## What if we dropped matter into literal nothingness?

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Girl-With-A-Math-Fetish
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### What if we dropped matter into literal nothingness?

Let me clarify. When I say literal nothingness, I mean the complete absence of space itself. I asked this on another forum, but they either didn't understand the difference between physical space (the vacuum of "spaaaaaaace" space) and mathematical space (directional space) or tried to understand the difference but failed. I assume you guys understand what I mean by the complete absence of space, so I shall skip that part of explaining.

Lets say that we somehow managed to get an object, let's say a probe, into this literal nothingness. Would this probe be able to send a theoretical signal back to us? If not, let's imagine it's recorded onboard for us to review later. What would this probe measure? What would happen to the probe itself? Would it exist in its own universe, quite literally, as a bubble of matter that doesn't get affected or even interact with its "surroundings?" If it was able to do so, and if it had any heat, would it be able to lose heat to its "surroundings?" SO MANY QUESTIONS

If I need to draw diagrams to clarify, I'll do so.
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Forest Goose
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### Re: What if we dropped matter into literal nothingness?

Girl-With-A-Math-Fetish wrote: I asked this on another forum, but they either didn't understand the difference between physical space (the vacuum of "spaaaaaaace" space) and mathematical space (directional space) or tried to understand the difference but failed. I assume you guys understand what I mean by the complete absence of space, so I shall skip that part of explaining.

It's not clear, at all, to me what you mean by a "complete absence of space" that you're dropping a probe into, would you mind elaborating on that? I'm sure I could dream up a few ideas, but I'd like to know exactly what you're asking, rather than my half-suppositions.
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### Re: What if we dropped matter into literal nothingness?

I've written a marvellous reply to your question on the absence of a sheet of paper.
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### Re: What if we dropped matter into literal nothingness?

Well it depends on what properties this "absence" has. if any. Its more of a philosophical question at this point - it almost exactly mirrors "If a tree fell in the forest, an there was no one around to hear it, would it make any noise?"

You say people never seem to understand what you mean by "absence of space" - do YOU know what you mean? I mean, can you define it? Either mathematically or in description of its properties? (Other than "a complete absence")

Given no other idea than "an absence", I'd imagine it would reject the insertion of matter, ie: it would be very difficult, or the action itself would force the "absence" into some other non-nothingness state.

**edit**

On another note, yes I think I need to see a diagram of absence.

Twistar
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### Re: What if we dropped matter into literal nothingness?

Let's take the universe (including any multiverse you want to talk about) to represent all of existence. This is what is always done. Space (what you call the vacuum of space) pervades the entire universe, all of existence. That space may have varying dimensionality but it is still space as defined by some underlying metric manifold.

You talk about putting a probe "into" this nothingness. However, "into" is a word which describes something that can happen only in the context of physical space. If I have a box I can define a notion of a probe not being in the box and then the probe being in the box at a later time (time can also be considered to be one of the dimensions of our universe) and in this case I would say the probe was placed into the box. However my definition of in and out would be some definition like the set of points enclosed by the confines of the boundary are inside the box and other points are outside. This definition of in and out relies on the existence of coordinate space itself.

So your question really really doesn't make sense. Feel free to imagine a universe which is different than our own, but then don't try to mix physical objects of our real universe with this other universe.

Also, I don't know how much topology you know but in a topological space T you can talk about the interior exterior and boundary of some set S. but whether you are talking about a point inside or outside of S, that point is still in the space T. Every point in our universe is in T and every object in our universe is located at some point in our universe and is thus located in T. It really doesn't make sense to try to put an object at some point that isn't in T..

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### Re: What if we dropped matter into literal nothingness?

This could be to do with the often seen incorrect mental picture of the Big Bang - a picture of the universe starting as a dot and expanding to "fill the void", usually visualised as if from the outside. Space is expanding, but it is not actually expanding into something. There is no outside for it to expand into.

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### Re: What if we dropped matter into literal nothingness?

Well, according to my very limited understanding on physics, isn't matter just various fields interacting with each other (Higgs field is supposedly what gives matter matter-like properties, no?). So, magically dropping matter into literal nothing would either require also dropping these fields into that nothing (bringing SPAAAAACE with you) or the matter as we know it would just kind of fizzle out (fizzle in the sense that even time doesn't exist so it'd be less of a fizzle and more of an instant destruction that takes and eternity), is my opinion.

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### Re: What if we dropped matter into literal nothingness?

jaap wrote:This could be to do with the often seen incorrect mental picture of the Big Bang - a picture of the universe starting as a dot and expanding to "fill the void", usually visualised as if from the outside. Space is expanding, but it is not actually expanding into something. There is no outside for it to expand into.

That's the thing. That's why it's so hard to describe. I'd have to describe a literal nothingness, which is impossible.
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### Re: What if we dropped matter into literal nothingness?

Girl-With-A-Math-Fetish wrote:Let me clarify. When I say literal nothingness, I mean the complete absence of space itself. I asked this on another forum, but they either didn't understand the difference between physical space (the vacuum of "spaaaaaaace" space) and mathematical space (directional space) or tried to understand the difference but failed. I assume you guys understand what I mean by the complete absence of space, so I shall skip that part of explaining.

Lets say that we somehow managed to get an object, let's say a probe, into this literal nothingness. Would this probe be able to send a theoretical signal back to us? If not, let's imagine it's recorded onboard for us to review later. What would this probe measure? What would happen to the probe itself? Would it exist in its own universe, quite literally, as a bubble of matter that doesn't get affected or even interact with its "surroundings?" If it was able to do so, and if it had any heat, would it be able to lose heat to its "surroundings?" SO MANY QUESTIONS

If I need to draw diagrams to clarify, I'll do so.

If it is simply empty space, you have...just the stuff. Like normal. All space is empty space with stuff in it. If you mean "it's a closed spacetime curve", well, that's a black hole. It functions per those rules. If you mean, how would it act with regard to another dimension that doesn't exist, well...it doesn't. By induction, we can determine that if no dimensions at all existed, then there is nothing that could possibly happen and thus, no way to interact with the nothing. We couldn't put something into the nothing, because by definition, there is nothing there to put it into.

Girl-With-A-Math-Fetish wrote:That's the thing. That's why it's so hard to describe. I'd have to describe a literal nothingness, which is impossible.

Describe the rules with which it operates, and you can determine what will happen.
Last edited by Tyndmyr on Tue Dec 23, 2014 3:21 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.

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### Re: What if we dropped matter into literal nothingness?

It's very difficult to know what you're asking here - you mentioned that you assumed we would know what you meant by the absence of space, but it really would be very helpful if you could expand on that a little.
Putting everything else aside, I'm going to work through what I'm imagining here - understand that this isn't necessarily an attempt to answer your question, just an attempt to look at a few possible interpretations and what they would mean.

So, I'm going to charitably assume that there's some magic at play here - we snap our fingers and conjure a probe out of nothingness. Immediately, we run into a contradiction. If there's nothing, not even space, then there's no time. If there were time, then we would have something: we would have one-dimensional space, where that dimension is time. So if time doesn't exist, it makes no sense to say that we conjure the probe out of nothingness, because that implies a time when the probe wasn't there yet, but there's no such thing as time to begin with.
So we revise our picture. If the probe exists, it has always existed because there can't have been such a thing as time before the probe. So either the probe creates just enough space to hold the probe or it doesn't. If it doesn't, then the probe doesn't exist in any meaningful sense. How big is it? We could measure it to find out, but relative to what? There's no space, there's no metric. So we have to assume that it creates just as much space as it needs.
So we have this tiny self-contained universe, the exact size of the probe, and it contains the probe and nothing else. At that point it really depends on whether the laws of physics in this universe are the same as ours or not, but the probe will evolve in time according to the laws of that universe. (Interesting: does time even exist for this universe?)
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### Re: What if we dropped matter into literal nothingness?

If your definition of nothingness is the absence of space then, by definition nothing can occupy a point inside that (because no such point exists, otherwise there would be space there) so dropping something into this nothingness is either impossible or a contradiction.

The question's either meaningless or trivial.
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### Re: What if we dropped matter into literal nothingness?

I think the clue to what gwamf is trying to say is given by this line: 'I asked this on another forum, but they either didn't understand the difference between physical space (the vacuum of "spaaaaaaace" space) and mathematical space (directional space) or tried to understand the difference but failed.'

So when eg. Twistar says:
'You talk about putting a probe "into" this nothingness. However, "into" is a word which describes something that can happen only in the context of physical space. If I have a box I can define a notion of a probe not being in the box and then the probe being in the box at a later time (time can also be considered to be one of the dimensions of our universe) and in this case I would say the probe was placed into the box. However my definition of in and out would be some definition like the set of points enclosed by the confines of the boundary are inside the box and other points are outside. This definition of in and out relies on the existence of coordinate space itself.'

I think that gwamf is saying that 'coordinate space' does exists there (what she calls 'mathematical space') so your objection is misdirected.

I think gwamf's real question is a specific instance of the more general question that is often posited: "What would happen if an object from our universe went into another universe with different laws?" - where her specific question is perhaps akin to "What if it went into a universe with no laws?"

I think the answer to the first question is 'it depends' - but probably the answer is 'it can't'. I think the answer to the second question is definitely 'it can't'

Asking such questions is probably a bit like having one universe where 1+2=3 and another where A+B=AB (ie. one defines plus as addition and one as concatenation) and putting A and B from the second universe into the first and asking what A+B is there; The question probably has no meaning. Maybe the universe would just throw a runtime error and have to be rebooted ^^

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### Re: What if we dropped matter into literal nothingness?

Girl-With-A-Math-Fetish wrote:That's the thing. That's why it's so hard to describe. I'd have to describe a literal nothingness, which is impossible.

If you can't describe it, how do you know that it exists? Can you supply a definition in reference to its relations - for example, the empty set is empty, but we can list relations it satisfies, zero can be listed by relations, etc. If it satisfies no relations and doesn't have an intrinsic definition, then you aren't really asking a question, saying question-like words.

Philosophically speaking, I'm not certain that "nothing" with something in it makes sense.

Mathematically, it sounds like you are asking about properties outside of some space, but not referring to any ambient space the original space sits in - so it's more a question of "well, what do you picture?" than it is what properties that space has.

Physically, the answer, seems to be, either: (a) you mean there is nothing to interact with and no potential for things to happen spontaneously, thus, the probe interacts with nothing - or (b) it doesn't make sense and is assuming an outside perspective to the physical universe physically exists.
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### Re: What if we dropped matter into literal nothingness?

Girl-With-A-Math-Fetish wrote:
jaap wrote:This could be to do with the often seen incorrect mental picture of the Big Bang - a picture of the universe starting as a dot and expanding to "fill the void", usually visualised as if from the outside. Space is expanding, but it is not actually expanding into something. There is no outside for it to expand into.

That's the thing. That's why it's so hard to describe. I'd have to describe a literal nothingness, which is impossible.

It is impossible because it does not exist. As I said, that mental picture is incorrect. There is no nothingness out there; there is no boundary; there is no outside to the universe.

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### Re: What if we dropped matter into literal nothingness?

Girl-With-A-Math-Fetish wrote:Let me clarify. When I say literal nothingness, I mean the complete absence of space itself. I asked this on another forum, but they either didn't understand the difference between physical space (the vacuum of "spaaaaaaace" space) and mathematical space (directional space) or tried to understand the difference but failed.

Do you get asked if you 'do drugs'?

When I was in the equivalent of high school, I once remarked, in the form of a rhetorical question, 'If space itself is just nothing at all, then how come there's so much more of it between the sun and the earth than there is between the moon and the earth?' But those I made this remark to just didn't understand what I meant by that question, and simply said that it was just that the sun was farther away. I tried to explain that it was about the question of what space itself is, what space is 'made of', but they just insisted space isn't anything, and that the sun is just farther away than the moon.

Anyway, in your question, do you mean a complete absence of things like the electromagnetic field and stuff like that, but still having three plus one dimensions of space and time - spacetime - so that things can have positions and motions relative to each other, and stuff like that? Or do you mean something else?

If that is what you mean, I wonder if that's like the Cheshire cat's famous smile in a way, where you keep seeing the smile once the cat has vanished. Keeping the three dimensions of space while dispensing with the various fields would seem to be like keeping the dimensions of a sheet of paper while dispensing with the paper itself - Envelope Generator's answer.

I haven't studied quantum field theory, but I understand that if you don't have any fields in space, you don't have any fields for there to be excitations of, and that means you can't put a probe there. A probe would be made out of stuff, that stuff being various field excitations - electrons and quarks for example. So, in that sense, it would be a little bit like origami without the paper. If paper is space, and a probe is a particular way a small region of that paper is folded, then dropping that probe into fieldless space would be like somehow moving the folds beyond the edge of the paper.

Or you could imagine painting pennies blue on one side and pink on the other, and arranging a huge number of them in a two-dimensional array. Most of them you turn blue side up, but turn some of them pink side up to make a picture of a pink probe in penny space. You can animate this picture (perhaps taking photos to make each frame of an animated video) by turning coins over, so as to move the probe around. Moving the probe into fieldless space would be like moving the pink probe beyond the edge of penny space, even though it's made out of the states of the pennies themselves.

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### Re: What if we dropped matter into literal nothingness?

FancyHat wrote:I haven't studied quantum field theory, but I understand that if you don't have any fields in space, you don't have any fields for there to be excitations of, and that means you can't put a probe there. A probe would be made out of stuff, that stuff being various field excitations - electrons and quarks for example. So, in that sense, it would be a little bit like origami without the paper. If paper is space, and a probe is a particular way a small region of that paper is folded, then dropping that probe into fieldless space would be like somehow moving the folds beyond the edge of the paper.

Or you could imagine painting pennies blue on one side and pink on the other, and arranging a huge number of them in a two-dimensional array. Most of them you turn blue side up, but turn some of them pink side up to make a picture of a pink probe in penny space. You can animate this picture (perhaps taking photos to make each frame of an animated video) by turning coins over, so as to move the probe around. Moving the probe into fieldless space would be like moving the pink probe beyond the edge of penny space, even though it's made out of the states of the pennies themselves.

You've made some excellent analogies there.

For me that's the heart of questions like 'what would happen if an object from our universe was put into another universe with different laws?'

If in one universe objects are origami folds in paper, and in another they are blue and pink sides of a penny, its obvious that it's meaningless to ask what would happen if an origami object were put into the penny universe.

If one universe had blue and pink pennies and the other had blue and pink and stood-on-their-side-green pennies though, it's theoretically possible that objects could go one way but not the other... (Or maybe the on-their-side pennies would be 'forced to fall over'...)

But for an object from our universe to go into a universe with no 'fabric' at all, well... If this object could 'take its own space-time with it' - if the origami could take its own paper - it could perhaps go - but otherwise it would seem all bets are off.

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### Re: What if we dropped matter into literal nothingness?

There cannot be a complete absence of space itself. Space is not an independent quantity. It is a characteristic associated with observable matter. Much like how time has no meaning when there is no movement. Space has no meaning if there is no matter. Our human brains like to think of space, time, fields, etc. as physical reality, but the only affirmation we have of their existence is through observation of matter.

I would argue a field does not exist in the nothingness unless we have a probe that can detect fields in the nothingness. The probe does not exist in the nothingness unless there is a way for us to observe the probe while it is in the nothingness. If we can observe the field and the probe in the nothingness, it's not really nothingness is it?
In a way, every piece of matter is residing in literal nothingness. Your body just happens to fill a piece of nothingness that fits it perfectly.
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### Re: What if we dropped matter into literal nothingness?

Here's an oversimplified diagram of what I'm trying to say. Now of course this black field could not be drawn, since it is pure nothingness, but I hope it clarifies things a bit:

Carlington wrote:So we revise our picture. If the probe exists, it has always existed because there can't have been such a thing as time before the probe.

So we have this tiny self-contained universe, the exact size of the probe, and it contains the probe and nothing else. At that point it really depends on whether the laws of physics in this universe are the same as ours or not, but the probe will evolve in time according to the laws of that universe. (Interesting: does time even exist for this universe?)

elasto wrote:I think that gwamf is saying that 'coordinate space' does exists there (what she calls 'mathematical space') so your objection is misdirected.

I think gwamf's real question is a specific instance of the more general question that is often posited: "What would happen if an object from our universe went into another universe with different laws?" - where her specific question is perhaps akin to "What if it went into a universe with no laws?"

It does, in part, answer my question. I did think about this as a possibility, but in that case, what would happen to its surroundings? Say that there's a camera on this probe (the probe is illuminated somehow via internally built lights), and we take a photograph. What would this picture entail of?

As far as the coordinate space, quite obviously, the probe would have to occupy coordinate space. But would coordinate space have existed beforehand, or was it created as soon as we dropped the probe in it? If not, then where was it created in? Isn't our coordinate space governed by space foam? If space foam doesn't exist in this "location," then what would happen to the probe? It makes sense that the probe would have to create its own self-contained universe... but then, say the probe has thrusters on it... then what would happen? Where would it go?

I think the probe needs a name. Let's call this probe "Plato," since he asked quite a few "What Ifs."

Also, let's create two scenarios now. One Plato exists in his own self-contained universe, and another where there exists a universe with absolutely nothing but a time dimension in it. What would happen then, other than the fact that Plato might have to deal with some serious existential problems?

FancyHat wrote: Do you get asked if you 'do drugs'?

Dude, I make fractals and start "channeling Sagan" (at least once per day). Of course I get asked that. Sometimes I wonder if someone slips a tiny bit of LSD in my food daily.

FancyHat wrote:Anyway, in your question, do you mean a complete absence of things like the electromagnetic field and stuff like that, but still having three plus one dimensions of space and time - spacetime - so that things can have positions and motions relative to each other, and stuff like that? Or do you mean something else?

This includes an absence of spacetime itself, too. If Plato cannot be "placed" (nevermind how he got placed there--we're only considering what happens AFTER he's placed there) "there," then let's assume spacetime--and ONLY spacetime--exists. As Carlington mentioned, it makes sense how TIME *must* exist. But space? Would it necessarily HAVE to exist? Or could it be created in its individual pocket in the exact shape of Plato, as Carlington said?

It kind of reminds me of Pointland in Flatland. The point is aware only of its own existence, and cannot observe anything else.

FancyHat wrote:I haven't studied quantum field theory

Neither have I. I'm 17. They don't teach quantum field theory in high school, at least where I'm at, sadly.

FancyHat wrote:but I understand that if you don't have any fields in space, you don't have any fields for there to be excitations of, and that means you can't put a probe there. A probe would be made out of stuff, that stuff being various field excitations - electrons and quarks for example. So, in that sense, it would be a little bit like origami without the paper. If paper is space, and a probe is a particular way a small region of that paper is folded, then dropping that probe into fieldless space would be like somehow moving the folds beyond the edge of the paper.

But can't the probe be its own pocket of a field? Isn't that what the universe essentially is? Its own pocket of a field?

FancyHat wrote:Or you could imagine painting pennies blue on one side and pink on the other, and arranging a huge number of them in a two-dimensional array. Most of them you turn blue side up, but turn some of them pink side up to make a picture of a pink probe in penny space. You can animate this picture (perhaps taking photos to make each frame of an animated video) by turning coins over, so as to move the probe around. Moving the probe into fieldless space would be like moving the pink probe beyond the edge of penny space, even though it's made out of the states of the pennies themselves

So it's own pocket of a field?

Well, of course Plato wouldn't actually be able to SEE the universe, since light wouldn't be able to escape it. But you get the picture. Is this what you're essentially trying to say with your analogy?

Well, kind of. But you only decoded in part what I'm trying to ask--you didn't actually answer the question.

elasto wrote:But for an object from our universe to go into a universe with no 'fabric' at all, well... If this object could 'take its own space-time with it' - if the origami could take its own paper - it could perhaps go - but otherwise it would seem all bets are off.

Let's say Plato CAN take his own space-time with him. Then what would happen? Create his own pocket universe?

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### Re: What if we dropped matter into literal nothingness?

You're making a category error, the universe is what is - unless we're talking about some brane stuff, and I don't believe we are. You're basically saying, "Let X include everything, what happens if y is outside of X?", it doesn't really work.

As for if the probe gets its own little domain, then that domain would work like a small confined piece of space. But, again, the problem is with the whole relation of "outside the universe" as far as the probe goes, its space is its universe, outside doesn't matter. In short, the probe sits in a small confined piece of geometry, no one is aware of it, no one put it there, nothing exists beyond that space. --there is not sense of "put a probe out of the universe" that makes sense, the nature of the act implies the probe never left (it's like saying "add 1 to the integer till you get a pure imaginary number", it just doesn't add up).
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### Re: What if we dropped matter into literal nothingness?

From your first diagram you also seem to be making the mistake of thinking the universe expands 'into' something. There is no 'outside' to the universe to go to. To quote from elsewhere:

Did the Universe expand from a point? If so, doesn't the universe have to have an edge?

No. The Big Bang was not an explosion IN space. It was a process that involved ALL of space. This misconception causes more confusion than any other in cosmology. Unfortunately, many students, teachers, and scientists(!) mistakenly picture the "Big Bang" as an explosion that took place at some location in space, hurtling matter outward.

In reality, ALL of space was filled with energy right from the beginning. There was no center to the expansion, and no magical point from which matter hurtled outward. The confusion arises in part because of the amazing conclusion that the OBSERVABLE portion of the universe was once packed into an incredibly tiny volume. But that primordial pellet of matter and energy was NOT surrounded by empty space... it was surrounded by more matter and energy (which today is beyond the region we can observe.) In fact, if the whole universe is infinitely large now, then it was always infinite, including during the Big Bang as well.

To put it another way, the current evidence indicates only that the early universe - the WHOLE universe - was extremely DENSE - but not necessarily extremely small. Thus the Big Bang took place everywhere in space, not at a particular point in space.

Even if the universe is finite in size it has no boundary: It's like being constrained to move in a circle and then asking 'but what if I moved outside of it?' You can't; By definition all movement just takes you in one or other direction around the circle endlessly.

This is what you're trying to get to when you talk about 'coordinate space'. There are theoretically 2d coordinates 'outside of the circle'. But they are just a mathematical construct: They have no meaning in physical reality - any more than asking what would happen if you gave someone 2i+1 apples.

(Well, obviously there could be more to everything that is than just our known universe - eg. branes.

But unless we can somehow interact with stuff outside of our known universe it's just pure speculation what is out there. You might as well guess that the probe will take pictures of God...)

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### Re: What if we dropped matter into literal nothingness?

elasto wrote:From your first diagram you also seem to be making the mistake of thinking the universe expands 'into' something.

I did mention the limitations of the diagram. I do not make the mistake of thinking the universe expands "into" something. I'm well aware that it doesn't. I'm simply trying to point out that the "space" I'm mentioning is not part of the universe, representing the universe as a distinct other "something."
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### Re: What if we dropped matter into literal nothingness?

You can't put your something into nothing without legal consent. And nothing is under the age of consent (being timeless and all). Therefore, you can't put something into nothing.

To put your something into nothing you will have to petition your local senator to change the laws of physics.

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### Re: What if we dropped matter into literal nothingness?

Girl-With-A-Math-Fetish wrote:I did mention the limitations of the diagram. I do not make the mistake of thinking the universe expands "into" something. I'm well aware that it doesn't. I'm simply trying to point out that the "space" I'm mentioning is not part of the universe, representing the universe as a distinct other "something."

No, you are making that mistake, the moment you start talking about the universe as "something else" or in reference to something else, or any other such. By nature of "universe" there is no something else, the universe is what is - if you find something outside of the universe, then, you've just been mistaken about what you thought the universe was. That's why I said "category error", by definitions, there can be no such place you talk of - you might as well posit expansion into something, it's the same end, there is no outside to the totality of everything.
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### Re: What if we dropped matter into literal nothingness?

How about what Carlington was saying?
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### Re: What if we dropped matter into literal nothingness?

Girl-With-A-Math-Fetish wrote:

How about what Carlington was saying?

The same problem arises, immediately, from the drawing with two universes. Either the probe is somewhere in our universe, perfectly isolated, or there is no such situation (by definition).

If you really wanted to, you could say that "our universe" was irrelevant, and that the probe just sits in that isolated universe - of course, the probe cannot get there from here, no information can flow between those universes, etc. So, the most you can really say is: the probe spontaneously formed in an empty universe, it sat there in isolation following the laws of physics, the end. You cannot bring in our perspective without implying that the probe is really just in a rather isolated part of our universe.

Cute pictures by the way - anthropomorphizing the probe makes me feel sad for it.
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### Re: What if we dropped matter into literal nothingness?

Forest Goose wrote:The same problem arises, immediately, from the drawing with two universes. Either the probe is somewhere in our universe, perfectly isolated, or there is no such situation (by definition).

If you really wanted to, you could say that "our universe" was irrelevant, and that the probe just sits in that isolated universe - of course, the probe cannot get there from here, no information can flow between those universes, etc. So, the most you can really say is: the probe spontaneously formed in an empty universe, it sat there in isolation following the laws of physics, the end. You cannot bring in our perspective without implying that the probe is really just in a rather isolated part of our universe.

Cute pictures by the way - anthropomorphizing the probe makes me feel sad for it.

As said, how the probe got there in the first place wasn't the question.

And hehe, thanks :v I love anthropomorphizing things, especially space probes. They remind me of Wall-E x3

I posted this to another question:

I finally found something I like to draw other than furries. Anthro spacecraft! Anthropomorphizing FTW!
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### Re: What if we dropped matter into literal nothingness?

Girl-With-A-Math-Fetish wrote:Anthro spacecraft! Anthropomorphizing FTW!

I'm just going to have to mention Dark Star, because of the philosophical discussion with an intelligent bomb.
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### Re: What if we dropped matter into literal nothingness?

FancyHat wrote:I'm just going to have to mention Dark Star, because of the philosophical discussion with an intelligent bomb.

My favorite anthro space robot (other than Space Core) has to be TARS. IDK. He's goddamn hilarious. x'D
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### Re: What if we dropped matter into literal nothingness?

Here’s a different take on the original question:

Suppose the Big Bang were actually a Little Bang, and created a finite number of particles. Let’s say one or two to start with.

Can we meaningfully talk about distance and time in this universe?
If so, is the speed of light the same there as in our universe?
Are the permeability and permittivity of free space there the same as in our universe?
If not, are they in some sense “produced by” the “tension” of the e-mag field generated by the particles in the universe?

If there is space independent of the particles, does there become “more” space as the gravity from each particle propagates outward?
What, if any, limiting value for “amount of space” is approached over time?
Can more particles ever spontaneously appear?

Suppose instead there were a Medium Bang that produced infinitely many particles, but with a relatively low spatial density. Over time each particle “sees” more and more others as light and gravity propagate. However, space also “expands” due the increasing spread of gravitational influence. How do these effects interact?
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### Re: What if we dropped matter into literal nothingness?

I've been wondering if the original question is something like the following.

If a probe wasn't detecting anything at all, while still having fully functioning sensors, what would those sensors report?

Or to put it slightly differently again, when a probe's sensors sense something, and give data accordingly, how is that data different to what would be given in the absence of anything to be sensed?

This thread also reminds me of the question of what's north of the north pole. That seems to be, metaphorically, where Plato the probe is supposed to be. Is the absence of vacuum in the original question like the lack of any surface of the earth north of the north pole?
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### Re: What if we dropped matter into literal nothingness?

FancyHat wrote:This thread also reminds me of the question of what's north of the north pole. That seems to be, metaphorically, where Plato the probe is supposed to be. Is the absence of vacuum in the original question like the lack of any surface of the earth north of the north pole?

Yup. Obviously there is no north of the north pole even in theory - and the same is true for a probe outside of the universe. Both would be 'category errors' as stated. Either 'coordinate space' maps endlessly into a finite universe by wrapping round or the coordinates in question are meaningless - like asking what a probe would see if sent to imaginary coordinates.

An equivalent comparison sprang to my mind also: If instead of the probe being able to move outside of the universe what if it could travel in time and was set to go to time -1 - ie. 1 second before the big bang? Since our space-time originated with the big bang this setup is likewise meaningless.

(There could have been some cause/event that preceded the creation of our universe but it wouldn't be measured in terms of our 'local' space-time but its own.)

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### Re: What if we dropped matter into literal nothingness?

Category errors or not, I must say I'm enjoying the illustrations this thread has gained.
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### Re: What if we dropped matter into literal nothingness?

gmalivuk wrote:Category errors or not, I must say I'm enjoying the illustrations this thread has gained.

No kidding. The "banana for scale" feature put me in stitches. Category errors are something we've all worked through, in our youth, if we're lucky. Doing it in style is rather more singular!

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### Re: What if we dropped matter into literal nothingness?

elasto wrote:
FancyHat wrote:An equivalent comparison sprang to my mind also: If instead of the probe being able to move outside of the universe what if it could travel in time and was set to go to time -1 - ie. 1 second before the big bang? Since our space-time originated with the big bang this setup is likewise meaningless.

(There could have been some cause/event that preceded the creation of our universe but it wouldn't be measured in terms of our 'local' space-time but its own.)

That would also work in context of this scenario.

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### Re: What if we dropped matter into literal nothingness?

Yaaaay I'm glad people are liking my doodles!

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BANGARANG, MOTHAFUCKERS!

[which IDK why Randall thought that wouldn't be a memorable quote...]
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### Re: What if we dropped matter into literal nothingness?

Since it seems that you guys like the illustrations, I'll make them more like a comic, rather than a single panel image.

More to come. xD
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### Re: What if we dropped matter into literal nothingness?

I approve of everything that is happening here.
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### Re: What if we dropped matter into literal nothingness?

Until there's further discussion about what would happen if you put Plato at a time before the Big Bang, I'm not sure what else I can draw. Until then, I'm just going to make this go rather unrelated:

Well, the singularity had to exist SOMEWHERE, so Plato could exist there too. Would time exist before the Big Bang? Could it even exist before the Big Bang? It had to, or as was pointed out earlier, paradoxes would arise.
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### Re: What if we dropped matter into literal nothingness?

Or all of this can't even occur in theory, unless you're Black Hat, and used Perl and/or Python to make it happen.

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### Re: What if we dropped matter into literal nothingness?

The timing and the expressions are really making these. = D
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