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ShaunZero

The concept of infinite.

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I didn't know where to post this, so I just put it here. Last night while laying down trying to go to sleep, a question popped in my head that I found quite interesting. I'm not sure how to answer it, or if the question is even valid. If an object has always existed and ceases to exist today, how long did it exist for? The answer seems like it would be "An infinite amount of time", but at the same time... how could that be since it no longer exists? It's age is infinite yet it no longer exists? Perhaps the entire concept of something always existing is impossible. Maybe there HAS to be a beginning. Perhaps the very fact that it predates time itself makes the question invalid? I don't know, you tell me.

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This made me think of a line, it starts at one point (being when it ceased to exist in this example) and jetted forever in the other direction. that end goes on to infinity but the other one ends some time . Its really hard to answer this question but I did it in the best way I could so hope it helps!

Edited by lookingfortruth

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Something that has a beginning can never be called infinite. It is only a potential infinity, since it always has an age that is ever growing. To be truly infinite in my opinion, you'd have to have no beginning. It's hard to comprehend, because instead of going forward for an infinite amount of time, in which the future hasn't happened yet, you have to look into the PAST, which has already occured, for infinity. It's almost as if since you can't call something infinite that has a beginning due to the future not occuring yet, it begs to say that an infinite amount of time could NOT have already past since we still have future yet to come. My head hurts. :rofl:

Edited by ShaunZero

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Something that has a beginning can never be called infinite. It is only a potential infinity, since it always has an age that is ever growing. To be truly infinite in my opinion, you'd have to have no beginning. It's hard to comprehend, because instead of going forward for an infinite amount of time, in which the future hasn't happened yet, you have to look into the PAST, which has already occured, for infinity. It's almost as if since you can't call something infinite that has a beginning due to the future not occuring yet, it begs to say that an infinite amount of time could NOT have already past since we still have future yet to come. My head hurts. :rofl:

Lol! my head hurts too :(

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Let me ask you another question ShaunZero.

Can you give an example of something in own known universe that you believe is infinite? 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. Therefore everything that exists physically must be finite. With a start, and probably an end.

What about a creationalist take? In the beginning there was nothing at all right, and then god got busy and here we are. So that means that our universe is finite, since it had a beginning. But, what about god? Was he here before the universe and as such, could god be infinite?

I believe our reality is extremely multi-layered and we have landed ourselves nicely somewhere between the third and forth dimensions. Our evolution as carbon based life forms has turned our brains into sharp tools of elimination, filtering out all dimensions except our own, and what we need to perceive within it to keep our frail, partially fourth dimensional bodies going long enough to procreate and nurture the next generation.

I know, generally when we think of our dimension we say the third dimension. First is completely outside of our level of perception, as is fifth. We see two and three quite nicely but the fourth dimension, ahh. We only have a limited perception of the fourth dimension which of course we call 'Time'.

I apologize I sure like to ramble on when topics peek my interest. Hope this will give you food for thought, but it's in no way an answer. I'm only human. ;)

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I didn't know where to post this, so I just put it here. Last night while laying down trying to go to sleep, a question popped in my head that I found quite interesting. I'm not sure how to answer it, or if the question is even valid. If an object has always existed and ceases to exist today, how long did it exist for? The answer seems like it would be "An infinite amount of time", but at the same time... how could that be since it no longer exists? It's age is infinite yet it no longer exists? Perhaps the entire concept of something always existing is impossible.

Thats the nature of infinity I'm afraid. Its nicely summed up in this puzzler: with infinity, there are more even numbers than even and odd numbers put together.

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Don't look at infinity in terms of lines but in terms of "dots." Paul Davies How to Build a Time Machine book has some interesting data on infinity. It's quite important in science, though it's unmeasurable. A black hole has an infinite amount of energy inside of the "point." The same power also existed in the Big Bang theory. Imagine a point with no width or height or depth but has unlimited power, that's quite infinite. Another infinite science thing you would like is that when an object approaches the speed of light, it's mass becomes infinite making it impossible to have enough fuel to get something to that speed. That's theory of relativity. Just my thoughts.

-Tim G

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Let me ask you another question ShaunZero.

Can you give an example of something in own known universe that you believe is infinite? 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. Therefore everything that exists physically must be finite. With a start, and probably an end.

What about a creationalist take? In the beginning there was nothing at all right, and then god got busy and here we are. So that means that our universe is finite, since it had a beginning. But, what about god? Was he here before the universe and as such, could god be infinite?

I believe our reality is extremely multi-layered and we have landed ourselves nicely somewhere between the third and forth dimensions. Our evolution as carbon based life forms has turned our brains into sharp tools of elimination, filtering out all dimensions except our own, and what we need to perceive within it to keep our frail, partially fourth dimensional bodies going long enough to procreate and nurture the next generation.

I know, generally when we think of our dimension we say the third dimension. First is completely outside of our level of perception, as is fifth. We see two and three quite nicely but the fourth dimension, ahh. We only have a limited perception of the fourth dimension which of course we call 'Time'.

I apologize I sure like to ramble on when topics peek my interest. Hope this will give you food for thought, but it's in no way an answer. I'm only human. ;)

Heh, interesting. However, since we know that something can not come from nothing, whatever started the universe had to have always existed and it could not have had a beginning. Therefore infinity has to exist. Sure, maybe the universe is not infinite, but whatever "sparked" it did.

Don't look at infinity in terms of lines but in terms of "dots." Paul Davies How to Build a Time Machine book has some interesting data on infinity. It's quite important in science, though it's unmeasurable. A black hole has an infinite amount of energy inside of the "point." The same power also existed in the Big Bang theory. Imagine a point with no width or height or depth but has unlimited power, that's quite infinite. Another infinite science thing you would like is that when an object approaches the speed of light, it's mass becomes infinite making it impossible to have enough fuel to get something to that speed. That's theory of relativity. Just my thoughts.

-Tim G

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?

Edited by ShaunZero

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As usual, Emma_Acid is correct. A line that starts at point A and goes off to infinity is just as long as a line that never starts nor stops.

Similarly, there are the same number of positive integer multiples of 5 (i.e. {0, 5, 10, 15, 20, ...}) as there are integers (i.e. {... -3, -2, -1, 0, 1, 2, 3, ...} ), or even rationals (i.e. {x/y} where both x and y are integers).

There are, however, more real numbers than rational numbers (the first is `uncountably infinite', the second is `countably infinite').

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?

We say black holes are infinite because that is what the mathematics suggest (a black hole is basically `dividing by zero'). However infinities are usually avoided in science. It is one thing to say that something is unbounded - i.e. as you accelerate something towards the speed of light its mass increases continually - but that isn't the same as being infinite. If you had infinite energy you could accelerate something to infinite mass; but of course you don't have infinite energy in the first place.

The fact that a black hole is theoretically an infinity (usually referred to as a `singularity') is unsatisfactory to many scientists. A common believe is that once we've figured out how to merge general relativity and quantum mechanics together, this infinity will disappear.

As a corollary, classical electrodynamics predicts an electron (or proton) has an infinite charge density - but this infinity was removed by quantum mechanics.

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A problem that I see with your first comment is that an object that has a

beginning is never infinite. In order to be so an infinite amount of time would be required to have already passed. It is only potentially infinite, in it is as old as the time between it's start up untill present(as are we) which can never equal infinite.

It's confusing because it begs to say that infinite can only exist in the past(ie: an infinite amount of time has past) yet if we we then pin point a beginning, you can no longer have infinite because you can no longer say that an infinite amount of time has past due to the present. So if infinite exists in the past, the present can not falsify it oddly because past exists bit future does not.

A beginning prevents infinite past and the present prevents an infinite future if there is a beginning. You can remove a beginning (conceptually) but you can't remove the present.

Edited by ShaunZero

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Hrmm. What about a circle? There is a beginning, where you first start drawing and the circle is still open. But once you complete the circle does it not then become infinite, since there is no longer a beginning or an end?

What if the beginning is erased, does an object then become infinite?

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Hrmm. What about a circle? There is a beginning, where you first start drawing and the circle is still open. But once you complete the circle does it not then become infinite, since there is no longer a beginning or an end?

What if the beginning is erased, does an object then become infinite?

I don't know if a circle would technically be infinite, since it's going from one point straight back to said point. You could measure the circle for instance. Also, how exactly would you erase something's beginning? Saying "erase it's beginning" is basically saying "make it's past infinite". Once it has a beginning, to remove that beginning totally rather than move it further back you would have to create an infinite amount of past behind said subject.

Edited by ShaunZero

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Say you open a door, step into a circular room, and close the door behind you. The door vanishes. In the room you can only walk in one direction around the outside wall, and you will do this forever. For infinity, from that moment on. With your definition of infinity, you wouldn't actually be walking around the circle for infinity because you at one point started walking in the first place. So while you are doomed to walk the circle for infinity, it's not actually infinity since it was not always the case.

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I think (forgive me if I am wrong), that when ShaunZero refers to something as `infinite' he means, mathematically, `infinite and boundless'.

A circle could be regarded as `infinite', but it is certainly not `boundless'.

A straight line that starts at point A but never stops might have an `infinite' length, but again, it clearly also has `boundaries'.

Conversely, a normalizable function in real space (say a Gaussian) has no boundaries, but is finite (as in, for example, has a finite integral).

Technically, `infinite' and `boundless' (either unbounded above or below, or both, numerically speaking) mean basically the same thing. But since both are mathematical properties it is important to state the quantity that is infinite. A black hole might have negative infinite (bounded above by 0) gravitational binding energy; it does not have infinite mass.

Nothing (save, perhaps, God - if you believe in that sort of thing) is completely infinite in all aspects. Likewise there is little you can say even about specific completely unbounded infinities. Things are often defined by their boundaries, constraints, or limiting conditions - it is hard to talk about, or even recognize, something that is unbounded and infinite, other than as a `field' on which you can define other objects.

I would point out that a straight line with no end points is not completely unbounded, as it is obviously quite well constrained in all but 1 dimension - and it is precisely these constraints which make it possible to visualize. Try visualizing a volume which stretches to both positive and negative infinity in an infinite number of dimensions.

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A straight line that starts at point A but never stops might have an `infinite' length, but again, it clearly also has `boundaries'.

Technically a circle would stop where it started, so it wouldn't be infinite in any sense. If you measured it, it would have a length. You couldn't continuously measure it because you would eventually measure one section more than once. Measuring from one point to itself would give the same measurement as if you somehow snipped the circle and created a straight line and measured it, verifying that it only looks infinite, and seems infinite in idea.

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?

Edited by ShaunZero

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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

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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:

8

My brain hurts and I didn't even think. I might need an aspirin!

Edited by Andami

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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.

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.

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

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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.

The big bang is flawed

I apologize for some of the bad grammer and tweets. I had not read the extended terms of service yet and did not realize grammer was a factor. I was also doing my durndest to represent for the layman.

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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

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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.

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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.

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.

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.)

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

What physics is that?

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