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Alan McDougall

The unimaginable vastness of the universe.

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StarMountainKid
The universe is not infinite it had a beginning namely the "Big Bang" and will end in a cold dark death sometime in the unimaginably distant future.

I would agree, although it is a complex subject if you read the Wiki article on 'shape of the universe'. If the universe were not infinite, what would beings in some distant galaxy see when they look in the direction where the 'edge' of the universe is?

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Alan McDougall

I would agree, although it is a complex subject if you read the Wiki article on 'shape of the universe'. If the universe were not infinite, what would beings in some distant galaxy see when they look in the direction where the 'edge' of the universe is?

Well the universe has no edge of middle, and what it is expanding into, if anything is a mystery!

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StarMountainKid
Well the universe has no edge of middle, and what it is expanding into, if anything is a mystery!

Yeah. I'm just saying hypothetically, as a finite universe implies an 'edge' to its volume. However, looking toward this 'edge' one not notice it, as light would bend around via gravity and what you would see is just more universe. Slanted light cones and all that stuff.

Seems to me there must be an infinite amount of time available since the BB for an infinite universe, but this may be too simplistic a way of looking at the question, since there is no universal time standard to measure elapsed time in this manner. In a finitie universe, from some frame of reference you could determine some point in time as the universal 'edge' of time at the 'edge' of the universe.

Since time is ticking away in every frame of reference relative to time ticking away in every other frame of reference, I do't think this would be possible.

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TheGreatBeliever

I would agree, although it is a complex subject if you read the Wiki article on 'shape of the universe'. If the universe were not infinite, what would beings in some distant galaxy see when they look in the direction where the 'edge' of the universe is?

Guess thats something we'll never know. We cant even get past our galaxy wat more the edge(if any)

Edited by TheGreatBeliever

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taniwha

If the universe were eternal and infinite and subject to linear time as we are in our universe, the question then begs, time could not have had a beginning

In a linear universe you might be right that it might be expected to oneday come to an end.

But If the universe is something that originated from within nothing then nothing is what something is expanding into.

Even if time died nothing would still remain. For eternity. Which might be another word for everything.

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taniwha

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Well, not really. Life is part of the planet's attempts to redistribute energy from the sun.

Planetary weather systems do this without the need for life. But i like your well considered answer, life as a natural consequence of a planets function around its star means our chances of being alone are probably none at all :tu:

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Frank Merton

In a linear universe you might be right that it might be expected to oneday come to an end.

But If the universe is something that originated from within nothing then nothing is what something is expanding into.

Even if time died nothing would still remain. For eternity. Which might be another word for everything.

Another spacetime would happen. There are no end of them.

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taniwha

Another spacetime would happen. There are no end of them.

Yes and eternity would remain forever regardless.

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Emma_Acid

Planetary weather systems do this without the need for life. But i like your well considered answer, life as a natural consequence of a planets function around its star means our chances of being alone are probably none at all :tu:

Quite. The earth is an open system, and as such is constantly trying to reach thermal equilibrium. Simple life can redistribute energy better than non-life, and complex life and do it better than simple life.

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Frank Merton

Yes and eternity would remain forever regardless.

It is interesting how English forces use of references to time when talking about a timeless nothing. We have a saying amongst English teachers here: Vietnamese is all about who you are, English is all about what time it is. (By that I mean it is not possible to my knowledge to construct a proper complete English sentence without implying past present or future or some complication of these. In Vietnamese you have to add extra verbiage to put a time tag on sentences.)

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taniwha

It is interesting how English forces use of references to time when talking about a timeless nothing. We have a saying amongst English teachers here: Vietnamese is all about who you are, English is all about what time it is. (By that I mean it is not possible to my knowledge to construct a proper complete English sentence without implying past present or future or some complication of these. In Vietnamese you have to add extra verbiage to put a time tag on sentences.)

Well ive never thought about it but time is a tricky subject to accurately describe without adding confusion. I guess what i was struggling to say was...

'.... Eternity would remain unchanged regardless. ' Maybe that helps.

Just curious but is vietnamese less complicated? Your grasp of english is excellent so im guessing its also your first language.

Personally i think a less complicated language would lead to greater intelligence, as it could be digested by the brain a whole lot easier. i think the use of past present and future tenses are so frequently used in english because people lack the discipline to train their minds on one particular tense and the conversation wanders effortlessly throughone time to the next! It is a common feature of the language which now you mention it seems like a waste of time itself lol.

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Frank Merton

All languages are of pretty much equal difficulty when you get deep into them. Related languages (such as English and Spanish) seem simpler to learn at first because of similar pronunciation and grammar and vocabulary, but to be really fluent is still damn hard work because of the idiomatic structures unique to each and the subtle differences in the semantic boundaries of given words.

My first language was and is Vietnamese, followed by a Southern Chinese dialect (Guangdong or Cantonese). My father taught English and French and Latin (we were a French colony) and so I learned enough to get to go to school in the States. That immersion of course deepened my English.

Vietnamese is an isolating language, and some people say that makes it easy to learn, as you don't have much "grammar." Basic sentence patterns are the same as English except adjectives follow the noun as most of the world's (sensible) languages. Words are not assigned to parts of speech, so if you see a sentence "a b c" you know a is subject, b is action and c is object. There is no case, tense, number, gender, and so on. Separate words are used optionally when one wants to convey these things. Thus you might have, "bird fly south," or "south bird[to be or behave like a bird] flight[to]" or whatever. You are not informed how many birds or when they fly and so on. Conveying such information needs more words, so it is optional whereas in English you are forced to convey such information.

In the context of eternity, it is not hard for me to think of a dimensionless timeless place, as it were, in Vietnamese, but I seem unable to come up with words for it in English. Eternity implies endless time, but what I want is "no time." It doesn't go on either, it doesn't go at all and the same with no space. From time to time a universe pops out, but that is looking at it from after the event, as there is no before the event.

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Taun

Maybe this can put it all in perspective....

This is a "sliding chart" that shows relative sizes of objects from "human sized" (10 x0) down to quantum foam (10 x-35) and up to the entire universe (10 x27)...

Simply click and drag the slider bar at the bottom and enjoy....

http://www.htwins.net/scale2/

also, you can click on the objects shown for a bit of info on them...

Edited by Taun
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Alan McDougall

Planetary weather systems do this without the need for life. But i like your well considered answer, life as a natural consequence of a planets function around its star means our chances of being alone are probably none at all :tu:

However, we might just be lucky!

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taniwha

However, we might just be lucky!

Or simply unlucky if we are alone. Even if there can be only one universe one thing about it is strikingly apparent.

That is the universe has the ability to duplicate any system that exists, not just once but countless times.

There exists no reason why this cant extend to life. Life forces are abundantly distributed thoughout the universe, the wheels have been set in motion.

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Alan McDougall

Or simply unlucky if we are alone. Even if there can be only one universe one thing about it is strikingly apparent.

That is the universe has the ability to duplicate any system that exists, not just once but countless times.

There exists no reason why this cant extend to life. Life forces are abundantly distributed thoughout the universe, the wheels have been set in motion.

Name some of those duplications, I am not being impolite just interested?

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taniwha

Name some of those duplications, I am not being impolite just interested?

To get to the point life in the universe is a certainty. We are the living proof of this. We know the sun is not alone, observing stars at night is proof of this and so forth etc.

Life can be stubbornly persistant. Lucky perhaps, but uniquely lucky? Doubtful.

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Alan McDougall

To get to the point life in the universe is a certainty. We are the living proof of this. We know the sun is not alone, observing stars at night is proof of this and so forth etc.

Life can be stubbornly persistant. Lucky perhaps, but uniquely lucky? Doubtful.

Yet as we speak we have yet to prove that even microbial life exists anywhere else in the universe, but on planet earth!

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Frank Merton

A few weak parts of the logic above.

First, life can be remarkably stubborn, but there are limits.

Second, it may require very special conditions for life to start, or for it to evolve photosynthesis, or to become multi-cellular, or of course to become sentient let alone intelligent.

Life seems to take immense periods of time to evolve. Three billion or so years before multicellular life, and then another 500,000,000 for us to appear. During all this time the planet must be in a stable orbit and orientation, absent major collisions with other objects, internally disturbed but not too disturbed, and with a stable sun. Any disruptions and, well, that's it,

Just the fact that the sun has been steadily warming all that time and yet adjustments have happened on the earth to offset this -- how frequently would that happen elsewhere? Or the fact that the moon serves to stabilize the earth's tilt, or the fact that its birth seems to have caused us to have a strong magnetic field that most rocky planets lack.

We could in fact be quite rare: extremely rare. That we have seen no sign of anyone else is even evidence to that effect.

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taniwha

Yet as we speak we have yet to prove that even microbial life exists anywhere else in the universe, but on planet earth!

True enough. If technology will ever advance to the point where we could tune into the surface of exoplanets i dont know but my guess is that suns are not orbited solely by beautiful mineral deposits. Countless suns could extend an umbilical of life to it planets. Its seems perfectly feasible, so why would the dynamics of lifes creation begin and stop right here?

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Alan McDougall

A few weak parts of the logic above.

First, life can be remarkably stubborn, but there are limits.

Second, it may require very special conditions for life to start, or for it to evolve photosynthesis, or to become multi-cellular, or of course to become sentient let alone intelligent.

Life seems to take immense periods of time to evolve. Three billion or so years before multicellular life, and then another 500,000,000 for us to appear. During all this time the planet must be in a stable orbit and orientation, absent major collisions with other objects, internally disturbed but not too disturbed, and with a stable sun. Any disruptions and, well, that's it,

Just the fact that the sun has been steadily warming all that time and yet adjustments have happened on the earth to offset this -- how frequently would that happen elsewhere? Or the fact that the moon serves to stabilize the earth's tilt, or the fact that its birth seems to have caused us to have a strong magnetic field that most rocky planets lack.

We could in fact be quite rare: extremely rare. That we have seen no sign of anyone else is even evidence to that effect.

You are right, there are many reason why we were lucky in life and us human coming into existence on our beautiful blue water world. I will just list a few.

1) Without our moon to stabilize the tilt of the earth, the earth would be barren ( You mentioned this and I give you credit for is inclusion).

2 ) The fact that water in one of the only two molecules that freeze on the surface instead of from the bottom like every other chemical. Without this vital property of water, life would never existed on earth , despite many other favorable conditions,

3) The ability of water mix with countless other substances.

4) Earths exact position of orbit around the sun , in the " Goldilocks Zone" just right, neither too hot or cold.

5 ) The precise exactitude of the fundamental laws or universal constants, that even if one differed in the minutest fraction we would not exist.

?

?

?

?

I will list more if you want me to , but look it up yourself!

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taniwha

A few weak parts of the logic above.

First, life can be remarkably stubborn, but there are limits.

Second, it may require very special conditions for life to start, or for it to evolve photosynthesis, or to become multi-cellular, or of course to become sentient let alone intelligent.

Life seems to take immense periods of time to evolve. Three billion or so years before multicellular life, and then another 500,000,000 for us to appear. During all this time the planet must be in a stable orbit and orientation, absent major collisions with other objects, internally disturbed but not too disturbed, and with a stable sun. Any disruptions and, well, that's it,

Just the fact that the sun has been steadily warming all that time and yet adjustments have happened on the earth to offset this -- how frequently would that happen elsewhere? Or the fact that the moon serves to stabilize the earth's tilt, or the fact that its birth seems to have caused us to have a strong magnetic field that most rocky planets lack.

We could in fact be quite rare: extremely rare. That we have seen no sign of anyone else is even evidence to that effect.

I think it doesnt help that we are very isolated and physically limited. If technology ever answers the question time will tell. Mathematically, stars have formed more than once, planets have formed more than once, atmospheres have formed more than once and the list goes on right down to a planets surface. And these processes continue and as far as we know show no sign of stopping. Expansion of the universe seems to co incide with the evolution of life. Why so it would be only here would be a mathematical paradox considering the size age and common physics of the universe. There is definitely plenty of room for other life. In the time it takes to find a definitive answer extra life might find us first.

How it might look or behave we may never know or imagine, but it might just as well be familiar.

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Hugh

You are right, there are many reason why we were lucky in life and us human coming into existence on our beautiful blue water world. I will just list a few.

1) Without our moon to stabilize the tilt of the earth, the earth would be barren ( You mentioned this and I give you credit for is inclusion).

2 ) The fact that water in one of the only two molecules that freeze on the surface instead of from the bottom like every other chemical. Without this vital property of water, life would never existed on earth , despite many other favorable conditions,

3) The ability of water mix with countless other substances.

4) Earths exact position of orbit around the sun , in the " Goldilocks Zone" just right, neither too hot or cold.

5 ) The precise exactitude of the fundamental laws or universal constants, that even if one differed in the minutest fraction we would not exist.

?

?

?

?

I will list more if you want me to , but look it up yourself!

I agree with the title of the thread and can use it in the way I think about the potential for life to exist elsewhere in the universe.

I just have to think about the Hubble Ultra Deep Field... 10,000 galaxies, that's galaxies folks, in an area of the sky equivalent to 1mm X 1 mm held 1 meter away, which is equal to roughly one thirteen-millionth of the total area of the sky, and each of those galaxies containing billions and billions of stars and planets, and that was what existed about 13 billions of years ago...

So you've got all those planets in all those correct goldilocks zones, and whatever other conditions you want to impose, and you add in the time for evolution to take place of let's say an average of 7 or so billion years on those planets, and you add in the factor of life finding a way to try and continue to exist even in extreme conditions, and it's extremely easy for me to think that we're not the only life in the universe.

I'd go further and say that it's also very easy for me to think that there are billions of planets out there with life much more technologically advanced than humans as well.

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spacecowboy342

The universe only has size in our dimensions. In other dimensions it doesn't exist.

This is what kinda gets me when people talk about a "nearby" dimension. Such a thing would at least include our own dimensions. Separate dimensions have nothing to do with each other and are neither near nor far from each other and might as well not exist as far as the other dimensions are concerned.

Yeah, but then there's string theory...

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Hugh

The universe only has size in our dimensions. In other dimensions it doesn't exist.

This is what kinda gets me when people talk about a "nearby" dimension. Such a thing would at least include our own dimensions. Separate dimensions have nothing to do with each other and are neither near nor far from each other and might as well not exist as far as the other dimensions are concerned.

Imagine two 2D planes (represent them by two sheets of paper, though this isn't accurate, but you get the idea...).

Place the two 2D planes one inch away from each other in a 3rd perpendicular direction, (the sheets parallel to each other), so that even if they extended in 2D for infinity, they still wouldn't ever meet.

You can do the same thing mathematically, with two 3D cubes, which can be one inch away from each other, in a 4th perpendicular direction, so that even if they extended in 3D for infinity, they still wouldn't ever meet.

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