God and the Multiverse: A Workshop
Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada
February 15-16, 2013
In recent decades, there has been tremendous growth in scientific theories which postulate the existence of many universes beyond our own. Once considered outré or patently absurd, multiverse theories now appear to be gaining scientific respectability. That said, the details and implications of each one are hotly contested.
In the philosophy of religion, multiverse theories are usually discussed in connection with the fine-tuning argument for the existence of God. In its simplest form, this argument runs as follows. If certain features of the universe had been slightly different, the universe would not have been capable of generating and sustaining life. This apparent “fine-tuning”, some say, is best explained by positing an intelligent designer. Critics have countered that multiverse theories undermine this argument. If there indeed are vastly many universes which vary – perhaps randomly – in the relevant parameters, they say, then it is not at all surprising that at least one universe is life-permitting. In this debate, then, multiverse theories are typically offered as naturalistic rivals to theism.
Yet, in a surprising twist, several philosophers have recently offered various reasons for thinking that, if theism is true, there are many universes. Rather than being deemed rivals to theism, then, multiverses are here deemed to be consequences of theism. Moreover, some philosophers have argued that a theistic multiverse model can even help to defend theism against prominent arguments for atheism, including the problem of evil and the problem of no best world. All of these claims are controversial, and a body of literature has recently developed around them.
This workshop aims to thoroughly assess the idea that a multiverse is, in some sense or other, to be expected if theism is true. The presenters (nine philosophers, two physicists, and one philosopher-astrophysicist) will consider the philosophical, scientific, and theological dimensions of this idea.
All are welcome to attend.
Please register at the website mentioned above. There is no registration fee.
If you have questions, please contact the workshop organizer, Klaas Kraay, at email@example.com.