The Theistic Multiverse: Problems and Prospects

In Yujin Nagasawa (ed.), Scientific Approaches to the Philosophy of Religion. Palgrave-Macmillan. pp. 143--162 (2012)
  Copy   BIBTEX


In recent decades, there has been astonishing growth in scientific theorizing about multiverses. Once considered outré or absurd, multiple universe theories appear to be gaining considerable scientific respectability. There are, of course, many such theories, including (i) Everett’s (1957) many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, defended by Deutsch (1997) and others; (ii) Linde’s (1986) eternal inflation view, which suggests that universes form like bubbles in a chaotically inflating sea; (iii) Smolin’s (1997) fecund universe theory, which proposes that universes are generated through black holes; (iv) the cyclic model, recently defended using string/M theory by Steinhardt and Turok (2007), which holds that distinct universes are formed in a never-ending sequence of Big Bangs and Big Crunches; and (v) Tegmark’s (2007) “Level IV” multiverse, which contains many universes governed by distinct mathematical and scientific laws. While not all of these preclude each other, the details and implications of each one are hotly contested. In one area within the philosophy of religion (the debate concerning the “fine-tuning” argument), scientific multiverse theories are widely held to be hostile to theism. This is because such theories appear to account for the relevant data – the biophilic parameters of the universe we inhabit – without appeal to an intelligent designer. Yet, in recent years, several philosophers and one physicist have offered reasons for thinking that if theism is true, the actual world comprises (or probably comprises) many universes. I first set out some requirements – both scientific and otherwise – for such a theory. I then survey some problems such theories are held to face, and some prospects they are thought to have. Finally, I examine arguments both for and against the claim that multiverse theories can help theists respond to the problem of evil. I conclude that such theories advantage neither the theist or the atheist in the debate about evil: they merely require reframing arguments from evil.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 92,923

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Megill’s Multiverse Meta-Argument.Klaas J. Kraay - 2013 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 73 (3):235-241.
Fine Tuning Explained? Multiverses and Cellular Automata.Francisco José Soler Gil & Manuel Alfonseca - 2013 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 44 (1):153-172.
Against Multiverse Theodicies.Bradley Monton - 2010 - Philo 13 (2):113-135.
Theism, Possible Worlds, and the Multiverse.Klaas J. Kraay - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 147 (3):355 - 368.
Evil and the many universes response.Jason Megill - 2011 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 70 (2):127-138.
Theism and Modal Collapse.Klaas J. Kraay - 2011 - American Philosophical Quarterly 48 (4):361.
Possible Physical Universes.Gordon McCabe - 2005 - Zagadnienia Filozoficzne W Nauce 37.
Evil, fine-tuning and the creation of the universe.Dan Dennis - 2011 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 70 (2):139-145.


Added to PP

218 (#95,265)

6 months
22 (#128,998)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

KIaas Kraay
Ryerson University

References found in this work

Evil and the many universes response.Jason Megill - 2011 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 70 (2):127-138.

Add more references