Dear everyone who is still e-mailing me about this: I am not "forgetting" the idea of infinite parallel universes. I made a long comment in response to one of my earlier posts that really should be it's own blog post, and I'm posting it here. I've bolded where I start talking about "infinite".
My argument is that if there is no randomized component, then the decision is going to based on a variety of factors that we are not even conscious of, including biological, environmental, hormonal, etc.
If that is true and no randomization is occurring, then the outcome of person X being presented with Y cereal boxes under condition Z is going to be constant. The creation of an alternate outcome would be dependent on at least one variable being modified, hence why I consider a lack of genuine randomization a big deal.
To put it another way, if every effect has a cause, what cause exists for them to ultimately choose one cereal over another? One does not walk up to 5 boxes of cereal and walk away with one out of the five with no reason at all behind it. Even if they're totally apathetic and just grabbed a box without looking, their behavior still follows a series of causes and effects that could be tracked and predicted if one had all the information and the means to process it.
I also consider the idea of alternate universes being created as a result of every decision to be somewhat self-aggrandizing. I just held up my hand and chose not to snap my fingers. I find the claim that I just split the universe in twain by doing so a bit ridiculous.
As for 'infinite'. I know what it means. A problem here is that 'infinite' has multiple definitions, and one can argue which term applies to 'infinite' multiple universes. I'm willing to accept this one:
"Immeasurably great" - the number of alternate universes, should they exist, are beyond our ability to measure. The exponential creation of these universes is also beyond our ability to measure. The number is so vast and growing that mankind would be wiped out by the death of the sun before finishing saying what would be a long-outdated number of universes.
Going by this definition, every POSSIBLE universe could exist. Jon Stewart could exist in many different continuities, but he would not be in all of them, nor would we all be in all universes. It would be a cosmically huge mix and match scenario.
This one, however, I am less willing to accept:
"Unbounded or unlimited; boundless; endless" - This implies every universe, possible or not, exists. Under this definition, a universe where the world blew up during the American civil war, was reconstructed by industrious space beavers, and ultimately resulted in an exact copy of the world as we know now, except every five seconds we all freeze, then unfreeze without realizing it, exists.
Now, for all I know, that universe TOTALLY EXISTS, and that would be super cool. However, even if countless universes exists, I don't think that one does. I can't prove it either way, so it's just an opinion, but it's one I think logic has the back of.
In short, I'm actually pretty open to the idea of the first definition being true if there is actually a multiverse, and short of seeing documentation proving otherwise, I'm assuming "immeasurably great" is what quantum theorists are saying.
The second one, however, where any reality can exist for no reason, just seems silly to me. It's not something I'm going to accept has sensible from anyone without solid proof.
Also, of course I think I'm right. I wouldn't be saying this stuff if I didn't think I was. It would be pretty cool if I was wrong, but I haven't heard anything that sounds like definitive proof of that yet. If definitive proof is found, however, I'll probably tweet something along the lines of "cool!" followed by a link to a news post about it ^^;
I would also like to point out to anyone who is annoyed by my statement "nothing is random" that I am equally annoyed by people saying "there are an infinite number of universes" as though they were saying "the sky is blue". A lot of people say it like it's an indisputable fact that's been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. It hasn't been.
I can't prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that nothing is random. It's impossible; all it would take would be one provable random event to disprove my assertion. As such, it's a belief, not a scientific fact.
Infinite universes hasn't been proven, either. For all we know, we're it. There's evidence and hypothesis's that support there being more, but until there's solid, indisputable proof that there's even just one other one (such as by, say, actually making contact with another universe), that too is a belief.
I'll make everyone out there is a deal. I won't claim nothing is truly random is scientific truth if you won't claim there are infinite universes as scientific truth. At this point, they are both beliefs. They are beliefs with foundations in science and reasoning, but beliefs nonetheless.