All Hail The Cosmic Hamburger Making Machine!
by Jason Wisdom
When it comes to food, I am a pretty simple guy. I like my hamburgers with only bun, meat, cheese, ketchup, and mustard. No lettuce, tomato, or onions. If I wanted a salad, I wouldn’t order a hamburger. I recently went into a burger shop that had an interesting sign on the wall which read: “Have your burger 10,000+ different ways.” You might be thinking, “how could there be that many different types of hamburgers?” But it is actually quite simple. It isn’t that they have 10k different hamburgers, but they offer at least that many different possible combinations of toppings and cooking preferences for their burgers. Regardless, at the end of the day, the number of options doesn’t matter to me. I still want my burger the same way–bun, meat, cheese, ketchup, and mustard.
You are probably wondering, “What on Earth does this have to do with Christianity? Did becauseitstrue get taken over by the Food Network?” If you haven’t figured this out about me by now, I have a really strange way of thinking about ordinary things. So, believe it or not, the sign in the burger
shop got me thinking about the multiverse. I told you. I’m strange. Anyway, for those who are unfamiliar, the theory of the multiverse (multiple universes) is often advanced as a way of explaining the apparent fine-tuning of our universe. If our universe is the only one that exists, then it seems reasonable to conclude that it has been intricately designed for the existence of life. The likelihood that it would be this way by chance alone is virtually zero. Obviously, there are some theological implications that naturally arise from this–implications that make some people rather uncomfortable. Namely the idea that design implies a designer, and fine-tuning implies a fine-tuner. Those who do not believe in a supernatural creator need to find another, naturalistic way to understand the appearance of design.
An increasingly popular way to get around this implication is to theorize that our universe is actually just one in an ensemble of many, potentially infinite, universes. How exactly does the multiverse theory avoid the problem of design? The idea is that if there are billions (maybe an infinite number) of randomly ordered universes, it isn’t hard to imagine that at least one of the universes in such an ensemble would turn out like ours. Sure, you could still say that it is still “finely tuned” for the existence of life (a point that is hardly contested), but on this view, the tuning was not guided by any intelligence. It was not designed to be the way that it is. It just happened…
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