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We have infinite selves in a multiverse? No, sorry, goodbye all youse, says math prof

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Our Mathematical Universe bookcover.jpg In a review of Max Tegmark’s 2015 book, Our Mathematical Universe: My Quest for the Ultimate Nature of Reality, mathematician Daniel Kleitman observes at Inference:

Tegmark’s chief argument now follows. Our local universe arose through the process of inflation; since this inflation happened, it had a finite non-zero probability of happening. In an infinite universe, inflation must have taken place infinitely often. There must therefore be an infinite number of local universes. Tegmark then claims that, since you also have a finite non-zero probability of existing in the infinite universe, there must be infinitely many copies of you in the other local universes.

He then weakens his claim, though he does not acknowledge this, by pointing out that the physical constants we observe in our local universe, such as the ratio of proton to electron mass, might be different in other local universes. Since the laws of nature would thus be different, you could not be you. The ratio of the masses of the proton and the electron could take infinitely many values; the a priori probability that it has any particular value is zero. You would necessarily remain you. So long those other yous.More.

But the chief glory of multiverse cosmology is that it does not need to make sense and was probably never intended to. It grandfathers not making sense in every other science, all the way down.

See also: Consciousness as a state of matter

and

Copernicus, you are not going to believe who is using your name. Or how.

4 Replies to “We have infinite selves in a multiverse? No, sorry, goodbye all youse, says math prof

  1. 1
    ppolish says:

    Convergent Evolution? On steroids?

  2. 2
    Dionisio says:

    polish,

    Convergent Evolution? On steroids?

    No, it seems like total hogwash.

    According to professor John Lennox, nonsense remains nonsense regardless of who says it.

    So much interesting information coming out of biology research these days and there are people who squander their time on such ‘multiverse’ stuff? Simply pathetic.

    BTW, the fine tuning is a necessary condition for the biological systems to exist, but it’s far from being sufficient. Complex functional concepts must be implemented. No amount of fine-tuning will buy you that.

  3. 3
    john_a_designer says:

    Even if we assume for sake of argument that a multiverse exists, does it really solve the problem it claims to solve? I would argue that it does not. An appeal to the multiverse is nothing more than a fallacious appeal to chance.

    It is not unlike the so called gambler’s fallacy. For example, suppose a gambler appears to have a winning streak playing roulette. Starting out with small bets he proceeds to win on every spin of the wheel using all his winnings on every succeeding bet. Soon his winnings become so great that the casino management, who have been watching him with their ceiling mounted “eye-in-the-sky” video surveillance cameras, fears that if his streak continues they may not be able to pay. They have also become suspicious that just maybe the gambler has somehow been able to rig the wheel. They decide to contact a mathematician they have retained as a consultant. He advises them that the gamblers winning streak is unrealistic. He agrees with his client that the player has somehow been able to rig the wheel.

    A manager intervenes, stops the game and then, accompanied by security guards, escorts the gambler out of the casino explaining to him that they will only settle with him pending an investigation. The gambler protests that he has done nothing wrong. The manager explains to him that they don’t believe anyone could be as lucky he had. The gambler then counters that with all the other roulette wheels in the world and all the games that have been played someone, somewhere was bound to get as lucky as he had.

    Does he have an argument? I don’t think he does. It’s a fallacy to believe that some past spin of the wheel (or roll of the dice or flip of the coin etc.– if we consider other games) has an influence over the next spin of the wheel. It does not. Every spin of a fairly balanced roulette wheel is independent of the proceeding spins—and therefore all other roulette wheels. Streaks (winning or losing) have no influence over the next spins probability. The fact that other roulette wheels exist and millions, if not billions, of games have been played have no more influence over the wheel’s next spin or on a long winning or losing streak. The existence of other roulette wheels certainly cannot be said to be the cause of a winning streak. In the same way, the existence of other universes have no influence over the probabilities of the fine-tuning that exist in our universe.

    The appeal to the multiverse is even more fallacious because we have no evidence that other universes even exist. Furthermore, you cannot infer the existence of other universes simply because the existence of our universe appears to be so improbable.

    On the other hand, is it fallacious for the casino management to suspect someone is cheating if he is on a winning streak? After all highly improbable streaks have occurred. The answer, none the less, is no, because a cheater can only win by appearing to beat the odds. While past experience tells us that games of chance result in there being big winners, it also informs us that cheaters do in fact exist. Casino owners would be naïve if they were not on the lookout for these kind of people—which is why, after all, they have those eye-in-the-sky cameras. So it’s perfectly rational to suspect people who appear to be “too lucky” of cheating.

    In the same way it is perfectly rational for the theist to argue that the “highly improbable” fine-tuning we observe in the universe is the result of design. It is exactly what we would expect from a theists perspective. The multiverse “hypothesis”, on the other hand, is fallacious, because it really doesn’t solve the problem.

    Nonetheless, I am willing to concede that fine-tuning could all be the result of chance. Technically one cannot rule out the possibility of such a super fantastically improbable event, because no one can prove that it is impossible. My point is simply that appealing to unknown universes doesn’t help the atheist here. So if he wants to argue that our universe is the result of one super incredible lucky roll of the cosmic dies—like a throwing bucket full of dice onto a floor and betting that they all come up with the same number, all sixes for example– be my guest. However, I think we will find very few rational atheists who are willing to take me up on that kind of wager—at least one involving some real money, like your life savings.

    Again, if the fine-tuning of the universe is the result of design that implies that the universe has some kind of meaning and purpose. That’s not a problem for the theist. It is, however, for the naturalist.

  4. 4
    Querius says:

    To the determined materialist, the argument goes like this:

    I. There is a finite possibility that our universe, and perhaps an infinite number of others, spontaneously came into existence and self-organized.

    II. This is what musta happened.

    The problem with this reasoning is that

    1. For change to exist, one needs to have Time.

    2. Without the existence of Time, there is no change or chance.

    3. But Time came into existence with this universe and Time couldn’t create itself.

    4. Thus, Time would have had to exist in a super universe that contains universes.

    5. But it doesn’t stop there. For Time to exist in this super universe, there needs to be Time from a super-super universe, and before you know it, it’s super universes All the Way Up!

    A series of ever larger super-universes “all-the-way-up” is perfectly acceptable to the materialist as long as it doesn’t require God. Fine tuning each of them these works the same way, also requiring chance to prevent them from collapsing, thus spoiling all the universes it would otherwise have contained.

    -Q

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