A Pin and a Balloon: Anthropic Fragility Increases Chances of Runaway Global Warming

Abstract

Humanity may underestimate the rate of natural global catastrophes because of the survival bias (“anthropic shadow”). But the resulting reduction of the Earth’s future habitability duration is not very large in most plausible cases (1-2 orders of magnitude) and thus it looks like we still have at least millions of years. However, anthropic shadow implies anthropic fragility: we are more likely to live in a world where a sterilizing catastrophe is long overdue and could be triggered by unexpectedly small human actions. In the same way, an over-inflated toy balloon, which will soon burst, is very fragile. Anthropic fragility can manifest itself in the higher chances of runaway global warming. It has often been suggested that the Earth's atmosphere remained life-supporting for billions of years by sheer chance. Therefore, the survival bias can be strong. It is also known that Earth-like water worlds could experience transitions into deadly moisture greenhouse (mean T = 65C). This means that relatively small anthropogenic actions could put the climate above an unpredictable tipping point, which could lead to the moisture greenhouse. Thus, it is necessary to carry out urgent geoengineering studies and prepare to prevent an unexpected climate catastrophe. There are three main counterarguments against the existence of the anthropic shadow: self-indication assumption (SIA), past observers and the Gaia hypothesis; we show that they fail. It was proposed that SIA exactly compensates the anthropic shadow as an observer unlikely to find herself in a world with a strong anthropic shadow; however, there is a baseline level of the anthropic shadow for all habitable planets, similar to the rate of evolutionary transitions like abiogenesis. There are no “past observers” as qualified observers appeared only 50 years ago. Gaia hypothesis assumes existence of self-stabilizing feedback in climate, but new types of events like quick CO2 growth could override its coping ability. We present a list of other catastrophes that may have been underestimated because of the anthropic shadow, including collider catastrophes, nuclear war and even an alien invasion. We also hypothesized that human intelligence is more likely to emerge in an unstable world that is nearing its end and thus we get a new form of Doomsday argument.

Links

PhilArchive

External links

  • This entry has no external links. Add one.
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

  • Only published works are available at libraries.

Similar books and articles

The Anthropic Principle: A Primer for Philosophers.Frank J. Tipler - 1988 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1988:27 - 48.
The "Ethical Anthropic Principle" and the Religious Ethics of Levinas.A. T. Nuyen - 2001 - Journal of Religious Ethics 29 (3):427 - 442.
Good and evil as vectors of free will in the structure of anthropic time.V. B. Khanzhy & D. M. Lyashenko - 2017 - Anthropological Measurements of Philosophical Research 12:27-39.
Good and evil as vectors of free will in the structure of anthropic time.V. B. Khanzhy & D. M. Lyashenko - 2017 - Anthropological Measurements of Philosophical Research 12:27-39.

Analytics

Added to PP
2022-09-11

Downloads
201 (#100,701)

6 months
87 (#55,577)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references