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.
The Science Fictions series at your fingertips (cosmology).
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