I am Takis and I follow Biologos blogs and forums the last three years.
These days I have problem with a multiverse theory and specifically the many worlds interpretation and modal realism (I can’t tell the differences). In fact I dont have a scientific background and I would tell that I am less than a layman in the field. My problem is that I find the idea depressing as it implicates that all possible states of ourselves -extreme evil ones included-are actualised in some branch of the universe. I wonder how someone could overcome this burden and how is this compatible with Christian faith, since it implicates irresponsibility of one’s actions in a deterministic way.
Finally I would like to know your opinions concerning the plausibility of the theory in relation with other ones.
Thanks for your answers and sorry for my poor English as it’s not my native language.
I am Takis and I follow Biologos blogs and forums the last three years.
I have a masters degree in physics.
The multiverse is a cosmological speculation and being outside the measurable universe is no more valid than other ideas about things outside the measurable universe like a divine creator.
The Everett Many Worlds is an interpretation of quantum physics, the second most popular with solid mathematics to give it some substance. However, not many physicists can take seriously a speculation about multiple universe which are in no way measurable or consistent with fundamental physics. The reason I have no problem with this interpretation of quantum physics is because the interpretation is itself subject to some interpretation. These many worlds can be viewed as no more than the substantial reality of future possibilities, which have no reality at all when they are not realized. Thus for me this represents a support for incompatibilist libertarianism opposing both determinism and absolute predestination.
Modal realism is simply a philosophy no different than other wild philosophies like solipsism. Personally believing in an infinite God, I would tend to see the such all possible states as being a part of God in some way, and the only reality of any significance to us is our own existence and relationship to God.
In this way I see no incompatibilities with my own Christian faith, but of course, Christianity is a broad spectrum so it is possible that other theological understandings may have a difficulty with these ideas.
Hi Takis! Welcome.
Here’s something about the multiverse that may help you!
While I don’t have a solid belief in Multiverses (though I don’t deny the idea of their existence either) I hold to the idea of mirror-alternate realties. That is, mirror projections of our own realities but of what could have been, i.e. the South winning the American Civil War or the Nazi’s winning WW2. Of course I’m an alternate history nerd so of course I would hold this point of view lol.
I absolutely deny their existence. Though, in an alternate reality, I very much affirm them.
The two are generally separate ideas but may be part of the same overarching theory that we are not yet aware of. They aren’t threats to anything in Christianity which I think is demonstrated well by Christian Cosmologist, Don Page. Here are two articles of his regarding the many worlds interpretation and multiverse respectively:
Generally speaking there is no scientific hypothesis that ever can be pitted against God. Some historical examples could be Pouchet vs. Pasteur on spontaneous generation (specifically the mechanism of heterogenesis). They were both Christians on both sides of the issue and could accomodate either hypothesis in their Christianity. Another example could be with the Big Bang Theory vs. Steady State Theory in cosmology. You had Christians on both sides, with William Duncan Macmillian and Robert Millikan as advocates for the steady state theory. Part of their argument was based upon their theological understanding of God being a continual creator! It might have been unfathomable to imagine the Big Bang Theory being compatible with a Christian conception of God for many decades ago, but now today most Christians can readily adopt such a model within our theological understanding of God.
I see what you did there. Well played sir.
Regarding the original post, I’ve never understood why many worlds and multiverse are so often linked. The first has no intuitive appeal to me at all whereas the latter strikes me as more likely than not, though indemonstrable. If a multiverse is indeed the case I cannot imagine how anyone can imagine that every universe would be populated by every conceivable alternate choice or state of the world we live in. Isn’t that absurd on the face of it?
On the other hand I see no reason why God or religion should be nullified if the universe should turn out to be an instance or part of a much grander order. That sort thing would only come up in debates involving fragile theological origins of the YEC variety. I don’t see why any religious view of origins which isn’t adverse to science should have anything to worry about on account of a multiverse.
I think that it is the metaphysics that pervades the physics. I seem to recall a similar vein from the New Age folks who misuse the fact that a particle–in quantum mechanics–can be at anywhere at anytime, and extend that to a person or a spirit. But I agree with you Mark… Although I must admit that part of the repulsion comes from the fact that those scenarios have always made my head hurt.
I don’t see them as real multi-universes, but see them as mere mirror projections of what could be, just as the mirror projection of you isn’t really you, so is that mirror-alternate reality, it isn’t real but a mirror projection of what could have been.
I appreciate the article and agree with most of it. However I didn’t find this argument very persuasive.
It isn’t that I think anything science has uncovered about the early universe or the possibility of a multiverse is evidence for believing no creator could possibly be involved. I just object to characterizing the conditions we happen to find in the only universe to which we have any access as a narrow escape from a firing squad. Scientists have sketched out a sequence of events which, all lined up and leading to the world we know, does almost seem like a winning lotto ticket. But how is that anything like a firing squad escapee where we understand the capacity and intention of the shooting squad? There is no reason to think a ‘big bang’ has the intention to destroy the possibility of life. We are unable to point to one instance of a universe in which that has ever happened. And we have no track record of big bang results on which to base any assignment of likelihood for our survival. It just isn’t an apt comparison.
To assign an equal probability to every conceivable ‘setting’ of the constants is a judgement call I don’t think anyone has any basis for making. We just don’t know whether our universe is like a coin both of whose sides represent an outcome hostile to the possibility of sustaining life, while a goldilocks outcome like ours requires that it land on its edge. I don’t know enough to characterize our universe as “lucky” let alone “miraculous”. Of course I also can’t rule out the possibility that those adjectives really do apply. So I agree with the main thrust of the article that arguments from science to theological conclusions serve neither side.
I cannot take seriously any argument that starts with “God loathes…” because it goes against the teaching of Jesus about God. God is Love and not loathing. God Loves us regardless of what we do as Jesus tells in HIs parable of the Prodigal Son.
From physics though, I agree with @mitchellmckain. It is a possible outcome of the imperfect theory of quantum physics. As this theory is refined, these nonsensical theoretical outcomes will become less and less. They make for interesting science fiction, but that is about it.
Well, there’s this:
Proverbs 6:16-19 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
16 There are six things which the Lord hates,
Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him:
17 Haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
And hands that shed innocent blood,
18 A heart that devises wicked plans,
Feet that run rapidly to evil,
19 A false witness who utters lies,
And one who spreads strife among brothers.
Jesus did not write Proverbs.
Agreed. I don’t recall him preaching against them either.
That said, I was trying to follow your train of thought and could not tell what you were commenting about. So the context may be off. Apologies if so.
Does anyone here know what Dr. Haarsma was referring to in the video above when she mentioned “the weekend traffic principle”?
It took me aback for a second too, until I realized she said “weak antropic principle.”
Now, I googled misunderstood song lyrics, and wasted another half hour of time!
It’s what happens when your firing squad is made up entirely of Sunday drivers.
“weak anthropic principle" → “weekend traffic principal”
So much for YouTube’s auto-captioning feature and my impaired hearing! I was expecting another analogy like the firing squad.
(I do like puns, as you probably noticed here. )
(Wordplay has the price I like to pay for entertainment. )
I’m sympathetic. Hearing aides have helped a lot for me and of course I wear glasses too. Just the other day I was wondering why I could no longer start a new thread or send a message to the mods for help. Turned out by enlarging the text on my screen to make it easier for old eyes to see, I’d made it so big that the fields for entering an addressee for the message or a title for the new post didn’t appear. Like you I prefer to find that funny.