The Anthropic principle - was Earth made for man?

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newtonian

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The anthropic principle, which is part philosophy and part scientific observation, deals with the many fine tuned properties and laws of our universe that allow stars and life to exist. Feel free to comment on that also, but on this thread I prefer to narrow down the thread theme to whether earth was fine tuned for man.<br /><br />Or, alternately, whether man, and life on earth in general, evolved to fit earth's environment.<br /><br />Or both.<br /><br />And also how unique is earth's specific set of environmental factors that make human life possible and even enjoyable.<br /><br />As I am super busy I will stop there for now.<br /><br />Later I hope to edit this post to include, in numerical order, some of the fine tuned factors.<br /><br />The most obvious are: climate, water, oxygen, temperature - but there are many more.<br /><br />Feel free to also post on other planets and moons as to how hostile they would be to human life, and also to other forms of life including extremophiles.<br /><br />Now I will stop and see later how the thread I created evolves.
 
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green_meklar

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I've heard the 'We couldn't exist if the Universe was even [insert small number here] different.' argument used in attempts to prove God's existence many times before, and by now I'm kind of getting sick of it. There are two main problems with it:<br />1. The universe we live in (it is probably not very wise to assume only one exists) is not just any random universe with any random set of physical laws. It is very specifically a universe in which intelligent life can evolve, because if it wasn't, we wouldn't be experiencing it! In other words, it's not us playing the cosmic lottery for a good universe, it's the universes playing the cosmic lottery for us.<br />2. Intelligent life does not necessarily require these physical laws in order to exist. <i>Terrestrial</i> life does, yes, but that's not necessarily the only kind of life possible. There could have been completely different sets of physical laws that would still have allowed intelligent life of some kind, and if any of those possibilities were the case, we (or someone who considers themselves 'we', anyway) would still exist, we just wouldn't be like we are. In fact, if simulations of digital life forms are any indication, pretty much any sufficiently large universe with sufficiently complex physics can probably hardly help but develop life of some kind.<br />As for the Earth, the first of these arguments still applies. Because our viewpoint is subjective, the Earth exists under us is an effect of us existing on it. If we had existed on any other planet, we would have asked the same question about it. This in no way proves the existence of an intelligent designer.<br /><br />Your second paragraph is much closer to the truth. Life on Earth evolved to take advantage of the terrestrial conditions they lived in. This is the reason that life on some different planet wouldn't necessarily be like terrestrial life (in fact it would probably be quite different).<br /><br />The reason it is possible for us to live here and enj <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p>________________</p><p>Repent! Repent! The technological singularity is coming!</p> </div>
 
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qso1

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Newtonian:<br />The anthropic principle, which is part philosophy and part scientific observation,<br /><br />Me, IMO:<br />From a religious viewpoint, it would seem that earth was indeed created for mankind.<br /><br />From a scientific viepoint, the answer is not yet at hand because we have to prove there are other earthlike worlds and whether any of those can or do support human like beings and could support us if need be. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>
 
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search

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Besides the Anthropic Priciple you have:<br /><br />Weak anthropic principle (WAP): <br />"The observed values of all physical and cosmological quantities are not equally probable but they take on values restricted by the requirement that there exist sites where carbon-based life can evolve and by the requirements that the Universe be old enough for it to have already done so." (Barrow and Tipler 1986: 16).<br />The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines WAP as conditions that are observed in the universe must allow the observer to exist.<br />If any of the fundamental physical constants were sufficiently different, then life as we know it would not be possible and no one would be around to contemplate the universe we live in. Barrow and Tipler, among others, argue that the WAP explains the fundamental physical constants, such as the fine structure constant, the number of dimensions in the universe, and the cosmological constant.<br /><br />Strong anthropic principle (SAP): <br />"The Universe must have those properties which allow life to develop within it at some stage in its history." (Barrow and Tipler 1986: 21). Barrow and Tipler (p. 22) then propose three elaborations of the SAP:<br />"There exists one possible Universe 'designed' with the goal of generating and sustaining 'observers.' " This can be seen as simply the classic design argument dressed in the garb of contemporary cosmology. It implies that the purpose of the universe is to give rise to intelligent life, with the laws of nature and their fundamental constants set to ensure that life as we know it will emerge and evolve. ("The Rejection of Pascal's Wager")<br />"Observers are necessary to bring the Universe into being." Barrow and Tipler believe that this can be validly inferred from quantum mechanics.<br />"An ensemble of other different universes is necessary for the existence of our Universe." Thus Barrow and Tipler sympathize with the many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics.<br /><br />Final anthropic p
 
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alokmohan

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Re SEACH,good post.But all these are philosophical .We have not found any earth like planet so far.Secondly we dont know how much earthlike so called earth like planets are actually so.No point to think that they follow same prebiotic process.
 
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rfoshaug

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To me it seems very logical that life is fine tuned to this planet and universe, not the other way around.<br /><br />A couple of hundred million years ago, the climate and atmosphere was quite different from now. Life looked different as well, and was very well adapted to the conditions on Earth at that time.<br /><br />Then the planet changed, and so did life. Life adapted to the planet.<br /><br />As for life elsewhere in the universe, just because conditions are not right for humans or other life on Earth, doesn't mean life can't exist there. But of course there might be limits, and some planets might just be too hostile.<br /><br /><br />I'm sure the penguins are convinced that life cannot exist where temperatures regularly are above freezing, and that Antarctica was fine tuned for them. <img src="/images/icons/wink.gif" /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#ff9900">----------------------------------</font></p><p><font color="#ff9900">My minds have many opinions</font></p> </div>
 
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CalliArcale

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Including Galapagos penguins? <img src="/images/icons/tongue.gif" /> (Sorry, just being cheeky.)<br /><br />Seriously, I do not think it is logically possible to distinguish between these two possibilities:<br /><br />* the universe was created to suit life<br />* life was created to suit the universe<br /><br />(Note: "was created" implies less than people tend to think it does. It may mean there was an intelligent creator, or it may not.) <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><font color="#666699"><em>"People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly . . . timey wimey . . . stuff."</em>  -- The Tenth Doctor, "Blink"</font></p> </div>
 
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green_meklar

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<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>I do not think it is logically possible to distinguish between these two possibilities: <br /><br />* the universe was created to suit life <br />* life was created to suit the universe<p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br />How so? I think it would be quite easy to tell, at least to a good degree of probability, which was the case. If we take a look at the universes we've created to follow the first option (digital life programs such as Avida), the ratio of quantity and complexity of life to the size of the universe is very large. In our own universe, it is very small. In other words, considering that the top few kilometers of a little 12756.3-kilometer-wide planet is the only place in the Universe where we have ever found life, it seems unlikely that our universe was created just for life forms to exist (unless, of course, it has not yet matured to the proper stage for life, which is also unlikely). <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p>________________</p><p>Repent! Repent! The technological singularity is coming!</p> </div>
 
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alkalin

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Newtonian, my speculation:<br /><br />Earth and planets that are eventually capable of supporting life have been ‘terraformed’ by DNA through a process involving intelligent design. Evolution is part of the process. This is a very long process of conversion of poisons in the planets surface and atmosphere so that it can become livable by intelligent beings. Stabilized atmosphere and temperature is eventually achieved, as well as balance in surface chemistry for survival of beings such as us, which depend heavily on plant and animal development for our welfare.<br /><br />Eventually evolution progresses from elementary survival toward mental growth which can involve sentience that enable us to ask questions like what is the purpose of it all, and many other questions too numerous to mention. But I think the most important activity we do when we get to this level we currently are at is that we desire to know and pursue truth of all things.<br />
 
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search

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It is not easy to tell the difference between "the universe was created to suit life" or "life was created to suit te universe" and the proof is that nobody as an undesputable answer for that regarding our universe. <br /><br />If there is a different in the logic I believe there is but to some people it does not matter that logic difference because it may be too philosophical. <br /><br /> Avida cannot be compared to the universe.<br /><br />The biggest computer simulation of the universe The Millennium Simulation - the biggest exercise of its kind - required 25 million megabytes of memory. But it tracked the 14bn-year history of creation in months and now offers a tool to explore mysterious events in galaxies far away and long ago.<br /><br />The point is that "Avida is a digital world in which simple computer programs mutate and evolve. More technically, it is a population of self-reproducing strings with a Turing-complete genetic basis subjected to Poisson-random mutations. The population adapts to the combination of an intrinsic fitness landscape (self-reproduction) and an externally imposed (extrinsic) fitness function provided by the researcher."<br /><br />Avida its made for life and we know because we made it that way.<br /><br />The Universe...we do not know because we just starting to explore it. Is it filled with life or a desert of life? We just do not know. <br /><br />We just know that Earth is filled with life. "Since the first modern scientific surveys of life on Earth begun by Linnaeus and his contemporaries in the mid-eighteenth century, ~1.7 million species have been identified and described. Estimates of undiscovered species on Earth range from 10 million to 100 million and The US National Science Board ( 1989) predicted that as many as 25% or more of the Earth's species may become extinct by 2014."<br /><br />Th
 
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CalliArcale

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To put my two possibilities another way: was the Universe created for us, or were we created for the Universe?<br /><br />Please note that neither possibility excludes a divine creator. In fact, neither possibility even excludes a divine creator who actively and intelligently intervenes in the progress of life and the universe. The first possibility is hard to imagine without a divine creator of some kind, but the latter possibility does not actually preclude one.<br /><br />Heck, even the story of Genesis does not preclude the possibility that we were created to suit the Universe, and not the other way around. It all depends on how you take the phrase "created in God's image". One interpretation which has enjoyed varying levels of popularity through the centuries has been that God first created the Universe and then created humans for the purpose of taking care of it. We were built to satisfy that job description, and therefore, built for the Universe and not the other way around. Those who espouse that interpretation generally take "in God's image" to mean "ensouled", the implication being that no other creature is ensouled, and regard that as what gives us the authority to manage Creation on God's behalf.<br /><br />So one can actually reject the anthropic principle on theological grounds, believe it or not. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><font color="#666699"><em>"People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly . . . timey wimey . . . stuff."</em>  -- The Tenth Doctor, "Blink"</font></p> </div>
 
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SpeedFreek

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How come all the laws of physics just <i> happen </i> to be perfectly balanced in a way which allows gravity and matter to exist, stars to form, planets to form around them and life to form on those planets?<br /><br />Maybe we just <i> happen </i> to exist in a universe that just <i> happens </i> to have physical laws which allow us to exist.<br /><br />Maybe there are millions of different universes out there, all with slightly different physical laws, and in the ones where life ends up forming these questions are always asked?<br /><br />Maybe we just got lucky?<br /><br />Imagine a room with 1000 people in it. Each must take a pill. 999 pills are poison and 1 is a placebo. Maybe the 1 survivor will ask "how come I was the lucky one"? <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#ff0000">_______________________________________________<br /></font><font size="2"><em>SpeedFreek</em></font> </p> </div>
 
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CalliArcale

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<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>It's contrary to the TOS.<p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br /><br />*mod hat on*<br /><br />Au contraire! There is absolutely no topic banned by the TOS, except unauthorized advertizing and things not suitable for younger readers (i.e. porn). Uplink absolutely does not and will not practise censorship. Any topic can be discussed, provided it is done in a civilized fashion. (No flamewars, basically.) I am divided as to whether Phenomena is the correct place for this thread; with religious threads, Free Space is sometimes the preferred home, and sometimes it doesn't need to move. With threads where I am uncertain, I tend to wait to watch how the discussion evolves before deciding where to place it. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><font color="#666699"><em>"People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly . . . timey wimey . . . stuff."</em>  -- The Tenth Doctor, "Blink"</font></p> </div>
 
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tom_hobbes

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Trying to be as narrow as your question states, perhaps we ought to invite a dinosaur for comment, since they found earth perfectly suitable for far longer and yet, well, they're all gone. My question to you is, how does the theory account for their 600 million year span? Simply to fine tune the earth for man's arrival?<br /><br />Hubris, if nothing else. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font size="2" color="#339966"> I wish I could remember<br /> But my selective memory<br /> Won't let me</font><font size="2" color="#99cc00"> </font><font size="3" color="#339966"><font size="2">- </font></font><font size="1" color="#339966">Mark Oliver Everett</font></p><p> </p> </div>
 
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search

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Some truth here...<br /><br />"(...),mais il faut cultiver notre jardin." not "Mais nous cultivons notre propre Jardins."
 
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kyle_baron

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I won't intellectualize, it's obvious. I'll keep it simple and to the point, YES. And for those that disagree. <img src="/images/icons/tongue.gif" /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font size="4"><strong></strong></font></p> </div>
 
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green_meklar

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<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>Avida its made for life and we know because we made it that way.<p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br />That is correct. However, even from inside the program, a sentient being could figure out that there is a good chance it was made for life because of the abundance of life in it. Pretty much the entire program is full of life forms, while our universe is very, very bare in that respect. Even if we assume that all star systems have the same amount of biomass as our solar system does, the Universe is still about 10^-17 parts life by mass, and 10^-47 parts life by volume. Most programmers wouldn't even bother making a digital life program less than about 10^-3 parts life by information. This is so absurdly much higher than the life in our universe that it is extremely unlikely that it was created for the purpose of supporting life.<br /><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>How come all the laws of physics just <i>happen</i> to be perfectly balanced in a way which allows gravity and matter to exist, stars to form, planets to form around them and life to form on those planets?<p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br />See the explanation in my first post in this thread. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p>________________</p><p>Repent! Repent! The technological singularity is coming!</p> </div>
 
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SpeedFreek

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If you read the rest of my above post, you'll see that I agree with you, and it was actually a rhetorical question! <img src="/images/icons/wink.gif" /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#ff0000">_______________________________________________<br /></font><font size="2"><em>SpeedFreek</em></font> </p> </div>
 
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newtonian

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green_meklar & you all - Wow! Sure turns out to be a popular subject. I guess I should thank Steve(hw33) for his inspiring me to start it.<br /><br />I will try to respond to all of you - if time permits.<br /><br />green_meklar - since you were first:<br /><br />First, you should know that there are various different models to account for why our universe is fine tuned for stars and life - the existence of God comprises a large portion of these models, but there are others. Personally, I believe Genesis 1:1 is correct and God created the heavens (universe(s)) and earth.<br /><br />Now, as you itemized numerically, I'll start with:<br /><br />1. I agree it is not wise to assume only one universe exists. It is noteworthy that the Bible, in the original languages (Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic) does not contain an equivalent of the English word "universe" with its singular prefix "uni." Rather, the Bible often uses the word heaven in the plural, leaving open the possibility of many universes. I can pursue this tangent with you if you would like.<br /><br />On the cosmic lottery - can you explain what you mean? <br /><br />If I understand you correctly I disagree. The universe is not intelligent in the sense that it knew we were coming. Although, indeed, some scientists do believe in an intelligent universe. I can pursue that tangent with you also if you would like.<br /><br />2. I agree. Certainly God did not require our universe to exist, and certainly God is intelligent life.<br /><br />Note my thread theme: Was earth made for man? <br /><br />I believe it was, btw.<br /><br />Now extremophiles, as I noted in my first post, do not require the degree of fine tuning human life does (compare mammals, birds, reptiles, fish, etc.).<br /><br />Considering what you stated in #1, I have to also agree that totally different forms of life exist in another universe, even as you suggest.<br /><br />Can you post more on digital life forms? I have never heard of this!!!!<br /><br />Your last st
 
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newtonian

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qso1 - I agree, kind of. To me it is both religious and scientific to consider earth was created for mankind.<br /><br />And, indeed, it is an exciting search to determine if there are other earthlike worlds.<br /><br />Eventually on this thread I hope to explore some details concerning what would be required for human life to exist without much protection from the environment.<br /><br />For now I will mention a few of the many:<br /><br />A. Rotation speed to allow plant life to exist so we can breathe and eat.<br /><br />B. Oceans and a water cycle to moderate climate and allow for rainfall, as well as microorganisms in the ocean to produce oxygen - and much more.<br /><br />C. Distance from sun to allow survivable temperature ranges.<br /><br />D. Our moon to stabilize rotation and tilt of earth on its axis, for stable, and beautfiful, seasons.<br /><br />E. An ozone shield to protect us from radiation.<br /><br />There are many more fine tuned factors, of course.<br /><br />Feel free to comment on the above and/or post others.
 
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SpeedFreek

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I don't believe earth was created <i> for </i> man.<br /><br />I believe any intelligent life that springs up anywhere in any universe will ask this question, and may initially believe that its environment was created to suit it, but in the end will find out that it evolved to suit its environment. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#ff0000">_______________________________________________<br /></font><font size="2"><em>SpeedFreek</em></font> </p> </div>
 
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newtonian

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SEARCH - Excellent research, as usual.<br /><br />I will respond later on details - but a few brief comments for now:<br /><br />WAP = Weak Anthropic principle: Agreed, but note, of course, that life not as we know could observe; of course, if God created our universe (as I believe), He would observe - for one obvious example among many.<br /><br />HOw fine tuned are the fine structure constant, the number of dimensions, and the cosmological content such that carbon based life could exist (emerge, be created, evolve)?<br /><br />SAP = Strong Anthropic principle: Only one universe for observers to exist + observers necessary to create universe = many universes with observers existing.<br /><br />Confusing version - but interesting indeed!<br /><br />The rest is also confusing, e.g.: why would information processing, once coming into existence, necessarily continue to exist eternally?<br /><br />I know you are not putting forth the models, just referencing them.<br /><br />Thank you again for you research.
 
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newtonian

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alokmohan - partly philosophical - however not entirely. <br /><br />The degree of fine tuning of various factors, such as the relative strengths of the four forces of physics (Gravity, electromagnetic, weak nuclear, strong nuclear) along with those posted on above are based on scientific observation, not philosophy.<br /><br />What prebiotic process do you consider was followed on earth?
 
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newtonian

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rfoshaug - Perhaps - until you examine the details in depth.<br /><br />As you mentioned the belief that life was fine tuned to this universe, consider just one way electromagnetic force is fine tuned for life:<br /><br />"If it were significantly weaker, electrons would not be held around the nucleus of an atom. ‘Would that be serious?’ some might wonder. Yes, because atoms could not combine to form molecules. Conversely, if this force were much stronger, electrons would be trapped on the nucleus of an atom. There could be no chemical reactions between atoms—meaning no life. Even from this standpoint, it is clear that our existence and life depend on the fine-tuning of the electromagnetic force." - "Is There a Creator Who Cares About You?," 1998, p. 17.<br /><br />Clearly, carbon based life could not exist without the above type of fine tuning.<br /><br />There are many other examples. <br /><br />BTW - there are many types of Penguins, and some are not restricted to polar regions.<br /><br />
 
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