# Do you believe that the universe is finite or infinite in volume and matter?

• Finite
18
• Infinite
10

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Do to a detail in the fine print, I am conducting a recount.

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It's nice to have a poll. And it sure is an interesting question! But what about us folks who require some kind of empirical evidence before we believe anything?

There is no place for me in your poll. I will withold belief until there is, say, a 95 percent confidence interval for Omega that looks like this, for example:

1.003 < Omega < 1.062

Until I see some report like that based on a goodly mass of data, I just won't believe either way. Right now as of October 2008 publication, we have a 95 percent interval like this

0.983 < Omega < 1.063

That's not good enough. It allows for Omega to exactly equal 1, or even to be less than one. The data is consistent both with the finite and the infinite case.

=====================================

Anyone who answers the poll as you have formulated it is indulging in pseudoscience. There isn't adequate scientific evidence at present to support belief either way.

All we know if the universe is really really big (might be infinite, might not be can't say, but can say big)

Let's get the poll reformulated so that science-minded people can join in it, instead of being excluded. SFN is, after all, a science forum. It's not primarily for emotion or philosophy based speculation (although we have some of that too.)

Edited by Martin
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It's nice to have a poll. And it sure is an interesting question! But what about us folks who require some kind of empirical evidence before we believe anything?

There is no place for me in your poll. I will withold belief until there is, say, a 95 percent confidence interval for Omega that looks like this, for example:

Let's get the poll reformulated so that science-minded people can join in it, instead of being excluded. SFN is, after all, a science forum. It's not primarily for emotion or philosophy based speculation (although we have some of that too.)

What does emotion or philosophy have to do with it? I know that you have absolutely no proof that it is infinite, so there. Saying that it is infinite is about as unproven as saying that it could be infinite. I simply want to see what the count is without this piece of gray area clouding the poll.

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Crackpots are basically people who believe stuff without scientific evidence for it. They are deluded----think they know more than they really do.

This is a bad poll because it gives (possibly naive) people the impression that they should believe one or the other, when they shouldn't rationally believe either. It's anti-educational, from a science forum standpoint.

One of the first things, most important things, people should learn is how to NOT believe, how to wait, how to be skeptical, how to refrain from deciding, or thinking they know what they don't.

Some are credulous by nature and have a hard time learning this. We don't want to encourage people to act like crackpots and jump to conclusions on insufficient grounds.

The way the poll is set up, anybody who answers is acting like a crackpot, or like a credulous naive person. That's why the thread belongs either in trash or here in Pseudoscience.

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In case you missed it and are wondering what I am talking about.

The universe could be infinite in spatial volume and matter content. T or F?

What is your opinion? Do you think space volume could be infinite?

The words "could be" make this statement true. If you were to have used the word "is" instead then it would not be true because no-one knows.

I voted true for the same reason DrP gave. However what I want it to be is finite (positive curvature) so $\Omega >1$, only because I don't like the idea of infinite matter et.c

As already said, I had to vote yes, because of the word "could".

As we do not know, anything could be possible.

Severian! Severian! Crackpot?

I said true. But if you had phrased the title of the thread as "The universe could be finite in spatial volume and matter content" I would also have said true.

Klaynos! Klaynos! Crackpot?

]I said true. But if you had phrased the title of the thread as "The universe could be finite in spatial volume and matter content" I would also have said true.
Yep, I agree with this.

No one AFAICS has asked any questions that need answering. I'll just put in my two cents. I agree with DrP, Snail, Skye, Severian, Klaynos (who agreed with Severian)...etc.

Like Snail, I also feel personally more comfortable with the finite spatial volume solution that he mentioned. But we don't know which is right, so either could be.

I was just trying to reformulate a poll and being labeled a crackpot?

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I reckon it`s probably finite.

and yes it IS rude and insulting to call folks names for voting in a poll that asks a perfectly valid question.

how does it differ from the poll I made a while ago about the Higgs Boson?

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• 2 weeks later...

Martin, given that the poll asks about your belief, as opposed to what actually is, you can answer the poll without being a crackpot. It is missing an option for those who don't lean either way. In any case, a good scientist always believes and never knows. It is only the strength of the belief that varies between laws and guesses. So if I think there is a 55% chance that the universe is infinite, that is what I'll say I believe if given only finite/infinite for an option. But even for the laws of physics, I am only 99.99999% sure that they are true, give or take a few 9's.

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Surely those who think space is finite should explain what is outside space?

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Surely those who think space is finite should explain what is outside space?

Surely those who ask such questions should explain what they mean by outside? And also why the above question is for people who think space is finite but not for people who think space is infinite?

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Surely those who ask such questions should explain what they mean by outside? And also why the above question is for people who think space is finite but not for people who think space is infinite?

After reading this thread I can see that it has touched a nerve in some people. Maybe it would be a good idea to define the term space. There is the space that is considered outer space (the universe) and there is space between me and other objects, is there a difference? Do some of you have the idea that space is a thing that exists as an object or as a form of some type?

I say space is a term used to describe the area of nothing that is between objects. The concept of space comes about from the idea that one perceives through something when looking out from our point of view. There are objects that exist other than where we are viewing from, and by looking out to these items we create the idea of space.

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I say space is a term used to describe the area of nothing that is between objects.

Well, that's one possible definition, but is not the only one. For example, if the context of your comments were instead shifted to Minkowski space then your description of "the area of nothing" suddenly becomes better described as a "manifold," which is NOT nothing.

The concept of space comes about from the idea that one perceives through something when looking out from our point of view.

No, not the concept, just many peoples interpretations. These are very different. I wouldn't have bothered to comment on your statement were it not phrased in terms of the absolute.

There are objects that exist other than where we are viewing from, and by looking out to these items we create the idea of space.

So, you're saying space wouldn't exist if I were blind? I really don't think so, bub.

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I speculate that’s it’s a finite recurring pattern that sits within infinite ‘primary’ space.

One of the first things, most important things, people should learn is how to NOT believe, how to wait, how to be skeptical, how to refrain from deciding, or thinking they know what they don't.

I agree, this is very important and should be taught, but so is belief.

We are the most creative species. We need belief, without belief we don’t fantasise, we don’t make inventions, we don’t have a thirst for discovery, we basically remain in trees and pick nits off each other. Scientific accidental discoveries are scientific beliefs gone wrong in an good way, they show a new fact. Our accumulation of facts are accelerated through our mistaken and correct beliefs/fantasies.

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Surely those who think space is finite should explain what is outside space?

Finite in matter since matter can neither be created nor destroyed. But as for the space between matter, since it has no shape, is neither finite nor infinite.

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But as for the space between matter, since it has no shape, is neither finite nor infinite.

You were already corrected in another thread about your assertion that space has no shape. Why do you again repeat this same mistaken assertion here?

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Quote by Eric 5.

"I say space is a term used to describe the area of nothing that is between objects."

Well, that's one possible definition, but is not the only one. For example, if the context of your comments were instead shifted to Minkowski space then your description of "the area of nothing" suddenly becomes better described as a "manifold," which is NOT nothing.

In this thread the term space that is being talked about is that space that is considered to be a part of the real physical universe. Nothing is being shifted, I am talking about the space as it applies to this thread. But since you brought it up, do you think that this Minkowski space is a real physical thing?

Quote by Eric 5.

"The concept of space comes about from the idea that one perceives through something when looking out from our point of view."

No, not the concept, just many peoples interpretations. These are very different. I wouldn't have bothered to comment on your statement were it not phrased in terms of the absolute.

So are you saying that we do percieve though a something?

Quote by Eric 5.

"There are objects that exist other than where we are viewing from, and by looking out to these items we create the idea of space."

So, you're saying space wouldn't exist if I were blind? I really don't think so, bub.

Even blind people can perceive areas of nothing where there are no objects to bump into.

Lets keep this simple. What is your concept of space as it is being used in this thread? Do you think that space is a real physical thing?

Finite in matter since matter can neither be created nor destroyed. But as for the space between matter, since it has no shape, is neither finite nor infinite.

What exactly do you mean? You say that space has no shape, are you suggesting that space is a formless thing?

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I just remembered you, Eric 5. You're that troll who kept trying to force the false dichotomy between time being physical or not, and ultimately got yourself suspended.

I'm done with you. I see the exact same tone in your response to me... intentionally obtuse, arguing metaphysics and philosophy, not useful or engaging, and frankly very childish.

Tootles.

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Quote by Eric 5.

What exactly do you mean? You say that space has no shape, are you suggesting that space is a formless thing?

I'm suggesting that space is nothing, it is the lack of shape. Shape being that which objects have.

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So, you and me... We don't take up "space?" Aren't we composed of the same "stuff?" We're not nothing, are we?

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But space does have a shape. Most people think of space being flat; this is called Euclidean space. In Euclidean space, a straight line is the shortest distance between two points, and the angles of a triangle add up to 180 degrees. Other types of space are non-Euclidean. Look up non-Euclidean geometry to learn about that.

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Why can't the universe be both finite and infinite? If I were to look at a material in front of me - In this case, a stand-alone computer speaker - I could apply both to it. Obviously, I can see the speaker sitting within the three spatial dimensions, and I can use my vision to note that the speaker exists in what appears to be a finite space. I can move the finite speaker, and I can dismantle the finite speaker into other finite parts.

However, I would believe that the speaker would just as accurately exist as an infinite speaker within a finite space, because I can continue breaking down (although not with the human eye, of course, or even the most powerful microscope) the speaker into infinitely smaller pieces, because (redundant, I know) every finite thing can be segmented into smaller, finite things. Is there not a relationship between the two? If I were to say finite exists between two extremes of infinity, then I could assert it by saying that finite whole numbers may be used to count infinitely upwards; simultaneously, I can break down what is inbetween the very same whole numbers into infinitely smaller number... Of course, in the end, no matter how infinitely high one may count, it can always be measured as a finite integer; and now matter how infinitely small one may break down that which exists between the spaces, it can always be expressed, as well, as finite.

I know this is all speculation without any real display of mathematics put into practice, so it's a very amateur way for me to bring this about, but I wholeheartedly do assume that the Universe is infinite, yes; but it is just as truthfully finite in every regard.

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Well, the ancient Greeks already had that argument. Some of them concluded that there was a smallest bit that things could be broken into; they called it Atomos, from which we got the word atom. Although atoms turned out not to be indivisible, we cannot break down the protons and neutrons that atoms are composed of, nor can we break apart that quarks that protons and neutrons are composed of. Regardless, breaking something into more pieces doesn't make there be more of it. "Cut the pizza into four pieces, I don't think I can eat eight!"

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I speculate that’s it’s a finite recurring pattern that sits within infinite ‘primary’ space.

A finite recurring pattern of WHAT?

What is primary space?

I agree, this is very important and should be taught, but so is belief.

We are the most creative species. We need belief, without belief we don’t fantasise, we don’t make inventions, we don’t have a thirst for discovery, we basically remain in trees and pick nits off each other. Scientific accidental discoveries are scientific beliefs gone wrong in an good way, they show a new fact. Our accumulation of facts are accelerated through our mistaken and correct beliefs/fantasies.

Our accumulation of facts are those ideas that man had about a certain phenomenon and he tried to apply it to the real physical world.

It is all very well to have a lot of theories, ideas, beliefs. These are all great things. As long as you do not phenomena, you can have all the theories that you want to. that is the rule in engineering, physics, and the other sciences. You get a theory and then you try to apply the theory, idea, belief, and if it doesn’t apply to the physical universe you throw it out and get another theory, and if it does apply then you might be on to something and through further research and testing you might just end up with a fact that has usefulness and applicability.

Unless you have phenomena to back up your claims, unless you can measure these things-and measure them accurately-they still remain in a big state of "up in the air."

I just remembered you, Eric 5. You're that troll who kept trying to force the false dichotomy between time being physical or not, and ultimately got yourself suspended.

I'm done with you. I see the exact same tone in your response to me... intentionally obtuse, arguing metaphysics and philosophy, not useful or engaging, and frankly very childish.

Tootles.

So do you have an opinion on what space is? This is not some kind of contest. I am not here to make judgments of peoples comments on if they are right or wrong. We are all just here to discuss science, I do not see where you are finding anything that I have said to you to be considered offensive. I am not forcing any dichotomy on you in this thread. I think that you are taking this a bit personal, please don’t. I am sure that you are a very intelligent person and have much to say regarding science, so I thought I could benefit from what you have to say.

I have not been on this forum in quite awhile, but I do not recall ever being suspended from this forum. I checked the banned /suspended list and I was not on it.

If anybody agrees with iNow on his statement about me please let me know, for I have politely stated my questions and just wanted to have a dialog about this particular topic.

Again, if anyone on this thread can point out where I am being obtuse, I arguing metaphysics and philosophy, and I am being childish, please let me know so I can correct it. Otherwise, iNow, please see if you can contribute to the topic at hand, and if you have a disagreement in what I have stated then lets talk about it, try to keep your opinions of me out of the discussion since it has nothing to do with the topic.

iNow, here is a reminder of the forum rules that apply in this instance:

Section 2: Posting

To maintain civility in discussions on SFN, the following rules are enforced:

Be civil.

No flaming. Refrain from insulting or attacking users in a discussion.

From the etiquette guide:

Don't Flame

Just because someone doesn't agree with you, doesn't mean you need to insult them. They may be ignorant, but try not to flame them out of the forum. If they're intentionally insulting people, don't reply--just use the Report Post function to let the moderators know about it. They can deal with insult wars and rule-breakers more efficiently than regular users.

Don't be Mean

If you don't agree with someone, don't attack them. Tell them politely why you think they're wrong, and give them evidence. Insulting people won't get you anywhere but suspended.

Thank You.

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I don't feel like feeding trolls. Thanks for the invitation though.

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Eric 5, I figure we define 'space' as wherever physics of light and massive entities happens. This is one of the best of questions.

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Mulling it over, some "idiot" scenarios came to mind, all assuming the bigbang theory is correct.

1. There was one, and one only bb, and it gave birth to every single last dribble of energy in our universe. It seems reasonable that the bb, as the longest journey begins with a single step, began with the emission of a single photon which has been travelling at the cosmic speed limit ever since. Unimpeded. This implies that our universe is finite in volume at any one moment, but is capable of infinite expansion and thus volume as long as the primal photon continues unimpeded.

2. The present bb was preceded by a big crunch that did not sweep up all the previous debris. Thus it seems statistically likely that the primal photon was stoppd before it reached the limits of the debris of the preceeding bb.

3. If there has been a cycle of bbs/big crunches, and each left some debris, then each resulting known universe is smaller than the previous one, both in volume and matter. Sort of "nested" universes.

So my answer at the moment would be, Which of the cycle of universes are you asking about?

(going further down this improbable road, I find myself wondering whether with each bb the cosmic speed limiter is slowing down. All relative of course, from the frame of reference of one universe compared to another. Nothing to do with this thread, just rambling).

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