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What is the anthropic principle?

Question asked by: knowitall

This is a strange principle that has been used in philosophy and science for a long time as an explanation of why things (the state of the universe) is as it is. It has often been accused of being a form of sophistry, for the argument does not appear to have much explanatorial value, as it states simply this:
"the universe is the way it is, because if if were different we would not be here to observe it (but we are here to observe it and therefore it is the way it is)."

For instance, if values of the strengths of any number of fundamental constants were different, the world would be radically different as even stars would not be able to form. The theory does not seem very satisfying and is discarded by most, as it does not really seem to explain anything. It seems an odd logical argument form for an explanation. On winning the lottery every week for ten years you would be told "the results are as they are because if they were different you would not be here to say you have won it every week for the last ten years".

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principle  anthropic  

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