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Why Some Scientists Embrace the 'Multiverse'

Rawlings

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Dennis Prager | Jun 18, 2013
Townhall.com



cfe8c81e-a995-4193-8f84-73e722406b87.jpg


Last week, in Nice, France, I was privileged to participate, along with 30 scholars, mostly scientists and mathematicians, in a conference on the question of whether the universe was designed, or at least fine-tuned, to make life, especially intelligent life. Participants -- from Yale, Princeton, Harvard, Berkeley and Columbia among other American and European universities -- included believers in God, agonistics and atheists. . . .

http://townhall.com/columnists/denn...sts-embrace-the-multiverse-n1621935/page/full
 

zgoldsmith23

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Seeing as how this thread mischaracterizes atheists and science, can we move this to Philosophy so I can address it without infraction?
 

ashurbanipal

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Yeah, FWIW, I think this should be changed to philosophy as well.
 

Monserrat

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Yeah, FWIW, I think this should be changed to philosophy as well.

I don't, what does it have to do with philosophy? It's an article on religion trying to yet again force it's way into the realm of scientific reality. A Religious discussion forum is the only appropriate place for it.
 

Dezaad

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I don't, what does it have to do with philosophy? It's an article on religion trying to yet again force it's way into the realm of scientific reality. A Religious discussion forum is the only appropriate place for it.

It is an OP that questions atheists as to whether creator entities (gods) exist or not. I don't know for certain, but I don't think it would be zgoldsmith that got dinged for what he might want to say. I am pretty sure that it would more likely to be Rawlings who would get dinged for putting it in the wrong forum, though I think that is unlikely. They should probably just move it... it is a thread about whether god(s) are the best explanation for the Universe, or not.
 

ashurbanipal

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Monserrat said:
I don't, what does it have to do with philosophy?

At the risk of repeating what Dezaad said, this sub-forum is for discussion of religions. One rule is there is not supposed to be any criticism of religions here. Zgoldsmith (and, presumably, others) would like to be able to criticize the conclusion of the article, which would possibly run afoul of that rule. Whether or not it would, this seems pretty clearly to be a philosophical, rather than a religious, problem anyway. The question is whether the new crop of teleological arguments are any good, which is traditionally a philosophical issue.

Monserrat said:
It's an article on religion trying to yet again force it's way into the realm of scientific reality.

That isn't clear to me. The article questions the motivation of the recent theories about multiverses.
 

Rawlings

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It is an OP that questions atheists as to whether creator entities (gods) exist or not. I don't know for certain, but I don't think it would be zgoldsmith that got dinged for what he might want to say. I am pretty sure that it would more likely to be Rawlings who would get dinged for putting it in the wrong forum, though I think that is unlikely. They should probably just move it... it is a thread about whether god(s) are the best explanation for the Universe, or not.

It's not in the wrong forum. Prager is writing about a scientific conference discussing fine tuning with the existence of God in mind. I can think of several related and solidly religious, scientific or philosophical concerns. This thread could legitimately go in anyone of them: i.e., science, religion or philosophy. Apparently, having it here cramps the range of discussion though. Right now, goldsmith and I are having it moved to philosophy. Stand by.
 
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iguanaman

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All this idea shows is how desperate we are to find God. Now God is responsible for the big bang and that's it. Personally I find it laughable for so called scientists to say the universe is "improbable". In my mind it works in the only way possible. There is no way to prove either view is not true so we are back to square one.
 

Rawlings

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I don't, what does it have to do with philosophy? It's an article on religion trying to yet again force it's way into the realm of scientific reality. A Religious discussion forum is the only appropriate place for it.

LOL! And of course, the above judgment is philosophical in nature owing, no doubt, to an unwitting presupposition of a metaphysical naturalism.
 

Wiseone

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Considering the extreme open natural of the question would I be wrong in assuming the conference resulted in a whole lot of "I don't know," "maybe," and "I guess" without any solid answers?
 

Monserrat

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LOL! And of course, the above judgment is philosophical in nature owing, no doubt, to an unwitting presupposition of a metaphysical naturalism.

Not at all. It's based on what is or is not science. Philosophy has blurry lines, science is solid it's tangible it's measurable.
 

Monserrat

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At the risk of repeating what Dezaad said, this sub-forum is for discussion of religions. One rule is there is not supposed to be any criticism of religions here. Zgoldsmith (and, presumably, others) would like to be able to criticize the conclusion of the article, which would possibly run afoul of that rule. Whether or not it would, this seems pretty clearly to be a philosophical, rather than a religious, problem anyway. The question is whether the new crop of teleological arguments are any good, which is traditionally a philosophical issue.



That isn't clear to me. The article questions the motivation of the recent theories about multiverses.


Where does philosophy fit in? Which philosophy did it bring up? All I saw was certain religious people (in the article) yet again bashing science and then blaming atheism for scientific theories/sometimes just hypotheses that they don't like.

The only reason that I could see for this being moved to philosophy is just so the anti-religious can go through their usual routine of mocking the religious.
 

Monserrat

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It is an OP that questions atheists as to whether creator entities (gods) exist or not. I don't know for certain, but I don't think it would be zgoldsmith that got dinged for what he might want to say. I am pretty sure that it would more likely to be Rawlings who would get dinged for putting it in the wrong forum, though I think that is unlikely. They should probably just move it... it is a thread about whether god(s) are the best explanation for the Universe, or not.

It discusses religion and science, I don't know if you read through the article or not but it claimed that there was scientific evidence backing intelligent design and then stated that most scientists agreed with this. It doesn't go into philosophies on God. I have a sneaking suspicion that the only reason people want it moved is because: 1. They didn't read the article. and 2. they want to go off on religion without getting an infraction.

I can see how you could turn it into a philosophical discussion but that's not what the topic in the thread is about.
 

Rawlings

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Considering the extreme open natural of the question would I be wrong in assuming the conference resulted in a whole lot of "I don't know," "maybe," and "I guess" without any solid answers?

According to Prager, the consensus is that we live in a universe that is very conducive to intelligent life.
 

roughdraft274

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From the article:

But there is not a shred of evidence of the existence of these other universes. Nor could there be since contact with another universe is impossible.

False. It is a hypothesis that is still in it's infancy, but it does have evidence in support of it, for example, we have found evidence of possible gravitational pulls that could be resulting from other universes. The science is pretty far beyond the average persons understanding, but the idea that there is no evidence and couldn't possibly be any evidence, as Mr. Prager is suggesting, is just plain false.

Therefore, only one conclusion can be drawn: The fact that atheists have resorted to the multiverse argument constitutes a tacit admission that they have lost the argument about design in this universe. The evidence in this universe for design -- or, if you will, the fine-tuning that cannot be explained by chance or by "enough time" -- is so compelling that the only way around it is to suggest that our universe is only one of an infinite number of universes.

So because scientists developed a possible explanation for a problem they have lost the argument? How in the world is that a good argument? Mr. Prager is basically saying "I think they are wrong therefor they have lost the entire argument." And this is the problem when mixing religion with science. The default position of a person more interested in verifying their religion than actual data and science is one that pushes them to ignore other possibilities. So while scientists are out there putting in hard work to actually get results on these questions, Mr. Prager's argument is "hey, no use in more research! Stop asking questions and doing experiments! You can't figure that out! Therefor, there must be a creator!" To say he is arguing from a weak position is the nice way to put it.
 

Dezaad

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It discusses religion and science, I don't know if you read through the article or not but it claimed that there was scientific evidence backing intelligent design and then stated that most scientists agreed with this. It doesn't go into philosophies on God. I have a sneaking suspicion that the only reason people want it moved is because: 1. They didn't read the article. and 2. they want to go off on religion without getting an infraction.

I can see how you could turn it into a philosophical discussion but that's not what the topic in the thread is about.

No, if you read the religion forum rules, my understanding is that it is for discussions where the existence of god is not in question.
It is for discussions about religion without having to put up with atheists questioning god's existence at every turn.


Since the OP specifically indicates a debate about whether science and scientists agree that there is a god or not, this is a philosophical discussion by the definition that this forum uses. If it is not moved, I can't see how the question can be explored.
 

Rawlings

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Not at all. It's based on what is or is not science. Philosophy has blurry lines, science is solid it's tangible it's measurable.

Wrong. Once again. Your assertion is philosophical in nature. Science deals with the empirical or measurable. That doesn't mean that science in and of itself is what you hazily have in mind at all.

The surest thing we have are the rational forms and logical categories of human consciousness, i.e., the first principles of philosophy, not our estimations about phenomena beyond. The very premise of science is necessarily metaphysical and unfalsifiable. Further, you don't grasp that you're revealing an unwitting assumption of a metaphysical naturalism for reality.

Philosophy necessarily precedes science; science necessarily rests on philosophy.

You just think you understand the matter.
 

Rawlings

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No, if you read the religion forum rules, my understanding is that it is for discussions where the existence of god is not in question.
It is for discussions about religion without having to put up with atheists questioning god's existence at every turn.


Since the OP specifically indicates a debate about whether science and scientists agree that there is a god or not, this is a philosophical discussion by the definition that this forum uses. If it is not moved, I can't see how the question can be explored.

Your point is well taken. I'm getting it moved, waiting on MOD. My apologies, new to board.
 

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Your point is well taken. I'm getting it moved, waiting on MOD. My apologies, new to board.

Actually, they may have altered how they think about this forum when I wasn't looking :). Lets see what they decide to do.
 

Paschendale

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That no one at all is suggesting that this belongs in the science forum is very telling. There is no valid scientific proposition in the OP's article. Just a bunch of theists demonstrating that they do not understand science very well, and dismissing it because it has advanced beyond the knowledge possessed by people in the bronze age. It is little more than an ad hom attack on scientists and non-theists (on its face, anyone who is not an Abrahamic monotheist) stemming from a place of ignorance. Its arguments are backwards, and begin with the preferred conclusion and work backwards, and then utterly fail to do so coherently. And it's not like it's a new argument. It's the same crap that theists have been peddling for decades.

That there is life in the universe is not evidence that the universe is "fine tuned" for life. That suggests intent and there is absolutely no evidence to suggest intent. It at least recognizes that the universe operating a certain way seems to be a mathmatical improbability (though it may not be, and universes may not be able to deviate much from this setup, that is one alternate theory), but assumes that a sample size of one universe is enough to reach firm conclusions about this, and decides that divine intervention is the only way to explain an improbable occurrence. It only does this, of course, by ignoring the improbability of divine intervention and takes it as a given. Just as creationists attempt to explain the complexity of life by invoking a god, while not accounting for the complexity of that god.

A multiverse theory addresses the problem of improbability by increasing the sample size. An improbable event is much less improbable when you have more chances. Rolling snake eyes on a single roll of the dice is improbable. Doing it when rolling two hundred times is expected. A similar theory explains the existence of life in our universe as well. While the emergence of life on a single world may be improbable, the sheer size of the universe makes it almost an imperative. With so many worlds and so many billions of years, there are so many rolls of the dice that life is not so improbable.

There is no science in the OP. There is only religion, and that is why it is useless.

I will deign to address one quote in all this nonsense.

Wrong. Once again. Your assertion is philosophical in nature. Science deals with the empirical or measurable. That doesn't mean that science in and of itself is what you hazily have in mind at all.

The surest thing we have are the rational forms and logical categories of human consciousness, i.e., the first principles of philosophy, not our estimations about phenomena beyond. The very premise of science is necessarily metaphysical and unfalsifiable. Further, you don't grasp that you're revealing an unwitting assumption of a metaphysical naturalism for reality.

Philosophy necessarily precedes science; science necessarily rests on philosophy.

You just think you understand the matter.

No, that's not how science works at all. We assume a consistent and natural universe because that's what's there. When we make predictions based on these premises, the predictions come true. When we make them based on metaphysical arguments, they don't. Philosophy is, honestly, just a branch of science that deals with human emotions and actions based on those emotions. It is a precursor to psychology. Rather than wonder if Rousseau or Hobbes was right about human nature being good or evil, we have the means to just find out. We study and experiment and theorize and we reach useful conclusions that tell us something about ourselves and the world around us that we didn't previously know. We use science because it works. We discard religion because it doesn't.

As Dawkins famously put it:

S-ScienceWorksBitch.jpg
 

digsbe

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Moderator's Warning:
Thread moved to philosophical discussions. Religious forum specific rules no longer apply.
 

roughdraft274

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According to Prager, the consensus is that we live in a universe that is very conducive to intelligent life.
And when I put water in my freezer it turns into ice. Prager is a ****ing moron. He proved that when he declared that there is no possible way to provide evidence for the multiverse theory. He doesn't want evidence. He just wants to remain ignorant. That's why he made such stupid claims. It's fine if he wants his religion and to remain ignorant of science and the world around us, but thankfully there are actual scientists out there willing to put in the hard work to actually answer the questions rather than accept the verbal diarrhea that Prager is spewing here. Just because he is far too stupid to understand something doesn't mean it's impossible.
 

ashurbanipal

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Monserrat said:
Where does philosophy fit in?

I'm not sure what motivates your question. Can you think of relevant topics that do not include philosophy?

Monserrat said:
Which philosophy did it bring up? All I saw was certain religious people (in the article) yet again bashing science and then blaming atheism for scientific theories/sometimes just hypotheses that they don't like.

Well, then you should become more familiar with the contours of the debate. The idea was that as we put together the standard model in particle physics and concurrent work in other areas of physics exposed how "finely tuned" the universe must be to support matter, let alone life itself, some people started to see the prospect of design coming back into the picture. It looked implausibly unlikely that the laws which govern the universe could have arisen by chance. After this, proposals about multiverses began to enter the public consciousness. Perhaps this isn't the first "go" that the universe has had. There may have been an unimaginably large number of universes "prior to" or concurrent with this one. This would be one way to do away with the residue of "designy-ness" that appears to cling on to the universe as a one-off.

The question is whether the multiverse response is ad-hoc or not.

Monserrat said:
The only reason that I could see for this being moved to philosophy is just so the anti-religious can go through their usual routine of mocking the religious.

How would you, as an atheist who believed the article was incorrect, and perhaps mischaracterizes science, atheism, or related positions or fields, argue in this forum against the article?
 

zgoldsmith23

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First, I want to thank Digs and Rawlings for moving this thread. Now, hopefully, we can have a better discussion.

Dennis Prager | Jun 18, 2013
Townhall.com


Last week, in Nice, France, I was privileged to participate, along with 30 scholars, mostly scientists and mathematicians, in a conference on the question of whether the universe was designed, or at least fine-tuned, to make life, especially intelligent life. Participants -- from Yale, Princeton, Harvard, Berkeley and Columbia among other American and European universities -- included believers in God, agonistics and atheists. . . .

http://townhall.com/columnists/denn...sts-embrace-the-multiverse-n1621935/page/full

Now, for one, you probably shouldn't get your science from a non-scientist working at a non-scientific place. There are hundreds and thousands of journals out there that harbor the actual science, not like this.

The author makes the false claim of things being "right" implies fine-tuning. He says it could be designed but he does not have grounds for this claim. Then the author claims "Unless one is a closed-minded atheist (there are open-minded atheists), it is not valid on a purely scientific basis to deny that the universe is improbably fine-tuned to create life, let alone intelligent life." Well, any scientist worth his weight in salt will tell you that, to be accepted, there must be evidence. There's not evidence of a designed universe, there's just evidence of A universe. Then, he addresses this by saying "he argument that science cannot suggest that intelligence comes from intelligence or design from an intelligent designer is simply a tautology. It is dogma masquerading as science." And, to help illustrate my point, to quote Lewis Wolpert (loosely) "I'm terribly sorry, but if you want to claim 'god' exists, you're actually going to have to present some evidence."

Then, we arrive at the multiverse. Now, the main problem with the multiverse is it teeters on non-scientific (see: Karl Popper and falsifiability). Is it possible to falsify a multiverse? Well, certain people think the WMAP cold spot helps show evidence of a parallel universe (Source). Lee Smolin helped popularize (I don't know if he was the originator of) the term "cosmological natural selection." Of course, you also have String Theory, M-Theory, and Bubble Universe Theory and they all have their certain pros / cons.

It was, to me, quite ironic the author goes on to say "But there is not a shred of evidence of the existence of these other universes. Nor could there be since contact with another universe is impossible" as, earlier in his own article, he uses circular logic to posit his lack of evidence for his "god." Finally, he closes with "Honest atheists -- scientists and lay people -- must now acknowledge that science itself argues overwhelmingly for a Designing Intelligence" to which I would say "No, we must not, especially not from a non-scientist who fallaciously relies on pseudo-reason to deduce his claims."
 
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Rawlings

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That no one at all is suggesting that this belongs in the science forum is very telling.

Wrong. I just said in the above that it could go into the science forum with regard to any given discussion about multiverse theory and fine tuning just fine. Your insinuation to the contrary, just like your suggestion that science is the beginning and end of all worthwhile knowledge, is ridiculous.

There is no valid scientific proposition in the OP's article. Just a bunch of theists demonstrating that they do not understand science very well, and dismissing it because it has advanced beyond the knowledge possessed by people in the bronze age.

Hogwash. Prager and I, for example, understand science just fine, and none of the theists are dismissing science.

The rest of your post merely explains the obvious or exposes your ignorance. *YAWN*

I know the science. Don't need the lecture.


No, that's not how science works at all. We assume a consistent and natural universe because that's what's there. When we make predictions based on these premises, the predictions come true. When we make them based on metaphysical arguments, they don't.

I didn't say anything about how science works. That would go to methodology, not to foundation. And no one said anything about basing scientific predictions on metaphysical arguments. LOL! You don't know what I'm talking about at all.

Once again, the following is true and you have not addressed it at all:

Originally Posted by Rawlings

Science deals with the empirical or measurable.

The surest thing we have are the rational forms and logical categories of human consciousness, i.e., the first principles of philosophy, not our estimations about phenomena beyond. The very premise of science is necessarily metaphysical and unfalsifiable. Further, you don't grasp that you're revealing an unwitting assumption of a metaphysical naturalism for reality.

Philosophy necessarily precedes science; science necessarily rests on philosophy.
 
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