The Multiverse: 18952012. R.I.P.

By Robin Schumacher

The atheist's most recent god, the multiverse, was laid to rest this January at a rather unusual event: the 70th birthday celebration of Stephen Hawking, which was held at Cambridge. Delivering the eulogy was Dr. Alexander Vilenkin, who had written a recent paper that was presented at the "State of the Universe" meeting of scientists who had gathered to honor Hawking.

After demonstrating the fallacies of the various theories that have attempted to validate a multiverse, Vilenkin summed up his conclusions by saying, "All the evidence we have says that the universe had a beginning." This, naturally, put every philosophical naturalist and atheist into mourning because Hawking himself has admitted, "Many people do not like the idea that time has a beginning, probably because it smacks of divine intervention."

For those unfamiliar with the idea of a multiverse, the multiple universe theory has postulated the simultaneous existence of many (possibly infinitely many) parallel universes in which almost anything which is theoretically possible will ultimately be actualized. The multiverse has been used by atheists and materialists as a way of dodging both the cosmological and fine tuning arguments for the existence of God.

On the fine tuning of the universe, physicist Andrei Linde has said, "We have a lot of really, really strange coincidences, and all of these coincidences are such that they make life possible."[1] Linde stated this in a 2008 Discover article and added that the multiverse theory was a very compelling possibility for answering the question about the universe's fine tuning, which permits life on earth.

Vilenkin, one of Linde's peers and co-workers, now seems to have shut the door on that option.

Even before Vilenkin's address, the multiverse theory had suffered plenty of debilitating blows before its 2012 death. A multiverse has always had the philosophical problem of an infinite regress. Such an issue is not limited to this universe; it applies to any reality. You still must always get back to a first cause — an uncaused cause for everything — and this includes a multiverse.

Scientifically speaking, no evidence has ever been provided for a multiverse. In fact, there has been no model that has supplied any evidence showing any reality that extends into the infinite past. But, surprisingly, many atheists and philosophical naturalists have hailed the multiverse almost as something like a god — describing its beauty, power, etc., with absolutely no proof that such a thing has ever existed. A strange stance to be sure for those who constantly criticize believers in God for having "faith" in something that (supposedly) has no proof for its existence.

Prior to his most recent paper, Vilenkin along with Arvind Borde and Alan Guth had shown there to be strong scientific evidence against a multiverse. Together, they demonstrated that any universe which has, on average, been expanding throughout its history cannot be infinite in the past but must have a past space-time boundary.

What makes their proof so powerful is that it holds regardless of the physical description of the universe. The Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem is independent of any physical description of that moment. Their theorem implies that even if our universe is just a tiny part of a so-called multiverse composed of many universes, the multiverse must have an absolute beginning.

In other words, Hawking's worries about needing a divine kick-starter for our universe haven't been squelched. This may be why Hawking made a pre-recorded phone message for his birthday event which said, "A point of creation would be a place where science broke down. One would have to appeal to religion and the hand of God."

Vilenkin's recent paper dismantles the three possible options for a multiverse and is in keeping with prior statements he's made which include the following: "It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape, they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning."

You can read more about Vilenkin's findings in an article by Lisa Grossman entitled "Why Scientists Can't Avoid A Creation Event," which is in the January 11th issue of New Scientist.

With the passing of the atheist's recent god, the multiverse, it's hard not to think about what in philosophy is called "drowning the fish." When atheists or materialists propose spontaneous or self-creating universes, multiverses, quantum mechanics hypotheses and other such things to try and explain reality, they use all the water in the oceans in an attempt to drown the animal (God), but in the end, the fish is still there affirming its existence and presence.

John Lennox sums up the somewhat humorous situation this way:
It is rather ironical that in the sixteenth century some people resisted advances in science because they seemed to threaten belief in God; whereas in the twentieth century scientific ideas of a beginning have been resisted because they threatened to increase the plausibility of belief in God.
Why is our universe here and so fine tuned for life? Why does it look, as some scientists admit, like "a put up job"? St. Augustine gives us the answer:
Out of nothing didst Thou create heaven and earth — a great thing and a small — because Thou are Almighty and Good, to make all things good, even the great heaven and the small earth. Thou wast, and there was nought else from which Thou didst create heaven and earth. [2]

1. Tim Folger; "Science's Alternative to an Intelligent Creator: The Multiverse Theory"
2. Augustine; Confessions

Image Credit: Sheila Guevin; Used by permission

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Published 2-28-12