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More About Multiverses
Entry 1168, on 2010-03-03 at 21:06:35 (Rating 4, Science)
When I first got involved with amateur astronomy the idea of a multiverse was either not taken seriously at all or it was considered to be so much on the edge of science that it wasn't really science at all. I've noticed over the last few years that this has changed though. It now seems that its almost the default position for many cosmologists that the big bang might have been just a "local" event which created our universe and that it could be just a part of a larger, probably infinite (in time and space) multiverse.
The problem is that I still haven't seen any real evidence that a multiverse exists and I still don't know of any experiment which has been proposed which is accepted would even give evidence for or against the idea.
Philosophically the idea is very attractive. The idea that the universe originated 13.7 billion years ago in a big bang is practically certain but there must have been something before that, even if it was just a set of physical laws or processes which allowed a big bang to happen. That applies even if you do accept the conventional explanation that time and space were created in the big bang.
As I have explained in previous blog entries, I find the idea of a multiverse quite compelling. It means the greater universe (or multiverse) has always existed and will always exist which avoids questions about what happens before and after our universe's existence. And it explains why our universe has the attributes it does, especially the fine tuned physical constants which make life possible - because its one of many (probably an infinite number) and the others probably don't have the same attributes - in fact, many could be better tuned for life.
As well as several serious, but speculative, items on multiverse theories I recently also came across an opinion by well known scientist, science administrator, and religious writer, Francis Collins.
Its interesting to contrast the far reaching and intellectually honest search for genuine answers to these questions with the primitive nonsense people like Collins come up with. He has some puerile argument that the fine tuned universe proves a god exists, and he quite ridiculously extends this to support the Christian god. Its like comparing the theories of a great philosopher and a three year old child. Yes, Collins is actually a scientist but listen to him talk first about his science and then his religion and it sounds like two different people: first the wise scientists, then the three year old!
It reminds me of a great quote, attributed to the fictional TV character House: "If you could reason with religious people there would be no religious people." Good point!
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