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What would the universe look like, if the past was infinite?

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File:Multiverse - level II.svg Recently, we’ve noted Kirk Durston’s and William Lane Craig’s demonstrations of the impossibility of an infinite past, according to rules of logic.

Peter Zoeller-Greer responds, from Germany:

I would say: If time and space is quantized (e.g. by multiples of the Planck-Space and -Time), then there cannot be an infinite past, since we would not reach our “here-and-now”. This is because the sum of an infinite number of finite things (e.g. Planck-Times) is always infinite, too. This follows purely by logic, not by physics.

The same is true for multiverses that “caused” somehow each other. Every infinite chain of events with an finite amount of time “between” them is infinite, except the time-amount could be infinitely small (e.g. in a continues model) and follows a geometric series (then an infinite sum of finite things can be e.g. =1). But if time is quantized, this is not possible and the sum is always infinite and we would again never reach our here-and-now 🙂

Sure but, in the pop science media, the multiverse banishes logic (and evidence-based reasoning) as a first step. The thought is: There must be a multiverse; otherwise, our universe would look like it was fine-tuned. Any proposition other than that, no matter how daft, is acceptable.

The part many thoughtful people have trouble getting past is that the conflict we face is, in the end, to a conflict between people who believe in logic and evidence and people who believe in a multiverse that just somehow must exist in defiance of them.

See also: Copernicus, you are not going to believe who is using your name. Or how.

As if the multiverse wasn’t bizarre enough …meet Many Worlds


But who needs reality-based thinking anyway? Not the new cosmologists

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7 Replies to “What would the universe look like, if the past was infinite?

  1. 1
    Dionisio says:

    I like this OP. So refreshing and relaxing. Thank you!

  2. 2
    GGDFan777 says:

    Some articles that people might find interesting which critique the possibility of an actual infinity or an infinite past :

    “New Zeno and Actual Infinity” by philosopher Casper Storm Hansen

    In 1964 José Benardete invented the “New Zeno Paradox” about an infinity of gods trying to prevent a traveller from reaching his destination. In this paper it is argued, contra Priest and Yablo, that the paradox must be re-solved by rejecting the possibility of actual infinity. Further, it is shown that this paradox has the same logical form as Yablo’s Paradox. It is suggested that constructivism can serve as the basis of a common solution to New Zeno and the paradoxes of truth, and a constructivist interpretation of Kripke’s theory of truth is given.


    “Ungrounded Causal Chains and Beginningless Time” by philosopher Laureano Luna

    We use two logical resources, namely, the notion of recursively defined function and the Benardete-Yablo paradox, together with some inherent features of causality and time, as usually conceived, to derive two results: that no ungrounded causal chain exists and that time has a beginning


    “Infinity at Stake” by Antonio Leon


  3. 3
    Mung says:

    What would the present look like, if the past was infinite?

  4. 4
    Querius says:

    Entropy would be at a maximum for one thing.

    Somewhere along the way, the Easter Bunny would have spontaneously come into existence. No stars, no comets, no reruns. The Texas Rangers will have won the World Series, beating the Houston Astros. 😉


  5. 5
    Mung says:

    The Texas Rangers will have won the World Series, beating the Houston Astros.


  6. 6
    Mung says:

    Entropy would be at a maximum for one thing.

    Nope. It is not possible to reach a state of maximum entropy from an infinite past.

  7. 7
    Querius says:

    Really? If entropy increases over time, what happens when a lot of time passes? 🙂


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