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NerdyKeith's avatar

What are your thoughts on the multiverse theory?

Asked by NerdyKeith (5451points) March 31st, 2016

The theory that more than one universe exists and each universe would have different laws of nature (most likely).

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9 Answers

Bill1939's avatar

If the speed of light is different in other universes, then it is likely that their laws of nature would be different. However, universes with the same limit would have the same the laws.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

Sounds plausible, and fascinating, to me.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

There must be a multiverse or there likely is a “creator” it’s an “out” for those who don’t believe in a designed universe. Basically it omits “like-kind” universes because of how precise the laws of physics have to be for us to even be here and states that for every possible quantity there is a universe with those values. Therefore: no creator needed. That is the basic premise but there are other variations, all of which are thought experiments and conjecture.

Soubresaut's avatar

I think a multiverse is possible, sure—if (going on my answer to the other universe question) our universe has a beginning and end, has finite edges… then why not another universe, too? I see no conceptual problem there. And depending on how one defines infinity, I don’t believe a multiverse contradicts eternal/infinite universes, either.

I’ve heard people use the multiverse the way @ARE_you_kidding_me described, as a way to explain how our universe could exist without a designer, and it’s always bothered me—so I hope you all don’t mind that the rest of this paragraph is addressing those people…. I don’t believe in a designed universe, and I don’t need a multiverse to allow me to explain how our universe could have serendipitously come into being. It seems as silly to say we need every possible universe to exist just so ours exists as it does to say we need every possible egg and sperm combination to be combined for ourselves to exist—we don’t. We just happen to be the ones that do exist. Our universe just happens to be (one of) the one(s) that does exist, and we can look back and claim “wow what are the chances of that!” but it seems like an erroneous way of thinking about odds and probability… kind of like thinking “wow, what if my parents had gotten into a fight and held out on each other that night!” ... it happened; that’s it.

If we’re talking about the parallel universes multiverse—in which every “possible” combination of universes exists, so that there are universes with someone almost like me but slightly different in every possible way there is to be slightly different from me—no. That doesn’t exist. I can’t see that as even remotely possible. (I know you didn’t ask specifically that, but I thought I’d bring it in anyway to shoot it down, aha.)

If there are other universes with different physics, which I do think is entirely possible, probably even probable, I really wish we had the means to know about them. It’s probably a lot cooler and more bizarre than what anyone can speculate—at least, it seems to me that many discoveries are more bizarre and remarkable than our speculations… our speculations are always hedged by what we already know, or already think we know. That’s one of the reasons I love our own universe—she never seems to disappoint the curious. So just imagine what her cousins could have in store…

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@Soubresaut You realize that the probability of the universe without a creator or a multiverse is so statistically small that it is a virtual impossibility right? One of the two must be the case. I personally think that the universe is mathematics and only mathematics. This requires computation and that implies creation. By what I have no idea and could not even begin to imagine. Talk about opening a pandora’s box.

it’s not what religion says, I do know that

Soubresaut's avatar

Oh, I guess I misread your post… And I guess I’m a little confused on your stance (sorry!). I’ll respond anyway, trying out my argument—hopefully it’s relevant…

I do agree that there’s (probably) a multiverse. If a universe can come into being once, I see no reason why it can’t come into being many other times. While I don’t agree with all permutations of that sort of idea, I agree with the general idea.

But I still don’t think a multiverse is mathematically necessary to argue against a designed universe.

I grew up with a mathematician/computer software engineer father who loves to argue against a designed universe, and his argument (which doesn’t refute a multiverse) went like this:

Sure, the probability of our exact universe coming into existence could be almost zero. However, given an infinite amount of time, something even as immensely unlikely as our universe will, eventually, almost certainly happen.

Assuming the big bang theory, we do have that infinite amount of time—it’s not the same time as the space-time-fabric of our universe, but it is still “time” in the sense that it’s an endless opportunity for something to happen—an infinite amount of nothingness for an infinite amount of “time.”

Following that reasoning, and thinking of universes as self-contained bubbles within a vast nothingness, I do personally agree with a multiverse.

However, when we say our universe is improbable, we are making an assumption. We have no evidence one way or the other. It could be that our universe is the most “probable” universe, and a multiverse (particularly one of endless universe permutations) doesn’t exist yet… we’re the first universe to have sprung up. The potentiality for a multiverse doesn’t seem like the same thing as an existing multiverse… Or, it could be that universes themselves are so immensely improbable, that a multiverse (simultaneous universes) is itself even more unlikely than our universe existing. Maybe one universe fizzles out long before another takes root. It’s not really a multiverse, then, just a series of solitary universes. (Given the endless-time argument, I suppose we could argue that a multiverse would eventually spring up—though there’s no guarantee we’re in that moment. I’m not technically sure how far I can press the endless-time-makes-improbable-things-possible concept. And there may be limiting factors on what’s improbably-possible that we don’t know about.)

This paragraph is probably the most directly relevant point:
It’s possible to imagine, that should a universe arise, the “something” fundamentally alters the “nothingness” that had existed. Maybe there can only be one universe. That still doesn’t mean our universe couldn’t have been spontaneous. It just happened to be the one that was spontaneous—someone wins the lottery; we just happen to be the ones able to “celebrate” it—improbable but not impossible. Countless other theoretically possible universes/permutations of the universe, and countless other theoretical intelligences within those universes, would then never exist because of it. To me, it seems analogous with the millions of sperm squirming their way towards an ovum that happened to be released at a particular time. I just happen to be the product of the egg and sperm that collided. There isn’t a multiverse of my possible siblings just so I can exist, and the collision itself is not guaranteed (like it might be with a creator causing the collision.)

The way I understand math, it isn’t creation—yes it’s creative, but it’s an act of human description. It’s a (remarkable) human method of keeping track of the quantities. But I would say it’s “only” that—if human genius can be an “only.” The universe doesn’t need to compute the quantities—they just exist and interact with each other…

And perhaps, if matter and antimatter are created together as a pair, as theories suggest: the apparent asymmetry of matter and antimatter might suggest that if the universe is computationally based, whoever or whatever is doing the computations is awfully sloppy. The asymmetry seems (to me anyway) more like an accident than a purposeful action.

The gist:
– We don’t really know the probability of our universe existing, so maybe we’re entirely probable.
– It’s possible universes are so improbable that the state of multiple universes existing simultaneously is even closer to impossible—that it’s more likey only a single universe exists (at least at a time).
– It’s possible the “something” of the universe so disrupts the “nothingness” before it, that no other universe will exist… and we just happen to be the products of the one possible-universe that accidentally became actual.
– Yes, this is all conjecture… but given that we hardly know the nature of existence, can it be right that we only have two possible cases?

Seek's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me – It’s a bit like arguing the improbability of hitting the lottery when you’re holding the winning ticket, no?

It’s probable enough because we’re here talking about it.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Odds of winning the powerball are only like 1 in 300 million. I belive that is possible by chance and not by design or iteration.

Joell's avatar

Unfortunately, and ironically fortunately too, its not what we think or what pleases us that matters in science.
Yet I think the multiverse theory makes total sense. Many planets, many stars, many galaxies, Then there’s no real reason why not many universes. And the very fine tuned values of certain parameters like the Higgs field, a variation in which would lead to no universe, can just not be a fluke. There would be failed universes and then there’s gotta be ones like ours that worked out fine.
I doubt though we’re ever getting close to confirm that in near future. Yet that’s the bottomline ‘cause Joell said so! ;)

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