My Facebook friend Mike Blundell recently asked an excellent question in response to my talk at Watkins Books two weeks ago. In the talk I referenced the “Top Down” hypothesis of quantum physics as suggested by Stephen Hawking and Thomas Hertog. I would like to place my response to Mike as a new thread as I am interested to have your thoughts and observations. This is what I wrote: “Hi Mike. Sorry about the delay in getting back to you. In effect the Hawking Hertog model proposes that every outcome of every event existed at the point of the Big Bang. We exist in the countless number of outcomes that brought about this particular universe. However all the other outcomes also exist in a form of potential that has not been manifest in our “perceptive field”. In this way Hawking and Hertog attempt to explain the “Goldilocks Enigma”, technically known as the Cosmic Anthropic Principle in which we seem to exist in a universe “hard wired” for the evolution of self-conscious, self-referential entities such as you and I.
Of course the only known alternative explanation (using the materialist-reductionist paradigm, is Everett’s”Many-Worlds Hypothesis” which seems to fly in the face of “Occam’s Razor”).. All very interesting stuff but I cannot help being reminded of the concept of ‘Epicycles” to explain the retrograde motion of the inner planets. In other words these alternatives are suggested as “explanations” of empirical observations of how the universe actually works in order to shoe-horn our present scientific paradigm into the the clear empirical evidence that our present model cannot explain the universe as it really is. For example we have two totally conflicting theories; Quantum mechanics and relativity. The former explains the very small and the latter the very large. But the mathematics that support each model are mutually exclusive. How can we have a claimed total understanding of how the universe works using two mutually exclusive explanations? I cannot help but feel that future generations will look back on our ‘science” in the same way that we we look back dismissively at the epicycles of the Aristoteleon Medieval Schoolmen.