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Anthropic Principle – Universe Made for Us

Silhouette against night sky

Strong anthropic principle maintains the universe must have the values it has because its purpose is the emergence of human life

Dr. Andrew Wilson on anthropic principle
Dr. Andrew Wilson. Photo: FFWPU

Part 2 of “Evolutionary Creationism: A New Perspective on Purpose and Human Origins”, a presentation by Dr. Andrew Wilson, Professor of Scriptural Studies at HJ International Graduate School for Peace and Public Leadership (HJI), New York, USA, given on a special online program 23rd April 2024 hosted by HJI and the Higher Purpose Forum (HPF).

See part 1, part 3, part 4, part 5

The Anthropic Principle 

The History of the Universe
The evolution of the Universe from the big bang to the present. Illustration (2014): TheAstronomyBum / Wikimedia Commons. Public domain image

The Anthropic Principle is an attempt by scientists to explain these observations of fine-tuning.

And there are basically two different Anthropic Principles – the Strong Anthropic Principle (SAP) and the Weak Anthropic Principle (WAP).

The Strong Anthropic Principle says that the universe is unique, and it must have these values because its purpose is the emergence of intelligent life.

In other words, there is an intelligent purpose behind the formation of the universe.

This is the position of people who talk about intelligent design. There’s an intelligence which we call God, and intelligent design claims that the Creator designed the universe with the purpose to support the emergence of sentient life. And the fact that the universe is fine-tuned, is evidence for that.

Or there’s some kind of a life principle underlying existence that constrains the universe to evolve towards life and mind.

So there are various ways of explaining the Strong Anthropic Principle, but it has to involve some kind of intelligence or life inherent from the very beginning.

Well, that is very distasteful to most scientists who are materialistic, so they prefer the Weak Anthropic Principle.

Brandon Carter
Brandon Carter, Australian theoretical physicist, the first to name and define the weak anthropic principle. Photo: Brandon Carter / Wikimedia Commons. License: CC ASA 1.0 Gen

And the Weak Anthropic Principle basically says that the fine-tuning that we see in our universe is the results of selection bias, because of all the possible universes that could exist, only a handful have the properties suitable for sentient beings such as ourselves.

We are sentient beings, hence the universe we see has all the right parameters for our existence. But there are an infinite number of other possible universes, and maybe those other universes exist actually, and we just don’t see them.

And then you get the idea of the multiverse, that there are countless universes of which our universe is only one, and because it’s the one that we live in, and because everything works for us to exist, we think of it as somehow designed, but it’s not designed at all.

It’s rather that it’s automatically selected from all the countless universes that ours would be the one that we live in. Okay, that’s the Weak Anthropic Principle.

But there’s no experimental evidence that other universes exist besides our universe. And positing multiple universes is quite cumbersome. How many multiple universes would there have to be?

Ockham's Razor
The Skeptic Magazine’s illustration of Ockham’s Razor, the problem-solving principle that recommends searching for explanations constructed with the smallest possible set of elements. Popularly paraphrased as, “The simplest explanation is usually the best one.” (Wikipedia). Illustration: The Skeptic Magazine (UK) / Wikimedia Commons. License: CC ASA 4.0 Int

So we can use what’s called Ockham’s Razor, which is a principle in philosophy that the simplest solution is the best.

The hypothesis of a single universe is simple and more parsimonious than positing multiple universes. Yet the reason most scientists prefer the Weak Anthropic Principle, which requires multiple universes, is because they are materialists, and they are allergic to the concept of God or a designer having designed the universe.

If it is a single universe, however, then its fine-tuning is evidence for the intelligent design of the universe by a purposeful Creator, which would then contradict materialism.

Continued in part 3.

See part 1, part 3, part 4, part 5

Featured image above: Silhouette of person looking into the night sky. Photo: Greg Rakozy on Unsplash

Related to anthropic principle: Evolutionary Creationism – Fine-Tuned Universe

Also related to anthropic principle: Existence of God

More, related to evolutionary creationism: Arguments for God

And more, related to evolutionary creationism: Essence of God

Yet more, related to evolutionary creationism: God and Human Beings


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