I Conjecture: In an infinite multiverse we must exist.
Part One: Inevitable existance
“Everything not forbidden is compulsory.”–
T.H.White, The Once and Future King
The quote above is from fiction; in reality is anything but. It has been echoed by Nobel physics laureate Murray Gell-Mann and effectively, if not literally, by many other scientists. The message of the random, probabilistic nature of the sub-atomic quantum world is clear: given enough matter, energy and 4-dimensional space time, anything that is physically possible will eventually happen. If you roll the dice enough times, you will get every possible result. If you add an infinite multiverse–and remember, the many worlds interpretation of the multiverse is only one of four types of postulated multiverse–then it is conceivable that every possible set of physical laws exists somewhere. To some, this may appear to be just a restatement of the anthropic principle, and they may be right. Others may say that just the mere fact that we do exist makes this a moot point, and perhaps that could be construed as what I am saying. Admittedly we are getting down to semantics and philosophy as much as science.
But to reiterate this conjecture flat out, we exist because it is impossible for us not to. The justification for this statement is hardly original, and the statement itself has at least been alluded to by philosophers since the ancient Greeks. Friedrich Nietzsche expounded it as The Eternal Recurrence. It is the notion that, in a Universe that is infinite in either space or time, everything physically possible must recur ad infinitum. If that is the case, then it follows that it is inevitable that we would exist in the first place and inevitable that we will exist again and again in our current form as well as in every every possible variation. MIT cosmologist Max Tegmark, who as stated in a previous post defined the four levels of “other universes” in the multiverse, has taken this concept to an almost bizarre extreme. He has specifically calculated how far you would have to travel to find another earth with an exact copy of yourself–if and only if our local universe extends infinitely beyond the 13.7 billion light year horizon that we are able to observe. The number makes the Douglas Adams description of the universe as “mind-bogglingly big” appear to be sub-atomically small. It is, in light years, a 1 followed by something like a million billion billion zeroes. I don’t even know how to post that in scientific notation on WordPress. So if our existence is inevitably going to repeat itself in an infinite universe or multiverse, does it not follow that our existence is inevitable in the first place? No, it does not. This does not answer the question as to why there is something in the first place, rather than nothing. In part two of this conjecture I will address this question in both scientific and philosophical terms. And the ultimate answer regarding the impossibility of non-existence will come from the same source as my justification for the conjecture of infinity.
All text in this post ©2012 Mark Sackler