Posts tagged ‘philosophy of science’

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 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.

October 6th, 2013

Cosmic Darwinism: Evolving Laws of Nature?

by Max Andrews

The following are a few questions raised in light of Rupert Sheldrake’s The Science Delusion: Freeing The Spirit Of Enquiry. 

The argument that he advances in the chapter involves something he calls ‘habits’, which are “a kind of memory inherent in nature”. (From what I understand, he has also advanced this within a theory of ‘morphic resonance’ in his other published works.) Putting aside his case for these ‘habits’, three questions that he poses to materialists at the end of the chapter caught my eye:

1) If the laws of nature existed before the Big Bang, and governed the Big Bang from its first instant, where were they?

2) If the laws and constants of nature all came into being at the moment of the Big Bang, how does the universe remember them? Where are they ‘imprinted’?

3) How do you know that the laws of nature are fixed and not evolutionary?

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

August 29th, 2013

Michael Denton’s New Paper That Argues for the Fine-Tuning of the “Laws of Form”

by Max Andrews

Original source from Evolution News & Views.

In a new peer-reviewed paper in BIO-Complexity, Michael Denton challenges the view that biological organisms are accidents of random mutation and natural selection, instead adopting a structuralist view that body plans are like Platonic “types,” woven into the fabric of nature.

According to Denton, a biochemist and Senior Fellow with Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture, this perspective, popular before Darwin wrote Origin of Species in 1859, “was not based, as Darwinists often claim, on a priori philosophical belief in Platonic concepts, but rather upon the empirical finding that a vast amount of biological complexity, including the deep homologies which define the taxa of the natural system, appears to be of an abstract, non-adaptive nature that is sometimes of a strikingly numerical and geometric character.”

August 1st, 2013

Transcript and Thoughts on My Debate with Justin Schieber

by Max Andrews

Over the last month or two I’ve been working on a written/audio debate with Justin Schieber of Reasonable Doubts. The topic of the debate was “Does the Christian God Exist?” I imagine the debate may have been released earlier had it not been for my delayed responses due to health issues and moving out of our house and preparing to embark on our move to Scotland. I have apologized to Mr. Schieber concerning this and I extend apologies to the readers and listeners.

I was actually expecting much stronger arguments from Mr. Schieber. Two arguments were off topic and the other one was a far metaphysical and modal stretch. You’ll be able to read his arguments in full but here are my thoughts :

July 17th, 2013

How “Sudden” Was the Cambrian Explosion?

by Max Andrews

Original post by Casey Luskin.

On June 19, the day after Darwin’s Doubt was first available for purchase, Nick Matzke published a 9400-word “review” of the book in which it appears that he tried to anticipate many of Stephen Meyer’s arguments. Unfortunately, he often either guessed wrong as to what Meyer would say or — assuming he actually read the book as he claims — misread many of Meyer’s specific claims. As I showed in a previous response to Matzke, Matzke repeatedly misquoted Meyer, at one point claiming he referred to the Cambrian explosion as “instantaneous,” when Meyer nowhere makes that claim. Indeed, Matzke faulted Meyer for not recognizing that the Cambrian explosion “was not really ‘instantaneous’ nor particularly ‘sudden.’”

July 17th, 2013

Appealing to ‘Chance’ is Still Consistent with Design or Fine-Tuning

by Max Andrews

The non-fine-tuning hypothesis, non-design, or even, dare I say, Darwinism have several different forms but, broadly speaking, is anything other than fine-tuning (or the design hypothesis).  There are three primary non-fine-tuning (non-design) versions: chance, necessity, and chance and necessity.  Each one has different explanatory strengths and weaknesses.

June 24th, 2013

Q&A 28: The Multiverse, Many Worlds, and the Problem of Evil

by Max Andrews

Question:

Hey Max,
This was a great idea to start this Q&A section!  I have a question regarding the Problem of Evil that I have been working on for a couple months now.  I haven’t yet found an intellectually satisfying answer, but hopefully through you, God will provide one.  (I almost didn’t want to ask it because I enjoy the “chase” as Christ reveals Himself to me through the process!)
read more »

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?