Talk:Anthropic principle/Archive 3

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Archive 1 Archive 2 Archive 3

About whether stronger variants of the AP are controversial or not.

Gracefool, it's just been cited. I dunno if Highlander or Paddy are listening. I think "contingent upon empirical verification" means "not necessarily true". Otherwise, we know that everything stronger than WAP is controversial in the sense that they make extraordinary claims. If it's controversial, it's not a tautology. But I do not know which editor first wrote it nor what citation may be forthcoming. 70.109.187.95 (talk) 01:50, 30 July 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Listen, even though I did not originally put that content in (I think either User:Highlander or User:PaddyLeahy did, and I'm pretty sure that they are physicists practicing the art), this commonly known fact about the anthropic principle: - WAP not controversial, SAP a little controversial, FAP and PAP quite controversial - is what it is. You demanded citations, I put some in. I dunno why you object to it so much, but it's factual and it's supported and it's your POV that is trying to weaken or obscure the meaning of it. The xAP has some measure of controversy attached to it unless x=W. It does because it makes claims that are not virtually tautological nor proven theorem. I don't get what the problem is, Gracefool. Can you bother to justify your changing of the content and meaning of the term here on the talk page before repeatedly changing it (apparently to suit your POV) in the article? 70.109.177.159 (talk) 02:26, 4 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'd say WAP < SAP < PAP < FAP, where WAP is uncontroversial and virtually no-one apart from Barrow and Tipler accepts FAP. Loosely you could say that if something is uncontroversial then stating it is a tautology, e.g. "football is a game" is uncontroversial = obvious = a tautology. But I don't really support that line of thinking, so I don't think the WAP is a tautology. As for the sentence in question "Stronger variants of the anthropic principle are not tautologies and thus make claims considered controversial by some and that are contingent upon empirical verification", seems to say that anything which is not a tautology is controversial which is clearly wrong. I suggest we separate out the ideas of something being controversial, something being a tautology, and something requiring proof. Hope that helps Aarghdvaark (talk) 04:09, 5 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, the point I was trying to make is that the WAP is uncontroversial because it is a tautology or virtually a tautology. Football might be a ball (instead of a game). But observing requires at least one observer, as a consequence of the premise. A fantasy (that I would think would be controversial in scientific circles) is an observer observing physical conditions that preclude the observer's physical existence. I don't agree (even loosely) that an uncontroversial statement is tautological (say "Killing innocent children is bad.") A sorta non-trivial value judgment (about what makes for "bad" and what does not) has to be first made. But "Dead people are not alive" should not be controversial and should not need external proof. 71.169.188.105 (talk) 04:43, 5 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think WAP is uncontroversial whether or not it is a tautology. What does "virtually a tautology" mean? I take it to mean that WAP is therefore not a tautology. As regards your example of an observer, I can't help pointing out that an angel observing someone's life here is observing the physical although they're not supposed to be physical themselves - damn, there goes another can of worms. Aarghdvaark (talk) 07:36, 5 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
My working meaning of "tautology" is a statement that is trivially true because the predicate of the statement is the same as the premise of the statement. "Dead birds are not living" is pretty much tautological. "Dodo birds are not living", while factual, is not tautological. Some research or finding of fact must be made to confirm it.
It is semantically possible to conceive of a circumstance where a hypothetical observer is observing conditions in the reality that the observer resides that preclude this observer's existence. For a mortal, physically realizable observer, I cannot see this as a possibility. For a transcendent god-like observer, perhaps. But, I don't think that physics or science deals with transcendent beings, since by definition, their existence is untestable. (E.g. it would be quite remarkable for a scientific observer of the heavens to conclude from these observations that the universe is 104 years old.)
That's what I mean by "virtually tautological". The Merriam-Webster definition of the WAP: "conditions that are observed in the universe must allow the observer to exist",[1] is, in my opinion, both quite succinct and virtually tautological. Observers must exist to observe (I think that is tautological). In order to exist, observers must exist in a reality with conditions or properties that are consistent with their existence (virtually tautological, but not necessarily so for the supernatural, at least not semantically). 70.109.189.90 (talk) 17:18, 6 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, for me there is a need to say "The WAP is virtually a tautology" instead of "The WAP is a tautology" because not everyone's definition of a WAP will match all definitions of an observer, in fact we don't even have a definition of what an "observer" is, because we all think we know what an observer is.
To be a tautology, in practice the predicate of the statement needs to follow from the premise of the statement.
To confer a proof from person A to person B that a statement is a tautology, axioms, facts and interpretations may be applied that person B believes in.
For example, "Dead birds are not living" is a tautology because we both know the fact that the word "dead" means "not living".
Wikipedia is frequented by very different people, and so just saying that "The WAP is a tautology" would incorrectly assume that we all share the same set of facts.
Now I find it interesting to discuss several definitions of an observer.
For example, one relatively "short-lived" definition of an observer would be: "The observer o was changed by an event e (to the state o')".
In the middle of the spectrum of observer definitions, other observers would exist for longer times and observe chains of events long enough to derive pyhsical laws, and to understand their own existence.
And on the other end of the spectrum of observers, I could define an observer as a sapient, carbon-based liveform, because that is what all readers of the Wikipedia I know are.
The latter is often termed as "carbon chauvinism", although it is just a different definition of an observer.
For the Merriam-Webster definition of the WAP: "conditions that are observed in the universe must allow the observer to exist", to follow,
I must also have the axiom or shared fact that "an observer exists in a universe if it is affected by events in the universe".
Although I would consider this to be obvious, some people would point to computer games being played, and say "I can observe that, but I'm not part of it.".
So (I think) I also need the shared fact that "if an observer exists in our universe, then it will affect the universe sooner or later."
I personally believe that the latter fact is true in our universe because "actio=reactio" or because some laws of the universe which we discovered suggest that it is a zero sum system in some ways.
There are several kinds of tautologies for example "White horses are white", "White horses are horses", and "White horses are horses that are white".
Especially the last sentence is often called an "empty" tautology, because there isn't a lot of new stuff to learn about white horses.
When the WAP is called an "empty" tautology, it is best to remind the one who calls it that, that in logic, a statement that is a tautology has first to be true to be called that.
I'd call such tautologies "complete tautologies".
I believe "virtually" complete tautologies such as the WAP are a very difficult base for further reasoning, and am somewhat sceptical when the claim is made that, for example, the discovery of the nucleosynthesis of carbon-12 is an example of an application of the WAP. It is, however, an example of reasoning similar to the reasoning behind the WAP.
I find the WAP still interesting to be studied as long as it isn't fully understood by everyone.Highlander (talk) 19:59, 24 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

An article which really needs work. No sources whatsoever. It has a section on the anthropic principle but doesn't refer to this as the main article, just in 'see also'. Dougweller (talk) 18:02, 28 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I've removed that unreferenced essay on the anthropic principle from that article, given that this article exists and is presumably the right place for it. I'm pasting it here in case there's anything in it that might be useful to this one:

The term “universal physical constants” is used in the scientific community to designate those constants of nature which represent the least amount of anthropic bias. To understand the meaning of this term, it is helpful to imagine highly intelligent non-human beings existing in some remote part of the universe. With such beings in mind, one can classify various natural constants in terms of the relative importance that these imaginary beings might place on them.
For example, human astronomers often use the “astronomical unit” (AU) as a reference for measuring distances in the solar system. The astronomical unit is defined as the mean distance of the earth’s orbit from the sun. This distance is an important reference for humans because it represents the orbit of our planet. But this distance probably wouldn’t be important to intelligent beings in some remote part of the universe. So the astronomical unit is not a “universal” constant of nature.
As a less obvious example, humans use properties of both water and the element carbon to derive measurement units. Water and carbon are both universal substances (believed to exist everywhere in the universe), so intelligent beings in some remote part of the universe might have access to these substances. However, they might not place the same importance on these substances. To understand this, consider that computers display some of the attributes of human intelligence. But unlike humans, computer chips are primarily composed of silicon. So if intelligent beings elsewhere were composed of silicon then they might not value carbon as an important element.
Although still a topic of debate, Scientists have achieved a level of consensus with respect to the universal status of certain physical constants. The constants which appear most likely to be universal are the following:
* The Universal Speed of Light in Vacuum
* The Universal Gravitational Constant
* The Universal Quantization of Action (Known as Planck’s Constant)
* The Universal Quantization of Charge (Known as the Elementary Charge)
The masses and various other properties of elementary particles and the coupling values associated with the strong, weak, and electromagnetic interactions are also considered to be universal.
As a final twist, some scientists now believe in the existence of other universes. The exact nature of these other universes and their topological connection to our universe is a topic of speculation and debate. But if they do exist, then some scientists further speculate that the values of universal constants may not be the same in each of the universes as in the others. For example, the speed of light might be faster or slower in one universe than it is in another. Scientists further speculate that if the universal constants are different in differing universes, then some universes may have values which support the evolution of intelligent life and others may have values which repress the evolution of life. Scientists and philosophers further speculate that it may be impossible for a universe which does not support intelligent life to exist, because existence is verified through observation by an intelligent being; therefore, a universe can not exist without an observer.
This belief in many universes, together with the belief that some universes have natural properties which prohibit the evolution and existence of intelligent life, is known as the anthropic principle. If the anthropic principle is correct, then one might rightly conclude that all units of measurement are anthropic units. This conclusion is drawn from the fact that we live in a universe which supports human life; therefore, our universe is an anthropically biased universe. Furthermore, any constants of nature that exist in our universe will be anthropically biased. Hence, our units of measurement will be anthropically biased.

Justlettersandnumbers (talk) 21:37, 1 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The AP says nothing about whether or not there are other universes. Justletters, you're reading more into it than what it is. The AP is as correct as any other tautology is. 70.109.187.107 (talk) 19:55, 17 December 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ooops, I now understand that Justletters isn't saying this, but it was the author of the content Justletters pasted in above. Sorry. 70.109.187.107 (talk) 19:57, 17 December 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Give simple explanations to strong and weak AP

First, make it clear that the definition of strong and weak AP are unclear even among experts.

Second some tongue-in-cheek definitions would work well, I guess, like: "The universe is at it is, because if it was not, we would not here be have this conversation". I leave it to you to tell me if this is WAP or SAP. And to give an equally tongue-in-cheek definition for the other one.

IMHO.--
David Latapie ( | @) — www 00:12, 16 October 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

There are at least two problems with giving our own tongue-in-cheek definitions of the WAP:
First, Wikipedia asks contributors to base their work on reliable sources, so we should avoid just to make stuff up.
And in addition, we would just add to the confusion by adding even more WAPs and SAPs.
Your wording of the AP could be called a good wording of the WAP. I would try to give you another wording of the WAP if you give me your definition of an observer (See my comment above about observers).
Highlander (talk) 19:04, 17 October 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, it doesn't stop me from trying to interpret. For the WAP, I still think that the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary definition is succinct: "conditions that are observed in the universe must allow the observer to exist" and tautological, so it's hard to argue with it. But even if it is apparently obviously true, it doesn't really say much. (But if you're a believer in the multiverse or some many worlds cosmology, then the WAP serves to explain the Dicke coincidences or fine-tuned universe.)
For the SAP, it's a "stronger" statement in that it says more and makes a claim that is not tautological. It sorta claims that because the observed conditions are how they are (the FTU and the fact that we are here), that the Universe had no choice but to eventually have life, such as ours, emerge. It's like, even though a Royal flush is extremely unlikely, since it is not impossible, eventually if you continue to shuffle the deck and deal out 5 card trials, that eventually a Royal flush must be dealt (and only then will we be around to notice).
If SETI ever discovers intelligent life outside of our own world and solar system, that would make the SAP more plausible in my opinion. It would change the constituent parameters of the Drake equation from pointing to a result where there is maybe one other, maybe no other world with life out there to pointing to a result where there are probably tens of thousands of other living planets in our galaxy. This is because if SETI hears ET, ET has to be reasonably close (I think less than 50 or 100 lightyears). Even if the reality is that there are thousands of other civilizations out there, with 100 billion stars in the Milky Way, it would still be very unlikely that even one of those civilizations are close enough to us to ever be noticed. But if another civilization happens to turn up in our neighborhood, then it's likely that there are a lot more than thousands of other civilizations, but tens or hundreds of thousands. And if that is the case, then the SAP becomes more plausible (to me) than it is. But if we're alone in the galaxy and perhaps the whole universe, I think that means there is not much support for the SAP (and our living planet is a fluke). 70.109.191.47 (talk) 01:58, 18 October 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Back-to-front argument

"In 1961, Robert Dicke noted that the age of the universe, as seen by living observers, cannot be random.[8] Instead, biological factors constrain the universe to be more or less in a "golden age," neither too young nor too old.[9]"

I think I know what is meant here, but the way it is put is nonsensical. 1) The age of something can never be random, its age is simply its age at the time concerned. 2) Biological factors cannot constrain the universe to be anything. It is the other way around. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 77.11.3.250 (talk) 12:23, 16 December 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

That's the whole point of the anthropic principle. Your point 2) is correct; biological factors do not constrain the universe to be anything. But biological factors do constrain whether or not any biological beings will observe the universe to be anything. Before getting to the fundamental constants, consider the age of the universe. The universe gets to experiment at being any age. Once it was less than a million years old. It was also a billion years old, once. Someday it will be a trillion years old. Now consider your (correct) observation that "It is the other way around." At what age(s) of the universe would you expect to see life emerging? Then when would you expect to see life that has evolved to sufficient sophistication to ask the question "how old is the universe?" Would it be surprising if the answer was "about as old as necessary for you to be there to ask the question."? 70.109.187.107 (talk) 19:39, 17 December 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Clarifying the meaning of "tautology"

In the section "Critcism", the word "tautology" meant different things, either good or bad, to different people. After considering the terms: "vapid tautology", "boring tautology" and "empty tautology", and reading the wikipedia section on tautology, I believe the most appropriate and understandable term is "boring tautology". I know this sounds a bit too simple for an article that is seeded with difficult terms, but think about it.

As the job of wikipedia contributors is to find knowledge in sources, and then to evocate it back in better words, I am removing the citation needed tag, since I believe in this case it really was a "I didn't know about the other meaning of 'tautology'."-tag. Highlander (talk) 19:57, 17 December 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

You are correct to flag this up as a weakness in the article - the fact that the terms truism and tautology are mentioned together perpetuates a widespread miconception that tautologies are necessarily devoid of meaning. In fact every theorem of propositional calculus is a tautology, as are many mathematical theorems, but that doesn't mean they are unsurprising or devoid of interest. I will think about some changes to clarify this in the article. DaveApter (talk) 10:55, 19 December 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It is true that every proven theorem amounts to a tautology. Personally, I am not well pleased with either articles on tautology here. I believe that the pertinent (to this article) meaning is A tautology is a logical statement in which the conclusion is equivalent to the premise. I think this emphasizes the meaning of a statement where the conclusion is transparently equivalent to the premise. There is nothing wrong with a tautology if it helps one focus on simple truths that (nearly) no one can argue with. I don't know if "boring tautology" is the right word here. I think that, perhaps, the criticism of the AP as a tautology is that it (to the critic) is considered a "meaningless tautology". To that critic, the AP doesn't really say anything or is inconsequential. I think we need a better adjective than "boring". People and books and stories are boring. The AP is not boring, but if I were that critic of the AP, I might say it is meaningless. I personally do not think the WAP is meaningless, because if we made the observation that the Universe is 10 million years old, we would have trouble explaining it. Also, the SAP is hardly tautological; it says something that could be controversial and controversial statements are decidedly not tautological. 70.109.187.107 (talk) 17:32, 19 December 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, thanks for your input. I kind of liked "boring" because it emphasizes the subjective nature of it. Highlander (talk) 22:34, 22 December 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Natural complement of the PAP

Here are two reliable sources: In 2005 the PAP receives its natural extension: "The mission of the senders consists in delivery of consciousness into the Universe". In other words, intelligence in a position to decide whether to fill the Universe with reasonable low-entropy signals. Here are TWO reliable sources:

1) May 2005 The Drake Equation: Adding a METI Factor and

2) (in Russian): Уравнение Дрейка с METI-коэффициентом in Vestn. SETI, No 9/26, 2005, ISSN 1994-3016. METIfan (talk) 01:08, 8 January 2012 (UTC)METIfan (talk) 01:17, 8 January 2012 (UTC)METIfan (talk) 01:18, 8 January 2012 (UTC) METIfan (talk) 07:00, 8 January 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

1) is not an WP:RS and both apparently fail WP:V although, frankly, I'm not really sure what you're even trying to say.—Machine Elf 1735 20:46, 8 January 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Here is what I, Highlander, think about the topic:

I find that even the term participatory universe and as such a participatory anthropic principle are not well documented, and surely not here on Wikipedia. The link in this article for participatory universe goes to Digital_physics, where only the sentence "all things physical are information-theoretic in origin" gives an explanation, which is then followed by a link to this article. That is very odd.
I would suggest that before you add information related to a participatory anthropic principle, you first make sure that the concept of a PAP is defined clearly on Wikipedia. Also, explain how METI is complementary to the PAP. Or is it an addendum, not a complement?
The SETI effort is relevant to the Anthropic principle insofar that if we make contact with an alien species remote from Earth, some sentences will have to be rewritten to consider that both our and the aliens position in the Universe are privileged enough to allow life and even sentient life. A METI effort in this respect is only relevant when the recipient chooses to reply to our messages in some way.
Regarding a participatory principle (based on information/observers) embodied in the Universe, I can offer some original thoughts on how I see that, if you want, as a short but necessarily incomplete essay on the matter. Just say so. I think a Wikipedia talk page is not the place for it.
Highlander (talk) 22:42, 8 January 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
To clarify, METIfan has attempted to add this (the non-bold text) to the article four times. METI is certainly not an addendum to PAP. Contrary to what METIfan is attempting to add, it's not a “natural extension”, (nor is this claim found on either web page). Of course, whether or not METI might be somehow “complementary” to PAP in someone's opinion, isn't relevant unless a better source actually addresses that more specifically.
Please feel free to start a separate PAP discussion so that the topic won't be confused with this particular issue. Thanks.—Machine Elf 1735 02:02, 9 January 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Highlander. Yes, followed the links you pointed out above which are circular. Changes made to attempt to break out from the circularity. Aarghdvaark (talk) 04:33, 23 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Biocentric universe

There's an issue about whether Robert Lanza's concept of Biocentrism is related to some of the ideas of the Anthropic principle. User 70.109.185.57 (BTW thanks for the self revert) said this needs to be discussed on the talk page, so here goes:

Template:Anthropic Bias (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has been nominated for deletion -- 76.65.128.112 (talk) 05:52, 31 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Discussion of capitalization of universe

There is request for comment about capitalization of the word universe at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Capital letters#Capitalization of universe - request for comment. Please participate. SchreiberBike talk 00:29, 4 February 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Notification of request for comment

An RfC has been commenced at MOSCAPS Request for comment - Capitalise universe.

Cinderella157 (talk) 03:23, 22 March 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Life can evolve in many Universes

The Anthropic Principle may be a fallacious concept, since "evolutionary life" can evolve in many environments with sufficient complexity to allow (a) formation (b) imperfect time-wise reproduction (c) limits on smoothly time-wise declining resources required for such reproduction (evolution cannot take place if the pace of change is past the "organism"'s limits). In other words, there can be many forms of life that could evolve in many different universes with different physical laws. So long as those universes provide a base for any feasible form of life. For example we can replay the evolution of various conceptual forms of life inside computer systems, using multiple varying environments. Of course, for all that above, we depend an agreed concept to fit the word "life". So any partitioning of physics predicated on the Anthropic Principle and an ill-agreed definition of the concept of life might appear to be weakly based? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jjalexand (talkcontribs) 14:06, 12 August 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Unfortunately there isn't "THE anthropic principle". There are a small number of weak forms of it, and a lot of stronger i.e. more disputable variants. Any discussion of anthropic principles is not fruitful unless it is clear to all parties which principle is being discussed. It is also helpful if the person disputing "the" anthropic principle is not making up their own version. Highlander (talk) 10:10, 15 August 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

On the multiverse; can there be any other versions of space-time which do not comply with the rules as we know them? How would they manifest themselves; if, for instance, energy had a different formulation, could matter come into being? Is matter a prerequisite for life? Storris (talk) 15:36, 04 May 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

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Tangherlini 1963 refuted in 2012

Result on provable instability of hydrogen in >3 dimensions by Tangherlini sounds dubious. Found this from arxiv: doi:10.1016/j.physleta.2013.01.026 --84.250.122.35 (talk) 22:21, 22 December 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

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Postion of comma

Is the position of the comma in the first sentence under 'Origin' correctly placed. In its present position it indicates that the Copernician view holds that man does have a special place in the universe, which is false. — Preceding unsigned comment added by T A Francis (talkcontribs) 20:52, 15 March 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I am having trouble seeing how it could be interpreted that way. It parses fine for me. VQuakr (talk) 06:47, 16 March 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Assessment comment

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:Anthropic principle/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

I would like to propose a Misanthropic Principle: that any random selection of universal constants will produce beings whose evolutionary adaptation enforces strong pattern recognition, causing them to perceive patterns where none exist. Laurence white 17:17, 12 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

For laymen: Cite recent article mentioning anthropic principle

I suggest a small addition, for the benefit of readers unfamiliar with physics, to Wikipedia's article entitled Anthropic Principle. Add a one-sentence summary and reference to an article by Stephen Weinberg, "Physics: What We Do and Don't Know," The New York Review of Books, vol. 60 (Nov. 7, 2013), which is posted online. A Wikipedia contributor familiar with the subject of the article would be better able than I am to make this addition. I will add a similar comment to the Comments section of the Wikipedia article on Multiverse. NedF (talk) 21:39, 26 January 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Last edited at 21:39, 26 January 2014 (UTC). Substituted at 16:09, 21 March 2016 (UTC)

Triverse Theory

Suggest section on the triverse theory that the moment of creation triggered the genesis of a universe with forces in it that destroy all other universes, simultaneous with a universe that can preserve all other universes, leading to a universe, our own, which teeters on the edge of destruction. 86.143.214.19 (talk) 11:51, 9 April 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

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Overlinks - January 2017

@173.48.60.68: We seem to be at odds over what constitutes overlinking. I generally try to go by the following guidance at WP:REPEATLINK

Generally, a link should appear only once in an article, but if helpful for readers, a link may be repeated in infoboxes, tables, image captions, footnotes, hatnotes, and at the first occurrence after the lead.

That seems like a generous enough standard, but there's always the "if helpful for readers" loophole.  —jmcgnh(talk) (contribs) 21:48, 19 January 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

We probably see things more in common than at odds.
Duplicate linking in lists is permissible if it significantly aids the reader. This is most often the case when the list is presenting information that could just as aptly be formatted in a table, and is expected to be parsed for particular bits of data, not read from top to bottom. If the list is normal article prose that happens to be formatted as a list, treat it as normal article prose.
Too many links can make the lead hard to read. In technical articles that use uncommon terms, a higher-than-usual link density in the lead section may be necessary. In such cases, try to provide an informal explanation in the lead, avoiding using too many technical terms until later in the article...
My concern is that when readers come upon "fundamental physical constants", they are misled to the dimensionful physical constants. I was not happy that Fundamental physical constant was turned into a disambig page and the title changed to Dimensionless physical constant. Whether the reader starts at the top or quickly scrolls down to the latter sections where "fundamental physical constants" are mentioned, it should be trivial (like one click) for them to see exactly what we mean. This is a "fundamental" topic and it's really just about the dimensionless "fundamental" parameters that are the same for us or for the aliens on the planet Zog that have totally different units of measure (and therefore have a totally different numerical value for, say, the speed of light). 173.48.60.68 (talk) 22:29, 20 January 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm willing to go along with you, but you may be giving the "dimensionless" aspect of these physical constants a bit more reverence or mystery than they deserve. The other constants describe properties of the universe, too, so a different universe might not even have a specific constant that corresponds to the dimensionless physical constants if the underlying physics are allowed to vary in arbitrary ways. Perturbing the values of the dimensionless physical constants is one way to propose alternate universes with physics related and as consistent as ours, but not the only way things could be different.  —jmcgnh(talk) (contribs) 22:57, 20 January 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The AP is about "fundamental constants" and not at all about what system of units some culture in the Universe might be using. It's pretty much the 26 fundamental constants itemized by John Baez, give or take a couple (discoveries in physics may introduce new fundamental constants and theoretical development may combine constants reducing the number). Because nondimensionalization can be applied to all equations describing or modeling physical interaction having dimension, that converts each equation into one that relates only dimensionless numbers. Probably easiest to think about it with Planck units where every mass is expressed as a ratio to the Planck mass, every time quantity relative to the Planck time, and same for length and for charge. Then there is no c to vary nor ħ to vary nor G nor ε0 to vary. They're gone from equations and your entire description of physical interaction in the Universe is using only dimensionless quantities. There is a reference to a pair of Michael Duff papers regarding this in at least a few of these WP articles. John D. Barrow has also written about this sorta thing in his book on the subject: The Constants of Nature. 96.237.136.210 (talk) 04:47, 23 January 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
One more thing. If I remember correctly, some of these links occurred within quotes. I remember reading somewhere that linking within quotes is undesirable. It represents a kind of "putting words in the mouth" of the person being quoted.  —jmcgnh(talk) (contribs) 23:01, 20 January 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I looked methodically through the article and no place in a quote is fundamental physical constants or dimensionless physical constants linked. There is one place where (dimensionful) physical constant is linked and several places where "physical constant" is mentioned without the qualifier and two of those are in a Penrose quote. 96.237.136.210 (talk) 04:50, 23 January 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Perhaps you missed the Weinberg quote?
In any case, your writing about this strikes me as having a component of advocacy or ownership of this topic. I am not so committed to Wikipedia principles that I would wish to dispute this issue with you any further. I was merely trying to apply my understanding of the MOS regarding disambiguation and overlinking, but I don't claim to be an expert in every topic and sometimes get it wrong. Thanks for your explanation and for your contributions.  —jmcgnh(talk) (contribs) 05:55, 23 January 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In fact, I did miss it. I was searching for the string "physical constant" and that did not hit on "constants of nature" (and the phrase was piped to dimensionless physical constant). I fixed it. This dimensionless vs. dimensionful debate about what really makes a universal constant "fundamental" is about two decades old. There used to be lots of discussion about it in some blogs and USENET (like sci.physics.research). I think it's pretty close to settled now. 96.237.136.210 (talk) 20:30, 23 January 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

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Change Observational evidence Content tittle to Observation

-Change from; Observational evidence.

-Change to; Observation.

References

  1. ^ Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary
  2. ^ When a scientific truth arises, it is so because of observational and experimental consensus. THE CURIOUS PASSIONS OF MR. COSMOS: NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON ON SPACE, CLIMATE, AND WHY CURIOSITY WINS EVERY TIME|SCOTT BIXBY|JUNE 8, 2014|DAILY BEAST
So if I understand your argument here, you feel the sub-section is about the nature of observation and not observational evidence or if it is not, it should be. Since the whole section is WP:UNSOURCED and is somebody's essay told in Wikipedia's voice, it can really be anything you want. How about we just delete the thing along with culling everything in the article that is not attributed to some academic theorist. Richard-of-Earth (talk) 18:25, 31 March 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Selection bias? or Biased selection, Lede needs work

The lede uses the phrase "selection bias" which usually means a statistical or informal logical fallacy referring to cognitive and statistical errors. Because there are no WP:RS in the lede, I'm wondering if the people who argue for selection amongst many worlds use the phrase "selection bias." Please let me know as I'm starting to research. I don't think physicists (or Nick Bostrom, or Max Tegmark) argue that the issue is that someone is actually selecting from amongst all the universes. Lee Smolin, for instance, argues for a type of natural selection for universes with black holes, which is not a statistical process, but one akin to Natural Selection in Evolution. But perhaps I'm wrong. At any rate, it should not be linked to an article on statistical error, so I will remove that.

SIDE NOTE: The article on Selection Bias has a subheading which links back to "Anthropic principle." There Bostrom and Tegmark are referenced, but I wonder if this isn't a self affirming but unjustified loop. One page supporting the other, when in fact, neither page has WP:RS. It's a type of meta SYNTH. I will comment on the other page as well.

I'm also going to remove the link to "philosophy" under "philosophical consideration" as I cannot find WP:RS that "Philosophical Consideration" is actually a term used in WP:RS. I mean, I know the words occur together but they are not used as a term of art or a single concept. No Philo Senior thesis have been written on "philosophical consideration" such that it is a distinct linkable concept. And yes, as you can tell, that means the lede needs work. But I'm going to research a little more before I attempt that. Cheers.DolyaIskrina (talk) 15:44, 2 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

There are so many things wrong with the changes made to the lede that I reverted it back. I left the change made to the book reference. "Philosophical consideration" is a perfectly understandable notion. The anthropic principle simply is a philosophical consideration that observations of the Universe must be compatible with the conscious and sapient life that observes it. Unconscious life nor non-sapient life will not be making these observations of the Universe.
And it is not the "Philosophical consideration that a universe that contains observers seems unlikely, and yet here we are." That's rubbish. The AP is not the same consideration that the Fine-tuned Universe is. The Weak AP is simply the understanding that "conditions observed in the Universe must allow the observer to exist." A virtual tautology. The SAP is something more, saying that eventually some conscious and sapient life will have to emerge in the Universe if it is physically possible for it to emerge. And the SAP can be controversial. It is no tautology.
And the Weak AP combined with selection bias most certainly is used as an argument disputing that anthropic fine-tuning is remarkable. Not that everyone buys into that argument but nearly any cosmologist that accepts (or believes in) some reality with other universes in the multiverse, that WAP with selection bias is often cited as an explanation that discounts the notion of remarkability of apparent fine tuning.
Sorry, DolyaIskrina, but not every edit you make is helpful and this one certainly was not. 50.47.109.91 (talk) 06:17, 7 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Sorry I think I placed my response in the wrong place, or maybe you replied while I was typing.DolyaIskrina (talk) 16:43, 7 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You may not like my definition, but you are reverting to a lede that has no WP:RS. Can you find a source that uses the phrase "philosophical consideration" to refer to AP? Secondly, given that there are over 30 definitions of AP, to pick the one you like and put that in the lede is SYNTH. So if you like we can work on a lede that is accessible to the lay reader and does not give any one definition a place of honor. I think Nick Bostrom is the bees-knees, but he is only one among many who treats with this issue, so I don't think we should let him have the first and last word. My first requirement is that the lede contain some sort of indication that this is a complex of ideas dealing with a specific issue. Of course what that issue is varies too. I think fine tuning is the most likely candidate, and Bostrom's book is pretty clear about that. — Preceding unsigned comment added by DolyaIskrina (talkcontribs) 16:37, 7 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
So I am not advocating for the title of the section called Variants, but the content of that section has variations on the definitions of the SAP from the likes of Carter, Barrow and Tipler, Bostrom, Wheeler. All variants of the definition are presented and ascribed to those advocating such. There is very little difference in meaning between the Carter definition of the WAP and the Barrow-Tipler definition of the WAP which, in the most concise language, are both consistent with the Merriam-Webster definition. Rather than have the lede reflect or emphasize any specific physicist/author's definition (even Carter), the lede should reflect the common meaning of the term and details and specifics can be dealt with below the lede.
The term "philosophical consideration" was not my composition, but I support it completely. It best describes, in common language, what class or category the AP falls into. It is not a scientific finding nor a "proof" of any sort. It is a consideration (something to consider) and the basis for it lies in philosophy.
The lede is quite good as it is. It does not show any bias between the various authors who have defined the term in their writings. It reflects the dictionary definition faithfully. And it shows, in the lede, where this discussion of the AP pops up and that is most often about either the age of the Universe (like why isn't it 1 billion years?) or about the alleged fine tuning whether that's terrestrial fine-tuning or universal fine-tuning. And it's all about selection bias. Observers would not be around to observe conditions in the Universe that are adverse. 50.47.109.91 (talk) 04:12, 8 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You wrote two great sentences above. Much better than the first sentence of the lede now. Would you oppose using a version of this? "The Weak AP is simply the understanding that "conditions observed in the Universe must allow the observer to exist." A virtual tautology. The SAP is something more, saying that eventually some conscious and sapient life will have to emerge in the Universe if it is physically possible for it to emerge." Perhaps a blend of the two? I like these sentences because you wrote them with the intention of being understood. To your expert eye, the current first sentence of the article lede works, but I promise you it is unintelligible to most people, even after having read the article. The lede is the most important part of the article. I worry that it uses arcane constructions to hide several agendas (not uncommon in ledes). As to "a philosophical consideration" I have found 0 occurrences of that phrase in wikipedia except in this article. If you search for "philosophical consideration" there are 16 occurrences in Wikipedia. None of them occur in the lede as part of a definition. 7 of them are quotations of this article. Given all the similar types of concepts covered by wikipedia, all the philosophical and cosmological topics that occur in the encyclopedia that would use the phrase if it were apt, to have it occur only once is proof that it is, in fact, a neologism and a violation of WP:MOS, WP:NOPV and WP:NPOV. If you can't find WP:RS associating "philosophical consideration" with AP it must go per Wikipedia policy. DolyaIskrina (talk) 16:31, 8 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Earlier version did have that M-W definition as the lede sentence. In fact, I (with a different IP) was pushing for it. Personally, I think the M-W definition of the WAP is the most clear and concise of them all. But alas, other editors disagreed and you take what you can get. So I don't object from changing that very first definition shown to the M-W definition and citing M-W as a reference. But some other editors may. Let's see if they're paying attention. 50.47.109.91 (talk) 19:51, 9 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]