RE: [asa] (bubble generators outside of time?) Meyer on C-SPAN2

From: Ted Davis <>
Date: Wed Sep 16 2009 - 12:23:24 EDT

>>> "Dehler, Bernie" <> 9/16/2009 11:30 AM >>> writes:

In the "Crisis of Faith DVD" (from the ASA conference) it was mentioned how some LHC experiments may shed light on the multiverse theory, so it is not 100% purely speculative... so it isn't a religious belief only.


Ted replies:

You are correct, Bernie, the "Crisis of Faith" DVD presents the multiverse somewhat favorably -- certainly more favorably (as science) than I would myself. I'm with cosmologist George Ellis, one of the leading experts on this: multiverse is metaphysics, not science, mainly b/c there is just no way, not even in principle, to know if something like the multiverse is physically real: we will never be able to interact with it. Now, when Ellis presents this as metaphysics, he isn't saying "gee, this is nothing but metaphysics, and we ought therefore to dismiss it." Many scientists in my experience take a pretty low view of metaphysics, but Ellis isn't one of them. Ellis believes that the Christian view of a universe (not multiverse) specially created by God to have the anthropic properties that its has, is also a metaphysical view; he's right. He argues (I won't go into this here) that it's better metaphysics, and I agree with him. He does not argue that it's better science!
 , but (again) he doesn't take the view that a number of the new atheists seem to take. He doesn't, that is, argue that the multiverse is science, however speculative it may be, and that divine creation is not science. He argues rather that the multiverse is metaphysics.

If memory serves me correctly (I hope it does), he develops this in an essay, " Multiverses : description, uniqueness and testing," in the book, Universe or multiverse? edited by Bernard Carr.

It's also true that certain observations might potentially add credibility to the multiverse -- but not by directly observing it, only rather indirectly. George Murphy or someone else with expertise in astrophysics can explain this much more fully than I can, so I'll pass on giving specifics. Those observations, if I have it right, will pretty strongly support the hypothesis of inflation. In turn, if inflation is true, the multiverse seems more likely, even though it's still no more capable of being observed than it was beforehand. The danger in this type of approach, IMO, is that is bears remarkable similarity to the idea of the liminiferous ether, the same idea that we no longer teach students b/c it can't be detected (the irony is deafening at this point). Many observation through out the 19th century showed that light "is" a "wave," and as everyone knows waves require a medium through which to move. (Oh, you mean we don't teach that anymore? If not, it's b/c we ha!
 ve short historical memories--and b/c we've learned that e/m waves don't have a medium. Again, an irony.) Thus, the ether must exist. Furthermore, it has to have certain specific properties in order to account for the specific properties of the waves that move through it. Unfortunately, however, every attempt to detect the actual existence of this ether, from exquisitely careful studies of the earth's motion through it, failed. At least the ether had the dignity of being observable/detectable, in principle. In my mind, that makes the ether more scientific than the multiverse, even if (as we now think) it doesn't actually exist.


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Received on Wed Sep 16 12:24:36 2009

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