The Multiverse Fad in Fiction and Science

The Multiverse Fad in Fiction and Science
Scene from It’s A Wonderful Life

Science fiction has toyed with the idea that there are many universes parallel to one another, each having people like us on a planet like ours – but different. Hollywood has used this theme in ever-increasing numbers of films in which characters move from one universe to another. The current Academy Award-winning movie Everything Everywhere All at Once is a prime example. Or who can forget the famous Christmas film It’s a Wonderful Life in which George Bailey (James Stewart) sees an alternative universe in which he never lived. Between It’s a Wonderful Life 75 years ago and today’s Everything Everywhere All at Once, the multiverse fad has been used to present many stories. But is it real?

Movies and TV often depict parallel universes that resemble our own but with opposing characters or circumstances, such as in the Star Trek episode Mirror, Mirror, or the 1998 movie Sliding Doors. Atheists have proposed the idea of multiple universes entirely different from each other. Knowing that the odds of explaining the fine-tuning of our universe without design or purpose are infinitely small, they suggest that with an infinite number of universes, life will eventually happen by chance alone. We just happen to live in the one universe that got everything right.

However, the multiverse fad is not confined to entertainment and atheism. Some scientists, both unbelievers and believers, propose a multiverse theory. There are three main versions: (1) Eternal inflation presents the idea that pocket universes continuously pop into existence with stars, planets, and galaxies like ours. (2) String theory suggests the cosmos is made up of tiny, undetectable vibrating strings in the fabric of space-time in which an unlimited number of universes come into existence all by chance. (3) The many worlds idea is a product of quantum mechanics in which the splitting of space/time produces an ever-growing array of universes. In this concept, every universe would look the same and have the same history – so in another universe, there would be a copy of you reading an article like this one.

These ideas may be helpful for producing science fiction books or movies or giving imaginative material for debate among intellectuals, but they are not science. To be scientific, something must have evidence that allows it to be tested and falsified. If you can’t test a theory, it is pure speculation and has no scientific basis. No multiverse theory is supported by evidence. The mathematics used to support the theories have literally billions of possible solutions and don’t contribute to their validity.

The bottom line is that the multiverse fad is an interesting facet of human imagination. Skeptics can try to use it to discount God’s creation of the cosmos, but that is not science and does not contribute to our knowledge. Massive evidence shows God created the cosmos and created humans uniquely in His image. Science and faith are friends, and the Bible equips us to live in this constantly changing world.

— John N. Clayton © 2023

Reference: “Mapping the Multiverse” in the March/April 2023 issue of Discover magazine

Scientific Method Is a Friend of Faith

Scientific Method Is a Friend of FaithOur mission statement is: “Science and faith are friends and not enemies.” One of the challenges that we hear from atheists and skeptics is that statement is bogus because the scientific method can not be applied to it.

As a public school science teacher I always tried to make sure that students knew what scientific method is and could see how to apply it to the problems we face in the modern age. Sometimes that is incredibly difficult to do. Our textbooks usually gave six steps to use the scientific method:

1. Identify and define the problem.
2. Accumulate all possible data.
3. Formulate a tentative hypothesis that would solve the problem in step 1.
4. Conduct experiments to test the hypothesis – the more experiments, the better.
5. Interpret the results of the experiments without prejudice.
6. Repeat the steps until you find an acceptable solution.

In high school science classes, those six steps are usually easy to do, but sometimes later data alters what we thought was a solid fact proven by scientific method. Suppose we ask, “What causes gravity?” We could say “I think gravity is a property of mass.” All objects with mass have a gravitational attraction for all other d objects that have mass. Other people might say that it’s a property of electric charge, or maybe spin. You write down all the possibilities and conduct experiments to see which hypothesis can be experimentally verified.

To see if mass produces gravity, I fill two large bags with cement, and I hang them close to each other. If mass causes gravity, they should attract each other. That is an experiment I can do. I can also charge two balls electrically and see if they attract each other including the electric forces in the calculation. I can spin the two balls and see if they change their attraction for each other as they spin. The mass experiment works, and all the others don’t. I publicize my results and wait for additional experiments to support or deny what my experiments have shown.

The example I have just described is in most physics textbooks and has been done and repeated hundreds of times. But then a scientist did an experiment that didn’t support this conclusion. He found that when a beam of light passed by a huge object (the Sun), the light curved. This suggested that gravity was actually a product of space, not mass. The difference was that the size of the experiment produced different results when you used a star instead of a bag of cement.

As we have looked at the very large (quasars) and the very small (quarks), we have found that the scientific method is hard to do and sometimes impossible. String theory, brane theory, multiverse theory, and a variety of other proposals simply cannot be tested by an experiment. For the time being at least, we cannot test them by scientific method. They are not alternatives we can hold up as fact. They cannot even be considered as serious scientific explanations since they cannot be demonstrated or falsified by scientific method.

Trying to use the scientific method in areas like psychology, sociology, and matters of faith are also frequently difficult. What we generally do is to rely on statistics to evaluate a potential cure for a psychological difficulty. Does a treatment method work? Is a particular activity statistically helpful in relieving a mental or spiritual problem? As more and more data become available, we examine that data. We must reject some psychological theories (like Freud’s view of sex) and use the data to make a new proposal we can analyze.

Christ challenged his followers to examine the data. When the disciples of John came to Christ to ask if He was the promised Messiah, He responded: “Go and tell John what things you have seen and heard: how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised …” (Luke 7:22). Jesus didn’t ask the disciples to take His word for it. He asked them to look at the evidence. The evidence supports the claims of Christianity. If we honestly examine the evidence, our investigation will lead to a better understanding of how our faith works.

The scientific method is not an enemy of Christianity. The whole basis of our ministry is to ask people not to blindly accept what anyone says. The title of our ministry is “Does God Exist?” and that is the question at hand. We offer data for our readers to evaluate. The tentative hypothesis is that God does exist and that intelligence and design will be seen everywhere we look in the creation. As you continue to look at new data, we hope that you will find the solution for the struggles in life. The scientific method is a friend of faith.
— John N. Clayton © 2019