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View Full Version : what is the point of parallel universes?



tommac
2008-Nov-01, 07:51 PM
I am a big "Eels" fan but never realized that the singers father was the guy who first suggested parallel universes. They had a really nice Nova about the both of them.

Anyway while watching this nova program I didnt get what benefit the suggestion of parallel universes does for anything.

I mean is the only point really to suggest that all states exist but branch off? Does this really matter? I mean we would have no way to communicate to these other universes right ... so what even if they did exist ... they would exist in a similar way as the inside of a black hole exists.

Am I missing something? What is the benefit of this theory? if true what would it bring to the scientific community.

Sticks
2008-Nov-01, 07:55 PM
Well they are great plot devices for SCI-FI :D

Eroica
2008-Nov-04, 05:47 PM
If this Universe is the only one that exists, then we have to explain how it is that the only Universe is just perfect for life to flourish. That's difficult to do without invoking intelligent design by a transcendental deity who created it that way.

But if there are an infinite number of universes with all possible natures, then of course there must be ones in which life can arise and we can be here asking these questions.

Google ''anthropic principle" for more information.

astromark
2008-Nov-04, 06:29 PM
Well they are great plot devices for SCI-FI :D

and a explanation for the missing matter we know should be there but is not.
Its not unreasonable to have, one universe there could be many.
We just can not prove this, yet. We should not stop looking. Who's funding this? can I play?

Ken G
2008-Nov-04, 06:37 PM
Which type of "parallel" universes do you mean? There is the "multiverse" idea, which relates to what Eroica was explaining about the anthropic principle, there is the "many worlds" interpretation of quantum mechanics (which is much closer to a concept of "parallel"), or there is any number of other possibilities, like what you see in a mirror, or where the antimatter is, or what happens when you time travel to before you were born, etc. There is basically a plethora of different types of many universe ideas-- and not one single shred of real science in the lot, if you ask me. Perhaps there is hope that one or several of them might someday cross that nebulous border from pure science fiction to actual demonstrable science, but it sure hasn't happened yet, as none are the least bit important in making any predictions that science currently makes and tests.

NEOWatcher
2008-Nov-04, 07:00 PM
Anyway while watching this nova program I didnt get what benefit the suggestion of parallel universes does for anything.
That episode was here a few weeks back. I had the impression that the science was taking a back seat to the human interest of Everett's quest for book material.


Am I missing something? What is the benefit of this theory? if true what would it bring to the scientific community.
Have you dug any deeper into this? I really got nothing from the show, but on the website, I got more insight into what was being presented.

On this page (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/manyworlds/byrne.html), it sounds more like the "all possibilities occur" work more at the level of Heisenburg uncertainty rather than I do this or that, and that we can only detect one of a possibility at any one time.

thorkil2
2008-Nov-04, 07:03 PM
I do not find the multiverse idea to be satisfactory in any way. If the realization of both of two quantum alternatives results in two separate realizations of the Universe, then a local event is affecting reality at the far reaches of the Universe, and vice versa. So the Universe in which I exist is being defined from moment to moment by "splittings" consequent to quantum events billions of light years away (and everywhere in between). If every set of quantum alternatives is realized, then the multplicity of Universes is expanding at a rate that is almost beyond conception. I find the whole idea absurdly top-heavy.

tdvance
2008-Nov-04, 07:15 PM
Aside from being a great SF plot device, they provide a picture of how quantum-mechanical strangeness could work--even if it doesn't really work that way, and I figure it doesn't but of course don't really know, it is a way of picturing it, consistent with (i.e. not contradicting) what we know of reality. I believe this is known as the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics.

If Copenhagen is right and the multiverse has an actual existence (depends on the definition of "existence", or briefly, what "is" is, and I mean, really) the quantum theory as we currently understand it forbids ever observing another of these universes so we'd never know. (now, the quantum computer, under the Copenhagen interpretation, would parallelize its computations by spawning quantum computers in other universes, and arranging for us the observers to be in the universe that finds the right answer--but that's not quite the same as observing another universe because we can't prove that's what happened, as opposed to some other interpretation).

tommac
2008-Nov-04, 07:16 PM
If this Universe is the only one that exists, then we have to explain how it is that the only Universe is just perfect for life to flourish. That's difficult to do without invoking intelligent design by a transcendental deity who created it that way.

But if there are an infinite number of universes with all possible natures, then of course there must be ones in which life can arise and we can be here asking these questions.

Google ''anthropic principle" for more information.

I am not sure if that is the parallel universes theory.

Basically that at each quantum decision the universe splits into multiple parallel universes.

tommac
2008-Nov-04, 07:19 PM
His father was : Hugh Everett III
He is the one that proposed the many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics.


Which type of "parallel" universes do you mean? There is the "multiverse" idea, which relates to what Eroica was explaining about the anthropic principle, there is the "many worlds" interpretation of quantum mechanics (which is much closer to a concept of "parallel"), or there is any number of other possibilities, like what you see in a mirror, or where the antimatter is, or what happens when you time travel to before you were born, etc. There is basically a plethora of different types of many universe ideas-- and not one single shred of real science in the lot, if you ask me. Perhaps there is hope that one or several of them might someday cross that nebulous border from pure science fiction to actual demonstrable science, but it sure hasn't happened yet, as none are the least bit important in making any predictions that science currently makes and tests.

tommac
2008-Nov-04, 07:25 PM
I fully agree ... and it also seems pointless.

I did however have a post on here ... it actually may have been my first post here. Which claimed that time travel is impossible because when you travelled back in time because all of the quantum probabilities of the universe would be reset and a totally different history of time would occur. Because of this the traveller would not exist.

It is one step more than the simple grandfather paradox in the way that you dont need to kill your grandfather. The mere fact that you went back in time would be enough to screw up history.




I do not find the multiverse idea to be satisfactory in any way. If the realization of both of two quantum alternatives results in two separate realizations of the Universe, then a local event is affecting reality at the far reaches of the Universe, and vice versa. So the Universe in which I exist is being defined from moment to moment by "splittings" consequent to quantum events billions of light years away (and everywhere in between). If every set of quantum alternatives is realized, then the multplicity of Universes is expanding at a rate that is almost beyond conception. I find the whole idea absurdly top-heavy.

ngc3314
2008-Nov-04, 07:51 PM
Since no one seems to have yet mentioned it, I'll point to Max Tegmark's multiverse page (http://space.mit.edu/home/tegmark/multiverse.html) with articles and FAQs.

Ken G
2008-Nov-05, 07:25 AM
Yes, that's a good page as it's all quite well thought out. There is a certain reason to it all. But it's all extremely tenuously argued to be scientifically testable. There are some very fundamental questions about what science is meant to explain that are not addressed there, rather it is assumed that science is meant to explain essentially everything. But I think it is an important question to ask, for example, if science is designed to be able to explain why there is gravity, or if it is just designed to explain, given that we observe gravity, what properties we are observing. This is no minor matter-- the success of science has always been based on it being properly tightly focused, so serious questions must be asked about what price science pays to try to be so much more philosophical in its claims.

Eroica
2008-Nov-05, 01:00 PM
I am not sure if that is the parallel universes theory.I am sure that it's one (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiverse) of them! :)

tommac
2008-Nov-05, 02:51 PM
I am sure that it's one (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiverse) of them! :)

Yes but it has nothing to do with the Eels.

John Mendenhall
2008-Nov-06, 05:00 PM
There is basically a plethora of different types of many universe ideas-- and not one single shred of real science in the lot, if you ask me.



Yup. But who could give up the pleasure of suspending reality for Roger Zelazny's Amber stories? Just keep it in perspective, as far as we can tell there is only one universe, and it is 3-space unbounded and flat, plus 1 unidirectional time dimension. Simple, harsh, and uncaring.

Come to think of it, that's a good acronym to remember: SHU.

Regards, John M.

Ken G
2008-Nov-06, 08:43 PM
I agree with you, in particular about the importance of maintaining speculative interests outside of science, except in the idea that the SHU universe is as "far as we can tell". I would add the very important qualifier, as far as we can tell scientifically. As this is a science forum, one might argue that qualifier is always imiplicit, but not when we are specifically talking about things that are of interest to think about that we agree are not strictly scientific.

George
2008-Nov-06, 10:31 PM
Yikes, theorinos! (http://www.bautforum.com/questions-answers/72250-help-needed-new-science-term.html#post1208196). They have some substance to them and come in more than three flavors, but even lead can't quite contain them. ;)

trinitree88
2008-Nov-07, 05:13 PM
Yikes, theorinos! (http://www.bautforum.com/questions-answers/72250-help-needed-new-science-term.html#post1208196). They have some substance to them and come in more than three flavors, but even lead can't quite contain them. ;)

George. Theorinos are easily kept in jars, like BigDon's crickets, made of unobtainium. You just move over the equants, epicycles, polywater, caloric, and phlogiston....and they fit right next to the dark matter. Make sure you keep the lid screwed up tight.:shifty: pete

George
2008-Nov-07, 05:54 PM
George. Theorinos are easily kept in jars, like BigDon's crickets, made of unobtainium. You just move over the equants, epicycles, polywater, caloric, and phlogiston....and they fit right next to the dark matter. Make sure you keep the lid screwed up tight.:shifty: pete It is the theorinos that were in Pandora's box that have now been released. I believe they got out via quantum tunneling, especialy in Tegmark's theorino case. :)

mugaliens
2008-Nov-07, 06:34 PM
It is the theorinos that were in Pandora's box that have now been released. I believe they got out via quantum tunneling, especialy in Tegmark's theorino case. :)

I think they're still inside the box, but simply making random theorinos outside the box dance up a storm due to spooky action at a distance.

George
2008-Nov-07, 06:50 PM
I think they're still inside the box, but simply making random theorinos outside the box dance up a storm due to spooky action at a distance.
No, they are out there. Scientific American did a special publication on Parallel Universes earlier this year, and I seem to be seeing more and more Multiverse theorinos pop-up all over the place.