Most of the time, as a first principle, I try to remember that I don’t have complete knowledge of things, so if they seem weird, it’s most likely due to a misunderstanding at my end. The Anthropic Principle is such a case: I know almost nothing about it, so some if its more bizarre aspects probably just seem that way because I’m not familiar enough with it. In some ways, it seems rather like the reflexive property of a = a that we learned about in algebra– the assumption that something always equals itself. This in itself is a little like a mathematical version of Descartes’ “I think, therefore I am”: although I can’t prove I exist, I’ll just assume I do because I can. So… the universe supports life… because it does? That bit makes sense.
I really, really don’t understand the larger implications of the principle, but evidently it forms the basis of multiverse theory, and is important for things like string theory, spatial dimensions, and all those things in that family of cosmological physics that Brian Greene writes about. Full disclosure: I haven’t read any of Mr. Greene’s books (yet), but they all sound like they involve things that I think of as “Reed Richards” stuff. At some point, there’s a portrait of the universe I can understand, and then it spirals off into a realm of interdimensional soap-bubbles connected by infinitely small toroidal strings made of the dreams of black holes. After a few of these grand leaps, I’m not sure these ideas are actually science anymore. I know, I know, that might be heretical, but when some theories are buried behind so many levels of as-yet-undiscovered sub-subatomic particles, one wonders if they’re strictly philosophical. So, it might not be good science, strictly speaking, but it’s good for science fiction, and if something is good for the imagination, then it’s good for science.
And… well, I could keep going on, but I gotta get to bed. I’ve got to get up early tomorrow, and it’s already well past midnight.