A definitional issue from a consensus scientific (rather than a philosophical) perspective.
universe - all possible things real and imaginary - including our Universe and other potential or actual universii.
Universe - our universe. Everything which exists within our spacetime. Ours is not necessarily the only Universe, but is the only Universe which we experience. Our Universe is bounded by spacetime, which is in turn dependent on the existence of matter-energy to define a reference frame. Areas not having spacetime are not "outside the Universe" (meaningless for lack of a reference frame) but are simply undefined. However, they are part of the universe (supra). Spacetime was instantiated some Planck-seconds after the quantum fluctuation, but it is incorrect to refer to "before the Universe existed" as that is again, simply undefined as there was no spacetime and thus no time (needed to make before meaningful) .
Other universii may exist (highly probable according to current quantum and string theory, as well as most of the consensus cosmological models) but need not resemble ours in any way whatever, and may be forever inaccessible to us except in thought experiments. Ask me when we determine whether Hawking Radiation exists (it should) and whether Hawking Radiation conveys information (probably)).
It seems to me, that attempting to define the "relative" aspects of our Universe away, as attempted by Joe, fail under the definitional regime above.
---- This message was posted by Hermit to the Virus 2002 board on Church of Virus BBS. <http://virus.lucifer.com/bbs/index.php?board=51;action=display;threadid=25787>
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