# Can "Infinity" ever be more than a mathematical abstraction?

Discussion in 'Physics & Math' started by Seattle, Jun 24, 2018.

1. ### SpeakpigeonValued Senior Member

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You're not making sense.
At best, it might be a non-sequitur, but I would need to understand what you say to decide.
EB

3. ### Write4UValued Senior Member

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I use the common denominator present in all of the definitions, applicable to all subjects that involve a process and a method of processing. Input---->Function---->Output

5. ### NotEinsteinValued Senior Member

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Yeah, I some months ago had a long, long discussion with Write4U where I reached this conclusion too. Write4U just doesn't seem interested in clear communication; he's appears content with purposefully making people misinterpret him.

7. ### Write4UValued Senior Member

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So you disagree with Ellis also? ok.

Last edited: Jun 29, 2018
8. ### NotEinsteinValued Senior Member

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So you were lying: you were not using any of the definitions on the list, you made up your own.

9. ### SpeakpigeonValued Senior Member

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That's where the confusion will inevitably happen. The different definitions of a word you'll find in a dictionary are always context-dependent. Each definition applies to a particular context. It appears you're frequently using some words with the wrong definition given the the context of the discussion. The idea of a function in maths isn't the same as the idea of a function in medicine or in everyday talk.
What you do could conceivably be justified. What isn't justified is that you should do it without warning. Hence the confusion. If you have good reasons to think that the word "function" should be used wherever we would use instead the word "work" or "process", you should explain yourself by providing a justification for you choice. But there's already a difficult here since obviously it wouldn't be practical at all to do that in the middle of a discussion. The only practical way to do it would be to start a thread about it. But you'd need to understand first what you're doing exactly and be prepared to argue your point. And you would also need to be able to use words in the normal way to argue your point. You should understand at least that you can't use a language that's foreign to the people you want to have a conversation with.
EB

10. ### SpeakpigeonValued Senior Member

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I didn't say that. I said you didn't make sense.
It seems you're also playing fast and loose with your interpretation of what people say. That can't help.
EB

11. ### Write4UValued Senior Member

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Give me an example of a clear communication which describes a function. I am eager to learn, but critique without correction is not very useful is it?
Lying? Why the need for ad hominem?

If you cannot find common denominators in the various definitions of a word, then indeed it may seem that I making things up, but I am not really. Seems to me that your problem is you cannot think in the abstract and that you need everything spelled out.

Sorry, but I can't spare the time to study physics. You need not read or respond to my posts. There are others who seem to be able to understand the gist of my posits and can respond to my propositions, which I always gratefully acknowledge and respond to in turn.

12. ### SpeakpigeonValued Senior Member

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You don't have to choose anything. Pick a place at random and see what happens. Presumably, it will either do something and start to move or it won't do anything and stay put. The general principle doesn't change. The tape is infinite but the machine needs not move at all, or not much.
I don't understand.
More degrees of freedom. If it's infinite in one direction only, then the thing can't go in the other direction. If it tries to go beyond the limit then it will move out of the tape and probably stop doing any much. At least it won't be able to come back to read the tape, presumably, although a human being could do just that.
I would have thought all that fairly obvious myself. Maybe I misunderstand your question.
EB

13. ### Write4UValued Senior Member

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Listen to Ellis! See Q-reeus post # 4. He specifically mentions that divisions of infinity leads to exact copies of each division, because they all are infinite and contain all the information of the original infinity.
In addition , Bohm speaks of a Holonomy.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holomovement#The_law_of_the_holomovement:_Holonomy

Hence my question if this indicates some kind of self-similar fractal function.

Last edited: Jun 29, 2018
14. ### SpeakpigeonValued Senior Member

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He also said:
Do you think our physical world is an abstract mathematical structure?
Yes it is literally unreasonable if taken literally. Given that we can only use words to talk about the physical world, you may just as well ask whether the physical world may have word-like properties. Or given that we see the physical world as patterns of colours, you may just as well ask whether the physical world may have colour-like properties.
There's no possible answer to this sort of questions. You can go on all your life wondering about these without ever getting any definitive and sensible answer.
Seems more like a let's-waste-our-time strategy.
You would need to be able to explain why that would help. Given the remarkable progress already made by science, it's really unclear why that would help at all.
That's irrelevant.
You seem unable to stick to the point. You can't refrain from making irrelevant remarks. That also doesn't help.
EB

15. ### SpeakpigeonValued Senior Member

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No, I'm not going to be able to have any conversation with Ellis so I'm not interested just listening to what he says.
My position may well be contrary and even contradictory with that of Ellis but I didn't say that I disagreed with him as you claimed. You keep playing fast and loose with what people say and that creates confusion. You need to tidy up your language.
That's irrelevant. You claimed I had said I disagreed with Ellis. I didn't. Try to concentrate.
There's no logical reason that continuously dividing a continuous space leads necessarily to repetition. It's only if you make very specific assumptions that you'll end up inevitably with repetition. So, you would need first to prove that these assumptions are all true. And that's a very tall order.
EB

16. ### SpeakpigeonValued Senior Member

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There's no logical reason that infinity could not possibly exist in reality. People make assumptions and from those they deduce that infinity couldn't exist. That's very different. They would need to prove first that these assumptions are true of the real world.
EB

17. ### SeattleValued Senior Member

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Why are you guys badgering Write4U about his use of language? I have little problem understanding him and he has already said that English isn't his first language.

Speakpidgeon, you would be easier to comprehend if you would use a few paragraphs from time to time rather than one large run-on paragraph.

NotEinstein, you seem intent only on baiting Write4U rather than actually contributing to the (any) discussion.

18. ### Write4UValued Senior Member

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Yes, I have listened to several of his lectures and to be honest I am a little confused by some of his assertions, but so far I haven't seen or heard anything that I would find disqualifying of his general proposition.
Well, not necessarily. But I would say that you could not build a house without the use of a hammer.
But think about how a bat uses his sound to locate insects. Its is a mathematical function, using sonar pings to accurately create an internal picture of the insect's location and movement. Similar to whales and dolphins.
Bumblebees navigate and find blooming flowers with a mathematical use of infra-red vision. They don't know they do this, they just do it.
I agree. But consider that Lemurs (a distant ancestor) already have a rudimentary sense of quantity. They know the difference between more and less, and make choices based on that cognition.
I agree and moreover the universe does not need to know our mathematical system. It merely has to function by some form of mathematics (a human term) which creates specific repeating patterns, which we are able to symbolize. "Natura artis magistra" (nature is the teacher of the arts)
The same as many flowers grow petals in accordance to the Fibonacci Sequence (a human term) . Do they know the grow that way? Actually they don't need to know, they just have an evolved growth pattern which forms the Fibonacci Sequence, also known as the Golden Mean and which shows up in spiral Galaxies. IMO, a clear example that the Golden Mean is a cosmic imperative. We have recognized this mathematical imperative and named it after Fibonacci, the scientist who codified it into human maths.
I agree, but we also must acknowledge that our mathematics can be astoundingly accurate in predicting certain events. The Higgs boson was mathematically predicted and the mathematics used in the collider function actually resulted in the appearance of the Higgs particle that had heretofore never been seen or created. Pretty neat trick, if you ask me.
I disagree. On the contrary we have plenty of evidence that our mathematics, the symbolic representations of values and functions, can be astoundingly accurate, as witnessed and expressed by Einstein himself.
Which was Newton's correct assesment of the limitations of his theory, as was later proven.
I agree, all theory starts as a hypothesis and often needs considerable refinement to account for all the enfolded potential values and function in play. But I believe that our mathematics of geometry is pretty accurate.
If a mathematical equation is fundamentally wrong it is usually discovered and usually corrected later by greater knowledge of the scientific community.
Yes, I agree. Tegmark is not claiming truth, he is making a proposition, which prima facie may well have merit and is indirectly supported by other recent hypotheses such as; Causal Dynamical Triangulation (CDT) by Renate Loll., which proposes that the universal fabric itself unfolds in a fractal manner.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Causal_dynamical_triangulation
As will I, these things stir my imagination..

19. ### Write4UValued Senior Member

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If you assume that each division itself is infinite, you will inevitable end up with repetition, IMO

20. ### iceauraValued Senior Member

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The number 2 appears, to me, to exist. It is also that infinite series - that infinite series is the number 2. They are equal to each other, two different ways of writing down the same thing. So if the one exists, so does the other.

I was asking whether the one existed, in the sense of this thread - i.e. as more than a mathematical abstraction.
Have we found the number two in the real world?

21. ### NotEinsteinValued Senior Member

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Take any of the definitions you gave. Those are pretty good examples of clear communication which describes a function.

You said that you look up the definition of words. Turn out, you don't: you look at definitions and then make up your own based on those.

It's not about me being able to find common denominators: it's about using words in the way they are intended/expected to be used.

You literally admitted to making up the definition yourself, so yes, you really are.

No, the problem is that you are making up definitions (without explicitly telling anybody), and are thus unable to communicate what you mean.

If you can't be bothered to invest the effort to learn even the most basics of physics, then why should we take anything you say about physics seriously?

True, but sometimes I want to, so I do.

No, they think they understand them. But since you are using private definitions, they probably don't; they understand something different than what you do.

I'm responding to your propositions just fine, thank you.

And when I point out a serious problem with the way you communicate, you don't? That's a very strange way of trying to learn and grow...

22. ### NotEinsteinValued Senior Member

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Okay then, you explain to me what definition of "function" Write4U is using in post #94, so that it is possible to equate it to "process".

English isn't my first language either, but Write4U never responded to my suggestion to write a couple of things out in his native language.

I'm merely trying to understand what Write4U means when he uses the word “function”. I've tried to understand his usage of the word for many months (in a different thread), but he was never able to provide a definition he is actually using. And I'm not even talking about a strict definition; just an encompassing description would be fine. If you want to call my insistent attempts to actually understand him “baiting”, then I guess, under that definition of the word, I am.

23. ### SpeakpigeonValued Senior Member

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Opinions are rather irrelevant here.
What you'd need to do is to provide some logical reason based on some known fact.
But, I understand you won't do that.