Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Radio interview trashes multiverse

Here is a downloadable (mp3) interview about my book.

One of the points I made is that Einsteinian thinking is used to promote the multiverse, and alternate universes containing slightly alterred versions of our world.

Mathematical physicist Peter Woit writes:
Yet another cover story about the Multiverse can be found this week at New Scientist, which calls it The Ultimate Guide to the Multiverse. As just one more in a long line of such stories over the last decade, a trend that shows no signs of slowing down, one can be pretty sure that this is not the yet the “ultimate” one, nor even the penultimate one.

The content is the usual: absolutely zero skepticism about the idea, and lots of outrageous hype from the usual suspects (Bousso, Tegmark, Susskind, etc.) ...

This past week also saw the premiere of the Multiverse episode of Brian Greene’s Fabric of the Cosmos series on PBS. It’s more or less an hour-long infomercial for the Multiverse, with the argument against it pretty much restricted to some short grumpy comments by David Gross about how he didn’t like it. ...

The multiverse propaganda machine has now been going full-blast for more than eight years, since at least 2003 or so, and I’m beginning to wonder “what’s next?”. Once your ideas about theoretical physics reach the point of having a theory that says nothing at all, there’s no way to take this any farther.
Woit is right. This is science fiction, not science. There is no experimental evidence for it, and there can be none. The only reason for believing in it is that they say that mathematical speculation can lead to a paradigm shift if they follow Einstein's example. The argument is wrong on many levels.

One comment on Woit's blog said, "It’s not hard to see why physics hasn’t gone anywhere in 20 years, after watching part of that episode." Another argues for the multiverse by some sort of weird analogy to how Einstein supposedly replaced the aether theory in 1905. But that aether theory was able to explain experiments. The multiverse explains nothing.

Another comment quotes Lee Smolin saying:
We ought to be giving the advantage to the Einsteins – people who think for themselves and ignore the established ideas of powerful senior scientists.
This is crazy. Einstein got famous by promoting the ideas of powerful senior scientists, and not by finding new ideas that went against those scientists. At the time that he did his relativity work, relativity was the theory favored by the physics big-shots.

Lubos Motl summarizes part 3 and part 4 of the PBS Nova series, and gives links to the videos. He likes the string theory and other untestable ideas.

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