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Peter Woit on the multiverse as a weapon against religion: “a lousy one and not going to convince anyone”

At Not Even Wrong, Peter Woit comments on Larry Krauss’s recent interest in the multiverse:

Today’s New York Times has an article by Dennis Overbye about Lawrence Krauss and his new book A Universe From Nothing. Much of the book is an excellent discussion of cosmology and the physics of the vacuum, but it also devotes a lot of effort to discussing the meaningless question of “Why is there something rather than nothing?” and arguing against the invocation of a deity in order to answer it. Krauss is no fan of string theory, which he regards as overhyped, but he seems to have developed an attraction to multiverse studies recently, perhaps motivated by their use in arguments with those who see the Big Bang as a place for God to hang out.

Personally I’ve no interest in arguments about the existence of God, which epitomize to me an empty waste of time. Given the real dangers of religious fundamentalism in the US though, I’m glad that others like Krauss make the effort to answer some of these arguments. I’m less happy to see him and others adopting the multiverse as their weapon of choice in this battle, since it’s a lousy one and not going to convince anyone. In the New York Times piece we’re told:

“Maybe in the true eternal multiverse there are truly no laws,” Dr. Krauss said in an e-mail. “Maybe indeed randomness is all there is and everything that can happen happens somewhere.”

Given the choice between this vision of fundamental science and “God did it” as explanations for the nature of the universe, one can’t be surprised if people go for the man in the white robes…

Well, if God exists, science follows, but if there are truly no laws, science doesn’t follow.

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11 Responses to Peter Woit on the multiverse as a weapon against religion: “a lousy one and not going to convince anyone”

  1. People who buy into the common stereotype that all religious people are ‘fundamentalists’ really need to take time to actually read the New Testament for themselves instead of buying into the stereotype that only a minority of Christians actually reflect. This picture of a angry God who is out to get you is patently false. and In fact the New Testament is actually a very anti-fundamentalist book. Philip Yancey, who grew up in a very ‘fundamentalist’ environment, gives a very good overview of the ‘grace’ revealed in the New Testament in this video:

    Philip Yancey “What Good Is God” 1/2

  2. Well, if God exists, science follows, but if there are truly no laws, science doesn’t follow.

    But then with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind? ~ Charles Darwin

    If my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain, I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. ~ J.B.S. Haldane

    The ultimate irony is that this philosophy implies that Darwinism itself is just another meme, competing in the infectivity sweepstakes by attaching itself to that seductive word “science.” Dawkins ceaselessly urges us to be rational, but be does so in the name of a philosophy that implies that no such thing as rationality exists because our thoughts are at the mercy of our genes and memes. The proper conclusion is that the Dawkins poor brain has been infected by the Darwin meme, a virus of the mind if ever there was one, and we wonder if he will ever be able to find the cure. ~ Phillip Johnson

    The very notion of physical law is a theological one in the first place, a fact that makes many scientists squirm. Isaac Newton first got the idea of absolute, universal, perfect, immutable laws from the Christian doctrine that God created the world and ordered it in a rational way. ~ Paul Davies

    Modern science was conceived, and born, and flourished in the matrix of Christian theism. Only liberal doses of self-deception and double-think, I believe, will permit it to flourish in the context of Darwinian naturalism. ~ Alvin Plantinga

  3. People who buy into the common stereotype that all religious people are ‘fundamentalists’ really need to take time to actually read the New Testament for themselves instead of buying into the stereotype that only a minority of Christians actually reflect. This picture of a angry God who is out to get you is patently false. and In fact the New Testament is actually a very anti-fundamentalist book.

    Wait, what? This statement might make some sense, coming from a liberal or mainline Christian, but coming from you, bornagain77, it’s just bizarre. You’re a young-earth creationist, if memory serves. It is possible to be a fundamentalist and not be a young-earth creationist — e.g., William Jennings Bryan was an old-earther — but it’s pretty impossible to be a young-earth creationist and not be a fundamentalist.

    You seem to have some definition of “fundamentalist” in your head that is something like “fundamentalists are mean Christians no one likes”. But this is miles from the historical definition. Basically, fundamentalism boils down to the acceptance of Biblical literalism or a strong version of Biblical inerrancy. Google it…

  4. Nick, you imagine that I’m;

    a young-earth creationist,

    Really??? Since I have not ever once held, nor defended, the Young Earth position on UD, and have indeed held, and defended, the Old Earth position several times on UD, that the days of Genesis are to be interpreted as each being long periods of time, then this goes to show, clearly, that you have projected a unwarranted ‘fundamentalist’ stereotype onto me, and, Nick, this would make you wrong,, AGAIN!,,, Go Figure Nick!!!, At least your consistent! :) ;


    Christian Theodicy in Light of Genesis and Modern Science: William A. Dembski
    Excerpt: The End Of Christianity: Finding A God God In An Evil World

    ,,, ‘And if your curious about how Genesis 1, in particular, fairs. Hey, we look at the Days in Genesis as being long time periods, which is what they must be if you read the Bible consistently, and the Bible scores 4 for 4 in Initial Conditions and 10 for 10 on the Creation Events’
    Hugh Ross – last part of ‘Evidence For Intelligent Design Is Everywhere’ video

    Hugh Ross – Evidence For Intelligent Design Is Everywhere (10^-1054) – video

    Young Earth vs, Old earth Debate: Kent Hovind vs. Hugh Ross

    The following articles provide a few critiques of the Young Earth view of evidence (though my main objection to YEC has to do with the contortion that YEC would wish to visit on the constant of the speed of light):

    Do the RATE Findings Negate Mainstream Science? GREG MOORE
    The RATE conclusions are based on a compounded set of assumptions. These assumptions are not derived from empirical data, but from the young-earth view of Earth history. Until the RATE team can demonstrate the validity of these assumptions, the study findings do little to prove the accelerated decay hypothesis.

    Helium Diffusion in Zircon: Flaws in a Young-Earth Argument, Part 1 (of 2)

    Nick, as far as our modern day ‘scientific’ measurement of time, it may surprise you, very much, to learn that the biblical ‘prophetic’ calender is more accurate than our modern day ‘scientific’ calender. The Gregorian calender uses a fairly complex system of leap days to keep accuracy with the sun, whereas, on a whole consideration, the prophetic calender uses a simpler system of leap months to keep accuracy to the sun. When these two systems are compared against each other, side by side, the prophetic calender equals the Gregorian in accuracy at first approximation, and on in-depth analysis for extremely long periods of time (even to the limits for how precisely we can measure time altogether) the prophetic calender exceeds the Gregorian calender. i.e. God’s measure of time exceeds the best efforts of Man to scientifically measure time accurately.,, But, as a Christian Theists, why am I surprised about this? :)

    Bible Prophecy Year of 360 Days
    Excerpt: Is the Biblical ‘prophetic’ calender more accurate than our modern calender? Surprisingly yes! Excerpt: The first series of articles will show the 360-day (Prophetic) calendar to be at least as simple and as accurate as is our modern (Gregorian) calendar. In the second part of our discussion we will demonstrate how that the 360-day calendar is perfectly exact (as far as our ‘scientific’ measurements will allow).

    Now Nick how is this so??,, Clearly from your ‘modern scientific’ position, i.e. atheistic-materialism, position, this should be completely impossible from you view point! Is this just another coincidence you will ignore?

  5. Born again, I particularly enjoyed the debate between Ross and hovind
    and Ross was right about the word days in the bible. As Ross correctly states the Hebrew word for day is yom and yom can mean day or period of time. It’s one of those words that has multiPle meanings.
    Heck my parents use the Lebanese version of that word I’ll yome or yome and it’s still being used in multiple contexts and definitions.

    Hugh Ross is a sharp cookie and he was one of of the pieces of the puzzle for my conversion from theistic evolutionist to ID. Ross also correctly points out that the bible also described the circumference of the earth when other scientists thought the earth was flat.

    Nick as far as your memory of bornagain being a yec, I think your memory needs a cleaning.

    Back to Hugh Ross the only thing I don’t like about him is his opinion that the shroud of Turin is a forgery, but no ones perfect as I agree with most of what he says on just about everything else

  6. Nick, since you think that ‘time’ counts against Theism, it is very interesting to point out that the findings of modern science, about the nature of time, are very, very, conducive to a overarching Theistic view of time;

    Notes to that effect;

    Reflections on the ‘infinite transcendent information’ framework, as well as on the ‘eternal’ and ‘temporal’ frameworks:

    The weight of mass becomes infinite at the speed of light, thus mass will never go the speed of light. Yet, mass would disappear from our sight if it could go the speed of light, because, from our non-speed of light perspective, distance in direction of travel will shrink to zero for the mass going the speed of light. Whereas conversely, if mass could travel at the speed of light, its size will stay the same while all other frames of reference not traveling the speed of light will disappear from its sight.

    Special Relativity – Time Dilation and Length Contraction – video

    Moreover time, as we understand it temporally, would come to a complete stop at the speed of light. To grasp the whole ‘time coming to a complete stop at the speed of light’ concept a little more easily, imagine moving away from the face of a clock at the speed of light. Would not the hands on the clock stay stationary as you moved away from the face of the clock at the speed of light? Moving away from the face of a clock at the speed of light happens to be the same ‘thought experiment’ that gave Einstein his breakthrough insight into e=mc2.

    Albert Einstein – Special Relativity – Insight Into Eternity – ‘thought experiment’ video

    ,,,Yet, even though light has this ‘eternal’ attribute in regards to our temporal framework of time, for us to hypothetically travel at the speed of light, in this universe, will still only get us to first base as far as quantum entanglement, or teleportation, is concerned.

    Light and Quantum Entanglement Reflect Some Characteristics Of God – video

    That is to say, traveling at the speed of light will only get us to the place where time, as we understand it temporally, comes to complete stop for light, i.e. gets us to the eternal, ‘past and future folding into now’, framework of time. This higher dimension, ‘eternal’, inference for the time framework of light is warranted because light is not ‘frozen within time’ yet it is shown that time, as we understand it, does not pass for light.

    “I’ve just developed a new theory of eternity.”
    Albert Einstein – The Einstein Factor – Reader’s Digest

    “The laws of relativity have changed timeless existence from a theological claim to a physical reality. Light, you see, is outside of time, a fact of nature proven in thousands of experiments at hundreds of universities. I don’t pretend to know how tomorrow can exist simultaneously with today and yesterday. But at the speed of light they actually and rigorously do. Time does not pass.”
    Richard Swenson – More Than Meets The Eye, Chpt. 12

    Experimental confirmation of Time Dilation

    It is also very interesting to note that we have two very different qualities of ‘eternality of time’ revealed by our time dilation experiments;

    Time Dilation – General and Special Relativity – Chuck Missler – video

    Time dilation
    Excerpt: Time dilation: special vs. general theories of relativity:
    In Albert Einstein’s theories of relativity, time dilation in these two circumstances can be summarized:
    1. –In special relativity (or, hypothetically far from all gravitational mass), clocks that are moving with respect to an inertial system of observation are measured to be running slower. (i.e. For any observer accelerating, hypothetically, to the speed of light, time, as we understand it, will come to a complete stop).
    2.–In general relativity, clocks at lower potentials in a gravitational field—such as in closer proximity to a planet—are found to be running slower.

    i.e. As with any observer accelerating to the speed of light, it is found that for any observer falling into the event horizon of a black hole, that time, as we understand it, will come to a complete stop for them. — But of particular interest to the ‘eternal framework’ found for General Relativity at black holes;… It is interesting to note that entropic decay (disorderly randomness), which is the primary reason why things grow old and eventually die in this universe, is found to be greatest at black holes. Thus the ‘eternality of time’ at black holes can rightly be called ‘eternalities of decay and/or eternalities of disorder’.

    Entropy of the Universe – Hugh Ross – May 2010
    Excerpt: Egan and Lineweaver found that supermassive black holes are the largest contributor to the observable universe’s entropy. They showed that these supermassive black holes contribute about 30 times more entropy than what the previous research teams estimated.

    Roger Penrose – How Special Was The Big Bang?
    “But why was the big bang so precisely organized, whereas the big crunch (or the singularities in black holes) would be expected to be totally chaotic? It would appear that this question can be phrased in terms of the behaviour of the WEYL part of the space-time curvature at space-time singularities. What we appear to find is that there is a constraint WEYL = 0 (or something very like this) at initial space-time singularities-but not at final singularities-and this seems to be what confines the Creator’s choice to this very tiny region of phase space.”

    i.e. The event horizons of Black Holes are found to be ‘timeless’ singularities of randomness, chaos, and disorder rather than singularities of creation and order such as the extreme (1 in 10^10^123) low entropic order we see at the creation event of the Big Bang. Needless to say, the implications of this ‘eternality of chaos’ should be fairly disturbing for those of us who are of a ‘spiritually minded’ persuasion!

    Blackholes – The neo-Darwinian ‘god of entropic randomness’ which can create all things (at least according to them)

    Matthew 10:28
    “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

  7. It is also very interesting to note that this strange higher dimensional, eternal, framework for time, found in special relativity, and general relativity, finds corroboration by multiple ‘eye witness accounts’ in Near Death Experience testimonies:

    ‘In the ‘spirit world,,, instantly, there was no sense of time. See, everything on earth is related to time. You got up this morning, you are going to go to bed tonight. Something is new, it will get old. Something is born, it’s going to die. Everything on the physical plane is relative to time, but everything in the spiritual plane is relative to eternity. Instantly I was in total consciousness and awareness of eternity, and you and I as we live in this earth cannot even comprehend it, because everything that we have here is filled within the veil of the temporal life. In the spirit life that is more real than anything else and it is awesome. Eternity as a concept is awesome. There is no such thing as time. I knew that whatever happened was going to go on and on.’
    Mickey Robinson – Near Death Experience (NDE) testimony

    In The Presence Of Almighty God – The NDE of Mickey Robinson – video

    ‘When you die, you enter eternity. It feels like you were always there, and you will always be there. You realize that existence on Earth is only just a brief instant.’
    Dr. Ken Ring – has extensively studied Near Death Experiences

    ‘Earthly time has no meaning in the spirit realm. There is no concept of before or after. Everything – past, present, future – exists simultaneously.’ – Kimberly Clark Sharp – NDE Experiencer

    ‘There is no way to tell whether minutes, hours or years go by. Existence is the only reality and it is inseparable from the eternal now.’ – John Star – NDE Experiencer

    It is also very interesting to point out that the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’, reported in very many Near Death Experiences(NDEs), is also corroborated by Special Relativity when considering the optical effects for traveling at the speed of light. Please compare the similarity of the optical effect, noted at the 3:22 minute mark of the following video, when the 3-Dimensional world ‘folds and collapses’ into a tunnel shape around the direction of travel as a ‘hypothetical’ observer moves towards the ‘higher dimension’ of the speed of light, with the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ reported in very many Near Death Experiences: (Of note: This following video was made by two Australian University Physics Professors with a supercomputer.)

    Approaching The Speed Of Light – Optical Effects – video

    Here is the interactive website, with link to the relativistic math at the bottom of the page, related to the preceding video;

    Seeing Relativity

    Here is corroboration of the tunnel from Near Death testimonies,,,

    The NDE and the Tunnel – Kevin Williams’ research conclusions
    Excerpt: I started to move toward the light. The way I moved, the physics, was completely different than it is here on Earth. It was something I had never felt before and never felt since. It was a whole different sensation of motion. I obviously wasn’t walking or skipping or crawling. I was not floating. I was flowing. I was flowing toward the light. I was accelerating and I knew I was accelerating, but then again, I didn’t really feel the acceleration. I just knew I was accelerating toward the light. Again, the physics was different – the physics of motion of time, space, travel. It was completely different in that tunnel, than it is here on Earth. I came out into the light and when I came out into the light, I realized that I was in heaven.(Barbara Springer)

    Near Death Experience – The Tunnel, The Light, The Life Review – video

    As well, as with the ‘scientifically/mathematically’ verified tunnel for special relativity, we also have scientific/mathematical confirmation of ‘tunnel curvature’ within space-time, even ‘extreme tunnel curvature’ within space-time to a ‘eternal event horizon’ at black holes;

    The curvature of Space-Time – video

    Even light is bent by this ‘fabric’ of space-time;

    Einstein – General Relativity – video

    Space-Time of a Black hole

    Once again, these consistent findings from science/math, that just so happen to corroborate a consistent characteristic mentioned in NDE testimonies, ‘should’ be fairly disturbing for those of us of a spiritual persuasion,,,,

    Moreover, severely contrary to what many atheists would prefer for us to believe, there actually is solid empirical evidence for a ‘soul’ to man that provides a coherent mechanism for traversing to these higher space-time dimensions revealed by our science:

    Cellular Communication through Light
    Excerpt: Information transfer is a life principle. On a cellular level we generally assume that molecules are carriers of information, yet there is evidence for non-molecular information transfer due to endogenous coherent light. This light is ultra-weak, is emitted by many organisms, including humans and is conventionally described as biophoton emission.

    Biophotons – The Light In Our Cells – Marco Bischof – March 2005
    Excerpt page 2: The Coherence of Biophotons: ,,, Biophotons consist of light with a high degree of order, in other words, biological laser light. Such light is very quiet and shows an extremely stable intensity, without the fluctuations normally observed in light. Because of their stable field strength, its waves can superimpose, and by virtue of this, interference effects become possible that do not occur in ordinary light. Because of the high degree of order, the biological laser light is able to generate and keep order and to transmit information in the organism.

    Are humans really beings of light?
    Excerpt: “We now know, today, that man is essentially a being of light.”,,, “There are about 100,000 chemical reactions happening in every cell each second. The chemical reaction can only happen if the molecule which is reacting is excited by a photon… Once the photon has excited a reaction it returns to the field and is available for more reactions… We are swimming in an ocean of light.”

  8. And once again this man is ‘swimming in an ocean of light’ finding from science finds corroboration from NDE testimonies;

    Coast to Coast – Vicki’s Near Death Experience (Blind From Birth) part 1 of 3

    Quote from preceding video: ‘I was in a body and the only way that I can describe it was a body of energy, or of light. And this body had a form. It had a head. It had arms and it had legs. And it was like it was made out of light. And ‘it’ was everything that was me. All of my memories, my consciousness, everything.’ -
    Vicky Noratuk

    “Miracles do not happen in contradiction to nature, but only in contradiction to that which is known to us of nature.” -
    St. Augustine

    Moreover, the finding of quantum entanglement/information, on a massive scale in molecular biology, has falsified the reductive materialistic (atheistic) theory of neo-Darwinism;

    Falsification Of Neo-Darwinism by Quantum Entanglement/Information

    Moreover, recent breakthroughs into ‘Quantum Biology’ easily, even ;naturally’, supports the contention of a ‘Quantum Soul’ to man that lives past the death of our temporal bodies;

    Does Quantum Biology Support A Quantum Soul? – Stuart Hameroff – video (notes in description)

    Moreover, the quantum entanglement/information that is shown to be, in fact, ‘holding us together’ (constraining molecular biology to be so far out of thermodynamic equilibrium) at the base molecular scale is, in fact, of a ‘higher quality’ of higher dimensionality than 4-D space-time itself is:

    3D to 4D shift – Carl Sagan – video with notes
    Excerpt from Notes: The state-space of quantum mechanics is an infinite-dimensional function space. Some physical theories are also by nature high-dimensional, such as the 4-dimensional general relativity.

    ,,,but to continue on with the main topic,,, hypothetically traveling at the speed of light in this universe would be instantaneous travel for the observer going at the speed of light. This is because time, as we understand it, does not pass for them, yet, and this is a very big ‘yet’ to take note of; this ‘timeless’ travel is still not instantaneous and transcendent to our temporal framework of time, i.e. Speed of light travel, to our temporal frame of reference, is still not completely transcendent of our framework since light appears to take time to travel from our perspective. Yet, in quantum teleportation of information, the ‘time not passing’, i.e. ‘eternal’, framework is not only achieved in the speed of light framework/dimension, but is also ‘instantaneously’ achieved in our temporal framework. That is to say, the instantaneous teleportation/travel of information is instantaneous to both the temporal and speed of light frameworks, not just the speed of light framework. Information teleportation/travel is not limited by time, nor space, in any way, shape or form, in any frame of reference, as light is seemingly limited to us. Thus ‘pure transcendent information’ is shown to be timeless (eternal) and completely transcendent of all material frameworks. Moreover, concluding from all lines of evidence we have now examined; transcendent, eternal, infinite information is indeed real and the framework in which ‘It’ resides is the primary reality (highest dimension) that can exist, (in so far as our limited perception of a primary reality, highest dimension, can be discerned).

    “An illusion can never go faster than the speed limit of reality”
    Akiane Kramarik – Child Prodigy – Music video

    Logic also dictates ‘a decision’ must have been made, by the ‘transcendent, eternal, infinite information’ from the primary timeless (eternal) reality ‘It’ inhabits, in order to purposely create a temporal reality with highly specified, irreducible complex, parameters from a infinite set of possibilities in the proper sequential order. Thus this infinite transcendent information, which is the primary reality of our reality, is shown to be alive by yet another line of evidence besides the necessity for a ‘first mover’ to explain quantum wave collapse.

    The First Cause Must Be A Personal Being – William Lane Craig – video

    etc.. etc.. etc..

    Nick, I simply see no conflict between what science has revealed to us about the nature of time and my overall Christian Theistic view of reality!

    Quote and music:

    “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
    William Shakespeare – Hamlet

    Natalie Grant – Alive (Resurrection video)

  9. Hi Nick,

    Strange that you would say something about redefining words when it is obvious that is all your position does-> redefine words to suit your needs.

  10. Joe, are you accusing Nick of being an Intelligent Randomer/Chaoser/Haphazarder/Gigakoinkidinkier? For….SHAME! Or mebbe a tad less than Intelligent?

  11. Take it easy on Nick, folks. He needs to preserve his strength as he might have to go back and help with the public relations again at the NCSE after the Gleick fiasco and Scott’s foot-in-mouth press release relating to the NCSE’s shiny new “anti-science” (I think that’s what they called it?) climate campaign.

    /Back to the regularly scheduled programming.

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