The True Significance of “Multiverses” and “Parallel Universes”

Frank writes:

“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.   


Rich said...

As far as the concept of Parallel universes goes, isn't each and every microcosm one might care to define in fact evolving "In Parallel" with every other microcosm whether one acknowledges this fact or not.
The take away I hear in the "Parallel Universe" noise found in today's natural philosophy cacaphony is that (Finally) this is an acknowledgement of universal time.
How refreshing is that?
Richard Jesch

Glenn Borchardt said...

"Parallel universe" is an oxymoron. Oxymorons should never be used by educated people. Of course, you are correct that all things evolve in parallel with all other things. I don't think the indeterminists are aiming to emphasize universal time. Many are still pushing the idea that there is no simultaneity, according to Einstein. Simultaneity occurs, of course, even though measurements taken in different locations must be adjusted to reflect that.

uchitrakar said...

If total energy of the universe is zero, then it can be shown that multiverse theory cannot be true. This is because total energy being zero, total mass will also be zero due to mass-energy equivalence. Scientists have shown that anything having mass will always occupy some space. So anything that fails to occupy any space cannot have any mass. Our universe perhaps fails to occupy any space, and that is why its mass is zero. But if multiverse theory is true, then our universe will definitely occupy some space within the multiverse, and thus in that case its mass cannot be zero. But as this mass is zero, therefore multiverse theory cannot be true.
Here it may be argued that radiation occupies space but its mass is zero. So here is an example that something occupying space can still be without mass. So our universe can also be without mass even if it occupies some space within the multiverse. In reply we will say that the example cited here is a bad example, because our universe is not any kind of radiation. So if it is without mass, then that can only be due to its not occupying any space, and not due to its being some sort of radiation.

Glenn Borchardt said...


I can sympathize somewhat with your problems trying to reconcile conventional views about energy. See my blog at: http://thescientificworldview.blogspot.com/2011/02/what-is-energy.html to get a detailed answer to your conundrum. The short answer is:

Energy is a calculation (E=mc2).

Energy is a matter-motion term (a multiplication of a term for matter times a term for motion). Matter-motion terms are descriptions of things and their motions (e.g., momentum, force, etc.)

Energy does not exist.

Energy does not occur.

What does exist is the matter to which the energy calculation refers.

What does occur is the motion of the matter to which the energy calculation refers.

Your confusion stems from the common misinterpretation that energy and mass are the same “thing.” They are not. Einstein’s promulgation of the corpuscular theory of light has not helped. In fact, his view of the photon as matterless motion is still taught in physics classes. You have learned your lessons well. Unfortunately, as you found out, it is not useful for figuring out anything about the infinite universe. You are not alone. Many really smart folks still think that radiation (the motion of matter) might have mass.

I am having difficulty in trying to understand what you are trying to say. You have correctly realized that radiation is not matter: “So anything that fails to occupy any space cannot have any mass.” But then, by assuming that energy and radiation are equivalent and equal to zero for the universe, you come up with this statement: “Our universe perhaps fails to occupy any space, and that is why its mass is zero.” Congratulations on coming up with a new proof of immaterialism!

uchitrakar said...

I know very well that energy and mass are not the same thing. But scientists have shown that mass can be converted into energy, and that similarly energy can also be converted into mass. This is called mass-energy equivalence, and this is true. That is why it was possible for the U.S.A. to drop two atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagashaki in the second world war. If zero is multiplied by any number, the result will be zero. Even if it is multiplied by infinity, then also the result will be zero. And it is needless to say that if zero is divided by any number, the result can also be nothing but zero. If zero energy value is to be converted to its equivalent mass value, then either zero will have to be multiplied by some factor, or it will have to be divided by some factor, and in both the cases the result will be nothing but zero. Thus if total energy of the universe is taken to be zero, then its equivalent total mass will also be zero; there cannot be any doubt about it. But if total mass of the universe is zero, then it cannot occupy any space, and thus in that case multiverse theory cannot be true.

I know very well why some people will dislike this idea. They want a zero-energy universe, and along with it they also want multiverse theory. With zero-energy universe they can show that God was not needed for creating our universe, because its total energy being zero it can simply originate from nothing. And with multiverse theory they can show that no God is needed to explain the fine-tuning of certain parameters of our universe, because multiverse theory can easily do that. So if it can be shown that multiverse theory cannot go well with zero-energy universe, then it is quite natural and understandable as to why this idea will have to face all sorts of oppositions from non-believers. One famous atheist has even written in a personal e-mail to me that it is silly and nonsensical that gravitational energy is treated as negative energy by the scientists, because by treating this energy as negative scientists have arrived at zero energy value of the universe. Incidentally I have also shown to him the incompatibility of the idea of multiverse theory with a zero-energy universe.

Glenn Borchardt said...


You say: “But scientists have shown that mass can be converted into energy, and that similarly energy can also be converted into mass.”

[As I have pointed out, energy does not exist. Energy is a calculation. Only matter exists. Thus energy and mass are not convertible. As I showed in my E=mc2 paper, the so-called “mass-energy equivalence” simply describes the transformation of one type of matter in motion into another type of matter in motion. In the case of atomic bombs, it is the conversion of microcosmic motion into macrocosmic motion.]

You say: “Thus if total energy of the universe is taken to be zero…”

[I can’t imagine who would make such a silly assumption.]

You imply that this is assumed by the BBT folks who are now climbing out of the box: “They want a zero-energy universe, and along with it they also want multiverse theory.”

I agree with your email friend “that it is silly and nonsensical that gravitational energy is treated as negative energy by the scientists”

[The fact that the BBT folks are still using indeterministic assumptions in opposition to "The Ten Assumptions of Science" in formulating multiverse theory is not a bit surprising to me. I wouldn’t want to defend any of their work, since I use the opposing assumption of infinity (The universe is infinite, both in the microcosmic and macrocosmic directions). That means, of course, that the universe contains an infinite amount of matter in motion, which yields an energy calculation of infinity as well. The main point of the blog was that multiverse and parallel universe ideas are transitional between the finite universe of the BBT and infinite universe of the IUT. Those are small, faltering, clumsy steps, but they are steps away from the myopia of the BBT.]

tonyon said...

parallel universes are necessaries to Immortality (3D Bioprinting...Telomerase...)

Glenn Borchardt said...


Thanks for the comment. Realize that immortality is impossible. Each microcosm in the universe comes about by convergence from submicrocosms and eventually comes apart via divergence of its various submicrocosms, which are always in motion. That is why every microcosm (include each of us) has a finite lifespan. One can imagine anything you wish, but neither parallel universes nor indeterministic teleomerase interpretations will give anyone immortality.

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