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Far future

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Title: Far future  
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Subject: Far future in science fiction and popular culture, Timeline of the far future, Clock position, Endurantism, Tempus fugit
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Far future

The far future is what will happen in the time long after the present. While predictions of the future can never be absolutely certain,[1] present scientific understanding in various fields has allowed a projected course for the farthest future events to be sketched out, if only in the broadest strokes. The far future has been used as a setting in many works of fiction or popular scientific speculation.

Timeline

All predictions of the future of the Earth, the Solar System and the Universe must account for the second law of thermodynamics, which states that entropy, or a loss of the energy available to do work, must increase over time.[2] Stars must eventually exhaust their supply of hydrogen fuel and burn out. Close encounters will gravitationally fling planets from their star systems, and star systems from galaxies.[3] Eventually, matter itself will come under the influence of radioactive decay, as even the most stable materials break apart into subatomic particles.[4] However, as current data suggest that the Universe is flat, and thus will not collapse in on itself after a finite time,[5] the infinite future potentially allows for the occurrence of a number of massively improbable events, such as the formation of a Boltzmann brain.[6]

Science fiction and popular culture

The far future has been used as a setting in many works of fiction or popular scientific speculation.

Religious views

Discussions of the far future are of major import both in theology and folk religion.[7] Many Christian authors have welcomed the scientific theory of the heat death of the universe as the ultimate fate of the universe as it was first proposed, while atheists and materialists back then commonly opposed the theory in favour of the idea that the universe and life in it would exist eternally.[8] Nonetheless, in modern days, nontheists have largely come to accept the theory, while Christian eschatology is in conflict with the idea that entropy will be the predominant factor in determining the state of the far future, instead predicting God's creation of the New Earth and its existence into the far future.[9] According to Mahayana Buddhism, an emanation of the Buddha-nature will appear in the material world in the far future.[10]

References

  1. ^  
  2. ^ Nave, C.R. "Second Law of Thermodynamics".  
  3. ^ Adams, Fred; Laughlin, Greg (1999). The Five Ages of the Universe. New York: The Free Press.  
  4. ^ Adams, Fred C.; Laughlin, Gregory (April 1997). "A dying universe: the long-term fate and evolution of astrophysical objects". Reviews of Modern Physics 69 (2): 337–372.  
  5. ^ Komatsu, E.; Smith, K. M.; Dunkley, J. et al. (2011). "Seven-Year Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) Observations: Cosmological Interpretation". The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series 192 (2): 18.  
  6. ^ Linde, Andrei. (2007). "Sinks in the Landscape, Boltzmann Brains and the Cosmological Constant Problem". Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics (subscription required) 2007 (1): 022.  
  7. ^ Gregory A. Benford (2005). Charles L. Harper Jr., John Templeton, ed. "Theological Fiction and the Future". Spiritual Information: 100 Perspectives on Science and Religion (Templeton Foundation Press): 112.  
  8. ^ Hans Halvorson, Helge Kragh (2012). Charles Taliaferro, Victoria S. Harrison, Stewart Goetz, ed. "Physical Cosmology". The Routledge Companion to Theism ( 
  9. ^ Ted Peters, Richard J. Mouw (2003). Stanley James Grenz, William Carl Placher, ed. "Where Are We Going?". Essentials of Christian Theology ( 
  10. ^ M.A. Aldrich (2008). The Search for a Vanishing Beijing: A Guide to China's Capital Through the Ages. Hong Kong University Press. p. 25.  
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