Balloons on a String: A Critique of Multiverse Cosmology

In William A. Dembski and Bruce L. Gordon (ed.), The Nature of Nature: Examining the Role of Naturalism in Science. Wilmington, DE, USA: pp. 558-601 (2011)
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Our examination of universal origins and fine-tuning will begin with a discussion of infl ationary scenarios grafted onto Big Bang cosmology and the proof that all infl ationary spacetimes are past-incomplete. After diverting into a lengthy critical examination of the “different physics” offered by quantum cosmologists at the past-boundary of the universe, we will proceed to dissect the inadequacies of infl ationary explanations and string-theoretic constructs in the context of three cosmological models that have received much attention: the Steinhardt-Turok cyclic ekpyrotic model (which does not invoke inflation), the Gasperini-Veneziano pre-Big Bang infl ationary model, and the inflationary string landscape model advanced by Susskind, Polchinski, Bousso, and Linde. We will argue that none of these highly speculative string cosmologies removes the necessity of a beginning to the process of universe generation, and we will emphasize the implications of this fact. Then, since the inflationary “mechanism” only really addresses the fi ne-tuning of the initial conditions of the universe and not the conditions embodied in its finely tuned laws and constants, we will analyze the adequacy of the string multiverse in its three versions (cyclic ekpyrotic, pre-Big Bang, and landscape) for explaining the nomological structure and values of these precisely tuned life-compatible universal parameters. When all is said and done, it will be clear that transcendent intelligent agency is not just the only causally suffi cient and therefore metaphysically sound explanation for universal origins and fine-tuning, but it is also much more parsimonious, elegant, and resonant with meaning than all of the ad hoc machinations of multiverse cosmology

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Bruce Gordon
Northwestern University (PhD)


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