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Claim: Evidence, maybe, for parallel universes?

soap bubbles/Timothy Pilgrim

From Stuart Clark at the Guardian:

To many these past 12 months seem as if we have already slipped into a parallel universe but Brexit and Trump are nothing compared to the alternate universes some astronomers are contemplating

Brexit? Trump? Keep your political obsessions to yourself, Stuart. Say more about the evidence for parallel universes.

It sounds bonkers but the latest piece of evidence that could favour a multiverse comes from the UK’s Royal Astronomical Society. They recently published a study on the so-called ‘cold spot’. This is a particularly cool patch of space seen in the radiation produced by the formation of the Universe more than 13 billion years ago.

The cold spot was first glimpsed by NASA’s WMAP satellite in 2004, and then confirmed by ESA’s Planck mission in 2013. It is supremely puzzling. Most astronomers and cosmologists believe that it is highly unlikely to have been produced by the birth of the universe as it is mathematically difficult for the leading theory – which is called inflation – to explain.

Inflation is actually under fire just now, but please do go on with your story.

This latest study claims to rule out a last-ditch prosaic explanation: that the cold spot is an optical illusion produced by a lack of intervening galaxies.

One of the study’s authors, Professor Tom Shanks of Durham University, told the RAS, “We can’t entirely rule out that the Spot is caused by an unlikely fluctuation explained by the standard [theory of the Big Bang]. But if that isn’t the answer, then there are more exotic explanations. More.

There are always more exotic explanations. One turns to them when all reasonable inferences are exhausted. We’re nowhere near there. And not even headed in that direction.

Sometimes, it pays to regard pop science news the way one regards the checkout counter tabloids. That is, they are legitimate fake news: The signs of hucksterism are apparent. We believe them only if we want to.

See also: Inflation and its critics

Researchers: Cosmic Cold Spot claimed as evidence for multiverse

How naturalism rots science from the head down

Multiverse cosmology at your fingertips


Part III: What can we do about fake news that would not diminish real news? Critics of ‘fake news’ should go to China — only the government has the right to post fake news.

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