Posts tagged ‘many worlds’

March 25th, 2014

Q&A 40: William Lane Craig on the Multiverse and Is Free Will Incoherent?

by Max Andrews

Q&A GraphicQuestion:

I accidentally found your blog recently ! Lots of great stuff and I’ll be definitely reading more. 2 questions though

1) I was watching the Craig/Carroll debate on cosmology. Craig seemed to say that the Boltzmann brain problem was a problem for all multiverse models and Carroll said it was just a problem for certain models. Who’s right?

2)  There’s this argument free will is incoherent. It seems persuasive to me.

“Some people imagine that there’s a thing that takes part in human decision making called free will. They say that while our actions are certainly influenced by our past experience, and by desires which we haven’t chosen, free will ultimately decides what to do with these inputs—it decides whether or not to follow the path pointed to by our experience and desires or to veto that course of action and settle on another.

If this is really the case, on what basis does this free will choose whether or not to ‘take control’? And when it does take control, how does it decide what to do?

It certainly can’t be reaching its decisions according to our desires or past experience, because these factors are already represented by the ‘non-free’ part of our will. Free will, to earn its keep, must be operating differently. So what’s left as a basis for the decisions of free will? Maybe free will acts at random, but surely if that’s the case then it doesn’t seem to deserve to be called free at all.

February 26th, 2014

The Atheist Argument from Fine-Tuning is too Coarse

by Max Andrews

Believe it or not an atheist friend of mine has presented an argument from fine-tuning to demonstrate that God doesn’t exist. I think there are several different problem with the argument but I’ll be as charitable as possible to my anonymous friend @SkepticismFirst (SF).

Fine-tuning is something I’ve invested quite a bit of research in. My MA (philosophy) thesis was on the Fine-Tuning of Nomic Behavior in Multiverse Scenarios and I’m continuing that research right now in my PhD (University of Edinburgh). So, I’ve written quite extensively on this issue. Here are a few links to get the fine-tuning argument presented by the proponents of fine-tuning:

November 29th, 2013

Would Multiple Universes Rule Out Fine-Tuning?

by Max Andrews

The multiverse hypothesis is the leading alternative to the competing fine-tuning hypothesis.  The multiverse dispels many aspects of the fine-tuning argument by suggesting that there are different initial conditions in each universe, varying constants of physics, and the laws of nature lose their known arbitrary values; thus, making the previous single-universe argument from fine-tuning incredibly weak.  There are four options for why a fine-tuning is either unnecessary to invoke or illusory if the multiverse hypothesis is used as an alternative explanans. Fine-tuning might be (1) illusory if life could adapt to very different conditions or if values of constants could compensate each other. Additionally, (2) it might be a result of chance or (3) it might be nonexistent because nature could not have been otherwise.  With hopes of discovering a fundamental theory of everything all states of affairs in nature may perhaps be tautologous.  Finally, (4) it may be a product of cosmic Darwinism, or cosmic natural selection, making the measured values quite likely within a multiverse of many different values. In this paper I contend that multiverse scenarios are insufficient in accounting for the fine-tuning of the laws of nature and that physicists and cosmologists must either accept it as a metaphysical brute fact or seriously entertain the hypothesis of a fine-tuner.

I.  Outlining the Multiverse Hierarchy

Contemporary physics seem to indicate that there are good reasons, theoretically and physically, for the postulation a plurality of worlds.  This concept has come to be understood as the multiverse.  The multiverse is not monolithic, but it is modeled after the contemporary understanding of an inflationary model of the beginning of this universe.  Max Tegmark has championed the field of precision cosmology and has proposed the most prominent versions of the multiverse.[1]  Tegmark has made a four-way distinction in classifying these models.

November 25th, 2013

Might Some of Doctor Who actually be Possible?

by Max Andrews

The following is an article my PhD mentor, Alasdair Richmond, wrote for The Conversation

____

As Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary looms, time travel is everywhere – on the screen, at least. Famously, the Doctor can whizz through the years using a “dimensionally transcendental” machine, the TARDIS, and make changes to the past as and when he likes. But what is time travel – and how much of “Doctor Who” might really be possible?

A handy definition of time travel comes from philosopher David Lewis. Lewis says time travel involves a journey having different durations viewed from outside (in “external time”) or from inside (in “personal time”). Suppose you spend five minutes travelling aboard your machine, as measured by (e.g.) your watch and your memories. On arrival, you find 150 years have elapsed in the outside world. Congratulations, you have time-travelled. Five minutes of your personal time has covered 150 years of external time.

November 17th, 2013

A Theological Argument for Many Worlds

by Max Andrews

The following is the abstract to Don Page’s paper, “A Theological Argument for an Everett Multiverse.”

Science looks for the simplest hypotheses to explain observations. Starting with the simple assumption that {\em the actual world is the best possible world}, I sketch an {\it Optimal Argument for the Existence of God}, that the sufferings in our universe would not be consistent with its being alone the best possible world, but the total world could be the best possible if it includes an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent God who experiences great value in creating and knowing a universe with great mathematical elegance, even though such a universe has suffering.

November 7th, 2013

The Doctrine of Variety and Many Worlds

by Max Andrews

Thomas Aquinas believed that there was an appropriated assimilation or likeness to God found in creatures and creation.  Some likeness must be found between an effect and its cause.  It is in the nature of any agent to do something like itself.  Thus, God also gives to creatures and creation all their perfections; and thereby he has with all creatures a likeness.[1]

Additionally, the cause of variety and the multitude of things in creation find their cause in God.  Thomas contrasts himself with early Greek philosophers such as Democritus and the other atomists who argued that the distinction of things come from chance according to the movement of matter. 

October 3rd, 2013

Fine-Tuning of the Multiverse Lecture PowerPoint

by Max Andrews

Below is the attachment for my lecture on the Fine-Tuning argument and the multiverse lecture PowerPoint. I used this lecture [and updated material] for three years while I was a GA teaching a Philosophy 201 course to no less than 200 students (as well as four individual sections that were assigned specifically to me). It’s time to retire this lecture. If I were teaching it again anytime soon I’d update some of the material but it’s enough to get a good framework for the issues. Screen Shot 2013-10-03 at 2.43.16 PM

October 3rd, 2013

Q&A 34: Thomas Aquinas’ Understanding of Creation and Time

by Max Andrews

Question:

Hey Max I have a few questions about your cosmological argument from Thomas Aquinas:

(1) Did Aquinas believe in creation out of nothing?

(2) Did Aquinas believe that the universe existed eternally side by side with God even though it was contingent?

Also, how can be God be timeless on the view that the universe did not begin to exist? If God’s relation to the universe is always present, would that not imply an eternal relation of God with the universe, which would involve time itself? It is difficult for me to make sense of how God could be timeless on this view and not simply temporal.

Thanks,

Ben Williamson

Answer:

Hi Ben,

Here’s the short answers:

1) Yes.

2) I don’t think Thomas would phrase it that way but Thomas is okay with a creation that has existed for an infinite duration in the past–emphasizing the radical contingency.

October 3rd, 2013

Quantum Entanglement and the Many Worlds Interpretation

by Max Andrews

Erwin Schrödinger introduced quantum entanglement in a 1935 paper[1] delivered to the Cambridge Philosophical Society in which he argued that the state of a system of two particles that have interacted generally cannot be written as a product of individual states of each particle.

|Particle A interacting with B〉 ≠ |A〉|B〉

Such a state would be an entanglement of individual states in which one cannot say with any certainty which particle is in which state. Disentanglement occurs when a measurement is made.[2] This is what gave rise to Schrödinger’s famous (or infamous) cat illustration, which will be useful in understanding the role of measurement and the following consequent for a quantum version of many worlds.

The non-interactive state of two particles cannot be expressed as a certain conjunction of the two states. An example of an entangled state is

Screen Shot 2013-10-03 at 1.38.29 PM

June 17th, 2013

Boltzmann Brains and Multiverse Scenarios

by Max Andrews

Max Tegmark has introduced an anthropic principle specifically related to multiverse scenarios—the minimalistic anthropic principle (MAP). Tegmark believes the anthropic principle has generated more heat than light with so many different interpretations. MAP states that when testing fundamental theories with observational data, ignoring selection effects can give incorrect conclusions.[1]

Tegmark does not use MAP and selection effects to rule out everything. It cannot rule out chaotic inflation by the fact that we find ourselves living in the miniscule fraction of space where inflation has ended, since the inflating part is uninhabitable to us. As pointed out by Ludwig Boltzmann, if the universe were in a classical thermal equilibrium (heat death), thermal fluctuations could still make atoms assemble at random to briefly create a self-aware observer (a Boltzmann brain) like us every once in a blue moon, so the fact that we exist right now does not rule out the heat death cosmological model.[2]  So, what should we do with Boltzmann brains?