Saturday, 26 February 2011
Scientific American’s Columnist: Scientists Should Not Study Worlds That Only Exist In Their Imagination
Our universe is not the only one in multiverse thinking. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.
John Horgan, who writes a weekly online column for Scientific American magazine, recently read Brian Greene’s new book The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos and was obviously not very pleased with it.
Multiverse is not a new idea. Astronomers have speculated about the existence of other universes for some years and even Scientific American has toyed with the idea.
Recently, Stephen Hawking, for instance, said that he takes the idea of multiple universes seriously.
There is a major problem with this thinking, however. There is not a shred of evidence for the existence of any other universe. As Horgan says:
“These multiverse theories all share the same fundamental defect: They can be neither confirmed nor falsified. Hence, they don't deserve to be called scientific, according to the well-known criterion proposed by the philosopher Karl Popper. Some defenders of multiverses and strings mock skeptics who raise the issue of falsification as ‘Popperazis’—which is cute but not a counterargument. Multiverse theories aren't theories—they're science fictions, theologies, works of the imagination unconstrained by evidence.”
Horgan might have added that when man shuts God outside his thinking, he begins to speculate. At times, this can lead to rather weird ideas.
Horgan, John. 2011. Is speculation in multiverses as immoral as speculation in subprime mortgages? Scientific American (2 February).