Multiverse Nature of reality Science fiction

At Evolution News: Meyer and Klavan: How the Multiverse Ruins Science…and Storytelling

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David Klinghoffer writes:

Stephen Meyer had a fascinating conversation with podcaster Andrew Klavan and his son Spencer Klavan. The topic: how the multiverse theory destroys not only science (as Meyer explains in Return of the God Hypothesis) but storytelling. The younger Klavan is Associate Editor at the Claremont Review of Books and an Oxford PhD in classics. Impressive guy. He wrote an essay there analyzing the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), of which “the multiverse has become the central governing concept.” 

Klavan nails it in his essay:

“In the infinite multiverse there’s a cure for every illness. A solution to every problem,” says the Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) in Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness. She’s exactly right, and that’s exactly the issue: two and a half hours of pointless carnage will end us right back where we started if the dead shall be raised as soon as the credits roll. The multiversal MCU is a world without narrative stakes, moral meaning, or tragedy, because it is a world without consequences.

Now that is something I had not thought of. In a multiverse where no possibility is excluded and everything does and does not happen, every which way, any story we can tell is deflated by the realization that in another universe the tale has turned out differently. For example, if we suppose there is another version of Anna Karenina, taking place in a parallel reality in which the freight train stops just in time, that would drain a considerable amount of the interest from Tolstoy’s novel.

Read the rest of “Worlds Without End” at the Claremont Review of Books. Find the interview here. The segment with Meyer starts at 51:12:

Evolution News

The infinite multiverse concept is not a God substitute. It is said, “God is not mocked by nonsense”; on the other hand, the multiverse breeds nonsense.

14 Replies to “At Evolution News: Meyer and Klavan: How the Multiverse Ruins Science…and Storytelling

  1. 1
    es58 says:

    Why or why not would the multiverse allow for multiple worlds exactly identical to ours with a me prime and a you prime having this identical conversation, same names addresses, etc?

  2. 2
    BobRyan says:

    It makes for good science-fiction, but lacks any science to support it.

  3. 3
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    Are we talking about the concept of the multiverse in comics or the concept of the multiverse in science or philosophy? Those are really very different things!

    The main function of the multiverse in superhero comics is to allow different writers to play with their own takes on characters without breaking continuity. There are alternate time-lines, time-travel between different futures and pasts, all of which is taken for granted as part of how this fantasy world works.

    This device also allows writers to do one-shot weird little stories that don’t mess with continuity: what if Batman had to fight Dracula and became a vampire? What if Superman landed in the Soviet Union rather than Kansas? What if the Avengers got magically super-powered and attacked the Norse gods? etc. (Personally I’m a fan of Old Man Logan: in the near future, supervillains have taken over the US and divided it into fiefdoms, and Wolverine is the only superhero still alive. The movie Logan is largely based on it.)

    So I guess I don’t see the use of the multiverse in comic as problem for storytelling per se — it depends on what we think the job of storytelling is.

    I mean, a play in which Hamlet decides to elope with Ophelia and be happy would be a very different play than Hamlet. Would that somehow ruin Hamlet? Or would it just be a different play that tells a different story for a different purpose? (In a modern version, Hamlet would go to his psychiatrist and be given a nice pharmaceutical cocktail so that he stops seeing his father’s ghost.)

    I would also take issue with the interpretation that the multiverse ruins the narrative of Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness. Wanda’s obsession with finding a universe in which her children are alive turns into a monster, but she’s unable to see that about herself until her children are terrified of her. It’s a compelling meditation about how destructive grief and pain can be, when we refuse to let go of what we’ve lost.

    And it intersects nicely with the two other parallel stories: Steven Strange needs to accept that his need to control is driven by fear of rejection, and that made him lose the one woman who loved him. And America Chavez needs to learn that she can control her power and doesn’t need to be afraid of it, even though it made her lose her mothers. So we end up with three different, competing stories about how it is crucial to control one’s power but also how important it is to not bend the world to one’s will, even if one can.

    In other words, I don’t think the multiverse gimmick ruins the storytelling — it changes the kinds of stories that we can tell.

  4. 4
    jerry says:

    The multiverse is either finite in number in which case it explains nothing or infinite in number, in which case it is self refuting.

    Which is it? There’s no other alternative. So the multiverse breeds nonsense.

    Similarly, the universe is finite and we have to deal with it as is. Or it’s infinite and self refuting. Which is it? There is no other alternative.

    Aside: the multiverse or an infinite universe is not a God substitute. It actually creates an infinite number of Gods.

    Aside2: is there an universe in the multiverse where logic fails to exist? That means mathematics fails to exist since mathematics is a form of logic.

  5. 5
    es58 says:

    Jerry
    The multiverse is either finite in number in which case it explains nothing

    Why does it explains nothing? Ie You must have all to explain anything?

    Also: Or it’s infinite and self refuting. Why self refuting?

  6. 6
    jerry says:

    Why does it explains nothing

    It will not explain fine tuning.

    The numbers to get to fine tuning will be larger than any finite number of universes proposed. Essentially you need an infinite number to get to the finely tuned ones.
    .
    Then there is the appearance of life, complex life, consciousness after the fine tuned universe somehow appeared in this finite number of universes.

    It is defeated by numbers.

    Why self refuting

    Nothing physically possible is eliminated by an infinite number of universes. In fact it is a logical consequence that anything possible must have happened.

    Thus, not only one entity with infinite powers/intelligence will exist but an infinite number of them. Why would an intelligence with immense powers not be able to increase their intelligence and power? We would live in an existence of an infinite numbers of entities that we call God.

    Why would the number be finite? Whatever caused more than one universe to exist would not stop at any number. Why not just one more? And one more.

    Is there something that caused 10 to the 10,000 power of universes or more would reach a limiting point? No

    The absurdity of just one infinite universe was illustrated by Isaac Asimov’s favorite story, “The Last Question.”

    https://www.physics.princeton.edu/ph115/LQ.pdf

  7. 7
    asauber says:

    “Why does it explains nothing?”

    Es58, there’s no explanation for one universe to begin with. So logically, there’s no explanation for more than one.

    And the addition of infinite is to introduce absurdity into the non-explanation. It’s insanity, but that’s where we are.

    Andrew

  8. 8
    chuckdarwin says:

    In the infinite multiverse there’s a cure for every illness. A solution to every problem,” says the Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) in Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness. She’s exactly right, and that’s exactly the issue: two and a half hours of pointless carnage will end us right back where we started if the dead shall be raised as soon as the credits roll. The multiversal MCU is a world without narrative stakes, moral meaning, or tragedy, because it is a world without consequences.

    Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness has earned $955 million at the box office to date, so apparently we illiterate and unwashed hoi polloi are simply throwing our hard-earned money away on artistic trash in droves. At least according to the “Oxford PhD in classics.”

    Give us a break–it’s a movie. Its fiction. As Woody Allen once said, the sole purpose of art is to entertain. So, lighten up. And remember, Marvel is laughing all the way to the bank……..

  9. 9
    relatd says:

    CD at 8,

    Fine art is distortion, pure and simple. Its purpose known only to its creator. I followed an arts magazine for some time. On the left hand page was a photo of the “art.” On the right was an explanation of what it meant by the artist. There was no way a reasonable person could come up with the “explanation” offered. It felt like my old Advanced Painting class. Distortion, which meant nothing to the average person but of great worth to fine art cultists. I never became a follower.

    Don’t you dare tell anyone to ‘lighten up’ you… you meany.

    The Multiverse is just like Evolution – fictional.

  10. 10
    Peter says:

    If the multiverse exists then there exists a universe where it does not exist. End of story.
    Therefore there is a God. The shroud of Turin scientifically proves the resurrection. Therefore Christianity is true. Jesus is the Son of Man.

  11. 11
    groovamos says:

    At least according to the “Oxford PhD in classics.”

    So you can tell when someone resents someone for their particular philosophy when they, instead of referring to them by name, want you to get that, really, their training and livelihood are sort of, you know, to be mocked in the quotations. And even dissed with mental wink and nod. That way no accusations of disrespect or incivility are likely to stick. Quite brilliant, we bow down.

    Give us a break–it’s a movie. Its fiction. As Woody Allen once said, the sole purpose of art is to entertain. So, lighten up. And remember, Marvel is laughing all the way to the bank……..

    Yeah sure thing, Michaelangelo driven by the urge to entertain, and maybe score some women who were highly ‘entertained’ by his art. Spare us the liberal Woody Allen philosophizing the poor guy. I was always a fan of his peculiar art and talent, maybe a tad less if that is what he thinks. But year in and year out I come back to — thinking of him — come on guy, go to the woods, pick some psilocybe cyanescens and get a grip on the psychospiritual cards dealt.

    And really now, contributor and Woody Allen would call my experience of 1917 in theater, “to entertain” and to “lighten up”? What a deep view of art, history and reality, take a bow. And no possibility that fiction in the hands of a film maker is maybe to push a point of view, spiced up with a bit of fanciful utopianism? Any claim that people don’t desperately want a ‘multiverse’ and want other people to believe it is a philosophical way forward, is pretty naive.

  12. 12
    es58 says:

    Jerry wrote:

    Nothing physically possible is eliminated by an infinite number of universes.

    Does this include a universe which has all buildings in tact with metropolitan museum with Rembrandts on a planet that never had life?

  13. 13
    jerry says:

    Does this include a universe which has all buildings in tact with metropolitan museum with Rembrandts on a planet that never had life?

    How is that physically possible?

    The same buildings/art etc would appear an infinite number of times if there was life as we know it. Life as we know it would appear an infinite number of times but not buildings out of nowhere.

    Logic must work in every universe. It is all that is enough to destroy the concept.

  14. 14
    es58 says:

    Jerry: (Very much appreciate your responses.)

    How is that physically possible?

    Taking the phrase: “physically possible” at its most basic, could refer to a configuration of atoms/molecules that can possibly exist.

    So, it still all seems to presume that evolution “works”. Per ID, I might think that much of the presumed pathways of “evolution” aren’t “physically” possible. e.g.: All the presumed coordination/building (and convenient subsequent total disappearance) of scaffolding necessary to create “apparent” irreducibly complex structures. So, while some “life” might appear, getting to the point of humans that have consciousness etc still relies on everything working per the current paradigm.

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