Thursday, October 11, 2007

Best of Wikipedia

I enjoyed the Ultimate fate of the universe page and its various links. Especially interesting were the 1 E19 s and more page and the Final Anthropic Principle page.

The final anthropic principle deals with something that has concerned me since I was about 12. Namely, how can moral values exist in a universe which may lack intelligent life at some future point, and may lack physical evidence of prior moral conflict should intelligent life subsequently arise? In other words, if you are a great person throughout your entire life, at some point no one may know between you and Stalin. Possible responses are that you will know and, perhaps most importantly, those you treat morally will know. If their valuation, or your own valuation, is unimportant what is the basis of any moral obligation in the first place. The anthropic principle seems to beg the question rather than answer it, but it's still interesting to think about. (Compare the anthropic principle to one explanation for the universe's existence: the world exists with these particular properties because otherwise you wouldn't be here to ask why the world exists. Somehow unconvincing, eh?)

4 comments:

ninquelote said...

I find that it's just more pleasant to be a moral person. Being immoral is like taking drugs. It's a short term fix.

yoggoth said...

But according to that page sometime between 10^65 years – the estimated timescale at which all matter is liquid at zero temperature due to tunneling effects and 10^10^76 years – high estimate for the time until all matter collapses into neutron stars or black holes, again assuming no proton decay, your immorality would start to pay off!

ninquelote said...

Well when you put it that way:

Down with the Jews!!!!

Little Earl said...

Some of these theories sound like candy bar names: Nestle's Big Bounce! Hershey's Big Rip! I also like how the scene in Annie Hall where the 10-year-old Woody Allen questions the point of life if the universe is expanding is referenced at the bottom.