In the previous blog entry I wrote about an acceptance speech that Earl Flask gives for the Nobel Prize in Literature in another part of the infinite multiverse. It was a whimsical look at what would happen if the universe we observed was just a piece of an impersonal, chaotic, infinite multiverse.
One of my favorite science fiction writers is Arthur C. Clark. He had three interesting laws about prediction:
1. When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
2. The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
3. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
Let add the observation that these laws work for a infinite multiverse. We don't even have to have an infinite multiverse. In the immortal words of many calculus teachers, given a sufficiently large multiverse, these things, if not absolutely impossible, would happen somewhere in the multiverse. Michael Shermer has reparaphrased Clark's last law as: "Any sufficiently advanced ETI is indistinguishable from God." where an ETI is an extraterrestrial intelligence. In a sufficiently large multiverse, there are corners where the bizarre happens, and that can be indistinguishable from the activity of God. Here is another variation of Earl Flask giving a Nobel Prize acceptance speech, this time it is not for Literature, but the even more prestigious Peace Prize.
Your Majesty, members of the Nobel Committee, gentle women and gentle men. I cannot tell you how surprised and humbled I was when I received the phone call from the Nobel Committee that I had won the Nobel Prize for peace. But I also, like you all, am surprised by the amazing turn of events in the last few years. I remember the phone call from the Iranian President, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad asking me to be the opening speaker to the first General Assembly Meeting of the Iranian Presbyterian Church and that the day before the Iranian Parliament had adopted the Westminster Confession and Catechisms as the official state religion. All of this, from reading my blog, Metaschema. But that was just the beginning. That same week I received calls from the Royal Family in Saudi Arabia, the Swedish Parliament, the Norwegian Parliament, all informing me of their adoption of the Westminster Confession. All wanted me to speak to their newly formed General Assemblies. All from reading my humble blog, Metaschema. These remarkable events continued. A year ago today, I got phone calls from three people, emissaries from Osama bin Laden, the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, and the Patriarchs of the Orthodox Church, each telling their conversion or adoption of the principles of the Westminster Confession of Faith. From all these surprising events, it is no wonder that peace broke out in the world.
Because these series of events culminating in this award are so unlikely, especially considering abysmal words that I wrote, I am now convinced more than ever of the hand of God in governing human affairs. This thought humbles me. With this I rededicate my life to the betterment of humankind and the glory of God.
This award is giving me great courage to continue my work. I will, with God's help, rise to the occasion. Again, thank you all for giving me this award.
This speech got a 30 minute standing ovation in this particular part of the infinite multiverse (or sufficiently large multiverse).
Unlikely, absurd? Absolutely. Is it impossible? Perhaps as unlikely as one chance in 10100,000,000,000,000,000,000 (you add the zeros in the exponent to express the unlikeliness). But given a sufficiently large multiverse, it would happen. This raises the question -- how can we tell what is the cause of anything in an infinite multiverse? Do remarkable or unique events mean anything at all? If Earl is deluded to the cause of the remarkable course of history in his part of the multiverse, how do we know we are not deluded in our thoughts about the universe around us? The concept of an infinite multiverse, or a sufficiently large multiverse, has the seeds of its own defeat in the universe of ideas.