Intelligent Design Multiverse

The Principal Research Scientist at Georgia Tech explains why he does not believe in a multiverse

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He recommends Bohmian mechanics, saying that it “accurately extends and reinterprets Bohr’s original ideas of complementarity, putting them on a more solid mathematical footing”:

The multiverse, the idea that the universe is constantly splitting into parallel copies of itself, appeals to atheists and determinists alike. It offers a philosophical way out of the anthropic question: why does the universe seem uniquely suitable to our existence? It lets us know that the universe is not random but that nothing is pre-destined to happen, even our existence. The problem with it is that it fails Ockham’s razor and rests on the most tenuous physical arguments. It tells us that not only are there an infinite number of alternate realities out there but that this must be so because it is the only way to explain quantum theory coherently. The latter statement is hardly true, and the strawman argument that its only rival is something called “wavefunction collapse” is also false…

To say that the universe is one of many parallel ones is just one of many possible explanations. Being confined to this point in time and space in a potentially infinite universe where we have only been observing its expansion for the last 100 years, we can hardly make such bold claims. The answer is neither “we are special” nor “many universes”, it is “we don’t know”.

I’m not going to beat around the bush here: I don’t believe in the multiverse. Not only is it scientifically premature, I think it is logically weak too, on par with the simulation hypothesis in terms of philosophical merit. Tim Andersen, “I do not believe in the multiverse, the case for realism” at Medium

The multiverse is, generally, a “get out of evidence-based thinking” card.

See also: The multiverse is science’s assisted suicide

9 Replies to “The Principal Research Scientist at Georgia Tech explains why he does not believe in a multiverse

  1. 1
    dgw says:

    Perhaps the multiverse concept really points to a mind. I can envision myself driving many different new cars. By analogy, wave function collapse occurs when I actually buy one of them. The multiverse of possible worlds exists in the mind of God. We live in the one he brought to life.

  2. 2
    Fasteddious says:

    The author sells us short with:
    “Being confined to this point in time and space in a potentially infinite universe where we have only been observing its expansion for the last 100 years, we can hardly make such bold claims. The answer is neither “we are special” nor “many universes”, it is “we don’t know”.”
    While “we do not know” is always a sound starting point and a sign of appropriate humility – much needed in these times – I suggest we do know more than he lets on. First off, we are aware of much more than one point in time and space. We can see billions of light-years in most directions, and thereby, see billions of years of cosmological history. Based on that, it is not unreasonable to think that perhaps, “we are special”, is indeed one possible conclusion worthy of study.
    There is much evidence pointing to, and little pointing away from, human exceptionality, while there is zero evidence pointing us toward the multiverse, in any of its guises. Yet I gather more “scientists” are assuming the latter rather than the former of those two possibilities.
    Of course, science should never let go of humility, and should always be open to change, but do not discount what we do know, or at least what we think we know.

  3. 3
    polistra says:

    I’ve got a more radical idea.

    1. Observe reality.

    2. Solve real problems for real people.

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    One insurmountable problem for pilot wave theory, i.e. Bohmian mechanics, is that it simply doesn’t mesh with Quantum Electrodynamics, (i.e. Quantum Mechanics as applied to Special Relativity), which is regarded as one of our most precisely tested theories ever in the history of science.

    Bohmian mechanics, a ludicrous caricature of Nature – Lubos Motl – July 15, 2013
    Excerpt: There’s no way out here. If you attempt to emulate a quantum field theory (QED) in this Bohmian way, you introduce lots of ludicrous gears and wheels – much like in the case of the luminiferous aether, they are gears and wheels that don’t exist according to pretty much direct observations – and they must be finely adjusted to reproduce what quantum mechanics predicts (sometimes) without any adjustments whatsoever. Every new Bohmian gear or wheel you encounter generally breaks the Lorentz symmetry and makes the (wrong) prediction of a Lorentz violation and you will need to fine-tune infinitely many properties of these gears and wheels to restore the Lorentz invariance and other desirable properties of a physical theory (even a simple and fundamental thing such as the linearity of Schrödinger’s equation is really totally unexplained in Bohmian mechanics and requires infinitely many adjustments to hold – while it may be derived from logical consistency in quantum mechanics). It’s infinitely unlikely that they take the right values “naturally” so the theory is at least infinitely contrived. More likely, there’s no way to adjust the gears and wheels to obtain relativistically invariant predictions at all.

    I would say that we pretty much directly experimentally observe the fact that the observations obey the Lorentz symmetry; the wave function isn’t an observable wave; and lots of other, totally universal and fundamental facts about the symmetries and the interpretation of the basic objects we use in physics. Bohmian mechanics is really trying to deny all these basic principles – it is trying to deny facts that may be pretty much directly extracted from experiments. It is in conflict with the most universal empirical data about the reality collected in the 20th and 21st century. It wants to rape Nature.

    A pilot-wave-like theory has to be extracted from a very large class of similar classical theories but infinitely many adjustments have to be made – a very special subclass has to be chosen – for the Bohmian theory to reproduce at least some predictions of quantum mechanics (to produce predictions that are at least approximately local, relativistic, rotationally invariant, unitary, linear etc.). But even if one succeeds and the Bohmian theory does reproduce the quantum predictions, we can’t really say that it has made the correct predictions because it was sometimes infinitely fudged or adjusted to produce the predetermined goal. On the other hand, quantum mechanics in general and specific quantum mechanical theories in particular genuinely do predict certain facts, including some very general facts about Nature. If you search for theories within the rigid quantum mechanical framework, while obeying the general postulates, you may make many correct predictions or conclusions pretty much without any additional assumptions.
    https://motls.blogspot.com/2013/07/bohmian-mechanics-ludicrous-caricature.html

    A more detailed critique of Bohmian Mechanics (Pilot Wave theory) is here,

    A Critique of Bohmian Mechanics (Pilot Wave theory) – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pn2hoU4jaQQ

    Of humorous note:

    “When Bohm expressed “hope” that violations of QM (Quantum Mechanics) would be found later and hidden variables supported, Bohr responded that the strange sentence is almost isomorphic to “I hope that 2×2=5 will be proven at some point which will have a good effect on our finances.”
    https://motls.blogspot.com/2015/12/how-term-copenhagen-interpretation-got.html

  5. 5
    ET says:

    “Principle” not “Principal”- unless they were researching Principals, of course.

  6. 6
    Seversky says:

    On a tangential note, has anyone seen Comet NEOWISE yet?

  7. 7
    ET says:

    OK- Principal Research Scientist- Not Principal Research. My bad. Carry on

  8. 8
    ellijacket says:

    Is it true that in the multiverse theory there are infinite universes with infinte possibilities realized? If so, is there a universe that isn’t part of the multiverse?

    @Sev, I have not seen the comet yet but I plan to.

  9. 9
    Eugene says:

    > …it is logically weak too, on par with the simulation hypothesis

    What exactly is weak in the simulation hypothesis? If we assume that it is ultimately possible for a (human) mind to figure out the secrets of space, time and the origin of life, then what makes us believe that we are exactly the very first iteration of “minds” to figure it out?

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