Further to November 2014 (and to Barry’s suggestion that readers kindly remember Uncommon Descent in their year end giving tax receipt) – via the Donate button (our Christmas stocking) on the main page):
My sense is that we are making some headway against what Leon Wieseltier has referred to as Darwinist dittoheads, and I’d like to point to some more stories, this time from December 2014, that explain why:
The biggest stories this month, unpacked in more detail here tomorrow:
– Time for serious pursuit of post-Darwinian theory, says new BIO-Complexity paper
– Fake Facebook pages started in an attempt to discredit ID theorists. (People fake Rolexes, not Timexes.)
– Breaking: Article in Nature by cosmologists George Ellis and Joe Silk defends integrity of physics against multiverse, string theory Also, String theory slowly unravelling, supporter concedes. But press on!
But … can physics be above science?
The News desk follows the growth in popularity of the pop science multiverse because it is a fateful decision for fact-free science. There s no evidence for the multiverse, the way that there is evidence for the fine-tuning of our universe. So multiverse proponents are now asking that we abandon traditional standards for evidence, for example Occam’s razor,
Cosmologist George Ellis has elsewhere called the multiverse the most dangerous idea in physics Scientific American. But the matter can be put more strongly than that. It obviates physics. As we said at the time,
Actually, the multiverse will bring physics, as we have known it, to an end.
To make it work, we must abandon basic principles of science. There are already calls, for example, to abandon falsifiability and many have long since given up on Occam’s razor in science.
We could also balance the universe’s books by dumping math, apparently.
Predictably, because the multiverse is promoted despite, not because of, science evidence, it hardly matters when the bubbles burst. Disappointment never lasts long.
New bubbles just get blown on the merest hint of a possibility that there might be evidence some day.
Assuming we can do without real science, the multiverse can be put to all sorts of uses: The “many worlds” multiverse explains problem of evil, some think. But the space program will seem much less attractive if a multiverse approach to reality rules. Even cosmology itself must be less attractive, absent the constraints of the rules of science. One wonders if recent budget cuts relate to that. But of course, there are winners as well as losers in these situations. Why explore when it is perfectly all right to just stay home and make it all up? Indeed, this just in: existence of Zeus proven using multiverse techniques. Well, he’s gotta be out there somewhere, and in at least one universe he is omnipotent enough to get to this universe too.
And let’s face it, in postmodern times, the multiverse is popular. Pop culture promotes it as like “evolution.” (Something you are supposed to believe because it’s cool, without really thinking through the claims, let alone subjecting them to evidence.)
Public broadcasting is getting in on the act. Columbia mathematician Peter Woit thinks it is being promoted by much more dangerously influential sources than Templeton, which is probably true.
The underlying theme of multiverse politics in science, of course, is that a multiverse would discredit fine tuning as a concept. Our universe is merely one that works, amid an arbitrarily large numbers of putative flops. But eliminating basic decision-making principles of science to wish the multiverse into existence strikes some of us as a high price to pay.
See also: The Science Fictions series at your fingertips (cosmology).
– Speaking of fine-tuning, in December Eric Metaxas wrote on the unlikelihood of our existence. Earth’s size seems fine-tuned, and some make the same claim for the Higgs boson. See also the extreme fine tuning of light.
The Cosmos remake’s finale of course claims there is no fine-tuning of the universe for life, but then the series advocates the multiverse instead, rendering evidence irrelevant.
Here’s Rob Sheldon on the continuing quest to avoid cosmic fine tuning. And here’s Reasonable Faith.
On a lighter note, New Scientist suggests that maybe the universe is supposed to be somewhat ugly, and Huffington Post has announced that it shouldn’t exist. Not to worry, in another universe it doesn’t exist. And in a third it is really ugly.
Fine-tuning of the universe for life was never disproven; it was ruled out of order on principle.
– Horizontal gene transfer goes big time
From PNAS: What’s wrong with peer review Thanks for noticing, guys.
Scientific American bloggers quit rather than face Orwellian censorship?
– Just for Fun:
Fun but all too real: Conference of fake evolution theories indistinguishable from conference of real ones?
Happy New Year all. Back soon. – O’Leary for News
See also: January 2014: Events that made a difference to ID (My sense is that we are making some headway against what Leon Wieseltier has referred to as Darwinist dittoheads.)
February 2014: Events that made a difference to ID We are definitely past having to care what Christians for Darwin think.
March 2014: Events that made a difference to ID: Old, taken-for-granted “truths” are collapsing; an information theory approach may help us forward.
April 2014: Events that made a difference to ID Despite these developments, naturalists would prefer chaos and nonsense to signals that point away from naturalism.
May 2014: Events that made a difference to ID BUT then things took a really odd turn: It turned out that everyone who doubts Wade’s race theories is a creationist. Hey, is “creationist” the new “think for yourself”?
June 2014: Events that made a difference to ID In June we began to think seriously about William Dembski’s then upcoming Being as Communion, a more philosophical look at design in nature
July 2014: Events that made a difference to ID Among many other events, a UD Post where a famous chemist says no scientist understands “macroevolution” passed 200,000 views.
August 2014: Events that made a difference to ID Famous Darwin follower, Jerry “Why evolution is true” Coyne, was really mad that information theorist William Dembski is allowed to speak at his fort, Fort Chicago University
September 2014: Events that made a difference to ID It was becoming obvious that no one who knows the facts need be defensive about doubting the naturalist spin.
October 2014: Events that made a difference to ID Even establishment science media are now moving to recognize the problems with Darwinian evolution theory.
November 2014: Events that made a difference to ID Not only has the kill-ID bomb not exploded, but lots of people besides us are beginning to notice that fact.
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