A New Perspective on Solar Eclipses: An Anthropic Explanation

Recently, I came across the paper Many-worlds interpretation of quantum theory, mesoscopic anthropic principle and biological evolution by Drs. Kamenshchik & Teryaev . While I'm not a professional physicist, this paper touched on a topic I've always been deeply interested in.

One section that caught my attention was their mention of the anthropic explanation for solar eclipses, where they state:

At the same time, this coincidence would be explained if the eclipse were necessary for some stage of the emergence of life. This does not seem completely impossible, although there is no evidences in favor of such a relation.

I'd like to propose a different kind of anthropic explanation, borrowing from Nick Bostrom's concept of "observer-moments". Instead of linking solar eclipses to the origin of life, could we perhaps correlate the phenomenon of solar eclipses to the number of observer-moments across Everettian branches that have or have not experienced eclipses?

Consider the profound influence of solar eclipses throughout human history. These celestial events acted as catalysts for significant developments in mathematics, science, and technology. Such advancements have, in turn, led to exponential population growth — an increase in the number of observers, particularly in those Everettian branches that witnessed eclipses.

While the utility of eclipses in confirming numerous scientific hypotheses is well recognized, their more subtle, yet arguably more impactful role might be in how they influenced society's perception of mathematics and science. The very ability to predict such a mesmerizing event would have surely left many in awe, pushing forward the value and appreciation for scientific understanding and silencing skeptics.

With exponential population growth being a consequence of technological advancement, it's plausible to assert that the majority of observers would exist in Everettian branches where eclipses occur. The crux of the argument lies in the potential necessity of eclipses for the rise of contemporary science and technology — an evident aspect of our history.

However, it's not imperative to strictly adhere to this perspective. The mere proposition that eclipses serve as superior catalysts for progress, in comparison to other events, suffices. The exponential nature of population growth indicates that even a minor, yet early advantage would predominantly influence the number of observers in a given branch.

Adding another layer to this argument, it's fascinating to note the timing of these eclipses in evolutionary history. The fact that they occurred when human societies equipped with written language came onto the scene is an intriguing coincidence in evolutionary time. Coupled with the knowledge of the moon's recession from the earth, making eclipses in the past less dramatic and interesting and those in the future non-existent, it becomes difficult to overlook the potential significance of these celestial occurrences.

To me, the combination of this temporal and celestial coincidence warrants an explanation. Could the relationship between technological progress, exponential population growth, and observer-moments offer this?

The implications of this theory are profound. If accepted, it could be used to support the existence of the Everettian multiverse, drawing a parallel to how the fine-tuning problem endorses the Inflationary multiverse. Traditional collapse interpretations falter in explaining such extraordinary coincidences.

I'd love to engage in a dialogue on this topic. If you have insights, counterarguments, or simply wish to share your viewpoint, please get in touch on Twitter at @semistrict.