Parallel universes and scientific advances

In this thread people were talking about the future of scientific advances, and if we will even have them.

If the theory of parallel universes and the multiverse is true, there are infinite numbers of universes with better or different cultural and scientific advances than ours. If it is true, and we learn to communicate with them, would we be able to share information about scientific advances across universes, or are there no physical laws that would allow that kind of cross communication?

Could gravity be used to communicate across universes to share scientific advances?

PS, Its skunk, in case anyone is wondering.

Parallel universes seem to me to be more of a philosophical speculation than a scientific theory – a bit like “intelligent design”, really. The point about parallel lines is that they never meet; the point about parallel universes is that they don’t meet either – at all, in any way. If we could observe or communicate with a parallel universe, it wouldn’t be a parallel universe – just a remote and previously unobserved part of our own universe.

Right now, there isn’t any way to determine whether other universes exist and I’m pretty sure there is not even any theoretic way of communicating with them.

I don’t know if they exist, but my understanding is if they do that gravity could pass between them.

I wouldn’t compare multiverse theory to ID though. ID is taking a religious theory and trying to steer science to justify it. M-theory isn’t based on any pre-existing philosophical or religious ideology.

Parallel universes have to be distinguished from alternate histories. There might be other universes but they might have features such as altered physical constants which would mean that our universe could never have one of those by having a different history, or vice-versa. IOW, closer to what science fiction would call “another dimension” rather than an alternate world. The question is even more problematic when considering alternate quantum states; i.e., every possible wave function collapse different from what we observe. In that case, there’s no guarantee that those alternate states even form a unified whole that could be called a “universe”.

Why would you think mass from one universe could affect mass in another universe? The whole reason it’s another universe instead of part of this universe is that there is absolutely no way for anything in one universe to affect the other universe. If there was it wouldn’t be another universe, it would be part of this universe.

As it stands parallel universes is not a scientific conjecture, but a philosophical one since it offers no way of testing it and no research paradigm. As such it is quite comparable to ID.

Not even close. Speculation about other universes doesn’t make any claims about things we have no reason to think are possible; we know universes can exist since we live in one, we have no reason to think a god exists. There’s also a big difference between claiming that there’s something out where we can’t detect it, and between claiming that there are objects that had to be created by your hypothetical god but refusing to specify what. Plus, many scientific theories imply or even require that other universes exists; claims about god are just an assertion.

Basically; scientific speculation and theories aren’t the same as an empty fraud designed to push religion, one declared to be such in court.

Not true. Some kinds of other universes could, for example impinge on ours; in which case one would absorb the other and we’d see spectacular effects. There’s some ( not generally accepted ) speculation that that is actually happening; some results suggest a major “dark flow” of galaxies to something beyond our range of vision, and the impingement of another universe is one explanation proposed.

The definition of a universe as being something that can’t ever touch ours under any circumstances applies only to a subset of theories about them; not all.

I think there is an idea of a parallel universe that is a three dimensional one that parallels our own by being displaced in a fourth dimension we don’t have. This is analogous to two dimensional universes on the pages of a book.
There was some experimental line aimed at this, IIRC, that was going to try measuring gravitational attraction on the scale of a centimeter or so of separation between the masses. I think the idea was that there would be alternate paths through the other universes that would contribute in some way to the forces measured in this one, though at greater distances the effect would quickly dwindle to undetectability.
This is a pretty dim recollection, though - maybe I have some of it confused.

What Hari said.

Plus, it’s true that M-theory doesn’t doesn’t depend on any religious standpoint, but the same can be said of ID. ID theory does not assert the divinity of the postulated designer.

But ID is favoured by those whose religious standpoint asserts a divine designer; it’s favoured, therefore, because it is consistent with a particular religious standpoint, even if it doesn’t depend upon it. And I think the same could be true of M-theory. There’s absolutely no evidence for it, but it is favoured because it offers an explanation (for the fact that our universe presents the conditions favourable to the development of life) which is consistent with an atheist standpoint.

Which is the logical scientific default. If there’s no evidence for a god, no evidence for one being possible, then the logic default especially in a scientific context is atheism. Also, the fact that M-theory explains something alone puts it above ID; ID asserts that biological structures that require a god to explain exist without bothering to provide any; it’s a baseless explanation for a nonexistent problem.

ID isn’t even an actual theory; there’s nothing to it, it explains nothing and makes no predictions ( not even unobservable ones ). It’s just an attempt to manufacture an excuse to shove religion into schools. ID is a scam, not a theory. The two don’t compare.

I’m pretty sure people are confused. You’ve sure succeeded in confusing me.

M-theory is a superset of string theories. The many-worlds interpretation is a way of explaining quantum theory and is never referred to as M-theory.

The many-worlds interpretation leads to the multiverse concept, that every alternative happens, leading to different pathways, i.e. universes.

There’s another possibility, though. If one universe can form from vacuum energy, then a potentially infinite number can. This is a different set of universes from the set that multi-worlds creates. (Presumably an infinite number of parallel universes would form in each universe, at least in which quantum mechanics is true,)

String theory is one possible method of reconciling quantum mechanics and relativity theory. I’m not expert enough to know whether the many-worlds interpretation would still be necessary - or even possible - in string theory. String theory does posit multiple dimensions and does say that gravity may have its weakness because it alone inhabits all the dimensions. But all those dimensions belong to our own universe, not to many, and therefore gravity in any or all of them does not lead to any form of communication between universes.

Now, it’s true that right now none of these types of universe building has been proven. It may be true - again, I’m not expert enough to say - that none are even theoretically testable.

How does that differ from ID? ID is creationism. That was laid out in court in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District. ID is a deliberately anti-scientific doctrine promulgated to promote one particular view of Christianity. It does not start from any scientific foundation. It has no ties to actual science. It cannot be tested in any way because it depends on not being testable. It differs from any of the possible scientific multiverse theories in every conceivable way.

I know that some scientists don’t like multiverse speculations precisely because they are not testable and they lead to non-scientists saying things that are not even wrong, like what people are doing here. I’m a social scientist, so I have a somewhat different perspective on the subject. Speculation that arises from advancement of solid science may be wrong, may be unproductive, may even be foolish. But it is in a fundamentally different category than trying to impose one particular sect’s view of religion onto reality.

I have no idea what definition of parallel universes was in the OP’s mind, but this mish mosh of notions that’s being tossed around is itself a pretty good example of not communicating.

My understanding was that the physicist Nima Arkani-Hamed has worked on split supersymmetry, and claims it can (somehow, I have no idea) be tested for in the LHC. He says if it is true, it will either validate the concept of a multiverse or make it much more plausible. So the idea that a multiverse cannot be tested for isn’t necessarily true. Experiments in the LHC are supposed to test for it.

He recently proposed a model for new physics, called split supersymmetry—which theorizes that half of all particles in the universe have partner particles. He said that if the results of the LHC experiment reveal split supersymmetry, “it would be a tremendous push in the direction of a multiverse.”

“Right now a lot of people are on the fence,” about the theory of a multiverse, Arkani-Hamed said. “I think if the LHC sees split super symmetry it’s over.”

Also, my understanding of the multiverse concept is that gravity is weaker than the other forces because it is not constrained to ‘our’ universe. If so, and if multiverses are real (and there are parallel universes which have had different scientific achievements than our own) can we use things like gravity to share information across universes? Or would information not be able to travel across universes in a multiverse?

Mr. Mapcase is correct. Two different concepts are being confused.

The many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics posits the universe splitting into all possible eigenstates whenever a wave function collapses. These are the universes with alternate versions of ourselves, with alternate technologies. Whether these other universes are just mathematical constructs or are “real” in some sense can never be known: they have no possible connection to “our” universe.

The other parallel universe concept comes from string theory or other attempts to understand the properties of our universe. These other universes may exist in other dimensions or as other “bubbles” in a grand pan-universal fabric. Depending on the theory involved, these other universes may or may not be able to influence ours - gravitationally or otherwise. But these other universes would not be alternate versions of our. Most would probably not even be able to develop life.

There are two ideas behind multiple universes:

[li]Our Universe has some very specific natural constants that if varied by some infinitesimal amount would make life impossible.[/li]
[li]There’s an issue with something called the two slit experiment. I’m not going into deep details, but somehow if you shine a photon of light through two slits or one slit, it seems to know that there are either two slits or one slit.[/li][/ol]

Let’s take the first one. Unless you have a Grand Overall Designer (a G.O.D. so to speak) creating a Universe just so, it seems strange that the only Universe created has just the right constants in it for life to be possible. Therefore, some physicists postulate that there are multiple universes, each with its own set of constants. Most are inhospitable for life, but a very few have just everything so for life to form.

The second one seems to show that a photon of light must be taking both slits at once, and then interfere with itself. But, how can a single photon take both slits? This has lead to some theorizing that maybe in one Universe, the photon takes the slit on the left and in another Universe, the photon takes the slit on the right.

This second scenario seems a bit silly to most Physicists. However, the theory of multiple Universes has the same problem with the Western monotheistic theory of God. It’s impossible to prove or disprove.

Let me explain: If I wanted to conduct an experiment whether God (in the Western monotheistic sense) exists or doesn’t exist, I would have to be able to conduct an experiment out of the presence of God. However, since God is everywhere, that’s impossible. In fact, since God controls everything, including me and all or my experimental apparatuses, I can’t do such an experiment.

The same is true for the multiverse model of the Universe. Each Universe is self contained, and since we’re a part of a particular Universe, we cannot escape it. If we wanted to conduct an experiment, all of our equipment would be part of this Universe and incapable of interfering with another Universe. Thus, you cannot prove or disprove the theory of Multiple Universes.

You mentioned something about gravity, and you probably heard something about gravity and multiple universes.

The problem is that there are four known forces in the Universe: The Weak Force, the Strong Force, the Electromagnetic Force, and Gravity. Of the four, Gravity is the weakest. In fact, Gravity isn’t just a bit weaker, it is weaker by several factors.

For us, this is good, because if gravity was as strong as the other forces, the big bang would never occur and everything would collapse into a black hole. But the question remains is why is gravity so much weaker.

One theory posits that gravity is a force that is not limited to a single Universe like the other three forces and what we get as gravity is the force from another Universe. If this is correct, we might be able to use gravity to somehow contact or probe another Universe.

Then again, there’s a theory that gravity is a force that acts in another dimension that is in our current universe, but isn’t one of the three physical dimensions that the other forces operate on. Since gravity is spread out over other dimensions, it becomes weaker in the three dimensions we operate in.

Then again, it might just be that we live in a Universe where gravity is exceptionally weak, and because of that, matter can form and allow life to evolve. Other universes might exist with a very strong gravity and are therefore not much to look at.

None of these multi-universe theories posit that another universe has a more advanced civilization on it, let alone life of any sort.

My vision is that one day, we’ll be visited by aliens from another planet, and we’ll ask them about how to solve our problems, and their answer will be “You mean you don’t know? We came over here hoping you knew the answers, so you could help us solve our problems. Well, that was 100 light years of travel wasted for nothing! Okay everyone back on the ship. Might was well head home.”

Actually, if you follow out the logic of it, ID theory does make predictions. . . that have been falsified. It is not an empty theory, it is a refuted one. What Darwin realized (well before he came up with the theory of natural selection) was that the way species are distributed around the world, especially in geographically and ecologically isolated environments like oceanic islands and mountain tops, makes absolutely no sense if they were (as most supposed up to then) created by God and placed in the environment suitable for them. No sane, rational God would have distributed species around the world in the way that they are distributed: for example, making every sort of land bird on the Galapagos, in every sort of ecological niche there, into types of finch, when on the mainland most of those niches are filled by other types of bird altogether, and there are only a few species of finch, all in fairly similar niches. In effect, God would have had to be crazy to distribute species around the globe as they are (and no-one otherwise attracted to ID would want to accept that). On the other hand, this geographical distribution makes perfect sense on the assumption that species that by chance find themselves in a new environment (like a few mainland finches accidentally finding their way to a recently formed group of volcanic islands) can then evolve into various different forms to fill the available niches.

Also, as many people were already realizing even before Darwin, if God creates species only to let many of them go extinct, He is either incompetent or a sadist. (Lamark’s evolutionary theory was intended to deal with this problem, but it does not explain the problem of geographical distribution of species, and it still requires God to create the original ancestors of each species.)

Having figured out that evolution must be occurring, it then took Darwin several more years to figure out an account of how it happens (variation with natural selection), and then about another 20 years before he published. But that is another story.

So ID, in any form that anybody, let alone a Christian, could accept, is not an empty theory, it is a false theory.

Of course, ID as it is promoted today is, as you say, a scam. Defending it requires you to ignore most of the available evidence. Modern defenders of ID are either ignorant, often willfully so, or they are liars. The 19th century creationists that Darwin and his allies had to deal with were quite different. Their theory had real scientific content, and before Darwin’s time it was probably the best theory available. It was refuted by the facts, as most formerly “creationist” biologists eventually acknowledged, and it remains refuted.

Since when is an argument of incredulity acceptable in science? Since when is philosophical evidence allowed? Both of these are actually used to support ID. Proponents argue that the level of complexity “doesn’t make sense” without a designer. They argue the philosophy that the teleological argument is true.

In other words, so what if it means the Designer is a sadist or absolutely crazy? How does that disprove anything about the “theory”?

It is much better to declare that ID is not (scientifically) falsifiable, and, thus, outside the realm of science And, since it claims to be a science, this makes it internally inconsistent, and thus useless.

njtt, I sort of agree with your analysis. Your account is wrong in one important detail. The notion of evolution had been around for decades before Darwin and his theory gained credibility because it contained an explanation in the form of natural selection. And many thought that God had created species and then allowed them to go about their ways, which negates a role in extinction.

The other quibble I might have is the question of whether today’s creationism has any relation to the understanding of biology in the 19th century. My understanding is that the current form of creationism is a 20th century invention that is a reaction to Darwin, not a continuation of earlier thought. Today’s ID is a direct outgrowth of that style of creationism.

The 19th century creation theories were falsified by Darwin. The 20th century ones cannot be because they are, um, designed not be so falsifiable. Allowing any type of falsifiability into the argument would be the same as denying God, and God is an axiom.

It matters because ID isn’t really scientific, but a propaganda tool designed to push Christianity. It matters because God being crazy or evil goes against typical Christian beliefs, and for all their dishonest claims that they aren’t really claiming the divinity or Christianity of the “intelligence” behind ID that’s what they are really doing. Pointing out how their claims contradict the Christian view of God may not be a good argument against what they claim ID is about; but it is a good argument against what it really is about. No, it doesn’t disprove it; but they don’t really care about proof anyway.

The big problem with ID is that it doesn’t make any predictions. Therefore, it can’t be scientific. All it says that if the current theory of Evolution through Natural Selection cannot explain something, it therefore must prove ID is true. This is a false binary dichotomy. If our current understanding of Evolution through Natural Selection can’t explain something, it doesn’t mean it is even inexplicable through this theory, but we might not know how the theory works in this instance. And, even if our current theory cannot explain it, it doesn’t mean that the only alternative is ID.

What I told someone is that ID is simply anti-intellectual. It says, “We cannot understand something because an intelligent designer designed it that way. No need wasting your time on it. Go home and watch some Sponge Bob. Nothing to see here.”