
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

