Thursday, 11 February 2010

Infinite Andreas

Last night Horizon (a television documentary program that has a scientific kind of bias) was all about infinity.

I only caught a part of it.

It included a consideration of the possibility that the combination of an infinite number of chimpanzees with an infinite number of typewriters and an infinite amount of time would eventually write the complete works of Shakespeare.

Some of the mathematicians explained that there are an infinite number of universes, each with an infinite size.

This, it seems, means that whatever is possible must certainly exist somewhere.

In fact, because the laws of science would be different in different universes, then a whole lot of impossible things must also exist somewhere or other.

Somewhere there is another Andrea sitting at a laptop computer typing this blog posting.

And another using different words.

And another writing Shakespeare.

And another … and another … and an infinite number of others.

Somewhere there is also a chimpanzee named Andrea typing a blog posting with exactly the same words as I am using.

The mathematics of infinity, the mathematician on Horizon gave the impression, makes this not just a probability – but a certainty.


I’m a sceptic.

I’m not convinced that infinity is all that it’s cracked up to be.

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