• Devans99
    2.1k
    Why can anything exist permanently?Terrapin Station

    There is a start of time, there must be something permanent causally before that to create time.

    I personally think can't get something from nothing holds so all matter/energy must have existed permanently. This is in line with the conservation of energy and everyday experience. We should be able to trace everything back to a timeless state of existence.
  • Terrapin Station
    11.3k
    There is a start of time, there must be something permanent causally before that to create time.Devans99

    Doesn't "permanent" only make sense in relation to time? Permanent refers to something lasting for all time (at least of a particular range), no? What would it refer to outside of that?
  • Devans99
    2.1k
    Doesn't "permanent" only make sense in relation to time? Permanent refers to something lasting for all time (at least of a particular range), no? What would it refer to outside of that?Terrapin Station

    Permanent can't apply to something inside of time - that would mean 'always' in time and always has no start/coming to being. So the requirement that something exist permanently has to be satisfied by something outside of time.
  • Terrapin Station
    11.3k
    So the requirement that something exist permanently has to be satisfied by something outside of time.Devans99

    So what would you say that "permanent" refers to in general?
  • Devans99
    2.1k
    So what would you say that "permanent" refers to in general?Terrapin Station

    I'm not sure. In the beginning, one of the following must have existed:

    1. God
    2. God and some stuff
    3. Some stuff

    My feeling is 3 leads to equilibrium rather than the start of time / Big Bang. 2 seems mostly likely. 1 requires God to do some sort of conjuring trick (something from nothing - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zero-energy_universe maybe).
  • Terrapin Station
    11.3k


    Wait, if we're basing an argument on the notion of permanence, we'd better know what we're referring to with that term.
  • Devans99
    2.1k
    Not quite sure what you mean.

    In terms of causation, the first cause has to be self driven, so that leads to 1 or 2. In terms of equilibrium, the arguments leads to 1 or 2.

    I'm not sure separating 1 and 2 is that easy. If matter can be created in exchange for negative gravitational energy, we'd not be able to tell if that took place in the Big Bang as opposed to it being from pre-existing matter. We don't know what happened in the singularity.

    Then there is the idea of pantheism. God does not appear omnipresent so maybe not too likely.
  • Terrapin Station
    11.3k
    Not quite sure what you mean.Devans99

    I asked you how you'd define the term "permanent" if you're not using it to refer to a concept of something existing for all time (or at least for some particular extended length of time).

    Your response to that request was "I'm not sure."
  • Devans99
    2.1k
    If you think about 4d spacetime it is called eternalism because everything has eternal existence - past/present/future all real and permanent. So in a sense time exists permanently if you buy eternalism (but it is however not possible to exist permanently within time).

    So maybe imagine the universe in 4D spacetime as an object like a brick. And then off to the side and outside of time you could imagine a 4D object in 4D space - permanent and outside of time.
  • Terrapin Station
    11.3k


    Our task at the moment is to define "permanent" so that it's somehow not relative to time (in the sense of whether something persists relative to time).
  • Devans99
    2.1k
    I just did give it a definition as a 4D object in space rather spacetime. So it has no time component or time coordinate.
  • Terrapin Station
    11.3k
    I just did give it a definition as a 4D object in space rather spacetime.Devans99

    What is the fourth dimension supposed to be?
  • Devans99
    2.1k
    What is the fourth dimension supposed to be?Terrapin Station

    I was imagining a possible model where some form of 4D space preexists time. And then 4D spacetime is made out of 4D space.
  • Terrapin Station
    11.3k


    I don't think that the idea of a fourth spatial dimension is coherent aside from it being a sort of "game" we can play with the way we've constructed mathematics.

    But okay. So "permanence" isn't referring to a state in your usage. It's a name for a type of object?
  • Devans99
    2.1k
    I don't think that the idea of a fourth spatial dimension is coherent aside from it being a sort of "game" we can play with the way we've constructed mathematics.Terrapin Station

    The opposite of 4d spacetime, presentism, is incompatible with a start of time:

    1. Assume only now exists (presentism)
    2. So before the start of time there was nothing
    3. But creation ex nihilo / without time is impossible
    4. So something ‘other’ than only now exists

    So Einstein might be right.

    But okay. So "permanence" isn't referring to a state in your usage. It's a name for a type of object?Terrapin Station

    The key argument from Aquinas's when it comes to permanence is this one:

    A. Can’t get something from nothing
    B. So something must have existed ‘always’.
    C. IE if there was ever a state of nothingness, it would persist to today, so something must have permanent existence.
    D. 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).

    In eternalism everything is permanent in some sense. As you can see from point C above, with presentism something permanent is required but nothing can exist permanently in time - point D - so presentism is impossible by this argument also - another point for Einstein.
  • Relativist
    737
    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.Devans99
    Unsupported assertion. Meet you burden to show a start of time requires B-theory.

    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.
    Devans99
    The first cause is, by definition, uncaused. You know, like God.
  • Devans99
    2.1k
    Unsupported assertion. Meet you burden to show a start of time requires B-theory.Relativist

    Something permanent has to preexist time to cause time. That implies something timeless which is something 'other than only now' so the A theory can't hold.

    The first cause is, by definition, uncaused. You know, like God.Relativist

    I have a permanent, uncaused God. The only way to exist permanently and uncaused is outside of time. If you exist 'always' in time then you have no coming into being; so you can't exist. So again the A theory is not compatible - nothing can exist permanently in A theory.
  • Terrapin Station
    11.3k
    The opposite of 4d spacetime, presentism, is incompatible with a start of time:Devans99

    This, and the rest of the comment, seems to have nothing to do with my comment that you quoted just prior to it.

    Neither 4D spacetime nor presentism have anything to do with positing a fourth spatial dimension, by the way.

    Re my comment about permanence and how you're defining it, you didn't seem to understand that, either. Quoting someone else isn't going do us any good, unless they directly addressed the question just as I asked it.
  • Devans99
    2.1k
    But in 4D spacetime, time is already treated in a very similar manner to space - IE 4d space. So I was suggesting that 4d space proper could preexist time and time have been created on top of one of the 4 spacial dimensions.

    I have defined permanence in terms of eternalism as something in 4D space or 4D spacetime (cannot have permanent existence in time but past/present/future can be permanent).
  • Terrapin Station
    11.3k


    I'll leave that alone for a moment (we're not going to get anywhere with me pointing out that the stuff in the first paragraph is all incoherent in my view, etc.), and ask this:

    How is something permanent in your sense of that term supposed to start time? Isn't that something it would have to do?
  • Devans99
    2.1k
    How is something permanent in your sense of that term supposed to start time? Isn't that something it would have to do?Terrapin Station

    I am not sure. It appears that it was the Big Bang that was the start of spacetime. Matter and time are closely related, time runs slower in the presence of matter. Time would have run very slow approaching the Big Bang. As for the singularity; who knows, maybe that was the start of time. So in 4D space, time would start at the singularity maybe. Perhaps the act of getting all the matter together somehow for the Big Bang causes time to start.

    Or it could be something completely different. Maybe time starts with God's first movement somehow.
  • Terrapin Station
    11.3k


    There isn't any time without matter, by the way, so time can run differently "in the present of matter."

    At any rate, any motion, any change would be time, so you couldn't "start time" from outside of time.
  • Relativist
    737
    Something permanent has to preexist time to cause time.Devans99
    It is logically impossible for there to be a moment of time prior to the first moment of time.

    . The only way to exist permanently and uncaused is outside of time.Devans99
    Unsupported assertion. I gave a scenario that is internally consistent. You have to show ot's impossible. You're just restating your own unproven assumptions.

    [QuoteIf you exist 'always' in time then you have no coming into being; so you can't exist. [/quote]
    The state of affairs at t0 did not "come into being". It exists by brute fact.
  • Devans99
    2.1k
    At any rate, any motion, any change would be time, so you couldn't "start time" from outside of time.Terrapin Station

    Maybe God's first motion creates some form of time/causality? Is this the same time/causality as ours? I am not sure.

    Or maybe God is quite different. From beyond spacetime so could even be non-material in which case he might be able to effect change without time somehow.
  • Terrapin Station
    11.3k
    Maybe God's first motion creates some form of time/causality?Devans99

    Any motion, any change would BE (identical to) time. You can't have motion/change without time, because motion/change is what time is.
  • Devans99
    2.1k
    It is logically impossible for there to be a moment of time prior to the first moment of timeRelativist

    It's not a moment of time prior to the first moment of time; it is something timeless that is causally before the first moment of time.

    Time cannot start itself.

    Unsupported assertion. I gave a scenario that is internally consistent. You have to show ot's impossible. You're just restating your own unproven assumptions.

    [QuoteIf you exist 'always' in time then you have no coming into being; so you can't exist.
    Relativist
    The state of affairs at t0 did not "come into being". It exists by brute fact.[/quote]

    I'm afraid 'brute fact' does not qualify as an explanation. I think a timeless first cause that starts time is a more enlightening explanation.
  • Devans99
    2.1k
    Any motion, any change would BE (identical to) time. You can't have motion/change without time, because motion/change is what time is.Terrapin Station

    I think time enables motion. Change maybe possible without time. Photons are timeless yet they appear and disappear - suggestive of change without time. So it seems possible to move through spacetime in the space direction only. Maybe God can do that.

    In any case, as I say, God's first act could of been to create time/causality or first act could of caused the creation of time/causality.
  • Terrapin Station
    11.3k
    I think time enables motion. Change maybe possible without time.Devans99

    This is wrong. Time is identical to change/motion.

    If photons change, they're not timeless.

    It's not possible to move timelesslessly, because motion is identical to time.

    Re at any rate, so why would we need to posit something that can't move or change in order to say that then something moves/changes?
  • Devans99
    2.1k
    This is wrong. Time is identical to change/motion.Terrapin Station

    Imagine

    - a clock
    - empty space next to the clock

    Are you saying you think time does not change for the empty space (where there is no motion) and only changes for the clock (where there is motion)? That does not make sense to me.

    It's not possible to move timelessless, because motion is identical to time.Terrapin Station

    Photons can move the whole length of the universe in no time. They cover no distance doing it due to length compression. The geometry of spacetime is pretty weird.

    Re at any rate, so why would we need to posit something that can't move or change in order to say that then something moves/changes?Terrapin Station

    We have to have something existing permanently outside of time... there is no other solution. Presentism is impossible; nothing can exist permanently within the 'now'. It gives the puzzle of how the first cause caused the first effect. I think change being independent of time might be the answer.
  • Terrapin Station
    11.3k
    Are you saying you think time does not change for the empty space (where there is no motion) and only changes for the clock (where there is motion)? That does not make sense to me.Devans99

    With the "empty space" only as our frame of reference, correct, time does not pass. If we're broadening the frame of reference to include other things, like the clock, then time would pass.

    Photons can move the whole length of the universe in no time.Devans99

    This is false when we consider them relative to other things, so that we're considering the motion. It's false that they cover no length as well. I'm not saying that no one says these things. I'm telling you that they're wrong in saying them. They're misled by the mathematical conventions they're using, where they're basically "worshipping" the mathematics per se, and they see the mathematics as ontologically primary.

    Presentism is impossible;Devans99

    Nope. B time is incoherent.
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