More on quantum theory and the start of the universe(s)

Hello to my google using fellows (the one Bing user out there, get out!),

Yesterday I posted about an argument made in a book I was reading, god actually, which states that a multiverse theory is desperate, has no proof, and is against Occam’s razor. I also showed yesterday how there is indirect proof that multiverses should exist, and that it is logical, not desperate. Today I will be showing you how it is also something which is against Occam’s razor. But first, I will give anybody out there who doesn’t know, the low-down on Occam’s razor.

Occam’s razor is a logical tool to decide on what is the most likely theory to suit observations. It does not mean that what Occam’s razor says is the correct hypothesis, it just says what is the most likely hypothesis, but it is usually correct. Occam’s razor, in a nut-shell, states that the theory which invokes the least amount of new assumptions is most likely the correct theory. This can be applied to our solar system… It is possible to model a solar system which is centered around the earth and holds up to all observations, but this would be highly complex, and it is much simpler to create a solar system which is centered with the sun.

Now I will show how it applies to our god vs multiverse discussion. The stance taken by Roy Williams and Paul Davies is that it is against Occam’s razor to invoke an infinite amount of universes to explain the coincidences of one universe, and it is much simpler to explain these contrivances with a god who designed them to be that way.
This is wrong. In fact, I believe it is quite the opposite. I’m going to list the assumptions made by each side of the argument.

Goddidit: It isn’t really a lot of assumptions, just one MASSIVE assumption, that there is an omniscient, omnipotent, supernatural, existing-outside-of-the-universe deity who, for no apparent reason, decided to create a universe, with intelligent beings in it, just for his amusing.
Multiverses: We know about quantum mechanics and the “all possibilities are achieved” consequences of it, we know how the universe was created, and that if it probably happened for us, then it probably happened for a lot of universes. The only assumption, (if you want to call it that) is the quantum fluctuations occur, and this has been proven.

That means assumptions go as follows, goddidit 1 – 0 multiverse.

Occam’s razor, because it is a scientific tool which requires natural causes, cannot be used to support a supernatural explanation because if there were supernatural forces in the universe, then Occam’s razor is useless.

I will leave you with a quote from Bertrand Russell, “Whenever possible, substitute constructions out of known entities for inferences to unknown entities.” Bertrand Russell, a British philosopher, logican, mathematician, historian and social critic.

6 thoughts on “More on quantum theory and the start of the universe(s)

  1. I think you are creating a false dichotomy here. Both theories assert the existence of entities that have not been observed. I tend to agree with you that the multiverse theory fits better with the scientific view of our universe, but that doesn’t really mean it is correct.
    You make the statement “we know how the universe was created”, but that is not true, we don’t know how or even if the universe was created, our physical theories can only go as far as a few moments after the big bang, but they can’t say anything about the state of the universe before that. We have some hypothesis, but the more honest answer is that we don’t know. (Of course, that doesn’t mean the invisible sky ghost that never lies did it)

    • When I claimed we knew how the universe was created, I am talking about the fleeting millionths of a second before the big bang.
      We do also have theories like Lawrence Krauss’s which suggest how a universe can be created from nothing. I know there is criticism of his work, but its another step forward for science.

      I make the argument in other posts that it IS more logical to assume a multiverse, with an argument from Occam’s razor.

      The assumptions needed for the multiverse are 1, a TOE. The assumptions for god are infinite, due to his omnipowerful, omnibenevolent and omniscient nature. Which is why, although not with scientific proof, the multiverse is a BETTER explanation of the universe.

      • I agree with you that it is better then “goddidit”, it just seem like you are inplying it is the best cosmological scientific theory. The problem I see is that the idea of a multiverse isn’t really a scientific theory, it’s an interpretation of the mathematical theory of quantum mechanics. There are other interpretations that don’t inply a multiverse (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interpretations_of_quantum_mechanics)

        And these are more phylosophical positions then scientific ones, since they are trying to explain what happens between measurements, while science can only make statements about measurements. There’s nothing wrong with philosophizing, but it’s inportant to make a distinction.

        As I said, I agree with you that the scientific explanations are better then religious ones, I just think you are creating a false dichotomy by comparing “God” with “multiverse”. I think what is more to the point is the distinction between platonic and aristotelian phylosophies (A good read: http://www.theeternaluniverse.com/2010/03/platonic-vs-aristotelian-world-views.html).

        • While I do agree that there are other interpretations of QM, they all have repercussions for the fine-tuning of the universe.

          Even if the multiverse remains unproven and without evidence, my god, you could say… it still requires much less assumptions than an infinite power, infinite knowledge god.

          • Does it? What are these asumptions?
            We don’t really need an infinite powerful and inteligent god. Just one really really powerful and inteligent god (Let’s, for the sake of argument, assume this means an entity with at least the same amount of energy and information then the universe). This seems like an entity that could create a universe. Well a multiverse would fit this description, it wold have at least as much energy and information as our universe.

            The main difference between these two things is that we think of one as a concious entity (whatever that means) and the other is not. People think that the order of the universe inplies the cause of the universe had to have inteligence, but I think this is just an antropomorphisation of the universe.

            I guess what I’m trying to say is that I don’t think Occam’s razor solves this issue. It’s more of an issue about whether or not we can infer inteligence to the cause of complexity, and I think that that is a falacy that comes from believing we understan what conscience is and that the universe as a whole has that property. I don’t think it does and no one (that I know) has shown this, espacially not Chopra and his quantum fairytale club.

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