# Singularity?

D

#### Double Overdrive

##### Guest
Can someone explain what a singularity is exactly. It is kinda hard to imagine in my mind. The big bang arose from singularity, and singularity exists inside black holes if i'm not mistaking...

Mathematically speaking, a singularity is a point where formulas that are valid elsewhere break down. This could be because of bad coordinates, or because of the fundamental nature of the phenomenon in question. An easy example of a coordinate singularity is the point (0,0) in polar coordinates, where angle is not defined.

You're talking about the singularity due to infinite distortion of spacetime. The easiest way to see what it is, is to go back to the rubber sheet analogy -- by placing objects of some weight onto a stretched-out rubber sheet, you produce indentations; those indentations will affect trajectories of balls rolled on the sheet. This is analogous to what happens in 3 dimensions with spacetime. A heavy object will make a larger and deeper indentation on the rubber sheet, just as a heavier object will create a larger distortion in spacetime. But, if an object is too heavy, the rubber sheet can't hold it, and the object will punch right through, in effect creating an indentation of infinite depth. The analogue in space-time is a curvature singularity -- the type that exists at the 'centers' of black holes. This infinite distortion breaks down all math, and certainly destroys anything that approaches it; no theory yet can describe with any certainty what happens at the very center of a singularity.

Isn't it true that if you some how survived the influx of a black hole, you would enter a worm hole? Wouldn't this spit you out anywhere in the universe?

-Double Overdrive

[This message has been edited by Double Overdrive (edited June 02, 1999).]

A singularity is a point of infinite density. Mass without volume. That's why you can get them in black holes and in the universe's progenitor.
That physical laws break down is just a result of this.

I have not heard of the concept of singularity before, not that I'm too surprised, as I have wasted most of my education on "how to make others a few bucks". I must say that you guys are real smarty pants, and I love reading your posts regarding interstellar and space travel; one could stand to learn a lot from you. I was wondering what you thought about this concept of singularity, and how it relates to the concept of omnipotence. Can't seem to get a grasp on this concept from a scientific view, and neither can anyone else that I've heard of. Would this singularity be the equivalent of a "non-dimension", or the equivalent of all dimensions convergent? You will probably laugh at this, but bear with me here...the closest I've come to conceptualizing omnipotence in my mind is this...you know how the concept of a wormhole is illustrated by taking a flat piece of paper, that is representative of a single dimension, such as time, and instead of following the distance between one point and another, the paper is folded, so that the two points converge on one another. Well, what if we were to illustrate all possible dimensions by some multi-dimensional object (not flat, of course), and then folded the object onto itself over and over again, so that, if I remember my math correctly, we would eventually end up with one point. Would that one point represent omnipotence? Is this the same thing as singularity? Take it easy on me guys, I'm no scientist. Thanks.

Lori:

Physics has a lot to say about the What? and the How? of nature, but very little to contribute to the Why? This despite the prime motivator for increasing physical knowledge of our universe being based on asking Why? An interesting conundrum, in some senses! It's almost as if physics sets itself up to be a loser from the get-go

Case in point: this singularity business. The physics simply shows - via its descriptive language, which for some reason happens to be mathematics (why maths describes nature so well is also a bit of a riddle!) - that a "singularity" is just plain English for a place in the equations where we divide by zero. Everything goes Hooey. No can do! Infinity, all that embarassing stuff.

Another case in point is the interpretation of quantum mechanics. The maths is beautiful, self-consistent, and allows true predictions to be made with mind-blowing precision (QED/QCD is the most accurate theory we've ever had, and spans an enormous range of sizes, from the minuscule to the enormous. Nevertheless, attempting to assign Meaning (semantics) to the equations is where we begin to get into trouble.

So most physicists are content to let the maths to the talking, and let the popularists risk making fools of themselves by writing books which become unfashionable in a short time. It's tough talking about this stuff!

I think this is why a good understanding of modern physics is closed to so very many people. There are very many above-average-smart people around who flat don't have a head for maths. They are simply good at other stuff. Since a deep understanding of physics is predicate upon understanding its language (maths), they are kinda stuck, and have to rely on those darned popularists (see above). That's life, I guess (hey, I don't speak Albanian! but I'll survive).

As for the connection to omnipotence; see my opening remarks. If you wish to interpret "dividing by zero" as omnipotence, good luck to you. I, for myself, interpret it as a procession of bishops on a soggy green hill at twilight, each with a piece of bacon behind their left ears. Whatever!

Thanks, Al. That was very funny about the Bishops with the bacon! LOL! I'm one of those geeks whose always been very mathematically minded. That's been my marketability, since others can't stand it. I love it because, as you pointed out, there's always a "right" answer. I wish that religion and spirituality were the same way. I guess that's really what drives me in trying to understand the truth in it. I, being mathematically minded, like to think that there IS a right answer. It's like a huge puzzle to me. One of these days, I'll solve it (positive thinking).

Lori,

I must say I 'm impressed of your bold suggestion. There are indead a lot of religious physicist who like to think that the sigularity of the big bang was in effect God ! I on the other hand still like to keep some reserve because this could lead to the same philosophical troubles Descartes had when he tried to link the physical world with the mental world.
By the way I think your concept of time as perceived by an omnipotent entity is very much the same as Augustine and he was one of the greatest minds in church history. So may be you are on the right way...

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we are midgets standing on the backs of giants,
Plato

Sigularity, Black Holes, and the Big Bang have nothing to do with the picture of God. I like to think of things we can't explain by imagining they are just a small part of a bigger picture. That is why are minds are so flawed, we never look at the whole picture. We think everything always has to have a beginning and an end.

We tend to think of the Big Bang as the beginning of everything because that makes of feel secure about our place in the evolution of the universe, when in reality the Big Bang is just another small thing that occured over the evolution of something so hard to imagine. I have no idea what this thing may be, but I can definitly tell you that all of a sudden the big bang didn't appeared and created everything in a miraculous event on sized by god himself. There has to be something before the Big Bang, and then something before that... continuing in an endless cycle of creation and destruction without a clear beginning or end. In the Bible god is deemed the "Creator," but if known reality had a beginning or end, wouldn't the "creator" be the wrong term?

Is god something we made up to help us get through the hard times and have some mystery in our lives? Well sure you can say the bible is the word of god, but it was written by humans with no scientific grasp. You can also say the Bible gives hints to something scientific, but this goes into over anaylization of what was accually written. I believe the Bible is a good fiction story and nothing more.

Without a beginning there couldn't be a god.

-Double Overdrive

[This message has been edited by Double Overdrive (edited June 01, 1999).]

"Without a beginning there couldn't be a god."

Huh? In bold Times New Albanian Sans Serif even??

Heh.

In the middle of the incredibly boring samey mundane run-of-the-mill without-a-beginning type universal goings-on, God just popped in for a cup of tea?

I mean, he COULD HAVE.

Listen, I'm an Englishman living in America, and you can take it from me that popping in for a cup of tea is pretty close to divine intervention in my book.

Crumpets anyome?

I think I must agree with Aloysius (an Englishman in New York ?) on this, Double Overdrive.
If one claims that the universe is infinite in time, this simply takes away the need for a creator. God as supervisor or unwelcome guest hasn't been ruled out with that.

Look here, things would go a lot better if one could just see that the believe in god is just like an axiome in math. A thing that can't be proven but something where one can build a whole theory around like Euclidean geometry. One just can't proof that parallel lines don't have any points in common, they are just defined like that. If one assumes that parallel lines do have points in common, one simply gets an other geometry but just as valid as the other.

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we are midgets standing on the backs of giants,
Plato

Plato:

I if you want to debate the validness of god, this isn't the place. But for the record they refer to god as the CREATOR not a supervisor or unwelcomed guest. Explain to me how we have a creator if there is infinite time!?

Oh well, it all doesn't really matter to me. We are just a stupid species running around on a large "to us" but small rock floating in space, I don't see why we think things are so important. As the saying goes- We live, we die, WHO CARES!

-DO

Being the curious primate that I am, I just can't leave the question like that.

Suppose for the sake of argument, we really are the only sapient ones in a vast universe (which I find very unlikely). Doesn't that make us incredibly valuable to this vastness ? No, it doesn't because the universe is simply incapable of caring. So the only ones who do care are we. In that respect it would merit something to find out why we are the only ones and why we are here, just for us.
If on the other hand, the universe is teaming with life and intelligence emerges everywhere in all kinds of forms, then we are just part of a process that has been going on since quarks formed out of the photon sea a fraction of a second after the big bang. This makes it more and more intriguing to ask why is the universe bothering ? Why not keep it with simple radiation ?
Hell, let's even take it a step further, why not have no big bang at all ? Pure nothingness ! Isn't that the perfect state ?

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we are midgets standing on the backs of giants,
Plato

Life is the universes way of figuring itself out. It is kind of ironic that we are finding out myseries of the universe, when the universe is what created us. This makes the universe seem like a living entity, striving to use all means necessary to figure itself out. It wants to know it beginnings (if any) it wants to know what is to become of itself. Maybe this was god the whole time? Maybe our universe is GOD?

We were made from the universe, and god supposedly created us, so why isn't there any connections being made regarding this ironic disposition?

Anyone else care to analyze this situation?
-DO

[This message has been edited by Double Overdrive (edited June 02, 1999).]

Wow, Plato, I was very surprised to hear your answer regarding my thoughts! I don't know much about philosophy, so I was a little amazed that I actually had a somewhat valid or at least arguable thought. You know, double OD, you may be on to something, too. Maybe God IS the universe. That's pretty much along the lines of what I would like to think. God is everywhere and everything. Still can't grasp the infinite time thing though. Not to say that I ever will; it's just soooo beyond our conditioning as humans. Well, I hope you guys aren't mad at me for redirecting the conversation to God, as I always seem to do. People will usually respond to me rather vehemently, and then turn around and kick themselves in the ass for bothering to respond in the first place! You just gotta love the brain food. yum! yum!

Lori:

That's okay. The subject of Singularity was getting kinda raw anyway. Oh boy it is a single point, infinite in size, infinite in density (it really ain't that hard to imaging,just picture a really fat dude scrunched up into a can of soup...)

BTW, I thought god was supose to be everything, as in the whole universe, Right?

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We live, we die, WHO CARES!
-Double Overdrive

[This message has been edited by Double Overdrive (edited June 02, 1999).]

From singularity -- to God. Typical.

Well, since we are now officially on the subject, I'd like to share a few thoughts.

Lori: for me, it's actually hard to imagine finite time rather than infinite. I mean, if there was a point when time began, what was it that time began out of? If that thing didn't have time, how could it ever start or complete anything, like giving birth to a universe?

As for arguments about what came first -- the universe or God -- I don't think there is a logical way of resolving them. I mean, if you claim that God was first, then where did he come from? But if the universe was first, where did the universe come from?

But if we assume infinite time, then I sure do hope that there is no God -- for God's own sake. I mean, wouldn't it be pure hell for a sentient being to live forever and have knowledge and power over absolutely everything? Hmm, maybe there was a God, but then he went insane and committed suicide...

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I am; therefore I think.

[This message has been edited by Boris (edited June 02, 1999).]

Boris,

while we are on this sideline. Some years ago I came across a SF story that had the same plot. The reason why God created the universe and made life and consciousness arise was in the hope that they might find a way to kill him and get him out of his terrible state of immortality...

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we are midgets standing on the backs of giants,
Plato

[This message has been edited by Plato (edited June 04, 1999).]

Boris:

I have had similar thoughts about what would have came before god. The god that most people believe in is said to have been around forever, and you must accept that as fact if you wish to believe in this god. If you believe in the universe coming first, well that is completely different because we know that the universe exists and we begin to wonder how a god like figure comes into the picture.

So, we still see the same struggle of the beginning of something. If we believe the universe is finite and god is infinite (or other way around) we should just leave it at that.

This is just like me trying to find out what came before I was born, without having any frame of reference (written, spoken, or any visual reference.) This simply means that god didn't leave any trace for us to find out anything about HIMSELF. But he did give us alot of info about ourselves and the way we should act.... Maybe the bible is that ENCYCLOPEDIA GALACTIA of the universal behavior.

God would sure seem almighty if all intelligent life followed the bible.

So I doubt we will ever find out what came before god because we simply must take the fact the he has lived forever and isn't like anything we can ever imagine. The best thing I can think of is that both the universe and god where both never created, but have been here forever. Although that wouldn't mean they don't undergo dramatic changes, such as creation & destruction. And we can't say that they both aren't part of a bigger picture of the evolution of many universes at the same time, with the mystery of god never being revealed.

It is always our mysteries that are revealed, not gods.

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We live, we die, WHO CARES!
-Double Overdrive

[This message has been edited by Double Overdrive (edited June 04, 1999).]

What if time didn't exist at all? What if it is just for us, here in the physical world? What if when we are removed from it, time ceases to exist? It's an illusion to us because we are blind to unknown dimensions that do not operate within it's boundaries. I'm saying this, but it's damn near impossible to imagine, being human and all. But doesn't it take away the whole arguement? God=Universe. The creator and the creation. You have a creator; God does not. And I must reiterate while on the topic, that our Creator is not an alien being, because if so, then who is the alien's creator?

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God loves you and so do I!