Anthropic principle

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Massimiliano B
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Anthropic principle

Postby Massimiliano B » 2013-07-28, 16:04

The strong anthropic principle says that the Universe must have those properties which allow life to develop within it at some stage in its history. So, what we are now would be the result of a long history based on laws which couldn't be different from what we observe that they are.
If we look far into the past, we see that the man, at a certain point in its history - probably from the emergence of Homo Sapiens, or even before - has dedicated himself either to a superior being that created the world, or to a spirit that permeates and sustains everything.
Here is my question: if the strong anthropic principle is true, is it reasonable to say that the history of man has had to follow necessarily the stages that it has actually followed - and that we can reconstruct, thanks to the scientific research? Can we reasonably assert that religious beliefs (insofar as they have played a significant role in the life of man at least until few centuries ago - and still they play, in many parts of the world) have to be necessarily a part of the true properties of the universe, which allow life to develop to the stage we are now?

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Re: Anthropic principle

Postby johnklepac » 2013-08-09, 5:52

Massimiliano B wrote:Here is my question: if the strong anthropic principle is true, is it reasonable to say that the history of man has had to follow necessarily the stages that it has actually followed - and that we can reconstruct, thanks to the scientific research?

If we hadn't innovated so much scientifically, we'd still be stuck in our primitive days. Conversely, if we'd innovated earlier, we'd be much further along now. Either way, we'd be having this conversation at the same numbered and recorded time, I guess, though the Sun might have burned out less or more of its fuel.

In other words, this is like asking whether someone running a mile to try to get a record time has had to prepare to get there. Yes, she has, but if she had postponed it until the next day, the run wouldn't have happened without her; it would've waited, and three minutes into the run would be three minutes into the run regardless of how long she had prepared.

In yet more words, this question is essentially asking what would have happened if we had not innovated as we have. Well, nothing; the world would've continued spinning without us until we had gotten going.

Can we reasonably assert that religious beliefs (insofar as they have played a significant role in the life of man at least until few centuries ago - and still they play, in many parts of the world) have to be necessarily a part of the true properties of the universe, which allow life to develop to the stage we are now?

That depends on how strictly we're defining "the stage we are now." Humankind has evolved with religion, so I'd hedge my bets with our society being a little different if we hadn't. I don't think we'd look markedly different, aside from a greater admixture of groups that have historically been killed off for religious reasons.

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Re: Anthropic principle

Postby Massimiliano B » 2013-08-12, 0:00

If it is like asking whether someone running a mile to try to get a record time has had to prepare to get there, we can say that religion is essential to the history of mankind!

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Re: Anthropic principle

Postby johnklepac » 2013-08-12, 23:57

Massimiliano B wrote:If it is like asking whether someone running a mile to try to get a record time has had to prepare to get there, we can say that religion is essential to the history of mankind!

Ohhhhhhh. I'm an idiot. By a grammatical quirk, I thought you were talking about the scientific research because I glanced over the " - " after "actually followed", so I thought you were saying that the progression of humankind, not the reconstruction of its stages, was due to the scientific research.

In that case, I don't know that religion has helped mankind's evolution along to nearly the extent that science has. (In fact, if regression counts as backward evolution rather than simply evolution, religion's probably hindered us in that regard, what with the Dark Ages and the topplings of numerous civilizations in religious wars.)

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Re: Anthropic principle

Postby Massimiliano B » 2013-09-01, 17:13

Also science causes "dark ages" (cancer due to pollution and radioactivity, heart attack due to fat foods etc.) and it is in part cause of topplings of civilisations (American aboriginal people, Australian aboriginals,Tasmanian aboriginals, and others).

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Re: Anthropic principle

Postby Johanna » 2013-09-01, 17:30

Science in itself doesn't, it's merely a method to learn things about the word around us.

But sure, several fields of it enables a lot of crap, especially when there are economic interests at stake, and it wasn't until recently that we started to understand that what we did using this tool might actually have severe consequences.

On the other hand, we humans have reshaped the world around us since long before there was anything called science at all, starting with hunting some species of animals to extinction, and later turning wilderness into farmland, making an even bigger impact.
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Re: Anthropic principle

Postby Marah » 2013-09-01, 17:38

Johanna wrote:Science in itself doesn't, it's merely a method to learn things about the word around us.

I guess the same could be said about religion.
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Re: Anthropic principle

Postby Massimiliano B » 2013-09-01, 17:47

Marah wrote:
Johanna wrote:Science in itself doesn't, it's merely a method to learn things about the word around us.

I guess the same could be said about religion.


Je suis d'accord!


I forgot to mention the fundamental role that science had in the persecution of Jews, gays and Jipsies during the Nazist era.

Scientists, at that time, found evidences in favor of an ideology of death.
Last edited by Massimiliano B on 2013-09-01, 18:06, edited 1 time in total.

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Johanna
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Re: Anthropic principle

Postby Johanna » 2013-09-01, 17:58

Marah wrote:
Johanna wrote:Science in itself doesn't, it's merely a method to learn things about the word around us.

I guess the same could be said about religion.

It can, but the way most religions work it's not "merely a method to learn", since they tell us that those things are already known, and the only thing you can hope for is to gain more knowledge personally, not expanding knowledge in itself.

I hope I make sense.
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Re: Anthropic principle

Postby Ludwig Whitby » 2013-09-01, 18:14

I don't like the science vs religion debates.

Massimiliano, could you explain what you're trying to say? I'm having troubles understanding it. So, the universe seems to be fine tuned for life and that would be the anthropic principle, right? And after that I got lost.

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Re: Anthropic principle

Postby Marah » 2013-09-01, 18:15

I was mostly reacting to "Science in itself doesn't cause dark ages". Religions offer some kind of code to make life easier for communities (don't kill, don't steal, don't lie, don't eat pork it's filthy, there's something nice after death if you behave accordingly, etc). What happened with Inquisition or with Islamism for instance, are problems caused by humans not by religions per se.
Par exemple, l'enfant croit au Père Noël. L'adulte non. L'adulte ne croit pas au Père Noël. Il vote.

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Re: Anthropic principle

Postby Massimiliano B » 2013-09-01, 18:29

Ludwig Whitby wrote:I don't like the science vs religion debates.

Massimiliano, could you explain what you're trying to say? I'm having troubles understanding it. So, the universe seems to be fine tuned for life and that would be the anthropic principle, right? And after that I got lost.


I understand your troubles. In my first post I said that since the universe seems to be fine tuned for life, maybe it's possible to say also that religion, which played a determinant role in the development and betterment of the life conditions, can be seen as a part of the fine tuned universe. In short, without religion we would not be here.

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Re: Anthropic principle

Postby Johanna » 2013-09-01, 18:32

Marah wrote:I was mostly reacting to "Science in itself doesn't cause dark ages". Religions offer some kind of code to make life easier for communities (don't kill, don't steal, don't lie, don't eat pork it's filthy, there's something nice after death if you behave accordingly, etc). What happened with Inquisition or with Islamism for instance, are problems caused by humans not by religions per se.

The "don't kill" thing is bullshit to be honest, it's just "don't kill anyone this particular law says doesn't deserve it". If you look to the Bible at least, since killing enemies = fine (even if it's a war of conquest because your god promised you that land), killing slaves = fine, killing rebellious children = fine.

Actually "don't lie" seems to be more universal than "don't kill" :?

Science says nothing about ethics or morals in that way. Sure, you can use it to describe them, but not to prescribe them, since once you start doing the latter it ceases to be science and starts becoming ideology.
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Re: Anthropic principle

Postby ling » 2013-09-01, 19:25

Life exists in this universe because its properties happen to allow for it to come into existence.

The universe wasn't made for life; life is merely a product of it.

In another universe with different properties, something else, totally unimaginable to us and nonexistent in our universe, might be a product of it.
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IpseDixit

Re: Anthropic principle

Postby IpseDixit » 2013-09-06, 22:55

Actually it's written don't murder, not don't kill.

That's what an Orthodox Jewish friend of mine told me.


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