BreakPoint Blog

Multiverse Madness

Blustar The Multiverse Theory just doesn't seem to want to go away. The Point's Regis Nicoll wrote about the Multiverse Theory in early 2007, saying in his article:

Stephen Hawking’s announcement is but the latest sign that the multiverse and, with it, philosophical naturalism is in trouble. Added to its technical difficulties, the theory fails to do what it sets out to do; namely, to explain how our universe turned out the way it did. Instead, it asserts that our world has to exist, because in an infinite number of universes, all configurations are possible and we’re here, so that proves it!  Such contrived reasoning leaves some researchers cold. A theory in which anything is possible is a theory that explains nothing.

You would think that such a ridiculous line of thinking as the Multiverse Theory would have died of natural causes. However, it hangs on. In fact, things like this generous ink in Discover magazine help keep it alive. Nathan Schneider of Seed magazine speculates that theoretical physics is becoming a contender for the next battleground in the culture wars. Perhaps.

Jim Manzi, a writer for NRO, classifies the Multiverse Theory in the same category as Intelligent Design. He views both as metaphysical frameworks, but neither as science. Personally, I think the hypocrisy of those subscribing to philosophical naturalism who are keeping the Multiverse Theory alive and well needs to be exposed. If something as non-empirical and non-observable as the Multiverse Theory is considered a legitimate scientific topic, then all philosophical musings should be allowed in the door.

It also seems to me that the Multiverse Theory never solves the basic worldview question of where we come from. Even if it turns out that the Multiverse Theory is right, it shifts the question of the beginning of our own universe to the beginning of zillions of universes. Now we have to answer, what caused them?

Like Regis, I think this theory should die of natural causes. Something tells me, however, that it won't anytime soon.

(Image © Andrei Linde for Discover)


I laughed out loud when I read in Jim Manzi's NRO article "It’s very hard to see how ID can do this, but I guess that anything’s possible." Well, sure - if multiverses cover all the possibilities, then in one of those possibilities, ID could be true. Hey, it's *possible*. As to science fiction, the stories I read as a young pup were all about taking some element of the known universe, and asking "what if it were not true?" But the really interesting part is where Linde says in the Discover article "Well, I don’t know about God, but the universe itself might reproduce itself eternally in all its possible manifestations." This is interesting because God basically dares us to prove that Jesus *didn't* rise from the dead. So Linde *could* know about God. But evidently he has chosen to *not* know. I have heard of no one who took God's dare seriously who did not become a Christian. There are many, like Linde, who will grasp at imaginary straws to avoid the dare, but they show that their interest in the scientific pursuit of truth comes with conditions attached.
I couldn't give an opinion on that. But the phrase "dark energy" sounds cool and thus, might fit well in a sci-fi.
I think dark energy propulsion holds more promise than warp engine technology.
Well, as long as warp speed is not clearly defined, it is not impossible simply undiscovered.
The Star Trek spin-offs have survived despite their appeal to theoretical impossibilities like "warp" speed etc. I think sci-fi can cheat a little and survive just fine as long as the characters and stories are good :)
Well if the theory dies of natural causes it will be annoying to sci-fi. Not only are you deprived of parralel universe stories, temporary transuniversal travel is the primary "hand-wave" for faster then light travel. Of course that is a minor problem; an author can do what he wants and is not bound by the laws of nature but only the laws of subcreation. Still it is an interesting quibble.