• Devans99
    2.1k
    Continuing on the theme of proving the existence of a timeless first cause (God), I have a new argument. First, I'll give the argument as an analogy:

    Think of the universe as a hamster cage with a spinning wheel and toys. No hamster always leads to equilibrium. With a hamster(=God) the cage stays out of equilibrium.

    So my argument is:

    1. If time has a start then there must be a timeless first cause to create time. If time has no start:
    2. then our universe will have gone through all possible states.
    3. But some states are equilibrium states.
    4. Once in equilibrium the universe cannot escape.
    5. We are not in equilibrium.
    6. There must be something permanent and self-driven (IE intelligent) that is prevented us from reaching equilibrium.
    7. It is not possible to exist permanently in time so the something must be the timeless first cause.

    Some notes on the universe’s long term behaviour:

    A. The universe’s expansion might be preventing equilibrium; but if the universe has always been expanding that implies a beginning, IE a first cause.
    B. A cyclic universe is not possible (not stable - cycle time would deteriorate to [C] below).
    C. A contracting universe is not possible.
    D. A static universe would definitely reach equilibrium
  • Relativist
    772
    If time has a start then there must be a timeless first cause to create time.Devans99
    That does not follow. There merely needs to be an initial point of time. Refer back to my description of Sean Carroll's hypothesis from the other thread: the ground state constitutes the initial point of time for all universes.

    The notion that a first cause can be "timeless" is problematic. Timeless does not mean "frozen in time" it means that something exists independent of time. Abstractions exist timelessly (consider the law of non-contradiction - it is an abstraction; it did not come into existence and it cannot cease to exist). But abstractions are not causally efficacious. Why believe a timeless entity can be causally efficacious?
  • Devans99
    2.1k
    That does not follow. There merely needs to be an initial point of timeRelativist

    But time and causality are inextricably linked and a first cause is required for causality. So if there is a start of time, there must be a timeless first cause else nothing else would exist within causality.

    The notion that a first cause can be "timeless" is problematic. Timeless does not mean "frozen in time" it means that something exists independent of time. Abstractions exist timelessly (consider the law of non-contradiction - it is an abstraction; it did not come into existence and it cannot cease to exist). But abstractions are not causally efficacious. Why believe a timeless entity can be causally efficacious?Relativist

    Because there does not seem to any other logical option; time cannot stretch back in an infinite regress; it would have no starting moment so as a result, none of it would be defined. If an infinite regress of time is impossible, the only other possibility is a start of time. But that requires a timeless first cause. The first cause must be outside of causality/time itself to be uncaused and have permanent existence.

    Aquinas's Argument From Necessary Being supports this view:

    - Can’t get something from nothing
    - So something must have existed ‘always’.
    - IE if there was ever a state of nothingness, it would persist to today, so something must have permanent existence.
    - It’s not possible to exist permanently in time (always leads to an infinite regress; but they have no start so cannot not be), so the ‘something’ must be the timeless first cause (of time/causality).

    Photons are timeless so it seems possible to exist timelessly and have some interaction with the world. It is true however that timelessness is very puzzling... it seems required yet how it could work I am not sure.

    Even more strange is the thought that the first cause is from beyond spacetime so may not even be made of normal matter. A non-material God could cause the Big Bang and evade destruction.
  • Relativist
    772
    But time and causality are inextricably linked and a first cause is required for causality. So if there is a start of time, there must be a timeless first cause else nothing else would exist within causality.Devans99
    An initial state (such as the one described in the Carroll hypothesis) "causes" everything that follows. What's missing in that scenario?

    Because there does not seem to any other logical option; time cannot stretch back in an infinite regress; it would have no starting moment so as a result, none of it would be defined.Devans99
    False dichotomy - I gave you another logical option that doesn't rely on an infinite past. Show why it doesn't succeed.

    - Can’t get something from nothing
    - So something must have existed ‘always’.
    Devans99
    "Always existed" just means there is no point in time at which it didn't exist.

    IE if there was ever a state of nothingness, it would persist to today, so something must have permanent existence.
    A "state of nothingness" is incoherent.

    It’s not possible to exist permanently in time (always leads to an infinite regress;
    An initial point in time is a state of affairs that needn't be unchanging.
  • Devans99
    2.1k
    An initial state (such as the one described in the Carroll hypothesis) "causes" everything that follows. What's missing in that scenario?Relativist

    What causes the initial state to start causing everything else? Anything that causes something else is within some form of causality. All forms of causality require a first cause.
  • Relativist
    772
    What causes the initial state to start causing everything else?Devans99
    Certain eigenstates (high energy ones) are inherently unstable.

    Ordinary causation (in the macro world in which we live) entails a transfer of energy, so the intuitive assumption (of Aristotle and Aquinas) is inherently based on the introduction of energy from the "cause" (or efficient cause) to the effect. But no transfer of energy is required in this quantum scenario; rather the energy is balanced against a negative energy elsewhere in the system.

    An Aristotelian/Thomist first cause (or prime mover) is actually physically impossible because it entails a source of unlimited energy. Obviously if there is a God, he's not limited to the physically possible, but this argument for God is simply an argument from ignorance: no physical cause could be conceived, so it's concluded "it must be a God."
  • Devans99
    2.1k
    I am not buying Carol's proposal:

    - Time runs at different rates due to special relativity; that has nothing to do with entropy. Entropy changing at different rates definitely does not cause time to run at different rates. Entropy is a result of causality (IE time) not time is a result of entropy.

    - It sounds a lot like creation ex nilhilo and without time.

    - I don't buy 'the eigenstates are inherently unstable' - something must have changed with the ground state 14 billion years ago else there would be no Big Bang. Something must have caused that change in the ground state. That something would be a timeless first cause.
  • Wallows
    8.7k
    Ok, exercising my noetic intelligence, you stipulate that time has a start iff there is change, and since there is no change (an equilibrium, although used stipulatively here), then time never existed. But, we don't live in an equilibrium, thus, time had some start.

    Is that correct?
  • Devans99
    2.1k
    Ok, exercising my noetic intelligence, you stipulate that time has a start iff there is change, and since there is no change (an equilibrium, although used stipulatively here), then time never existed. But, we don't live in an equilibrium, thus, time had some start.

    Is that correct?
    Wallows

    I am not sure what you mean. My argument is that any isolated system will end up in equilibrium after sufficiently long period of time, unless it has an internal driver - an intelligent internal driver (IE God)
  • Wallows
    8.7k
    I am not sure what you mean. My argument is that any isolated system will end up in equilibrium after sufficiently long period of time, unless it has an internal driver - an intelligent internal driver (IE God)Devans99

    OK, then please explain how you are using the term "equilibrium" in more detail if you don't mind...
  • Devans99
    2.1k
    OK, then please explain how you are using the term "equilibrium" in more detail if you don't mind...Wallows

    As far as the universe goes, there are different types of equilibrium that it could end up in (given infinite time):

    - All the matter in one big black hole (gravity wins)
    - All the matter converted to energy (heat death)

    I don't see how one of these could be avoided with infinite time.
  • Wallows
    8.7k
    I don't see how one of these could be avoided with infinite time.Devans99

    But, if I'm understanding you correctly, then in a deterministic universe where a perfect unchanging equilibrium persists, then time, understood as a change occurring, within the state space of the universe, does not exist, yes?
  • Devans99
    2.1k
    But, if I'm understanding you correctly, then in a deterministic universe where a perfect unchanging equilibrium persists, then time, understood as a change occurring, within the state space of the universe, does not exist, yes?Wallows

    I believe time enables change rather than change is time. If you have a clock and an empty piece of space next to it; surely time is running for both (but change is only taking place in the clock; the empty space is completely still).
  • Wallows
    8.7k
    I believe time enables change rather than change is time.Devans99

    Thanks for bringing this up. I always understood time as an emergent phenomenon from lower dimensions upward, instead of the absolutism of higher dimensions dictating the behavior of lower dimensions.
  • Devans99
    2.1k
    Thanks for bringing this up. I always understood time as an emergent phenomenon from lower dimensions upward, instead of the absolutism of higher dimensions dictating the behavior of lower dimensions.Wallows

    By 'emergent phenomenon from lower dimensions upward' you mean time is emergent from timeless thermodynamic phenomena? If entropy increases causes time to flow, we would expect time to flow faster where entropy is increasing faster. This has not been observed.

    So I believe entropy does not cause time - time causes entropy.

    I am a fan of spacetime so I see time as a degree of freedom and a dimension. I find it difficult to see how a dimension could emerge from anything. Time started in the Big Bang singularity most probably.
  • Wallows
    8.7k
    By 'emergent phenomenon from lower dimensions upward' you mean time is emergent from timeless thermodynamic phenomena?Devans99

    I suppose you can say so. Though, I don't understand the use of the term "timeless thermodynamic phenomena"...

    If entropy increases causes time to flow, we would expect time to flow faster where entropy is increasing faster. This has not been observed.Devans99

    This would be true if no constants existed, such as the speed of light in a vacuum. But, constants (hidden or not) dictate the flow of time, I would think.

    So I believe entropy does not cause time - time causes entropy.Devans99

    I don't think it's an either/or situation. They can exist simultaneously along with each other, yes?
  • Devans99
    2.1k
    I suppose you can say so. Though, I don't understand the use of the term "timeless thermodynamic phenomena"...Wallows

    Well I think the idea is that if entropy causes time, there could be timeless processes that lead time to emerge via causing entropy. But it does not make sense to me; entropy is caused by causality and that is linked to time.

    I don't think it's an either/or situation. They can exist simultaneously along with each other, yes?Wallows

    Entropy causes time and time causes entropy? That sounds a bit weird. There is no evidence for the first. Correlation is not causation in this case.
  • Relativist
    772
    - Time runs at different rates due to special relativity; that has nothing to do with entropy. Entropy changing at different rates definitely does not cause time to run at different rates. Entropy is a result of causality (IE time) not time is a result of entropy.Devans99
    Carroll does not say entropy causes time, but that time, entropy, and change are related in some fundamental way.

    Causality is nothing more than the determininistic state to state evolution of the universe. If we consider the universe a quantum system, this evolution is describable (in principle) as a Schroedinger equation. A classical account of causation is subsumed by the evolution of the system as a whole. Typical accounts of causation inevitably only represent subsets of the system; a complete account of causation would require consideration of all elements of the universe, and that's what the hypothetical Schroedinger equation would do. This is boilerplate quantum physics, based only on the assumption the universe is fundamentally a quantum system - it's widely (though not universally) accepted.

    - It sounds a lot like creation ex nilhilo and without time.Devans99
    Nope, it doesn't involve anything existing that didn't previously exist. It's just changes of state of a quantum system.


    Carroll's hypothesis about time is speculative, but no more so than the assumptions you make in your argument. I present it, not because it's necessarily true - but to demonstrate there are possibilities besides your own. We really don't know the nature of time, so it's invalid to draw your conclusions. You basically depend on an argument from ignorance: we don't know the nature of time, so you implicitly suggest we must accept your assumption.


    I don't buy 'the eigenstates are inherently unstable' - something must have changed with the ground state 14 billion years ago else there would be no Big Bang.Devans99
    Irrespective of whether Carroll's hypothesis is true, one can coherently account for the big bang with the past being finite. It just means there was an initial state that was inherently unstable. You need a strong reason to reject that, not merely because you prefer an account that requires an intelligent creator who performs magic (i.e. can do things that violate the laws of nature).
    .
  • Devans99
    2.1k
    Irrespective of whether Carroll's hypothesis is true, one can coherently account for the big bang with the past being finite. It just means there was an initial state that was inherently unstable. You need a strong reason to reject that, not merely because you prefer an account that requires an intelligent creator who performs magic (i.e. can do things that violate the laws of nature).Relativist

    The universe is a macro phenomena, so the initial state is a macro state. If it is unstable, that implies it is changing in the macro world. That implies causality holds in some form. That implies a first cause.

    You need a very strong reason to reject causality in the macro world.

    A few other points:

    - You can't completely describe anything with Schroedinger's equation; it does not take account of gravity which is dominant for the macro world.
    - I do not see how time can emerge without something changing which implies some form of causality and thus a first cause
    - God is not magic. Who said anything about magic. What would be magic is any form of causality existing without a first cause
    - Time is a dimension so I do not see how such could emerge from anything
    - I see this QM based explanation very much opposed to Occam's Razor, whereas causality based accounts are very much inline with Occam's Razor
  • Devans99
    2.1k
    Thinking about this a bit more, Carroll’s proposal does not make sense:

    So you have this timeless unstable initial state. It should tend towards equilibrium. All isolated systems tend towards equilibrium. What it should not do is the Big Bang - that is the polar opposite of equilibrium.

    All systems end up in equilibrium unless they have a self-driven agent in them. The universe would be in equilibrium unless there has always been a self-driven agent in it. This would be God.
  • Relativist
    772
    The universe is a macro phenomena, so the initial state is a macro state. If it is unstable, that implies it is changing in the macro world. That implies causality holds in some form. That implies a first cause.Devans99
    Unstable does not imply "is changing", it implies that it necessarily WILL change. We're assuming time is past-finite, so there cannot have been a temporally prior cause. A finite past is more problematic for theism: God cannot have existed prior to the universe because there is no time prior to the universe=spacetime.

    You need a very strong reason to reject causality in the macro world.Devans99
    Agreed, and you would need a strong reason to believe causation can occur without a passage of time.
    - You can't completely describe anything with Schroedinger's equation; it does not take account of gravity which is dominant for the macro world.Devans99
    Our current physics is clearly incomplete: general relativity breaks down as we retrospectively approach the "big bang". Cosmologists believe it likely that there is a quantum basis of gravity. This is the last gap in proving the universe is a quantum system. At this point, it's at least as reasonable to assume this is the case as it is to entertain the possibility that nature is explained by something unnatural. IMO, it's even more reasonable because there is no empirical evidence of anything existing that is unnatural - there are only arguments from ignorance (AKA "God of the gaps").

    - I do not see how time can emerge without something changing which implies some form of causality and thus a first causeDevans99
    Who said nothing is changing?
    - God is not magicDevans99
    OK, I'll just call it "unnatural", where "natural"= that which operates solely through inviolable laws of nature.

    - Time is a dimension so I do not see how such could emerge from anythingDevans99
    Treat time as consisting of discrete moments that are connected to one another. It maps to a number line beginning at zero (t0) and proceeds infinitely to the future. The initial state is at t0; it's a boundary. This has to be the case if the past is finite. If God did it, then he exists at t0. My issue is that God is not needed to explain why the initial state changes.

    see this QM based explanation very much opposed to Occam's Razor, whereas causality based accounts are very much inline with Occam's RazorDevans99
    Occam's razor (the principle of parsimony) teaches that we should make no more assumptions than are necessary to explain the evidence. What superfluous assumptions are being made here?

    Theist accounts typically omit detail. Asserting God is the first cause does not explain specifically what he directly caused. Where exactly is his fingerprint? Current science can account for the state of the universe as far back as the end of the Planck epoch. That's the current boundary of scientific knowledge, but it's very clear that there is more to learn. Quantum Field Theory based on the standard model of particle physics is known to be incomplete: it doesn't explain gravity or dark matter. Dark energy and the nature of the cosmological constant are mysteries. In explaining the history and physical foundation of the universe, precisely where does God's act end and nature begin? Parsimony doesn't mean ignoring details, it means explaining details with the fewest assumptions.
  • Devans99
    2.1k
    God cannot have existed prior to the universe because there is no time prior to the universe=spacetime.Relativist

    A first cause has to exist prior to time - that is the only logically way anything could have come about:

    - Can’t get something from nothing
    - So something must have existed ‘always’
    - IE if there was ever a state of nothingness, it would persist to today, so something must have permanent existence.
    - It’s not possible to exist permanently in time (always leads to an infinite regress; but they have no start so cannot not be), so the ‘something’ must be the timeless first cause (of time/causality).

    Agreed, and you would need a strong reason to believe causation can occur without a passage of time.Relativist

    If there is change, there is causation. Logically we have gone from a no time to time situation. That can't happen unless a change can take place without time.

    IMO, it's even more reasonable because there is no empirical evidence of anything existing that is unnatural - there are only arguments from ignorance (AKA "God of the gaps").Relativist

    There is evidence of something unnatural - the Big Bang:

    - It is a singleton; natural events always come in pluralities
    - Entropy was unnaturally low at the Big Bang
    - Rather than the objects themselves moving further apart, it is space itself that is expanding - the Big Bang is no normal explosion. This expansion of space is keeping the universe from collapsing in on itself into a massive black hole.
    - That the expansion is speeding up rather than slowing which also seems unnatural

    In explaining the history and physical foundation of the universe, precisely where does God's act end and nature begin? Parsimony doesn't mean ignoring details, it means explaining details with the fewest assumptions.Relativist

    It's a very simple model I'm proposing. God caused the Big Bang somehow. The associated expansion of space is what is keeping us out of equilibrium - that is down to God.

    The Big Bang is effectively the end of God's evolvement in the universe from our perspective.

    Any isolated system decays to equilibrium without an active agent - this applies to the universe. So God is required.
  • Relativist
    772
    A first cause has to exist prior to time - that is the only logically way anything could have come about:

    - Can’t get something from nothing
    - So something must have existed ‘always’
    - IE if there was ever a state of nothingness, it would persist to today, so something must have permanent existence.
    - It’s not possible to exist permanently in time (always leads to an infinite regress; but they have no start so cannot not be), so the ‘something’ must be the timeless first cause (of time/causality).
    Devans99
    It's impossible to exist "before" time: "before" is a temporal relation.
    An initial state is not "something from nothing".
    A physical foundation of reality, such as quantum fields, indeed exists at all times. As you say, it can't have come from nothing. Can one get nothing from something? That seems hard to believe, but irrelevant because it would entail a finite future (time maps to a finite, delimited number line). Even then , it would entail physical reality existing at all times on this finite line segment. What makes you think this is impossible?
    A hypothetical "timeless" entity couldn't DO anything, because action entails a passage of time.

    If there is change, there is causation. Logically we have gone from a no time to time situation. That can't happen unless a change can take place without time.Devans99
    If there is change, then time has elapsed. You could posit another dimension of time, but not an absence of time, but that is problematic because it entails an infinite past for God. Your only hope is to consider there to have been an initial state that included God.

    There is evidence of something unnatural - the Big Bang:

    - It is a singleton; natural events always come in pluralities
    - Entropy was unnaturally low at the Big Bang
    - Rather than the objects themselves moving further apart, it is space itself that is expanding - the Big Bang is no normal explosion. This expansion of space is keeping the universe from collapsing in on itself into a massive black hole.
    - That the expansion is speeding up rather than slowing which also seems unnatural
    Devans99
    Please support you claim that natural events necessarily come in pluralities.
    It's absurd to claim a level of entropy is "unnatural". There is no known physical constraint on the level of entropy. Space expanding is natural, that's silly to suggest it's not. We certainly don't understand everything about these, but whenever you latch onto such unknowns and claim"therefore it must be unnatural" you are committing the fallacy of argument from ignorance.

    In explaining the history and physical foundation of the universe, precisely where does God's act end and nature begin? Parsimony doesn't mean ignoring details, it means explaining details with the fewest assumptions.
    — Relativist

    It's a very simple model I'm proposing. God caused the Big Bang somehow. The associated expansion of space is what is keeping us out of equilibrium - that is down to God.
    Devans99

    "Somehow" is not an explanation. "Somehow" the big bang occurred, and "somehow" the early universe was in a state of low entropy. "Somehow" the universe is expanding. Neither of us can explain it, but concluding this gap in knowledge implies "therefore Goddidit" is a fallacious argument from ignorance.

    The Big Bang is effectively the end of God's evolvement in the universe from our perspective.Devans99
    When precisely? At the end of the Planck epoch? At the beginning of it? If there is a God, he could have created the universe 10 minutes ago, inserting false memories in each of us, and starlight in flight. That's as simple as your scenario. If God is a live option, no evidence should be trusted. Historically, unknowns have been the driver for science. "Goddidit" could as simplistically been used as an explanation for any.

    Any isolated system decays to equilibrium without an active agent - this applies to the universe. So God is required.Devans99
    If the total energy of the universe is zero, as many cosmologist think, then it IS in equilibrium. If it isn't, it may be that the total energy of the multiverse is zero.

    In quantum field theory equilibrium means something different than in classical physics, because of the nature of quantum uncertainty. See this.
  • Devans99
    2.1k
    It's impossible to exist "before" time: "before" is a temporal relation.Relativist

    Something logically must exist before time - I proved that using Aquinas's 2nd way and you have past it by without comment. Alternatively: an infinite regress of time is impossible, so there is no other solution - a timeless first cause is the only possibility. Stuff can't always exist in time and it can't come from nothing so it must exist timelessly.

    If there is change, then time has elapsed. You could posit another dimension of time, but not an absence of time, but that is problematic because it entails an infinite past for God. Your only hope is to consider there to have been an initial state that included God.Relativist

    There cannot be another time dimension - that leads to an infinite regress of times nested one within the other. The only way to avoid an infinite regress is a timeless first cause.

    "Somehow" is not an explanation. "Somehow" the big bang occurred, and "somehow" the early universe was in a state of low entropy. "Somehow" the universe is expanding. Neither of us can explain it, but concluding this gap in knowledge implies "therefore Goddidit" is a fallacious argument from ignorance.Relativist

    For example, eternal inflation posits a first cause of some negative gravity particles in a high energy environment that result in a chain reaction of eternal inflation, giving birth to a multiverse. This cannot have happened by accident.

    This is just the sort of thing a benevolent God would do; create a multiverse from nothing. If God was able, he would not be able to resist it.

    When precisely? At the end of the Planck epoch? At the beginning of it? If there is a God, he could have created the universe 10 minutes ago, inserting false memories in each of us, and starlight in flight.Relativist

    I don't believe in magic. God engineered the Big Bang through conventional means.

    If the total energy of the universe is zero, as many cosmologist think, then it IS in equilibrium. If it isn't, it may be that the total energy of the multiverse is zero.Relativist

    The universe should be gravitational or thermodynamic equilibrium. That it is not is due to an active agent (God). The Big Bang is the complete opposite of equilibrium. It is that unnatural expansion of space that is keeping us from equilibrium.
  • Relativist
    772
    It's impossible to exist "before" time: "before" is a temporal relation. — Relativist

    Something logically must exist before time - I proved that using Aquinas's 2nd way and you have past it by without comment.
    Devans99
    On the contrary, I refuted it. You had said:
    Aquinas's Argument From Necessary Being supports this view:

    - Can’t get something from nothing
    - So something must have existed ‘always’.
    - IE if there was ever a state of nothingness, it would persist to today, so something must have permanent existence.
    - It’s not possible to exist permanently in time (always leads to an infinite regress; but they have no start so cannot not be), so the ‘something’ must be the timeless first cause (of time/causality).


    and I responded:

    "Always existed" just means there is no point in time at which it didn't exist.

    To be clear: if time is past finite (as we both assume), something "always exists" if there is never a time when it did NOT exist. (I agree that something cannot come from "nothing." Nothing is not a state of existence; it cannot have been a prior state, because it doesn't even constitute a state).

    So I'll reiterate: It's impossible to exist "before" time: "before" is a temporal relation.

    It would be logically coherent to claim God exists at the first instant of time, but that is not BEFORE time. Let me be clear on what I am regarding as an "instant of time: it is a state of affairs that directly evolves (causes) a temporally subsequent state of affairs. Analogy: consider material reality like an endless reel of a movie, with the initial point in time being the first frame on the film. Actions occurs in the temporal flow from frame 1 to frame 2 (and so on). The analogy breaks down when considering causation, because each instant causes the next, whereas on a film it's just an illusion that the actions of one frame cause the next, but it does illustrate the temporal connection from one frame to the next. There is no prior temporal connection to frame 1. If God caused anything, he has to be in frame 1 (or at least extend into frame 1); if there were a prior frame, THAT would be frame 1.

    Alternatively: an infinite regress of time is impossible, so there is no other solution - a timeless first cause is the only possibility.Devans99
    I accept your premise that the the past is probably finite, but I already refuted your conclusion:
    1) I showed your assertion "a timeless first cause is the only possibility" is false: an initial state is a possibility.
    2) a timeless "first cause" is not even a possibility: causation is temporal and change requires time. i.e. God must be in (or extend into) Frame 1.

    Further, there are good reasons for rejecting the possibility that a a timeless entity can act:the only timeless entities of which we're aware are abstractions (like the law of non-contradiction: it doesn't begin to exist; it's existence transcends time).

    There cannot be another time dimension - that leads to an infinite regress of times nested one within the other.Devans99
    Agreed. That was my point.
    The only way to avoid an infinite regress is a timeless first cause.
    See my above refutation.
    "Somehow" is not an explanation. "Somehow" the big bang occurred, and "somehow" the early universe was in a state of low entropy. "Somehow" the universe is expanding. Neither of us can explain it, but concluding this gap in knowledge implies "therefore Goddidit" is a fallacious argument from ignorance. — Relativist


    For example, eternal inflation posits a first cause of some negative gravity particles in a high energy environment that result in a chain reaction of eternal inflation, giving birth to a multiverse. This cannot have happened by accident.
    Devans99
    Wrong. Inflation entails a prior existing state of affairs that temporally (and causally) preceded it. This does not imply that prior state was "first". It may, or may not be. We agree the past is probably finite, but the mere fact that it is finite does not tell us the nature of the initial state. We also don't really know the nature of time, so all we can do is speculate. Sean Carroll's hypothesis that time emerges from a ground state is as reasonable and coherent as any other. It may or may not be true, but it's false to claim that it (and by extension, all natural possibilities) can't be true. Find a logical problem with it, or admit it's a possibility.

    I am open-minded enough to acknowledge that the creation by a deity is possible; the existence of natural possibilities does not rule this out. You should try to be equally open-minded and recognize that natural possibilities cannot be ruled out. If you insist they should be ruled out, you have the burden to show them to be logically impossible (based on agreed assumptions, not merely on convenient controversial assumptions).

    This is just the sort of thing a benevolent God would do; create a multiverse from nothing. If God was able, he would not be able to resist it.Devans99
    Are you making a positive case, or just showing that reality is consistent with the possibility of a God?
    Reality is also consistent with an absence of any sort of intelligence behind it and it's consistent with an intelligence that desires to experience a complex world but is indifferent to its contents.

    When precisely? At the end of the Planck epoch? At the beginning of it? If there is a God, he could have created the universe 10 minutes ago, inserting false memories in each of us, and starlight in flight. — Relativist

    I don't believe in magic. God engineered the Big Bang through conventional means.
    Devans99
    You're missing the point: you have pointed to gaps in scientific knowledge as reason to assume it's due to something unnatural. You have the same burden as a naturalist at explaining exactly where nature leaves off and the unnatural (e.g. God) begins. That was why I asked you to identify specifically where his fingerprint is. I realize that as a theist, you believe God is behind it all, and I don't have a problem with claiming this theistic view is consistent with reality. I just have a problem with an assertion that God's existence is entailed by what we know.

    If the total energy of the universe is zero, as many cosmologist think, then it IS in equilibrium. If it isn't, it may be that the total energy of the multiverse is zero. — Relativist

    The universe should be gravitational or thermodynamic equilibrium. That it is not is due to an active agent (God). The Big Bang is the complete opposite of equilibrium. It is that unnatural expansion of space that is keeping us from equilibrium.
    Devans99
    I agree that the Big Bang is suggestive of something prior, and a lot of theoretical physicists are investigating possibilities. I gave you Sean Carroll's hypotheses: it covers these issues. There are others (e.g. Vilenkin, Krauss, Hawking,...). Perhaps each is wrong, but even this doesn't imply there's not a natural basis. I've refuted all the claims you've made that support your claims, and you can't show my general observations to be impossible, in particular: a finite past that begins with an initial state of a quantum system. That initial state exists by brute fact, and as a quantum system - it is necessarily the case that there is quantum "uncertainty," which accounts for the emergence of one or more universes.
  • Devans99
    2.1k
    So I'll reiterate: It's impossible to exist "before" time: "before" is a temporal relation.Relativist

    Time can't just start on its own. It can't emerge from anything unless there is something pre-existing it causally. Time cannot start without something causally before it.

    To be clear: if time is past finite (as we both assume), something "always exists" if there is never a time when it did NOT exist. (I agree that something cannot come from "nothing." Nothing is not a state of existence; it cannot have been a prior state, because it doesn't even constitute a state).Relativist

    It is really not possible to always exist in time - that would require an infinite regress of some form which is impossible. To illustrate this with an example, imagine a pool table:

    The cue hits the white ball. The white ball hits the black ball. The black goes in the pocket. Would the black ball go in if the cue did not hit the white? No - we remove the first element in a time ordered regress and find that the rest of the regress disappears. So the first element (in time order) is key - it defines the whole of the rest of a regress. If it is absent, as in the case of an infinite regress, then the regress does not exist - temporal/causal infinite regresses are impossible.

    So something must have permanent existence outside of time.

    If God caused anything, he has to be in frame 1 (or at least extend into frame 1); if there were a prior frame, THAT would be frame 1.Relativist

    To follow on your analogy, someone has to set the film going. Time does not start by itself.

    You're missing the point: you have pointed to gaps in scientific knowledge as reason to assume it's due to something unnatural. You have the same burden as a naturalist at explaining exactly where nature leaves off and the unnatural (e.g. God) begins. That was why I asked you to identify specifically where his fingerprint is. I realize that as a theist, you believe God is behind it all, and I don't have a problem with claiming this theistic view is consistent with reality. I just have a problem with an assertion that God's existence is entailed by what we know.Relativist

    The Big Bang is completely unnatural. The fine tuning of the universe is completely unnatural. The fact we are not in equilibrium is completely unnatural

    I agree that the Big Bang is suggestive of something prior, and a lot of theoretical physicists are investigating possibilities. I gave you Sean Carroll's hypotheses: it covers these issues. There are others (e.g. Vilenkin, Krauss, Hawking,...). Perhaps each is wrong, but even this doesn't imply there's not a natural basis. I've refuted all the claims you've made that support your claims, and you can't show my general observations to be impossible, in particular: a finite past that begins with an initial state of a quantum system. That initial state exists by brute fact, and as a quantum system - it is necessarily the case that there is quantum "uncertainty," which accounts for the emergence of one or more universes.Relativist

    I afraid I do not buy these arguments. Any sound explanation for the origin of the universe must cover the following:

    1. A first cause for causality
    2. A cause of time
    3. An explanation of why we are not in equilibrium
    4. An explanation of why there is something rather than noting
    5. An explanation for the fine tuning of the universe

    The cosmologists are a long way from satisfying the above. Whereas using simple metaphysical arguments like Aquinas's and my argument from equilibrium satisfy all 5 of the above points.
  • Terrapin Station
    11.8k
    Time can't just start on its ownDevans99

    Why can anything start on its own (as in whatever you figure started time)?
  • Devans99
    2.1k
    Why can anything start on its own (as in whatever you figure started time)?Terrapin Station

    There is a timeless first cause that has existed permanently that starts everything else. That is the start of time and causality. I don't see how anything can possibly exist without this.
  • Relativist
    772
    Devans99 - To keep the posts from becoming too long and unwieldy, l'm going to focus on one key issue. I want to be sure we understand what each other is saying on this matter before we get into the other issues.

    Time can't just start on its own. It can't emerge from anything unless there is something pre-existing it causally. Time cannot start without something causally before it.Devans99
    What do you think time is? What does it mean to you to say that "time starts"?

    IMO, Time isn't a thing. Time refers to the temporal ordering of events/ moments/ states of affairs. In my opinion, the A-theory of time is correct: only the present has actual existence, and the present has been reached in a sequential series of past moments. These moments are causally connected, and they move in one direction: to the future. This means the current present moment was caused by the most recent prior moment, and the present moment causes the next. What exists at a point in time (a moment) is the state of affairs of material reality at that moment.

    With this description in mind, there's no logical problem with the assumption that there is a first point of time (I'll call it t0). This simply means there was an initial state of affairs that was "the present moment", and like every subsequent moment - it caused the next. You suggest this is impossible. Why? Every present moment causes the next, so it's reasonable to expect the initial moment would cause the next. Indeed the initial state of affairs (at t0) was not caused by a prior moment. That makes the initial state of affairs the "first cause".

    You don't have to believe it, but if you want to claim to prove God existence, it is your burden to find a logical flaw in my account. If there's no logical flaw, you will have to concede that my account is possible.
  • Devans99
    2.1k
    IMO, Time isn't a thingRelativist

    I think spacetime could be 'real':

    - Things that are real in some sense always have starts, things that are imaginary do not
    - There was a reality before time where it did not exist. Going from not existing to existing means reality changed somehow. It was augmented by the addition of time.
    - Spacetime appears to have vacuum energy / dark energy, it maybe 'real'

    n my opinion, the A-theory of time is correct: only the present has actual existence, and the present has been reached in a sequential series of past momentsRelativist

    The A theory of time is impossible with a start of time: if only now exists and that is taken away, then there is nothing left at all to create time. A start of time requires the B theory: something must timelessly preexist time to create it.

    Every present moment causes the next, so it's reasonable to expect the initial moment would cause the next.Relativist

    What causes the initial moment? It has to be the start of time. It has to be something in the world causing something else in the real world, so time seems real.
  • Terrapin Station
    11.8k
    There is a timeless first cause that has existed permanently that starts everything else.Devans99

    Why can anything exist permanently?
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