Today’s second most viewed article in Newsweek is an interview with Steven Weinberg about what we’ll learn at the LHC. Unfortunately it almost immediately turns into a discussion about religion and is linked to on the Newsweek site as Will Physicists Find God? The interviewer wants to know whether the Nobelist will be willing to reconsider his well-known atheism based on what is found at the LHC. Weinberg does a good job of answering these questions politely and sensibly. He gets a bit into philosophy of science, noting that the hypothesis of the existence of God is testable (in the same sense that string theory is testable), since thunderbolts coming out of the sky and striking atheists dead would give strong evidence that He (or She) exists.
Sean Carroll, quoting from a book by David Deutsch on parallel universes, attacks Weinberg as not understanding how science works in a blog posting about Science and Unobservable Things, and in a discussion with John Horgan at Bloggingheads entitled Cosmic Bull Session. He specifically is critical of a claim by Weinberg that “the important thing is to be able to make predictions”, arguing that such a statement is “going a bit too far.”
This month’s Discover magazine has a cover story on theories of what happened before the Big Bang. The article begins with St. Augustine speculating on what God was doing before the first day of creation, then moves to discuss the work of several modern “cosmology heretics”. The discussion doesn’t include the work of the Bogdanovs, but does cover three such theories, from Steinhardt and Turok, Carroll and Chen, and Barbour, ending up with a discussion of the crucial problem of testability of such theories. Steinhardt and Turok are rather concerned about this, and point to one negative prediction (shared by many cosmological models) that they can make: effects of gravitational waves will not be seen in the CMB polarization. Carroll and Barbour on the other hand don’t seem to have a problem with not being able to predict anything, with Barbour described explicitly as having “no way to test his concept of Platonia.”
For more recent research on the multiverse, see philosopher Klaas Kraay’s Theism and the Multiverse, where he argues that:
theists should maintain that the world God selects is a multiverse. In particular, I claim that this multiverse includes all and only those universes which are worth creating and sustaining. I further argue that this multiverse is the unique best of all divinely-actualizable worlds.