Anyway ... yep, somehow knocked down the physics book before the others (well, that Aboriginal Culture book I'm reading is going to take forever at the rate it's going and the size it is ... I was afraid of that when I slotted it!). Cosmic Coincidences: Dark Matter, Mankind, and Anthropic Cosmology by John Gribbin and Martin Rees was pretty much what I expected, a walk through the bits of info that lead one to the Anthropic principle. I've read a good deal along these lines over the years, and while I'm in "the weak Anthropic camp", I really can't say which scenario is my bet for the "nature of the universe", as the "multiple universes", "branching universes" and "sequential universes" models all have something to say for themselves. At base, though, it's pretty clear that the reason that the universe looks "tailored" to sentient organic life is because we find ourselves existing IN a universe that just happens to have the balance of forces, etc., which could allow for sentient organic life to occur. If the numbers weren't just right, we wouldn't be here to worry about it, and whatever meta-universe model you choose to believe in, that's pretty much the deal.
As I've mentioned ad nauseam in here in reference to these physics books ... they're "old" at this point (this one hit the shelf here in 1989), and I'd be quite interested to see what might have changed in the 15 years since this was written (once again, this talks about the Hubble telescope as something that is yet to happen). There were some very useful technical explanations in here that I hadn't hit previously, details on space curvature, cosmic string geometry, etc., which was good to get. I think the book ended weakly, however, as their actual discussion of the various degrees (or not) of Anthropic cosmological thought was far less definitive than the science preceding it. Once again, though, the age of the book makes it quite a deal, as Amazon has used copies of this for under a buck!
Since I was left "hungry" at the end of this, I decided to slip in Universes by John Leslie (not the porn star of that name, I trust!) next in my "science" slot. This is a "philosophy" book specifically dealing with the questions of Anthropic thought, and actually uses the "G" word (obviously, the folks who hold that God created the whole huge universe just to serve as a backdrop for regional human theatrics, have an extreme form of Anthropism kicking around their befuddled heads) ... so I have some trepidation that this will be navel-gazing via Oxford and not so much a "scientific discussion" of the topic (although I will admit, the concept of God as "creative tinkerer" has a certain appeal ... imagine the Deity setting up parameters for a universe and then "setting it off" like a kid with an M80 just to see what flies off where!).
I don't know what I'm going to do when I finish that H.S.T. book ... I don't have anything particularly "political/sociological" that I feel like slogging through at the moment. I hate to think of going out and buying a book for that (given that I have many dozens of unread books sitting around waiting for me to get to them), but somehow I just can't "pull the trigger" on the few titles on hand which would fit. Perhaps (since that Australian book is going to take forever), I could slide a few "religion/spirituality" books through there until I find something appropriate.
Yeah, like you care what I'm reading ... hah!