The Destropic Principle

By João Carlos Holland de Barcellos

Translated by Débora Policastro

Abstract: *The
“Destropic Principle” is an argument that establishes that every
universe is equiprobable, and the possibility of life is not a more
special feature than any other. This opposes to the “anthropic
principle” when it is used to argue that there is a necessity for a
divinity, or multiple universes, in order to explain the configuration
of our universe, particularly, the capability of harboring life.*

In
order to explain life in our universe, I will refute the “anthropic
principle” when it is used as an argument of the necessity of a deity
or multiple universes. I had already outlined this argument in my
previous article on the theme, The Anthropic Principle and The
Jocaxian-Nothingness” [1], but now I intend to go a little deeper in
the analysis.

It is not a very intuitive argument, and that is
why we should use an analogy to understand the idea behind. But first,
I will summarize the anthropic principle and how it is used by
creationists and religious people in general to justify God:

**Introduction**

The physical laws, usually written in the form of mathematical
equations, are considered to be responsible for the characteristics of
the universe and its evolution in time. These laws, as we know today,
are composed by equations in which we can see some numerical constants
(parameters). As examples we can cite, among others: the speed of
light, the mass of the electron, the electric charge of the proton,
etc. [2]

It is argued, without demonstration, that a little alteration (it is
not clear what would the magnitude of this alteration be) in any of
these constants would make the possibility of life in the universe not
feasible. Those who claim that also conclude that a universe created
with physical laws generated at random would hardly be able to trigger
life.

**Handicap**

In all fairness, we need to note that a universe with random laws does
not need to follow the pattern of physical laws we have in our
universe, that is, the mathematical equations that would define a
randomly generated universe could be totally different from the ones we
have in our current universe (in principle it would not even be
necessary to describe such universes through mathematical equations).
That way, the parameters we have today would not apply to any of the
equations in this random universe. Thus, it is totally FALSE to claim
that all possible universes can be described maintaining the same
equations of our particular universe and varying only the constants
present in them.

However, in order to refute the “anthropic principle” on its own
support base, we should consider true the fact that all possible
universes keep the same structure of equations as ours. We also assume
that these equations are true, but knowing in advance that this is not
true, since there is a theoretical incompatibility between the theory
of relativity and the quantum mechanics. Besides that, we also suppose
that any alteration in one of the fundamental constants would make the
possibility of life impracticable, although no one has shown it yet.

**An analogy**

In order to understand the idea of the “Destropic Principle”, we will
make an analogy with the real numbers of the equations which rule the
several possible universes. Suppose that each of the possible
universes can be represented by a real number between zero and ten. We
can justify that by thinking that we can concatenate all the
fundamental constants in a single numeric parameter.

In our analogy, the parameter “4,22341”, for example, would represent
an U1 universe, which would be different from an U2 universe,
represented by the parameter “6,123333...”, and so on. Thus, each of
these numeric parameters would completely define the characteristics of
the universe represented by them.

Suppose there is a machine that randomly generates real numbers between
zero and ten. Each generated number would be the parameter that would
define a universe. We can see that the possibility of predicting what
number the machine will generate is very small, almost zero. However,
the machine will certainly generate a number.

Suppose our universe is represented by U1 (“4,22341”). Then we can ask:
what is the probability of the number of our universe being chosen,
once there are infinite possible numbers? There are infinite real
numbers between zero and ten, therefore it is almost impossible to
foresee that the number “4,22341”, which is the parameter that defines
the characteristics of our universe, will be chosen.

Thereby, when the machine generates a number representing a parameter
of the universe, the answer to the question “How probable would the
generation of a universe like ours be?” will be “As likely as the
generation of any other specific universe”.

**Equiprobable**

In our model of random generation of universes all universes are
equiprobable, since any real number between zero and ten would have the
same probability of being generated. No universe is more likely to be
generated than the other. So, whatever the number generated by the
machine was, it would be as unlikely to be predicted as any other
number. We then conclude that our universe is so likely to be generated
as any other.

**Life**

However, someone could retort:

“-Our universe is the only one where the possibility of life exists”.

The possibility of life is a peculiarity of our universe. Any other
generated universe would also have its specific peculiarities. For
example: maybe one of them could be made of tiny colored crystal balls,
the other could form elastic goos, others, perfect spheres, and so on.
If, for example, the generated universe produced little blue crystal
balls, then we could make the same exclamation:

“-Only this universe produces little glowing balls!”

Or:

“Only in this universe there is possibility of producing elastic goos!”

And so on. For us, humans, life can be more important than little
glowing balls, or elastic goos, but this is only a human valuation.
There is no logic reason to suppose that a universe with life is more
important than a universe that produces little glowing crystal balls,
or elastic goos.

Therefore, we cannot claim that our universe is special and unique,
because it is as special and unique as any other universe that was
generated at random. All universes would have their specific features,
generated by their also unique physical constants.

**Another Formality**

In order to clarify this idea, we can redo our argument using another formality:

Suppose the universes are described by six fundamental constants (the
exact number does not matter, the following reasoning is for any number
of constants).

Thus, any U universe could be defined by a system of equations that
uses six basic constants. We represent this dependence as follows:

U= U (A, B, C, D, E, F).

Our U1 universe in particular is described in that formality as:

U1= U (A1, B1, C1, D1, E1, F1)

Now, consider a U2 Universe with constants different from U1:

U2 = U (A2, B2, C2, D2, E2, F2)

As U1, by definition, contains the parameters of our universe, it will
generate a universe that may harbor “life”, but cannot generate “lofe”.
Similarly, U2 can generate “lofe”, but cannot generate “life”. “Lofe”
is a random feature of U2, as the characteristic of being able to form
a group of particles where the density is exactly 0,12221 (a random
number), for example. Only U2 can generate “lofe”, and any change in
the parameters would make the generation of “lofe” not feasible.

Of course, the same way, another universe, U3, with other constants

U3 = U (A3, B3, C3, D3, E3, F3)

would not make “life” feasible, nor “lofe”, but would make “lufe” viable.

“lufe” is a physical condition that occurs when the particles are
subject to the regime of forces generated by the constants of U3
(A3…F3). Any change in one of these constants would make “lufe” not
viable.

Note that there is no INTRINSIC importance about the universe generating “life”, “lofe”, or “lufe”. It does not make any difference to the generating machine or to the universe itself. Especially because the universe and the random machine do not have consciousness or desires. What differs to the machine is the value of the fundamental constants, not what they will generate or not. For the generating machine and even for the generated universe, it is irrelevant if it will be able to harbor life, “lofe”, “lufe”, or present any other peculiarity. Each universe has its own feature. If U1 allows “life”, it does not allow “lofe”, nor “lufe”; if U2 allows “lofe”, it does not allow “life” nor “lufe”; if U3 allows “lufe”, it does not allow “life”, nor “lofe”. It goes that way for any generated universe.

Thus, we can see that our universe does not have anything special, once nothing is intrinsically special. “Life” is as important as “Lofe” or “Lufe”. The universe is not worried if “lofe” generates consciousness or not, nor if “lufe” generates a cluster of an incredible yellow glow which would never exist in U1 or if “lofe” generates micro colored pyramids with their own indescribably beautiful glow. That matters to humans, little egocentric beings of U1 that care about “life”, maybe because they are alive.

Thereby, the probability of generating a universe that has “lufe” is equivalent to another one that has “life” or “lofe”. There is nothing miraculous or magical about our universe that makes it REALLY special. Therefore, there is no sense in saying that the probability of our universe being that way is the work of some deity. Whatever the generated universe was, its probability of having that feature is exactly the same as the probability of our universe being exactly as it is.

It is like choosing at random a real number between zero and ten. They are all equally probable and difficult to be chosen. None is more or less special than the others.

Portuguese version: http://www.genismo.com/logicatexto26.htm

Palavras-chave: Antrhopic Principle, Destropic Principle