Science Frontiers
The Unusual & Unexplained

Strange Science * Bizarre Biophysics * Anomalous astronomy
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About Science Frontiers

Science Frontiers is the bimonthly newsletter providing digests of reports that describe scientific anomalies; that is, those observations and facts that challenge prevailing scientific paradigms. Over 2000 Science Frontiers digests have been published since 1976.

These 2,000+ digests represent only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. The Sourcebook Project, which publishes Science Frontiers, also publishes the Catalog of Anomalies, which delves far more deeply into anomalistics and now extends to sixteen volumes, and covers dozens of disciplines.

Over 14,000 volumes of science journals, including all issues of Nature and Science have been examined for reports on anomalies. In this context, the newsletter Science Frontiers is the appetizer and the Catalog of Anomalies is the main course.


Subscriptions to the Science Frontiers newsletter are no longer available.

Compilations of back issues can be found in Science Frontiers: The Book, and original and more detailed reports in the The Sourcebook Project series of books.

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Please note that the publisher has now closed, and can not be contacted.


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Search results for: anthropic principle

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... Science Frontiers ONLINE No. 121: Jan-Feb 1999 Issue Contents Other pages Home Page Science Frontiers Online All Issues This Issue Sourcebook Project Sourcebook Subjects Is life a transitory phenomenon?We don't mean just life on earth, where it has hung on for a couple billion years, but life anywhere in the universe. Many cosmologists advance the socalled Anthropic Principle, which states that the physical constants of nature are honed to just the right values to make life possible. If the charge on the electron were a little less or the properties of carbon a bit different, life could not exist. The Anthropic Principle seems to imply that the universe was designed for earth life. But "design" is a bad word these days. It is redolent of purpose and a supernatural being ... Suppose, though, that the Anthropic Principle is correct but only in our part of the cosmos and only for a little while. If the constants of nature are not really constant, life could be just a transitory phenomenon, flaring up here and there wherever conditions are ripe and the Anthropic Principle reigns. The cosmos as-a -whole might be lurching toward other goals or, perhaps, toward nowhere in particular. Enough philosophy! A team of Australian astronomers, led by J.K . Webb, has been trying to determine if the famous fine-structure constant of physics has really remained constant throughout the 12-billion years or so of the universe's history. The fine-structure constant is dimensionless and almost exactly equal to 1/137. (Why 137? ...
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... nature of the cosmos. Let us begin with his abstract: "There are several hints in physics of a domain of external reality transcendent to three-dimensional space and time. This paper calls attention to several of these intimations of a real world beyond the natural order. Examples are the complex state functions in configuration space of quantum mechanics, the singularity at the birth of the universe, the anthropic principle, the role of chance in evolution, and the unaccountable fruit fulness of mathematics for physics. None of these examples touch on the existence or activity of God, but they do suggest that external reality may be much richer than the natural world which it is the task of physics to describe." Pollard then elaborates: Example 1. Quantum mechanics, a mathematical formulation of reality, ... been extraordinarily successful in describing and predicting many things in the microscopic world. Pollard notes that quantum mechanics contains no hint of God per se and possesses no numinous quality, but its great complexity and multidimensionality provide evidence for "the reality of the transcendent order in which the natural universe is embedded." Example 2. The singularity at the beginning of the universe. Science is at a loss to explain creation and what happened before. (Pollard assumes that creation occurred like most scientists.) Example 3. The anthropic principle can be interpreted as a restatement of the religious contention that the universe was made-for-humankind. In Pollard's words: "If one imagines an ensemble of universes of different size and duration and equipped with different values of the fundamental constants G, h ...
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... Science Frontiers ONLINE No. 103: Jan-Feb 1996 Issue Contents Other pages Home Page Science Frontiers Online All Issues This Issue Sourcebook Project Sourcebook Subjects I Hiss Therefore I Am E.R . Moliner, a neurologist, has written a curious yet provocative article for New Scientist. It is really a not-too-subtle attack on the Anthropic Principle, Darwinism, and science's insistence that the universe must be purposeless. He notes first that most proponents of the Anthropic Principle postulate that, in the beginning (whatever that was!), many different universes may have been created. The only one we observe is the one offering just the right combination of properties for evolving life and, especially, humankind. If this or that physical constant had been a tad different, ... would not have evolved. Even though humans obviously did evolve, it was all purposeless -- just the way atoms and molecules happened to combine. This outlook fits right in with Darwinism, for almost all Darwinists also see evolution as purposeless. It was blind chance that gave us the capabilities to build aircraft and tunnel into opposite sides of a mountain and meet in the middle. Moliner is highly skeptical that such amazing, "cooperative, adaptive" talents could have come about in an unbiased, purposeless universe. Suppose, he asks, vipers were philosophically minded. They might look at their marvelously complex fangs with the canals inside, a nearby poison gland, a poison storage reservoir with special ducts leading to the fangs, a fang-erection mechanism, a set of muscles to squeeze the ...
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... , he and many others have mused, are these critical properties so precisely adjusted so as to permit the existence of life -- and us? Harrison lists three answers: oThis is the way God wanted it to be. Further inquiry is unnecessary. oIf the universe were constructed any other way, we wouldn't be here to ask such silly, anthropomorphic questions! Some find this "anthropic principle" to be no answer at all. oOur universe was actually created and its properties fine-tuned by nonsupernatural entities of superior intelligence living in another universe. [These beings apparently get a kick out of manufacturing other universes, or perhaps it's a religious imperative for them!] Before you crumple up this issue of SF and hurl it at very high energy into a wastebasket ... consider these two paragraphs from the Times article. "' We are beginning to see how universes can be created,' Professor Harrison says. 'A small amount of matter -- roughly 10 kg -- at very high energy is forged into a black hole. Under the correct conditions, the interior of the black hole inflates into a new universe that endures for billions of years and contains billions of galaxies.' "At most, he argues, human intelligence is only one million years old. 'If we can already see how in principle universes can be created, then surely our descendants in the far future will have the knowledge and technology to design and create them.'" (Hawkes, Nigel; "Aliens May Have Created Universe, Says US Scientist," London ...
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... constants. Is "now" a magic moment in the history of the universe during which we have "happened" as a natural coincidence of blindly drifting physical constants, or did some metaphysical force tune the universe specially for us? This long, rather mathematical article is redolent with metaphysics and mystery. (Carr, B.J ., and Rees, M.J .; "The Anthropic Principle and the Structure of the Physical World," Nature, 278:605, 1979.) Comment. One might speculate that at other times different coincidences prevail that would permit life-as-we-do-not-know-it or something equally unimaginable! From Science Frontiers #8 , Fall 1979 . 1979-2000 William R. Corliss ...
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... quantum mechanics far outside the realm of daily experience. Why is this so? The puzzle deepens when one discovers that there are different kinds of math based upon different forms of logic (as in Euclidian and non-Euclidian geometries). Some brands of mathematics mirror reality better than others. Why? In trying to dispose of these "whys," both matematicians and scientists fall back on the anthropic principle with all its unsatisfying tautological overtones: ". .. the universe is the way it is because that's the way it has to be for anybody to be around to study it. And perhaps math works so well in studying the universe because math, too, must be the way it is in order for anybody to be around to do the calculations. So maybe the ... of communicating creatures requires a correspondence between the physical universe and mathematics. [? ?] " (Siegfried, Tom; Dallas Morning News, p. 7D, January 4, 1993. Cr. L. Anderson) From Science Frontiers #86, MAR-APR 1993 . 1993-2000 William R. Corliss ...
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