In a previous post of UD News, Denyse O’Leary rightly defines the multiverses as “one of the many products of methodological naturalism”. Here I want only to focus a bit why this product is quite inconsistent and even worsens the case of atheist cosmology.
The multiverse (alias short form for “multi-universes”) supposition (mainly arising from odd interpretations related to mathematical solutions of equations of “strings theories” in modern physics) is that there is a large number of universes beyond ours, each with its own laws, parameters and physical constants. About this number there is no agreement (ranging from 10^500 to 10^10^10,000,000 and beyond), and just this speaks volumes on the reliability of the idea. Anyway let’s call “N” this number.
Only our universe is perfectly fine-tuned for our life. Since the number of possibilities is so large, the multiverse – according to atheist cosmologists – would explain well the fine-tuning without the need of a Designer. As analogy: if a lottery sells one million tickets, no wonder one of them wins; no necessity of a “design” whatsoever behind the win. (My objection to the analogy is: even if, in a lottery, a winning ticket is a must, anyway the lottery, as a whole, must have a designer.) So they speak of the multiverse as the “science’s alternative to an intelligent creator” because “if there is only one universe you might have to have a fine-tuner. If you don’t want God, you’d better have a multiverse”.
Atheist physicist Steven Weinberg says clearly the “string landscape” helps to refute a design inference about the cosmic fine-tuning:
Finally, I have heard the objection that, in trying to explain why the laws of nature are so well suited for the appearance and evolution of life, anthropic arguments take on some of the flavor of religion. I think that just the opposite is the case. Just as Darwin and Wallace explained how the wonderful adaptations of living forms could arise without supernatural intervention, so the string landscape may explain how the constants of nature that we observe can take values suitable for life without being fine-tuned by a benevolent creator. (in “The nature of nature”, Dembski and Gordon editors, ISI Books 2011, chap. 25, “Living in the multiverse”, pag. 554)
Again of Weinberg here is an illuminating quote about the “degree of confidence” we can have in the multiverse:
It must be acknowledged that there is a big difference in the degree of confidence we can have in neo-Darwinism and in the multiverse. It is settled, as well as anything in science is ever settled, that the adaptations of living things on Earth have come into being through natural selection acting on random undirected inheritable variations. About the multiverse, it is appropriate to keep an open mind, and opinions among scientists differ widely. In the Austin airport on the way to this meeting I noticed for sale the October issue of a magazine called Astronomy, having on the cover the headline “Why You Live in Multiple Universes.” Inside I found a report of a discussion at a conference at Stanford, at which Martin Rees said that he was sufficiently confident about the multiverse to bet his dog’s life on it, while Andrei Linde said he would bet his own life. As for me, I have just enough confidence about the multiverse to bet the lives of both Andrei Linde and Martin Rees’s dog. (Ibidem)
Let’s leave aside the nastiness of Weinberg, who bets on the lives of others. IDers know the “degree of confidence” in neo-Darwinism, as creator of the bio-complexity, is exactly zero. If Weinberg says that “there is a big difference” in negative, then the multiverse has a “degree of confidence” even far less than zero!
My question to the supporters of the multiverse invention is: are your N universes possible or real? In other terms, are they pure possibilities or do they effectively exist?
(1) Let’s suppose they answer these universes are only possible while only our universe is real. In this case nothing changes compared to the traditional vision of a Designer, who intends to produce a cosmos, and, for obtaining this goal, performs its function indeed by choosing among a large number of cosmic possibilities.
(2) Let’s then suppose these universes are indeed real, exactly as our universe is. First, I note that these universes have their own set of laws and parameters. Moreover, they must imply essence and substance, because without essence and substance no cosmos is possible. After all, laws and parameters to what apply but to a substance? They cannot be applied over thin air, rules imply a ruled. Second, I note that these N universes, yes, don’t allow for our form of life, but they could well allow for forms of life different from ours, why not.
To sum up, before their multiverses invention the atheist cosmologists had to face one fine-tuned cosmos and one Designer of the cosmos. After their multiverse invention they have to face N+1 cosmos, and a Designer who seems to be more powerful than the former. Not a good bargain for the atheist cosmologists, after all.
To describe better the painful situation in which atheist cosmologists put themselves with the multiverse invention, it may help the famous metaphor of Paley’s watch. As known, Paley supposes to find one watch in a field, and from that infers design and a watchmaker. With the multiverse, Paley would find in the same field one watch plus N mechanisms. These mechanisms aren’t watches counting time we know, nevertheless they are mechanisms. As a consequence, what would Paley infer? Paley would infer that there must exist not “simply” a watchmaker, rather a true engineer able to design and construct, beyond watches, also countless different machineries.
Another question to the supporters of the multiverse invention could be: are your N parallel universes completely detached/isolated from ours?
(A) Let’s suppose their answer is these universes are fully isolated. In this case no experimental evidence is possible. This is a big problem, especially for the “multi-cosmologists”, who are supporters of methodological naturalism, and – as such – trust only what can be experimented.
(B) Differently, if the universes are all somehow in contact or share something, why not to conceive the set union of them and speak, very simply, of a single universe, as all thinkers did until now? And why not to speak simply of regions, zones, subsets of the same universe instead of different universes?
Last but not least, the entire story of the multiverse is an equivocation and misconception about basic concepts of traditional metaphysics. According to metaphysics there is a unique transcendent First Cause, manifesting the universal existence. The unity of the Being mirrors in the unicity of the existence.
Linguistically, “multi-universes” is an oxymoron. “Multi” = “many” is illogically conflated in the same word with “uni” = “single”. In fact “universe” traditionally meant the “unique universal existence”. It is indeed so because it is the manifold of the Metaphysical Unity, the Being One. To prefix “multi” and postfix “s” to something that is unique causes the oxymoron. And just they start with a bad terminology and a non-respect of etymology. (In all fields such tendencies are always a more serious defect than thought because are signs of confuse ideas.)
Who says “it’s either God or the Multiverse [note the dignifying uppercase M]”, or something like that, misrepresents the issue with an absurd alternative, and assumes an anti-metaphysical position. Some define “the multiverse as the set of multiple possible universes that together comprise everything that exists and can exist”. Hence the multiverse does not transcend at all the universal existence (“everything that exists”). While, differently, God – the Being -, does transcend the existence because is its principle. “To be” pertains to God, the “unmoved motor”; “to exist” pertains to existence, the “motion”. Consequently, to put God and the multiverse on the same plane – as they were a logic alternative – is an error, because God is hierarchical higher than the universe, like the Being is ontologically higher than the existence – the becoming -, like the Motor is higher than the motion.
The traditional definition of universe is “all what exists”. A different definition is unreasonable. In fact it is unthinkable an universe containing also something that does not exist, or something existing beyond “all what exists”. In other words the traditional vision states the equation: universe = total existence. It’s easy to deduce the existence/universe must be unique. There are only two alternatives: a thing does or does not exist. In the former case it belongs to the universe, in the latter it doesn’t belong to it.
Neither multi-universes can be considered as somewhat different existences. Things cannot exist in a more-or-less way. Nowhere there may be things having a sort of mixed nature between existence and non-existence.
Even some iper “multi-cosmologists” speak of “infinitely many universes”:
Some secularists argue that a multiverse removes the need for a Designer, claiming that with infinitely many universes in existence, it was simply inevitable that some of these universes would have physical laws permitting life to exist.
With the multiverse, the “need for a Designer” is not removed, rather it increases. If one universe with its own laws points to a Law-Giver, a fortiori infinite universes, each with its laws, point to a Law-Giver doing more work, so to speak.
At the very end, the “infinitely many universes” are a poor illusion of the modern atheist, who, incapable to conceive the true and non-dual metaphysical Infinite (God) – the absolute Principle compared to which its entire universe, large as you want, is only an infinitesimal – in a delirium of false omnipotence invents a pantheist succedaneum that is only a ridiculous caricature of the Total Possibility.