Author Topic: Infinity  (Read 161 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Online Mrjason

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1804
  • Darwins +137/-2
  • Gender: Male
  • WWGHA Member
Infinity
« on: May 25, 2015, 05:05:40 AM »
I found this documentary, an interesting discussion on the concept of infinity

abstract
Quote
By our third year, most of us will have learned to count. Once we know how, it seems as if there would be nothing to stop us counting forever. But, while infinity might seem like an perfectly innocent idea, keep counting and you enter a paradoxical world where nothing is as it seems.

Mathematicians have discovered there are infinitely many infinities, each one infinitely bigger than the last. And if the universe goes on forever, the consequences are even more bizarre. In an infinite universe, there are infinitely many copies of the Earth and infinitely many copies of you. Older than time, bigger than the universe and stranger than fiction. This is the story of infinity


http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00qszch/horizon-20092010-12-to-infinity-and-beyond

Offline Foxy Freedom

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 2216
  • Darwins +200/-14
  • Why is it so difficult to say you don't know?
    • Foxy Freedom on Doctor Who
Re: Infinity
« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2015, 05:52:23 AM »
The universe can be small and infinite, so it does not have to contain infinite objects, even if it is infinite itself.
The Foxy Freedom antitheist website is http://the6antitheist6guide6.blogspot.co.uk

The 2nd edition of the free ebook Devil or Delusion ? The danger of Christianity to Democracy Freedom and Science.       http://t.co/2d1KcJ9V

Offline Graybeard

  • Global Moderator
  • ******
  • Posts: 7167
  • Darwins +647/-20
  • Gender: Male
  • Is this going somewhere?
Re: Infinity
« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2015, 06:44:08 AM »
Time to book in the Hilbert Hotel (a short version of that in the linked BBC program:)

« Last Edit: May 25, 2015, 07:05:29 AM by Graybeard »
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

Offline wheels5894

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 3239
  • Darwins +169/-1
  • Gender: Male
Re: Infinity
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2015, 07:07:28 AM »
I watched this when it was first broadcast and was fascinated by it even if it is a bit hard to take in. The point of an infinite universe was, I thought, very important for the concept of gods since if the universe is infinite, where is their space for any gods? While we are at it, if YHWH gave the text of Genesis to the person(s) who wrote it down, why didn't he get the description right?
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)

Online Mrjason

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1804
  • Darwins +137/-2
  • Gender: Male
  • WWGHA Member
Re: Infinity
« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2015, 07:13:59 AM »
I watched this when it was first broadcast and was fascinated by it even if it is a bit hard to take in.

Yeah I didn't get all of it either. The chap who was trying to explain that there has to be a 'largest number' and then counting is reset to 0 was something I didn't fully understand.

The point of an infinite universe was, I thought, very important for the concept of gods since if the universe is infinite, where is their space for any gods?

There isn't anywhere in the universe and there isn't an outside of it if it is infinite so there is no space...

While we are at it, if YHWH gave the text of Genesis to the person(s) who wrote it down, why didn't he get the description right?

err. Forgetful?

Offline Graybeard

  • Global Moderator
  • ******
  • Posts: 7167
  • Darwins +647/-20
  • Gender: Male
  • Is this going somewhere?
Re: Infinity
« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2015, 08:54:01 AM »

Yeah I didn't get all of it either. The chap who was trying to explain that there has to be a 'largest number' and then counting is reset to 0 was something I didn't fully understand.
I liked that part. I think the guy was on to something. He was saying that "infinity" is unhelpful and probably not needed and, as he said, his theory was just as valid any anyone else's:

1.   There are numbers with names,
2.   There are  numbers that are so big that they are inexpressible[1].
3.   There is (x), “any number”, for use in formulae[2], and
4.   there is, separately, infinity, which is not a number.

The concept of infinity starts at the boundary of countable numbers but, by definition, every number is countable. Numbers cannot express infinity.

Infinity is the amount of all possible attributes that are related to the subject of that infinity.
A line that does not end is infinite but nowhere does have a sphere or a cube; it merely, yet eternally, possesses the quality of a line.

In the case of the universe, the universe possesses ‘size’ as a quality: we do not know if this quality is infinite. Worse still, we do not know of any way to know it.

“We do not know if the universe is infinite.” means “We do not know the quality of the size of the universe, but it is very big.”

If we go back to 3 above, we can say, “In terms of the attribute of distance, the universe is x miles wide.” and that is accurate, yet unhelpful, but in fact, it is more helpful than saying “The universe is infinite.”



 1. Do not have a name and cannot be spoken or written
 2. this covers all numbers, negative, positive, fractional, whole, real and imaginary, etc.
« Last Edit: Today at 08:40:09 AM by Graybeard »
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

Online Mrjason

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1804
  • Darwins +137/-2
  • Gender: Male
  • WWGHA Member
Re: Infinity
« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2015, 01:19:58 PM »

Yeah I didn't get all of it either. The chap who was trying to explain that there has to be a 'largest number' and then counting is reset to 0 was something I didn't fully understand.
I liked that part. I think the guy was on to something. He was saying that "infinity" is unhelpful and probably not needed and, as he said, his theory was just as valid any anyone else's:

1.   There are numbers with names,
2.   There are  numbers that are so big that they are inexpressible[1].
3.   There is (x), “any number”, for use in formulae[2], and
4.   there is, separately, infinity, which is not a number.

The concept of infinity starts at the boundary of countable numbers but, by definition, every number is countable. Numbers cannot express infinity.

Infinity is the amount of all possible attributes that are related to the subject of that infinity.
A line that does not end is infinite but nowhere does have a sphere or a cube; it merely, yet eternally, possesses the quality of a line.

In the case of the universe, the universe possesses ‘size’ as a quality: we do not know if this quality is infinite. Worse still, we do not know of any way to know it.

“We do not know if the universe is infinite.” means “We do not know the quality of the size of the universe is but it is very big.”

If we go back to 3 above, we can say, “In terms of the attribute of distance, the universe is x miles wide.” and that is accurate, yet unhelpful, but in fact, it is more helpful than saying “The universe is infinite.”
 1. Do not have a name and cannot be spoken or written
 2. this covers all numbers, negative, positive, fractional, whole, real and imaginary, etc.

Thank you that is very useful.

To paraphrase, any thing that can be expressed by numbers is expressible even if we do not have the current language to do so.
If this is the case then a god of an infinite quality would be a misnomer as a quality that can be measured is expressible.

Offline Graybeard

  • Global Moderator
  • ******
  • Posts: 7167
  • Darwins +647/-20
  • Gender: Male
  • Is this going somewhere?
Re: Infinity
« Reply #7 on: Yesterday at 02:07:31 PM »

To paraphrase, any thing that can be expressed by numbers is expressible even if we do not have the current language to do so.
Yes, a huge number  might be very difficult to express simply in practical terms but that does not stop it from being a number.
Quote
If this is the case then a god of an infinite quality would be a misnomer as a quality that can be measured is expressible.
I don't think it is a misnomer. This is a matter of language. Here infinite means "never-ending", i.e. there is always some available.

A man kicks a bottle, out springs a genie who offer him two wishes:
 "I'll have a bottle of beer that is always full."
- "And your next wish?"
-"Another one."

When it comes to a supply of something, there does not need to be a beginning to it - it only matters that it is always there.

Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

Offline Foxy Freedom

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 2216
  • Darwins +200/-14
  • Why is it so difficult to say you don't know?
    • Foxy Freedom on Doctor Who
Re: Infinity
« Reply #8 on: Yesterday at 03:17:48 PM »
Yeah I didn't get all of it either. The chap who was trying to explain that there has to be a 'largest number' and then counting is reset to 0 was something I didn't fully understand.

The reason is that it looks as if infinities spiral around in some way so that there are more negatives than positives, if you start by heading in a postive direction. This means that if you assume that a god has an infinite amount of a quality in order to do something, the claim of the infinity cancels out the quality and the god will actually be deficient in the claimed quality.

That is just one way of proving that infinite gods are ridiculous.
The Foxy Freedom antitheist website is http://the6antitheist6guide6.blogspot.co.uk

The 2nd edition of the free ebook Devil or Delusion ? The danger of Christianity to Democracy Freedom and Science.       http://t.co/2d1KcJ9V

Online Mrjason

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1804
  • Darwins +137/-2
  • Gender: Male
  • WWGHA Member
Re: Infinity
« Reply #9 on: Today at 01:10:41 PM »
I don't think it is a misnomer. This is a matter of language. Here infinite means "never-ending", i.e. there is always some available.

A man kicks a bottle, out springs a genie who offer him two wishes:
 "I'll have a bottle of beer that is always full."
- "And your next wish?"
-"Another one."

When it comes to a supply of something, there does not need to be a beginning to it - it only matters that it is always there.

Sorry, I'm getting a bit lost here.

I understand that there can be a never ending supply of mercy, benevolence, love etc. But how does this work for things like knowledge and power?

A god may have a very large amount of knowledge but there must be a finite amount of things to know.
The same goes for power, I guess this is a "can god create a rock so heavy that he can't lift it" type of question.