The Idea of Infinity

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finaldeathh

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An infinite amount. I find that statement very hard to understand. I understand that there are an infinite amount of numbers but in the back of my head, I always tell myself, how is that possible? How can anything be infinite? What exactly is infinity? I think we should discuss it.
 
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abhinavkumar_iitr05

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Dear finaldeathh!<br />What does infinite mean?Its really very tough to explain in absolute sense.But as per my knowledge what does infinity means can be easily explained in terms of relative concept.If we like to state the THEORY OF RELATIVITY in the most simple words it would sound like EVERYTHING IN THIS UNIVERSE IS RELATIVE.We neither have the absolute speed nor we have absolute position or any physical quantity.Then why should we have infinite in the absolute sense?What actually is the concept of infinity,lies in the relative sense.Anything too greater than any assigned value is actually infinity.Also the greatness depends on our assigned values.<br />The above can be understood more easily by the following example_<br />let's assume any no. like 1.Now we can consider it infinite with respect to .0000000000000000000001,but the same 1 can be considerd as negligible wrt 100000000000000.So here lies the secrete.Infinity is nothing but only a relative concept.<br />Now its only on us to either accept the word infinity in relative sense or not.
 
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siarad

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There are two infinities:<br />mathematical<br />philosophical<br />It seems the twain shall never meet but try this <br /><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>In point of fact, we've got two mathematical theories. Both of them derive the same results, but they've got different philosophical assumptions. They assume the world is made of different kinds of constituents, with infinitely small things, without infinitely small things.<p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br />From that it seems there are two mathematics:<br />with infinitely small things<br />without infinitely small things
 
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rhodan

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<i>How can anything be infinite?</i><br /><br />Everything that <i>is</i>, is finite. Only the imagined can be infinite. But infinite is used to describe the very large or the very small, for example the number of photons in the Universe.
 
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newtonian

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finaldeathh - I will stick with math and science and avoid philosophy.<br /><br />There are many different kinds and orders of infinity which are real, or that exist.<br /><br />1. Time dependent infinities. An example of a time dependent infinity would be the size of the universe. This is no doubt what Rhodan is referring to. <br /><br />The size (and mass, hence density) of our universe is likely finite. <br /><br />However, our universe is expanding, and apparently accelerating in expansion rate.<br /><br />This leads to one type of infinity. <br /><br />Given infinite future time our universe will expand infinitely and there is an infinite limit (hence no limit) to the future size of the universe.<br /><br />However, stop time at any point in the infinite future and the size of the universe will be finite.<br /><br />Therefore the future infinite expansion of our universe is a time dependent infinity.<br /><br />2. Numerically different infinities. These involve the human creation of a number system to represent real numeric factors with a specific number system.<br /><br />Take for example, the infinite future expansion of our universe expressed as either an infinite number of seconds or an infinite number of minutes.<br /><br />These are two separate numeric infinities. Because we have defined these numbers, we can divide these two infinities to get a finite number result.<br /><br />Specifically the numeric infinity representing the real infinite future expansion of our universe in seconds divided by the same real infinity represented in infinite minutes produces the finite number 60. I.e.:<br /><br />Infinite future expansion of universe in seconds <br /><br />divided by infinite future expansion of universe in minutes <br /><br />= 60. <br /><br />[NOTE: while numeric systems are created by man, the math ratios in our universe were created by God. E.g the math ratio e=mc^2 is a real pre-existing ratio set at creation - it was not, for example, created by Einstein.]<br /><br />3.
 
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newtonian

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Rhodan - Yes, that has happenned and it causes confusion so it should be avoided.<br /><br />Very large finite numbers are not infinite and there are studies where this is very important to note this.<br /><br />One such study is the origin of Life in our universe.<br /><br />You refer to photons, I will refer to the more relevant mass of our universe.<br /><br />One estimate for the mass of our universe is about 10^79 amu (atomic mass units) [See Sir Arthur Eddington's math research on this - not sure on the units, btw.]<br /><br />One oversimplified estimate for the math probability of a statistical (not informational) protein by chance synthesis in a universal primordial soup of appropriate ingredients (e.g. amino acids, etc. - clearly fiction) is 10^113.<br /><br />You can see that if you say the number of atoms in our universe is infinite rather than 10^79 atoms (of course, the number would be less, only small hydrogen atoms are about 1 amu each) would make any calculation of the probability of the chance synthesis of statistical proteins in our universe meaningless.<br /><br />In other words, it is simply mathematically incorrect to say that the number of atoms, or photons, or protons, etc. in our universe is infinite.<br /><br />One must use the real finite numbers for meaningful probability calculations.<br /><br />Btw - my theory is relevant to your post:<br /><br />mass of universe - 10^79 amu<br />age of universe - <10^10 years = c. 10^18 seconds<br />fastest possible chemical reaction time = 10^24 per second [more likely 10^13 per second]<br /><br />Multiply 10^79 x 10^18 x 10^24 = 10^121<br /><br />Add one power of 10 for an upper limit.<br /><br />We then get an upper limit of 10^122 chemical reactions in our universe since our universe began, and therefore an upper limit of 10^122 chemical reaction products in our universe since our universe began.<br /><br />You can see where substitution of infinity for any of these large numbers makes the calculation of a meaningful rate of
 
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doc_harra

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How about nothing -1 and the continuum moves on to 0 and so on then around we go again and and again, Im not saying -1 is the end just before what we would call the beginning, as it follows the same law as what we may call the middle (just an idea)I like to think of infinity like a circle that seems to have no start point or finish point, Where it becomes difficult to comprehend is, If i gave you a pencil and asked you to draw round it (define it) you would choose a start point on the circle and bring your pencil to a stop at the same point after having drawn around it, But perhaps the circle was made more in a template fashion like a some doe that is about to be baked into a cookie thus not having the start point that we might understand, not something or someone choosing a start point and thus defining the end, What is also hard to understand about infinity is the word suggests something going on forever (never filing up and not being emptied from the source) perhaps it spills over back to the source ? parra_doc (rambling on)
 
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dougum3882

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Infinity is a quantity with no bound. So when you talk about the amount of numbers being infinite, that is so because there is no end to numbers. Actually, to be a little more precise mathematically, there are different types of infinity. There is countably infinite and uncountably infinite. If you talk about the amount of integers (...,-2,-1,0,1,2,...) there are countable infinite of them. If you talk about the amount of real numbers or even the amount of real numbers between 0 and 1, there are uncountably infinite of them.
 
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aorton27

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Infinity doesn't exist. Everything is like everything else as in it has no beginning, no end, no center, no edge, no top, no bottom and if you continue to go in one direction you'll just end up where you began.
 
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newtonian

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aorton27 - Sounds like circular reasoning to me.<br /><br />Actually, heaven and earth had a beginning. (Genesis 1:1)<br /><br />Since heaven is expanding eternally, it will always exist to infinity.<br /><br />But this type of infinity has one bound - it has a beginning but no end - see my earlier post on the different types of infinities.
 
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aorton27

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Heaven only exists in ones mind and when that mind ends.... <br /><br />I feel there is nothing that is infinite. For instant If you were to look at a small object there will always be something smaller. But you'll get to a point where the object is so small that it can't exist in our universe as it will just fall through the seams of time and into the 4th dimension.<br /><br />Just like mass. The mass can only be so massive for a certain area it displaces until it sinks through the fabric of time and space. (ie. blackhole)<br /><br />For speed. If you were to keep accelerating beyond light speed and beyond any kind of limit we know of you'll shrink time and space to the point where you'll be hitting your self so it would be impossible to achieve greater speed. I guess that could be considered warp speed? I don't know. Of course it is all theory. Heaven isn't theory, its an excuse.<br />
 
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newtonian

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aorton27 - OK, you misunderstood my post. In the Bible the heavens created in Genesis 1:1 include our universe with its stars, etc.<br /><br />I have no idea where you get the word "excuse"???<br /><br />Can you explain?<br /><br />Heaven is real - it is what astronomers observe. <br /><br />And heaven had a beginning but has no end.<br /><br />Therefore it is not only a time dependent infinity but also one with a beginning but no end.<br /><br />Do you understand my post yet? (No need to agree - just to communicate accurately for discussion).
 
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aorton27

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"I have no idea where you get the word "excuse"??? <br />Can you explain? <br />Heaven is real - it is what astronomers observe. <br />And heaven had a beginning but has no end. "<br /><br />If the universe is heaven then so be it. But when you are dead don't expect to float around in it unless of course you decide to get launched by a space elevator in the future. I should of said religion is an excuse if when writting the bible they named the universe as heaven.
 
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aorton27

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"Therefore it is not only a time dependent infinity but also one with a beginning but no end."<br /><br /><br />Just because something doesn't have a beginning and no end doesn't make it infinite. The surface of the earth has no beginning and no end either but you and I know that it is finite.<br />
 
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newtonian

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aorton27 - This is way off thread theme, but the Bible does not say the dead are floating around in heaven.<br /><br />And you should note there are plural heavens, not just the one we observe in astronomy.<br /><br />Concerning what happens at death:<br /><br />(Genesis 3:19) . . .For dust you are and to dust you will return.”. . .<br /><br />This is scientifically accurate.<br /><br />Also: <br /><br />(Ecclesiastes 3:18-20) 18 I, even I, have said in my heart with regard to the sons of mankind that the [true] God is going to select them, that they may see that they themselves are beasts. 19 For there is an eventuality as respects the sons of mankind and an eventuality as respects the beast, and they have the same eventuality. As the one dies, so the other dies; and they all have but one spirit, so that there is no superiority of the man over the beast, for everything is vanity. 20 All are going to one place. They have all come to be from the dust, and they are all returning to the dust. . .<br /><br />Again, it is scientifically accurate that man and animals have the same eventuality, returning to the dust.<br /><br />(Ecclesiastes 9:4-5) . . .For as respects whoever is joined to all the living there exists confidence, because a live dog is better off than a dead lion. 5 For the living are conscious that they will die; but as for the dead, they are conscious of nothing at all,. . .<br /><br />Again, this is scientifically accurate as brain scans show for those who are dead [granted the exact point of death can be defined inaccurately].<br /><br />However, is it not logical to believe that the Creator of life could also resurrect the dead back to life and bring them wherever He wants?<br /><br />Human creators find it much easier to recreate than to start from scratch - that is why they engage in genetic engineering rather than try to create life from scratch - the latter currently is impossible for humans, btw.<br /><br />Segwaying back to theme: our Creator would be able to cause, by c
 
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newtonian

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aorton27 - On your correct circular reasoning;<br /><br />You have indeed described another type of infinity - it is geometric and finite in one sense - as the earth is finite.<br /><br />Our universe is, I believe, also finite in mass and dimensions.<br /><br />However, our universe may have a different shape than earth.<br /><br />Is.40:22 does not say heaven is round, which is significant - it merely says it is stretching out like a fine gauze - as indeed our universe with its expanding threads and filaments are doing.<br /><br />I do not know the shape of our universe, but I do prefer 'flat' (mathematically) rather than the balloon model.<br /><br />In other words, acceleration of expansion implies that travel in our universe will not eventually bring us back to where we started.
 
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ramiga

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Infinity is timelessness. A simple particle exists by combination with other particles, does not lose its structure and continues to influence its environment. <br /><br /><br />Thought is ceaseless making consciousness permanent. Ideas manifested through thought may or may not have a so-called death. <br /><br />Dead ideas are actually still alive, but considered dead meaning useless. In another dimension, the dead may actually thrive, having utility.<br /><br />The infinite universe implies that interdimensional travel is ceaseless and continues forever. Going to heaven is similar to traveling into the dimensions. Going to heaven is also similar to entering into worlds of spirit and re-entering so-called finite space.<br /><br />Either of these supports the precept of infinity, a measureless time, a timeless position in consciousness.<br /><br />peace, mmgr
 
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ag30476

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> An infinite amount. I find that statement very hard to <br /> /> understand. I understand that there are an infinite <br /> /> amount of numbers but in the back of my head, I <br /> /> always tell myself, how is that possible? How can <br /> /> anything be infinite? What exactly is infinity?<br />You are not alone. Aristotle, Aquinas, Kant, Gauss and others all said essentially that the infinite (as in the infinite sequence of natural numbers) does not exist because such a sequence cannot be perceived. For example, we can write (or think about, etc.) 1,2,3,... but we write down cannot all the numbers (without using an infinite number of steps).<br /><br />The funniest quote is from Wittgenstein "If I were to say 'If we were acquainted with an infinite extension, then it would be all right to talk of an actual infinite', that would really be like saying, 'If there were a sense of abracadabra then it would be all right to talk about abracadabraic sense perception'."<br /><br />In fact a few mathematician have tried to develop methods without recourse to infinity with some success.<br /><br />But infinity remains a useful and firmly entrenched concept for most of mathematics.<br /><br />Don't think too hard about infinite or you'll end up proving some very curious things <img src="/images/icons/wink.gif" /><br />
 
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Saiph

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In physics infinity is really less of a problem. Infinity is treated, essentially, as: Really really huge, with no end in sight.<br /><br />Mathematically this almost always is used for approximations. Take two charged particles next to eachother (positive and negative). Close up, you'll see two seperate charges, and a complicated electric field (emerging from the positive, and converging/ending at the negative). Far away however, you'll see a nearly neutral system, and feel almost no electric field. What you do see will have diminished to a very simple system, basically a 1/r^3 (yes r "cubed" ) since the two charges almost, but not quite cancel eachother.<br /><br />To achieve this mathematical answer, we let the "distance" term of the mathematics get really really big (usually making the term it's in get really, really close to zero). I.e. we let distance equal infinity, because it is, for all intents and purposes, if the distance between the particles, compared to the distance we are from them, is very small (i.e. particles are 1 nanometer apart, we're a meter, or 10^9 nanometers away...). <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p align="center"><font color="#c0c0c0"><br /></font></p><p align="center"><font color="#999999"><em><font size="1">--------</font></em></font><font color="#999999"><em><font size="1">--------</font></em></font><font color="#999999"><em><font size="1">----</font></em></font><font color="#666699">SaiphMOD@gmail.com </font><font color="#999999"><em><font size="1">-------------------</font></em></font></p><p><font color="#999999"><em><font size="1">"This is my Timey Wimey Detector.  Goes "bing" when there's stuff.  It also fries eggs at 30 paces, wether you want it to or not actually.  I've learned to stay away from hens: It's not pretty when they blow" -- </font></em></font><font size="1" color="#999999">The Tenth Doctor, "Blink"</font></p> </div>
 
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