Why have I never paid much attention to the Science 2.0 site? Somehow or other, I stumbled onto this recent blog post by particle physicist Tommasco Dorigo talking about whether the idea of the multiverse is popular with the public because it's a bit like religion-like:
The discussion was scheduled to last one hour, but we kept our audience glued to their chairs for almost two, without boring ourselves nor apparently them. Being unfamiliar with discussions of the multiverse in public, it was interesting to me to detect how the idea is fascinating to most laypersons. I believe one reason is the religious aspect of the whole thing.I have mentioned way back in 2007 that Hugh Everett, who came up with the "many worlds" interpretation of quantum physics actually thought it guaranteed him a type of immortality. Seems to me that the multiverse could be argued to guarantee something more like re-incarnation.
Indeed, long ago man invented religion as a way to explain what he could not figure out by logical methods, as well as to accept his own mortality: religion made acceptable the concept of death, as well as give an explanation to other natural phenomena. And man is now inventing the multiverse in what appears to me a new, albeit well disguised, attempt in the same direction. One as reassuring and sweet as the idea of an almighty entity: because by throwing one's hands up with the idea of a landscape of universes with any possible combination of parameter values one relieves the pressure of feeling powerless, as of yet, in the task of understanding the new layer of mysteries that fundamental science has come to face.
I think one additional appeal of the idea of a continuous birth of universes of all kinds is the built-in feature of an eternal comeback of the same initial conditions, or infinitely similar ones. We might be immortal after all, but not in the sense that Tipler figured out in his entertaining but crazy book "The Physics of Immortality" - a host of intelligent computers allowing the best of us to be reborn as emulations short before the big crunch. Rather, if we accept that the universe is a multiverse unlimited in time, with bubbles continuously regenerated, we must conclude that we are bound to live again not one, but an infinite number of times. Hopefully still with a choice of what to do with our lives.
I must think about this more.