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Space Science

Parallel Universes Are Real 1066

Posted by jamie
from the dupe-from-another-universe dept.
It's in Scientific American, it must be true. This month's cover story: Parallel Universes. "The simplest and most popular cosmological model today predicts that you have a twin in a galaxy about 10 to the 1028 meters from here." That number's a lot bigger than 10 to the 101.42 meters, which are the farthest observable objects in what we call our universe. And anyway, twin or not, anyone outside my light-cone is dead to me. That's just a rule I have. If you're skeptical of the multiverse, go read our discussion of a similar article from two days ago.
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Parallel Universes Are Real

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  • by dunedan (529179) <antilles@ b y u . e du> on Tuesday April 15, 2003 @12:31AM (#5733734) Homepage
    but I can see a lot farther than 10^1.42 meters
    • by DeanAsh (531960) on Tuesday April 15, 2003 @12:34AM (#5733747)
      That is 10 to the 10 to the 1.42, which is significantly longer.
    • by cosmosis (221542) on Tuesday April 15, 2003 @01:14AM (#5733969) Homepage
      I know what I am about to write is radical, but please give it some thought before rendering an opinion on it. It's not exactly technological speculation as it is philosophical speculation on the ultimate limits (if there are any) of the technological metaphor.

      Up to this point in nearly all discussions of extreme/speculative tech what we are trying to do is maximally stretch our imagination as to what is possible within the realm of currently known scientific law. And for those of us who've been frequenting transhumanist circles for any period of time, we know the current limits of science portend a lot - uploading, indefinite lifespans, traversible wormholes, jupiter brains, basement universes, etc.

      Now lets assume that our current understanding of the known laws of physics are invariable. Lets assume that the Grand Unified Theory really is the grand theory they claim it to be.

      I have been engaging in some discussion lately about the begining of the universe, and for the first time (amazingly enough) I pushed the 'Where did it come from' question through as far as it can go. And, not surprisingly, it doesn't go anywhere. No matter how you try to explain the origin of the universe, none of the theories can account for the cause of it. What caused the big bang? Where did 'God' come from? etc.

      From this, i concluded that there cannot be a begining. If there was a begining, then something must have caused that begining, and so something was there before the begining.

      This doesn't answer anything, but I am yet to see another way around the causality problem (defining something as 'acausal' doesn't solve it, it just dodges it).

      Now, linked to this 'where did the universe come from?' problem is, 'Where did the incredible laws, which make our universe a coherent place come from?', which is what I think underlies it all. Once the universe began, it is easy to say 'the laws guided the evolution of everything from there'....but how did the laws come to be? Why are they so perfect? (weak anthropic principle could be an acceptable argument here).

      When you think of an omniverse that has no beginning, then we are talking about something that is temporally at least infinite in duration, something ultimately beyond time itself, where concepts of a beginning and an end have no meaning. I think what this also means is that any one set of properties/laws we experience are also ultimately entirely arbitrary. If they are not then we must ask ourselves what meta-laws are behind it governing what types of laws are allowed and which are not? And then we have to ask ourselves where did these metalaws come from? And then meta-meta-laws and so on to infinity. And, not surprisingly, it doesn't go anywhere. No matter how you try to explain the origin of any laws, none of the theories can account for the cause of those laws. From this, I concluded there can be no fundamental laws.

      So if there are no fundamental laws, no limts, then everything is possible. If not, why not? And we are right back to an arbitray set of laws with no explanation. And since we are used to applying the metaphor of technology to such things, we could (at least for fun) call such tech based on a lack of laws nada-technology or onto-technology. The technology of reality itself. I like to call it nadatech becuase ulitimatly it's based on nothing... no laws, no limits, nothing at all.

      So what do we do with nada- or onto-technology?

      Anything. Everything.

      Either way, the ultimate lack of any fundamental laws implies that everything is possible and probably already exists exists in a timeless standing quantum probability wave in eternity.

      Planet P Blog [planetp.cc] - Liberty with Technology.

      • by quintessencesluglord (652360) on Tuesday April 15, 2003 @03:20AM (#5734222)
        I think one of the basic problems is the perception of time. To state that something has a definitive begining, middle, and end maybe a bit skewed. We like to define time as such because that is how we operate (born, live, die)... we like to see the universe as a reflection of ourselves. Basic to quantum physics: we are the measuring device, and that device has limitations.

        I tend to wonder if there aren't different modalities for time. Linear, loop, and radial are the only ones I could find. There are probably others.

        The radial one is very interesting to me. Pretty much co-opted from an Ellison story (well, at least I did). A singular event hapening in several different frames of time (kind of the Copenhagen idea in reverse). I muse that Passover might be akin to this (god looking at the world once, but being able to see it at different points in time= omnipotent). I wonder if this is what is really being stated by the multiverse idea.

        But we are kind of stuck by the limitations of the measuring device. Kind of the Madelbrot set idea, you can have infinite possibilities within a defined framework, except you can't break free from the boarders. Tempest in a teapot. Maybe there was never a teapot. Maybe we are the teapot.
        Maybe there is nothing beyond. We all find out eventually.

        Or as I like to put it, you can do whatever you want (except maybe not be you). You just have to figure out how to get there. I think we are well on our way. Onward to the metaverse/panverse.
      • I kinda like the way Douglas Adams explains all these theories alot simpler. By introducing "probability-dimensions".

        It goes like this: If something could have happened, it did, and the results exist. It just happens to be located in a parallell dimension along the "probaility-axises".

        Ofcourse that doesn't explain what you were rambling about, the origin of it all and the nature of universal laws, but I actually learned alot of the multi-dimensional theories reading Hitchhikers guide.

        It actually s

      • by quizwedge (324481) on Tuesday April 15, 2003 @04:37AM (#5734385)
        No matter how you try to explain the origin of the universe, none of the theories can account for the cause of it. What caused the big bang? Where did 'God' come from? etc.

        Your flaw here is that you assume God is a created being. However, in order to be an all powerful god, God must have always existed. This follows the principle of the creator always being greater than the creation. So, to have an omnipotent god, you must also have God be infinite (always existed, always will exist). If time is a man-made creation and God is outside of time (think of time as a fourth dimension with God being "outside the 4-dimensional box") then, for all practical purposes, God is infinite.
        • If we hold with a standard Judeo/Christian/Islamic view....


          Your flaw here is that you assume God is a created being. However, in order to be an all powerful god, God must have always existed.


          I actually prefer Issac Luria's view on this whole matter (he was a Jewish mystic living in the 16th century in the town of Sefad (not too far from Jerusalem). He argued that an all-encompasing god could not have allowed room for creation because before creation God would have filled everything. This required th
      • Well, you really need to read the article, and pay special attention to the part about "Type IV" alternate universes.

        But, beyond that, the question "where did these universes come from" is a very good one, and IIRC, the current hypothesis is that, at the "base level", there's nothing but probability. The universe exploded into being because it was probable it would on some mathematical level, assuming mathematics (and probability, as a subset of mathematics) is a self-generating phenomena... both chicken =
      • From this, i concluded that there cannot be a begining. If there was a begining, then something must have caused that begining, and so something was there before the begining.

        This doesn't answer anything, but I am yet to see another way around the causality problem (defining something as 'acausal' doesn't solve it, it just dodges it).


        Well, no. Cause and effect is a concept that you brain is hired wired to think in terms of and there's no way you can really break out of that. The thing is, to discuss the
      • I have been engaging in some discussion lately about the begining of the universe, and for the first time (amazingly enough) I pushed the 'Where did it come from' question through as far as it can go. And, not surprisingly, it doesn't go anywhere. No matter how you try to explain the origin of the universe, none of the theories can account for the cause of it. What caused the big bang? Where did 'God' come from? etc.

        From this, i concluded that there cannot be a begining. If there was a begining, then some

      • Many contradictions (Score:5, Interesting)

        by naasking (94116) <naasking&gmail,com> on Tuesday April 15, 2003 @08:41AM (#5735253) Homepage
        From this, i concluded that there cannot be a begining. If there was a begining, then something must have caused that begining, and so something was there before the begining.

        Your argument rests on a few assumptions:
        1. causality is absolute (ie. everything has a cause and effects and this was always so)
        2. all events and causality must always agree with logic
        3. the laws of this universe (causality) somehow apllied before this universe even began formed

        I can buy 1 and 2, I don't buy 3.

        That said, there are physics models which negate even the concept of linear time. According to these models, past and future do not exist, there is only the ever-evolving NOW. "Beginnings" thus have no meaning, and the universe "always" existed and "always will" exist (I quote those terms because they imply some progression/regression of time which doesn't actually exist in the model, but they are really the only way we can conceive it).

        You can find the professor and some of his work on http://edge.org

        If you want some more interesting posturing on "beginnings" and logic, please read my post Do beginnings and endings actually exist? [kicks-ass.net]

        I think what this also means is that any one set of properties/laws we experience are also ultimately entirely arbitrary. [...]

        This is the flaw in your "no fundamental laws" argument. It is circular reasoning: you use the assumption that laws are temporary to prove that there are no fundamental laws. There is no evidence to suggest that laws are temporary thus your argument falls apart.

        Furthermore, your "no fundamental law" assertion is essentially equivalent to saying that the only law is: anything can change at any time in any way. Well in that case, at some point the very law that "anything can change" will change and you will then have a universe with immutable laws. One can view this as a contradiction of a fundamental premise, or perhaps as an anwser; perhaps our universe began just like that and then collapsed into the steady state we now see.

        Finally, your "no fundamental laws" assertion is incompatible with your belief that causality holds even prior to the beginning of the universe. If there are no fundamental laws, then causality itself need not always apply!

      • So what do we do with nada- or onto-technology?

        Anything. Everything.


        Oh dear. *looks at the sky, and sees donuts falling from it* It's raining again.
    • by Anonvmous Coward (589068) on Tuesday April 15, 2003 @01:20AM (#5733997)
      "I don't know about your eyes but I can see a lot farther than 10^1.42 meters"

      I'm surprised you can see past Uranus!
  • Religion (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mr100percent (57156) on Tuesday April 15, 2003 @12:33AM (#5733740) Homepage Journal
    What does religion have to say about multiple universes? Would this figure in somehow?

    • Re:Religion (Score:3, Troll)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Who cares? Religion is a sham, its evil, it causes all our problems. Believe in god or not, but don't be part of a religion.

      I myself don't know what to believe anymore, but even when I was more religious I knew organized religion was bad.

      Why should they care anyway, where in the bible does it specifically state there is NOT multiple universes? Theres lots of things that are not in the bible, but it doesn't make then less true.

      Stuff like that always makes me mad, like saying if we ever find intelligent li
      • Re:Religion (Score:5, Insightful)

        by evilpenguin (18720) on Tuesday April 15, 2003 @01:18AM (#5733985)
        It is more than a slight overstatement to say that religion causes all our problems. Death, disease, ignorance, waste, cruelty, poverty, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness exist both in religious and atheist persons.

        Questions of ontology, epistomology, and teleology are not answered by a simple denial of God. (Neither are they answered by a simple assertion of God, but that's another issue).

        My own philosophy tends towards the empirical, and the scientific method indeed has a great track record. But science, by definition, exludes all non-empirical observations. We all, however, have memories of "unreal" experiences. Dreams, fiction, emotions. The experience of self-conciousness. The perception of time.

        I would not argue that any non-empirical philosophy is science, but neither would I claim that science is the only rational way of interpreting the phenomena of the universe. People of far greater intelligence than you or I have held deep religious beliefs. It is the height of arrogance to dismiss entire systems of knowledge in such an offhand way.

        Also, I would argue, that the effect of religion on society has been been beneficial at least as much as it has been harmful. For example, in medieval Europe, the church was the only social institution that would allow social advancement through education without regard to birth. I do not think we would have modern liberal democratic states without that history. Perhaps you post as an AC because you do not want your shallow ideas examined too closely.
        • Re:Religion (Score:5, Informative)

          by Jonner (189691) on Tuesday April 15, 2003 @04:19AM (#5734345)
          I couldn't agree with you more. I also put great value in the Scientific Method and empirical data and I don't consider that to conflict with my faith in God. I think that both are important in understanding the universe.

          I would agree with the ranting AC that some organized religions have caused great harm in the world, but I think that many organized religions are not inherently different from governments or corporations or other large human organizations. Any of those can be a force for good or bad, but "absolute power corrupts absolutely," so the tendency for a powerful organization is to increase its power and abuse it.

          There's always a tendency for people and human organizations to become corrupt over time. An example is the Christian church. It started with the coming together of people that had personally experienced Jesus Christ and believed he was the savior of the world. Gradually, the church became larger and more powerful, until it was more a political organization than anything else, splitting along the way into the Eastern and Western churches.

          Many people saw the corruption in the church and saw how far it had gotten from true faith in Christ and there was a movement called the Reformation about 500 years ago. Today, many of the denominations formed as a result of the Reformation are as far from the truth as the Catholic church was back then. Only through the blood of Jesus Christ can someone be saved, not through a human institution.
        • Re:Religion (Score:5, Interesting)

          by ojQj (657924) on Tuesday April 15, 2003 @04:32AM (#5734371)
          Thank you for your post. I couldn't agree more.

          There are some real nuts here who don't even realize that *every* belief system including science has to build on some basis. Let's call them axioms. These axioms may seem reasonable based on experience and verification through social groups, but they are not provable. You have to start with faith (with exceptions) in your eyes, ears, etc, and faith in the scientific method, and faith in Aristotelian logic in order to accept the results of science.

          This is not inherently different than having faith that your religious experiences were given to you by your God and are evidence for your religious belief system. (Sartori, being touched by Jesus, whatever).

          I of course find science more plausible, but that has a lot to do with my own upbringing and education. I consider it important to show tolerance towards people of almost all belief systems. Based on my own set of axioms, this only excludes people who believe harming others is morally acceptable.

          For a more complete version of this argument try out William P. Alston's Perceiving God [amazon.com].

          Specifically to the topic organized religion: Organized religion is a social institution, just like a state. Organized religion has often in the past performed many of the roles that a state takes. As such it has been used to justify and organize wars and injustices. This is not a problem inherent in organized religions themselves, but rather in social institutions as a whole. Take as an example, legalized slavery in the South until 1860. Or try out the Haulocaust as an example. People on the fringe may have tried to make religous justifications of these, but in reality it was the state that motivated and carried them out.

          Organized religions have also, as often as not, been the victims of state intolerance for a potentially competing social institution. Take as an example, Soviet Russia. Or Turkey under Attaturk. Or Missouri against the Mormons.

          • Re:Religion (Score:4, Insightful)

            by pugugly (152978) on Tuesday April 15, 2003 @09:27AM (#5735583)
            While I agree that both science and spirituality have an underlying core of "unprovable" assertions, I think you err when you equate faith and axioms.

            Axioms differ from faith in that, while both faith and axioms are unprovable, axioms are *disprovable*, in that the axiom that leads to contradictory views may be safely discarded. An act of faith on the other hand cannot be disproven or discarded.
          • Re:Religion (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Raffaello (230287) on Tuesday April 15, 2003 @10:29AM (#5736123)
            "There are some real nuts here who don't even realize that *every* belief system including science has to build on some basis. Let's call them axioms."

            First, note that logic is not an axiom, but that which is applied to axioms. If you don't have logic, than there's no point to axioms, since axioms are only meaningful as part of a logical system.

            Second, some axioms are more dopey than others (e.g., whatever the Pope writes is a truth direct from God), and some systems have axioms that allow an end run around logic, thus rendering them void as logical systems.

            The only axioms necessary for science are:

            1. There exist a class of sentient observers whose observations are commensurate (i.e., essentially interchangeable).
            2. Occam's Razor.

            Note that 1. must be held by any belief system, or you can't meaningfully communicate with anyone else.

            Note also that 2. is violated wildly by bible fundamentalists (e.g., Joshua 10:12-14 interpreted to mean that Joshua literally stopped the sun in the sky!).

            Let's not pretend that the inanity of religious literalism is on the same logical footing as science. It is not.
            • Re:Religion (Score:3, Insightful)

              by ojQj (657924)
              You're dealing with 17th century mathematics if you are putting logic above the need to be logically proven itself.

              Mathematicians have gone to a great deal of trouble since then to prove the usefulness of logical arguments based on a very small set of axioms. Accepting that logic is true is either in itself an axiom, or the afore mentioned set of axioms need to be added to your 2 axioms. These would be (IANAM nor do I have my books from PHIL 305 -- please correct errors):

              1. a != a is always false (contro
      • Re:Religion (Score:5, Insightful)

        by embedded_C (653649) on Tuesday April 15, 2003 @07:23AM (#5734789)
        If God is all knowing, he knew wed be cloning since the beginning, if he didn't want it he could easily stop it. Thats so hypocritical.

        If God has granted us free will, then we have the right to choose our course of action, whether or not it leads to our downfall.

        If God stops anything he doesn't want to happen, then we have no free will, our lives are pre-destined, and nothing we do matters, because the end is already pre-ordained.

        Taking the latter approach seems to relieve you of any personal responsibility for your actions, does it not?

    • Re:Religion (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bigberk (547360) <bigberk@users.pc9.org> on Tuesday April 15, 2003 @01:01AM (#5733906)
      What does religion have to say about multiple universes? Would this figure in somehow?
      Religion is too busy being abused by people who want to kill others. Call again some other time.
      • Re:Religion (Score:3, Insightful)

        I think it's clear throughout history that organized religion is a cancer of the earth. People are raised to believe something from childhood, so they are impossible to reason with. The effects of instilling strong belief systems on a child are staggering.
  • by ath0mic (519762) on Tuesday April 15, 2003 @12:36AM (#5733763)
    Hamburgers eat people
    /. loves Microsoft
    and I can get a date.
  • by UWC (664779) on Tuesday April 15, 2003 @12:36AM (#5733766)
    ...everyone has a goatee.
  • Video Game Analogy (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dekashizl (663505) on Tuesday April 15, 2003 @12:38AM (#5733774) Journal
    If we exist in a simulation [simulation-argument.com], then these other parellel universes might be the equivalent of what happens in a video game with bad collision detection that lets you leave the level, walk through RAM, and loop back again. Twould be odd to make that journey for real...
  • by Peter Cooper (660482) on Tuesday April 15, 2003 @12:38AM (#5733775) Homepage Journal
    "The infidel alter universe stands no chance. We have it surrounded on all 11 dimensions, and all mercenaries from the alter universe are committing suicide. We will throw them into our black holes. There are definitely no parallel universes in our universe." Did anyone else notice our own Mohammed Al Sahaf here at Slashdot has disappeared for the past three days? I wonder if he's in Syria..
  • and . . . (Score:5, Funny)

    by McDrewbie (530348) on Tuesday April 15, 2003 @12:39AM (#5733780)
    in at least one of those universes there is already a duplicate of this post on slashdot.
  • Ace (Score:5, Funny)

    by rnicey (315158) on Tuesday April 15, 2003 @12:40AM (#5733788) Homepage
    So Captain Ace Rimmer should be turning up any moment now?
  • What? 2 x 10^118 probablity of the protons matching up in a hubble space. The problem with this type of math in cosmology is no one knows where to set the baseline numbers. The fact that the COBE discovered 1/100,000 K difference in temperatures seperated across the survey accounts for theory of distribution accross our observable region only.

    You might as well say that heaven exists X meters from here because of the probability that there is an equivalent 100 ly radius of space where I exist but my puppy dog is still alive and their is no war and I eat ice-cream everyday.

    Man, I am going to have to sleep on this one...

  • by 00RUSS (549125) on Tuesday April 15, 2003 @12:42AM (#5733796) Homepage
    What are the odds of me getting a date in this parallel univers? cause i dont want another place where hamburgers eat people and ./ love microsoft if i still cant get a date.
  • by Eanmig (611171) on Tuesday April 15, 2003 @12:43AM (#5733801)
    If there are infinitely many universes and in each one I do something different and play out every possibility. Then one of the other me's will build a means to cross this space and enter mine. I could assume that I am in one of the universes where my double did not go. But why hasn't any other doubles been visiting us and telling us this? Is anyone else getting a headache?
    • by L0k11 (617726) on Tuesday April 15, 2003 @01:03AM (#5733918) Homepage Journal
      no, because when your double does come to this universe he is going to kill you in order to make himself more powerful....

      hey, someone should make a movie about that... they could call it "the guy who travels into parallel universes to kill himself and get ultimate power"

    • standing at edge of universe, waving at twins in the next universe over

      Fry: So there are an infinite number of parallel universes?
      Farnsworth: No, just the two.
      Bender: Can we go? I'm sick of parallel universe Bender lording his sombrero over me.
  • Scientific Omnirican (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Bryan Ischo (893) on Tuesday April 15, 2003 @12:43AM (#5733807) Homepage
    Has anyone else noticed that Scientific American has suffered some serious Omni-fication in the past couple of years?

    I let my subscription lapse a couple of years ago and when I got around to re-subscribing last year I found quite a few unpleasant surprises.

    The last page of the old rag was always the Connections column, which was really interesting and entertaining. It's gone.

    Gone also are all of the even vaguely scientific articles. There seemed to be a slant towards ridiculous stories on the edge of pseudo-science, much like in Omni magazine (is that in print anymore?). And every issue featured a sensationalist story centered around the threat of terrorism - stories about dirty bombs, biological weapons, new wiretapping technology, etc. It felt like they were desperately trying to attract readers by featuring stories with the same kind of scare tactics that the 11:00 news (which I haven't watched voluntarily in many years) resorts to.

    Needless to say, I've let my subscription lapse again. Too bad, I used to really like that mag.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 15, 2003 @01:01AM (#5733907)
      That was a fairly omni-ish article, but you gotta love the thumbnail pic of the "Multiverse", with the link below it: "Click here for a full-size illustration"
    • by Waffle Iron (339739) on Tuesday April 15, 2003 @01:34AM (#5734039)
      I've actually saved most of the copies of Scientific American that I've gotten over the past 20 years. I recently pulled out a couple of the oldest ones, and I was struck by the elegant minimalist design that they used to have. That magazine really used to stand out as something different and special.

      The hand-painted cover art was usually much more aesthetically pleasing than today's Photoshop hacks. I've grown somewhat used to the latest format (it doesn't physically grate on my nerves like it did at first), but I still can't say I like it.

      They probably feel that they need all of the visual distractions and information tidbits to compete with the Internet. The ironic part is that I often use the Internet to find an experience like the old Scientific American. I type a topic into Google and I find a nice boringly formatted academic paper to read.

    • I let my subscription lapse a couple of years ago and when I got around to re-subscribing last year I found quite a few unpleasant surprises.

      Heck, I stopped subscribing to Scientific American about ten years ago. I sensed that the publisher was targeting an audience with less scientific background. When I started reading SA it was somewhere between a scientific journal and Popular Science magazine. It seems to have moved closer to Popular Science. That just too "thin and watery" for me.

      I still subs
    • by 6hill (535468) on Tuesday April 15, 2003 @02:55AM (#5734201)
      Has anyone else noticed that Scientific American has suffered some serious Omni-fication in the past couple of years?

      Yeah....it's gotten worse, but not quite bad enough to be called sensationalist crap like Omni. But it's certainly awful enough to have made me switch to American Scientist [americanscientist.org]. The Sigma Xi publication delivers some kick-ass articles on all facets of scientific research, focusing mainly (in my view) on physics, math, and meta-research on scientific methods with some astronomy and life sciences thrown in. Lots of CS, too. Comes highly recommended despite its US-centric name.

  • by wackybrit (321117) on Tuesday April 15, 2003 @12:44AM (#5733810) Homepage Journal
    The article asserts: In infinite space, even the most unlikely events must take place somewhere.

    So there is a place where everyone on Slashdot is getting laid! Quick, let's fire up the old improbability drive and head out there and join them!

    Seriously though, this is no major jump in thinking, and is rather flawed when you stick to the basics. Just because something may be infinite in size does not necessarily mean there are an infinite number of events taking place within that space. There is no such thing as a probability of exactly 1 or exactly 0. That's why we have probability theory in the first place.
    • by mark-t (151149) <markt@ l y n x.bc.ca> on Tuesday April 15, 2003 @01:01AM (#5733905) Journal
      There is no such thing as a probability of exactly 1 or exactly 0.

      This is a self-contradicting assertion, for if there were no such thing, then that means that the probability of that assertion being false is 0, which would make the statement false.

      Logically, probabilities of 1 and 0 exist, somewhere, only they may exist outside our current ability to perceive them.

      If I were to take a guess at something having a probability of zero, I'd say it would be something like a statement that was both 100% true and 100% false.

      My brain hurts. I'm going to bed.

  • Another me (Score:3, Funny)

    by Mr Thundercleze (665529) <TrunksR@ev1.net> on Tuesday April 15, 2003 @12:44AM (#5733814)
    Could the universe handle 2 of me? This world can barely handle me. Just ask any Best Buy employee within 200 miles of my house.

    Thundercleze: I want to buy a computer, but I have no idea about these computer things

    BB Employee: Well, you're going to need lots of RAM. I can recomend this model to you

    Thundercleze: Does that have SD or DDR ram?

    BB Employee: What? but I thought...

    Thundercleze: Answer the question

    BB Employee: I don't know

    Thundercleze: McDonalds fired you and your brothers the manager here isn't he?

    BB employee: I feel so ashamed

  • by tanveer1979 (530624) on Tuesday April 15, 2003 @12:45AM (#5733823) Homepage Journal
    The estimate is derived from elementary probability and does not even assume speculative modern physics, merely that space is infinite (or at least sufficiently large) in size and almost uniformly filled with matter, as observations indicate.

    • Scientists debate on wether universe is finite or infinite
    • There is debate on uniformity of matter also, mostly it is thought that matter is distributed uniformaly over observable space
    So the debate lives on! And i guess calling these as parallel universe is a misnomer, this is the same universe, not in another dimension(like we have the in the movie "The One")
  • by jeblucas (560748) <jeblucas&gmail,com> on Tuesday April 15, 2003 @12:47AM (#5733830) Homepage Journal
    If my twin is reading this, but reading it when he's younger (could happen, article says "There are infinitely many other inhabited planets, including not just one but infinitely many that have people with the same appearance, name and memories as you, who play out every possible permutation of your life choices;" then for crying out loud, make sure you get more than some over-the-sweater action from Amy L. back in what-was-my-1991. She'll go for it.
  • by baywulf (214371) on Tuesday April 15, 2003 @12:47AM (#5733831)
    How come theories such as parallel universes, multiple dimesions, strings, etc in Physics are considered acceptable yet when someone suggests the possibility of extraterrestrials visiting the earth they are considered lunatics? We are willing to handwave aways so many instances of groups of people observing UFOs as weather balloons, swamp gas, ball lightnings or mass hallucinations. To me those physics theories seem more bizzare and unlikely than the possibility that with a zillion starsystems that there be many other beings far more advanced than us.
    • by gad_zuki! (70830)
      >We are willing to handwave aways so many instances of groups of people observing UFOs as weather balloons, swamp gas, ball lightnings or mass hallucinations.

      Well, I hate to break it to you, but most of these sightings usually can be explained. The rest cannot be verified one way or the other because of lack of data. A Joe off-the-street eyewitness is probably one of the worst observers out there. Think back to the classic psychological experiments regarding eyewitnesses in surprise situations. Then
    • by tgibbs (83782)

      How come theories such as parallel universes, multiple dimesions, strings, etc in Physics are considered acceptable yet when someone suggests the possibility of extraterrestrials visiting the earth they are considered lunatics? We are willing to handwave aways so many instances of groups of people observing UFOs as weather balloons, swamp gas, ball lightnings or mass hallucinations. To me those physics theories seem more bizzare and unlikely than the possibility that with a zillion starsystems that there b

  • by cyber_rigger (527103) on Tuesday April 15, 2003 @12:48AM (#5733837) Homepage Journal

    when we find a humongous ball of mismatched socks that have traveled through the 4th dimension.
  • Networking (Score:5, Funny)

    by xYoni69x (652510) <yoni.vl@gmail.com> on Tuesday April 15, 2003 @12:49AM (#5733842) Journal
    We have to hurry up with the switch to IPv6. IPv4 is just not enough for two universes.
  • by abhikhurana (325468) on Tuesday April 15, 2003 @12:49AM (#5733845)
    Long time back another scientist, David Deutsch[http://www.qubit.org/people/david/David.ht ml] proposed a similar therory to explain Young's double slit experiment. This theory indicates that there exists a universe for every possibility. Every time an event could have more than one outcome there is a universe created for each outcome. In our universe a meteorite caused the extinction of the dinosaurs. A parallel universe exists in which the meteorite missed Earth, and possibly several others in which the meteorite struck another planet or was not formed at all. In a parallel universe Hitler did not invade Russia and consequently won the Second World War. In yet another, Elvis is still alive. This theory explains the double slit experiment by saying that quantum phenomena are the result of interactions across universes. When a single electron passes through a slit it interacts with the electron from a parallel universe, in which the electron went through the other slit, producing the pattern. This explains the pattern produced by passing one electron through the slit at a time. This theory applies to time travel in how it allows for reverse time travel to accommodate paradoxes. When one travels back in time, one travels back into a universe created for the possibility of time travel. This universe runs in parallel with the universe from which the traveller came. Everything will be identical to the past in the original universe, and alterations will have the same effect as they would have if they had occurred in the original universe. However, because it is a parallel universe, and not the universe that created the traveller, the traveller will not be affected by any changes he makes. He could kill himself, his father, his grandfather or whoever, and while he is erased from the parallel universe, he continues to exist because he is not from this new universe. Thus no paradox is created, and only the destruction of himself by suicide or personal attack, or his time machine, could see him affected by the outcomes of his actions, and even then no paradox is created. This provides a method by which paradoxes can be avoided and reverse time travel allowed. This theory has parallels such as the alternative histories approach. This theory allows reverse time travel without consequences by having the time traveller travel back onto a different timeline and thus is insulated from any actions which should in theory affect him or cause a paradox. The full text of this theory can be found at http://arxiv.org/abs/quant-ph/0104033
    • by LiamQ (110676) on Tuesday April 15, 2003 @02:01AM (#5734101)
      Is there a parallel universe in which you used multiple paragraphs so that people would read your comment completely?
    • [Warning: I'm long out of school and not a physics major, this might be bullshit.]

      I have a favorite fuck-with-your-head pop science story I tell to wig people out, I read it in The Illusion of Technique by William Barrett:

      Okay, you know about the Heisenburg uncertainty principle -- can't know a particle's position and velocity simultaneously. But, Einstein, the clever fellow, asked "what if there are two particles?" and proceeded to construct an equation that would simulatenously tell you the relative di
    • In our universe a meteorite caused the extinction of the dinosaurs. A parallel universe exists in which the meteorite missed Earth, and possibly several others in which the meteorite struck another planet or was not formed at all. In a parallel universe Hitler did not invade Russia and consequently won the Second World War. In yet another, Elvis is still alive.

      Weren't those all episodes of "Sliders"?
  • Key insight (Score:4, Informative)

    by Black Parrot (19622) on Tuesday April 15, 2003 @12:51AM (#5733855)


    IMO the most important part of the article, though less headline-catching, is the claim that recent results indicate that our universe may be infinite in both size and mass.

    I like that result, though I find it very surprising.

    At any rate, it is this fact (or claim) that allows the author to conclude that a "level I" parallel universe exists somewhere. Indeed, an infinite number must exist, if the universe is in fact infinite.

    He also offers levels II, III, and IV, which arise from more exotic causes. In Sunday's /. discussion I suggested that a level V should also be added [slashdot.org], at least if you buy his argument for the existence of the set of level IV universes.

  • by Ignorant Aardvark (632408) <cydeweys.gmail@com> on Tuesday April 15, 2003 @12:56AM (#5733884) Homepage Journal
    It goes like this. There are approximately 10^120 particle positions (the smallest quantized unit of space) in the observable universe (and there are 10^90 particles in the universe). Assuming each "particle position" is a boolean (either a particle is there or it's not), there are 2^10^120 possible observable universes (a sphere of space 40 billion light-years across). Now, we have cosmological evidence that the entire universe goes on forever ... so using simple math we can derive a much larger sphere encompassing so many universes that, at some point, all possible particle position combinations are exhausted and there MUST be another 40-billion-light-years-across universe that is exactly the same as the one we currently inhabit. The distance they've calculated is around 10^42 meters. So, that far away, there should be an exact replicate of you, reading this exact post at this exact same instance, and modding it up as Informative :-)
  • by TheWanderingHermit (513872) on Tuesday April 15, 2003 @01:03AM (#5733919)
    Let me get this right: So this counts only on probability. Because space is big enough, whatever can possibly happen will happen?

    Does that mean if I'm sweeping up a lab after a particularly unsuccessful party and I hook up a improbability generator to a strong brownian motion producer, like, say, a really hot cup of tea, then will I get a really neat spaceship that's shaped like a tennis shoe and piloted by a man with two heads and three arms and has a paranoid android abord with a shooting pain in all the diodes down his left side?

    Here's to improbability!
  • by NanoGator (522640) on Tuesday April 15, 2003 @01:13AM (#5733966) Homepage Journal
    Maybe there's a really really weird dimension where you're better looking than me!
  • by ubernostrum (219442) on Tuesday April 15, 2003 @01:55AM (#5734082) Homepage
    I'm sitting here, finishing up my thesis which is due next week, happily talking about the argument from design and generally relying on the fact that the multiple-universes model is unverifiable and thus irrelevant to my argument. Then I take a break to glance at Slashdot and what do I see?
    • Then I take a break to glance at Slashdot and what do I see?

      You see a Slashdot article about multiple universes existing, thus substantiating your academic claim that they are unverifiable.

      Congrats, it's your lucky day! (Wednesday should repeat your lucky day if all goes as normal.)
  • Falsifiability (Score:4, Insightful)

    by xihr (556141) on Tuesday April 15, 2003 @02:13AM (#5734128) Homepage
    Without falsifiability, what you're talking about not a scientific theory, it's metaphysical speculation. There's nothing wrong with that per se, but it ain't science.
  • by IroygbivU (534043) on Tuesday April 15, 2003 @02:29AM (#5734165)
    There really is a universe where Homer is real, obscenely wealthy, AND it rains donuts!?!
  • by shomon2 (71232) on Tuesday April 15, 2003 @05:40AM (#5734520) Journal
    If you were a little atom looking at a sea of cells around you, it would probably seem plausible that somewhere in that huge sea there was someone a bit like you fighting the same battles you fight every day, but in a slightly different way, or with different hormones.

    Of course this wouldn't matter since you would never meet your counterpart.

    You'd have a vague idea that maybe the universe was not infinite because perhaps it was one day going to end. But something would tell you that it was somehow cyclic, and it would come back.

    So in a sense it would be infinite.

    And if you could travel really far, maybe you'd come to the end of the sea of cells. But you'd have to travel so far that you can safely say that your sea of cells is infinite as far as you're concerned.

    Ale
  • by Little Brother (122447) <kg4wwn@qsl.net> on Tuesday April 15, 2003 @06:09AM (#5734566) Journal
    Where is Sailor Moon? (And can I get her phone number?)
  • Cause and effect (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Unfallen (114859) on Tuesday April 15, 2003 @06:34AM (#5734624) Homepage
    Despite my exceedingly limited scientific knowledge (A-level physics... nothing out of the ordinary), I've come to completely disbelieve in the idea of parralel universes where any possible outcome is played out.

    Why? Mostly bccause the arguments provided for them, at least on a layperson's level, are arrogant sci-fi that tend to fall into one of two categories. Either they just "assume" that another path is possible, e.g. life never formed and Earth is barren now, or they assume that universes differ through human choice, e.g. you choose not to go to the cinema, or whatever.

    The first suffers as it completely ignores why anything happens. This would mean that there are universes created at every moment of time as gravity switches, or elements gain different properties. Why limit what can or can't happen?

    The second suffers as it suddenly places the human freedom of choice at the center of its reasoning. This would mean that the human mind/soul/id was somehow *above* physical properties. Would new universes be created if an animal decided to do something differently? How about plants? As the lifefor, gets less complex, this rapidly decends into a form of the first argument - that some things can change, but others can't.

    Maybe there's another way to work infinite multiverses into life, but I'm not convinced by anything I've seen so far, even if blinded by science and big numbers.

    My 2-layman-pence, anyway.
  • by naasking (94116) <naasking&gmail,com> on Tuesday April 15, 2003 @08:13AM (#5735072) Homepage
    Let us assume that we exist. Let us further assume that we (as in us, ie. you and I) do live in a multiverse where all possible realities that can exist do exist. Then there must be a reality, different from ours, where a multiverse cannot exist (since this is a possible reality). Thus, this universe, different from ours contradicts the premise that we can exist since that reality is the only one in existence. Consequently, there are four possible resolutions to this dilemma:
    1. we do not really exist
    2. we do not live in a multiverse
    3. the multiverse is not infinite in the sense that all possible realities that can exist, do exist (but merely that many many realities exist)
    4. logic has absolutely no basis in reality and contradictions are a way of life

    My bet is 2 or 3.

It was kinda like stuffing the wrong card in a computer, when you're stickin' those artificial stimulants in your arm. -- Dion, noted computer scientist

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