David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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To reach the conclusion that the universe is infinite, physicists (a) make some observations; (b) fit those observations to some mathematical model; (c) find that the neatest model that accommodates the data extrapolates to an infinite universe; (d) conclude that the universe is infinite. In my presentation I will examine the logic by which physicists reach this conclusion. Specifically, I will show that there is no way to empirically justify the move from (b) to (c). An infinite universe should therefore properly be viewed as a metaphysical hypothesis consistent with certain physical theories but hardly mandated by them. By contrast, I will argue that the hypothesis of intelligent design—that a designing intelligence has left clear marks of intelligence in the biophysical universe—is not a metaphysical hypothesis at all but a fully scientific one. In particular, I will argue that whereas an infinite universe does not (and indeed cannot) admit empirical evidence, intelligent design can. Finally, I will indicate why an infinite universe, though sometimes introduced to get around the problem of design, in fact cannot get around it.
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