Last semester, I took a very terrible (but mandatory) class called Science and Religion. A lot of the class involved bashing atheism and the worldview of naturalism as well as taking Dawkins, Hitchens, and Sagan quotes out of context and pinning the men as proponents of scientism. One big thing that this class got wrong was that it assumed that all atheists are believers in the theory of multiple universes. While this certainly is one hypothesis to explain the complicated naturalist stumbling block of fine tuning and the anthropic principle of the universe, it is just that: a hypothesis, and definitely not one that all atheists believe is true.
During our discussion of the multiverse, one angry young-earth creationist in my class shouted, “You need just as much faith to believe in that as you would in order to believe in creationism!” I had gotten swept away in the accusations that atheists believe in the multiverse as well as the self-righteousness of my peers, and I couldn’t help but take offense at his accusation. It seemed to me that a multiverse, if not real, was at least a better hypothesis than that of a deity who created the cosmos.
Later, after some contemplation, I decided that I wasn’t so sure that a multiverse was such a good explanation. It does seem equally as likely, or unlikely, as our universe having a designer. There’s nothing wrong with believing either of the two hypotheses, but I have no reason or evidence to take either one at face-value. I haven’t yet read Krauss’ A Universe from Nothing, nor have I looked extensively into the multiverse theory, but it seems to me as though it is nothing but a proposal to try to explain the observation of the seemingly delicately fine-tuned universe. Until I have a more legitimate reason to accept the hypothesis of the multiverse, I don’t believe it to be true, which is what I would expect any true skeptic to do.
I understand how this may lead me to a ridiculous sounding conclusion: that our universe is the only one there is, that it isn’t the product of thoughtful design or an infinite number of big bangs and big crunches, and it just happened to end up the way that it is on its first try. Dawkins has mentioned a few times so far in The God Delusion, as of where I’ve read to, that one very common mistake that is made when denying naturalism is that it is extremely unlikely that the universe, and even our tiny planet, must have come about randomly.
Keep in mind that I haven’t yet read A Universe from Nothing or The Blind Watchmaker (although I ordered them and they should be coming in the mail very soon!!) and that I’m no scientist, but it seems to me that all that we know for sure is that the universe is here, we are here, and we don’t know absolutely why. We know there was a big bang, but we don’t know what caused it, if anything, or whether or not it was following a series of other bangs and crunches. Those that accuse naturalism of being faulty due to having no concrete explanation of why or how we got here should know that, the way I see it, no other worldview has a better explanation. Sure, there are several hypotheses, such as a multiverse or a deity, but all they are are possibilities. Until we know for sure, I err on the side of skepticism and say that this is the only universe and there is some reason why it naturally turned out the way it did, which may involve natural selection and evolution, or something like them on a grander physical scale.
However unlikely it may be that this universe is naturally occurring, I like the sense of wonder that I am left with, hoping that in my lifetime, more answers are discovered in regards to the big bang and fine tuning. The most unlikely thing appears to be that we, and our world, manage to exist at all, but for now, it’s really all that we can be sure of. While we may never have a concrete answer of how or why, it is amazing and fascinating to be able to constantly ask questions and find out more.