Multiverse and Rationality
by Luke Nix
Something that I was thinking about the other day: some people are familiar with Alvin Plantinga’s evolutionary argument against naturalism. Basically it states that because people believe false things that help survivability (such as “god”, from the naturalist’s perspective), evolution does not favor minds that recognize truth, but minds that recognize how to survive- if a belief just happens to be true, it is pure coincidence.
However, I was contemplating the multiverse (or multiple worlds) hypothesis, and it seems that this only compounds the problem. For those uninitiated, multiverse theory states that our universe is not the only universe there is. There are many other universes that do exist; however, our instruments cannot detect them because they are outside our universe. This theory comes in several flavors, but the one I am talking about is the one that is capable of explaining the fine-tuning and design in the universe, along with being an alternative to God as the “banger” that the cosmological argument requires. In order to account for the fine-tuning of the physical constants of the universe, some naturalists posit that there are an infinite (or near infinite) number of universes, each possessing different constants of physics. Ours just happens to be the one that is amenable to advanced life, and that is why we exist to observe the “fine-tuning”.
There are philosophical problems with positing an actual infinite number of anything (see William Lane Craig’s articles about infinity). So, the naturalist is left with positing a definite number of universes, which they admit has to be astonishingly high to reasonably account for the fine-tuning of our universe for advanced life. However, if that number only takes into consideration the fine-tuning of the physical constants, it is astonishingly low. Here’s how:
Going back to Plantinga’s evolutionary argument against naturalism: how do we know that the way we think actually reflects reality? His answer is that we can’t. Even if the universe is naturalistic (no god exists), then there is no way for us to know. In short, naturalism defeats its own foundation for making its claims of being true. Now, let’s take this to the next level: the multiverse…
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