On the strong anthropic myth & the vagaries of the Moon
The “strong” anthropic principle is often played as a trump card for personal god theists. This concept has been taken back to the origin of the universe and the behavior of subatomic particles and forward to the creation of the earth itself. The universe is the way it is because man is here to observe it: Because man is; therefore the earth and the universe. Like the Goldilocks principle, things on earth had to be “just right” in order for human life to occur.
Focusing on the earth as a general example of this type of reasoning, these theistic constructs can be observed seemingly everywhere. The earth is at just the right distance from the sun to allow water and therefore life to form. The earth rotates at just the right way to produce day and night allowing for the circadian rhythm of nature and humanity. The moon is at just the right place to create the tides and stabilize the climate for humankind to prosper. Our atmosphere has just the right amounts of oxygen for human life....and on.
You may note that there is a profound intertwining of anthropomorphic inclinations with anthropic views in the way these particular kinds of theists reason. I apologise if you might think I am creating a dull straw man version of anthropic theism.There are, in fact, very interesting broader versions of anthropic concepts that provide lovely fodder for discussion. I do not mean to, but like it or not, this particular form of "anthropic ism" is an exceedingly common world view in this neck of the woods and I have to start somewhere!
A critical oversight to this self aggrandizing world view is the concept of chance and time. It has been a difficult task to express this in a way this particular brand of theist can readily accept. Many personal god theists do not conceptualize the vastness of rolling time and the temporal nature of any strong anthropic principle. Little thought seems to be given to the inexorable change, imperceptible as it may be of our “perfect” place in a world by design.
T he moons present position is as a rippling wave moving through the titanic effects of a past impact.
he moons present position is as a rippling wave moving through the titanic effects of a past impact.Imagine slowing down a moving image of a drop of water falling into a pool. I think most of us have marveled at the flowing sequence of events as the drop explodes on the pools surface, causing beautiful rippling effects. As the drop coalesces into the larger body of water, a momentary crater forms pushing outward, only to slow and stop for just an instant before falling back into an ever decreasing pattern of collapsing moments.
The fact that the moon as we see it now is a snapshot of a larger sequence, likely involving a catastrophic impact event eons ago does not seem to register to those firmly adherent to the "strong" human anthropic view. That our moon is slowly tearing away from earths hold, and that earths orbit is slowly decaying seems to be ignored. (Of course, "moderate end of times" enthusiasts could morph a ready answer, but that can be another post! )
This is a moment in time, universal time, where the conditions on earth are passing through a period where humanity has been able to evolve. But, it is a flash in time in a harsh and changing place. That life has managed a tiny beachhead in such vast and contingent celestial events is more inspiring than "Goddidit" man centered anthropic mirages.