A group of American scientists announced ‘a scientific discovery of millennia’: “The Universe is not infinite. It is shaped like a football”.
Is this a real discovery or just another fascinating fallacy?
To answer that question we have to understand what is meant by the word “Universe”.
The primary meaning of the word “Universe” is “everything merged into one”, and specifically “everything which exists” or “the whole world”. And this is how this word would be understood by most people in the sentence “The Universe is not infinite”.
According to the American Scientists, the shape of space may be based on a dodecahedron: a solid composed of 12 pentagons. So, if by “space” they mean the “Universe”, then the Universe is a gigantic, but limited chunk of space.
But what is outside of this ball‐shaped chunk?
Vacuum? Nothing? More space, but of some other kind?
Is this outer space infinite? Or is it contained in some other ball?
Or, if there is one ball floating in the outer space, could there be some other similar or different chunks floating around? And is there a limited number of such chunks or is that number infinite?
The truth is that the scientists do not know what is beyond the chunk which they believe to be the Universe.
But “The Universe” is “the whole world” by definition. So, even if the scientists are right about some part of the Universe being a ball‐shaped chunk of space, and there are no other chunks in the Universe, or the number of chunks is limited, then whatever space surrounds this chunk or these chunks is also part of the Universe. And, if this space surrounding the chunks is infinite, then the Universe is infinite.
If we look at the history of Human attempts to describe the Universe on the basis of the knowledge provided to them by their senses and instruments and supplemented by their imagination, we shall see that at every stage of this process they believed that the Universe is what they had happened to discover it be at that time. But as their knowledge increased, they were discovering that what they believed to be the Universe, was in fact just a part of larger Universe — not all of it.
And it is from this observation that we can conclude that Human knowledge is always limited, but is capable of unlimited expansion, because, no matter how much people know, they can always learn more. But, no matter how much they know, they will never know everything, or the whole Universe, or what brought it into existence.