2. The Multiverse Is Not Science
Any time a scientist begins a sentence with “Many of us suspect,” it is codespeak for “we sit around and discuss it at the bar.”
There’s nothing wrong with that. Should you get the chance to join them at that bar, please avail yourself of the opportunity, because there are few occupations where the participants are as funny and engaging as scientists. But “many of us suspect” is a logical fallacy, an appeal to authority, and that makes for terrible science, as Sagan noted often.
Why not just let that go as artistic license? When Carl Sagan was filming the original Cosmos program, physicists Alan Guth and Andrei Linde had not even come up with “inflation” for the Big Bang that Tyson mentions casually. Thus, it would not have made it into the original Cosmos as fact. Too much speculation makes the audience wonder if scientists are going to be trusted guides or another version of Dr. Oz and his Miracle Vegetable of the week. Science doesn’t need to toss in speculation to be interesting, because what we know and therefore don’t know is fascinating enough. The audience does not need talk about 5, 6 or 11 dimensions, or a multiverse, to find science intriguing. There are trillions of stars all sending stuff toward us at the speed of light and yet the sky is not a solid sheet of white. Some people believe that advanced alien civilizations travel all of this way just to leave crop circles while others believe we are alone. Those are all great topics. Sagan indulged in plenty of personal philosophy, of course, but he was making A Personal Voyage. For Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey we should expect physics.
The multiverse is not science. It is more like an anthropic secular alternative to a divine origin. It’s not science because it can’t be proved or disproved — it’s just postmodernism with some math. And it’s invoked shortly after the introduction where Tyson tells us to test everything.More.
Fair enough, but tell that to Wikipedia, Scientific American, and National Geographic. All of which appear to have seen the post-modern future of science, to judge from their promotion of the fact-free multiverse.
See also: The Science Fictions series at your fingertips (cosmology).
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