A skeptic’s take on the latest multiverse hype at New Scientist

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From Columbia mathematician Peter Woit at Not Even Wrong:

New Scientist today has a feature article headlined

How to think about… The multiverse

The idea of an infinite multitude of universes is forced on us by physics.

It starts off quoting Sean Carroll:

“One of the most common misconceptions is that the multiverse is a hypothesis,” says Sean Carroll at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. In fact, it is forced upon us.”It is a prediction of theories we have good reason to think are correct.”

The problem with this claim is that it’s simply not true. There is no model that “we have good reason to think [is] correct” that predicts a multiverse of universes with different physics (i.e. fundamental constants). I’ve written about this many times, see for instance Theorists Without a Theory. More.

The problem is that the concept of a multiverse is not based in science and thus is immune to contradictions with evidence. It is based in a need to find an infinite variety of universes, such that none can seem to be fine-tuned. Science can wither and die but the multiverse will thrive among its adherents.

See also: Sabine Hossenfelder: The multiverse is “a fringe idea”


The multiverse is science’s assisted suicide

3 Replies to “A skeptic’s take on the latest multiverse hype at New Scientist

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    aarceng says:

    One of the reasons I stopped reading NS.

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    HeKS says:

    I heard Sean Carroll make this claim in a discussion / debate recently and it led me to an involuntary “BS” cough. Even the proponents of the multiverse who favor it as an explanation for the fine-tuning have admitted that if the multiverse is taken seriously it is only because of fine-tuning and that there is no established theory we have reason to believe is true that predicts any multiverse with varying values for the constants and laws of physics. Even appeals to some versions of inflation possibly predicting some sort of multiverse fail to note that inflation itself was proposed to solve other fine-tuning problems.

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