I suppose if I really wanted to I could spend my lunch hours surfing for porn, but surely for a sex blogger that would be a busman’s holiday. So instead I end up reading papers like this one written by philosopher Joshua Knobe and two physicist colleagues entitled “Philosophical Implications of Inflationary Cosmology” (PDF version here.)

Knobe and his co-authors summarize part of their argument as follows:

Recent developments in cosmology indicate that every history having a nonzero probability is realized in infinitely many distinct regions of spacetime. Thus, appears that the universe contains infinitely many civilizations exactly like our own, as well as infinitely many civilizations that differ from our own in any way permitted by physical laws.

Well all very interesting, one might think. There are any number of challenging philosophical implications here. An inflationary universe raises tricky problems for epistemology (because, among other things, you might be a Boltzmann Brain) and causes real headaches for people like me attracted to aggregative consequentialism in ethics, as Nick Bostrom has pointed out (see his paper “Infinite Ethics,” pdf link here). These are the sort of things that keep weirdos like Faustus up at night, and not in a good way either. What’s the ErosBloggable significance here?

Let’s draw out a little of the Erotical Implications of Inflationary Cosmology, shall we?

In an infinite universe characterized by inflation, the only limit imposed on what can happen is physical law, and that’s not a very strong constraint, at least relative to the way that we think about the world. Events that have any positive probabilities, even tiny ones, even ones that require triple scientific notation to describe, happen — indeed, they happen infinitely many times. And this includes some very weird events, like fully concious brains appearing right out in the vacuum of space as a fluctuation out of the background thermal equilibrium.

If that can happen, then there’s a peculiar implication, which is that it is very hard to write anything that’s really fiction. Because anything that could happen that doesn’t violate (maybe) a few conservation principles could be happening, indeed is happening. Imagine your bizarre story as a movie. In some region of the universe, there is a fluctuation that creates frame one of the movie. In the vast, vast majority of these, things dissolve back into the equilibrated ooze, to use physicist Sean Carroll’s description. But in a tiny number of regions relative to the first, we get another fluctuation that is frame two of the movie, and so forth.

And so it would seem to follow that somewhere out there in the universe women are mixing their DNA with honeybees to become sex assassins. Somewhere a police detective is having his dead girlfriend replaced with a sexy robot, and not noticing. Somewhere a coed is being put in erotic peril by being accidentally-on-purpose shrunk down to two inches tall. Every weird transaction that for us is just something pulled out of 3D Kink is something real people are doing somewhere. Not on the earth we know, but somewhere in the inflating universe.

And of course, there are an infinite number of copies of you dear reader, engaged in almost any thing your imagination can throw up (keep in mind those pesky conservation laws, although if your kink centers on breaking the laws of physics, you win Faustus’s Weird of the Year Award), and vastly many other things besides.

Think on that while you go to sleep tonight. Pleasant dreams!