Multiverse News

Public Broadcasting joins the popular demand for a multiverse

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Hard on the heels of “If you ever doubted that popular culture loves the multiverse …” and Pop culture really pushing multiverse, sure enough, PBS chimes in:

As far-fetched as the idea of a multiverse might seem, “it’s not like we come up with these crazy ideas and try to shove them into our theories,” said theoretical physicist Brian Greene at Columbia University, author of “The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos,” which explores a range of possible multiverses. “Our mathematical theories naturally yield these unfamiliar notions of other universes, and we’ve got a great deal of respect for mathematics, because over the centuries it’s proven itself a very potent guide to reality. This doesn’t mean the conclusions of mathematics are necessarily right, but they’re sufficiently compelling to make us willing to investigate them.”

This is just the thing to go down well with the PBS audience. Theory rather than evidence.

Here’s a theory currently being flown past the PBS audience:

The quilted multiverse

Not convinced? There’s more than one way to build a multiverse, and the quilted multiverse starts with the simple assumption that the universe goes on forever. If the universe is really infinite, then it contains infinite variations—and infinite copies—of everything. You know the one about the monkey typing Shakespeare? Given enough time, he won’t peck out just one edition of the Complete Works; he’ll bang them out infinitely. “You can imagine there are realms out there that are close copies or identical copies of ours somewhere else in the universe, or versions of ours that are modified in mind-bending ways,” Greene said. “These chunks of space would be like patches in a quilted patchwork, which is where the name for this idea comes from.”

To test the quilted multiverse hypothesis, scientists have to find out if space really is infinite. “There have been suggestions that space might not go on forever, but might, for instance, have the shape of a giant donut, or torus as we call it,” Greene said. “In this configuration where the universe does not go on forever, if you look at distant stars or galaxies, the light from them can travel multiple cycles, yielding multiple images of the same object, and if one sees those, that would be pretty strong evidence the universe does not go on forever.” More.

Hey wait a minute: Would infinite space not run into the same problems as infinite past time? Hilbert’s Hotel, anyone? If not, please write in and explain.

Why past time cannot be infinite.

Note: As I have noted earlier, the likely reason for all this is that the only plausible evidence basis for a faint hope for a multiverse just got discredited. (Planck satellite data says that big BICEP2 cosmic inflation multiverse was just dust.)

So now the hype is all about how believing in a multiverse is somehow an advantage to us, or reasonable on non-evidence-based grounds. Note: The fact that a given state of affairs, unsupported by evidence, would be more favourable to a widely accepted theory, is not in itself evidence for the existence of that state of affairs. The theory could just be beset by an ongoing weakness.

Anyway, for a quick rundown on why this is happening now, see The Science Fictions series at your fingertips (cosmology).

5 Replies to “Public Broadcasting joins the popular demand for a multiverse

  1. 1
    Mung says:

    A multiverse means more taxpayers to fund public broadcasting?

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    as to

    “Our mathematical theories naturally yield these unfamiliar notions of other universes, and we’ve got a great deal of respect for mathematics, because over the centuries it’s proven itself a very potent guide to reality.”,,,

    Like for instance the proof that any mathematical description of reality will be necessarily incomplete?

    Kurt Gödel – Incompleteness Theorem – video
    https://vimeo.com/92387853

    , if numbers are included, there cannot be a ‘complete’ mathematical theory of everything,,

    The nature and significance of Gödel’s incompleteness theorems – Princeton – 2006
    Excerpt: ,,Stephen Hawking and Freeman Dyson, among others, have come to the conclusion that Gödel’s theorem implies that there can’t be a (mathematical) Theory of Everything.,,
    http://math.stanford.edu/~fefe.....el-IAS.pdf

    BRUCE GORDON: Hawking’s irrational arguments – October 2010
    Excerpt: This transcendent reality cannot merely be a Platonic realm of mathematical descriptions, for such things are causally inert abstract entities that do not affect the material world,,,
    Rather, the transcendent reality on which our universe depends must be something that can exhibit agency – a mind that can choose among the infinite variety of mathematical descriptions and bring into existence a reality that corresponds to a consistent subset of them. This is what “breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe.” Anything else invokes random miracles as an explanatory principle and spells the end of scientific rationality.,,,
    Universes do not “spontaneously create” on the basis of abstract mathematical descriptions, nor does the fantasy of a limitless multiverse trump the explanatory power of transcendent intelligent design. What Mr. Hawking’s contrary assertions show is that mathematical savants can sometimes be metaphysical simpletons. Caveat emptor.
    http://www.washingtontimes.com.....arguments/

  3. 3
    sebastians says:

    “Planck satellite data says that big BICEP2 cosmic inflation multiverse was just dust.”

    No it doesn’t. It shows that dust CAN account for the data that BICEP2 found.

  4. 4
    News says:

    Sebastian, at 3, if dust CAN account for the data that BICEP2 found, that is like saying that a wavy curtain can account for the data that SPOOKSAREREAL!! found.

    Yuh, we think so too.

  5. 5
    Mapou says:

    As far-fetched as the idea of a multiverse might seem, “it’s not like we come up with these crazy ideas and try to shove them into our theories,” said theoretical physicist Brian Greene at Columbia University, author of “The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos,” which explores a range of possible multiverses. “Our mathematical theories naturally yield these unfamiliar notions of other universes, and we’ve got a great deal of respect for mathematics, because over the centuries it’s proven itself a very potent guide to reality. This doesn’t mean the conclusions of mathematics are necessarily right, but they’re sufficiently compelling to make us willing to investigate them.”

    Brian Greene is the consummate con artist, IMO. He’s been at it for decades.

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