Re: Jefferys' review of Priviledged Planet

From: Rich Blinne <rich.blinne@gmail.com>
Date: Wed Jun 08 2005 - 12:03:09 EDT

On 6/8/05, Ted Davis <TDavis@messiah.edu> wrote:
>
> This is a very interesting review with some good points. I don't have time
> this week for a detailed reply (I'm about to leave the office for several
> days), but I will point out the following things.
>
> (1) Jefferys, like many secular astrophysicists presently, does not see
> the
> multiverse hypothesis as at all metaphysical; whereas he sees the design
> hypothesis as purely metaphysical and not at all scientific. My hunch is
> that we could also find some astrophysicists who would find plenty of
> metaphysics in the multiverse hypothesis. Indeed as I have stated
> elsewhere, to a significant extent I suspect that multiverse speculations
> *are* motivated by a desire to avoid design implications of fine
> tuning--just as steady state cosmogonies were motivated by similar
> concerns.
> This is not to say that inflation cannot imply that the multiverse could
> have some merit, but it is to point out that the "universe generator" that
> produces multiple universes is itself subject to "design" features. Here
> the standard argument on the part of the editors of scientific journals
> appears to go something like this: even though we cannot observe multiple
> universes and will never interact with them, the hypothesis of multiple
> (essentially unlimited) universes is fully scientific b/c it is the only
> naturalistic game in town. The alternative, that the one universe we know
> about is finely tuned in so many ways that it appears to have been
> purposefully created, can never under any circumstances be a rational
> conclusion that a scientist should entertain. The metaphysics underlying
> this line of thinking is self-evident.

 Jefferys seriously oversells the non-metaphysical nature of string theory.
While I don't buy Privileged Planet's speculations at this point it is just
as speculative as the whole multiverse concept and indeed all of string
theory. Note the following January 2005 news
story<http://http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v433/n7021/full/433010a.html>from
Nature (emphasis mine):
  
> Ask most theorists when they think their calculations will be tested
> experimentally and you'll be told "decades" or sometimes, more honestly,
> "never".
>
> But ask Nima Arkani-Hamed, a physicist at Harvard University, and he will
> give you a far closer date: 2008. That is when the first results from the
> Large Hadron Collider, the world's most powerful particle accelerator, are
> expected to be released by CERN, the European particle-physics laboratory
> near Geneva, Switzerland. And if Arkani-Hamed's predictions are correct,
> then that is when an experiment will detect the first evidence to support
> string theory *a vision of the cosmos that has never been verified
> experimentally*. "The field is going to turn on what happens at the
> collider," he says.
Received on Wed Jun 8 12:05:00 2005

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