It’s called the anthropic universe: a world set up so that human beings could eventually emerge. So many physical constants, so many aspects of our solar system, so much seems to be finally tuned for our benefit. But was it? We hear from Professor Martin Rees, Paul Davies and Frank Tipler, as well as many others, about one of the ultimate questions.
Robyn Williams: ABC Radio National, this is The Science Show, and in the wake of Charles Darwin’s birthday on the 12th it may be a good time to ask how come we’re here, why is the world apparently so exquisitely organised for our convenience? Here’s a special view from my friend and colleague Martin Redfern.
Brandon Carter: The fact that we are here tells us something about the universe.
Paul Davies: The laws of physics are almost fine tuned to encourage matter and energy to develop along certain pathways of evolution leading to greater and greater complexity and ultimately to consciousness.
David Deutsch: One has to ask why is it that those choices were made?
Martin Rees: One is trying to answer Einstein’s famous question, did God have any choice in the creation of the world?
Owen Gingerich: In so many ways, the universe is made with unusual characteristics that are exactly the ones to make thoughtful life possible.
Martin Redfern: Anyone who has looked out into the vastness of the universe is filled with awe. Anyone who has glimpsed the beauty and complexity of life on Earth feels a sense of wonder. We don’t need to be poets, prophets or physicists to share those feelings and speculate on the purpose of it all. It’s a field where science can seem to touch on the domain of, but since the time of Galileo it has been an uneasy meeting ground. Today, atheist reductionists try to reduce the cosmic story to a series of random accidents and religious fundamentalists try to show it as evidence of some sort of intelligent creator external to the universe. I, like many scientists and thinkers, have never been happy with either of these extremes and this is my personal journey through the maze of cosmotheology, guided by some of the best minds in the field.
Our starting point is the simple fact that we’re here at all, staring out into the universe with that sense of wonderment. It’s an observation that has some profound implications. In 1974, Brandon Carter, a cosmologist at the Paris Observatory, gave it a name – the Anthropic Principle. more>>>