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I think that in an infinite timeline without a start, if such a timeline could exist, the only way things could work is like this: The only things that can happen are those that already happened an infinite amount of time. Otherwise we would then only answer to the question "How much time have spent before this happened for the first/second/etc... time?" with the answer "an infinite amount of time" leading to the conclusion that it happened after an infinite amount of time, meaning never. In such a timeline, again if it exists, nothing new can happen.

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  • Infinity leads to a bunch of very counter intuitive conclusions (see the story of the infinite hotel for an example). Consider an infinite straight line: each point has infinitely many points on each side, and each point has just has much space on both side than any other, whatever their placement on the line. yet, all points are on the line. The same goes for instants on a timeline: whatever happens at this instant, an infinity of time passed before it. Yet it happens.
    – armand
    Nov 11, 2022 at 8:16
  • You're using math (abstract concept) to state things about infinity that doesn't work in the real world. The infinite hotel would stop for me from the start as such a thing can't happen, and I'm also convinced that we should not do operations/comparisons between infinities if you don't want to find aberrations. I don't understand your example with the infinite straight line and your points, but it also seems related to infinite and geometry and those are concepts that we can't find in the real world either.
    – Gab Daud
    Nov 11, 2022 at 9:07
  • Note that an infinite amount of time is also a concept (I think time is more of a concept IMO) but in this context it would be directly confronted to the reality so it's different.
    – Gab Daud
    Nov 11, 2022 at 9:08
  • You're using math too in your argument, so to be honest I don't really understand your objection. The infinity hotel is just an example of how infinity can be counter intuitive. By using your direct intuition on a problem related to infinity you are just asking for migraines.
    – armand
    Nov 11, 2022 at 10:20
  • Ok, I will clarify my position because I must say that I've expressed it quite badly. There are two kind of math, those that can be applied in the real world (additions, comparisons), and those that can't (infinite hotel, 4th geometrical dimension). What I'm deeply against is the idea that our world can authorize such irrational things. The infinity in our world cannot exist unless in some concept (like time for example). The infinite hotel bring some counter intuitive results because we play with some things we shouldn't.
    – Gab Daud
    Nov 11, 2022 at 16:48

3 Answers 3

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Your question itself is somewhat unclear, but to judge by your subsequent comments it seems to me that you assume that during an infinite interval anything that is possible must happen repeatedly. Why do you suppose that? Consider the set of real numbers- they range from minus infinity to plus infinity but each number occurs only once in the series. Likewise consider an interval of a second- assuming time is continuous, there is an infinite number of points of time in that interval, so by your logic we might associate every one of the infinite instants of time with a possible state of the universe, and we would find that events must repeat themselves because there is an infinite number of states of the in that interval, which is clearly not true.

Now take a simple universe which consists of only two particles coasting inertially a long distance apart- why will they not just coast inertially forever?

Now consider the more general import of the specific counter-examples I have given. What they suggest is that your argument overlooks the possibility that change in the Universe happens continuously and gradually, so that even over an infinite amount of time there is no reason to suppose that any individual event must be repeated.

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  • You should take the number PI as an exemple. If you take a "screenshot" of the universe and convert it to decimal, this huge combination of decimal number will not only be present once in PI but an infinite amount of time. This is how infinity actually works. medium.com/@bodilyrobert/the-universe-is-in-pi-87ff19f20708
    – Gab Daud
    Mar 27, 2023 at 18:55
  • Why is that relevant? Mar 27, 2023 at 20:08
  • Ok let's say this question is really serious. I'm not saying that we are in a bouncing universe even if I really think it is. Anyway if the universe is not bouncing, the universe might indeed works as your set of real numbers, but there would be a lot of problem to solve and one of them I expressed with "How much time have spent before this happened for the first/second/etc... time?" (always in the case of an infinite timeline without a start), problem that I solve with a bouncing universe. If it's bouncing then my analogy with Pi is better than your analogy with real numbers.
    – Gab Daud
    Mar 28, 2023 at 21:15
  • Also this: "there is an infinite number of points of time in that interval" Plank would disagree
    – Gab Daud
    Mar 28, 2023 at 21:25
  • What I'm poorly saying with my bad english is if we are in an infinite timeline without a start then our universe has to be bouncing in order to remain possible. So it's either only one go and time and dimensions came from absolutely nothing (which I cannot conceive at all) or a bouncing cosmology with an infinite timeline and everything always existed somehow. There is no grey zone.
    – Gab Daud
    Mar 28, 2023 at 21:49
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Consider a world which consist of one perfectly random die, eternally being thrown again and again.

Your question is, does a timeline exist, in the set of possible timelines, where a 6 has appeared at most a finite amount of time.

If you randomly select a timeline out of this set, the probability density of hitting one where a 6 appeared at most a finite amount of time will be Zero. But that does not mean the timeline doesn't exist. All timelines with every possible sequence of events exists. If we are talking about infinities, any sufficiently specific set of events we want to "find" in the timelimes will have probability density zero.

=> There are timelines where the die has never faced up with a specific side, but since the die is perfect might come face up in the next throw.

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  • I'm sorry I can't see the link with what I'm saying here....
    – Gab Daud
    Nov 11, 2022 at 16:59
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Reasoning about infinities is unreliable. We can do this sometimes, but we also know that sometimes our classical logic fails. An argument based on infinities, such as yours is, should therefore be highly suspect.

As I noted for a previous question, you are referencing one leg of the Munchausen Trilemma, and declaring that it cannot be a solution to ultimate cause. But ALL THREE legs violate our fallacy criteria, you cannot reject one postulation based on its failing Munchausen. What Munchausen shows, is that our fallacy criteria is what we need to reject, at least in some rare instances. Is the Münchhausen trilemma really a trilemma?

It is not just religions that postulate God existing infinitely, then causing our universe. The widely popular secular cosmology theory of an infinite multiverse also does this. So does the speculation that our universe emerged spontaneously from a time-space probability field. The now discarded Steady State theory did not have an origin, but our present was arrived at thru infinite time.

Self referencing (circularity) is also a secular claim. I have read secular apologists asserting that the universe can be as reasonably assumed to be as self-caused as God is.

Abandoning causation is another secular solution. I have read secular apologists who assert our universe is just a Brute Fact and needs no explanation (IE cause).

All three legs of Munchausen are in play, among both the secular and the religious. And none of the three can be rejected out of hand by your infinity based argument.

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  • Ok so this time I have searched a bit more about your Munchausen trilemna, didn't got it all but it seems to glorify a bit too much the skepticism... Not my cup of tea. I've been talking to some people that for example might think that something can have something else than no origin or an origin, because there might be an alternative and we should be skeptic about it. The problem is when we put too much uncertainty at the expanse of basic common sense in the equation. This is not leading us in a good direction if some scientists claim irrational things could happen because we don't know....
    – Gab Daud
    Nov 11, 2022 at 17:13
  • Also reasoning about infinities is unreliable because as I said in the comments of my question, we shouldn't reason about infinities when it's not rational. For example, trying to compare the sum of two infinities groups like {n, n+1, n+2, n+3...) and {n, n+2, n+4, n+6...} makes no sense, trying to build an infinite hotel makes no sense, talking about an infinite timeline in the other end makes totally sense.
    – Gab Daud
    Nov 11, 2022 at 17:21
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    @GabDaud -- your repeated rejection of demonstrated fact (Munchausen Trilemma, infinitude of math, infinitude of logic) because you do not like the consequences for your worldview is a rejection of reason.
    – Dcleve
    Nov 11, 2022 at 18:16
  • That's not because I don't like the consequences, the real reject of reason is over skepticism from my point of view. The infinitude of logic, you didn't show me anything but a cover of some book, I need more evidence. I won't change my mind just because you asked so. The infinitude of math, I'm not sure what you want to say, that there are an infinite amount of way to do addition laws?
    – Gab Daud
    Nov 11, 2022 at 19:22
  • "your repeated rejection of demonstrated fact " coming from someone who speak about Munchausen Trilemna, that says nothing can be a demonstrated fact... Isn't it a bit ironic?
    – Gab Daud
    Nov 11, 2022 at 19:30

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