Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Unfalsifiable God

For the last few weeks, I've been drilling down on Twitter, as part of a multi-front marketing strategy for the book. 

I'm using that form of media to keep engaged with conversations around Many Worlds theory, and it's opening me up to where that conversation is going on around the world.  I've also been dropping in with on-topic comments here and there when people seem interested in the multiverse concept.  Along with my comments, I drop a link to the book on the publisher's site.  It's like virtually going door to door, making me a bit like a faith-and-science Mormon/Jehovah's Witness.

"Hi, I'm from the Church of Jesus Christ Getting Along With Science!  I'm wondering if you've heard about how faithful people can be more open to theoretical physics!"

It's a tich more aggressive than I like to be, but one does what one must.  Some folks have responded negatively, which is their right.  "I can't believe you're pitching your book to me," said one.  "I'll flay the skin from your body and suck the marrow from your bones," said another.  

Door to door hasn't changed since I worked for Greenpeace, evidently.

But others have been polite, because though I'm there, I'm not pushy.  Still others have wanted to chat, and some have been downright grateful, and have bought the book.

Where it's more intriguing is seeing through Twitter where Many Worlds cosmology is getting "play" around the world.  It's a sustained and consistent thread in all contemporary scientific literature, but it has purchase beyond that.

Like today, for example, when the "tea party" portion of the Twitterverse has lit up with people sharing an article by conservative commentator Dennis Prager.  Prager attended a conference of physicists, and came away with a chip on his shoulder about multiverse cosmology.

His take on it, which he wrote up for the National Review, is familiar.  The Many Worlds hypothesis suggests realities that are beyond our capacity to observe.  Being a deeply conservative Christian, he takes this as justification for an attack on atheistic uses of the multiverse.

"Your atheistic multiverse is just like faith," Prager notes.  "It can't be empirically proven!  Gotcha!"

This is a standard counter to the Many Worlds hypothesis, one that I've seen used by faithful folk.  If you're making your primary argument for God's existence based on design, then the multiverse needs to be resisted.  It's the whole "anthropic" argument, the idea that our time and space are intelligently fine-tuned for life.

But to my ears, Prager's approach doesn't work particularly well.  "Hah!  You believe in something unfalsifiable, just like me! "   The problem with that line of attack seems pretty self-evident.

As a line of attack.  But everything doesn't have to be an attack.  Really.  It doesn't.  

Why not view our growing similarity as a place of connection?  Where one can say, you know what, you and I are not so different?