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    (Original post by diving_queen)
    Its only meaningless because you and others don't or won't understand it. It is entirely meaningful if you really think about it.

    Your statements simply prove that we as a species cannot understand 'nothing' because we have to have 'something'

    Ok rather than using the word 'nothing' as you rightly said it isn't really an entity let's use the word 'wibble'. 'Wibble' lies outside of our minds. The universe (I believe) is expanding into wibble. Therefore what is wibble?

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    Rowan Atkinson. I love you.
    Whether I understand a proposition or not does not alter its meaningfulness. A proposition has a meaning if the words correspond to concepts; I could fail to understand one if I lacked the concepts in question due to, say, defective sense organs, or if I simply didn't think carefully enough about it to see how the concepts can be combined. So long as it all the words still corresponded to concepts possessed by at least some people, it would be quite wrong to call it 'meaningless'.

    Since there is no entity 'nothing', there is no understanding of 'nothing'; since there is no understanding of 'nothing', there is no concept of nothing. Using the word 'nothing' in a sentence renders that sentence meaningless in the same way that using the word 'wibble' would.

    Producing a bunch of meaningless propositions doesn't make the words used any more meaningful. 'Wibble' isn't anything.
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    (Original post by diving_queen)
    I will first admit my level of physics doesn't go beyond AS and I did very poorly.

    The concept of 'nothing' will of course baffle a man of physics. Scientists have to have an explanation for everything. 'Nothing' doesnt exist. Literally because its 'nothing'. The second we quantify nothing is becomes something. The point of this whole thread! We as a species can simply not understand the possibility of 'nothing' because we must name it.

    As a physics post grad what do you believe lies past the 'edge of our universe?'. How can you explain the 'space' its growing into?
    If I'm being honest, it's not really the branch of physics I'm involved in - I only did one semester of cosmology as an undergrad so I'm no expert on any of these "beyond the edge of the universe" theories, but you're right, I am baffled. I can't think of a reason for it to be a useful thing to figure out, how it could ever be tested, or if the idea even makes any sense. Or, maybe I'm being very ignorant and wrong here. Or maybe there's some sort of static super-space that our expanding universe is contained within. Or, maybe it's just another one of these brain-twisting things that the human mind isn't capable of grasping, like picturing 4-dimensional objects or infinity or derren brown.
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    (Original post by alphabet)
    would it be fair to say physics is full of inconsistencies?
    I wouldn't say that in general. There are a few things that haven't yet been reconciled with each other, but at it's foundation there are solid theories that work without violating each other. When a new idea is thought of, it's checked for consistency with all of the established & accepted theories to see if anything we are theoretically & experimentally convinced of is being violated. That's where the real elegance/power of the subject is I think. What helps is that it's heavily rooted in mathematics, which is anything but inconsistent.
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    Nothing is something and something can't be nothing so nothing doesn't exist...
    Bah humbug
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    (Original post by POWCATTY)
    well surely this question is exactly what physicists are trying to figure out? but rather than use maths (coz we dont know any lol) youve just got to think 'outside of the box' - get it might the answer to what is outside the universe answer everything? then again, it could answer nothing but the question however i doubt that.
    As far as I'm aware (and I could be wrong) this isn't a major subject of interest/research because
    a) how would you research it, and
    b) I'm not aware of anything physicists are trying to understand that depends on knowing this answer.
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    (Original post by SwingOnTheSpiral88)
    If I'm being honest, it's not really the branch of physics I'm involved in - I only did one semester of cosmology as an undergrad so I'm no expert on any of these "beyond the edge of the universe" theories, but you're right, I am baffled. I can't think of a reason for it to be a useful thing to figure out, how it could ever be tested, or if the idea even makes any sense. Or, maybe I'm being very ignorant and wrong here. Or maybe there's some sort of static super-space that our expanding universe is contained within. Or, maybe it's just another one of these brain-twisting things that the human mind isn't capable of grasping, like picturing 4-dimensional objects or infinity or derren brown.
    There is no use figuring it out I've just always found the concept of the existence of 'nothing' fascinating and thought it would make an interesting thread!

    We are many years away from testing this out. What I find amusing (and a slightly different point...) is that people dedicate so much time trying to communicate with aliens when we can't even talk to our own carbon-based 'siblings' animals. We havent got a hope in hell talking to beings from another planet until we have the technology to converse with all of our own.

    4 dimensions is fascinating, but scientists believe there is as many as 11. Now that is mind boggling!
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    (Original post by danadd9)
    Just as I expect a profound thread that discusses the arguments for/against Taoism and Western concepts of nonbeing, I get three pages of this. Fanks, TSR.
    Elaborate please I know nothing about Taoism and concepts of non-being!
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    Nothing = nothing. Why peopel gotta complicate things. If it's an empty space we call it nothing.

    However some smart-ass will coem and say it's not empty because there's air/particle in it lol

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    Put it this way: space isn't expanding into anything.

    For things to exist in the way we're familiar with, they have to have some sort of spatial extent, so the nothingness outside the universe simply isn't there.

    In any case, received wisdom says the Big Bang took place in some sort of higher-dimensional pre-existing space which the universe can still expand into with no displacement as it's higher-dimensional.
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    (Original post by diving_queen)

    We are many years away from testing this out. What I find amusing (and a slightly different point...) is that people dedicate so much time trying to communicate with aliens when we can't even talk to our own carbon-based 'siblings' animals. We havent got a hope in hell talking to beings from another planet until we have the technology to converse with all of our own.

    This is off-topic and I don't know if you are familiar with this guy, terence mckenna:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6p9tC4_oME

    if you don't know who he sounds bat**** mental at first, but he was (among other things) a psychedelic explorer who believed that by taking DMT he could communicate with a sort of "alien" entity, and that that communication was some way to advance humanity to a new level. It's supposed to be the most mindblowing, surreal experience imaginable. I've not taken it myself so I can't really say how valid the things he says about it are, but it's interesting to hear him discuss that stuff and his other views on the world. He's usually spot on with what he says about other topics, so I'm tempted to take him seriously on this.
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    (Original post by SwingOnTheSpiral88)
    This is off-topic and I don't know if you are familiar with this guy, terence mckenna:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6p9tC4_oME

    if you don't know who he sounds bat**** mental at first, but he was (among other things) a psychedelic explorer who believed that by taking DMT he could communicate with a sort of "alien" entity, and that that communication was some way to advance humanity to a new level. It's supposed to be the most mindblowing, surreal experience imaginable. I've not taken it myself so I can't really say how valid the things he says about it are, but it's interesting to hear him discuss that stuff and his other views on the world. He's usually spot on with what he says about other topics, so I'm tempted to take him seriously on this.
    Cool stuff, thanks

    Will research him! Was a tad skeptical when the video showed flashy trippy hippy colours and the words DMT but hey. He might be on to something (or simply on something....)
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    (Original post by diving_queen)
    Cool stuff, thanks

    Will research him! Was a tad skeptical when the video showed flashy trippy hippy colours and the words DMT but hey. He might be on to something (or simply on something....)
    this one is good too, I'm listening to this one and he paints a fascinating picture.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bliTmW_85ww&NR=1

    he's got loads of audio and video out there on the net. he talks a hell of a lot of sense when you get past how crazy some things he mentions seem. He only really starts to sound crazy when he talks about things he's experienced that can't be translated into english. Sadly he died a few years back though.
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    (Original post by Dezzer)
    i love these sort of debates :P i think space is never ending and has always been there and always will be there. When people talk about what is space expanding in to doesnt make much sense to me, what is different to the space that space is expanding into and the space that surrounds us and what our universe is in? I hope that makes sense and im getting my point across
    Are you an atheist? That sounds like the way a lot of theists would describe God.
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    Oh dear, can't believe I'm actually posting here. Here goes.

    (Original post by Dezzer)
    i dont think there is any such thing as nothing. if something (eg a space rock or something ) was to drift over the barrier of where space 'ends', would that something not be able to get past that barrier?
    If a seagull were to drift over the barrier of where the Earth's surface 'ends', would it not be able to get past there barrier? Geometries where space can be finite but not have edges are not controversial in maths or physics. Although it's hard to imagine, those don't require an extra dimension to exist (so we can visualise the Earth example because a sphere is one dimension higher than the surface of a sphere, but that doesn't have to be the case for the universe).

    (Original post by diving_queen)
    Outside of the universe exists. It simply has to expand into something

    So there is meaning in 'nothing'. Trying to figure it out
    Something being meaningful doesn't mean it exists. 'Gin' is meaningful, and I can drink it. I could also say 'I have no gin'. 'No gin' is not a thing which exists, but it's still meaningful.

    (Original post by SwingOnTheSpiral88)
    As far as I'm aware (and I could be wrong) this isn't a major subject of interest/research because
    a) how would you research it, and
    b) I'm not aware of anything physicists are trying to understand that depends on knowing this answer.
    The latest experimental study I heard about was someone with the idea that the universe we percieve is a kind of hologram (in the broad sense of higher-dimensional information on a lower-dimensional surface) by looking for 'mistakes' in reality. But physics isn't about practical applications, and knowing more about the nature of reality is as decent a goal as any.

    (Original post by damidude)
    Are you an atheist? That sounds like the way a lot of theists would describe God.
    They're naff theists. Why bother saying you believe in God if what you mean is you believe in something infinite existing? Infinity isn't going to give you a reason to do things or be the creator of your life.
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    (Original post by diving_queen)
    I don't think I am explaining myself very well!

    This topic is very difficult to explain. I shall make it simpler...let's look at the universe like is a growing box... I know growing boxes don't exist but its the only way to explain this. Everything we know and are attempting to understand exists in this box. Our Universe, yes, we barely know about our planet, let alone our solar system and know virtually nothing about the universe but nontheless it exists in this box.

    What I want to know is what is outside the box. The only way to describe it is nothing. Infinite nothingness.

    Why? This is just what I believe. I am all for the BB theory. Therefore logic suggests there must be something (well nothing) outside of our 'box'.

    Does that make more sense...?!
    No. Boxes are only understood as objects within space. The universe by definition incorporates all space. Like I said, think about how space factors into the definition of 'outside'.

    And insisting that the meaningless answer 'nothing' must be the right one for this meaningless question is silly. Face it, a jumble of words that tied together don't mean anything isn't a question and as such it doesn't need an answer.
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    Just going to explain how they know the (approximate) age of the universe. Scientists calculated how fast galaxies are moving apart. When they had this value they reversed the process until they found out how long it has been since the universe was a single point.

    (Assuming a constant expansion speed)



    Ultimately we do not know what the universe is expanding into. It is either expanding into nothing or expanding into space, but that means there would have to be either an infinite amount of space or something else outside that.

    The universe is mind boggling which is what makes it so beautiful.
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    (Original post by dbmag9)
    Oh dear, can't believe I'm actually posting here. Here goes.

    They're naff theists. Why bother saying you believe in God if what you mean is you believe in something infinite existing? Infinity isn't going to give you a reason to do things or be the creator of your life.
    Why bother saying you believe in the infinite when you really mean God? To many theists, and deists it means the same thing. To me as a deist it does. I suppose it's understandable for people to feel like the can connect to the universe through 'the earliest origins' e.g the most ancient texts, and follow them. I suppose to say that infinity (the Alpha and Omega) isn't going to give you any reason to do anything is to deny that there is an ultimate truth to the universe.
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    (Original post by damidude)
    Why bother saying you believe in the infinite when you really mean God? To many theists, and deists it means the same thing. To me as a deist it does. I suppose it's understandable for people to feel like the can connect to the universe through 'the earliest origins' e.g the most ancient texts, and follow them. I suppose to say that infinity (the Alpha and Omega) isn't going to give you any reason to do anything is to deny that there is an ultimate truth to the universe.
    My point is that the important aspects of God are the ones which are to do with us: God created the universe with a purpose (ergo there is a meaning to life), God is the source of goodness (ergo right and wrong exist), God exists on a human level (ergo we can have a personal relationship with God). You can take the 'God exists' part out of that (cf. non-realist faith) and still have something meaningful, but if you leave 'God' and take out all the things that make God important you're left with something of an empty shell. Gravity affects everything in the universe, has existed since its start and will persist until its end, and without it we would not exist. But gravity doesn't give me a reason to do anything: religion is a lot more than just pointing at an infinite.

    But we're getting rather off-topic, not only was that completely unrelated to the thread title, it was also verging on actual philosophy.
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    (Original post by fwed1)
    Just going to explain how they know the (approximate) age of the universe. Scientists calculated how fast galaxies are moving apart. When they had this value they reversed the process until they found out how long it has been since the universe was a single point.

    (Assuming a constant expansion speed)

    Ultimately we do not know what the universe is expanding into. It is either expanding into nothing or expanding into space, but that means there would have to be either an infinite amount of space or something else outside that.

    The universe is mind boggling which is what makes it so beautiful.
    Thanks Very true.
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    (Original post by SwingOnTheSpiral88)
    Please explain. I'm a physics postgrad and I don't see the connection. It just seems like one of these daft airy-fairy questions people just ask for the hell of it, like "does existence exist" or "what's the meaning of life" or whatever.
    The question, for instance, of what is outside the Universe is a similar one to what existed before the Big Bang. It is related to the Universe and our understanding of it, and so I see it as contained within Physics. If we simply replied with "nothing" and I am not saying this is the answer), then we would need to explain whether we meant nothing within space and time, or meant that even space and time were absent. It is important in science to be able to rigorously define what we mean when we say such things.
 
 
 
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