[asa] Multiverse and ID

From: Ted Davis <TDavis@messiah.edu>
Date: Fri May 08 2009 - 11:16:10 EDT

This is great stuff for a new thread, Mike. As one of the triune moderators, I am intervening with a quasi-trinitarian omnipotence to change the title, in order to convey more accurately what this one is about. List members are asked to keep this heading for future posts related to Monton's comments and Koonin's "abracadabra" "model" for the origin of life.

At least this member of the relevant trinity thinks this stuff is equivalent to the kind of "magic" that Polkinghorne says that God doesn't get involved in. As I like to say sometimes, once you invoke infinity all bets are off: this is truly a multiverse of the gaps. I wish I'd been asked to be one of the reviewers for this "science." At least now the resurrection becomes no longer impossible scientifically, does it? Somehow I sense that Dawkins would figure out a way to mis-use the anthropic principle to keep divine action from getting too close for his comfort, even if apparently it means to him that *anything* can happen, no matter how improbable it really is. There just has to be universe, somewhere, where Frodo keeps his finger and another one where Peter Pan really can fly; but somehow the anthropic principle would just have to rule out the existence of a universe in which Dawkins believed in God...

This type of *$%^ is the best argument I have seen for considering joining the ID movement. Certainly it supports ID arguments about the arbitrariness of ruling out "non-natural" causes, even when those causes have some of the attributes usually associated with the "intelligent designer". The multiverse is infinite in space and time (if you don't agree, look at how many times Koonin uses that word), the ultimate ground of being, the source of every good and perfect gift (namely, worlds that produce life "intelligent" enough to believe anything is possible), the giver of life, and our only hope--which is of course that we have no hope.

I've often told students that Aristotle's heaven had some of the attributes of divinity--perfection and eternity--which strike me as an implicit commentary on Greek polytheism. Christian Aristotelians rightly removed the latter and eventually telescopic observations put the former to rest. Penzias & Wilson added the observations to put the former into serious question for those who did not have confidence in revelation, but now it seems that eternity is back on the menu. Of course, this time, it won't be subject to observational refutation--but only b/c, when it comes to other universes with which we will never in principle have any contact, nothing is subject to observational refutation. I am reminded of what Galileo's interlocutor Salviati, said to the Aristotelian Simplicio in his famous book about the Copernican system, “our discourses must relate to the sensible world and not to one on paper.” Now that Simplicio has been reborn, in the person of Mr. Koonin, can!
  we bring back Salviati on behalf of Galileo?

If anyone hears about pigs taking flight, somewhere, please do send me the reports. I'll submit them to Biology Direct for possible publication.


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Received on Fri May 8 11:16:38 2009

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