What is the basis of the multiverse theory and how is it responded to?


In apologetic discussion contending with the parameters of the universe which – unless set as perfectly as they were – would have not allowed life to eventually exist, I am usually met with the most troubling roadblocks. As you may know, the saying goes: “With all the infinite universes there are, one was bound to have all the dials set in a way which would facilitate life.” I personally am both troubled and stumped by this argument, whether it be a cop-out or hard-evidenced-based scientific fact.

First off: in less ambiguous terms than given in Wikipedia, explain what the multiverse theory is as well as its scientific basis, and second: how do you respond to it?

I’d appreciate logical and informed answers only, as rhetorical talk does not provide anything beyond mere baseless self-reassurance.




M theory? Thats pretty deep stuff displacing string theory. I can perceive it but can’t explain it. There was a show on it Discovery channel once. Tim


Pertinent to the discussion: firstthings.com/article.php3?id_article=5441&var_recherche=copenhagen


"One can find religious scientists in every camp. Peter E. Hodgson, a well-known nuclear physicist who is Catholic, insists that Bohmian theory is the only metaphysically sound alternative. He is unfazed that it brings back Newtonian determinism and mechanism. Don Page, a well-known theoretical cosmologist who is an evangelical Christian, prefers the many-worlds interpretation. He isn’t bothered by the consequence that each of us has an infinite number of alter egos. "

Without getting into explanations of MWI, my personal understanding of it has changed over time. First came the realization that it was not falsifiable (and the fact that some scientists adhered to the interpretation did not make this otherwise).

The second understanding was this, and keep in mind this is my own view: I would consider more universes as greater evidence of God at work. Reason being: I always had trouble wondering about ‘what might have been’. What if instead of Mary and John getting married and having children, Mary and Alex did? Did the children of Mary and Alex not deserve to be? So to speak.

But if MWI were to be true, I’d see that every possible person was given a chance to come to know God and be saved by Him. What matters isn’t so much the number of universes, but what happens within them, so to speak. I doubt the truth of the matter is any easier to grasp.

As a final aside - don’t you find it amusing that some atheists now postulate an infinite number of universes to get around the ‘problem’ of our universe’s idyllic-for-life state? I believe it’s partly the fallout from having found out that, yes, a beginning to the universe not only is possible, but it makes some incredible material sense too.


I read through the article – a very informative, helpful one – yet I still either don’t fully understand or accept Copenhagen Theory. Determinism – in one way or another – eliminates free will so that even the sentence I am communicating to you right now is being governed by the re-arrangement of atoms. However, while Copenhagen theory abolishes pure determinism, (as I understand it) it still implies that we have no real control over anything we do, as it is still a matter of probability.

Either we have free will and Christianity is correct in this sense or we don’t have free will and there wouldn’t be any reason to send people to heaven or hell given that we can’t bend the laws of physics to make us better people.

So, is there any way in which free will itself could be proven true or accepted? This bothers me on a profound level.


QM is a bit more complicated - there’s a lot of different theories, and interpretations, even on specifics. Unfortunately the best resource I could recommend would be the wikipedia’s entry on such, but it sounds like you already hit that. Sorry, trying my best.

However, as far as Free Will goes, ‘Christianity’ as a whole entails various opinions of these things. Indeterminism at a quantum level may open the door to some potential concepts of free will, but just being random is not enough, as you’ve noticed. On the other hand, christianity (Catholicism in particular) has talked about the role of grace in our lives - if God’s grace guides us to lead good lives, is free will operating there? Maybe insofar as we choose to accept or deny grace.

My advice is to tread carefully while you read about such subjects, since free will is directly linked to questions of consciousness - and both subjects are rife with arguments, confusions, and worst of all, very animated people on both sides declaring to absolutely know the truth of the matter while so much is still up in the air.

For my own part, I wonder this: If the Copenhagen school is right re: Quantum Physics (If there’s nothing certain until a measurement is made), and if human thought is entirely determined… then why would there be a need for a measurement to be made? Why does it really seem like observation/measurement is doing something at that moment?

I hope some others in this forum help you, and I hope you don’t despair too much. It’s an important question, but sadly, it’s not one we may have a clear answer to anytime soon.


It does not matter how many universes one makes up, they all must conform to the laws of nature. Everyone knows if you place a cup of hot coffee and a glass of ice cold pop in the same room, over time they will both become the same temptature. It does not matter if you place those same drinks in multiuniverses, all the hot drinks and iced drinks will over time take on the temptature of their surroundings.


My point is, as building blocks of life form, they also fall apart, thus none of the universes would support life at all without an outside intelligence directing it.


I think one of the main problems is that you are seeking material proof of immaterial realities.

And I call them realities (cognition, reasoning, choosing, etc.) because they are REAL experiences of ALL conscious members of the human race. We “know” it from daily, actual (not hypothetical) experience. To invalidate the above realities, one would have to invalidate our experience of “knowing”.

There will be no materialist proof of free will. But, there is a superabundance of evidence based on experience and observation of human behavior.



Just a minor point, but the 2nd law of thermodynamics is statistical, not absolute. In theory, given enough different universes, one of them is going to have a hot drink that gets hotter and a cold drink that gets colder. Now because of the number of atoms involved, you would probably need more universes in the multiverse than there are atoms in our Universe to have an even chance of it happening, but in theory it could happen.



Scientists have calculated that a 1 followed by 50 zeroes (I think its 50 it could be more) is chance, beyond that it is design. Where do you think the multiverse theory puts it?


I know others have addressed your concerns from the point of view of the many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, but in general, I don’t think that that is the crux of the matter of the argument against design that you are presenting. Essentially, you presenting an argument against the anthropic principle. Essentially, that the Universe is surprisingly suited for the existence of intelligent life. Quantum mechanics, as we know it, is not, as far as I am concerned, really a significant argument against the anthropic principle because it presupposes a material universe where the laws of nature more or less are the same as in our universe. Thus, whether or not me responding to this post has spawned a multitude of universes (depending on whether I responded to the post and how), it is irrelevant to the basic question because each of those Universes are also well suited to life as we know it.

The real question, and the real challenge to the anthropic principle is the concept that the essential creation of the Universe in the Big Bang was not a singular event. Originally this challenge was framed in the contexts of cycles. The Universe would go through an infinite series of expansions and contractions with ultimately one of those expansions resulting in a Universe suitable to us. Modern evidence suggests that there are no such cycles. The latest challenges come from string theory and from inflationary theory, both of which posit that the Big Bang might have spawned an infinite number of universes at the same time, only a few of which might have been suitable for life.

In any case, I don’t particularly worry about these. They hypothesis without any real evidence to support them. 20 years from now, that might be different, but at the moment, its as much a matter of faith (i.e. believing in a multitude of universes) as our belief in God.



Umm, not sure what you are saying here, but I think you are referring to a figure tossed out by Fred Hoyle that basically argued that the emergence of life in the Universe in the time scale allowed for by the Big Bang (at the time they thought the Universe might 30-50 Billion years old, now we are reasonably sure it is less than 15 billion) if governed by chance alone was incredibly remote. The irony is that Hoyle was an outspoken atheist. He was really arguing against the Big Bang (which he believed was simply a theist attempt to put God back in the process). His belief was that the Universe was infinite in age and therefore life would emerge on its own just by random chance by virtue of the fact that it had forever to do it in :).



First off: in less ambiguous terms than given in Wikipedia, explain what the multiverse theory is as well as its scientific basis, and second: how do you respond to it?

first point… easy ultra watered down explanation (as I understand it)
The best way to think about a multiverse is to think of a stack of paper. Each piece has its own properties, features mass , etc. A drawing on one piece of paper doesn’t mean that the drawing will also appear on a different piece. The Universe we are familiar with has its own laws of physics, much like the sheet of paper has its own drawings. There are probably some laws that are uniform, but its a very new field. The theory is very heavy in quantum mechanics but to put it lightly, a universe is created when to other universes collide. One of the reasons the multiverse theory exists is as an attempt to explain why gravity is so weak, while the other forces are so strong.

second point. The existence of a multiverse in no way means that god does not exist. Just means he is far more complex than we realize

Hope that helps


Here are some links to multiverse theory:

When Branes Collide: Stringing together a new theory for the origin of the universe

The Beauty of Branes

Open Directory: Branes

Models with warped branes

MITs Lisa Randall: Two branes are better than one

Brane gravity fields and rolling tachyons

Supersymmetry physics on and off the brane

Here is a link to a variant called flexiverse:

Heisenberg + LSD = Stephen Hawking’s Flexiverse

Here is a link to a CAF thread which discusses the Big Bang, flexiverse, multiverse, and God:

The Big Bang Theory

and another thread:

Philosophy: Null-A and the Catholic Church


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