Joshpantera

Did the Universe Begin?

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A trip down one of BAA's rabbit holes, from a citation he left in his final argument. 

 

@LogicalFallacy

 

@disillusioned

 

Here's one link that we can use to dive head long into this rabbit hole. Anyone lurking or interested in any way, dive on in! 

 

http://www.wall.org/~aron/blog/did-the-universe-begin-viii-the-no-boundary-proposal/

 

Quote

Temporarily setting aside Carroll's comment that he doesn't actually think this specific model is true—we'll see some possible reasons for this later—the first thing to clear up about this is that the Hartle-Hawking model

 doesn't actually have a beginning!  At least, it probably doesn't have a beginning, not in the traditional sense of the word.  To the extent that we can reliably extract predictions from it at all, one typically obtains an eternal universe, something like a de Sitter spacetime.  This is an eternal spacetime which contracts down to a minimum size and then expands: as we've already discussed in the context of the Aguirre-Gratton model.

This is because the Hartle-Hawking idea involves performing a "trick", which is often done in mathematical physics, although in this case the physical meaning is not entirely clear.  The trick is called Wick rotation, and involves going to imaginary values of the time parameter ttThe supposed "beginning of time" actually occurs at values of the time parameter that are imaginary!  If you only think about values of tt which are real, most calculations seem to indicate that with high probability you get a universe which is eternal in both directions.

 

Here's Aguirre's pdf: https://arxiv.org/pdf/0712.0571.pdf

Eternal Inflation, past and future



 

Anthony Aguirre 1 Department of Physics/SCIPP UC Santa Cruz 1156 High St., Santa Cruz, CA 95064 aguirre@scipp.ucsc.edu

 

Cosmological inflation, if it occurred, radically alters the picture of the ‘big bang’, which would merely point to reheating at the end of inflation. Moreover, this reheating may be only local so that inflation continues elsewhere and forever, continually spawning big-bang-like regions. This chapter reviews this idea of ‘eternal inflation’, then focuses on what this may mean for the ultimate beginning of the universe. In particular, I will argue that given eternal inflation, the universe may be free of a cosmological initial singularity, might be eternal (and eternally inflating) to the past, and might obey an interesting sort of cosmological time-symmetry

 

This is the general direction Mark was going in when he questioned if 'past eternal' may well be the reality for inflationary theory after all. 

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PLEASE EXCUSE THE ANNOYING COMMERCIAL BREAKS IN THE CONVERSATION:

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And now, back to the regularly scheduled conversation...



My first question (Bear with me, its 11pm and I've just been doing some astronomy in prep for the triple moon treat tomorrow )

 

When we talk about beginning are we referring to our local observable universe, or the cosmos as a whole? (If we use universe to refer to previously discussed 'pockets' of space/time, and cosmos as EVERYTHING ever possible past, present and future)

 

I ask because current science is fairly solid that our local universe had a beginning (TBB) some 13.8 billion years ago.

 

Hmm as an afterthought I remember reading today somewhere that the concept of space time may end up going the same way as flat earth and geocentricism.  

 

The image below was taken 2 hours ago by holding my cell camera over a refracting telescope lens.... that the image came out as clear as it did is amazing!

 

Mobile 1920 x 1080.jpg

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Fantastic, I will definitely have a look at those links and give this some thought.

 

Great picture LF! I have a reflecting telescope, but I've never had any luck getting pictures with it. What I'd really like to do is find a way to mount my camera on it. But that's a problem for another day.

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8 minutes ago, disillusioned said:

Fantastic, I will definitely have a look at those links and give this some thought.

 

As will I

 

8 minutes ago, disillusioned said:

Great picture LF! I have a reflecting telescope, but I've never had any luck getting pictures with it. What I'd really like to do is find a way to mount my camera on it. But that's a problem for another day.

 

Thanks. I was gobsmacked when I got the image into my photo software and saw how clear it was. Just managed to hold the camera in focus for that second I took the shot. (I'd take 20+ and they were all horrendous). I am saving up for and planning a proper setup designed to take good astrophotos. 

 

What camera to you have? You can buy mounts that hold cell phones over the lens. If you have a DSLR or point and shoot camera you will probably need a special mount. 

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9 hours ago, Joshpantera said:

Anyone lurking or interested in any way, dive on in! 

 

 

 

Following..... and thank you!

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7 hours ago, LogicalFallacy said:

My first question (Bear with me, its 11pm and I've just been doing some astronomy in prep for the triple moon treat tomorrow )

 

When we talk about beginning are we referring to our local observable universe, or the cosmos as a whole? (If we use universe to refer to previously discussed 'pockets' of space/time, and cosmos as EVERYTHING ever possible past, present and future)

 

I ask because current science is fairly solid that our local universe had a beginning (TBB) some 13.8 billion years ago.

 

Hmm as an afterthought I remember reading today somewhere that the concept of space time may end up going the same way as flat earth and geocentricism.  

 

The image below was taken 2 hours ago by holding my cell camera over a refracting telescope lens.... that the image came out as clear as it did is amazing!

 

Mobile 1920 x 1080.jpg

 

Excellent shot!

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On 1/29/2018 at 8:38 PM, Joshpantera said:

A trip down one of BAA's rabbit holes, from a citation he left in his final argument. 

 

@LogicalFallacy

 

@disillusioned

 

Here's one link that we can use to dive head long into this rabbit hole. Anyone lurking or interested in any way, dive on in! 

 

http://www.wall.org/~aron/blog/did-the-universe-begin-viii-the-no-boundary-proposal/

..............................................

 

 

 

This question is not theory or an hypothesis,  it is speculation. This is because any assertion or proposal concerning the beginning universe cannot be observed and probably never could be testable by science. The Big Bang model (BB), for more than a decade now, has been distancing themselves from asserted knowledge concerning the beginning of the universe. They used to talk about .000002 seconds after the BB beginning of the universe this or that happened. The basis for this was a big bang explosion. Since then Inflation theory has taken the place of the old model concerning the beginning of the universe.

 

There are several possibilities involved concerning the beginning of the universe. To start with, either our universe had a beginning to it or it didn't. Either the universe had an ultimate beginning going backward in time, or the universe is infinite when going backwards in time.  As to this, the original BB model had some good ideas within it IMO. One of those ideas was that the beginning of the physical universe of matter and energy, also marked the beginnings of both time and space. Accordingly all started at the same time. The beginning entity had within it the potential energy to change itself. Einstein had a good quote concerning this. He said that time, space, and gravity have no meaning to them separate from matter. I think that this is not difficult to understand after a little contemplation. The questions would be: what would be the meaning of time if nothing ever changed? The next question would be: what would be the meaning of space in the absence of matter, energy, or a substance of any kind? The last question would be: what would be the meaning of gravity if there were no matter to attract each other, or warp space? The correct answer IMO is that none would have any meaning to them, therefore all must have matter/ energy as part of their definitions.

 

The meaning to this is that the beginning to our universe of matter/ energy, was also the beginning of both time and space if these statements and conjecture are valid. There would have been a beginning to the universe, but there would have been no such thing as a time before that, and even the word "before" would have no meaning in this context.

 

Of course there are many more speculative ideas. The Steady State model of Hoyle and others have proposed an infinite universe in time and space. Multiverse theory has proposed that our universe was created from another in an infinite series. Hawking has proposed that our universe sprang from a background field. The question then would be: where did this background field come from and how did it come to be, etc.?  Others have speculated that the universe came from pure nothing at some time in the past.

 

In the case of a finite universe, as explained above, it could have had no cause to it, since a cause would mean that there was a time before. If there was a cause, then what caused that cause, etc.  An infinite universe in time also would have had no cause to it by its definition of an infinite beginning, with no ultimate cause.

 

The "God created it" assertion, for instance,  is an infinite universe idea in that the initial cause/ creator, God, would be finite concerning the creation of the "heavens and the Earth," but it would be an infinite proposal concerning cause-and-effect time, since God supposedly has existed for an infinity of time, unless he created himself at some finite time in the past, then it would be a finite model in time. All realize that it's disrespectful and not nice to laugh at either of these religious ideas :lol:

 

The Bottom line is that by the meanings of the words themselves, our universe, or any other possible universe or multiverse, could not have had any Ultimate cause to it regardless of when it started, or whether it is finite or infinite concerning past time. 

 

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4 hours ago, pantheory said:

The Bottom line is that by the meanings of the words themselves, our universe, or any other possible universe or multiverse, could not have had any Ultimate cause to it regardless of when it started, or whether it is finite or infinite concerning past time. 

 

Thanks for this, PT.  Many good points. 

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On 30/01/2018 at 5:41 AM, LogicalFallacy said:

 

What camera to you have? You can buy mounts that hold cell phones over the lens. If you have a DSLR or point and shoot camera you will probably need a special mount. 

 

It's a Nikon D5100. I'll definitely need a special mount. I'm hoping to look into this next summer.

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On 30/01/2018 at 5:17 PM, pantheory said:

 

The "God created it" assertion, for instance,  is an infinite universe idea in that the initial cause/ creator, God, would be finite concerning the creation of the "heavens and the Earth," but it would be an infinite proposal concerning cause-and-effect time, since God supposedly has existed for an infinity of time, unless he created himself at some finite time in the past, then it would be a finite model in time. All realize that it's disrespectful and not nice to laugh at either of these religious ideas :lol:

 

The Bottom line is that by the meanings of the words themselves, our universe, or any other possible universe or multiverse, could not have had any Ultimate cause to it regardless of when it started, or whether it is finite or infinite concerning past time. 

 

 

I agree with part of this. I think "God did it" is a statement that raises more questions than it answers. However, I think it is coherent to posit that the universe may have sprung into being out of a background field, as Hawking does (note that I don't say that I think this is actually the case, just that it is coherent). In this case, the field may exist outside of time, and, in a sense, be eternal. It would then require no cause of its own, and might be said to be an Ultimate Cause of a kind.

 

I still need to look into this a bit more and put some more substantive thoughts together. Apologies for the delay.

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3 hours ago, disillusioned said:

 

I agree with part of this. I think "God did it" is a statement that raises more questions than it answers. However, I think it is coherent to posit that the universe may have sprung into being out of a background field, as Hawking does (note that I don't say that I think this is actually the case, just that it is coherent). In this case, the field may exist outside of time, and, in a sense, be eternal. It would then require no cause of its own, and might be said to be an Ultimate Cause of a kind.

 

I still need to look into this a bit more and put some more substantive thoughts together. Apologies for the delay.

 

Good thoughts. Yes, such an idea has been proposed by professionals, but also their idea of outside of time is impossible IMO. It is strictly science fiction and could never be more than speculation. Hawking probably believes in this so those who also believe in it are in good company.

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Josh, that Aguirre chapter that you posted is really quite humorous in places. It definitely raises a lot of interesting points. I think I understand a little better why Mark seemed to have moved towards a model of inflation that is eternal both in the past and the future. It seems like this is a possible view. I don't know if it can properly be said to be correct, but it does look possible.

 

One thing that jumped out at me when reading that chapter is the large number of unanswered questions. It seems there are a lot of possible ways of approaching this. I'm personally at a bit of a loss when trying to think about how we might decide which view to adopt. I'm not a cosmologist, so maybe it doesn't matter what I think, but at the moment it looks to me like there is a lot more here that is unknown than there is that is known.

 

Was there a beginning? Maybe. It looks to me like that's the only real answer that can be given at the moment.

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7 minutes ago, disillusioned said:

but at the moment it looks to me like there is a lot more here that is unknown than there is that is known.

 

Was there a beginning? Maybe. It looks to me like that's the only real answer that can be given at the moment.

 

So true this. I've been listening to different cosmologists with competing ideas on the eternal universe question. It may be sometime before they have a breakthrough that suggests one model over another shows better evidential support. 

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2 hours ago, disillusioned said:

Josh, that Aguirre chapter that you posted is really quite humorous in places. It definitely raises a lot of interesting points. I think I understand a little better why Mark seemed to have moved towards a model of inflation that is eternal both in the past and the future. It seems like this is a possible view. I don't know if it can properly be said to be correct, but it does look possible.

 

One thing that jumped out at me when reading that chapter is the large number of unanswered questions. It seems there are a lot of possible ways of approaching this. I'm personally at a bit of a loss when trying to think about how we might decide which view to adopt. I'm not a cosmologist, so maybe it doesn't matter what I think, but at the moment it looks to me like there is a lot more here that is unknown than there is that is known.

 

Was there a beginning? Maybe. It looks to me like that's the only real answer that can be given at the moment.

 

I figured this wormhole citation would be fruitful in figuring out where Mark was going with it. 

 

 

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I suppose that depends on what you mean by "the Universe" for starters.

 

The empty space was probably always there, but the stuff part of it probably not. At least not as it currently exists.

 

There is some limited evidence that matter can spontaneously form from seemingly nothing in a void, though it's up to debate if there really is such a thing as a pure void to begin with. Energy and sub atomic particles being a factor and all.

 

The answer is probably yeah, it's always been there, but the how and why of what led to the big bang or whatever it was that caused its current state to begin with isn't really something we'll probably ever really know.

 

I mean, if you factor in an eternity of past, the likelyhood that the universe ended up in its current configuration was inevitable, not unlikely.

 

You could even say that given an eternity in the future, it's entirely possible that all of the exact same atoms that make up your current body forming together in the exact same configuration as you currently exist right now is entirely plausible, maybe even likely. It's monkeys with typewriters writing shakespear's complete works on an even bigger scale basically. It could take an entirely unfathomable number of big bangs and universe deaths to happen again, but it's not really out of the realm of plausibility.

 

Hell, it's not totally improbable that "you" as you are right now has existed before.

 

Eternity and infinity are the kinds of things that will make your head hurt thinking about them.

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2 hours ago, ContraBardus said:

 

I mean, if you factor in an eternity of past, the likelyhood that the universe ended up in its current configuration was inevitable, not unlikely.

 

You could even say that given an eternity in the future, it's entirely possible that all of the exact same atoms that make up your current body forming together in the exact same configuration as you currently exist right now is entirely plausible, maybe even likely. It's monkeys with typewriters writing shakespear's complete works on an even bigger scale basically. It could take an entirely unfathomable number of big bangs and universe deaths to happen again, but it's not really out of the realm of plausibility.

 

Hell, it's not totally improbable that "you" as you are right now has existed before.

 

I can see that all this is possible, but I don't think it's necessary. I can see room for a view of an eternal universe that could have unique configurations.

 

Think of it this way. I have 100 coins, and I toss them an infinite number of times. What's the probability that they will all come up heads at some point? Impossible to actually calculate, since infinity is involved, but intuitively we want to say "1".

 

But this is not the actual situation. We can't just consider our 100 coins, we have to look at all the different possible kinds of coins. You could have coins that don't have heads. You could have cubic coins, or even spherical coins. How many different ways are there of having 100 coins? I'd suggest that this, too, might be infinite.

 

If the above is accepted, then I think the equation changes. Our 100 coins may only exist here and now. So, in the grand scheme, if they all come up heads, that might be a truly unique result.

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11 hours ago, disillusioned said:

 

I can see that all this is possible, but I don't think it's necessary. I can see room for a view of an eternal universe that could have unique configurations.

 

Think of it this way. I have 100 coins, and I toss them an infinite number of times. What's the probability that they will all come up heads at some point? Impossible to actually calculate, since infinity is involved, but intuitively we want to say "1".

 

But this is not the actual situation. We can't just consider our 100 coins, we have to look at all the different possible kinds of coins. You could have coins that don't have heads. You could have cubic coins, or even spherical coins. How many different ways are there of having 100 coins? I'd suggest that this, too, might be infinite.

 

If the above is accepted, then I think the equation changes. Our 100 coins may only exist here and now. So, in the grand scheme, if they all come up heads, that might be a truly unique result.

 

If we're talking about infinite time and infinite flips, it would happen infinite times. Just not every time. There would be no upper limit for how many times it would happen and there will always be another time it would happen in the future.

 

Even if the types of coins were randomized and sometimes, or even most of the time, it wasn't possible, eventually we'd get a situation where it could happen again, and in a certain number of those instances it would, it would just be less frequent than with 100 standard coins. As long as there were possible coin configurations where an all heads flip could occur if coins are continually flipped forever, it eventually would, and it would also always eventually repeat.

 

As for the universe repeating, it depends on whether there is a truly infinite number of whatever makes up the atoms and their particles in the universe, or not.

 

Even if it's so many that it could be considered "near infinity" by our standards, if a finite number exists, given literal eternity, eventually every possible configuration would be exhausted, and it would have to repeat. It would simply be a matter of how long it took. Given enough time, every configuration would repeat eventually.

 

There's also no limit to how many times it has already happened, as in this case infinity goes both ways.

 

 

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On 2/2/2018 at 2:36 AM, disillusioned said:

 

I can see that all this is possible, but I don't think it's necessary. I can see room for a view of an eternal universe that could have unique configurations.............................................................................................................................

 

 

 

I think that your first sentence above is the most important in the related conversations. According to the principle of parsimony and Occam's Razor, the simplest answer is that there is only one universe, the one we live in. There could be separate island "universes" with space separating them, but simplicity says they would all be in the same dimensional context,  3 spacial dimensions and the required dimension of change which we call time.

 

IMO there is no valid reason to complicate this picture. Reality is a simple thing and place. Space and time are simple concepts at their core. Time is that same as "change," nothing more than this. Space is the volume that matter and field occupies, nothing more than this. Gravity is the interaction of field with matter, nothing more than this. Yes, there are a number of different opinions on these matters in cosmology, but probability says that the simplest answers are more likely to be correct than more complicated ones. For many theorists and laypersons alike, the idea of a more complicated, multi-dimensional reality and multiverse is far more interesting than the mundane which we can observe. But are such speculative proposals necessary to explain something?

 

Einstein had a funny saying about this. He said: " “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler." :)

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7 hours ago, ContraBardus said:

 

If we're talking about infinite time and infinite flips, it would happen infinite times. Just not every time. There would be no upper limit for how many times it would happen and there will always be another time it would happen in the future.

 

Only if we are talking about infinite flips of the same coins, and even then we can't say that it would definitely happen an infinite number of times, or even that it would definitely happen once. The probability that they would all come up heads once approaches 1 asymptotically as the number of trials approaches infinity. But it would, strictly speaking, remain possible that they would never come up all heads. It is possible that they could all come up tails every time, ad infinitum. Not very likely, but possible. But this is not really what I'm suggesting. More below.

 

Quote

 

Even if the types of coins were randomized and sometimes, or even most of the time, it wasn't possible, eventually we'd get a situation where it could happen again, and in a certain number of those instances it would, it would just be less frequent than with 100 standard coins. As long as there were possible coin configurations where an all heads flip could occur if coins are continually flipped forever, it eventually would, and it would also always eventually repeat.

 

What I'm suggesting is that it may be possible that new possibilities are continuously being created. We don't need to have a finite set of possible coin types. I can see that new possible types of coins could continuously be created as reality continues to exist. Think of the graph of y=x. Think of time being on the x axis and possible configurations of the universe being on the y axis. The domain of the function is infinite, but so is the range, so the outputs of the function do not need to repeat even given infinite possible inputs. This is roughly analogous to what I'm trying to convey.

 

Quote

 

As for the universe repeating, it depends on whether there is a truly infinite number of whatever makes up the atoms and their particles in the universe, or not.

 

Even if it's so many that it could be considered "near infinity" by our standards, if a finite number exists, given literal eternity, eventually every possible configuration would be exhausted, and it would have to repeat. It would simply be a matter of how long it took. Given enough time, every configuration would repeat eventually.

 

There's also no limit to how many times it has already happened, as in this case infinity goes both ways.

 

Again, I don't think this is necessarily true. Even if the number of possible configurations is fixed, and finite, it does not have to be the case that every possible configuration would necessarily repeat itself. With the coin example, it is possible that we could get all heads on the first trial, and then never again have more than 60 heads turn up. So some configurations would be repeated, but all of them would not be. The universe does not need to be running through possible configurations in an orderly fashion. It might get stuck in a loop, so to speak. But if it does get stuck in a loop, and we happen to exist before the loop, then our particular configuration of the universe might never repeat again.

 

I'm not saying that I think any of the above is a correct description of what is actually happening/has happened/will happen. And I don't think that infinite replication is definitely ruled out. I just don't think that infinite replication has to be concluded, even given infinite time in both past and future.

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1 hour ago, disillusioned said:

 

Only if we are talking about infinite flips of the same coins, and even then we can't say that it would definitely happen an infinite number of times, or even that it would definitely happen once. The probability that they would all come up heads once approaches 1 asymptotically as the number of trials approaches infinity. But it would, strictly speaking, remain possible that they would never come up all heads. It is possible that they could all come up tails every time, ad infinitum. Not very likely, but possible. But this is not really what I'm suggesting. More below.

 

 

What I'm suggesting is that it may be possible that new possibilities are continuously being created. We don't need to have a finite set of possible coin types. I can see that new possible types of coins could continuously be created as reality continues to exist. Think of the graph of y=x. Think of time being on the x axis and possible configurations of the universe being on the y axis. The domain of the function is infinite, but so is the range, so the outputs of the function do not need to repeat even given infinite possible inputs. This is roughly analogous to what I'm trying to convey.

 

 

Again, I don't think this is necessarily true. Even if the number of possible configurations is fixed, and finite, it does not have to be the case that every possible configuration would necessarily repeat itself. With the coin example, it is possible that we could get all heads on the first trial, and then never again have more than 60 heads turn up. So some configurations would be repeated, but all of them would not be. The universe does not need to be running through possible configurations in an orderly fashion. It might get stuck in a loop, so to speak. But if it does get stuck in a loop, and we happen to exist before the loop, then our particular configuration of the universe might never repeat again.

 

I'm not saying that I think any of the above is a correct description of what is actually happening/has happened/will happen. And I don't think that infinite replication is definitely ruled out. I just don't think that infinite replication has to be concluded, even given infinite time in both past and future.

 

I get where you're coming from, and you're not wrong, but I think probability favors infinity leading to eventual infinite repetition.

 

I also would ask when does a coin stop being a coin? The shape of a coin is what determines it is a coin, so your statement that it could be spherical or cubic doesn't make sense, if it is, it's not a coin any more than a paper bill is. It doesn't have to be a circular disk, but a coin by it's very nature must be flat. Even if its a huge stone circle, it's not really a coin if it doesn't have the basic shape of a coin, if it's a sphere it's a bearing or ball, if it's a cube it's a die or block.

 

You could have coins that don't have a heads, or have double heads, or even just be a plain blank coin. So yeah, there are other possible configurations, but by using coins we're setting limits on what qualifies. Still, if we're talking a random set of coins for each flip cycle, we would eventually see configurations that would lead to the possibility of a hundred coins landing on heads, and given eternity it would eventually occur and there would be no limit to how many times it could occur.

 

I would also point out that there is really no such thing as "near infinite". If there is a finite amount of anything, then it isn't anywhere near infinite no matter how much of it there is. Half of infinity is still infinity. Near infinite usually just means an imperceptible amount, or more than could possibly be exhausted within an imperceptible amount of time. For all practical purposes, it might as well be infinite, even though it isn't anywhere near it.

 

For example, the amount of water in the ocean isn't infinite, but to a single person with a five gallon bucket who is tasked with draining it, it might as well be.

 

Therefore, if there is a limited amount of whatever makes up the matter in the universe, there are only so many configurations it can take. It would easily be a number beyond human comprehension, but still a finite amount.

 

I also wouldn't argue that there is the possibility that such an event would never happen, but that's far more unlikely than it happening infinite times in this context. Probability favors that a hundred coins landing on heads would occur. Maybe not regularly, but eventually.

 

Also, the universe may indeed get stuck in a loop, but again, probability would dictate that it would be unlikely that it would be stuck in said loop indefinitely for eternity.

 

I also never said that the repeating cycle would be uniform, but again we're talking about infinity here. It wouldn't have to be uniform to repeat an infinite number of times. Some configurations could be more common than others, but given infinite time even the rarest of configurations would still likely repeat infinitely eventually, just less frequently.

 

This of course assumes that the existence of whatever creates matter is finite and cannot be destroyed. Which may or may not be the case.

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11 hours ago, ContraBardus said:

I also would ask when does a coin stop being a coin? The shape of a coin is what determines it is a coin, so your statement that it could be spherical or cubic doesn't make sense, if it is, it's not a coin any more than a paper bill is. It doesn't have to be a circular disk, but a coin by it's very nature must be flat. Even if its a huge stone circle, it's not really a coin if it doesn't have the basic shape of a coin, if it's a sphere it's a bearing or ball, if it's a cube it's a die or block.

 

Well, it's just an analogy, but this objection actually serves to make a point that I've been struggling to convey. Our preconceived notions of what constitutes a "coin" are not relevant, in my opinion. The universe does not need to be restricted to flipping coins. When we are asking "how many ways are there for the universe to be", we need to consider that the type of thing we can have is not necessarily fixed. You said before that we need to consider that the number of atoms/whatever makes up the universe might be infinite. What I'm proposing is that the number of ways that you might be able to have "stuff" that makes up a universe might be infinite too.

 

11 hours ago, ContraBardus said:

You could have coins that don't have a heads, or have double heads, or even just be a plain blank coin. So yeah, there are other possible configurations, but by using coins we're setting limits on what qualifies. Still, if we're talking a random set of coins for each flip cycle, we would eventually see configurations that would lead to the possibility of a hundred coins landing on heads, and given eternity it would eventually occur and there would be no limit to how many times it could occur.

 

If we are in the business of setting limits on what qualifies, then let's say we restrict ourselves to just our universe. Then we probably have a finite number of particles. But the universe is expanding, meaning that, on the grand scale, the particles are getting farther and farther apart. If it continues to expand forever (as it might), then there will literally never come a time when the current configuration of particles in the universe is realized again.

 

The analogy breaks down because fair coin tossing is supposed to be truly random, and is, by nature, a repetitive process. I don't think the universe necessarily needs to be this way.

 

11 hours ago, ContraBardus said:

I would also point out that there is really no such thing as "near infinite". If there is a finite amount of anything, then it isn't anywhere near infinite no matter how much of it there is. Half of infinity is still infinity. Near infinite usually just means an imperceptible amount, or more than could possibly be exhausted within an imperceptible amount of time. For all practical purposes, it might as well be infinite, even though it isn't anywhere near it.

 

For example, the amount of water in the ocean isn't infinite, but to a single person with a five gallon bucket who is tasked with draining it, it might as well be.

 

Therefore, if there is a limited amount of whatever makes up the matter in the universe, there are only so many configurations it can take. It would easily be a number beyond human comprehension, but still a finite amount.

 

This is a good point. I think a big problem with discussions such as this one is that they ultimately lead to quite a bit of hand-waving when trying to deal with the notion of infinity. I wrote extensively on this topic in this thread on page 4, and I won't repeat any of this now to avoid boring everyone. Suffice it to say, infinity can mean a variety of things in mathematics, and when it enters calculations, things generally become more complicated, not simpler. The first thing I want to ask whenever anyone brings up infinity in these discussions is "what kind of infinity are we talking about?" I've never received a good answer to this.

 

It's easy to play fast and loose with the numbers, wave our hands a bit, and declare that something should be true. That's not the same thing as showing that it is true. According to Guth, no one knows how to calculate probabilities properly under an internal inflation model. And if I learned anything from studying math, it was that intuition and truth do not always align. So I'm skeptical of arguments that rely on an intuitive notion of what the probabilities should be when we don't really know how to calculate them properly.

 

I agree, though, that "near infinite" isn't really very meaningful.

 

11 hours ago, ContraBardus said:

I also wouldn't argue that there is the possibility that such an event would never happen, but that's far more unlikely than it happening infinite times in this context. Probability favors that a hundred coins landing on heads would occur. Maybe not regularly, but eventually.

 

Ok, let's make this simpler. Now I have one coin. I toss it. It might be heads. I toss it again. It might be heads. Again. Heads. Again. Heads.

 

No matter how many tosses there are, each toss comes with a non-zero probability of obtaining heads. So it is definitely possible that I might toss this coin forever and only ever get heads, never tails. It's not likely, but it is possible. So, given infinite tosses, would I get tails eventually? Probably, not definitely. I don't think we really disagree on this point, it's just that the analogy is breaking down.

 

11 hours ago, ContraBardus said:

Also, the universe may indeed get stuck in a loop, but again, probability would dictate that it would be unlikely that it would be stuck in said loop indefinitely for eternity.

 

Why?

 

11 hours ago, ContraBardus said:

I also never said that the repeating cycle would be uniform, but again we're talking about infinity here. It wouldn't have to be uniform to repeat an infinite number of times. Some configurations could be more common than others, but given infinite time even the rarest of configurations would still likely repeat infinitely eventually, just less frequently.

 

This of course assumes that the existence of whatever creates matter is finite and cannot be destroyed. Which may or may not be the case.

 

I agree, you never said that. That was my interpretation. I was trying to illustrate a point, and doing it badly. Maybe another analogy would be helpful.

 

Let's say I'm playing a piano forever. I might run my hand across all the keys once, and then proceed to play the same three notes, over and over, forever. I don't think probability can show that I must strike every key more than once. I must strike some of the keys more than once if I am to continue playing forever, but I don't need to strike them all more than once. There might be a subset of the keys that I just keep repeating in an infinite loop.

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3 hours ago, disillusioned said:

 

Well, it's just an analogy, but this objection actually serves to make a point that I've been struggling to convey. Our preconceived notions of what constitutes a "coin" are not relevant, in my opinion. The universe does not need to be restricted to flipping coins. When we are asking "how many ways are there for the universe to be", we need to consider that the type of thing we can have is not necessarily fixed. You said before that we need to consider that the number of atoms/whatever makes up the universe might be infinite. What I'm proposing is that the number of ways that you might be able to have "stuff" that makes up a universe might be infinite too.

 

 

If we are in the business of setting limits on what qualifies, then let's say we restrict ourselves to just our universe. Then we probably have a finite number of particles. But the universe is expanding, meaning that, on the grand scale, the particles are getting farther and farther apart. If it continues to expand forever (as it might), then there will literally never come a time when the current configuration of particles in the universe is realized again.

 

The analogy breaks down because fair coin tossing is supposed to be truly random, and is, by nature, a repetitive process. I don't think the universe necessarily needs to be this way.

 

 

This is a good point. I think a big problem with discussions such as this one is that they ultimately lead to quite a bit of hand-waving when trying to deal with the notion of infinity. I wrote extensively on this topic in this thread on page 4, and I won't repeat any of this now to avoid boring everyone. Suffice it to say, infinity can mean a variety of things in mathematics, and when it enters calculations, things generally become more complicated, not simpler. The first thing I want to ask whenever anyone brings up infinity in these discussions is "what kind of infinity are we talking about?" I've never received a good answer to this.

 

It's easy to play fast and loose with the numbers, wave our hands a bit, and declare that something should be true. That's not the same thing as showing that it is true. According to Guth, no one knows how to calculate probabilities properly under an internal inflation model. And if I learned anything from studying math, it was that intuition and truth do not always align. So I'm skeptical of arguments that rely on an intuitive notion of what the probabilities should be when we don't really know how to calculate them properly.

 

I agree, though, that "near infinite" isn't really very meaningful.

 

 

Ok, let's make this simpler. Now I have one coin. I toss it. It might be heads. I toss it again. It might be heads. Again. Heads. Again. Heads.

 

No matter how many tosses there are, each toss comes with a non-zero probability of obtaining heads. So it is definitely possible that I might toss this coin forever and only ever get heads, never tails. It's not likely, but it is possible. So, given infinite tosses, would I get tails eventually? Probably, not definitely. I don't think we really disagree on this point, it's just that the analogy is breaking down.

 

 

Why?

 

 

I agree, you never said that. That was my interpretation. I was trying to illustrate a point, and doing it badly. Maybe another analogy would be helpful.

 

Let's say I'm playing a piano forever. I might run my hand across all the keys once, and then proceed to play the same three notes, over and over, forever. I don't think probability can show that I must strike every key more than once. I must strike some of the keys more than once if I am to continue playing forever, but I don't need to strike them all more than once. There might be a subset of the keys that I just keep repeating in an infinite loop.

 

The coin thing just doesn't work because the very concept of a coin limits it I suppose. Still, as an analogy it's enough for our purposes.

 

You're right, we don't disagree. I just feel that repeatedly getting the same flip isn't favored by probability. It is far less likely the more often we flip the coin. Each individual coin flip the chances are the same with all things being equal, but over many coin flips the probability that the result will be the same every time lessens. This is assuming something about the coin doesn't favor being flipped one way or another, such as one side being heavier than the other and being more prone to land one way or another. Even then the probability that it will happen every time given infinite flips isn't likely, just more likely than it would be if both sides led to an equal chance.

 

If we factor in random coins with various properties, while still being coins, the likelyhood of the same result lessens. Some coins would likely have sides that favor landing one way, while others would likely favor landing another, there's even a third option with the coins sometimes landing upright. It is possible that all the coins would always end up having properties favoring tails, but it's improbable to the point it's not worth considering. Even then, sometimes they would likely land the opposite way given infinite time, and eventually would land all heads regardless. It would just be far less frequently.

 

As for "Why?" the butterfly effect. If tiny variations led to something becoming stuck in a loop, then eventually other variations would likely reach a point to break it out of said loop. It might create a new loop, but the same factors would likely eventually lead to that loop breaking as well. It could be a point where it just suddenly stops, or a more gradual change over time, but eventually it wouldn't be the same loop anymore either way.

 

You can play the same three keys forever, but they won't be the exact same three notes. This assumes that whoever is pressing the keys would press them with the exact same amount of force and timing, even then the sound produced would not be exactly the same every time, the strings would produce a slightly different sound nearly every time it was played, tuning would be a factor, the conditions around the piano, humidity, air pressure, temperature, would play a factor, etc. etc... A lot of those same things would impact coin flips as well.

 

It also wouldn't likely be random, but purposeful. The idea of an intelligently run Universe makes that idea more likely and would lead to a more ordered configuration overall, but the lack of the concept of an intelligent force that controls everything about the universe down to the extreme micro level greatly decreases the likelyhood of that sort of thing.

 

How much an individual considers that as a factor comes down to a matter of belief I suppose as this is exChristian and not exDeist. Still, even then it would still likely have some random elements just due to the butterfly effect unless said being literally controlled every micro level component of the universe to an exact degree.

 

I also don't see how there can be an infinite number of configurations for a finite amount of anything. There could be a functionally infinite amount within a limited timeframe, but given true infinity a finite number of anything only has a finite number of configurations. You can only put any number of something together so many different ways before it would eventually have to repeat. It doesn't matter how large that number is, if there is a finite amount you'll eventually run out of configurations given infinite time.

 

This of course has assumptions of its own. That the universe is a singular entity that contains all that is within it in a closed system, that it has a finite amount of whatever makes it up and doesn't create or destroy whatever it is that makes it up, and that it runs on a cycle.

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Here are two generally known arguments. The first is against a fine tuned universe, and the second is against the existence of multiverses.

 

http://www.strongatheism.net/library/against/problems_of_fine_tuning/

 

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/are-parallel-universes-unscientific-nonsense-insider-tips-for-criticizing-the-multiverse/

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I was talking about the infinite replication paradox with my girlfriend and she pointed out some issues. I'll have to look at it closer but her issue was with how the biological conditions of earth could repeat so as even once, precisely, in terms of the history of the earth repeating itself exactly in a biological sense down to repetition of our individual lives. Because everything, everything thought would have to happen exactly the same in order for everything to repeat exactly. 

 

On 2/3/2018 at 6:17 PM, pantheory said:

Here are two generally known arguments. The first is against a fine tuned universe, and the second is against the existence of multiverses.

 

http://www.strongatheism.net/library/against/problems_of_fine_tuning/

 

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/are-parallel-universes-unscientific-nonsense-insider-tips-for-criticizing-the-multiverse/

 

If not multiverses, though, we're still facing some type of infinite and eternal space with the alternative models from what I understand. It seems to boil down to which version of infinite and eternal is the right one. But in other versions, repetition wouldn't factor in? 

 

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4 hours ago, Joshpantera said:

I was talking about the infinite replication paradox with my girlfriend and she pointed out some issues. I'll have to look at it closer but her issue was with how the biological conditions of earth could repeat so as even once, precisely, in terms of the history of the earth repeating itself exactly in a biological sense down to repetition of our individual lives. Because everything, everything thought would have to happen exactly the same in order for everything to repeat exactly. 

 

 

If not multiverses, though, we're still facing some type of infinite and eternal space with the alternative models from what I understand. It seems to boil down to which version of infinite and eternal is the right one. But in other versions, repetition wouldn't factor in? 

 

 

Well, we're talking about infinity here. So that kind of throws a wrench in things.

 

Again, that assumes that the Earth would be formed a limited amount of times. However, if Earth was formed infinite times using the exact same materials, then it would eventually repeat every possible configuration infinite times.

 

I'm not saying it would happen often, and would likely take an inconceivable amount of time, but eventually, assuming the situation is as outlined above, the conditions would likely eventually occur so that everything happened exactly the same way.

 

The exact same Earth as the one we have now would probably be an even more inconceivably long time than just another "Earth" appearing, as there would be an absurd number of variations just for that as well, but still a finite number even though it may be "infinite" for all practical purposes in regard to how we view time as a species.

 

It's the infinite time regarding a repeating cycle that makes it plausible. Given infinite time in a system like that, assuming it is also infinite, repeating the exact same Earth would be essentially inevitable.

 

If we go with the initial premise, that you as you are right now might exist and be made from the exact same materials you're made of now, it becomes even more likely. It wouldn't necessarily be on the exact same Earth we currently exist on, and would probably only happen for an instant before some other variation happened that meant you weren't exactly the same as you are now again in most cases. Hell, it doesn't mean that you were exactly the same before it happened.

 

Let's say you were mostly made up of the exact same stuff, and a skin cell flakes off leaving this other "you" in the exact state you exist in now, with all the exact same parts in the exact same places, but then you breathe in and molecules in the air that weren't a part of the original "you" are absorbed into your body, altering it again into something different. This is probably the most common scenario of an exact repeated existence of your current state of existence.

 

It's still an absurdly distant chance, but given infinite time with all the same pieces in play, it is likely inevitable. That doesn't mean it would necessarily happen more times than say the Earth might form as it exists right now with your life up to the current point in time happening exactly the same way and interacting with all the same elements of whatever makes up the world as it is now, just that it's probably more likely to happen than the exact Earth we currently exist on forming exactly as it is now again.

 

Infinity is unending, and as I said, if the situation is as outlined above, eventually there would have to be repetition. Some things could repeat more than others, and the exact same Universe that exists now would be rarer than individual components happening again, but infinity would likely eventually result in a full repetition of the current cycle if a finite amount of stuff that makes up the universe exists in a cycle like the one we're discussing. It would just more than likely take an absurd amount of time, and also likely wouldn't happen at any consistent interval. It could take billions, trillions, or more, more or fewer times to happen between each time it happens. Some configurations could be more common than others, but even the rarest would likely eventually repeat infinite times in an infinitely repeating system with finite resources available.

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