Sherlock Holmes Versus God Almighty: Who Is More Real? The Multiverse Says Go With the Gumshoe

July 15, 2014 1:11 PM

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Sherlock Holmes Versus God Almighty: Who Is More Real? The Multiverse Says Go With the Gumshoe

On its face, this is a preposterous statement. By definition fiction is false. The tourists who for decades sought out 221B Baker Street in hopes of glimpsing Sherlock Holmes were barking up an imaginary tree after fictional prey: neither the address nor the sleuth existed. Since then, the address has come into existence as the Sherlock Holmes Museum and the story has been updated, but the man remains a myth. Benedict Cumberbatch only plays Holmes. There is no such person. The lawyer's familiar disclaimer, "Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental," guarantees it. Right?

Well, as physicist Sean Carroll likes to remind us, we live in a preposterous universe. If, as many cosmologists now argue, we occupy a dot in an endless multiverse, then all stories that can be true must be true. Somewhere out there, the real Sherlock pursues the real Moriarty. Somewhere out there ...

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