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Astrodob

If the universe is infinite why can't i see stars everywhere I look?

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Infinite meens either it's too big or we don't know for me.Let's talk about what infinite is for you-neverending.Everything seems to be a small version of something bigger.First people thought that the smallest thing in the world was an atom,now we know it is not.Then they thought it was an electron,than they thought it was a neutrino.So it looks like everything is infinite think about it the universe could just be a proton or something in another world or dimension.atoms are made out of protons,neutrons and electrons molecules are made out of atoms and so on.It goes for quite a while when u get to the planets they are simmiliar the Sun a proton in a bigger world the planets electrons,asteroids neutrinos.... Though planets are nothing like atoms i must say this makes them sound simmiliar to atoms.So it could go like this forever or stop or something else.Black holes could be portals to other dimensions and everything could be anything it is really suited for a bigger post i should do :D.

One of the problems with this is your understanding of the language being used here as well as the context it is used in.  When speaking scientifically or speaking of science, to avoid ambiguity we always try to use the correct words with their correct meanings and to this end, infinite has a VERY specific meaning that is not open to personal interpretation. The dictionary defines it very precisely (as Olly pointed out) as meaning without limit or without bounds. These definitions can then be further defined exactly as Olly stated above.  Taking this into consideration, saying infinity means this for me and that for you, has no meaning whatsoever in science. Everyone is entitled to their opinion but some peoples opinions are simply not correct and other people’s opinions are right on the money. Where possible, opinions should be based on evidence and data, not on whim.

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Having said that, there is nothing wrong with an inquisitive mind. Inquisitiveness should be promoted at every opportunity.

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The Egyptians knew that the world wasn't flat 3000 years ago....

Yes, but didn't it then get "forgotten" for 2700 years - all in the name of progress? :D

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Yes, but didn't it then get "forgotten" for 2700 years - all in the name of progress? :D

I've often wondered about this sort of thing.  Eratosthenes (he of the sieve) did an experiment somewhere in the region of 250BC I believe to measure the circumference of the world (tricky, if the world is flat :), and came up with an answer that was quite creditable.  Aristarchus (I think) suggested heliocentrism in roughly the same time-frame.  At some level this information was "lost", but clearly not entirely otherwise we wouldn't know about those facts now.

The average "serf in the field" probably didn't give a moment's thought to whether the world was flat or not and whether it went around the Sun or otherwise.  If asked they'd probably have answered that it was flat and the Sun went around it, but not out of "knowledge".  But for those in scientific circles, was there for example some random scribbling in one of Pliny's margins suggesting a heliocentric model of the solar system that Aristarchus couldn't prove and was discussed only in hushed tones amongst trusted and like-minded colleagues until Galileo and Copernicus dared the wrath of the church when they felt they had sufficient evidence to do so?

James

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Infinite meens either it's too big or we don't know for me.Let's talk about what infinite is for you-neverending.  :D.

Two points; Language is public. There is a concensus on what words mean because, if there weren't, words would just be noises.  And, in any tricky discussion, a definition of terms is essential. My distinction between 'infinite' and 'unbounded' isn't mine, it's a standard one that you'll find in many cosmology books. I came across this distinction on UCLAN's cosmology course and I think it's very helpful.

The Flat Earth myth. The spherical (ish) nature of the Earth has indeed been understood by educated people for thousands of years and was not, I don't think, forgotten in those circles. You'll occasionally read the absurd claim that Columbus was astonished to find himself back where he started. No, what astonished him was that America got in the way! The round Earth is very obvious; travel south and northern constellations set and southern ones appear. Masts appear above the horizon. The earth's shadow can be seen on the moon during lunar eclipses.

The 'coming from nothing Big Bang myth.' The Big Bang theory does not assert that the Universe came from nothing. It never has made this assertion. What it states is that known physics breaks down at the Planck time of 10^ -43 second. What happened before that is not knowable with present physics. What could possibly be more honest than that? Furthermore a majority, I would say, of professional cosmologists suspect that the BB universe is one of many that that may exist in dimensions to which we have no access as yet.

So anyone claiming the BB theorists claim to know everything is grossly mis-representing them. They have a very precise understanding of the boundaries imposed by present our present knowledge of physics. They also know that present physics can change. However, yet another urban myth about science says that theories are always being overthrown and replaced by new ones. In truth this is rare. What usually happens is that the present theory is generalized into a wider and deeper replacement.

Olly

Edit. PS, It is most unlikely that any modern physicist would assert creation from nothing since they all seem to agree that nothing doesn't exist. Again it's back to Planck and a minimum energy that can exist. It is non zero, so there is no such thing as nothing. For a good read on this try John D Barrow's The Book of Nothing. It's brilliant. (No surprises there!)

Edited by ollypenrice
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 However, yet another urban myth about science says that theories are always being overthrown and replaced by new ones. In truth this is rare. What usually happens is that the present theory is generalized into a wider and deeper replacement.

Max Planck once said....

"A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it."

I suspect that quote may have a hint of truth in it as well. :)

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Max Planck once said....

"A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it."

I suspect that quote may have a hint of truth in it as well. :)

I didn't know that one, but it's very good and does seem to contain a fair bit of truth. Hubble, for instance, never fully accepted the idea that the universe is expanding despite being widely credited as its discoverer these days...

Olly

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 Eratosthenes (he of the sieve) did an experiment somewhere in the region of 250BC I believe to measure the circumference of the world (tricky, if the world is flat :), and came up with an answer that was quite creditable.   

James

I am not 100% sure, but I think the method that Eratosthenes used was as follows: There was a well which upon a certain day used to be illuminated all the way down by direct sunlight. Eratosthenes (I think), measured the height of the sun on the same day and in conjunction with his distance from the well was able to calculate the radius of the earth. Neat.

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I'm not stupid enough to not know that.I have read a lot of books and everyone knows what dark matter and dark energy is aspecially that galaxy'es are out there and other stuff.

No one knows what dark matter or dark energy is, do they?

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No one knows what dark matter or dark energy is, do they?

It seems that one person does. Keep your eyes on SGL...

Olly

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It is most unlikely that any modern physicist would assert creation from nothing since they all seem to agree that nothing doesn't exist.

But if 'nothing doesn't exist' then there was 'always something', in which case the purpose of the big bang theory becomes redundant. Physicists tying themselves in knots again it would appear.

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To answer the OP and Olber Paradox aside;

If the universe is infinite why can't i see stars everywhere I look?

Should have gone to Specsavers?? :D

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It seems that one person does. Keep your eyes on SGL...

Olly

Remember, you heard it here first!  :grin: :grin: :grin:

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But if 'nothing doesn't exist' then there was 'always something', in which case the purpose of the big bang theory becomes redundant. Physicists tying themselves in knots again it would appear.

Not at all. The BB theory doesn't have a 'purpose' in the sense that you are using it. It doesn't work forwards from a point of nothingness with a view to explaining creation or why there is something rather than nothing. Other systems of thought or belief seek to explain creation. Physics doesn't. It says, 'We find oursleves now in this situation. Working backwards we can perhaps understand this situation back to a very early point in time. And then we are stuck.

What it does is work backwards from the present and head as far backwards as it can, which ges it to 10^-43 second and thare it it can go no further. Physicists say exactly this. They don't say, 'We are trying to explain creation from scratch.' They have never said this.

Physicists are not tying themselves in knots. You are imposing on them your interpretation of what they are are trying to do, which is not at all what they are trying to do, and catching them out when they fail to do what they are not trying to do! This is hardly fair.  :grin:  :grin:  :grin:

Olly

Edited by ollypenrice
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But if 'nothing doesn't exist' then there was 'always something',

How do you draw that conclusion?

 in which case the purpose of the big bang theory becomes redundant.

Again, how do you draw that conclusion?

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Don't you just love a good mystery, assuming it's harmless of cors.

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Don't you just love a good mystery, assuming it's harmless of cors.

Indeed, but it has to be a mystery. You may not know my phone number but that doesn't make it a mystery. It just means you don't know it. But if you have strong evidence that it is 02 29 66 91, and equally strong evidence that it is 01 66 90 41 then you might have a mystery. The mystery would be, what is wrong with the seemingly strong bits of evidence? 

Olly

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Not at all. The BB theory doesn't have a 'purpose' in the sense that you are using it. It doesn't work forwards from a point of nothingness with a view to explaining creation or why there is something rather than nothing. Other systems of thought or belief seek to explain creation. Physics doesn't. It says, 'We find oursleves now in this situation. Working backwards we can perhaps understand this situation back to a very early point in time. And then we are stuck.

What it does is work backwards from the present and head as far backwards as it can, which ges it to 10^-43 second and thare it it can go no further. Physicists say exactly this. They don't say, 'We are trying to explain creation from scratch.' They have never said this.

Physicists are not tying themselves in knots. You are imposing on them your interpretation of what they are are trying to do, which is not at all what they are trying to do, and catching them out when they fail to do what they are not trying to do! This is hardly fair.  :grin:  :grin:  :grin:

Olly

So in a nutshell you're saying that physics reaches a dead end at Planck time and cannot hope to delve further back to the 'creation', that any attempt to do so is beyond the realm of conventional science and that physicists understand this better than anyone. Well in that case we are in perfect agreement :smiley:

Seriously, I have plenty of admiration for the experts; it's just that we are playing a game whose rules we did not invent...

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My head hurts trying to follow these intelligent thoughts. Time for a photo......

post-35542-0-48233000-1408779276.jpg

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I am not 100% sure, but I think the method that Eratosthenes used was as follows: There was a well which upon a certain day used to be illuminated all the way down by direct sunlight. Eratosthenes (I think), measured the height of the sun on the same day and in conjunction with his distance from the well was able to calculate the radius of the earth. Neat.

As chance would have it, barely a day after I wrote the post about Eratosthenes I read an account of the experiment in "Alex Through the Looking Glass: How Life Reflects Numbers and Numbers Reflect Life".

The well was in Syrene and did, on one day of the year, perform as you describe.  On the same day he measured the angle between the top of a stick and its shadow, placed vertically in the ground in Alexandria which was near enough due north of Syrene.  The angle was about 1/50th of a circle.  Simple geometry shows this is the same angle as that between the lines from the centre of the Earth to the well and the centre of the Earth to the stick.  The distance between Alexandria and Syrene was therefore 1/50th of the distance all the way around the Earth.  He knew the distance between the two places (or paid a professional walker to measure it for him) and multiplied it up.

His calculation was about 4% out.  It took about 1000 years and  the invention of trigonometry before anyone managed a more accurate result.  Syrene is now Aswan, and there's a well you can go to see if you can stand the midday heat, though I struggle to imagine it's the same one :)

James

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 if you have strong evidence that it is 02 29 66 91, and equally strong evidence that it is 01 66 90 41 then you might have a mystery. The mystery would be, what is wrong with the seemingly strong bits of evidence?

:) :)

I think what is wrong has already been sussed by Heisenberg and Shrodinger.

The uncertainty is resolved when we ring one of them, whereupon the probability density function collapses (or do I mean the wave equation ?) and we observe that you are _at or _not_at that one.

The thought of Olly in a (phone)Box, in two states , , oh gosh , , :)

Thanks Owmuch, I've never trusted atoms since they said they were the smallest and they arnt :)

Thanks James, I've often wondered where Syrene was but never got round to looking it up !

Edited by Ptarmigan

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So in a nutshell you're saying that physics reaches a dead end at Planck time and cannot hope to delve further back to the 'creation', that any attempt to do so is beyond the realm of conventional science and that physicists understand this better than anyone. Well in that case we are in perfect agreement :smiley:

Seriously, I have plenty of admiration for the experts; it's just that we are playing a game whose rules we did not invent...

I didn't say physics couldn't hope to delve behind the Planck time... I dare say physicists are as optimistic as the rest of us!  :grin:

To discver the secrets of creation you'll have to forget science for the moment and place your faith in assertionism.... (Trust me, I'm a zookeeper. It's turtles all the way down.)

Olly

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Well lets just hope that someone(hopefully me ;) ) finds out these mysteries.I laugh when people say and not only people,but sometimes even teachers that there is nothing to discover in physics(the funny thing is that biology,chemistry and other sciences are coming to this point too).I think we still have a lot to discover and nowadays there are a lot less people interested in science therefore,there are a lot less scientists which meens logically discoveryes will not be made so often.Its the people not science and most people aren't even educated science(i am lucky to study them specifically and on there own) much.Yes we still have things to discover,but we need scientists to discover them.

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Well lets just hope that someone(hopefully me ;) ) finds out these mysteries.I laugh when people say and not only people,but sometimes even teachers that there is nothing to discover in physics(the funny thing is that biology,chemistry and other sciences are coming to this point too).I think we still have a lot to discover and nowadays there are a lot less people interested in science therefore,there are a lot less scientists which meens logically discoveryes will not be made so often.Its the people not science and most people aren't even educated science(i am lucky to study them specifically and on there own) much.Yes we still have things to discover,but we need scientists to discover them.

But does anybody say there is nothing left to discover? I think Lord Kelvin suggested in the 19th century that soon there might be nothing left for physics to do. Shortly thereafter we had General Relativity and the whole bizarre sub atomic world of quantum theory. This made Kelvin's remarks so absurd that I doubt anyone being daft enough to make the same mistake twice... I'd have thought that at no point in history have natural philosophers, now known as scientists, been more aware of how much they don't know. In other words I think we have a clearer view of the vastness of the unknown now than at any other time in history.

If teachers are saying, somewhere, that we know nearly everything then they do need to go for some serious retraining!

Olly

Edited by ollypenrice

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.I laugh when people say and not only people,but sometimes even teachers that there is nothing to discover in physics(the funny thing is that biology,chemistry and other sciences are coming to this point too).I think we still have a lot to discover and nowadays there are a lot less people interested in science therefore,there are a lot less scientists which meens logically discoveryes will not be made so often.Its the people not science and most people aren't even educated science(i am lucky to study them specifically and on there own) much.Yes we still have things to discover,but we need scientists to discover them.

 I think that the only people that would say that are hopelessly uninformed. We are no where near close to discovering everything there is to know about biology or chemistry. As for physics, the Standard Model is probably only the first rung on the ladder. Gravitation isn't included, dark matter can only be inferred from it's effects,

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