I read an opinion piece today by theoretical physicist Andrei Linde on why he thinks we need to abandon the traditional conception of the universe (i.e. one whole “uni” containing di-“verse” parts) in favor of the multiverse theory (which posits multiple universes).
Allow me to pull a quote from near the end, where he gives what amounts to his second argument for pitching the traditional universe in the waste bin – the first having been string theory (which is by no means devoid of detractors, as this accompanying piece illustrates).
And then there is something else. There are many strange coincidences in our world. The mass of the electron is 2000 times smaller than the mass of the proton. Why? The only known reason is that if it would change few times, life as we know it would be impossible. The masses of the proton and neutron almost coincide. Why? If one of their masses would change just a little, life as we know it would be impossible. The energy of empty space in our part of the universe is not zero, but a tiny number, more than a hundred orders of magnitude below the naive theoretical expectations. Why? The only known explanation is that we would be unable to live in the world with a much larger energy of vacuum.
The relation between our properties and the properties of the world is called the anthropic principle. But if the universe were given to us in one copy, this relation would not help. We would need to speculate about the divine cause making the universe custom built for humans. Meanwhile, in the multiverse consisting of many different parts with different properties, the correlation between our properties and the properties of the part of the world where we can live makes perfect sense.
– Uniformity And Uniqueness Of The Universe (bold mine)
So it would appear that, in the final analysis, the multiverse theory is the necessary rescuing device to escape the obvious implications as highlighted above. That is, if there are 10500 universes out there, surely one of them would hit the right lottery numbers to become the clearly-taylored-to-human-life specimen we ourselves inhabit. But to think that we inhabit the only universe there is? Well, even some dyed-in-the-wool naturalists start getting uncomfortable with that level of coincidence, and it really is interesting to see Linde make what amounts to a nearly explicit admission of this. Especially earlier in the article where he boasts that this speculation is in principle unfalsifiable – making it a claim to faith more removed from evidence than he could ever claim about Christianity (see 1st Cor. 15 for instance).
Two additional things I will just note here in passing.
1. It used to be that the naturalists argued that evolution was a plausible explanation for the origin of man, “given enough time”. Now that it has been proven that – no matter which model of our universe you use and how much you want to stretch it out – there simply is not enough time to accomplish even the most basic of steps required by evolution, we see a turning to the multiverse theory. The reason is that this theory grants a practically infinite number of universes where every conceivable possibility is realized, including naturalistic evolution. Quantity of time turned out to be a dead end, so quantity of universes is the next step for them.
2. As I’ve noted elsewhere in the past, the multiverse theory presents a logical/philosophical problem all its own for the atheist. That is: if the multiverse exists, and every alternate possibility pops up in some corner of the far-flung multiverse or another, then an omnipresent God would exist in one of these ostensible universes… in which case, being omnipresent, He would exist in all of them. Now what?
Lastly, you can watch John Warwick Montgomery deal with the multiverse and other related-ness here.