Intelligent Design

The Multiverse is Anti-Scientific

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The UD News Desk’s latest post has me thinking.

The multiverse is not only unscientific, it is positively anti-scientific. If there are an incomprehensibly vast (I believe some say even infinite, though that is hard to conceptualize) number of universes, then any being or phenomenon can be explained by “we just happen to live in the universe in which, by sheer dumb luck, that being or phenomenon was instantiated.” This boils down to: “Anything and everything can be explained as the result of sheer dumb luck.”

I take it that science is the search for causes upon which predictions can be based. For example, in the movie Apollo 13, NASA scientists calculated the exact number of seconds the astronauts needed to burn their engine in order to propel the module to intercept the earth. This calculation was based on a prediction derived from the laws of gravity.

Contrast that scientific approach with an explanation of a particular pattern of sand and detritus on the seashore. We can say of that pattern that it was the result of the random forces of wind and waves that caused the sand and detritus to come to rest on the seashore. That explanation would be true but trivial. It would be true because it would be a correct account of what happened. It would be trivial, because it would be utterly useless to predict any future pattern of sand and detritus on the seashore.

The explanation “we just happen to be in the universe where by sheer dumb luck this being or phenomenon was instantiated” is, from a scientific perspective, identical to “this pattern of sand and detritus resulted from random forces of wind and waives.” Even if it is true, it is scientifically trivial.

The multiverse is also anti-scientific on another related but independent ground. It seems obvious that the “we just happen to be in the universe where by sheer dumb luck this being or phenomenon was instantiated” explanation may be invoked to explain absolutely anything. And it if that is true, it is also obvious that an explanation that “explains” everything, in fact explains nothing. Why? Because the same “explanation” for a being or phenomenon could be used to explain both the existence of the being or phenomenon and the non-existence of the being or phenomenon at that same time. Thus, with respect to any phenomenon X, resort to “we just happen to live in the universe where phenomenon X occurs” explains the existence of the observed phenomenon. But if phenomenon X were not observed, “we just happen to live in the universe where phenomenon X fails to occur” has equal explanatory value.

This is all glaringly obvious and easy to grasp with a few moments’ reflection. It makes me wonder why a lot of otherwise brilliant people are so eager to jump on the multiverse bandwagon. Actually, that’s not true. I know why. Their faith in metaphysical materialism requires them to check their brains at the door and espouse the patently absurd.

16 Replies to “The Multiverse is Anti-Scientific

  1. 1
    Brother Brian says:

    I think that the concept of a multiverse is an interesting thought experiment, and grist for the science fiction mill, but I agree that it is not science.

  2. 2
    AaronS1978 says:

    Agreed, One of my biggest issues with the multi-verse theory it’s the fact that it invokes the power of infinite or infinite power in probability. It has the ability to create anything indefinitely through odds.

    So it really can explain anything and anything can happen. But as it has the ability to infinitely create it also has the ability to infinitely create its own destruction. If there is but the remotest chance that any of the bubble universes were capable of even interacting with us remotely, it would’ve happened and not only that it would’ve happened infinitely and in definitely even if there was only a .000001% chance of it happening.

    And this is where I have the problem for if there is any percentage chance of something hurting our universe or destroying it like a cosmological wormhole opening up and sucking our little universe into a singularity then it would’ve happened and it would’ve happened an infinite number of times.

    Similarly, it’s why I get very annoyed with ideas of Darwinism because it also uses similar tactics, they aren’t the same but they are similar to explain novelties in biology. It evokes infinite time (figuratively speaking) and infinite probability to explain the results that we have in front of us. It is attached to evolution though, which is testable and I do make a distinction between the two for very good reason.

    Back the multiverse though it is a great comic book ferry not gonna lie I love it for that

  3. 3
    Axel says:

    Yes, a ludic (love the polysyllabic nonsense) metaphor would be playing a ‘mock’ game of tennis, duly downscaled, with an young child, so that whatever return they made was counted as a winner, and every ‘fluffed’ return you made was manifestly a losing shot ; an extreme version of a sycophantic courtier playing a slightly more disguised, losing game of tennis against a particularly nasty and vindictive tyrant.

    Alas, I think the former fits the bill somewhat more precisely in the matter of this ‘omniverse’ ! The bluntest way I can put it, I suspect, is that I fancy myself as the supreme physicist and metaphysician in the field.

    PS
    Actually, I think an infant wold be far too smart to fall for it.

  4. 4
    mike1962 says:

    “we just happen to be in the universe where by sheer dumb luck this being or phenomenon was instantiated” makes no useful predictions, therefore not science.

    Science is all about theories that make falsifiable predictions and minimizing assumptions. Everything else is just conversion pieces on the coffee table.

  5. 5
    kairosfocus says:

    On the typical multiverse assumptions, we are far more likely to be a Boltzmann brain grand delusion. That’s pretty good reason to reject this sort of speculation.

  6. 6
    Brother Brian says:

    KF

    On the typical multiverse assumptions, we are far more likely to be a Boltzmann brain grand delusion. That’s pretty good reason to reject this sort of speculation.

    I don’t think that we can reject the idea of a multiverse, any more than we can reject the idea of a God. But that doesn’t mean that we should give either more credence than they warrant.

  7. 7
    ET says:

    Brother Brian:

    I don’t think that we can reject the idea of a multiverse, any more than we can reject the idea of a God.

    There is evidence for an Intelligent Designer. There isn’t any evidence for a multiverse

  8. 8
    asauber says:

    “I don’t think that we can reject the idea of a multiverse”

    BB

    Why wouldn’t we? Scientifically, it has no value. So why would we entertain it?

    Andrew

  9. 9
    Brother Brian says:

    Andrew

    Why wouldn’t we? Scientifically, it has no value. So why would we entertain it?

    I wasn’t talking about its scientific validity. At present, it has none. I am just referring to it as an interesting idea. And as an idea, I don’t think we should reject it. But we also shouldn’t afford it too much credibility unless the people who are thinking about it can come up with some way of testing it.

  10. 10
    kairosfocus says:

    BB, the overwhelming likelihood (on a speculative, fluctuation driven multiverse) is that the perceived world id delusional. That is, we have yet another reduction to absurdity on such premises. By contrast it is easy to see on logic of being that we need a necessary being world root. Multiply by us as morally governed creatures and you need such a root to be inherently good. Ruling out God under such circumstances suggests ideological motivation not credible warrant. KF

  11. 11
    Brother Brian says:

    KF@10, I am not suggesting ruling out God as possibility, nor am I suggesting ruling out the multiverse as a possibility. And, I assure your, that I lend to each the credence that they warrant. I suspect we would agree on the level of warrant for the multiverse and disagree on the level of warrant for a God.

  12. 12
    kairosfocus says:

    BB, there is and can be no empirical evidence for a multiverse. If other sub-verses or the root-verse were physically, observably connected to ours, they would be reckoned part of our universe. Further to this, there is the Boltzmann brain delusion problem, where a root-verse would overwhelmingly throw up delusions over what we experience. By contrast, that our inner intellectual and volitional lives are inescapably morally governed is already serious evidence pointing to the inherently good God as root of reality. Beyond, there is excellent reason to see that he is known in life transforming ways by millions, despite well poisoning, dismissiveness and more. The two cases simply are not comparable, to the discredit of multiverse speculations. KF

  13. 13
    ET says:

    Brother Brian:

    But we also shouldn’t afford it too much credibility unless the people who are thinking about it can come up with some way of testing it.

    That is exactly what we say about the alleged theory of evolution, ie the concept that life’s diversity arose via blind and mindless processes like natural selection and drift. And yet people like you give us flak for pointing out the obvious.

  14. 14
    SmartAZ says:

    Science is defined by the scientific method. Step 1 is “Observe something.” You can’t observe another universe, so it is not science; it is fiction. The same is true of evolution, dark matter and many other theories.

  15. 15
    kairosfocus says:

    SA, while it is popularly held (even among practising scientists as well as science educators) that there is a THE Scientific Method that uniquely defines what is or isn’t scientific, such is actually not well supported on investigation of the history and philosophy of sciences. Yes, I agree that the idea of multiverse with mutually unobservable worlds is more phil than sci, but sci is itself mushier than may be popularly understood. There are many sciences and there are many other fields of serious reflective practice. It turns out there is no one, definitive scientific method that is applicable to all and only what are regarded as sciences. Observation, analysis, theorising, inference to best current explanation, modelling, experimentation, prediction, testing etc are all relevant to knowledge building but that applies well beyond the conventional sciences [and I am not including social sciences yet!], and many entities in the core physical sciences are unobservable: start with electrons. Move on to the actual past beyond reports based on direct observation — as opposed to traces and reconstructions held to be plausible. Popper’s falsificationism runs into Lakatos’ point that theories are born, live and die “refuted.” so one looks to predictive success and contrasts progressive vs degenerative research programmes. Core hypotheses and entities are shielded by a protective belt of auxiliary hypotheses etc, and experiments or observation studies (including statistical ones) test the whole together. We have paradigmatic, field shaping exemplars, but often there are multiple (and minor) paradigms, often with incompatibilities. The same terms may be infused with quite distinct or incompatible meanings, and paradigm shifts may look more like political revolutions or conversions than smooth theory-building and cool-headed replacement on failing critical experiments. And more. KF

  16. 16
    john_a_designer says:

    Let’s go back again and state the obvious: the so-called multiverse is a last-gasp-effort to save materialism which is a philosophical, and therefore, metaphysical position. Materialism since ancient times has made a fallacious appeal to chance which posits the unproven and unprovable premise that given enough time anything can happen by “chance” (which is never precisely defined.)

    On the other hand, if we begin with the assumption that this could be the only universe that has ever existed, which is all we really know from the evidence, then why don’t the materialists try to explain it by chance? My guess it is because they themselves think that it’s a non-starter which would leave them looking rather foolish.

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