The cosmic landscape: string theory and the illusion of intelligent design
Finally, my copy of Leonard Susskind's new book The Cosmic Landscape: String Theory and the Illusion of Intelligent Design has arrived.
I posted some comments earlier (see here) about the weak form (i.e. not driven by an external goal-seeking agency) of the anthropic principle and its relationship to Bayes theorem, and made some generally disparaging remarks about the hostile attitude of some physicists to the weak anthropic principle. There was some misplaced criticism of Bayesian methods posted here, but I don't know whether this was related in any way to my earlier comments on Bayes theorem and the anthropic principle. However, I do know that it prompted me to reinforce my statement about Bayesian methods here, which led to this spectacular response, and my own response to that here. I will not comment further on that exchange; I leave it for you to read for yourselves.
Anyway, now I actually have Susskind's book, I can focus more on the particular details of his arguments, rather than my own favourite argument based on Bayes theorem. What I plan to do is to work through the book in stages, and to report back here at each stage to explain the material that I have read, and to interpret it in my own particular way.
For the record, I have no prior prejudice about whether the cosmic landscape (i.e. the possibility of choosing between multiple alternative laws of physics) exists or not, but I do care about following up all credible avenues of enquiry, until they can be shown to be wrong because they are inconsistent theoretically or experimentally. In a nutshell, that is the scientific method. So we have to view the cosmic landscape as a valid possibility for now.