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Every year John Brockman’s Edge web-site hosts responses to a different question. This year the question was "What scientific idea is ready for retirement?."

There was an answer from Max Tegmark that follows which I couldn't agree more with. Bill S will no doubt have a view and knows that I view infinity in physics is an absurdity but anyone else have a comment.

Perhaps finally the forces are starting to marshal to have the infinity abomination exorcised and given it's last rites smile


Quote:
Max Tegmark (Physicist, MIT; Researcher, Precision Cosmology; Scientific Director, Foundational Questions Institute)

Infinity

I was seduced by infinity at an early age. Cantor's diagonality proof that some infinities are bigger than others mesmerized me, and his infinite hierarchy of infinities blew my mind. The assumption that something truly infinite exists in nature underlies every physics course I've ever taught at MIT, and indeed all of modern physics. But it's an untested assumption, which begs the question: is it actually true?

There are in fact two separate assumptions: "infinitely big" and "infinitely small". By infinitely big, I mean the idea that space can have infinite volume, that time can continue forever, and that there can be infinitely many physical objects. By infinitely small, I mean the continuum: the idea that even a liter of space contains an infinite number of points, that space can be stretched out indefinitely without anything bad happening, and that there are quantities in nature that can vary continuously. The two are closely related because inflation, the most popular explanation of our Big Bang, can create an infinite volume by stretching continuous space indefinitely.

The theory of inflation has been spectacularly successful, and is a leading contender for a Nobel Prize. It explained how a subatomic speck of matter transformed into a massive Big Bang, creating a huge, flat and uniform universe with tiny density fluctuations that eventually grew into today's galaxies and cosmic large scale structure, all in beautiful agreement with precision measurements from experiments such as the Planck satellite. But by generically predicting that space isn't just big, but truly infinite, inflation has also brought about the so-called measure problem, which I view as the greatest crisis facing modern physics. Physics is all about predicting the future from the past, but inflation seems to sabotage this: when we try to predict the probability that something particular will happen, inflation always gives the same useless answer: infinity divided by infinity. The problem is that whatever experiment you make, inflation predicts that there will be infinitely many copies of you far away in our infinite space, obtaining each physically possible outcome, and despite years of tooth-grinding in the cosmology community, no consensus has emerged on how to extract sensible answers from these infinities. So strictly speaking, we physicists are no longer able to predict anything at all!

This means that today's best theories similarly need a major shakeup, by retiring an incorrect assumption. Which one? Here's my prime suspect: ∞.

A rubber band can't be stretched indefinitely, because although it seems smooth and continuous, that's merely a convenient approximation: it's really made of atoms, and if you stretch it too much, it snaps. If we similarly retire the idea that space itself is an infinitely stretchy continuum, then a big snap of sorts stops inflation from producing an infinitely big space, and the measure problem goes away. Without the infinitely small, inflation can't make the infinitely big, so you get rid of both infinities in one fell swoop—together with many other problems plaguing modern physics, such as infinitely dense black hole singularities and infinities popping up when we try to quantize gravity.

In the past, many venerable mathematicians expressed skepticism towards infinity and the continuum. The legendary Carl Friedrich Gauss denied that anything infinite really existed, saying "Infinity is merely a way of speaking" and "I protest against the use of infinite magnitude as something completed, which is never permissible in mathematics." In the past century, however, infinity has become mathematically mainstream, and most physicists and mathematicians have become so enamored with infinity that they rarely question it. Why? Basically, because infinity is an extremely convenient approximation, for which we haven't discovered convenient alternatives. Consider, for example, the air in front of you. Keeping track of the positions and speeds of octillions of atoms would be hopelessly complicated. But if you ignore the fact that air is made of atoms and instead approximate it as a continuum, a smooth substance that has a density, pressure and velocity at each point, you find that this idealized air obeys a beautifully simple equation that explains almost everything we care about: how to build airplanes, how we hear them with sound waves, how to make weather forecasts, etc. Yet despite all that convenience, air of course isn't truly continuous. I think it's the same way for space, time and all the other building blocks of our physical word.

Let's face it: despite their seductive allure, we have no direct observational evidence for either the infinitely big or the infinitely small. We speak of infinite volumes with infinitely many planets, but our observable universe contains only about 1089 objects (mostly photons). If space is a true continuum, then to describe even something as simple as the distance between two points requires an infinite amount of information, specified by a number with infinitely many decimal places. In practice, we physicists have never managed to measure anything to more than about 17 decimal places. Yet real numbers with their infinitely many decimals have infested almost every nook and cranny of physics, from the strengths of electromagnetic fields to the wave functions of quantum mechanics: we describe even a single bit of quantum information (qubit) using two real numbers involving infinitely many decimals.

Not only do we lack evidence for the infinite, but we don't actually need the infinite to do physics: our best computer simulations, accurately describing everything from the formation of galaxies to to tomorrow's weather to the masses of elementary particles, use only finite computer resources by treating everything as finite. So if we can do without infinity to figure out what happens next, surely nature can too—in a way that's more deep and elegant than the hacks we use for our computer simulations. Our challenge as physicists is to discover this elegant way and the infinity-free equations describing it—the true laws of physics. To start this search in earnest, we need to question infinity. I'm betting that we also need to let go of it.


Interestingly Seth Lloyd (Professor of Quantum Mechanical Engineering, MIT; Author, Programming the Universe) is obviously working on the something with Max on this .... hmmm questions to be asked

http://www.edge.org/response-detail/25449

Last edited by Orac; 01/17/14 05:21 PM.

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Ok, I realize the idea that the universe is infinite does create some problems. But that raises the somewhat philosophical question as to what are the boundaries of the universe? If it isn't infinite there has to be some way to measure its size.

And of course then we still have the problem, if it is not infinite what is outside?

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Quote:
Bill S will no doubt have a view


No doubt! However, I might stand back and let others have a say.

Over the time I've been with SAGG I think I've said most of the things in the Tegmark quote; in layman's terms, of course. Perhaps notice will be taken in the hallowed halls of scientific academia now. After all you have to have a degree if you want to influence science. smile


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I've never had a problem with infinity myself and I don't see Tegmark's arguement to be all that strong.

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I agree the argument isn't string but his personality carries weight smile

I am surprised you don't have issues with infinity PMB have you done much with QM?

I suspect you know the background but for others who aren't I shall give the brief version.

I think the first time I ever realized there are major issues with infinity was very early when studying Schrödinger's equation. The solution has to be linear and finite to get a proper time evolution to work.

Any attempt to make the solutions non linear gives you immediate problems with superposition because if they aren't linear you can't add the superpositions in any meaningful way unless you know the equation of the non linearity and thus you just inserted "consciousness" or "god" into QM take your pick because you can't create time evolution without one of those and so now have a really bad "Wigner's friend".

Even good old wiki gives the background to the problem
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nonlinear_Schr%C3%B6dinger_equation)

Quote:
Unlike the linear Schrödinger equation, the NLSE never describes the time evolution of a quantum state (except hypothetically, as in some early attempts, in the 1970s, to explain the quantum measurement process).


So having satisfied yourself the solution must be linear you can try infinity observers but there is an immediate problem

Now for the more advanced you can try and solve the equation for infinity. For those not capable the problem is you end up with two possibilities of the waveform at infinity the value goes to zero or at infinity the value goes to some actual value.

For any wavefunction which doesn't go to zero at infinity it is "pathological" you can not make the wavefunction evolution independant of time and you are actually back to the same problem as the non linear case. I will leave this as a statement of what ORAC says open to challenge if anyone wants a go smile

As a side note this is why any fields that are waveforms go to zero at infinity smile

So the key thing here is it tells you implicitly that at infinity the result MUST go to zero ... and ZERO means it doesn't exist or at least it's not measurable/observable or however you want to describe it.

So first under Schrödinger and that follows into QM that if there is a real infinity nothing measurable/observable or real exists there. In other words you can treat infinity in the normal mathematical way that it simply means a non existent number that represents a very large and finite number which you don't know.

Under GR/SR and even string theory things are a little easier with infinity but under strict QM infinity is something that can not be real or at the very worst it is something that is not observable.

So I guess for me it comes down to if QM correctly describes the universe it can't be infinite.

Last edited by Orac; 01/19/14 05:47 PM.

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I have no problem with the idea that the Universe (sensu Gribbin) is finite. If that is the case, I would argue that nothing infinite can exist in the Universe.

Any reference to infinity in the Universe must be either a mathematical infinity or an approximation.

This just leaves two important questions unanswered:

"Can there ever have been nothing?"

"If ever there was nothing, could there be something now?"

I would not expect the answer to either of these to admit infinity to the Universe.


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Originally Posted By: Orac
if there is a real infinity nothing measurable/observable or real exists there.


Essentially this would be an infinity of nothingness. Is that even a scientific concept?

Presumably it could not exist in the Universe. and as it would be nothing, would it be meaningful to talk about "where" it might be?


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Originally Posted By: Bill S.
Essentially this would be an infinity of nothingness. Is that even a scientific concept?

Presumably it could not exist in the Universe. and as it would be nothing, would it be meaningful to talk about "where" it might be?


Exactly correct so you invoke occam's razor and the universe is finite.


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Originally Posted By: Orac

Exactly correct so you invoke occam's razor and the universe is finite.

But Occam's razor isn't a law. It is a guideline. The fact that you see it one way, which you reach by calling on Occam's razor doesn't disprove it. Infinity may be very real, you just don't see how. But this is at the limits of our scientific knowledge and so we don't know whether there is infinity or not.

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There seems to be divided opinion among scientists as to whether or not one should try to apply Occam's razor to anything outside the Universe. Personally, I think it is justifiable, precisely because it is just a guideline. It points in a rational direction, but makes no dogmatic statement.


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BTW; the questions remain unanswered.

"Can there ever have been nothing?"

"If ever there was nothing, could there be something now?"


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Originally Posted By: Bill S.
There seems to be divided opinion among scientists as to whether or not one should try to apply Occam's razor to anything outside the Universe. Personally, I think it is justifiable, precisely because it is just a guideline. It points in a rational direction, but makes no dogmatic statement.


WOW I agree and use it often for exactly the same logic as in this case.


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Originally Posted By: Bill S.
BTW; the questions remain unanswered.

"Can there ever have been nothing?"

"If ever there was nothing, could there be something now?"


Now here is another slippery slope can I define nothing because if nothing is a hard fixed the answer is no and obviously so.

However lets take money scenario you can have nothing but you can borrow some create more pay back the original and then have money.

The real problem you are chasing I think Bill S is not nothing but can one borrow in physics and does borrowing imply that there is not nothing behind it smile

Last edited by Orac; 01/20/14 11:45 PM.

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Originally Posted By: Orac
Now here is another slippery slope can I define nothing because if nothing is a hard fixed the answer is no and obviously so.


This quickly becomes one of those circular arguments that goes nowhere. Asking to define nothing is a cop-out. You cannot define nothing, other than as a complete absence of anything, which really does nothing other than rephrase the original. All that is achieved by this is avoidance of the original question. This is clever in a “pissing contest” but gets nowhere in any real discussion.

Quote:
However lets take money scenario you can have nothing but you can borrow some create more pay back the original and then have money.


In the same way that science legitimately uses infinite to approximate a very large number, your use of “nothing” in this context is purely symbolic. In the context of whether or not there can ever have been nothing, it is yet another cop-out.

Quote:
The real problem you are chasing I think Bill S is not nothing but can one borrow in physics and does borrowing imply that there is not nothing behind it


I’m not sure that I understand this. What I think you are saying is that if you have nothing, you can borrow something, then, where there was nothing there is now something. If that’s right, I might as well drop out of this discussion, because we are talking about two different things and there seems to be no way we can align our subjects. If there is nothing, there is nothing, there is nothing to borrow and no one to do the borrowing or lending.

It has been pointed out to me that “nothing” is not a scientific concept. “Scientists do not deal with nothing”. Fair enough. It is for scientists to define the boundaries of science. All I would say is that unless scientists are willing to give some thought to the concepts of nothingness and infinity they are unlikely even to come close to considering the origin of the cosmos, there will always be infinite regression.


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Originally Posted By: Bill S
If there is nothing, there is nothing, there is nothing to borrow and no one to do the borrowing or lending


That is called "Absolute nothing" and it's not a science term smile

Absolute nothing as per your definition can't exist in science it's not possible because there is an instant falsification because you exist.

Now can I reverse the problem why do you feel the need to even consider an absolute nothing? If you really feel absolute nothing as you have defined is essential then you need to take up a religion there isn't another choice and I am serious.

I don't get why you struggle with this concept it's a black and white answer as science will never be able to have an absolute nothing start because as per your definition above it can't >>> you defined it that way <<<.

You keep asking me the same question "How do you create something from nothing" but you scarcely ever consider the reverse problem I give you "Nothing seems to be a concept, could it ever really exist".

See it is a simple two choice problem with absolute nothing

(A) Absolute nothing can not and does not exist as evidence by the fact you are here.

(B) There is some GOD, Deity or whatever who can make something from absolute nothing.


They are the only two possible start points choose (A) or (B).


Regardless of your start point there appears to be laws and logic to the universe so science will exist and we will study them to advance our civilizations. Science existence doesn't depend on the answer.

The answer to that question ultimately isn't that important we are not here to prove or disprove the existence of GOD we are concerned with science. If your question was able to be answered it would however have implications to religion.

So make a choice Bill S .... A or B .... no-one is ever going to give you any others and can't because of what absolute nothing implies.

When you have done so you will find nothing changes with anything you studied in science smile

However after answering the choice, your religious status is decided ... see the question is religious not science smile

It really is that simple with absolute nothing.

Last edited by Orac; 01/23/14 04:05 PM.

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Infinity Exist !!!


m ---------- M >>> motion

if Mass is faster than own gravitation signal ( similar like airplane can escape from own sound Mass M can escape gravitation escape from point where was in past )

What will be if ?

mass m will feel M signal
M will not feel m signal

in many tests people proved that G speed is lower than C speed

above very real model of the universe ( right now all galactics accelerate )


About mathematica and physic ?
more problematic is ZERO not infinity
we all know that Zero in real world not exist
can we eliminate ZERO from QM ?


Last edited by newton; 01/23/14 06:52 PM.
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Originally Posted By: Orac
Now can I reverse the problem why do you feel the need to even consider an absolute nothing? If you really feel absolute nothing as you have defined is essential then you need to take up a religion there isn't another choice and I am serious.

Orac, I don't really have a big problem with infinity and nothing the way Bill S. does, but this brings up a sort of a problem. Earlier you said that the universe is finite. That then raises the question of what is outside the universe. That would presumably be absolutely nothing. So there is a bit of a conflict there.

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Originally Posted By: Orac
That is called "Absolute nothing" and it's not a science term


I dislike “absolute nothing” on the basis that you cannot have degrees of nothing. Either you have something or nothing. However, if science needs degrees of nothing, so be it.

Quote:
Absolute nothing as per your definition can't exist in science it's not possible because there is an instant falsification because you exist.


Not only do I agree with this, it is what I have been saying on this forum for over three years.

Quote:
Now can I reverse the problem why do you feel the need to even consider an absolute nothing? If you really feel absolute nothing as you have defined is essential then you need to take up a religion there isn't another choice and I am serious.

Could there be a spot of fixation amnesia here Orac. Look at my “signature” smile

Of course science does not depend on the answer to this question. Science existed before the Big Bang had even been thought of as a beginning of anything, and will continue if/when something replaces the BB.

Quote:
So make a choice Bill S .... A or B .... no-one is ever going to give you any others and can't because of what absolute nothing implies.


On the contrary, as I have mentioned before, I have posting in various places on the subject of whether there can ever have been nothing; and if there was ever nothing would there be anything now. Below is just one of the many responses – backed by a PhD, and years working as a physicist:

“All these laws are assumed to be true only within our universe, since that's the only place where we can look to see if they're true. We have no idea what happens outside of our universe--if there is an outside. If our universe was created from "nothing" it's possible this law doesn't hold.

Similarly, causality can't be violated within our universe, but outside our universe it might be---in particular, the concept of causality probably wouldn't have meaning, since it describes how things interact within the space-time of our universe, which presumably doesn't extend outside of it.”


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Make something from nothing ?

above example

m--------M >>> faster than G

mass M can make work ( mass m will fill G signal from mass M but fact that mass M made work will never stop mass M )


G speed respect to what ?
Light speed respect to what ?



p1...p2....p3....p4.....M >>> G

mass M wass in past in point 1 ,2,3,4,...

below very simply and old definition






CAN WE HAVE RING RESPECT TO MANY OBSERVERS OR ONLY ONE OBSERVER
inside ring's center



Last edited by newton; 01/23/14 07:04 PM.
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Originally Posted By: Bill
Orac, I don't really have a big problem with infinity and nothing the way Bill S. does


When are you all going to realise that I am the only one who doesn't have a problem with infinity and nothing? smile

Seriously, though:

Quote:
That then raises the question of what is outside the universe. That would presumably be absolutely nothing. So there is a bit of a conflict there.


Why would you presume that?

Why might the Universe be embedded in an infinite cosmos?


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Zero
and
Infinity

definition ( physics )



......... source ------>V2..........observer ----> V1


Exist many combination ( relation V2/V1)

always true is that observer can see infinity different Hz

always true is if V1 >>> C observer will see ZERO light

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Retiring Infinity from science?

so , I suppose that infinity has gotten in the way of
some of ...

meanwhile , infinity is retiring portions of science and replacing portions of science with something that has value.




Last edited by Amaranth Rose II; 01/23/14 08:14 PM.

3/4 inch of dust build up on the moon in 4.527 billion years,LOL and QM is fantasy science.
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You can call me like You want ...

If this will help you read very old Doppler's drawing ...


there is zero and infiniti and nothing is relative


Last edited by newton; 01/23/14 07:55 PM.
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disclaimer: if the use of the word science in the above context has placed any human being under any stress or caused any discomfort either physically or mentally , I would like to
express my virtual condolences in advance , at this time.

that said , if the shoe fits then you should think about
getting a better pair of shoes.

or at least complain to the manufacturer about the shoes
you have worked so hard for , because they are falling apart
at the seams.


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Quote:
Re: Retiring science from Infinity [Re: Orac]


My reply was targeted at oracs OP



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to help You each ring from Doppler = 3d ball




to help You more I will add animation

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/6/6d/Aberrationlighttimebeaming.gif


Ohh and one more --- in past in 1930 Mr Tolman made test
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/6/6d/Aberrationlighttimebeaming.gif

ohhh .... in home you can repeat my test



ohh You can ask somone who Like Astronomy ( not only matematica but he can use glass )



FLAT MATEMATICA no FLAT PEOPLE !!! BEAM HAS GOT 3D shape !!!



V0, 2 V0 flat physics ? we can or we can not recognize and measure motion respect to old apparent position ?

If intensity of the signal is zero ? the rocket can be too short ...

What a stupid question ? rocket ?



Rocket has got mass M person inside rocket has got mass m ?

how far from plaace where mass M was in past Mass m will register signal ( grvitation ? ) what is it constant acceleration ?



Above I showed real test and real experiment that we can confirm
only people who repeat that Einstein was great not like learn and study !!!

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Originally Posted By: Orac
Originally Posted By: Bill S
If there is nothing, there is nothing, there is nothing to borrow and no one to do the borrowing or lending


That is called "Absolute nothing" and it's not a science term smile

Absolute nothing as per your definition can't exist in science it's not possible because there is an instant falsification because you exist.

... If you really feel absolute nothing as you have defined is essential then you need to take up a religion there isn't another choice and I am serious.

....."Nothing seems to be a concept, could it ever really exist".

See it is a simple two choice problem with absolute nothing

(A) Absolute nothing can not and does not exist as evidence by the fact you are here.

(B) There is some GOD, Deity or whatever who can make something from absolute nothing.


They are the only two possible start points choose (A) or (B).

... If your question was able to be answered it would however have implications to religion.

So make a choice Bill S .... A or B
Orac, where does astronomy fit in to this discussion?--See the link, below I just found on SAGG.

The Bible does imply that, in the beginning, G.O.D (as a NO-thing, neither an object, nor a subject) created everything out of NO-thing, eh! laugh And G.0.D (the NO-thing, 0) is still in the business.

http://scienceagogo.com/news/20120011182544data_trunc_sys.shtml cool


Last edited by Revlgking; 01/23/14 10:18 PM. Reason: Always helpful

G~O~D--Now & ForeverIS:Nature, Nurture & PNEUMA-ture, Thanks to Warren Farr&ME AT www.unitheist.org
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Originally Posted By: Bill

Orac, I don't really have a big problem with infinity and nothing the way Bill S. does, but this brings up a sort of a problem. Earlier you said that the universe is finite. That then raises the question of what is outside the universe. That would presumably be absolutely nothing. So there is a bit of a conflict there.
Bill Gill


No you can't have an absolute nothing you made that decision in step one so it can only be a nothing which supports virtual particles.

I mean the current workable idea goes something like virtual particle pair pops into existence they balance back in all values to zero. The pair will create a scalar field, they will create time around, they will create space.

They won’t last long and they will drop back into the nothing.

But what if quite a lot of other virtual pairs turned up before that first particle pairs stopped? Perhaps there are imbalances that could develop that start or "bud" a universe.

So here nothing is simply a zero of all the pieces created it isn't an absolute nothing in that you can borrow against the nothing by simple particle-anti particle physics. That is after all why science is taking a good look at matter-anti matter imbalance.

From that theory start point our universe is most definitely finite against a backdrop of a nothing but that backdrop is not and can not be an absolute nothing.

Now lets assume we are way off track and something like string theory were right and the start point is in one of 10 dimensions we don't see etc. It doesn't change the problem absolute nothing still can't exist if it does you have a god because the definition of absolute zero gives you no option.

It doesn't matter how you roll the problem back, change the laws of physics, absolute nothing is a concept that only allows one option to a start which is a god.

So there is either a god or there is no absolute nothing you can't hide from the choice.


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Originally Posted By: Orac
But what if quite a lot of other virtual pairs turned up before that first particle pairs stopped? Perhaps there are imbalances that could develop that start or "bud" a universe.

But then the individual universe that budded from your nothing would not be THE universe. It would be part of the larger universe that it budded from, even if that larger universe consists only of the nothing that it budded from. So then we have the question of whether that superverse is infinite. If it isn't then there is still the problem of what is outside it.

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Originally Posted By: Bill S.
Why might the Universe be embedded in an infinite cosmos?

Why not? The thing is that having a finite universe implies that it must in some way be bounded. And if there is some kind of a bound then that implies a separation. So if the universe is separate, what is it separate from?

I can't say that I really think you have a problem with infinity and nothing, but you seem to be trying very hard to figure out what they really mean. Personally I readily accept that I don't know, and will never really know. You are one of those people who really tries to figure out what things mean. That isn't a problem, in fact that type of thinking can lead to some profound insights.

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Originally Posted By: Bill S.


Originally Posted By: orac
Absolute nothing as per your definition can't exist in science it's not possible because there is an instant falsification because you exist.


Not only do I agree with this, it is what I have been saying on this forum for over three years.


And you are correct or GOD exists. The ultimate determination of that answer is of little interest to science and likely will never be answered.


Originally Posted By: Bill S.

Could there be a spot of fixation amnesia here Orac. Look at my “signature” smile


I would answer that I could be developing a certain age disease but I am not sure of the status of that word and it worries me to use such a negative word smile


Originally Posted By: Bill S.

“All these laws are assumed to be true only within our universe, since that's the only place where we can look to see if they're true. We have no idea what happens outside of our universe--if there is an outside. If our universe was created from "nothing" it's possible this law doesn't hold.

Similarly, causality can't be violated within our universe, but outside our universe it might be---in particular, the concept of causality probably wouldn't have meaning, since it describes how things interact within the space-time of our universe, which presumably doesn't extend outside of it.”


The problem with that answer is it doesn't take you back to the ultimate beginning, it is setting up an infinite regression if you have logic OR it gives you a place where logic doesn't hold.

The problem with the place that logic doesn't hold answer is that then you end up with the same question put a different way and it goes like this

"Can a place that logic holds ever come from a place that logic doesn't"

See the problem it needs a GOD to provide logic or some way that a system can become automatically logical.

So that answer gives an infinite regression or the original question rephrased on a new definition of nothing involving logic smile

Last edited by Orac; 01/24/14 02:17 AM.

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Originally Posted By: Bill

But then the individual universe that budded from your nothing would not be THE universe. It would be part of the larger universe that it budded from, even if that larger universe consists only of the nothing that it budded from. So then we have the question of whether that superverse is infinite. If it isn't then there is still the problem of what is outside it.

Bill Gill


And then you have your answer .. balancing of numbers/information is the only possible solution to that suggestion.

No other way with logic to solve that problem any other way and I already gave Bill S the problem if you try to invoke a place where logic doesn't hold.

See the answer to the question depends on the definitions contained in the question ... universe, beginning, nothing, logic all have definitions that change the result smile

This goes back to where we all started .. which under your answer now goes too

A) there can never really be nothing and therefore the "ultimate universe" has no start

B) The "ultimate universe" has a start there is a GOD

make a choice Bill.

All you did was move the universe down thru regressions and now we need to define universe start as "ultimate universe start".

Last edited by Orac; 01/24/14 01:15 AM.

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What I am surprised at is that none have realized the better and correct phrasing of the question.

"Can there be such thing as a start to existence?"

I thought when Rev K entered the argument he would ask the question correctly

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Existence

Quote:
Existence has been variously defined by sources. In common usage, it is the world one is aware or conscious of through one's senses, and that persists independently in one's absence. Other definitions describe it as everything that 'is', or more simply, everything. Some define it to be everything that most people believe in.


OR it is often simplified to "Can there be a start to everything?"

GOD is the only known start point OR else there is no start point and everything has always been smile

Inverting the question to include nothing like Bill S did compounds the problem because the concept of "nothing" relies on definition which means it may or may not exist depending on that definition. "Everything" while ill defined must exist because you exist (otherwise nothing exists and there is no existence). The only ambiguity to the definition of everything is it is either infinite or finite. So there is only one definition that is murky and that is what does "start" or "begin" mean if you select the infinite definition of everything.

Ultimately it isn't a science question it is much more a religious one and if I was the complaining type it would be that this should be in NQS section smile

Last edited by Orac; 01/24/14 02:44 AM.

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actually , I dont think that infinity should be recognized
by "science" , so Im all for "science" removing infinity from
itself.

also eternity is similar to infinity yet
eternity describes an infinite length of time.

so , why wouldnt "science" also retire eternity from itself
in order to completely rid itself of such words that it considers to be jargon or illogical.

and lets not forget about forever , everlasting , etc.

"science" its obviously not infinite nor will it be eternal
nor will it last forever , or have everlasting life , so I can understand why "science" would want to remove obstacles that will outlast and outlive it.

I wonder how many words "science" will need to be removed
in the future in order to maintain its influence on the population of the earth.

science --- remove the C and add an L --- silence



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silence




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I thought you were a literal bible man Paul isn't is supposed to end in a day of judgement with big fires and the like?

If it does I am pretty sure science will end on that day laugh

So science is definitely not eternal it ends at about the same point as humans and I thought that was pretty obvious to even you.

Science's roll is not to be eternal it simply doesn't care about that sort of thing we leave that to religion smile

So if your religion is right you will get your wish and science will fall silent but definitely not before.

Last edited by Orac; 01/24/14 06:53 AM.

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Originally Posted By: Orac
And then you have your answer .. balancing of numbers/information is the only possible solution to that suggestion.

No other way with logic to solve that problem any other way and I already gave Bill S the problem if you try to invoke a place where logic doesn't hold.

Orac, I don't know the answer to the question of whether the universe is infinite or not. Right now nobody has a good answer. I don't know if we will ever have a good answer. But I don't think that your answer is a good one. What I would like to have happen is for people to accept that we don't know, and not just make positive statements when there is no hard evidence to support them. Speculation about the matter is quite acceptable to me, dogmatism isn't.

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Originally Posted By: Paul
And then you have your answer .. balancing of numbers/information is the only possible solution to that suggestion.

No other way with logic to solve that problem any other way and I already gave Bill S the problem if you try to invoke a place where logic doesn't hold.

Paul, if the universe isn't infinite, then there is very little chance that time is infinite. For one thing the universe had a fixed start in the far past. So while time might possibly have an eternal future it really isn't infinite. If Orac is right about the universe not being infinite, then I seriously doubt that it will have an eternal future. So if Orac wants to take infinity out of physics, then he automatically takes eternity out of physics. So I don't see what your problem is.

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Quote:
Orac, I don't know the answer to the question of whether the universe is infinite or not. Right now nobody has a good answer.


I have been under the impression that science doesnt need
any basis to claim the things it claims , so we can just
expect science to do as it pleases with whatever it pleases
and we can choose to believe what it claims or not.


Quote:
So if Orac wants to take infinity out of physics, then he automatically takes eternity out of physics.


I thought he wanted to take infinity out of science , not just physics.

it doesnt matter to me anyway , I dont consider myself as
belonging to the same group of believers that orac belongs to.

its really retarded to think that you can remove infinity
from science or physics and still have the ability to
describe endless division by 2 because endless division
by 2 would be infinite division.

the same goes for multiplication.

so without infinity , or forever , you dont have endless.

how will science or physics cope with that?

if anything can be done infinitely then infinity exist.

even if the job of division is passed on as an inheritance
from one parent to the next forever throughout eternity
as long as there is someone to continue the division then
the division will continue throughout infinity.

you can never divide something by 2 and have a result of nothing.

therefore infinity exist.















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Quote:
So science is definitely not eternal it ends at about the same point as humans and I thought that was pretty obvious to even you.


science is nothing more than a word taken from the greek word
for knowledge , scientia.

scientia ,it means knowledge.

so as long as there are people or other creatures that have
some bits of knowledge then you could claim that science still
exist.

Im thinking that scientist should have kept the original
terminology for a scientist apx 180 years ago which was "natural philosopher" because lately scientist are more like philosophers and to use a word that is defined as knowledge doesnt fit just right.

orac , would you consider yourself to be more of a philosopher
who deals mainly in the unknown or someone who mainly deals with the known?











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Originally Posted By: Bill
Orac, I don't know the answer to the question of whether the universe is infinite or not. Right now nobody has a good answer. I don't know if we will ever have a good answer. But I don't think that your answer is a good one. What I would like to have happen is for people to accept that we don't know, and not just make positive statements when there is no hard evidence to support them. Speculation about the matter is quite acceptable to me, dogmatism isn't.

Bill Gill


What I am disappointed at is that a group of educated people in 2014 can't work out is the answer is larger dependent on the framing of the question. One can be dogmatic about the answer because that's the way the question is framed, you consider the answer but you don't think about the question.

Bill S asked the question about something from nothing, even a mob of goat farmers and fishermen in BC times worked out to invert the question and wrote a book about the answer. Even prompted not one educated person on here thought to invert the question because it removes one poorly defined entity.

The dogmatic answers are not the problem, even your question above has two poorly defined entities "universe" and "infinite". Therefore the only answer possible must itself be a poorly defined entity (of which at universal scope there are very few). You can't prove an infinity you will be going to even define it, so the question is fundamentally flawed in the same way as Bill S's "nothing" question was.

So for me on fundamental grounds I would never start with anything being infinite because I could never test that because it gets tricky.

I should ask at this point have you ever run across the expression bounded and unbounded?

"Bounded" here refers to the fact that something has limits within the context of a particular property. An example of something that is finite yet unbounded is a circle. The circumference has no end points, but it is of a specific length.

So the circle is infinite & finite depends totally on the framing of the question and we are talking about a circle drawn on a piece of paper not something as complex as the universe.

Perhaps we need more goat farmers and fishermen in the world smile

Last edited by Orac; 01/25/14 02:16 AM.

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Originally Posted By: Bill
...I don't know the answer to the question of whether the universe is infinite or not. Right now nobody has a good answer. I don't know if we will ever have a good answer. But I don't think that your answer is a good one. What I would like to have happen is for people to accept that we don't know, and not just make positive statements when there is no hard evidence to support them. Speculation about the matter is quite acceptable to me, dogmatism isn't.

Bill Gill

Well said, Bill. Intellectual honesty, that's refreshing. But how dare you find flaws in the approach of the BS'ing SAGG Lord and Master Know-it-All? Most irregular, you know. Go stand in the corner.


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Originally Posted By: Orac
What, I am surprised ...that none have realized the better and correct phrasing of the question.

"Can there be such thing as a start to existence?"

I thought when Rev King entered the argument he would ask the question correctly. [ORAC. Here, as one individual, is my answer: For me, EXISTENCE BEGAN THE MOMENT WHEN I BECAME AWARE OF IT. The same is true for each of us. smile ]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Existence

Existence has been variously defined by sources. In common usage, it is the world one is aware or conscious of through one's senses, and that persists independently in one's absence. Other definitions describe it as everything that 'is', or more simply, everything. Some define it to be everything that most people believe in.

PAST, PRESENT, FUTURE in space and time (from Old English, TIMA).

Defining the meaning of 'time' is such an important concept that, in my World Book Dictionary, it takes up almost a whole page.

PROCESS PHILOSOPHY AND THEOLOGY
Can we imagine any kind of science activity--or for that matter, any kind of human activity--that would really make any sense whatever without the concept of processing in time? Without it, humanity, as we know it, simply would not be. Check out the work of Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947)--a great mathematician, process philosopher and lay theologian.

THE BOTTOM LINE? Process philosophy and theology says to scientists: Go ahead, within creation, within the space-time continuum, go ahead and do the best work you can. But make sure that your motives are unselfish ones; ones that devoted to serve goodness and truth in the service of all humanity. Meanwhile, leave the fathoming of eternity and infinity to good, moral and ethical philosophers and theologians.

Check out the work of Whitehead and his friend and colleague, Bertrand Russell.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_North_Whitehead

OK, NOW I WILL BE PERSONAL. If you feel left out, feel free to put yourself in the drama.

Existence is my experience of space and time. It started the instant I was conceived (the same is so for each of us). Then came birth, and eventually I became aware of being aware. Because I experienced the deaths of my two older siblings--I think I was younger than five--my sense of awareness came early in my current life.

This ability we all have of being consciously aware of the NOW--the one in which we presently live, move and have our being, is the quintessential evidence of the reality of life, and that we are who we are within it.

Similarly, the ability to remember the past and to envision the kind of future we want, makes us, for better, or for worse, the kind of person we happen to be.

THE FUTURE
What of the future? It is, IMO, not something that we can predict. However, it is one that we, individually and collectively, can create. It will be what we will and work on making it to be.

To put it another way: The future I used to think of and dream about, is for me, the one I am in NOW--a rather good one of the kind that I would like others to have, BTW.

Therefore, if I want a better future for me and all of us--one that is filled with that which is Good, Opportune and Desirable--it only makes sense for me simply to keep on with the process of good willing, thinking, learning, knowing and growing, moment by moment from this NOW, this point onward. As Shakespeare put it: "There is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood leads on to fortune..."


Last edited by Revlgking; 01/25/14 05:16 AM. Reason: Always helpful

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Time not exist similar like 0,1,3,4 not exist

time = only tool for describe this what we see around Us
mathematica = tool for describe this what we see around Us

Right now I see itiotic situation
for many people who like research mathematica determinate real world ???
They are building world for equation that they wrote
They not use equation to describe world

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Originally Posted By: redewenur
Well said, Bill. Intellectual honesty, that's refreshing. But how dare you find flaws in the approach of the BS'ing SAGG Lord and Master Know-it-All? Most irregular, you know. Go stand in the corner.


It's not an answer ... he stated that himself laugh

No offense was intended against Bill I was simply pointing out it's a safety position rather than an answer that stops one getting into to many arguments and fine it's his right to do so.

I don't care if people agree with me or not or think it is all BS, I certainly don't agree with many on here and think there answers are BS and that's fine. I personally don't want to convert any of you so I don't mind what you think smile

Paul, Rev K, Newton all have very different views to me as we and certainly would think my answers are BS as well that is sort of the point of what the discussion has become. A friendly exchange of different views without trying to annoy each other but understand different positions.

The point I was making to Bill and from your response I got the translation right is Bill's answer was posturing rather than trying to answer the question.

We all agreed this stuff isn't science so it was an open and frank exchange of peoples views nothing more nothing less.

Last edited by Orac; 01/25/14 10:58 AM.

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Originally Posted By: Revlgking
Here, as one individual, is my answer: For me, EXISTENCE BEGAN THE MOMENT WHEN I BECAME AWARE OF IT. The same is true for each of us. smile.


Thank you for that it's a very good philosophical answer, so true. Doesn't help me much in science but still a very good answer.

Let me do some background philosophical reading and I will start a post in NQS about self awareness, interested in your thoughts.


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Below evidence that not exist NOW and Not Exist Future

Exist only PAST or TIME not exist ?!?!?!?


M --V1----> motion ...... m ----> V2

V1>V2


Mass M3 ..................Mxxx

Mass M will hit mass m

Why exist only past ?



Between Us Masse m, M, Mxx in the universe Exist distance

Information need some times and medium that will inform Us
about problem /new situation


All is past because we never have information in real time !!!


Body that can not recognize time ??? very alone body without informations about other bodies in the universe ?
Perpetuum motion first type ?

please imagine distance p1----p7 = 1000000000000 Light Years

p1....p2....p3.....p4....p5.......p6.....p7......M>>> G>speed
.
.
.
.
m

Mass m is many km before mass M ?

we all know that gravitation's speed
G is lower than Light speed C


Why mass M is very alone mass ? why it is first type perpetum mobile ? it was first mass after big bang ?


lets describe mass M motion respect to point 1 ,2,3,4,...
and lets this motion will be biger than G speed

We all know that not Exist EM speed ( electromagnetic wave speed )
plus V speed ( V speed = Source's velocity )
NOT EXIST C+ 30 km/s !!!


Supersonic airplane can escape from point where was in past !!!
( we can see airplane but we will hear it after few secounds )

What if mass M is moving faster than G ????


WHY PERPETUM MOBILE FIRST TYPE ???


p1....p2....p3.....p4....p5.......p6.....p7......M>>> G>speed
.
.
.
.
m

Mass m fell old position of the mass M .
Mass M was in past in point p1 ..p2...p3...p4...p5 ...
and started perfect ring 1 ,r2,r3,,,




to above model please add very old fact ( Iverted square law )
how big intensity will register mass m




NOT EXIST ANY METHODE TO STOP MASS M !!!
mass m register step by step old position Mass M Very important animation is below !!!
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/6/6d/Aberrationlighttimebeaming.gif


THE UNIVERSE , HUBBLE and above

right ""now """ * sorry better use word """past"""
--- astronomers are measuring right now this what was in past.

right ""now """ people very well know that galactics are accelerating

what is the reason ?

why galactics step by step rise up own velocity

Newton told About Action and Reaction ( III rule ) if galactics are accelerating sooo ... please show me mass M that must slowing
down ???

You can not why ?

Because that mass was there where right now are going galactics
many years ago ( in PAST )





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Originally Posted By: Orac
"Bounded" here refers to the fact that something has limits within the context of a particular property. An example of something that is finite yet unbounded is a circle. The circumference has no end points, but it is of a specific length.

So the circle is infinite & finite depends totally on the framing of the question and we are talking about a circle drawn on a piece of paper not something as complex as the universe.

I have seen that analogy before and have accepted it, but at the same time I have always felt a little uneasy about it. The thing is that the circle is finite and bounded, as long as you stay on the circle. But it has very definite bounds if you try to leave the circle. So then the question is, what is the circle embedded in?

This brings us back to Bill S.' questions as to infinity and time. He is still trying to understand them. I don't think he will ever do it because nobody really understands them. I certainly don't. As far as the universe is concerned, I haven't heard of any thing that explains where it came from if it isn't infinite. Again that is Bill's question. And saying it came from a Quantum nothing (a quantum foam?) is begging the point.

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Originally Posted By: Bill S
Why might the Universe be embedded in an infinite cosmos?


I'm glad you picked up that point, Bill. there should have been a "not" in there smirk


There never was nothing.
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For my own benefit I would like to clarify the position.

1. In scientific circles “nothing” means “something” unless it is “absolute nothing”?

2. The “something” from which virtual particles emerge is classed as “nothing”, but not “absolute nothing”?

3. If there had ever been “absolute nothing”, there would be nothing now; but not all scientists agree with this?

4. There are physicists who maintain that “something” could have come from “absolute nothing” because the causality which we observe in the Universe might not apply outside the Universe?

5. There are also physicists who maintain that “something” could have come from “absolute nothing” if we accept that God exists, and created everything”?


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What happens if we treat infinity (including eternity) in the same way that science seems to have treated “nothing”?

We accept that infinity is a concept that can be manipulated mathematically, it can consist of an infinite sequence of finite objects.

There can be more than one infinity; in fact there can be an infinite number of infinities.

Infinity can have a beginning, as long as we cannot see an end.

However, we have to distinguish between “infinity” and “absolute infinity”.

None of the things applied to “infinity” above apply to “absolute infinity”.


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Originally Posted By: Paul
eternity describes an infinite length of time.


I have to disagree with that. I know what you mean, of course, but I cannot agree that eternity is any length of time, any more that infinity is a number.


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Originally Posted By: Bill

I have seen that analogy before and have accepted it, but at the same time I have always felt a little uneasy about it. The thing is that the circle is finite and bounded, as long as you stay on the circle. But it has very definite bounds if you try to leave the circle. So then the question is, what is the circle embedded in?


Bingo ... That is indeed the problem the one of containment, so you understand the issue.

Originally Posted By: Bill

This brings us back to Bill S.' questions as to infinity and time. He is still trying to understand them. I don't think he will ever do it because nobody really understands them. I certainly don't. As far as the universe is concerned, I haven't heard of any thing that explains where it came from if it isn't infinite. Again that is Bill's question. And saying it came from a Quantum nothing (a quantum foam?) is begging the point.

Bill Gill


Time I think the jury is out on it has some things that MAY be testable. Infinity will never be able to be tested because you can't test something that has no limits, there is always the possibility that just one more step beyond the current limit of testing will falsify. So anything with infinity in the question is ultimately unanswerable ever, in the same way an question with absolute nothing is unanswerable because you can not test either condition.

So I agree with you totally I just take a stronger stance that you could never do it, level of science understanding has nothing to do with the problem.


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Originally Posted By: Bill S.

For my own benefit I would like to clarify the position.

1. In scientific circles “nothing” means “something” unless it is “absolute nothing”?


Yes and let me expand it.

Normal nothing is the same as it to layman it is the lack of something that might be expected. You walk into a room and say it has nothing in it the universe didn't stop in the room and it likely contains air, dust, germs just not the usual stuff you expected.

So in scientifically we would say something like nothing can only be applied to contained set of parameters which you know the limits on.

What does that mean, I have to know that something exists to be able to test for it's inverse or nothing otherwise there is a big problem and the classic argument goes like this

If GOD exists he hates flying pigs so no flying pigs will exist. We tested all pigs on the planet and found none could fly therefore GOD exists and it is scientifically proven.

Do you see the problem the test collapses in it's own logic because it's setup to test of absence of something that doesn't exist.

Something exists (your existence proves that) so therefore the inverse is absolutely nothing. The problem is you will never be able to test absolutely nothing scientifically because of the problem above you can only test for the absence of something within known limits. Absolute nothing has no limits there are infinite tests required on infinite properties. So absolutely nothing is very different from nothing.

It's the flying pig scenario smile


Originally Posted By: Bill S.

2. The “something” from which virtual particles emerge is classed as “nothing”, but not “absolute nothing”?


Correct ... it is a nothing in the sense if you sum the bits they cancel out. It is actually a large amount of energy popping into and out of our existence and that is hardly nothing.


Originally Posted By: Bill S.

3. If there had ever been “absolute nothing”, there would be nothing now; but not all scientists agree with this?


I won't say all scientists we are a varied lot but it is very hard to fly the argument because science is about logic at right at the start you are going to have a big issue.

You have absolutely nothing, 1 fraction of time or some parameter later you have a quantity x whatever that may be .... doesn't matter how much we advance science that is a drop dead problem for science you are never going to be able to construct a logical argument.


Originally Posted By: Bill S.

4. There are physicists who maintain that “something” could have come from “absolute nothing” because the causality which we observe in the Universe might not apply outside the Universe?


This is the attempt to get around the logic issue. It sets up is that our logic doesn't apply in a wider universe so we are a logical universe inside a larger universe made up of different states of logical universes. So the solution to the problem is attempted by breaking the logic.

Do you see the issues?

Think about boundaries somehow the universes must coexist why don't the chaotic universes break into our universe, why is it respecting our boundaries?

Does this mean you can have part logical and part chaotic universe? Our universe seems to be completely logical so it sets up a very strong anthropic principle.

You setup the same problem with a new parameter called logic or chaos, so you just regress the problem to a new parameter, you haven't solved anything.

You could argue we just haven't seen the chaotic universe breaking into our ordered universe but we then have a flying pig again smile

So some scientists believe this but it has the same justification under it as the scientists that believe in god.

Originally Posted By: Bill S.

5. There are also physicists who maintain that “something” could have come from “absolute nothing” if we accept that God exists, and created everything”?


Yes that is perfectly fine it just means science is the study of laws of GOD.

Last edited by Orac; 01/26/14 04:03 AM.

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Quote:
I have to disagree with that. I know what you mean, of course, but I cannot agree that eternity is any length of time, any more that infinity is a number.


eternity describes an infinite length of time.

I didnt say that eternity describes any particular length of time or that eternity is any particular length of time.

but , maybe a better choice of words would have been

eternity describes an infinite amount of time...

LOL

I think of eternity as a word that describes all of time which includes any and all lengths of time.











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We Have Einstein's train and station

inside train is bulb at the end of train we have SENSORS

(to start Senor that will open door we need
energy Estart = A * T [Joules /mm2 ] * sec )

Many people who designe similar sensor know that we can
change sensitive of the sensor by changing Time or Intensity of the signal

What Is it Intensity of the signal ?


More far from place where
the signal started = lower intensity of signal
( "lower brightness" )
1R = brightness X , 2R = brightness X/4 , 3R = X/9
X- brightness, R- radius
the same energy portion but different area


What happen if Bulb is moving in space
below oryginal Doppler's drawing


The bulb is sending 3D wave from each new point in space where is ,was, and will be ..

Rear sensor and Front Sensor inside train is feel in one and the same time different Intensity of the signal



sensor..........bulb...........sensor ++++ motion

The DOORS wait for Sensor signal
;please open
,
,
Senor wait for energy portion Estart Joules-
.
.
the doors will be open for observer inide
train not in one and the same time !!!


Einstein made huge mistake
light it is not FLAT line but 3D Signal
to open door sensor need Energy portion Estart


Intensity of the signal is different for front and rear sensor

first test in HOME 2012 poland
30 km-s Earth around the Sun

C constant determinate direction
below I showed strait line
graph explain what will register Front and Rear sensor
How many joules per mm2







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Quote:
eternity describes an infinite amount of time...


We have evolved in time (or were created in time, if you prefer that), so it is very difficult for us to think of a timeless state. I propose that eternity is not time, it is just a term we use to try to get our heads round timelessness.


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Time exist only in our head ( not exist in real world )

Mathematica exist only in our head (not exist in real world )

People use many definition to describe this what is happen
around Us .Einstein made drawing and he use own imagination
not real observation.

light = 3d ball shape
it is not Flat single line !!!L

in above post I explained his mistake !!!
mistake !!! mistake !!!

We must back to physics and stop create world by mathematic equations
( the universe is not like we and Our imaginations about the universe - the universe is like is ... we can step by step see like it was
* we always see somthing not fresh











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Quote:
I propose that eternity is not time


eternity is not time , only time is time.
eternity is a word that describes an infinite amount of time.


Quote:
it is just a term we use to try to get our heads round timelessness.


I cant agree with that because eternity requires time.

and you cant stop time and experience timelessness , if you
could then you would also stop and even your thoughts would stop , so even if you could stop time , you could not experience timelessness because none of your senses would function once time had stopped.







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please stop time

ok I stoped and what ...

please stop use mathematica

You stoped and what

Universe has got any problem that You are not write 2+2

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Our imaginations can not and will never manage the universe !!!

Einstein = God :):):) wow he use own brain to tell the universe please use my theory plese use time ????and mathematica on very high level ????


what a comic situation !?!

Physics = that we observe and describe
Physics it is not that we imagine and create how is

I made test in my home
I know that light = 3D ball not FLAT LINE !!!

I'm not manage the universe I'm observing ...



Last edited by newton; 01/27/14 12:50 AM.
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please stop use mathematica

You stoped and what

Universe has got any problem that You are not write 2+2 ???


please push mass m on table in Your room
the universe will recognize that You are trying change something

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exist huge different between teretical physics

and Engineer

Engineer must observe and use ( my boss not ask me what I imagimagine but how much it cost and what is the deadline and how it works )

the best way is 50% /50 %

Why I started my tests / why Einstein started

why people on this forum not like read my posts

( my inspiration was simply - one day I made few picture of my daughter - Einstein inspiration - please look here is me my head and I my imagination will tell you how work the universe

what a f.... abracadabra matematica + marketing )

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There are two conceived flavours of eternity being mentioned: (i) timelessness, (ii) endless time. Maybe both apply to reality. I don't see a sound philosophical/logical reason to rule out either. Much of the discussion seems to arise from personal preference and conceptualization issues.


"Time is what prevents everything from happening at once" - John Wheeler
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Originally Posted By: Rede
There are two conceived flavours of eternity being mentioned: (i) timelessness, (ii) endless time. Maybe both apply to reality. I don't see a sound philosophical/logical reason to rule out either. Much of the discussion seems to arise from personal preference and conceptualization issues.


“endless time”. This is using “eternity” as an approximation for a large number, which runs parallel to the discussion we were having about infinity. If you accept it as an approximation, that seems ok.

If you think it’s not an approximation it reopens the same questions.

Is infinity a large number – is eternity a large number of seconds?

Can you have an infinite number of finite objects – can you have an infinite amount of time?


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Originally Posted By: Bill S.
“endless time”. This is using “eternity” as an approximation for a large number

Let's confirm that we are referring to the same thing. I see 'endless time' meaning that time had no beginning, stretching into an eternal past. Are you saying that such a quantity of seconds therein is an approximation for a large number?
Originally Posted By: Bill S.
Is infinity a large number – is eternity a large number of seconds?

My concept of eternity is as I stated above. Not merely a large number of seconds.
Originally Posted By: Bill S.

Can you have an infinite number of finite objects – can you have an infinite amount of time?

If space is finite, then the number of objects cannot be infinite. On the other hand, if space is infinite then there is no limit to the number of particles that may occupy it. I don't know if you can have an infinite amount of time, but it seems to be a reasonable concept.


"Time is what prevents everything from happening at once" - John Wheeler
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Im not replying to any particular person , but I would like
to suggest that we agree that we dont understand infinity
enough to retire it.

we need to get to know it , before we can retire it.

perhaps when we understand infinity we may be capable of
a decision.







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Quote:
we need to get to know it , before we can retire it.


That seems an admirable suggestion, Paul, do you have any suggestions as to where we might start?


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Quote:
If space is finite, then the number of objects cannot be infinite. On the other hand, if space is infinite then there is no limit to the number of particles that may occupy it.


That's absolutely right, Rede, but only at a superficial level. For example, 100 objects is a finite number of objects, you can, in principle, keep adding groups of 100, but the number will never become infinite. Why? The usual answer is that you would need infinite time, which you do not have. However, even that answer is superficial.

A deeper answer is that however much adding you do (even if you had eternity in which to do it) you would always have a number, and infinity is not a number.


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Quote:
That seems an admirable suggestion, Paul, do you have any suggestions as to where we might start?


LOL , lets consider what we believe it to be perhaps.

we know its a measurement , so if we think about it as we would
a yard stick that never has an end or or a clock that never can stop ticking away the seconds then perhaps that
might help some of us to visualize it or get to know it better.

perhaps



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Originally Posted By: Bill S.
That's absolutely right, Rede, but only at a superficial level. For example, 100 objects is a finite number of objects, you can, in principle, keep adding groups of 100, but the number will never become infinite. Why? The usual answer is that you would need infinite time, which you do not have. However, even that answer is superficial.

A deeper answer is that however much adding you do (even if you had eternity in which to do it) you would always have a number, and infinity is not a number.


But you can place an infinite number of objects in an infinite space. Of if you want to talk about time you can have an infinite number of finite moments in an infinite time. So if the universe is infinite in either space or time then there is no problem with having either a finite or an infinite number of things in it. So what you say is quite true, but there is still the question of whether or not the universe is infinite. And that we don't know.

I do know that I personally have a problem conceiving of the universe having a real beginning or end. I just can't quite wrap my head around the idea of an absolute nothing.

Bill Gill


C is not the speed of light in a vacuum.
C is the universal speed limit.
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Quote:
we know its a measurement


On the contrary, that is what it is not.
How would you measure it?

A yard stick is a finite object; how many yards in infinity?
You might say: "an infinite number, but that's a semantic cop-out. Infinity is not a number.

The same applies to seconds.

Far from helping us to understand infinity, it is our insistence on trying to force it into a mould of finite dimensions that leads to confusion.


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Quote:
But you can place an infinite number of objects in an infinite space. Of if you want to talk about time you can have an infinite number of finite moments in an infinite time.


I thought science was about things that could be tested. smile

Do you know of an experiment that could prove either of your statements?

You will probably say I've just shot myself in the foot, because it is not possible to prove the converse, but that's another line of discussion.


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Originally Posted By: Bill S.
You will probably say I've just shot myself in the foot, because it is not possible to prove the converse, but that's another line of discussion.


I agree with your previous statement Bill S but this one has got me?

Any finite object number should have an easy proof or is this back to the chaotic grand universe that we just happen to live in a (edit: used the "s" word .. arg) "logical" world and any moment the chaotic universe is going to break thru and mess it all up so we can't believe anything logical.

If you believe our universe is logical it is easy to prove at a layman macro object level and for science if you use Schrodinger or Dirac equations you can prove it for any two particles that they can't be in the same space at the same time. One of the weird things about BEC's is they break this rule and it was predicted to happen from the formula's a long before it was observed.

However Bill S you seem to enjoy weird so I am going to give you weird in a suggestion of John Archibald Wheeler ... enjoy
http://io9.com/5876966/what-if-every-electron-in-the-universe-was-all-the-same-exact-particle

Last edited by Orac; 01/29/14 06:25 AM.

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infinity is a measurement.

it is not a particular measurement as in a finite measurement
ie , a meter , a yard.

The English word infinity derives from Latin infinitas, which can be translated as "unboundedness", itself calqued from the Greek word apeiros, meaning "endless".

In mathematics, "infinity" is often treated as if it were a number (i.e., it counts or measures things: "an infinite number of terms")

the word infinity is defined as a measurement.
the word infinity is all that we have to work with.

endless is a measurement.
infinite is a measurement.

to say that something has a measurement of 1000km is a measurement.
and
to say that something is an infinite number of kilometers is
a measurement.

Im not saying that we know what that measurement is.
if we did , we wouldnt be having this discussion.


its just a word that we use to describe such a situation.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infinity





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Rarely do I ever agree with you Paul but in this case I do completely, its a word and concept nothing more.

Any "actual measurement" involving infinity at best is an approximation and at worst it is completely undefined.

Last edited by Orac; 01/29/14 06:38 AM.

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Another Newton post to delete Rose .. he will get the message eventually.

He has so much spam I don't think he has even worked out you have started deleting them smile

Last edited by Orac; 01/29/14 05:41 PM.

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I am trying to keep up. If he would only stick to his threads, I wouldn't mind so much. This tactic of splatter-casting has got to stop.


If you don't care for reality, just wait a while; another will be along shortly. --A Rose

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Quote:
its just a word that we use to describe such a situation.


Agreed, but unless we can have some degree of understanding of what our words mean, then language becomes worthless, discussion pointless and the "situation" we are trying to describe remains undescribed.

In the same way that in science the word “nothing” has evolved to a point where it has become necessary to use “absolute nothing” where once “nothing” would have sufficed; so we have, perhaps reached a point where we have to use “absolutely infinite” to differentiate between the scientific usage of infinity and that which is truly infinite.

Of course, one can point imperiously to the Greek or Latin origins of our words, but English is a living, developing language. Modern usage is much more relevant to scientific discussion.

Quote:
endless is a measurement.
infinite is a measurement.


It has been pointed out elsewhere that, etymologically, infinite = endless; so something can have a beginning, but as long as it never ends, it is infinite.

A few moments thought reveals the absurdity of this. Beginning and end are perspective dependent. Turn around and the beginning becomes the end.

This also argues that something finite can become infinite, which is completely illogical.

Quote:
to say that something is an infinite number of kilometers is a measurement.


I am not going to get into the etymology of “measurement”, but to say that an infinite number of anything is a measurement is clearly wrong, because you could never use it to determine the dimensions or quantity of anything. Nor could you ever measure its extent.


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Should we try to establish some points on which we agree, so as to avoid constantly being at cross purposes?

Some people have already agreed that infinity is not a number. It may not be universally accepted, so can I ask if anyone disagrees with the statement:

Infinity is not a number.


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Originally Posted By: Bill S.
In the same way that in science the word “nothing” has evolved to a point where it has become necessary to use “absolute nothing” where once “nothing” would have sufficed; so we have, perhaps reached a point where we have to use “absolutely infinite” to differentiate between the scientific usage of infinity and that which is


That is garbage even in layman terms "nothing" has never meant there is literally nothing including the universe

The usual historical dictionary definition is "nothing denotes things lacking importance, interest, value, relevance, or significance". It has been extended to "not anything" but it still had some logic that it was the absence of something expected.

If you go to the works of William Shakespeare and he has "Much Ado About Nothing" he isn't talking about the universe ending is he.

The need for absolute in the front is because you have butchered the word meaning and if I was another person on the forum I would be arguing that you have to stop using it like that because it offends me.

The word history of nothing is said to be from nan "not one" (see none) + þing "thing." first recorded in 1631 and that doesn't say the universe and everything ends there does it, it says lack of one thing. As Paul points out infinity has always had it's current use.

So don't blame the problem with nothing on science it is you layman that have butchered the word and it's meaning, we use absolute to try and clarify what you are talking about. In science we still use nothing in it's normal English sense like

"I tested for radioactive elements and found nothing"

The sentence doesn't say I found the end of the universe when I did the test smile

Last edited by Orac; 01/30/14 12:44 AM.

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Originally Posted By: Bill S.
Some people have already agreed that infinity is not a number. It may not be universally accepted, so can I ask if anyone disagrees with the statement:

Infinity is not a number.


Define number, there are many sorts of numbers?

Here is the list (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_types_of_numbers)

Choice of definition of number changes the answer so give me what sort of number system you are talking about.

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From The Online Merriam Webster Dictionary.

1 : not any thing : no thing <leaves nothing to the imagination>

Nothing has other senses that they list, but No. 1 seems to me to be applicable. Not Anything. If it is not anything then it is absolute nothing. I don't see that that is a problem. Nothing means just what it says, Not Anything, or an absence of anything, which would include any quantum foam that the universe might come from.

Just to restate it one more time for emphasis. Nothing means not anything, not space, not a quantum foam, not particles, not virtual particles, in other words Nothing.

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Websters contains the current use of the word including what the layman has butchered it to.

I had a certain "S" word which had the same problem. The "S" word has a very different use in Australia where I picked it up at ANU. In Australia they even have a large record chain called the "S" word and it even has an upside down "i" in it's logo and are in every state in Australia. In Australia they most often use the "S" word on non human things and hence it causes no offense.

Here is the retailer: (Caution this link contains the "S" word)
http://www.sanity.com.au/

So I am going to say your above Websters definition is every bit as wrong as my "S" word.

In your world you may believe that is all okay but I wouldn't agree to that definition you have butchered the word.

Ethan Seigel uses the word "nothingness" where I tend to use absolute nothing but I don't think you will find any scientist agree with your definition because it leads to confusion

http://scienceblogs.com/startswithabang/2011/08/16/the-physics-of-nothing-the-phi/

Live science also has an interesting article on the issue
http://www.livescience.com/28132-what-is-nothing-physicists-debate.html

You will note how nothing is denoted in Wikipedia under physics

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nothing

Quote:
In physics, the word nothing is not used in any technical sense.


That is the issue to me you are using a non technical word to describe something technical and specific but what do you layman care, you use it how you like I guess and offend us all as you like smile

Last edited by Orac; 01/30/14 01:30 AM.

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Originally Posted By: Bill
Just to restate it one more time for emphasis. Nothing means not anything, not space, not a quantum foam, not particles, not virtual particles, in other words Nothing.

Absolutely, Bill, that's the generally understood meaning, despite the various alternative usages of the word, such as 'there's nothing in the box', or 'there's nothing wrong with it'. One could play with the word ad infinitum (sorry Bill S. smile ), blaming either scientists or we - much maligned - lay people (heaven-help-us), but I'd say it's nothing to get hung up about.


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Originally Posted By: redewenur
Absolutely, Bill, that's the generally understood meaning, despite the various alternative usages of the word, such as 'there's nothing in the box', or 'there's nothing wrong with it'. One could play with the word ad infinitum (sorry Bill S. smile ), blaming either scientists or we - much maligned - lay people (heaven-help-us), but I'd say it's nothing to get hung up about.


And I have no issue with your use above you have used it in a none specific or technical meaning understanding what you mean requires context.

The fact the word is non specific or technical is easily picked up even by layman because it can be preceded by qualifiers .. consider the sentences

"It means absolutely nothing"
"Without him I am totally nothing"
"It is a completely nothing post"

Now try the qualifiers in front of a very specific defined word like infinity in a sentence and see if you can make one that makes sense?

absolutely infinity ... ?
totally infinity ... ?
completely infinity ... ?

If nothing was a precise term it wouldn't need or make sense with qualifiers.

If you want to use a non precise form of infinity you use the layman word infinite.

Even hitting infinite on wikipedia will give you the same issue as nothing because it's not sure what you are referring to (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infinite).

Again no science definition on infinite you need to refer to a dictionary and sentence context to understand what is meant, you can probably even put the qualifiers in front of infinite in some situations.

So I agree with you nothing requires context as does infinite and trying to run a science argument around such ill defined words is beyond stupid and a waste of time. This is just one long word game to stop the game you define exactly what you mean by nothing so create a new phrase or word but Bill S doesn't want to do that because it kills his byline tag.

Last edited by Orac; 01/30/14 01:10 PM.

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Originally Posted By: Orac
The fact the word is non specific or technical is easily picked up even by layman because it can be preceded by qualifiers .. consider the sentences

"It means absolutely nothing"
"Without him I am totally nothing"
"It is a completely nothing post"

Now you are getting off of the track. Those types of statements are linguistic tricks used by people for emphasis. Kind of like advertisers that give you something "absolutely free", if you buy their product. It doesn't change the meaning of nothing.

The context in which I have been using the word nothing concerns the question of what is "outside the universe". If the universe is not infinite, then what is outside the bounds? And the obvious answer is nothing. And again, if you are talking about nothing as a quantum foam or something of the sort, then it isn't nothing, it is something.

Bill Gill


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C is the universal speed limit.
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I understand your argument Bill but unfortunately it needs common sense that seems in short supply so to clarify things we define things tighter.

You note you can't play linguistics with infinity because it is tightly defined the art of not playing linguistics is to define things as tightly as possible. I understand your point and with normal intelligent people it isn't an issue but the groups who frequent this subject aren't normal and that is why the definitions become important and you see everyone do it from Ethan, science journals and yes even me. If someone as good at communicating science as Ethan can't do it without defining things I sure as hell am not going to try with my English.

However as all this post has developed into is linguistic garbage and no-one really wants to discuss anything I will leave the crazies to it. The thread has degenerated into yet another troll thread because we can't define things because that is bad apparently.

Last edited by Orac; 01/30/14 04:49 PM.

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Originally Posted By: Bill S
Should we try to establish some points on which we agree, so as to avoid constantly being at cross purposes?


Interesting that an attempt at clarification should have triggered a bitter diatribe against lay persons.

Perhaps there are those professional scientists who should avoid forums that include lay persons. Perhaps they could find forums in which there are only scientists, so they could all agree with one another and have no one questioning their dogma. Wait, though; do scientists always agree? Let’s take a few minutes to look back over some recent threads.

Originally Posted By: Orac
absolutely infinity ... ?
totally infinity ... ?
completely infinity ... ?


Maybe it would have been wise to have checked on the rules of English grammar before using adverbs to try to qualify/describe a noun.



I looked through the list and I still maintain that infinity is not a number.

In your professional opinion, which of those definitions accurately defines infinity?

This descent into semantic obfuscation is discouraging.

Let’s make one more attempt to bring the discussion back on track.

Originally Posted By: Orac
You note you can't play linguistics with infinity because it is tightly defined


Define infinity, please.


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Originally Posted By: Bill
Just to restate it one more time for emphasis. Nothing means not anything, not space, not a quantum foam, not particles, not virtual particles, in other words Nothing.


Originally Posted By: Orac
I understand your argument Bill but unfortunately it needs common sense that seems in short supply so to clarify things we define things tighter.


Perhaps only a naïve lay person would see Bill’s statement as being tightly defined. How would you better define “nothing”?


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Im leaving this up to you guys.

as far as Im concerned , infinity , the word infinity , and
the concept of infinity cannot be retired.

theres not enough knowledge about it.

so we will need to develop that knowledge or understanding
before we can begin to discuss retiring it.



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I think one of the problems with infinity is that mathematicians like to believe they have it where they want it. To some extent this is justified, but only in terms of mathematical infinities.

Another problem is that many scientists become shy of anything other than mathematical infinities, lest anyone should accuse them of being other-worldly. smile


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Originally Posted By: Bill S.
Interesting that an attempt at clarification should have triggered a bitter diatribe against lay persons

If you were attempting a clarification it was extremely poor because it just took it into a new word game so one wondered if you really wanted an answer.


Originally Posted By: Bill S.
Wait, though; do scientists always agree? Let’s take a few minutes to look back over some recent threads.

Hey we scientists hardly ever agree in fact unless we have a solid theory we can't explain away but we don't play mindless stupid word games. We define things constantly to make sure both sides agree on what is being discussed and argued.


Originally Posted By: Bill S.

Maybe it would have been wise to have checked on the rules of English grammar before using adverbs to try to qualify/describe a noun.

That was sort of the point so make some NOUN's to describe what you mean ... that is define a new noun .. you can't butcher noun's with context and qualifiers.

Originally Posted By: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noun

Nouns are a part of speech typically denoting a person, place, thing, animal or idea.

Look again at what Ethan did with "Nothingness" and I did with "Absolute Nothing" what are those?

Originally Posted By: Bill S
Define infinity, please.

It has been given at least twenty times above I agree with any of those definitions it is a concept understood correctly by everyone it seems. The issue becomes trying to use infinity in certain fields and that requires context and intelligence and failing those we have to define things better.

Is infinity a number well that is a depends question because it depends on what the person asking views a number as because the noun "number" has wide meaning. So if I am allowed to make new nouns which seems to cause many on here issues but hey lets just ignore that and do it anyhow.

Lets define a thing called "exact number" which is a number that has a number value that is precise and defined.

So infinity is not an "exact number" because it fails the new definition. In fact there a lot of numbers that fail the definition being any recurring number or irrational numbers like pi.

Now lets make a new definition called "wobbly number". A wobbly number is anything that represents a number but it does not have to be precise or defined. So infinity and all the irrational and recursive numbers are "wobbly numbers".

See now I have said something about infinity as an "exact number" and a "wobbly number" you can't argue with because I defined the nouns.

So there you have my answer infinity is not an "exact number" but it is a "wobbly number" and you are stuck because now you can't argue which is why you won't let me define things smile

So lets see if you can get bonus points which of my two numbering systems do you think I might use on physics of the universe and why? I will give you a hint for my part I need both for different sections and reasons why is really interesting and somewhat illuminating, and as a bigger hint it really isn't anything to do with actual science.

Last edited by Orac; 01/31/14 05:11 AM.

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Originally Posted By: Bill S
Should we try to establish some points on which we agree, so as to avoid constantly being at cross purposes?


Originally Posted By: Orac
If you were attempting a clarification it was extremely poor because it just took it into a new word game so one wondered if you really wanted an answer.


Your logic escapes me.

Quote:
Hey we scientists hardly ever agree in fact unless we have a solid theory we can't explain away but we don't play mindless stupid word games. We define things constantly to make sure both sides agree on what is being discussed and argued.


Not exactly supported by some recent exchanges!

Quote:
That was sort of the point so make some NOUN's to describe what you mean ... that is define a new noun .. you can't butcher noun's with context and qualifiers.


You rather missed the point there, Orac; but it’s not worth following up.

Quote:
So lets see if you can get bonus points


I have to say I’m not really interested in bonus points, or point scoring in any form.

Quote:
It has been given at least twenty times above I agree with any of those definitions it is a concept understood correctly by everyone it seems. The issue becomes trying to use infinity in certain fields and that requires context and intelligence and failing those we have to define things better.


I was looking for that “better” definition, one that was appropriate to the point you were making; if this is the best there is, we will be wallowing in verbiage until we have the sense to call a halt.


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Originally Posted By: Bill S.
I was looking for that “better” definition, one that was appropriate to the point you were making; if this is the best there is, we will be wallowing in verbiage until we have the sense to call a halt.


How do you know .. unless you try smile

I will fast track what I was going to get you to work out in case it does interest you since I can't encourage you to work it out on your own.

The thing it looks like to me you are trying to work out is a thing called a computable number and it somewhere between science, maths and computer science.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computable_number

The section called "Can computable numbers be used instead of the reals?" is what I think you are trying to work out with infinity.

An interesting side story part I was going to get you to solve is gravity covered by GR/SR needs and demands what I called wobbly numbers (possibly even infinity). The reason being is the formulas are smooth and as you can select an irrational number to use as the parameter to the equations so the result has to include irrationals etc as well. So GR/SR needs what I coined wobbly numbers.

QM being quantized in steps can not use wobbly numbers the results must always be finite and precise (hence planck distance, planck time etc). Thus QM requires what I coined exact numbers.

There was reasoning behind my definitions.

One of the interesting things to look at is how if GR/SR and QM describe the same universe how do the two numbering systems mesh you can't just round stuff off (the why is itself an interesting answer).

In the real universe with this backdrop pi or an irrational causes just as many problems as infinity something you hadn't seemed to yet work out.

That it appeared to me that is what you flopping around trying to work out with infinity, but seemed lost how to go about it. It isn't really science and in some ways it is not even studied in Western science (another interesting story around the Russian school of constructive mathematics).

The whole area in Western society is called Computability theory (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computability_theory) and generally comes under computer science.

Last edited by Orac; 01/31/14 09:17 PM.

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Originally Posted By: Orac
How do you know .. unless you try


I’ve been trying it for nearly 3 ½ years, and it’s getting worse.

Originally Posted By: Wiki
An alternate form of (2) – the machine successively prints all n of the digits on its tape, halting after printing the nth – emphasizes Minsky's observation: (3) That by use of a Turing machine, a finite definition – in the form of the machine's table – is being used to define what is a potentially-infinite string of decimal digits.


Not within a country mile.

We are back to mathematical infinities and their approximations.

“Can computable numbers be used instead of the reals?”

I am not a mathematician, but I see no reason why they should not be. On the other hand I would think that any advantage gained from so doing would be limited to very specific circumstances. This said, I should add that the only type of infinity that this would relate to would be mathematical.

Quote:
In the real universe with this backdrop pi or an irrational causes just as many problems as infinity something you hadn't seemed to yet work out.



What problems? The only problems with infinity arise because some people are unable, or unwilling, to acknowledge that mathematical infinities are approximations, and that there must be an infinity to which they approximate.


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Originally Posted By: Bill
Just to restate it one more time for emphasis. Nothing means not anything, not space, not a quantum foam, not particles, not virtual particles, in other words Nothing.


100% with you there, Bill. As regular users of colloquial English we must recognise other forms of usage, such as: "there's nothing here", but in the absence of the necessary qualifying context, nothing is nothing.

If we have to use "absolute nothing" to ensure that even the ultra punctilious know what we are talking about, so be it.


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Absolutely right, and absolutely devoid of pretentiousness.


"Time is what prevents everything from happening at once" - John Wheeler
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Originally Posted By: redewenur
Absolutely right, and absolutely devoid of pretentiousness.


That is the most stupid and pretentious answer ever given smile


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Originally Posted By: Bill S.
I’ve been trying it for nearly 3 ½ years, and it’s getting worse.


It's not getting worse you won't even try and consider the question, the question is answerable totally and completely in any backdrop but you want some BS generic answer and there isn't one.

I can answer your question in the GR/SR theory.
I can answer your question in the QM theory.
Paul even answered your question in his view.

The question is answerable but only within a backdrop of understanding and there are many answers to the question.


Originally Posted By: Bill S.

Not within a country mile.

We are back to mathematical infinities and their approximations.


And within the backdrop theory they are using the answer is correct and fine.

You want some sort of BS generic answer and there isn't one smile


Originally Posted By: Bill S.
What problems? The only problems with infinity arise because some people are unable, or unwilling, to acknowledge that mathematical infinities are approximations, and that there must be an infinity to which they approximate.


You are sort of on the track with the approximation issue but the problem is much deeper than you think.

Pi cause every bit of the same problem as infinity because it recurses to infinity in decimal places.

This is not rocket science here look the definitions up

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irrational_number

Irrational numbers are those real numbers that cannot be represented as terminating or repeating decimals.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Repeating_decimal

The decimal representation of a number is said to be repeating if it becomes periodic (repeating its values at regular intervals) and the infinitely-repeated digit is not zero.


The problem exists on literally infinity other numbers other than infinity as per the two types above they can't even be represented with normal numbers you have to invent special short-hands.

The issue is as you figured is how do you approximate the numbers and those approximations may be determined by other factors in a backdrop and may not even be valid under certain backdrops.

Pi is a classic for this because it is known to 100,000 decimal places but used in an engineering or space backdrop that precision is complete garbage and it may not even be close.

The most classic example of that is the representing circles on a grid. The actual value of pi that will give the correct answer on the grid depends on the ratio of the grid size to the radius of the circle there is no standard approximation. If you doubt the answer try drawing a circle on a 1 x 1 grid and then try a 2 x 2 grid smile

As I said all this stuff is known what you are trying to convert infinity, pi and all the irrationals to a computable number.

The problem is a computable number relies on the computable function of the system we are talking about.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computable_function

=> Any definition, however, must make reference to some specific model of computation but all valid definitions yield the same class of functions.
=> Before the precise definition of computable function, mathematicians often used the informal term effectively calculable.


That in a nutshell is your answer and unfortunately it's not simple like you want but it is the answer and all of this is has nothing to do with science and there is nothing special about infinity, infinite other numbers have the same issue smile

I guess if you still don't like the answer you should move the discussion to a more suitable forum because this is well outside anything to do with science.

Last edited by Orac; 02/02/14 03:56 PM.

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I was addicted to the Hokey Pokey, but then I turned myself around!!




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ROFL that is spot on TT who needs infinity smile

Such a clever way to show the computability problem take my hat off to Scott Adams.

Last edited by Orac; 02/02/14 04:18 PM.

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That's a gem, TT. It should be entitled "the SAGG meeting".


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Thanks again, Orac, for a long and detailed response. I really do appreciate the effort you must put into trying to shine a light into what must appear to you as my darkness.

One of the difficulties is that you tend to assume I am taking issue with things that I have no argument with. I actually agree with practically everything you said in your last post.

I am going to give it a bit of thought and see if I can present it from a different perspective.


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the great thinkers of the Age of Reason and the Enlightenment were scientists. Not only did many of them contribute to mathematics, physics, and physiology, but all of them were avid theorists in the sciences of human nature. They were cognitive neuroscientists, who tried to explain thought and emotion in terms of physical mechanisms of the nervous system. They were evolutionary psychologists, who speculated on life in a state of nature and on animal instincts that are “infused into our bosoms.” And they were social psychologists, who wrote of the moral sentiments that draw us together, the selfish passions that inflame us, and the foibles of shortsightedness that frustrate our best-laid plans.

These thinkers—Descartes, Spinoza, Hobbes, Locke, Hume, Rousseau, Leibniz, Kant, Smith—are all the more remarkable for having crafted their ideas in the absence of formal theory and empirical data. The mathematical theories of information, computation, and games had yet to be invented. The words “neuron,” “hormone,” and “gene” meant nothing to them. When reading these thinkers, I often long to travel back in time and offer them some bit of twenty-first-century freshman science that would fill a gap in their arguments or guide them around a stumbling block. What would these Fausts have given for such knowledge? What could they have done with it?

WATCH: Leon Wieseltier's rejoinder: Science doesn't have all the answers

We don’t have to fantasize about this scenario, because we are living it. We have the works of the great thinkers and their heirs, and we have scientific knowledge they could not have dreamed of. This is an extraordinary time for the understanding of the human condition. Intellectual problems from antiquity are being illuminated by insights from the sciences of mind, brain, genes, and evolution. Powerful tools have been developed to explore them, from genetically engineered neurons that can be controlled with pinpoints of light to the mining of “big data” as a means of understanding how ideas propagate.

One would think that writers in the humanities would be delighted and energized by the efflorescence of new ideas from the sciences. But one would be wrong. Though everyone endorses science when it can cure disease, monitor the environment, or bash political opponents, the intrusion of science into the territories of the humanities has been deeply resented. Just as reviled is the application of scientific reasoning to religion; many writers without a trace of a belief in God maintain that there is something unseemly about scientists weighing in on the biggest questions. In the major journals of opinion, scientific carpetbaggers are regularly accused of determinism, reductionism, essentialism, positivism, and worst of all, something called “scientism.” The past couple years have seen four denunciations of scientism in this magazine alone, together with attacks in Bookforum, The Claremont Review of Books, The Huffington Post, The Nation, National Review Online, The New Atlantis, The New York Times, and Standpoint.

The eclectic politics of these publications reflects the bipartisan nature of the resentment. This passage, from a 2011 review in The Nation of three books by Sam Harris by the historian Jackson Lears, makes the standard case for the prosecution by the left:

Positivist assumptions provided the epistemological foundations for Social Darwinism and pop-evolutionary notions of progress, as well as for scientific racism and imperialism. These tendencies coalesced in eugenics, the doctrine that human well-being could be improved and eventually perfected through the selective breeding of the "fit" and the sterilization or elimination of the "unfit." ... Every schoolkid knows about what happened next: the catastrophic twentieth century. Two world wars, the systematic slaughter of innocents on an unprecedented scale, the proliferation of unimaginable destructive weapons, brushfire wars on the periphery of empire—all these events involved, in various degrees, the application of sceintific research to advanced technology.

The case from the right, captured in this 2007 speech from Leon Kass, George W. Bush’s bioethics adviser, is just as measured:

Scientific ideas and discoveries about living nature and man, perfectly welcome and harmless in themselves, are being enlisted to do battle against our traditional religious and moral teachings, and even our self-understanding as creatures with freedom and dignity. A quasi-religious faith has sprung up among us—let me call it "soul-less scientism"—which believes that our new biology, eliminating all mystery, can give a complete account of human life, giving purely scientific explanations of human thought, love, creativity, moral judgment, and even why we believe in God. ... Make no mistake. The stakes in this contest are high: at issue are the moral and spiritual health of our nation, the continued vitality of science, and our own self-understanding as human beings and as children of the West.

These are zealous prosecutors indeed. But their cases are weak. The mindset of science cannot be blamed for genocide and war and does not threaten the moral and spiritual health of our nation. It is, rather, indispensable in all areas of human concern, including politics, the arts, and the search for meaning, purpose, and morality.

The term “scientism” is anything but clear, more of a boo-word than a label for any coherent doctrine. Sometimes it is equated with lunatic positions, such as that “science is all that matters” or that “scientists should be entrusted to solve all problems.” Sometimes it is clarified with adjectives like “simplistic,” “naïve,” and “vulgar.” The definitional vacuum allows me to replicate gay activists’ flaunting of “queer” and appropriate the pejorative for a position I am prepared to defend.

Scientism, in this good sense, is not the belief that members of the occupational guild called “science” are particularly wise or noble. On the contrary, the defining practices of science, including open debate, peer review, and double-blind methods, are explicitly designed to circumvent the errors and sins to which scientists, being human, are vulnerable. Scientism does not mean that all current scientific hypotheses are true; most new ones are not, since the cycle of conjecture and refutation is the lifeblood of science. It is not an imperialistic drive to occupy the humanities; the promise of science is to enrich and diversify the intellectual tools of humanistic scholarship, not to obliterate them. And it is not the dogma that physical stuff is the only thing that exists. Scientists themselves are immersed in the ethereal medium of information, including the truths of mathematics, the logic of their theories, and the values that guide their enterprise. In this conception, science is of a piece with philosophy, reason, and Enlightenment humanism. It is distinguished by an explicit commitment to two ideals, and it is these that scientism seeks to export to the rest of intellectual life.


The Linder Gallery, c.1622-1629, Cordover Collection, LLC
The first is that the world is intelligible. The phenomena we experience may be explained by principles that are more general than the phenomena themselves. These principles may in turn be explained by more fundamental principles, and so on. In making sense of our world, there should be few occasions in which we are forced to concede “It just is” or “It’s magic” or “Because I said so.” The commitment to intelligibility is not a matter of brute faith, but gradually validates itself as more and more of the world becomes explicable in scientific terms. The processes of life, for example, used to be attributed to a mysterious élan vital; now we know they are powered by chemical and physical reactions among complex molecules.

Demonizers of scientism often confuse intelligibility with a sin called reductionism. But to explain a complex happening in terms of deeper principles is not to discard its richness. No sane thinker would try to explain World War I in the language of physics, chemistry, and biology as opposed to the more perspicuous language of the perceptions and goals of leaders in 1914 Europe. At the same time, a curious person can legitimately ask why human minds are apt to have such perceptions and goals, including the tribalism, overconfidence, and sense of honor that fell into a deadly combination at that historical moment.

MANY OF OUR CULTURAL INSTITUTIONS CULTIVATE A PHILISTINE INDIFFERENCE TO SCIENCE.



The second ideal is that the acquisition of knowledge is hard. The world does not go out of its way to reveal its workings, and even if it did, our minds are prone to illusions, fallacies, and super- stitions. Most of the traditional causes of belief—faith, revelation, dogma, authority, charisma, conventional wisdom, the invigorating glow of subjective certainty—are generators of error and should be dismissed as sources of knowledge. To understand the world, we must cultivate work-arounds for our cognitive limitations, including skepticism, open debate, formal precision, and empirical tests, often requiring feats of ingenuity. Any movement that calls itself “scientific” but fails to nurture opportunities for the falsification of its own beliefs (most obviously when it murders or imprisons the people who disagree with it) is not a scientific movement.

In which ways, then, does science illuminate human affairs? Let me start with the most ambitious: the deepest questions about who we are, where we came from, and how we define the meaning and purpose of our lives. This is the traditional territory of religion, and its defenders tend to be the most excitable critics of scientism. They are apt to endorse the partition plan proposed by Stephen Jay Gould in his worst book, Rocks of Ages, according to which the proper concerns of science and religion belong to “non-overlapping magisteria.” Science gets the empirical universe; religion gets the questions of moral meaning and value.

Unfortunately, this entente unravels as soon as you begin to examine it. The moral worldview of any scientifically literate person—one who is not blinkered by fundamentalism—requires a radical break from religious conceptions of meaning and value.

To begin with, the findings of science entail that the belief systems of all the world’s traditional religions and cultures—their theories of the origins of life, humans, and societies—are factually mistaken. We know, but our ancestors did not, that humans belong to a single species of African primate that developed agriculture, government, and writing late in its history. We know that our species is a tiny twig of a genealogical tree that embraces all living things and that emerged from prebiotic chemicals almost four billion years ago. We know that we live on a planet that revolves around one of a hundred billion stars in our galaxy, which is one of a hundred billion galaxies in a 13.8-billion-year-old universe, possibly one of a vast number of universes. We know that our intuitions about space, time, matter, and causation are incommensurable with the nature of reality on scales that are very large and very small. We know that the laws governing the physical world (including accidents, disease, and other misfortunes) have no goals that pertain to human well-being. There is no such thing as fate, providence, karma, spells, curses, augury, divine retribution, or answered prayers—though the discrepancy between the laws of probability and the workings of cognition may explain why people believe there are. And we know that we did not always know these things, that the beloved convictions of every time and culture may be decisively falsified, doubtless including some we hold today.

In other words, the worldview that guides the moral and spiritual values of an educated person today is the worldview given to us by science. Though the scientific facts do not by themselves dictate values, they certainly hem in the possibilities. By stripping ecclesiastical authority of its credibility on factual matters, they cast doubt on its claims to certitude in matters of morality. The scientific refutation of the theory of vengeful gods and occult forces undermines practices such as human sacrifice, witch hunts, faith healing, trial by ordeal, and the persecution of heretics. The facts of science, by exposing the absence of purpose in the laws governing the universe, force us to take responsibility for the welfare of ourselves, our species, and our planet. For the same reason, they undercut any moral or political system based on mystical forces, quests, destinies, dialectics, struggles, or messianic ages. And in combination with a few unexceptionable convictions— that all of us value our own welfare and that we are social beings who impinge on each other and can negotiate codes of conduct—the scientific facts militate toward a defensible morality, namely adhering to principles that maximize the flourishing of humans and other sentient beings. This humanism, which is inextricable from a scientific understanding of the world, is becoming the de facto morality of modern democracies, international organizations, and liberalizing religions, and its unfulfilled promises define the moral imperatives we face today.

Moreover, science has contributed—directly and enormously—to the fulfillment of these values. If one were to list the proudest accomplishments of our species (setting aside the removal of obstacles we set in our own path, such as the abolition of slavery and the defeat of fascism), many would be gifts bestowed by science.

The most obvious is the exhilarating achievement of scientific knowledge itself. We can say much about the history of the universe, the forces that make it tick, the stuff we’re made of, the origin of living things, and the machinery of life, including our own mental life. Better still, this understanding consists not in a mere listing of facts, but in deep and elegant principles, like the insight that life depends on a molecule that carries information, directs metabolism, and replicates itself.

Science has also provided the world with images of sublime beauty: stroboscopically frozen motion, exotic organisms, distant galaxies and outer planets, fluorescing neural circuitry, and a luminous planet Earth rising above the moon’s horizon into the blackness of space. Like great works of art, these are not just pretty pictures but prods to contemplation, which deepen our understanding of what it means to be human and of our place in nature.

And contrary to the widespread canard that technology has created a dystopia of deprivation and violence, every global measure of human flourishing is on the rise. The numbers show that after millennia of near-universal poverty, a steadily growing proportion of humanity is surviving the first year of life, going to school, voting in democracies, living in peace, communicating on cell phones, enjoying small luxuries, and surviving to old age. The Green Revolution in agronomy alone saved a billion people from starvation. And if you want examples of true moral greatness, go to Wikipedia and look up the entries for “smallpox” and “rinderpest” (cattle plague). The definitions are in the past tense, indicating that human ingenuity has eradicated two of the cruelest causes of suffering in the history of our kind.

Though science is beneficially embedded in our material, moral, and intellectual lives, many of our cultural institutions, including the liberal arts programs of many universities, cultivate a philistine indifference to science that shades into contempt. Students can graduate from elite colleges with a trifling exposure to science. They are commonly misinformed that scientists no longer care about truth but merely chase the fashions of shifting paradigms. A demonization campaign anachronistically impugns science for crimes that are as old as civilization, including racism, slavery, conquest, and genocide.

Just as common, and as historically illiterate, is the blaming of science for political movements with a pseudoscientific patina, particularly Social Darwinism and eugenics. Social Darwinism was the misnamed laissez-faire philosophy of Herbert Spencer. It was inspired not by Darwin’s theory of natural selection, but by Spencer’s Victorian-era conception of a mysterious natural force for progress, which was best left unimpeded. Today the term is often used to smear any application of evolution to the understanding of human beings. Eugenics was the campaign, popular among leftists and progressives in the early decades of the twentieth century, for the ultimate form of social progress, improving the genetic stock of humanity. Today the term is commonly used to assail behavioral genetics, the study of the genetic contributions to individual differences.

I can testify that this recrimination is not a relic of the 1990s science wars. When Harvard reformed its general education requirement in 2006 to 2007, the preliminary task force report introduced the teaching of science without any mention of its place in human knowledge: “Science and technology directly affect our students in many ways, both positive and negative: they have led to life-saving medicines, the internet, more efficient energy storage, and digital entertainment; they also have shepherded nuclear weapons, biological warfare agents, electronic eavesdropping, and damage to the environment.” This strange equivocation between the utilitarian and the nefarious was not applied to other disciplines. (Just imagine motivating the study of classical music by noting that it both generates economic activity and inspired the Nazis.) And there was no acknowledgment that we might have good reasons to prefer science and know-how over ignorance and superstition.

At a 2011 conference, another colleague summed up what she thought was the mixed legacy of science: the eradication of smallpox on the one hand; the Tuskegee syphilis study on the other. (In that study, another bloody shirt in the standard narrative about the evils of science, public-health researchers beginning in 1932 tracked the progression of untreated, latent syphilis in a sample of impoverished African Americans.) The comparison is obtuse. It assumes that the study was the unavoidable dark side of scientific progress as opposed to a universally deplored breach, and it compares a one-time failure to prevent harm to a few dozen people with the prevention of hundreds of millions of deaths per century, in perpetuity.

A major goad for the recent denunciations of scientism has been the application of neuroscience, evolution, and genetics to human affairs. Certainly many of these applications are glib or wrong, and they are fair game for criticism: scanning the brains of voters as they look at politicians’ faces, attributing war to a gene for aggression, explaining religion as an evolutionary adaptation to bond the group. Yet it’s not unheard of for intellectuals who are innocent of science to advance ideas that are glib or wrong, and no one is calling for humanities scholars to go back to their carrels and stay out of discussions of things that matter. It is a mistake to use a few wrongheaded examples as an excuse to quarantine the sciences of human nature from our attempt to understand the human condition.

TO SIMPLIFY IS NOT TO BE SIMPLISTIC.



Take our understanding of politics. “What is government itself,” asked James Madison, “but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” The new sciences of the mind are reexamining the connections between politics and human nature, which were avidly discussed in Madison’s time but submerged during a long interlude in which humans were assumed to be blank slates or rational actors. Humans, we are increasingly appreciating, are moralistic actors, guided by norms and taboos about authority, tribe, and purity, and driven by conflicting inclinations toward revenge and reconciliation. These impulses ordinarily operate beneath our conscious awareness, but in some circumstances they can be turned around by reason and debate. We are starting to grasp why these moralistic impulses evolved; how they are implemented in the brain; how they differ among individuals, cultures, and sub- cultures; and which conditions turn them on and off.

The application of science to politics not only enriches our stock of ideas, but also offers the means to ascertain which of them are likely to be correct. Political debates have traditionally been deliberated through case studies, rhetoric, and what software engineers call HiPPO (highest-paid person’s opinion). Not surprisingly, the controversies have careened without resolution. Do democracies fight each other? What about trading partners? Do neighboring ethnic groups inevitably play out ancient hatreds in bloody conflict? Do peacekeeping forces really keep the peace? Do terrorist organizations get what they want? How about Gandhian nonviolent movements? Are post-conflict reconciliation rituals effective at preventing the renewal of conflict?

History nerds can adduce examples that support either answer, but that does not mean the questions are irresolvable. Political events are buffeted by many forces, so it’s possible that a given force is potent in general but submerged in a particular instance. With the advent of data science—the analysis of large, open-access data sets of numbers or text—signals can be extracted from the noise and debates in history and political science resolved more objectively. As best we can tell at present, the answers to the questions listed above are (on average, and all things being equal) no, no, no, yes, no, yes, and yes.

The humanities are the domain in which the intrusion of science has produced the strongest recoil. Yet it is just that domain that would seem to be most in need of an infusion of new ideas. By most accounts, the humanities are in trouble. University programs are downsizing, the next generation of scholars is un- or underemployed, morale is sinking, students are staying away in droves. No thinking person should be indifferent to our society’s disinvestment from the humanities, which are indispensable to a civilized democracy.

Diagnoses of the malaise of the humanities rightly point to anti-intellectual trends in our culture and to the commercialization of our universities. But an honest appraisal would have to acknowledge that some of the damage is self-inflicted. The humanities have yet to recover from the disaster of postmodernism, with its defiant obscurantism, dogmatic relativism, and suffocating political correctness. And they have failed to define a progressive agenda. Several university presidents and provosts have lamented to me that when a scientist comes into their office, it’s to announce some exciting new research opportunity and demand the resources to pursue it. When a humanities scholar drops by, it’s to plead for respect for the way things have always been done.

Those ways do deserve respect, and there can be no replacement for the varieties of close reading, thick description, and deep immersion that erudite scholars can apply to individual works. But must these be the only paths to understanding? A consilience with science offers the humanities countless possibilities for innovation in understanding. Art, culture, and society are products of human brains. They originate in our faculties of perception, thought, and emotion, and they cumulate and spread through the epidemiological dynamics by which one person affects others. Shouldn’t we be curious to understand these connections? Both sides would win. The humanities would enjoy more of the explanatory depth of the sciences, to say nothing of the kind of a progressive agenda that appeals to deans and donors. The sciences could challenge their theories with the natural experiments and ecologically valid phenomena that have been so richly characterized by humanists.

In some disciplines, this consilience is a fait accompli. Archeology has grown from a branch of art history to a high-tech science. Linguistics and the philosophy of mind shade into cognitive science and neuroscience.

READ: The argument continues: Pinker and Wieseltier, Science vs. Humanities, Round III

Similar opportunities are there for the exploring. The visual arts could avail themselves of the explosion of knowledge in vision science, including the perception of color, shape, texture, and lighting, and the evolutionary aesthetics of faces and landscapes. Music scholars have much to discuss with the scientists who study the perception of speech and the brain’s analysis of the auditory world.

As for literary scholarship, where to begin? John Dryden wrote that a work of fiction is “a just and lively image of human nature, representing its passions and humours, and the changes of fortune to which it is subject, for the delight and instruction of mankind.” Linguistics can illuminate the resources of grammar and discourse that allow authors to manipulate a reader’s imaginary experience. Cognitive psychology can provide insight about readers’ ability to reconcile their own consciousness with those of the author and characters. Behavioral genetics can update folk theories of parental influence with discoveries about the effects of genes, peers, and chance, which have profound implications for the interpretation of biography and memoir—an endeavor that also has much to learn from the cognitive psychology of memory and the social psychology of self-presentation. Evolutionary psychologists can distinguish the obsessions that are universal from those that are exaggerated by a particular culture and can lay out the inherent conflicts and confluences of interest within families, couples, friendships, and rivalries that are the drivers of plot.

And as with politics, the advent of data science applied to books, periodicals, correspondence, and musical scores holds the promise for an expansive new “digital humanities.” The possibilities for theory and discovery are limited only by the imagination and include the origin and spread of ideas, networks of intellectual and artistic influence, the persistence of historical memory, the waxing and waning of themes in literature, and patterns of unofficial censorship and taboo.

Nonetheless, many humanities scholars have reacted to these opportunities like the protagonist of the grammar-book example of the volitional future tense: “I will drown; no one shall save me.” Noting that these analyses flatten the richness of individual works, they reach for the usual adjectives: simplistic, reductionist, naïve, vulgar, and of course, scientistic.

The complaint about simplification is misbegotten. To explain something is to subsume it under more general principles, which always entails a degree of simplification. Yet to simplify is not to be simplistic. An appreciation of the particulars of a work can co-exist with explanations at many other levels, from the personality of an author to the cultural milieu, the faculties of human nature, and the laws governing social beings. The rejection of a search for general trends and principles calls to mind Jorge Luis Borges’s fictitious empire in which “the Cartographers Guild drew a map of the Empire whose size was that of the Empire, coinciding point for point with it. The following Generations ... saw the vast Map to be Useless and permitted it to decay and fray under the Sun and winters.”

And the critics should be careful with the adjectives. If anything is naïve and simplistic, it is the conviction that the legacy silos of academia should be fortified and that we should be forever content with current ways of making sense of the world. Surely our conceptions of politics, culture, and morality have much to learn from our best understanding of the physical universe and of our makeup as a species.

Steven Pinker is a contributing editor at The New Republic, the Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology at Harvard University, and the author, most recently, of The Better Angels of our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined.



Jackson Lears Responds:

To the Editor:

Stephen Pinker should be more careful in his research. In “Science Is Not Your Enemy” (TNR, 19 August 2013), he misrepresents my views by quoting me out of context. Citing a statement that makes me sound like I am blaming “science” for all the catastrophes of the twentieth century, he says that this is “the standard case for prosecution by the left.” In fact I was making no such case. If he had bothered to read the entire article, or even the next few sentences, he would have known that I was explaining the decline of the positivist faith that scientific knowledge could somehow be sealed off from human institutions and imperfections. The twentieth century showed that “scientists were as corruptible by money, power, or ideology as anyone else,” I wrote, adding that science of course remained “a practical means of promoting human well-being: midcentury laboratories produced vaccines and sulfa drugs as well as nuclear weapons.” For a man who claims to be pursuing objective truth, Pinker is remarkably willing to alter evidence when it suits his ideological needs. His distortion of my views is not good science. It is merely bad polemic.

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3/4 inch of dust build up on the moon in 4.527 billion years,LOL and QM is fantasy science.
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Let’s start with the two alternatives you gave when we were talking about “nothing”.

Quote:
(A) Absolute nothing can not and does not exist as evidence by the fact you are here.

(B) There is some GOD, Deity or whatever who can make something from absolute nothing.


They are the only two possible start points choose (A) or (B).


Would I be right in thinking that you would opt for “A”?

This is an aside, and I hope it will not detract from the discussion. If one opts for “B” there is still not absolutely nothing because God would have to be something.


There never was nothing.
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An interesting read, Paul, but perhaps it should have had a thread of its own.


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Paul, That is an interesting article, but does it have anything to do with the thread? And do you have permission to post it? It appears to me that it is probably copyrighted material.

Or have you been hacked and this was posted by somebody else?

Bill Gill


C is not the speed of light in a vacuum.
C is the universal speed limit.
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Originally Posted By: Orac
Originally Posted By: redewenur
Absolutely right, and absolutely devoid of pretentiousness.


That is the most stupid and pretentious answer ever given smile

Oh yes, I see it found its mark.


"Time is what prevents everything from happening at once" - John Wheeler
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Originally Posted By: Bill S.

Would I be right in thinking that you would opt for “A”?

This is an aside, and I hope it will not detract from the discussion. If one opts for “B” there is still not absolutely nothing because God would have to be something.


I think any scientist and science has to opt for "A".

The only ways to break that are to try and break logic and you saw the problem with that or install a god deity.

As an interest aside back to you Western science and Russian science differ extremely in there backdrop mainly because of two men Andrey Andreyevich Markov and Andrey Nikolaevich Kolmogorov. Russian science operated in a very constructivist process and constructivist logic (it is slightly changing now I am told) because of the above two men in a time when Russia had many more scientists than the West. Constructivist logic became formalized into what is now called Intuitionistic logic.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constructivism_(mathematics)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intuitionistic_logic

You will see something common that you will see in all my science discussion in those links smile.

=> Intuitionistic logic are not assigned any definite truth value at all and instead only considered "true" when we have direct evidence, hence proof.

Western science backdrop is dubbed platonism because it allows freedom to proposition something may exist based on reasonable logic (That is how Hawking got away with his latest paper). The big issue is always around the definition of reasonable.

There are pro's and con's of both backdrops which I will leave to you to read if you are interested. It does however inevitably lead to some clashes between Russian and Western science who would have thought smile

If you do get interested in constructivism there is a really great article written by Yuri Gurevich who now works for Microsoft (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yuri_Gurevich).

Most people don't get the point until section 2 warning he is very Russian and has a very dry sense of humor.

http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/people/gurevich/opera/123.pdf


I believe in "Evil, Bad, Ungodly fantasy science and maths", so I am undoubtedly wrong to you.
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A “thought scenario” “Gedanken Szenario” (That’s just showing off)

There is a road of infinite length, in the middle of which there is a bridge. One night the Finite Defence League blow up the bridge, so no one can cross from one side to the other.

What do you have? Is it two halves of infinity, two infinite roads or two finite roads?


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the article was a good read and it reminded me of this thread
so I thought it would be a good idea to relay the article over
to this forum so that others could also enjoy it.

the article itself shows that science consist of varied
people who direct science along its path and those people
are thinkers just like the thinking that is occurring in this
thread , or should I say this debate.

the second article Lorem Ipsum
is somewhat of a metaphor of what the future of this debate
will become because no one can prove that infinity does or does not belong in science , therefore all of the debating is much
like Lorem Ipsum, it has lasted for 500 years but it has
no value other than filler where text that has value should appear.


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Originally Posted By: Bill S.
There is a road of infinite length, in the middle of which there is a bridge. One night the Finite Defence League blow up the bridge, so no one can cross from one side to the other.

What do you have? Is it two halves of infinity, two infinite roads or two finite roads?


It's obvious an infinite number of drone strikes and war on the finite defence league terrorists that blew the bridge up smile

The fact the infinite road could never have existed is obfuscated by the authorities so the people know the government is taking action because the truth only exists if the media says so laugh


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Originally Posted By: Orac
The fact the infinite road could never have existed...


That sounds like one of my lines of reasoning!

Infinite roads, infinite series and even infinite time have been used, and I think I am the only one to question them. Can I still hope for a serious answer, or are you tacitly conceding that there may be something in my ideas? :P


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Originally Posted By: Bill S.

That sounds like one of my lines of reasoning!

Infinite roads, infinite series and even infinite time have been used, and I think I am the only one to question them. Can I still hope for a serious answer, or are you tacitly conceding that there may be something in my ideas? :P


No as I already answered infinity may or may not exist depending on the computable function that is used as the backdrop.

I agree infinite roads don't exist because the earths surface is most definitely finite as a road must exist on the surface it follows any road must be finite.

However there is the crazy possibility you meant some mythical road paved into space in the universe. Now if you believe in a multiverse it may also mean the road extends into other universes etc etc.

As per the Dilbert cartoon I need to understand the exact backdrop to the question to answer it seriously, I just took the most likely case you were referring to being a road here on good old earth or another planet.

So if you want a serious answer ask a serious question with full backdrop you have been told that.

At the moment you are asking questions that probably have infinite answers depending on the infinite interpretations one places on the wording. I really have no concept of what an infinite road could possibly mean because I have never seen an infinite planet to put an infinite road on so that frames my answer.

Last edited by Orac; 02/03/14 04:53 PM.

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Quote:
I agree infinite roads don't exist because the earths surface is most definitely finite as a road must exist on the surface it follows any road must be finite.

However there is the crazy possibility you meant some mythical road paved into space in the universe.


I don’t have a PhD, but I’m not stupid enough to think there could be an infinitely long road on Earth. In fact anyone who has regularly read my posts would know that I don’t believe there could be an infinitely long road anywhere. Similarly, I don’t believe Einstein could fly independently, much less keep pace with a beam of light. However, anyone who might claim that he could not use this as a basis for logical thought, or that it invalidated his conclusions would probably be considered a crackpot.

I credit you with the intelligence to recognise a thought experiment/scenario when you see one, so I can only assume you are being deliberately obtuse. Perhaps you are playing “let’s see how long a clever chap like me can string this ignorant layperson along”.

If that's the case, it's OK with me; I make no pretensions to scientific prowess.


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Originally Posted By: Bill S.
A “thought scenario” “Gedanken Szenario” (That’s just showing off)

There is a road of infinite length, in the middle of which there is a bridge. One night the Finite Defence League blow up the bridge, so no one can cross from one side to the other.

What do you have? Is it two halves of infinity, two infinite roads or two finite roads?

There would be two infinitely long roads. Let's suppose that there are two bridges, 100 meters apart, and both are destroyed by the FDL. Then there would be a 100 meter section of road between two infinitely long roads. Why is that? ..Because, as you have pointed out (I think), infinity is not just a very big number, it's limitless.

Here's a question for you, Bill: Given an infinite number of destroyed bridges, each 100 meters apart, would there still be two infinite lengths of road remaining, or would there be an infinite number of 100 meter sections?


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Originally Posted By: Bill S.
I credit you with the intelligence to recognise a thought experiment/scenario when you see one, so I can only assume you are being deliberately obtuse. Perhaps you are playing “let’s see how long a clever chap like me can string this ignorant layperson along”.

If that's the case, it's OK with me; I make no pretensions to scientific prowess.


I am not trying to infer anything about your intelligence other than as a thought experiment it is a really really bad example then.

The first issue for me is to say anything about the thought experiment you have to make a decision about a potential infinity versus an actual infinity which is a historic argument and has no clear resolution.


Here let me show you a similar form to your thought experiment with something sci-fi


There exists aliens on other planets and we become aware of them will we ever breed with them?


See the problem I have to decide what aliens are and look like before I consider the rest of the thought experiment.

In your poor thought question I have to do the same I have to decide what infinity is before I consider the rest of the question.

In the alien question what you view an alien as in the first place leads directly to an answer as does your infinity thought experiment.

Now go back and look at the Einstein thought experiment you didn't have to make any choices in fact you had no choices at all you just imagined something impossible.

See a good thought experiment should not involve making a choice at the start it should lead to a choice.


So your thought experiment is as bad as the aliens one above.

Last edited by Orac; 02/04/14 02:04 AM.

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Quote:
Given an infinite number of destroyed bridges, each 100 meters apart, would there still be two infinite lengths of road remaining, or would there be an infinite number of 100 meter sections?


There would, in principle, be an infinite number of 100m sections. However, this is an infinite series, which is quite legitimate in the case of a mathematical infinity, which is only an approximation.

Quote:
There would be two infinitely long roads


How can that be when both segments end at the destroyed bridge?

This does raise an interesting point, though. If members of the People’s Infinite Front decide to repair the bridge, but they are infinitely far away along the road; can they ever reach the bridge?


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Quote:
So your thought experiment is as bad as the aliens one above.


I have to disagree with that, don't I? smile

Too late for any more thinking tonight. I'll come back to this tomorrow (hopefully).


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Originally Posted By: Bill S.

Quote:
There would be two infinitely long roads


How can that be when both segments end at the destroyed bridge?

One might ask the same regarding two infinite sets of integers, one containing all positive integers, the other containing all negative integers. There is, of course, the equivalent of the road without the bridge, i.e. the set of all integers, both positive and negative.


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Originally Posted By: redewenur
One might ask the same regarding two infinite sets of integers, one containing all positive integers, the other containing all negative integers. There is, of course, the equivalent of the road without the bridge, i.e. the set of all integers, both positive and negative.


The difference is numbers are imaginary things, bridges are usually assumed to be actual and real unless one starts talking about imaginary bridges.

So my answer is you can't have an infinite real bridge but you can have an infinite imaginary bridge ... choose your bridge gives you an answer but I am not sure it takes us anywhere.

To make numbers actual and physical you have to have a computable function which is the issue Bill S is trying to dodge by somehow thinking an imaginary bridge and a real bridge can be equated without a computable function and they can't.

To show how stupid the example is ... in what does one build an infinite imaginary bridge a bigger than infinite universe perhaps ... but the bridge can't be infinite then because the universe is bigger? So what's next you define the universe as the bridge? So the answer from an imaginary bridge is imaginary and bears no relevance to anything real or actual.

The question your thought experiment sets up is logically flawed it of the typical variety that goes like this

Can GOD microwave a burrito or pizza pocket so hot that even he couldn't eat it? Any answer is not good for GOD smile

You know the typical format of the question is given below and they have a name.

Make (impossible condition 1) logically lead to (impossible condition 2)

Now lets see if you can work out why these sort of stupid logic questions work ... and I will give you a hint it has to do with zero.

Last edited by Orac; 02/04/14 06:31 AM.

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Orac. To quote Bill, in response to you: "I credit you with the intelligence to recognise a thought experiment/scenario when you see one, so I can only assume you are being deliberately obtuse". Bill is a generous fellow.

As is frequently is the case, Orac, you are trying to be too clever by half. You plainly do not have the local monopoly on intellect, conceptual ability, nor scientific insight, and it's long past time that you got down of your illusory high horse and desisted from your offensive remarks that so often cross the line from disparaging to insulting. Perhaps Bill S. has infinite time and patience for you. I have a seemingly infinite length of garden to mow.


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So can GOD microwave a burrito or pizza pocket so hot that even he couldn't eat it?

It's a perfectly valid thought experiment according to you laugh

It is every bit as valid and follows the same form as Bill S thought experiment

"If I have an infinite bridge and cut in two do I have two infinite bridges now?"

I thought this was a science forum not some Theatre of the absurd ... my mistake.

"The Parrots dead, that's what's wrong with it."
"It's not dead it's just resting"
"The parrot is dead"
"The Norwegian Blue prefers kippin' on it's back!"

I thought if Bill S was serious he might care to work out why the question isn't valid and what defines validity in a science sense, which is actually interesting and relevant to a science forum.

I will leave you and Bill S with your Norwegian Blue shall I.

Last edited by Orac; 02/04/14 08:31 AM.

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Quote:
So my answer is you can't have an infinite real bridge but you can have an infinite imaginary bridge


I don't know where you found the infinite bridge; perhaps you are just reading what you think is there. That would certainly explain some of your answers.

I am serious, and I am trying to communicate but I have much the same feeling now that I had when trying to communicate with Pre.

If you find the discussion frustrating and want to drop out, that's certainly your choice. That would be unfortunate, though, because there have been signs that our thinking might overlap in more places than you seem to believe.

Quote:
So can GOD microwave a burrito or pizza pocket so hot that even he couldn't eat it?


I'm not going to grace that with an answer, but it brings a thought to mind.

Q. What's the difference between God and Orac?

A. God doesn't think he's Orac. laugh


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Originally Posted By: Bill S.
I don't know where you found the infinite bridge; perhaps you are just reading what you think is there. That would certainly explain some of your answers.


Sorry road and bridge got confused when I translated they are close in my native language, uur ancestors really didn't have bridges smile

So my new correct answer is you can't have an infinite real road but you can have an infinite imaginary road.


Originally Posted By: Bill S.
I am serious, and I am trying to communicate but I have much the same feeling now that I had when trying to communicate with Pre.

If you find the discussion frustrating and want to drop out, that's certainly your choice. That would be unfortunate, though, because there have been signs that our thinking might overlap in more places than you seem to believe.


I agree but you don't want to look at the really interesting thing your thought experiment actually brings up which is what makes things valid and how do we decide logic.

Your thought experiment is classical in that it creates a problem only for certain sorts of logic operations.

Let me show you thought experiment under Intuitionistic logic which is one of the many forms of logic.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intuitionistic_logic

=> In intuitionistic logic are not assigned any definite truth value at all and instead only considered "true" when we have direct evidence, hence proof.
=> Operations in intuitionistic logic therefore preserve justification, with respect to evidence and provability, rather than truth-valuation.
=> Intuitionistic logic is a restriction of classical logic in which the law of excluded middle and double negation elimination are not admitted as axioms.


So lets look at your example using Intuitionistic logic

"if you have an infinite road and you cut it in half do you then have two infinite roads"

Problem 1: infinite road ... no proof can exist assigned to vacancy state

Problem 2: infinite cut in half ... no proof can be done as we haven't seen an infinite road as per above and is infinity odd or even to divide ... so assign to vacancy state

Double negation elimination are not allowed so the question and thought experiment is not valid

Note that proof in Intuitionistic logic doesn't mean it can't exist it just means you haven't seen a clear example to determine any justification for an answer.

Russian science which I studied under uses Intuitionistic logic and so your thought experiment is completely invalid.

Interestingly however your thought experiment holds together under Western science which uses classical logic and I will leave them to defend it which Rede is doing I assume smile

Can you see that GOD and his pizza pocket resolves the same way for me as a nonsensical thing and yet causes angst with people using classical logic.

So perhaps the more interesting part I felt was to look at putting your example through different sorts of logic.

The one I was most interested myself in doing was putting it through a new sort of logic developed in 2003 called computability logic after all we are supposed to be a simulation according to some smile

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computability_logic


Logic determines validity and so the really interesting thing to do with your rather crazy example is look at it under different logic schemes and see what we get.


Originally Posted By: Bill S.

Q. What's the difference between God and Orac?
A. God doesn't think he's Orac. laugh


Wrong there is no difference we both don't exist please use Intuitionistic logic laugh

Last edited by Orac; 02/05/14 02:39 AM.

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Originally Posted By: Bill S.


Q. What's the difference between God and Orac?

A. God doesn't think he's Orac. laugh


Assuming the religious definition, he might if he spent a short while entertaining himself with the thought, or after eating the worm at the end of a bottle of tequila while on vacation playing skee ball on the boardwalk.


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Originally Posted By: Orac
I think the first time I ever realized there are major issues with infinity was very early when studying Schrödinger's equation. The solution has to be linear and finite to get a proper time evolution to work.


Did that surprise you? Are solutions that produce infinities not usually problematic?

Quote:
"Wigner's friend"


Originally Posted By: Roger Penrose
The state of the observer's perception is considered to be entangled with the state of the cat. The perception state 'I perceive a live cat' accompanies the 'live-cat' state and the perception state 'I perceive a dead cat' accompanies the 'dead-cat' state. [..] It is then assumed that a perceiving being always finds his/her perception state to be in one of these two; accordingly, the cat is, in the perceived world, either alive or dead.[..] I wish to make clear that, as it stands, this is far from a resolution of the cat paradox. For there is nothing in the formalism of quantum mechanics that demands that a state of consciousness cannot involve the simultaneous perception of a live and a dead cat.


Is this the sort of thing that Jim Baggott means by “fairytale physics”?

Quote:
So first under Schrödinger and that follows into QM that if there is a real infinity nothing measurable/observable or real exists there. In other words you can treat infinity in the normal mathematical way that it simply means a non existent number that represents a very large and finite number which you don't know.


Perfect! For mathematical infinities.


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Originally Posted By: Orac
(A) Absolute nothing can not and does not exist as evidence by the fact you are here.

(B) There is some GOD, Deity or whatever who can make something from absolute nothing.


They are the only two possible start points choose (A) or (B).


(A) is, in fact the only choice here, because God would have to be “something”.

Does your convoluted logic permit you to take the next step and agree that if “Absolute nothing can not and does not exist”, then something must always have existed?


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Originally Posted By: Bill S.
Did that surprise you? Are solutions that produce infinities not usually problematic?


Strange statement there are many solutions that produce infinities which aren't in any way problematic. The most obvious even layman are familiar with is the formula for a straight line produces an infinity which is never remotely an issue in normal use.


Originally Posted By: Bill S.
Is this the sort of thing that Jim Baggott means by “fairytale physics”?


Bit like your answer above I am not sure remotely what you have an issue with.


Originally Posted By: Bill S.
Perfect! For mathematical infinities.


And many real world infinities as well I am not sure why you feel you can just exclude them and this has been my issue all along you keep trying to avoid the issue of validity by just declaring it so, I am at least trying to put a formal definition under validity which is the interesting part of this rubbish.


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Originally Posted By: Bill S.
Does your convoluted logic permit you to take the next step and agree that if “Absolute nothing can not and does not exist”, then something must always have existed?


Nope I have no experience of a god so all I can do is fill it in as vacant in the logic table. Thus it is an invalid question.

There is nothing going wrong here and it doesn't concern me at all because Intuitionistic logic is about justification not about any idea of being able to answer absolutely every question.

In other words Intuitionistic logic is about making sure one does not make a mistake rather than worrying you might get stuck and might not be able to make a decision.

Intuitionistic logic leads to intrinsically safe results but many people who use classic logic complain that it is like doing science with one hand behind your back but any conclusion reached is also valid under classical logic the reverse as we have seen is not true.

So now we have the next thing about logic ... it implies a goal. If there wasn't a goal there would be only one sort of logic and there are hundreds.

So state your goal of your logic you intend to use please Bill S ... I gave you mine which can be technically stated as to make sure that my logic I use preserves justification. I am excluding anything that does not have verifiable and testable justification.

It will be very interesting to get the goal of the logic you wish to use.

Maybe someone in Western science would care to volunteer the goal of classic logic?

TT I am guessing your logic is going to be one of the philosophical ones care to share it?

Last edited by Orac; 02/05/14 06:48 AM.

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I should actually add I don't think anyone's choice of logic is better than another they simply are due to different goals. That is why I have no issue with Paul's answer I think it is perfectly fine.

I certainly don't think my logic is in anyway superior it just serves the purpose for which I want and is better for what I wish to achieve as my goal for science.

I still stand by that any answer given is probably correct to the person giving it but you seem to want to install a global truth Bill S and that is what I am struggling with do you really think there is just one and correct logic because your comment about my logic sort of intimate that?

As an aside and patch up there is also a new article on adding the natural numbers, 1 plus 2 plus 3 and so on all the way to infinity and it equals -1/12 smile

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/04/science/in-the-end-it-all-adds-up-to.html

Last edited by Orac; 02/05/14 01:57 PM.

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If I didn’t know what logic was, and had to try to work it out from your sesquipedalian responses I would assume it was the art of avoiding answering questions by employing exuberant and obfuscating verbosity.

Let’s take this one step at a time. Do you accept that you said: “Absolute nothing can not and does not exist”?


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Originally Posted By: Orac

TT I am guessing your logic is going to be one of the philosophical ones care to share it?

If I put that question together with the following statement:
Originally Posted By: Orac
See your basic behaviour in the post you know you piss us off we find you a pain in the arse and we have told you that or are you to thick and stupid to register that. Why you piss us off isn't important maybe it's our problem maybe it's yours who gives a [censored], only in your feeble dropkick mind is that even important.

Logic would tell me that I would only open the door for more verbal abuse.

Philosophically speaking, wink a scientist can't leave relative values behind to step into something more abstract. Without firm footing in something concrete, he can't argue for his limits and definitions.


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VERY VAST IS THE EXPANDING rubber sheet of the space-time continuum. Should we not call it infinite?
No, as a matter of fact, we should not, not unless we want to get into an interminable argument with both physicists and philosophers – the kind of argument where people steeple their fingers and say, very slowly, ‘We-ell, it all depends on what you mean by “infinite”.’ And go on saying it, with variations, till the beer runs out. If you are very unlucky, they will explain how infinities come in different sizes.

- 'The Folklore of Discworld' ,by Terry Pratchett & Jacqueline Simpson

Originally Posted By: Bill S.
...sesquipedalian...

Wonderful word, I must write that down. Thanks Bill smile


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Good quote Rede. Certainly worth remembering.

I also like TP's description of a thought experiment as “One that you can’t do, and which won’t work”.

(Pratchett Terry & Jolliffe Gray. The Unadulterated Cat)

That book also contains the best explanation of Schrodinger Cat I have ever seen.


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Originally Posted By: Bill S.
If I didn’t know what logic was, and had to try to work it out from your sesquipedalian responses I would assume it was the art of avoiding answering questions by employing exuberant and obfuscating verbosity.


I have answered the question in detail that is true you haven't remotely told me what logic you are using and what it's goal is ... you still haven't and you accuse me of avoiding the question smile

Originally Posted By: Bill S.
Let’s take this one step at a time. Do you accept that you said: “Absolute nothing can not and does not exist”?


That is true by definition under Intuitionistic Logic because if I can't measure it then it doesn't exist remember my goal is not to solve every question in the universe it is to answer questions with justification.

So "absolute nothing" doesn't exist but nor does "God", "Invisible forces", "Green aliens", "Flying Pigs" or a vast array of other things.

So that is not a unique or unusual thing to me and yes that is a true statement to me under science but take care it may not be the absolute truth the "flying pig" may exist I just haven't found a way to measure it's existence.


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While waiting to take one step at a time with Orac, I thought I might complete my thought scenario.

There is a road of infinite length, in the middle of which there is a bridge.

How do I know the bridge is in the middle? I know that because the road must extend to infinity on either side.

Of course, we all know that, physically, there cannot be a road of infinite length because, as far as we know, the only places where a road could be placed are finite, but this is a "thought scenario".

One night the Finite Defence League blow up the bridge, so no one can cross from one side to the other. We know that the road extends to infinity in both directions, but can each section really be considered infinite?

What do we have? Is it two halves of infinity, two infinite roads or two finite roads?

Intuitively, one might say that, as each half goes to infinity, we must have two infinite roads. That seems more reasonable than "two halves of infinity".

However, consider that if you are at a point (eg 1km from the bridge site) along the road, and you travel towards the break; in 1km you come to the end of "infinity". Does this make sense?

Because we reach an end, whichever side we approach from, it is tempting to argue that the road segments are finite. However, if members of the People’s Infinite Front decide to repair the bridge, but they are infinitely far away along the road; can they ever reach the bridge? The answer must surely be “no”.

We were able to reach the end, so in our frame of reference, the road is finite; but the PIF, who were infinitely far away could never reach the bridge, so in their frame of reference it must be infinitely far away. For them, the road segments are go on infinitely in both directions.

Does this mean that infinity is relative? It would seem to suggest that.

If infinity is relative, so must eternity be. This must raise the question: Could there be a frame of reference in which there might have been absolutely nothing, yet there might still be something now?

Perhaps it would save crossed wires if I say that I think there would not be, but I could have missed something.

It might be argued that we cannot, with justification, extrapolate from what we observe in the Universe to what might be the conditions outside, and that we cannot say with certainty that, outside the Universe causality could not be such that something could be "spawned" by absolutely nothing.

Personally, I think that's "a bridge too far", but that is just a non-expert opinion.


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Quote:
Absolute nothing can not and does not exist.


Saying that you believe something doesn’t exist is not quite the same as saying it “can not and does not exist”.

Are you seriously saying that “Green aliens” cannot exist, because you have never measured one?

Would you not have to be personally acquainted with everything in the cosmos to justify such a claim?


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Originally Posted By: Bill S.
Saying that you believe something doesn’t exist is not quite the same as saying it “can not and does not exist”.


Ahh finally you get it.

Science and science logic does not setup and can not setup to test that form because it is based on current knowledge => “can not and does not exist” defies that premise.

So nothing in science "can not and does not exist" not even an absolute nothing because to know that you would need all knowledge smile


Originally Posted By: Bill S.
Are you seriously saying that “Green aliens” cannot exist, because you have never measured one?


No does not exist ... you keep changing "does not" to "cannot"

It's subtle but you keep doing it.


Originally Posted By: Bill S.
Would you not have to be personally acquainted with everything in the cosmos to justify such a claim?


Correct so “Green aliens” do not exist but as to whether they cannot exist I have no idea nor care.

And so from science absolute nothing does not exist but I have no idea if it can not exist nor do I care it's not relevant to the field of science because I can't measure it.

So lets complete the loop now to infinity which is where this all began a long long time ago.

Science (I should subset that to Russian science I guess) says an actual physical infinity does not exist but it does not say an actual physical infinity can not exist it is silent on that matter.

Last edited by Orac; 02/06/14 01:30 AM.

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Orac, you said, and accepted that you had said: “Absolute nothing can not and does not exist”.

Now you say: So nothing in science "can not and does not exist".

You also say that I keep changing "does not" to "cannot".

I am simply quoting what you said. If you need to change what you said, that is your prerogative, but it doesn’t help reasonable discussion if you wrongly accuse me of misquoting you.


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Sorry yeah it's very late here and I missed the cannot bit you keep sliding them in, I actually avoid using the term cannot that is a really hard test condition in science which sort of topically was the source of a really weird discussion with Bill.

If you look at my answer I only talked about the does not part and ignored the cannot bit in my justification for accepting that. So you are correct I wouldn't accept that statement unless you remove the cannot bit sorry for the confusion.

Hey at least that means you understand my logic enough to even pick up my own errors now ... I am a horribly logical animal smile

So now you should be able to predict my answers to all your questions ahead of time laugh

Am I correct in saying however you were seeking some sort of ultimate answer to that question which the way I do science just is never going to be able to get a valid setup on to answer? I hate the term never as well but you know what I mean.

You would also understand that if that was your intention and I was a science moderator why the thread would be closed unless you could proved a valid test mechanism because it probably isn't a valid science question for a science forum. I suspect if you try this question on heavily moderated science forums that would be what happens have you ever done so?

Last edited by Orac; 02/06/14 02:18 AM.

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It's 1.20 am here, so I'm going to bow out, at least until tomorrow. Sorry, that should be later today. Must get these things right on a science forum. smile


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DO WE NEED TO GET RID OF SIMPLISTIC MEDIEVAL THINKING ABOUT A GOD WHO EXISTS?

The following are comments about this that I like, by Kernel John, a poster at http://www.opensourcereligion.net/forum/topics/moral-relativism?xg_source=msg_forum_disc

Quote:
Here's the problem with this simplistic medieval thinking. It is based on the notion that perfection exists in a material universe of continuous change. It doesn't take long to understand that in its absolute form, perfection - by definition - is unchanging. Perfection does not change.

The notion of moral absolutism is a religious framework that is itself relative to a universe of continuous change.

As you can see, this type of framework does not withstand logical scrutiny. It holds together only by the suspension of rational thinking and the employment of faith based belief.

Perfection is a concept that can only exist in a Perfect Universe that is beyond change which is endemic to space-time (movement). This is the perfection that theoretically exists beyond the speed of light. This is where God resides.

Next question is does Perfection (God) intervene in an imperfect universe of matter?

Personally, I don't think so . . . however, the majority of religious trend setters and wanna bes continue to rely on a personal God that assists them by intervening into the affairs of humankind.

Religious extremists and terrorists especially rely on this limited earthly form of thinking.
Does this mean that science thinking is a limited earthly kind of thinking with nothing in common with absolutes like infinity?

Last edited by Revlgking; 02/06/14 05:07 AM.

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Originally Posted By: Revlgking
Does this mean that science thinking is a limited earthly kind of thinking with nothing in common with absolutes like infinity?


Correct Rev K (assuming earthly is how I interpret because that translates sort of strange to me) at least in the sort of science I practice I will leave it to the other groups to answer for themselves.

That is why I went through the logic to my form of science it is clear concise and open and leaves no real room for personal preference.

That is why we get used to being wrong because you have to accept the logic even if you don't like it and most new discoveries break something you previously held solid. I have lost count how many things I have been wrong on over the years it is sort of water of a ducks back these days smile

It is a fairly brutal and impersonal process I am guessing your logic would be more philosophical and what feels right type which I don't have the ability to entertain at least not in a formal sense but would be nice sometimes smile

Last edited by Orac; 02/06/14 10:04 AM.

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Originally Posted By: Orac
Absolute nothing can not and does not exist as evidence by the fact you are here.


I don’t intend rabbiting on eternally about this, and I am quite happy to take the “can not” out of the above quote.

That gives us: “Absolute nothing does not exist as evidence by the fact you are here.”

I would just like to clarify what you are saying here. My interpretation would be: “If there had ever been nothing, there would be nothing now.”

Is that what you are saying?


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Remove the word ever ... that implies all time I am not that old and don't have evidence that goes back that far.

As far as I will stretch is "If there was nothing at the big bang, there would be nothing now.”

I am happy to conjecture beyond that (and sometimes do) but not try and make some sort of definitive statement, scientifically my evidence stops at the big bang. The problem is that prior to the BB I have no idea what the laws of physics look like so my observation based logic of this universe is not valid I have no way of knowing even basic things like does time exist there .. remember how Intuitionistic logic works so pre-bigbang is another "flying pig".

If QM and whatever causes it predates the big bang and that's a monumentally huge IF it might be possible in the future to scientifically extend backwards but beyond the big bang otherwise all we can do is conjecture and philosophize.

The idea that there was and always has been nothing is an interesting notion it raises the question why do we always assume that the universe started with nothing. I think as a philosophical or conjectural topic it is an interesting topic but I doubt it couldn't be discussed scientifically.

It's one of those sort of topics Rev K likes which are interesting but ultimately not science.

Last edited by Orac; 02/07/14 04:49 AM.

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Originally Posted By: Orac
As far as I will stretch is "If there was nothing at the big bang, there would be nothing now.”


I agree with that, but it would be helpful to know why you think that.

It would also be interesting to know what you mean by “at the big bang”. Obviously the Big Bang is something; so it would seem somewhat tautologous to say there must have been something at the point at which something happened. Patently, if there were not something, something could not have happened.

Quote:
remember how Intuitionistic logic works so pre-bigbang is another "flying pig".


This must mean that eternal inflation has brought an infinite number of “flying pigs” into existence.
Quote:
If QM and whatever causes it predates the big bang and that's a monumentally huge IF


Should one assume from this that you believe the idea that the Universe originated as a quantum fluctuation is philosophy, rather than science.

Quote:
The idea that there was and always has been nothing is an interesting notion it raises the question why do we always assume that the universe started with nothing.


Just to ensure that the record is straight; I have never held “that there was and always has been nothing”.

As far as the idea goes that the “universe started with nothing”; you would have to be clear as to what you meant by “nothing”, and what you meant by “started with” before I could comment on that.

Who are the "we" who "always assume that the universe started with nothing"?


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Originally Posted By: Bill S.
I agree with that, but it would be helpful to know why you think that.

Standard timeline to the big bang

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_the_Big_Bang

Originally Posted By: Bill S.
It would also be interesting to know what you mean by “at the big bang”. Obviously the Big Bang is something; so it would seem somewhat tautologous to say there must have been something at the point at which something happened. Patently, if there were not something, something could not have happened.

Question how close to t=0 you can get that is a matter of science and what we discover.

You will note in the above article the big warning

Originally Posted By: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_the_Big_Bang

All ideas concerning the very early universe (cosmogony) are speculative. No accelerator experiments have yet probed energies of sufficient magnitude to provide any experimental insight into the behavior of matter at the energy levels that prevailed during this period. Proposed scenarios differ radically.

You probably guess my view on Cosmogony smile

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmogony

Quote:
Cosmogony can be distinguished from cosmology, which studies the universe at large and throughout its existence, and which technically does not inquire directly into the source of its origins. There is some ambiguity between the two terms. For example, the cosmological argument from theology regarding the existence of God is technically an appeal to cosmogonical rather than cosmological ideas. In practice, there is a scientific distinction between cosmological and cosmogonical ideas. Physical cosmology is the science that attempts to explain all observations relevant to the development and characteristics of the universe as a whole.

That is what I suspected you want is Cosmogony but you didn't know the scientific term we give it.

Originally Posted By: Bill S.
This must mean that eternal inflation has brought an infinite number of “flying pigs” into existence

And why is that a problem? Science doesn't deny that flying pigs could exist and if we observe them then they exist.

I have methodically peeled the science process open at length and in detail to explain this. Again science isn't here to necessarily answer every question.

Originally Posted By: Bill S.
Should one assume from this that you believe the idea that the Universe originated as a quantum fluctuation is philosophy, rather than science.

You would assume right it is a Cosmogony idea we can start using the correct term now. It is however an idea that might be able to be made scientific as discussed if QM predates the BB, remember there is nothing wrong with looking for flying pigs just don't tell me they exist until you find one. Look at the story of the Higgs they had to build a big machine to prove a "flying pig" they predicted from theory was actually there, we would not accept it without that.

The rest you have clarified and I really have no comment on.

Last edited by Orac; 02/08/14 05:35 AM.

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Originally Posted By: Orac
Standard timeline to the big bang


That doesn’t address the question. You said: "If there was nothing at the big bang, there would be nothing now.” That is meaningless. The Big Bang was something, so what this says is: If there was nothing when there was something (?!) there would be nothing now.

If you accept that there was a Big Bang, and that it was something, then if you want to talk of the possibility of there having been nothing in relation to the BB, then you have to specify what you mean.

Quote:
That is what I suspected you want is Cosmogony but you didn't know the scientific term we give it.


I see the assumption of ignorance is alive and well. smile Where did I use the term “cosmology” where you think “cosmogony” would have been more appropriate? Could it be that you regard the Big Bang theory as cosmogony, in spite of the quote from your linked article?

Originally Posted By: Wiki
The Big Bang theory is the prevailing cosmological model of the early development of the universe


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Originally Posted By: Bill S.
That doesn’t address the question. You said: "If there was nothing at the big bang, there would be nothing now.” That is meaningless. The Big Bang was something, so what this says is: If there was nothing when there was something (?!) there would be nothing now.


It says what it says there there was something at the big bang or we would not be able to measure it (CMBR), we have no idea why you keep talking about nothing. smile

Originally Posted By: Bill S.
If you accept that there was a Big Bang, and that it was something, then if you want to talk of the possibility of there having been nothing in relation to the BB, then you have to specify what you mean.


Sorry I don't have to specify anything science doesn't work like that go back through the logic again laugh

You keep saying there was nothing before the big bang I am simply saying science has really no comment on the matter I have repeatedly told you we can't measure the other side of BB yet so science is silent on the matter.

All we can say is there was something at the big bang.

Before the big bang take whatever guess you want flying pigs, nothing, everything, god, green aliens, or Elvis Presley because science has no data to argue with you.


Originally Posted By: Wiki
The Big Bang theory is the prevailing cosmological model of the early development of the universe


Correct it is and that theory starts with something at the big bang. If you want to argue there is something or nothing that predates our universe then it is cosmogony as we have no data.

Can you please show me any scientist or science theory that says there is an absolute nothing before BB because you keep sort of insisting it, Hawking is probably the only one brave and crazy enough. For me put whatever you want before the BB I really don't care as it isn't science.

Last edited by Orac; 02/09/14 01:49 AM.

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Originally Posted By: Orac
Can you please show me any scientist or science theory that says there is an absolute nothing before BB because you keep sort of insisting it, Hawking is probably the only one brave and crazy enough. For me put whatever you want before the BB I really don't care as it isn't science.

In fact as far as I know no reputable scientist has made that statement. But there have been suggestions by researchers that the Big Bang came about because of a quantum event. This implies that there was something before the BB. That would have been the quantum foam. The quantum foam would have had to exist in order for the universe to erupt out of it. So that there would not have been nothing (absolute nothing if you insist) before that. I don't see that Bill S. is claiming anything. He is wondering about it, which is a very human thing to do.

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I agree totally with what you say Bill and we have explained it a number of times to Bill S. We might be able to push QM thru to the other side of BB and get some data. Similarly if we can work out what causes gravity it may also exist before BB it is after all a form of energy and perhaps we could do some pre-BB science with it and it is right we should consider such things.

However at the moment we have no data pre BB ... and no data is no data.

You can't apply any sort of logic to a no data situation especially when the universe is compacting in and the laws of physics may not remotely be what we are familiar with.

I have no problem with pondering the idea but there is no actual answer possible and really any answer is equally valid.

Last edited by Orac; 02/09/14 02:32 PM.

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Originally Posted By: Bill
I don't see that Bill S. is claiming anything. He is wondering about it, which is a very human thing to do.


Thanks Bill; it’s good to see that someone actually reads my posts.


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Originally Posted By: Orac
However at the moment we have no data pre BB ... and no data is no data.

You can't apply any sort of logic to a no data situation especially when the universe is compacting in and the laws of physics may not remotely be what we are familiar with.


Would I not be correct in thinking that the data to which you refer stops short at about 10^-35s after the Big Bang?

If there is no data prior to that, why would any scientist accept that there was a Big Bang? After all, "no data is no data".


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Originally Posted By: Bill S.
Would I not be correct in thinking that the data to which you refer stops short at about 10^-35s after the Big Bang?

If there is no data prior to that, why would any scientist accept that there was a Big Bang? After all, "no data is no data".


And that is exactly what I believe so now you do understand me and my angst at some cosmology .. isn't logic wonderful smile

You read the big formal warning put even into Wiki the big bang is a PROJECTION based on data and it comes with big warnings that there is no collider data to back them up but some people including certain scientists seem to just ignore that.

Last edited by Orac; 02/11/14 02:51 AM.

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Originally Posted By: Orac
"If there was nothing at the big bang, there would be nothing now.”


If you are not certain that there was a Big Bang, how can you make that statement with such apparent certainty?


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Quote:
big bang is a PROJECTION based on data


doesnt the projection data tell us that everything originated
from a single point.

to me that sounds a lot like "Let there be Light"


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Originally Posted By: paul
to me that sounds a lot like "Let there be Light"

It's utterly awesome whichever way I look at it.


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It’s absolutely awesome, whatever the origin, the Universe is awesome.

Simply saying that we can go back to 10^-35s after the Big Bang, but can go no further, because beyond that is God’s province (as I believe a recent Pope said) is, to me, erecting a barrier that stifles thought. Obviously not every scientist erects a similar, non-beatific, barrier, but equally obviously some do. This can justifiably be seen as a protection against wild speculation, but we are beings capable of logical thought and reason, and I see a blank refusal to even consider applying that ability beyond an arbitrary cut-off point as stifling thought.

This is in no way a criticism of those who think: I can’t apply science beyond that point. Nor am I being critical of those who think: I can’t apply physics beyond that point because beyond that the laws of physics might be different. Mae pob un at ei gred ei hun!


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Originally Posted By: Bill S.
Originally Posted By: Orac
"If there was nothing at the big bang, there would be nothing now.”


If you are not certain that there was a Big Bang, how can you make that statement with such apparent certainty?


ROFL ... Big Bang is hardly an exact definition .... I think you are being anal now ... is this an argument for argument sake smile

Tell you what, you tell me your definition of the big bang and I will see if I want to use the term or make my own definition.

Originally Posted By: Bill S
... laws of physics might be different


Could you what tell me remotely what physics laws will still exist and won't be different please?

All you need now Bill S is some half arse big bang model like all the rest of lunatics and you could call yourself a cosmologist .... apparently that is all it takes laugh

In case your worried you probably already meet the requirements to call yourself one (http://targetstudy.com/professions/cosmologist.html)

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Quote:
... laws of physics might be different


physics laws require something physical.

Quote:
we can go back to 10^-35s after the Big Bang, but can go no further,


there may not be any physics laws that would apply past
the point of 10^-35s !

"Let There Be Light"

maybe thats how long it took God to say it.

perhaps up to that point ( 10^-35s ) there was the Word of God being spoken by God.

and then once there was Light , Physics laws would apply.



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Strangely Paul I completely agree with that, at least there is a justification for violating all the physics laws that where in existence something many many cosmologist fail at smile

However what I was also highlighting was the level of science one needs to be called a cosmologist because in most countries there is no legal protection over the term and very few if any countries have a formal association. It is almost identical to ‘Nutritionist’ and ‘Dietitian’ situation in most countries anyone who has done anything with food is probably able to call themselves a ‘Nutritionist’.

Last edited by Orac; 02/12/14 02:06 AM.

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Orac, you were the one who said: “"If there was nothing at the big bang, there would be nothing now.”
You also said: “It says what it says there there was something at the big bang”

When I pointed out that the first of these statements was tautologous, and asked you to be specific about what you were saying; your response was: “Sorry I don't have to specify anything science doesn't work like that”

You said of the Big Bang: “…that theory starts with something at the big bang. If you want to argue there is something or nothing that predates our universe then it is cosmogony as we have no data”.

Now you say: “Big Bang is hardly an exact definition”

What are you saying; that Big Bang is fine when you use it, but inexact when I use it? Are you “being anal” when you use it, or is that just a insult you reserve for people who are not fobbed off by indeterminate circumlocution.


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The point is Bill S when I use Big Bang IT IS NEVER EXACT .. HOW CAN IT BE THERE IS NO DATA. Look at my statements and tell me where you think there is any exactness in any of those statements ... BIG BANG is a garbage loose term and generally horribly abused. I gave you my complete logic and you even worked out I imposed a boundary and would not speculate beyond that point because my logic works on justification and I have none for going any further, now you want to play word games by pulling quotes without context .. really?

Sorry I don't do word games ..... you win by default frown

You may use big bang however and whatever you like to be honest Bill S I really wouldn't care it's a pile of cosmology garbage do with it as you please smile

From my janitor perspective there are hundreds of different version of what people call "big bang" and all are about as valid as each other and may their big bangs rock their world laugh

Anyhow I think this thread has reached it's inevitable end don't you lets all have a group hug and find something else to argue about.

Last edited by Orac; 02/12/14 03:08 AM.

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Originally Posted By: Orac
..lets all have a group hug and find something else to argue about.
The possibilities are infinite wink


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In what has to be one of the funniest blogs of watching someone solve a problem with infinity this is classic by Buzz Skyline

It's the good old 1+2+3+4+5... = -1/12

He starts arguing it is wrong but the maths peeps quickly show him his argument fails

http://physicsbuzz.physicscentral.com/2014/01/redux-does-1234-112-absolutely-not.html

So then he actually does a very smart thing and graphs it and can suddenly see the problem and what the maths is showing and the penny drops.

http://physicsbuzz.physicscentral.com/2014/02/so-what-does-1234-equal-we-give-you_11.html

And he worked it out by graphing it smile





Suddenly he sees it a large postive infinity, a large negative infinity and the bit in the middle of the curve.

Then a broken and dejected infinitarian he heads off

Originally Posted By: buzz

1+2+3+4+ . . . = -1/12 + infinity

and other similar things, but I've had enough of this stuff for now.


Perfectly clear now isn't it you just subtract away from infinity smile

Hint: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absolutely_convergent#Rearrangements_and_unconditional_convergence

Last edited by Orac; 02/13/14 04:15 AM.

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Interesting links, that’s a painful quantity of maths just to establish something that is patently obvious to a non mathematician. Having said that, I do appreciate the necessity to prove things that might otherwise be wrongly accepted because they seem so obvious.

You seem to have a very poor opinion of cosmology/cosmologists. Many of them have their PhD, but then one can get a PhD in philosophy or theology/divinity, so I suppose there is plenty of scope for “class distinction” among the elite. Could it be that cosmologists are scientists with imagination?

Quote:
Anyhow I think this thread has reached it's inevitable end


I agree. If we have discussed this for so long, and you still think I believe there was nothing before the BB, then the chances of any real progress are “infinitely” small. smile

I’m a little reticent about the group hug – there are some funny people on SAGG. laugh


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Originally Posted By: Bill S.
Interesting links ...Having said that, I do appreciate the necessity to prove things that might otherwise be wrongly accepted because they seem so obvious.

You seem to have a very poor opinion of cosmology/cosmologists.

Many of them have their PhD, but then one can get a PhD in philosophy or theology/divinity ...
Hold it, Bill S, have you not noticed that dull preachers with doctors of theology/divinity are the ones who are turning so many churches into vacuums?


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