God vs The Multiverse

Click here for God vs The Multiverse: a rational argument for the Existence of One God who intelligently designed one universe.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

God vs The Multiverse (Part 7: The Multiverse)

As we saw in the prior posts, scientists (we will be using the generic terms 'scientists' and 'physicists', but please understand by the context that we mean 'multiverse scientists') were loath to accept a teleological explanation for the fine tuning of the constants, as that implied an Intelligent Agent which caused the universe.  Intelligent beings do things for a purpose.  Intelligent beings do 'x' because 'y' will result.  That is what we mean by an Intelligent Cause.

There was one alternative solution left for scientists.  They could try to change the problem of the constants from one which implied a teleological explanation (how we used the strong anthropic principle), to one which could be solved involving a very different form of causal relationship (the weak anthropic principle of post 5).

They speculated as follows: If there are a nearly infinite number of universes (by 'near infinite' they generally mean as big a finite number as is necessary to explain the constants through chance), then maybe each universe has a different set of values for its constants (we should probably call them 'variables' in this theory).  Almost all of these multiverses would be chaotic nonsense (the term 'multiverse' can sometimes refer to the entire collection of universes, or sometimes just one of the many different universes), but a few of them would by chance alone have the perfect values for the constants.  Since the illusory fine tuning of the constants is a necessary condition for the existence of life and intelligent observers, it is no longer surprising that we find ourselves in this beautiful universe.  There are no intelligent observers in the other multiverses.  This argument is identical in form to the solution for the origin of life on Earth after knowing that there are many planets.

It is readily apparent that there is a big 'if' and a big 'maybe' going on here.  Scientists frequently try to justify these speculations by appealing to a slippery slope argument.  (See the video below.)  They argue that humans once thought the universe was really small.  Then we observed it to be bigger.  Then we observed it to be even bigger... Even though we haven't observed it to be, it's most definitely even bigger than we think now.  Maybe it's an infinitely big multiverse.  Maybe, in all the other multiverses the constants are different, thereby leading to meaningless chaos in almost all other universes.

We can understand the sense of awe one has from realizing just how small humans are relative to the vastness of the cosmos. We can also appreciate the intuitive sense that the universe is bigger than the diameter of the observable universe.  We simply don't know just how big.  We can start speculating, but then we have left the province of science.  All other times in history that science has expanded the size (or age) of the known universe, it was based upon observation.  Never has it been extended purely based on the speculation that it should be bigger.  Certainly not infinitely bigger.

This is the first major difference between how the weak anthropic principle was used by biologists to explain the origin of life, and how physicists are attempting to use it here.  Regarding biology, we know that there are many, many planets that are theoretically hospitable to life, because we observe them.  First, biologists observed the planets, then they made use of the weak anthropic principle.  Physicists are using the weak anthropic principle (and the fact of the fine tuning of the constants) as one of their proofs for the existence of other universes! (See the video.)

There is a second major difference which is a far more critical mistake.  This flawed logic contradicts the cosmological principle, which has been one of the guiding principles in cosmology since the time of Newton.  The cosmological principle essentially says that every observer in the universe sees the same universal features.  (Without this principle, universal features don't even exist.)  It says that our point of observation from Earth is not special.  Just about every physicist holds by this principle in every other context.  But it gets tossed out the window because of the pressing need to explain the fine tuning of the constants.  (See the first comment and response for an elaboration on this point.)

There is no evidence whatsoever that the constants have different values in these speculated alternate realities.  None.  The only theoretical reason to believe that they do vary, is the fact of fine tuning itself, in conjunction with the a priori rejection of an Intelligent Designer.

Even if we grant that there are an infinite number of universes, we have every reason to believe that just like we suppose that the qualitative laws of nature (general relativity and quantum mechanics) are the same in those parallel universes, so too the constants of nature are the same and do not vary.  To say the point more clearly, this slippery slope reasoning fails because this logic itself would lead us to believe that this new region of  space is also ordered and structured with the same laws and constants that we observe in our current universe.  In no way could slippery slope logic lead us to posit a different type of universe as a logical inference from the universe we see.

The theory of the multiverse is riddled with holes from every angle of analysis.  We will try in the following posts to concentrate on its major flaws and we will point out some of the absurd conclusions scientists have embraced in their effort to deny the Intelligent Cause of the universe.

The first modern usage of the multiverse was by the discoverer of the statistical law of entropy, Ludwig Boltzmann in 1895, to answer the entropy problem of post 4.  The theory is even more ancient than that.  The Roman philosopher Lucretius (55 B.C.E.) is the first recorded multiverse theorist.  (The argument of design goes back even further than that.)  Twenty years ago, multiverse theory was considered a speculative, non-scientific theory held by very few people.  It has now become mainstream physics, and many physicists believe and have faith in it.  New books are coming out about it at an increasing rate.  However, some physicists do realize its flaws and speak against it.

This 53 minute entertaining video by Brian Greene presents a very lucid explanation of the major pillars of support for multiverse theory.  It shows Steven Weinberg, among others, saying that the multiverse "is a pretty good bet."  It also shows a few physicists who think it's not science.  We will be assuming in the next few posts that you will have either watched the video or read the recent article in Newsweek, May 21 which is a fairly concise summary of the video.

We encourage the more advanced reader to read a slightly more sophisticated article entitled Universe or Multiverse, written by Bernard Carr and George Ellis.  In this article, the two authors debate the merits and flaws of the multiverse.  It does a good job of explaining the theory of the multiverse, as well as exposing many of its serious problems.

67 comments:

  1. How does it contradict the cosmological principle? Because observers in other universes will not see the same general features that we do since we live in an ordered universe and they live in chaos? Won't physicists just argue that the cosmological principle only applies within a given universe? Even the observers in the chaotic universes will see the same features (randomness) at all parts of their universe just as we see order in all parts of the universe.

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    1. The cosmological principle is an assumption which is usually stated formally as "viewed on a sufficiently large scale, the properties of the universe are the same for all observers." (The clause 'on a sufficiently large scale' is necessary, as we obviously cannot deduce properties of the universe from observing one room or even one planet.)

      In other words, in studying the universe, we assume that the Earth (or any other location) is typical of any other vantage point from which one could study the properties and laws of the universe. This assumption was first formulated by Issac Newton in his unification of the physics of the 'heavens' and Earth, used by Albert Einstein in his discovery of general relativity, and is a backbone for many discoveries in cosmology.

      This principle has analogues in almost all other fields of science as well. A key principle of geology is Uniformitarianism, which is the assumption that the same natural laws and processes that operate in the universe now, have always operated in the universe in the past and apply everywhere in the universe. It was first formulated by geologist James Hutton and became widespread in 1830 by Charles Lyell. (It's not a coincidence that it's the same guys from post 5). See Wiki Uniformitarianism.

      Although it is an assumption that cannot be proven, it is accepted and widely utilized for multiple reasons.

      1) Any limitation in this principle impairs our ability to study the universe. If we could not infer properties of the universe at large from those that we observe, we would never be able to reason beyond that which we immediately see. For instance, if we were to assume that the speed of light varies at different parts of the universe, we could not measure distances to stars and other celestial objects.

      2) The assumption is based upon a symmetry and simplicity of the laws of nature and our universe, which has been observed throughout man's rich history of scientific investigation.

      3) It has not been contradicted. (And the two testable consequences that it makes, of homogeneity and isotropy, have been confirmed through all our observations so far.)

      We'll continue in the next comment...

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    2. In order to determine whether using the multiverse to explain the fine tuning of the constants goes against this principle,we first note that the constants of nature are the quantitative components of the laws of nature and to assume that they change in different parts of our universe would deny the cosmological principle. (If we observe them to vary in our universe, we would simply start calling them variables. We would not continue to call them constants and reject the cosmological principle. That's how fundamental the it is to the functioning of science.)

      To analyze this more closely, we'll distinguish between two types of multiverse theories. The first type maintains that there is one big multiverse in which the smaller universes exist. That is to say, the different universes can be related to each other (causally or spatially) by being part of one multiverse. According to this view, the multiverse is just an expansion of the old 'universe' to a multi-part universe. If so, the cosmological principle should apply to this multiverse as a whole, and assuming varying constants contradicts this principle.

      The second type maintains that the various universes have absolutely nothing to do with one another. In this view, there is no real sense of talking about 'a multiverse', just many different universes. In this type, the assumption of the constants varying in different universes would still violate the underlying concept of the cosmological principle for the following reason.

      Once we maintain that the fundamental constants of physics that we know to be true here, don't apply to other universes, what right do we have to posit that the law of gravity holds there too. Only because we observe gravity here, and we use the cosmological principle to infer it to be true everywhere else (including other universes), do we even begin to analyze these other hypothetical universes.

      The key point is that we need to use the cosmological principle in order to say anything about other universe, and consistency necessitates that we also assume that the constants of nature have the same constant value there too. If you drop the cosmological principle, you can't say anything meaningful about the other universes. If you keep it, varying the constants violate it.

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  2. seems completely intelligent to NOT posit GOD/intelligent design at this point. an incomplete unproven theory that POINTS to a statistical explaintion seems quite pleasing to my mind.

    SH

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  3. Why do you argue that positing the existence of a Designer outside of the Universe and wholly unprovable by definition assumes less than merely positing an increase in size and variety of the same observed situations which make up the universe we perceive?

    The question is well defined. The universe is more ordered than it probabilistically ought to be - ? The universe is more directed towards existence than it probabilistically ought to be - ? The universe is more directed towards living creatures than it probabilistically ought to be - ?

    Everyone agrees with the questions.

    Both answers satisfyingly resolve these questions. 1) The universe is staggeringly ordered due to the design of its Creator. 2) The universe only appears staggeringly ordered to us because only the staggeringly ordered part of its vast landscape would ever create observers to acknowledge the order, which is in reality a very small part of the whole.

    The only rational way to choose between the two of them is to determine which of them assumes less than the other. Even though this method will not be conclusive as to which is in fact true, it is the only rational means to accept one over the other without absolute knowledge and understanding.

    Your argument is that the ordered nature of the universe naturally leads to the conclusion of an Orderer or Designer. The flaw of this approach is that it necessitates the Existence of a Being completely removed from the universe Who is definitively beyond physical experimentation and can only be discussed through theory, which is itself tied to personal thought and understanding. (This last point excludes the possibility of direct communication from G, which we are not addressing in this blogoshiur.) It is an answer which posits a qualitatively new and distinct reality (beyond any categories yet understood or defined).

    The Multi-verse argument arguably assumes less because it does not posit a completely distinct reality or creator. Its main point is that through wholly physical means, the question can be explained so long as we allow for a larger size and more variety than we have perceived. Its problem is that it assumes numerous other unobserved universes of differing laws than have ever been observed. Though it is not based on actual physical evidence, it lends itself to physical experimentation and analysis more-so than the G theory. It is an answer which posits quantitatively and qualitatively (but within categories already understood and defined i.e. the constants) different locations and events.

    To illustrate my question: If I find a watch in a vast landscape that appears to have had a designer because of its intricacy and seemingly perfect fit toward a specific goal, is it more likely to assume a designer to the watch than a crazy random chance if I have never ever in my life met anyone else in all of my travels and worldly observations that could accomplish such a feat, when it is entirely possible that there is simply more time, space, and possibilities than I have yet come across in my observations?

    There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

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    1. Your raising a lot of good questions. Some of it we'll address in the next post or two. (Specifically, why saying an Intelligent Cause is a better explanation for observed order than the multiverse.)

      We think that one key point which can help resolve a lot of your difficulties, is that both multiverse theory and the God theory are assuming a metaphysical cause for the universe. Multiverse theorists believe the non-physical, eternal, unintelligent laws of nature and a metaphysical random number generator (perhaps this is some meta law of probability that acts on the fundamental constants) caused the universe.

      We are saying that there is a non-physical, eternal, Intelligent Agent.

      The question is whether you explain staggering order by an Intelligent Cause or an unintelligent cause. No one is arguing about whether there is a non-physical cause for the universe. (i.e., They say it is a quantum fluctuation in a void. But they assume the prior existence of the laws of quantum mechanics.)

      To say it a different way (and using our spaceship from mars example instead of your watch example for this very reason). What would you need to see in a 1 million year old object on mars in order to validly draw the inference that an intelligent agent (you have no prior evidence for) made the object, as opposed to it being the result of random chance?

      (As an aside, while we are not assuming the historical proof of Sinai, it certainly is possible to have direct observational evidence for God's existence if He were to reveal Himself (so to speak) in front of millions of people (like is recorded at Sinai). On the other hand, there is no way we can reasonably expect to ever have observational evidence for the reality of an infinite multiverse. See the Ellis article for more on this point.)

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    2. 1) I'm not clear on why you characterize the multi-verse argument as a metaphysical random number generator. Isn't it just random randomness to the nth degree without identifying some metaphysical agent?

      2) I hear what you're saying regarding the spaceship point. If a thing has great complexity, order, and implied purpose that directly, teleologically, points to a designer, assuming extreme randomness is more-so an attempt to undermine the observed order than to explain it. It is a possibility which must always be allowed for but it combats the perceived order more than it explains it.

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    3. 1) In each of these bubble universes, what causes the random numbers? Are they each, separately Necessarily Existences, or is there one, underlying unintelligent metaphysical cause for all the random numbers?

      2) Exactly. That's the burden of proof point.

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    4. But couldn't there just be millions of explosions caused by the inherent chaotic nature of the universe which each result in their own signature due to the peculiarities of each distinct universe? Each "cause" is the random explosion of that particular bubble.

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    5. "Explosions" are physical events that occur in space-time. The fundamental constants of nature are like the laws of nature (just the quantities, not the qualities).

      Saying an explosion in space-time causes the random number for the constants is equal to stating that events in the universe cause the laws themselves to change.

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    6. RAZ/REF, can you explain what the video was getting at when it talked about the possible shapes of dimensions in string theory? It sounded like it was saying that string theory itself could a "random number generator."
      Would it be illogical to say that the dimension folds of string theory would change during an explosion when ordinary constants and laws wouldn't? Because they seem like qualitatively different things. (i.e. bizarre 9-dimensional properties instead of gravity or proton size.)
      Thanks in advance.

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    7. We don't think (but we're not sure) that string theorists maintain that explosions (events in space-time) change the shape of the hidden extra dimensions.

      We are going to take up the shape of string theories extra dimensions, and it's implications on the multiverse, in a later post.

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  4. I found the video entertaining, but was disappointed that they did not even mention that fine tuning could point to a teleological explanation. I mean even just a couple sentences of "well that would imply God and we don't want to do that because x,y,z."

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    1. We agree Rafi. In our opinion, it's scandalous not to even mention the theory of an Intelligent Cause.

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  5. RAfi, that to me is the point - why suggest it when it has always been proven wrong.

    SH

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    1. Well it seems like science has reached a point where there they can no longer identify a concept that explains physical phenomena, so instead they posit the existence of other physical phenomena that will let them explain observable phenomena without having to invoke a teleological explanation. That is different than saying that now we understand gravity differently or we are able to fill in a previous gap in knowledge. The last time scientists were confronted with "Well, you can't explain it so it must be God." they were able to come up with a new cause/concept to explain the observable phenomena. They didn't simply say "See that observable phenomena? There's no specific cause there it's just one result out of an infinite number of possibilities, all of which exist as well. We cannot actually observe any of those other possibilities, but we're willing to say that they do exist because they might exist." That is totally different than, say, the concept of inertia + the big bang explaining planetary orbits as opposed to God as Prime Mover of those orbits.

      I also find it somewhat funny how there are scientists out there who are willing to go so far as to say that empiricism isn't really so essential (last author here: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1468-4004.2008.49229.x/pdf) when trying to figure out the nature of the universe. So wait, we can simply use our minds now? Then what exactly is the problem with the teleological explanation? Even if you hold by the multiverse you've crossed the boundaries of science into knowledge that isn't 100% empirically based, so why are we throwing out an Intelligent Designer?

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    2. In that first sentence add "explains *observable* physical phenomena" in the first clause. Sorry.

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  6. Rafi, adding GOD to the equation by definition is not science. take disease, 5000 years ago they though disease cam directly from GOD as punishment, now we know its germs. would it have been scientific to say we see disease GOD is possible and i dont know what else is causing it so lets stop our inquiry? OR, is it better to not say GOD and continue to suggests theories, test, reject and inquire until we do see the cause?

    SH

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    1. I don't think you understood my point, but I don't really know how to say it much better so maybe read my post again?

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  7. Diseases are hardly as indicative of a Designer as is a universe improbably suited towards life and existence.

    If you can't see that distinction you're missing the point.

    Of course G can always be used as a quick simple answer that inhibits further investigation - but when everything (literally) points to design over disorder, it is irrational to hold out for proof of enough infinities of disorder to preserve the possibility of randomness.

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  8. MZ, i was not addressing design, i was addressing the idea of introducing GOD to scientific analysis whatever that analysis might be about
    Rafi,
    i stand by my reply

    SH

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    1. Ok so I'll say it this way: Just as adding God to the equation is not strictly science, neither is the theory of the multiverse. Therefore, saying that it's not scientific isn't a good critique of the theory of an Intelligent Designer in this case because the alternative theory isn't scientific either.

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  9. Rafi, thank you for expanding your thought. I will say that you are in the company of the Ramabam. He says that the movement of the planets must be GOD b/c he lacked scientific knowledge, not his fault BUT he was wrong. positing GOS IS unscientific, positing a theory that has mathematical sense that employs statistics that corresponds to other theories although might be ultimately wrong it is still scientific.

    SH

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    1. You must mean scientific in a different sense because it (the multiverse theory) does not rely on empirical evidence, but rather the positing of currently unobserved physical phenomena. It isn't scientific in the traditional and normal use of the term scientific. If you read the article that was linked to at the end of the blog post and in my original response to you, you'll see that advocates of multiverse theory admit this openly. They suggest expanding the definition of science to include theories that are not wholly based on observable phenomena. To that I say, then why not Intelligent Designer?

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  10. because it is not knowledge and by definition not testable however the multiverse has the potentential both to be tested, revised, accepted and rejected. i will suggest the following, if one never encountered the idea of GOD and was confronted by todays science and the challenge of the constant do you think he would be scientific in saying "why not ID?"

    SH

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    1. Why would you not accept the idea of an intelligent designer as a possibility? I cannot speak for the authors of this blog, but I would say that if someone would show them convincing evidence for the existence of a multiverse they would accept it. How about if the idea of a multiverse is disproven. Would the physicists accept the idea of ID? Or are they completely opposed to accepting such a concept?

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  11. I'm not so sure that the multiverse is able to be tested. Did you read that article or watch the video? As far as your last question, no, it would not be scientific but that doesn't mean it wouldn't be rational. But that's my point, there is no evidence for the multiverse. To believe in it because you want to reject something unscientific (Intelligent Designer) is silly because the multiverse theory itself is a belief that has no evidence for its existence!

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  12. Rafi,
    i did watch the video and 1) b/c it cannot be tested now doesnt mean it cant be tested by definition 2) the video did point to what you would need to see for it to be valid (ripples) we just cannot do it yet. i wouldnt say that one can say the multiverse IS true but is is a rational and scientific to continue the inquiry as well as be open to other potentially rational and scientific theories. there is evidence (mathematical) of a multiverse NOT that that makes it true but it is a good start.

    SH

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    1. Certainly, the claim of an actual physical infinity can never in principle be proven, and is therefore not under the province of science, but is rather a philosophical theory.

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  13. In the Carr/Ellis article how does Carr understand the multiverse without positing an actual infinity? Also, does Ellis maintain that the universe must have positive curvature because of the logical impossibility of a physical infinity?

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    1. Carr says in the article that he agrees that an actual physical infinity is highly dubious proposition. He says that all you need is a really really big number. (However big they need to explain the fine tuning, is how big they posit the number of universes there are.)

      Almost all other multiverse theorists ignore this issue, and toss it around like its not even a question. It's almost like they don't realize the issue even exists.

      In regards to your second question, we think that all possible curvatures for the shape of the universe (positive, negative, flat) are consistent with either a finite or infinite space, with no boundaries or edges.

      (See Greene's Fabric of the Cosmos on pg. 241. If you don't have the book, you should get it. It's a unique book that presents many of modern physics' current issues in a very conceptual order, in a language that most people understand.)

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  14. Why don't we wait for the next installment? The authors stated that they will put forth the argument why Intelligent Design is a better explanation for observed order than the multiverse. Once the argument is put forth, we can debate the merits of that logic...

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    1. It's O.K. We think everyone will understand the issues better if you debate it among yourselves first anyway. The video and article in this post naturally lend themselves to the question of whether the multiverse is science.

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  15. What is the intent of this post? Every time people ask questions, you keep saying "later post!!". I am failing to understand what the point of this post was. Please help.

    Dr_Manhattan

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  16. > If there are a nearly infinite number of universes, maybe each universe has a different set of values for its constants

    You clearly do not need "infinity" to maintain that multiverse makes "special" (according to you) outcome probable. Please try to avoid building straw-men.

    Dr_Manhattan

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    1. We agree that an actual physical infinity is a highly doubtful idea. Nevertheless, the current most popular mechanism for the multiverse is eternal chaotic inflation which posits an infinite number if big bangs. We're not making that up. Wiki it. (All models of eternal inflation produce an infinite multiverse, typically a fractal.)

      Even though many of the multiverse scientists say infinite, we try to help them out of the actual physical infinity problem by saying 'near infinite.' The comment below by David Fischbein explains what we mean by near infinite.

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  17. > There is no evidence whatsoever that the constants have different values in these speculated alternate realities. None.

    Yet. The theory is new, as these things go - 20 years? We're just getting pretty good at smashing particles. It's possible there can not be evidence b/c these are, ahem, different multiverses? In that case "absence of evidence" is not even an issue in the usual sense. It will be a mathematical argument instead of a physical one.

    Dr_Manhattan

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  18. > The only theoretical reason to believe that they do vary, is the fact of fine tuning itself, in conjunction with the a priori rejection of an Intelligent Designer.

    Dawkings in the previously linked video interview mentioned that there are other reasons. I actually don't think it's super-important either way, but I'm certainly not willing to take your word on this.

    Ok. Standby, Google at work... Searching for "reasons for multiverse", first hit brings me to this:
    http://lpsc.in2p3.fr/barrau/aurelien/CCDecMULTIV.pdf

    When the fellow finally gets to fine-tuning towards the end he says "The
    multiverse was not imagined to answer this specific question but
    appears “spontaneously” in serious physical theories..". Ok, I'm more likely to go with a prize-winning physicist here. Please prove otherwise.

    Dr_Manhattan

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    1. The multiverse theory is an ancient one. Our generation of scientists are not the first to speculate about alternate, parallel realities. Prior to the problem of fine tuning, the belief in an infinite number of one's own clones leading alternate lives, was enough to get someone certified as mad.

      Watch the first 25 minutes of the video for how Brian Greene (I hope he qualifies as a serious physicist for you) explains the reaction to the multiverse.

      Read the Ellis/Carr article (we hope they also qualify for you), for how multiverse theory was initially treated about ten years ago.

      From the first page of the article:

      "Nevertheless, there is no doubt that the idea (of the multiverse) has become increasingly popular in recent years. In his contribution to the book, Frank Wilczek (2007) describes the change in attitude between the first meeting in 2001 and the last one in 2005: “The previous gathering had a defensive air. It prominently featured a number of physicists who subsisted on the fringes, voices in the wilderness who had for many years promoted strange arguments about conspiracies among fundamental constants and alternative universes. Their concerns and approaches seemed totally alien to the vanguard of theoretical physics, which was busy successfully constructing a unique and mathematically perfect universe. Now the vanguard has marched off to join the prophets in the wilderness.”

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  19. One last question: since in your mind it comes down to "God vs. Multiverse" (not sure why it has to be a dichotomy, unless you're convinced that a simple proof must exist and feel like you did enough work)

    So.. Is multiverse even a theory? If you had, for argument's sake, a disproof of teleological explanation (some satirists concluded that god clearly hates humans, and not without reason..sorry I digress) would you say ok to the multiverse as the most likely explanation of fine-tuning or would you fiercely look for another?

    Dr_Manhattan

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  20. Dr. Manhattan,

    You wrote:

    >> If there are a nearly infinite number of universes, maybe each universe has a different set of values for its constants

    >You clearly do not need "infinity" to maintain that multiverse makes "special" (according to you) outcome probable. Please try to avoid building straw-men.

    2 points on this:

    1) The authors did not say "infinite". They said "nearly infinite". Now, the latter term is, strictly speaking, a contradiction in terms. I have to assume it is a shorthand way of saying "a number large enough that the specialness of our universe falls away". The point is, it is only posited as being large enough so that this works out; simply saying there's a lot doesn't help. There is no strawman here.

    2) How many world renowned physicists do the authors need to quote before you will be convinced that the specialness of the universe is a very real problem that needs to be worked out, and is not something the authors came up with for their convenience?

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  21. David,
    i will speak for myself about your response to Dr. M, the authors are trying to prove GOD the physicists (even the ones that reject the multiverse) are trying to understand as best as they can the physical universe. our understanding of our universe has grown tremendously in the last 100 years and what you theorize today might be proven wrong tomorrow. this is very different from the Rambam and chazals time, ie: the Rambam used physics that was 700 years old! our knowledge is really in the infancy and to run to GOD as the solution to a challenge presupposes a belief in GOD and therefore not a proof. the multiverse is nothing more then a theory that is very abstract and hotly debated in the halls of science and should not be dismissed OR accepted b/c you read a couple of books. if your approach is "well my mind is all i have" true, and when you are not in your area you defer to the experts, the Ramaban went to the DEMONOLOGISTS to understand physics b/c he thought they were the experts. i have seen nothing in these posts that the authors and many commentors would not have said if they didnt already BELIEVE in GOD.

    SH

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    1. SH,
      If science were somehow to disprove the multiverse would you then say you had a proof or God or would you argue that maybe in the future we will come up with a theory (the theory of a theory argument) that will explain the fine tuning of the constants? If so, is there a point when science gets past its "infancy" and we can then say that science proves a Creator? Or do you just reject outright the possibility of proving God from science? If that's the case, then why read the blog...

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    2. SH,

      Your response should have been directed to the authors. You don't seem to be responding to me; Dr_Manhattan does do that below. I was taking up very specific points that Dr_Manhattan had made.

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  22. David,

    1) Search the post for "infinite", there are quite a few unqualified mentions (this qualification being mathematically bizzarre, as you pointed out).
    2) I am not arguing that point here. While I'm not completely convinced the question cries out for explanation I am granting the point here. Not sure why I gave the opposite impression. (I do think the dichotomy is unnecessary - god could have created the multiverse, as a matter of fact the Talmud has some statements in line with that idea IIRC)

    Dr_Manhattan

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    1. Dr_Manhattan,

      1) It's a fair split, but yes, it is unqualified in several places. Interestingly, a similar search in the Carr-Ellis article yields a few unqualified infinity's, as well.

      2) It is true the dichotomy is unnecessary, but our only source of knowledge of other worlds to this point is from tradition (assuming we take this particular tradition literally). As far as scientific investigation is concerned, no one sees any reason for saying both are true. Indeed, God could have created the multiverse, but it is far less elegant than saying one universe with a handful of laws and constants. (I'm not taking up the larger point of the blog; I'm merely responding to your point.)

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  23. DH, when the scientific community at large says the only explaiation MUST be GOD then i will say the universe proves there is a GOD. i am reading the post b/c i would be very happy if the authors can prove GOD from the universe. i am hoping they can show (which i obviously feel they have not) that one doesnt need to presuppose GOD to find GOD in the universe. it would be comforting to know that my belief in GOD can be something more then just an accident of my upbringing and that my doubts can be removed. i do have issue with a bunch of (at best) talmudic scholars feeling very comfortable that many genius physicists are just making a mistake. i will stop commenting if it bothers you and read the posts in silence.

    SH

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    1. I'm confused...You say you will only accept the proof when the scientific community accepts it, but then go on to say you are reading the blog to see if the authors can prove God from the universe. Your standards for a proof seem to be inconsistent and not thought out.
      If you are waiting for the scientific community to come to a consensus on God, I'm afraid you will have to wait a long time (dare I say an infinitely long time).
      Why would I want you to stop commenting- and even if I did, why would you consent to such a silly request?

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  24. DH,
    you ask me why i am reading the blog i answer you along with an offer that if my comments bother you i can still attain my goal w/o commenting. i was being nice. there are different sources of proofs and for physics i would need for the physics community to arrive at the GOD conclusion. however i have less confidence in my mind and absolute beliefs then you apparantly do and am open to reading different opinions and gain some insight and knowledge.
    Please do not respond to me.
    SH

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    1. Is Albert Einstein a big enough authority in physics? Sure seems like he believed in some sort of intelligent creator/designer...

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    2. Jeffry Beer,

      Einstein made highly ambiguous statements about religion. One of the clearest was

      "It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it"
      (quoted here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_views_of_Albert_Einstein)

      I do not think he would support any teleological arguments, since he did not believe in any form of providence.

      Dr_Manhattan

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    3. Providence isn't synonymous with the idea of an Intelligent Designer with a purpose. Aristotle believed the world was made with a purpose in mind, yet he denied providence. My point is simply that you can have the concept of God without the concept of providence.

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    4. Rafi, I agree with you those two are separate, but the teleological explanation borders on implying that god cares about humans. I think Einstein would balk at this, I think

      "I believe in Spinoza's God, who reveals himself in the harmony of all that exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fate and the doings of mankind"

      Dr_Manhattan

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    5. Not sure what "borders" means in this case. God could have created the world with a purpose (that we should be aware, or whatever) but once He did that decide to leave it alone. In other words God cares about humans like He cares about all the results of this ordered creation. There's nothing special about human life but that doesn't mean that it isn't the result of a design. Providence or a God active in human history is additional to the concept of a world designed for man to think and be a certain way. Shavua tov, btw.

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  25. Jeff, he also believed in the static universe and fudged equations b/c of it. that doesnt mean he isnt brilliant it means that i dont follow EVERYTHING one scientist maintains. einstein also thought religion is crazy and he knew full well that the revelation at sinai is the jewish claim and ignored it. dont challenge me with arguments like "isnt einstein a big enough authority" it isnt useful to illiciting truth.

    SH

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    1. I never meant to imply that you should accept God because Einstein believed in a God of the cosmos. But the argument was advanced (I don't remember if it was you or Dr_Manhattan)that scientists don't believe in God because it's not part of science. I was merely trying to show that even someone who did not come to the table with fixed beliefs about God and religion could conclude an intelligent designer of the universe.

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  26. Ron Wadiz here.

    The "Fabric of the Cosmos" video "is no longer available due to a copyright claim by a third party". On Youtube, that is - you can see the whole 4th episode (53 minutes - that's what REF/RAZ embedded) at Nova's "Fabric" site:

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/physics/fabric-of-cosmos.html#fabric-multiverse

    Click on "Participants" to see who's in it besides Steven Weinberg.

    Anyone who wants to be sure that they can watch the other videos easily should download them. There are videos in Parts 3-5, 9-11, 14, 15 and 20 (having reached Part 25 already). REF/RAZ (R&R) - I made a list of all of the links - should I post it here?

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    1. Sure. Thanks for letting us know. We'll look into how we can handle it.

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    2. Here are all of the links: add at the beginning to each of them (after the Part #) http://www.youtube.com/watch?

      3 feature=player_embedded&v=i4T2Ulv48nw
      4 feature=player_embedded&v=WhGdVMBk6Zo
      5 v=ut-ZwWVotls&feature=player_embedded

      7 v=grvemUlzUXA (not available)

      9 v=EYPapE-3FRw&feature=player_embedded
      10 v=7kcTTBjJvME&feature=player_embedded
      11 v=I_FG8kRVWkQ&feature=player_embedded

      14 v=Y350oOiunf4&feature=player_embedded
      15 v=oyH2D4-tzfM&feature=player_embedded

      20 v=edsDrqfDVKY&feature=player_embedded

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    3. Thanks Ron. All the other videos seem to be working now.

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  27. With so many instances in history where ID has been proposed for various events, but in which science has found plausible physical mechanisms, it is natural for a “reasonable” person today, including a person who believes in God, to initially ask whether a natural mechanism, such as a multiverse rather than ID, might be responsible for the fine-tuned constants. It is not only atheists who would consider the multiverse as a possibility,but others as well. We have seen so many examples in the 20th century where our Sechel does not necessarily lead us to the right conclusion. Our Sechel tells us that clocks shouldn’t slow down with increased speed, or increase their mass, or shorten, that something cannot be in two different places at once, that time and space are absolute, and that a cause always precedes an effect. But science has found support for such weird ideas. We make these errors in “common sense” because throughout evolution, we have only had personal experience with one intermediate level of the universe, not the atomic level, or the level of vast distances and speeds, where things are different. Experiments have shown that our common sense can be wrong. The multiverse is a weird explanation, but there have been quite a few weird findings in the past century. While weirdness in itself is no reason to believe in something, our experience with weirdness in science requires us to consider the pros and cons of a hypothesis such as the multiverse before rejecting it too soon. Our knowledge of the size of the universe has grown from an earth-centered universe surrounded by a sphere of stars and planets, to a solar system, to a galaxy, to multiple galaxies. Perhaps there may be multiple universes.

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    1. The fact that multiverse theory is "weird" is not the main problem with it. We certainly agree that many of the discoveries of modern science are counterintuitive, and the fact that a particular theory is prima facia weird, does not justify rejecting it.

      With regards to your second point that "our knowledge of the size of the universe has grown from an earth-centered universe surrounded by a sphere of stars and planets, to a solar system, to a galaxy, to multiple galaxies. Perhaps there may be multiple universes." We would argue that this historical line of reasoning would actually work against the scientific validity of multiverse theory.

      Science has only expanded the scope of the known universe after having clear evidence that it is really bigger than originally conceived. This was always been done through the scientific method making critical use of empirical observation. Never before have the great men of science simply speculated that "Perhaps there are multiple solar systems. Perhaps there are multiple galaxies. Perhaps there are multiple universes...", and based on that speculation alone posited a bigger universe. Only through genuine scientific knowledge, based upon the scientific method, has science expanded the known universe. (For more on the scientific method, see post 9.)

      Perhaps there are multiple universes. Perhaps there are not. Perhaps there are demons. Perhaps there are not. These speculations do not constitute science, not because they are weird, but because they are totally unsupported by the scientific method.

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    2. The issue of the size of the universe is also a good illustration of how the connection between philosophy and physics can be easily mistaken. It is commonly thought that the view that the earth is in the center comes from an anthropocentric view of reality. However that is not actually true. Under the Aristotelian system that which was in the center was a qualitatively lower type of existence. The discovery that the earth is not the center was not a demoting of man from a place of importance but rather a demoting of the cosmos to the stature of the earth, (and possibly elevating man to being the only mind in the physical universe, as opposed to being an inferior mind to the spheres). The only way one can understand the true import of moving earth out of the center is by viewing it not merely as a material change of size or arrangement, but rather through a careful philosophical lens, this realization is not something that physicists are usually trained in since their focus is on the material motion, not the philosophical meaning of their discoveries.

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  28. The postulation of a multiverse is not simply the product of frustrated atheists who are struggling to find a way to deny ID. According to noted physicist Aurelien Barrau, the idea of multiple universes is more than a fantastic invention. It appears naturally within several theories, and deserves to be taken seriously. "It is important to underline that the multiverse is not a hypothesis invented to answer a specific question [whether or not there is ID]. It is simply a consequence of a theory usually built for another purpose.” In addition, Everett’s many worlds hypothesis, although it does not refer to fine-tuned constants, does raise the issue of multiple worlds that are variations on our own. It is a serious alternative to the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics, which would have a photon that has traveled billions of miles in all directions suddenly collapse in all directions to a single point where it comes in contact with matter.

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    1. Stage 2b is devoted to discussing the merits of the several theories in which the multiverse seems to appear naturally (Greene's 3 pillars of support), and why we do not think they serve as genuine indications that we actually live in a multiverse.

      Dr. Manhattan asked us about that quote from Barrau. Please see his comment on this post (post 7 dated July 5, 2012 10:42 PM), and our response to him.

      Regarding Everett's many worlds, see post 10 where we discuss its relevance (or lack thereof) to our argument. Also, in the comments on Post 11, Yaakov responded to a similar question from Dr. Manhattan with regards to the Many Worlds Interpretation.

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