MadSci Network: Physics

Re: What are the logical, scientific reasons why matter/energy is not eternal?

Date: Fri Jul 6 18:38:51 2001
Posted By: Benn Tannenbaum, Post-doc/Fellow, Physics and Astronomy, University of California, Los Angeles
Area of science: Physics
ID: 994429795.Ph

Dear Marc,

You are leaving the realm of science, and entering the realm of philosophy. 
Science requires postulates, and experiments to test these postulates. One 
postulate is that the universe has not always existed. We test this 
postulate by determining the age of the universe. This is done by looking at 
the red shift of light from very distant galaxies. These measurements lead 
us to conclude that the universe does have a finite age, and is roughly 14 
billion years old. That means that matter has not always been here and thus 
is not eternal.

HOWEVER. None of us were present at the start of the universe. We do not 
know what really happened-- all we have are theories that have stood up to 
the data. All of the data lead us to conclude that the universe has not 
always existed, which forces me to tell you that matter is not eternal.

I do not think you will be happy with this answer, nor with any I can 
provide you.

Perhaps you can enlighten me as to what you really want to know-- I feel as 
if you are skirting an issue.

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