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Discussion (24)¬

  1. M27Holts says:

    Aye its big….but infintesimally small compared to the Level IV multiverse and it’s inherant mathematical fundament….

  2. paradoctor says:

    There was a Peanuts cartoon in which Lucy complained about the excessive size of the universe, and Linus asked, “What can we, as individuals, do?”

  3. Shaughn says:

    The universe is as big as it is to encompass human stupidity, ignorance and religiosity.

  4. Tut. Of COURSE it’s not true that they can see only a tiny percentage of it – that’s your Western sciencey blaspheemery right there. They see ALL of it, every scrap. Whatever they can see is all there is, and anything they can’t see doesn’t exist.

    Except Allah/Daddy God that is. You there in the back, put that hand down if you don’t want a smack.

  5. Succubus ov Satan says:

    total hubris – even allowing for the existence of ‘god’ why should all of it be for the benefit of humans – why not for the benefit of the Xigof of Aalgorto 3 in Galaxy xxm or even merely for the personal benefit of ‘god’ itself

  6. Len says:

    @Shaughn: That explains why it’s still expanding.

  7. henry ford says:

    Isn’t it all in a grain of sand? I seem to remember reading that somewhere.

  8. Dave says:

    What’s a waste of space, the rest of the universe, or “God’s holy word”?

    And on an irrelevant (and of course irreverent) note:

  9. postdoggerel says:

    It took less than an hour to make the atoms, a few hundred million years to make the stars and planets, but five billion years to make man! -George Gamow, physicist and cosmologist (4 Mar 1904-1968)

  10. Deimos says:

    According to some clever chaps, nothing exists until it is observed. Then all possibilities collapse to create reality as observed. So other clever chaps who observe further out and older phenomena are actually creating it ?

    Please note that the British term “chaps” does not imply gender or species, it is shortened from “a thoroughly decent and reliable type of fellow”. I am owned by a very splendid Lady cat who I consider a very clever chap.

  11. Donal Feran says:

    postdoggerel is smart enough to subscribe to AWAD, I see!
    ( going from here to there gave me a feeling of Deja Vu all over again ;^)

  12. M27Holts says:

    Deimos, apart from telling us about your pussy stroking penchance…Only some physicists back the copengagen interpretation. I think there is a physical universe that is independant of observers. Yes, the tree still makes a sound if it falls in a forest devoid of entities who can detect sound waves. Hubris denies the truth in most cases, even in the trained minds of scientists….i’m for the MUH…just finished the book and it has convinced me…

  13. M27Holts says:


  14. Postdoggerel says:

    It was when Frank Loesser saw a naked lady with a tattoo of the world on her body that he was inspired to write the song “beautiful, beautiful Copenhagen”.

  15. Page Turner says:

    omg, i just noticed that mo and jesus sleep in the same bed. Asserting that they’re both gay will make the jee-ziss freaks irritated and the islam-ick people FURIOUS!

    God, this strip keeps getting better!

  16. Donn says:

    nothing exists until it is observed

    What does “observe” mean? Specifically, is there any aspect of “observe” that transcends the physical reality that we treat with ordinary scientific analysis? If it’s just a sequence physical phenomena involving photoreceptor chemistry, neural electrochemical signaling etc., then no, right? and from an objective point of view, the external implications of observing a star’s visible light are of no more significance than that light’s collision with galactic dust.

  17. Laripu says:

    The word “exists” is exceptionally tricky. Think of the differences in meaning (or in the meaning one attempts to impart) between the following: 1. “That chair exists.” 2. “The square root of 2 exists.” 3. “The universe exists.” 4. “God exists.”

    Sentences 3 and 4 are meaningless but we’re fooled into thinking they mean something because they’re grammatical. A different, funny example is “I have a pain in your knee”. (Cribbed from Quine.)

    The way we learn the meaning of a word is by seeing/hearing multiple examples of the word on the same context; we abstract out understanding from the multiple examples. In the case of “god” or “the universe”, the contexts each have only a single example. So the word “exists” can’t be understood in those contexts. We can’t abstract out meaning from the use in only one case, in those contexts.

    So… if we can’t even understand “the universe exists”, the discussion of whether it exists independently of observers or whether it consists only of mathematics are bound to be a kind of nonsense that only bad philosophy can create. The kind where I have a pain in your knee.

    The above doesn’t preclude science about objects and events within the universe: those are not unique. Black holes and quanta are fair game. Galaxies and one dimensional strings. Geometry, algebra, and feelings. All worthy topics.

    Whether or not anything exists, there are some fundamental truths that come from your own qualia: you will experience some pleasure and some suffering. It’s just practical to live in a way that increases one and diminishes the other. That’s true no matter what sophistries we debate. Good luck to us all in our inevitable defeat.

  18. Donn says:

    OK. It seems to me some Buddhist traditions take on that question of different types of existence, and likely there’s some western philosophy on it as well if you’re interested, but seems to me like kind of changing the subject, as I don’t see that anyone brought up that proposition “the universe exists” prior to yourself. The question is indeed about the existence of objects and events, and whether those existences depend on observation or not.

    I was going to say “our observation”, but I guess that, assuming there are entities unknown to us far away among the stars, their reality would be among the things that are contingent on our perception. Which makes me wonder, suppose ancient observatories in Africa catalogued the southern hemisphere night sky in some detail … did those celestial bodies exist and also not exist, because the Greeks couldn’t see them?

    Anyway, to me it’s starting to look like a distinction without a difference. In no case am I aware of anything that sprang into existence when first perceived, without a history of apparently having previously existed. I mean, of course we would also have to be able to perceive evidences of that history etc., but my point is that we observe new things all the time, and expect all those things to fit into a consistent historical framework. If the newly discovered phenomenon is then created along with its past, then I really don’t care – it’s the same to all intents and purposes.

  19. Donn says:

    As for “god exists”, quite agree, and that’s why I don’t see that as really a question. To sort out the unbelievers, the question is “soul exists.” That seems like a somewhat meaningful question, and as far as I know coincides 100% with religious faith. If you’re an atheist who thinks you have a soul, then you’re kidding yourself on one point or the other.

  20. Son of Glenner says:

    Donn: So I’m not allowed to enjoy listening to Aretha Franklin and Nina Simone?

  21. Laripu says:

    Donn, I brought up “the universe exists”as a meaningless sentence because M27Holts had mentioned Tegmark’s MUH. First of all, that’s probably meaningless and secondly unverifiable / unfalsifiable. I brought up qualia because even if MUH is somehow true, it makes no practical difference to us.

    I agree that I don’t have a “soul” i.e. a thing that somehow survives death and “goes” to heaven. But I do have a personality, which as an idea, is kind of equally amorphous but still identifiable to people who know me.

    Unlike a “soul”, it doesn’t go to heaven. But there’s a similarity: the religious people might think that god can recognize you by your soul; I think people can recognize others by their personality.

    Your could you tell? Talk to someone remotely without an image, with them using a voice scrambler – like we see occasionally on TV. I’d bet that after a short, harmless conversation, you’d know whether they were a close friend. You’d know them by their personality.

    So maybe “soul” is a silly generalization of personality. I’m 100% certain I have a personality. It only “survives” death as memories, in people who got to know me during life.

    In MUH, or personalities (and everything else) are composed of mathematics. To me that seems like an assertion as silly as “God exists”.

  22. postdoggerel says:

    “Mathematics is the language with which God has written the universe.”
    – Galileo Galilei

    “What I am going to tell you about is what we teach our physics students in the third or fourth year of graduate school… It is my task to convince you not to turn away because you don’t understand it. You see my physics students don’t understand it… That is because I don’t understand it. Nobody does.
    [Quantum mechanics] describes nature as absurd from the point of view of common sense. And yet it fully agrees with experiment. So I hope you can accept nature as She is – absurd.”
    – Richard P. Feynman

  23. Rrr says:

    Laripu asks: How ” could you tell? Talk to someone remotely without an image, with them using a voice scrambler – like we see occasionally on TV. I’d bet that after a short, harmless conversation, you’d know whether they were a close friend. You’d know them by their personality. ”
    Similar to text conversations on the Internet I guess.

  24. M27Holts says:

    Hm. How many questions…like the replicant sniffer, depending on how many personal questions you could ask. What if you could only ask questions rendered to you from a set of random questions, all of them quite generalised as to apply to millions of individuals…you may never guess especially if you told that you may not know the person at all…since its clearly easier picking from the pool of those people you know…..several magnitudes easier…


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