Ruminations on multiverses; they are not real (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Monday, October 07, 2019, 15:29 (13 days ago) @ David Turell

Another negative review:

https://aeon.co/essays/post-empirical-science-is-an-oxymoron-and-it-is-dangerous?utm_so...

"There is no agreed criterion to distinguish science from pseudoscience, or just plain ordinary bullshit, opening the door to all manner of metaphysics masquerading as science. This is ‘post-empirical’ science, where truth no longer matters, and it is potentially very dangerous.

"It’s not difficult to find recent examples. On 8 June 2019, the front cover of New Scientist magazine boldly declared that we’re ‘Inside the Mirrorverse’. Its editors bid us ‘Welcome to the parallel reality that’s hiding in plain sight’.

***

"as so often happens these days, a few physicists have suggested that this is a problem with ‘a very natural explanation’. They claim that the neutrons are actually flitting between parallel universes. They admit that the chances of proving this are ‘low’, or even ‘zero’, but it doesn’t really matter. When it comes to grabbing attention, inviting that all-important click, or purchase, speculative metaphysics wins hands down.

***

"I, for one, prefer a science that is rational and based on evidence, a science that is concerned with theories and empirical facts, a science that promotes the search for truth, no matter how transient or contingent. I prefer a science that does not readily admit theories so vague and slippery that empirical tests are either impossible or they mean absolutely nothing at all.

***

"The philosopher Karl Popper argued that what distinguishes a scientific theory from pseudoscience and pure metaphysics is the possibility that it might be falsified on exposure to empirical data. In other words, a theory is scientific if it has the potential to be proved wrong.

***

"And, no matter how much we might want to believe that God designed all life on Earth, we must accept that intelligent design makes no testable predictions of its own. It is simply a conceptual alternative to evolution as the cause of life’s incredible complexity. Intelligent design cannot be falsified, just as nobody can prove the existence or non-existence of a philosopher’s metaphysical God, or a God of religion that ‘moves in mysterious ways’. Intelligent design is not science: as a theory, it is simply overwhelmed by its metaphysical content.

***

"But, for me at least, there has to be a difference between science and pseudoscience; between science and pure metaphysics, or just plain ordinary bullshit.

***

"Today, we’re blessed with two extraordinary theories. The first is quantum mechanics. This is the basis for the so-called standard model of particle physics that describes the workings of all known elementary particles. It is our best theory of matter. The second is Einstein’s general theory of relativity that explains how gravity works, and is the basis for the so-called standard model of Big Bang cosmology. It is our best theory of space, time and the Universe.

***

"To work satisfactorily, Big Bang cosmology requires rather a lot of ‘dark matter’ and ‘dark energy’, such that ‘what we can see’ accounts for an embarrassingly small 5 per cent of everything we believe there is in the Universe. If dark matter is really matter of some kind, then it’s simply missing from our best theory of matter. Changing one or more of the constants that govern the physics of our Universe by even the smallest amount would render the Universe inhospitable to life, or even physically impossible. We have no explanation for why the laws and constants of physics appear so ‘fine-tuned’ to evolve a Goldilocks universe that is just right.

***

"it has been argued, intelligent design is hardly less testable than many multiverse theories. To dismiss intelligent design on the ground that it is untestable, and yet to accept the multiverse as an interesting scientific hypothesis, may come suspiciously close to applying double standards. As seen from the perspective of some creationists, and also by some non-creationists, their cause has received unintended methodological support from multiverse physics.

***

"is it asking too much that they make their assertions with some honesty? Instead of ‘the multiverse exists’ and ‘it might be true’, is it really so difficult to say something like ‘the multiverse has some philosophical attractions, but it is highly speculative and controversial, and there is no evidence for it’?"

Comment: well stated.


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