A theist has recently made this claim to me online. I have to say this is a new one on me, I have never heard anyone claim that the universe is actually shrinking.

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hey Mr. Wolfeyes,you are joking right?Your one of these trolls aren't you?my own eight year old has taken a big interest in the universe through his school as they covered it and he could tell you that it's still expanding and getting faster as it does so.

I never said I agreed with the theist, I'm simply trying to understand why one would produce such an argument. I personally don't believe him

My apologies,I read your question wrong and jumped to the wrong conclusion.And I usually hate that when other people do it  DOH  =  ( 

He's been told that science is wrong & bad. Therefore, the Truth must be the exact opposite of whatever science says. Yes, it's a really, really stupid viewpoint. Best just to laugh & point when you hear whargarble like that.

Short answer: the universe is not shrinking, but expanding.

Long answer: it's been theorized that at some point (we are talking possibly trillions of years) the universe will stop expanding and start shrinking, or it will continue growing further apart until all the subatomic particles are so far away from each other that they'll stop moving and everything will freeze, but by then anything similar to life would have been long gone.

At least that's what I understood from some Physics text I read in college.

No, it's expanding.  Just google it.

Far from it! The universe is actually expanding at an accelerated rate quicker than had been previously calculated due to the presence of dark matter and dark energy. Any claim against this is pure crap!! 

Although it is currently expanding, there is a theory that it's rate of expansion will not continue growing infinitely, but will cease acceleration of it's expansion and actually slow down, or even reverse. I understand that dark matter/energy is the main topic behind the theory, but that's as far into it as I know, and is a little strange considering dark matter/energy is suppose to be what is increasing it's acceleration in the first place.

What is known for certain is that currently it is expanding. Ridiculously.

The hypothesis that the expansion of the universe will slow down ( a flat universe) or even reverse and start contracting ( a closed universe ) has been pretty well falsified by our current data. There were three hypotheses presented, a closed universe (the expansion slows and then reverses, shrinking), a flat universe (the expansion slows and reaches a stability point where it stay about the same size) and an open universe (the universe continues to expand at the same rate). With the measurements of the universes expansion and the discovery that not only is the universe continuing to expand but it is expanding at an accelerating rate, a new model, the expanding universe, was developed. As far as we can tell, not only is the universe not going to stop expanding, but the accelerating expansion will eventually mean that everything ouotside of our local galactic cluster will leave our observational range and we will no longer we able to observe thee outside universe as spacetime will be expanding away faaster than the speed of light.

It is interesting to imagine a civilization born into such darkness, with nothing but their home cluster to know of. What theories they would have in contrast to ours... Very interesting.

The 'collapse' theory was shared to me by my physics professor at the U of MN, but he is a self-declared old coot and I don't think he keeps up well with cosmology. No more than I do, at least. I will have to do some reading, now.

Indeed, their idea of the universe would likely match up with the one we had before Hubble discovered that the universe was expanding, that the universe was static and our own galaxy (as eventually all the galaxies in our local cluster will merge) was all that there is.

I recommend reading both the blog I linked to earlier and the latest book by Lawrence Krauss. :)

There are some very small pieces of evidence that the universe will shrink... that it wwill expand to a specific point, where mass would overpower the expansion of the universe, and start pulling everything inward, known as the "Big Crunch".

But as of now, no, the universe is expanding, and it's expanding faster and faster. There's way too much proof on the table of that, to say otherwise. 

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