[extropy-chat] something rather than nothing

Jef Allbright jef at jefallbright.net
Thu Apr 12 04:13:57 UTC 2007

On 4/11/07, Stathis Papaioannou <stathisp at gmail.com> wrote:
> On 4/12/07, A B <austriaaugust at yahoo.com> wrote:
> >
> >
> > ..."Also, I wonder if it is even possible that a
> > Universe
> > 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."
> >
> >
> > Could you clarify your usage of numerator and denominator? The
> denominator is the number on the bottom, stays fixed and cannot be zero,
> while the numerator is the number on top and can take any value, although in
> this context it will vary between 0 and the denominator, 3.

The first part seems like a peculiar adaptation of Zeno's paradox proving
that motion is impossible because any object would have to travel through
infinite intervals to reach the target.  The second part is more
disorienting than the worst imaginable acid trip, and it's clear that a
little math can be a truly dangerous thing.

We're having an offline discussion that's going to lead to some open-ended
trends, but I think we'll stick with graphical models.

- Jef
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