1. Welcome to Religious Forums, a friendly forum to discuss all religions in a friendly surrounding.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Our modern chat room. No add-ons or extensions required, just login and start chatting!
    • Access to private conversations with other members.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Featured Is the universe infinite or finite?

Discussion in 'Science and Religion' started by firedragon, May 12, 2021.

?
  1. Infinite

  2. Finite

Results are only viewable after voting.
  1. ratiocinator

    ratiocinator Lightly seared on the reality grill.

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2017
    Messages:
    5,075
    Ratings:
    +3,893
    Religion:
    none
    This is a prefect example of the kind of limiting, crushingly small level of thinking that is accepted by many religionists and why their ideas fall so far short of being in the least bit profound or inspiring (at least to me).

    The simplest way to think about it is that if you travel for a great enough distance, then you'll end up back where you started. Said distance would have to be far bigger than the observable universe but it's a relatively simple concept.

    The assumption (which is all it is) behind thinking there must be a container for a finite universe seems to be that you can't let go of the intuitive Newtonian view of fixed infinite space, so something finite must be contained in within it (even if we're talking about space itself).

    We have extremely good evidence that space 'curves' to produce gravity, that calculation is part of what the GPS system does.

    What you have in your mind is actually a very specific type of space; basically three-dimensional Euclidean space. That's actually a very special case of all possible spaces, all of which are logically possible. Why three dimensions, for example? Why aren't you rolling about laughing because three dimensional space would have to be enclosed in a four-dimensional infinity? Why not a five, six, or seven dimensional infinity? Isn't your idea of infinity a bit small small and limited? Why not an infinite number of dimensions for that matter? All that before we get to the other possible geometries and topologies.

    You're stuck in thinking like our primitive ancestors who could only imagine what they could see. Science has gone way, way beyond that, and embracing the counter-intuitive ideas of four-dimensional space-time with non-Euclidean geometry, and the even weirder stuff needed for quantum mechanics is the reason you can use the resulting technology to communicate your rather simplistic and mundane ideas to the world and laugh at the science that allows you to do it.
     
  2. ben d

    ben d Dhyani

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2007
    Messages:
    10,151
    Ratings:
    +1,341
    Religion:
    Panentheism
    So if one travels through space and ends up where they started from, that does not prove there is no edges to a finite universe. Show me the shape of said edgeless finite universe and I will reflect on it, but making up excuses that we who ask about the shape are hung up on Newtonian concepts does not engender confidence that you can. Prove me wrong!

    Are you suggesting that the continuation of the universe (time) encloses space and its conceptual 3 dimensions? Truth is they are all concepts, the four are one....space. Space exists and continues to exist, no time, just space, no up down sideways left and right forward backward, just space. Space is one and has no real dimensions except the conceptual ones in the minds of human beings who see things from the perspective of existing as a point in space. Space has no points, no dimensions, no container, no time.
     
  3. ratiocinator

    ratiocinator Lightly seared on the reality grill.

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2017
    Messages:
    5,075
    Ratings:
    +3,893
    Religion:
    none
    It's (a rather obvious, if you think about it) way in which a universe can have a finite volume without having any edges.
    It doesn't have a literal shape that you can visualise, it has geometry and topology. It is logically self-consistent, can be defined exactly using mathematics, and is consistent with our best tested theory of space(-time). As such, it's already streets ahead of your vague, unsupported, intuition-based hand-waving.
    You do appear to be hung up on Newtonian concepts. I can see no other reason for your head-in-the-sand approach.
    No idea what you mean.
    Endless assertion isn't an argument. Space (volume) is definitely three-dimensional, unlike, for example, a surface of some object (say a sheet of paper), which is two-dimensional. There is no fundamental reason why we need to stop at three dimensions, that just happens to be what we have. It's an observation of what we find in the universe, not a logical constraint on the nature of space.

    Space is not just emptiness, it has characteristics, like its dimensionality (we need three independent numbers to define a location within it, rather than two--like on a surface--or four), it has a specific geometry (the angles of a triangle add up to 180°, for example). These are all properties of the space we observe, not logical necessities.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  4. ben d

    ben d Dhyani

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2007
    Messages:
    10,151
    Ratings:
    +1,341
    Religion:
    Panentheism
    No, it is not only not obvious, it is unimaginable. If you can't provide some shape of such a universe, it does not exist.
    It is you who are making the assertions, these three dimensions of space you think are real, you could dream up more, but they still only exist in your mind, show me space where I can visually see these dimensions, not with my mind, but physically see them? They don't exist just like the so called dimension of time, it does not exist outside of the mind. It comes about because of the perspective of a mere mortal. Space has no dimensions whatsoever, except in the thought processes of your mind. If your mind was still and free from thought, the dimensionless universal presence (aka God) is all there is. Try it?
     
  5. ratiocinator

    ratiocinator Lightly seared on the reality grill.

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2017
    Messages:
    5,075
    Ratings:
    +3,893
    Religion:
    none
    You just keep on making my point. Why would you think reality has to conform to your own ability to visualise it? We know it doesn't. Can you visualise how single photons or electrons go through a double-slit experiment and form an interference pattern, or why, if we detect which slit each one went through, the pattern disappears? Yet that is the reality we observe.

    The universe is way stranger than your ability to visualise it. Try to get over that.
    It's all around you. Try specifying the exact position of something in your room without using three independent measurements. Try putting more than three rods all at right-angles to each other. Then consider that if you were only dealing with a surface (two-dimensional) like a drawing on paper, how you could specify any point with only two measurements and you could only have two lines at right-angles to each other. That's two- and three-dimensional space. There is no logical reason to stop there, there is nothing impossible (no contradictions) in four-dimensional space, or any other number you want.
    The dimensionality exists, as is easy to see, as I've just described.
    Evidence-denying assertion.
    Baseless assertion.
    False - see above for how to test the fact.
    Yeah, if I stopped thinking, I might agree with you.
     
  6. ben d

    ben d Dhyani

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2007
    Messages:
    10,151
    Ratings:
    +1,341
    Religion:
    Panentheism
    Let's be consistent, I say the universe as God can not be visualized, but it can be realized when the mind is quiet without thought. There is no visualization in this religious practice. Science otoh deals with only the 5% and it's all through mind conceptualization, through thought. So if your finite universe without edges can not be visualized, then its conceptualization is flawed, fragmented, or some other way lacking in clarity that prevents it from being visualized. Science is meant to deal with the physical universe, if you add more dimensions than the three, then you are no longer dealing with the 5% physical universe our human sensory perceptions are designed for, and you can't provide a diagram, just like the higher mind apprehension of religion.

    OK, if we are dealing with the physical universe, space can be easily conceptualized and visualized in three dimensions, think vision, paintings, sculpture, imagination, but if you add more dimensions, it can no longer be visualized, not that there may not be some reality represented by the higher dimensions, but that such reality represented by the higher dimension conceptualizations transcend the physical universal reality. The distinction or line between the physical and non-physical, is purely a conceptual one, in reality there is no line between them, the universe is one and all of the distinctions made by the human mind are meant for understanding of the workings of the universe, not that they are actually independent entities all separate from each other. God/Universe is the One that is All.
    By cutting and pasting snippets of what I said, the larger context in which they had meaning is lost, so your snipes are not reasonable.

    Because religious practice is mainly a subjective experience, one can not convey the transcendent state of apprehension of reality, but that is not unique to many human experiences, so while you may be skeptical if you have no awareness in this area, it is still real.

    Have you ever been in love, experienced love? It is the nearest I can think of that comes close to the religious transcendent state of mind, it is beyond words, and sort of magical. Being in love and experiencing subjectively a transcendent state does not prevent functioning normally in the physical world, you can still work, play, etc,, just that you would prefer to be with your beloved 100% of the time if possible. There are those people who say they have never experienced love and deny its existence, I've known some, They say they have no evidence that it exists and therefore reject any and all claims concerning love and have no further interest, that is fine, it is their life. My point? Religion and Science are mainly dealing with two different approaches to understanding, one is coming to grips with what one is in the context of the universe in its totality, and the other with mainly what the physical universe is. Religion is mainly subjective and beyond the methodologies of science to comprehend, and the Science is mainly objective and beyond the meditative state of mind to experience. But a scientist may still practice religion and a religious type still be a scientist.
     
  7. ratiocinator

    ratiocinator Lightly seared on the reality grill.

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2017
    Messages:
    5,075
    Ratings:
    +3,893
    Religion:
    none
    If this 5% continues to refer to visible matter as opposed to dark matter and dark energy, then this statement is simply false. Science can and does deal with those. We don't know nearly as much about them yet but they are not beyond its reach. We have, for example, made maps of dark matter distribution.
    Sorry but this just shows how little you know about science (and the closed universe, that doesn't actually need more dimensions than the standard three space and one time). A mathematical model is far, far clearer, unambiguous, and accurate than any amount of simplistic visualisation, and is far easier to test because it makes numerical predictions. Even classical mechanics uses spaces with vast numbers of dimensions, and when it comes to aspects of quantum mechanics, you can end up with an infinite number of dimensions. More and more of what was once thought to be 'pure mathematics' is finding applications in the real world, the most obvious being complex numbers. There is no real number that is the square root of -1 but mathematics, science, and even engineering use it regularly.

    Mathematical models can take us way beyond simple visualisation and, unlike your "higher mind apprehension of religion", can make accurate predictions about the real world.

    And you never did answer my question as to why you think the physical world should be limited to what humans can visualise. It seems like an utterly arbitrary expectation to me.
    Baseless assertions.
    We know love 'exists' as a (rather loosely defined) state of mind.
    So why do you keep making baseless claims within the area of science?

    BTW: I dispute that religion (or love) is beyond the realm of science, it's something that goes on in brains and brains are physical objects.
     
  8. ben d

    ben d Dhyani

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2007
    Messages:
    10,151
    Ratings:
    +1,341
    Religion:
    Panentheism
    Yes I know, and it seems to me that dark matter is the essence from which the 5% matter of the galaxy is formed. Also possible dark matter is formed in turn from dark energy. I know this is just my intuition, but what do you think?

    Ok, but you spoil an actual interesting comment with silly points meant to score, but backfire. Mathematical models can do great things with that which is modellable, but science can't model things that are un-modellable. Such as a subjective experience, transcendent states of visualization and love for example. And by the real world, I suppose you mean the 5% physical...haha.

    I think humans do visualize beyond the physical but such visualization may not be able to be objectively verified, whereas visualization within the realms of the physical may easily result in objective verification.

    Oh yes, so long as science imagines love is limited to something that goes on in the brain, I despair at the state of science. And I suppose a scientific mathematical model of love activity in the brain is superior and more accurate than transcendent love itself. :rolleyes:
     
  9. ratiocinator

    ratiocinator Lightly seared on the reality grill.

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2017
    Messages:
    5,075
    Ratings:
    +3,893
    Religion:
    none
    I find it very difficult to make sense of either claim, frankly. The evidence is that dark matter is a form of matter that interacts gravitationally (so has mass) but doesn't interact electromagnetically. There are known particles (neutrinos) that have those characteristics but are not massive enough to explain dark matter. We are probably looking at something we don't yet know about but there's no reason to think it is anything more than another sort of particle. Dark energy is more mysterious (and somewhat misnamed) and it's causing the expansion of the universe to accelerate. It could just be a non-zero cosmological constant in relativity.
    Of course we can't model the un-modellable but I wouldn't jump to conclusions about the things you suggest fall into that category. The track record of claims like "science will never explain X" speaks for itself.
    No. Dark matter and dark energy clearly fall into the category of the real world.
    No more so than the scientific explanation of rainbows is superior to experiencing the sight of one.
     
  10. NewGuyOnTheBlock

    NewGuyOnTheBlock Cult Survivor/Fundamentalist Pentecostal Apostate

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2014
    Messages:
    1,802
    Ratings:
    +1,160
    Religion:
    atheist
    There is no "I don't know" in the poll. It is a failing of the theist to accept "I don't know" as an answer to anything.

    Just yesterday, I ran across something; that the universe is expanding faster than the speed of light. Much of the universe is outside of our ability to observe. Thus, much of the unobservable universe will remain unobservable. If we can't observe the universe as a whole, then we will never know if it is finite or infinite.

    Likewise, I ran across another theory some time back; that the universe is "curved" (think of the concave earth theory). If this is true, then the statement:

    .... accurately describes the nature of the universe.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  11. ratiocinator

    ratiocinator Lightly seared on the reality grill.

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2017
    Messages:
    5,075
    Ratings:
    +3,893
    Religion:
    none
    Exactly, and "don't know" is the right answer, we don't. Nobody does.
    Sort of. The expansion is actually due to the changing metric, which is effectively what defines distance (and geometry), so two objects that aren't interacting in any way (so on a scale of different galaxy clusters) will be getting further apart. The rate at which the distance grows is proportional to the distance (it's a scale factor that changes), to if they are far enough apart, then the 'speed' of separation will be greater than light. It doesn't violate relativity because technically this isn't a movement through space, it's an expansion of space.
    Unless we can infer it from indirect evidence, yes.
    Yes, the spatial 'curvature' of the universe is described by general relativity (this is again because of the metric, not a curvature in some higher dimensional space) and can be either positive, negative, or zero. From what we can tell, the overall curvature of space, at least within the observable universe, is very close to zero ('flat'). If it is positive, then the simplest associated topology would be 'closed' as I described.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  12. mikkel_the_dane

    mikkel_the_dane Shadow Wolf's Aspie sibling

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2018
    Messages:
    11,787
    Ratings:
    +3,207
    Religion:
    The Wrong One
    I am not trying to derail, since it is on topic. But even the observable universe is an assumption:
    "The cosmological principle is usually stated formally as 'Viewed on a sufficiently large scale, the properties of the universe are the same for all observers.' This amounts to the strongly philosophical statement that the part of the universe which we can see is a fair sample, and that the same physical laws apply throughout. In essence, this in a sense says that the universe is knowable and is playing fair with scientists.
    William C. Keel (2007). The Road to Galaxy Formation (2nd ed.). Springer-Praxis. p. 2. ISBN 978-3-540-72534-3.

    In practice science works, because the universe seems to be behave a "nice" manner. :)
     
    • Like Like x 1
  13. NewGuyOnTheBlock

    NewGuyOnTheBlock Cult Survivor/Fundamentalist Pentecostal Apostate

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2014
    Messages:
    1,802
    Ratings:
    +1,160
    Religion:
    atheist
    I can certainly grasp "An object in motion tends to remain in motion unless acted upon by another force"; or, "For every action, there is an opposite but equal reaction". But these higher level physics (let alone theoretical or quantum) is just a bit over my head, LOL
     
    • Like Like x 1
  14. mikkel_the_dane

    mikkel_the_dane Shadow Wolf's Aspie sibling

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2018
    Messages:
    11,787
    Ratings:
    +3,207
    Religion:
    The Wrong One
    The same with me. Now I recall having read a critique from a physicist, that some elements of the most "far out" end of theoretical physics border on theology. No kidding.
     
  15. ratiocinator

    ratiocinator Lightly seared on the reality grill.

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2017
    Messages:
    5,075
    Ratings:
    +3,893
    Religion:
    none
    Just like any science, we build hypotheses and then see if they match reality by experiment and/or observation. The cosmological principle appears to apply to the observable universe and the theories we've developed on that assumption have made accurate predictions and appear to be a good match to what we can see of reality. Of course we cannot say with certainty what is going on beyond the observable universe and, if inflation is correct, then the observed 'flatness' is only local (and as a result of said inflation) and the universe may indeed look very different on (very much) larger scales.
     
    • Winner Winner x 1
  16. mikkel_the_dane

    mikkel_the_dane Shadow Wolf's Aspie sibling

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2018
    Messages:
    11,787
    Ratings:
    +3,207
    Religion:
    The Wrong One
    Well, I understand you.
     
  17. ben d

    ben d Dhyani

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2007
    Messages:
    10,151
    Ratings:
    +1,341
    Religion:
    Panentheism
    What is time?

    Huw Price, professor of philosophy at Cambridge University, claims that the three basic properties of time come not from the physical world but from our mental states.



    So, are we being misled by our human perspectives? Is our sense that time flows, or passes, and has a necessary direction, false?

    Are we giving false import to the present moment? "We can portray our reality as either a three-dimensional place where stuff happens over time," said Massachusetts Institute of Technology physicist Max Tegmark, "or as a four-dimensional place where nothing happens [‘block universe’] — and if it really is the second picture, then change really is an illusion, because there's nothing that's changing; it's all just there — past, present, future.

     
  18. gnostic

    gnostic The Lost One

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2006
    Messages:
    18,530
    Ratings:
    +5,856
    Religion:
    Pi π
    Wow! :eek:

    In your earlier posts, you would argue against and scoff at 3 dimensional space and the 4th dimensional space - time.

    And again, you would do same thing again (argue and scoff), at anything relating to the universe and space having topology and geometry as something that cannot be visualized, and therefore none of it being real...so you have claimed.

    But these are the things that can be objectively mathematically “visualized” and “realized” and have been objectively “observed” so far.

    And yet, you wanted everyone else to accept your conclusion of consciousness that transcends everything - that transcends space & universe - and infinity of everything, the transcendent consciousness that cannot be mathematically “proven” and observations that cannot be “tested”.

    Isn’t that double-standard?

    You do say religion or religions being highly “subjective”, and I do agree on that point.

    But you don’t seem to understand that where all the problems with religions lie - including your transcendent consciousness religion - that “subjective” often and always lead to biased beliefs in “woo”.

    Your rejections of 4 dimensional space (or spacetime) because it is too hard to visualize or too hard to test - and yet you want us to accept the invisible transcendent consciousness that cannot be visualized, nor tested.

    Don’t you se the ironies?
     
  19. gnostic

    gnostic The Lost One

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2006
    Messages:
    18,530
    Ratings:
    +5,856
    Religion:
    Pi π
    Some theoretical stuffs have being tested and accepted, while others (theoretical) remained untested.

    There are some stuffs in Relativity and in Quantum Mechanics that remained theoretical and untested.

    But you need to remember, sciences are not just accepted experimental knowledge...they (sciences) also can be long (and ongoing) waiting game.

    Take for instances, the geocentric model vs heliocentric model about Earth-Sun relation.

    Geocentric model, although it haven’t been mathematically understood until Claudius Ptolemy, a 2nd century CE astronomer, it have been generally observed and accepted the Earth was fixed while the sun move across the sky, from east to west, since Neolithic times and in Bronze Age of Egyptian astronomy and Babylonian astronomy.

    Heliocentric model, is where the Earth and other planets orbit around the stationary sun, have been mathematically formulated by 3rd BCE Greek astronomer Aristarchus of Samos, but not tested through observations.

    Despite cropping up from time to time, by other astronomers after Aristarchus in centuries to come, from other Greek astronomers and Hindu astronomers, and even a Muslim astronomer (but who would later retracted) would visualized concept of heliocentric, heliocentric model was highly popular.

    So geocentric model on planetary motion, was the accepted concept for millennia. The geocentric model was accepted as science since Ptolemy wrote his astronomy treatise.

    Then heliocentric concept was revived once again, during the Renaissance, by Nicolaus Copernicus, again mathematically, but in the early 17th century, the newly developed telescope was invented (by names that I don’t recall) and heliocentric was discovered by Galileo.

    But as I said earlier, sciences can be long and ongoing waiting game, not just pioneering or discovering stage, but scientific concepts and theories may take also take a while to be refined and modified/updated.

    While Copernicus was correct about the heliocentric concept, he was wrong about the planetary orbits being circular. Johannes Kepler corrected that, proposing that the orbits were elliptical in shapes. Further refinements to heliocentric model was introduced by Isaac Newton, who proposed gravity and gravitational forces were responsible for the planets’ motion around the sun.

    So what started by Hellenistic astronomer Aristarchus of Samos, it took over 1500 years to vindicate Aristarchus’ mathematical/geometric concept.

    The point looking back at history of geocentric vs heliocentric concepts, that heliocentric was never science, until it was finally discovered and tested by Galileo.

    Likewise, it took centuries that started with Newton on gravity, that was later refined by Einstein, with General Relativity in 1915. And it may be further refined in the future with Quantum Field Theory (eg Quantum Gravity), which have chance unifying two opposing theories - General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics.

    Ever since Einstein, theoretical physicists have for decades been trying to unify these 2 concepts, including String Theory and Superstring Theory, but these two concepts have become increasingly complex, that they have become unworkable and unwieldy. Einstein himself tried to unify 2 theories, but couldn’t do it.

    Quantum Field Theory (QFT) seemed to be the likely candidate to succeed what Einstein started and where String and Superstring theories have failed. But you will never know, because there may even be better alternative than QFT.

    Like I said, sciences may (or may not) catch up the theoretical parts, and as I said, it may take times.

    And it may take times, for concepts to be refined, modified and updated.

    PS

    When I look back at, history of gravity, I think Galileo testing falling objects from Tower of Pisa, predated Newton proposing formulating the universal gravitation. But Galileo couldn’t and didn’t describe the forces responsible for things falling.

    And while Newton described gravity and its forces as being caused by “gravitational fields”, today “gravitational field” have been dropped, since Einstein described gravitation as being property (or curvature) of space and time.
     
  20. ben d

    ben d Dhyani

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2007
    Messages:
    10,151
    Ratings:
    +1,341
    Religion:
    Panentheism
    I never rejected 3D space time because it could not be visualized, where do you get that from? I can visualize 3D space time models easily, but I am saying it is a mental creation and the movement I see is happening in the now, what is called time, and which I call the endless now in this context of explaining why time as a real entity does not exist outside the mind.

    If you claim the edgeless finite universe can be objectively mathematically “visualized” and “realized” and has been objectively “observed” so far, then please provide a diagram of the visualization. And what do you mean by the "realization" in the context of models of the universe.

    I am not into religious beliefs, only the realization of God, and only the efficacious practices that result in such realization.
     
Loading...