[extropy-chat] something rather than nothing

A B austriaaugust at yahoo.com
Wed Apr 11 23:17:31 UTC 2007

I wrote earlier:

..."Also, I wonder if it is even possible that a
such as ours (one that includes observers who can
detect a greater-than-zero but finite history) can
even become *anything but* infinitely old.

For example, if a hypothetical Universe was destined
to only become finitely old (eg. 6 Billion years
old)then dividing that finite history by +Infinity
would lead to any
"time-unit"/"observer-moment"/"apparent history" being
infinitely small. So the only length of history that
could possibly be observed would be an infinitely
short one. Or to put it more directly, it seems that
no observer could possibly exist at all in this
hypothetical Universe. And I don't yet see any reason
why the starting denominator could not be +Infinity
(which would represent the "very beginning" of this
hypothetical Universe) given that the value of the
quotient would still be greater-than-zero (and
positive) although very, very, very tiny."

I've thought a little more about this, and I have
another micro-argument in support of this preliminary
conclusion. Problem is, it's only half-baked because
it's hard for me to wrap my brain around, and what's
worse is that it's even harder for me to meaningfully
present through e-mail. But, what the hell I'll give
it a try, I hope it may generate some useful input or

First imagine a hypothetical Universe that is
predetermined to become only finitely old because it's
destined to end in a Big Crunch. Now convert its
final, total age into a finite number of individual
"time-units" (the most fundamental possible units for
this hypothetical Universe). For simplicity sake,
assume that it's final total age is only 3
"time-units" long (this is a very short-lived
Universe). So I'll use 3 for the numerator (Think of
the 3 as equaling: three more than zero). The problem
arises when I try to use 3 as the starting
denominator. In order for the Universe to successfully
achieve the age of 3 "time-units", the denominator
must count-down to the value of 1. But, if the
denominator counts-down to only 1, then the numerator
can only achieve the age of 2 "time-units" and
therefore it could never "reach" its final age.
(Because there are only units of change between 3 and
1. ie. 3 becomes 2, and then 2 becomes 1). This
Universe could apparently reach it's final age of 3
"time-units" if and only if it's denominator became 0.
This quotient is always called "undefined", but that's
really just a euphemism for equaling positive
infinity. You might say that a work-around would be to
start with a denominator of 4, allow that to
count-down to 1 and allow the numerator to count-up to
a full 3. The problem with that is, the "time-units"
we are using are already fundamental, and there can
only be 3 of them (not 4) in this hypothetical
Universe. So, apparently in this case, I can't use any
starting denominator greater than 3, and I certainly
can't use any starting denominator smaller than 3 that
would still allow the Universe to reach its final age.
Yet another problem is that if this Universe were to
"start" with the fraction 3/3, that would mean
counting-up from 1, and not from 0 the way it should
be. The only way this would "work" would be to allow
that the individual "time-units" for this Universe to
have no lower bound. In other words, to allow that the
"time-units" for this hypothetical Universe would be
infinitely small (but still existent). And if the
"time-units" have to be infinitely small, then it
would require an infinite number of them (ie.
Infinity/Infinity) in order to allow the existence of
an observer within this hypothetical Universe. The
passage of 3 infinitely small "time-units" is not
going to allow the existence of an internal observer.
So in a terribly, terribly convoluted way, I think
this supports my contention that: only a Universe that
will reach an infinite age can include internal
observers. Therefore, my preliminary conclusion is
that our Universe will never end in a Big Crunch and
will continue to exist into the infinite future. Of
course, I'm willing to change that conclusion
depending on any convincing evidence or argument.

I realize that this is probably clear as mud. I know I
wouldn't want to try and interpret it.  :-)

In any case, I welcome any comments, even the
dissenting variety. 

Best Wishes,

Jeffrey Herrlich        


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