Ho hum... I was in an odd one morning and managed (to my satisfaction) to prove that if the universe is as we perceive it to be then it is almost 100% unlikely to be as we perceive it to be. Here's the reasoning.

Recent measurements show that the universe is not heavy enough to recollapse into a big crunch singularity and is likely to last forever. What with the laws of thermodynamics being what they are the universe seems likely to endure forever but will undergo what physicists and sci-fi fans refer to as "heat death" - the situation where entropy is maximal and no "useful work" (a physics definition covering just about anything including English students) can be done.

However, this is not the complete story. After heat death the universe will endure for an infinite amount of time (near as we can tell). Since the so-called laws of thermodynamics are only statistical then local entropy decreases are not only permissible but in fact are likely given enough time. This means that as time runs to infinity every situation will recur an inifinite number of times.

Given this idea this will mean that an infinite number of yous will sit in front of an infinite number of terminals and read with boredom/blank incomprehension an infinite number of copies of this message - in time. This is unlikely to be the first time that you have read this message.

However, taking this to its logical conclusion, it is much more likely, statistically, that the universe will not form exactly this way. In fact it is much cheaper statistically to just build a brain which thinks it is reading this message. Much cheaper statistically by orders of magnitude. Therefore, for every one of you that actually exists and reads this message, there are a hundred thousand million brains in a vaccuum that just think they are reading this message. It is far more likely that you are one of these brains. Statistically it is unlikely that this message actually exists.

If the universe is as we perceive it is then the universe is unlikely to be as we perceive it is. QED.

Questions people have asked

Hold on - what about the big crunch - why did everyone keep on about that if it's not going to happen?
Well, my theory is that people liked the idea because it was nice for symettry. However, there was never any evidence that there would be a big-crunch.

Isn't the big-bang evidence that we ARE in the FIRST occurence of this situation in the universe?
Well, it kind of seems like it - and if the big-bang hypothesis were true then it would disprove my idea. However, the evidence for the big-bang is not conclusive - as far as I can work out the evidence is

If you have any questions of your own then don't hesitate to mail them to me.

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