Monday, October 29, 2012

Dyson trashes multiverse and philosophy

Famous mathematician and physicist Freeman Dyson writes in the NY Review of Books:
The essence of quantum physics is unpredictability. At every instant, the objects in our physical environment — the atoms in our lungs and the light in our eyes — are making unpredictable choices, deciding what to do next. According to Everett and Deutsch, the multiverse contains a universe for every combination of choices. There are so many universes that every possible sequence of choices occurs in at least one of them. Each universe is constantly splitting into many alternative universes, and the alternatives are recombining when they arrive at the same final state by different routes. The multiverse is a huge network of possible histories diverging and reconverging as time goes on. The “quantum weirdness” that we observe in the behavior of atoms, the “spooky action at a distance” that Einstein famously disliked, is the result of universes recombining in unexpected ways.

According to Deutsch, each of us exists in the multiverse as a crowd of almost identical creatures, traveling together through time along closely related histories, splitting and recombining constantly like the atoms of which we are composed. ...

Opinions vary widely concerning the proper limits of science. For me, the multiverse is philosophy and not science. Science is about facts that can be tested and mysteries that can be explored, and I see no way of testing hypotheses of the multiverse. Philosophy is about ideas that can be imagined and stories that can be told.
He is right. The multiverse is not science, as I have explained.

Not sure what he means by "unpredictability". I argued below that probability is not the essence of quantum physics, and I got some criticisms in the comments. You can read the exchange, and make up your own mind.

Dyson ends by trashing modern philosophy:
When and why did philosophy lose its bite? How did it become a toothless relic of past glories? ... As a result, science grew to a dominant position in public life, and philosophy shrank. Philosophy shrank even further when it became detached from religion and from literature. ...
Philosophers of science get science badly wrong, as I explain in my book. Other physicists have opposed philosophy. They will continue to have no respect for philosophy as long as all the philosophers deny that physicists are seeking truth and making progress.Cuisinart Smart Stick Stainless Steel Hand Blender & Chopper (Google Affiliate Ad)


  1. The entire debate about Physics, Philosophy, and Mathematics seems to be getting stranger and stranger all the time. When someone says they are opposed to philosophy, I have to ask 'which one and why?', to say you are opposed to all philosophy is silly since it isn't logically possible. I would say the same thing for physics and mathematics 'which one or aspect are you opposed to and why?'
    I myself have rejected many philosophies because they are logically flawed, or allow no possibility of comprehension and lead entirely into the irrational, which kind of defeats the purpose of philosophy. I apply similar standards to my acceptance of various aspects of mathematics and physics.
    I would also posit that if you don't understand the process you are using, or are told you can't understand the process you are using, you should stop for a moment and reflect on the fact that you really don't know what you are doing, and consider if this is an acceptable situation to continue with. I find that when people are not in comprehension of 'what' they are doing and/or 'how' they are doing it, all sorts of foolishness ensues even if a 'why' is tentatively given. When the question is asked to clarify the situation and the response is a non-answer, or a non-sensical answer, or hostility, the warning bells go off and I know something is wrong and/or I am being misled to either hide or evade something. At this point I have noted at the first "that's a stupid question" , "You're being difficult", "you wouldn't understand" or any other kind of appeal to authority or diversion from answering, that I know I'm being had.
    Following the above reasoning, I find it truly disturbing how often I get to this final roadblock when seeking truth from those who profess to be knowledgeable in the fields of physics and mathematics when I question the process and assumptions they use to get to their answers.
    I've noticed the strong corrolation between the more fantastical, otherworldly, and unusual the claim gets, the more hostility and misdirection I recieve as the answers to my questions, and the more hidden the assumptions that lead them their conclusion becomes.

  2. Philosopher here. Physicists make progress, but perhaps only in one of three potentially mutually-exclusive senses. (1) They discover more and more about less and less -- Knowledge as Fractal. (2) The more they discover, larger becomes the entire domain of discovery. (3) Physics is like Schrodinger's cat, but chasing its tail. Valid?

  3. The reason why physicists and cosmologists ridicule philosophy is because many of their brains are deficient. Their skill, many of them, is based on similar thinking to autistic's. Its very myopic, clinical, and obsessive. These attributes allow them to focus on numbers and facts but putting them all together in a reasonable argument is not their strong suit.

    Anyone who has known these types of people knows many are socially inept. We all went to school with these misfits. They dont have the answers to life. They cant even understand freewill--they deny the very opinions they have and for the life of them cant see it. They think Time isnt real..that all moments just exists--yet at the same time they trace TIME back to the point of the Big Bang for answers--and see no contradiction. Time did not unfold if it is not real. How can they not see these logical absurdities?--its how their brains work. Dont worship these people...look at their Data--but disregard their opinions on that data because its a mess.

    On top of that they are very arrogant. Philosophers look at the forest...these guys stare at a tree. They cant put it all together and actually are the worst people to ask about anything deep.
    If you are one of them and are know what Im talking about. If you are one of them and dont know what I am talking about--I rest my case.
    A mechanism exists, with agent causality, that pops everything that Can Be into existence and this solves the problem of why we exist? -contemplate that for no more 3 seconds--and tell me you will continue to consider the atheists in the fields of Cosmology are unbiased.

    Multiverse grew out of atheist thinking in regards to fine tuning--. The GUY WHO FIRST CAME UP WITH a serious paper on MV told his son, that when he died, to throw him out in the garbage because thats all humans are--bio waste.(Everett)

    Once the absurd notion that the universe always existed was trounced --which was previously shown to be logically impossible yet espoused by Einstein and other atheists to avoid a creation event, in which Einstein himself fabricated his equations to allow for a static UV --and the fine tuning evidence started piling up atheists in the field began seeking for ways to deny that they actually found the UV to be designed--not only appearance--the math itself.

    In short..the evidence has doomed them. Now, they have left science and revealed themselves--what they were after all along--to confirm their bias that there is no God. IMO..they should all be thrown out of town. They have betrayed the public and started their won religion --Multiverse. Just embarrassing