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John D. Barrow (1952–2020)


With Frank Tipler, he was the author of The Anthropic Cosmological Principle (1988), according to which:

Ever since Copernicus, scientists have continually adjusted their view of human nature, moving it further and further from its ancient position at the center of Creation. But in recent years, a startling new concept has evolved that places it more firmly than ever in a special position. Known as the Anthropic Cosmological Principle, this collection of ideas holds that the existence of intelligent observers determines the fundamental structure of the Universe. In its most radical version, the Anthropic Principle asserts that “intelligent information-processing must come into existence in the Universe, and once it comes into existence, it will never die out.”

From Templeton, which awarded him a prize in 2006:

The Templeton Philanthropies mourn the passing of cosmologist, mathematician, and physicist John D. Barrow, the 2006 Templeton Prize Laureate. He died on September 26 at his home in Cambridge, England at the age of 67 due to complications from cancer…

“Astronomy has transformed the simple-minded, life-averse, meaningless universe of the skeptical philosophers. It breathes new life into so many religious questions of ultimate concern and never-ending fascination,” said Barrow at the March 15, 2006 news conference at the Church Center for the United Nations in New York at which he was announced as the Prize Laureate. “Many of the deepest and most engaging questions that we grapple with still about the nature of the universe have their origins in our purely religious quest for meaning. The concept of a lawful universe with order that can be understood and relied upon emerged largely out of religious beliefs about the nature of God.” , “In Memoriam: John D. Barrow (1952 – 2020)” at Templeton Prize

That’s an idea that’s not about to die.


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