I'm reading a book about string theory, and it describes anthropic principle. Idea is clear to me, I understand this principle describes certain constants in modern physics that are so fine tuned as if to imply the existence of a creator.

I also understand how this is not true if we imagine multiverse where each universe contains different sets of rules and constants thus leading to different physical laws, where infinite amount of universes exist 1 could easily turn out to match ours.

But why is it called Anthropic principle, or better yet why Anthropic?


closed as off topic by Qmechanic, David Z Aug 30 '12 at 17:46

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The word comes from the ancient Greek meaning "pertaining to man;" 'man' here means human. The etymologyonline dictionary is helpful. The Anthropic Principle is so-named because it is fundamentally based on the fact of a human observer.

  • $\begingroup$ No. Anthropic principle means that the universe is as we see it, because if it weren't, we wouldn't be asking the question. $\endgroup$ – AdamRedwine Jul 19 '12 at 12:00
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The reason it is called "anthropic" is because the "human" observer is the central component of the argument. If there were no human observer, it would not be possible to make the anthropic principle argument. Bit of a catch 22 really. It DOES NOT mean that the universe was "made for humans." It means that the universe does support humans, for whatever reason, and that fact is necessary for humans to question the nature of the universe. There is no possible universe that would not support human life that would contain humans asking the question "Why doesn't the universe support human life?" $\endgroup$ – AdamRedwine Jul 19 '12 at 12:01

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