Friday, August 19, 2005

The Carter-Rees Argument

This argument - similar to the Pascal's wager argument - is another philosophical proposal based on the assumption that we are in a situation of very low information and must try to develop ways of knowing that side step the need to actually observe anything.

The argument works as follows - we (you and I) are humans - we could theoretically have been born at any time in the history of humanity but we were born during this last century 1900-2000. This seems a little odd since
A) It is a fairly special time in human history regarding our discovery of all sorts of laws of physics
And also that our population is rapidly expanding.
The latter doesn’t sound like much of a problem until you realise that the number of humans alive now is not al that far from the total number that have ever lived.
IF the world was to end in 100 years one could say statistically any human is likely to be born into the 1900-2100 time frame - and thus our existence here is not at all surprising.

A depressing theory to be sure, but does it have any value? Before you reject it consider it in the context of my next post on the anthropological principle.


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