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Science writer John Horgan on why the multiverse is a fantasy


Given the subtitle, “Why the multiverse is fantasy,” Horgan, best known for The End of Science (1996), isn’t pulling any punches:

I am not a multiverse denier, any more than I am a God denier. Science cannot resolve the existence of either God or the multiverse, making agnosticism the only sensible position. I see some value in multiverse theories. Particularly when presented by a writer as gifted as Sean Carroll, they goad our imaginations and give us intimations of infinity. They make us feel really, really small—in a good way.

But I’m less entertained by multiverse theories than I once was, for a couple of reasons. First, science is in a slump, for reasons both internal and external. Science is ill-served when prominent thinkers tout ideas that can never be tested and hence are, sorry, unscientific. Moreover, at a time when our world, the real world, faces serious problems, dwelling on multiverses strikes me as escapism—akin to billionaires fantasizing about colonizing Mars. Shouldn’t scientists do something more productive with their time?

Maybe in another universe Carroll and Siegfried have convinced me to take multiverses seriously, but I doubt it.

John Horgan, “The seduction of the multiverse” at IAI News (May 11, 2021)

See also: The multiverse is science’s assisted suicide

I don't see the problem with the multiverse hypothesis. It seems to be basically a harmless piece of mathematical speculation. If theoretical physicists want to play around with it, why not? If it goes nowhere they'll eventually get bored with it and move on to something else. Seversky
Just personal opinion, but the Multiverse Hypothesis seems to me to be a desperate attempt by atheists to avoid the obvious yet unpleasant conclusion that a finely tuned universe leads to. It shows their bias - their willingness to believe in any crazy untestable fairytale like rescue device in order to save their worldview and deny God's existence. To a non-scientist, the Multiverse Hypothesis (I just can't bring myself to call it a real theory) makes scientists look like biased fools. tjguy
The Multiverse is either inadequate or a farce. If it is less than infinite in number, then there is not enough probabilistic power to account for the fine tuning or the uniqueness of our universe. If it is infinite then there is absolutely no universe that couldn’t exist. And each possible universe would exist not just once but an infinite number of times. And in one version of the universe, Richard Dawkins would exist as an Anglican priest refuting the concept of Darwinism evolution. Such an universe would exist an infinite number of times. That would be a great universe. Prove me wrong! jerry
"Maybe in another universe Carroll and Siegfried have convinced me to take multiverses seriously, but I doubt it." Ummmm... Its happened in an infinite number of multiverses. Duh. Andrew asauber
It is simple enough to understand science at its most base concept. Can something be observed and tested. If something cannot be observed and tested, it is not science. BobRyan
Nice bit of sanity. Horgan is often fashionable and orthodox. polistra

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