The Strong Anthropic Principle
For some cosmologists the Weak Anthropic Principle does not go far enough.
Their response is to invoke the existence of rational carbon-based life forms
as an explanation of the anthropic features of the universe. Thus, The
universe must have those properties which allow life to develop within it at
some stage in its history.
The best known version of this principle is Barrow and Tiplers Final
Anthropic Principle (FAP): Intelligent information-processing must come
into existence in the Universe, and, once it comes into existence, it will
never die out. They believe that intelligent life-forms have
cosmological significance by virtue of their future capacity to understand and
manipulate matter on a cosmic scale.
This belief leads them to develop a non-theistic physical eschatology.
Tipler has amplified this further in his The Physics of Immortality (1995).Humankind may not exist forever but human culture will persist, being preserved
and developed by self-replicating intelligent machines. The transfer of our
cultural software to alternative forms of hardware is one factor in encouraging
the indefinite growth of the capacity to process information and to manipulate
matter. They envisage the inevitable expansion of human culture to the point
where it engulfs the entire cosmos. But let them have the final word:
if life evolves in all of the
many universes in a quantum cosmology, and if life continues to exist in all of
these universes, then all of these universes, which include all possible
histories among them, will approach the Omega Point. At the instant the Omega
Point is reached, life will have gained control of all matter and forces not
only in a single universe, but in all universes whose existence is logically
possible; life will have spread into all spatial regions in all universes which
could logically exist, and will have stored an infinite amount of information,
including all bits of knowledge which it is logically possible to know. And
this is the end.
And, in a footnote, they add, A modern-day theologian might wish to say
that the totality of life at the Omega Point is omnipotent, omnipresent, and
In spite of the metaphysical tone of much of their discussion, Barrow and
Tipler stress that the FAP makes clear predictions about the kind of universe
we can expect to observe. Most importantly, they argue that, in order for life
literally to engulf the universe, the universe must be closed. It must
eventually begin to collapse under its own gravitation toward a final
See Analysing the Anthropic Arguments for an appraisal of this view.
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Contributed by: Dr. Christopher Southgate
Source: God, Humanity and the
Cosmos (T&T Clark, 1999)