Oxford University Press
March 6, 1986
Is there any connection between the vastness of the universe of stars and galaxies and the existence of life within it on a small planet out in the suburbs of the Milky Way? This book shows that there is. The Universe needs to be billions of light-years in extent in order to support just one lonely outpost of life. Furthermore, the evolution of life has been possible only because of a number of seeming coincidences in the way the world is fashioned. Could there be other universes? How large is the range of conceivable universes that can give rise to living observers? What is the past history and fate of our own? These are just some of the questions that this wide-ranging and detailed book surveys. The history of philosophic thought concerning the question of Design and Mankind’s place in the Universe is investigated. The modern collection of ideas known as the Anthropic Cosmological Principle emerges historically as the largest manifestation of such ideas. A thorough investigation of its many facets takes the reader on an eclectic study of many scientific disciplines and presents a revealing picture of the structure of the physical world solely in terms of its invariant physical constants. There are also detailed chapters on the definition and nature of life, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence and the interpretation of quantum theory in relation to the existence of observers. This unique book will be of interest to historians, philosophers, theologians, mathematicians and scientists of all disciplines.