Anthropic Principle of the Teleological Argument

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  • Created by: Pip Dan
  • Created on: 05-06-16 13:37

 Anthropic Principle

The term ‘anthropic principle’ (or fine tuning or design qua regularity)  is the idea that the universe is structured in such a way that humans will come to exist to observe it.  The argument is that the fundamental laws of the universe are necessarily compatible with human existence and that the laws of nature allow life to happen. Term was first coined by Brendan Carter who proposed a weak and strong form of the Anthropic principle:

  • Strong argument - The strong argument is that the universe must have been designed such that humans must have evolved who can observe it.  The idea here is that the universe is built to await us and we would have necessarily arrived in it.
  • Weak argument -The weak argument states that in the vast expanse of the universe our position within it is necessarily privileged. We are compatible with it but that it was not necessarily built for us.

The Anthropic Principle was developed by F.R. Tennant (1930) in his book ‘Philosophical Theology’. He believed there were 3 types of natural evidence in the world in favour of a designer:

  • The fact that the world can be analysed in a rational manner and we can draw conclusions from it
  • The way in which the inorganic world has provided the basic necessities required to sustain life
  • The progress of evolution towards the emergence of intelligent human life, to the extent that intelligent life can observe and analyse the universe that it exists in

Tennant believed it was possible to imagine a universe where chaos ruled - but as the universe is not chaotic and appears designed in such a way that the evolutionary process would create an environment in which intelligent life could exist – God must exist.

Various Anthropic Prinicple 'type' arguments

Arthur Brown

He observed that the ozone layer is the exact depth to prevent human beings from being killed by dangerous rays - and therefore cannot be down to chance.

Paul Davies

He says that the accuracy required for the earliest moment of the Big Bang was the equivalent of a marksmen, hitting a one inch target from a distance of 20 billion light years.


He explains that the rate of expansion of matter emerging from the Big Bang - the speed at which bits of matter flew apart from other bits of matter soon after the Big Bang - seems to be an example of…


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