Thermodynamics and the Anthropic Principle

Stephen Hawking frequently refers to the anthropic principle in his lectures, thereby expressing in philosophical terms a conundrum being pondered by cosmologists.  How did the universe happen to evolve in such a way that would support intelligent life?  The modern concept of thermodynamics hypothesizes a strong anthropic principle; that there is considerable evolutionary pressure favoring complex systems, and that these systems would inevitably become intelligent.  The word “anthropic” is a bit of a misnomer, however.  There is nothing in the theory that requires the ultimate solution to be bipedal, carbon-based, and relatively hairless. In fact, there is no a priori reason why such a system must meet our definition of “life.”  It’s time to redefine intelligence as something more than an emergent property of the human neural network.

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