I was recently reading a book by Douglas Adams called ‘The Restaurant at the end of the Universe’. It is the follow up to ‘The hitchhiker’s guide to the Galaxy’  and defiantly surpasses it in more way than one. But that debate is for another day. Well anyway upon reading the book I came across the most logical and well formed arguments that I have ever read. The argument of course pertained to the population of the universe and the fact that the total population is actually zero. Yeah I know, how can that be possible? If the population of the universe is zero then who am I addressing through this blog? And and on a more important note, if the population of the universe is in fact zero then how am I actually writing this blog post? Its probably best not to get too stuck into this debate right now. It would take years of typing, resulting in my fingers being reduced to bloody stumps. And i have my suspicions that the answer would be less than satisfactory resulting with myself, and the rest of the universe, dissolving into non-existence. But like I said, I’m not getting into this right now. So anyway getting back to the point, here’s the quote:

It is known that there are an infinite number of worlds, simply because there is an infinite amount of space for them to be in. However, not every one of them is inhabited. Therefore, there must be a finite number of inhabited worlds. Any finite number divided by infinity is as near to nothing as makes no odds, so the average population of all the planets in the Universe can be said to be zero. From this it follows that the population of the whole Universe is also zero, and that any people you may meet from time to time are merely the products of a deranged imagination.


11 thoughts on “The population of the universe is actually zero

  1. If the universe is finite, though, which it may be, seeing as it has an age, then the equation wouldn’t be dividing quite by infinity, even if the universe is ever expanding. However, if the universe is constantly producing new worlds and destroying old ones, and there are consistently more worlds than there are grains of sand on all the beaches of the world, then the number of worlds who has a population is close to infinite, as well. Which means the total average population of the universe could be closer to 1, not zero. 🙂


  2. I’m not sure if I entirely follow you Andrew,I don’t think my brain is capable to calculate something this complicated this early in the morning. But from my understanding the universe is infinite, as in there is no start and end to it. Also the amount of worlds within the universe is finite. Therefore following Adams logic when you divide a finite number by infinity the answer is close to zero. However when I first read this I too thought that the more correct answer was one and not zero. If this were the case then it would be quiet dangerous as it would go a long way towards confirming those with a more inflated ego’s suspicion that they are indeed the only person in the universe 🙂


  3. Not wanting to debate the mathematics of this issue, would this hypothesis not explain the proposal that everything in our space, world, Universe, is actually the product of our thoughts and perceptions and not actual reality?


    1. All we can possibly comment on is our observabe universe, and not on the universe that has, since the dawn of time, been expanding outside of our visible sphere.


  4. Just because the one who wrote the article is not able to see the creations who populate other planets, it doesn’t reduce the population of the universe to zero.


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