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The accidental universe: Science's crisis of faith
Harper's ^ | 12/24/2011 | Alan P. Lightman

Posted on 12/25/2011 7:25:35 AM PST by SeekAndFind

In the fifth century B.C., the philosopher Democritus proposed that all matter was made of tiny and indivisible atoms, which came in various sizes and textures—some hard and some soft, some smooth and some thorny. The atoms themselves were taken as givens. In the nineteenth century, scientists discovered that the chemical properties of atoms repeat periodically (and created the periodic table to reflect this fact), but the origins of such patterns remained mysterious. It wasn’t until the twentieth century that scientists learned that the properties of an atom are determined by the number and placement of its electrons, the subatomic particles that orbit its nucleus. And we now know that all atoms heavier than helium were created in the nuclear furnaces of stars.

The history of science can be viewed as the recasting of phenomena that were once thought to be accidents as phenomena that can be understood in terms of fundamental causes and principles. One can add to the list of the fully explained: the hue of the sky, the orbits of planets, the angle of the wake of a boat moving through a lake, the six-sided patterns of snowflakes, the weight of a flying bustard, the temperature of boiling water, the size of raindrops, the circular shape of the sun. All these phenomena and many more, once thought to have been fixed at the beginning of time or to be the result of random events thereafter, have been explained as necessary consequences of the fundamental laws of nature—laws discovered by human beings.

This long and appealing trend may be coming to an end. Dramatic developments in cosmological findings and thought have led some of the world’s premier physicists to propose that our universe is only one of an enormous number of universes with wildly varying properties, and that some of the most basic features of our particular universe are indeed mere accidents—a random throw of the cosmic dice. In which case, there is no hope of ever explaining our universe’s features in terms of fundamental causes and principles.

It is perhaps impossible to say how far apart the different universes may be, or whether they exist simultaneously in time. Some may have stars and galaxies like ours. Some may not. Some may be finite in size. Some may be infinite. Physicists call the totality of universes the “multiverse.” Alan Guth, a pioneer in cosmological thought, says that “the multiple-universe idea severely limits our hopes to understand the world from fundamental principles.” And the philosophical ethos of science is torn from its roots. As put to me recently by Nobel Prize–winning physicist Steven Weinberg, a man as careful in his words as in his mathematical calculations, “We now find ourselves at a historic fork in the road we travel to understand the laws of nature. If the multiverse idea is correct, the style of fundamental physics will be radically changed.”

The scientists most distressed by Weinberg’s “fork in the road” are theoretical physicists. Theoretical physics is the deepest and purest branch of science. It is the outpost of science closest to philosophy, and religion.

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TOPICS: Religion; Science; Society
KEYWORDS: science; universe
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1 posted on 12/25/2011 7:25:41 AM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

And they laugh at ancient Christian theologians arguing about how many angles can dance on a pin.

There is no way, even theoretically, to experimentally verify this multi-verse bull hockey. That makes it science fiction, not science.


2 posted on 12/25/2011 7:29:08 AM PST by DManA
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To: SeekAndFind

THX THX


3 posted on 12/25/2011 7:30:02 AM PST by Quix (Times are a changin' INSURE you have believed in your heart & confessed Jesus as Lord Come NtheFlesh)
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To: SeekAndFind
Physicists call the totality of universes the “multiverse.”

They will never see the under-verse!

4 posted on 12/25/2011 7:40:17 AM PST by VRW Conspirator (Neo-communist equals Neo-fascist - VRW Conspirator)
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To: SeekAndFind

Science fiction MUST be very logical to humans, else whats the point..
Reality need not be logical to humans at all.. (nothing to prove)

If you “know” something, you do not need “faith”..
It takes humility to admit you know very little..


5 posted on 12/25/2011 7:43:08 AM PST by hosepipe (This propaganda has been edited to include some fully orbed hyperbole...)
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To: DManA

Or maybe the science fiction writers are just a few (or more) years ahead of the physicist. I read (and write) science fiction, and have been reading about multple universes/parallel universes for years.

None of which disputes the theological content of your post.


6 posted on 12/25/2011 7:43:12 AM PST by ixtl ( You live and learn. Or you don't live long.)
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To: SeekAndFind; Alamo-Girl; betty boop
I actually wanted to read the entire essay, so the steady text at FR seems the better bet. Websites with jerky ads running beside the text are nauseating because of my eye problems, so here's the rest of the thing. Wizened philosophical frog rings a bell don'tchaknow.:

It is perhaps impossible to say how far apart the different universes may be, or whether they exist simultaneously in time. Some may have stars and galaxies like ours. Some may not. Some may be finite in size. Some may be infinite. Physicists call the totality of universes the “multiverse.” Alan Guth, a pioneer in cosmological thought, says that “the multiple-universe idea severely limits our hopes to understand the world from fundamental principles.” And the philosophical ethos of science is torn from its roots. As put to me recently by Nobel Prize–winning physicist Steven Weinberg, a man as careful in his words as in his mathematical calculations, “We now find ourselves at a historic fork in the road we travel to understand the laws of nature. If the multiverse idea is correct, the style of fundamental physics will be radically changed.”

The scientists most distressed by Weinberg’s “fork in the road” are theoretical physicists. Theoretical physics is the deepest and purest branch of science. It is the outpost of science closest to philosophy, and religion. Experimental scientists occupy themselves with observing and measuring the cosmos, finding out what stuff exists, no matter how strange that stuff may be. Theoretical physicists, on the other hand, are not satisfied with observing the universe. They want to know why. They want to explain all the properties of the universe in terms of a few fundamental principles and parameters. These fundamental principles, in turn, lead to the “laws of nature,” which govern the behavior of all matter and energy. An example of a fundamental principle in physics, first proposed by Galileo in 1632 and extended by Einstein in 1905, is the following: All observers traveling at constant velocity relative to one another should witness identical laws of nature. From this principle, Einstein derived his theory of special relativity. An example of a fundamental parameter is the mass of an electron, considered one of the two dozen or so “elementary” particles of nature. As far as physicists are concerned, the fewer the fundamental principles and parameters, the better. The underlying hope and belief of this enterprise has always been that these basic principles are so restrictive that only one, self-consistent universe is possible, like a crossword puzzle with only one solution. That one universe would be, of course, the universe we live in. Theoretical physicists are Platonists. Until the past few years, they agreed that the entire universe, the one universe, is generated from a few mathematical truths and principles of symmetry, perhaps throwing in a handful of parameters like the mass of the electron. It seemed that we were closing in on a vision of our universe in which everything could be calculated, predicted, and understood.

However, two theories in physics, eternal inflation and string theory, now suggest that the same fundamental principles from which the laws of nature derive may lead to many different self-consistent universes, with many different properties. It is as if you walked into a shoe store, had your feet measured, and found that a size 5 would fit you, a size 8 would also fit, and a size 12 would fit equally well. Such wishy-washy results make theoretical physicists extremely unhappy. Evidently, the fundamental laws of nature do not pin down a single and unique universe. According to the current thinking of many physicists, we are living in one of a vast number of universes. We are living in an accidental universe. We are living in a universe uncalculable by science.

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“Back in the 1970s and 1980s,” says Alan Guth, “the feeling was that we were so smart, we almost had everything figured out.” What physicists had figured out were very accurate theories of three of the four fundamental forces of nature: the strong nuclear force that binds atomic nuclei together, the weak force that is responsible for some forms of radioactive decay, and the electromagnetic force between electrically charged particles. And there were prospects for merging the theory known as quantum physics with Einstein’s theory of the fourth force, gravity, and thus pulling all of them into the fold of what physicists called the Theory of Everything, or the Final Theory. These theories of the 1970s and 1980s required the specification of a couple dozen parameters corresponding to the masses of the elementary particles, and another half dozen or so parameters corresponding to the strengths of the fundamental forces. The next step would then have been to derive most of the elementary particle masses in terms of one or two fundamental masses and define the strengths of all the fundamental forces in terms of a single fundamental force.

There were good reasons to think that physicists were poised to take this next step. Indeed, since the time of Galileo, physics has been extremely successful in discovering principles and laws that have fewer and fewer free parameters and that are also in close agreement with the observed facts of the world. For example, the observed rotation of the ellipse of the orbit of Mercury, 0.012 degrees per century, was successfully calculated using the theory of general relativity, and the observed magnetic strength of an electron, 2.002319 magnetons, was derived using the theory of quantum electrodynamics. More than any other science, physics brims with highly accurate agreements between theory and experiment.

Guth started his physics career in this sunny scientific world. Now sixty-four years old and a professor at MIT, he was in his early thirties when he proposed a major revision to the Big Bang theory, something called inflation. We now have a great deal of evidence suggesting that our universe began as a nugget of extremely high density and temperature about 14 billion years ago and has been expanding, thinning out, and cooling ever since. The theory of inflation proposes that when our universe was only about a trillionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second old, a peculiar type of energy caused the cosmos to expand very rapidly. A tiny fraction of a second later, the universe returned to the more leisurely rate of expansion of the standard Big Bang model. Inflation solved a number of outstanding problems in cosmology, such as why the universe appears so homogeneous on large scales.

When I visited Guth in his third-floor office at MIT one cool day in May, I could barely see him above the stacks of paper and empty Diet Coke bottles on his desk. More piles of paper and dozens of magazines littered the floor. In fact, a few years ago Guth won a contest sponsored by the Boston Globe for the messiest office in the city. The prize was the services of a professional organizer for one day. “She was actually more a nuisance than a help. She took piles of envelopes from the floor and began sorting them according to size.” He wears aviator-style eyeglasses, keeps his hair long, and chain-drinks Diet Cokes. “The reason I went into theoretical physics,” Guth tells me, “is that I liked the idea that we could understand everything—i.e., the universe—in terms of mathematics and logic.” He gives a bitter laugh. We have been talking about the multiverse.

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While challenging the Platonic dream of theoretical physicists, the multiverse idea does explain one aspect of our universe that has unsettled some scientists for years: according to various calculations, if the values of some of the fundamental parameters of our universe were a little larger or a little smaller, life could not have arisen. For example, if the nuclear force were a few percentage points stronger than it actually is, then all the hydrogen atoms in the infant universe would have fused with other hydrogen atoms to make helium, and there would be no hydrogen left. No hydrogen means no water. Although we are far from certain about what conditions are necessary for life, most biologists believe that water is necessary. On the other hand, if the nuclear force were substantially weaker than what it actually is, then the complex atoms needed for biology could not hold together. As another example, if the relationship between the strengths of the gravitational force and the electromagnetic force were not close to what it is, then the cosmos would not harbor any stars that explode and spew out life-supporting chemical elements into space or any other stars that form planets. Both kinds of stars are required for the emergence of life. The strengths of the basic forces and certain other fundamental parameters in our universe appear to be “fine-tuned” to allow the existence of life. The recognition of this fine­tuning led British physicist Brandon Carter to articulate what he called the anthropic principle, which states that the universe must have the parameters it does because we are here to observe it. Actually, the word anthropic, from the Greek for “man,” is a misnomer: if these fundamental parameters were much different from what they are, it is not only human beings who would not exist. No life of any kind would exist.

If such conclusions are correct, the great question, of course, is why these fundamental parameters happen to lie within the range needed for life. Does the universe care about life? Intelligent design is one answer. Indeed, a fair number of theologians, philosophers, and even some scientists have used fine-tuning and the anthropic principle as evidence of the existence of God. For example, at the 2011 Christian Scholars’ Conference at Pepperdine University, Francis Collins, a leading geneticist and director of the National Institutes of Health, said, “To get our universe, with all of its potential for complexities or any kind of potential for any kind of life-form, everything has to be precisely defined on this knife edge of improbability…. [Y]ou have to see the hands of a creator who set the parameters to be just so because the creator was interested in something a little more complicated than random particles.”

Intelligent design, however, is an answer to fine-tuning that does not appeal to most scientists. The multiverse offers another explanation. If there are countless different universes with different properties—for example, some with nuclear forces much stronger than in our universe and some with nuclear forces much weaker—then some of those universes will allow the emergence of life and some will not. Some of those universes will be dead, lifeless hulks of matter and energy, and others will permit the emergence of cells, plants and animals, minds. From the huge range of possible universes predicted by the theories, the fraction of universes with life is undoubtedly small. But that doesn’t matter. We live in one of the universes that permits life because otherwise we wouldn’t be here to ask the question.

The explanation is similar to the explanation of why we happen to live on a planet that has so many nice things for our comfortable existence: oxygen, water, a temperature between the freezing and boiling points of water, and so on. Is this happy coincidence just good luck, or an act of Providence, or what? No, it is simply that we could not live on planets without such properties. Many other planets exist that are not so hospitable to life, such as Uranus, where the temperature is –371 degrees Fahrenheit, and Venus, where it rains sulfuric acid.

The multiverse offers an explanation to the fine-tuning conundrum that does not require the presence of a Designer. As Steven Weinberg says: “Over many centuries science has weakened the hold of religion, not by disproving the existence of God but by invalidating arguments for God based on what we observe in the natural world. The multiverse idea offers an explanation of why we find ourselves in a universe favorable to life that does not rely on the benevolence of a creator, and so if correct will leave still less support for religion.”

Some physicists remain skeptical of the anthropic principle and the reliance on multiple universes to explain the values of the fundamental parameters of physics. Others, such as Weinberg and Guth, have reluctantly accepted the anthropic principle and the multiverse idea as together providing the best possible explanation for the observed facts.

If the multiverse idea is correct, then the historic mission of physics to explain all the properties of our universe in terms of fundamental principles—to explain why the properties of our universe must necessarily be what they are—is futile, a beautiful philosophical dream that simply isn’t true. Our universe is what it is because we are here. The situation could be likened to a school of intelligent fish who one day began wondering why their world is completely filled with water. Many of the fish, the theorists, hope to prove that the entire cosmos necessarily has to be filled with water. For years, they put their minds to the task but can never quite seem to prove their assertion. Then, a wizened group of fish postulates that maybe they are fooling themselves. Maybe there are, they suggest, many other worlds, some of them completely dry, and everything in between.

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The most striking example of fine-tuning, and one that practically demands the multiverse to explain it, is the unexpected detection of what scientists call dark energy. Little more than a decade ago, using robotic telescopes in Arizona, Chile, Hawaii, and outer space that can comb through nearly a million galaxies a night, astronomers discovered that the expansion of the universe is accelerating. As mentioned previously, it has been known since the late 1920s that the universe is expanding; it’s a central feature of the Big Bang model. Orthodox cosmological thought held that the expansion is slowing down. After all, gravity is an attractive force; it pulls masses closer together. So it was quite a surprise in 1998 when two teams of astronomers announced that some unknown force appears to be jamming its foot down on the cosmic accelerator pedal. The expansion is speeding up. Galaxies are flying away from each other as if repelled by antigravity. Says Robert Kirshner, one of the team members who made the discovery: “This is not your father’s universe.” (In October, members of both teams were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics.)

Physicists have named the energy associated with this cosmological force dark energy. No one knows what it is. Not only invisible, dark energy apparently hides out in empty space. Yet, based on our observations of the accelerating rate of expansion, dark energy constitutes a whopping three quarters of the total energy of the universe. It is the invisible elephant in the room of science.

The amount of dark energy, or more precisely the amount of dark energy in every cubic centimeter of space, has been calculated to be about one hundred-millionth (10–8) of an erg per cubic centimeter. (For comparison, a penny dropped from waist-high hits the floor with an energy of about three hundred thousand—that is, 3 × 105—ergs.) This may not seem like much, but it adds up in the vast volumes of outer space. Astronomers were able to determine this number by measuring the rate of expansion of the universe at different epochs—if the universe is accelerating, then its rate of expansion was slower in the past. From the amount of acceleration, astronomers can calculate the amount of dark energy in the universe.

Theoretical physicists have several hypotheses about the identity of dark energy. It may be the energy of ghostly subatomic particles that can briefly appear out of nothing before self­annihilating and slipping back into the vacuum. According to quantum physics, empty space is a pandemonium of subatomic particles rushing about and then vanishing before they can be seen. Dark energy may also be associated with an as-yet-unobserved force field called the Higgs field, which is sometimes invoked to explain why certain kinds of matter have mass. (Theoretical physicists ponder things that other people do not.) And in the models proposed by string theory, dark energy may be associated with the way in which extra dimensions of space—beyond the usual length, width, and breadth—get compressed down to sizes much smaller than atoms, so that we do not notice them.

These various hypotheses give a fantastically large range for the theoretically possible amounts of dark energy in a universe, from something like 10115 ergs per cubic centimeter to –10115 ergs per cubic centimeter. (A negative value for dark energy would mean that it acts to decelerate the universe, in contrast to what is observed.) Thus, in absolute magnitude, the amount of dark energy actually present in our universe is either very, very small or very, very large compared with what it could be. This fact alone is surprising. If the theoretically possible positive values for dark energy were marked out on a ruler stretching from here to the sun, with zero at one end of the ruler and 10115 ergs per cubic centimeter at the other end, the value of dark energy actually found in our universe (10–8 ergs per cubic centimeter) would be closer to the zero end than the width of an atom.

On one thing most physicists agree: If the amount of dark energy in our universe were only a little bit different than what it actually is, then life could never have emerged. A little more and the universe would accelerate so rapidly that the matter in the young cosmos could never pull itself together to form stars and thence form the complex atoms made in stars. And, going into negative values of dark energy, a little less and the universe would decelerate so rapidly that it would recollapse before there was time to form even the simplest atoms.

Here we have a clear example of fine-tuning: out of all the possible amounts of dark energy that our universe might have, the actual amount lies in the tiny sliver of the range that allows life. There is little argument on this point. It does not depend on assumptions about whether we need liquid water for life or oxygen or particular biochemistries. As before, one is compelled to ask the question: Why does such fine-tuning occur? And the answer many physicists now believe: The multiverse. A vast number of universes may exist, with many different values of the amount of dark energy. Our particular universe is one of the universes with a small value, permitting the emergence of life. We are here, so our universe must be such a universe. We are an accident. From the cosmic lottery hat containing zillions of universes, we happened to draw a universe that allowed life. But then again, if we had not drawn such a ticket, we would not be here to ponder the odds.

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The concept of the multiverse is compelling not only because it explains the problem of fine-tuning. As I mentioned earlier, the possibility of the multiverse is actually predicted by modern theories of physics. One such theory, called eternal inflation, is a revision of Guth’s inflation theory developed by Andrei Linde, Paul Steinhardt, and Alex Vilenkin in the early and mid-1980s. In regular inflation theory, the very rapid expansion of the infant universe is caused by an energy field, like dark energy, that is temporarily trapped in a condition that does not represent the lowest possible energy for the universe as a whole—like a marble sitting in a small dent on a table. The marble can stay there, but if it is jostled it will roll out of the dent, roll across the table, and then fall to the floor (which represents the lowest possible energy level). In the theory of eternal inflation, the dark energy field has many different values at different points of space, analogous to lots of marbles sitting in lots of dents on the cosmic table. Moreover, as space expands rapidly, the number of marbles increases. Each of these marbles is jostled by the random processes inherent in quantum mechanics, and some of the marbles will begin rolling across the table and onto the floor. Each marble starts a new Big Bang, essentially a new universe. Thus, the original, rapidly expanding universe spawns a multitude of new universes, in a never-ending process.

String theory, too, predicts the possibility of the multiverse. Originally conceived in the late 1960s as a theory of the strong nuclear force but soon enlarged far beyond that ambition, string theory postulates that the smallest constituents of matter are not subatomic particles like the electron but extremely tiny one-dimensional “strings” of energy. These elemental strings can vibrate at different frequencies, like the strings of a violin, and the different modes of vibration correspond to different fundamental particles and forces. String theories typically require seven dimensions of space in addition to the usual three, which are compacted down to such small sizes that we never experience them, like a three-dimensional garden hose that appears as a one-dimensional line when seen from a great distance. There are, in fact, a vast number of ways that the extra dimensions in string theory can be folded up, and each of the different ways corresponds to a different universe with different physical properties.

It was originally hoped that from a theory of these strings, with very few additional parameters, physicists would be able to explain all the forces and particles of nature—all of reality would be a manifestation of the vibrations of elemental strings. String theory would then be the ultimate realization of the Platonic ideal of a fully explicable cosmos. In the past few years, however, physicists have discovered that string theory predicts not a unique universe but a huge number of possible universes with different properties. It has been estimated that the “string landscape” contains 10500 different possible universes. For all practical purposes, that number is infinite.

It is important to point out that neither eternal inflation nor string theory has anywhere near the experimental support of many previous theories in physics, such as special relativity or quantum electrodynamics, mentioned earlier. Eternal inflation or string theory, or both, could turn out to be wrong. However, some of the world’s leading physicists have devoted their careers to the study of these two theories.

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Back to the intelligent fish. The wizened old fish conjecture that there are many other worlds, some with dry land and some with water. Some of the fish grudgingly accept this explanation. Some feel relieved. Some feel like their lifelong ruminations have been pointless. And some remain deeply concerned. Because there is no way they can prove this conjecture. That same uncertainty disturbs many physicists who are adjusting to the idea of the multiverse. Not only must we accept that basic properties of our universe are accidental and uncalculable. In addition, we must believe in the existence of many other universes. But we have no conceivable way of observing these other universes and cannot prove their existence. Thus, to explain what we see in the world and in our mental deductions, we must believe in what we cannot prove.

Sound familiar? Theologians are accustomed to taking some beliefs on faith. Scientists are not. All we can do is hope that the same theories that predict the multiverse also produce many other predictions that we can test here in our own universe. But the other universes themselves will almost certainly remain a conjecture.

“We had a lot more confidence in our intuition before the discovery of dark energy and the multiverse idea,” says Guth. “There will still be a lot for us to understand, but we will miss out on the fun of figuring everything out from first principles.”

One wonders whether a young Alan Guth, considering a career in science today, would choose theoretical physics.

7 posted on 12/25/2011 7:48:23 AM PST by MHGinTN (Some, believing they cannot be deceived, it's impossible to convince them when they're deceived.)
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To: SeekAndFind
Some may be finite in size. Some may be infinite.

Now how is that possible?

8 posted on 12/25/2011 7:53:17 AM PST by oldbrowser (They are Marxists, don't call them democrats)
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To: hosepipe

Even science fiction must have internal logical consistency. Without that, it becomes fantasy. The multiverse has been a part of scifi for decades.


9 posted on 12/25/2011 7:54:34 AM PST by pabianice (")
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To: SeekAndFind

“The weight of a flying bustard”? I’ve seen a lot of flying bustards, but their weight varies depending on how many drinks they had before the flight took off..


10 posted on 12/25/2011 7:55:11 AM PST by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
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To: SeekAndFind; oldbrowser
It is perhaps impossible to say how far apart the different universes may be, or whether they exist simultaneously in time. Some may have stars and galaxies like ours. Some may not. Some may be finite in size. Some may be infinite.

LOL. Apparently there's a finite (or perhpas an infinite) line between being a scientist and a conjecturist.

11 posted on 12/25/2011 7:59:50 AM PST by Texas Eagle (If it wasn't for double-standards, Liberals would have no standards at all -- Texas Eagle)
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To: A_perfect_lady
I thought of oyu when I read the following paragraph. It is a start on the 'extreme balancing act I mentioned the other day in a post:

"While challenging the Platonic dream of theoretical physicists, the multiverse idea does explain one aspect of our universe that has unsettled some scientists for years: according to various calculations, if the values of some of the fundamental parameters of our universe were a little larger or a little smaller, life could not have arisen. For example, if the nuclear force were a few percentage points stronger than it actually is, then all the hydrogen atoms in the infant universe would have fused with other hydrogen atoms to make helium, and there would be no hydrogen left. No hydrogen means no water. Although we are far from certain about what conditions are necessary for life, most biologists believe that water is necessary. On the other hand, if the nuclear force were substantially weaker than what it actually is, then the complex atoms needed for biology could not hold together. As another example, if the relationship between the strengths of the gravitational force and the electromagnetic force were not close to what it is, then the cosmos would not harbor any stars that explode and spew out life-supporting chemical elements into space or any other stars that form planets. Both kinds of stars are required for the emergence of life. The strengths of the basic forces and certain other fundamental parameters in our universe appear to be “fine-tuned” to allow the existence of life. The recognition of this fine­tuning led British physicist Brandon Carter to articulate what he called the anthropic principle, which states that the universe must have the parameters it does because we are here to observe it. Actually, the word anthropic, from the Greek for “man,” is a misnomer: if these fundamental parameters were much different from what they are, it is not only human beings who would not exist. No life of any kind would exist."

12 posted on 12/25/2011 7:59:50 AM PST by MHGinTN (Some, believing they cannot be deceived, it's impossible to convince them when they're deceived.)
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To: SeekAndFind
In which case, there is no hope of ever explaining our universe’s features in terms of fundamental causes and principles.

I hope to ask God - if I ever see Him - what he had in mind!

13 posted on 12/25/2011 8:08:24 AM PST by FatherofFive (Islam is evil and must be eradicated)
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To: SeekAndFind

The state of theology is such than no theory can be sufficiently theistic and correctly theistic.


14 posted on 12/25/2011 8:11:15 AM PST by tacticalogic ("Oh, bother!" said Pooh, as he chambered his last round.)
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To: VRW Conspirator; Darksheare
They will never see the under-verse!

Unless Darks shows them the Dimensional Door...

15 posted on 12/25/2011 8:12:32 AM PST by null and void (Day 1068 of America's ObamaVacation from reality [Heroes aren't made, Frank, they're cornered...])
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To: SeekAndFind
Physicists already decided in Copenhagen eighty years ago that no “metaphysical baggage” will be contemplated.
No matter how much discoveries in sub-atomic physics point to non-temporal origins, anything suggesting or even logically demanding intelligent design will result in the heretical researcher being shunned, defunded and professionally destroyed.
Atheist academic fascism is as brutal as the political kind.
16 posted on 12/25/2011 8:13:21 AM PST by Happy Rain ('The GOP establishment thinks a conservative can't win--Liberal Democrats KNOW conservatives win.)
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To: DManA

There is no way, even theoretically, to experimentally verify this multi-verse bull hockey. That makes it science fiction, not science.


That’s my take on it. Where exactly is the proof?


17 posted on 12/25/2011 8:15:26 AM PST by rbg81
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To: blueunicorn6; hinckley buzzard

Yes, yes, yes, but have you seen a hinckley buzzard?


18 posted on 12/25/2011 8:17:41 AM PST by null and void (Day 1068 of America's ObamaVacation from reality [Heroes aren't made, Frank, they're cornered...])
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To: MHGinTN

Remember, you informed me that I should keep quiet about this.


19 posted on 12/25/2011 8:17:41 AM PST by A_perfect_lady
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To: ixtl
Or maybe the science fiction writers are just a few (or more) years ahead of the physicist. I read (and write) science fiction, and have been reading about multple universes/parallel universes for years.

I started reading the "greats" as far as Sci-Fi in the late '50s. It's amazing how prescient they were. Can't vouch for present day authors as it will take time to bear their theories out, but a good deal of them are capable scientific minds despite not being "real scientists".

It's amazing that so many "scientific" minds will close so tight that only that which supports their own concepts is given any credence. They will point to lack of scientific evidence while fully backing theories that are still works in progress and always "evolving" as we learn more and have to discard some of the "standard" lines of thought.

20 posted on 12/25/2011 8:19:28 AM PST by trebb ("If a man will not work, he should not eat" From 2 Thes 3)
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To: SeekAndFind
One can add to the list of the fully explained:...

They left off the solution to the solar neutrino problem.

21 posted on 12/25/2011 8:19:40 AM PST by <1/1,000,000th%
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To: A_perfect_lady
Indeed!


22 posted on 12/25/2011 8:20:26 AM PST by null and void (Day 1068 of America's ObamaVacation from reality [Heroes aren't made, Frank, they're cornered...])
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To: <1/1,000,000th%

Solved. They change flavors.


23 posted on 12/25/2011 8:21:40 AM PST by null and void (Day 1068 of America's ObamaVacation from reality [Heroes aren't made, Frank, they're cornered...])
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To: null and void

Drink enough of his coffee and I have heard the door appears before you in a fleeting pass from reality.


24 posted on 12/25/2011 8:27:00 AM PST by MHGinTN (Some, believing they cannot be deceived, it's impossible to convince them when they're deceived.)
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To: hosepipe
Well, knowledge can begin as faith and belief. I believed in God for many years, but now that He has revealed more to me, I know He has created all around us. And yes, all of the universe operates around a strict time clock and physical laws. Any denial of that FACT is pure fantasy made up in the minds of intellectuals controlled by the leader of all intellectualism, IE, the fall to the knowledge of good and evil...satan.
25 posted on 12/25/2011 8:28:09 AM PST by fabian (" And a new day will dawn for those who stand long, and the forests will echo with laughter")
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To: SeekAndFind
All of these physicists seem to assume the existence of a vacuum as a given.
26 posted on 12/25/2011 8:28:31 AM PST by Moonman62 (The US has become a government with a country, rather than a country with a government.)
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To: null and void

A kinky buzzard?.....my Uncle Ed?


27 posted on 12/25/2011 8:28:34 AM PST by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
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To: A_perfect_lady

Actually, I did not address the discussion of theories in Physics, which is what this article protends. Try not to get snarky when it isn’t necessary.


28 posted on 12/25/2011 8:28:55 AM PST by MHGinTN (Some, believing they cannot be deceived, it's impossible to convince them when they're deceived.)
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To: MHGinTN

You know exactly what you were saying. This is the last time I address you, so cherish this moment.


29 posted on 12/25/2011 8:33:10 AM PST by A_perfect_lady
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To: null and void

Gutsy Lady! Love the impish humor she displays. Even those repressive burkhas can’t squelch some human spirits.


30 posted on 12/25/2011 8:35:53 AM PST by MHGinTN (Some, believing they cannot be deceived, it's impossible to convince them when they're deceived.)
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To: A_perfect_lady

You are showing yourself to be a sad case. Enjoy your last word.


31 posted on 12/25/2011 8:36:51 AM PST by MHGinTN (Some, believing they cannot be deceived, it's impossible to convince them when they're deceived.)
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To: A_perfect_lady

An INTJ.....oh.......J........I see.


32 posted on 12/25/2011 8:38:03 AM PST by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
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To: MHGinTN; null and void

Thank you for providing the complete text.

NULL AND VOID. This is the long version of our discussion.


33 posted on 12/25/2011 8:40:26 AM PST by UCANSEE2 (Lame and ill-informed post)
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To: UCANSEE2

How ‘bout that?


34 posted on 12/25/2011 8:46:03 AM PST by null and void (Day 1068 of America's ObamaVacation from reality [Heroes aren't made, Frank, they're cornered...])
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To: UCANSEE2

Isn’t it interesting that 10500 alternate universes is considered ‘for all intents and purposes’ to be ‘an infinite number of alternate universes’? I mean, the lengths to which some minds will stumble to avoid considering that the number of alternate resulting universes may be how God keeps this particular one from coming out of balance never seems to occur to such ‘seekers’!


35 posted on 12/25/2011 8:57:09 AM PST by MHGinTN (Some, believing they cannot be deceived, it's impossible to convince them when they're deceived.)
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To: DManA

Yes, there’s a way to experimentally verify this multi-verse thesis. You just haven’t thought of it yet, but it’s there.


36 posted on 12/25/2011 9:03:24 AM PST by muawiyah
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To: ixtl
Philip Jose Farmer definitely got deep into the Multi-verse theory decades back with his Pocket Universe stories.

There he assumed you could create a new universe WITHIN the existing universe we know, and it could have "designer features". His Lava Lamp World pursued one such idea.

Most folks know him best from his River World series, but he had some short stories where folks "practiced at their future lives as office workers" in a sort of "pre-Heaven". Then they would be born and take it from there.

37 posted on 12/25/2011 9:07:32 AM PST by muawiyah
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To: MHGinTN

>>The recognition of this fine­tuning led British physicist Brandon Carter to articulate what he called the anthropic principle, which states that the universe must have the parameters it does because we are here to observe it.<<

Sounds a little like wimping out...


38 posted on 12/25/2011 9:19:50 AM PST by freedumb2003 (Spoiler Alert! The secret to Terra Nova: THEY ARE ALL DEAD!!!)
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To: oldbrowser

(Some may be finite in size. Some may be infinite.
Now how is that possible? )

There are different uses and contexts for the word “infinite.” Infinite is the number of things a two-year-old can make sticky with just one drop of honey. Or, it is the space between a liberal’s ears.

But in this context, I suspect it applies where this universe is for all intents infinite in dimensions we understand, but our universe may exist like the cards in a deck with many other universes. Given what Einstein said about dimensions our universe has at least 11. Seven of those are unknowable to us except as mathematical constructs. The four dimensions we know are called “space-time.” They consist of height, length, width and time. But those things interact with gravity. The speed which an object made of those dimensions is moving also affects our perceptions of the object. The faster the object goes the smaller and more massive an object in those dimensions gets.

The problem perceiving our universe on its own comes in when we start to look at equations and they imply things we can’t see, like the other seven dimensions. If you’ve ever dealt with “imaginary” numbers, which commonly occur and have real world implications in engineering, you start to appreciate what the authors are saying.

Now, how can there be dimensions we can’t experience? Imagine you’re a stick figure man on a two dimensional piece of paper. Somebody sticks a pencil through the paper, the sum total of your universe. What do you, the stick figure man, see of the pencil? You see only the part that appears in your two dimensional world, a line. You then come up with an equation that explains how it starts like a tiny line (the pencil point) and then becomes a line, (the body of the pencil is dynamically moving only in the third dimension), then the line varies in length (the metal clamped eraser passing by) then it changes in texture (the eraser) then it disappears leaving a discontinuity (hole) in your universe.

The other seven dimensions in our universe would be similarly difficult to conceptualize because, like the stick figure man, we have no direct experience with them, only with the mathematics that describes them. We know they do exist, however, because we can conduct tests that show they do. Particle accelerators, for example, can make particles appear and disappear. You have to ask, where did they come from? Where did they go? The answer is in the math describing those other dimensions.

As for the multiple universes, each of which can be finite or infinite, those are elements in repeating equations, one portion of which represents our universe. But other terms which pop out of the equations, like our imaginary numbers which do have real world implications, may or may not represent other universes. Or, they just could be artifacts of the rules we used to construct our math which describes our universe.


39 posted on 12/25/2011 9:41:46 AM PST by Gen.Blather
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To: freedumb2003
Sounds a little like wimping out...

It is. That statement is as far as reason takes us without positing the existence of some outside agency - dare I say the "G" word? - to provide the order that is being observed, not created as a construct of human perception. Fundamentally the "things are the way we see them because we see them that way" argument is solipsistic nonsense. The recognition of something that is there before it is perceived is observably - that word again - the way human beings, including scientists, who are among the most human of beings, deal with the world. It's the reason scientific progress is mentioned in terms of discoveries. That isn't simply loose terminology, it's really the way human beings think.

That leads into some uncomfortable territory for some. One can, of course, have order without Someone or Something putting it there, but the existence of that order itself, mysterious and squirmy as it tends to be, is the inescapable root of both science and theology.

People do not have an innate knowledge of the nature of God - that has to be sought - but they do have an innate knowledge of order. A fellow who claims not to believe in gravity because it hasn't been given to him in the form of a mathematical proof will still move his foot out of the way of a rock you drop on it. And if he's stubborn enough not to, it still will hurt.

Just some grumblings on Christmas Day. My very best to you!

40 posted on 12/25/2011 9:54:23 AM PST by Billthedrill
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To: freedumb2003
The Anthropic Principle is the ultimate in 'comfy circles'.

I believe much of these speculative theories/concepts for the Universe arise from our poor understanding of dimension Time.

When Hawking and Penrose showed mathematically that dimensions Time and Space had an incident of origin (the big bang), that starting incident didn't sit well with those who have a need to subtract The Creator from their belief field.

No matter how many 'alternate universes' are speculated, the reality is that we exist in this particualr universe, with these particularly delicate aspects necessary for contemplative life of our type to exist. How God keeps these delicate parameters in balance so that we continue to have this 'zone of favorability' will likely remain outside of our experimentation so long as we hold to primitive conceptualizations of dimensions Time and Space.

There is a way to contemplate the vagaries which is not comfy for 'hard scientists' so they avoid using that perspective. As an example, consider the photon, which arises at some where/when and travels the expanse of the Universe remaining in the present of its origin, until some interaction occurs which changes the photon's orientation to the real Universe. Because of the fact that we were created unable to sense the actual present of our existence, we conjecture everything based upon things arriving to our sensing from past occurences. To our rational mind, everything is arranged upon a linear Time variability. But there may also exist planar temporal variation (we seem to exist upon such a variability, while processing linear past, for our comprehension), and volumetric Time may be the actual state of the Universe in which we exist, whether balanced in that delicate position by a near infinite number of alternate universes or not.

Such existence does not exclude the need for a Creator of the multiverses, Guth, Dawkins, Penrose, Weinberg, and Hawking notwithstanding.

A very tiny variable held constant for our universe to exist may actually be so because our mixture of variables is relative to a grand array of multiple universes which maintain the balance. There could be 10500 alternates in the array necessary to maintain our particular Universe in balance. That number is, BTW, greater than all the believed actual particles in our Universe, way larger.

41 posted on 12/25/2011 10:00:07 AM PST by MHGinTN (Some, believing they cannot be deceived, it's impossible to convince them when they're deceived.)
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To: freedumb2003
We now have a great deal of evidence suggesting that our universe began as a nugget of extremely high density and temperature about 14 billion years ago and has been expanding, thinning out, and cooling ever since. The theory of inflation proposes that when our universe was only about a trillionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second old, a peculiar type of energy caused the cosmos to expand very rapidly. A tiny fraction of a second later, the universe returned to the more leisurely rate of expansion of the standard Big Bang model. Inflation solved a number of outstanding problems in cosmology, such as why the universe appears so homogeneous on large scales.

That's the equivalent of trying to explain away, or theorize away, that which they don't understand.

If their expectations aren't fulfilled by their observations, then something very strange must've happened, but, there isn't a scientist around that can even begin to explain what they've "observed", so, some radical unexplainable theory must come to the rescue.

If the universe did expand so drastically in the very first instance of its existence, and physicists can't explain it with their current knowledge, then it's quite possible that, the universe is vastly more complicated than their puny minds are capable of understanding. But, heck, that can't be, can it?

If the universe did expand to unexplainable proportions in that very first instance of time, and if we are to accept that, time is a dimension of our universe, then, the only explanation is that, time was stopped, and so were the "rules" of physics, and the universe was "expanded" by some unknown property or "entity", and once that size was attained, then time was "allowed" to continue, and the "laws" of physics were also allowed to continue "as designed", and we ended up with a universe that's still a lot more complicated than the smartest minds are capable of understanding.

We humans were endowed with our capabilities, not by random acts of matter and energy, but something that too many want to continue to be in denial about.
42 posted on 12/25/2011 10:05:52 AM PST by adorno (<)
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To: muawiyah
The Maker of Universes and its sequels. I re-read them every few years, except for the last one, More Than Fire. I simply didn't like the way it ended.

The entire World of Tiers series was a revelation of adventure and wonder the first time I read it.

43 posted on 12/25/2011 10:07:28 AM PST by chesley (Eat what you want, and die like a man. Never trust anyone who hasn't been punched in the face)
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To: SeekAndFind

It doesn’t really matter if there are or aren’t multiple universes. We live in this one and we most likely won’t be able to visit any others any time soon. We have still so much to learn and improve. We were made to explore and learn and do great things. This century will see us utilizing the resources of our solar system and next century we will possibly head to other stars. I wish I could live to see that.


44 posted on 12/25/2011 10:14:19 AM PST by albionin
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To: SeekAndFind; metmom

Merry Christmas Beep!


45 posted on 12/25/2011 10:52:33 AM PST by YHAOS (you betcha!)
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To: SeekAndFind

Thanks for posting this.


46 posted on 12/25/2011 10:59:55 AM PST by bajabaja (Too ugly to be scanned at the airports.)
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To: adorno; MHGinTN; Billthedrill

Of course, there is always the possibility I will wake up and all of this (and you) will vanish as I find myself in the Real Universe, more inexplicable than this one.

Fortunately for all, I am deep sleeper

;)


47 posted on 12/25/2011 11:06:08 AM PST by freedumb2003 (Spoiler Alert! The secret to Terra Nova: THEY ARE ALL DEAD!!!)
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To: muawiyah

And you have right perfesser?


48 posted on 12/25/2011 11:07:18 AM PST by DManA
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To: SeekAndFind

Interesting Captain, a parallel universe.

49 posted on 12/25/2011 11:15:10 AM PST by central_va ( I won't be reconstructed and I do not give a damn.)
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To: central_va

50 posted on 12/25/2011 11:38:31 AM PST by xp38
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