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Space Science

New Universes Will be Born from Ours 440

David Shiga writes "What gruesome fate awaits our universe? Some physicists have argued that it is doomed to be ripped apart by runaway dark energy, while others think it is bouncing through an endless series of big bangs and big crunches. Now, scientists have combined these two ideas to create another option, in which our universe ultimately shatters into billions of pieces. Each shard would then subsequently grow into a whole new universe. The model could solve the mystery of why our early universe was surprisingly well ordered."
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New Universes Will be Born from Ours

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  • and all other high-level alternative cosmological theories

    it's nothing but mythology with a veneer of high level math that supposes to give it respectability. it doesn't. its entertianing and creative, but ultimately proofless. a lot of the big bang, the expanding universe, etc., can be explained with simple local variation in time/ space

    i'm sorry but string theory, other high level theories of everything: in my mind they are as convincing as peter pan or lord of the rings or harry potter. very entertaining, but ultimately just tall tales

    the only people who have a convincing cosmology/ creation theory to me is from the jains, the ancient religious sect in india, and they figured it out thousands of years ago:

    the universe was never created, nor will it ever cease to exist. it's constant. any variation we see around us is not proof of the big bang, but merely large scale contraction and expansion in endless variety like the surface of the sea

    to me, that is the ultimate truth, because in my mind, all other creation theories, with their shocking plot twists and incendiary catalclysms, stinks of the very human need to create meaning where there isn't necessarily any meaning, to create drama where nothing says there needs to be drama, to impart deeply rooted biological impressions of birth and death, on a scale that has no such indications

    in other words, the most profound truth is also the most mundane
  • by ardor ( 673957 ) on Friday February 09, 2007 @01:58PM (#17950934)

    Its not mythology.

    Explain to me the cosmic background radiation, the galaxy redshift, the decrease of the alpha constant... the big bang theory has explanations for these.

    You are yet another one of the persons who falsely believe that science deals with truths. Guess what: SCIENCE DOES NOT DEAL WITH TRUTHS. It deals with MODELS, called "theories". No one claims that the big bang is "the truth". It is the best thing we have, however, since it explains most phenomena. Your jain stuff has to be verifiable AND be a) simpler than the big bang theory and/or b) cover phenomena not explained by it, then it could be considered a valid theory.
  • by Cheapy ( 809643 ) on Friday February 09, 2007 @02:07PM (#17951072)
    I was told that story by a friend. Quite interesting. It was the shortened version (as in a 5 minute telling), but I think I got everything.

    I do wonder though: How did the very first one occur? If this universe is from the last one, then there must have been a first one somewhere.
  • Well-ordered? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by g_adams27 ( 581237 ) on Friday February 09, 2007 @02:17PM (#17951250)

    > The model could solve the mystery of why our early universe was surprisingly well ordered.

    Not really - you've just pushed the problem back one level. Where did the well-ordered universe shards that made this universe come from? It can't be "turtles all the way down"

  • Re:Please... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sneftel ( 15416 ) on Friday February 09, 2007 @02:47PM (#17951742)
    Sounds fine, as long as it's coupled with a plausible explanation for god.
  • by Pfhorrest ( 545131 ) on Friday February 09, 2007 @02:54PM (#17951848) Homepage Journal
    I was told that story by a friend. Quite interesting. It was the shortened version (as in a 5 minute telling), but I think I got everything.

    I do wonder though: How did the very first one occur? If this universe is from the last one, then there must have been a first one somewhere.

    No, there doesn't have to be a first one. It's perfectly possible for there to have been an infinite series of previous ones.

    In fact, if you accept that something can't come from nothing, then the very notion of a first one at all is absurd. Where did THAT come from?
  • Re:Please... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ambitwistor ( 1041236 ) on Friday February 09, 2007 @02:58PM (#17951906)

    One single, three-letter word is all we need to answer this question, no models necessary: "GOD."

    I don't understand why we need to make up so many other ideas.
    Yeah, why have science at all?

    "Why is there lightning?" "God did it."
    "How did mountains form?" "God did it."
    "Why do massive bodies attract each other?" "God did it."
    "How do cells reproduce?" "God did it."
    "Why is there disease?" "God did it."

    Who needs those complicated science models. Three words, no models necessary: "God"
  • occam's razor (Score:3, Insightful)

    by circletimessquare ( 444983 ) <circletimessquare@nOSpaM.gmail.com> on Friday February 09, 2007 @03:07PM (#17952044) Homepage Journal
    the uniformity of the background radiation and the uniformity of the red shift are observations that don't contradict me, nor do they support you. on the scale we are talking, such large expanses of time and space, you can't with certainty say that what you observe supports the existence of the big bang with any more certainty than i can say it disproves it. there are too many unknown variables about what we don't know on these time/ space scales at work here for you to say you can stand firmly with two feet with the "proof" you have

    it's a dead heat. there is no proof either way. and as such, we are left with only one guiding principle:

    occam's razor

    when you hear hoofbeats, don't think of zebras

    when you hear hoofbeats, it's probably just horses. why do you insist it should be zebras?

    the exotic is the exotic for a reason: it's less likely, because its more complicated for the collusion of the events that make the improbable possible to occur. in other words, i do not have any more faith in my uniform across all time and space model... i can't. the proof isn't there for me. but by the same token, where does the certainty in your model come from? a model that is less likely, because its more complicated

    furthermore, your model speaks of anthropomorphic prejudice. whatever you think is being supported by the obervations about redshift and COBE's findings is one out of thousands of interpretations, but you seem to have latched onto the most dramatic old testament creationistic model, with such an overly certain fervor that it belies a cultural/ theological/ anthropomorphic prejudice on your part. the big bang has been accepted and enshrined for no other reason than that the western culture that gave birth to hubble, einstein, etc. is firmly entrenched in old testament teachings for generations about a creation myth that... bears strong resemblance to the big bang. nice coincidence huh?

    there are thousands of possible reasons for what we see. but why is the big bang treated with such certainty? this is suspect to me

    occam's razor defeats you: the boring and mundane is more likely than the exotic. i don't have more proof than you to support the mundane model i am suggesting. but at least i realize that. big bang supporters don't seem to understand that the leap from what we see: "abc" to what it means: "xyz", has a lot of "defghi...stuvw" in between of alternative reasons, less exotic more mundane reasons, that gets conveniently skipped over when thinking critically about the big bang model

    you've latched onto the exotic, and not allowed for the natural variety of less dramatic interpretations to come to fruition in your mind
  • Re:Please... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by shawn443 ( 882648 ) on Friday February 09, 2007 @03:11PM (#17952102) Homepage
    I once heard this exact analogy and it really got me to think. I am a scientist at heart so I certainly believe in its merits. However, do we really expect science to explain everything? Is there a scientific method that provides proof for the meaning of life? To me, the chances of everything being as they are now by cosmic chance seems just as plausible as a God in heaven. So in the meantime I am currently undecided, a fact for which my Christian friends tell me I am undoubtedly going to hell for.
  • Re:Please... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by alucinor ( 849600 ) on Friday February 09, 2007 @03:35PM (#17952440) Journal
    "Why is there a Universe?" "The previous Universe did it."

    Questions of this scale are just too big for faith OR science, I think.
  • Re:Please... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by virgil_disgr4ce ( 909068 ) on Friday February 09, 2007 @03:37PM (#17952486) Homepage
    Why, as a scientist at heart, would you think there there is a "meaning of life" to be "proven?" _v/d++
  • Re:Please... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by RatBastard ( 949 ) on Friday February 09, 2007 @03:58PM (#17952802) Homepage

    However, do we really expect science to explain everything? Is there a scientific method that provides proof for the meaning of life?

    Who says there's a meaning to life? We want there to be one. Doesn't mean there is one. The fundamental purpose in life can be summed up thusly: "Successfully reproduce before something eats you". Do that and you've done what you are here for. Now, we as human beings can add more to that. We can, because of our intelligence, give our lives a "greater" purpose. What that purpose is is up to each of us as individuals. If you want your life to be spent helping those less fortunate than yourself do it. If you want your life to be spent eating as many donuts as you can go for it. It's your life to fritter away im whatever way suits you best.

    To me, the chances of everything being as they are now by cosmic chance seems just as plausible as a God in heaven. So in the meantime I am currently undecided, a fact for which my Christian friends tell me I am undoubtedly going to hell for.

    The chances are better for random chance than for God. We have proof the universe exists. We can see it, smell it, measure it, predict its behavior, etc... We can do none of these things for God. Add to this the fact that all previous religions and gods in history are mere myths and the chances of God being real drops even lower. Why is the current myth any more real than the previous ones? Other than you were raised to believe in this one?

  • Re:Please... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by HikingStick ( 878216 ) <<moc.liamtoh> <ta> <remeir10z>> on Friday February 09, 2007 @04:01PM (#17952850)
    I think both approaches here are unbalanced. I believe God made everything. Because I believe God made everything, I study the physical world to try to understand the physical world, so I can have a better understanding of the nature of God. The more science discovers regarding the vast complexity of this existence, the greater reverence I have for God.

    To me, God is not an excuse to abandon reason. God is the reason we should reason--so we may better understand his nature through nature.
  • by Einstein45 ( 1062040 ) on Friday February 09, 2007 @04:43PM (#17953464)
    Criticizing string theology will get you banned by the groupthinkers.

    "It must be so--for the greater good of physics, the individual physicist, and thus physics, must be sacrificed."

    So many live so blind to the irony here.
  • Re:Please... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by koreth ( 409849 ) on Friday February 09, 2007 @05:06PM (#17953870)

    Most strident atheist world-views center around coping strategies for dealing with this particular bit of Bad News.
    Whereas most religious world-views center around denial of the Bad News. No need to face the implications of your own mortality -- you aren't really mortal! How convenient!

    If you're really a scientist, then surely you recognize the fallacy of shaping your data to match your desired conclusion. That's exactly what you're doing, though: "I can't figure out what to live for if there isn't a God, and I want to live for something, so therefore there's a God."

    Your life could actually be 100% meaningless if "meaning" must by definition be supplied by some cosmic superuser and that entity doesn't actually exist -- or if it exists and created you just for the hell of it, no particular purpose in mind. The fact that you don't like that possibility has very little bearing on whether or not it's true. (Which isn't an argument that God doesn't exist, by the way; just that your desire one way or the other is irrelevant to the question.)

    I also wonder how strong the "God exists because I am going to die and I don't like it" idea would be if the SENS [sens.org] guys turned out to be right and one could become very very old indeed without becoming the least bit decrepit.

  • Re:Please... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by exp(pi*sqrt(163)) ( 613870 ) on Friday February 09, 2007 @05:17PM (#17954092) Journal

    Is there a scientific method that provides proof for the meaning of life?
    Maybe if you started using English words normally you wouldn't be so confused. As it is, you're just jumbling words together. Let me start with "meaning of life". What could that possibly mean? I understand what it means to say "what is the meaning of this word?" 'Meaning' makes perfect sense when talking abount communications. But what does it mean to ask for the meaning of life? Unless you're asking for the meaning of the word 'life' I haven't a clue what you're talking about. Douglas Adams dealt with this issue best with his notorious '42'. Unless you ask sensible questions you're going to get confusing answers.

    But even supposing that we found a 'meaning' for life, what could it possibly mean to ask for "proof for the meaning of life?" Do people ask for 'proof for' the meaning of the word 'dog' or 'elephant'? Meanings simply aren't the kinds of things we ask for proofs of in this way. Modifying your question slightly, "Is there a scientific method that provides proof for the meaning of 'elephant'? It simply doesn't make any kind of sense.

    To me, the chances of everything being as they are now by cosmic chance...
    The chance of something being by chance. Now that's a weird idea.
  • by Pfhorrest ( 545131 ) on Friday February 09, 2007 @06:31PM (#17955792) Homepage Journal
    Ehm yeh, but there are only 2 ways to go:

    Either something can come from nothing (good luck with proving that) or something comes from something (good luck proving that too). And in the latter case, if something is only possible from something then something can't exist; it's a paradox.

    You're right that we can't prove either way whether it's possible for something to come from nothing - it's just a generally accepted premise. I'm not aware of anyone who has seriously doubted it. The closest I can think of is theists who believe the world was created "ex nihlo" - literally, "from nothing" - but even they usually say that it didn't *really* come from nothing; it came from God. "Something cannot come from nothing" is actually a premise in one of the oldest and most popular arguments for the existence of God, the "first cause" version of the cosmological argument.

    But your second sentence there is incorrect. If it is true that something cannot come from nothing (which seems correct), then either something has always existed, or nothing ever has or ever will exist; and since it is evidently true now that something exists, you must conclude that something has always existed. The first cause argument tries to twist this into "there is some [particular] thing which has always existed", i.e. an eternal being, a.k.a. God, but that's not equivalent to the conclusion of this line of reasoning, which is simply that at any given point in time, the statement "something exists" has been true, or equivalently, if you were to ask about any given thing "was there something before that?", the answer will be "yes". (This is not to rule out the logical possibility of there having been a single eternal being preceding everything else; it merely shows that that's not a necessary conclusion of the premises "something can't come from nothing" and "something now exists").

    Your supposed paradox arises because you're trying to ask a question that doesn't really make sense. Suppose you told me that for every real number, there was a smaller number; that is to say, that there is no "smallest number" (which is true). And then I asked you "ah, but what number is smaller than the whole number line?" That's not a well-formed question... the number line itself has no numerical value, so there is no "smaller than" it. Likewise, while it's true (given something can't come from nothing) that there is always something preceding any other thing, it makes no sense to ask "ah, but what preceded all of it?". There is no "before" the timeline, any more than there is a "less than" the number line.

    I like to pose a similar line of reasoning to science-minded people who reject theistic first-cause argument, but still like to claim that there was literally no such thing as time before the big bang. The physics equivalent of "something cannot come from nothing" is the law of conservation of mass-energy; which says that it (mass-energy) can never be created or destroyed. This is taken to be a law of physics, i.e. inviolable. Given that, and the fact that mass-energy presently exists, it's then just as quick and easy to deduce that mass-energy has always existed, as something is here now, but it could not have been created, so it must have always been. The only alternative to this is either that the conservation of mass-energy isn't really a law of physics, and that in certain (perhaps very unlikely, but theoretically reproducible) circumstances it can be violated, and something can really come from nothing - which not many physicists will want to accept - or that it is an "inviolable" law of nature which on one single occasion was actually violated - in other words, to call the Big Bang a miracle, which is just to give up on science entirely and say "I don't know what happened and I'm not going to try to find out".

    Of course, this isn't to rule out that the Big Bang happened; all empirical evidence points to the known cosmos originating from an explosion of some sort in the distant past. This is just to rule out that ther
  • Re:Please... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ambitwistor ( 1041236 ) on Friday February 09, 2007 @06:56PM (#17956178)

    For example, I know I am going to be disliked for saying it, but the theory of evolution is full of this very thing. It is a non-reproducible theory which is called "science".
    That is, of course, completely absurd. It is a highly explanatory theory which has been extensively tested for over a hundred years. Its predictions are far more detailed than "time and chance did it", and far more successful.

    But to point out its flaws publicly means far le$$ grant money and ridicule.
    Scientists point out flaws in evolutionary theory every day. They get more money for doing so. It leads to improved versions of evolution. The ones who are ridiculed are the creationist idiots who claim that evolution has been falsified.

    Meanwhile, anything that happens to overlap religion is instantly "not science"
    Evolution and Big Bang cosmology arguably overlap religion, but they are science. "Intelligent design", if that's what you're thinking of, is not science.
  • by ArbitraryConstant ( 763964 ) on Friday February 09, 2007 @07:35PM (#17956810) Homepage
    "How is it flamebait if someone even mentions God?...the statement was made in a very tasteful way and it is simply the poster's opinion. I know *most* everyone on Slashdot doesn't believe in God in the traditional sense but Intelligent Design is as good a theory as any...If you were really thinking scientifically you would take all theories into account and not dismiss others because of how ridiculous it is solely based on the majority of the scientific community. The majority of the scientific community used to believe the Earth was flat, you couldn't split an atom, among so many other things. Science is not infallible"

    Intelligent design is not a scientific theory because it's not falsifiable. That doesn't mean it must be wrong (because it might be historically true), but the reason it's important for things to be falsifiable is because this gives us a mechanism to gain confidence in things we discover.

    Science is also not infallible, which is why the justification for belief is important. There needs to be a reason something is held to be true, "You haven't got a better idea." isn't enough. And there needs to be a willingness to abandon things that are shown to be wrong, something various religious organizations haven't been terribly willing to do (eg Galileo got locked up for claiming that heavenly bodies could orbit something other than the Sun).

    You shouldn't take my word for it that the Earth is round, you should agree that it is a reasonable conclusion from the fact that different parts of the world can simultaneously experience night and day, or that something casts a longer shadow as you go further north/south, or that you can go up into space and look at it and take pictures. It's not "zOMG SCIENCE SAID SO", it's a mechanism that allows good reasons for thinking things to be evaluated and filtered out from the bad reasons.

    Intelligent design might indeed be historically accurate, but there aren't any good reasons to assume that it is. The Bible gives one account, but Hindus will give you another. In the absence of any good way to pick one over the rest, the only reasonable action is to keep looking for reasons. That's what led us to evolution, and parts of evolution that didn't hold up to the evidence (eg Darwin thought all change must be slow and gradual) get shot down just as surely as the claim that the Earth was created in its current form 6k years ago.

    It's not a he said/she said thing, it's the fact that intelligent design brings nothing useful to the discussion. Without being able to test it, it doesn't give knowledge more weight, and accepting it implicitly means accepting that we don't need to bother expanding our knowledge. That's simply not a reasonable thing to expect.
  • by DerWulf ( 782458 ) on Friday February 09, 2007 @08:01PM (#17957128)
    You definatly have time on your hands. I checked your forum. The 'style' of your writing is unmistakable which uncovers immediatly that you post under at least three different nicknames. Loads of threads only consist of (sometimes multiple) post by you.
    I don't care about the spam or about how blantanly bad your posts smell of a marketing .
    I care about your mental health. Usually spammers and scammers stand to gain from their activities. That's not the case with you. I suspect that you simply are mad.

    So please, go see a doctor. Don't harm yourself or other!
  • Re:Please... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Clazzy ( 958719 ) on Friday February 09, 2007 @08:48PM (#17957614)

    Why toil to understand the coils and springs of the universe if life has no purpose?
    Because we can. Humans are inherently curious buggers so we may as well find a way to have something to do and exploit this soft spot of ours. While each and every one of us will make an insignificant mark on the universe that doesn't mean we can't look around for something to keep us occupied.

We declare the names of all variables and functions. Yet the Tao has no type specifier.