Cosmology Intelligent Design Multiverse Religion

The multiverse is just religion, theoretical physicist charges

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Lost in Math

From Sabine Hossenfelder, author of Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray, This is the fifth and final item in a series on the multiverse:

This is not a polemical argument and it’s not meant as an insult. But believing in the multiverse is logically equivalent to believing in god, therefore it’s religion, not science.

To see why, let me pull together what I laid out in my previous videos. Scientists say that something exists if it is useful to describe observations. By “useful” I mean it is simpler than just collecting data. You can postulate the existence of things that are not useful to describe observations, such as gods, but this is no longer science.

Universes besides our own are logically equivalent to gods. They are unobservable by assumption, hence they can exist only in a religious sense. You can believe in them if you want to, but they are not part of science.

I know that this is not a particularly remarkable argument. But physicists seem to have a hard time following it, especially those who happen to work on the multiverse. Therefore, let me sort out some common misunderstandings.

Sabine Hossenfelder, “Why the multiverse is religion, not science.” at BackRe(Action)

Of course she’s right about the religion part. Much that is going wrong with science today is the tendency to use various science ideas as secular religions.

The multiverse happens to be a particularly devastating one because it strikes at the very idea of evidence. See: The multiverse is science’s assisted suicide

That said, we fear that her target audience actually knows all this and doesn’t care. If they have genuinely imbibed the lessons of the multiverse, all they need do is enforce their ideas as dogma and that is as much truth as will ever exist anyway.

See also: Sabine Hossenfelder Summarizes Multiverse Theories, Asks: Science Or Fiction?

Sabine Hossenfelder: The multiverse is a fringe idea

and

Sabine Hossenfelder On The Flight From Falsifiability

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12 Replies to “The multiverse is just religion, theoretical physicist charges

  1. 1
    Seversky says:

    Do physicists worship the multiverse? Do they congregate regularly and recite passages from the canon multiverse theory text? Does the multiverse theory promise eternal life after death to its devotees? Does the multiverse theory provide comfort and support in times of crisis or tragedy? Does the multiverse theory prescribe the proper ways its adherents should behave towards one another? Does the multiverse theory tell us what is good or bad, moral or immoral?

    So perhaps the good doctor could tell us again in what ways multiverse theory is logically equivalent to a religion.or does she really mean that she thinks it has become more dogma rather science?

  2. 2
    ET says:

    Do physicists worship the multiverse?

    They have faith that it exists.

    Does the multiverse theory provide comfort and support in times of crisis or tragedy?

    Yes. Knowing that anything and everything is possible given the multiverse scenario it wouldn’t be so upsetting when something bad happens as it was bound to.

    Does the multiverse theory prescribe the proper ways its adherents should behave towards one another?

    It says that all behaviors are possible and going to be fleshed out.

    The multiverse scenario is “a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe”, which is a definition of religion

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    as to this claim from Hossenfelder:

    “You can postulate the existence of things that are not useful to describe observations, such as gods, but this is no longer science.”

    Au contraire. The ‘postulate’ of God was a necessary and essential assumption for modern science to even arise in the first place.

    The Threat to the Scientific Method that Explains the Spate of Fraudulent Science Publications – Calvin Beisner | Jul 23, 2014
    Excerpt: It is precisely because modern science has abandoned its foundations in the Biblical worldview (which holds, among other things, that a personal, rational God designed a rational universe to be understood and controlled by rational persons made in His image) and the Biblical ethic (which holds, among other things, that we are obligated to tell the truth even when it inconveniences us) that science is collapsing.
    As such diverse historians and philosophers of science as Alfred North Whitehead, Pierre Duhem, Loren Eiseley, Rodney Stark, and many others have observed,, science—not an occasional flash of insight here and there, but a systematic, programmatic, ongoing way of studying and controlling the world—arose only once in history, and only in one place: medieval Europe, once known as “Christendom,” where that Biblical worldview reigned supreme. That is no accident. Science could not have arisen without that worldview.
    http://townhall.com/columnists...../page/full
    Several other resources backing up this claim are available, such as Thomas Woods, Stanley Jaki, David Linberg, Edward Grant, J.L. Heilbron, and Christopher Dawson.

    Moreover, the multiverse has several lines of logical and empirical evidence that can be brought against it,

    Multiverse Mania vs Reality – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQJV4fH6kMo

    For example, this line of logical evidence,

    Multiverse and the Design Argument – William Lane Craig
    Excerpt: Or again, if our universe is but one member of a multiverse, then we ought to be observing highly extraordinary events, like horses’ popping into and out of existence by random collisions, or perpetual motion machines, since these are vastly more probable than all of nature’s constants and quantities’ falling by chance into the virtually infinitesimal life-permitting range. Observable universes like those strange worlds are simply much more plenteous in the ensemble of universes than worlds like ours and, therefore, ought to be observed by us if the universe were but a random member of a multiverse of worlds. Since we do not have such observations, that fact strongly disconfirms the multiverse hypothesis. On naturalism, at least, it is therefore highly probable that there is no multiverse. — Penrose puts it bluntly “these world ensemble hypothesis are worse than useless in explaining the anthropic fine-tuning of the universe”.
    http://www.reasonablefaith.org.....n-argument

    The Fine-Tuning of the Universe – drcraigvideos
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EE76nwimuT0

    Does a Multiverse Explain the Fine Tuning of the Universe? – Dr. Craig (observer selection effect vs. Boltzmann Brains) – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pb9aXduPfuA

    And whereas the atheist has no evidence that the multiverse is real, in fact, as mentioned previously, several lines of logical and empirical evidence can be brought against the claim for a multiverse, on the other hand, Christians, (as is shown in the following video), can appeal directly to the higher dimensional mathematics behind Quantum Mechanics, Special Relativity and General Relativity to support their belief that God upholds this universe in its continual existence, as well as to support their belief in a heavenly dimension and in a hellish dimension.

    Quantum Mechanics, Special Relativity, General Relativity and Christianity – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4QDy1Soolo

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    Moroever, allowing the Agent causality of God ‘back’ into physics, as the Christian founders of modern science originally envisioned,,,, (Isaac Newton, Michael Faraday, James Clerk Maxwell, and Max Planck, to name a few of the Christian founders),,, and as quantum mechanics itself now empirically demands (with the closing of the free will loophole by Anton Zeilinger and company), rightly allowing the Agent causality of God ‘back’ into physics provides us with a very plausible resolution for the much sought after ‘theory of everything’ in that Christ’s resurrection from the dead provides an empirically backed reconciliation, via the Shroud of Turin, between quantum mechanics and general relativity into the much sought after ‘Theory of Everything”. Here are a few posts where I lay out and defend some of the evidence for that claim:

    July 2019 – Overturning the Copernican Principle
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/we-are-invited-to-consider-a-simpler-perspective-on-the-laws-of-physics/#comment-680427

    I will reiterate my case for Christ’s resurrection from the dead providing the correct solution for the much sought after “Theory of Everything”.
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/bill-nye-should-check-wikipedia/#comment-671692

    (February 19, 2019) To support Isabel Piczek’s claim that the Shroud of Turin does indeed reveal a true ‘event horizon’, the following study states that ‘The bottom part of the cloth (containing the dorsal image) would have born all the weight of the man’s supine body, yet the dorsal image is not encoded with a greater amount of intensity than the frontal image.’,,,
    Moreover, besides gravity being dealt with, the shroud also gives us evidence that Quantum Mechanics was dealt with. In the following paper, it was found that it was not possible to describe the image formation on the Shroud in classical terms but they found it necessary to describe the formation of the image on the Shroud in discrete quantum terms.
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/experiment-quantum-particles-can-violate-the-mathematical-pigeonhole-principle/#comment-673178

    Supplemental notes defending the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin:
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/viruses-devolve/#comment-674732

    To give us a small glimpse of the power that was involved in Christ resurrection from the dead, the following recent article found that, ”it would take 34 Thousand Billion Watts of VUV radiations to make the image on the shroud. This output of electromagnetic energy remains beyond human technology.”

    Astonishing discovery at Christ’s tomb supports Turin Shroud – NOV 26TH 2016
    Excerpt: The first attempts made to reproduce the face on the Shroud by radiation, used a CO2 laser which produced an image on a linen fabric that is similar at a macroscopic level. However, microscopic analysis showed a coloring that is too deep and many charred linen threads, features that are incompatible with the Shroud image. Instead, the results of ENEA “show that a short and intense burst of VUV directional radiation can color a linen cloth so as to reproduce many of the peculiar characteristics of the body image on the Shroud of Turin, including shades of color, the surface color of the fibrils of the outer linen fabric, and the absence of fluorescence”.
    ‘However, Enea scientists warn, “it should be noted that the total power of VUV radiations required to instantly color the surface of linen that corresponds to a human of average height, body surface area equal to = 2000 MW/cm2 17000 cm2 = 34 thousand billion watts makes it impractical today to reproduce the entire Shroud image using a single laser excimer, since this power cannot be produced by any VUV light source built to date (the most powerful available on the market come to several billion watts )”.
    Comment
    The ENEA study of the Holy Shroud of Turin concluded that it would take 34 Thousand Billion Watts of VUV radiations to make the image on the shroud. This output of electromagnetic energy remains beyond human technology.
    http://westvirginianews.blogsp.....in-is.html

    Verse:

    Colossians 1:15-20
    The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

  5. 5
    john_a_designer says:

    It is logically possible that other, multiple universes besides our own exists. However, at least for the present that is not something that can be studied empirically by modern physics.

    A more interesting question is: why a physicist would or for that matter anyone be interested in the idea of a multiverse?

    I think it is because it probes one of the most fundamental philosophical and theological questions which confronts mankind. What is the ultimate cause of our existence? Of course, theists believe it is a “who”, not a what.

    In other words, in the right context– a philosophical/theological one– the idea of a multiverse is perfectly valid and reasonable. As a theist I am open to exploring such ideas. However, the non-theist has to accept that this is a philosophical question not a scientific one.

  6. 6
    doubter says:

    I was puzzled by one claim Hossenfelder makes:

    …you do not need to make any statement about the existence of the multiverse to explain our observations.

    What about the existence of the fine tuning of the laws of physics for the existence of life as we know it? I wonder what other non-Deistic theory or hypothesis she has in mind here, or does she deny the very obvious fine tuning’s very existence?

  7. 7
    john_a_designer says:

    Hossenfelder argues,

    This is not a polemical argument and it’s not meant as an insult. But believing in the multiverse is logically equivalent to believing in god, therefore it’s religion, not science.

    However, she is, perhaps unknowingly, setting up a false dichotomy. The concept of a multiverse is a no doubt a metaphysical or philosophical belief but that does not make it religious. Yes, all religions are based on metaphysical claims, however, it does not follow that all metaphysical claims are religious. If it was true that metaphysical claims are inherently religious then that would make science itself religious because science itself rests on some unprovable metaphysical claims or assumptions.

    Typically in these discussions our atheist interlocutors try to conflate “religion” with the concept of a philosophical world view. As they correctly point out there are thousands of religions (actually religious sects) in the world but what they apparently don’t understand is that there only a few basic world views. From my own study and research I have concluded there are three major ones: theism, pantheism and naturalism. If you think there is something else make a convincing logical argument and I’ll include it. Just saying you believe x is a world view is not sufficient to convince me or anyone else that x is a viable world view.

    Most of the world religions are based on one of the three world views I have listed above, specifically theism and pantheism. For example, three so-called Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) basically agree that there is an eternally existing transcendent Mind (God) who is the creator and law giver. Hinduism, on the other hand, is basically pantheistic. Are there any purely naturalistic religions? I’ll let others answer that question.

    Therefore, I do think that it is perfectly legitimate to discuss the philosophical or world view implications of science. The questions about the origin of the universe and fine-tuning, the origin of life and the genetic code all have some very interesting philosophical and theological implications– implications that appear to have some very profound significance. Unfortunately, the discussion for the last couple hundred years has been increasingly biased towards the naturalistic/ materialistic point of view, even when the implications are clearly pointing in another direction.

    However, let me state what is obvious here: 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. It also, by the way, suggests something else. You and I know what that something else is. So do they. So why are they afraid to talk about it? And why are they so adamant that nobody else should talk about it?

    (*Democritus, for example argued that all that was needed to explain the “Kosmos” was the void + atoms + “chance.”)

  8. 8
    Silver Asiatic says:

    The multiverse gives answers to ultimate questions, in the way that religion does.
    It’s very much the same as a belief in an eternal universe that has existed without beginning. The biggest difference is that an infinite collection of universes one can imagine any sorts of laws or types of being. If the multiverse is deterministic explanation, then it explains religion (and every aspect of life on earth) as a random output of molecules.
    So, it really is an ultimate answer in that sense.

  9. 9
    john_a_designer says:

    To reiterate the comment I made above @ #7, “I do think that it is perfectly legitimate to discuss the philosophical or world view implications of science,” especially of recent scientific discoveries.

    For example, in 1973, in commemoration of the 500th anniversary of Copernicus’ Birthday, University of Cambridge physicist Brandon Carter delivered a lecture in Cracow Poland that must have stunned his audience. In his paper entitled, “Large Number Coincidences and the Anthropic Principle in Cosmology” Carter argued that there was an “exaggerated subservience to the ‘Copernican principle’” — The idea that since the earth is no longer the center of the universe humankind no longer occupies a privileged position. “Unfortunately,” Carter continued, “there has been a strong (not always subconscious) tendency to extend this to a most questionable dogma to the effect that our situation cannot be privileged in any sense. This dogma (which in its most extreme form led to the ‘perfect cosmological principle’ on which the steady state theory was based) is clearly untenable, as was pointed out by Dicke (Nature 192, 440, 1961), if one accepts (a) that specially favourable conditions (of temperature, chemical environment, etc.) are prerequisite for our existence, and (b) that the Universe evolves and is by no means spatially homogeneous on a local site.”

    Carter then goes on to describe what he calls the anthropic principle (a term he coined.) He explains that there are two forms of the anthropic principle: WAP or the weak anthropic principle or SAP, the strong anthropic principle. Both versions of the anthropic principle try to explain the so-called fine tuning of the universe.

    What is fine tuning? It is the empirically derived fact that if certain fundamental physical parameters or constants had been slightly different life and self-conscious life would not exist anywhere is the universe. Many prominent physicists agree. Stephan Hawking writes, “The laws of science, as we know them at present, contain many fundamental numbers, like the size of the electric charge of the electron and the ratio of the masses of the proton and the electron. … The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life.”

    But the fine-tuning is even more intricate than Hawking’s brief summary suggests. For example, if the ratio of the nuclear strong force to the electromagnetic force had differed by 1 part in 10^16, no stars would have formed… no stars… no life.

    Or, if the ratio of the electromagnetic force constant to the gravitational force constant had not been precisely balanced to 1 part in 10^40 then we would have no stars of the right size to support life. We need both fast burning large stars to produce the essential elements for life’s chemistry and planet formation as well as long burning small stars to burn long enough to provide planetary systems habitable for life.

    Also, if the nuclear ground state energies for helium 4, beryllium 6, carbon 12, and oxygen16 had not been fine-tuned higher or lower with respect to each other by more than 4% there would not be sufficient oxygen or carbon for the development of life.”

    Or if the majority of the electromagnetic radiation emitted by the sun (or any equivalent star) wasn’t within a very narrow band: one part in 10 raised the 25th power (that’s one followed 25 zeros) life could not exist on earth. One part in 10^25th is equivalent to the thickness of one playing card in comparison to a stack of cards that stretches over one third of the way to the next major galaxy. So I guess we’re just really, really lucky! (Yeah, right.)

    Physicists have discovered dozens of other of these finely tuned parameters.

    Ironically even some atheists are willing to concede that God is a possible explanation for the for the universes apparent fine-tuning.

    For example, in 2007 while making observations at the Keck observatory in Hawaii, Sandra Faber, a professor of astronomy at the University of California, Santa Cruz, told science writer Anil Ananthaswamy,“that there were only two possible explanations for fine-tuning. ‘One is that there is a God and that God made it that way…’ But for Faber, an atheist, divine intervention is not the answer.

    “The only other approach that makes any sense is to argue that there really is an infinite, or a very big, ensemble of universes out there and we are in one,” she said.

    This ensemble would be the multiverse. In a multiverse, the laws of physics and the values of physical parameters like dark energy would be different in each universe, each the outcome of some random pull on the cosmic slot machine. We just happened to luck into a universe that is conducive to life. After all, if our corner of the multiverse were hostile to life, Faber and I wouldn’t be around to ponder these questions under stars.”

    Other atheists agree that God counts as a rational explanation. In a debate with Christian philosopher William Lane Craig, California Institute of Technology physicist, Sean Carrol said, “I’m very happy to admit right off the bat – [that God fine-tuning the universe] is the best argument that the theists have when it comes to cosmology.”

    However, Carroll then deftly tries to take back with the left hand what he had just offered with his right. “I am by no means convinced that there is a fine-tuning problem,” he told Craig. Oh? Is Carrol speaking for everyone? Is an airy wave of his hand all that is needed to solve the fine tuning as a problem. Other prominent physicists and astrophysicists would disagree, among them Sir Martin Rees, Paul Davies, Roger Penrose, Stephen Hawking, Max Tegmark, Andrei Linde and Alexander Vilenkin to name a few. All these men, as far as I know, reject traditional theism. Nevertheless, they see fine-tuning as being a real problem in need of an explanation.

    Read more: http://www.reasonablefaith.org.....z3RlJRmO29

    For the theist fine tuning is a problem that has an easy answer. For us an eternally existing transcendent mind (God) is a sufficient explanation for the universe’s fine tuning. What is the non-theists explanation? The most popular, at the present, is the one given by Faber, an ensemble of universes—the so-called multiverse. It may be a popular explanation among scientists but that doesn’t make it a scientific explanation.

  10. 10
    Nonlin.org says:

    “Religion, not science” is false dichotomy.
    Not only is science not in conflict with religion, but in fact there is no science possible WITHOUT religion.
    http://nonlin.org/philosophy-religion-and-science/

  11. 11
    Seversky says:

    Silver Asiatic @ 8

    The multiverse gives answers to ultimate questions, in the way that religion does.

    My understanding is that the multiverse is a speculative solution to certain problems in physics but it doesn’t explain how and why it came about any more than postulating a god does.

    It’s very much the same as a belief in an eternal universe that has existed without beginning.

    If there had ever been truly nothing then there would still be nothing (if that means anything) since nothing has no causal or creative power by definition. Since there is something then there must always have been something, even if it’s not the something we see around us now.

  12. 12
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Seversky

    My understanding is that the multiverse is a speculative solution to certain problems in physics but it doesn’t explain how and why it came about any more than postulating a god does.

    There is more evidence for the existence of God than there is for the multiverse.

    As a speculative “solution” the multiverse gives answers to ultimate questions. It answers every question except where it came from. And you compared this with God – an analogy that supports the idea that the multiverse is a religious proposition.

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