Naturalists Faith in Multiverses


“If nature so ‘clever’ as to exploit mechanisms that amaze us with their ingenuity, is that not persuasive evidence for the existence of intelligent design behind the universe?” asked a theoretical physicist Paul Davies, “If the world’s finest mind can unravel only with difficulty the deeper workings of nature, how could it be supposed that those workings are merely a mindless accident, a product of blind chance?”1 (Davies 1984: 235-6)

Stunning evidences on how complex and delicately fine tuned is the electrical to gravitational force ratio (N = 10 36), strength of nuclear binding (E = 0.007), normalized amount of matter in universe (Ω = 0. 3), normalized cosmological constant (Λ = 0.7), seeds for cosmic structure (Q = 1/100,000), number of spatial dimensions (D = 3)2 et cetera required for intelligent life permitting universe are piling up in the scientific community.

Our universe, as theoretical physicist Brandon Carter judged, according to Davies, is just right for life. “It looked like a fix – a big fix”(Davies 2007: x). This raises a further question. What is the most plausible explanation for the seemed big fixed values? Martin Rees gave three alternatives,

If our existence depends on a seemingly special cosmic recipe, how should we react to the apparent fine-tuning? There appears to be a choice between three options: we can dismiss it as happenstance [or coincidence]; we can acclaim it as the workings of providence; or (my preference) we can conjecture that our universe is a specially favored domain in a still vaster multiverse.(Rees 2005:  211)

For atheist scientists and philosophers, work of providence would be surrendering their entire worldview to theism, which view these increasingly modern scientific findings as resurging the argument from design.

Few are prepared to take the route that led a notorious atheist philosopher, late Antony Flew, to migrate from atheism to deism. Following where he thought the evidence led him, given the pilling evidences, Flew admitted that, “multiverse or not, we still have to come to terms with the origin of the laws of nature. And the only viable explanation here is the divine Mind.”(Flew 2007 120-1)

Philosopher Bradley Monton, who is less certain of his atheism after investigating arguments from design,  “think that there is some evidence for an intelligent designer, and in fact, [he] think that there is some evidence that that intelligent designer is God” (Monton 2009: 39) Unlike Flew, Monton does not think that the evidence is enough to make him stop being an atheist.

Rees on the other hand holds an agnostic position that “[w]e do not know whether there are other universes. Perhaps we never shall”(Rees 2005: 210). He would disagree with Flew’s conclusion. Rees supposes that multiverse can still be postulated as a genuine scientific explanation for the fine-turning of our universe. It is still likely that in the distant future, cosmologists would probably have a convincing theory that show whether a multiverse exists contended Rees. He went further,

But while we are waiting for that theory—and it could be a long wait—the “off the shelf” clothes shop analogy can already be checked. It could even be refuted: this would happen if our universe turned out to be even more specially tuned than our presence requires. (Rees 2005: 218)

George E. R. Ellis informed us that the idea of a multiverses, is increasingly receiving attention in the field of cosmology. Vilenkin, Lind, Guth, Smolin, Deutsch, Susskind, Sciama, Tegmark, and Rees are among proponents of different models of multiverses.

Ellis considered that “[t]he very nature of the scientific enterprise is at stake in the multiverse debate: the multiverse proponents are proposing weakening the nature of scientific proof in order to claim that multiverses provide a scientific explanation. This is a dangerous tactic.”(Ellis 2007) He contended,

The extreme case is multiverse proposals, where no direct observational tests of the hypothesis are possible, as the supposed other universes cannot be seen by any observations whatever, and the assumed underlying physics is also untested and indeed probably untestable.(ibid)

Exploring the evidences offered for existence of actual multiverses, Ellis concluded that these “proposals are good empirically – based philosophical proposals for the nature of what exists, but are not strictly within the domain of science because they are not testable”.  He finds multiverses theory not testable because it is so flexible and that it can accommodate almost any observation. “The multiverse theory can’t make any predications because it can explain anything at all.”(ibid)

Ellis concluded that both design and multiverse lack conclusive evidence thus both require an equal degree faith to be believed. “Despite scientific appearances, belief in multiverse is an exercise in faith”(ibid)

Martin Gardner shares Ellis’ position. He wrote,

The stark truth is that there is not the slightest shred of reliable evidence that there is any universe other than the one we are in. No multiverse theory has so far provided a prediction that can be tested. In my layman’s opinion they are all frivolous fantasies. As far as we can tell, universes are not as plentiful as even two blackberries. Surely the conjecture that there is just one universe and its Creator is infinitely simpler and easier to believe than that there are countless billions upon billions of worlds, constantly increasing in number and created by nobody. I can only marvel at the low state to which today’s philosophy of science has fallen. (Garder 2001: n.p)

Does multiverse actually exists? Maybe it does, maybe it does not. I would end by concurring with Ellis’ conclusion that “[t]he claim they exist is a belief rather than an established scientific fact. It is a reasonable faith with strong explanatory nature, but a belief none the less.”

Question: Does the multiverses explain the fine-tuning of our universe?


Davies, Paul (1984) Superforce: The Search for a Grand Unified Theory of Nature. New York: Simon and Schuster.

_________ (2007) The Goldilocks Enigma: Why Is The Universe Just Right For Life?. Penguin Books

Ellis, George E. R. (2007) The multiverse, ultimate causation and God. Talk at Emmanuel College 6th November 2007.

Flew, Antony (2007) There is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind. HarperOne

Gardner, Martin (2001) Multiverses and Blackberries: Notes of a Fringe-Watcher Vol. 25.5 , September / October 2001

Monton, Bradley (2009) Seeking God in Science: An Atheist Defends intelligent Design. Broadview Press.

Rees, Martin (2005) Other Universes: A Scientific Perspective in Ed. Neil A. Manson’s God and Design: The Teleological Argument and Modern Science.  Routledge.


[1] Davies rejects both multiverse and design as appealing to something beyond our universe. He holds to a kind of a self-designed universe.

[2] Martin Rees’ Just Six Numbers