What’s the opposite of a razor? Because lately I’ve seen a lot of presumably sane scientists express enthusiasm for the “multiple universes” interpretation of quantum physics, discarding their standard-issue Occam’s Razor in exchange for Occam’s Duct Tape. In so doing, they reveal the difference between physicist and metaphysicist and the ongoing need for the latter.
This won’t be a long post because the issue is really simple: If there really are multiple universes, then they don’t connect in time or space. If they don’t connect to our spacetime, we can never, nobody we know can ever, verify that they exist, nor experience them; our very universe itself cannot experience or be affected in any way by them. If otherwise, these other universes are in fact connected to ours physically, and thus are not really other universes, but parts of the same, and the universe is simply much bigger and more honeycombed than we previously imagined. We could even grant that our universe has an infinite number of chambers, each with some big bang or crunch or wormhole umbilicus tying it to its neighbors. But this does not allow us to escape the mystery of particularity, the mystery of why this universe exists and others do not–for even in this infinitely honeycombed universe we now propose, the connections between chambers are utterly particular, and the whole creation still exists in a particular configuration that is not identical with every other possible configuration. To illustrate this, simply imagine an irrational number whose infinite sequence of digits might include every possible finite sequence at some point within it. This sequence represents a simplified, one-dimensional version of our “infinitely honeycombed universe.” Note that this irrational number is not equal to every other possible irrational number–it is just one of an infinite number of possible irrational numbers. Why this universe exists, while others do not, still demands an explanation other than “they all exist.”