Anthropic principle: the warped idea of physics


2017-02-09 10:30:09




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Anthropic principle: the warped idea of physics

The Universe has fundamental laws that we can observe. In it we exist, things that we created, and all this, too, is subject to fundamental laws. Based on this you can build two very simple statements that would be very difficult to argue.

  • We must be ready to accept the fact that our location in the Universe must be adapted to ensure that we could exist as observers.
  • the
  • the universe (and hence the fundamental parameters on which it depends) should have a possibility of creation of observers at some stage.

These Two conditions, which was first expressed by physicist Brandon Carter in 1973, known as the weak and strong anthropic principles, respectively. They just say we exist in the Universe, which has fundamental constants, laws and the like. Our existence proves that the universe allow for the existence of beings like us in it (sorry for the tautology, but there are).

These simple self-evident facts, in fact, carry a lot of cargo. They tell us that the universe exists with such properties that it could evolve a reasonable observer. It's the opposite properties, is incompatible with intelligent life that cannot describe our Universe on the ground that no one had ever seen. We are here to observe the Universe, and our active act of observation means that the universe is arranged in such a way to ensure our existence. This is the essence of the anthropic principle.

And it allows us to make a number of quite pertinent scientific claims and predictions about the Universe. The fact that we are observers of the carbon tells us that the universe was in some way to create carbon. On the basis of this Fred Hoyle predicted that the excited state of the nucleus of carbon-12 must exist at a certain energy below three helium-4 nucleus could be merged into carbon-12 in the bowels of stars. Five years later, the discovery of theoretical Hoyle state and the mechanism of its occurrence — the triple alpha process — was discovered and confirmed a nuclear physicist Willy Fowler, and leads us to the understanding of how lined up the heavy elements in the early history of the Universe.

Calculate the value of the vacuum energy of our Universe is energy inherent in empty space — in the framework of quantum field theory gives an absurd value that is too high. The energy of empty space determines how fast increases the speed of Universe expansion (or compression rate); if it were too high, life, planets, stars, atoms and molecules would never have formed. But since in the Universe there are galaxies, stars, planets and people, the value of the vacuum energy of the Universe, as estimated by Steven Weinberg in 1987, should not exceed 10-118-fold value of the value that we brought to their naive estimates. When in 1998 we found the dark energy, we were able to measure this number for the first time, and it was equal to 10-120 from our forecasts. The anthropic principle has shown us that our calculations were incorrect.

However, The two surprisingly simple statements, weak and strong anthropic principles, has managed to distort so much that now they are tied to illogical and unscientific statements. People claim that the anthropic principle supports the theory of multiple universes; that the anthropic principle speaks in favor of the string picture of the world; that the anthropic principle requires us giant gas giant that will protect us from asteroids; that the anthropic principle explains why we are at this distance from the galactic center what are. In other words, people use the anthropic principle to say that the universe is exactly the way it is because we exist. But not only is that inaccurate, it also does not apply to the anthropic principle.

The Anthropic principle just says that we as observer exist. And that we exist in this Universe, so the universe exists to allow observers to exist. If you set the laws of physics do not allow observers to exist, you will receive anything but our Universe. Our existence means that the universe allows us to exist, but this does not mean that the universe had to develop in that way. This does not mean that our existence is necessary. And this does not mean that the universe had to nurture us just as we are. In other words, we cannot say that "the universe is what it is, because we are here." This is not the anthropic principle is a logical error.

In 1986, John barrow and Frank Tipler wrote an interesting book "the Anthropic cosmological principle", which was a revision of those principles. They wrote:

The Observed values of all physical and cosmological quantities are not equally probable but they take on values restricted by the requirement of the existence of places can develop the life based on carbon, and demanding that the universe was old enough for that to already be done.

The universe must have those properties which allow life to develop within it at some stage in history.

So instead of "our existence as observers means that the laws of the Universe must be such as to permit the existence of observers", we get "the universe must allow the existence of intelligent life is carbon-based, and Universes in which life does not develop, are not allowed." Barrow and Tipler go on and offer alternative interpretations, including the following:

  • the universe in the form in which it exists, was designed with the goal of creating and maintaining observers.
  • Observers are necessary in order for the universe was. the

  • Ensemble of Universes with different fundamental laws and constants necessary for the existence of our Universe.

If the last item sounds like a bad interpretation of multiple universes, it's because all the scripts barrow and Tipler based on poor interpretations of the principle of self-evidence.

Yes, we exist in the Universe and observed laws of nature as they are. Seeing how the unknown can be limited by the fact of our existence, we can learn something about our Universe. In this sense, the anthropic principle has a scientific value. But if we begin to turn the anthropic principle as we want, we turn it into a bad tool.


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