The Anthropological Principle

The Anthropological Principle is the simple fact that we live in a universe that allows our existence. Some see a meaning behind this, as if the Universe we pre programmed to allow our existence. If the universe were any other way, we would not exist, and would hence be unable to make any observations. The principle can be twisted as these things often are, to imply that we MUST exist, that the Universe is only so that we can live in it, and the Universe would have no purpose without us. To avoid a fight between peace loving Church of England Vicars, the Principle has evolved into weak and strong versions.

The Weak Anthropological Principle

The observed Universe is such that the observer can observe it.

The Strong Anthropological Principle

The Universe is such that our existence was predetermined.

There are several versions of each. Both are subject to criticism. The weak principle seems a tautology. It could not possible be false and many would wonder if it has any use. The strong principle is leapt on by religious believers because it seems to imply the existence of an intelligent design: the atoms move and bond according to the Laws of Physics, but the Laws of Physics, they say are not the product of blind and random chance.

If the physical constants – the charge on an electron, the gravitational constants or any of the other physical constants in the physical laws that govern our Universe were ever so slightly different, atoms could not exists, planets could not orbit, molecules could not form and the the structure of the Universe would be very different.

Introduced by the theoretical physicist Brandon Carter in 1973, the Principle has progressively come into vogue among the physics and philosophical communities, providing a simple explanation for some otherwise very perplexing coincidences. For example, why are certain physical constants so oddly fine-tuned? While some people view this as evidence for a supernatural creator, materialists simply observe that if it were any other way, we wouldn't be here. In fact there is no physical evidence for either version of the principle. Maybe the principle is in fact the last religion. Man needs to believe in a guiding power. Having destroyed the need for the old religion, he has sought to create one based on scientific principles.