The Anthropic Principle, or Why Sitcoms are Interesting

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The Anthropic Principle, or Why Sitcoms are Interesting

Post  John on Tue Feb 07, 2012 4:18 am

The (in)famous Anthropic Principle is sometimes described with the statement that: "The conditions necessary for intelligent life can only be met under the most unusual of circumstances. The view universe...is clearly not representative of of a purely random set of initial conditions, but rather the product of a unique set of circumstances favorable for the [development] of intelligent life. Our ability to observe and ask questions presupposes these circumstances, and thus explains their presence." (Klemke, p. 212)

This principle is often bifurcated into the Weak Anthropic Principle (WAP) which argues for a privileged position in the universe, and a stronger version (SAP) arguing that the universe must exist in the above manner. The history of the principle reads like a modern tale of scientific numerology with some arguing that one or the other view is merely a tautology, vacuous, or proof for a divine creator. Obviously, the range for debate is rather large.

Is the principle question-begging? Could it reasonably be employed as a foundational premise for further argument?


Examples which pertain to the second title include Tracy Morgan not being fired for outlandish antics on 30 Rock, talking Squids being indigenous to Georgia and an endangered, protected, species on the Squidbillies, and PETA not existing in the Pokemon universe.

Examples pertaining to the real world include....? Any takers?

Reference
Klemke, E.D., et. al. (2002). Introductory Readings in the Philosophy of Science. 1(3). 637 pgs. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Publishing.
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