Tuesday, November 11, 2008
"...world without end..."
<--The Flammerion Woodcut
As posted in Wikipedia and other online blogs, I have noticed a disturbing trend. This trend is to re-impose a finite nature upon an infinite cosmos (or rather omniverse.) SO, you might say that this is my opinion, and you would be right, to some degree. It has been the wisdom of the ages that has taught us that the world is finite, but the heavens are infinite. Ancient Greek astronomers theorized that the heavens had no bounds, the Egyptians and Sumerians concurred. Anaxagorus an early Greek cosmologist believed in a universe without end, filled with all manner of strange and wonderful objects. Logic dictates that there cannot be an "End" to that which exists. Today physicists point to a finite, (possibly expanding) universe but a they are quick to point out that it may exist within a sea of other universes (what we now refer to as the "omniverse.") Like the ancient question of the spear thrower, where would the end fall, that there would not be some other outside point, reachable just beyond that space?
"And so I'll follow on, and whereso'er thou set the extreme coasts, I'll query, "what becomes thereafter of thy spear?" 'Twill come to pass that nowhere can a world's-end be, and that the chance for further ight prolongs forever the flight itself." Lucretius (98?-55? BC), De Rerum Natura
"There are innumerable worlds of different sizes. In some there is neither sun nor moon, in others they are larger than in ours and others have more than one. These worlds are at irregular distances, more in one direction and less in another, and some are flourishing, others declining. Here they come into being, there they die, and they are destroyed by collision with one another. Some of the worlds have no animal or vegetable life nor any water." Democritus according to Hippolytus, Refutation of the Heresies I 13 2, in Diels and Kranz, Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker, vol. 2, section 68 A 40, p. 94. Translation from Guthrie, A History of Greek Philosophy, vol. 2, p. 405.
I would challenge anyone of sufficient mind, put yourself to the task, where is the logic (given the universe and the world around us) for a finite bubble of a universe floating in absolutely nothing in all directions, ad infinitum? Do we not see that this kind of thinking has no more value than a flat earth with its orbiting sun and stars? Everywhere and every time that we search (what appears to be an empty-space in our sky,) we find staring back an endless sea of stars, teeming no doubt with all manner of strange entities and objects.
"To consider the Earth as the only populated world in infinite space is as absurd as to assert that in an entire field of millet, only one grain will grow." -Metrodorus of Chios
Well, maybe after all the space outside of the universe is filled with Wal-Mart bags, chunks of loose Styrofoam and packing peanuts, courtesy of FedEx.