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Does the universe allow for paradoxes?

  1. Yes

    8 vote(s)
  2. No

    3 vote(s)
  1. Mar 18, 2003 #1
    Please give the reason for your choices.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 18, 2003 #2
    I suppose I'll set the example, in showing the reason for our choices:

    I picked "no", because I have always seen the universe as governed by a set of laws (hence the possibility of a T.O.E.). If it is governed by a set of laws, then the propositions that make up those laws, could not contradict each other (IMO) or else we'd be able to break the so-called "laws". A conclusion that is based on contradictory propositions is a paradox.
  4. Mar 18, 2003 #3
    Alright, it appears that someone has already broken the rule .

    Please, include the reason for voting as you do.
  5. Mar 18, 2003 #4
    I voted 'no'. Obviously I cannot know this with 100% certainty but so far no one has shown an existing paradox outside of word games. And whenever one is found, it turns out to only be paradoxical because of a lack of information. Once more information is obtained, the paradox disappears.
  6. Mar 18, 2003 #5


    User Avatar

    from whatis.com.
    From the second definition, it is pretty clear that paradoxes do exist. Indeed, this definition is that used by much of science - see eg. the twins paradox.
    The first definition is more interesting. We may never know, as this is a question that extends beyond evidence. However, it is likely that our sense of logic, evolved as it has to describe the immediately observable world, may place as paradoxes things that are actually true. Eg. Schrodinger's cat.
    If a paradox exists only as long as it cannot be solved, does it still exist is another question Flipton's post raises. Since we will never know everything, there will always be an apparent paradox just over the horizon.
    Of course, there may well be other universes with laws that directly contradict ours... does that count?
    How about a maybe option?
  7. Mar 18, 2003 #6
    I chose yes. For FZ+'s very reason. Also because there will always be something that is wierd, so to speak. I'm thinking of the grandfather paradox. Anyone could make a paradoxical scenario, that could very well be possible by combining multiple histories.
  8. Mar 18, 2003 #7
    I said no because I asumed you are talking about a physical manifestation of paradox in which real laws of physics are completely parrallel to one another and defy the laws.

    However I reconize that paradox's can live in concept (imagination). But again I believe "paradox" is a lame excuse for not knowing or trying to know.
  9. Mar 18, 2003 #8
    No an infinite number of nothings does not equal 1. An infinite number of 1/infinity = 1. 1/infinity does NOT = zero.
  10. Mar 18, 2003 #9
    So what does it equal? Is it undefined?
  11. Mar 18, 2003 #10
    1/0 and 1/[oo] are undefined. There is no mathematical definition for them because, well, of the paradoxes you speek of. As you said, infinity is a concept not a number, which is why you can't perform these operations on it. In other words, this sounds like a paradox of the mind. The mind or any rules created by it just may not be capable of completely understanding concepts like infinity.
  12. Mar 19, 2003 #11
    Whenever observers observe themselves or the universe which contains them, or their very observations influence an object, such situations involve subjective paradox.

    Paradox often associates with insight, paradoxically.
  13. Mar 19, 2003 #12

    Sorry, I didn't think it needed any explanation. It's just simple math to me. But you have said something in this latest post that you didn't really say in the first one....

    You're saying here that infinity = an infinite number of zero's. Thats not how I interpret the word "infinity" when used in a mathematical sense. Infinity is the ever increasing number series.
    1/1 = 1 and 1/2 = .5 The denominator can continue on to infinity and the answer will continue to decrease getting closer and closer to zero for infinity. It will never reach zero. "Infinity" is a concept and is not really a number so the phrase 1/infinity doesn't really mean anything except to go through the exercise I did above.

    And by the way...1 divided by 0 is not 0. It is "undefined" Put it in your calculator and see :smile:
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2003
  14. Mar 19, 2003 #13
    I've never seen a calculator that said positive infinity when I divided by 0.

    multiply both sides by 0:
    divide both sides by infinity:

    OK, that's all welll and good, but:



    Uh, no. The concept of infinity just can't be used like that.

    What was all that stuff you wrote at the bottom of your last post. It's completely contradictory. Where are you getting that 1/0 is 0?
  15. Mar 19, 2003 #14
    its all so "eery", its nonsensical. Maybe that Microsoft calculator you used was built so that whenever you divided anything by 0, it came out to 0 in order to screw the other, less powerful calculator manufacturers in the country.
  16. Mar 19, 2003 #15
    the last time i read anything about this topic the theory was that 1/infinity was equal to an infinitesimal, the 'opposite' of infinity.

    as fliption rightly pointed out infinity is a concept not a number therefore you cannot really hope to get a number when manipulating it, the infinitesimal is just another concept so fits right in.

    that is some crazy math sensei, but i like the idea that infinity might be the key to understanding paradox
  17. Mar 19, 2003 #16
    Does the universe allow for paradoxes?

    This question is its own answer and, thus, a paradox in its own rite. If the universe did not allow for paradoxes you could not ask the question. It is a bit along the lines of asking, "Can I ask a question?" Without supplying a context it is logically meaningless.

    There is an old riddle in physics:

    "What happens when an irresistable force meets an immovable object?"

    The answer is supposidly that an irresistable force can never meet an immovable object because the two cannot exist in the same universe without creating a paradox. Our's is observably a universe of unceasing change and irresistable forces like black holes rather than a static unchanging universe with immovable objects. However, Relativity implies that our universe is static and unchanging.

    A naked singularity is both the irresistable force and the immovable object. A magical thing that is no-thing. It may well be that a naked singularity is also just another way to describe the paradox of existence.
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2003
  18. Mar 19, 2003 #17
    My XP machine calculator says "undefined". My NT calculator say "Cannot divide by zero". All of this math that you are presenting is based on some loose assumption that "undefined" means infinity. The words of a microsoft calculator are insufficient to prove this point. Undefined does not mean 0 or infinity. It means that it is a meaningless exercise.

    Also, infinity does not equal an infinity of zeros. Not if we're going to talk math.

    And lastly, there are all sorts of theories that can be supported by a mathematical model( which we don't even have here). That doesn't make them true. Paradoxes exists due to lack of knowledge and understanding. Paradoxes exists in the mind.
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2003
  19. Mar 19, 2003 #18

    Hmmm I don't see the paradox in either of these questions.

    In this one I do. But does it really exists? Thats the question of the thread and I have speculated it does not. Point to an instance of it and I'll point you to something that you most likely lack information on.
  20. Mar 19, 2003 #19
    And lastly, there are all sorts of theories that can be supported by a mathematical model( which we don't even have here). That doesn't make them true. Paradoxes exists due to lack of knowledge and understanding. Paradoxes exists in the mind. [/B][/QUOTE]

    I concurr.
  21. Mar 19, 2003 #20
    The universe may have it in it to think of all types of possible paradoxes that could acure under the right circumstances,but have you ever seen one can you prove they can happen,does logic say they must not exist to be dont or anyone could destroy the universe if they so chosed.would'nt the universe in it design be created perfect as we see it,never to allow such a thing to happen ,unless the universe what create by design to be destroy by its own creations if they so chosed.I think not,but paradoxes are fun to think about,thats all they ever will be,unless you would like to prove one could happen by youself,like proving relativity.but if you dont do it because what would happen and not one else trys because there not stupid either,no one will ever know if they can happen ever,so you will never prove they can,I think that ends this cvonversation!
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