To Infinity and Beyond

Unknown year Science 933 Views 4 Comments
Documentary examining current ideas about very large numbers and infinity in regards to mathematics and the observable universe.

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.


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  • Anthony G. Gelbert 5 years ago

    Scientists wish to understand reality. In their quest to do this, they invented instruments to measure objects and processes more accurately than human senses can. They needed a standard for measuring so they created mathematics. The counting of things with mathematics is merely a measuring tool. It is ridiculous to attempt to measure something that by definition (infinity) has no measure. This game of the "largest possible number" bypasses the simple and obvious fact that numbers are only used to measure things which are measurable.
    As to using mathematics to model our universe, the mathematical term for infinity is useful and in no way is related to number size. Mathematical modeling is an approximation of reality as admitted to by honest scientists; it is definitely not reality. We are not computer simulations. To think so is pure hubris. Granted, our math models are getting better but we are barely scratching the surface of accurately modeling the human immune system (just one example of our scientific knowledge infancy). Scientists now and 100 years ago are nauseatingly consistent in that they agreed then and now that they had it mostly all figured out. The arrogance is palpable.
    Finally, this whole issue of multiverse randomality producing by necessity every possible behavior is pure bunk. It's an excuse to throw away ethics in human behavior. How convenient that we can destroy each other and thousands of other species with pollution from coal, oil and Uranium because "We are just playing out one possibility of the multiverse". How convenient that there is now no guilt to our behavior because of a random universe. You can call it God, ethics or anti-entropic behavior if you like, but there is a right path and a wrong path. Being self-aware requires ethical behavior. Our lack of ethics, unlike giant extinct reptiles, who died through no fault of their own, is destroying our ecosphere and our idiotic, conscienseless scientific community that gave us this polluted horror called industrial civilization is claiming it's nothing to worry about. They are just doing a rather clever job of passing the buck. If the scientific community is so clever and advanced with their exalted mathematical models of anything and everything, why do they still insist on subjecting innocent animals to disease, radiation and torture? I guess they can't model pain and suffering mathematically yet, right?
    Scientists should be ashamed of themselves for trying to sell humanity with the belief that humans can progress without ethics (humane behavior). With their cooperation in wars, human and animal torture, they are helping destroy the ecosphere.

  • william hale 5 years ago

    science is limited in some instances
    this is one of them
    contemplating the size of the universe is impossible for us and this simply shows why.

  • Marcel Maas 5 years ago

    Science, as far as I'm concerned is about describing REALITY. A monkey typing away his infinite life has hardly anything to do with reality. So it is very hard to see how to explain things in reality with things that are very obviously way out of reality??!!

  • william hale 5 years ago

    if this doesnt give you pause to re-consider what you know about life in this universe...absolutely nothing will