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Anthropic Principle

A controversial cosmological principle that the observable universe, as it is, must be compatible with our powers of observation, or else we would not be able to observe it. Exponents of the principle will often point out that the universe appears to be “fine tuned,”or delicately balanced in its basic physical processes, to allow for the existence of carbon-based life. Although there are many versions of the principle, usually one can distinguish between (a) the Weak Anthropic Principle, which affirms simply that the existence of human life itself implies that nature must be consistent with having evolved carbon-based life, and (b) the Strong Anthropic Principle, which is concerned with the possibility of alternative universes, yet goes on to state metaphysically that our observable universe must be the only kind of universe capable of evolving human-like creatures as observers.

Only a small range of possible values for the universal constants (such as the mass of an electron) are consistent with the presence of life as we know it. The significance of such apparent fine-tuning of the universal constants is disputed by those who regard it as trivial and those who argue from it to the necessity of life in the universe.

Contributed by: CTNS

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Anthropic Principle
Anthropology
Antimatter
Aquinas, Thomas (1225-1274)
Argument From Design, The
Aristotle (384-322 BCE)
Atomic Theory Of Matter
Atomism
Augustine, St. (354-430 CE)
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Barth, Karl (1886-1968)
Bergson, Henri (1859-1941)
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Bohr, Niels (1885-1962)
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Chaos Theory
Chromosome
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Copernicus, Nicolaus (1473-1543)
Cosmology
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Darwin, Charles (1809-1882)
Darwin, Erasmus (1731-1802)
Deism
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Dirac, Paul (1902-84)
DNA
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Einstein, Albert (1879-1955)
Electromagnetism
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Electroweak Force
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Epicurus (341-270 BCE)
Eukaryotes
Everett, Hugh
Evolutionary Biology
Fermi, Enrico (1901-1954)
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Feynman, Richard (1918-1988)
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Galileo (1564-1642)
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Heisenberg, Werner (1901-1976)
Hubble, Edwin (1889-1953)
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Huxley, Thomas Henry (1825-95)
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Kant, Immanuel (1724-1804)
Kepler, Johannes
Leibniz, Gottfried Wilhelm (1646-1716)
Lemaître, Abbé Georges (1894-1966)
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Luther, Martin (1483-1546)
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Wigner, Eugene (1902-1995)