We do not know the answer to the question whether there are other universes – to be precise regions of space, or other spaces, with whom we will never have a causal direct communication, and in which the laws of physics could be different – but much of what we know of our Universe suggests that their existence is probable.
Interview with Prof. Lawrence M. Krauss
Department of Physics, and Beyond Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science Arizona State University
Science and religion, and we are talking to an Italian public. As you know religion – catholic religion – is an integral part of the daily life of the majority of Italians. Now… how can you say that there is no God, when God has created everything, and is waiting for us – at the end our earthly experience – at the gates of Heaven, or to punish us for eternity, even if he is not really happy to do that (but he has to)?
I don’t think the Catholic religion is really an integral part of the daily life of most Italians. While many people may call themselves Catholic, I doubt even most Catholics really accept all the doctrines of that religion. If asked whether they really think a wafer turns into the body of Christ when a priest blesses it, I expect most Catholics would probably say no. Moreover, I don’t say that there is no God, I just ask the question of whether God is necessary, and so far the answer from science seems to be no. Moreover, how can you say that God created everything and is waiting for us? On what authority, and how can you be so sure, without any evidence at all of that possibility?
You regularly raise controversies with your ideas on religion, and also in the scientific world, with your theories. One of them, the ‘Universe from Nothing’, is without any doubt one of the most controversial, also among many of your colleagues. We are no theoretical physicists, but how can you explain this theory to our readers? How can something as immense as the Universe be generated by… nothing?
I rarely talk about religion, except to point out the places where dogma is contradicted by the evidence of science, and to point out that whenever it is, we must accept the empirical evidence that nature provides, and not words written in ancient texts by individuals who didn’t even know the Earth orbited the Sun. Very little of the science I write about in A Universe from Nothing is particularly controversial, it just goes against our intuition. But science has taught us that our intuition is not to be trusted! Quantum mechanics, combined with relativity tell us that particles and antiparticles are popping out of empty space all the time. Quantum mechanics and General Relativity tell us that it is equally likely that universes can pop into existence as well. The total energy of our Universe might be zero, and if it is, there is no obstacle to it spontaneously arising from nothing!
One of the most fascinating theories in the world of astrophysics and cosmology is the idea that our universe is not the only one, an the term ‘universe’ would imply. That there are other ‘parallel universes’. Some of your colleagues support the idea that there are infinite universes, and infinite ‘us’, each one slightly different from the one in the next parallel universe. It looks like science fiction, but when we hear theoretical physicists supporting these theories… we do not know what to think. What do you think about the ‘many worlds theory’? Science fiction, or not?
We do not know the answer to the question of whether there are other universes—namely regions of space, or other spaces, with which we will never have direct causal communication, and in which the laws of physics may be different—but much of what we do know about our own universe suggests that their existence is likely. What is much more important is that this is not a question of likes or dislikes, or preferences, or voting. As our empirical understanding of the universe increases, while we may never have direct evidence of other causally disconnected universes, it may be possible to get rather definitive indirect evidence that they exist. So: NOT science fiction.. Not because we know they are real, but because unlike fiction, we can test the idea, and if it is wrong, we throw it out, and if the evidence supports it, we keep it, whether we like it or not.
We would like to thank Prof. Lawrence M. Krauss
Director, Origins Initiative,
Co-Director, Cosmology Initiative
School of Earth and Space Exploration, Department of Physics,
and Beyond Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science
Arizona State University
Alessio Cristianini | ADVERSUS