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Offline Alan McDougall

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The impossible concept of infinity
« on: 25/06/2008 08:14:55 »
Hello Guys, ∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞.....................∞∞∞∞

In my imagination I got trapped on an infinity road, No beginning no end. So on my endless ceaseless journey I constructed barriers like walls to end my journey, but the barriers just then extended out into infinite forever. So to overcome the boredom of my ceaseless travel, I made a paradise to rest in for as long as I like and then countless different paradises and just or fun burning hells to make my lonely life fun

Even God cant be Infinite although he must push on towards it forever!!!!!!!

Alan


 

Offline Bored chemist

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The impossible concept of infinity
« Reply #1 on: 25/06/2008 18:21:03 »
Is this a free form poetry forum?
 

Offline Alan McDougall

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The impossible concept of infinity
« Reply #2 on: 25/06/2008 20:10:52 »
Bored chemist,

There is nothing poetic about infinity , can you comprehend it?

"It is possible to state an impossibility"

"It is impossible to imagine an impossibility"

Alan
 

lyner

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The impossible concept of infinity
« Reply #3 on: 25/06/2008 22:57:50 »
You don't have to comprehend infinity in order to use it in Maths.  But, of course, Mathematicians avoid it like the plague. The only time you can deal with it is when you discuss such things as 'the limit as x approaches infinity'; you don't need to get to infinity to see what happens in the case of convergent processes.
Infinity is not part of our world - it is in the realms of Metaphysics and 'poetry'.
 

Offline Alan McDougall

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The impossible concept of infinity
« Reply #4 on: 26/06/2008 08:16:43 »
Sophie,

Quote
Infinity is not part of our world - it is in the realms of Metaphysics and 'poetry'

I disagree mathematics has a symbol for infinity ∞. You are correct we do not have to comprehend infinity to use it in maths. My so called poetry was just an attempt to bring to mind this concept of a road that never ends but must end or in the case of a infinite universe going outward forever but it just must end a sort of a oxymoron.

I will not take the bait about being poetic, infinity belongs in mathematics and physics as here we can use this concept to our advantage. Also just because it is beyond our present conception does not mean it is not a reality of classical physics and must be banished to the poetic or metaphysical realms as you appear to be suggesting.
« Last Edit: 26/06/2008 08:18:37 by Alan McDougall »
 

lyner

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The impossible concept of infinity
« Reply #5 on: 26/06/2008 10:18:31 »
OK - show me a proper Mathematical expression which uses ∞ in a way where it is used as a multiplier or in addition. As far as I can remember, it is always used in a very careful way which implies that a 'very large number' used in its place will produce the same result with very little error.
The word 'infinity' is used as shorthand and is understood by the well informed. It is taken up and used too readily by those who are not so well informed. This goes for a lot of 'big' words in Science.
I say that infinity is used in Maths quite validly. In Science it is only valid when 'doing the Maths'. The concept of a finite Universe is pretty much accepted. The reason why people have a difficulty with this is because they have a problem with an 'edge' to the Universe. But an edge is not necessary in order for the Universe to be finite.
Your 'road' picture just re-states the notion of infinity but does not really advance the argument.
The only 'endless' road would be a circular track along which you could travel without limit and still not reach an end.
 

Offline Alan McDougall

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The impossible concept of infinity
« Reply #6 on: 26/06/2008 20:46:20 »
Hi,

Quote
The only 'endless' road would be a circular track along which you could travel without limit and still not reach an end

How do you know this for sure a circular road is more closely linked to eternity.

Infinity is an expression of potential not absolute,, the void of the universe might be infinite. When the universe expanded out from the creation event, space, matter, energy and time came into being. Now space has no mass and is , therefore not inhibited by the light speed constant, so it might have expanded out into the vastness of infinity.

Of course you cant use infinity as a multiplier it can only be used as a consept like zero.

Most of mathematics that deals with the infinite can be interpreted as dealing with the potentially infinite. For example the question of whether a species will have an infinite chain of descendant species  can be defined in a way that requires quantification over the reals.

There is no single event that decides this question but it is still meaningful and interesting in a potentially infinite universe. It is determined by a recursively enumerable set of events that can be listed by a computer. Some questions such as the Continuum Hypothesis.

An intriguing question is whether infinity exists in our physical universe: Are there an infinite number of stars? Does the universe have infinite volume? Does space "go on forever"? This is an important open question of cosmology. The question of being infinite is logically separate from the question of having boundaries.

The two-dimensional surface of the Earth, for example, is finite, yet has no edge. By travelling in a straight line one will eventually return to the exact spot one started from. The universe, at least in principle, might have a similar topology; if one travelled in a straight line through the universe perhaps one would eventually revisit one's starting point.

If, however, the universe is ever expanding, and one's means of transport could not travel faster than this rate of expansion, then conceivably one would never return to one's starting point, even on an infinite time scale, since the starting point would be receding away even as one travels toward it.[


I admit that Infinity is a very tricky concept to work with.

Alan
 

lyner

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The impossible concept of infinity
« Reply #7 on: 26/06/2008 21:35:47 »
Quote
How do you know this for sure a circular road is more closely linked to eternity.

All I can say is that it definitely has no end - just like a sphere has no edges on its surface.
There is nothing to convince me that a 'straight' road will carry on for ever because that can only be inferred  rather than actually be seen, whatever 'straight' is supposed to mean.
As far as I know, the evidence is rather that the Universe is finite. Whether is will keep expanding or eventually collapse depends upon the amount of Kinetic Energy compared with the Mass. Either way it doesn't need an edge.
I have no opinions about 'eternity' but Infinity has some sort of implied definition within Maths.
 

Offline Alan McDougall

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The impossible concept of infinity
« Reply #8 on: 26/06/2008 22:18:53 »
Yes I agree the universe is finite but "existence" which the universe might be a time particle off must be eternal and infinite,
 

Offline Alan McDougall

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The impossible concept of infinity
« Reply #9 on: 26/06/2008 22:24:11 »
Also,

We need to understand the difference between a potential infinite and an actual infinite. Crudely put, a potential infinite is a collection which is increasing toward infinity as a limit, but never gets there. Such a collection is really indefinite, not infinite. The sign of this sort of infinity, which is used in calculus, is ∞

An actual infinite is a collection in which the number of members really is infinite. The collection is not growing toward infinity; it is infinite, it is "complete." The sign of this sort of infinity, which is used in set theory to designate sets which have an infinite number of members, such as {1, 2, 3, . . .}, is ņ0. Now (2.11) maintains, not that a potentially infinite number of things cannot exist, but that an actually infinite number of things cannot exist.

For if an actually infinite number of things could exist, this would spawn all sorts of absurdities
 

Offline Alan McDougall

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The impossible concept of infinity
« Reply #10 on: 26/06/2008 22:42:21 »
A picture consept of infinity
 

Offline Andrew K Fletcher

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The impossible concept of infinity
« Reply #11 on: 27/06/2008 09:12:40 »
I disagree with both of you. The Universe IMHO is Infinite, it has no start or end, it did not begin with a bang or even a dampened squib. Everything we measure is based on the measurable components within the Universe! Sophie says all the evidence offers proof that the Universe is finite.

 If all of the objects in the Universe decompose and recompose an infinite number of times, where does that leave your measurements? Where does that leave you maths?

And before you try to dodge these important points by throwing innuendo, try answering those questions.

On another thread I discussed the earth recycling itís surface and wiping the slate clean by removing all traces of past inhabitation. It was mentioned at the current rate of tectonic plate movement, volcanic activity and erosion it would take approximately 1 million years to remove all traces of mankind from the earthís surface.

Now, I never said that someone else on here did.

So we base our guestimate of the Earthís age on radioactive half life.

For example: igneous rocks. Another method for dating the rocks of the earth's crust is the rubidium-87/strontium-87 method. Although the half-life of rubidium-87 is even longer than uranium-238 (49 billion years or 10 times the age of the earth), 
http://science.jrank.org/pages/5679/Radioactive-Dating.html

1.   The Rocks are from the surface. How long have they been on the surface and how long has it been since the rocks were last reformed?
2.   How do we determine that the Earth is not far older than the 4.9 billion years or indeed the 49 billion years estimated for rubidium-87?
3.   What if the rock we measure has been recycled by being ground down to dust, formed into another rock, eroded away formed into another rock, dragged down to the molten core a hundred times become molten and formed into other rocks and eventually finds itself on the surface being measured by a scientist who presumes not only the age of the earth but the age of the universe from this methodology?

Infinity does what it states on the can and cannot be modified by any set of maths.
The road analogy may be finite, but the universe on which you have put your road remains infinite.
Infinity makes probabilities from impossibilities

Andrew K Fletcher
 

Offline Alan McDougall

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The impossible concept of infinity
« Reply #12 on: 27/06/2008 09:35:58 »
Andrew,

Your quote

Quote
I disagree with both of you. The Universe IMHO is Infinite, it has no start or end, it did not begin with a bang or even a dampened squib. Everything we measure is based on the measurable components within the Universe! Sophie says all the evidence offers proof that the Universe is finite.

"You might be correct and you also might be wrong, how can you make this assumption as a point of fact?

The universe had a start or we could never have reached the present moment in time. The arrow of time frompast, present and futurecould never flow in an infinite universe

Go back to what I said that although the universe is finite EXISTENCE MUST BE INFINITE AS EXISTENCE JUST CANT HAVE A BEGINNING". The universe is not all of existence(my view point)

Alan

 

Offline Andrew K Fletcher

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The impossible concept of infinity
« Reply #13 on: 27/06/2008 13:27:36 »
My point is that our interpretation of a start is based on the objects we see in the Universe. What if those parts are processed on a regular evolutionary path where they, not the Universe are changing? Say for example, in our Solar System the sun grows cold and extinguishes after shedding most of its particles, while at the same time feeds say Jupiter with the particles causing it to grow and eventually become hot enough to emit light but on an infinitesimally slow evolutionary timescale that gives us the notion that is cannot be growing because we cannot observe it. An analogy of this is a tree. If we stand and watch a massive tree growing we cannot see it grow but we know it is growing because it is getting bigger. We can cut through the trunk and measure the rings of growth to determine it and to some extent we can measure the rings of growth on a planet, namely the Grand Canyon. But by doing this we cannot determine whether this entire canyon has not been completely recycled before and all we a really observing is what has happened in our own limited knowledge of the obvious timescale.

The less obvious timescale of planetary evolution may be many zeroís off our current estimates.
« Last Edit: 27/06/2008 19:46:39 by Andrew K Fletcher »
 

lyner

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The impossible concept of infinity
« Reply #14 on: 27/06/2008 19:12:05 »
AKF. Can you really believe that the years of Cosmological research are based just on whimsy?
Do you really believe that the conclusions about ages of Planets and their composition is just based on someone's fancy?
If you were prepared to get down to some serious Maths and follow through the  arguments  based on actual measurements you might realise that just writing down a few ideas does not constitute a theory worth looking at.
These 'idiots' you claim have been getting it all wrong for years have actually got a lot going for them. They have measurements and predictions which have been justified by subsequent measurements and observations. All you seem to have is a keyboard and a rich imagination.
Which one should I choose to believe? That's a tough one.
Except, of course, the whole of Science is totally corrupt and shouldn't ever be believed by anyone with sense.
 

Offline Andrew K Fletcher

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The impossible concept of infinity
« Reply #15 on: 27/06/2008 20:08:05 »
You are again side-stepping the questions by throwing up a smokescreen. I asked how can we be certain that the earths surface has not been completely recycled over countless millions of years?

All of the research that has gone before today relies on hard evidence found in rocks on the surface and in the layers below the surface. The question was if these rocks have been molten and reformed many times how do the current theories stand against it?

Dealing with the recycling done by tectonic plate movement and the erosion of the rocks that are brought up to the surface over say 3 billion years. Can we expect to find a reliable rock source that has been on the surface in this area for 3 billion years? Or for that matter 50 million years?

We have observed in our own lifetime whole cities turned into rubble by a single earthquake. In a few thousand years whole cities submerged beneath the ocean.  What about adding another 50 million years to these observations?

http://neic.usgs.gov/neis/eqlists/eqstats.html

http://neic.usgs.gov/neis/eqlists/graphs.html

Are Earthquakes Really on the Increase?
We continue to be asked by many people throughout the world if earthquakes are on the increase. Although it may seem that we are having more earthquakes, earthquakes of magnitude 7.0 or greater have remained fairly constant.
A partial explanation may lie in the fact that in the last twenty years, we have definitely had an increase in the number of earthquakes we have been able to locate each year. This is because of the tremendous increase in the number of seismograph stations in the world and the many improvements in global communications. In 1931, there were about 350 stations operating in the world; today, there are more than 8,000 stations and the data now comes in rapidly from these stations by electronic mail, internet and satellite. This increase in the number of stations and the more timely receipt of data has allowed us and other seismological centers to locate earthquakes more rapidly and to locate many small earthquakes which were undetected in earlier years. The NEIC now locates about 20,000 earthquakes each year or approximately 50 per day. Also, because of the improvements in communications and the increased interest in the environment and natural disasters, the public now learns about more earthquakes.
According to long-term records (since about 1900), we expect about 17 major earthquakes (7.0 - 7.9) and one great earthquake (8.0 or above) in any given year.


Multiply these stats by 50 million years and you begin to get the picture about how the Earth Recycles itís surface.
 

lyner

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The impossible concept of infinity
« Reply #16 on: 27/06/2008 21:37:33 »
I'm not sure what you are discussing, AFK. Is it the age of the  Earth, what has happened to the Earth's surface or the concept of infinity.
Are you actually posting this list of stuff on the correct forum? Only it doesn't seem to fit in here.
 

Offline Andrew K Fletcher

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The impossible concept of infinity
« Reply #17 on: 29/06/2008 12:53:12 »
Pointing out how errors can become facts if we don't take into account the fact that what we measure might not have been here from either the start of the universe or the start of the Earth.
 

Offline Bored chemist

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The impossible concept of infinity
« Reply #18 on: 29/06/2008 13:13:07 »
If I have 6 apples I can take 1 apple away 6 times. I can take 3 apples away twice I can take 6 apples away once. The slightly more complicated idea is that I can take half an apple away 12 times and a tenth of an apple away 60 times.
How often can I keep taking no apples away? Well I can keep doing that forever.
The concept of infinity is readilly accessible to schoolchildren if you explain it this way; unfortunately Alan can't cope with it.
 

Offline Alan McDougall

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The impossible concept of infinity
« Reply #19 on: 30/06/2008 19:20:37 »
B/C

Quote
The concept of infinity is readilly accessible to schoolchildren if you explain it this way; unfortunately Alan can't cope with it

I can cope readily with the concept and do not like being equated to an unlearned child. I seem to irritate you, is this true?

I know what you mean by dividing apples, in infinity no matter how great a number we reach or count, there is always an infinity of numbers to go, we can never reach the end.

I can conceive of the consept just as easily as your school child.

While I can state what infinity is I cant imagine it because it is impossible for us to imagine. That is why I posted this thread as a little story. Reread it please
« Last Edit: 06/07/2008 10:21:14 by Alan McDougall »
 

Offline that mad man

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The impossible concept of infinity
« Reply #20 on: 02/07/2008 02:50:13 »
The Universe may seem infinite but it could be finite and unbound and expanding too fast to measure.

A bit like the Donkey with a carrot tied to a stick, it tries to get it but its always out of reach.

Having said that, I think the Universe is cyclic and just changes state, so no beginning or end just a endless cycle of hot and cold states.

I don't think its hard to imagine infinity only hard to understand what it means.
« Last Edit: 02/07/2008 02:53:23 by that mad man »
 

Offline Alan McDougall

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The impossible concept of infinity
« Reply #21 on: 02/07/2008 03:13:56 »
Sophie,

"Science is totally corrupt". what an unfortunate blanket untrue statement.
 

Offline Soul Surfer

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The impossible concept of infinity
« Reply #22 on: 05/07/2008 00:05:19 »
Alan don't you recognise Irony when you see it! It is you who are dismissing current theory as corrupt, probably without fully understanding it.

There are very good solid reasons with several alternative measurements agreeing to prove that the time scales in geology and astronomy are quite accurate. just suggesting things might not be correct is not enough to stand any chance of being believed you will have to add solid evidence for your own ideas from several different sources  and clear proofs as to why all the different measurements accepted in current theory are wrong.
 

Offline Alan McDougall

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The impossible concept of infinity
« Reply #23 on: 06/07/2008 10:26:49 »
Soul Surfer,

So it is you and the big guy that can truly understand Infinity.

As for little finite puny mortal minute tiny "me" it is beyond my comprehension.

I can state what it is, but comprehend or imagine it "NO"
 

Offline Bored chemist

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The impossible concept of infinity
« Reply #24 on: 06/07/2008 13:24:01 »
"I can cope readily with the concept and do not like being equated to an unlearned child. I seem to irritate you, is this true?"

I get irritated when people post stuff like the title of this thread saying that infinity is an impossible concept.
I don't have any difficulty conceiving it and nor do others, including at least some schoolchildern.
If you don't like being unfavourable compared to the kids, don't start a thread by saying that you can't cope with infinity as well as they can.
 

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