The True Significance of “Multiverses” and “Parallel Universes”
“When reading the cosmology literature, I'm always left wondering.” “Parallel universes, plus the theory of our own splitting constantly into an infinity of universes, are just too weird to believe.”
Thanks for the comment. It is always good to know the concerns of readers. You have hit upon one of the major ways in which systems philosophy evolves. When we draw an imaginary boundary around any portion of the infinite universe and study it to the exclusion of all else, we invariably make microcosmic errors. That is, we tend to overemphasize the microcosm and deemphasize the macrocosm. Nevertheless, our inevitably increasing experience with the macrocosm forces us to consider things that exist outside of whatever “system” we have chosen. We do this timidly, with the language following along in retarded fashion. Thus, when galaxies were first discovered, they were given the oxymoronic name “island universes.” We have long since abandoned that terminology, even though we tend to use the same approach on a grander scale.
Although equally oxymoronic, today’s multiverse and parallel universe theories are signs that the Big Bang Theory (BBT) is now in its declining years as the archetype of systems philosophy. Even conventional folks are thinking “outside the box” once again. This is analogous to what is happening in “systems ecology,” which likewise indicates that ecologists have learned that it is not enough to study a “system.” One must include its environment as well. So now, the observed universe is getting an environment—the first few toddling steps toward the realization that the universe actually is infinite. Through the back door, multiverse and parallel universe theories undermine the BBT. As weird as those conceptions are, we should see them as precursors to a grander vision: the demise of cosmogony and the ultimate acceptance of Infinite Universe Theory.