CHAPTER 4: What about the multiverse?

[Excerpt from Chapter 4: The Organization of the Universe]

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Other atheistic thinkers argue that fine-tuning can be explained by the multiverse. While traditionally we speak about a single universe, some physicists claim that we’re really just living in one of many universes within what they call a multiverse. If there are an infinite number of universes out there, then at least one of them must have habitable conditions for the existence of life. Physicist and mathematician Brian Greene explains,

If we scan through this huge maze of universes, the vast majority will not have conditions hospitable to life, or at least to anything remotely akin to life as we know it… In light of the sensitive dependence of life on the details of physics, if we now ask, for instance, why the forces and particles of nature have the particular properties we observe, a possible answer emerges: Across the entire multiverse, these features vary widely; their properties can be different and are different in other universes.[1]

Stephen Hawking agrees with this explanation and adds, “The multiverse concept can explain the fine-tuning of physical law without the need for a benevolent creator who made the universe for our benefit.”[2] While this multiverse theory is interesting, it lacks plausibility for a number of reasons.

As you read this explanation, you probably asked yourself, “Are we really surrounded by an infinite number of universes? What kind of evidence is there for this claim?” The answer is shocking: none. There is not one shred of empirical evidence for the multiverse theory. None at all. Even atheist Martin Rees (an ardent multiverse supporter) writes that the multiverse theory “is plainly still no more than a tentative hypothesis.”[3] In fact, he admits that “these universes would never be directly observable, even in principle.”[4] In a recent article from Scientific American, agnostic cosmologist George Ellis writes,

Even if the multiverse exists, it leaves the deep mysteries of nature unexplained… All the parallel universes lie outside our horizon and remain beyond our capacity to see, now or ever, no matter how technology evolves. In fact, they are too far away to have had any influence on our universe whatsoever. That is why none of the claims made by multiverse enthusiasts can be directly substantiated… We have no hope of testing it observationally.[5]

The fact that naturalistic scientists have invented such a theory only proves that these physical laws and constants demand some sort of explanation—even if it’s a bad one.

In addition, Ockham’s razor states that we should not multiply causes beyond necessity. Stephen Barr writes, “It seems that to abolish one unobservable God, it takes an infinite number of unobservable substitutes.”[6] It seems gratuitous to theorize an infinite number of universes, when one God will do the job. Agnostic Paul Davies writes,

In the end it boils down to a question of belief. Is it easier to believe in a cosmic designer than the multiplicity of universes necessary? …If we cannot visit the other universes or experience them directly, their possible existence must remain just as much a matter of faith as belief in God… The seemingly miraculous concurrence of numerical values that nature has assigned to her fundamental constants must remain the most compelling evidence for an element of cosmic design.[7]

Finally, if the multiverse theory is true, it would not only explain this improbability, but it could explain every conceivable improbability. Oxford mathematician John Lennox humorously writes,

I am tempted to add that belief in God seems an infinitely more rational option, if the alternative is to believe that every other universe that possibly can exist does exist, including one in which Richard Dawkins is the Archbishop of Canterbury, Christopher Hitchens the Pope, and Billy Graham has just been voted atheist of the year![8]

While these scenarios seem strange, they are all certain given an infinite number of universes. Once we allow the multiverse to explain the improbability of fine-tuning, we are opening up a door that cannot be shut. That is, the multiverse theory explains too much. Given an infinite number of universes, no event would be improbable, let alone impossible.

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[1] Greene, Brian. The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory. New York: W.W. Norton, 2003. 367-368.

[2] Hawking, S. W., and Leonard Mlodinow. The Grand Design. New York: Bantam, 2010. 165.

[3] Rees, Martin J. Just Six Numbers: the Deep Forces That Shape the Universe. New York: Basic, 2000. 150.

[4] Ibid., 151.

[5] Ellis, George F.R. “Does the Multiverse Really Exist?” Scientific American 305. August (2011): 38-43.

[6] Barr, Stephen. Modern Physics and Ancient Faith. Notre Dame: Notre Dame Press, 2003. 157. Cited in D’Souza, Dinesh. What’s So Great About Christianity? Washington, DC: Regnery Publishing, 2007. 136.

[7] Davies, P. C. W. God and the New Physics. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1983. 189.

[8] Lennox, John C. Gunning for God: Why the New Atheists Are Missing the Target. Oxford: Lion, 2011. 36.