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The Anthropic Principle and the Multiverse

Science and Human Dimension 2003

John Polkinghorne and Sir Martin Rees tackled the notion of the anthropic principle - the existence of numerical accidents in the Universe that were essential for the development of life. The speakers went on to draw contrasting conclusions from this circumstance, and explanations. John Polkinghorne insisted that principle indicated a prime mover or mind in the Universe, which he would call God, while Martin Rees invoked a multiverse in which there is an infinite series of Big Bangs, each resulting in a different set of laws of chemistry and physics. According to this theory we are living in the Universe in which the conditions, while extraordinary, are right for life - by chance rather than by design. Present at the meeting were a number of scientists, philosophers, and theologians. The latter tended to be unimpressed by Polkinghorne’s reflection since they were unhappy with any conclusion that smacked of a “God of the Gaps”.