Monday, January 6, 2014

Discovery Institute on The Copernican Principle and the Multiverse

h/t once again to Velika Bluna….

One of the interesting ideas expressed in "The Principle" is that the multiverse is seen (by one its leading proponents) as the extension of the Copernican Principle to its logical conclusion.

Discovery Institute's Denyse O'Leary follows the multiverse to its logical conclusion.

"Logic and reason are likewise irrelevant. Consider the multiverse claim that there are "infinite copies of you and your loved ones leading lives, up until this moment, that are absolutely identical to yours." Mathematician George F. R. Ellis notes that, if so, the deep mysteries of nature are too absurd to be explicable and that the proposed nine types of multiverse in one scheme are "mutually exclusive." True, but in a multiverse, "inexplicable" is okay. "Absurd" and "mutually exclusive" are meaningless concepts. It is equally meaningless to assert that one event is more probable than another. As David Berlinski puts it, "Why is Newton's universal law of gravitation true? No need to ask. In another universe, it is not"(Devil's Delusion, p. 124).
You can, of course, make reason and logic your personal brand of nonsense if you wish. In that case, statements like this will annoy you: Earth's habitability rating has "taken a hit" because it is too close to "the warm edge" of our zone. Earth's habitability has a probability of 1, so how can its rating take a hit? Berlinski would likely say, no need to ask. In another universe it has not."

"A question arises: If, in the multiverse (especially the many worlds version) everything possible is true, why do cosmologists trash traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs? Because there is a critical catch: Anything may be true, including contradictory states, except serious dissent from the Copernican principle--the principle that Earth and our universe are nothing special. Physicist Rob Sheldon sums it up:
'Multiverse theory is designed for one purpose, and one purpose only, and that is to defend atheism. It makes no predictions, it gives no insight, it provides no control, it produces no technology, it advances no mathematics, it is a science in name only, because it is really metaphysics.'"

Some of these ideas are also addressed in previous posts here at Magisterial Fundies:

It is time for a serious examination of this Copernican Principle; what is it, how did we accept it, what are its ultimate consequences for our science, our faith, our culture, our future?

"The Principle" is coming.

The timing couldn't have been better.


  1. The Discovery Institute once again limits God's omnipotence…

    We need a new Condemnation of 1277.

    1. Hmmm. I don't see it, Alan. Nowhere that I can see does DI suggest God *cannot* do something.

      What they do suggest, quite persuasively, is that the multiverse is nothing other than a concocted means of substituting an unevidenced entity to stand in for the potency of the Mind of God; to actualize all potencies so as to account for the fact that God has clearly *chosen* to actualize only those which serve His plan in this, the only universe we observe, are told of in Scripture, or in Tradition.

    2. Don't they essentially believe in the God-of-the-gaps? Don't they say that God could not create naturally complex lifeforms and that He has to miraculously intervene whenever complexity arises in life? (cf. this.)

    3. I am not a particularly informed correspondent on ID, so I will answer only provisionally, as I presently understand the ID argument.

      I see nothing in ID which states that God could not have used secondary causes to create observed complexity and diversity.

      I see ID saying that the Darwinian proposed mechanism- random mutation plus natural selection- *cannot be that secondary cause*.

      I am inclined to believe them.

    4. As an aside, I believe the real reason the Thomists have not flocked to ID is their cowardice and desire to retain the good fellowship of their atheist pals.

      My two cents.

    5. That's what I used to think, too, but perhaps I don't understand completely what the mostly-Protestant IDers think.

      ID advocates seem to correctly understand that God and only God creates ex nihilo ("out of nothing"), but they do not understand that God does not override nature. Thus, every ID advocate should read this article in St. Thomas Aquinas's Summa Theologica: "Whether creation [i.e., creatio ex nihilo] is mingled with works of nature and art?" While ID advocates would say "Yes," St. Thomas says "No." He says that "in the works of nature creation does not enter, but is presupposed to the work of nature." This is fully consistent with God simply letting things be. He does not say, e.g., "I create light!" but "Let there be light." (Genesis 1:3). Nor does He say "I bring forth the living creature!" but "Let the earth bring forth the living creature." (Genesis 1:24).

    6. I see nothing at all in ID that denies the efficacy of secondary causes. Again, I simply think the vast majority of scientifically educated Catholics are woefully timid, victims of Stockholm Syndrome, active agents in the promotion of the ridiculously fraudulent Darwinian metaphysical research program (it is clearly not a scientific research program, see the various posts here on Mary's Bones), and gene4rally ought to be ashamed of themselves for failing to recognize in ID a creative, bold, important and valuable dissident movement.

    7. What I said on January 7, 2014 at 8:50 PM above is exactly what biologist Dr. Rupert Sheldrake says in this Thunderbolts Project episode.

  2. Jesus Christ who is the omnipotent and eternal Truth and as such the author of all truth in union with the Father and the Holy Ghost was never a revolutionary. What we see in the adherents of multiverse and all that their concept entails is a potential, if not presently full blown actual, revolution of chaotic (half disguised as orderly) thought, perhaps never before seen on such a grand intellectual scale.

    What immediate purpose would such a revolution serve? I think it is becoming increasingly obvious that it isa force attempting to simultaneously preempt and counter-act the powerful and ever accumulating onslaught of observational evidence severely undermining (i.e., destroying!) the Copernican Principle and all it entails.

    The Copernican Principle is a long lost wasteland of thought and belief and one which can help to lead both individually and collectively to a spirit of agnosticism/atheism and on to despair or visa versa. Query as to who wants us to be led to agnosticism/atheism and despair. Perhaps ironic to say, although it is one filled with utter and eternal despair, it is also one who is neither an agnostic or atheist. Furthermore, this individual knows perfectly well that the Copernican Principle is false, although he would do all within his power to induce others to believe it is true.

    Ones who love power over the truth will often do whatever is necessary to either retain that power or to acquire that power. As we see some of those in the scientific/"scientismic"establishment who hold power and are spokespersons for the reigning Copernican Principle paradigm try to push (ahem, "entertain") their revolutionary multiverse before us, we see some of their fellow scientists coming out and basically saying this is too much. As much as these latter scientists may wish to uphold the Copernican Principle (for whatever reasons), they are unwilling to (paraphrasing Chesterton) be so open minded (to multiverse as if it were to be rationally discussed in the same terms with true science) as to let their brains fall out.

    In order to overcome observational evidence of a motionless Earth Einstein overthrew reality physics with fantasy physics and once fantasy physics had been in place long enough it was widely accepted as reality physics. Now the observational evidence is coming to a head which would very seriously jeopardize the reigning fantasy physics which for so long has done so much to uphold Big Baloney (aka: Big Bang) and what goes with it. It has the literal potential, God willing, of spelling its absolute demise.

    So now its' as if we hear the Copernican Principle screaming/squealing, "Ain't no one moving in, but over my dead body!" Dead body? What could that mean? Wide-spread acceptance of multiverse, if I am not mistaken, would mean that in effect the Copernican Principle had become a dead body in so much as the Earth being seen in our universe holding a special place in it would be rendered of no real importance in the big metaphysical picture because its special place would not really be so special after all. Rather, it could be -- and no doubt would be by many -- seen merely as an inevitable consequence/coincidence of an "infinite" number of universes -- no big deal! In effect, it would simply be seen as an application of the "monkeys-typewriters principle," that idea that holds that an infinite number of monkeys pecking away at an infinite number of typewriters would eventually and certainly produce a full set of the works of Shakespeare. Mathematical probability would dictate it to be so!

  3. [Cont. from above comment]

    Multiverse revolutionaries (and they are revolutionaries, make no mistake about that; and that regardless of whether they perceive themselves to be revolutionaries or not) don't play by the rules. They make up their own rules and expect (later will demand if they succeed) others to fall into line. History is rife with this exact kind of behavior. We would be naive to expect less if the "multiversers" were to ever carry the day. And if the acceptance of a multiverse world seems rather implausible, just look around yourself at the world today and ask yourself how many seem either oblivious or indifferent to the truth. These folks would presumably be quite open to accepting the idea of multiverse. Also, recall how many of our ancestors were not nearly so oblivious or indifferent to the truth were led away from the truth by something called the Copernican Principle.

  4. Rick's mentioning of Thomists above brought to mind a center of Thomism in the U.S.: Thomas Aquinas College in California. As you enter their Albertus Magnus Hall of Science, however, you better be ready for a shock. The Foucault Pendelum holds center stage in the building's atrium.

    If you work the interactive screen seen at the college's link ( or just let it slowly guide you on its own you will come across a big crucifix. It would appear as though the hanging Saviour was actually looking down at the swinging contraption. As if our Good Lord did not have enough to weep about!

  5. I don't understand why a Foucault pendulum is shocking?

  6. We had hoped to film the Foucaut pendulum at TAC, and theitr beautiful chapel, but scheduling constraints prevented us.

  7. Rick, didn't you forget to add one of those smiley wink? Of course, a Foucault Pendulum (one of those words I might go to my grave often mispelling) is not shocking in an of itself, although its placement in certain places may certainly be be.

    I would have liked to give the school full benefit of the doubt, hard for me as that may have been, in regards to what was intended by its placement of the FP. After all, the FP demonstrates a scientific truth; however, the truth which the FP demonstrates is not the reason for the FP's placement at the school, as I painfully found out in personal communications with the good folks at the school named after a geocentrist. No, the reason for the FP placement at the school is the reason for its placement at most, if not all atheistsic oriented institutions, that of showing "proof" of the Earth's rotation.

  8. The Foucalt pendulum is not proof of any rotation of the Earth.

    It is good that a Foucault pendulum be placed where TAC has placed it.

    The Logos of God makes no mistakes, and the Foucalt pendulum is a beautiful instrument by which the minds of men can be led to the contemplation of His Wisdom.

    1. Oh, yes, their Foucault pendulum is beautiful. I like how they have "omnia in mensura et numero et pondere disposuisti" ["thou hast disposed all things in measure, and number, and weight"] (Wis. 11:21) written on the marble floor below it. See a panoramic tour of it here.

  9. Rick: The Foucault pendulum is not proof of any rotation of the Earth.
    James: True!

    Rick: It is good that a Foucault pendulum be placed where TAC has placed it.
    James: To the extent it does not confirm in the minds of those that see it the false idea that the Earth rotates that may be. Based on my personal face to face discussions with people who have graduated from TAC and from people who go there now, the FP serves as one more proof of a rotating Earth.

    Rick: The Logos of God makes no mistakes, (James: True!) and the Foucault pendulum is a beautiful instrument (James: True!) by which the minds of men can be led to the contemplation of His Wisdom. (James: True, but in examining the particular circumstances at TAC I would submit that up until now the placement of the FP there has by and large been doing no such thing unless confirming people in falsehood be part and parcel of leading one to the contemplation of God's Wisdom.)

  10. Since there is not a single thing false about the Foucault pendulum; that is, the Foucault pendulum truthfully presents an aspect of reality as constituted by the Logos, it is not the pendulum that confirms anyone in falsehood. The human intellect, carefully considering the implications of the motion of the Foucault pendulum, is led to the contemplation of deep questions indeed about the nature of the cosmos and our place in it.

  11. Rick, I hate to drag this out, but I'm afraid I will most respectfully have to disagree with you to some extent.

    Rick: "... there is not a single thing false about the Foucault pendulum (James: True!); that is, the Foucault pendulum truthfully presents an aspect of reality as constituted by the Logos(James: True!), it is not the pendulum that confirms anyone in falsehood. (James: I would submit that if one is predisposed to believe that the FP is a confirming proof of the earth's rotation as arguably most people are who have been taught, however erroneously "facts" about the FP and what it supposedly demonstrates, and then one actually sees a real FP in motion the FP, regardless of its objectiveness as a truth bearing instrument, does indeed serve to confirm, however falsely and obviously not due to any innate property of the FP itself, the supposed rotation of the Earth. I would further submit that if that was not the case it would not be placed in so many places for that very purpose!) The human intellect, carefully considering the implications of the motion of the Foucault pendulum, is led to the contemplation of deep questions indeed about the nature of the cosmos and our place in it. (James: Rick, I would submit that is a very subjective statement which although may be true in a fair number of cases, it would certainly not be true in many, and even possibly most cases. Furthermore, I think -- I am reminded of all the superficial chatter I heard from people standing by and passing by the FP in the Griffith Park Observatory when I lived in L.A. -- of how what I imagine to be very few people really being led to "carefully considering the implications of the motion of the Foucault pendulum [and thus being] led to the contemplation of deep questions indeed about the nature of the cosmos and our place in it."

    As for TAC, I have been informed by people in the know that geocentrism (motionless earth at the center of the universe) is neither taught as a truth or a falsehood there. Apparently, the teachers at that institute (who may or may not have any firm belief of their own concerning geocentrism) leave it to the students to discern on their own the truth of the matter. By way of partial illustration of this, you can go to their site and do a search for "geocentrism." It will pull up one article relating to that subject which does not come down definitively on either side of the issue.

  12. The Foucault pendulum does not come down on one side or the other either, James.

    Perhaps that is your argument with it.

    It simply reports a profound fact about the nature of reality.

    It does not interpret it for us.

    That requires our intellect.

    The Foucault pendulum has no intellect.

    It does not judge.

    It does not lie.

    "To conceal a matter, this is the glory of God, to sift it thoroughly, the glory of kings."

    Perhaps you are upset that God chooses to conceal?

    Or is it that He demands us to sift it thoroughly?

  13. Rick, I have no argument or problem with the FP as such. I agree that it is a most wonderful instrument! And please rest assured that I am certainly not "upset that God chooses to conceal" or "that He demands us to sift it thoroughly."

    I do have a problem when it is set up in a science hall at a Catholic institution such as TAC and when from all that I can determine students are not properly informed about the truth that it truly demonstrates, but rather fed false information about what it truly demonstrates or at best left to their own devices to go and figure it out for themselves. Those who figure it out wrong are apparently left in their ignorance by the teaching authorities at TAC. I would certainly think the students at such an institution -- a Thomistic one no less -- would deserve better. (The "GC Agnostic" seen at " is a graduate of TAC.)

    If I had any good credible reason to believe that the students at TAC were being taught the truth about what the FP in its science hall truly demonstrates I would be delighted about its presence there. Unfortunately, I don't. I will leave it at that, but I would be most welcoming of any further comment you might wish to make. If I make any further comment on any of this it will probably be by way of email to you.

  14. What is the truth about the Foucault pendulum in your opinion, James?

  15. OK. Well, I guess a simple question deserves a simple answer.

    From what I can discern, the the truth of the FP is as follows. I refert to Geocentrism 101 by, of course, Robert Sungenis in answering. The FP provides no proof of the Earth's rotation nor for the heliocentric system. Furthermore, and as stated in said book, "The force most responsible for the turning of the Foucault Pendulum is the Coriolis Force." With respect to the Earth, I believe that the Coriolis Force is created "by the star field rotating around a fixed Earth."

  16. How would you respond to someone who stated: "No, the forces are attributable to the rotation of the Earth about its axis in a non-rotating star field"?

  17. By telling them I would agree with them IF they could convincingly demonstrate the truth of a rotating Earth aside from trying to resort to a simple assertion of the FP being evidence of such a truth, knowing all the time, of course, that they could not. This, of course, would open up the whole wide discussion of the evidence for geocentrism vs. the supposed evidence against geocentrism.. OK, now no doubt, you will provide me with a much better response!. :-)

  18. The Foucault Pendulum is used as a proof that the earth rotates. This proof is commonly accepted in all of academia. We however believe, that other forces could be at work here, and that the pendulum is moving and not the earth, but who can know this for sure?

  19. Velika:

    There may be a way to establish absolute motion. Some claim it has already been established, in the Sagnac experiment and other modern extensions of it.

    But we will certainly never know unless and until we start running experiments designed to *test*, not just assume, the foundational *postulate* of relativity, that all motion is relative.

    1. How about doing Sagnac and Michelson Morley experiments on the Moon or Mars? This would help eliminate some interpretations of those experiments.

    2. Such experiments have been proposed, but there's an organized lobby against funding anything that might disprove Einstein (except maybe the rip-off Gravity Probe B). LISA, a spaced-based Michaelson-like interferometer, has been proposed for at least a decade now, but it still doesn't have sufficient funding to get off the ground.

  20. Go to it Rick! You may just have a Nobel Prize waiting for you, not too mention the great gratitude of countless appreciative souls!

    1. I would be satisfied just to see the Nobel Prize Committee *truthfully* pass an examination on what the Foucault pendulum actually tells us about reality.

      Trust me, James, there will be no awards, no acclaim, no pats on the back for "The Principle".

      The film will be the subject of a flat-out war.

      We are not nearly polite enough to win any awards.

      Let them keep the awards.

      All I want is for the film to find its audience and stand on its merits.

  21. Wise words Rick -- very well said!

  22. Check out PDF pp. 445-457 of Bernard Carr's Universe or Multiverse?. The section "Are anthropic arguments, involving multiverses and beyond, legitimate?," is by a Jesuit astronomer at the Vatican Observatory.

  23. Thanks for the link.

    Fascinating article.

    If I had time, I would do a post on it.

    I would ignore the many, many fantastically good parts, and focus like a laser beam on the disastrously bad one:

    "That understood, are there concepts of testability which would enable multiverses to be scientifically legitimate? I believe that there are. One very compelling approach is that of ‘retroduction’ or ‘abduction’, first described in detail by the American philosopher of science C. S. Peirce [23,24] and more recently emphasized by Ernan McMullin [25–28]. ‘Retroduction’ is inference from observed consequences of a postulated hypothesis to the explanatory antecedents contained in the hypothesis – that is, it is an inference based on the success or fruitfulness of an hypothesis in account- ing for and better understanding a set of phenomena."

    This is precisely the switcheroo from science as falsification to science as consilience, with the consilience always provided retroactively, and never as a consequence of actually risky experimental test, undertaken with the intention of potentially falsifying the hypothesis.

    1. Peirce is probably the greatest American scientist, philosopher, and semiotician. He started out as a Kantian, then renounced his Kantianism, becoming a realist after reading Bl. Duns Scotus et al. Although not a Thomist, he said: "The system of St. Thomas Aquinas: beyond dispute one of the greatest that have ever been formed." But his philosophy of science is really primitive compared to that of the French Catholic physicist and historian of medieval physics, Pierre Duhem.

      See Duhem's: "Physics & Metaphysics," "Physics of a Believer," excerpt from To Save the Phenomena (where he discusses Galileo and Bellarmine) and excerpt from The Aim & Structure of Physical Theory by Pierre Duhem (vide also his biography, physicist biography, and philosopher biography).

      Regarding Peirce's "retroduction" or "abduction" terms, there's a good Commens Dictionary of Peirce's Terms.