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Collins Whups Dawkins in TIME Debate!

In a previous post, “Richard Dawkins’s Cosmology Delusion,” I warned Dawkins not to invoke the anthropic principle or multiple-universe theories as a way to explain why we find ourselves in a universe so peculiarly suited to our existence. But does he listen? Noooooooooooooooo!

TIME’s current cover story on “God vs. Science” features a debate between Dawkins and Francis Collins, director of the National Human Genome Research Initiative and an evangelical Christian. David Van Biema, the TIME interviewer (who deserves a pat for good questions), asks both men to comment on the observation that “if the universal constants, the six or more characteristics of our universe, had varied at all, it would have made life impossible.”

Dawkins responds that “maybe the universe we are in is one of a very large number of universes. The vast majority will not contain life because they have the wrong gravitational constant or the wrong this constant or that constant. But as the number of universes climbs, the odds mount that a tiny minority of universes will have the right fine-tuning.”

Collins, no fool, pounces: “This is an interesting choice. Barring a theoretical resolution, which I think is unlikely, you either have to say there are zillions of parallel universes out there that we can't observe at present or you have to say there was a plan. I actually find the argument of the existence of a God who did the planning more compelling than the bubbling of all these multiverses. So Occam's razor--Occam says you should choose the explanation that is most simple and straightforward--leads me more to believe in God than in the multiverse, which seems quite a stretch of the imagination.”

I hate to say this, but Collins is right. The multiverse theory is just as preposterous and lacking in evidence as divine creation. Dawkins is often denounced for his arrogance, bluntness, rudeness--in short, his style. When it comes to multiverses, substance, not style, is Dawkins’s problem. Incredibly, Dawkins’s defense of multiverses has allowed Collins--a Christian who believes in miracles, fer crissake--to score a rhetorical victory in a national forum.

Earth to Richard: Forget that multiverse crap! It’s a loser!


Mike Cook

Worse than that, multiverse theory as I understand it is not quite the same as branching universe theory. Perhaps I am wrong, but if the existence of multiverses precedes quantum branching, then the problem compounds in a frightful way. It is legitimate to speculate about complete universes inside any black hole, no matter how small, because anywhere our laws of physics do not necessarily work the door is opened to anything!

Better to think of things as a single, static, frozen universe in which all branches are illusionary, there is neither choice nor chance, and in which the question of wondering why a photon did clearly did go through slit A or B only after it was intelligently observed is as fruitless as asking what life would have been like had your high school girl friend married you.

Ronald Reagan liked to say that God has a plan. Perhaps God is the plan. Gotta run, the plan compels me. . .


I don't see it John. Where's the rhetorical victory for Collins? If anything, he's guilty of creating a false dilemma (God or multiverse - that's it) and twisting Occam's Razor to its breaking point. Check with your philosophy colleagues, but in my experience there are fewer justifications easier to dismiss than Occam and his dull razor.

Dawkins should have used his limited opportunity in "Time" better; however, this exchange was a rhetorical stalemate. God as the "Occamiam" solution? Please.

Alex Mathy

I do think John has a good point though. Dawkins is always harping on about how science begets a truer worldview than religion by its reliance on evidence. It is therefore lazy of him to try and mistify readers with what he presents as being the scientific theory of the universe when this theory is at best controversial, at worst completely unfalsiable. There certainly is no evidence for it, and even if there was, Dawkins would not be qualified to assess it. It is not on the same level as the real truths uncovered by science such as heliocentrism, but you wouldn't know that from reading Dawkins. Collins was definitely right to swat him down.


Occam's razor never implies that ONE of the explanations provided IS the correct one. Therefore he has twisted Occam's razor to the breaking point. How would you classify a supreme intelligence capable of creating and controlling all of existence, oh, and by the way, completely enamored of us human beings, as a simple explanation, let alone the MOST simple? It is only simple from a psychological perspective, since humans are obviously adept at inventing unseen Gods for themselves.

James McWilliams

Regardless of how silly anyone might think Collins argument is, the fact remains that Dawkin's argument is just as silly and lacking evidence. So perhaps it's more of a draw, rather than a victory for Collins. ;)

Andrei Kirilyuk

Nobody Listens, Nooooooooooooo!

I hate to say this, but Dawkins is also right, within his approach of conventional science. It is easy to say that multiverse is a flawed explanation (together with all “anthropic” stuff), but they have no better one in usual science, so what they should do? They need to advance at least something as explanation! That “competition between science and religion”, so popular and “politically” engaged especially in USA today, is grotesque in itself. How can a form of knowledge insisting on rigorous, objective proof be seriously compared to a one explicitly insisting on a blind, purely “intuitive” belief?! I hate to say this, but only Americans can take it all seriously, trying to transform religion into science and science to religion. In reality, we deal here with another demonstration that all of it, conventional science, religion, the grotesque comedy of their “opposition” or “collaboration” (John Templeton Foundation), is a single, though variously manifested crisis of ALL canonical knowledge and related level of intelligence/consciousness. That's why purely destructive, one-way criticism of EVIDENT deficiency of usual science doctrines (evident also to their defenders!) is basically deficient itself. We need to extend it to constructive criticism, including the second, “creative” part: “this explanation” is wrong not only (and not so much) because “this explanation” is contradictory, but especially because there is “that another explanation” which is (provably, explicitly) consistent. Without that second part, it's clear why conventional science priests will infinitely and stubbornly repeat their “not even wrong” explanations (systematically yielding to “miracles” in public understanding): there is no other choice for them. But why should we similarly limit our choice for us?

In cosmology “that another explanation” of “unique properties” of our universe can only be obtained as a causally complete understanding of the origin of detailed, physically real structure of the observed universe, starting from its most fundamental entities (particles) and properties. Without it, you'll always remain with only inconsistent guesses, which are naturally beaten by religious belief dominating “morally” so to speak, without any logical “proof” (no logic in religion!), just because religion IS such an intuitive guess, but a “well-established”, historically strong, elaborated one. Usual, positivistic science does NOT propose and even does not ATTEMPT at the necessary causally complete, consistent and realistic world picture. So what is the sense to torture its poor decadent priests in search for information they cannot provide in principle? The underlying mistake is to assume as another “unprovable (and self-protective!) postulate” that usual science is the SINGLE possible form of scientific, logically ordered knowledge. Already our small discussion here reveals enough evidence that TODAY it is not a suitable form of scientific, truly objective and consistent knowledge at all, it is very strongly and increasingly (catastrophically!) surpassed by observation results and tries to protect its lost positions only by totalitarian, tyrannical methods of subjective domination in formal power structures. It is in a position of Aristotelian science at the time of Galileo, already dead, not even wrong, not even science, but still resisting by a blind survival instinct and ready to kill new spirit manifestations without thinking about consequences (today they can be really devastating!).

Still closer to “that another explanation”, a complete enough example of the necessary consistent understanding of universe structure emergence can be found e.g. at . Apart from details of its mathematically rigorous approach, the “type” of solution of the “unique universe” problem is that in reality the “astonishing coincidence” between various observed structure parameters is but an artefact of a strongly, specifically limited vision of usual science doctrine that CANNOT, by its origin, correctly describe any unreduced emergence process (that's exactly why it can only introduce a formal time-parameter, it cannot consistently obtain physically real time or understand its true origin). In a real, “living”, explicitly emerging and therefore self-tuning universe, its structure parameters are naturally, “automatically” adjusted to each other by the structure creation process itself, as it happens everywhere, from crystal to plant growth. The key point here is to specify the explicit universe structure emergence as another case of structure formation (or “self-organisation” to apply a more fashionable but less correct term). You change initial interaction configuration and the final result properties will vary correspondingly, but typically without “catastrophic consequences”: an “astonishing coincidence” will reappear again leaving perplexed another breed of “great thinkers” of that another universe... [but now we don't need to evoke its existence in order to understand our world properties!] There are well-defined limits of such initial (and final) universe parameter variation, but they are rather trivial extremes, so that there is a vast field of all “suitable”, generic values leading to a viable universe structure (it will typically be more or less dense with only slightly different matter properties, etc.).

And now the same “meta-question”, why a world-wide community of “intelligent people”, scientists, writers, thinkers, sponsors prefers listening and discussing some evidently flawed approaches and “beliefs” (including their ridiculous comparison) instead of looking for and emphasising most viable attempts of provably consistent, essentially more complete approaches and forms of knowledge? In other words, why nobody listens, NOBODY? If you see so clearly the bordello of conventional knowledge (EVERYBODY can see it today) why not to be interested a bit more in something less stupid and explicitly creative (problem-solving)? [See also “Another Singularity” at .]

That's why, without having any compassion on Dawkins or other authoritarian priests of usual science, it seems to me that only one-way, destructive criticism of their already dead approach resembles the more and more a dead body profanation... They are truly dead, together with their simplified science-religion doctrine; it should be said, right, but when it's done, let's move on immediately, time is not waiting and it's rather not a mere amusement, all those “glaring contradictions” in the epoch of super-powerful accelerators shooting at they don't know what and “genetic engineering” changing blindly (by “trial and error”!) OUR life structure without the slightest idea of its true mechanism and possible consequences.

The SAME kind of “major contradiction” (and FALSE “involvement” with religion) appears inevitably within another key interest of the same Richard Dawkins, his famous and fervent protection of canonical “evolution by natural selection” (including any its modern versions) as a basically valid explanation of life origin and modification. It is as evidently flawed as Big Bang and “anthropic” explanations in cosmology (it's “self-generation” contradicts explicitly the most fundamental laws of the same science) and therefore is similarly, “morally” beaten by ANY other, non-scientific creation concepts, IRRESPECTIVE of their own “logic consistency” (of a blind belief?!). And similar to cosmology, why not to finally acknowledge that the End is the end, enough is enough, let's try something else instead of infinite exercises “pro and contra” around the evidently dead forms of knowledge? Dawkins case shows that we always deal today with ONE AND THE SAME end of the WHOLE usual science approach, rather than some its particular, “specific” approaches or personalities. The reason for such universal end of conventional science can be specified in a mathematically rigorous form, which is accessible, however, to “general”, transparent explanation and understanding (see my previous comments on this blog).


Although the multiverse theory is a leap of faith, much like the idea of a god, at least humans have studied and proven scientifically one universe: ours. On the contrary, no god has been scientifically proven yet. So the multiverse theory is less of a magical approach than god.

Marc Holt

I am not a scientist. In fact, I am an artist (fine art, writing, programmming, music), so I tend to observe everything around me keenly. You only have to look at our world to see that Everything is random. There is no order, no Grand Plan as the creationists would have you believe, and there is certainly no evidence of a 'God' guiding things.

Look into a microscope, or look up to the heavens. Either way, you will observe total randomness. However, if you combine certain known elements in a way science has already demonstrated, observation, logic, and reason all tell you that it will produce a given expected result. This is what science does, and therefore we can point to science and say that it provides concrete answers to some of our questions.

But the universe is so monstrously huge that our puny brains will never fully comprehend it. No one, not even Professor Dawkins, can state categorically that there is even one multiverse out there. What we CAN postulate is that given the circumstances that produced our world and all the living organisms on it, there is a good possibility that the same thing has/is/will happen in other areas of the universe or even universes.

This is why I believe there are even more universes way beyond the borders of our own. If that is true, then the possibility exists for anything to occur. Who is to say that a species of organism on a distant planet in a far distant universe we can't even imagine could evolve and produce cognitive beings, but beings able to do things that would look like magic to us...assuming we could even comprehend them?

One of the problems with probing the universe and all the questions it poses is that the distances are so collossal that we will never know or understand even a miniscule fraction of a fraction of it.

Hubble recently looked into what was apparently an empty area of space billions of light years away. But when we magnified the picture, suddenly we were confronted with a myriad of stars and planets. How far could we probe before we reach emptiness? I seriously doubt emptiness exists anywhere. If so, where did all the somethingness come from?

One thing you can be absolutely sure about: A 'god' as we define gods did not invent it. If one did, it is not something we would be able to comprehend. Our ancestors invented 'god' to help them overcome the terror of the unknown. As we push the barriers of knowledge further, the concept of a 'god' becomes more untenable. However, that does leave us with the questions: Why are we here? Is there a purpose to it all?

If there are no answers, then the most terrifying question of all remains: Are we merely products of innumerable accidents?

Neither Collins nor the Professor scored a victory. All they did was demonstrate their ignorance about the nature of the universe. You can hardly blame either of them for that. After all, many learned men throughout history have made ludicrous statements we laugh at today. It's called exploring and learning.

We can postulate whatever we want, but until we actually start exploring what's out there we will never be able to offer concrete solutions.


Am I the only one who simply can't understand why the so-called fine tuning is even something that needs to be explained? It seems like such a non-problem to me. The various parameters of the universe have to have be something, and they are what they are. If they were different, we wouldn't be here, but how can we possibly think this is evidence for them needing to be a certain way. I guess I agree that the multiverse theories are just as non-scientific as god theories. But I think the problem really is the question. Ask a nonsensical question, get a nonsensical answer.


Comstock, the problem is that observed structure of the universe occurs in dramatic contrast to the modeled expectation... so many fixed balance points that are commonly or "coincidentally" pointing directly toward carbon-based life indicate that there is some good physical reason for it that is somehow "specially" related to the existence of carbon-based life.

It is an unavoidable fact that the anthropic coincidences are uniquely related to the structure of the universe, so an evidentially supported implication does necessarily exist that carbon-based life is somehow relevant to the structure mechanism of the universe, and weak, multiverse interpretations do not supercede this fact, unless a multiverse is proven to be more than cutting-edge theoretical speculation.

That's the undeniable fact that makes Richard Dawkins and Leonard Susskind say that the universe "appears designed" for life, and they both "beleive-in" unproven multiverse theories, but their interpretation is only valid against equally non-evidenced "causes", like supernatural forces and intelligent design.

Regardless of whatever it is that John Horgan seems to have in his mind about the anthropic principle, these arguments do not erase the fact that the prevailing evidence still most apparentely does indicate that we are intricately connected to the structure mechanism, until they prove it isn't so, so we must remain open to evidence in support of this, or we are not honest scientists, and we are no better than those who would intentionally abuse the science.

John seems to want to wish the AP away, rather than face it like a man and an honest scientist.

John Horgan

I try to reserve my limited energy for new posts rather than responding to comments, but sometimes you guys goad me so much that I can't resist. Comstock wonders why the particularities of the universe need explaining. Why does anything need explaining, Comstock? Life is here. What's to explain? Humans are here. Big deal! You need to sit outside all night contemplating the stars, perhaps on an appropriate controlled substance, just to make sure you get it.

Island tells me to face the anthropic principle like an "honest scientist." First, I'm not a scientist, only a humble journalist. Second, I have faced the anthropic principle, and I've concluded that it is one of the most vacuous ideas ever invented. It is logically identical to the old cartoon showing a guy crawling through the desert and looking up with a puzzled expression at a big sign that's empty except for an arrow in the middle with the label, "You are here."


John, you must have missed the facts that I provided that prove that you haven't considered anything honestly, rather, you automatically presume some misguieded interpretation about human arrogance.

What physics exactly is it, John, that you think that Richard Dawkins, Paul Davies and even Lenny himself, are talking about when the say that the universe "appears designed".

In other words John, you willfully ignore the first most obvious implication of the evidence so that you can call Paul Dirac, Robert Dicke, Brandon Carter, John Wheeler, and Paul Davies... idiots because they think that the "MOST APPARENT" implication of evidence that we're not here by accident, is evidence that we are.


I know what I meant, even if you don't... ;)

... so add Einstein to your list of idiots that think that evidence that we're not here by accident means that there is method to nature's madness... like inherent thermodynamic structuring.

The anthropic principle is continually thrust to the surface of the relevant fields of physics and evolutionary science, yet scientists dogmatically ignore the relevant implication for "biocentric preference"... in spite of the fact that it is highly probable that a true anthropic constraint on the forces of the universe will necessarily include the human evolutionary process, which indicates that there exists a mechanism that enables the universe to "leap".


Out of respect for John, whom I don't disagree with, normally, anybody that wants to can take this to my blog, "Science In Crisis", to quote Lee Smolin:

Mike Cook

There is a means that the anthropic principle gets tested over the passage of time, that being the continued non-discovery of intelligent alien life despite the fact that the universe seems to be chock full of organic molecules and suitable worlds or moons to host life.

Reproducibility is not merely a nice feature of scientific experiments. When all the conditions for reproduction of certain results exist but the results refuse to replicate themselves, then you have to start suspecting some type of singularity at work.

Certainly the idea that life was "seeded" from outer space will look thin if we never find any life or any fossils out there.

If life can spontaneously organize out of the type of precursors we seem to find pretty commonly everywhere, then it should have been more than a one-time happening. I feel the logic of this argument is strong and growing stronger. If E.T. never shows up or we never stumble across ancient fossils that can clue us as to just what it really takes to get life going, then we have to come to grips with our remarkable "aloneness" on this vast, vast stage.

I was trying to get someone to rate Frank Tipler on the Horganism axis. My guess is that the Tiplerian claim that progress eventually leads to intelligence even being able to overwhelm or control the laws of physics might qualify Frank for banishment to the Carl Sagan medical marijuana funny farm.


There is a means that the anthropic principle gets tested over the passage of time, that being the continued non-discovery of intelligent alien life despite the fact that the universe seems to be chock full of organic molecules and suitable worlds or moons to host life.

Actually, the "Goldilocks Enigma" makes testable predictions about the expectations for life elsewhere in the universe from the average of extreme runaway tendencies that are inherent to the anthropic coincidences.

The evolutionary physics that defines the "just-right" conditions for the goldilocks constraint applies to other systems that are similarly developed, time and location-wise, as ours is:

The goldilocks enigma constrains the parameters to a balance of extremes... so it only applies to galaxies that formed on the same evolutionary time/location "plane" as we did. Planets orbiting stars in galaxies that are too old or too new, too large or too small, do not fit the "coincidentally balanced" nature as the average of extremes... etc... etc... ect... all the way down to the local ecobalances of the ones that do:

This also resolves the alleged, Fermi "Paradox", as well, since we should not YET expect to hear from similarly developed intelligent life, because their radio transmissions have not had time to reach us... YET... either.

That makes for a testable prediction about where and when life will most likely be found elsewhere in the universe.

This paper by A. Feoli, and S. Rampone, further discusses this in context with similarly developed systems, but they fail to take the balance of extremes that defines the "Goldilocks Enigma" into account here, because they apply the mediocrity principle, instead, so their formula and anthropic statement are not quite accurate... overstated:

"Is the Strong Anthropic Principle Too Weak?"

We discuss the Carter's formula about the mankind evolution probability following the derivation proposed by Barrow and Tipler. We stress the relation between the existence of billions of galaxies and the evolution of at least one intelligent life, whose living time is not trivial, all over the Universe. We show that the existence probability and the lifetime of a civilization depend not only on the evolutionary critical steps, but also on the number of places where the life can arise. In the light of these results, we propose a stronger version of Anthropic Principle.

When you apply the Goldilocks Enigma, rather than the mediocrity principle, then a more accurate and testable formula falls-out along with a more accurate statement about a strong biocentric principle.

The “principle of mediocrity”, or more generally, the use of a multiverse model that gives an a priori statistical distribution of values of observables, combined with the anthropic principle as a selection effect, can in certain cases give predictions.

Brandon Carter's whole point was that the "cosmological principle" gives a "mediocre" multiverse-"like" priori statistical distribution of values of observables, but this is not what is observed and is the reason for the anthropic physics that defines the "Goldilocks Enigma", so the combined effect of the Cosmological Principle with the Goldilocks Constraint... defines a Biocentric Cosmological Principle that makes many testable predictions about the observed universe.

Like, life will not be found on Mars or Venus, but it will be found in other systems that meet the goldilocks criterion.

'Read-em, and weep, John'... where "weep" is like a code-word to anticentrists to willfully ignore the hard evidence.

And Carter called it "dogmatic"... not me.

Mike Cook

We may not find life on Venus or Mars, but we could and should find relics if either world or any other world even briefly passed through some type of "seeding" from the greater universe. The remarkable thing about our planet is how very quickly life appeared. This suggests seeding, but of course Earth should not be a specially favored target, the seeds should have gone everywhere and they could have found fertile soil (even if only at a volcanic vent) everywhere.

Another possibility is combinative seeding--the proteins arrive from somewhere and the nucleic acids come from somewhere else, everything to enjoy serendipitous symbiosis at the golden moment. This process would really look anthropic, but at least it would speak to the problem that unique warm ponds have to be really unique to build a chain of anything longer than 50 or 100 molecules.

Let us not forget that our planet was birthed without water. We should find other planets that were born dry but were fortuitously visited by vast clouds of ices. Incidentally, we know that inter-galactic perturbations play a role in timing of all deliveries to our planet because as we glide about through the galactic plain items both in our solar asteroid belt and the outer Kuyper belt tend to be perturbed by the gravity of passing galaxies and this tends to send the odd bit of stuff our way.

Also if "seeds" arrived very early that suggests that intelligent life would and maybe should have been out there long, long ago, which would mean that their radio waves would have billions of years to reach us. Chances are, if life is as likely as a realistic bio-thermodynamic mechanism should be producing, then alien life forms which arose independently should have long ago contacted each other, so there should be federations out there. Perhaps they are all too advanced to want to make any kind of contact with the likes of us, but we might intercept their communications between each other.

James McWilliams

Of course, this is all fluff.
As far as we're concerned right now. It's a lonely universe. But... Suggesting that aliens (if they exist) could have formed federations is curiously 'star trek' flavoured and doesn't seem too likely to me :D.

If we ever bumped into aliens then how would you even begin to communicate with a creature that possibly has nothing in common with us in any shape or form. They're 'culture' could be so different that it would bemuse and disgust us.

Maybe there would be mutual curiousity... maybe not.

Star trek assumes that aliens are basically human with cornish pasty shaped foreheads and elf ears.
But I suspect that any real aliens would be vastly different enough to render any attempt to form a structured federation moot.

It's sort of like us trying to set up a federation with dolphins. Only far worse.

I can understand why people go for that though, it probably appeals to the very human hope that some benovolent, smart and powerful creature could someday take us under thier wing (and they might just have wings). ;)


Point taken, John. I wouldn't want to suggest that attempts to explain the world should cease. Instead, I would suggest that our pattern-seeking brains and planning minds look for meaning and intention where is simply doesn't exist. We can never be sure of this, but if we are beating our heads against a wall trying to explain something to no avail, maybe it is time to examine the question. Your example raises a good point, it seems to me. To see that human beings exist, feel satisfied with the "we simply are" explanation and never investigate is ridiculous. Think: you wouldn't discover anything about extinct hominids or interesting theories about the selective advantages of different human features. But to ask why humans instead of something else is to enter into that state of head banging. We'll never know. We have one data point. The tape can't be rewound. The question, as I stated it, is unscientific.

Sam Taylor

"We can postulate whatever we want, but until we actually start exploring what's out there we will never be able to offer concrete solutions."

Well said, Mark Holt. We cannot even program a computer to recognize a face, much less life that might be so different from what we know as to require a real human mind to recognize it. Until we brave the distances of time and space we will remain ignorant as a species unless some braver souls find us first.

John, you may find the AP vacuous and I can see why certain versions and proponents may vex you.

Nevertheless, you are in fact "here". Until you have a better explanation, I suggest you accept your good luck, treasure your wife and children and enjoy your run through the woods.


Pete Carlton

The idea that for every state of affairs, there is a true story to be told as to why it is that way, is Leibniz's principle of sufficient reason. When we notice that there are fundamental physical constants in our universe that appear fine-tuned - a slight change in any of them would make life impossible - we have every right to apply this principle. There seem to be only a few possible stories: a multiverse, a deity, or some kind of logical necessity (somehow there's only one way for a universe to be). Alternatively, you can shrug and say that in this case there is no story to be told, and it is a truly contingent state of affairs. What I want to point out is that the 'deity' option is actually the same as shrugging and giving up - ultimately one gives no reason for the deity's existence.

To me the multiverse makes the most sense, and I think it actually does satisfy Occam's razor. When other galaxies were discovered, there was an enormous increase in the number of entities we had to posit to make sense of our universe, but it was conceptually more simple than any alternative could have been. Yes, an infinite or very large number of universes is a profligate multiplication of entities, but they are still entities we can potentially understand, not entirely bizarre entities like a god. Of course this is ironic science, but that doesn't mean it's crazy or wrong to talk about multiverses just because we haven't gotten a positive reading on the multiversometer.

Mike Cook

It really can't be ruled out that the AP is sooo very strong that intelligent aliens when they turn up will actually be carbon based, almost exactly our scale in size, and capable of ballroom dancing with us or even enjoying an alcoholic beverage. Best of all, this is a testable notion. Time will test it. Best reason I can think of to try living to 110 is to give SETI programs time to do their thing.


There are good scientific reasons to expect that aliens will be carbon based, rather than say, silicon based, or whatever other exotic crap gets imagined by writers. And there are good scientific reasons to beleive that the physics for the AP isn't limited to one system, and one planet, especially since there never was any reason to say that it is.

But as of christmass day of this year, it has been exactly 100 years since our first radio broadcast, which puts similarly developed systems on the other side of our galaxy in reach.


John, you may find the AP vacuous and I can see why certain versions and proponents may vex you.

Nevertheless, you are in fact "here". Until you have a better explanation, I suggest you accept your good luck, treasure your wife and children and enjoy your run through the woods.

What a lame cop-out on the facts that have been given... is all I'm going to say.

Andrei Kirilyuk

Hey, Island, it's deja vu, the first two paragraphs in your last comment. They are from the above Sam Taylor's comment. Strange citation ... or is it plagiarism? We cannot tolerate it here! Or is it a Matrix effect? Somebody's on our trace? Or does it mean that Island is a (multi)version of Sam Taylor? How can you explain it in the light of multiverse theory? Are they already breeding here and now? It's awful! I even suspect that several John Horgans are already here: there are too many posts on his blog, and still John Horgan have the time to deal with his students, go to high elitist parties, read all that hype he deals with, dispute with Island...s, and run in the forest with his dog! Thank you, Island, for suggesting a realistic and consistent explanation for these otherwise mysterious features. Explanations issuing from you are always particularly transparent and reasonable, they open one's eyes to things remaining otherwise completely covered by the mist of our ignorance of the great underlying principles of Nature, such as the Great Anthropic Principle. I am here because I am here! And because I am here, I can hardly be elsewhere (or can I?). Which means: because I am here, there is also elsewhere! I wonder how I could omit so strong and appealing truths before! Thank you once again, Island, and beware of the Matrix. You know, it can simulate everything, even breeding universes, anthropic principles, and their crazy defenders... Therefore, the main question we should always pose to ourselves is “can I be really sure that I am here?" Because as you know, everything depends on the answer to this question, everything. What if you are not here, but elsewhere instead? How can it influence the Great Anthropic Principle? And the worst possibility, what if you are nowhere? I often have that kind of impression looking at accumulation of such great creations of modern science as the Great Anthropic Principle. Either I am here, I say to myself, and they are all crazy, those leading world intellectuals, their public, their sponsors, and their Nobel Committees, or else they are right and reasonable, but then I am not here, I am nowhere. No, it's time to leave it all, back to nature now, a glass of vodka and warm Natasha's hands, that's what I need, here and now, and no more multiverses, please!

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