Monday, January 19, 2009

Either God Or A Multiverse

I just read an article by Tim Folger in Discover called "Science's Alternative to an Intelligent Creator: The Multiverse Theory." Here are some quotes and things I'm now thinking about this discussion.

  • Here's the anthropic principle: "Everything here, right down to the photons lighting the scene after an eight-minute jaunt from the sun, bears witness to an extraordinary fact about the universe: Its basic properties are uncannily suited for life. Tweak the laws of physics in just about any way and—in this universe, anyway—life as we know it would not exist." in other words, it looks like the universe is fine-tuned for our existence. Physicist Andre Linde says: "We have a lot of really, really strange coincidences, and all of these coincidences are such that they make life possible.”

  • This incredible situation might be a fluke. It might be a miracle. Call it a mystery. "Or call it the biggest problem in physics. Short of invoking a benevolent creator, many physicists see only one possible explanation: Our universe may be but one of perhaps infinitely many universes in an inconceivably vast multi­verse. Most of those universes are barren, but some, like ours, have conditions suitable for life."

  • Looks like, for many, the explanation of the fine-tuned universe is: Either God or a multiverse. "Advocates argue that, like it or not, the multiverse may well be the only viable non­religious explanation for what is often called the “fine-tuning problem”—the baffling observation that the laws of the universe seem custom-tailored to favor the emergence of life."

  • Is multiverse theory "science?" Some think not, "because the existence of other universes cannot be proved or disproved."

  • Perhaps multiverse theory is more indebted to finding an alternative to God than it is to science?

  • "The idea that the universe was made just for us—known as the anthropic principle—debuted in 1973 when Brandon Carter, then a physicist at Cambridge University, spoke at a conference in Poland honoring Copernicus, the 16th-century astronomer who said that the sun, not Earth, was the hub of the universe."

  • Linde gives a natural (non-supernatural) possibility for the fine-tuning: "If there are vast numbers of other universes, all with different properties, by pure odds at least one of them ought to have the right combination of conditions to bring forth stars, planets, and living things."

  • Most physicists at the time Linde was talking about a multiverse disagreed. But then came the discovery of "dark energy." Dark energy appears calibrated for stars, galaxies, and us." "“If [dark energy] had been any bigger, there would have been enough repulsion from it to overwhelm the gravity that drew the galaxies together, drew the stars together, and drew Earth together,” Stanford physicist Leonard Susskind says. “It’s one of the greatest mysteries in physics. All we know is that if it were much bigger we wouldn’t be here to ask about it.”"
    "Nobel laureate Steven Weinberg, a physicist at the University of Texas, agrees. “This is the one fine-tuning that seems to be extreme, far beyond what you could imagine just having to accept as a mere accident,” he says."

  • As a result of the discovery of "dark energy" it has now become "impossible to ignore the multiverse theory." But this seems like begging the question. "Dark energy" provides evidence of outrageous, faith-defying fine-tuning. Therefore, there must be a multiverse? The wildly improbable fine-tuning just got more improbable with the discovery of dark energy. So, if someone already is certain God does not exist then, more than ever, there must be a multiverse. And for someone like myself who believes God exists, the discovery of dark energy further strengthens my already-existing beliefe in God.

  • Back to the top of the article. Folger writes: "Our universe is perfectly tailored for life. That may be the work of God or the result of our universe being one of many."

  • So, evidence of our universe being fine-tuned for human life mounts.

  • To be continued...