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.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

God vs The Multiverse (Part 9: The Scientific Method)

In the previous post we showed that it is faulty to use the multiverse theory to explain anything because it is a theory which can equally explain everything. Therefore, explaining fine tuning with a multiverse is a 'multiverse of the gaps' argument which is desperately put forth to deny the indications of Intelligent Design.  In this post we will put that problem aside and explain why we believe that multiverse theory is not even science, but is rather bad philosophy of science.

One of the pillars of the scientific method has been the requirement that a theory should make predictions which can be reasonably tested.  This has allowed science to build solid foundations, as consensus forms only when there is objective confirmation in reality that a theory is true (or close to it).

Every theory of a multiverse is, almost by definition, not testable.  Sometimes its proponents invent far-fetched hypothetical tests (mentioned by Greene in the article), like maybe our universe collided with another universe and maybe we could somehow see the effects of that collision in the background radiation.  That is not what it means in science for something to be reasonably testable.  (In any event, even if we could somehow observe such a collision between one other universe, that still does not mean we could observe an infinite number of multiverses.  Nor could we ever know if the constants of nature or the laws themselves varied in these other multiverses.)

The question of whether the cause of the universe is intelligent or not, is a philosophical question.  The answer does not lead to testable conclusions.  It could be proven in the positive, if for example, the Intelligent Cause communicated its existence before millions of witnesses.  But that is not a reasonably repeatable test, and would therefore not come under the scientific method either.  Not all knowledge is subject to the scientific method (i.e., certain historical knowledge).

Our answer to this philosophical question, that the cause of the universe is Intelligent, is based upon mankind's understanding of modern physics.  It is a testament to the efficacy of the scientific method that we have enough knowledge about the physical universe to answer this philosophical question by virtue of our understanding of the fine tuning of the constants.  It is a philosophical conclusion rooted in verified scientific facts.

The theory of the multiverse is an attempt to answer a philosophical question with a near infinite number of unobservable universes and some hypothesized unintelligent number generator which randomly selects the values of the constants.  Despite what its proponents profess, the multiverse theory is not science.  It is untestable, non-falsifiable, metaphysics. In fact, because it is clear that it is not science, multiverse theorists are beginning to suggest that the definition of science be changed. (The requirements of prediction and testability.  See the Carr/Ellis article.)

The inquiry into the ultimate cause of the physical universe is bound to go beyond science and into philosophy.  Nevertheless, it is a worth while pursuit, and an important question that we would like to know as much about as the human mind is capable of comprehending (which might not be that much).  However, the answer cannot be tested, as it makes no concrete predictions.

It is therefore of paramount importance in this area to exercise proper methodology in thought.  One false step, based on poor philosophical reasoning, can send a person into the world of fiction and fantasy.  Without the check that empirical testing provides, a person's speculations can run reckless.  Physicists need to clearly separate between science and metaphysics.  To confuse the two areas of thought in a speculative theory of infinite physical universes with an unintelligent random number generator, is to do injury to both science and philosophy.

We would like to quote from the opening paragraphs of Stephen Hawking's book The Grand Design (2010), which is indicative of a general attitude of disdain physicists have towards philosophy.  This attitude has severely hampered their ability to develop proper methodology in philosophical thought.
"What is the nature of reality?  Where did all this come from?  Did the universe need a Creator?...Traditionally these are questions for philosophy, but philosophy is dead.  Philosophy has not kept up with modern developments in science, particularly physics.  Scientists have become the bearers of the torch of discovery in our quest for knowledge."
(Needless to say, philosophers do not take too kindly to this sentiment.)

Physicists steal the crown of science, the prestige that science has rightly attained because of its adherence to the scientific method, and use it to impress upon people the belief that the multiverse is a credible scientific theory. The multiverse is bad philosophy if believed to be true, and decent science fiction when it is recognized as a form of entertainment.

We have illustrated that based upon a correct knowledge of modern physics (which demonstrates fine tuning in the constants of nature), a reasonable person will conclude that the best, most likely explanation is that the constants have their specific values in order to bring about the unique universe that we observe.  This conclusion is not scientific knowledge itself, but rather philosophical knowledge derived from scientific knowledge.  There is no experiment we can set up to prove or disprove it.  It is philosophical reasoning applied to understanding the laws of physics and the constants, as they have been understood by science.

The division of Natural Philosophy into the two separate branches of knowledge of 'Science' and the 'Philosophy of Science', was the foundational move that gave rise to modern Science, and greatly improved both areas of knowledge.  If the foundation of Science is removed, the scientific model that rests upon it crumbles.  Scientific knowledge is the inheritance of Mankind, not the possession of a  community of people who do not practice the methodology of science itself.

The leading physicists of our generation, in their attempt to deny an Intelligent Agent, are destroying the bedrock of science.  When they put forth a philosophical theory of randomness and infinite possibilities under the guise of science, when they hide behind mathematical equations in an effort to avoid common sense reasoning, they are abandoning the methods of the great men of science who bequeathed to them the invaluable tools of proper investigation into the ways of nature.  They are replacing science with bad philosophy.

We have included a video of Richard Feynman discussing the scientific method.  What do you think he would say about the scientific merit of multiverse theory?


38 comments:

  1. RAZ/REF:I have thoroughly enjoyed your posts and the ensuing discussion. The problem I see with your most recent argument is this: the same way the idea of an intelligent creator is unprovable, so is the idea of the multiverse. So if you are comparing two equally unprovable arguments (by virtue of the scientific method), it will boil down to this: those who are looking for evidence of God in the universe will find it in the fine tuning. Those who are looking to deny the evidence of a creator will resort to the argument of the multiverse. So it will end up being a question of what you come to the table with. It does not seem that people like Dr_Manhattan will accept any argument for evidence of God in the universe, because he/they will accept any possible alternative explanation as long as it's statistically possible. The very existence of an unprovable hypothesis is great here because then it cannot be disproven either. People who find the idea of God intolerable (i.e., most physicists) will not accept the possibility of an intelligent designer at all. If you saw the email I sent you from Michael Shermer (eSkeptic), it is clear that the Skeptic community is against the idea of God and will never seriously consider the possibility of intelligent design.

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    1. We're glad you're enjoying the posts and the discussions. We think the debate is excellent as it brings out many of the nuances of the proof.

      We did not say that an Intelligent Agent was unprovable. We said it made no predictions, and was therefore not testable, and thus was not a scientific theory. It is a philosophical theory. Multiverse theory is also a philosophical theory for the very same reasons.

      The two, competing philosophical theories to explain the order in the universe are an Intelligent cause, or unintelligent randomness coupled with infinity.

      Can you prove scientifically that a spaceship on mars did not arise as the result of a random fluctuation? What is the prediction which sets up a critical test between the two theories?

      There is no test we could do such that a fool could not always argue that anything and everything we observe about it happened by chance. Nevertheless, we call this a proof. A rational person would infer that the cause of the order in the spaceship was an intelligent cause.

      There are other forms of knowledge besides scientific knowledge. To try to turn everything into scientific knowledge, makes you a fool in other areas or destroys the scientific method.

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    2. I agree with you completely, but, as you showed earlier (Hawking's statement), most scientists are not interested in philosophy -- that's why they won't even consider the possibility of an intelligent designer as a real hypothesis...

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    3. Hawking (and other scientists) claim that they are not interested in philosophy. Yet they proceed to engage in (bad) philosophy. Read the link in this post below the Hawking quote which elaborates on this point.

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    4. Regarding this point: "There are other forms of knowledge besides scientific knowledge. To try to turn everything into scientific knowledge, makes you a fool in other areas or destroys the scientific method."

      It's interesting how in the Feynman video (around 6:30) he takes a crack at Freudian psychology and psychology in general by saying that if you can't measure it, then you can't know it. I think that is pretty unreasonable, but I guess it it typical of a hardcore physicist or empiricist.

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    5. Feynman was the paradigmatic man of science. He hated philosophy and rarely missed an opportunity to mock it. He is unusually hard on the soft sciences. But at least he didn't engage in philosophy under the pretense that it was science.

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  2. Would you then say that a necessary point to be discussed over the course of this blog is the nature of philosophical thought at least in terms of choosing between G and the multiverse?

    Discussing Occam's Razor maybe?

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    1. Essentially we are using the razor. The razor is often misused and not understood, as it is primarily a methodology of thought principle. See
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam's_razor#Science_and_the_scientific_method

      We thought bringing it up would confuse people, but we certainly think that a proper application of the razor supports the simplest inference to an Intelligent Agent. It doesn't really help to quote the razor as an authoritative principle, as everyone seems to have a different idea of how it's employed

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    2. I think we could say that physicists/scientists try to avoid philosophy, but by rejecting the idea of an intelligent designer, they are making a philosophical decision. They see the multiverse as a theory rooted in science and the idea of God as non-scientific. But, as we have seen, the multiverse is far from a rational/scientific possibility

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  3. RAZ/REf, in your opinion was einstein a scientist?

    SH

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    1. We don't think Einstein needs our approval for his credentials as perhaps the greatest scientist of the modern era.

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  4. RAZ/REF, agreed! YET, he thought testing a theory was almost meaningless and beauty and simplicity were paramount. I am not claiming he would have liked the multiverse but i dont think he would have agreed with your argument. I am inclined to think he would have pondered the question of fine tuning for the duration of his life, but i admit i am no expert. HOWEVER, if i can arrange a debate with yourselves and Steven Weinberg and/or Edward Witten would you agree?

    SH

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    1. We recall from reading Einstein's book "The Evolution of Physics", that he understood that science demands prediction and testing. Here are some Einstein quotes from Wiki quote:

      "Fundamental ideas play the most essential role in forming a physical theory. Books on physics are full of complicated mathematical formulae. But thought and ideas, not formulae, are the beginning of every physical theory. The ideas must later take the mathematical form of a quantitative theory, to make possible the comparison with experiment."

      "Development of Western Science is based on two great achievements, the invention of the formal logical system (in Euclidean geometry) by the Greek philosophers, and the discovery of the possibility to find out causal relationships by systematic experiment (Renaissance). In my opinion one has not to be astonished that the Chinese sages have not made these steps. The astonishing thing is that these discoveries were made at all."

      A theory being beautiful and simple does not guarantee it's veracity, although great scientists often use beauty and simplicity as guides for truth. (This is part of what makes it so perverse when they claim that the ultimate reality is senseless, unintelligent randomness and chaos.)

      If you are friends with either Weinberg or Witten, you can tell them that we would really appreciate if they would comment on the blog about any Scientific or philosophical questions they have with the proof.

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    2. One further point on simplicity and beauty as a guide towards truth...

      While this a fairly subjective point, the theory of the multiverse (infinite chaotic randomness) does not seem to us to be a simple or beautiful theory. Even in the framework of using beauty and simplicity as a guide to discovering reality, it would seem that multiverse theory fails.

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    3. I have a question here... if one goes by the theory of the multiverse (infinite chaotic randomness) then aren't they saying that reality is fundamentally unintelligible? A random heap of bricks is not intelligible like a house or brick oven is. That is, it is only intelligible in terms of complete organized objects like 'bricks'. But if the matter of the bricks themselves were not organized in brick form, then there would not be intelligible bricks , merely the particles that bricks are formed from. So if you say at the most fundamental level that everything is random chaos sometimes giving rise to the appearance of form, (like if you threw ink on a page you might get a picture of some form) are you saying that reality is fundamentally an unintelligible heap?

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    4. Could our minds even observe such a thing?! Or would you simply say "There's nothing there."?

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    5. RAZ/REF >Even in the framework of using beauty and simplicity as a guide to discovering reality, it would seem that multiverse theory fails.

      i was adrressing your argument only insofar as you were bringing out the necessity of expirement and i suggested that einstein - if he found the multiverse beautiful - would have rejected your argument and would have waited. if your argument is the multiverse has inherent flaws, there is no beauty AND no expirement then i would agree that einstein would agree.

      SH

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    6. We are definitely saying that the multiverse is an incredibly ugly theory with no hope for ever having experimental confirmation.

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    7. Rafi,

      You are saying the point well. Chaotic randomness can not be grasped by the mind in an intelligible manner. For an elaboration on this point, see a thread from post 6 that starts with "joe on July 5, 2012 11:06 AM".

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    8. Thanks. "This is the sense in saying that with different fundamental constants, the universe would be unintelligible except for the fundamental laws of physics."

      When you say except for the fundamental laws of physics, does infinite chaotic randomness qualify as a law? Or is that by definition the opposite of order?

      I think my inquiry is directly related to Aristotle's idea of substance being unintelligible without form, but I am not sure if the theory of the multiverse is basically saying fundamentally there is no form.

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  5. will do and i will get back to you!

    SH

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  6. A note: We have researched Nick Bostrom's book (recommended by Dr. Manhattan, found at http://www.anthropic-principle.com/book/book.html) and have added some comments regarding it on posts 3 and 4. Any further comments on this can be continued in those posts.

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  7. > In the previous post we showed that it is faulty to use the multiverse theory to explain anything because it is a theory which can equally explain everything.

    I'm sorry, but you haven't showed that, at least not to my satisfaction. As we discussed in post 8, having 6 free variables (I'm going along with Reese) does not mean "anything". Each resulting universe will have consistent laws of its own. Certainly some of these universes would be strange to us, but they will be internally consistent. Your example of Santa is talking about quantum mechanics, which is not Linde's idea of the multiverse (though you could argue it's Tegamarks level 3... sidetrack). Besides, quantum mechanics is a well accepted theory that *hasn't* broken science, despite Spontaneous Santas. This is because while many (but not every) things are possible, they are not equally probable, driving search for better explanations.

    > Therefore, explaining fine tuning with a multiverse is a 'multiverse of the gaps' argument which is desperately put forth to deny the indications of Intelligent Design.

    Oh god, again, no. As is clear from the video in post 7, history of the multiverse theories was not driven by a desire to "deny indications of Intelligent Design", least of all "desperate", but by explaining certain theoretical problems in physics. Are you seriously for real or have you never got yourself out of a shtetl of some sort? These scientists, majority of whom are secular, and probably 2d generation secular, are not plagued by angst about "intelligent designers". It's simply a silly lie made up to make your "intellectual opponents" look weak. It sure doesn't make you look very strong.

    I personally find deism (which is the only thing you're attempting to 'prove' here) a highly non-threatening, and even noble (as applied by the Founding Fathers) notion, I just think it's most probably wrong. I suspect this attitude would not be uncommon in secular scientific community.

    Dr_Manhattan

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    1. In response to your first question:

      There are approximately 25 free parameters (constants) in the Standard Model of Particle Physics. They all vary randomly in multiverse theory. You are making a mistake about Reese's 6 numbers, probably because you have not read his book "Just 6 numbers".

      In Boltzmann's original multiverse of 1895, the universe was like a big, eternal box of chaotically interacting particles (according to Newtonian Mechanics). Even in that basic multiverse scenario where the laws don't change, nor do they follow quantum mechanics, every possible arrangement of particles occurs.

      This is simply a result of infinite time which conceptually leads to every possible arrangement happening an infinite number of times. Some arrangements will occur more frequently (which is not as easy to calculate as you might think), but every possible one will occur; and they will each occur an infinite number of times.

      You might not have "magic" in that multiverse scenario, but in a modern one where Quantum Mechanics rules, magic is not impossible, just highly improbable. Therefore, in a modern multiverse, magic and Santa will occur an infinite number of times.

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    2. In response to your second question which we have answered a number of times, so we'll say it a different way.

      The multiverse theory as a theory held by crazies is thousands of years old. So you are correct, it was not invented 25 years ago to solve the problem of the constants.

      However, multiverse theory as a credible theory held by mainstream scientists is a recent phenomenon (past 5-10 years). We are claiming that the reason, seemingly very intelligent people believe in the multiverse is because it is either God or the multiverse.

      To say it another way, 50 years ago Tegmark probably wouldn't have been a well respected professor at MIT with Richard Feynman. And the average person would not be 88% convinced that the multiverse really exists based on the nonsense that top scientists posit in an effort to deny God.

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    3. In response to your third point:

      We are not proving Deism as it is generally understood by Deists who deny miracles and Divine Providence. (That God created the universe and then left it.)

      While we said we are not going to prove Divine Providence, we stated clearly in the introduction that the proof is consistent the reality of Providence.

      There is nothing in this proof which makes it impossible for God to perform miracles, Providence, etc. (which violate the second law of thermodynamics), just like it does not prove that He does do these things.

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    4. >I'm sorry, but you haven't showed that, at least not to my satisfaction. As we discussed in post 8, having 6 free variables (I'm going along with Reese) does not mean "anything". Each resulting universe will have consistent laws of its own. Certainly some of these universes would be strange to us, but they will be internally consistent.

      You're proposing a multiverse theory with a finite number of universes. Though you are correct in pointing out that it is much less of a theoretical jump than infinite multiverses, it has not yet been shown to be the theory relied upon by its proponents. It definitely makes sense for you to assert it in this case as it undermines the necessary by-product of "everything that can happen will happen - infinitely", but it still has many problems with it.

      My main objection to it would be how to determine the actual amount. If there are multiple universes, let's say 5, it is still very very statistically suspect how well our universe is apparently designed for life and existence. If there were 12,000 the statistics would improve but unfortunately, given the numbers we've seen so far, not enough. I would have logical issue with someone posing the theory of ONE other universe with distinct physical laws with admittedly no proof whatsoever, let alone enough universes to explain fine tuning. If you really want to maintain that there are at least enough different universes in the multiverse to satisfy the fine tuning problem then I guess you're just lucky - since of course, you have no proof; scientific, logical, philosophical or otherwise.

      As to your attack on REF/RAZ's theory regarding the seemingly willful ignorance of multiverse theorists, there is simply no other explanation. These are men of science. Their profession is one characterized by vigorous research, meticulous detail, exhaustive experimentation, decades of reserved caution, countless abandoned theories and above all a basis in fact. It is nothing short of a repulsive insult to the very idea of science, to posit numerous universes operating in various ways distinct from those ever observed and possibly anything like anything ever observed, without any proof whatsoever, or any method of proof whatsoever, all the while abandoning every other scientific theory in the process as mere probable occurrences within an infinite set. It stands to reason, sanity, and common sense that they are biased in their conclusions. If they are not, then they have picked a purely random moment to abandon their life's dedication.

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    5. > There are approximately 25 free parameters (constants) in the Standard Model of Particle Physics. They all vary randomly in multiverse theory. You are making a mistake about Reese's 6 numbers, probably because you have not read his book "Just 6 numbers".

      Correct, I haven't read the book. I'll take your word for 25. Arguments stands.

      > In Boltzmann's original multiverse of 1895, the universe was like a big, eternal box of chaotically interacting particles (according to Newtonian Mechanics). Even in that basic multiverse scenario where the laws don't change, nor do they follow quantum mechanics, every possible arrangement of particles occurs.

      That is, every basic configuration of particles that follow a set of laws. E.g. superpostition of particles, or particles.

      > This is simply a result of infinite time which conceptually leads to every possible arrangement happening an infinite number of times. Some arrangements will occur more frequently (which is not as easy to calculate as you might think), but every possible one will occur; and they will each occur an infinite number of times.

      Ok!

      > You might not have "magic" in that multiverse scenario, but in a modern one where Quantum Mechanics rules, magic is not impossible, just highly improbable. Therefore, in a modern multiverse, magic and Santa will occur an infinite number of times.

      Quantum Mechanics happens to (pretty much for sure) rule the universe we live in already, with Santa-in-potentia and all. Nevertheless Science has done quite well, and keeps on doing well. I do not understand how you keep advancing "but think about the Santas!" argument against multiverse theories.

      Dr_Manhattan

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    6. > However, multiverse theory as a credible theory held by mainstream scientists is a recent phenomenon (past 5-10 years). We are claiming that the reason, seemingly very intelligent people believe in the multiverse is because it is either God or the multiverse.
      > To say it another way, 50 years ago Tegmark probably wouldn't have been a well respected professor at MIT with Richard Feynman. And the average person would not be 88% convinced that the multiverse really exists based on the nonsense that top scientists posit in an effort to deny God.

      First, you're making a psychological claim about a lot of professional scientists, without any evidence other than your dislike for the multiverse theory. As a matter of fact the one data point that you yourself brought in (so I can't be blamed for selecting evidence) indicates the opposite: you can watch Brian Geene's video on the history of multiverse here http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=grvemUlzUXA#t=947s, where it seems pretty clear that the resurgence of multiverse theories was due to scientific considerations, and not some struggle with fine-tuning. (My brief summary: Guth was pursuing a new ides of how early particles were formed, and how the properties of these particles affected the expansion of the Universe. Discovers repulsive gravity of expansion, explaining the inflation of the universe. Alex Vilenkin was thinking how inflation would stop. Realizes that inflation would not stop everywhere at once. The outcome of this is multiple universes.)

      I also find the often-repeated theistic claim that everyone is an intense god-denier psychologically implausible (and in the same vain as "all goyim secretly hate the jews"). From my little exposure to some of these people I'd venture a guess that they really just don't care, but I won't claim that I have any evidence for that either beyond first-person experience.

      As far as appealing to intuition that "Tegmark wouldn't be famous 50 years ago" - you're absolutely correct. Hugh Everett is the case in point, since he had a lot of the same ideas and could not get a job teaching physics. But physics is plagued with examples of such things, cf. Khun's Structure of Scientific Revolutions, or Max Plank's statement that the science advances with every funeral. Boltzmann's ideas were not accepted to a degree that seriously contributed to his suicide, and he only invented statistical mechanics. The real truth is that the Universe is pretty weird, and our mental apparatus has a lot of trouble coping. So this intuition "he would be rejected 50 years ago" does not do much for me.

      Dr_Manhattan

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    7. > We are not proving Deism as it is generally understood by Deists who deny miracles and Divine Providence. (That God created the universe and then left it.)

      > While we said we are not going to prove Divine Providence, we stated clearly in the introduction that the proof is consistent the reality of Providence.

      > There is nothing in this proof which makes it impossible for God to perform miracles, Providence, etc. (which violate the second law of thermodynamics), just like it does not prove that He does do these things.

      Ok, thanks for clarification, I have no issue with that other than that would require a whole lot more proving beyond what you are trying to do here.

      Dr_Manhattan

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    8. Please watch the video from post 7 that you quoted from the 22-26 minute marks. Almost every scientist said at that point (Weinberg, Steinhardt, etc), that the multiverse was not science as you could never observe the other universes. The only guy who pushed it was Andrei Linde.

      The scientific community as a whole only started singing a different tune after the discovery of the fine tuning of the cosmological constant (we think around 1998. String Theory's "proof" only came around 2005).

      Watch those 4 minutes of the video. It is stated openly.

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    9. Science has done well and keeps doing well because it rejects the santa-like occurrences (whose probability is astonishingly low) as 'basically' impossible. If a person appears to fly, even though it is possible according to quantum, we assume that we are not in a multiverse in which this man flies at this moment, but we look for a more reasonable explanation (i.e., it's a magic trick). We do not accept such a low probability event as a possibility.

      With this criteria in mind, when faced with the fine tuning of the constants and the initial conditions (whose probability is astonishingly low), scientists explain it by saying that we are in the multiverse with these constants and initial conditions. They accept such a low probability occurrence as a possibility. Hence the inconsistency.

      Following the way science works, it would be appropriate to reject this as an explanation and be led to conclude that the universe was fine tuned by an Intelligent Designer.

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  8. > Science has done well and keeps doing well because it rejects the santa-like occurrences (whose probability is astonishingly low) as 'basically' impossible.
    > With this criteria in mind, when faced with the fine tuning of the constants and the initial conditions (whose probability is astonishingly low), scientists explain it by saying that we are in the multiverse with these constants and initial conditions. They accept such a low probability occurrence as a possibility. Hence the inconsistency.

    This does not follow. In the one case, we could calculate "probability of quantum-mechanical (QM) Santa", and "probability of a magic trick", compare the two, and make the appropriate decisions. If scientists said "yes, this is very improbable but QM dictates Santas will occur", they would be "accepting improbable events" (which they occasionally do, in cases like quantum tunneling).

    When they say multiverse explains fine-tuning, they are not "accepting improbable events". They are saying "the total universe is big". That makes finding many values of constants in existence much more probable. Combined with the observer selection effect (the observer will be located in the universe instance that allow her existence) makes seeing the kind of universe we're seeing a very probable (certain) event.

    The only thing you could claim is that the "god theory" is a better/simpler theory than the multiverse, but I have strong reasons to think otherwise.

    Dr_Manhattan

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    1. Correct, that is what we mean. In order to explain away the low probability of the initial conditions, they posit a near infinite number of universes to make it "likely". We think God is a better and simpler theory.

      We'll explain the "Santa" problem implicitly a little more in a later post about the Boltzmann Brain problem, so let's leave further discussion on that point until then.

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  9. You have excellently pointed out the problems with the multiverse argument. The multiverse has never been observed, and we presently do not have a way to investigate whether or not it exists. Yet there is the same problem with postulating a God. The existence of God has resisted observation or falsification and raises questions as to how a single simplest entity, even in the Abraham sense that you discuss, would have the quality of “intention” of creating a single world with a particular set of constants. It seems to me that the burden of proof rests on both the multiverse and ID advocates. There is simply not enough evidence to decide at this time between these choices.

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    1. The problem with the multiverse is not merely that it has not been observed. The multiverse of the gaps argument (post 8) shows that infinitely many tries and total randomness can explain anything and everything. It is therefore not an explanation at all.

      The fact that it has never been observed, nor does it seem possible to investigate, merely shows that it is not currently a scientific explanation (as scientists would like us to believe). It is a conjecture that comes under the realm of philosophy (not the area of expertise of scientists). Once it is clear that it is philosophy, we argue that it is bad philosophy. Design points to a designer. To posit infinitely many universes and total randomness to explain the illusion of order and structure is bad thinking. To follow the evidence of a Designer implied by the order and design in the universe is good thinking.

      The question of how God could create a single universe with a particular set of constants is an excellent one. Post 21 is devoted to answering this question. If you have a question on this explanation, feel free to comment there.

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  10. The argument against a multiverse is weakened, as you point out so clearly, because we have never observed one and do not know how to test for one. Multiverse theory may, however, eventually be testable and make predictions, although now it is not known how to do this. Rees agrees that it may never be possible to observe other universes directly, but he argues that scientists may still be able to make a convincing case for their existence. To do that, he says, physicists will need a theory of the multiverse that makes new but testable predictions about properties of our own universe. If experiments confirmed such a theory’s predictions about the universe we can see, Rees believes they would also make a strong case for the reality of those we cannot.

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    1. To say that maybe one day we will figure out how to make predictions and experiments from a theory, by itself does not place a theory within the scientific framework. Wolfgang Pauli, one of the founders of quantum mechanics, used to have a saying that went something like "there will be no credits for the future". If and when there is a genuine prediction, it will be subject to the scientific method, and only then will it be part of science.

      There is a subtle point here that we think is worth elaborating on. Sometimes you can have a theory which doesn't have any experimental confirmation right now, but it is reasonable to believe that in the next few years or so there will be a chance to perform observations about the theory's predictions. For example, Pauli postulated the existence of the neutrino in 1930 which wasn't directly observed until 1956. (Pauli had a humorous quote about this in 1930 which illustrates the point: "I have done a terrible thing, I have postulated a particle that cannot be detected.")

      It was reasonable to think that there might be a real possibility one day of detecting a neutrino particle that exists in this universe. However, it is a highly dubious claim that one day we are going to be able to do experiments that confirm predictions of infinitely many alternate universes that are not causally related to our observable universe. For example, what would you say to someone who claimed that one day in the future we will be able to scientifically confirm the existence of an afterlife?

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