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Milliongenerations.org works with one main assumption.
Additional assumptions may be helpful later to answer additional questions.
Implicit assumptions are hard to avoid but should be declared on this page when recognized, thereby becoming explicit assumptions.
- Let's assume established science describes reality correctly.
- It is prudent to assume this, even though the assumption is known to be false and can never be proven. Nonetheless, it is important to make this assumption to avoid that survival depends on new findings that may or may not come. So: assume no time travel, no warp speed, no worm holes, no kryptonite....
- Assume the four fundamental forces described up to now are the only ones (Gravity, electromagnetic, strong and weak nuclear force). There might be more forces, or not. Nice surprise if there's more and useful energy can come from unexpected sources. Prudent to assume that what we know is all there is.
- Assume the amount of energy in the universe is finite and fixed. Can't make any, can't get rid of any. (The "First law of thermodynamics")
- Assume the second law can not be fooled, the rise of entropy defines the direction of time. Everything equalizes eventually, life is finite: "in the long run we are all dead" (Keynes). More relevantly: getting a material back from waste is difficult once it is mixed. Mixing stuff reduces chances of life in the future. But then, it is possible to increase entropy quickly, and less quickly.