Do the Multiverses of Science Preclude Absurdity?

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Sciborg_S_Patel

#1
World next door: Nine theories of the multiverse promise everything and more. But if reality is so vast and varied, where do we fit in?

But you probably won’t know that (if their findings are taken to their logical conclusion) these machines have also detected hints that Elvis lives, or that out there, among the flaming stars and planets, are unicorns, actual unicorns with horns on their noses. There’s even weirder stuff, too: devils and demons; gods and nymphs; places where Hitler won the Second World War, or where there was no war at all. Places where the most outlandish fantasies come true. A weirdiverse, if you will. Most bizarre of all, scientists are now seriously discussing the possibility that our universe is a fake, a thing of smoke and mirrors.
So you could have an evil twin out there, and there could be unicorns...at one point the author says there might be Hells and gods and a Star Trek Universe.

It's hard to take this seriously, in light of:

The ‘many worlds’ interpretation of quantum physics was first proposed in 1957 by Hugh Everett III (father of Mark Everett, frontman of the band Eels). It states that all quantum possibilities are, in fact, real. When we roll the dice of quantum mechanics, each possible result comes true in its own parallel timeline. If this sounds mad, consider its main rival: the idea that ‘reality’ results from the conscious gaze. Things only happen, quantum states only resolve themselves, because we look at them. As Einstein is said to have asked, with some sarcasm, ‘would a sidelong glance by a mouse suffice?’ Given the alternative, the prospect of innumerable branching versions of history doesn’t seem like such a terrible bullet to bite.
We already have a few results in support of the Copenhagen Interpretation after all.
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#2
I have been reading a book that suggested the possibility of the existence of parallel universes. Is this theory still considered to be too "far out" to be generally accepted? asks George Lange

As Dr Daniel Mortlock of Imperial College London tells me: "Probably the strictest definition of parallel universes relates to the 'many worlds' interpretation of quantum mechanics, which imagines that all the possible results of every decision, measurement, etc are realised in one of an infinity of parallel universes." However, such a view is not championed by all.

"This many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics is certainly not generally accepted by the world's physicists, albeit not for the usual scientific reason (ie, that it makes predictions that aren't supported by experiment), but for the more philosophical reason that its only predictions are those that were already made by quantum mechanics," Mortlock says.

"There is hence lots of debate about whether this is really a theory at all or just an interpretation of quantum mechanics."

There is, however, another meaning attached to the concept of parallel universes: the theory of multiple universes, or the multiverse. "This is much more like a standard physical theory: our universe is part of some much larger construction in which, for example, separate 'bubble' universe regions are formed, possibly with different physical constants, etc," says Mortlock.
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#3
A concert pianist of 20 years comes to the stage. Instead of playing, she simply belches the tunes to a few children songs.

The audience weeps, many claiming they felt they were in the presence of God that night. Only 1 out of 3 people outside the concert hall feel anything was amiss when hearing the story.

Is this possible in one of the multiverses? As I recall before the thread got gobbled up the following arguments were suggested:

1) Dealing with infinities of this magnitude can cause low probabilities to result in zero manifestations of absurdity.
2) Evolution precludes this kind of absurdity which is why we don't see it. Though I do wonder about low probability physical events - isn't there a universe where results from QM seem sensible or just fundamentally inaccurate to reality?
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#4
Questions About the Multiverse (posted in 2011)

The [2011] August issue of Scientific American has the multiverse on the cover, with a skeptical feature article on the topic by George F. R. Ellis, Does the Multiverse Really Exist?, which argues that heavily promoted multiverse research isn’t really testable and can’t explain much of anything. Vilenkin and Tegmark respond with The Case for Parallel Universes.

I just took a look at some of the earliest postings on this blog about the multiverse from as far back as seven years ago (e.g. here and here). Things haven’t changed at all. One might be tempted to criticize Scientific American for keeping this alive, but they just reflect the fact that this pseudo-science continues to have significant influence at the highest levels of the physics establishment. The Perimeter Institute recently ran a conference on Challenges for Early Universe Cosmology, which was dominated by multiverse mania. Unlike the case at SciAm, multiverse skepticism didn’t get prominent play at Perimeter.
 
#5
The interpretation of quantum theory I prefer is decoherence, so I do not accept that all quantum possibilities are real or that the collapse is caused by an observation.
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#6
The interpretation of quantum theory I prefer is decoherence, so I do not accept that all quantum possibilities are real or that the collapse is caused by an observation.
Seems like Bo[h]rs' ideas about consciousness causing collapse might be on to something, looking at certain results discussed here & here+here?

Also the biologist Kauffman offers a very theoretical explanation for how consciousness might collapse the wave function in the way Bors suggests which utilizes decoherence:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/13.7/2010/04/to_be_is_to_be_perceived_the_q.html
"Now let's put the above remarkable statement into our tentative theory that to perceive, the mind-brain system becomes more quantum coherent via a physical analogue of Shor's theorem, say like the antenna protein and chlorophyll. Then the conclusion is that the outside quantum environment becomes less coherent! That is, the increased coherence of the mind-brain system would acausally make the outside quantum world decohere! But this means that for the mind-brian quantum-cohering-decohering-recohering system to perceive, the world it is perceiving can or must acausally become more or entirely classical!

The perceiving observer and the observed system can possibly, (or must), become entangled by the Shor quantum error correction algorithm used together with the hypothesis that mind-brain is a quantum cohering-decohering-recohering system.

"To Be (classical) Is, (can be), To Be Perceived".
 
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#7
I still haven't figured out why if consciousness collapses wave functions and if conciousness is fundamental and everything is the product of conciousness then how would there be uncollapsed wave functions?
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#8
I still haven't figured out why if consciousness collapses wave functions and if conciousness is fundamental and everything is the product of conciousness then how would there be uncollapsed wave functions?
Seems like this was meant for one of the Idealism threads? It seems to me Mind would be everything, rather than conscious attention.

But I find most arguments for Idealism are often better applied to the more - IMO - conservative position of Neutral Monism. Same with arguments about how Materialism is inadequate. Chalmers goes over both Neutral Monism & failure of Materialism in Consciousness and Its Place In Nature.
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#9
Medieval bishop's theory resembles modern concept of multiple universes

Grosseteste’s treatise on light, called De Luce (Concerning Light), is the earliest known attempt to describe the universe using a coherent set of physical laws, centuries before Isaac Newton. It proposes that the same physics of light and matter, which explain the solidity of ordinary objects, could be applied to the cosmos as a whole.

In explaining the formation of the ancient universe, geocentric and composed of a series of nested spheres, Grosseteste conceives the universe as beginning from a single point of light, the fusion of matter and form, which expands until matter can be moved no further: the first sphere. A different form of light radiates inwards compressing matter, until it will move no further, generating the second sphere, and so on.

Grosseteste’s calculations are very consistent and precise. Had he had access to modern calculus and computing methods, he surely would have used them. In a recent paper, just published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society A, our team built computer models to express Grosseteste’s equations. In doing so it suggests, although this was probably not apparent to Grosseteste at the time, a series of ordered universes reminiscent of the modern “multiverse” concept.
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#10
Science's Alternative to an Intelligent Creator: the Multiverse Theory: Our universe is perfectly tailored for life. That may be the work of God or the result of our universe being one of many.

“We have a lot of really, really strange coincidences, and all of these coincidences are such that they make life possible,” Linde says.

Physicists don’t like coincidences. They like even less the notion that life is somehow central to the universe, and yet recent discoveries are forcing them to confront that very idea. Life, it seems, is not an incidental component of the universe, burped up out of a random chemical brew on a lonely planet to endure for a few fleeting ticks of the cosmic clock. In some strange sense, it appears that we are not adapted to the universe; the universe is adapted to us.

Call it a fluke, a mystery, a miracle. Or call it the biggest problem in physics. Short of invoking a benevolent creator, many physicists see only one possible explanation: Our universe may be but one of perhaps infinitely many universes in an inconceivably vast multiverse. Most of those universes are barren, but some, like ours, have conditions suitable for life.

The idea is controversial. Critics say it doesn’t even qualify as a scientific theory because the existence of other universes cannot be proved or disproved. Advocates argue that, like it or not, the multiverse may well be the only viable nonreligious explanation for what is often called the “fine-tuning problem”—the baffling observation that the laws of the universe seem custom-tailored to favor the emergence of life.
eta: Since that's from 2008, here's a 2014 article:

Multiverse Controversy Heats Up over Gravitational Waves

The multiverse is one of the most divisive topics in physics, and it just became more so. The major announcement last week of evidence for primordial ripples in spacetime has bolstered a cosmological theory called inflation, and with it, some say, the idea that our universe is one of many universes floating like bubbles in a glass of champagne. Critics of the multiverse hypothesis claim that the idea is untestable—barely even science. But with evidence for inflation theory building up, the multiverse debate is coming to a head.
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#11
Physics’s pangolin: Trying to resolve the stubborn paradoxes of their field, physicists craft ever more mind-boggling visions of reality

On the one hand, then, physics is taken to be a march toward an ultimate understanding of reality; on the other, it is seen as no different in status to the understandings handed down to us by myth, religion and, no less, literary studies. Because I spend my time about equally in the realms of the sciences and arts, I encounter a lot of this dualism. Depending on whom I am with, I find myself engaging in two entirely different kinds of conversation. Can we all be talking about the same subject?
Nothing in our experience compares to this unimaginably vast number. Every universe that can be mathematically imagined within the string parameters — including ones in which you exist with a prehensile tail, to use an example given by the American string theorist Brian Greene — is said to be manifest somewhere in a vast supra-spatial array ‘beyond’ the space-time bubble of our own universe.

What is so epistemologically daring here is that the equations are taken to be the fundamental reality. The fact that the mathematics allows for gazillions of variations is seen to be evidence for gazillions of actual worlds.

This kind of reification of equations is precisely what strikes some humanities scholars as childishly naive. At the very least, it raises serious questions about the relationship between our mathematical models of reality, and reality itself. While it is true that in the history of physics many important discoveries have emerged from revelations within equations — Paul Dirac’s formulation for antimatter being perhaps the most famous example — one does not need to be a cultural relativist to feel sceptical about the idea that the only way forward now is to accept an infinite cosmic ‘landscape’ of universes that embrace every conceivable version of world history, including those in which the Middle Ages never ended or Hitler won.
As Douglas sees it, cultures themselves can be categorised in terms of how well they deal with linguistic ambiguity. Some cultures accept the limits of their own language, and of language itself, by understanding that there will always be things that cannot be cleanly parsed. Others become obsessed with ever-finer levels of categorisation as they try to rid their system of every pangolin-like ‘duck-rabbit’ anomaly. For such societies, Douglas argues, a kind of neurosis ensues, as the project of categorisation takes ever more energy and mental effort. If we take this analysis seriously, then, in Douglas’ terms, might it be that particle-waves are our pangolins? Perhaps what we are encountering here is not so much the edge of reality, but the limits of the physicists’ category system.
In this sense, physics is not just another story about the world: it is a qualitatively different kind of story to those told in the humanities, in myths and religions. No language other than maths is capable of expressing interactions between particle spin and electromagnetic field strength. The physicists, with their equations, have shown us new dimensions of our world.

That said, we should be wary of claims about ultimate truth. While quantification, as a project, is far from complete, it is an open question as to what it might ultimately embrace. Let us look again at the colour red. Red is not just an electromagnetic phenomenon, it is also a perceptual and contextual phenomenon. Stare for a minute at a green square then look away: you will see an afterimage of a red square. No red light has been presented to your eyes, yet your brain will perceive a vivid red shape. As Goethe argued in the late-18th century, and Edwin Land (who invented Polaroid film in 1932) echoed, colour cannot be reduced to purely prismatic effects. It exists as much in our minds as in the external world. To put this into a personal context, no understanding of the electromagnetic spectrum will help me to understand why certain shades of yellow make me nauseous, while electric orange fills me with joy.

Descartes was no fool; by parsing reality into the res extensa and res cogitans he captured something critical about human experience. You do not need to be a hard-core dualist to imagine that subjective experience might not be amenable to mathematical law. For Douglas, ‘the attempt to force experience into logical categories of non-contradiction’ is the ‘final paradox’ of an obsessive search for purity. ‘But experience is not amenable [to this narrowing],’ she insists, and ‘those who make the attempt find themselves led into contradictions.’

Quintessentially, the qualities that are amenable to quantification are those that are shared. All electrons are essentially the same: given a set of physical circumstances, every electron will behave like any other. But humans are not like this. It is our individuality that makes us so infuriatingly human, and when science attempts to reduce us to the status of electrons it is no wonder that professors of literature scoff.
 
#12
...."the multiverse may well be the only viable nonreligious explanation for what is often called the “fine-tuning problem”—the baffling observation that the laws of the universe seem custom-tailored to favor the emergence of life."

The multiverse concept is no panacea solving the fine tuning problem of materialism. The multiverse itself still needs some explanation of why or how it exists and why it has the particular characteristics and principles it has, rather than there being absolutely nothing. If the multiverse exists, its particular nature and principles still lead to our own existence, and this is just a further example of "meta fine tuning". The ultimate explanation could be religious or spiritual invoking a creator God, or could just assume the multiverse exists within a higher meta-reality within a yet higher reality on and on ad infinitum with no beginning and no end (and therefore no creator). It seems to me the creation hypothesis is no more irrational than the alterative.
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#13
#14
It just pushes the fine tuning dilemma off by one remove, at the cost of bringing in pseudoscientific hypotheses that can't even in principle be subject to experimental verification. Even if a multiverse exists, it still leaves the deepest mysteries of nature unexplained. The mysteries of why there is something not absolutely nothing, why this something just happens to have such a nature as to produce separate universes rather than something else which we can't even conceive of, why this mechanism produces natural laws varying within the range required for carbon-based life, why mathematics understandable to humans so conveniently describes the physical world, what is the nature of consciousness and why it exists, it goes on. And does the multiverse concept also run into the Occam's Razor objection of unnecessarily multiplied subhypotheses?
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#15
Pseudophysics: The New High Priesthood

Three years after Greene's unsubstantiated public appeal to accept the notion that our universe is one of many -- perhaps even infinitely many (whatever this may mean) -- universes, Max Tegmark followed suit. This year he published a book whose speculative nature takes this pseudophysics to a whole new level. In Our Mathematical Universe: My Quest for the Ultimate Nature of Reality, Tegmark doesn't simply suggest that there is a multiverse; he actually describes the different levels he believes the multiverse has. Thus he writes about a "level I multiverse," a "level II multiverse," a "level III multiverse," and even a "level IV multiverse." I wonder why he stops at IV. Roman numerals can go on and on, so why doesn't he have a "level MMMDCCCLXXXVII multiverse"? All of this is so arbitrary and lacking any objective information to support it -- experimental, observational, even logical. How can someone specify levels of something we can never observe? All we know is one universe -- and even if a multiverse does exist in some sense, how could anyone brazenly dare to classify something we know absolutely nothing about?
Additionally there's some stuff on the "Ex Nihilo" question:

The multiverse concept is no panacea solving the fine tuning problem of materialism. The multiverse itself still needs some explanation of why or how it exists and why it has the particular characteristics and principles it has, rather than there being absolutely nothing.
Aczel takes Krauss to task on this later in this article:

But the most irritating book of them all, and the best example of the new pseudophysics, has nothing to do with the multiverse. It is about where our single, known universe might have come from. In his 2012 book A Universe From Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather Than Nothing, the physicist Lawrence M. Krauss informs us that the universe came out of nothing. Sheer nothing. Nada. Zip. How does he know? Every leading theoretical physicist I have posed this question to, including the American Nobel Prize winner Steven Weinberg and the Dutch Nobel Laureate Gerard 't Hooft, have told me definitively that we have no idea where our universe came from: We can't tell what happened before, or even at, the Big Bang. If Krauss' screed is not pseudoscience, I don't know what is. If I am going to believe him, I could just as well subscribe to the medieval "sciences" of alchemy or astrology. Krauss gives no evidence for his carelessly cobbled-together conjecture, but he makes up for it by his aggressive tone. Studying the book carefully, I found that Krauss implies that the source of his hypothesis is a research paper by the cosmologist Alex Vilenkin. At my request, Vilenkin sent me a copy of his article, and -- not surprisingly -- I found that what he says differs markedly from Krauss' conclusion. Vilenkin's universe does not at all start from "nothingness." It begins from a bubble of a preexisting piece of a very condensed kind of spacetime called a "quantum foam."
 
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#16
I personally disagree with the multiverse interpretation of quantum mechanics on the grounds that it would be highly unstable. Conservation of energy would disintegrate with all those universes popping into existence.

Now on the other hand, the grey aliens have proven that the eigenstates are not real, but are in fact states in a quantum field. This is the proof. How do aliens abduct humans and pass them through closed windows and through walls? Abductees are very certain that it was a physical experience. Here is how. The aliens have the technology to push particles into a particular set of quantum states. When the abductee is being passed through a window or a wall, the particles of the abductee are pushed into one set of quantum states, while the particles of the wall are pushed into another set of quantum states, such that there is the highly improbable scenario that when the abductee reaches the wall, the atoms of the abductee and the wall just happen to miss each other. It's highly improbable, impossible, with just human technology. But with alien technology, it can happen.

Just to be clear, it is the quantum field that exists and has lots of possible quantum states available for each particle. For those not familiar with quantum mechanics, the aliens just move the atoms of the wall out of the way.
 
#17
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#18
You should keep in mind this especially the underlined sentence:
Right, the grand dream of materialists that the world is a meaningless Abyss in which your atoms march you involuntarily from birth to oblivion has yet to be proven. And as Hoffman notes, it's unlikely such a thing could ever be done.

Of course if reality is akin to a dream, that would be a different thing than what Aczel criticizes...

Given he wrote Why Science Does Not Disprove God I'm guessing Aczel is taking a different position than yours. Admittedly I've not yet listened to the interview in which he criticizes the manipulation of the New Atheists on the subject of Science & God, so I don't know the particulars of his position.
 
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#19
It just pushes the fine tuning dilemma off by one remove, at the cost of bringing in pseudoscientific hypotheses that can't even in principle be subject to experimental verification. Even if a multiverse exists, it still leaves the deepest mysteries of nature unexplained. The mysteries of why there is something not absolutely nothing, why this something just happens to have such a nature as to produce separate universes rather than something else which we can't even conceive of, why this mechanism produces natural laws varying within the range required for carbon-based life, why mathematics understandable to humans so conveniently describes the physical world, what is the nature of consciousness and why it exists, it goes on. And does the multiverse concept also run into the Occam's Razor objection of unnecessarily multiplied subhypotheses?
I always wonder if the fine tuning dilemma may be illusory, because it assumes that the relevant physics is necessarily complete.

To make a trivial analogy, suppose that people had agonised over the 'fine tuning' that makes the charge on the electron exactly opposite that on a proton!

Fine tuning arguments also depend on us being able to accurately predict the behaviour of universes with different constants - right down to questions of chemistry and life! I seriously doubt if we could do that calculation accurately for a universe with radically different values for the constants.

David
 
#20
I think that several arguments can be made to support the likelihood that spiritualism is true. There are so many ghost stories, angels, nde experiences and even alien abduction experiences that the skeptic vision of reality is most likely incomplete. The reincarnation phenomena is supported by stacks of data. Quantum Physics Is Easily Compatible With The Existence Of spirits. It all leads up to the question of what spirit or spirits are there that can alter the laws of physics. Or what does it take to alter the laws of physics. The Grey aliens can do it. Will we?
 
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