Have you ever heard someone say "Perhaps there are an infinite number of universes in which every single possibility comes true"?

Did you ever think about what that means?

Suppose you have a child you love with all your heart and soul. In THIS universe. According to the theory, there are multiple other universes in which you neglect, abuse, or murder your child. There's one where you toss your child over a cliff and one where you pour gasoline on them and light them on fire.

It would seem to follow with necessity from the "every single possibility" theory. 

If you don't have a child, think of your spouse, your pet, your parents, or your best friend.

Of course there are universes where bad things are happening to you as well.

Have you ever thought of this before?

Is there any way to escape these seemingly necessary conclusions?

Do you still believe in the infinite universes concept?

Comments?

Tags: multiple, universes

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If they're making bread, do they find it amazing that yeast makes it rise when the moisture and sugar and temperature are right?

Well no, but it's evidence for an intelligent chef, donchya know?

Sorry for sounding aggravated in a previous post, but it really does bug me when science popularists glom onto terms like God particle and parallel universes, not to mention the totally useless notion that there may be other Meez out there that are just "slightly" different from the real Me, and it just so happens that--even if my mother and father were killed in that other universe before my Me#83494 could be born, maybe Me#34546 does exist out there, somewhere, among the infinite bazillions of possible Meez "only a single space-time dimension away". I mean, I made fun of these infinities of infinity possibilities starting to sound supernatural, like the possibility of God himself just being made possible to exist because of the magic wonder powers of Infiniteez Probabiliteez (which I'm now paraphrasing).

There comes a point in Fantastic Scientific Speculations that is so ambiguous or undefinable that it becomes like fly paper, attracting Charlatans, Chopras, and other fools to their own purposes.

And yet, a few decades ago the universe was thought to be The Milky Way, and not so long before that, it was thought to be just our solar system (unaware even of the planets beyond Jupiter). What were those dots in the sky? Well, not stars and certainly not galaxies. 

In the early days of science, empty space used to be thought of as nothingness. Later, it was thought to be composed of a substance called "ether." Scientists for a long time poo-pooed the idea of ether. Space, they said, harking back to the ancients, was just nothingness. Then Einstein came along and space turned out to be (or at least behave like) a substance. Gravity squeezes it, stretches it, and even twists it. Any scientist predicting the return of space as a something rather than nothing would have been booed off the podium before Einstein.

Yes, but still, we are unlikely to ever get any direct confirmation of the existence of such things as other universes, parallel dimensions, branes, even superstrings. Some things simply are the consequence of formulae that we know work, or assuming them allows us to make sense of things. 

Other strange things the science popularizers like to talk about definitely do exist, even though we have no explanation for them. Dark matter/energy would be the primary example of that. 

Your point is valid here but I will pick a couple of factual nits.

The stars were known as stars, but there was no realization that they were similar in nature to our sun--in other words it wasn't realized that the Sun was just another star.  They were believed to be affixed to (hence "fixed stars") a sphere outside the orbit of Saturn (not Jupiter).  1781, Uranus was discovered.

I see.

Yes, but still, we are unlikely to ever get any direct confirmation of the existence of such things as other universes...

"Ever" is an awfully long time, Unseen. A hundred years ago we didn't have the mindset or technology to look for and actually detect evidence for cosmic inflation. It was beyond us, all but impossible. But just a few days ago, in what may be hailed as one of the most important scientific discoveries of our time, that evidence was found.

There is a reasonably good possibility there may be evidence to show that other universes exist. For instance, if we could find evidence that shows our universe has collided with other universes in the distant past. If history is any indication, we could find that evidence, if there is the right amount of desire, cleverness and technology to look for it.

That first article is, indeed, fantastic. However,...

...evidence that some might interpret as our universe having collided with another universe isn't direct evidence that it happened.

That first article is, indeed, fantastic. However,... ...evidence that some might interpret as our universe having collided with another universe isn't direct evidence that it happened.

That's okay. Direct evidence isn't required. Indirect evidence will do.

We know water temperature indirectly by inferences from the thermal responses of the mercury in thermometers. Otherwise, jump in and let your nerve endings do the rest.

A police officer knows how fast you're driving by using a radar gun to measure your speed indirectly. But don't try using that to talk your way out of a ticket.

We have only indirect evidence that the earth has a liquid iron-nickel core based on earthquake vibrations that bounce off it. There are no core samples that deep.

We have only indirect evidence of the precise distance from Earth to Luna by timing how long it takes a beam of light to pass from one to the other. Otherwise, get a really, really long tape measure and call Neil Armstrong out of retirement.

We have no direct evidence of hydrogen fusion in the sun, but... well, you get the idea.

In science, indirect evidence is still useful in making predictions, falsifying predictions, and sometimes drawing conclusions. These things can still be challenged, but the challenger must present his case as to why the indirect evidence is invalid or why another interpretation fits it better.

Outside of science, this process can have amusing or harmful results. Faced with mountains of (mostly indirect) evidence, some challengers insist upon direct evidence exclusively and start to make rather silly demands.

By the way, the probably Nobel prize-worthy evidence for gravitational waves and cosmic inflation that I mentioned earlier is not direct evidence: "[Researchers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics] had spotted indirect evidence of gravitational waves, or ripples in space-time, from the earliest moments of the universe."

That's all swell, but what would COUNT as conclusive evidence that there is another universe? After all, that all powerful and all-knowing being that planted dinosaur bones in order to fool us could be fooling us again.

I know we'll never satisfy that crowd, but we right now have many prominent physicists who view string theory as "philosophy, not physics." What kind of evidence would satisfy them? The Brian Greens, Michio Kakus, and Brian Cox's who have built lucrative careers out of speculating on such things seem to be relatively unskeptical, but many physicists will need proof that's a lot more conclusive than the mathematical evidence we have for strings, even if it's indirect.

That the earth has a molten metal core is confirmed in many ways, and has the advantage of existing here and now. I can't imagine any evidence of a collision with another universe getting far beyond the conclusion that it's a possible explanation, even if it's the only one.

what would COUNT as conclusive evidence that there is another universe?

That's a good question.

First, note that the evidence wouldn't necessarily have to be conclusive any more than it would have to be direct. (There aren't many things that are incontrovertible even in science.)

One way of testing the theory that there is more than one universe would be to examine the cosmic background radiation. We've already found indirect evidence of ripples in space-time which are features of cosmic inflation from the big bang. Steven Hawking suggests we might find other features which could indicate a collision with another universe, perhaps one that existed before the big bang.

There might be other ways and means of looking that we haven't thought of yet, but could think of in twenty years or in five hundred years. This is what I mean when I say "ever" is an awfully long time to put humanity down for the count.

I know we'll never satisfy that crowd,
You're right of course. But that doesn't bother me much, except that most of the Goddidit folks are sitting on local school boards and running for Congress.
but we right now have many prominent physicists who view string theory as "philosophy, not physics." What kind of evidence would satisfy them? The Brian Greens, Michio Kakus, and Brian Cox's who have built lucrative careers out of speculating on such things seem to be relatively unskeptical,
This doesn't trouble me because this crowd generally acknowledges that what they do is speculative and is either untested currently or untestable at all. It's false to compare that with the Goddidit crowd, who claim God is truth (not simply conjecture) and either ignore or use spurious reasoning to address their own burden of proof. I'm not necessarily suggesting that you are comparing speculative scientists to creationists, but I am wondering why you're bringing this up here.
but many physicists will need proof that's a lot more conclusive than the mathematical evidence we have for strings, even if it's indirect.

I think most of them will settle for any evidence at all. Once found, thus begins the process of many scientists drawing their own conclusions, many more looking for additional evidence, and still more revising the initial conclusions accordingly, all continually battling it out until the best conclusions win.

Consider humanity's view of the cosmos back at the time Neptune was discovered. From their perspective, what evidence would have convinced them of the big bang and cosmic inflation? The knowledge and technology of the age left them totally unprepared to even begin to understand these things. There was too much groundwork left undone.

The theoretical support for other universes is there. Finding the means to test it might take fifty years, or a hundred years, or five hundred, but if it's going to happen at all, that's how it works. You have to start the process at the beginning, using whatever knowledge and concepts are available at the time. Part of the reason nobody's found evidence for other universes is that (as Hawking points out) it's only recently that more than a few scientists have taken the idea seriously enough to spend their resources on looking for them.

The full breath of the anthropic principal under scores, the strange variation in the mass of the quarks, the lightness of the cosmologiical constant a value that is in the 119th place after the decimal point . If if were in the 118th place or 120th place the universe would not be stable.  The properties of Hoyle's carbon resonance, The imbalance between protons and antiprotons etc. electric force is 10^41 larger than the gravity force. The density contract of the universe is 10^-5, had it been 10^-6, successive epochs of star generation would not be possible. etc, etc.

Your argument's speciousness is obvious once you substitute something far less grand than the universe. For example, if there were no chuckhole in the road, and if it hadn't rained last night, there would be no puddle. Ergo, God must have made that puddle.

So, whatever is possible can happen. Whatever is not possible can't. (Can you hear me slapping my forehead?)

No proof of God there. Sorry.

So, whatever is possible can happen. Whatever is not possible can't. (Can you hear me slapping my forehead?)

Well put. That's how I feel about pushing concepts of "parallel" universes, insofar as popularizing the notion that there must be other universes out there made in our own image.

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