World’s Going to End

More science. This is fascinating – Time Likely To End Within Earth’s Lifespan, Say Physicists (via DM):

Their argument is deceptively simple and surprisingly powerful. Here’s how it goes. If the universe lasts forever, then any event that can happen, will happen, no matter how unlikely. In fact, this event will happen an infinite number of times.

This leads to a problem. When there are an infinite number of instances of every possible observation, it becomes impossible to determine the probabilities of any of these events occurring. And when that happens, the laws of physics simply don’t apply. They just break down. “This is known as the “measure problem” of eternal inflation,” say Bousso and buddies.

In effect, these guys are saying that the laws of physics abhor an eternal universe.

The only way out of this conundrum is to hypothesise some kind of catastrophe that brings an end to the universe. Then all the probabilities make sense again and the laws of physics regain their power.

When might his be? Bousso and co have crunched the numbers. “Time is unlikely to end in our lifetime, but there is a 50% chance that time will end within the next 3.7 billion years,” they say.

The comments there are mind-blowing:

Here’s the problem. Since we exist in the infinite universe, we cannot base an argument against an infinite universe on our observations of the universe. Our current observations are just a few events in the infinite number of events that have (or will) happen. In the infinite universe, there is no guarantee that our observed ‘laws of physics’ are constant over time.


The idea that time is infinite contradicts the notion of infinity.
If time had no beginning, this means that an infinite amount of it has already passed. If this were so, time could not keep passing, because an amount that is already infinite cannot get bigger than it already is.

The idea that time had a beginning, and it will eventually become
infinite, is also contradictory. If time went from non-existence to existence, and started to increase as time passed, there must be a past time when only a finite amount of it had passed. Something that is finite can never become infinite by just having lots of finite increases, no matter how many. Each increase just makes it a little bit bigger than it already was, so it is still finite. There can never be a ‘now’, no matter how far in the future, when an infinite amount of time has already passed.

Someone there also links to Is Time Disappearing from the Universe?

Currently, astronomers are able to discern the expansion speed of the universe using the so-called “red shift” technique. This technique relies on the understanding that stars moving away appear redder in color than ones moving towards us. Scientists look for supernovae of certain types that provide a sort of benchmark. However, the accuracy of these measurements depends on time remaining invariable throughout the universe. If time is slowing down, according to this new theory, our solitary time dimension is slowly turning into a new space dimension. Therefore the far-distant, ancient stars seen by cosmologists would from our perspective, look as though they were accelerating.

What’s striking there is that it’s not that time is dying out, but that it’s evolving into a new “space dimension.” Couldn’t that timeless space dimension be the infinite universe? Well, if it’s timeless, how do you measure “infinite”? Maybe that’s the only word to use because our current cosmological framework and laws of physics limit our language.

I’m perfectly willing to admit this is all way above my head – but I like the way it’s twisting my mind.

Other questions to consider – if we live in an infinite universe with infinite probabilities, doesn’t this mean the possibility that God both does and doesn’t exist? Isn’t it, then, impossible to be an atheist? Time travel is also a certainty. UFOs are extraterrestrial or interdimensional is also a certainty. Anything that you could possibly imagine is inevitable – so then it doesn’t make sense to disbelieve in anything, because everything exists. Given that scenario, it makes sense for people to be looking for more rational explanations.

3 Responses

  1. Matt G Baish says:

    Not sure if it’s the physicists or whoever wrote the original article, but someone needs to attend a few Statistics 101 lessons.

  2. Matt G Baish says:

    BTW RE: ‘If the universe lasts forever, then any event that **can** happen, will happen, no matter how unlikely. In fact, this event will happen an infinite number of times’. (my emphasis)

    Since IMHO God *can’t* happen then I am safe in my Atheism. Phew!

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