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The concept of infinite.


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#16    sepulchrave

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Posted 29 October 2009 - 06:29 AM

View PostShaunZero, on 28 October 2009 - 02:03 AM, said:

Anyway, this idea was also influenced by the idea of causation. Everything must have a cause. This means that existence itself MUST be infinite, and can NOT have had a beginning. If it has a beginning, something did not have a cause; it "came from nothing". Does not the idea of causality prove conceptually that existence of infinite?
Causality only requires that `cause' precedes `effect'. This is independent of the idea that `something cannot come from nothing' - i.e. having an `effect' without a `cause' does not violate causality.

It is a bit of a `catch-22', however. The idea that `something cannot come from nothing' stems from the Law of Conservation of Mass-Energy. However every conservation law is derived from a symmetry, and in this case it is the fact that physical laws are symmetric in time which provides the Law of Conservation of Mass-Energy.

If time `began' at some point (i.e. the Big Bang), this would clearly be a symmetry breaking event - so the Law of Conservation of Mass-Energy would not hold.

In short: if time (as we measure it) is intrinsic to our universe (and I see no reason why it shouldn't be), then there is no contradiction to the idea that our universe sprung up from nothing.

Now I'm not saying that things necessarily have to be this way, I am merely trying to point out the pit-falls with using logical thinking to describe things outside our universe.

Like I said, it's a catch-22. IF the universe is infinite, then you are right in your analysis of `causation implies infinity'. IF the universe is not infinite, then you might be wrong.

Edited by sepulchrave, 29 October 2009 - 06:29 AM.


#17    ShaunZero

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Posted 29 October 2009 - 09:08 PM

Quote

Now I'm not saying that things necessarily have to be this way, I am merely trying to point out the pit-falls with using logical thinking to describe things outside our universe.

If you can't use logical thinking for things outside of this universe, then you can not make any sort of conclusion at all, even that  the universe COULD have sprung from nothing. Without reasoning and logic outside of the universe, the idea of a God existing outside of it is just as likely as any other conclusion(I can't swallow that!). In my eyes the idea of something coming from nothing literally is impossible even outside of this unviverse. Even if you remove time and then try to say "x came from nothing" using some fancy concept of how there is no longer an order things happen in due to time not being present, you'd be wrong since saying "came from" would require a sense of time to begin with; it's essentially saying the order in which something occured and without time that is impossible. Non-existence can not produce existence.

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Causality only requires that `cause' precedes `effect'. This is independent of the idea that `something cannot come from nothing' - i.e. having an `effect' without a `cause' does not violate causality.

Doesn't causality say that "everything has a cause"? If that is true, then what excludes the first cause? If the first cause does not require a cause itself, why should anything else after it?

EDIT: And also, every effect is essentially a cause as well. It seems the only special case you're making for this would be the "first cause". It's sort of like... you can not have a cause without an effect. A "cause with no cause".

Edited by ShaunZero, 29 October 2009 - 09:16 PM.

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#18    Raptor

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Posted 29 October 2009 - 09:35 PM

View PostShaunZero, on 27 October 2009 - 04:06 PM, said:

I've always wondered about these scientific ideas. If we can't measure infinite, and therefore can not logically point to any instance of it, how can we say that those things(Black Holes energy, etc) are infinite?

The confusion comes from the assumption that infinity is 'something'. Really it isn't, and it certainly doesn't have a value. It's nothing but a useful concept that helps us to express other concepts.

Take gravity; we know that the gravitational force of an object decreases as you get further from the object, but we say that its gravitational field extends to infinity. What does that mean? Well that tells us that no matter how far you get from the object, its gravitational force will always be greater than zero. It can become smaller and smaller but it will never reach absolute zero.

'Infinity' is just the word used to help make ideas like that more communicable. Not forgetting the necessity for it in many realms of mathematics.

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Doesn't causality say that "everything has a cause"? If that is true, then what excludes the first cause? If the first cause does not require a cause itself, why should anything else after it?

You might be interested in determinism.

Edited by Raptor, 29 October 2009 - 09:48 PM.


#19    Andami

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Posted 29 October 2009 - 10:41 PM

I'll try to be as simple as possible. Nothing can be infinite in time. An example would be that nothing lasts forever, or has been here forever. But, in math there can be infinites. One example for this would be a line. A line has no beginning or end. It just is. Another example would be indivisible numbers. Like 2/3 = .6 repeating. So no, there is no true infinite, unless you are talking about this but sideways :rofl:

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Edited by Andami, 29 October 2009 - 10:43 PM.


#20    ShaunZero

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Posted 29 October 2009 - 10:50 PM

View PostRaptor, on 29 October 2009 - 09:35 PM, said:

You might be interested in determinism.

I've just had a really long discussion on determinism in the "Free will does not exist" thread with Wootloops. We both agreed that it requires an infinite chain of causes. There can be no cause which had no cause itself.

View PostRaptor, on 29 October 2009 - 09:35 PM, said:

Take gravity; we know that the gravitational force of an object decreases as you get further from the object, but we say that its gravitational field extends to infinity. What does that mean? Well that tells us that no matter how far you get from the object, its gravitational force will always be greater than zero. It can become smaller and smaller but it will never reach absolute zero.

I understand what you're saying perfectly, though even still the idea and context of the word would still equate a potential infinite. "Infinity" is more of a conception, a way of using logic to understand whether said concept is possible or not but the brain has trouble with the concept.

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Assume: All events have causes, and their causes are all prior events. There is no cycle of events such that an event (possibly indirectly) causes itself.

The picture this gives us is that Event AN is preceded by AN-1, which is preceded by AN-2, and so forth.

Under these assumptions, two possibilities seem clear, and both of them question the validity of the original assumptions:

(1) There is an event A0 prior to which there was no other event that could serve as its cause.
(2) There is no event A0 prior to which there was no other event, which means that we are presented with an infinite series of causally related events, which is itself an event, and yet there is no cause for this infinite series of events.
Source

Edited by ShaunZero, 29 October 2009 - 11:01 PM.

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#21    maximaldecimal

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Posted 29 October 2009 - 11:29 PM

I believe that the only thing that can be infinite is zero. Niether can be assesed or measured and everything finite exists within it.  Thus it also occupies occupied space. If there were such a thing as infinite zero there would be only one.  This provides for a basal triad of power.  One positive existence, zero negative existence, adn infinity representing the combination of both.  Alternately I think infinity and one could be reversed.  I think the combination of these three factors could explain the big bang.
I went into this in depth on my first post in alternative histories.


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I am nothing, I am infinite, I am one.

#22    Civilization

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Posted 30 October 2009 - 10:40 AM

Here is a "new" one : "Nothing" does not exist. Try to imagine nothing. Try to imagine nothing without it actually being "something". I guarantee that you cannot do it.

You cannot create nothing from something because nothing does not exist.
You cannot create something from nothing because nothing does not exist.
You can create something from something because everything does exist.

This is why there is no beginning.

Edited by Civilization, 30 October 2009 - 10:56 AM.

USE YOUR INTUITION FOR ONCE.

#23    maximaldecimal

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Posted 30 October 2009 - 06:35 PM

View PostCivilization, on 30 October 2009 - 10:40 AM, said:

Here is a "new" one : "Nothing" does not exist. Try to imagine nothing. Try to imagine nothing without it actually being "something". I guarantee that you cannot do it.

You cannot create nothing from something because nothing does not exist.
You cannot create something from nothing because nothing does not exist.
You can create something from something because everything does exist.

This is why there is no beginning.

Indeed physics denies the existence of zero, but to the mathematician zero is alive and well.

I am nothing, I am infinite, I am one.

#24    Universal Sight

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Posted 31 October 2009 - 02:15 AM

View PostShaunZero, on 25 October 2009 - 07:33 PM, said:

Something that has a beginning can never be called infinite.  :rofl:
IMO for something to be able to be infinite it could have a beginning but no ending. Not necessarily have to have a beginning and an end. Everything has to start from somewhere.

View PostBurnSide, on 27 October 2009 - 10:43 AM, said:

Can you give an example of something in own known universe that you believe is infinite?
The only thing i can think of that is infinite, or at least the best candidate IMO, would be light itself. In saying this, i dont mean light from a specific or particular source. I am speaking of light as in all the universe. there will always be light somewhere.

Quote

Our limited definition of infinite suggests that the concept must have no beginning and no end.
If the big bang theory is correct, the universe started at the moment of the big bang.

With a start, and probably an end.
Everything has a beginning and an end. (My opinion on Light above would be included in this per each individual source expiring at some time.)

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But, what about god? Was he here before the universe and as such, could god be infinite?
Well, if he was then i guess that would answer alot of questions. But what about this one:
How long did he have to wait before deciding to create man? Mustve been really bored to wait billions of years before trying to do so. No one to talk to...etc.    Sorry...  :lol:

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#25    sepulchrave

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Posted 31 October 2009 - 05:45 AM

View Postmaximaldecimal, on 30 October 2009 - 06:35 PM, said:

Indeed physics denies the existence of zero, but to the mathematician zero is alive and well.
What physics is that?


#26    Civilization

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Posted 31 October 2009 - 06:02 AM

View Postmaximaldecimal, on 30 October 2009 - 06:35 PM, said:

Indeed physics denies the existence of zero, but to the mathematician zero is alive and well.

You missed the point... "physics"... "mathematicians"... whatever. 'Zero' only exists as a representation, once it tries to exist as what it really is (nothing), it becomes 'something'. 'Nothing' is technically 'something' that exists, is it not? One cannot perceive 'nothing' without it being 'something'.

USE YOUR INTUITION FOR ONCE.

#27    Raptor

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Posted 31 October 2009 - 12:43 PM

View PostCivilization, on 31 October 2009 - 06:02 AM, said:

You missed the point... "physics"... "mathematicians"... whatever. 'Zero' only exists as a representation, once it tries to exist as what it really is (nothing), it becomes 'something'. 'Nothing' is technically 'something' that exists, is it not? One cannot perceive 'nothing' without it being 'something'.

In reality that's just a meaningless play on words. If I say that there's nothing outside of the universe, that doesn't mean that something outside the universe suddenly pops in to existence just because we've labelled it.

View PostShaunZero, on 25 October 2009 - 07:33 PM, said:

Something that has a beginning can never be called infinite.

The amount of natural numbers is infinite, that is, the set of non-negative integers. Starting from 0 and extending to infinity. 0, 1, 2, 3 ...

Again, I must reiterate that 'infinity' is only a concept to denote something that continues indefinitely, so it doesn't have a value.

Edited by Raptor, 31 October 2009 - 12:43 PM.


#28    ships-cat

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Posted 31 October 2009 - 01:55 PM

I wondern wether - in discussing the concept of 'infinity', we are actually creating a bogus discussion of.. well.. semantics.

My understanding is that the concept of infinity - in the modern sense - was merely a mathmatical tool to cope with the concept of a number being divided by zero. In the same sense that the construct "i" was created to represent the square root of a negative number.

We develop language as a tool to help us manipulate - or come to terms with - our environment. And I include mathematics as being a language, for the purposes of this discussion.

However, it is important to recognise that "the tool is not the thing itself" .. it is merely a label that may only apply in specific circumstances.

Hence to discuss a line as being infinately long is a structural/semantic error; the "infinity" tool is not intended to be used in those circumstances. It is the equivelant to asking what sound a particular colour makes, or what is the width of an odour. The question itself is synesthesic and misleading.

Stephen Hawkins touched on a varient of this in his discussion of the "big bang" singularity theory. He proposed that there COULD have been a universe in existence PRIOR to the big bang; a universe that collapsed to form the singularity from which our universe subsequently emerged. However, he pointed out that no structure or information could survive the environment of the singularity and be passed forwards, and therefore it would be impossible for us to deduce anything about the nature of that prior universe.

Hence, in practical terms, the big bang IS the starting point of our universe; it is bounded at one end. And at the other end ? Who knows; our toolkits called "length" and "duration" may not be appropriate to operate at that scale, and hence it is meaningless to attempt to apply them.  Even the toolkit called "time" is only usefull for day-to-day stuff; nobody can actually state what time IS.

As for the discussion on infinate energy in a Black Hole; I am puzzled by this. A Black Hole is just a name for an object that exceeds a certain mass. Other than that, it is just a perfectly normal planet (or perhaps a sun). There is nothing inherently magical about them.

So to summarise: Infinity is a label to describe what heppens when you divide a number by zero. It has no other literal meaning. If it is used outside of this definition, then it ceases to have any real meaning and becomes .. well.. a sort of metaphor. Analysing a metaphor - especially out of its context - is rarely fruitfull or meaningfull.

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#29    sepulchrave

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Posted 31 October 2009 - 07:01 PM

View Postships-cat, on 31 October 2009 - 01:55 PM, said:

As for the discussion on infinate energy in a Black Hole; I am puzzled by this. A Black Hole is just a name for an object that exceeds a certain mass. Other than that, it is just a perfectly normal planet (or perhaps a sun). There is nothing inherently magical about them.
A black hole is an object whose mass is such that its gravitational strength exceeds the repulsive force keeping its constituent atoms separate from each other. Classically these atoms then collapse to a singular point.

Gravitational energy from a point particle is given by ~ 1/r, if the next particle is at the same spot than r is vanishingly small and the mutual gravitational energy between them is infinite.

View Postships-cat, on 31 October 2009 - 01:55 PM, said:

So to summarise: Infinity is a label to describe what heppens when you divide a number by zero. It has no other literal meaning. If it is used outside of this definition, then it ceases to have any real meaning and becomes .. well.. a sort of metaphor. Analysing a metaphor - especially out of its context - is rarely fruitfull or meaningfull.

Well... technically 1/0 is `undefined'. 1/x -> infinity as x -> 0 though. (Just to be unnecessarily pedantic.)

Anyway I personally think infinity is a very important physical concept to describe boundary conditions. For example, the definition of absolute temperature says you can't have temperatures lower than 0 K. However this comes from the concept that kinetic energy1 has a lower bound (minimum of 0) and no upper bound. If kinetic energy does have an upper bound than you can have temperatures lower than 0 K.

Similarly, a lot of `quantum weirdness' comes from boundary conditions. Does the universe stretch off to infinity or not? If it doesn't, than there are boundary conditions on the universe and free particles have quantized energy levels. If it does, then they don't.


#30    Raptor

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Posted 31 October 2009 - 08:31 PM

View Postsepulchrave, on 31 October 2009 - 07:01 PM, said:

However this comes from the concept that kinetic energy1 has a lower bound (minimum of 0) and no upper bound. If kinetic energy does have an upper bound than you can have temperatures lower than 0 K.

How so?





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