Why the Multiverse Has to Be

I stumbled on this post by the blogger Wintery Knight. I recommend you read his post but to summarize, he quotes an MIT physicist explaining the "fine-tuning" necessary for life to exist and how the (unobservable) multiverse helps to explain it (see quote below from Harper's magazine article title Science's Crisis of Faith).

. . .

While challenging the Platonic dream of theoretical physicists, the multiverse idea does explain one aspect of our universe that has unsettled some scientists for years: according to various calculations, if the values of some of the fundamental parameters of our universe were a little larger or a little smaller, life could not have arisen. For example, if the nuclear force were a few percentage points stronger than it actually is, then all the hydrogen atoms in the infant universe would have fused with other hydrogen atoms to make helium, and there would be no hydrogen left. No hydrogen means no water. Although we are far from certain about what conditions are necessary for life, most biologists believe that water is necessary. On the other hand, if the nuclear force were substantially weaker than what it actually is, then the complex atoms needed for biology could not hold together. As another example, if the relationship between the strengths of the gravitational force and the electromagnetic force were not close to what it is, then the cosmos would not harbor any stars that explode and spew out life-supporting chemical elements into space or any other stars that form planets. Both kinds of stars are required for the emergence of life. The strengths of the basic forces and certain other fundamental parameters in our universe appear to be “fine-tuned” to allow the existence of life. The recognition of this fine­tuning led British physicist Brandon Carter to articulate what he called the anthropic principle, which states that the universe must have the parameters it does because we are here to observe it. Actually, the word anthropic, from the Greek for “man,” is a misnomer: if these fundamental parameters were much different from what they are, it is not only human beings who would not exist. No life of any kind would exist.

If such conclusions are correct, the great question, of course, is why these fundamental parameters happen to lie within the range needed for life. Does the universe care about life? Intelligent design is one answer. Indeed, a fair number of theologians, philosophers, and even some scientists have used fine-tuning and the anthropic principle as evidence of the existence of God. For example, at the 2011 Christian Scholars’ Conference at Pepperdine University, Francis Collins, a leading geneticist and director of the National Institutes of Health, said, “To get our universe, with all of its potential for complexities or any kind of potential for any kind of life-form, everything has to be precisely defined on this knife edge of improbability…. [Y]ou have to see the hands of a creator who set the parameters to be just so because the creator was interested in something a little more complicated than random particles.”

Intelligent design, however, is an answer to fine-tuning that does not appeal to most scientists. The multiverse offers another explanation. If there are countless different universes with different properties—for example, some with nuclear forces much stronger than in our universe and some with nuclear forces much weaker—then some of those universes will allow the emergence of life and some will not. Some of those universes will be dead, lifeless hulks of matter and energy, and others will permit the emergence of cells, plants and animals, minds. From the huge range of possible universes predicted by the theories, the fraction of universes with life is undoubtedly small. But that doesn’t matter. We live in one of the universes that permits life because otherwise we wouldn’t be here to ask the question.

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HT: Wintery Knight.

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5 thoughts on “Why the Multiverse Has to Be

  1. Materialistic blind chance (atheism) tries to escape being completely crushed, by the overwhelming weight of evidence for design of the universe, revealed by extreme fine-tuning, by appealing to an infinity of other untestable universes in which all other possibilities have been played out. Yet there is absolutely no hard physical evidence to support this blind chance conjecture. In fact, the ‘infinite multiverse’ conjecture suffers from some very serious, and deep, flaws of logic.
    The Absurdity of Inflation, String Theory & The Multiverse – Dr. Bruce Gordon – video
    http://vimeo.com/34468027
    The End Of Materialism? – Dr. Bruce Gordon
    * In the multiverse, anything can happen for no reason at all.
    * In other words, the materialist is forced to believe in random miracles as a explanatory principle.
    * In a Theistic universe, nothing happens without a reason. Miracles are therefore intelligently directed deviations from divinely maintained regularities, and are thus expressions of rational purpose.
    * Scientific materialism is (therefore) epistemically self defeating: it makes scientific rationality impossible.
    As well, this hypothetical infinite multiverse obviously begs the question of exactly which laws of physics, arising from which material basis, are telling all the other natural laws in physics what, how and when, to do the many precise unchanging things they do in these other universes? Eactly where is this universe creating machine to be located? Moreover, if an infinite number of other possible universes must exist in order to explain the fine tuning of this one, then why is it not also infinitely possible for a infinitely powerful and transcendent Creator to exist? Using the materialist same line of reasoning for an infinity of multiverses to ‘explain away’ the extreme fine-tuning of this one we can thusly surmise; If it is infinitely possible for God to exist then He, of 100% certainty, must exist no matter how small the probability is of His existence in one of these other infinity of universes, and since He certainly must exist in some possible world then he must exist in all possible worlds since all possibilities in all universes automatically become subject to Him since He is, by definition, transcendent and infinitely Powerful.,,, To clearly illustrate the level of absurdity of what materialists now consider their cutting edge science: The materialistic conjecture of an infinity of universes to ‘explain away’ the fine tuning of this one also insures the 100% probability of the existence of Pink Unicorns no matter how small the probability is of them existing (Though since a pink unicorn is a ‘contingent being’, instead of a ‘necessary being’ like God, this means that pink unicorns will only exist in ‘some’ possible worlds in the multiverse scenario). Thus it is self-evident that the atheistic materialists have painted themselves into a inescapable corner of logical absurdities in trying to find an escape from the Theistic implications we are finding for the fine-tuning of this universe.
    The preceding argument has actually been made into a formal philosophical proof:
    The Ontological Argument (The Introduction) – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJRQmsuEksc
    Ontological Argument For God From The Many Worlds Hypothesis – William Lane Craig – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4784641
    God Is Not Dead Yet – William Lane Craig – Page 4
    The ontological argument. Anselm’s famous argument has been reformulated and defended by Alvin Plantinga, Robert Maydole, Brian Leftow, and others. God, Anselm observes, is by definition the greatest being conceivable. If you could conceive of anything greater than God, then that would be God. Thus, God is the greatest conceivable being, a maximally great being. So what would such a being be like? He would be all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-good, and he would exist in every logically possible world. But then we can argue:
    1. It is possible that a maximally great being (God) exists.
    2. If it is possible that a maximally great being exists, then a maximally great being exists in some possible world.
    3. If a maximally great being exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world.
    4. If a maximally great being exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world.
    5. Therefore, a maximally great being exists in the actual world.
    6. Therefore, a maximally great being exists.
    7. Therefore, God exists.
    Now it might be a surprise to learn that steps 2–7 of this argument are relatively uncontroversial. Most philosophers would agree that if God’s existence is even possible, then he must exist. So the whole question is: Is God’s existence possible? The atheist has to maintain that it’s impossible that God exists. He has to say that the concept of God is incoherent, like the concept of a married bachelor or a round square. But the problem is that the concept of God just doesn’t appear to be incoherent in that way. The idea of a being which is all-powerful, all knowing, and all-good in every possible world seems perfectly coherent. And so long as God’s existence is even possible, it follows that God must exist.
    http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2008/july/13.22.html?start=4
    I like the following concluding comment about the ontological argument from following the Dr. Plantinga video:
    “God then is the Being that couldn’t possibly not exit.”
    Ontological Argument – Dr. Plantinga (3:50 minute mark)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCXvVcWFrGQ
    This following video refines the Ontological argument to a irrefutable proof for Christianity:
    The Ontological Argument for the Triune God – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vGVYXog8NUg

  2. Reminds me of the thought I had when I heard Eliezer and Robert Wright’s baeoginghglds talk.Robert Wright basically believes that there is high probability that there is a God pattern imprinted on our universe and it is Non-Zero .During the dialogue, Eliezer wanted Robert to distinguish between the accident hypothesis and the non-zero hypothesis. He also mentioned that he would see the difference between the two by solomonoff induction, as in the shortest computer program that can output the result seen.Now, any accident hypothesis involves a random number function, right?The best random number functions are those that either or are very long.Assume we figure out the length of the program required to generate a general intelligence. Let this length be Lg. Let us say that there is a parallel group working on generating the simplest program that can reliably recreate seemingly random patterns in nature. Let this program once it halts (nothing in our reality surprises it anymore) have the length Lr.If the program never halts and Lr is continuously increasing, or Lr is > Lg, then solomonoff induction would imply that an intelligent designer is the better hypothesis. Is this right?Which would imply that from studying the randomness of nature and the nature of intelligence, we can figure out some day whether we are in a purposeful or a random universe. Is this correct?I think that is a more important question than whether we are level zero because even if we are in a created universe, we might need to understand our Lr.

  3. Wow, this is an incredibly gelbrad article. I sort of expect it from Dr. Quantum who often produces stuff that skirts the edges of quantum flapdoodle, but I would have expected Sean to be more careful (or at least more highly attuned to to possibility of an out of context quote).

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