Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Analysis of a Debunker

I posted an entry at Telic Thoughts about a book review appearing at New Scientist. The reviewer is enthusiastic about a book which is, in his view, a useful tool for debunking the concept of cosmological design. The related argument fails but the fact that it is even made, with reference to what is allegedly a scientific theory, makes one wonder about the author's real purpose.

The title of the post is Reviews. Here it is:

Review: The Universe: Order without design appears at New Scientist. The reviewer writes that NASA physicist Carlos Calle wrote a book in which he addresses the question: does the universe require a supernatural "designer" or are cosmological theories alone able explain the reality? Quoting from the review:

Physics and cosmology alone may have the answers, says Calle. Combine eternal inflation, in which the primordial false vacuum continuously grows and decays, with string theory and you end up with a multiverse - a vast collection of universes, each of which has a different amount of dark energy. We find ourselves in one where it has just the right value for stars, planets and life because... well, we couldn't find ourselves anywhere else.

That caught my attention because I recently posted Leaning on Your Own Understanding which notes Dawkins' view that the eternal existence of God does not explain anything. But is Calle's argument that a cosmological theory, encompassing eternal inflation and innumerable unobserved universes, a plausible explanation? It might be to some who see no conflict between this and Dawkins' position.

So are universes eternal or only their oscillations? This looks less like a comprehensive explanation than an attempt to dress philosophical biases in scientific garb. The last paragraph includes this:

The model doesn't require a beginning, and some theorists suspect that eternal inflation may not either.

So a physical model which incorporates eternal inflation is sufficient. No need to inquire about the origin of matter and energy. 'It just is and always was ' suffices for multi-universes.

Certainly, neither requires a designer.

That's a philosophical presumption the author is entitled to as a matter of personal preference. I suspect it explains his enthusiasm for Calle's ideas.



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