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

From: Schwarzwald <schwarzwald@gmail.com>
Date: Thu Dec 04 2008 - 13:12:26 EST

The article smacks of any-answer-but-God-ism. Notice that Gefter isn't
merely appealing for questions of God to be set aside as questions science
can't adequately address - she's agitated at the mere existence of differing
opinions on what science indicates, and what philosophical or theological
conclusions may be drawn from such conversation. How dare Michio Kaku
question morality in a Godless world! There was a memo about this, you know!

My problem here isn't that Gefter wants to keep science and
philosophy/metaphysicals/theology distinct, mind you. It's that she seems to
want them to be intertwined, yet only wants her particular brand to even be
in the running. Nothing in science can even imply, or mesh with, the idea of
God - those thoughts are dangerous. Such inconvenient observations may be
quoted on unpopular websites.

Nevermind that accepting an infinite multiverse, like other 'ways around the
God problem', not only fail to evade God (I don't think God is falsifiable
in any scientific way) but, as I think Paul Davies has pointed out, make
'designed universes' an out and out certainty - and the likelihood of our
existing in a 'top-level' universe may be less than our living in a designed
one. Nevermind that Wheeler's PAP and the curiosities of QM in general serve
to suggest that life in general, and perhaps human-like consciousness in
particular, is perhaps fundamental to the universe's existence - and that
arguing 'at least it's science!' doesn't really help her apparent cause.

Science is no longer the exclusive territory of the self-described rational
atheist. In a way, it never really was. Articles like these highlight
something important about what's 'happening' with science, in my humble
layman view.

On Thu, Dec 4, 2008 at 12:39 PM, David Opderbeck <dopderbeck@gmail.com>wrote:

> I'm not sure that some degree of social constructivism is objectionable at
> all from a theological perspective -- in fact, I'm sure it's not, because
> God commissions human beings to create culture. What I was reacting to was
> the author's idea that some idea of the human social construction of reality
> is more "scientific" than the idea that God created a fine-tuned universe.
>
>
>
>
> On Thu, Dec 4, 2008 at 12:34 PM, George Murphy <GMURPHY10@neo.rr.com>wrote:
>
>> In response to Jack, no. The Nicene Creed says that God is "maker ...
>> of all that is, seen and unseen," with no restriction on the size of "all."
>>
>>
>> & in response to David's comment, yes, the idea that we "create" the
>> universe is obviously objectionable for Christians. But we should also bear
>> in mind the relationships between observer & observed in quantum theory that
>> have suggested a "participatory anthropic principle" and the possibility
>> that this might be incorporated into a "theanthropic principle" - cf.
>> http://www.luthersem.edu/word&world/Archives/13-3_Science/13-3_Murphy.pdf
>> .
>>
>> Shalom
>> George
>> http://home.neo.rr.com/scitheologyglm
>>
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> *From:* Jack <drsyme@verizon.net>
>> *To:* alexanian@uncw.edu
>> *Cc:* asa@calvin.edu
>> *Sent:* Thursday, December 04, 2008 12:17 PM
>> *Subject:* Re: [asa] Why it's not as simple as God vs the multiverse
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> 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?
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> Dec 4, 2008 04:44:57 PM, alexanian@uncw.edu wrote:
>>
>>
>> http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20026852.500-why-its-not-as-simple-as-god-vs-the-multiverse.html
>>
>>
>>
>> Why it's not as simple as God vs the multiverse
>>
>>
>>
>> 04 December 2008 by Amanda Gefter
>>
>>
>>
>> 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."
>>
>>
>>
>> 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?
>>
>>
>>
>> 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."
>>
>>
>>
>> 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.
>>
>>
>>
>> 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.
>>
>>
>>
>> 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.
>>
>>
>>
>> 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.
>>
>>
>>
>> That's speculative, but at least it's science.
>>
>>
>>
>> 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
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> To unsubscribe, send a message to majordomo@calvin.edu with
>> "unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
>>
>> To unsubscribe, send a message to majordomo@calvin.edu with "unsubscribe
>> asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
>>
>>
>

To unsubscribe, send a message to majordomo@calvin.edu with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
Received on Thu Dec 4 13:12:36 2008

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Thu Dec 04 2008 - 13:12:36 EST