolution of life, anthropic arguments take on some of the flavor of religion. I think that just the opposite is the case. Just as Darwin and Wallace explained how the wonderful adaptations of living forms could arise without supernatural intervention, so the string landscape may explain how the constants of nature that we observe can take values suitable for life without being fine-tuned by a benevolent creator. I found this parallel well understood in a surprising place, a New York Times op-ed article by Christoph Schönborn, Cardinal Archbishop of Vienna. His article concludes as follows:

Now, at the beginning of the 21st century, faced with scientific claims like neo-Darwinism and the multiverse hypothesis in cosmology invented to avoid the overwhelming evidence for purpose and design found in modern science, the Catholic Church will again defend human nature by proclaiming that the immanent design evident in nature is real. Scientific theories that try to explain away the appearance of design as the result of "chance and necessity" are not scientific at all, but, as John Paul put it, an abdication of human intelligence.

There is evident irony in the fact that the cardinal seems to understand the issue much better than some physicists

-Greg Ross

That's not "irony", Greg, it is what Brandon Carter correctly identified as, "anticentrist dogma"... and it still does rule the minds of the vast majority of physicists.

Good reasons why science should not ignore the most apparent implications of the physics.

Evidence - Implication - Theory

1) It is an unavoidable fact that the anthropic coincidences are observed to be uniquely related to the structuring of the universe in a way that defies the most natural expectation for the evolution of the universe in a manner that is also highly-pointed toward the production of carbon based life at a specific time in its history, (and over an equally specific, fine-layer or region of the goldilocks zone of the observed universe). If you disallow unproven and speculative physics theory, then an evidentially supported implication does necessarily exist that carbon-based life is somehow "specially" relevant to the structure mechanism of the universe, and weak, multiverse interpretations do not supercede this fact, unless a multiverse is proven to be more than cutting-edge theoretical speculation.

That's the "undeniable fact" that compells Richard Dawkins and Leonard Susskind to admit that the universe "appears designed" for life! There is no valid "weak" interpretation without a multiverse, because what is otherwise unexpectedly observed without the admission of speculation, is most-apparently geared toward the production of carbon-base life, and even intelligent life. Their confidence comes from the fact that their admissions are qualified by their shared "beleif" in unproven multiverse theories, but their interpretation is strictly limited to equally non-evidenced "causes", like supernatural forces and intelligent design.

These arguments do not erase the fact that the prevailing evidence still most apparentely does indicate that we are somehow relevantly linked to the structure mechanism, until they prove it isn't so, so we must remain open to evidence in support of this, or we are not honest scientists, and we are no better than those who would intentionally abuse the science. We certainly do not automatically dismiss the "appearance" by first looking for rationale around the most apparent implication of evidence.

That's like pretending that your number one suspect doesn't even exist! There can be nothing other than self-dishonesty and pre-conceived prejudicial anticipation of the meaning that motivates this approach, and often *automatically* elicites false, ill-considered, and, therefore, necessarily flawed assumptions, that most often elicite equally false accusations about "geocentrism" and "creationism". That's not science, it's irrational reactionary skepticism that is driven without justification by sheer disbelief and denial.

2) At the very least, we can't honestly deny that an evidentially supported implication for a direct anthropic connection to the forces *most-apparently* does exist, unless we are willing to say that Leonard Susskind and Richard Dawkins, (as well as other historically noted and respected physicists), are lying to us about their true perception of the evidence. We must, therefore, be open to science that might be indicitive of this, or we cannot call ourselves honest unbiased scientists.

As such, it is unavoidable that we embrace the logically implicated possibilty that a true anthropic constraint on the forces of the universe might *necessarily* include a reciprocal connection to the human evolutionary process. Scientists should think long and hard about that, because this relates the human evolutionary process to the ever elusive structure mechanism, so the answer to the riddle of the near-flat expanding universe, as well as the rest of the anthropic coincidences, is expected to be revealed via this asymmetrical thermodynamic function, per the least action principle.

Given the potential impact that this has on the most accurate cosmological principle and model, any remote possibility that the above is true should be more than enough to make it so that it's not unreasonable to expect scientists giving equal time to this *distinct* possibility, since, (per the open admission of our mentioned scientists), the anthropic connection is the first *most-apparent* implication of the evidence without an infinite sea of potential to lose the *most obvious* implication in. There can't be any argument about the fact that the strong biocentric implication exists, unless someone can prove that the multiverse exists, or if you can otherwise prove that the stability mechansim is not inherently geared toward the production of carbon based life for some very practical physical reason, over a "golden region" of the observed universe.

That's what makes Leonard Susskind say that "we will be hard-pressed to answer the IDists"... if the landscape fails, although Lenny doesn't seem to be aware that *natural bias* is the default, if we're not here by accident, so ID doesn't even enter the picture and can't be inferred without direct proof. If we are not here by accident, then the default scientific approach is that there is simply some relevant physical reason why we are "needed" into existence by the natural physical process of our evolving universe, and this is what our intricate link to the commonly-balanced nature of the forces most logically indicates is going to be the case.

There is no valid basis for invoking weak multiverse interpretations to wipe-away the otherwise indicated significance, unless you're just debating with an extremist creationist. A scientist is obligated to accept the fact that she or he is being directed toward a bunch of balance points in nature that are intricately related to both the structure of the universe and the existence of carbon based life, and this is expected to somehow account for the otherwise completely unexpected structuring of the universe.

You can know that you're dealing with a self-dishonest scientist if they do not recognize that the above statements are factual and correct.

Anybody that wants to try, is welcome to prove me wrong about any of the above statements, if only you could...


Lois Isenman said...


I'm trying to get a friend to post his verbal comment to my article Science vs. Religion on my blog. He's a physicist with a mind of his own. He argued that the multiple universe view is implicit in Schrodinger's equations. I myself do not have the background to assess this. However, I am not at all clear that Dawkins is coming from this perspective---since he likely would have said it if he were.


island said...

He's not. He took it from Leonard Susskind, nearly word-for-word. Look into Lenny's newest book for the full explanation of how the anthropic principle is used to choose from the vast number of, uh, "meta-stble", (yeah, right) universes that make up the "landscape".

That's where Richard is getting his 'recently sharpened point' from, but the interpretation requires that you ignore the most apparent implication of the evidence, per his AND Lenny's own words.

This implication is strictly determinstic.

He argued that the multiple universe view is implicit in Schrodinger's equations.

He's off his rocker, because Schrodinger's equations are also strictly deterministic.

Adam said...

Hi Island

Your page is interesting, but the declamatory style is a bit full-on. Why the aggression?


PS Everett-Wheeler Many Worlds are fully deterministic, which is why all possibilities are actualised in a quantum "choice", so there's no spooky potentia, non-locality, or role for mind in collapsing the wave-function. Such Many Worlds are distinct from Susskind's string vacua landscape - they all have the same Calabi-Yau geometry underpining their physics, unlike the various vacua.

island said...

Hi Adam,

Your page is interesting, but the declamatory style is a bit full-on. Why the aggression?


Brandon Carter correctly noted that scienitists suffer from a form of unscientific preconceived ideological prejudice that he termed, "anticentrist dogma".

He was right, and this disease has reached its full-blown potential in the community. A fact that I commonly prove to be 100% true... much to my own dissapointement with the people that I had great respect for.

I have no respect for self-dishonest losers.

Chris said...

Your website contains many interesting ideas. Maybe one day all of physics will heed you and we will have a breakthrough after so many years of dead ends.

ginger chris

My Daddy Strongest said...

i read your comment on my blog. I wish to share an experience. One day i was in the city of Mumbai and thought i would play the end game. I walked through the streets finding meaning in every corner, from the names on houses to all that's scribbled on walls and walked back to my house three miles from where i started. In my house there were huge pictures of Hindu Gods. I drank some water and closed my eyes in my bedroom and i had a vision of a guy and somebody outside the building cried "Amit Shetty had arrived". On further enquiries i learnt that such a man did exist and had died well before the happening of the event. Another event that shook me up was after my mom had commited suicide. I was taking the same pills myself when, after taking the first pill my tongue went numb, my body went weak just like that and i wasn't able to move that night. Everything went fine from then on. Just as though someone out there culd see my thoughts. And i told a friend Joshua "Hey Josh when you go to heaven tell jesus that i didn't attend the last supper" and i heard people clapping above me. Then i thought about the first person i ever loved and as i was passing by her house i heard the clapping noise again above me. Can you explain a condition where humans have taken that leap to exist in form yet not take up space or volume and comment on these strange happenings.

My Daddy Strongest said...

i also wish to add that the pills were harmless dopamine tablets which i took and that something beside the pills had done the trick of disarming me and stopped me from doing any harm to myself and the tongue going numb on the second pill was simply unexplainable or divine...or that somebody somehow knew what was happening and took control of the situation even when there was just me in the room and it would not have been possible without a condition where humans have taken that leap to exist in form yet not take up space or volume and be able to read thoughts

island said...

mds, I really have no advice for you, except that you've been under a lot of strain, and you should think about telling this to a medical doctor, instead of me.


Up until very recently, I would have told you that the odds of hell freezing over are better, but that may not be the case if the higgs isn't found very soon, because there will be a whole bunch of particle theorists scrambling to find something to justify their existence, so there is no telling just how far back people might go to fix and simplify the theory.

Chris said...

Interesting... I have found some of your ideas actually make my calculations in ECE field theory easier.

island said...

Since when is "Chris" short for "Myron W. Evans"...? ;)

My Daddy Strongest said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
My Daddy Strongest said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Chris said...

haha... As soon as I mention ECE field theory this blog goes wild with strange shit.

Having read your website: do you actually know what a lagrangian is?

Chris said...

It's just that I can't actually see any mention of that at all, and yet you seem to invoke the principle of least action to support your claims.

island said...

Yes, I do, but I do not know why you ask, and I inadvertently enabled the "strange shit" to find this place.

My contention would simply be that the expanding universe is moving "down-hill" toward a big bang via this mechanism:


Have you looked at my website www.antrhopic-principle.org where I briefly discuss the relevance of the anthropic principle as an energy conservation law, in context with Einstein's Field Equations in a "quasi-static" model, with a cosmological constant.

The bottom line is that the negative mass solutiona are misinterpreted:


So you tell me, what do you want?

island said...

Chris, if you have something to say that you don't want to say here, then you can email me at island5@earthlink.net which I use for a spam filter. I'll reply via my regular email.

Derek Berner said...

From what I've seen and understood of quantum physics equations (which is the first two weeks of a Cornell quantum computing class that I ended up dropping due to course load) quantum mechanics doesn't really lend itself well to the many-worlds interpretation and so really is a cop-out, but it also seems to be the only argument that YECs don't know how to respond to. It's also the argument that first got me thinking hey, maybe the universe didn't need a designer. So I'd argue it's good for introductory courses and debating with YECs if you want to waste your time, but not for serious scientific discourse.

I have done enough work in evolutionary algorithms that I find myself nodding in agreement at the concept that any stable, distinct species is a local maximum in a large problem space and that any decent enough pathfinding algorithm will eventually stumble upon some of these maxima.

(I'm a computer scientist so min and max are pretty much synonymous for me. "Minimum/Minima" also works just fine in the above paragraph if you're talking about minimizing energy.)

island said...

Those are some excellent observations, Derek. Thanks very much for some input that I can actually research.

The biggest problem that I have with using a multiverse against YEC's, is that it teaches neodarwinians to automatically reject any and all evidence for the real possibility that we are not here by accident, simply because most of them cannot distinguish the difference between non-random occurrence and "design". This causes them to take the YEC's bait, as they automatically believe that any such an admission constitutes an admission in favor of the YEC's argument, when in fact, it is not.

From then on, it's willful ignorance and denial to the bitter end, and that isn't even in the ballpark with any real worldview, so one might as well believe in supernatural forces, rather than this reactionary fantasyland of lame "counter-rationale", which is equally absurd, to say the least.

Anonymous said...

Interesting I suppose, but by your own admission not falsifiable. If it can't be proven wrong it's philosophy, not science, and not useful for making predictions about the natural world.

island said...

No, that's a common misconception. The observed strong implication can be falsified by any proven weak interpretation.

For example, if string theorists prove that anthropic selection effect are necessary to a complete theory of quantum gravity.

OR if you can supply the dynamical stability principle that proves that we are just a consequence of the physics, rather than the reason for it that the observation most-apparently projects.

The same goes for weak interpretations, which can be falsified by a proven anthropic cosmological principle, but I, personally, will gladly accept falsification of the unified field theory that's currently at the top of this page.

Anonymous said...

This blog appears to have become inactive, and I am not quite sure where its owner is coming from. I am entirely self-educated on this subject (my day job is teaching university economics). I have struggled with Barrow & Tipler since 1986. I have time for much of what Frank Tipler wrote in the 80s and 90s, and like Barrow's "The Constants of Nature." I revere the fine structure constant. I was blown away by Ward and Brownlie's book on the Rare Earth hypothesis.

I am writing a paper summarizing 25 years' musing over the foundations of physics and cosmology. I completed the first draft before discovering Paul Davies's Goldilocks Enigma. I finally got around to reading Just Six Numbers. Best of all, I discovered Max Tegmark's bold and brash philosophical papers. I urge all of you to study closely Figures 1, 4, 5, and 7 of Tegmark's 1998 Annals of Physics paper.

Thank you for informing me of a certain line of sarcasm due to Brandon Carter.

By all rights, we humans should not exist:
* A probable universe is either short lived, or filled with thin cold hydrogen and helium, or black holes. Either way, no galaxies or stars;
* Why do supernovas generate metals? Why are their parts of the universe that are gently warm but not filled with lethal energy? In other words, why is the galactic habitable zone nontrivial?
* Why do the fundamental forces of physics allow for huge biological macromolecules that are nicely reactive around 300K. Why is carbon so gregarious?
* Our Goldilocks planet and solar system are highly improbable;
* The evolutionary pathway to macroscopic life, animals, big brains, language, symbol processing, is improbable in the extreme (Ayala, Mayr, and others).

But we do exist. And the discovery of algebra and the adoption of Arabic numerals has led to a very recent exponential expansion in the physical and mental capabilities of our species, arguably comparable to our invention of language and discovery of agriculture.

The most astounding physical fact we know of is the brain of our species. And the existence of that brain is a powerful constraint on physical theory. Because of that brain, it is likely that we are unique in the Milky Way. We could even be unique within a radius of 1 billion parsecs. Which means we need to stop taking our continued existence for granted.

I agree with Freeman Dyson when he wrote "the universe somehow knew we were coming." The universe is fine-tuned to allow us to come into being.

I have no quarrel with evolution. That said, I very recently read a survey article arguing that there has been little progress made on the origins of life since Stanley Miller's experiments in the early 1950s.

I also have no quarrel with the Big Bang, and am not qualified to have an opinion on the merits or drawbacks of cosmic inflation. But I will say this. As we approach the initial singularity, the universe becomes asymptotically boring with no structure at all, just blindingly hot pure energy, probably governed by a single principle. Expansion made it cool, fine. But why did it cool in a way that allowed fantastic complexity to emerge, first the fundamental interactions, then the elementary particles, then the large scale structure of the universe, then us?

Exception made of Brandon Carter, Frank Tipler, and a handful of Templeton Prize recipients, I fear that most cosmologists are not being fully honest when they deal with these big questions. I am not convinced by any argument I have read claiming that our universe is wholly "natural." I suspect that there is a lot more to reality than we know at present. Assuming a multiverse is not an answer but an extravagant ontological cop-out. Back to the drawing board.

BTW, when I was a lad, Georges Lemaitre's pioneering role in coming up with the Hot Big Bang scenario was freely mentioned. It isn't any more, and is that because he was a Catholic priest?

island said...


The blog isn't so much dormant, as I don't want to bury the stuff that's at the top of the blog in some "favorites" file, or whatever.

Where I'm coming from:

...is related to where these guys are coming from:

Most scientists practice "copernicanism":

Why do you post anonymously?