This is the proceedings of the second Venice conference on Cosmology and
Philosophy, edited by Francesco
Bartola and Umberto Curi.(both at the University
of Padova) It contains the following:
Patterns of explantion in Cosmology by John
Barrow. In this he suggests that: "the Many-Worlds interpretation
[of QM] may be necessary if one is to interpret Quantum Cosmology
without introducing an 'Ultimate Observer'" (p10)- making it clear
that the AP essentially forces one to theism or to Many-Worlds - indeed
he speculated later that "if observers are possible in any mathematical
scheme, and if we subscribe to the Platonic philosophy of mathematics...then
observers exist in all senses of the word. Since mathematical schemes
clearly do exist which give rise to observers, Observers do exist"
Barrow thus anticiaptes Tegmark's argument, but also leaves the way open
for Beale's argument that, on the same basis, God must exist.
Anthropic Principle and Ancient Science by Oddone
Longo gives a tour of the AP in Greek thought from a determinedly non-AP
and non-teleological perspective.
The AP: laws and environments by GFR Ellis, distinguishes helpfully
between separate causes eg
(1) Why are the laws of Physics such as to allow intelligent life (2) Why are the initial conditions of the Universe such as to allow
intelligent life and separate effects, contrasting whether given laws or initial conditions:
(a) allow the functioning of living systems as we know them (b) allow the functioning of environments in which life can exist (c) allow the evolution of intelligent life He points out eg that the Strong Force, Electromagnetism, QM
and Special Relativity are needed for (a) and (b), whereas the Weak Force
is necessary for (c).
The Anthropic selection principle and the ultra-Darwinian
sythensis by Brandon
Carter claims to show how anthropic selection should be considered
as an adjunct to ordinary natural selection, explaining features of our
evolutionary history that ordinary (neo) Darwinian theory is incapable
of accounting for by itself. It is interesting that he stresses
the importance of Bayesian science, "as a commutative compromise between
the old-fashioned 'Determinist paradigm' and the non-commutative Heisenberg
Paradigm" . This is a very interesting paper.
Some points that struck me:
"the traditional Determinist paradigm...is safely besieged in a circumscribed
domain that includes the jury box, but that has as its citadel the...primary
school"
"in the Heisenberg Paradigm, the analagous procedure [to deriving posterior
probabilities] is obtained by analagously renormalising the corresponding
projection of the Gibbs operator P = X P_{0}X/tr(XP_{0})...
commonly referred to as collapsing the wave function" He goes
on to give a fascinating account of a nation of "ultra-Dawinian selection"
(natural plus anthropic) and points out that this will make appearances
of purposive evolution much more likely.
He explores a simple n step lock sequence model of human evolution, and
points out that the time to evolve intelligent life must be less than the
main sequence lifetime (t_{0})~ 10^{10} yrs. Since
the observed time for human evolution t_{h} ~ 5 x 10^{9}
yrs we have a remarkable coincidence t_{0} ~ 2 x t_{h }
from which he argues that:
a. The expected time t_{e} for intelligent life to evolve is
probably >> t_{0} (because if t_{e} << t_{0}
then the likelihood is that t_{h} << t_{0}
and there is no a priori reason why t_{e} ~ t_{0}
).
b. n ~ 1, because the truncated probability distribution will peak
at n/(n+1)t_{0} . Thus there may have been only 1-2 really difficult
steps to evolve intelligent life.
c. It may be that there is a tighter constraint than t_{0}
due to eg atmospheric destablisiation. In which case this
would make higher values of n more probable. Converesly, if there
are higher values of n, then it is probably that there are tighter constraints
on how long a civilisation can survive (eg global warming?)
The growth of complexity in an expanding Universe by Hubert Reeves
The Anthropic and Perfect cosmological principles by Fred
Hoyle points out that if one is in a generous frame of mind, the
chance of assembling a typcial enzyme at random might be set at 1 part
in 10^{30}. Some 2000 enzymes are needed to operate and replicate
even the simplest biological cell, for a chance of random assembley of
(10^{30})^{2000}... the number of atoms in the visible
universe is merely 10^{79}. He argued (in 1993) that either
we have to postulate the existence of some mystic process or that the
big bang ... is the wrong cosmology and that the steady-state is the correct
cosmology. I understand that he now talks about 'Him
who fixed it'.
From the AP to the Subject Principle Michel Bitbol
The AP: a critical view by Livo Gratton
The AP and the non-uniqueness of the Universe by Dennis Sciama
The AP and the SETI perspective by Jean Heidmann
The Entropic versus the AP - on the self-organisation of life by
Freidrich Cramer
Anthropic Biology - by Mario Zatti
Metaphyiscal Outlooks in physics and the AP by Nicola Dallaporta
Galaxy Creation - Implication for the development of life - by Halton
C Arp
Some Theological reflections on the AP by George Coyne SJ
Anthropic Arguments - are they really explanations by Bernulf Kanitsheider
I will expand on this review and try to draw out some of the implications
in the next few days.