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

From: Schwarzwald <>
Date: Wed Sep 16 2009 - 18:48:18 EDT

Addendum: Sure enough, Ward came right out and said it.

Roundabout 25 minutes in. The entire presentation is very, very thoughtful.

On Wed, Sep 16, 2009 at 6:08 PM, Schwarzwald <> wrote:

> Heya Ted,
> Thanks for this more comprehensive outline - and I have to say, I'm much in
> agreement. I'd add that if the definition of science is going to be reworked
> to include speculation about entities whose observation/detection may well
> be or certainly is impossible in principle, it certainly seems to open the
> door to vastly more speculation than that of a multiverse. Or at least,
> suddenly quite a lot of ideas that were once little more than
> philosophical/metaphysical speculation would apparently get redefined into
> "science" on the spot - at least if all parties are consistent.
> Oddly enough, for me, the idea of God creating more than one universe does
> not seem difficult to justify. Indeed, I think in another time and culture
> any talk of a multiverse would be seen as advancing the case for a Creator -
> I wonder if this isn't exactly the case in India, come to think of it. So
> I'm not saying here that the multiverse should not be considered; but we
> should take care to think through just what domain such consideration should
> fall under.
> But there's one point I'd like to stress. Whether talk of multiverses is
> considered metaphysics or science, I think this much is true: We are talking
> about the supernatural. (As I write this, I decided to google and see if
> anyone else has come to this conclusion - it looks like Keith Ward may be
> advancing similar, and I'm watching the video now.) The very idea of there
> being some thing or being 'creating'/'giving rise to' our universe, some
> things existing outside of "our" time, etc.. seem to make this conclusion
> either unavoidable, or run risk of making the distinction (and along with
> it, nature) useless. I get the feeling that this term is politely ignored
> for the sake of keeping such conversations civil, in part because
> "supernatural" amounts to a dirty word particularly among the relevant
> parties (scientists). I think this is misguided. In fact, I can hardly think
> of a better way to drive home the point of just what is at stake in the
> metaphysical/scientific distinction than to call a duck a duck and a rabbit
> a rabbit. So to speak.
> On Wed, Sep 16, 2009 at 12:23 PM, Ted Davis <> wrote:
>> >>> "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.
>> ...Bernie
>> 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.
>> Ted
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Received on Wed Sep 16 18:49:14 2009

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