- Series: Oxford Paperbacks
- Paperback: 738 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press; Revised ed. edition (August 25, 1988)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0192821474
- ISBN-13: 978-0192821478
- Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 1.2 x 6.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 46 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #620,688 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Anthropic Cosmological Principle (Oxford Paperbacks) Revised ed. Edition
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"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
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`If you get a kick out of cosmic coincidences The Anthropic Cosmological Principle ... is definitely for you. The "anthropic" idea, which is that our very existence may explain why the Universe is the way it is, is an extraordinary one. So too is Barrow and Tipler's account.'
From the Back Cover
In their classic work, John Barrow and Frank Tipler examine the question of mankind's place in the Universe, taking the reader on a tour of many scientific disciplines and offering fascinating insights into issues such as the nature of life, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, and the history and fate of our universe.
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The authors differentiate between the Weak Anthropic Principle (WAP), which states that the observed values of all physical and cosmological quantities are not equally probable but they take on values restricted by the requirement that there exist sites where carbon-based life can evolve and by the requirements that the universe be old enough for it to have already done so, and the Strong Anthropic principle (SAP) which assumes that the Universe must have those properties which allow life to develop within it at some stage in its history and that observers are necessary to bring the Universe into being.
Key "Anthropic drivers" are Gravity, the Electro-Magnetic Field Forces, the Weak and Strong forces, the Ratio between the Masses of Electrons and Protons (1836), the Fine Structure constant (137), the Planck Constant, The Coulomb Constant, The Cosmological Constant, the Total Mass in the Universe, The Hubble Constant, The Flatness of the Universe and of course the speed of light
In their argumentation they use the following very impressive gamut of tools from Physics and Mathematics: Tensor Operators, Non Euclidian Geometry, Mathematical Algebraic Topology, General Relativity, Schrodinger's Equations, Heisenberg's uncertainty Principle, Minkowski's Space-Time Geometry, Gauge Symmetry, Occam's Razor, Friedman's Equations for the Universe, The Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation, von Neumann Probes, Darwin's Origin of Species, Boltzmann's Entropy, Hawkins' Black Hole Thermodynamics, The Heat Death of the Universe, The Higgs Field, Poincare's Recurrence Theorem, Turing Machines, Shannon's Laws on Information and a lot more.
The authors further explore the Physics underpinnings of Chemistry and through Mendeleev's periodic Table, Bohr's Quantized Atomic Model, The Pauli Exclusion Principle, The van der Waals and explain the anthropic significance of the very unique properties of Carbon, Oxygen, Water, Carbon Dioxide and even Iron.
All of this is set in a philosophical framework about Teleology, which holds that final causes exist in nature, meaning that design and purpose analogous to that found in human actions are inherent also in the rest of nature. The authors take us on a wonderful journey through philosophy in which we encounter Aristotle, Plato, Socrates, Aquinas, Bacon, Descartes, Spinoza, Kant, Hegel, Russell, Marx and many more.
This is the best researched book which I have read on this subject and after the long and hard read I agree that we are here for a reason and with purpose.
The book is dominated by Barrow and Tipler's Final Anthropic Principle, which holds that intelligent information processing must come into existence in the Universe and once it does so, can never die out. It is more or less from this principle that the two physicists (writing in 1986) deduce that the Universe must be closed, meaning it will contract into a final singularity (they prefer the term Omega Point). Their preferred diagram of the Universe is therefore given as Figure 10.5 on page 639, what is known as an Eddington-Lemaitre-Bondi universe. It is now almost universally accepted among cosmologists, however, that the Universe is open and will expand forever, a position whose possibility the authors consider throughout the book but ultimately reject. If they were that far off on the ultimate fate of the Universe they could be equally wrong about no other intelligent life existing in our galaxy (as I hope they are).