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    Rob Heusdens

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  1. As to environment movement and developing third world countries: I think the fact is that with current usage of gas and oil, since the 1st world countries take a major portion of it, there is simply not enough left for third world countries to develop themselves. That is the real problem, and has nothing to do with wether human induced global warming/climate change happens or not. That increasingly injust distribution of the world's resources is not the fault of the "environementalist" but is the fault of capitalism itself, the neo-colonialist and capitalist world structure, that disables poor countries to develop themselves. Third world countries have a hard time developing themselves, not by lack of natural resources (most developing countries are rich in natural resources) but because the profits of exploiting those natural resources are not reinvested in those countries, but end up in western capitalist countries. Venezuela (and Bolivia) currently is an exception to this, because the oil and gas profits now also go to the ordinary people, and helps develop them (education, healthcare, etc.), not just the elites. Latin america is currently recovering from years of capitalist policy which was detremental. Chavez is increasingly popular and successfull in his policy for developing 21-st century socialism. It sets an example how a poor and underdeveloped country can develop itself, using it's own resources for the benefit of the poor masses, helps them to get education and healthcare, etc. The former example of how a poor nation could develop itself quickly was the former Soviet union, which was a rather poor and unindustrialized country before the revolution of 1917, and developed quickly afterwards, and was a leading nation in the field of science (first unmanned/manned space travel!) and education. The Soviet Union did not collapse just because of internal economic and political problems, but to a large extend the Reagan doctrine and policy to combat the former Soviet Union lead to the downfall and desintegration of the Soviet Union, since this Reagan policy acted on three terrains: - Reducing the oil price based on deals with the Saudi's to pump up more oil, causing Soviet export of oil income to fall down dramatically - Tricking the Soviet Union into a war in Afghanistan by the support of Islamic Jihad/ fundamentalism in Afghanistan (the later Al Queda network) - Starting a new arms race in outer space: the SDI ("starwars") arms program. These three factors induceed the collapse of the Soviet Union at the end of the 80-ies, and caused Michael Gorbatsjov to sign unilateral treaties to reduce arms and give up the control of the eastern part of europe. I don't say that also internal factors played a role (bureaucracy and corruption and inefficient methods of production) but they were not the only factor, and without the Reagan policy, maybe the events at the end of the 80-ies (the downfall of socialist countries and the tearing down of the Berlin wall) maybe would not have happened.
  2. So, it's all a complot? I don't know, but CO2 has something to do with climate and temperature. That is not disputed by scientists. Look at Venus. It's temperatur at surface is higher then Mercury, although Mercury is closer to the sun. Why? Green house gasses (CO2) on Venus add to a higher temperature on Venus. Climate changes always, that is very much true. In fact we are approaching an Ice age. The weather system and climate are very complex systems. Anyway, this is an interesting video, with some interesting points about what causes warming. We do not even know if climate change and global warming (which is a fact) is going to be destructive or beneficial. If arctic and cold regions warm up, this could be beneficial. Large parts of Siberia could become inhabitable. Personally I think that climate change is not the most important problem (that is to say, even to the extend that it is imporant and human actions have a real influance on it, I realy doubt we could avoid these problems), but the problem is how to replace fossil fuels. At least we know is that fossil fuels are going to be depleted in the long run. Which might not be too long from now (even if there is still plenty of coal, but as gas and oil run down, usage of coal goes up, and so this great abundance of coal might decrease much more rapidly as currently is foreseen). I think that (when nothing is done and we simply increase energy usage per capita with an increasing population) this will cause much more problems then the consequences of climate change. The problems are economical, since prices will go up if oil and gas are going to be scarcer. So we should solve that problem: how to replace fossil fuels. And I think that task is for the already industrialized nations to solve since we can develop the tecnique to solve that problem, leaving more oil, gas and coal reserves for developing nations. Coal we have still plenty, but if we replace gas and oil with coal, and increase energy usage, also coal is not plentifull. I am some confident that new technologies will be available in time to solve the energy problem. Like for instance a new solar technology based on plastics, that can be produced very cheaply. (see www.nanosolar.com) Within some 5-10 years this can become available and can provide cheap electricity for households, etc. The technique promises that it pays itself back within a month, and has virtually inlimited usage possibilities (every surface that gets solar radiation can be used). The real problem is that we need to transform the economy to using durable and renewable resources, and this transition has to take place within a couple of decennia (on this short scale of time almost all oil and gas resources will run down). Even if human induced climate change is a lie, it does not change anything to this real problem, and reducing CO2 levels (based on gas, oil, coal) is beneficial in the light of the necessary energy transition.
  3. Thanks for your elaboration. They are quite clear and I agree. When poor people in third world countries are being told to safe wildlife and forests to "save" the environment, this is obviously something absurd. We should value people's life higher as the environment. Protecting the environment is a luxoury the poor can't afford. So, I do agree on that. Beating poverty is actually beneficial for the environment. Poor people also have substantial bigger families and raise many children as a primitive pension plan. To solve environemental problems, the solution is not to go back to the "stone age" but to use better technology to improve recycling, increase energy efficiency and to use durable energy resources. I am convinced every such problems can be solved by technological advances, wether that be nuclear fusion, solar or other energy resources.
  4. I think there is a small misunderstanding here. The mind and consciousness also exist and they are part of existence. They may not be material in themselves, but they reside in material supports or are products of material. I would rephrase the expanded version to say, "the material world, independent and outside of the mind or consciousness, and the mind or consciousness, all exist." I would also make it clear that the material world can exist without consciousness, but consciousness cannot exist without the material world. Michael Michael, Yes, well, obviously there is also consciousness, but consciousness is there only in the epistemelogical sense. I don't think that in the meta-physical sense one can state that there is matter and there is consciousness, or can one? In the meta-physical sense, there is just matter. In the epistemelogical sense, also consciousness exists, but the material is primary over consciousness. (In the same fashion, when we state there are atoms and molecules made from atoms, we don't need to add that Hydrogen exist) In fact that is the point on which Objectivism to me is unclear (or my understanding of it), since if one states that existence consists of both the material and consciousness, what does it mean to say then that "existence is primary over conscioussness"? This would only be meaningfull when existence means only the material. Consciousness can't exist apart or outside or independent from the material world, that is quite clear.
  5. The phrase, "existence exists," is shorthand for the statement that, "the material world, independent and outside of the mind or consciousness, exists." Darrell Ok. No problem with that It would have been much clearer if Objectivism would have stated it in such a manner. But then Objectivism would only restate what already was stated by Materialism, it would be an (almost) identical philosophical position. Maybe Objectivism is Materialism in disguise?
  6. I would think that even Berkeley would agree on "existence exists", just that in the view of Berkeley that refers only to the mental states (mind), not the material world as such. The philosphical issue is not wether there is existence, but what existence is in the meta-physical sense: the material world (independent and outside of the mind) or consciousness.
  7. I agree on this point. In the metaphysical sense there is just one substance. Ok. Here - on the point of matter as the basic ingredient of existence - I would disagree. Science has not eliminated matter, but merely has extended it's model about what matter is. The 'old' perception of matter as point like particles has been replaced by more sophisticated models of matter which better reflect their properties (fields, waves, quantum mechanics, etc.). Still, in any case we speak about matter as something that is in motion and exists in space and time (space and time are merely the modes of existence of matter). This is still valid for for example quantum field theory. We did not get rid of matter, on the contrary! Note however that for physics the term 'matter' stands for matter in baryonic form, while the philosophical meaning of the term 'matter' includes all physical forms (baryonic, radiation, quantum mechanical stuff, fields , etc.). For physics it is quite correct to say that matter (mass) can be converted into enery and vice versa, but then in the philosphical meaning of the term matter, this just means a transformation, not destruction or creation of matter. The point of no metaphysical dualities (since there is basically just one substance) is correct. But about change, we merely ought to conclude that change is everywhere and anytime. It only looks like somethings do not change, because it does not happen in our perception of it. Still, there is change on every scale. So things do have an 'Identity' but that is only a partial aspect of it, since also 'Identity' is subject to change. If we would say that the identity of a fish for example, does not change (a fish is only a fish and only begets a fish) this would contradict evolution, since a fish changes over long geological time scales into other organisms. And not just due to the identity of the fish, but due to the interaction with the environment. As evolution sees it, change in environment drives the change of species. So in the light of modern science, we can not give credit to some 'fixed' identity. Note however that this does not claim that 'identity' is something without meaning, since still at any given point in time, things have some identity. The only point is that such an identity itself is also subject to change. Yes, these are some important points in which I think Objectivism clings onto ideas (like the fixed nature of identity) which can not be held valid in the light of modern science. In this respect the ideas of Objectivism look pretty ancient (more or less a Newtonian outlook on reality). I do not yet understand how this can be fixed.
  8. You are right about that, in some parts of chemistry one can use quantum mechanics to predict outcomes, but I merely added to that that chemistry is still a usefull abstraction and we can not merely get rid of it and use quantum mechanics instead. In theory all chemical reactions can be explained at the basis of quantum mechanics. In practice that is far too complicated in the general case.
  9. I'm not sure I understand what you think the problem is here, although it appears to be tied to point number 4 about consciousness. The main problem here appears to be the statement that, "consciousness is an irreducable primary." I would like to know who said that and in what context. Did Rand herself say that, or is that Piekoff's interpretation of Rand? The statement in question could be considered an error, depending upon how it is taken. However, it is possible to give a positive interpretation of the statement. In my view, the relationship of consciousness (or the mind) to the brain is similar to the relationship of software to a computer. Software has no existence outside of a computer or storage device. It is not a material object. It has no length, width, or height, nor any weight or charge or any other physical property. Yet it exists. Moreover, a piece of software cannot be explained by reference to a computer. The same computer can be programmed to track financial transactions, fly an airplane, or drive a vehicle across country. The only difference between the computers is the software that resides on them. A computer program specifies the state of some region of computer memory, the program memory. Other state information is used to track the progression of the program or to hold the data upon which the program operates. As such, it is a description of the state of a machine. Similarly, the contents of your mind, in some sense specifies the state of your brain. And, just as a piece of software, written in a modern programming language, is a high level description of a program, so, the state of your mind is a high level description of the state of your brain. Therefore, the mapping from your mental states to your physiological states is not obvious. In fact, there may be more than one possible mapping. Therefore, I don't think it is entirely incorrect to state that consciousness is irreducible. The state of your mind doesn't correspond to any obvious physiological state. It is an epiphenomenal description of the state of your brain. Therefore, it makes little sense to try to reduce it to some sort of low level description of brain function. However, I do not like the term, "irreducible primary," as it seems to imply that the mind has some sort of non-physical existence, though it is obvious that the existence of the mind is equivalent to the existence of the brain. If the brain ceases to exist, so does the mind (which is just a high level description of the state and behavior of the brain). Perhaps that is a point on which to criticize certain Objectivists, perhaps Rand herself, though I am not aware of her saying that. I certainly do not believe that she thought that the mind exists independent of the brain. She certainly repudiated the notion of any sort of mind-body dichotomy on numerous occasions. Darrell Thanks for the comments. I should perhaps have not made the statements without backing them up with citations of who and in what context said that where and when, since now we are mere guessing of who to attribute them too. I know I have read them (and I guess they can be attributed to Peikoff). I will do my best in providing an accurate quotation first, so that we can more properly discuss it. Just one remark, I think that such issues could be avoided by explaining what we mean. I hold on to the idea for instance that everything there is, can be explained at the basis of material reality. But such does not mean that for instance social structures (for example take an education institute) can be reduced to the atoms of school buildings, tables, pencils, books and persons. On the other hand, it is clear a school system neither goes without that low level part of physical reality. Such a reduction is obviously an absurd one. We need for different material realities different and suitable levels of abstractions to describe them. Even in the case of chemistry, while it can in principle be satisfactory reduced to quantum physics, no chemist will do that in practice, since it is a too low level of an abstraction. In the same way we reflect on communication in computer networks on different layers of abstraction. For instance using the OSI model, which distinguishes the different levels of communication: application , representation , session, transport, network , data link , physical In the ultimate sense all communication that goes on is physical, and for sure no communication could go on without the physical. Yet we do not reduce anything that goes on inside computer networks in terms of physical interactions, since that would be an inadequate abstraction. In a similar way I think consciousness can be explained, as various levels of abstraction. It has thefefore meaning to talk about some phenomena at some level of abstraction, without being bothered too much about what goes on on deeper levels of abstraction. Like they have independent existence and/or stand on their own without even needing the underlying layers, although they do not realy and must be based ultimately on physical reality.
  10. At this point I don't know whether you really have questions or whether you are actually on a crusade to try to discredit Objectivism, but I will take you at your word and attempt to answer your questions one at a time. The short answer is nothing. But the form of your question is something like: everyone knows that man is an animal and that he has a rational faculty; what does it add to that to say that man is a rational animal? That is, you've started out by stating the meaning of the words, "existence exists," and then you ask what the statement, "existence exists," adds to that. Of course the answer to that question is nothing, but the question is poorly stated. The real question is whether, "existence exists," is tautological and therefore devoid of meaning. But some philosophers like George Berkeley and other solipsists have argued that: existence is merely an illusion. If that phrase has any meaning, then so does the statement that existence exists as it is the opposite of the foregoing. That is, Objectivism rejects the notion that existence is an illusion. If that assertion seems trivial to you, fine. But that is an issue in philosophy. Darrell Thanks Darrell I should have raised the question perhaps more precisely. Objectivism states two things: existence exists and existence is primary. But somewhere (I don't remember where exactly) it is stated that existence consists of both physical/material reality and the mind. If this is somehow not in accordance with Objectivism, then perhaps that is the source of the confusion. The primacy of existence is somewhat confusing because existence is already partly overlapping with consciousness, and in that sence the primacy of existence is less meaning full then stating that the material (that what exists outside, apart and independent of the mind) has primacy (like Materialism does) or stating that consciousness has primacy (like Idealism does). Objectivism (a more recent Philosophy) somehow does not fit in between these two, since Objectivism has a dualistic approach to this. In one way Objectivism sees existence as primary, but then, on the other hand Objectivism states that Consciousness is an irreducable primary too. Objectivism has in common with Idealism that it sees consciousness as irreducable primary. While Objectivism also states that existence is primary over consciousness, and at the same time reflects on existence as consisting of both the material (objective reality) and consciousness (the mind) itself, we can ask: what component of existence then has primacy? Is it matter that has primacy over consciousness, or consciousness that has primacy over the material? If matter is primary, then consciousness can not be a at the same time a primary too. If stated that consciousness is primary, then the next question is: why is there consciousness? In what did it originate? Was it (like matter) always in existence? Where was consciousness then, before living organisms started populating earth? Some 'world spirit' perhaps? The mind of God? This is of course not the position one should attribute to Objectivism, because explicitly all reference to the supernatural are rejected. But then Objectivism would need to conclude that consciousness is not realy a primary, but is in fact conditioned by and dependent on material entities and must have had it's origin in the material, that is the only way it can make sense. At the same time it is clear that an approach which denies the various aspects of the material organisation forms that give rise to the phenomena of consciousness, is not a clever approach. Consciousness and how it relates to the material urges for many levels or layers of abstractions, and these layers of abstraction have seperate meaning (although they do depent on and originate from deeper levels of material reality).
  11. Here is another article on inflation cosmology Growth of inflation
  12. "What environment?" What about the air one breathes and the soil on which your food grows, and the water you drink. If that gets polluted, you get polluted too. If you get sick and can't work anymore, you loose any possibility to subsist yourself. "Pollution is a secondary issue" You might think so, but in many practical circumstances and considerations, such is rather unthoughtfull, since it means practically destroying one's own means of subsistence and one's own health. The practical vision that one needs to adapt to is create one's existence and economic means of sustaining oneself without destroying those same means of subsistence itself. All kind of economic development, when put forward as a strategic target, which aim at manufacturing more durable goods (and only those which are realy needed), recycling waste materials and energy, and utilize durable forms of energy and utilization of other materials and resources are in that perspective the only lasting way of keeping the economy from destroying it's own lasting resources. Such forms of economic development have a better future as short time economic management (short scale profits at the costs of large scale pollution and destruction of economic resources, both human and natural). We live in a world which is in all respect limited (setting up colonies in space, as some think is a way out, is just a fairy tale) in natural resources, while the economy (esp. that of countries like China and India) and population still grows (world population doubles every 25 years!). So what alternative is there in the long run? It's a sensible midway between either having the economy ruining or wasting the economic resources in the long run, or decline human (technological and scientific) development and live human life of the past ( 'back to nature'). Neither is an alternative since the first will destroy human development in the long future, and the second is impossible either, since we can not go back in time, the only way is forward, using rational ways (through scientific and technological development) of producing in a less poluting and less wastefull way. Scientific and technological advancements in the field of production technologies, waste management and durable forms of energy enable a quite reasonable amount of economic prosperity for everybody and at the same time could reduce pollution and other environemental risks. It's the only rational solution I think.
  13. Hi Paul, and hello to you too I am rather new to this forum, and Objectivism as well (must still read some books about it, although I have read a lot of available material about it online --it's basic premisis and political ideas/worldview, and more philosophically how it differs from either Idealism and Materialism and what it's position is towards Dialectics). You (or someone else) might want to educate me on some of the basic premises of Objectivism (as I still have some questions on the basic premises, which I posted as a seperate post). I hope some time later we can have some good discussion about such issues, and in the mean time, I will try to understand some more about Objectivism. Rob
  14. What Stephen Hawking in fact describes in "A Brief History of Time" is that one should reflect on this 'singularity' as just a point on a sphere, like any other. It is like the Northpole, when standing there, the only direction is south (the direction that represents time). Some see in this an argument for saying that time is finite and started at the singularity. A number of physicsist - amongst others also Sir Roger Penrose - adapted at some time this point of view and popularized it (but Penronse now abandoned that vision, and most cosmologists now agree on inflation as the standard explenation of the Big Bang, although the scientific and cosmological debate still continues). But watch very closely at what Stephen Hawing in fact say, because most people only read one part of it, and forget about the other part. Stephen Hawking talks in "A Brief History of Time" not about just one axis of time, but two axis of time: one real and one imaginary (the terms real and imaginary relate to their meaning in mathematics, and relate to complex numbers which have two terms, a real part and an imaginary part. The imaginary unit is the square root of minus one). He mentions therefore that while the universe looks in one axis of time (the real axis) finite in extend, in the other axis (the imaginary) time is however not finite but eternal. Stephen Hawing adds to that that the imaginary time axis is "more real" as the real time axis. So in fact he does not argue that time is just finite, that is a one-sided approach. [ Side note: complex numbers are just a mathematical tool for doing calculations in physical theories, it is used widespread in physical theories, like electronics and quantum mechanics. One should abstrain from the meaning of the words 'real' and 'imaginary' in their ordinary (daily language) use, as something unphysical or unreal or something. ] I added this just to explain that how the general public understands something, and what it in fact means physically, are often two seperate things. This explains to a large extend how all kinds of misrepresentation of scientific theories enter the world, and kind of have a life of their own, while they don't relate to what the scientific understanding says. In fact if one realy wants to know what these theories say and not say, one has to understand the underlying mathematical theory and the strange notions it incorporates for instance about the topology. [ Side note: topology is the study of abstract spaces with quite different properties as our ordinary concept of euclidean space. Topological spaces may incorporate quite contradictionary ideas, like a space with a finite boundary or surface, but an infinite interior. ] In general those formulations are so abstract and require such an enormous mathematical and topological understanding, that it is near to impossible to explain it in ordinary language. But in between the lines, physicists make it clear also for the layman what he means. Stephen Hawking for instance in "A Brief History of Time" makes clear that "physicists do not know how to make physical law from 'nothing'". That means in other words that a physicist, when explaining something physically, always proceeds from a known physical state in which there can be a description of space, time and matter/energy, and in no way can a physicist explain something without that. No advancement in physics ever can change that position. In fact that is the most sound argument ever to tell anyone that a metaphysical position that would resemble something as "everything coming from nothing" can not ever be based on physical theory. And that is the precise reason such metaphysics should be put in the garbage can. Since in the metaphysical sense we can make sense of the universe, and can readily reject the notion of creation ex nihilo, in fact (unless one wants to become a cosmologist) that is what one needs to take in mind, and forget about all these speculate notions (which the not-scientific educated have a hard time to understand what it realy means anyway) which dwell around in cosmological theories. A proper (metaphysical) understanding of the universe is that it has no boundary or edges, so for that reason, it can't have a point of begin or a bounding edge in any other sense. In the layman notions that just says the universe is infinite and eternal, although it is not eternal/infinite in the trivial sense (the euclidean absolute flat spacetime) since that - combined with the cosmological principle, luminous matter distributed homogeneously through the universe - would invoke Olbers' paradox. The best way to think about it is that the universe is an eternal process unfolding in space and time, not limited by anything, and in that sense is eternal and infinite. Your argument that metaphysics is not important, the only things important are facts, I do not agree on. Facts in themselves are quite useless without a proper understanding of reality, and to make sense of reality one already must have some metaphysical understanding about reality. Facts only mean something in the context of a proper theory about reality and having a metaphysical understanding of reality. In fact out brain does that (mostly un- or subconsciously) all the time, since without that, how to make sense of all the sensory perceptions? They would just be meaningless facts if they had no interpretation on what happens in the outside world. For example, look at these graphics. The brain interprets this as motion, but in fact there is no motion at all! Although it is certainly true that our interpretations can be wrong some times, this does not mean that our basic assumptions about reality are wrong or untrue.
  15. It's far too early to say what theory about the origin of the Big Bang is wrong or not, in that regard all theories are still highly speculative. And if physics can't tell us, metaphysics certainly can't tell us anything about it. For example, where does metaphysics get the notion that matter (in motion?) is indestructable? It can only come from empirical evidence, which is the domain of physics. And in fact matter is not indestructable, as we learned a century ago. It's true that mass-energy is still conserved, but the ancient notion that mass is indestructible is just wrong. Further the total energy of the universe may be equal to zero, so conservation of energy isn't necessarily in contradiction with creation ex nihilo. Anyway, below the Planck limit, and that's where the Big Bang starts, all bets are off as the usual laws of physics no longer apply. Perhaps the notion that matter is indestructable/uncreatable is a misunderstanding, since the philosophical meaning of the word 'matter' is slightly different then that in physics. If you refer to the physical meaning of matter, you are clearly right. The early stage of the Big Bang or inflation comes with the concept that 'matter' in the ordinary sense of the word (in the form of subatomic particles and stuff) did not yet exist. Whatever was there at these hight energies was even indistinguisable from vacuum. There were no particles or whatever. In inflation theory, all particles of the current universe emerged after reaching the minimum of the potential and the release of the energy of the potential field. Matter in the philosophical sense is not something specific (it is a catagory of thought, of all there is in objective material reality outside, apart of and independent of the mind). What matter is is up to the material sciences to define. Anything the physicsts builds their model on of what physical reality consists of, is matter in the philosophical sense. The conservation of matter/energy is not something that has get rid of, only that the physical theory about what constitutes matter/energy has changed. Quantum mechanics nor general relativity nor inflation cosmology nor (I suppose) M theory/superstring theory gets rid of those conservation principles, only the way it is defined might depend on the underlying theory. In respect to the universe, the idea that the total matter/energy contents might be zero. In fact one could - for good reasons - have the point of view that the universe in total has no physical attribute at all. Since by definition there is nothing outside the universe, it can not have any of such physical properties. By definition there isn't anything to measure any such physical properties. So in fact one could not even state that (in the absolute sense) there is a universe instead of none. We can't state anything about all of material reality (the whole universe, in whatever form it may exist) in an absolute way. There is only objective material existence within the universe. Relative to us - our existence - other things exist. And for all practical and theoretical reasons, that is the only thing what matters. But who is interested in metaphysical viewpoints? I'm only interested in facts. Are you arguing that a metaphysical position that explains the universe as the creation of a deity, as long as it explains the same facts, goes as well? The notion of a finite time in the past is far from discarded, whatever the current favorite theory may be. As I said, such theories (not the theories about what happened during the big bang, although these are still far from definitive, but at least they are in principle testable) are highly speculative, so the jury is still out, and probably for a long time. Physics, like I explained, doesn't have an a priori viewpoint on this, except that it might be clear that physics can not explain what comes out of an unexisting physical state. Physics explains only how an existing material state changes into a different one. So if you try to defend that it is a 'possibility' that the universe emerged from nothing at all (an inexistent material state) then that view can not be upheld by physics, but that is a metaphysical position. And in fact a metaphysical position which is undefendable. Some point however needs to be clarified, regarding infinity itself. Imagine a line (a mathematical abstract we are all familiar with) without ends. Place any two points on the line. Independent of where you place these points, the distance between this two points will always be a finite distance. However, since we defined that the line itself has not an end, it is clear that wherever we placed the points, we will always be able to place them further apart. That is what in fact the infinity of the line is, it is the posibility for those two points to be placed further apart, no matter where you put these points. The reasoning behind that is that of mathematical induction, and that is the way the infinity of the line can be proved. In no case however can you ever measure the infinite, because that alltogether incorporates the wrong idea about infinity (which for instance the dialectician Hegel calls 'bad' infinity), since an infinity which is totally absorbed, is a contradiction in terms. The reality of the infinite is that it can not ever be absorbed completely. Edit: Note also that such a invalid idea about what the infinite is, has been used wide over in all kind of different contexts, and lies amongst others behind the Kalam cosmological argument that supposedly 'proofs' that time supposedly had 'begun' sometime. The argument runs in this fashion: suppose that time had no beginning, then it follows that already an infinite amount of time should have been elapsed, which is a contradiction and hence, time can not be infinite and must have had therefore a begin. The whole error of this argument lies in the fact that supposedly one started counting at some point on this eternal time line, and counted back from there to now. But wherever one starts the count, this does not matter, since on the infinite time line, this means one already leaves behind an infinite amount of time. This is a famous falacy, because the argument already assumes that what needs to be proven namely that such a point exist at all from which one can start the count. Since the time line is infinite, by definition there is no point on which one can start counting in the first place, and for that reason the above argument is invalid. Since the argument makes use of the impossible fact that such a point (from which one supposedly starts the count) exists, it already rejects the idea incorporated in the infinity of the line, that such a point could exist in the first place.