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This is exceptionally silly even for current cosmology

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In response to Alan Lightman’s Here at Brain Pickings:, speculation about a multiverse, as an alternative to evidence for fine-tuning of the only universe we actually know anything about:

If the multiverse idea is correct, then the historic mission of physics to explain all the properties of our universe in terms of fundamental principles — to explain why the properties of our universe must necessarily be what they are — is futile, a beautiful philosophical dream that simply isn’t true. Our universe is what it is simply because we are here. The situation can be likened to that of a group of intelligent fish who one day begin wondering why their world is completely filled with water. Many of the fish, the theorists, hope to prove that the cosmos necessarily has to be filled with water. For years, they put their minds to the task but can never quite seem to prove their assertion. Then a wizened group of fish postulates that maybe they are fooling themselves. Maybe, they suggest, there are many other worlds, some of them completely dry, some wet, and everything in between.

The Accidental Universe is an exquisitely mind-bending read in its entirety, the kind that will leave you at once educated and disoriented, but above all able to embrace and celebrate the profound uncertainty that propels rather than hinders human knowledge.

Actually, the main thing the multiverse puts an end to is science. Science doesn’t thrive well in a state of permanent profound uncertainty. See But who needs reality-based thinking anyway? Not the new cosmologists

But non-reality-based thinking is just what multiverse theory does, and is possibly intended to do. The alternative would be to investigate fine tuning for whatever it actually is.

As with so many cutting edge areas, naturalists would perhaps rather just not have answers than have answers that challenge naturalism.

See also:

December 2014: Events that made a difference to ID – one of which was Nature sponsoring a protest against crackpot cosmology of this sort (which is increasingly accompanied by demands to dump falsifiability, Occam’s razor, etc.)

The Science Fictions series at your fingertips (cosmology).

and

Would we give up naturalism to solve the hard problem of consciousness?

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31 Replies to “This is exceptionally silly even for current cosmology

  1. 1
    Seversky says:

    It’s conjecture. It’s certainly speculative and it might be completely on the wrong track but why is it silly?

  2. 2
    ppolish says:

    “Then a wizened group of fish postulates that maybe they are fooling themselves. Maybe, they suggest, there are many other worlds, some of them completely dry, some wet, and everything in between.”

    “Wizened Fish” and “Waking Puddles” are silly, Seversky. Using “Wizened” and “Waking” to prove “Oops, an Accidental Universe” is even sillier.

  3. 3
    SteveGoss says:

    If there really is a multiverse with thousands or millions of other universes then there is bound to be a few of them that can actually detect those other universes. And at least one which not only can detect but can also destroy those other universes.

    Sleep tight…

  4. 4
    Axel says:

    Shouldn’t that be ‘infinite’, rather then ‘profound’ uncertainty, Denyse?

  5. 5
    Box says:

    SteveGoss, IMHO you raise an interesting point. A huge amount of universes are needed to make the existence of our universe likely. Most of them are highly unstable and dangerous to our universe. Why didn’t anything happen after all this time? Are we extremely lucky so far?

  6. 6
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    Box said,

    Why didn’t anything happen after all this time? Are we extremely lucky so far?

    elsewhere Zac says,

    There may be an underlying symmetry as yet undiscovered. No one knows.

    😉

    In other words:::

    It’s all just a temporary gap in scientific understanding

    Someday in the sweet scientific bye and bye we might understand why one of the millions of real but unobservable universes did not kill us last night in our sleep.

    Until then we must remain strong in our faith and never doubt the promise that Mighty materialistic Science will explain it all in the end.

    peace

  7. 7
    Seversky says:

    Maybe we’ll understand it at some point, maybe not but the mystery is still fascinating, don’t you think?

    Or maybe you think that it’s simply irrelevant. All we need to do is bide our time, say a few prayers, maybe sing a few hymns. Pretty soon we’ll all – okay, maybe not all – move on to the afterlife of eternal bliss where we won’t have to bother our little heads about such petty matters ever again. Isn’t that what you want?

  8. 8
    Zachriel says:

    fifthmonarchyman: It’s all just a temporary gap in scientific understanding

    It may or may not be temporary, though science has a way of uncovering mysteries that surprise the elders.

    fifthmonarchyman: Until then we must remain strong in our faith and never doubt the promise that Mighty materialistic Science will explain it all in the end.

    Actually, science is always necessarily limited. Think of it as a beam of light peering into the vastness leaving most of the universe in darkness.

  9. 9
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    Seversky says,

    Maybe we’ll understand it at some point, maybe not but the mystery is still fascinating, don’t you think?

    I say,

    I do find mystery fascinating.

    I don’t think the benevolence of the hypothetical residents of the millions of unobservable universes qualifies as a mystery. More like wild imagination

    you say,

    All we need to do is bide our time, say a few prayers, maybe sing a few hymns. Pretty soon we’ll all – okay, maybe not all – move on to the afterlife of eternal bliss where we won’t have to bother our little heads about such petty matters ever again. Isn’t that what you want?

    I say,

    What???

    whatever possibly gave you that idea?

    It seems to me that the only ones who would find inquiry to be irrelevant would be those who hold to a multiverse where anything and everything can and will eventually happen.

    My worldview holds that discovery is the reason we are here and mankind was created to spend forever doing just that.

    quote:

    [That you may] have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
    (Eph 3:18)

    end quote:

    It’s the followers of Scientism who forsake investigation and instead are content to wait in the blind hope that “science” will eventually figure it all out.

    peace

  10. 10
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    Zac says,

    Think of it [science] as a beam of light peering into the vastness leaving most of the universe in darkness.

    I say,

    spoken like a true believer. No wonder you have so much faith.

    The rest of us think of science as simply a handy tool for empirical investigation.

    peace

  11. 11
    Zachriel says:

    Zachriel: Think of it [science] as a beam of light peering into the vastness leaving most of the universe in darkness.

    fifthmonarchyman: spoken like a true believer. No wonder you have so much faith.

    Do you not think that science can shed light on what was previously unknown?

  12. 12
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    Zac says,

    Do you not think that science can shed light on what was previously unknown?

    I say

    I think individuals can shed light on on what was previously unknown.

    I think science is one of many tools that individuals use to do things like shed light on what was previously unknown?

    I think anthropomorphizing “Science” as if it could on it’s own enlighten is what true believers in Scientism do.

    peace

  13. 13
    Zachriel says:

    fifthmonarchyman: I think individuals can shed light on on what was previously unknown.

    And yet Newton said the if he had seen further it was by standing on the shoulders of giants.
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wi.....soleil.jpg

    In other words, science is a collective activity, which is what one generally means when one says “Think of science as a beam of light peering into the vastness leaving most of the universe in darkness.”

  14. 14
    Mapou says:

    One of the problems with the mental midgets who promote their infinite universe conjectures (they are religious supplications from the faithful, really) is their total lack of understanding of what makes this universe what it is and what is required to make a universe. Heck, these same people have no clue as to why two bodies in relative inertial motion remain in motion. Their ignorance is deep and in your face.

    It doesn’t take long to realize that it’s just magical poofery all over again. Let there be an infinite number of universes and an infinite number of universes are magically poofed into existence. LOL. The Force is strong with the superstitious. The dark side of the Force, that is.

    ahahaha…AHAHAHA…ahahaha…

  15. 15
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    zac says,

    And yet Newton said the if he had seen further it was by standing on the shoulders of giants.

    I say,

    Notice He did not say

    “If I have seen further it is by standing on ye sholders of Science.”

    Only a true believer would talk like that

  16. 16
    Zachriel says:

    fifthmonarchyman: “If I have seen further it is by standing on ye sholders of Science.”

    Now you’re just being silly. Newton didn’t literally stand on giants. It’s an analogy. We explained how we were using the term science, to refer to a collective activity.

    The collective activity we call science provides a methodology for extending knowledge of a vast universe. While this acquisition of knowledge is necessarily limited, it is often surprising in its perspicacity.

  17. 17
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    zac says,

    While this acquisition of knowledge is necessarily limited, it is often surprising in its perspicacity.

    I say,

    wow

    First Science equals the collective individuals who use the tool now Science equals the very act of acquiring knowledge itself.

    All hail the great and powerful OZ I mean Science.

    It’s good to know you have such an worthy object in which to place your trust.

    peace

  18. 18
    Zachriel says:

    fifthmonarchyman: First Science equals the collective individuals who use the tool now Science equals the very act of acquiring knowledge itself.

    You don’t read very carefully, almost as if you don’t want to. For instance,

    fifthmonarchyman: All hail the great and powerful OZ I mean Science.

    We specifically stated that “science is always necessarily limited,” yet you explicitly misrepresent our comment.

  19. 19
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    Zac says,

    “science is always necessarily limited,”

    I say,

    So is OZ. So is Zeus.

    The point is not about the necessary limitations of science it is about the diverse and amazing properties you ascribe to it?

    Apparently in your view Science is both personal and transcendent. It’s a light in the darkness and the collective existence of the hallowed ancestors.

    No wonder you trust it so.

    For the rest of us science is just a handy tool for empirical inquiry,

    Peace

  20. 20
    Zachriel says:

    fifthmonarchyman: The point is not about the necessary limitations of science it is about the diverse and amazing properties you ascribe to it?

    Science has been remarkably effect over the last several centuries in terms of discovering properties of the natural world. What other “diverse and amazing properties” do you think are being ascribed to science?

    fifthmonarchyman: For the rest of us science is just a handy tool for empirical inquiry

    Science has been far more than a handy tool. Scientific discoveries have remade human society.

  21. 21
    ppolish says:

    What boggles my mind is the belief some hold that we are an “insignificant pale blue dot “. Insignificant as far as mass/volume is concerned, but that is such a basic/nonsense metric for measuring significance.

    Even a pond teeming with life on this “pale blue dot” is absolutely stunning. The result of fine tuning that most can’t even begin to comprehend. And placing that pond in a multiverse that is virtually infinite and virtually all dead increases that pond’s significance immeasurably.

  22. 22
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    Zac said.

    Scientific discoveries have remade human society.

    I say,

    You do know that the rest of us don’t think of science as a person don’t you? Science can not do anything it has no hands or feet.

    Scientific discoveries have not remade human society.

    People have remade society. Science is only a tool that they have used to that end sometimes for good sometimes for ill.

    peace

  23. 23
    Zachriel says:

    ppolish: What boggles my mind is the belief some hold that we are an “insignificant pale blue dot “. Insignificant as far as mass/volume is concerned, but that is such a basic/nonsense metric for measuring significance.

    It’s called irony.

    From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of any particular interest. But for us, it’s different. Consider again that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p86BPM1GV8M

    fifthmonarchyman: You do know that the rest of us don’t think of science as a person don’t you?

    We have already explained our use of the word science. It seems a matter of refusal on your part rather than a simple lack of understanding that leads you to continue to misrepresent our position.

    Is your position so weak that you must rely on semantic arguments that have already been addressed?

    fifthmonarchyman: Scientific discoveries have not remade human society.

    Finding cures for disease has, indeed, changed society, as have countless other scientific discoveries.

  24. 24
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    Zac said,

    Finding cures for disease has, indeed, changed society, as have countless other scientific discoveries.

    I say,

    People find cures for disease. Science does not. Science is not a person it is a tool people use.

    You say,

    We have already explained our use of the word science.

    I say,

    Which explanation is that?

    The one where you equated Science to Newton’s giants?

    or The one where you expressed hope that “Science” would explain it all one day?

    or The one where you called “Science” a beam of light peering into the vastness shedding light on the previously unknown?

    Or the one where you said the discoveries of “Science” cured disease and remade society

    or The one where you called “Science” a collective activity providing a methodology for extending knowledge of a vast universe?

    Or the one where you equated science the acquisition of knowledge itself?

    You say,

    Is your position so weak that you must rely on semantic arguments that have already been addressed?

    I say

    What position is that? I’m not advocating any position at all right now nor am I making a semantic argument

    I’m merely pointing out how religious your descriptions of “Science” sound to others.

    To get an idea of how you sound substitute the word Allah or Karma for “Science” in each of the sentences above and see if it does not sound a little worshipful

    peace

  25. 25
    Zachriel says:

    fifthmonarchyman: The one where you equated Science to Newton’s giants?

    Heh. Poor, poor deluded Newton; thinking he stood on the shoulders of giants. What a “fruitcake”!

    Science is an enterprise for adding to the body of knowledge about that natural world characterized by the proposal of testable explanations and empirical testing of those explanations. Science, the systematic activity just described, has been remarkably effect over the last several centuries in terms of discovering properties of the natural world. What other “diverse and amazing properties” do you think are being ascribed to science?

  26. 26
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    Zac said,

    Poor, poor deluded Newton; thinking he stood on the shoulders of giants. What a “fruitcake”!

    I say

    The giants that Newton were referring to were flesh and blood men not tall necessarily but men of renown none the less.

    You appear to be arguing still that Newton instead was referring to a process as if it had feelings and intentions and celebrity.

    You say,

    Science, the systematic activity just described, has been remarkably effect over the last several centuries in terms of discovering properties of the natural world.

    I say

    Science is not a person it has not been effective at discovering anything. People make discoveries not processes.

    Perhaps an example will help you to see how you sound to others.

    What would you think if I said

    “Democracy has been remarkably effective in electing qualified leaders over the last several centuries.”

    or

    Capitalism has been remarkably effective at acquiring wealth for individuals over the last several centuries.

    Statements like this sound odd because they anthropomorphize processes.

    Democracy did not elect anybody Capitalism did not acquire any wealth and Science did not discover anything.

    These are just tools used by people. Sometimes for good sometimes for ill.

    I get the feeling that your presuppositions are such that you are unable to see even this simple fact so I’ll let you have the last word

    peace

  27. 27
    Zachriel says:

    fifthmonarchyman: The giants that Newton were referring to were flesh and blood men not tall necessarily but men of renown none the less.

    Ah, so we’re not to take his words in the literal sense, but must read into the statement that he was referring to non-giant people.

    fifthmonarchyman: You appear to be arguing still that Newton instead was referring to a process as if it had feelings and intentions and celebrity.

    No. Newton was referring to scientists, not science. Nonetheless, you have to avoid a literal interpretation, or you might think he was daft rather than expressing an important point about scientific progress.

    fifthmonarchyman: “Democracy has been remarkably effective in electing qualified leaders over the last several centuries.”

    The statement doesn’t make much sense, but if you were to say “Democracy safeguards rights,” or “Capitalism creates economic wealth,” then it would make sense. Even though both democracy and capitalism are the actions of individuals, there is nothing that prevents us from discussing them as corporate entities.

    Another example would be “Japan attacked the U.S. on December 7, 1941.” This is easily parsed in the English language, and there is no ambiguity. Everyone knows it doesn’t mean the island of Japan jumped across the Pacific to land on top of North America, nor does it mean that every person in Japan was involved in the decision or in the act.

    fifthmonarchyman: Statements like this sound odd because they anthropomorphize processes.

    No. Your statements sound odd because democracy doesn’t elect. However, democracy does safeguard rights. For an example of this standard usage with regards to science, please refer to the title of Russell, The Impact of Science on Society, Columbia University Press 1951.

  28. 28
    Zachriel says:

    To be fair, it is possible for someone to anthropomorphise a corporate entity, and ascribe irrelevant properties. However, as we explicitly provided an orthodox definition of science, that was certainly not a valid objection in this case. We certainly can consider science as an enterprise that has changed society in numerous ways.

  29. 29
    Mapou says:

    Zachriel:

    To be fair, it is possible for someone to anthropomorphise a corporate entity, and ascribe irrelevant properties.

    Not unlike the way you you portray yourself as a “we” and actually believe in your own nonsense. Mental illness comes to mind.

  30. 30
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    @ Zac,

    why do you keep drawing me back in?

    Are you now actually equating a process “Science” with a nation “Japan”?

    It is so much worse than I thought.

    Japan is a nation Science is a process.

    processes are not like nations.
    Nations are made up of real flesh and blood people
    processes are not. Nations have leaders and armies and economies processes do not

    We might say that Japan attacked us in 1941 but we would not say nationalism or militarism did.

    This time I really mean it last word

    peace

  31. 31
    Zachriel says:

    fifthmonarchyman: We might say that Japan attacked us in 1941 but we would not say nationalism or militarism did.

    No, but we might say that nationalism and militarism led to war, capitalism leads to economic wealth, and science has brought about profound changes in human society.

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