Bopping with Niall JP O'Leary

Niall O'Leary insists on sharing his hare-brained notions and hysterical emotions. Personal obsessions with cinema, literature, food and alcohol feature regularly.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Sideways Eight

Horizon just did a programme on Infinity. I tend to find Stephen Berkoff a bit of a ham at the best of times, but when they have an actor such as Berkoff present a science show, things tend to become more of a performance piece than any real bit of education. It's usually a sign they have nothing to say.
That was somewhat true of this, though that was more probably the fault of Infinity than anything else; it's too darn difficult to understand any which way you look at it. One mathematician seemed to be espousing a view I gravitate towards, namely that it's just a notion invented by humans, but I kind of suspected his reason would be suspect; he was a mathematician after all, not a philosopher. When he said that when you add one to the largest number it goes back to zero, I knew I was right. This man was an imbecile. His argument boiled down to the fact that it's just crazier to have a notion like Infinity than not to.
Going on to notions of an infinite universe the ideas just got wackier, though none that I couldn't accept in theory and none I hadn't heard before. Okay, so there is an infinite number of me's doing the same things I'm doing infinitely. Not a happy thought (read that ad infinitum). The one positive argument made, and one I've made myself many times (an infinite number of times?), is that we're simply not evolved to comprehend the notion in any instinctual way. We evolved to deal with a finite environment, which is probably why all ideas of God are so fuzzy. There is, however, some scope, I think, for a logical approach to the question of an infinite universe. If all things are possible then the possibility of something preventing all things being possible is possible, though of course the opposite is also true. Indeed counter possibilities are possible ad infinitum. But I bet you can't put a fruit pastille in your mouth without chewing it.


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