Jordan Chandler responded:
I take “multi-verse” to represent the infinite paths the photon takes in the two-slit experiment. Each path may be a separate universe. Ok. My premise may be wrong, but if it’s right it leads to this question: why do these infinite universes have to be ‘real’ instead of just being ‘possible’ at any given moment in time?
Why does anything need to be real instead of just possible?
Define real? First let’s first attempt a definition of the fundamental matter from which existence emerges. In my layman’s mind, the multiverse is (partially, never totally) observable. Copy and fork some information in digitized form at cost epsilon. Information wants to free (as in degrees-of-freedom, not as in gratis beer):
Without “friction” thermodynamic process would be trivially reversible, thus time would cease to exist and the past and future would undifferentiated. Friction prevents cost-free forks of our tangible existence which thus enables us to observe our Anthropic principle existence as distinct from unbounded equiprobable simultaneous
possibilities [uncertainties]—unbounded entropy. With friction there’s instead an inexorable, unbounded trend to maximum entropy.
Contrary to “every multiverse hypothesis can be pigeonholed as a strawman nail for my metronome hammer” inkblot diversion “arguments”, this can be “partially falsified”. Perhaps a recent real world experience of mine will bring the predictive power of this hypothesis closer to reality for the reader. So I wanted to store some public key cryptography private keys in a Safewell safety deposit lockbox in a condo I’m renting for the holidays. I asked for the facilities personnel to use their master key to unlock the box. I tested to see if my personal PIN code had been disabled by that intrusion. Nope. Safewell is too cheapskate to add a detection circuit triggered by intrusion via the mechanical master key. So thus the personnel could make a copy of my private key without me ever knowing of the existence of the alternative universe for my private key. If I did not lack the omniscience to detect such intrusions, I could not exist because uncertainty would no longer be possible in my universe. Without uncertainty there’s can only be a static universe where everything is preordained a priori. (Tangentially there’s a readily available solution for the limited adversarial threat model of my said lockbox dilemma — just padlock a removable lockbox inside the PIN protected lockbox which is bolted to the wall)
In purely informational virtual reality time can always be dialed back and the game replayed with different outcomes. Virtual immortality. Unbounded copies of the game may exist simultaneously. Instances of the games are unable to determine with certainty how many other instances of the game exist simultaneously.
We can employ a third party to falsify with only one instance whether uncertainties occurred which involve two other oblivious parties are never observed only by completely unrelated third parties. We can’t falsify those invariants into the inexorable future nor entirely rule out the Butterfly effect, but:
- No scientific method can guarantee that experimental confirmation remains valid inexorably.
- We’re only falsifying the posited ephemeral parallel universes in the moment, so c.f. also my response to Daniel Tung below. We can possibly formulate a theory of parallel universes which are only temporally orthogonal.
WELCOME TO MY CRAZY UNIVERSE
Those said universes are orthogonal to the said two parties but not to the third mutual observer. Existence is only possible if it can’t measure (i.e. falsify) the non-existence of an orthogonal omniscience total ordering (aka a God). Equiprobable uncertainty aka maximized entropy fails, as does cryptographic randomness, to an omniscient party whose actions collide with the other parties to the uncertainty. Thus uncertainty distributions aka entropy can’t be provably measured because analogous (in a circuitous way) to the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, to validate the required uncertainty would remove the uncertainty.
B. The measure problem
There are also interesting theoretical issues to resolve within the multiverse theories, first and foremost the measure problem. As multiverse theories gain credence, the sticky issue of how to compute probabilities in physics is growing from a minor nuisance into a major embarrassment. The reason why probabilities become so important is that if there are indeed many copies of “you” with identical past lives and memories, you could not compute your own future even if you had complete knowledge of the entire state of the multiverse. This is because there is no way for you to determine which of these copies is “you” (they all feel that they are). All you can predict is therefore probabilities for what you will observe, corresponding to the fractions of these observers that experience different things. Unfortunately, computing what fraction of the infinitely many observers perceive what is very subtle, since the answer depends on the order in which you count them!
I posit that the multiverses aren't nebulous nor faraway concerns. They’re proliferating in our current existence on Earth. They’re all around you in the form of uncertainty that you (and the collapse of Schrödinger’s wave functions for your copy of the universe) never collide with. Schrödinger’s wave functions as collapsed aren’t a complete, unified model. There’s the necessary attempts such as hidden variables to explain away the fact that Schrödinger’s wave functions aren’t constrained (i.e. don’t terminate and become entangled) at and beyond local collapse because there’s unbounded parallel universes randomly colliding.
Those who scoff at the multiverse appear in my layman’s mind to be myopically focused on the classical/tangible universe, gross oversimplification (c.f. also) of conventional math, obfuscate via miring/pigeonholing debates in cherry picked strawman tarpits, and ignoring what I posit to be the more fundamental informational universe. Atoms are heavy, but electrons are three orders-of-magnitude lighter (and possibly occupying no space).
Furthermore (copies of) information has (have) an unbounded smallness of mass due to quantum superposition. Quantum decoherence could possibly be the collapse of other possibilities due to friction only in the universe of the observer.
I blogged 2 years ago:
Information is inherently relativistic and non-fungible. Information content is only bounded in a dimensional perspective such as gravity
But at least five paradoxes sprung from this line of theoretical unification:
How do we model time at the boundary before the Big Bang. Hawking proposed that there’s no boundary because nothing is measurable before that inception time (when time and space weren’t even yet related). Yet that’s the same as saying time isn’t universal, so it must create another paradox.
Because this “no boundary” model with cosmic inflation gives rise to infinite many parallel universes, Tia Ghose wrote “no one would be able to make any testable predictions about the particular universe we happen to live in”. But presuming all the universes don’t live our emergent (i.e. non-quantum features) physical space (aka the “many worlds” theory of quantum mechanics), falsifiable predictions remain in a probabilistic space which possibly unifies quantum mechanics with the inflationary multiverse. Yet a purely information-based (i.e. intangible) existence seems to not prevent overlapping bounded emergent dimensional spaces because I explained the observers of shared realities don’t necessarily share what they observe symmetrically thus any observer can create a link between sets of shared realities causing them to overlap. Thus preventing overlap would require a total order. So in such an intangible existence, falsifiable science appears to be dead.
The laws of physics in Einstein’s theory are broken at the limit of infinity of the singularity. The black box hidden variables attempt to explain “spooky action at a distance” for unification of quantum mechanics and general relativity was dubious from inception and even until recently continues to appear to be flawed. Tangentially, China is advancing the applied state-of-the-art of this quantum communication, but that’s not relevant to this inconsistency in the General Relativity theory.
We need a simplifying theory.
I haven’t had the free time to really study and develop these ideas. I need to become more erudite in theoretical physics and higher math before I can contribute. And I’m probably too old by now nearing age 55. Hopefully someone else is already exploring or refuting these notions?
 A poignant example is Gregory Maxwell’s work (before becoming formerly one of the five Bitcoin Core devs with commit access) in creating Wikipedia being a failure of his singular, idealistic goal for cryptography and a triumph for the natural law he asserted that information will ultimately be free:
 Friction could possibly be “as a tip of the iceberg summary” (c.f. also) conceptualized fundamentally in the informational universe as the informational “cost” to solve a computational puzzle. A Quorian “Ryan Hansen” (may or may not be his real last name) with a self-claimed 220+ “intelligence quotient” (c.f. also, also and also) tried to explain to me the realms his mind and dreams occupy, c.f. also, also and also. As best as I could understand it, Ryan was describing for example complex related informational realms with the relations — to make the simplest, least poetic analogy — between realms could be for example a cryptographic trapdoor function.
Mike VanIn responded:
This bit of self-indulgent fluff is based on a personal, invalid, irrational, ludicrous, definition of “universe”. Apart from the wishful thinking of multiple instances of objects […] Yes, EVERYTHING that exists is considered as being contained within the Universe. A “multiverse” of universes is an oxymoron. Is this SO hard to understand?
The Dunning-Kruger teapot calling the kettle black, formulates myopic, unremarkable judgments totally oblivious to possibilities he hasn’t considered.
Robert Oldershaw responded:
If someone was interested in some serious discussion of the multiverse pseudoscience, here is your go-to source- […]
Ostensibly MWI as currently formulated is not an attempt to supply additional predictions or to validate string theory. It’s a reductionist ramification of QM.
I posit it’s descriptive (thus not entirely frivolous) as to why our existence is going to be significantly altered by the Second Computer Revolution underway. Also it may lead us to a theory which is more powerful. I have blurted out a layman’s idea in that direction with my reply to Daniel Tung.
Max Tegmark wrote in the Scientific American:
Here’s my summary of his main anti-multiverse arguments:
- Inflation may be wrong (or not eternal)
- Quantum mechanics may be wrong (or not unitary)
- String theory may be wrong (or lack multiple solutions)
- Multiverses may be unfalsifiable
- Some claimed multiverse evidence is dubious
- Fine-tuning arguments may assume too much
- It's a slippery slope to even bigger multiverses
Let’s start with the first four. Inflation naturally produces the Level I multiverse, and if you add in string theory with a landscape of possible solutions, you get Level II, too. Quantum mechanics in its mathematically simplest (“unitary”) form gives you Level III. So if these theories are ruled out, then key evidence for these multiverses collapses.
Remember: Parallel universes are not a theory - they are predictions of certain theories.
To me, the key point is that if theories are scientific, then it’s legitimate science to work out and discuss all their consequences even if they involve unobservable entities. For a theory to be falsifiable, we need not be able to observe and test all its predictions, merely at least one of them. My answer to (4) is therefore that what’s scientifically testable are our mathematical theories, not necessarily their implications, and that this is quite OK. For example, because Einstein’s theory of general relativity has successfully predicted many things that we can observe, we also take seriously its predictions for things we cannot observe, e.g., what happens inside black holes.
Likewise, if we’re impressed by the successful predictions of inflation or quantum mechanics so far, then we need to take seriously also their other predictions, including the Level I and Level III multiverse. George even mentions the possibility that eternal inflation may one day be ruled out - to me, this is simply an argument that eternal inflation is a scientific theory.
String theory certainly hasn’t come as far as inflation and quantum mechanics in terms of establishing itself as a testable scientific theory. However, I suspect that we'll be stuck with a Level II multiverse even if string theory turns out to be a red herring. It’s quite common for mathematical equations to have multiple solutions, and as long as the fundamental equations describing our reality do, then eternal inflation generically creates huge regions of space that physically realize each of these solutions. For example, the equations governing water molecules, which have nothing to do with string theory, permit the three solutions corresponding to steam, liquid water and ice, and if space itself can similarly exist in different phases, inflation will tend to realize them all.
Then most multiverse critique rests on some combination of the following three dubious assumptions:
- Omnivision assumption: physical reality must be such that at least one observer can in principle observe all of it.
- Pedagogical reality assumption: physical reality must be such that all reasonably informed human observers feel they intuitively understand it.
- No-copy assumption: no physical process can copy observers or create subjectively indistinguishable observers.
(1) and (2) appear to be motivated by little more than human hubris.
Heck in my blog I explained that (1) is a ludicrous objection because we can't both exist outside a static universe with no uncertainty and also be omniscient. And I provided the cost-free digital information copies as a real-world example to refute (3).
Daniel Tung responded:
Hi Ethan, I have a naive question about the statement that multiverses "exist". When we say several things exist together, we usually mean they exist simultaneously, i.e. exist at the same time. But what does it mean to say these universes exist at the same "time"? Do we implicitly assume a notion of time/simultaneity at the meta-universe level?
Ethan wrote “parallel” not ‘simultaneously’. Also he pointed out:
That the fundamental constants and laws in different regions should be the same as they are here.
I would start by positing that given unbounded spacetime then all parallel universes are eventually (thinking of eventual consistency) at some juncture in the unbounded, inexorable future, the same universe connected by colliding wave functions. They just aren't connected/colliding in the present time, thus not observable in the present moment. When they do collide to become observable, they're not distinguishable from our singular (collective) universe other than as the artifact which is the uncertainty we experience.
If these posited ephemeral parallel universes each obey the fundamental constants and laws (e.g. of spacetime) but aren’t synchronized to a master clock, perhaps such conceptualization could explain effects such as quantum entanglement and quantum nonlocality which apparently are currently paradoxes not holistically explained by the current standard model. My layman’s theoretical physics knowledge is insufficient to explore all the possible ramifications and to detect myopic errors in my ideas.
Amrit Srečko Šorli responded:
Big Bang is pure illusion. I hardly believe the idea of "inflation" has entered cosmology. This model is irrational. Multiverse idea is pure failure. https://firstname.lastname@example.org/big-bang-theory-funeral-641cc39a952c
Agreed. See what I wrote below "I blogged 2 years ago:".
Mike VanIn snorted:
Dude, learn what the words mean and we’ll talk again. Just because you once felt awfully insulted, by being called an idiot, is no reason to lash out at everyone else with your favoured Dunning-Kruger comparison. Over used, poorly applied and trite. Try harder, if you feel compelled to ridicule me. That was a miss.
I don’t have time to waste on ridicule and petty ego. Someone could dispense of a curmudgeon like you in a split second if you actually were worth the time for them to reach into their pocket for the meager expense. You’re routinely ignored for good reason. Come on get a clue about life and find something useful to do with yourself. Even masturbation or sex would be more useful than the crap you spew here.
Flat earthers like you have been the bane of humanity since time eternal.
Refute my blog and my response to Daniel Tung. Allow ideas to bloom. What the heck are you afraid of? Does it make you feel self-important to make some "self-indulgent, fluff" snide attack which offers such invaluable insights as there can only be one synchronized universe because you read it in Webster’s dictionary? Have you ever heard of the FLP Impossibility theorem? Total, universal orders can’t exist dimwit. Here’s the How to piss me the fuck off guide for your edification.
Let’s recount the historical record so readers might better understand my objection to your folly:
Max Tegmark wrote in the Scientific American:
Multiverse ideas have traditionally received short shrift from the establishment: Giordano Bruno with his infinite-space multiverse got burned at the stake in 1600 and Hugh Everett with his quantum multiverse got burned on the physics job market in 1957. I've even felt some of the heat first-hand, with senior colleagues suggesting that my multiverse-related publications were nuts and would ruin my career.
There are some who believe that we are alone in the vast universe with billions of planets. The likelihood of that I find not very credible for why would God create the universe for no reason. Also, human reasoning has been highly questionable. They use to torture and execute people for simply saying the Earth was round and not flat.
The story of Giordano Bruno (1548–1600) is rarely told. I believe he is a figure from the past that is in need of rescue because he basically is perhaps the first person to envision a dynamic universe building upon Copernicus’ work. His essential theory saw the universe with many worlds and suns basically as we accept today. He gave his life for that proposition. You can imagine that those who believed God created the world were not about to accept the idea that there were multiple solar systems when they refused to accept that the planets revolved around the sun. Despite the fact that the Bible made no statement that the Earth was the center of the planetary system or that the Earth was flat, that reasoning resulted in the punishment for those who dared to disagree.
On February 17th, 1600, Bruno was taken to the Camo de’ Fior. His tongue was gaged so they would not have to listen to his screams of pain when he was burned alive. The importance of Giordano Bruno’s books was established by being placed on the forbidden list on August 7th, 1603. When Galileo (1564-1642) was confronted for his theory that agreed with Bruno, he had to recant or be burned alive at the stake.
At the risk of being burned at the stake alive, I keep an open mind.
Bruno again tried to separate theology from philosophy, but the Roman Inquisition would not buy it. Bruno argued that his ideas were not theological but philosophical. The Church did not accept this. He was twice given 40 days to recant. Pope Clement VIII in the typical lack of a fair trial; demanded he be found guilty. He was tired of fighting for the pursuit of knowledge and free thought. He refused to recant and decided that he would rather die for what he had come to understand than pretend it did not exist. Pope Clement VIII ordered Bruno to be sentenced as an impenitent and pertinacious heretic. On February 17th, 1600, Bruno was taken to the Camo de’ Fior. His tongue was gaged so they would not have to listen to his screams of pain when was burned alive. The importance of Giordano Bruno’s books was basically established by being placed on the forbidden list on August 7th, 1603.
Mocenigo was a vile man who accused Bruno of having heretical theories. Bruno defended himself and argued at trial that his theories were philosophical, not theological. Suddenly, the Roman Inquisition demanded his extradition and on January 23rd, 1593, he entered the jail at Rome. He was held for 7 years before trial.
Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote:
A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. Speak what you think now in hard words, and tomorrow speak what tomorrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said today. — ‘Ah, so you shall be sure to be misunderstood.’ — Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.
Stalin had Kondratieff killed because he did not like his forecasts . We see the same pattern of an abuse of power when Galileo supported Copernicus and argued that the center of the solar system was the sun, not the earth . His death sentence was commuted to life in prison for his confession or recant of those theories . We also see Socrates was sentenced to death for his philosophy that the great democracy of Athens argued corrupted the youth. Plato recorded the trial of Socrates..and his reply that he feared not death, for there were only two such possibilities , (1) a migration of the soul to a place where his old friends now awaited, or (2) it was a sleep so peaceful , one is not even disturbed by a dream. Plato fled Athens, vowing he would not allow two crimes against reason. The list of casualties is long indeed. The state often does not like confrontation and don't think that somehow the United States is different — remember McCarty
Trying to ascertain HOW the world functioned is a lost science whose time has arrived once again. It was the spark that ignited the Age of Enlightenment. Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) said “Great Minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” Indeed, let a financial crisis hit and the small minds of government seek to attribute the event to some person to prosecute. They are incapable of even contemplating “ideas” and at best merely put on a show and pretend to understand an event. They inhibit the advancement of knowledge for that threatens their very existence.
Nevertheless, this early flood of knowledge from the Ancient World sparked not only sparked the courage of Columbus to believe the world was round and not flat, but also Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) who challenged the Aristotlian view that the earth was at the center of the planets. These ideas challenged the authority of church and states that remained consumed in their ignorance and self-interest of maintaining the status quo not unlike the folly we watch in political elections currently. Copernicus’ ideas influenced Bruno who was burned alive at the stake for agreeing with him and Gallileo Galilei (1564-1642), after seeing the horror of being burned alive gagged to muffle the screams, chose to plead guilty and died under life imprisonment for his beliefs that the sun was at the center of the planets also agreeing with Copernicus. Small minds have always murdered great minds for in their words lies the seeds to their own demise.
Human Nature as it is there is no evidence that you can ever reach 100% consensus is anything. Even Thomas Jefferson conceded that politics will always break-down into two opposing forces […] So it does not matter. This cycle has been functioning for 6000 years. Government’s have tried to intervene thanks to Marx and Keynes. But Communism and Socialism have failed because we cannot change the Business Cycle no matter how many laws we create or people we imprison. They killed Kondratieff because he said the cycle would defeat Communism. He was right and they killed him for that. In Latvia, when the economy turned down in 2007 and an economist Dmitrijs Smirnov warned of an economic decline, the government imprisoned him for such a forecast. Meanwhile, ordinary Latvians have received the intended message sent out by the Security Service. When asked by a BBC journalist whether Smirnov had he changed his views on the Latvian economy in light of his arrest and imprisonment, he responded without hesitation: “[o]f course. I will be more careful. I don’t want again to go to prison.”
They have tried to do everything thinking they can merely silence me and that will prevent the Business Cycle from unfolding. It is not me. It is not my model. I have merely revealed what has been taking place for thousands of years. It would be like killing Copernicus and somehow then all the planets will revolve around the earth.