Big Bang Evidence Fumble Might Invalidate Multiverse Theory
In March 2014, researchers believed that they had found gravitational waves, or ripples in spacetime that serve to confirm the Big Bang theory. As previously reported on Outer Places, their study failed to account for the potential presence of space dust, and as a result their conclusions may be flawed. According to prominent astrophysicist Paul Steinhardt of Princeton University, this blunder may also throw a wrench into the multiverse theory.
Gravitational waves would also serve as evidence for the multiverse theory by confirming inflationary theory. Inflationary theory states that, in the first few moments of the Big Bang, the universe expanded exponentially. According to Einstein's theory of relativity, this would cause gravitational waves, and in most models of the universe, it would also go a long way towards confirming the multiverse theory. Essentially, the inflation process would be so potent that it would be unlikely to happen just once, but would happen many times in many different universes. This would lead to many different universe coexisting, like bubbles existing in different regions of spacetime.
"A multiverse offers one good possible explanation for a lot of the unique observations we have made about our universe," says MIT physicist Alan Guth. "Life being here, for example."
But now Steinhardt claims that the rejoicing of multiverse theorists may have been premature, as other effects in our galaxy, such as light effects from dust and synchrotron radiation generated by electrons moving around galactic magnetic fields, might have caused the apparent ripples. "Serious flaws in the analysis have been revealed that transform the sure detection into no detection. The search for gravitational waves must begin anew."
There are other studies underway that are attempting to detect gravitational waves, but Steinhardt is concerned that the multiverse theory is becoming too flexible and unfalsifiable to be considered a legitimate explanation of the origins of the universe. While usually a theory can be effectively disproven if the evidence supporting it is not detected, the multiverse theory includes so many hypothetical elements that it can be adjusted for any criticism. For example, inflation itself is supposedly driven by a hypothetical field, the inflatron, the properties of which can be adjusted for different outcomes. "No experiment can rule out a theory that allows for all possible outcomes. Hence, the paradigm of inflation is unfalsifiable."
He acknowledges that advancements will continue to be made towards confirming or disproving the multiverse theory, but insists that no theory of the universe can be complete or acceptable unless it is both comprehensive and predictive, the latter of which the multiverse theory does not fulfill.