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Thread: Episode 28: What is the universe expanding into?

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by KiwiPhil View Post
    Hi everybody,
    Just wondering if anyone can give me any evidence for there not being anything outside of the universe or before it.
    I can try to answer the first part.

    You have a void. Put a point in that void and call it the universe. If you can see the point, then you are also part of that universe.

    If you back up, then you are still part of that universe.

    Regardless of how far away from that point you are, there is nothing beyond you. The universe is everything, everywhere and everywhen. And if you can observe it, then you are part of it.

    You can't put a dot in a void and ask where it is. Where it is in relation to what?

  2. #32
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    well said EvilEye. I like : "if you can observe it, then you are part of it." But the one argument I would make to that is this: We can not observe or understand dark matter, but it is most certainly. We give something we know nothing about a name and pretend we understand its effects and its properties. We observe its power, but we can not observe it or prove it is there. But we know it is there, right? Maybe so, maybe not. I like how you sum it up as everything, everywhere and everywhen though, that means that if there is/are "parallel universe/universes" that they are too part of one universe. Interesting.

  3. #33
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    It can be further simplified by taking it down to 2 dimentions.

    Imagine an endless sheet of paper.

    Then put that dot on that sheet anywhere. Ask the dot, as you in the third dimention (up) look down on it) where it is, and the answer can only be "I am here". You ask "Where is here?" And the answer comes back "I am here. Where are you? I can hear you but I cant see you."

    The dot has no concept of "up", so you cannot explain to him that you are in his presence. So to prove it, you move down through that sheet of paper. Dot senses your presence, and can still hear you, but you are only a veil of your whole as you pass through his 2 dimentional plane.

    You disappear as you pass under the infinite sheet of paper, and Dot goes to work trying to explain this notion.

    Dot is alone on this infinite sheet of paper and starts to ask where he is to himself. So he wanders around the sheet of paper and asks again, "Where am I but here?"

    Then you put another dot on the paper. Now Dot and Dot 2 can see each other. Now you have time. Dot has distance & Time! He knows that it will take x amount of time to get to Dot 2. Now his question of "Where am I?" has meaning. "I am over here!" he can say to Dot 2. And Dot 2 has some location.

    And Dot can ask Dot 2 meaningful questions now.

    Now imagine that this infinite sheet of paper is one in an infinite stack of sheets with other "dots". They can never see each other, but they are all there amongst each other. (Multiple universes all occupying the same space in another dimention - the third in this case)

    This isn't my idea... it's just a really simple way to explain how easy it is to see how hard it can be to contemplate something you can't see, but obviously exists.

  4. #34
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    I think you've misinterpreted my question. You've given a good description of what it would be like if there is nothing outside the universe, but I'm ask what evidence there is for assuming there is nothing outside.

  5. #35
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    That is a revolving question.

    What evidence is there that there is anything at all outside of your own experience?

    You are trying to place the universe in a "place". But the universe IS the place. Without the universe, there is no place. It isn't like a galaxy sitting in space. It is space and "stuff" all accounted for. You can't have five dollars in your pocket and ask where the other dollar is.

  6. #36
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    Sorry.. my last attempt to explain it on my own. Asking what is beyond the universe is like asking how short something is.

  7. #37
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    Okay try it this way. How so we know that there is nothing outside the area created in the Big Bang.

  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by KiwiPhil View Post
    How do we know that there is nothing outside the area created in the Big Bang.
    We know that we don't know anything in this world for sure.

    Therefore we also know that we know even less about what is out of this world.

    So the answer is: We don't know.

    What then do we know?
    We know that if anything is OUTSIDE, it cannot be measured because measurement requires space and space is a consequence of the Big Bang.
    We also know we cannot say it exists because that very word requires time to exist in and time is also a consequence of the Big Bang.

    But don't despair! What we know and what we don't know reflect only one aspect of life. You just have to take a look at the discussions on episode 24 in this forum to see how willingly even the most fact-loving people dismiss those facts in order to let their minds free to roam the endless world of possibilities. And why not? We all need it and creativeness requires the ability to liberate the mind from the limitations of facts and knowledge.

    And - even more importantly - in this OUTSIDE world where facts and knowledge are of no avail, your word is as good as another and your wildest speculation as valid as that of the most respected cosmologist.

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anton View Post
    We know that we don't know anything in this world for sure.
    Actually, we know quite a bit about this world and even about the universe.

    Quote Originally Posted by Anton View Post
    Therefore we also know that we know even less about what is out of this world.... We don't know.
    I'd go along with that. We don't know anything about what is outside of our light horizon. No light or signals of any kind can reach us from "there," so... we don't know.

    However, there are observations supporting inflation theory, and this would indicate:

    "...the entire universe is expected to be at least 1023 times larger than the observed universe! ...if the inflationary theory is correct, then the observed universe is only a minute speck in a universe that is many orders of magnitude larger." -- Alan Guth

    Quote Originally Posted by Anton View Post
    But don't despair! What we know and what we don't know reflect only one aspect of life. You just have to take a look at the discussions on episode 24 in this forum to see how willingly even the most fact-loving people dismiss those facts in order to let their minds free to roam the endless world of possibilities. And why not? We all need it and creativeness requires the ability to liberate the mind from the limitations of facts and knowledge.
    Are you promoting the idea of living in a fantasy world? I think it's rather important to spend most of the time in the real world.

    Quote Originally Posted by Anton View Post
    And - even more importantly - in this OUTSIDE world where facts and knowledge are of no avail, your word is as good as another and your wildest speculation as valid as that of the most respected cosmologist.
    That's why most scientists are not even interested in such speculations. Why bother?
    Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.

  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cougar View Post
    Actually, we know quite a bit about this world and even about the universe.
    Oh, I think there’s room for some humbleness here. Humanity is still in the “shock phase” of discovering the size and nature of the universe. My simple point is, we do not know all that much “for sure”.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cougar View Post
    ”...if the inflationary theory is correct, then the observed universe is only a minute speck in a universe that is many orders of magnitude larger."
    Yes and however large it may be it still is part of the spacetime created in the Big Bang. It’s still “inside” whereas KiwiPhil was asking about the “outside”. The common answer might be that as long as we can think of SOMETHING being outside or inside we can be sure it is part of the “Big Bang area” (to quote KiwiPhil) because that is the only place where these concepts have a meaning. But I wanted to give him a little more credit. It is quite common even for respected scientists to leave the realm of established facts every once in a while and allow themselves to speculate freely, or as you say, to live in a fantasy world for a while. It doesn’t hurt and it can be creative. And – it’s a world where KiwiPhil and you and I and Einstein can meet on an equal basis. We might not want to build a house there but it sure is worth visiting. I can recommend it

  11. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by EvilEye View Post
    You have a void. Put a point in that void and call it the universe. If you can see the point, then you are also part of that universe.
    Assuming by void we're talking about non-existence, I would like to see how you would place a point in it.
    Hence what I said earlier, you can not exist in non-existence. Therefore if the universe exists, and it's expanding, then it must be expanding into something.

  12. #42
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    I have always enjoyed listening to Pamela, all the way back to the Slacker's Astronomy days. This episode has to be as much fun as any.

    So if our universe is eaten by another universe with different parameters, what would we see? Would the two sets of parameters average out?

    Seems that the question of what the universe is expanding into comes back to the root question of what started everything. For the Big Bang to have occured there had to be the potential for it to occur. So "where" did that potential exist? Certainly the "where" can not be viewed in terms of the dimensions of our universe because they did not exist.

  13. #43
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    Hi, just wondering why everyone thinks that 'everything' came from the Big Bang?

  14. #44
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    Yes. By saying void.. I meant absolutly nothing.

    Putting a point in "it" was hypothetical.

    If there is nothing, then where do you put the point? Anywhere you wish, because it's all the same. And that is MY point.

  15. #45
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    I'm afraid this explanation is a little too unsatisfying for me. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the reason I've heard most often for there being nothing outside the universe is that everything that we can see is from the Big Bang so we can not know what occured before, therefore we should assume that there is nothing outside. I've just never recieved a good reason to make that assumption.

  16. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by KiwiPhil View Post
    … the reason I've heard most often for there being nothing outside the universe is that everything that we can see is from the Big Bang so we can not know what occured before, therefore we should assume that there is nothing outside. I've just never recieved a good reason to make that assumption.
    That assumption is not forced upon you. The big answer is: We don’t know! Nobody knows!

    Science deals with facts. Facts are established by discovering and measuring that which can be discovered and measured which automatically limits it to the spacetime created by the Big Bang. Outside that, science is completely and utterly useless.

    Are you with me, KiwiPhil?

  17. #47
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    How about this then. The Universe started inside itself. Its creation didn't happen in a where. It CREATED the where.

    The universe isn't like the Earth where there is a clear outer edge (the surface) that you can go away from and go somewhere else in "space".

    The universe incorporates time, and time is bent just like gravity can bend light. The universe folds back onto itself. There is no way to escape it. (short of maybe falling into a supermassive black hole)

    If the universe were like the Earth only larger, then the question would make sense, but it is not, so the question really is moot.

  18. #48
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    I agree that the "where" in terms of what we understand "where" (x,y,x,t) started when the universe started. But as I said in a previous post, there has to have been the potential to create the universe and so where (in an entirely difference sense) did the potential exist. I guess I'm saying that there must have been some sort of potentials space, if you want to call it that.

  19. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by eric_marsh View Post
    I agree that the "where" in terms of what we understand "where" (x,y,x,t) started when the universe started. But as I said in a previous post, there has to have been the potential to create the universe and so where (in an entirely difference sense) did the potential exist. I guess I'm saying that there must have been some sort of potentials space, if you want to call it that.

    We don't know is the best answer but as a goofy guy on a farm I will try my best to explain it in my mind.

    Imagine what it was like before you were born. Not the world and the people that made you. You yourself. There just simply was no you. And then there was.

    There was always the potential for a "you", even from the point of the Big Bang. You are part of it. Every part of you is just as old as the Universe.

    But you didn't exist. And then you did.

    As Frasier and Pamela have said over and over, potential energy doesn't have to have a place. It just extists. Where? Nowhere.

    When that rubber band releases that energy, it is released and all kinds of things (the Universe) can happen.

    You just can't ever ask where that rubber band was. Because it wasn't... it was just potential energy waiting to be released.

    Another way of trying to visualize it in just 3 dimentions is a box that represents everything. Fill it with nothing. Dig a hole in that nothing, climb into the hole, and pull the hole in after you. Then play that backward, and you have the big bang.

  20. #50
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    Ok, let me state this a different way. I definitely believe in the Big Bang. However, I do not believe that the universe started in the Big Bang.

    What reasons are there to believe that 'Time' and 'Space' began at the Big Bang. So far none of your posts have stated the reasons this must be.

  21. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by KiwiPhil View Post
    Ok, let me state this a different way. I definitely believe in the Big Bang. However, I do not believe that the universe started in the Big Bang.

    What reasons are there to believe that 'Time' and 'Space' began at the Big Bang. So far none of your posts have stated the reasons this must be.
    If time and space did NOT originate in the Big Bang there simply was no Big Bang. Einstein gave us all the reasons for that. Why would you believe in an idea that took a hundred or more years to develop and not believe in the results?

    But when we talk about the Big Bang, we talk about our universe, our space and our time. As far as I know no one can prove you wrong (or right) if you claim that the Big Bang occurred inside another spacetime or on a turtles back.

  22. #52
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    The reasons for believing in the Big Bang are that everything that we can see, has been calculated to have come from a single area. There is still no reason to assume that 'Time' and 'Space' did not exist before then.
    All events in our universe should, theoretically, have there ultimate cause in the Big Bang. However I also believe there must be a cause to the Big Bang itself. The fact that everything obeys the idea of cause and effect should still include the Big Bang, as this definitely seems to be an effect.

  23. #53
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    Kiwi... You are looking for evidence before the evidence existed.

  24. #54
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    The assumption that nothing existed also needs evidence.

  25. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by KiwiPhil View Post
    The assumption that nothing existed also needs evidence.
    And if you had evidence of nothing, what would it be?

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    Wouldn't the fact that one had evidence of nothing be evidence of something?
    or
    Would the evidence of nothing negate the evidence of anything... ahh

  27. #57
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    Space is not nothing. Nothing is nothing.

    If you and I are in a void, the only space there is, is between the two of us.

    That space can expand if we move away from one another. If there is only one of us, then there is no space to expand.

  28. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by EvilEye View Post
    Space is not nothing. Nothing is nothing...
    Actually, there is no such thing as 'empty' space in our universe, right?
    As I understand after show 32, everything is full of neutrinos, for a start

    Anyway, I think the core of the problem is that most laymen (and I include myself)
    are still struggling with many of the phenomena of spacetime as we know it

    However, the idea of 'there must be something outside' comes much more natural - even if it does not make any sense scientifically

  29. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by clint View Post
    Actually, there is no such thing as 'empty' space in our universe, right?
    As I understand after show 32, everything is full of neutrinos, for a start

    Anyway, I think the core of the problem is that most laymen (and I include myself)
    are still struggling with many of the phenomena of spacetime as we know it

    However, the idea of 'there must be something outside' comes much more natural - even if it does not make any sense scientifically
    The answer is the same even though I suspect you are approaching it from a "something" point of view, and I am approaching it from a distance perspective.

    Just like you can't have an inside if there is no outside, and you can't have an empty box without a box, you can't have space without distance.

    In a hypothetically perfect void. No mass, no matter, ...perfect nothingness... there would be no measurement. There would be no time, no-'where'.

    We keep trying to picture in our minds a perfect blackness that you could somehow move through.

    But your own existence in that void would...well... void the void.

    Now you have distance, which creates time. And since you are made of atoms, you have space (between the atoms) and time. In physics, you would try to fill that void, so you would be sucked apart and spread infinitely (and equally) throughout the void. And since it is endless, all of your atoms would cause the space between them to expand infinitely, going faster and faster forever and ever.

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    Ok, I get the ... point

    No, seriously, between this last post of yours and the image of the endless paper sheet with a dot on it,
    I think I'm starting to get the idea. Great explanation!

    Quote Originally Posted by EvilEye View Post
    It can be further simplified by taking it down to 2 dimentions. Imagine an endless sheet of paper...
    Last question, using that same image:
    How did the point get onto the paper?
    Doesn't that require some outside event to start it all?

    Even if it's outside our spacetime, maybe from an additional dimension?
    (in the image you use, that would be from the 3rd dimension,
    outside the two dimensions of the endless 2D-paper sheet universe)

    Isn't this - very roughly - how string theory tries to explain the Big Bang, by the way?

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