Re: Jefferys' review of Priviledged Planet

From: Rich Blinne <>
Date: Wed Jun 08 2005 - 12:03:09 EDT

On 6/8/05, Ted Davis <> 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
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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