Re: Infinite universe

Date: Sat Apr 26 2003 - 17:18:37 MDT

"Ben Goertzel" <> wrote:
> As a Peircean pragmatist, my question is: What measurement could I
> make, whose result would come out differently if these other universe
> existed, versus if they did not exist?

There are a few possible answers to this. In the spirit of
multiversalism, I will give them all. :-P

Firstly, the existence of other universes may affect probabilities via
anthropic arguments. For example, you could argue that if there is only
one universe, it leaves unexplained the coincidence that this one
universe allows for observers. (I don't think that this argument works.)

If all possible universes exist, that could affect our probabilities for
what the universe is like. We should find that the universe is "the most
generic one that is consistent with our observations", and so on. In this
way, the idea can be falsified (probabilistically).

Secondly, even if we can never tell the difference, the potential
inhabitants of the other universes can. If people in other universes
don't count, why would (say) Belgians count, if I never had anything to
do with them in my entire life? :-) Or, to use a more correct example:
how about aliens who live so far away we can never affect them or be
affected by them?

Thirdly, I don't need to believe that other universes Really Exist in any
absolute sense to speak of them. Instead of elementary particles, there
could be tiny quantum gnomes at the Planck scale manipulating everything
that happens, and we could never tell the difference. We still choose to
speak of elementary particles, since they're the simplest explanation for
what seems to be going on. In the same way, the other universes play a
role in our (in my opinion) simplest explanation of what's going on, so
it makes sense to think of them as existing. (The two simplest options
are that nothing exists and that everything exists, and the first one has
been empirically disproven.)


"Why does it need to be an either/or situation: probably there is both
 something, and nothing.  The something just stands out more."
    -- John Baez
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