The Anthropic Principle And Many-Worlds Cosmologies
Smith (Quentin)
Source: Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 63.3; September 1985
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    There are many possible worlds that are unsuitable for human life, and only a few that are suitable. Why, against all odds, is one of the latter worlds the actual one? instead of explaining this remarkable fact by having recourse to a benevolent creator, some contemporary cosmologists explain it away by arguing that all possible worlds are actual. In support of their conclusion they introduce considerations based on the anthropic principle. Everett's many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics1, and certain definitions of life. The arguments of these cosmologists are examined and found insufficient to warrant the conclusion that all possible worlds are actual. It has seemed to many a remarkable and even astounding coincidence that the world which is actual ‘just happens’ to be suitable for human life. There seem to be many possible worlds which do not permit human life, and only a few that do permit it, and yet---amazingly---the world that is actual is or of the latter. Such reflections, under the guise of the design argument, formerly led metaphysicians to postulate a God that created a world with humans because it is ‘the best of all possible worlds’. But in the past dozen or so years, these reflections have led cosmologists in a different direction --- to the postulate that the numerous other worlds that are unfit for human habitation are themselves actual. An exposition (Part One) and evaluation (Part Two) of these ‘many-worlds cosmologies’ follows.


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