Cosmologic philosophy: multiverse (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Saturday, January 07, 2017, 20:56 (1316 days ago) @ BBella

Multiverse theory is appealing because it provides solutions to questions we cannot answer, and may never:

"The multiverse explains how the constants in our equations acquire the values they do, without invoking either randomness or conscious design. If there are vast numbers of universes, embodying all possible laws of physics, we measure the values we do because that’s where our universe lies on the landscape. There’s no deeper explanation. That’s it. That’s the answer.

"But as much as the multiverse frees us from the old dichotomy, it leaves a profound unease. The questions we have spent so long pondering might have no deeper answer than just this: that it is the way it is. That might be the best we can do, but it’s not the kind of answer we’re used to. It doesn’t pull back the covers and explain how something works. What’s more, it dashes the theorists’ dream, with the claim that no unique solution will ever be found because no unique solution exists.

"There are some who don’t like that answer, others who don’t think it even qualifies to be called an answer, and some who accept it.

"To Nobel laureate David Gross, the multiverse “smells of angels.” Accepting the multiverse, he says, is tantamount to throwing up your hands and accepting that you’ll never really understand anything, because whatever you see can be chalked up to a “historical accident.” His fellow Nobelist Gerard ’t Hooft complains he cannot accept a scenario where you are supposed to “try all of these solutions until you find a universe that looks like the world we live in.” He says: “This is not the way physics has worked for us in the past, and it is not too late to hope that we will be able to find better arguments in the future.”

"Princeton cosmologist Paul Steinhardt refers to the multiverse as the “Theory of Anything,” because it allows everything but explains nothing. “A scientific theory ought to be selective,” he says. “Its power is determined by the number of possibilities it excludes. If it includes every possibility, then it excludes nothing, then it has zero power.” Steinhardt was one of the early champions of inflation until he realized that it generically gave rise to the multiverse, carving out a space of possibilities rather than making specific predictions. He has since become one of inflation’s most vocal critics. On a recent episode of Star Talk, he introduced himself as a proponent of alternatives to the multiverse. “What did the multiverse ever do to you?” the host joked. “It destroyed one of my favorite ideas,” Steinhardt replied.

"Physics was supposed to be the province of truth, of absolutes, of predictions. Things either are, or aren’t. Theories aren’t meant to be elastic or inclusive, but instead restrictive, rigid, dismissive. Given a situation, you want to be able to predict the likely—ideally, the unique and inevitable—outcome. The multiverse gives us none of that.

"The debate over the multiverse sometimes gets vociferous, with skeptics accusing proponents of betraying science. But it’s important to realize that nobody chose this. We all wanted a universe that flowed organically from some beautiful deep principles. But from what we can tell so far, that’s not the universe we got. It is what it is.


"Perhaps, says Giudice, the multiverse implies something similar. Perhaps we need to let go of something we’re holding onto too tightly. Maybe we need to think bigger, refocus, regroup, reframe our questions to nature. The multiverse, he says, “could open up “extremely satisfying, gratifying, and mind-opening possibilities.”

"Of all the pro-multiverse arguments I heard, this is the one that appeals to me the most. In every scenario, for every physical system, we can pose infinitely many questions. We try to strip a problem back to the essentials and ask the most basic questions, but our intuition is built upon what came before, and it is entirely possible that we are drawing upon paradigms that are no longer relevant for the new realms we are trying to probe.

"The multiverse is less like a closed door and more like a key. To me, the word is now tinged with promise and fraught with possibility. It seems no more wasteful than a bower full of roses."

Comment: He is putting the best face he can on a real problem. we cannot test for the multiverse unless we find 'bump circles' in the CMB as they touch each other. None so far, and more than likely in my opinion, never. I find the concept of multiverse as nebulous as the God concept in a sense, but design is just as explanatory as multiverse. We cannot test for either. So it is take your choice, or not.

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