Re: is information the bottom line?

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Fri, 12 Feb 1999 11:32:58 -0600

Billy Brown wrote:
> J. R. Molloy wrote:
> > I tried to point this out earlier on this list, writing:
> > "Because if nothing existed, no one could ask the question."
> I think you both misunderstand the question.

Not really, but his response (the Anthropic Principle) is specious. What the Anthropic Principle states is that, _given_ the existence of, say, 10^10 planets, then probabilities of 10^10:1 (or, preferably, lower) can be invoked to explain the evolution of intelligent life. Likewise, given 10^50 Universes, there's no need to explain why certain fundamental constants are accurate to within one part in a million for generating planets - even though other theories, such as evolving families of Universes, may be even more plausible.

The Anthropic Principle says nothing whatsover about how that huge population, all those planets or Universes, got there in the first place.

Molloy's answer logically applies just the same here: "Why is the sky blue? Well, if it wasn't blue, we wouldn't be asking that question."

--         Eliezer S. Yudkowsky

Disclaimer:  Unless otherwise specified, I'm not telling you
everything I think I know.