Phi Beta Cons

Calculating Multiples

I heard Columbia physics professor Richard Greene on C-SPAN a few days ago talking up the relatively new theory (to me, at any rate) of multiple universes. This is evidently going to be the answer to those who have calculated the astronomical odds against all the elements producing and sustaining life on earth having come about by chance, thereby intimating that some intelligence might have been at work. With multiple universes, the odds get better.

Greene offered an illustration. He went with his little son to buy him shoes. When they left with the right pair, the little boy said, isn’t it great that they had my size. Greene had to explain that the store didn’t just happen to have a pair in the right size; it’s their business to have lots of pairs in lots of sizes, so it’s perfectly reasonable that there was a right pair for him. With multiple universes, it’s no proof of anything that the earth was so perfectly and it might have seemed uniquely calibrated for life. There are probably lots of universes out there with lots of planets that are similarly calibrated.

So, instead of being embarrassed that their only reply to the impressive calculations against chance is this untested, unproved, science-fictional multiple-universe theory, they are already prepared with illustrations to mock those who might see indications of intelligence operating. Nice work.   

But it is true that with multiple paychecks and multiple bank accounts, the odds of my having a Rolls Royce would increase.   

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