The multiverse theory: An atheist’s concession speech

universe.jpgTeleological arguments for the universe are getting so compelling that many atheists are resorting to the “multiverse” theory. 

They realize that the spectacular fine-tuning of the universe implies a designer, so they posit that there must be an infinite number of universes, with ours just happening to be one which supports life. 

They have zero evidence for this, of course, and don’t seem to realize that explaining the existence of an jim-safari-147.jpginfinite number of universes is harder than explaining one.  They seem kinda desperate to me.dna2.gif  It is a true “science of the gaps” play. 

In short, I view the multiverse theory as an atheist’s concession speech.

Wintery Knight has a thorough post on this as well.

0 thoughts on “The multiverse theory: An atheist’s concession speech”

  1. What amazes me is they have to resort to a supernatural explanation for their belief. Whether it is eternal matter, or the big bang, or light and/or matter traveling at speeds faster than the speed of light at some point early in the universe’s existence. Yet they can’t admit to a supernatural being that is behind all of it.

    In the end it show their game: deny the existence of God.

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    1. How is the idea that there are a potentially infinite number of universes supernatural? What makes the existence of one universe plausible, but the existence of several supernatural?

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  2. For those that want to know how dialog on this matter will proceed, I’ve saved you the time of reading articles down the road. They’ll go a little something like this:

    Educated main stream award winning scientist: “Hey guys! I have the solution to that pesky matter of an infinite regresses being logically impossible!”

    Ignorant fundamentalist Christian: “What’s that?”

    Scientist: “We’ll go back one more step, and we’ll claim that’s where the infinite regress begins!”

    Christian: “/facepalm. Okay, so where did all the multiverses come from?”

    Scientist with Media friends: “YOU STUPID GOD OF THE GAPS IGNORANT ANTI EVOLUTION CHRISTIAN. WHY DO YOU BELIEVE THE EARTH IS FLAT? YOU ARE THE REASON EVERYTHING IN THE WORLD IS WRONG! ITS ALL YOUR FAULT! THERE IS A SCIENTIFIC CONSENSUS ON THIS. NOW SHUT UP.”

    Followed a few months later with going backwards one more step in the logically impossible infinite regress.

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  3. I fail to see how the multiverse theory (which, if you read, isn’t a theory that many in the scientific community are willing to accept, given that it’s impossible to test) is somehow a concession to the existence of God. I believe you are grasping at something that simply isn’t there.

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  4. Fox, your question about how a multiverse entails supernaturalism hinges on how you define nature.

    If what is “natural” just refers to this physical, material universal, then anything that exists beyond that universe is definitionally supernatural, where “super-” means beyond.

    If other universes exist beyond this universe, then they are, from the standpoint of this universe, supernatural.

    The theory that there is a multiverse is something of a concession to theism because it’s a move of such desperation: not because the atheist who puts forth the theory concedes God’s existence, but because it’s so farcical to appeal to theory as a response to the teleological argument.

    For one thing, the atheist rejects the existence of a divine Creator, in part because (he argues) that His existence cannot be proven scientifically, but then he latches on to a multiverse theory that can’t be proven scientifically.

    In many cases, the atheist rejection of God is a rejection of all supernaturalism, but a multiverse is definitionally supernatural (see above).

    And, to theorize a multiverse to respond to the teleological argument for God is to make more difficult his own responses to the cosmological argument: instead of having to explain the first cause of one universe, he has to explain the cause(s) of many.

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  5. Here is my $0.02 worth. Physics requires mathematics. So any physical theory that attempts to explain the origins of the physical universe, by necessity, must presuppose that the rules of mathematics, logic and set theory, pre-existed and are independent of the physical universe itself. Now mathematics, logic and set theory may not fit the Judeo-Christian concept of God, but together they do form an ordering principle that is external-to and pre-existing the known universe. That is why you often find that physicists, even if they are not religious, will still have a concept of God in the tradition of the philosopher, Spinoza.

    This is also probably the reason that the greatest level of conflict between Religion and Science occurs in the field of biology. Because of the point mentioned above, physicists intellectually can’t join in the crude level of argumentation that you will find filling most of the anti-religious diatribes coming out of the science communities these days.

    There is a second, intriguing possibility, and that is that the rules of mathematics are not independent of the physical universe but only came into being with the creation of the universe itself. But, if this were the case, then physics would be of no use in describing anything coming before the moment of the Big Bang, and theories, such as String Theory would then fall into this category of uselessness.

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  6. I know this post is kind of old, but I thought I’d comment anyway.

    It seems like you characterize the multiverse theory as something that scientists put together as a “last attempt”. The multiverse theory emerged partly because of observations around the force of gravity. The force of gravity is so incredibly weak, that scientists are examining the idea that some of it may be leaking into higher dimensions. This was not developed because scientists are looking for reasons that our universe supports life – it was postulated that other universes may not have the same qualities as ours, but that is just because we can’t yet assume they would be the same.

    String theory has come a long way in the past 20 years, and although it is not universally accepted, it is starting to dominate the quantum physics world.

    I don’t get what this has to do with God. Must one be an atheist to conduct research on quantum physics?

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    1. Ryan, once again your argument seems to be that if one disagrees with a scientific theory then one must not understand the theory. Neil always seems to have a very good grasp on the science he blogs about. You can disagree with his conclusions if you’d like, but it is insulting to suggest he doesn’t understand the theory.

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      1. WHAT!?!?

        I don’t “agree” with this theory either. I don’t have anywhere near the ability to evaluate the multiverse idea. I just think it’s interesting, and I’ve read as much as I can about it.. I’m more interested in the process of finding out how the universe works. Please excuse my curiosity.

        Neil, in his post supposed that scientists made up this theory, with no evidence, specifically to dodge the conclusion that there must be a God.

        I’m just challenging that. You guys need to lighten up a bit.

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      2. Ryan,

        Some of the leading proponents of the multi-verse theory originally advocated it as a means to circumvent the massive logical problem they are faced when they insist that the material universe is all there is, nothing more. Namely, the problem of “ex nihilo nihil fit”, or, “Nothing comes from nothing.”

        In other words, the theory was crafted to fit an ideology of materialism.

        Since then, after arguing for some time that in these other magical universes with other magical laws of physics there is no need for causality and as such they had circumvented the problem of “ex nihilo nihil fit”, they have recanted a bit and admitted that even in these other magical universes the same problem of causality arises.

        No matter how many multiverses there are, there can not be an infinite regress. There must be a starting point.

        Science-by-ideology generally makes terrible science.

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      3. As a side note, you may find the Wintery Knight post and subsequent comments very interesting.

        Some scientists have attempted to explain life in this universe by saying that an outside alien life force from a different universe put us here, or something like that.

        Let’s run with that. If we take a look at our universe, and how amazingly precisely fine tuned it is (even a small change in the functioning of gravity or a small change in the conditions at the time of the big bang would result in no life and a whole lot of other things), does it not start to become a serious consideration that perhaps some intelligent being, somewhere, set these conditions?

        Perhaps an alien life force with incredible technology even sit this universe in motion, from a different multiverse, in such a way that life could exist. After all, the conditions are literally perfect in this universe for life, and the probability of that is utterly infinitesimal.

        Regardless, it is difficult to look at the entire universe, and biological diversity of life on Earth, and not conclude that someone– somewhere–sometime– hand a role in designing this.

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      4. Some scientists have attempted to explain life in this universe by saying that an outside alien life force from a different universe put us here, or something like that.

        Dawkins was prodded into saying that by being directly asked to “suppose” a way where life could have started. It came out of pure imagination. Scientists do not regard this as a valid hypothesis, and that particular idea does not solve the problem of where we came from. If an alien life form planted us, then where did they come from?

        No matter how many multiverses there are, there can not be an infinite regress. There must be a starting point.

        With all due respect, that comment shows that you have not looked into string theory at all. I don’t at all begrudge you for that, since it’s not easy to even find the time to do so. In a theory that encompasses 11 dimensions of space and time, the whole idea of a “starting point” becomes so incredibly vague. I’d recommend “The Elegant Universe” from PBS.

        Regardless, it is difficult to look at the entire universe, and biological diversity of life on Earth, and not conclude that someone– somewhere–sometime– hand a role in designing this.

        Yes, I’ll give you that. It does seem difficult at first. We owe a lot to people who have looked that difficulty right in the face, and dedicated their lives to breaking down those barriers.

        The fact that you guys are so willing to accept an infinite God with no starting point, but no infinite universe is just annoying. We can’t even play by the same rules in a debate. You mock science by calling certain theories “magic”, yet magic is the basis for your worldview.

        Is there something in the Bible that tells us we should not explore our universe, or when we do explore it, that we should not think about certain possibilities?

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      5. Ryan writes,

        [quote]The fact that you guys are so willing to accept an infinite God with no starting point, but no infinite universe is just annoying.”[/quote]

        Have you considered that, perhaps, you don’t understand what is meant by an infinite God without a starting point? We’ve tried to explain this to you, but you seem not terribly interested in the facts, just the accusation.

        I don’t think it’s fair to blame us for 1) your lack of a philosophical foundation and 2) your refusal to listen to explanations that would require gaining some of that philosophical foundation.

        Further you wrote,

        [quote]Is there something in the Bible that tells us we should not explore our universe, or when we do explore it, that we should not think about certain possibilities?[/quote]

        No, and your anti-religious bigotry is showing again.

        Scripture encourages scientific exploration, which is why Christians have vigorously researched for centuries.

        However, scripture does not tell us to accept rather half-baked theories as fact, especially when they are on the decline in the scientific community.

        You further write,
        [quote]With all due respect, that comment shows that you have not looked into string theory at all[/quote]

        You are incorrect. I’m glad to discuss this topic with you more after you have read the KKLT paper and the Susskind paper, which both served as a sort of death-nail for string theory in major academic research. KKLT remains the most cited paper on string theory ever written, and for the last decade string theory citations and writing in general has really dropped off.

        Some of the leading figures in String Theory have bailed in recent years, in no small part because string theory can’t actually prove anything, and one can’t actually prove string theory.

        Kind of a catch 22 that way.

        Further even if we keep jumping through hoops to pretend String Theory is still in the ascendancy, it no way serves to provide information about either the source all matter, nor does it provide a bridge to some sort of theory of eternal matter. Rather, it only really serves to explain the current functioning of the universe.

        I hope this helps clarify things for you a bit Ryan.

        I look forward to further discussion on this and other topics.

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      6. Please stop calling me a bigot – I’m really getting sick of it. I’ve been reprimanded for name-calling here several times, but it seems to be okay when it goes the other way. I don’t disapprove of religion any more than you disapprove of atheism.

        I have read about the KKLT team, but how do you characterize that as a death nail? Didn’t the KKLT team introduce the concept of branes instead of mere strings? This is just an expansion of string theory. You are absolutely correct that string theory models are changing rapidly, and there are many scientists who are backing off. It works really well on paper, but cannot be tested currently, and the nature of the theory makes it difficult to test.

        I’m not advocating string theory, and I’m not asking you to accept “half baked” theories, as you claim. It’s just interesting. I assume you agree with me on that, since you have taken the time to read about it.

        I do understand what YOU mean by an infinite God, and I found your explanation rather interesting and insightful, philosophically. That doesn’t mean I am going to automatically accept it. I don’t agree that anything metaphysical can have intelligence, and I’ve never heard a good argument for that. I believe that the universe is a material object, but the definition of “material” is yet to be defined, as we still do not understand the core of matter and energy.

        Let’s try to keep this a little more civil.

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