Dan Berger's Anthropic Principle links
John D. Barrow and Frank Tipler, The Anthropic Cosmological Principle, Oxford University Press, 1988.
Excellent discussions of quantum mechanics and its implications are provided by John
Polkinghorne, The Quantum
World, Princeton University Press, 1984; by Jim Baggott,
The Meaning of Quantum
Theory, Oxford University Press, 1992; and by Werner Heisenberg,
Physics and Philosophy,
Harper & Row, 1958.
- Nick Bostrom, a professional philosopher, contends that Baysian probability analysis allows one to take the WAP more seriously; see his site, anthropic-principle.com.
- Private correspondence; see Note 1.
- I am ashamed to say that I cannot remember my source for this, but the work was published, I think, after A Brief History of Time.
P.J. Steinhardt and N. Turok (Science, 296, 1436-1439, 2002) offer a theory that gets around the entropic embargo on serial multiple universes by using universe-universe collisions to generate new Big Bangs. No experimental evidence, of course; Alan Guth, originator of the theory of cosmic inflation, says that whether this is plausible depends on how the physics of the hypothetical collisions works out. See the news item in Science, 296, 639 (2002).
- See, for example,
Martin A. Bucher and David N. Spergel, "Inflation in a Low-Density Universe," Scientific American, January 1999.
- The Many Universes Interpretation of quantum mechanics (see the sources listed above) says that every possible quantum event occurs, but when more than one is possible, the different possible events result in the generation of one universe for each possibility. This is sometimes used as a convenient way of generating an infinite number of possible universes. But again, the source of the physical laws which define the ensemble of universes is not addressed.
- The Copernican Principle is used to predict the impending extinction of the human race by J.R. Gott, "Implications of the Copernican principle for our future prospects," Nature 363, 315-319 (1993). Gott's argument (based on one by Brandon Carter) is called the Doomsday Argument and is fully discussed here by Nick Bostrom.
Of course, Dr. Pangloss is the Liebnitzean optimist in Voltaire's immortal yet impertinent novel, Candide.
For an analysis of the limitations of Occam's Razor--which says that, of two explanations, the simpler is to be preferred if it explains all the facts -- see Hoffmann, Minkin and Carpenter, "Ockham's Razor and Chemistry," HYLE 3, 3-28 (1997). It seems straightforward to apply this analysis to the Copernican Principle.
- See the report in Science 274, 1615 (1996). The original article was published by S. Haroche, J.-M. Raimond, M. Brune et al in Physical Review Letters (9 Dec 1996).
- See the report in Science 285, 307 (1999). Original article G. Nogues, A. Rauschenbeutel, S. Osnaghi, M. Brune, J.-M. Raimond and S. Haroche, Nature 400, 239 (1999). Or read about it in Scientific American, October 1999 issue.
- I'm strongly reminded of Isaac Asimov's short story, "The Last Question." Perhaps Tipler should pay at least token royalties to the Good Doctor's estate. But I forgot -- Tipler doesn't consider his story to be fiction.
- According to John Haught's book, God After Darwin: A Theology of Evolution, the previous paragraph is a caricature of Teilhard -- and indeed, as I note in the next paragraph, I was unable to make head or tail of Teilhard's writings. Haught says that Teilhard merely took the Eternal nature of God seriously: God is as much in the future as in the past.
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