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Thread: The Future of an Expanding Universe

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    The Future of an Expanding Universe

    Observations suggest that the expansion of the universe will continue forever. If so, the universe will cool as it expands, eventually becoming too cold to sustain life. For this reason, this future scenario is popularly called the Big Freeze.

    If dark energy—represented by the cosmological constant, a constant energy density filling space homogeneously, or scalar fields, such as quintessence or moduli, dynamic quantities whose energy density can vary in time and space—accelerates the expansion of the universe, the space between clusters of galaxies will grow at an increasing rate. Redshift will stretch ancient, incoming photons (even gamma rays) to undetectably long wavelengths and low energies. Stars are expected to form normally for 1012 to 1014 (1–100 trillion) years, but eventually the supply of gas needed for star formation will be exhausted. And as existing stars run out of fuel and cease to shine, the universe will slowly and inexorably grow darker, one star at a time. According to theories that predict proton decay, the stellar remnants left behind will disappear, leaving behind only black holes, which themselves eventually disappear as they emit Hawking radiation. Ultimately, if the universe reaches a state in which the temperature approaches a uniform value, no further work will be possible, resulting in a final heat death of the universe.

    This future history and the timeline below assume the continued expansion of the universe. If the universe begins to recontract, subsequent events in the timeline may not occur because the Big Crunch, the recontraction of the universe into a hot, dense state similar to that after the Big Bang, will supervene.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Future_...nding_universe

    This had never occurred to me, but apparently in a few trillion years the universe will be a frozen, barren wasteland incapable of sustaining life or even energy, and may eventually collapse in on itself. The universe is believed to only be about 14 billion years old, so relatively speaking we seem to have come along at the near begging of our universe's shelf-life.

    More on the Big Crunch:

    In physical cosmology, the Big Crunch is one possible scenario for the ultimate fate of the universe, in which the metric expansion of space eventually reverses and the universe recollapses, ultimately ending as a black hole singularity or causing a reformation of the universe starting with another big bang.

    If the universe is finite in extent and the cosmological principle (not to be confused with the cosmological constant) does not apply, and the expansion speed does not exceed the escape velocity, then the mutual gravitational attraction of all its matter will eventually cause it to contract. If entropy continues to increase in the contracting phase (see Ergodic hypothesis), the contraction would appear very different from the time reversal of the expansion. While the early universe was highly uniform, a contracting universe would become increasingly clumped. Eventually all matter would collapse into black holes, which would then coalesce producing a unified black hole or Big Crunch singularity.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Crunch

    This could be a topic all itself, but reading about this reminded me of the cyclical Hindu model of the universe so I thought I'd share a bit about that.

    According to Hindu Philosophy, the universe (or multiverse) never came to be at some particular point, but always has been, always will be, but is perpetually in flux. Space and time are of cyclical nature. This universe is simply the current one, which is in flux and constantly changing, when it finally ceases to manifest, a new one will arise.

    This is similar to the Cyclical Universe Theory in physical cosmology. The Big Bang is described as the birth of the universe (Brahma), the life of the universe then follows (Vishnu), and the Big Crunch would be described as the destruction of the universe (Shiva).

    The ultimate fate of the Universe is still an open question. The final answer depends upon the mass-energy content of the system as a whole. If it is below a certain limit, the Universe shall expand forever. If it exceeds a certain limit, it will contract into what has been conjectured as The Big Crunch.

    The Hindu viewpoint of the continuous cycle of creation, destruction and rebirth is attuned to the theory of Big Bang - Expansion - Contraction - Big Crunch. This 'oscillation' is portrayed in Hindu texts, especially in the Bhagwad Gita as Shrishti followed by Vinaash. The period of Vinaash is one of extreme chaos where the very laws of Nature are described to fail. If the Big Crunch happens, the movement of galaxies towards each other will produce very strong gravitational fields which may make relativistic effects perceptible at a great magnitude. The physical phenomena which we are used to may change wildly or be non-existent.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindu_c...f_the_universe

    They believed the universe was divided into four epochs of time known as Yugas.

    Yuga (Devanāgari: युग) in Hindu philosophy is the name of an epoch or era within a four age cycle. According to Hindu cosmology, life in the universe is created and destroyed once every 4.1 to 8.2 billion years, which is one full day (day and night) for Brahma. The lifetime of a Brahma himself may be between 40 billion and 311 trillion years. The cycles are said to repeat like the seasons, waxing and waning within a greater time-cycle of the creation and destruction of the universe. Like Summer, Spring, Winter and Autumn, each yuga involves stages or gradual changes which the earth and the consciousness of mankind goes through as a whole.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yuga

    I give them a bit of credit in that it's the only world religion I can think of that uses such large scale numbers in their portrayals of creation stories. I mean, compared to the fundamentalists who think the universe is six-thousand years old, these guys weren't doing too shabby.

    Alan Watts can explain the Yugas better than I can for anyone who's interested.

    Starts at 9:07 on the first video and goes on a couple minutes into the second video.



    Last edited by rob19; 05-07-2014 at 05:21 PM.
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    If there was some sort of dispersing and diminishing effect happening, like ripples in a lake when you drop a stone, which eventually putters out, that would make you think the universe will expand and cool and eventually "die." But that's not what's happening. The expansion is speeding up. So that tells you there's forces out there we don't have full understanding of yet, forces stronger than even gravity.

    I believe in the death/rebirth theory, and cycles, and do-overs. Because it's the only answer. There's no reason why the universe wouldn't exist indefinitely, there are birth and death cycles everywhere around us repeated over and over in patterns.

    When I was young I thought there was an end to things. All children believe this, because it's illustrated right in front of them - they smash a stack of legos, they burn a piece of paper, they pour salt on a leach and watch it shrivel and die. It's simple - there's once something, then there is a ruined something, or nothing. In time, you understand that there is more accurately just change, that change is the only constant in life. Some arcs are small, so you see the rebirth. Some arcs are long and by the time it comes around again, you may not even be here.

    I learned something interesting about the Sahara desert, and north Africa. It's barren, and hot and lost it's fauna that it had eons ago. This gives you a feeling of deterioration, and a sense that life is a straight line. But believe it or not, one day, the lakes will return, and the desert will disappear. It's a cycle. I find that amazing.


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    Thanks for the response.

    Quote Originally Posted by HoneyB View Post
    If there was some sort of dispersing and diminishing effect happening, like ripples in a lake when you drop a stone, which eventually putters out, that would make you think the universe will expand and cool and eventually "die." But that's not what's happening. The expansion is speeding up. So that tells you there's forces out there we don't have full understanding of yet, forces stronger than even gravity.
    That's accounted for, I believe. The problem would be the eventual difficulty of new stars being formed:
    If dark energy—represented by the cosmological constant, a constant energy density filling space homogeneously, or scalar fields, such as quintessence or moduli, dynamic quantities whose energy density can vary in time and space—accelerates the expansion of the universe, the space between clusters of galaxies will grow at an increasing rate. Redshift will stretch ancient, incoming photons (even gamma rays) to undetectably long wavelengths and low energies. Stars are expected to form normally for 1012 to 1014 (1–100 trillion) years, but eventually the supply of gas needed for star formation will be exhausted. And as existing stars run out of fuel and cease to shine, the universe will slowly and inexorably grow darker, one star at a time.

    Quote Originally Posted by HoneyB
    I believe in the death/rebirth theory, and cycles, and do-overs. Because it's the only answer. There's no reason why the universe wouldn't exist indefinitely, there are birth and death cycles everywhere around us repeated over and over in patterns.

    When I was young I thought there was an end to things. All children believe this, because it's illustrated right in front of them - they smash a stack of legos, they burn a piece of paper, they pour salt on a leach and watch it shrivel and die. It's simple - there's once something, then there is a ruined something, or nothing. In time, you understand that there is more accurately just change, that change is the only constant in life. Some arcs are small, so you see the rebirth. Some arcs are long and by the time it comes around again, you may not even be here.

    I learned something interesting about the Sahara desert, and north Africa. It's barren, and hot and lost it's fauna that it had eons ago. This gives you a feeling of deterioration, and a sense that life is a straight line. But believe it or not, one day, the lakes will return, and the desert will disappear. It's a cycle. I find that amazing.
    To play Devil’s advocate, things don’t necessarily require a reason to exist. If the Universe eventually did become too cold to sustain life, I would hope that it would contract in on itself so that the cycle may begin anew. It sure would seem like a waste to have all that space, and no creatures to observe it. But just because something appears logical to me, doesn’t make it so. I’m always weary about being too definitive with this kind of subject matter. I try to take Watts’ approach with these sorts of things; “I want to make one thing absolutely clear. I am not a Zen Buddhist, I am not advocating Zen Buddhism, I am not trying to convert anyone to it. I have nothing to sell. I'm an entertainer. That is to say, in the same sense, that when you go to a concert and listen to someone play Mozart, he has nothing to sell except the sound of the music. He doesn’t want to convert you to anything. He doesn’t want you to join an organization in favor of Mozart's music as opposed to, say, Beethoven's. And I approach you in the same spirit as a musician with his piano or a violinist with his violin. I just want you to enjoy a point of view that I enjoy”.

    With that being said, I do find it to be an optimal world view. To quote the late, great Bill Hicks, “all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration”. I think energy just keeps taking new forms. For a couple of years now, I’ve felt that death is kind of like an icecube dissolving into a glass of water.

    To expand, since we are talking about death and rebirth, I don’t believe in “ego souls” as most Christians would. I define an ego soul as an individualistic, personality based soul. I don’t find it very likely that there’s a big lobby up in Heaven with a bunch of souls that all have their distinct quirks and idiosyncrasies. Similarly, I don’t believe in the definition of reincarnation which posits that everyone has their own unique soul that continually transmigrates from body to body.

    Buddhists, of course, don't believe in souls whatsoever.



    If there were such a thing as a soul, though, I find the Hindu views to be the most logical. They believe that Brahma (the sort of 'self at large') is simultaneously playing the role of all things, both living an non-living. Which is why you'll find Hindu references about rivers, or mountains having souls, and it's because they literally believe everyone and everything is "God in drag", to borrow a phrase. The Atman, or inner self, is the personalized circumstance by which Brahma is playing your role. Once the body passes, "you" go back to being God, and I imagine your experiences would be stored in the species' collective unconscious.

    Sometimes I think it would be easier to just be a Christian
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    To play Devilís advocate, things donít necessarily require a reason to exist. If the Universe eventually did become too cold to sustain life, I would hope that it would contract in on itself so that the cycle may begin anew.
    There's no reason for there to be anything, really - no life, no light, no worlds no gravity, no radiation, no nothing. And yet, there is, that's the fascinating thing. So, because of that, there's no reason for me to believe that it won't continue existing is some form or another, even there's 10 trillion years between events. What is the difference between a second and a year, anyway? I don't think it matters, that there's any difference. Likewise I don't think there's any difference between a baby's sigh and the collision of stars. It's the same energy expressed differently.

    To quote the late, great Bill Hicks, ďall matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibrationĒ. I think energy just keeps taking new forms.
    I think so too. Everything is made out of the same stuff. It's all energy.

    Even biologically, there's been some surprises for us as human beings. We thought we were human and there was this wall between us and the environment. As it turns out, we're mostly jumbles of bacteria and things mixed in with the cells of our body. We think we walk outside when we open the front door, but we're already outside. The outside is in us, and with every breath we take in more of it.

    To expand, since we are talking about death and rebirth, I donít believe in ďego soulsĒ as most Christians would. I define an ego soul as an individualistic, personality based soul. I donít find it very likely that thereís a big lobby up in Heaven with a bunch of souls that all have their distinct quirks and idiosyncrasies.
    Yes, it certainly seems unlikely. But since it's hard to define what a soul is to begin with, I don't know what it would look like after death, anyway. It's beyond our comprehension. What if turns out there's just one soul, anyway? Wouldn't that be wild?
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    Quote Originally Posted by HoneyB
    There's no reason for there to be anything, really - no life, no light, no worlds no gravity, no radiation, no nothing. And yet, there is, that's the fascinating thing. So, because of that, there's no reason for me to believe that it won't continue existing is some form or another, even there's 10 trillion years between events. What is the difference between a second and a year, anyway? I don't think it matters, that there's any difference. Likewise I don't think there's any difference between a baby's sigh and the collision of stars. It's the same energy expressed differently.
    I agree with the first part and was actually going to post something similar, though Iím not sure how it leads you to your conclusion. The apparent lack of reason behind the existence of the universe is not a guarantee of its perpetual continued existence. Suppose our universe is transitory, like a bubble, would that really lessen your experience here and now?



    Quote Originally Posted by HoneyB
    I think so too. Everything is made out of the same stuff. It's all energy.


    Quote Originally Posted by HoneyB
    Yes, it certainly seems unlikely. But since it's hard to define what a soul is to begin with, I don't know what it would look like after death, anyway. It's beyond our comprehension.
    Thatís a question Iíve heard a few times now, but it rarely ever crosses my mind for whatever reason. When I compare different religions, different Gods, differing concepts of souls, etc, I try to grant them the supernatural stuff, and then determine which seems more logical to me; not because I think one is empirically more likely than another.

    Quote Originally Posted by HoneyB
    What if turns out there's just one soul, anyway? Wouldn't that be wild?
    Thatís essentially what I was trying to explain about Hindus and Brahma. Thatís what they believe.
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    I agree with the first part and was actually going to post something similar, though I’m not sure how it leads you to your conclusion. The apparent lack of reason behind the existence of the universe is not a guarantee of its perpetual continued existence. Suppose our universe is transitory, like a bubble, would that really lessen your experience here and now?
    I guess I come to that conclusion because I'm not satisfied with how we decided that things have an end in the first place. If you never died, knew no one who died, never saw anyone born, never even witnessed seasons, and it was just eternal spring, it would never occur to you that something would end. How would you come up with the concept? It's our experience as human beings that inserts the idea of death, and a beginning and an end to things, and therefore we naturally would search for an end to the universe. But as you know, our experiences can be wrong, or not what we thought they were.

    In answer to your last question, I suppose I would feel it would.
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    The wobble in the Earth will allow for the dessert to become rich again. Global warming will also lead to a larger ice age effect. Cycles on a time scale measured by the life of the Earth are huge, now factor that onto a cosmic level where plants come and go in an instant compared to a universe. It is truly mind boggling.

    I have postulated on how gravity folds into the theories of relativity and quantum mechanics, while I lack the math skills to numerically express an conclusions I come to I always arrive at the same spot, quantum mechanics is incomplete and in its infancy along with the theory of relativity. I believe that Einstein also knew this and would have supported to notions of outside forces that humanity simply can't understand at this point in time. Take Hawking for example, several of his own theories have already been disproved, that is why I enjoy Michio Kaku exponentially over Hawking, Kaku allows for a philosophical element to his discussions and concedes the fact that we humans "know" little on a cosmic level and timescale.

    It's like I said about the earthworm, the earthworm is very good for a garden and helps place nutrients back into the soil but the earthworm doesn't even know what a garden is let alone the reasons behind planting the garden.
    "I am free of all prejudice. I hate everyone equally" ~ W.C. Fields

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    Quote Originally Posted by NY8123 View Post
    The wobble in the Earth will allow for the dessert to become rich again. Global warming will also lead to a larger ice age effect. Cycles on a time scale measured by the life of the Earth are huge, now factor that onto a cosmic level where plants come and go in an instant compared to a universe. It is truly mind boggling.

    I have postulated on how gravity folds into the theories of relativity and quantum mechanics, while I lack the math skills to numerically express an conclusions I come to I always arrive at the same spot, quantum mechanics is incomplete and in its infancy along with the theory of relativity. I believe that Einstein also knew this and would have supported to notions of outside forces that humanity simply can't understand at this point in time. Take Hawking for example, several of his own theories have already been disproved, that is why I enjoy Michio Kaku exponentially over Hawking, Kaku allows for a philosophical element to his discussions and concedes the fact that we humans "know" little on a cosmic level and timescale.

    It's like I said about the earthworm, the earthworm is very good for a garden and helps place nutrients back into the soil but the earthworm doesn't even know what a garden is let alone the reasons behind planting the garden.
    I believe they were saying the tectonic plates were the reason the sahara will become watery again.

    Interesting perspective with the earthworm. Biologically, all we're designed to do is survive and evolve on earth. We're not meant to "know" anything. We're not even meant to see or hear everything, other animals may have different or better vision and hearing. Like they love to say in the corporate world, you're on a need-to-know basis. That's why we do need science and math, and perhaps even artificial intelligence, because it helps us cross those natural boundaries.
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    Quote Originally Posted by HoneyB View Post
    I believe they were saying the tectonic plates were the reason the sahara will become watery again.

    Interesting perspective with the earthworm. Biologically, all we're designed to do is survive and evolve on earth. We're not meant to "know" anything. We're not even meant to see or hear everything, other animals may have different or better vision and hearing. Like they love to say in the corporate world, you're on a need-to-know basis. That's why we do need science and math, and perhaps even artificial intelligence, because it helps us cross those natural boundaries.
    Tectonic movement is one piece of the puzzle, over time you are correct the plates will shift causing land masses to move and therefore climate will inherently change.

    Here is a related piece of the puzzle that also plays into global climate change with regard to cause and effect:

    Precession_and_seasons.jpg

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milankovitch_cycles
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    There's actually a theory that the evolution of humans was affected by what's called the "Saharan Pump", in which the desert/lush cycles of the Sahara trapped and then drove out waves of human evolution into Europe and Asia. One thing people don't realize about the pyramids and other ruins of Ancient Egypt is that at the time they were built the Sahara was in a "lush" cycle. It looked very different then than it does today.

    My understanding about the expansion of the universe is that the expansion is only taking place between gravitationally uninvolved objects... in other words, on the scale of galactic clusters. Our bodies are not expanding. The solar system is not expanding. Nor is our galaxy. Nor is our cluster (which I think is called the Virgo supercluster). I used to be under the impression that expansion was happening everywhere, all the time. Then it occurred to me that the speed of light offers a fixed reference frame. If space was expanding everywhere then light would appear to slow down over time.

    I've always been a fan of the Big Crunch theory... it satisfies my sense that the state of maximum entropy of the universe is a state of more and more organization. Gas clouds become stars. Stars combine into galaxies. Galaxies combine into super galaxies, on and on until enough matter at sufficient gravity is present to create another in a long line of singularities. "Dark matter" could just be matter that's reached heat death from previous crunches and is therefore undetectable.

    The idea of the multiverse and "dark flow" is another fascinating theory. An episode of the always interesting Through the Wormhole dedicated about half an episode to it. The whole episode is worth watching -- it's about most of the things this thread is about -- but the parts dealing with dark flow start about 25 minutes in.

    http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/throu...-the-universe/
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