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Invoking a Multiverse

  1. Apr 5, 2010 #1
    The Multiverse argument is often invoked to abolish the need for divine providence. However, if there exist an infinite number of universes, one of which is ours with exactly the right parameters and physical laws for the formation of matter and emergence of life, wouldn't this inifinite number of universes ultimately lead to the conclusion that God exists?

    In a truly infinite number of universes, at least some of them will be designed and god will exist. And if there are 10^8645 universes or more, as a lot of scientists believe, how would we know we don't live in such a universe?
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  3. Apr 5, 2010 #2


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    I don't think that is correct for a start as patently the multiverse is taken as something that exists and so would seem to require some greater causal explanation of how it came to exist.

    The multiverse is all one thing, an infinitely spawning region of spacetime, not an ensemble of separate universes, all arising in some disconnected way.

    It seems also illogical to argue that some universes could be created by some material mechanism while others might be god created. Why double up the mechanisms when it is hard enough to make even one of them work?
  4. Apr 5, 2010 #3

    I meant to say a multiverse in the sense of 'infinite number of universes'. It's an attempt at answering the why questions, without the need for invoking god. So, in this sense, "The multiverse is all one thing" is a misconception in the case i was discussing, as it doesn't explain the seeming fine-tuning of the fundamental constants and it dosn't abolish the idea of god as a prime creator(it doesn't really matter if there is 1 or 23 universes, you don't get rid of divine providence unless you assume an infinite number of universes).

    What logic do you think there must be in each of an infinite number of universes? Of course, there would be universes that would be illogical, or short-lived, or virtual, or life-less, or small, or void, or... Infinity makes everything possible, including god, doesn't it?
  5. Apr 5, 2010 #4


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    Sorry, the multiverse is a specific cosmological theory, so I couldn't see how it could be the basis of the query.

    Whose theory posits an infinity of universes here? As in an ensemble of distinct universes of varied organisation.

    In philosophy there is the idea of the ensemble of all logically possible universe, but that is not a cosmological argument really. Although some extremist philosophers like David Lewis do claim that what is logically possible must exist. Is this what you are meaning?

    But then you want to claim the existence of illogical universes as well.

    So we end up with your statement that if infinity exists, then that is a large enough place for everything to exist including gods who create worlds, and worlds that exist for presumably an unlimited number of other reasons (this is a really large space of existence you are imagining).

    So there are worlds made by gods, worlds may by aliens via matrix simulations, worlds that self-organise out of vagueness, worlds made by the power of random numbers, worlds created by the warmth breath of my pet cat (why not, if every kind of world-making exists in your kind of infinity?).

    An advantage of your realm of infinite creation is that it is ecumenical. Room for the gods and goddesses of every culture. But wait, who caused this infinite realm to exist?

    In set theoretic terms, I usually argue [world] - a world that makes itself.

    Cosmologists routinely want to argue [??? [world]]. There has to be some creation event, but what is it? Or else they want to argue [null set [world]] - there was nothing and then there was (somehow) something. Which is logically difficult to say the least.

    Deists would want to argue [god [world]]. And the logically minded would just point out the infinite regress. They would reply [??? [god [world]]]?

    Now you are perhaps arguing [infinity [god [world]]]. But does this rule out the reply
    [??? [infinity [god [world]]]]?
  6. Apr 5, 2010 #5

    That's the basis for the anthropic principle. Moreso, it is a case of the multiverse theory:

    "The concept of other universes has been proposed to explain why our universe seems to be fine-tuned for conscious life as we experience it. If there were a large number (possibly infinite) of different physical laws (or fundamental constants) in as many universes, some of these would have laws that were suitable for stars, planets and life to exist. The weak anthropic principle could then be applied to conclude that we would only consciously exist in those universes which were finely-tuned for our conscious existence. Thus, while the probability might be extremely small that there is life in most of the universes, this scarcity of life-supporting universes does not imply intelligent design as the only explanation of our existence."


    No, not at all. You don't care about what is logical when you invoke an infinite number of universes.

    Yep, those are arguments that i support.

    In a sentence - scientists invoke the infinite universes hypothesis because of its infinite power. It's explanatory powers are truly infinite, it could explain anything, including the miracle of our own existence. What is overlooked is that that theory could be justifiably used against them for the explanation of the existence of God(that which they attempt to argue against).
  7. Apr 5, 2010 #6
    For the sake of simplicity, let's consider that God is an advanced civilisation. How would an infinite number of universes, get rid of that type of God as an explanation for the miracle of existence? To the contrary, in my opinion, this would be a fairly reasonable way to prove the oppposite - that there would be universes created by said civilisations. And the open question is:

    Given that i agree to assume that the scientists that propose the infinite number of universes might be right, how would we know which universes were created and which not? (i.e. their argument turns against them)
  8. Apr 5, 2010 #7


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    What you mean is clearer now. To me, multiverse is a term used by Linde, Smolin and others who talk about branching universe structures with a single implied creation story (or alternatively, an eternal uncreated existence).

    What you appear to be referring to is Tegmark's ultimate ensemble - a product of modal realism (philosophy) rather than inflationary cosmology, or Linde's white hole speculations (physical mechanism).

    I see Tegmark calls his a level 4 multiverse, while Smolin et al are merely level 2 in his scheme. But anyway.

    Linde/Smolin approaches are anthropic but also have only the one possible creation event so that would seem to put any putative creation mechanism, like a god, outside that world.

    Tegmark's ensemble is populated by anything that is a mathematical structure. So if you can show how a god qualifies as a mathematical structure, then Tegmark would seem to have to admit such forms of existence into his infinite realm.

    I don't buy his approach as I instead argue that he is factoring in only mathematical construction into his vision, not mathematical constraint. All sorts of constructions might be possible, in the sense of conceivable, but equally, so would all sorts of constraints. The two in interaction would quickly whittle down what can mathematically actually exist - a self-organising argument against absolutely unlimited variety in other words. (And you can find arguments in this spirit by Tegmark's rival in mathematical ensembology, Jurgen Schmidhuber, and also Don Page).

    There is also the issue of how anthropic the Tegmark ensemble is really. It seems too broad in scope to be as directly about the fine-tuning of physical constants as Smolin's theories. Tegmark certainly treats his as an anthropic theory. But I don't get how the actual values of physical constants are "mathematical structures". Assigning numbers to give them measured values is not quite the same thing, is it? So in what sense are the physical constants a necessary part of his mathematical realm?
  9. Apr 5, 2010 #8


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    Well Tegmark would seem to be on your side here.

    Again, I don't buy Tegmark. But if you do, here is what you seem to get. A "weak god" principle if not the traditional "strong god" one. That is an infinite host of lesser creators producing toy universes on their heavenly laptops.

    Not so much a multiverse but a geek-verse?
  10. Apr 5, 2010 #9
    Many definitions of "God" are internally inconsistent. There's also a commonly accepted statement: "God exists outside of reality" which only leaves one to ponder its implications.
  11. Apr 5, 2010 #10
    Is part of the idea of this mulitverse concept that within any given universe time is a linear progression and events are part of a fixed-history that defines the universe as a universe separate from others?

    If this is the case, I think the concept is fundamentally flawed in that it confuses sequences of events with physical entities. A history may be viewed as a "universe" containing temporal moments as elements, but that is a narrative application of the concept of "universe," not a physical one.

    In physics, defining multiple moments of the same entity as distinct elements contained in the same set would violate conservation of matter/energy principles.
  12. Apr 5, 2010 #11


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    Is this a problem in the budding multiverse scenario where you have a branching spacetime structure? GR offers a continuous manifold rather than a collection of time slices across all branches surely?
  13. Apr 6, 2010 #12
    Is this a point or a question or both? What is the point?
  14. Apr 6, 2010 #13


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    It's a question. In general relativity, and given a branching histories story, how does the idea of a series of time slices across the whole multiverse apply?
  15. Apr 6, 2010 #14
    I'm still not sure what you mean. My understanding of "multiverse" is that multiple universes are differentiated from each other according to possible sequences of causalities that branch off from possible variations at a given moment.

    So, for example, if an acorn falls off a branch, each time it bounces off another branch, the variation of possibilities for which direction it bounces creates a number of possible futures for how it will continue to fall to the ground. If each possible future is construed as its own universe, you have a "multiverse" that includes the whole "tree" of futures branching off from earlier moments.

    The problem with this whole way of thinking, imo, is that it treats temporal sequences as fixtures. It's like saying that the universe is an event instead of a collection of matter-energy. Thinking of matter-energy dynamics as constituting "events" and thinking of the events as things totally confounds the physics of matter-energy, imo.

    Basically you're replacing mechanics with narrative.

    The problem with that is that narrative is a cognitive-synthetic organization of observations, unlike mechanics which are inherent in matter-energy dynamics.

    The universe exists as dynamically interacting matter-energy. Each event has its own mechanical progression. Narrativizing multiple events by relating them within the same temporal frame applies a point-of-view (frame) that has nothing to do with their mechanical relationship with each other as objects. Association is subjective - mechanical relationships are objective.

    Multiverse might be a neat way to think about temporal sequences as frames of relatively fixed chain-reactions, but I think that in reality no chain-reaction can be completely fixed due to variable interactions. If you could totally isolate certain constellations of variables, you could talk in terms of a fixed progression, but that is only possible in theory. In practice, variable always affect the variability of other variables as they change, I think.
  16. Apr 6, 2010 #15


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    The problem here is that the multiverseTM is really a term I would use only for the spawning, branching, spacetime cosmological model, which in turn is a background independent and GR concept. Or at least, to the extent that it invokes QM (as in the endlessly inflating scalar field of Linde), it assumes a classical realm emerges.

    You seem to be talking instead about the many worlds interpretation of QM. Which is a different kind of infinitely branched reality. MWI would not seem a suitable vehicle for Georg's speculations about gods as with MWI, if god did not set the ball rolling, there seems no good reason for gods to later arise just because of branching QM-level histories.

    And the same applies to multiverse'sTM I argued.

    Which leaves Tegmark's ultimate ensemble - a philosophical approach based on the confounding of possibility and necessity so popular with modal realist extremists. And Georg, to me, seems to be simply rehashing the standard ontological argument for god's existence in this "new physics" context.

    Personally, I have no time for any of these three brands of infinitude, preferring yet another option based on infinite symmetry (and its self-organising symmetry breaking). So in the beginning was an infinite vagueness (the ApeironTM), and in the end was the reason why it broke - to create the crisp everything, that is also the crisp nothing. The void, in other words. The heat death universe.

    If anything, this is probably an extreme anthropic principle - although it revolves around the inevitability of the heat death universe, human existence is very incidental. No room for any creating gods though. Vagueness does away with first causes. Instead, finality says the ends justify the means (the self-organisation principle rather than the anthropic principle, really).
  17. Apr 7, 2010 #16

    I don't see how vagueness(superposition of states?) does away first causes. Can you show how superpositional states of some observables can be in existence without a cause?

    Also, you are aware that there is no decoherence theory formulated in a relativistic framework, right? For your vagueness to work, it must include relativistic effects, so if you want to say my netbook has decohered from its coherent superpositional states 2 seconds ago, you have to say that from another FOR my netbook has not decohered yet and is in all possible states at once. The vagueness that you are talking about seems to be so great that it makes even the "crisp" reality of our observations equally vague and unreal. Or maybe you meant it that way?
  18. Apr 7, 2010 #17
    Your language represents all these ideas in terms of institutionalized concepts instead of describing the concepts in terms of their actual claims and assumptions. Basically, I can't discuss any of the details without orienting toward them in terms of institutionalized theories and concepts, where the relationship between sub-concepts is assumed in the umbrella institutions/labels. I used to talk discourse like this at a certain stage of academic life. Now it seems like one-too-many levels of removal from direct negotiation of the actual ideas.

    If you talk in terms of institutionalized ideas, you are prevented from critically address the contents of the ideas themselves, because you can only compare them with alternative theories. It's like you have to say X theory says this and Y theory says this, so if you want to address the contents of either X theory or Y theory, you have to have or make a Z theory and establish/institutionalize that one to discuss the relative strengths and weaknesses vis-a-vis X and Y theories.

    I prefer to just disassemble theories to their contents and address the contents. I don't mind citing the name of a particular institutionalized label, but to remain on the level of metanarrative of the theories at the level of the discursive field is very hands-off to me, and it stifles critical interaction/negotiation to a certain extent, I think.
  19. Apr 7, 2010 #18


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    Those are some good points. But wouldn't decoherence say your netbook has already decohered at such short spacetime scale that no relativistic observer could see it otherwise than as a classical object?

    That is, to see any quantum vagueness, you would have to be so close as to be inside the netbook?

    Long-range vagueness, such as entangled particles, would probably be subject to relativistic effects (and non-local of course). Do you have any views on that?
  20. Apr 7, 2010 #19
    No, I'm unfamiliar with all the terminology you're using and you're not contextualizing it enough for me to critically apprehend the logic.

    I guess that would mean that you applied vagueness strategically to avoid having to discuss anything substantive with me. Congratulations, you may have a fun career ahead of you in academic elitism.
  21. Apr 7, 2010 #20


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    :rolleyes: What a lot of waffle. To take Georg's questions seriously, it is necessary to narrow down what concept of infinite existence he is employing. They are not all the same.

    You jumped in with what seemed like institutionalised MWI speak, which clearly was neither the multiverse hypothesis as I understand the specific term, nor the ultimate ensemble which Georg appeared to be thinking of as an approach.

    If you are uncomfortable with making your ideas distinct so they can be discussed with precision, then that is your intellectual issue.

    It also happens to be a forum principle that at least some rudimentary contact with published theory is maintained in these discussions. Like they say about artists, you have to know the rules before you can know how to break them.
  22. Apr 7, 2010 #21

    Probably, but that's why i gave a different example involving time, not size.

    I don't have a personal view and will cite what i have gathered in my interest on this topic where i agree with the respective authors on their conclusions.
    Newton's non-dynamical metric of spacetime is replaced by Einstein's GR gravitational field and the Newtonian field is just one among many. The dynamical fields 'move' with respect to each other. It's hard to wrap one's head around the idea that the most successful treatment of the outside world that incorporates relativity has been the fields framework. I think it's only when we try to think classically of the world out there that inconsistencies are bound to arise. The classical pov is just one of many possibly infinite degrees of freedom and i think the important conclusion that is to be drawn from both GR and QM(and even from QFT, though it's still background-dependent as of today) is that the outside world as depicted by said theories is about relations, so the vagueness you are alluding to seems to be a more fundamental feature than the concrete reality we experience. I don't think, as of today, anybody knows or there is any form of agreement whatsoever as to how the concrete world appears out of the dynamics of the fields.
  23. Apr 7, 2010 #22
    That's what I was trying to do when I got bombarded with a theory-literacy test. I am certainly not trying to pretend to be even a novice in this multiverse concept. The reason for my initial post was to check the basic understanding I had of the term, in that it implies multiple universes. I assumed that universal multiplicity was predicated on the idea that time branches off into multiple possible futures and that this theory was treating these "futures" as distinct universes. If that is not the epistemological basis for the concept, then I don't even understand the term, "multiverse." I am a person who likes expressing ideas in language that does not require decoding to engage. Intelligence, yes, but decoding no.
  24. Apr 7, 2010 #23


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    Brainstorm, if you have no scientific knowledge of a subject, then you need to make that clear up front in your first post that you do not understand the subject but have a question.
  25. Apr 7, 2010 #24


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    ??? If we are talking relativity, we are talking spacetime. So the lightcones and compton wavelenths of your netbook.

    When is there ever agreement about anything important? :cry: But I think it is reasonably widely agreed these days that decoherence is the most promising approach.

    As to quantum vagueness, there have been a few people exploring the option (but to me, very preliminary stuff)....

    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  26. Apr 7, 2010 #25


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    I'm sorry but some clarity of what is under discussion is necessary otherwise I would be arguing about apples and you about oranges, a real waste of both our times.
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