April 19, 2016

THEY DON'T EVEN PRETEND TO BE DOING SCIENCE ANYMORE:

Can Physicists Ever Prove the Multiverse Is Real? (Sarah Scoles, APRIL 19, 2016, Smithsonian)

 If the multiverse exists, the life-hosting capability of our particular universe isn't such a mystery: An infinite number of less hospitable universes also exist. The composition of ours, then, would just be a happy coincidence. But we won't know that until scientists can validate the multiverse. And how they will do that, and if it even possible to do that, remains an open question.

This uncertainty presents a problem. In science, researchers try to explain how nature works using predictions that they formally call hypotheses. Colloquially, both they and the public sometimes call these ideas "theories." Scientists especially gravitate toward this usage when their idea deals with a wide-ranging set of circumstances or explains something fundamental to how physics operates. And what could be more wide-ranging and fundamental than the multiverse?

For an idea to technically move from hypothesis to theory, though, scientists have to test their predictions and then analyze the results to see whether their initial guess is supported or disproved by the data. If the idea gains enough consistent support and describes nature accurately and reliably, it gets promoted to an official theory.

As physicists spelunk deeper into the heart of reality, their hypotheses--like the multiverse--become harder and harder, and maybe even impossible, to test. Without the ability to prove or disprove their ideas, there's no way for scientists to know how well a theory actually represents reality.



Posted by at April 19, 2016 7:02 PM

  

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