History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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Woit on multiverse

February 22nd, 2012 · No Comments


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…

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