In an article that begins by implying that scientists are on the verge of confirming a multiverse-tolerant theory, only to take it back, the Washington Post’s Joel Achenbach provides some interesting information about how it doesn’t work:
Leonard Susskind, a Stanford University cosmologist, said: “The whole field is facing a kind of crisis. All the easy experiments are done. In 1900 you could do an experiment on a tabletop that would convey deep and important information about the way the world works.”
They did most of what can be done on a tabletop.
Unfortunately, some features of the theory appear to be intrinsically unprovable. Most models of inflation make sense only if our universe is a mere bubble in a “multiverse” that has an infinite array of universes popping up all over the place. Those other universes will always be too far away to be seen.
Oh, come on, that’s not a bug or even a feature, it’s a benefit. Speculative cosmologies need only compete with each other, not with evidenced ones.
Philosophy question: Can an undetectable multiverse be considered a truly scientific idea?
That is not a “philosophy question” and the answer is no. science is about evidence.
Achenbach addresses Paul Steinhardt, the physicist who turned against theories of undetectibles (and lost the Kavli prize as a result):
Inflation theory and the multiverse cannot be proved wrong, and Steinhardt says that is a deal-breaker for him.
“It makes the theory a nonscientific theory,” Steinhardt said. “For the last 400 years, most people would say the key thing that distinguishes science from non-science is that scientific ideas have to be subject to tests. Some people are nowadays thinking, no, that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case. That’s a mega-issue.”
Actually, a naturalistic view of science (material nature is all there is) enables a theory to survive indefinitely without evidence because it “must be” more likely to be true than any non-naturalist alternative if naturalism is true. If non-naturalism is true, utter nonsense would still be more acceptable, if it were materialist in character.
Here’s a summary of what theorists tried and why it can’t work.
The Science Fictions series at your fingertips (cosmology).
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10 Replies to “Physicist thinks lack of evidence for inflation, multiverse a cosmic “deal-breaker””
IMO, there can only be one physical universe because a multiverse would violate the principle of energy conservation. Why? Because what makes the universe singular (ONE) is that everything physical comes from Nothing and was created from Nothing and there is only one physical Nothing. The universe is ONE, as its name implies, precisely because it comes from nothing. Everything in the physical universe, both positive and negative particles/properties must balance out to nothing. This is the mother of all conservation principles in physics. The existence of multiple, undetectable, and independent parallel universes is an affront to the conservation of Nothing.
By the way, an ex-nihilo universe is the only ontological model of reality that does not lead to an infinite regress. One is no longer forced to ask, ad eternam, what does matter consist of? Why, it consists of nothing. That being said, there is much more to reality than the physical universe. No thing can create itself from nothing. For that, you need a creative force/entity.
Repeat after me: Nothing is Everything and Everything is Nothing.
A lot of people don’t understand Nothing, IMHO. They think of Nothing as dark, “empty” space, which it’s not.
With Nothing, there is not only no mass/energy, there are no dimensions, and even time and probability don’t exist.
Nothing is the same as “doesn’t exist.” It is the equivalent to the Easter Bunny as in “the Universe and everything in it came from the Easter Bunny.”
But the Universe does exist, so something NOT in the Universe—something eternal and without cause—created time, space, mass/energy, the laws of physics, and everything else!
Hawkings agrees. But he speculates that while the Cause does indeed exist outside of our universe, it mustn’t be God. No no no! Instead, it’s gotta be a naturalistic MOAU, mother of all universes, with God-like powers. This MOAU of necessity transcends time, entropy, and all the laws of OUR universe.
On the other hand, the Bible says that “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:24 NASV) The God of the Bible is non-material, transcends time, entropy, and the laws of our universe.
The difference between YHWH and MOAU is that God is alive, sentient, and loves you and all his creation. The MOAU is a cold, dead idol.
I always enjoy your posts Querius, and again you have not disappointed.
Regarding idolatry (MOAU and all other false religion) Romans 1 is very interesting and relevant in its claim that man knows there is a God inherently, chooses to deny that God, claims to be wise (but is foolish) but still has an undeniable need and void that demands a god of sorts therefore invents in his own “wisdom” false religion with its own god. From Buddha to the 350+ million gods of Hinduism to a golden calf to MOAU – they are simply man’s need to replace that which he refuses to accept and dies not wish to accept.
‘A lot of people don’t understand Nothing, IMHO.’
Double negative, Querius…. You’re sounding like a mafioso. Except for the ‘IMHO’, perhaps. (Need I say, kidding)
I believe Susskind may be referring to the Michelson-Morley ‘tabletop’ experiment:
The Michelson-Morley experiment, although not crucial for Einstein in his initial development of Special Relativity, offered empirical confirmation that Special Relativity was correct.
General Relativity was certainly far more difficult to confirm than Special Relativity was to confirm. The opening scene of this movie makes this difficulty clear:
But more importantly than the varying difficulty of the experiments, Special Relativity (and General Relativity) are certainly not findings that should give committed atheists/materialists any comfort, because there are two very different ‘eternities’ revealed by them:
Moreover, contrary to what Susskind believes, there still are some very interesting experiments ‘on the table’, as it were, but the results of these experiments, much like the results from Special Relativity and General Relativity, will not be to the liking of those who are committed to the atheistic worldview.
A team of physicists in Vienna has devised an experiment that may answer one of the enduring riddles of quantum mechanics,,, Do we create the world just by looking at it?
Other experiments are ‘on the table’ that would also convey ‘important information about the way the world works’.
For instance, I am very much looking forward to the results of this following test, because the following experiment, besides demonstrating quantum mechanics dominion over gravity, would also go a long way towards establishing the centrality of consciousness in the universe since, besides material particles, even gravity would be shown to be in superposition prior to measurement, i.e. prior to conscious observation:
I’m also interested in the results of the following experiment.,,,
The following researcher thinks a ‘theory of everything’ may be possible if one can get away from the effects of the space-time curvature of gravity and proposes a experiment to test that idea:
Thus contrary to Susskind’s belief, (a belief that is perhaps tempered by the fact that his materialistic theories, multiverse, inflation and string theory, have all utterly failed to find any confirming evidence), there actually are experiments still left to conduct that will ‘convey deep and important information about the way the world works’. It just won’t be information that Susskind will be particularly interested in knowing.
Verse and Music:
Queries @ 2
Agree. Well stated. Thanks.
Dr JDD @ 3
Yes, agree. Thanks.
I don’t not not understand nothing.
Querius But the Universe does exist, so something NOT in the Universe—something eternal and without cause—created time, space, mass/energy, the laws of physics, and everything else!
Hawkings agrees. But he speculates that while the Cause does indeed exist outside of our universe, it mustn’t be God.
“Outside” the universe would entail a place. Places are part of the universe. The distinction is something that can be invoked in the debate with Hawking acolytes and illustrating their contradictions and incoherence. Also something cannot exist before the universe, giving a temporal attribute to something that may exist independent of time.
Thanks for the comments and the humor is appreciated. Hawking of course doesn’t end with an s.
If all possible places are located in this universe, then there are no other universes, which means that all places are located in this universe. 🙂
A question to ask yourself is whether anything that exists outside the universe necessarily a “place.”