Re: [asa] Why it's not as simple as God vs the multiverse

From: David Opderbeck <dopderbeck@gmail.com>
Date: Thu Dec 04 2008 - 12:30:29 EST

The multiverse is an alternative to fine-tuning arguments. Fine tuning
arguments may support the idea that there is a God, but the existence of God
doesn't depend on fine tuning arguments.
David W. Opderbeck
Associate Professor of Law
Seton Hall University Law School
Gibbons Institute of Law, Science & Technology

On Thu, Dec 4, 2008 at 12:23 PM, Dehler, Bernie <bernie.dehler@intel.com>wrote:

> "If the multiverse is true, does that prove that God does not exist?"
>
>
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> Maybe the idea is to bring back the idea of an eternal universe to combat
> the idea of God. Either God made everything at a certain time (big bang),
> or the universe is eternal.. The eternal universe idea was rejected, but
> maybe multiverse is another variation of eternal universe- explaining how
> things could just always be here without a need for a God to start it all.
>
>
>
> …Bernie
>
> http://www.meetup.com/sciligion/
>
>
> ------------------------------
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> *From:* asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu [mailto:asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu] *On
> Behalf Of *Jack
> *Sent:* Thursday, December 04, 2008 9:18 AM
> *To:* alexanian@uncw.edu
> *Cc:* asa@calvin.edu
> *Subject:* Re: [asa] Why it's not as simple as God vs the multiverse
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> My concern about such a dichotomy isnt so much that there could be a third
> alternative, but that it is assumed that the two possibilites given are
> mutually exclusive. If the multiverse is true, does that prove that God
> does not exist?
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> Dec 4, 2008 04:44:57 PM, alexanian@uncw.edu wrote:
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> http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20026852.500-why-its-not-as-simple-as-god-vs-the-multiverse.html
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> Why it's not as simple as God vs the multiverse
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> 04 December 2008 by Amanda Gefter
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> WHAT would you rather believe in, God or the multiverse? It sounds like an
> instance of cosmic apples and oranges, but increasingly we are being told
> it's a choice we must make. Take the dialogue earlier this year between
> Richard Dawkins and physicist Steven Weinberg in Austin, Texas. Discussing
> the fact that the universe appears fine-tuned for our existence, Weinberg
> told Dawkins: "If you discovered a really impressive fine-tuning... I think
> you'd really be left with only two explanations: a benevolent designer or a
> multiverse."
>
>
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> Weinberg went on to clarify that invoking a benevolent designer does not
> count as a genuine explanation, but I was intrigued by his either/or
> scenario. Is that really our only choice? Supernatural creator or parallel
> worlds?
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> It is according to an article in this month's Discover magazine. "Short of
> invoking a benevolent creator, many physicists see only one possible
> explanation," writes journalist Tim Folger. "Our universe may be but one of
> perhaps infinitely many universes in an inconceivably vast multiverse."
> Folger quotes cosmologist Bernard Carr: "If you don't want God, you'd better
> have a multiverse."
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> There are plenty of reasons to take the multiverse seriously. Three key
> theories - quantum mechanics, cosmic inflation and string theory - all
> converge on the idea. But the reason physicists talk about the multiverse as
> an alternative to God is because it helps explain why the universe is so
> bio-friendly. From the strength of gravity to the mass of a proton, it's as
> if the universe were designed just for us. If, however, there are an
> infinite number of universes - with physical constants that vary from one to
> the next - our cosy neighbourhood isn't only possible, it's inevitable.
>
>
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> But to suggest that if this theory doesn't pan out our only other option is
> a supernatural one is to abandon science itself. Not only is it an unfounded
> leap of logic, it suggests intelligent design offers as valid an explanation
> as a cosmological theory does, and lends credence to creationists' mistaken
> claim that the multiverse was invented to serve as science's
> get-out-of-God-free card. Indeed, Folger's article was immediately
> referenced on creationist websites, including the Access Research Network,
> an intelligent-design hub, and Uncommon Descent, the blog of the
> Seattle-based Discovery Institute's William Dembski.
>
>
>
> To make matters worse, physicists are also dragging morality into the
> picture. In a recent show about the multiverse that aired on the History
> Channel, physicist Michio Kaku asked: "Why should I obey the law knowing
> that in some universe if I commit a crime I'm going to get away with it?"
> The ID community has already tried to draw lines from Darwin to the
> Holocaust in their attempt to paint rational people as Satan's minions. Are
> physicists really suggesting that the multiverse gives us licence to commit
> evil? It's an absurd notion, which moral philosophers have already killed
> off in other guises.
>
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> Pitting the multiverse against religion presents a false dichotomy. Science
> never boils down to a choice between two alternative explanations. It is
> always plausible that both are wrong and a third or fourth or fifth will
> turn out to be correct.
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> Science never boils down to a straight choice between two explanations
>
> What might a third option look like here? Physicist John Wheeler once
> offered a suggestion: maybe we should approach cosmic fine-tuning not as a
> problem but as a clue. Perhaps it is evidence that we somehow endow the
> universe with certain features by the mere act of observation. It's an idea
> that Stephen Hawking has been thinking about, too. Hawking advocates what he
> calls top-down cosmology, in which observers are creating the universe and
> its entire history right now. If we in some sense create the universe, it is
> not surprising that the universe is well suited to us.
>
>
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> That's speculative, but at least it's science.
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> Amanda Gefter is an editor for the Opinion section of New Scientist. She
> studied the philosophy of physics at the London School of Economics and
> writes about cosmology
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Received on Thu Dec 4 12:31:00 2008

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