Roughly, the Anthropic Principle means that any qualities we attribute to the universe must be consistent with the facts of our existence. Astrophysicist Ethan Siegel offers some examples of how the Principle has been fruitfully used but cautions,
Unfortunately, the Anthropic Principle has been grossly
misinterpreted,and is often misapplied. Claims are common in the scientific literature today that the Anthropic Principle:
– supports a multiverse,
– provides evidence for the string landscape,
– demands that we have a large gas giant to protect us from asteroids,
– and explains why we’re located at the distance we are from the galactic center.
In other words, people argue that the Universe must be exactly as it is because we exist the way we do in this Universe, which exists with its presently observed properties
. EthanSiegel, “The Anthropic Principle Is What Scientists Use When They’ve Given Up On Science” at Forbes
He goes on to say that universes with quite different properties might have produced observers too. Maybe so but that’s science fiction.
He is surely mistaken in thinking that the Anthropic Principle motivates people to believe in a multiverse or a string landscape. Such beliefs exist comfortably without evidence; the evidence points to a coherently designed universe.
Theories multiply because the facts favor fine-tuning of the universe.
Any abyss will seem preferable to many theorists and many have been proposed. To the extent that evidence rears its ugly head, it sometimes triggers private wars on falsifiability as well. A
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See also: Ethan Siegel tackles fine-tuning at Forbes
How naturalism rots science from the head down
What becomes of science when the evidence does not matter?