Saturday, 6 August 2011

Multiverse agnostic

I read on a forum somewhere - it is not important where - a christian argument that they seemed to consider to be proof that atheism is wrong.  The basis of the discussion was the Discovery Channel programme featuring Stephen Hawking who uses cosmological arguments against the existence of god(s).  The argument against Hawking was somewhat rambling, but the only new approach that I spotted among the tired 'evidences' was the following:

Now, let us assume that the multiverse exists and that, presumably, our universe originates as one of many in this multiverse. One cannot prove the multiverse exists, is that correct? Likewise, one cannot prove that God exists.

So if it is proper for atheists to believe that a multiverse exists, then it is proper for others to believe that God exists.

Fine - believe whatever you like.  But it all falls down if you are agnostic about the possibility of there being multiverses out there (or in here, or wherever such multiverses might be found).  As far as I can tell there is no way that the multiverse hypothesis will be proven in my lifetime or indeed in yours and I honestly don't even find if very exciting to speculate about it.  The cosmology of what we can see is fascinating to me, but beyond that the speculation and mathematical beauty leaves me cold.

The odd thing is that I don't feel a need to explain how the universe came into being.  The fact that it could exist seems increasingly to be understood by physics, For example, it seems that there is a net energy of zero in the universe, and so in a sense nothing has been created from nothing.

The fact that it seems to be fine tuned is also not very interesting.  It just is.  If it wasn't then we wouldn't be speculating about the topic.

However, the situation is not helped in any way by invoking a supernatural figure to explain creation.  If such a figure existed, how would you explain his existence?  How was he created?


RosaRubicondior said...

Good blog, as usual.

On the point about whether multiple universes exist, as I understand it, Feynman's equation has been shown to be highly accurate in every instance where it can be tested.

Since this shows that all particles take all possible theoretical paths through space-time, including going backwards in time (anti-matter), it seems to follow that this would hold for a singularity.

Multiple universes are merely the resulting 'foam'. The question comes down to whether we accept the results of mathematical calculations as 'proof'. If so, the multiverse has been proved mathematically.

Plasma Engineer said...

Thanks Rosa.

I suspect you are more mathematically inclined than me. If you ever notice more than one equation popping up in one of my blogposts you should suspect an intrusion by an imposter. Anyway - I'm only an agnostic and not a card-carrying amultiversist. :)

Steve Zara said...

As for the God/multiverse situation, the comparison doesn't work at all. Multiverses are ultimately very simple systems at their origin. Gods are phenomenally (perhaps infinitely) complex. There is vastly more than needs explaining with a god than with a multiverse.

uchitrakar said...

If total energy of the universe is zero, as claimed by some scientists, then it can be shown that multiverse theory is probably not true. This is because total energy being zero, total mass will also be zero due to mass-energy equivalence. Scientists have shown that anything having mass will always occupy some space. So anything that fails to occupy any space cannot have any mass. Our universe perhaps fails to occupy any space, and that is why its mass is zero. But if multiverse theory is true, then our universe will definitely occupy some space within the multiverse, and thus in that case its mass cannot be zero. But as this mass is zero, therefore multiverse theory cannot be true.
Here it may be argued that radiation occupies space but its mass is zero. So here is an example that something occupying space can still be without mass. So our universe can also be without mass even if it occupies some space within the multiverse. In reply we will say that the example cited here is a bad example, because our universe is not any kind of radiation. So if it is without mass, then that can only be due to its not occupying any space, and not due to its being some sort of radiation.
However, if total energy of the universe cannot be taken to be zero, then the conclusion drawn here will not stand.

Plasma Engineer said...

@ uchitrakar -- Blogger had categorised your comment as spam but I rescued it from the spam folder and published it for you. I would say it was more like mincemeat as I'm sure it makes no sense whatsoever. I think it sounds a bit like a sermon actually.