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Topic: A Question On Infinity
Replies: 36   Last Post: Aug 26, 2000 12:25 AM

 Messages: [ Previous | Next ]
 John Savard Posts: 601 Registered: 12/8/04
Re: A Question On Infinity
Posted: Aug 1, 2000 10:06 AM

On 30 Jul 2000 00:41:12 -0400, Angelaruth49@webtv.net (Angela Olson)
wrote, in part:

>I have a question about infinity. Does it exist in the real world or
>is it merely a mathematical concept? I don't want to confuse
>extremely large quantities with infinity. If we stay with just 3
>dimension, then I would be sceptical if infinity exists. There may be
>a subatomic level that quantifying or counting number of particles
>does not apply.
>If we add the element of time, of course, we can make an assumption
>there is an infinite quantity of itemms in the unverse as along as
>time is infinite.

Astronomers believe that the Universe is closed on itself, like the
surface of a gigantic sphere but in four dimensions. So the number of
galaxies - and atoms - in the Universe is large, but finite.

So if you mean by infinity not existing that there are no infinite
quantities of objects with finite nonzero mass, it may well be true
that infinity doesn't exist in that sense.

But now, set your kitchen table to eat a meal. You put plates on the
table, and forks, knives, and spoons. In how many different ways could
you have set the table? Is that number infinite, or, for example,
could your spoon have been placed on the table in only a finite number
of positions (and orientations!), separated from one another by a
small, but finite, distance?

One could argue that quantum mechanics does, in fact, make that number
genuinely finite.

Even just existing mathematically, though, infinity makes it much
simpler to express the mathematical formulas which do apply to real
objects, so it is not a concept worth discarding even if we can claim
it to be nonphysical.

John Savard (teneerf <-)
Now Available! The Secret of the Web's Most Overused Style of Frames!
http://home.ecn.ab.ca/~jsavard/frhome.htm

Date Subject Author
7/29/00 Angela Olson
7/30/00 Rainer Rosenthal
7/31/00 Angela Olson
8/1/00 John Savard
8/3/00 bob Massey
7/30/00 David C. Ullrich
7/30/00 Hanford W. Carr
7/30/00 Steve Leibel
7/31/00 Rajarshi Ray
8/1/00 11digitboy@my-deja.com
8/1/00 Steve Leibel
8/1/00 hunneybell@my-deja.com
8/1/00 Jan-Christoph Puchta
8/1/00 John Savard
8/8/00 Jon Haugsand
8/8/00 Blake
8/8/00 Jonathan Hoyle
8/11/00 craig cowan
8/12/00 Milo Gardner
8/15/00 bob Massey
8/15/00 Steve Leibel
8/16/00 Milo Gardner
8/22/00 Nico Benschop
8/22/00 Robin Chapman
8/23/00 Milo Gardner
8/23/00 Steve Lord
8/24/00 Milo Gardner
8/23/00 Virgil Hancher
8/16/00 Jonathan Hoyle
8/17/00 Milo Gardner
8/8/00 Ross A. Finlayson
8/9/00 Ross A. Finlayson