Q and A: Multiverse and Infinity
Time to time I get various questions asked over email or Facebook. Below is an answer given to a question as to whether multiverse is a possible and valid explanation to the existence of our universe. The key to understanding this proposition is to understand that some scientists developed this idea as they believed it had strong explanatory capacity to describe observations in our universe.
Multiverse is a theoretical model to help describe phenomenas we see in our universe.
Multiverse could be in time or different location.
Multiverse in time simply means the universe we inhabit has undergone a period of expansion and then under the force of gravity it begins to contract till it reaches an quantum singularity where there exists an infinite density resulting in a new Big Bang. Hence the universe goes from a big bang to a Big Crunch ad infinitum ie forever.
Another view of multiverses explains that because quantum level events are non predictable ie can exist in a number of ways then each way is played out in separate universes. So our universe we may see a photon of light act as a wave but in another universe the same photon of light exists as a particle.
It’s like rolling a dice and because the dice could land on a number 1 to 6 each probability is played out in different universes. Because there’s a potential infinite number of events then there would need to be an infinite number of universes to explain why the attributes of our universe exist the way it does. Ie in other universes there exists different attributes. Eg water boiling at 110degrees C instead of 100 degrees C.
Then there’s string theory which states that there are 9, 10 or more dimensions. Because we sense only four dimensions in our universe there must be other universes that have different dimensions.
All very interesting. However these are theoretical constructs to describe why we see what we see particularly on the quantum level.
As such the theoretical construct has to be rational (because a human mind is trying to figure a rational way to explain observations).
Problem here is that a multiverse where they claim an infinite number of universes either in time or in location contradicts a basic rational and mathematical principle which is the impossibility of an infinite sum of finite things.
So without actually having to deal with the science (it’s not really science anyways see professor Paul Davies) the real concept is whether, in theory, an actual infinite (infinite sum of finite things) can exist in reality.
We know, rationally speaking, that an actual infinite cannot exist ie an infinite sum of finite things.
Famous mathematician David hilbert explains this point through his famous example ‘hilberts hotel’.
Eg imagine if we had an infinite number of marbles and we tried to divide the infinite number of marbles into two halves. How many marbles would we have in each pile? Well an infinite number would exist in both piles. If we divide it into quarters or eighths etc, it would result in every faction of the infinite pile of marbles having an infinite number of marbles.
Therefore as imam ghazali pointed out you get into an absurd situation where one has greater and lesser infinities ie the over pile of marbles would be the sum of the two halves. Meaning it would be infinity times 2.
What further compounds the problem is that for the above example every fraction of infinite is infinite. However if I subtracted three marbles away from the infinite pile would I have decreased infinity? Well no. But even if someone tries to claim that we can have lesser infinities then isn’t the three marbles a fraction of the overall number of marbles? Well yes it is yet we just said that every fraction of infinite is infinite however this fraction has become finite.
Paradox. Ie contradictory statement.
So one cannot apply an infinite number of finite things into the real world.
So multiverse theory that postulates an infinite number of universes is a completely irrational point ie doesn’t exist and the theory cannot have an rational explanatory power.
That also proves, as imam ghazali pointed out with the orbits of earth and Saturn, that infinite time couldn’t exist either (based on the absurdity of greater and lesser infinities and that an actual infinite doesn’t exist). Time if infinite would have an infinite number of events that would have occurred, if an actual infinite is a paradox (contradiction) then time must have had a beginning.
So multiverse in time or location, that believes there’s an infinite number of universes, is just a false mental construct.
By Sharif Abu Laith
Source: Sharif Abu Laith’s Blog – Q and A on multiverse and infinity
The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent that of the Siyasah Press editorial board.