We here at Weiser Books are blessed with some amazing authors. It’s a big, big perk. We get to talk, correspond, and sometimes if we’re lucky (I’m talking about you now Judika Illes), we even get to meet the writers whose work inspires us. Today I received a blog post link from author Gregory Sams. I have never met the man, but we have chatted via email and the buzz from all who know him is that he’s a truly lovely guy. He is also brilliant. The post – which I am copying here (with permission) – sent me reeling into fits of existential agitation…
Stephen Hawking believes infinite multiverses dispense with the need for any intelligence in the process of this Universe. The other ‘verses’ are conceived to explain this one as just an accident of dumb matter. Is something being missed?
The multiverse story runs kind of like the old story with infinite monkeys, typewriters, time and bananas. Eventually one of them is supposed to crank out the complete works of William Shakespeare. In chronological order perhaps? If you really believe in this then by the same logic one of those monkeys would get it from the word go.
Since the existence of our Universe is so inexplicable, we are asked to believe in an infinite number of “multiverses,” just so that one of them might accidentally have come up with the specific sequence of myriad events, forces and phenomenon needed for it to hold together and develop intelligent life (meaning us).
The multiverse route is an odd road for physicists to take considering the complete lack of evidence, measurements or even hints of anything other than the known Universe. Perhaps they take this road believing the only other option is an equally undetectable supernatural character who planned and designed it all – from somewhere else (like humans try to do). But an unsupportable theory in opposition does not prove the cloud cukoo land multiverse idea, heavens no!
There is another road to take and it doesn’t need a name (pantheism or animism come close).; it’s just the way things are Wherever we look in the world we see organization taking place from the bottom up. In the rainforest nobody plots the frog distribution, rainfall patterns and river routes; they self-organize. There is no one architect to the termite mound, with its buttressed walls, perfect ventilation, ‘road’ network, nurseries and even fungus farms. Entire weather systems self-organize out of water moisture, wind and solar power. Each human cell has 5-10 million inhabitants, functioning and communicating with each other and other cells – doing life. The brain reading these lines has no central controller telling a hundred billion neurons what to do.
There is intelligence within the system. It does not need an ‘outside’ agent to oversee it. We inhabit a living intelligent Universe that is the sum of its parts, not a dead and accidental accumulation of matter. Call it God if you like. Quantum physicists have noticed self-organization on the subatomic level, with the famed David Bohm describing electrons as taking on the qualities of living beings. We bandy about terms like Chi, Prana and the Holy Spirit without considering the implications of such a spirit being all-pervasive.
That this idea should seem strange is stranger than the idea itself. Though unfamiliar at first, the concept of self-organizing bottom-up intelligence not only makes more sense than the logger-headed alternatives, it makes good sense.
Step into a Universe brimming with intelligence and design, which needs no Intelligent Designer.
I couldn’t answer the phone, reply to email, or focus on any one of the thousand tasks at hand. This brief treatise was like a gateway drug to big, deep, scary ideas – ideas that I would love to discuss with anyone out there who is interested. I plan to sit down over the next several weeks with both Stephen Hawking‘s The Grand Design and Gregory Sams’s Sun of gOd , a notebook, a pencil, and an obscene amount of coffee – and think. But it’s a lot to think about, and I am just one small Ankhie. I need help from other people, people with brains bigger than mine and the nerve to take them into uncharted territory. I need help from you, fearless readers. Are you up for it?