Seminar Series

Testability in cosmology: can we prove a multiverse exists?

Speaker

Professor George Ellis, a visiting Erskine Fellow (see above for biography).

Institute

Time & Place

Fri, 12 Aug 2016 11:00:00 NZST in Rutherford 531, Level 5

All are welcome

Abstract

This is about the limits to testing in cosmology due to the existence of (a) visual horizons for each type of radiation, (b) last scattering surfaces for each type of radiation, and (c) the physics horizon - the limits of possible testing of relevant physical theories for the very early universe. These limits lead to the issue of whether claims that we live in a Multiverse are genuine science or not. I suggest they are rather scientifically based philosophy, because true science should be testable via data in some meaningful sense. Recent attempts to justify "non-empirical theory confirmation" (Richard Dawid) amount to a proposal for weakening the nature of science to a serious degree, even if it is based in Bayesian methods. It is a dangerous move because of current scepticism about science in many parts of society. The arguments for the multiverse are actually philosophical.