Chairman: Fellows of the Academy of Science, Ladies and Gentlemen. Without further ado, please welcome our guest speaker, Professor Alphie Omega who is to present a paper entitled “Evidence for the Multiverse – Refuting the Doubters”.
Professor Omega: Good morning fellow Academicians, Ladies and Gentlemen.
Many people doubt the existence of the multiverse. They are wrong. The multiverse exists. There is no doubt about it.
Copies of my paper are available in the foyer.
Chairman: Thank you Professor.
Firstly, I would like to thank you for the commendable er... brevity of your paper [laughter] but I had rather hoped you might present us with some supporting evidence for your... um... conclusion.
I’m sure the audience would have welcomed... er... a little more detail and maybe the opportunity to ask some questions and contribute to the discussion...
Professor Omega: There is no doubt at all that the multiverse exists. Only those who choose to ignore it can’t see it.
Chairman: I was rather hoping you might explain what evidence you have discovered and why it led you to reach that conclusion, as I’m sure were the audience...
Professor Omega: There is masses of evidence for those who want to see it.
Chairman: I want to see it. Please would you tell me where it may be found?
Professor Omega: Why do you hate the multiverse? Do you feel let down by it?
Um... perhaps I just worded my question badly. Let me restate it:
You say there is a mass of evidence for the multiverse (a proposition about which I am entirely neutral, by the way as I understand there are several conflicting pieces of research both for and against it).
I would dearly love to see this evidence and maybe discuss its validity with you.
Please would you tell me what this evidence is and where I (and members of the audience) may see it for ourselves, so that we may draw our own conclusions?
Professor Omega: I have masses of evidence but it’s clear from your hostile questioning that you would refuse to look at it.
I’ll show you my evidence, but first you tell me what proof you have that the multiverse doesn’t exist.
[Incredulous shouts of “What?”]
By the way, I said there “is masses” of evidence, not “a mass”. Why are you misrepresenting what I’ve said? You are showing your bias.
Chairman: I apologise if I misrepresented what you said. Now, where may we see this evidence for the multiverse, please?
Professor Omega: So you admit misrepresenting and persecuting me!
And you have failed to answer my question – where is your proof that the multiverse doesn’t exist?
Chairman: I apologise once again if I inadvertently misrepresented you, but frankly, my dear fellow, I’m beginning to wonder if you actually have the evidence you claim to have.
I really don’t see what the problem is; either you have it and can produce it, or you don’t and can’t.
Now, can you produce it or not?
Professor Omega: I have the evidence and I’ll show it to you as soon as you have answered my question. Your proof that the multiverse doesn’t exist, please...
Chairman: [Sigh] You know very well that a negative cannot be proven and that the burden of proof lies with the person making the positive claim.
Look! I really think we’ve reached the end here.
It’s now becoming quite clear that you aren’t going to produce any evidence for your assertion. Unkind people might be concluding that this is because you don’t actually have any.
[Shouts of “YES!”]
What do you say to them?
Professor Omega: I’m obviously wasting my time here. I’ve given you the evidence but you’ve all made up your minds and are refusing to see it. You can’t refute my claim therefore it is irrefutable.
You’re all in denial!
[Walks to the exit]
Call yourself scientists? You wouldn’t know the truth if it bit you.
Bye, dumb asses!
Chairman: Can someone go after Professor Omega and arrange a car to run him home, please? I’ll telephone his wife myself shortly.
I do apologise, ladies and gentleman. Clearly something is fundamentally [laughter] wrong with Professor Omega and we will be doing all we can to make sure he gets appropriate care to see him through what hopefully is a temporary problem. Over-work no doubt.
I think it would be a good time to break for what's going to be an early and rather extended lunch at this point...