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Peter Woit: 15th anniversary of multiverse mania, “a concerted attack on conventional notions of science”

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From Columbia mathematician Peter Woit at his blog Not Even Wrong:

Back in 2003-4 I never would have believed that the subject would end up in the state it finds itself in now. With the LHC results removing the last remaining hope for observational evidence relevant to string theory unification, what we’ve been seeing the last few years has been a concerted campaign to avoid admitting failure by the destructive tactic of trying to change the usual conception of testable science. Two examples of this from last week were discussed here, and today there’s a third effort along the same lines, Quantum Multiverses, by Hartle. Unlike the others, this one includes material on the interpretation of quantum mechanics one may or may not agree with, but of no relevance to the fundamental problem of not having a predictive theory that can be tested.

I’m wasting far too much time discussing the obvious problems with articles like this, to no perceptible effect. Hartle like the others completely ignores the actual arguments against his position (he lists some references. describing them as “known to the author (but not necessarily read carefully by the author)”). … More.

Woit’s right, of course, but it is not clear what can be done about the problem of “the destructive tactic of trying to change the usual conception of testable science” if we cling to naturalism (nature is all there is). If we do, naturalism will kill science and post-modern post-scientists will divide up the spoil.

But at least today’s scientists chose that. It was not forced on them.

See also: Post-modern physics: String theory gets over the need for evidence

Cosmic inflation theory loses hangups about the scientific method

and

The multiverse is science’s assisted suicide

2 Replies to “Peter Woit: 15th anniversary of multiverse mania, “a concerted attack on conventional notions of science”

  1. 1
    Tom Robbins says:

    It’s the last 45 years or so of the mountain of evidence which puts the probability that our universe came about without the purpose of supporting life absolutley ridiculous, and that reduces men and women who are supposed to be some of the most rational thinkers among us, not simply musing about the possibility of the multiverse on a philosophical level, but openly talking about it as if it were a fact in pop-science and in research articles! If it were any other discipline we would call this adding epicycles and fixes with only one Occam’s Razor busting purpose, to prop up the insane idea that the universe is only apparently fine tuned for life.

    Yet again merely chance and ONLY because their are a near infinite number of universes, and we just happen to be in one that is perfectly tuned, by accident for life. At this point I always like to add, not only that, we just happen to ALSO have ONE moon, that happens to be just the right size, and distance from the sun, with just the right orbit, that the self aware conscious observer from their perspective on the earth, perfectly covers the sun so that only the corona is visible during a total solar eclipse! Think about that – if we were the product of the fabled multiverse, the chance that we would have such a moon is almost incalculably small. There is no way to calculate it, but logically it is preposterous given the number of other sizes, orbits and distances it could have. I think most of us have been bombarded so many times by this, that we start losing perspective on just how irrational people can be when their worldview is at stake, and how openly they admit it is their belief system, not science that makes it a PREREQUISITE assumption! as Bernard Carr said: “IF YOU DON’T WANT GOD, YOU BETTER HAVE A MULTIVERSE!”

    Here is what I mean by your average informed critical thinker losing proper perspective if they are proponents of a designed universe; THINK ABOUT IT, what other Hypothesis in science suffers from this almost identical level of hysterical embarrassing hand waving in the face of very solid evidence that a MIND is behind it all? The utter impossibility that life, complete with immaterial information encoding and decoding instruction sets to build not just a protein, but multiple USEFUL proteins that fold properly or fit 3 dimensionally in lock and key fashion to become an essential element of life of the cell! Keep in mind, the rungs on the DNA strand, the pairing of these nucleotides, is completely chemically independent of the MEDIUM, the scaffold of the double helix. And somehow the cell “knew” it must be important to setup precision encoding processes to REPRESENT many working proteins, that assemble molecular machines, in what a programer would call the most difficult kind of programming – real time programming,that makes the proteins in exactly the right quantity at exactly the right time, to drive an assembly line for the molecular machines required for simplest life possible. How did atheists wrestle our correct intuition of design from our perception? The one huge fact we forget, is the onus is on the materialist to show that this could ever be the case; that immaterial, highly specified and purposeful information, that is stored just like computer data on a hard disk, or symbols that when strung together are recognized as having meaning (written language), that also happens to be self-checking, self-repairing, editable, read-write, information, that balls up in such a way that when it unwinds, more often used code is closer to the surface of the ball of information. Furthermore it is information that can be edited by a process of methylation. It also is often clipped from one strand and patched into another, and can be read overlapped backward and forward to make it the most efficient data storage media we know of. And, another incredible analog of human’s copying of data, the original code is never used to make the proteins, rather it is copied to transfer RNA, in a mirror image, and then sent to the ribosome to be read bit by bit, in a base 4 mathematical system. So this is why I say the challenge goes to the materialist, not the idealist who believes MIND is the matrix of all matter,spacetime, and energy. I challenge anyone to tell me how this could occur without intelligence behind it – as it is by all other standards of science, impossible.

  2. 2
    Absolutely says:

    Picture the mind numbingly arrogant face of Lawrence Krauss……… Aaaaaaaa…… Aaaahhhh….. Nothing is…….. ah.. Good.

    Or Hawkings, with his 3rd graders philosophy merit badge…….. Ahhh…. Gravity knows stuff.

    Dude. You knocked it out of the park. Nice post

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