Universal Design or the Multiverse?

Last time we looked at the intelligibility of our universe, how the fact that the laws of nature make sense actually is a testament to its creation at the hands of an intelligent creator. There are some however who argue against the apparent evidence of design.

As we discussed previously, the field of physics is fundamental in understanding the order and dynamics of the natural world, and that field invariably relies on an underlying system of immutable mathematical laws. This complex network of structure and law, upon which our reality us built, is rational, predictable, and appears to be a wonderful testament to the fact that that order came not from some primordial chaos but rather from a transcendent intelligence. A rational confluence of structure, mathematics, and observation speak more of design than pandemonium, yes? Even so, what alternatives are there from those who counter the appearance of design?

Perhaps the most prevalent alternative comes in the form of the “multiverse” hypothesis, whereby we are said to exist in a single, wonderfully situated universe amongst countless others. The alternatives, we are told by the experts, would utterly run the gamut on variation, with the laws of nature as we know them coming in an unimaginable range of variations. Gravity, for instance, may be greatly minimized or even totally absent in one theoretical universe, while in another gravity may be so overwhelming that it condenses that reality to a baseball-sized aggregation of matter and energy. The possibilities are endless, they say, and we are simply lucky enough to enjoy the reality that we find ourselves in. As one cosmologist has said, “It seems, then, that the physical universe does not have to be the way it is: it could have been otherwise.”¹ By and large, this is indeed the predominant view amongst the mainstream.

All the wonderful design and structure we see, indeed are able to intellectually appreciate, are thus just happy accidents and cosmic coincidence.

What is a believer to make against such claims? Is this naturalistic perspective one for which our worldview is ill fit to contend with? Frankly, there are some issues with the multiverse theory.² First and foremost, there is no direct or reproducible evidence to support the existence of a multiverse. What’s more is that, in evoking the existence of realities outside of the known constraints of physics as we know them effectively moves the argument from the realm of naturalism to one of metaphysics. While there are certainly other problems that should be addressed, I’ll digress here, pointing to the fact that these two issues alone make the multiverse theory one that is not only without empirical evidence, but also one suited better suited to metaphysical consideration than naturalistic investigations; both of these aspects are indeed points of criticism lobbed by naturalists towards the believers for their faith in God.

One last thing that I find intriguing concerning structure, design, and the intelligibility of mathematics. For decades, SETI (The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) has utilized dedicated technologies and vast amounts of processing to scan the heavens for an indication of intelligent extraterrestrial life via radio waves or some other form of communication. In doing this, SETI’s equipment weeds through background noise and radiation in order to distinguish natural transmission from those with purpose and design. By utilizing patterns of structure, built upon recognizable mathematics, they passively support the very intelligibility of our reality, for if it were all chaos and confusion, nothing at all would make sense, be it here on Earth or in the heavens above. Design is a testament to the existence of a Creator. There can be no mistaking it.

For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God.” Hebrews 3:4

References :

1 – Paul Davies, The Mind of God (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1992), 169
2 – Explaining the Cosmos’ Susceptibility to Rational Investigation, By Kenneth R. Samples, February 1, 2011

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