February 18, 2005

Just How Nigh is the End?

end_is_nigh.gifJust How Nigh is the End? by John Leslie
"Last year, my book The End of the World: The Science and Ethics of Human Extinction appeared in paperback. Humans, it argued, could quite easily disappear during the next few centuries. This suggests itself when we consider the various dangers facing us, then look at the doomsday argument.
The doomsday argument, discovered by the Cambridge cosmologist Brandon Carter, uses the "anthropic principle" that Carter formulated in the 1970s. The anthropic principle reminds us that we may well live in a highly unusual place, time or universe. Even if almost all places, times or universes were hostile to life, we intelligent living beings would necessarily find that our place, time and universe were life-permitting. But while it can in this way encourage us to think our location exceptional, "anthropic" reasoning can also warn us against thinking it more exceptional than is necessary for us to find ourselves there."

Posted by bcross at February 18, 2005 3:03 PM