Thursday, November 24, 2011

Musings on cosmology

I am currently under orders from my doctor to rest, having been diagnosed with severe asthma, acute bronchitis and a sinus infection, all courtesy of the crud I had a couple if weeks ago.  (I should be better in a few days.  Thank God for Zithromax!)

In between doing odds and ends for Thanksgiving dinner (the heavy lifting -- both figuratively and literally -- is being done by the Rocket Scientist and the Resident Shrink), I am amusing myself by watching the PBS specials with Brian Greene*, "The Fabric of the Cosmos." I like programs such as these because they make me think about the world beyond my experience or understanding.

In my exhausted, oxygen deprived state, just as I'm about to nap, I keep thinking about the theory of the multiverse.

We know the universe is bounded.  We can determine where the boundaries are due to the background radiation that is the remnant of the Big Bang.  But if there are indeed a multitude of universes, what about the space** in which the multiverse exists? Is that bounded?  Logic says it probably must be, that the multiverse exists in a larger... super-universe? ... but is that bounded? Where does it end?  Is it turtles all the way down?

The other issue has to do with the nature of the debate.  I still cannot grasp from watching the show the extent to which the multiverse can be shown empirically beyond the realm of mathematics.  That is, the math says that it must exist, but it's not testable.

So at what point does the belief in the existence of the multiverse approach religion?  Although, as The Rocket Scientist said, there is a lot more mathematical support for the existence of the multiverse than the existence of God.

And that's not even discussing M-theory, which as far as I can tell from watching the program, gives the necessary support for these ideas.

I feel stupid.  Maybe I should watch this when I am better, and have more brains than a sheep.

*No relation, unfortunately.
**I'm not sure if that is the right word, but I'm not sure what word to use, so indulge me.

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