The problem of infinite matter in steady-state cosmology

Philosophy of Science 32 (1):21-31 (1965)
Abstract
The creation-of-matter hypothesis of the Bondi-Gold-Hoyle steady-state cosmology requires that in an infinite time to which the first transfinite number may be assigned the number of atoms of matter produced would be equal to the cardinal number of the set of mathematical points in the continuum. The existence of a set of finite atoms with that cardinal number is physically unacceptable. The argument for the production of a non-denumerable set of atoms, in infinite time, is given in terms of a model which is shown to be isomorphic with the original Cantor "diagonal" proof for the existence of a non-denumerable infinity. An alternative model which meets the requirements of the steady-state theory is presented; in this model, the number of atoms is explicitly no greater than countably infinite, and remains countably infinite as long as the past time of the universe is restricted to the unlimited set of finite unit-time intervals. If the origin of the steady-state universe is taken as being within that infinite set, expressed by the negative natural numbers, the contradiction of an atom at every mathematical point does not arise. The contradiction does arise if the origin is not within the set of finite numbers, and accordingly there is a restriction as to which concept of infinite past may properly be maintained in the steady-state theory
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