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Evolving Universes

Article #211 • Written by Jason Bellows

Black Hole in M81
Black Hole in M81

To many it seems unlikely that a universe could spring into being from chaos, and achieve a level of organization advanced enough to allow for life—let alone intelligence. After all, if an electron were only twice the size that it is, chemistry as we know it couldn’t exist. If the Strong and Weak nuclear forces were out of proportion, stars mayn’t work. Over the centuries a number of theories have cropped up to try to explain life, the universe, and everything, but almost none propose to explain how it all came together. As with many problems that are too grandiose to grapple, however, sometimes it’s best to start on a smaller scale.

Evolutionists and naturalists have long observed Earth’s “natural selection” where most creatures create offspring with slightly different characteristics than their own. Those with characteristics better suited to the environment will thrive, procreate, and pass on their heritage; whereas offspring less suited will wither, reproduce less, and their traits will fade and vanish.

Theoretical physicist Lee Smolin looked at the simple, functional elegance found in the the theory of natural selection, and thought that maybe such a concept could be applied on a universal scale. Thus the theory of Cosmological Natural Selection was born.

In order to tackle how complexity came into being, most scientific theories postulate that there are an infinite number of universes, and each of them are host to its own set of physical laws. Some would therefore have laws where chemistry cannot function, and thus are home to nothing more complex than a vast field of hydrogen. Some would have to be like ours: rife with complexity where a star larger than 1.44 times the size of ours can collapse into a black hole. And the black hole is the point where Cosmological Natural Selection begins.

Many people mistakenly attribute the concept of the Black Hole to Albert Einstein, however the earliest proposition of the Black Hole (called a “dark star” at the time) was presented by a fellow named John Michell in 1784—a hundred-forty years before General Relativity was published. Nevertheless, it was Einstein who refined the idea into its modern incarnation. According to General Relativity, when an object achieves enough mass, it crushes down to an inconceivably small point called the singularity. It is so weighty that the escape-velocity from it is greater than the speed of light, and since nothing exceeds the speed of light ...

As good as it sounds, it’s been found that Einstein’s work doesn’t function so well when one starts exploring items smaller than the atom. Modern acolytes of Quantum Physics and String Theory have suggested that it’s highly unlikely that there’s a singularity in there at all. Instead they propose a 4-dimensional tube opens to a new region of space/time. The introduction of the black hole’s material in this virgin space/time is analogous to a Big Bang—the genesis of a new universe.

Here, at the dawn of a new universe is where Smolin’s theory fits. He postulates that the new universe’s laws are influenced by those of the parent. Thus, our universe which has complexity and is therefore very successful at creating black holes/new universes is spawning universes that also have complexity, and will pass that trait onto their progeny ... much like evolution. However, unlike evolution, there are no known universe-predators culling the ill and unfit universes from the multiverse, therefore “Cosmological Natural Selection” might be a less apt name than “Fecund Universes”; it’s not a race for survival, just reproduction.

Some sectors of science dismiss the notion, calling it inherently untestable. There is no way to peek into other universes to see if they are related to their parent ... yet. Smolin responds by asking that his peers to seek out any natural law that shows that our universe isn’t adapted to easily create black holes. After all, if there is a basic principle that inhibits the formation of black holes it would be a pretty big hole in the idea.

Article written by Jason Bellows, published on 19 August 2006. Jason is a contributing editor for DamnInteresting.com.

Article design and artwork by Alan Bellows. Edited by Alan Bellows.
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84 Comments
A-Train72
Posted 19 August 2006 at 05:46 pm

Hooray first post!

with all the knowledge that humans have gathered about space and the universe truthfully we really dont know anything at all. with all thats going on outside of planet earth its very hard to prove theorys


interested_fanatic
Posted 19 August 2006 at 05:57 pm

To me all this is is stating that humans, as a whole, know almost to nothing about anything. it will be hundreds, nay thousands, nay millions of years until we can understand anything fully.
(i like saying nay... NAY *twitches*)


Bolens
Posted 19 August 2006 at 06:59 pm

Professor Hubert Farnsworth would be pleased. Well done.

Wersnstrom! *shaking fist angrily*


yanniincarnate
Posted 19 August 2006 at 07:18 pm

Good article!!

This stuff is bananas...how small will humankind go?>
We are already observing quarks and neutrinos to unravel the physics associated with our universe, and you can be sure that any technology created using the aspects of physics discovered here would be astounding...space travels?...time warps?...the perfect mousetrap?


another viewpoint
Posted 19 August 2006 at 07:24 pm

...to boldy go where no man has gone before...to infinity and beyond!


middlenamefrank
Posted 19 August 2006 at 07:46 pm

You know what though, when life first started evolving on earth there were no 'predators' either. Only after life became prevalent enough to make predation a valid way of 'earning a living' did predators evolve. Perhaps we're just experiencing the very infancy of 'cosmic life' and the whole process is yet to experience any significant differentiation among life forms. Too bad it will be a quadrillion human lifespans before we would be able to tell...if we're ever able to peer into a black hole and see what's going on in there.

So how do we test whether OUR universe is in the middle of a black hole?


Crispy
Posted 19 August 2006 at 08:06 pm

A-Train72 said: "Hooray first post!"

You suck. (Yes, I'm going to keep flaming everyone who brags about "first post" until you STOP. :-P)

middlenamefrank said: "You know what though, when life first started evolving on earth there were no 'predators' either. Only after life became prevalent enough to make predation a valid way of 'earning a living' did predators evolve. Perhaps we're just experiencing the very infancy of 'cosmic life' and the whole process is yet to experience any significant differentiation among life forms. Too bad it will be a quadrillion human lifespans before we would be able to tell…if we're ever able to peer into a black hole and see what's going on in there.

What would be the advantage of preying on universes though? I can't imagine how a species could evolve to take advantage of that. Or maybe that's what happens when a race has probed all of the secrets of the universe... there's nothing more to discover so they get bitter and start throwing tantrums. :-P

So how do we test whether OUR universe is in the middle of a black hole?"

I don't think you can... it's not like you can go outside and have a look. :-)

Not until we invent the warp drive, anyway...


cornerpocket
Posted 19 August 2006 at 08:44 pm

I suppose there is a place in science for the esoteric and hyperbolic, but if the definition of science is going to be useful to posit against faith-based 'explanations', it will help for most of it to continue to be testable and calculable and explainable without having to resort to clever mental gymnasitics and higher plains of existence, etc. Cosmology starts sounding a lot like religions in general when it 'derives' from armchair speculation.


dwibby
Posted 19 August 2006 at 09:03 pm

Crispy said: "You suck. (Yes, I'm going to keep flaming everyone who brags about "first post" until you STOP. :-P)

But who flames the flamers?

What would be the advantage of preying on universes though? I can't imagine how a species could evolve to take advantage of that. Or maybe that's what happens when a race has probed all of the secrets of the universe… there's nothing more to discover so they get bitter and start throwing tantrums. :-P

I read the idea of a hydrogen-only universe, and--I might be thinking about helium which I thought was inert, but correct me if I'm wrong-- I thought "wouldn't it be cool to introduce oxygen as well as electrical charge?" Enough oxygen--imported from a universe made up of only oxygen, of course--and the universes (universi?) become one massive chemical reaction. No vindictive universe killers, just someone who wants a really big explosion.

Or consider a petrolium-rich universe (or whatever the fuel source of the time may be). Or maybe a universe exists that has laws of physics allowing for the said universe to absorb other universes, becoming better or something. After all, if the universe "evolved" from lower universe forms, and everything comes from something, doesn't that mean that the first universe had or gained the ability to replicate?

When the laws of nature aren't fixed, just about anything can happen.


Julie
Posted 19 August 2006 at 11:59 pm

A-Train72 said: "Hooray first post!


with all the knowledge that humans have gathered about space and the universe truthfully we really dont know anything at all. with all thats going on outside of planet earth its very hard to prove theorys"

Crispy said: "You suck. (Yes, I'm going to keep flaming everyone who brags about "first post" until you STOP. :-P

Crispy, why do you want to squash other people's fun? Instead, why don't you try basking in the other person's delight? Joi de vivre should be experienced and enjoyed, even if only second-hand. We all love and accept you, Crispy. Even, I would think, A-Train72!

A-Train72, I would like you to know that this is my first post ANYWHERE. I was moved to register and post a comment in defense of all of us who enjoy life and life's little moments to their fullest. And I agree with your comment, but would add that we really don't know what is going on ON earth, either. Or in it, for that matter.

Would someone please tell me how to make a new paragraph on a post? It is all running together in the preview.

Thank you for your kind attention.


Julie
Posted 20 August 2006 at 12:00 am

Never mind, the preview was wrong! Thanks anyway! :)


Marius
Posted 20 August 2006 at 04:43 am

Next! ;-)

It seems that as more thories crop up that have the distinction of being based on sound science, but are inherantly untestable, we need a new branch of science that has more in common with philosophy than experimentation. I am intrigued by the idea that black holes aren't really cosmic garbage disposalls but gateways to other universes. It's just too bad that time dilation would mean that a traveller going through would never see the other side. Unless, of course, the alternative theories also change the characteristics of the event horizon.

Um, yeah, I need some more coffee. DI, though.


Crispy
Posted 20 August 2006 at 05:03 am

Julie said: "Crispy, why do you want to squash other people's fun? Instead, why don't you try basking in the other person's delight? Joi de vivre should be experienced and enjoyed, even if only second-hand. We all love and accept you, Crispy. Even, I would think, A-Train72!"

Heh. I'm not trying to squash his fun, I'm just pointing out that the habit of posting "first post!" is stupid. It's like, yes, we know you got the first post. We can see that. We just don't care. :-) It'd be like me posting "hey guys, 1+1=2!" all the time. It's obvious and uninteresting.

By all means let's have more joy and delight! Just less of the obvious, tedious, boring comments. :-)


Crispy
Posted 20 August 2006 at 05:10 am

dwibby said: "I read the idea of a hydrogen-only universe, and–I might be thinking about helium which I thought was inert, but correct me if I'm wrong– I thought "wouldn't it be cool to introduce oxygen as well as electrical charge?" Enough oxygen–imported from a universe made up of only oxygen, of course–and the universes (universi?) become one massive chemical reaction. No vindictive universe killers, just someone who wants a really big explosion.

Or consider a petrolium-rich universe (or whatever the fuel source of the time may be). Or maybe a universe exists that has laws of physics allowing for the said universe to absorb other universes, becoming better or something. After all, if the universe "evolved" from lower universe forms, and everything comes from something, doesn't that mean that the first universe had or gained the ability to replicate?

When the laws of nature aren't fixed, just about anything can happen."

That's true, interesting point. Though I wonder how the explosion would travel to other universes - travelling through black holes wouldn't be enough, because then it would just blow up child universes. (Just think... an endless chain reaction of universes creating child universes and then destroying them. Wow. Boggles the mind, doesn't it?) Blowing up a "sibling" universe would be a nice trick. Well, a *nasty* trick. :-P Still, as you say, when the laws of nature are somewhat arbitrary, anything can happen.

Or perhaps one day we'll open a wormhole into such a universe, letting in all the explosive material and blowing ourselves up! ... Man I'm pessimistic. :-D


didinskee
Posted 20 August 2006 at 05:45 am

Crispy said: "It'd be like me posting "hey guys, 1+1=2!" all the time. It's obvious and uninteresting."

Well, I could say the same for anyone who greets each other "Merry Christmas" on, obviously, Christmas Day.

It's just that I always thought that a new DI post is something to celebrate about, and saying "Yey! First Post!" is like excitedly saying "Egads! A fresh new article to stimulate my brain!" only more whimsical and fun, woohoo!


Xiphias
Posted 20 August 2006 at 06:00 am

But how do universes start making black holes?


Furnace
Posted 20 August 2006 at 07:06 am

I don't buy the "infinite" argument for a second. I once read a report outlining peoples' inability to comprehend extremely small and extremely large numbers, and as those numbers get more extreme, the comprehension does as well. (For example, ask someone how long a billion seconds lasts and you'd be surprised how often you get, "Uhhh... seven days?", when it's actually closer to 32 years.)

Infinity isn't just a large quantity... it's endless. If there were an infinite number of universes, and black holes (or anything else we can and can't think of) can interact/interfere in even the smallest way with other universes, then none of us would exist. In our universe, we're like fish in an aquarium trying to understand how it all works... but in another universe, my alternate-self has it all figured out. In yet another, the Anti-Existance League has figured out how to wipe out entire universes and is continuously travelling from one to the next and wiping them out... which they'll do forever because of the infinite number. There's also a group called The Super Happy Adventure Club that fights these evil-doers. In yet another universe, the My Little Pony Fan Club runs Earth and in yet another universe, Star Trek (as we know it) is a reality and each episode of that show would be more like a documentary over there.

Infinity is a concept... not reality.


HiEv
Posted 20 August 2006 at 07:29 am

Jason Bellows wrote: "After all, if an electron were only twice the size that it is, chemistry as we know it couldn't exist."

And that's the thing that gets me. Sure, chemistry as we know it couldn't exist, but that doesn't mean that some analogue for chemistry couldn't exist in such a universe. Perhaps their "chemistry" would be based on gravitational interactions leading to life the size of our solar systems, or it could be based on some subatomic reactions, leading to life as complex as mammals and birds at the size of bacteria. There may be tons of different physical constants that would allow for all sorts of life forms that we can't even conceive of, but unless you have a computer powerful enough to simulate a couple of billion years of a couple of billion large universes with different constants we'll probably never know what all is possible.

Keep in mind that our universe is larger than you can conceive of, but almost all of it is unable to support life. If you look around for several light years, only the skin of our one tiny rock supports any life. Someone in another universe simulating our universe would see mostly empty vacuum and probably would discard the simulation long before life appeared.

Those are the reasons why it irks me when people try to claim that this universe was "designed" for life. You can't prove "design" when it could be explainable by chance, even when chances are small. The fact that there is life in this universe only means that this universe can support life.

Perhaps there are many universes, perhaps there is only one, either way, all we can say for sure is that there happens to be life in this universe.

P.S. Yes, I hate those "First post!" messages too. It smacks of narcissism to me.


Marius
Posted 20 August 2006 at 07:55 am

P.S. Yes, I hate those "First post!" messages too. It smacks of narcissism to me."

With all the things in this infinite universe to get upset about, isn't this one just silly?


1c3d0g
Posted 20 August 2006 at 08:08 am

Didinskee: no, it's childish behaviour. Period.


A-Train72
Posted 20 August 2006 at 08:24 am

wow all i did was bask in the glory of my first "first post" ever and look at all the trouble i caused. i think maybe everyone should just kinda relax a little and enjoy life. remember when you were a child? remember the joy of that first bike ride you took? remember the first time your parents let you sit at the big kid table. chrispy i think maybe you have some deep self-esteem problems and maybe you should just let yourself go and stop trying to bring everyone else down. your just jealous that i got here first. stop hating

Furnace says: Infinity is a concept… not reality.
its very hard for the human mind to think of something that is infinite. everything we know here on earth has to come to an end eventually. somewhere there HAS to be an end to the universe


A-Train72
Posted 20 August 2006 at 08:28 am

p.s. thank you julie


jbigdog
Posted 20 August 2006 at 09:08 am

Yay! Twenty-third post!


Joshie
Posted 20 August 2006 at 09:13 am

Jason Bellows said: "Over the centuries a number of theories have cropped up to try to explain life, the universe, and everything..."

Which is silly, since everyone knows the answer to all of it is 42.


jbigdog
Posted 20 August 2006 at 09:50 am

"If the Strong and Weak nuclear forces were out of proportion, stars mayn’t work."

I honestly don't think I've ever seen the word "mayn't" before now. I had to look it up to see if it was real.

"Infinity is a concept… not reality."

Just because we can't comprehend infinity doesn't mean it's not real. Besides, it's such a useful number. For instance: "I am infinity times more sexeh than David Hasselhoff."

What I like most about all the universe/multiverse theories is that all you need is a Ph.D. in some vaguely related field and you can make up anything you want. It'll be just as accurate as all the other theories out there.


denki
Posted 20 August 2006 at 10:01 am

yanniincarnate said: "…the perfect mousetrap?"

It's called a cat!

"Some sectors of science dismiss the notion, calling it inherently untestable. "
Yeah, like your universe creation theory is. It's all just a lark anyway, as we all know the universe was created by his/her/its holy FSM.

A-Train72 said: "remember when you were a child? "

Yes. That's when I didn't capitalize my sentences or personal pronouns either.


Julie
Posted 20 August 2006 at 10:52 am

We all love and accept you, denki, even though your user name isn't capitalized. :)


A-Train72
Posted 20 August 2006 at 12:48 pm

Lol denki. Flying Spaghetti Monster. It makes more sense than all the other religions.


irea6242
Posted 20 August 2006 at 03:00 pm

Furnace said: [...] In our universe, we're like fish in an aquarium trying to understand how it all works… but in another universe, my alternate-self has it all figured out. In yet another, the Anti-Existance League has figured out how to wipe out entire universes and is continuously travelling from one to the next and wiping them out… which they'll do forever because of the infinite number. There's also a group called The Super Happy Adventure Club that fights these evil-doers. In yet another universe, the My Little Pony Fan Club runs Earth and in yet another universe, Star Trek (as we know it) is a reality and each episode of that show would be more like a documentary over there.

Infinity is a concept… not reality."

How about infinity within separate entities? Maybe infinity is a local (universe-bound) phenomenon, that isn't prevented by the existence of other universes where people go about destroying... universes (which would be black holes according to this article).

The other universes in which BH-destroyers exist don't affect us because we're totally separate, and that's why "everything gets along".

Yes, we're very tiny, and very inept at understanding incredibly large and small things. I believe infinity is among them. All we know is that it's "without end", but what other properties can "infinity" have? We can't know, can we?


adastra
Posted 20 August 2006 at 03:49 pm

" peoples' inability to comprehend extremely small and extremely large numbers"

Yes, this is the most important disconnect between the average Joe or Jane and 'reality'. Blame it on text books that try to squeeze the solar system on to one page.

But, also, I'm not reading anything here that grasps the concept of the 'multiverse'. Maybe, "things are not only stranger than we imagine; they're stranger than we can imagine"?


Sylph-DS
Posted 20 August 2006 at 03:59 pm

In the likely event that we aren't a first universe, where would we find our entry point? Wouldn't we see energy and matter getting pushed in somewhere?

And, lets just point out that if the theory of infinity universes is correct, this would prove that there is no way to travel from universe to universe (or at least not get into ours) and have your destination notice anything of it (otherwise there'd be infinite amounts of life forms all over the place)


Drakvil
Posted 20 August 2006 at 04:02 pm

A-Train72 said: "its very hard for the human mind to think of something that is infinite. everything we know here on earth has to come to an end eventually. somewhere there HAS to be an end to the universe"

There's a restaurant there, I think it's called Milliways.

HiEv said: "And that's the thing that gets me. Sure, chemistry as we know it couldn't exist, but that doesn't mean that some analogue for chemistry couldn't exist in such a universe. Perhaps their "chemistry" would be based on ..."

In Greg Bear's "Anvil of the Stars" (sequel to "Hammer of God"), one person fell into a trap left by another race and she and her spacecraft were changed into anti-matter - she didn't live more than a few days because "chemistry works differently when the opposite particles are used" and the reactions needed to stay alive long-term couldn't happen. I'm sure that with atoms configured differently some different kind of chemistry would occur... but I don't think we'll ever see it. The process of getting into that other universe would probably destroy who/whatever tried to make the trip.

One weird aspect of this theory is that the matter from one Universe is just what has fallen into a black hole from another? Wouldn't this make each successive Universe many orders of magnitude smaller than the previous?

Since there is nothing in this theory that is testable or verifiable, it belongs in the category of theory as the creationists use it - speculation. (I think science would be better served by coming up with a new word for "theory" that leaves out the possible implication of baseless speculation and using that for the credible stuff.)

Imagine a whole universe filled with nothing but pies...


Misanthrope
Posted 20 August 2006 at 04:34 pm

I have to add my voice to those who are pointing out that this is yet another untestable theory, one of which seems to be trotted out every week. This one though, at least has the decency to fall at the first hurdle.

After all, if an electron were only twice the size that it is, chemistry as we know it couldn’t exist.

And? Chemistry would just exist as we [i]don't[/i] know it. The way the universe is isn't "right" - it's just the way it is.

Maybe you have to share my point of view that life is no bigger a deal than a sand dune - it's just a system with a bit of a pattern that occurs in various molecules in a certain place - to appreciate my point?

(No offense Jason - it's a decent enough article, it's just the subject that's a getting a little old for me).


buckyboy314
Posted 20 August 2006 at 06:14 pm

1c3d0g said: "Didinskee: no, it's childish behaviour. Period."

Speaking of childish:
Last post!

But seriously, armchair speculation like this has led to some extraordinary results. For example Einstein came up with his Theory of Relativity by saying (in diffirent words) "these things (gravity and acceleration) are awfully similar. What if we assume that they're mathematically indistinguishable?" Similarly, String Theory is based on pretty equations that just happened to represent each other. The thing is the physicists who had these insights noted that their conjectures had logical consequences. That's what a theory is: something that agrees with past observation and predicts future observation. Where this "Theory of Cosmological Selection" seems to fall short is its lack of any observations that could corroborate it. Can we peer into a black hole or view the universe in which our surrounding singularity exists? If not, short of religious implications, this theory is essentially useless.


mHagarty
Posted 20 August 2006 at 06:24 pm

You know, I am not a huge fan of the whole "first post!" announcement or anything, but I'd much rather read someone saying "first post" than someone complaining about someone else saying "first post".


cornerpocket
Posted 20 August 2006 at 06:39 pm

So, let's say a black hole 'gurgitates' (can't say re-gurgitates, since it only happens once and using the other available and obvious anthropomorphic bodily function is just appalling). Then, after a string of iterations, the 'last' one sets up the first one all over again, into a Moebus-like daisy chain!!!! While the idea has no 'scientific' merit (much like all the rest of the above claptrap), it has a certain artistic appeal.... and, hey, we already have a statue of it sitting in front of the Smithsonian!!! ...or at least we did the last time I visited there, 30 years ago.....


Crispy
Posted 20 August 2006 at 11:49 pm

A-Train72 said: "chrispy i think maybe you have some deep self-esteem problems and maybe you should just let yourself go and stop trying to bring everyone else down. your just jealous that i got here first. stop hating"

LOL.

Believe me, nothing could be further from the truth. :-)


Illustrator
Posted 20 August 2006 at 11:52 pm

Xiphias said: "But how do universes start making black holes?"

Well it's called the Big Phart theory.
Hey Crispy what's goin' on?
Kind of liked what Furnace had to say
yet what's got me lately is this so
called 12 Planet debate.

If I painted a multitude of pin point size dots
representing galaxies on a canvas the size of
a billboard I wonder how much of the
Universe I would cover? All of it,
a fraction or know one really knows?


HunterKiller_
Posted 21 August 2006 at 01:10 am

I believe infinity exists, but because everything we experience and know of are limited so it is impossible for our minds to grasp the concept of endlessness.


denki
Posted 21 August 2006 at 04:00 am

Julie said: "We all love and accept you, denki, even though your user name isn't capitalized. :)"

Damn! Got me!

No, wait, you didn't capitalize it either...what just happened?


Furnace
Posted 21 August 2006 at 04:09 am

I didn't mean to imply that infinity doesn't exist because we can graph very simple math equations that can represent it. ...but that's where it stays. If there were an infinite number of anything in this universe, the system would crash like a computer.

To paraphrase The Hitchhiker's Guide... the following website represents infinite better than infinite does.
http://www.deepskyfrontier.com/#howbig01


Julie
Posted 21 August 2006 at 05:33 am

Xiphias said: "But how do universes start making black holes?"

A black hole is the result of the collapse of a giant star which has finished its burning cycles and can no longer sustain its size. Anyone, if my information is faulty or incomplete, I would appreciate correction.

denki said: "Damn! Got me!

No, wait, you didn't capitalize it either…what just happened?"

denki, I used your name as you typed it. I had no intention to offend anyone. Forgive me. Can we stop this now?

A-Train72 said: "p.s. thank you julie"

p.s. You are welcome, A-Train72! I think "first post" is amusing and harmless fun, too!


adastra
Posted 21 August 2006 at 07:07 am

Einstein came up with his Theory of Relativity by saying (in diffirent words) "these things (gravity and acceleration) are awfully similar. What if we assume that they're mathematically indistinguishable?

But they're NOT. I can think of two ways to distinguish between gravity and acceleration. If you've got a box sitting on the surface of the earth, and another box in space, being accelerated at one G, the box on earth will have a slightly higher gravity at the bottom of the box. And two weights suspended from a horizontal bar will not hang perpindecular to each other. On Earth. Because gravity on Earth is 3-D curved and acceleration is not.


thermopile
Posted 21 August 2006 at 09:24 am

To get back to some technical goodness:..
Read "Just Six Numbers" by Martin Rees. It's an astonishing scientific look at how carefully balanced our universe is. For instance, 0.06% of the mass of hydrogen is released as energy in fusion, the process that powers the sun. If that number were 0.05%, stars could never form, as they would collapse under their own gravity. If it were 0.07%, stars would burn out in a few hundred thousand years.

Point being, the universe as we know it today is balanced on a razor's edge. Gravity, electromagnetism, and the strong and weak nuclear forces all act in a very delicate harmony in the space that we call our universe. Rees's book (no slouch of a physicist himself) goes through pretty good arguments at why our universe is unique. There are good, scientific reasons why other combinations won't work, and the existence of our universe boils down to Just Six Numbers.


justjim
Posted 21 August 2006 at 10:00 am

August 20th, 2006 at 5:03 am | Quote this »

Crispy says:
Julie said: "Crispy, why do you want to squash other people's fun? Instead, why don't you try basking in the other person's delight? Joi de vivre should be experienced and enjoyed, even if only second-hand. We all love and accept you, Crispy. Even, I would think, A-Train72!"

Heh. I'm not trying to squash his fun, I'm just pointing out that the habit of posting "first post!" is stupid. It's like, yes, we know you got the first post. We can see that. We just don't care. :-) It'd be like me posting "hey guys, 1+1=2!" all the time. It's obvious and uninteresting.

By all means let's have more joy and delight! Just less of the obvious, tedious, boring comments. :-)

And to what point do we really believe that 1+1=2?
This may work with pieces of wood or apples and oranges.. but place (1) human with (+) another (1) human = 3 perhaps 4 I do like my theory much better.


duck
Posted 21 August 2006 at 03:52 pm

Why can't we all "just get along?" (CRISPY)

Flaming someone for lauding "my first comment" is small-minded.
Give us all a break and log-off.
If your "time" is precious, spend it wisely -- NOT flaming *other* people for *self-perceived* lame comments. High-Five to all who also took issue.

I know a number of CPAs who, when asked, "What's one(1) Plus(+) one(1) equal?" Answer, "What do you want it to be?"
The simple spirit of this (Evolving Universes) article is to make one think - perhaps, beyond one's ability to comprehend or prove. Just *think* - however much it hurts. If infinity is beyond our comprehension... so be it.
For the "scientists" in the group - "prove it" otherwise...no known laws apply if you have a brain.
We've all heard of the proverbial troop of monkeys, given pencils and enough "time," creating the King James version of the Bible - verbatim - even with typos - as well as the one, "everything that's happened has happened before, somewhere, someplace in this, or in another "infinite" universe. Perhaps it has.
Back to my Black Hole now - where no light escapes, and the "event horizon" has no relevance.
THINK!


Misfit
Posted 21 August 2006 at 09:30 pm

Wow, first of all, I cannot believe that I am going to type this all in an obviously futile attempt to bring to light other options for choices that people can take in regards to the "Yay first post" thing.

Crispy, by all means, you have the right to post anything you want (well almost anything) about people who post things like that. I'm not going to stop you from speaking your opinion, and I don't think that anybody is out to do that either. I may strenuously disagree with it, but I'm not out to stop you. Simply because A-Train72 has every right to get excited about being first on post, as well as you do to get POed about it.

Personally, I think this whole thing would have resolved itself if people just completely ignored Crispy's comment in the first place (although I do declare myself guilty, I enjoy parkating of debates myself, so I guess I'm not a very good example) but my points here still remain valid!

didinskee said: "Well, I could say the same for anyone who greets each other "Merry Christmas" on, obviously, Christmas Day.

Great point didinskee!

1c3d0g said: "Didinskee: no, it's childish behaviour. Period."

WOW holy crap, can you be any more ignorant? What exactly is so childish about having fun? Hmm? (unless I completely missed what you were referring to, in which case, I apologize) In either case, I'll bet there are people out there that would have completely rejected Patch Adam's behavior as well. You know, it's not so much that you can't put an actual opinion out there, but oh no no.. IT IS A FACT that he is childish just because he likes to publicly celebrate something that... what? 75 percent of people would probably do given the chance? Please... at least he had something else to say about the article.. you didn't even contribute a thing. And even for the people like Crispy who don't like it, at least they had something to say as to WHY they thought they way they did.

Denki, since when the hell do spelling errors and punctuation have ANYTHING to do with how valid his point is?? Next time, try coming up with a REAL response to his post, and then get back to us.

duck said: "Why can't we all "just get along?" (CRISPY)

Flaming someone for lauding "my first comment" is small-minded.
...
If your "time" is precious, spend it wisely — NOT flaming *other* people for *self-perceived* lame comments. High-Five to all who also took issue."

duck, I couldn't agree more.

OH and for a really nifty segway into the topic... *AHEM* 1+1=2??? Maybe with this new universes theory, there's a place where that doesn't happen!! AHAHAHAHAHAAAA!!!!

Aaaaaaand that's my cue to leave. But before I do, there's one other thing that I'd like to share about the article, (which was damn fascinating by the way, Captain Bellows) I had heard once that black holes actually recycle their mass out into space after a time, are there any responses to that, and what would that pose to this theory if proven correct? I remember hearing that it was a big deal with Stephen Hawking a few years back, actually... here's an article that's in the MLB website (haha yeah major league baseball and quantum physics, how trustworthy you may ask?) (remembers back to one DI article... long ago...) but it looks pretty legit and I'm sure there are other related articles elsewhere, too. And for fear of breaking the website, you can type this into a search engine instead: Black-hole physicist pays up (and yes that was the spelling and capitalization and everything for this article, so if anybody has a PROBLEM with that... lay off me)

Oh and by the way...
HOORAY! I'm the 47th person to comment! WOOHOO!! I think I'll save the noisemakers and party hats for later, though.


RadDad
Posted 21 August 2006 at 10:23 pm

Hooray last post?

:-)


gojamiegirl
Posted 22 August 2006 at 03:22 am

I thought about something like this before, I called it the Big Bang Cycle. A universe is like a sheet, only two sides - only two universes. All matter sucked into black holes from this universe adds to a single dense mass on the "other side". This mass keeps growing until a critical mass accumulates causing a "big bang" on the other side.


didinskee
Posted 22 August 2006 at 04:14 am

gojamiegirl said: "I thought about something like this before, I called it the Big Bang Cycle. A universe is like a sheet, only two sides - only two universes. All matter sucked into black holes from this universe adds to a single dense mass on the "other side". This mass keeps growing until a critical mass accumulates causing a "big bang" on the other side."

So that would mean that the "umbilical cord" that ties this universe to its parent would probably be found at the center of the universe, where the Big Bang occured. Wow, another untestable theory to add to the mix, yey!


denki
Posted 22 August 2006 at 04:53 am

Julie said: denki, I used your name as you typed it. I had no intention to offend anyone. Forgive me. Can we stop this now?

Can't anyone take a joke? Seriously, I've got like 400 of them, and if someone doesn't take them I'm just going to stick them in a burlap sack and toss them off a bridge into the river.

Misfit said: Denki, since when the hell do spelling errors and punctuation have ANYTHING to do with how valid his point is?? Next time, try coming up with a REAL response to his post, and then get back to us.

Did I attempt to invalidate his point, or did I just make a jest as to how lack of punctuation or capitalization of sentences reminded me of how I was when I was a child? Correct, these things have not anything to do with validity, however there is a certain amount of, shall we say, eloquence that is lost when a statement is made with disregard to the rules of punctuation or capitalization.

If I wanted to come up with a "real" response to his post, then I'd probably say something about how attempting to vindicate posting "First post!" (or something along those lines) by relating it to when a child experiences something for the first time is really quite sad. When a child experiences something for the first time, it may be expected for them to be happy about it, but we need to take into account that people before them have done it as well, and therefore the act in and of itself is nothing special, it is only the perception of the act in the mind of the person that does it that makes it special. As other people have meticulously pointed out, posting "first post" is not only redundant, but unintersting and (interestingly put) narcissistic; apply this last interpretation to the later comment "wow all i did was bask in the glory of my first 'first post'" and "your just jealous that i got here first" and you're right on the money. While A-train72 does indeed make some sort of point outside of all this "first post" nonsense, adamant defence of the "first post" and that doing it is something one should not only take pride in but should lord over others just reeks of the aforementioned superiority complex, or an attempt at gaining recognition. As posting first, semi-anonymously, on an internet board is something that is so commonplace and doable by anyone, to take pride in it and to attempt to gain recognition or respect from it is like trying to take pride or gain recognition for breathing. And that is just sad.

See? If I wanted to make a "real" response, I could have, but it's actually very mean. I myself don't really care for people who take glory in the "first post" post, but if they want to do it, they can by all means do so. And seeing as how we're posting on a relatively anonymous internet board where our actions will have no reprocussions farther than the board itself (unless you actually try to carry it into your life, but I don't suppose anyone in the "real world" cares what you do on the internet), to be offended or to agree with the statements made here, and to reply to them in kind, are all things that we are not only entitled to but will have to deal with. I, too, was just trying to have some fun, but now I'm just going to have to make myself look like a total prick for ripping on some kid who likes to post first. So, really, if you want to have fun on the internet, knock yourselves out. But, if you're trying to have fun on a place such as DI, at least make it interesting (interestingly enough, while "first post" isn't interesting, the debate about it sure is fun).


topnotch
Posted 22 August 2006 at 09:41 am

This is really getting Damn Uninteresting...........back on topic. Space in and of itself has to be infinite, otherwise where does it end? If it has an end , say a brick wall, how thick is the wall for it to be the end it would have to be infinitely thick. For if it were not it would be just a barrier with more space on the other side.

Speed Slow
Top


Misfit
Posted 22 August 2006 at 10:02 am

Denki, I have to admit, that was a very well-thought out response, and put me in my place. Much more than I anticipated, and you spoke well in your defense.

Oh, and I agree, the debate is a little fun. But for the sake of all of our sanities... lets all agree to disagree, okay? At least for this topic?

Truce everybody?


buckyboy314
Posted 22 August 2006 at 10:56 am

denki said: "When a child experiences something for the first time, it may be expected for them to be happy about it, but we need to take into account that people before them have done it as well, and therefore the act in and of itself is nothing special, it is only the perception of the act in the mind of the person that does it that makes it special."
Actually, when I first said "Mama", my mom immediately shouted out "OMFG!First post!lolzolz!11!!!". Her therapist is still working on that one...


buckyboy314
Posted 22 August 2006 at 10:57 am

Oops... Denki only said the part in quotes. ^^^


Shandooga
Posted 22 August 2006 at 11:30 am

Natural Selection was a herculean effort at explaining away the notion of a God as the originator of all living creation...until DNA was discovered. DNA (essentially computer code) rightly proved that evolution is completely impossible. To say that lame theory is still viable in the face of DNA evidence (iron-clad in *any* court) is sheer desperation.

To attempt to further extend that ridiculous (and stupid) notion to all the non-living matter in the ENTIRE UNIVERSE would take one well beyond the peak of the Mount Everest of stupidity. Just admit it: THERE IS A GOD! The fact that he has not (yet) spoken to you through a shaft of light from the clouds doesn't mean he isn't there.


smokefoot
Posted 22 August 2006 at 01:35 pm

topnotch says: "Space in and of itself has to be infinite, otherwise where does it end?"

If we are in a closed universe then space wraps around - if you go in a straight line far enough you return to your beginning point. An open universe is one where space is infinite. We don't really know which type we live in, because the observable universe (the amount of the universe we can see due to how far light has travelled since the big bang) is smaller than the entire universe. Our latest measurements indicate that the universe is open, though.

Another point - it is believed that black holes evaporate (this is the theory that made Stephen Hawkings famous). If you have a block hole and don't let anything fall into it, then over huge amounts of time it will decrease in mass and finally evaporate altogether. How does the black-hole become a universe if it can then evaporate? Is time in our universe related to time in the baby universe?


noway
Posted 22 August 2006 at 02:08 pm

Maybe you have to share my point of view that life is no bigger a deal than a sand dune - it's just a system with a bit of a pattern that occurs in various molecules in a certain place - to appreciate my point?

I don't share your point of view, but I do feel sorry for you. What a bleek outlook you must have on life.

HunterKiller_ said: "I believe infinity exists, but because everything we experience and know of are limited so it is impossible for our minds to grasp the concept of endlessness."

I find it ironic how people will belive in infinity, but not believe in a God who has infinitely existed.


Leland
Posted 22 August 2006 at 02:29 pm

Shandooga, your lack of understanding of DNA is frightening. But, leaving that aside for now, if I admit there is a "God" why should I believe that god is infinite or that there are not other gods? You go ahead and have your god crutch but please don't try to convince me to join in.

noway, are you saying I need an inflated ego to not have a "bleek" outlook on life? I enjoy life just fine without needing some invisible space alien to love me. I know I am making assumptions about your God. Sorry if I have it wrong but I hope you get my point.


duck
Posted 22 August 2006 at 02:36 pm

(this one seems to have created controversy on numerous levels...)

Misfit - appropriate comments - well-received (although you don't need *my* "approval" :>)

Topnotch - agreed on the dang uninteresting front. I don't like people stepping on other people's feet, so one's got-to-do-what-one's-got to do.

Denki - hate to say it, but you might need help. Or a job. (perhaps you could enlighten us as to what job you already have?) I don't normally extrapolate, but your diatribe is somewhat unusual.

Is there a God? - for sure? - some say so, some don't. Some don't give a da**, some say maybe, some say I hope so....

If you're convinced "yes" - in whatever carnation - I recommend not asking him/her/it/them for anything you can't find within yourself.
Live your life within respect and reverence to fellow human beings, and yourself (second).

Just my opinion - please don't chastise me for expressing same.


openside
Posted 22 August 2006 at 03:21 pm

denki said: "Damn! Got me!


No, wait, you didn't capitalize it either…what just happened?"

This belongs on 'Damn Funny'
Julie, I think you may have possibly taken this a little too literally...

I realise Denki (capatilised for emphasis) already responded, but thought I'd throw in an unsolicited third party assesment for good measure.

Be careful not to take life too seriously *all* the time :-)


openside
Posted 22 August 2006 at 03:38 pm

denki said: "

Did I attempt to invalidate his point, or did I just make a jest as to how lack of punctuation or capitalization of sentences reminded me of how I was when I was a child? Correct, these things have not anything to do with validity, however there is a certain amount of, shall we say, eloquence that is lost when a statement is made with disregard to the rules of punctuation or capitalization.

...And seeing as how we're posting on a relatively anonymous internet board where our actions will have no reprocussions farther than the board itself ... "

Repercussions :-)
Mind if I add 'spelling' to the list?

Man, I enjoyed that so much, but your write, theirs nothing worse than language abuse in an intelligent debate.
I get a "grammar nazi" tag for taking exception to business emails that are full of grammatical errors - I am a little more lenient [quick spell check on dictionary.com for 'lenient'] on forums (and with my neices SMS messages), but at the end of the day if you're (note "you are") trying to make a serious comment, then take your comment seriously.

Yes "neices" was deliberate - bet it had someone ready to pounce though ;-)
I don't claim to be perfect, but I know a spellchecker is only a ctrl-tab away (if you use a decent web browser)


just_dave
Posted 22 August 2006 at 09:46 pm

This is rich; a universe birthing other universes (universi?) through a black holes. And those subsequent universes evolving to more complex "organisms" -- what would be the end result? A sentient universe?

Or maybe God?


denki
Posted 23 August 2006 at 06:16 am

openside said:
Repercussions :-)

Mind if I add 'spelling' to the list?

Man, I enjoyed that so much, but your write, theirs nothing worse than language abuse in an intelligent debate.

Yeah, yeah, I speeled ut wronglish. This browser doesn't have a spell-checker. The fact that I spelled that wrong and one other word wrong (and had one typo) is, however, going to make the next reply amusing.

duck said: Denki - hate to say it, but you might need help. Or a job. (perhaps you could enlighten us as to what job you already have?) I don't normally extrapolate, but your diatribe is somewhat unusual.

I'm currently out of work (unless you count the translations I am doing for a magazine), but when I did work professionally, it was as a ...gasp... English teacher (when I work unprofessionally I'm an electrician, carpenter, model, interpreter/translator [English/Japanese]...if anyone living in the Tokyo region needs someone that can do those things...). So really, I've got a lot of free time. As to the unusual diatribe, I was just trying to defend that not making a response is sometimes kinder than making a response. As to why I had to, unfortunately, bash A-train (seriously, nothing against you) was due to the fact that his comment that I responded to in the first place didn't have anything really decent to respond to...so if I were to make a real response, it would be like the one I posted above; that is, after careful relfection and editing to make sure certain points get across.

Um, and I write too much.

buckyboy314 said:
Actually, when I first said "Mama", my mom immediately shouted out "OMFG!First post!lolzolz!11!!!". Her therapist is still working on that one…

(笑)


HiEv
Posted 23 August 2006 at 08:11 am

Shandooga said: "Natural Selection was a herculean effort at explaining away the notion of a God as the originator of all living creation…until DNA was discovered. DNA (essentially computer code) rightly proved that evolution is completely impossible. To say that lame theory is still viable in the face of DNA evidence (iron-clad in *any* court) is sheer desperation."

First of all, way to go and post yet another creationist comment for no particular reason yet again. Gotta keep pushing that creationist agenda in hopes to sway the masses, eh? ;-)

But seriously, DNA didn't prove evolution impossible, it showed the precise mechanism by which evolution worked. Heck, because of our understanding of evolution we knew to look for a mechanism like DNA which would allow heritability to work! Evolution requires something like DNA, so saying that DNA means evolution is impossible is the exact opposite of the truth. DNA meas that evolution is possible.

I could go on and on nitpicking about how DNA is not "essentially computer code," or point out how courts like in the recent Dover case support the fact that evolution is good science and creationism is just religion, or mention the tons and tons of evidence showing that evolutionary theory is not "lame" but actually far more scientifically valid than any other theory you can name for explaining life as we know it, but you've already made up your mind and no facts will change that.

So, please, unless you have some good scientific evidence supporting your beliefs, quit attacking evolution when you clearly don't understand it and you don't have a better scientific explanation.

Shandooga said: "To attempt to further extend that ridiculous (and stupid) notion to all the non-living matter in the ENTIRE UNIVERSE would take one well beyond the peak of the Mount Everest of stupidity. Just admit it: THERE IS A GOD! The fact that he has not (yet) spoken to you through a shaft of light from the clouds doesn't mean he isn't there."

You've given no good reason why other universes can't exist or why this universe couldn't have spawned from another one, and yet you feel free to declare that notion ridiculous and stupid. Why is the notion that there are other universes that you haven't seen any more ridiculous or stupid than the notion that there are gods you haven't seen? And if you didn't think this article was persuasive, what makes you think your "God is there even if you haven't seen him" argument is particularly persuasive?

Look, this isn't the place for "proof of god" or creationism arguments, so please don't try to make them here. If you have a science comment relevant to the article, make a science comment, but religion is personal and based on faith, not science. You can't prove your religious beliefs are true, so it's a pointless waste of time to try to claim that they are or debate them, and it's rather off topic as well.


HiEv
Posted 23 August 2006 at 08:19 am

Drakvil said: "Since there is nothing in this theory that is testable or verifiable, it belongs in the category of theory as the creationists use it - speculation. (I think science would be better served by coming up with a new word for "theory" that leaves out the possible implication of baseless speculation and using that for the credible stuff.)"

I agree. Scientifically speaking, I think Smolin's idea better fits the term "hypothesis" than "theory." However, if it ends up not being falsifiable then it becomes merely speculation.


Shandooga
Posted 23 August 2006 at 11:15 am

Just admit it.


just_dave
Posted 23 August 2006 at 01:11 pm

HiEv said: "So, please, unless you have some good scientific evidence supporting your beliefs, quit attacking evolution when you clearly don't understand it and you don't have a better scientific explanation."

That one made me laugh out loud; demanding that comments on a topic that is dismissed by many in the scientific community because it is "inherently untestable" have "good scientific evidence." That's a good one!

Just because one scientist, or group thereof, says "because this, this, this and this is true, then this, that and the other thing must also be true," doesn't make it so unless they can provide evidentiary proof of it. The same holds true for evolutionary theory. Without solid proof, you have to accept it on — gasp! — faith.

Let's face it; when it comes to things like evolution vs. creationism, and yes, even evolution on the scale of universes, there is much that we don't know and will never know. I Cor 1:25.


BasilTheRat
Posted 23 August 2006 at 08:12 pm

In our earth-bound model of Natural Selection, the gene is the unit of heredity. The myriad organisms competing, co-existing and generally knocking about, are essentially vehicles for the genes they carry; the real drivers of change.

In a cosmic model of Natural Selection, what is the unit of heredity? Is it the universe itself, implying all that it contains works to a unified order? Is it stars? An element or elements?
When a black hole forms, surely it's not the only extant example in its host universe at any given moment. If that is the case, and assuming the properties of any two black holes will not be 100% identical, just what is being passed on to the universal progeny?
Basically this idea seems to me to be a little fuzzy. Where is the selective pressure? The idea of Universes being born at the other end of black holes is fascinating, but all I see is millions and millions more universes. I can't see where any Selective Pressures come in. Maybe I'm missing something.


Drakvil
Posted 23 August 2006 at 10:56 pm

BasilTheRat said: "...
Basically this idea seems to me to be a little fuzzy. Where is the selective pressure? The idea of Universes being born at the other end of black holes is fascinating, but all I see is millions and millions more universes. I can't see where any Selective Pressures come in. Maybe I'm missing something."

To quote the article: ...therefore “Cosmological Natural Selection” might be a less apt name than “Fecund Universes”; it’s not a race for survival, just reproduction.

The only selective item would be if the new universe had the ability to generate at least one black hole.


HiEv
Posted 26 August 2006 at 11:13 am

just_dave said: "That one made me laugh out loud; demanding that comments on a topic that is dismissed by many in the scientific community because it is "inherently untestable" have "good scientific evidence." That's a good one!

Well, if mass is flowing out of our universe, then that part may be testable.

just_dave said: "Just because one scientist, or group thereof, says "because this, this, this and this is true, then this, that and the other thing must also be true," doesn't make it so unless they can provide evidentiary proof of it. The same holds true for evolutionary theory. Without solid proof, you have to accept it on — gasp! — faith."

No, you don't have to accept it at all. You can try to test it or look for flaws in it, but if it is not falsifiable then it just stays out there as a possibility. Fortunately for evolutionary theory we have tons of solid proof that life evolves.

Drug resistant bacteria, for example. Evolution is the change in the heritable traits of a population over successive generations, as determined by shifts in the allele frequencies of genes, and that's what we've seen in drug resistant bacteria. Even if the ability existed previously in a rare few bacteria, the now widespread existence of drug resistant bacteria shows that evolution is at work. This is solid proof of evolution in this example.

just_dave said: "Let's face it; when it comes to things like evolution vs. creationism, and yes, even evolution on the scale of universes, there is much that we don't know and will never know. I Cor 1:25."

But if you don't look, you may never know what is knowable or true. This can happen if you close your mind to the evidence because you think it contradicts your faith, and you believe your faith cannot possibly be even the tiniest bit wrong.

I mean, heck, Pope John Paul II of the Catholic Church stated that evolution is more than just a hypothesis and is compatible with Christian faith. If the Pope can accept the scientific facts without it harming his faith, why can't you guys? Is your faith actually so weak that accepting evolution would shatter it? Can't you accept that a part of your beliefs are wrong, without tossing the baby out with the bathwater? Does accepting evolution instead of creationism really matter if you still believe in Christ?

You need to stop reading creationism sites, because that's just bad information reinforcing bad information, and take a look at some unbiased science sites for a while instead, read through the Kitzmiller v. Dover decision, and keep an open mind. Science isn't anti-religion, it's pro-truth as can be discovered using objective testing. If creationism were real and testable then science would discover and accept it, because whether it fits a religion or not is irrelevant to science. Evolutionary theory sprang forth from the facts in the world around us, and was not created for the purpose of harming some religious beliefs. Science is neutral and based on objective evidence.

Even if you don't end up agreeing, please stop pushing your religious beliefs as though they were science or objective fact. There is nothing about creationism that is science because almost all creationists shun the scientific method when it comes to proving creationism, and the half-dozen or so that haven't entirely shunned it (like Behe, Meyer, etc.) haven't come up with anything that has survived a normal scientific peer review.

Since we have somewhat strayed from the subject this will be my last comment on the matter of organic evolution here. I apologize to any who were bored/annoyed by this diversion.


orc_jr
Posted 05 September 2006 at 02:07 pm

i am convinced that matter must be finite, the limits of my mind do not allow me to comprehend an infinite amount of matter, but the "universe", in this context meaning space, MUST be infinite, because to define a border on the edge of space would imply further space which that border occupies, and space beyond. there cannot be an edge to nothing.


plowshare
Posted 11 September 2006 at 06:48 am

orc_jr said: "i am convinced that matter must be finite, the limits of my mind do not allow me to comprehend an infinite amount of matter, but the "universe", in this context meaning space, MUST be infinite, because to define a border on the edge of space would imply further space which that border occupies, and space beyond. there cannot be an edge to nothing."

No, the universe could be the 3-dimensional analogue of the surface of a sphere. On a sphere you can keep going around and around forever without bumping into any walls.

In the science section of Netscape one of the banner articles has to do with the Poincare conjecture. That's exactly about 3-d analogues of the surface of a sphere. Whether our universe is one of these is still a topic of debate, and perhaps will be for centuries to come.


orc_jr
Posted 12 September 2006 at 07:20 am

plowshare said: "No, the universe could be the 3-dimensional analogue of the surface of a sphere. On a sphere you can keep going around and around forever without bumping into any walls.


In the science section of Netscape one of the banner articles has to do with the Poincare conjecture. That's exactly about 3-d analogues of the surface of a sphere. Whether our universe is one of these is still a topic of debate, and perhaps will be for centuries to come."

say this is correct, and our universe as we know it lies on the surface of a sphere. whether we can reach it or not, that would imply further space both within and without the sphere.


Krinberry
Posted 12 September 2006 at 10:50 am

orc_jr said: "say this is correct, and our universe as we know it lies on the surface of a sphere. whether we can reach it or not, that would imply further space both within and without the sphere."

Only if you look at it as a 3 dimensional object; if you move the sperical nature into more dimensions, you can end up with an object in which all directions are on the surface of the hyperdimensional 'sphere' and as such, will eventually wrap around to meet the other 'side' of itself.

Math is fun. :)


orc_jr
Posted 13 September 2006 at 09:11 am

Krinberry said: "Only if you look at it as a 3 dimensional object; if you move the sperical nature into more dimensions, you can end up with an object in which all directions are on the surface of the hyperdimensional 'sphere' and as such, will eventually wrap around to meet the other 'side' of itself.


Math is fun. :)"

perhaps i don't understand theoretical hyperdimensional objects as well as i could, but even presuming this is correct i still don't see that it negates the remaining 3-dimensional space both within and without this sphere we're imagining. say the universe is a giant mobius strip. does that mean that there's no space outside of that object? i think not.


plowshare
Posted 13 September 2006 at 10:37 am

orc_jr said: "perhaps i don't understand theoretical hyperdimensional objects as well as i could, but even presuming this is correct i still don't see that it negates the remaining 3-dimensional space both within and without this sphere we're imagining. say the universe is a giant mobius strip. does that mean that there's no space outside of that object? i think not."

Krinberry's use of the word "surface" may have confused you. The surface of an ordinary sphere is a 2-dimensional object in 3-dimensional space. He was talking about a 3-dimensional "hypersphere" which need not be the "hypersurface" of anything, in which case all directions are part of the 3-d hypersphere itself.
One hypothesis--not a very plausible one, but at least it's consistent--is that our universe is a 3-d hypersphere and there is nothing, literally nothing, that is not part of it.
For most people it is easier to conceive of a 3-d hypersphere as being part of a bigger 4-d universe that extends infinitely far in all directions, but that need not be the case.
It's not an easy distinction to grasp. It took me years before something finally clicked and I understood.


shesdeluvley
Posted 05 October 2006 at 02:39 pm

I love this topic but really...can we forego the mud slinging comments......I WANT TO LEARN ABOUT STUFF!!

Okay....somebody tell me if they know of anyone who has been out there in space during the "Big Bang" to document anything? I mean, how can you say positively something happened when you don't have eye witnesses. Sure, you can make conclusions based on certain findings, but still, so much is left to theory isn't it?
Maybe we aren't supposed to know all these mysteries! Look at what happened to the people of Babbel! Having said that, I find myself itching to know about it all and when somebody tells me something that I can grasp, I am in absolute awe of this wonderful creation! So please, tell me stuff!


dennis
Posted 28 July 2007 at 08:17 pm

Evolution never happened. The first DNA never came together by random accident.

The Bible is True.

Why do we have millions of articles about Evolution, but no articles about other Science? Why the endless fascination for the Evolution Lie? Most people hate the Bible, so they preach "ANYTHING ELSE", no matter how impossible, because they want to attack the Bible.


mr. answers
Posted 11 October 2007 at 05:30 pm

This entire concept of a point of singularity tremendously intrigues me. I have a question, however. According to a video about the Big Bang I saw earlier, a well-noted scientist with Lou Gherig's disease (I forgot his name), was blessed or given some type of reward by the Pope with the exception that he accepted that the Bing Bang was the point of singularity. My question is, why must the church insist that there is in fact a point of singularity. Maybe modern day science would not be so inhibited if religion were to explore the possibility of the notion of the possibility of other universes before the point of singularity. I mean, if there is an infinitely powerful God, then therefore shouldn't there also be an infinitely powerful universe? Does anybody have any answers for me?


Sacred Junk
Posted 20 December 2007 at 02:29 am

I don't really understand this religion v science debate

isn't it said in the Bible that first there was nothing and then God created the Universe
that seems to me like the big bang

and then later He created night and day
that seems like the sun and the planets

and then at the end, man was created
even evolution suggests that we have inhabited this earth only since (relatively speaking) recent times


f1speed
Posted 20 December 2007 at 02:31 am

dennis said: "Evolution never happened. The first DNA never came together by random accident.

The Bible is True.

Why do we have millions of articles about Evolution, but no articles about other Science? Why the endless fascination for the Evolution Lie? Most people hate the Bible, so they preach "ANYTHING ELSE", no matter how impossible, because they want to attack the Bible."

I don't hate the bible, but I have no reason to believe in the Bible. Just like I take this theory of evolving universes at face value and don't place any considerable amount of faith into it due to the ludicrous assumptions it makes, I also feel the same way towards religion. If you look at it from an objective point of view (as much as is possible, of course), Creation is just another cosmology that is not far from all of the other speculative theories on how the Universe was created.


JohnSimpson
Posted 04 June 2008 at 09:25 am

In "The Trouble with Physics" Smolin does make a claim that the cosmological evolution theory does indeed make a prediction which will soon become testable. I'll try to find the quote.


BrianMcKinnon
Posted 24 September 2008 at 05:56 am

Let me start this post off by stating I am a 20 year old, with no degree (and working on a degree in an completely unrelated field). Being so young limits my possible experience, and all I know is what I've read. No formal learning in any fields (unless you account for my family forcing christian church on me the first 14 years of my life).

First, could a creationist PLEASE tell me why they are correct? It must just go over my head or something.. I was under the impression most religions were very similar, and were originally invented because early humans were afraid of the remorselessness of the night. Night was when most predators hunted and such.

That was only one thing I'd read though. Feel free to spout some facts at me.

As of now evolution is winning the fight, in my opinion. Lifeforms everywhere adapt to their environments. This is not debatable. If the argument is that DNA has a set number of chromosomes for each species, then could evolution lead to a gradual change in chromosomes as needed? If not, what about mutation (which, in my opinion, could be a form of random evolution)?

Second, talking about the universe as a 3 dimensional hyper-sphere is really confusing to me. It seems like you are blowing off the possibility of something being outside it, because our minds can't grasp infinite.

My question before reading these comments, was, "How does the universe go on forever?" because, I feel like something would STILL be outside of it. My alternate question was "How does the universe end?" because, again, something would be outside it.

It seems like the easiest thing for my mind to settle on is the 3D hypersphere theory; and that is only because I'm ruling out the possibility of something being outside it, due to the inability of my brain to comprehend infinite.

Third, so it is no longer accepted that black holes are singularities? Would it not be more rational to say that there are actually masses at the center larger than a singularity, and we cant see them since the gravity doesn't let light escape? Forgive me if this is an old argument and I am beating a dead horse, just curious.


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