Here are the latest ideas concerning the Anthropic Principle (AP) I have been discussing with Dr. Green. If you aren't familiar with the "deck of cards" analogy of the AP, it would be a good idea to google it before reading this! It only takes a few minutes to get the gist of it.

Anyway, here are some ideas concerning the AP which have not yet been included in my Thesis Proposal (http://honestsearchfortruth.blogspot.com/2012/01/honors-thesis-proposal-draft-1.html):

Hi Micah!

I have been having some ideas concerning the AP that I wanted to run by you.

You are familiar with the deck of cards analogy, yes? As in, what are the odds of continually drawing aces over and over again... If you drew 50 aces in a row you would think that something is up.

Here is my question: How many cards are in the deck?

If there are 52 cards, drawing 50 aces in a row would be unlikely. If there are 5000 cards (cards can have values of 1-10, jacks, queens, kings, aces, and 15-2000 [so I'm introducing a lot more new kinds of cards- the 1930 of spades, for example]), then the probability of drawing 50 aces in a row would be WAY less likely. To continue, if there were an infinite number of possibilities for the cards to take, then the probability of drawing 50 aces in a row would be infinitely small.

But what if there is just 1 card in the deck?

Then the probability of drawing 50 aces would be 1.

It is quite tempting to ask the question then, "well why is an ace the only card in the deck?" But this fails to understand the scenario. If one asks that question then one has to ask "Well what is the range of possibilities for the card to be?" And so the question of "What if there is just 1 card in the deck" simply gets rephrased.

Anyway, lets apply this idea to the gravitational constant. If the gravitational constant can be anywhere from, say, 1.239 to infinity, then the fact that the gravitational constant is what it is would mean that would should be infinitely surprised that the gravitational constant turned out to be what it is. If the range of possibilities were indeed 1.239 to infinity, then we would only need one constant to demonstrate the strength of the AP. Who cares about multiple constants? The AP would have it in the bag with just one.

However, is there a way for us to know the range of possibilities for the gravitational constant to be? Is it 5.542 to 18.3401? Is it -1094.3423 to +490392.333333? How could we test that? How could we give any evidence for the range of possibilities for the gravitational constant?

Right now I can't think of any way to do that. It would seem that the AP is assuming that there are a wide range of possibilities for constants, but we don't have any evidence for there being such a possibility. Is the gravitational constant in our universe the only possibility for the value of the gravitational constant? Is there only 1 card in the deck?

Here are two essential questions:

1. Is there any way that we can know how many cards are in the deck?

2. If we can't know how many cards are in the deck, can we still make the assertion that there is more than 1 card?

If we can't know the number of cards in the deck, we can't calculate a probability.

-Josh

Anyway, here are some ideas concerning the AP which have not yet been included in my Thesis Proposal (http://honestsearchfortruth.blogspot.com/2012/01/honors-thesis-proposal-draft-1.html):

Hi Micah!

I have been having some ideas concerning the AP that I wanted to run by you.

You are familiar with the deck of cards analogy, yes? As in, what are the odds of continually drawing aces over and over again... If you drew 50 aces in a row you would think that something is up.

Here is my question: How many cards are in the deck?

If there are 52 cards, drawing 50 aces in a row would be unlikely. If there are 5000 cards (cards can have values of 1-10, jacks, queens, kings, aces, and 15-2000 [so I'm introducing a lot more new kinds of cards- the 1930 of spades, for example]), then the probability of drawing 50 aces in a row would be WAY less likely. To continue, if there were an infinite number of possibilities for the cards to take, then the probability of drawing 50 aces in a row would be infinitely small.

But what if there is just 1 card in the deck?

Then the probability of drawing 50 aces would be 1.

It is quite tempting to ask the question then, "well why is an ace the only card in the deck?" But this fails to understand the scenario. If one asks that question then one has to ask "Well what is the range of possibilities for the card to be?" And so the question of "What if there is just 1 card in the deck" simply gets rephrased.

Anyway, lets apply this idea to the gravitational constant. If the gravitational constant can be anywhere from, say, 1.239 to infinity, then the fact that the gravitational constant is what it is would mean that would should be infinitely surprised that the gravitational constant turned out to be what it is. If the range of possibilities were indeed 1.239 to infinity, then we would only need one constant to demonstrate the strength of the AP. Who cares about multiple constants? The AP would have it in the bag with just one.

However, is there a way for us to know the range of possibilities for the gravitational constant to be? Is it 5.542 to 18.3401? Is it -1094.3423 to +490392.333333? How could we test that? How could we give any evidence for the range of possibilities for the gravitational constant?

Right now I can't think of any way to do that. It would seem that the AP is assuming that there are a wide range of possibilities for constants, but we don't have any evidence for there being such a possibility. Is the gravitational constant in our universe the only possibility for the value of the gravitational constant? Is there only 1 card in the deck?

Here are two essential questions:

1. Is there any way that we can know how many cards are in the deck?

2. If we can't know how many cards are in the deck, can we still make the assertion that there is more than 1 card?

If we can't know the number of cards in the deck, we can't calculate a probability.

-Josh

You can get a probability.

ReplyDeleteThe question you seem to be posing is "what is the probability of the universe being exactly that required to support human life?" But when you talk about it, you do so in terms of "what is the probability of the universe being exactly that required to support human life, given that we exist?"

In our universe, the probability that the conditions are just right to support human life is 100%, because here we are wondering about it.

This is equivalent to drawing an ace of hearts from a deck of cards and asking "what is the probability that I drew an ace of hearts from that deck of cards?" What some of the people using the anthropic principle seem to want to do is go through the deck of cards, prove that there is no ace of hearts in it (it's in your hand remember) and then claim that the fact that you drew an ace of hearts was a miracle rather than a 100% probability.