Chapter 9: Fundamental Physics

Section 5: Ultimate Models for the Universe

The Anthropic Principle

It is sometimes argued that the reason our universe has the characteristics it does is because otherwise an intelligence such as us could not have arisen to observe it. But to apply such an argument one must among other things assume that we can imagine all the ways in which intelligence could conceivably operate. Yet as we have seen in this book it is possible for highly complex behavior—ultimately not dissimilar to intelligence—to arise from simple programs in ways that we never came even close to imagining. And indeed, as we discuss in Chapter 12, it seems likely that above a fairly low threshold the vast majority of underlying rules can in fact in some way or another support arbitrarily complex computations—potentially allowing something one might call intelligence in a vast range of very different universes. (See page 822.)

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From Stephen Wolfram: A New Kind of Science [citation]