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Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Contest Question 1: Does the multiverse help science make sense - or simply destroy science?

This is Contest Question 1 for Earn Free Stuff at Uncommon Descent: Does the multiverse help science make sense - or simply destroy science?

(Note: You must comment at Uncommon Descent. For legal reasons, I cannot allow comments here.)

To help you decide, here's a classic pop science article by Anil Ananthaswamy of New Scientist, fronting the multiverse:
Today's measurements show the universe to be flat, but the uncertainty in those measurements still leaves room for space-time to be slightly curved - either like a saddle (negatively curved) or like a sphere (positively curved). "If we originated from a tunnelling event from an ancestor vacuum, the bet would be that the universe is negatively curved," says Susskind. "If it turns out to be positively curved, we'd be very confused. That would be a setback for these ideas, no question about it."

Until any such setback the smart money will remain with the multiverse and string theory. "It has the best chance of anything we know to be right," Weinberg says of string theory. "There's an old joke about a gambler playing a game of poker," he adds. "His friend says, 'Don't you know this game is crooked, and you are bound to lose?' The gambler says, 'Yes, but what can I do, it's the only game in town.' We don't know if we are bound to lose, but even if we suspect we may, it is the only game in town."
Question: For a free copy of Expelled, is this any way to do science?

Find out why there is an intelligent design controversy:


From the "Stuff you can't afford to know if you want a job teaching science" files

University of Bristol (England) bacteriologist Alan H. Linton went looking for evidence of the origin of species and concluded in 2001: "None exists in the literature claiming that one species has been shown to evolve into another. Bacteria, the simplest form of independent life, are ideal for this kind of study, with generation times of twenty to thirty minutes, and populations achieved after eighteen hours. But throughout 150 years of the science of bacteriology, there is no evidence that one species of bacteria has changed into another... Since there is no evidence for species changes between the simplest forms of unicellular life, it is not surprising that there is no evidence for evolution from prokaryotic [e.g., bacterial] to eukaryotic [e.g., plant and animal] cells, let alone throughout the whole array of higher multicellular organisms."

- Alan Linton, "Scant Search for the Maker," The Times Higher Education Supplement (April 20, 2001), Book Section, p. 29.

Find out why there is an intelligent design controversy:

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Earn free stuff!: The Uncommon Descent Contest

Why just be a commenter when you can also earn free stuff that is worth money?

Recently, at Uncommon Descent, I asked for and received 25 prizes, as follows:

10 DVDs of Expelled, courtesy the producers.

10 DVDs of Privileged Planet, courtesy the producers.

5 subscriptions, including back issues, to the excellent Christian/theistic science and culture mag, Salvo, complete with recent back issues, courtesy the editor-in-chief.

I will pose a question based on a recent news story, and ask for responses within two weeks. I will publish the winning response in a subsequent post.

You must go to Uncommon Descent and register to comment. (You will not receive any solicitations - at least none that originate from us.)


1. No more than 400 words in response. I will select the response I find most interesting and print it as a post. Be succinct.

2. New ideas impress me, even if I disagree. Rants and myths don't. Re abuse: Uncommon Descent is not competing for Troll Hole of the Year, so ...

3. I will not correspond with anyone about the award. My In Tray is already a natural disaster. If you don't win, try again. And who knows, if this contest takes off, I may be offered more prizes.

The first question will come shortly.


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