Thursday, July 5, 2007

Burying Ockham

This article shows quite clearly how far from the wisdom of Sir William of Ockham modern cosmology, and biology, have strayed:

Recent developments in cosmology radically change the conception of the universe as well as the very notions of "probable" and "possible". The model of eternal inflation implies that all macroscopic histories permitted by laws of physics are repeated an infinite number of times in the infinite multiverse. In contrast to the traditional cosmological models of a single, finite universe, this worldview provides for the origin of an infinite number of complex systems by chance, even as the probability of complexity emerging in any given region of the multiverse is extremely low. This change in perspective has profound implications for the history of any phenomenon, and life on earth cannot be an exception.

Ah, yes. We are now in a position where googleplexes, or even an infinity, of completely unobservable, untestable universes are used to explain (away) anything that looks purposeful or friendly towards the development of life about the properties and regularities of our universe. But any mention of the possibility of psi phenomena being real means instant relegation to crackpot status. Such are the sociological taboos of science.


Chris said...

The multiverse is the new God. Did you not get the memo? ;)

Ersby said...

I remember watching a documentary on this subject and they had scientists on both sides - those who think it's fine, and those who think it's bad science. Is it really that widely established?

btw, I looked up "multiverse" on the Instant Expert Machine, Wikipedia, and was surprised to see the Hindus got there first.

Anonymous said...

Hi Matthew,
I completely agree. In my opinion, multiple worlds theory is merely the last bastion for physicalists determined both to save ‘realism’ from the mentalists and to explain away the unsettling (for them at least) evidence that hints at “design” in the cosmos. For the physicalists, it seems an infinity of unseen, undetectable universes is more palatable than the possibility that the cosmos, and humanity, might not be fortuitous after all.

Anonymous said...

...and the scientific community continues to discredit itself

M.C. said...


You are correct that multiverse explanations are still quite controversial in biology. There is a pretty heated dialogue in the reviews of the paper at the link to the paper I provided, if you scroll down.

However, as far as I can tell, multiverse theories are considered top candidates, if not de rigueur in cosmological physics. Eternal inflation is one example.

I'm not sure I would consider the Hindu multiverse and the atheist cosmological multiverse equivalent, since the Hindus assume that all the universes are the creation of and feature consciousness and the atheist multiverse assumes that the overwhelming majority do not and are simply "failed universes".