I have to admit, I’ve grown tired of the biocentrist argument. I thought it would be a fad would quickly die -out. It hasn’t. In anthropic reasoning: Humans exist, therefore we are able to study our universe. That doesn’t mean the logic works backwards: ‘Humans study the universe, therefore it exists’. However, this is precisely the position of biocentrism. I believe this belittles the science of physics. We may find that this rhetoric of biocentrism will end up a stumbling block for physicists and future students. And, it certainly makes an already conundrum-filled field even more inaccessible to the general public.

“The universe would cease to exist if we weren’t here to see it”, and the proof is the famous double slit and two-way mirror experiments. Really? Exactly what sort of tortured inductive reasoning was used to determine that humans must exist for the universe to continue? Isn’t there a simpler possibility to explain these results (though, ‘simpler’ may not be the right word)?

Put two brand-new gyroscopes on a table, set them spin at exactly equal speeds, go have a beer, then come back read their speeds. Spinning equally? Yes, but no big surprise. Similar objects, similar conditions, similar results. Two particles are created together- ‘quantum-ly’ entangled. Studying them, we find entangled particles don’t have similar properties; they have exactly the same properties. Discovering that they react the same, under the same conditions, shouldn’t be a shock.

Quantum entanglement exists, but hasn’t anyone considered that the effects of our observation may have more to do with the quantum effects of our observing technologies than our physiological act of perception? The lowly photon isn’t interested in the fact that we like looking at it. It changed because we flipped a switch. The slit example doesn’t seem to apply to the question of human necessity in the universe’s existence.

And regarding the question of life in our universe (or any other), isn’t it more likely that life, in whatever form, is a natural effect during the evolution of a universe? Given enough time and sufficient diversity of heavy elements, greater and greater complexity of molecules ensues. The word entropy comes to mind, for some reason. Similar molecules interact with others over and over again, creating repeating molecular actions. This is the basis of life. This can be applied to any planet, galaxy, or universe that is capable of forming lots of different types of molecules near some source of heat, regardless of exactly what kind. Water, carbon, and the sun are the basis of our existence, but it’s too soon for anyone to say that these are exclusive to all life. Given enough time, complexity should naturally occur in all but the harshest environments. Life is simply a transitional period between rapid expansion and eventual cooling in the life-span of our universe. In this way, increasing complexity would be a mundane find if we were able to study all the existing universes. Life, in some unbelievable form, would be difficult to keep from happening; just a predictable side-effect of universe development.

Toning-down the rhetoric of biocentric beliefs, an interesting change occurs in the meaning. The differences between the anthropic principal and a ‘you’re-not-that-special’ form of biocentrism seem to disappear (i.e. “Weak” biocentrism, if you will) Yes, we observe the universe because we are able to observe it. We are able to observe it because life naturally occurs in universes with complex molecules and heat. But, if we weren’t here to observe it, the universe wouldn’t suddenly cease existing. It would just be statistically unusual.

Photo courtesy of NASA