Intelligent Design Multiverse News

Black hole physicist Don Page reviews two multiverse books

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Further to: Science writer: Many Worlds (multiverse) as a fantasy, verging on nihilism,

here’s University of Alberta physicist Don Page’s two-book review (public access) at Physics Today:

Worlds Without End: The Many Lives of the Multiverse, Mary-Jane Rubenstein, Columbia U. Press, 2014

Rubenstein’s balanced account reviews the many arguments for and against the multiverse and the philosophical and theological implications of those arguments. For example, near the end of the book, she discusses what Friedrich Nietzsche calls “the self-overcoming of Christianity.” As Rubenstein interprets this, “Christianity produces modern science, in a staggering gesture of self-sabotage, as its consummation and its destruction.” But Nietzsche went on to claim that ” all great things bring about their own destruction through an act of self-overcoming,” which prompts Rubenstein to wonder, “If science can be regarded as the self-overcoming of a particular form of religion, might multiverse cosmologies be something like the self-overcoming of science? Might they mark the end of the fantasy that ‘science’ has wrested itself free from ‘religion,’ ‘objectivity’ free from subjectivity, and matter free from meaning?”

I do agree with Rubenstein’s final “hunch” that “the shape, number, and character of the cosmos might well depend on the question we ask it.” Even what might be called a multiverse-different physical realms with different effective physical constants, different particles and fields, and perhaps even different spacetime dimensions (or no spacetime at all)-could be regarded as one single quantum state and, hence, as one single universe.

God and the Multiverse: Humanity’s Expanding View of the Cosmos, Victor J. Stenger [1935–2014], Prometheus Books, 2014

By contrast, in God and the Multiverse, only the last two chapters out of 16 offer a significant discussion of the multiverse, and only the final one deals much with questions of God’s existence. The vast majority of the book is a highly readable, popular-level account of cosmology’s development.

Stenger also claims that “the multiverse provides a very simple, purely natural, solution to the fine-tuning problem”-the “problem” being that life seems possible only in a small fraction of the possible parameter space, and yet the actual parameters do exist in the small region that allows life. But most of the time he argues that the parameters aren’t really fine-tuned at all. I agree with some of his specific arguments and disagree with others, but I endorse one of his conclusions: Arguments for fine tuning do not prove the existence of God, since the fine tuning could be explained by a suitable multiverse even if God did not exist.

On the other hand, I don’t buy his argument that “all major religious traditions are likely to have great difficulty reconciling their concept of a creator god with a multiverse that is eternal and uncreated.” It is an unproved assumption that our multiverse, if our universe is indeed part of a multiverse, is either eternal or uncreated-and of course God could have created an eternal multiverse.

Readers: Your thoughts re his contention that “of course God could have created an eternal multiverse”?

See also:

Not only is earth one nice planet among many, but our entire universe is lost in a crowd

and

The multiverse: Where everything turns out to be true, except philosophy and religion

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13 Replies to “Black hole physicist Don Page reviews two multiverse books

  1. 1
    Peter says:

    How do you spell multiverse? ‘D E S P E R A T I O N’

  2. 2
    RexTugwell says:

    Who are the ones who keep bringing God up again and again? Not ID

  3. 3
    Silver Asiatic says:

    “If science can be regarded as the self-overcoming of a particular form of religion, might multiverse cosmologies be something like the self-overcoming of science? Might they mark the end of the fantasy that ‘science’ has wrested itself free from ‘religion,’ ‘objectivity’ free from subjectivity, and matter free from meaning?”

    Yes. Multiverse cosmologies are more religious than scientific. They’re the function of a religious imagination.

    It is an unproved assumption that our multiverse, if our universe is indeed part of a multiverse, is either eternal or uncreated-and of course God could have created an eternal multiverse.

    It’s an unproved assumption that a multiverse is even possible to exist at all. But beyond that, an eternal multiverse could exist, but it’s difficult to explain how it could have been created, since the act of creation is a moment in time.

  4. 4
    Barry Arrington says:

    Rex, you bring up an irony that has been at the fore since 1859.

  5. 5
    DavidD says:

    RexTugweel – “Who are the ones who keep bringing God up again and again? Not ID”

    Barry Arrington – “Rex, you bring up an irony that has been at the fore since 1859.”
    ____________________

    Almost as equally ironic as this one a couple days ago
    ____________________

    wd400: – “When was the last time the TSZ or Panda’s thumb has a post taking on an ID argument? Indeed, it’s not that long since UD was making a point of TSZ’s decline. Seems perfectly consistent with ID’s evaporating relevance.”

    Mung – “L O Freaking L.”

  6. 6
    ppolish says:

    It is wholly appropriate that Science suggest God is “behind the knobs” of fine tuning. To date, the discovery of Fine Tuning is the closest Science has come to proving God. Newton would be impressed.

    Science no longer suggests God is behind Thunder or Earthquakes like they did long ago. Science now knows Thunder and Earthquakes are dependent on the fine tuning of the Universe. Oh wait.

  7. 7
    ppolish says:

    I agree with the “of course God could have created an eternal multiverse”.

    I mean seriously – how else could it have been created.

  8. 8
    Axel says:

    @ ppolish #6

    Your post would make a lot more sense, pp, if you materialists were not all so openly fearful of the teleology of Intelligent Design, that you keep insisting that just to consider it, is to fall for a ruse to let God get a foot in the door. ‘You can’t win our assent to ID, unless you tell us who the designer is…'(!)

    These articles and quotes by atheists lay out very tellingly the matter of atheism’s character as a religion

    http://creation.com/amazing-ad.....ntin-quote

    http://creation.com/michael-ru.....a-religion

    admitted.http://creation.com/atheism-needs-evolution

    http://creation.com/angry-thom.....cs-rage-on

  9. 9
    Silver Asiatic says:

    ppolish #7

    I agree with the “of course God could have created an eternal multiverse”.

    If we mean by ‘eternal’ “something that has existed since the beginning of time” then that would make sense.
    It’s much harder to explain an eternal universe that never had a beginning. It would be co-eternal with God somehow.

  10. 10
    bornagain77 says:

    as to:

    For example, near the end of the book, she discusses what Friedrich Nietzsche calls “the self-overcoming of Christianity.” As Rubenstein interprets this, “Christianity produces modern science, in a staggering gesture of self-sabotage, as its consummation and its destruction.” But Nietzsche went on to claim that “ all great things bring about their own destruction through an act of self-overcoming,” which prompts Rubenstein to wonder, “If science can be regarded as the self-overcoming of a particular form of religion, might multiverse cosmologies be something like the self-overcoming of science? Might they mark the end of the fantasy that ‘science’ has wrested itself free from ‘religion,’ ‘objectivity’ free from subjectivity, and matter free from meaning?”

    Actually, whereas materialistic theories are indeed self imploding, Christianity is doing quite well in regards to modern science:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-548425

  11. 11
    ppolish says:

    Silver, I’m not a fan of the Eternal Multiverse, but if it were somehow humanly proven true – it would still need a Creator.

    God is Eternal, and also the Alpha & Omega.

    God is Creator.
    “But who created the Creator”
    God is Eternal.
    “But so is the Multiverse”
    God is Alpha & Omega.

  12. 12
    jerry says:

    I will repeat my oft asserted claim that an eternal or infinite number of universes is self defeating or an absurdity:

    The only argument that has any traction is that the multi-verse is infinite. If it is not infinite then the actual finite number will always come up short in the fine tuning argument.

    If the multi-verse is infinite or as some say eternal, then all possibilities are possible including the one we live in. Name one possibility that has not happened and explain why it hasn’t happened. Two absurd implications of this are

    First, there must be an infinite number of universes that include each one of us leading our lives so that at every nano second a different path could arise and a different universe. For example, I missed a foul show in high school that prevented our team from making the playoffs. Not only is there an infinite number of universes where I miss the foul shot but there are an infinite number of universes where I make it and an infinite number of universes where I go on to become an All American basketball player. What a world!!

    Second, even more absurd, there are an infinite number of universes where the Judeo-Christian God arises. Here is the argument I frequently make on this.

    If an infinite number of universes are postulated, then this leads to an entity of infinite intelligence. Why?

    If there is an infinite number of universes, there will be a subset also infinite in number that develops intelligent entities. Then one could rank the infinite number of universes with intelligent entities by the level of intelligence present in each universe. This would lead to a ranking with no limit on the scope of the intelligence as one goes higher up the rankings. Why should there be a limit on how intelligent an entity can become?

    Then jokingly I made the comment that an infinite subset of these intelligent entities would say “Let there be light.” And to make even more fun out of this absurdity, I said an infinite subset of that would say it in English.

    An infinite number of universes is self contradicting. So we have to be left with some finite number but for every finite number we postulate, why wouldn’t there be just one more. What is to prevent it? Is there a cap on the number of universes?

    One absurdity after another.

    The techniques of calculus are finally becoming handy.

    The argument of the multi-verse is infinitely absurd.

    Please prove the logic wrong if one can. In order to do so one has to postulate or prove that a specific feasible world does not exist or has never existed.

  13. 13
    jerry says:

    The multiverse assumption may or may not solve the fine tuning problem (I just pointed to absurdity of the multiverse) but it does not solve the origin of life problem or evolution of major changes in life forms. Neither one of these has any solution.

    So the proponents of the multiverse are assuming that these other issues are solvable. Something that seems impossible given today’s understanding of chemical and biological processes.

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