Further to “Will this be the year we make contact with reality about space aliens?”: Our culture’s fascination with aliens resembles the public fascination with King Arthur’s Round Table during the Middle Ages.
That is, the stories are believed by many to be true, yet the entire edifice is built on assumptions without evidence. Medieval Europeans similarly believed in a glorious period between the fall of Rome and the rise of Western Europe. So they invented one.
History suggests that the intervening period actually featured disorder, disintegration, and barbarism. But history—past or future—has never proven much of a deterrent to the human imagination.
It gets a little dicey, however, when we decide reality no longer matters. That is what cosmology is doing today, as I note in my latest in the Science Fictions series, “But Who Needs Reality-Based Thinking Anyway? Not the New Cosmologists.”
Here are some just two of the ideas we must accept, if we adopt the fully naturalist (nature—whatever it is—is all there is) view they propose:
Evidence is irrelevant. Too many critics dismiss the multiverse because it lacks evidence. In other words, they assume — without warrant in this case — that that matters. But the Copernican Principle was developed precisely to work around the evidence (of the Big Bang and fine tuning of our own universe). Evidence is not going to suddenly start to matter again.
Logic and reason are likewise irrelevant. Consider the multiverse claim that there are “infinite copies of you and your loved ones leading lives, up until this moment, that are absolutely identical to yours.” Mathematician George F. R. Ellis notes that, if so, the deep mysteries of nature are too absurd to be explicable and that the proposed nine types of multiverse in one scheme are “mutually exclusive.” True, but in a multiverse, “inexplicable” is okay. “Absurd” and “mutually exclusive” are meaningless concepts. It is equally meaningless to assert that one event is more probable than another. As David Berlinski puts it, “Why is Newton’s universal law of gravitation true? No need to ask. In another universe, it is not”(Devil’s Delusion, p. 124). More.
As physicist Rob Sheldon puts it, “Now some will say that this is still a small price to pay for the freedom it provides from a creator-god. But I want to make it very clear what the terms of the exchange will be.”
The triumph of the fully naturalist cosmos is not the abolition of God but of reality (more).
See also: Science Fictions
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