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Posers and Puzzles

Posers and Puzzles

  1. 14 May '06 01:35
    Not so much a riddle, or puzzle, but I was watching TV today, and in Doctor Who I think it was they brought up the old sci-fi favourite of parallel universes. Though all the ‘parallel’ universes that I can think of in sci-fi are far from parallel, the definition of parallel being two lines that stay uni-distant from each other and never, ever, ever cross. Though ‘parallel’ universes in sci-fi usually stem from a sort of ‘what-if’ premise, like what if dinosaurs were never wiped out, or what if the Nazis won the Second World War. The two universes share a point in time where everything was the same for both of them, and from that point they become increasingly different, surely making them more of a fork-universe. A thought has just come to me, perhaps they are called parallel universes because they never come into direct contact with each other, but then this is also a fallacy, because the very nature of the one of the characters from ‘our’ universe being in the ‘parallel’ universe means that they have just met, meaning that surely they were never parallel in the first place. Anyway as no one I know would listen to me I thought that someone out there might have an opinion on the matter.
  2. 14 May '06 04:10
    I never thought of it that way, but you are right, they are not true "parallel" universes. The idea of a 'parallel' universe is that it branches out from a common point, but also collapses back into the 'main' universe shortly thereafter. In fact, the premise is that parallel universes do not exist for very long at all (except of course in sci-fi).

    Maybe the nomeclature of 'parallel' is more of a piece of the universe rather than a continuum. Maybe that is why they only exist for such short periods of time because the parallel nature can only be maintained for such a short period before they either have to collapse together or diverge wildly?

    Hmmm...
  3. 14 May '06 13:28
    I was not aware that 'parallel' universes are said to collapse back into the main universe, I always assumed they just got more and more different, like Daniel Dennett's two separate minds in his short philosophical story "Where am I?" from the collection "The Mind's I". (If you want to read the story, and a damn fine one it is at that I found a link to it: http://www.newbanner.com/SecHumSCM/WhereAmI.html ) where one minor effect snowballs until the world changes completely.

    Though this still has little bearing on the word parallel being misplaced in this term. Although if, say, each parallel universe was an identical universe on another "plain" which was the same until a certain point, then I guess that might be considered truly parallel, though as I interpret it, this isn't the claim. Though as I am not entirely sure, I am prepared to be wrong on that count. But this identical universes suddenly changing would directly contravene determinism, which I begrudgingly accept as a fairly likely outcome given I'm an atheist, and science, as we understand it at the moment at least, gives us no leeway.
  4. 14 May '06 13:58
    The question might be: "How can parallel universes exist?" What is the change and how can the two universes continue equidistant for all time? This seems unlikely because of the buttefly effect, even a small change will eventually ripple into larger changes.

    A good usage of the idea of parallel universes is Robert J. Sawyer's "Hominids" series (Hominids, Humans and Hybrids)... although I find he is an interesting read, his books could all be about 150 pages shorter without losing anything whatsoever.
  5. 14 May '06 14:50 / 1 edit
    I think that critique (shorter book) can be levelled at a lot of authors. Though I think we, or at least I have drifted off point a bit, my original grievance was with the naming of parallel universes as parallel. As although not one of my strongest areas of expertise, I'd say that actual parallel universes are highly unlikely, like most fiction.

    Though you mentioned the butterfly/chaos/whatever you want to call it effect. I reckon, and again, pure speculation, that IF one or more parallel universes existed, AND all of the universes had the exact same start point, due to the likelihood of determinism all of the different universes would end up exactly the same anyway. It'd be a good experiment if you could pull it off, I'd quite like determinism to be incorrect. I like the thought that I can (theoretically) do what I wish. In the fullest sense, just to know that I chose red on the roulette table because I wanted to, not because I'm a physical object essentially destined to do what mistress physics wishes.

    Just out of interest is there actually any scientific reasoning behind the concept of parallel universes, or do they purely exist so that sci-fi directors can use half a cast of actors to do all the parts? I mean I'd assume that if there was any scientific reasoning behind parallel universes it'd be rather tenuous, but is there anything more than just an idea. AHEM bit like God AHEM
  6. 14 May '06 15:05
    I seem to recall reading somewhere (but I cannot remember where), that they actually PROVED the existence of multiple (I'll avoid the word parallel, which I think is flawed... although I hadn't considered the determinism aspect) universes. The universe was created and then collapesed back into itself. I think it is part of the Superstring theory (something to do with the letter M), but I hope my memory is not of a sci-fi book which is definately where this occurs frequently.
  7. 14 May '06 16:02
    I'm glad that someone accepted my idea. Huzzah for making a difference (however small). Your recollection of another universe, is that not just the big bang/big crush cycle, no two universes would have actually coexisted.

    By that I mean that at the moment it seems likely that either the universe will continue expanding, a-la red shift, or it will collapse in the big crush under the weight of its own gravity. Assuming the big crush option, there is no reason why this cycle hasn't happened infinite times before.

    Makes me feel smaller and more insignificant than normal. Even so, I wouldn't call a universe that existed before us a "parallel" universe, though maybe that’s because I always assumed that they existed at the same time. Although, if all time is just an illusion, and has the potential to be moved through in different ways, then there is no reason why this shouldn't be a "parallel" universe. I'd call it a "series universe", but that just doesn't quite have the pizzazz does it?
  8. 14 May '06 17:05
    I wasn't refering to Bang/Crush. My recollection is that they did something with the spin of atoms and found out some proof of split and re-integrated universes.

    And about your infinite cycles, in the book Calculating God (also by Robert J Swayer - and don't let the title fool you, it is not religious in any meaningful way) the hypothesis is that we are in the 8th cycle of the universe.
  9. 14 May '06 19:22
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/elegant/

    http://www.biblicalcreation.org/scientific_issues/bcs118.html
  10. Subscriber sonhouse
    Fast and Curious
    16 May '06 02:15
    Originally posted by Gastel
    I wasn't refering to Bang/Crush. My recollection is that they did something with the spin of atoms and found out some proof of split and re-integrated universes.

    And about your infinite cycles, in the book Calculating God (also by Robert J Swayer - and don't let the title fool you, it is not religious in any meaningful way) the hypothesis is that we are in the 8th cycle of the universe.
    One idea of parallel universe is more of a daughter universe where a parent clones off and two universes are born from the old but the laws of physics are slightly differant from parent to offspring so if there are two offsprings they could have extremely close paths. I don't see how it would be close, it would seem to me the two would have to have differant fluctuations leading to a totally differant order of galaxy formation, for instance. The Sawyer Hominid series postulates an exactl clone that only diverges with the birth of intelligence which happen at differant times in each one and you assume one is say, in our universe, of 4 dimensions but the parallel one in dimension 5,6,and 7 plus time so they would not knock into each other. If the current string/membrane theory is correct or even close, it is a possiblity because those theories postulate or even require 10 or 11 dimensions which would give room even for another non-interacting set of universes! I emailed Mr Sawyer and we talked about such things, I imagined a variation of his theme where when the intelligence that split the two univeses into two paths in his book, in my setting, that birth of intelligence caused the two universes to BLEND into each other where a third kind of universe is born with a mixture of characteristics of both. He liked that idea.
  11. 16 May '06 11:37
    Is there any instance where these universes (or at least a few particles of each) could meet? Also, if there are seperate laws of physics, however small, surely the seperate universes woudl end up being completely different. Not only that but if physics could be different in another universe does that give scope for the laws of physics to change in this universe? I'm not sure I like the idea of that. Well untill the next time I fall out of a plane with no parachute.
  12. 16 May '06 22:25
    Originally posted by thespacemonkey
    Is there any instance where these universes (or at least a few particles of each) could meet? Also, if there are seperate laws of physics, however small, surely the seperate universes woudl end up being completely different. Not only that but if physics could be different in another universe does that give scope for the laws of physics to change in th ...[text shortened]... ure I like the idea of that. Well untill the next time I fall out of a plane with no parachute.
    The NEXT time??? Does this explain anything? (LOL)
  13. Subscriber sonhouse
    Fast and Curious
    18 May '06 00:49
    Originally posted by Gastel
    The NEXT time??? Does this explain anything? (LOL)
    Maybe he's getting good at it now that he has done it ten times already.....
  14. 18 May '06 00:50
    www.earthprime.com
  15. 18 May '06 01:19
    *Eyes Rolling* That was the WORST show and made even more so because it replaced the best show 'Strange Luck'.