Intelligent Design Mathematics Multiverse

Physicist tries to distinguish the boundary between mathematics and physics. Then what re the multiverse?

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From Ethan Siegel at Forbes:

why, and when, can we use mathematics to learn something about our physical Universe? We don’t know the answer to why, but we do know the answer to when: when it agrees with our experiments and observations. So long as the laws of physics remain the laws of physics, and do not whimsically turn on-and-off or vary in some ill-defined way, we know we can describe them mathematically, at least in principle. Mathematics, then, is the toolkit we use to describe the functioning of the Universe. It’s the raw materials: the nails, the boards, the hammers and saws. Physics is how you apply that mathematics. Physics is how you put it all together to make sense of your materials, and wind up with a house, for example, instead of a collection of parts that could, in principle, be used to build something entirely different. More.

It’s interesting that Siegel’s definition makes physics out to be rather pragmatic. It doesn’t allow for wars on evidence such as those waged by multiverse advocates. In other words, the multiverse is probably a war on the implications of mathematics for physics as well.

Nonetheless, he thinks that the multiverse is inevitable and we’re living in it. That’s very PoMo.

See also: At Forbes: Wishing the multiverse into existence

Astrophysicist: The multiverse absolutely must exist but won’t “fix physics”

Theoretical physicist: Reasons to be skeptical of the multiverse Bookmark this for the next airhead invasion of your local Great Ideas discussion group.


Theoretical physicist: Multiverse not based on sound science reasoning Good points But what if multiverse theory is simply a means of fending off the impasses that fully naturalist theoretical physics is in? It doesn’t need to make sense, any more than bollards do.

2 Replies to “Physicist tries to distinguish the boundary between mathematics and physics. Then what re the multiverse?

  1. 1
    kairosfocus says:


    Mathematics is perhaps best understood as the study of the logic of structure and quantity, which will be framework to this or any other possible world.

    Thus, it is naturally integral to the study of the world, and as logic of being includes issues of structure and quantity, it will play a part in the beings in the world. So, it becomes deeply relevant to the study of the physical world. In that context, it is noteworthy that the Lucasian Chair held by Newton and the recently late Hawking, was founded in Mathematics.

    Here is a key point by Siegel:

    the key is to connect what these mathematical equations predict with physical observables. For example, based on the fact that you have quantum fluctuations in the fabric of space itself, but space is stretching and expanding at an exponential rate during inflation, you’ll expect there to be ripples and imperfections in the value of the quantum field causing inflation all across the Universe. When inflation ends, those fluctuations become density fluctuations, which we can then go and look for as temperature fluctuations in the Big Bang’s leftover glow. This prediction of the 1980s was verified by satellites like COBE, WMAP, and Planck many years later.

    Empirical observability is a key test, but in fact the phil and history of science highlights that there are always challenges and there are alternative possible or actual research programmes [aka paradigms], such that what dominates at a given time is at best provisional, empirically tested and reliable, not warranted to utter certainty.


  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    As to this quote from the article:

    “Imagine that you do something as simple as throwing a ball. At any instant in time, if you tell me where it is (its position) and how it’s moving (its velocity), I can predict for you exactly where and when it will hit the ground. Except, if you simply write down and solve the equations governed by Newton’s laws of motion, you won’t get a single, correct answer. Instead, you’ll get two answers: one that corresponds to the ball hitting the ground in the future, and one that corresponds to where the ball would have hit the ground in the past. The mathematics of the equations doesn’t tell you which answer, the positive or the negative one, is physically correct.

    of related interest:

    The Arrow of Time? It’s All in Our Heads – Robert Lanza – September 26, 2016
    Excerpt: For years physicists have known that Newton’s laws, Einstein’s equations, and even those of the quantum theory, are all time-symmetrical. Time plays absolutely no role. There is no forward movement of time. Thus, many scientists question whether time even exists. Indeed, Einstein’s theories of relativity suggest not only that there is no single special present but that all moments are equally real.,,,
    Thus, a “brainless” observer — that is, an observer without the ability to store observed events — does not experience time or a world in which we age.

    And of related interest to that, Einstein was once asked by Rudolf Carnap (a philosopher):

    “Can physics demonstrate the existence of ‘the now’ in order to make the notion of ‘now’ into a scientifically valid term?”

    Einstein’s answer was categorical, he said:

    “The experience of ‘the now’ cannot be turned into an object of physical measurement, it can never be a part of physics.”

    Contrary to what Einstein thought was possible for experimental physics, ‘the experience of the now’ is very much a part of physical measurement,

    Albert Einstein vs. Quantum Mechanics and His Own Mind – video

    Two further notes:

    An Interview with David Berlinski – Jonathan Witt
    Berlinski: There is no argument against religion that is not also an argument against mathematics. Mathematicians are capable of grasping a world of objects that lies beyond space and time….
    Interviewer:… Come again(?) …
    Berlinski: No need to come again: I got to where I was going the first time. The number four, after all, did not come into existence at a particular time, and it is not going to go out of existence at another time. It is neither here nor there. Nonetheless we are in some sense able to grasp the number by a faculty of our minds. Mathematical intuition is utterly mysterious. So for that matter is the fact that mathematical objects such as a Lie Group or a differentiable manifold have the power to interact with elementary particles or accelerating forces. But these are precisely the claims that theologians have always made as well – that human beings are capable by an exercise of their devotional abilities to come to some understanding of the deity; and the deity, although beyond space and time, is capable of interacting with material objects.

    Darwinian Evolution vs Mathematics

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