Nautilus

Chaos Makes the Multiverse Unnecessary

Scientists look around the universe and see amazing structure. There are objects and processes of fantastic complexity. Every action in our universe follows exact laws of nature that are perfectly expressed in a mathematical language. These laws of nature appear fine-tuned to bring about life, and in particular, intelligent life. What exactly are these laws of nature and how do we find them?

The universe is so structured and orderly that we compare it to the most complicated and exact contraptions of the age. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the universe was compared to a perfectly working clock or watch. Philosophers then discussed the Watchmaker. In the 20th and 21st centuries, the most complicated object is a computer. The universe is compared to a perfectly working supercomputer. Researchers ask how this computer got its programming.

How does one explain all this structure? Why do the laws seem so perfect for producing life and why are they expressed in such exact mathematical language? Is the universe really as structured as it seems?

One answer to some of these questions is Platonism (or its cousin Realism). This is the belief that the laws of nature are objective and have always existed. They possess an exact ideal form that exists in Plato’s realm. These laws are in perfect condition and they have formed the universe that we see around us. Not only do the laws of nature exist in this realm, but they live alongside all perfectly formed mathematics. This is supposed to help explain why the laws are written in the language of mathematics.

Platonism leaves a lot to be desired. The main problem is that Platonism is metaphysics, not science. However, even if we were to accept it as true, many questions remain. Why does this Platonic world have these laws, that bring intelligent life into the universe, rather than other laws? How was this Platonic attic set up? Why does our physical universe follow these ethereal rules? How do scientists and mathematicians get access to Plato’s little treasure chest of exact ideals?

The multiverse is another answer that has recently become quite fashionable. This theory is an attempt to explain why our universe has the life-giving laws that it does. One who believes in a multiverse maintains that our universe is just one of many universes. Each universe has its own set of rules and its own possible structures that come along with those rules. Physicists who push the multiverse theory believe that the laws in each universe are somewhat arbitrary. The reason we see structures fit for life in our universe is that we happen to live in one of very few universes that have such laws. While the multiverse explains some of the structure that we see, there are questions that are left open. Rather than asking

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