The Anthropic Principle – Fine Tuning for Life

The Anthropic PrincipleAn interesting theory, one that could possibly put Life and Consciousness at the center of the Universe.

There are a set of numbers, just over two dozen, often referred to as ‘The Universal Constants’.

This set of numbers appears to describe (to cosmologists at least) the workings of our entire Universe.

These are numbers such as; the strength of gravity, the speed of light, the strength of the electromagnetic force, the mass of electrons and quarks etc.

These sets of numbers are so precise that if any one of the numbers were different by just a small fraction, then the Universe as we know it would cease to exist.

Why is this important?

Well, if any one of these constants were to be different by even a tiny amount, then stars, galaxies and life wouldn’t exist.

In fact, the probability of the Universe forming the way it has is statistically, such an improbable occurrence, that it has required further investigation and has spun out further theories.

To put into perspective just how remote a possibility it would be for the Universe to be the way it is, cosmologists have number-crunched the probability and there is 0.000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000001% (123 decimal places) chance of it being an accident.

Based on the 26 constants that define the Universe, cosmologists have concluded that the probability of our Universe being a ‘happy accident’ is so remote that it would be impossible to conclude its creation as a one-off, pot luck, chance event.

Statistically, there would be a greater probability of you winning the lottery, everyday of your life, than it would be for the Universe to have ended up with the exact constants required to create stars, planets and galaxies.

This has led some cosmologists to believe that the Universe is, in some sense, designed for conscious life to eventually emerge. i.e. it is fine-tuned for life and this has led to The Anthropic principle:

The philosophical consideration that observations of the physical Universe must be compatible with the conscious life that observes it. Some proponents of the anthropic principle reason that it explains why the Universe has the fundamental physical constants necessary to accommodate conscious life.

Only in a universe capable of eventually supporting life would there be living beings capable of observing any such fine tuning, while a universe less compatible of life, would go unbeheld.

The Fine-tuning of our Universe for life is such a compelling observation, that when John D Barrow and Frank J Tipler published their book ‘The Anthropic Cosmological Principle’ it sent shock-waves through the scientific community, for it seemed to suggest some sort of intelligence or consciousness at work.

This of course, was not an acceptable conclusion for the scientific reductionist mindset to embrace and thus a strong rebuttal against the existence of any ‘Universal Intelligence’ was required.  Thus came the Multiverse theory – Our Universe is one of an infinite number of Universes and our Universe just so happens to be the one that is conducive to life.

With an infinite number of Universes, there are no odds, chances, statistics or probabilities to consider and our uniqueness becomes irrelevant.

This opposing theory to The Anthropic Principle, logically explains why the Universe’s fundamental constants happen to fall within the narrow ranges they do, for, out of an infinite number of Universes, one of these Universes would have to fall within such a narrow range to produce such things as stars, planets, galaxies and life.


To Conclude

Without the ability to detect or measure Universal intelligence and without the ability of being able to step outside our Universe to verify if there are other Universes, it is up to you to believe/accept whichever theory you want to.


4 comments for “The Anthropic Principle – Fine Tuning for Life

  1. John Willemse
    January 15, 2015 at 4:00 pm

    A third theory (my own) would be that we can’t know what a universe would be like if these constants were any different. We, as the observers, might simply adjust to the universe and its laws and constants and be something entirely different, except for the fact that we might also assume the same theory as the Anthrophic Principle.

    • Ky Wiss
      January 15, 2015 at 5:00 pm

      Hi John,

      In a different Universe, I wonder if there be any requirement for us or something like us at all?
      Is there a Universal requirement for an observer?
      Is there such a thing as Universal Consciousness?


  2. February 21, 2016 at 7:12 am

    Hello, this isn’t Bessie, but her husband, Jay.I am not a thsiet (nor an athsiet for that matter), I am simply going to play devil’s advocate and point out flaws in your logic that a thsiet might present.First of all, the numbers are completely arbitrary. The large number of nearly 94 billion that you present for your argument only exists because you chose the numbers of 6 out of 40. What, for example, would that number be if you had chosen 3 out of 40 (much smaller) or 25 out of 40 (much larger). How are we to know which one of these ratios, if any, are the correct one for the formation of an entire universe?Second, lotteries are won all the time selling many fewer tickets than that. So much so, that many lotteries added four more balls to the mix (1 to 44), and lotteries are still being won selling fewer tickets than that number (which would now be much larger). Also, a lottery may be won from buying the very first ticket, or the 93,963,542,400th ticket.A thsiet may also argue that although 93,963,542,400 is a rather large number to our limited minds (I would love to have that number in dollars), it is extremely tiny when compared to the infinite mind of an intelligent deity a deity which may be able to imagine (or create) ALL possible universes, that is, IF such a thsiet is open to the possibility of more than just one universe or possible universes (which, if they believe in the infinite power of God, they almost MUST be by proxy).The answer to your question is no. A thsiet would be more likely to argue that each of the other universes, although maybe different, would have been created by the same deity, and each, in their own way, would be just as finely tuned as the one we live in.

    • Ky Wiss
      March 1, 2016 at 11:33 am

      Hi Luning,

      The number is far greater than the 93,963,542,400 you have quoted. You need to add another 114 zero’s.
      Do you have any evidence for this one deity that creates all Universes?

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