## The Universe Cannot Have Existed ‘Forever’

• 952
Your argument is that if there's some F (some type of thing) with property φ, then all G, H, I etc.(all types of things) must have property φ?

This is not my argument, to be honest. You wrote something I don't understand. If you want to verify what my arguement is, this following is what it is:

Every casue has an effect. Every event has a cause. Therefore determinism is inevitable.
• 952
You don't believe that there are other views, or wrong views?

Good question. I believe there are other views, and they are wrong. You seem to indicate that there are other views that are not wrong. Specifically about determinism.

If the views are wrong, they ought to be rejected. You believe we should hold on to wrong views and elevate them to the argumenting strength of not wrong views? This is what you give as an impression.
• 952
The wrongness in other views lies in this:

Those who declare there is weak determinism, declare that their observation is not complete, and their own predictive capacities are reduced to probabilities (if that's what you are insinuating, Terrapin Station.)

It is not wrong of them to realize their observation powers are weak.

But it is NOT determinism they talk about. It's their obeserved perception of determinism in action that they talk about. Yet they call it "determinism", withe the qualifier "weak".

So they use the expression "determinism" in the expression, with a qualifyer. Whereas they don't mean determinism. They mean their perception of determinism.

The wrongness is therefore in the usage of the term "determinism" when they struggle to express something that is related to determinism, but is not determinism.

That is, they use the expression "determinism" both for determinism and for observational power of determinism.

And to use the same word to mean so different things is wrong.
• 13.4k
I am sorry you lost me there. You are talking nonsense, do you realize that? If you make symbols, and want to communicate with those, you must denote their meaning, and the reltionship between them.

What you wrote is sheer gibberish to me. Sorry.

The letters, including the Greek letter, are variables. The capital letters are variables for types of things, which I did explain in parentheses. The Greek letter, φ, was a variable for a property.

But let's use an analogy instead.

There are Asian and there are African elephants.

Does this imply that there are Asian and African Gila monsters?
• 2.1k
He published his 'theory of the primeval atom' in an obscure journal in the 1930's and it was initially ignored. But as the idea became more widely circulated, it was resisted by many scientists, because it sounded uncomfortably close to 'creation ex nihilo'

The BB does not have to be creation ex nihilo - there are two options that get around that problem:

- The Zero Energy Universe Hypothesis (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zero-energy_universe). Energy/matter was created in the BB in exchange for negative gravitational energy - thus the books are 'balanced' and the conservation of energy is respected.
- Energy/matter entered time during the BB. So conservation of energy is also respected.

There is some debate as to the size of the universe at the time of the BB - anything from a point to infinite has been proposed.

There is a school of thought that basically asks, 'if it can happen once....' that maybe THE Big Bang was really A Big Bang, and that the universe might indeed expand and contract through regular cycles over cosmic time periods. And that sounds very much like the idea of the 'eternal return' that was characteristic of ancient Hindu cosmology.

I think there is a potential problem with the cycle length between successive 'bangs':

- Static cycle length. Would seem most unnatural. Would imply fine tuning.
- Increasing cycle length. Cycle length would be infinite by now (with eternal past time). The universe cannot contract infinitely. Expanding infinitely contradicts the Big Bang being 14 billion years ago - so both options are impossible.
- Decreasing cycle length: Universe should be all one big black hole by now - equilibrium.

Thesis: There belongs to the world, either as its part or as its cause, a being that is absolutely necessary.
Anti-thesis: An absolutely necessary being nowhere exists in the world, nor does it exist outside the world as its cause.

- I disagree with the thesis on grounds of vagueness: at least one necessary being seems to be required and it cannot belong to spacetime (as it seems to have created spacetime). It must be part of a wider universe beyond space time.
- I disagree with the anti-thesis: it seems we need at least one necessary being (one brute fact to act as the tip of the pyramid of causality). To be a brute fact is to exist outside of time - uncaused and permanently existing.
• 2.1k
And what would that have to do with the fact that there is something that is moving or changing?

The movement is just an illusion if you treat time like a spacial dimension - with that way of thinking about it - there is no movement.

Parmenides' viewpoint has some advantages - Zeno's paradoxes are less of a problem if there is no motion and it agrees with modern physics representation of time. It's also the simplest model barring presentism (which is impossible IMO due to the start of time). But it clashes with the senses - I do not feel like a 4d spacetime worm for example and I only sense the future.

So I'm still befuddled with the nature of time.
• 13.4k
The movement is just an illusion if you treat time like a spacial dimension - with that way of thinking about it - there is no movement.

The illusion exists, doesn't it?
• 2.1k
The illusion exists, doesn't it?

- At time t0, I see a completely still image
- At time t1, I see a different completely still image
- It is a different version of the brain at t1 to t0, but it remembers the image at t0, processes the image at t1 and incorrectly (according to eternalism) interprets the difference as movement.
• 13.4k
- At time t0, I see a completely still image
- At time t1, I see a different completely still image
- It is a different version of the brain at t1 to t0, but it remembers the image at t0, processes the image at t1 and incorrectly (according to eternalism) interprets the difference as movement.

So it's claiming that there's no literal phenomenal illusion of movement? "Interpreting the difference as movement" is not supposed to be phenomenal but conceptual or something? I'm not sure how to make sense out of saying that phenomenal movement isn't actually phenomenal movement. That seems like we just don't understand what "phenomenal" even refers to. And it seems to make the term "illusion" nonsensical.

We could also ask how we phenomenally get from t0 to t1 (as well as how we go from t0 to t1 in terms of memory, so that memory can function from one to the other).
• 2.1k

I think that the claim is that the illusion of movement exists in our minds. When the image changes, the afterimage of the previous moments remains as an impression in our minds to which the current moment is contrasted, giving an illusion of movement.

We cannot see the future. Would it be an evolutionary advantage to see the future? If it is not predetermined, it would be but then we could not see it (and eternalism would be false).

If the future is predetermined, then there is no evolutionary advantage and it would just be depressing/distracting to see the future. But evolution itself does not make a lot of sense in the context of eternalism.

QM Many Worlds has multiple futures, if that is combined with eternalism, we end up with a dazzling array of predetermined futures, each of which is extant. Maybe we cannot see the futures not because they are not real, it's just we don't know which of the futures to see. Or maybe these real futures are different from the present in some physical way such that we cannot sense them.

Seeing the past has a more marginal evolutionary advantage so that is maybe why we can't see it. Or it could be again that there is something different about the past as opposed to the present and so we cannot sense it.

Eternalism has many problems, probably more that presentism I grant. But IMO, vanilla presentism can't be right. Maybe growing block universe? Or something completely different?
• 13.4k
I think that the claim is that the illusion of movement exists in our minds. When the image changes, the afterimage of the previous moments remains as an impression in our minds to which the current moment is contrasted, giving an illusion of movement.

I want you to be clear on whether you're claiming that there is phenomenal movement or not.
• 2.1k
I'm not claiming anything - I don't understand it well enough to do more than speculate.
• 13.4k

Ah, okay. It would be interesting if someone is claiming that there can't be phenomenal movement (as part of an illusion if they want to say that), to see just how they'd try to argue that how things seem to one, phenomenaly, is not in fact how they seem. (Note that it would not be saying that how they seem is not how they are--but how they seem is not how they seem.)
• 2.1k

I'm not sure I follow. The illusion is what is perceived - so it must be identical to what is perceived?
• 13.4k
I'm not sure I follow. The illusion is what is perceived - so it must be identical to what is perceived?

Phenomenally--in other words, re what's present to mind/experience, there is movement. For example, when we have a fly in the house and we watch it flying around (again, at least in terms of what we experience). We see it zip across our field of vision. Whether we want to say that that's an illusion or not, whether it's what's really going on outside of our phenomenal experience, it's our phenomenal experience nonetheless. It's what appears to be the case, regardless of whether it's really the case.

So if someone is trying to argue that we don't actually have that phenomenal experience, that there's not that appearance, I'm not sure how they'd do that.
• 8.6k
I disagree with the thesis on grounds of vagueness

Do you think you might be a bit out of your depth?
• 2.1k
What specifically did you disagree with in my comments - I would like to know if I've made a wrong statement.
• 740
Causes ever behind effects leads to an infinite regress; so, let 'random' be where the buck stops, all thereafter being deterministic.

Or, let the basis be eternal, as a 'must be', given that 'Nothing' cannot be (much less be productive).
• 2.1k
If by random, you mean something like quantum fluctuations, an argument against those being the cause of the universe is given here:

https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/comment/306828
• 1.1k
What is, what was, and what will be are not determined by what we can comprehend about what is, was, and will be. This is a simple truth that is too often not understood, thus resulting in idle speculation that misunderstands itself as argumentative proofs of what must be and cannot be.
• 740
If by random, you mean something like quantum fluctuations, an argument against those being the cause of the universe is given here:

So, then, there had to be a causeless eternal basis, as there can be no opposite to being. An 'IS'. Case closed. What can be inferred about that which can't have any point of specification as to its nature?
• 2.1k
So, then, there had to be a causeless eternal basis, as there can be no opposite to being

That's the way the logic seems to point to me - an infinite regress is not possible, infinite existence in time is not possible, but there must be something permanent/necessary else there would be nothing in the universe at all.

What can be inferred about that which can't have any point of specification as to its nature?

There is a fair amount that can be said about what the uncaused cause is not: not infinite, not omnipotent, not omnipresent, not omniscient.

What can be said about what it is:

- It needs to be causally efficacious (in terms of the prime mover argument, it has to be able to move itself - but thats just an analogy).
- It's timeless, so maybe somehow it's timeless environment 'extends' when it causes something to happen.
- The fine tuning argument points to some sort of intelligence
- It should be benevolent
- It has some substantial measure of power to be responsible for the universe

Then there are imponderables: Is it material? Is it unitary?
• 740
That's the way the logic seems to point to me - an infinite regress is not possible, infinite existence in time is not possible, but there must be something permanent/necessary else there would be nothing in the universe at all.

Yes, it needs be necessarily permanent/eternal, due to that there is something here and to that existence has no alternative.

There is a fair amount that can be said about what the uncaused cause is not: not infinite, not omnipotent, not omnipresent, not omniscient.

It cannot be still, else there would be no happenings; it has to be energetic.

it has to be able to move itself

It would be unable not to; no stillness.

- It's timeless

It 'IS', as Totality, and could be called the 'IS', it never having had a 'was' and never able to have a 'will be', these definitions being in terms of it ever having to be the All, at heart.

Thus, it transforms, as ever energetic, but 'transforms' is an 'in time' word; so, let me better say that its transformations are in it all at once, as 'everything', the state hinted at by its eternalness being unable to have a design point, forcing it to not be anything in particular (presuming it as 'everything').

I add that it doesn't have any information, for the information content of everything would be the same as that for the nonexistent 'Nothing', that is, zero.

In transforming (please excuse the time reference or look at it from our time-like view of passing through it), it needs to remain basically the same, akin to topological operations, and in these transformations it indeed matches both its nature of not being able to remain as anything particular and that our universe never remains the same as anything particular—not even for a trillionth of a second (but maybe for the Plank time), it continually transforming/'changing', this to our point of view.

- The fine tuning argument points to some sort of intelligence

Or we are in a more workable-for-life portion of it, where we'd also have to be.

- It should be benevolent

I don't see why it would have an emotional system.

- It has some substantial measure of power to be responsible for the universe

Yes, although not an earned power, but a 'must have' power'.

Is it unitary?

It would have to be 'One', as all there is. Deathless (as well as ungenerated), all histories could get traversed again and again. "I'll be back!" says Arnold.
• 2.1k
Thus, it transforms, as ever energetic, but 'transforms' is an 'in time' word; so, let me better say that its transformations are in it all at once, as 'everything', the state hinted at by its eternalness being unable to have a design point, forcing it to not be anything in particular (presuming it as 'everything').

Timelessness + change is a challenge for the argument I'm forwarding - things point to a timeless first cause but how exactly does that work?

I agree: one model that might work is eternalism - it lives in an 'eternal now' with everything happening simultaneously. We as creatures of time see a much more limited now.

The other model I thought of was it somehow 'extends' when it causes change. Or finally, it could be non-material in such a way that it has no need of dimensions like space and time, but can still be causally efficacious.

I add that it doesn't have any information, for the information content of everything would be the same as that for the nonexistent 'Nothing', that is, zero

I'm not sure on this - a being without any information - is such a thing really possible? Without some form of information, it could have no mind.

I don't see why it would have an emotional system.

If it has intelligence, it may equate information with goodness (in the same way we use information to avoid boredom). Hence the creation of the universe - more information to satisfy a huge, idle mind.

It would have to be 'One', as all there is. Deathless (as well as ungenerated), all histories could get traversed again and again. "I'll be back!" says Arnold.

The logic seems to point to the existence of one, timeless brute fact. How do you rule out more than one? That seems an impossible task (disproving the existence of something is tough).
• 740
things point to a timeless first cause but how exactly does that work?

When one derives a truth, the proof (the "work") isn't needed, although it would be nice.
eternalism

I've always been for presentism, and like Lee Smolin's take, but I may have to change, due to the besieging relativity of simultaneity and what we've discussed.

non-material

'Intangible'/"non-material" and the like I throw out, for how could they then talk the talk and walk the walk of the material?

mind
Minds like ours occur in it, as a consequence of the everything going on. In traveling deeper into it, or, as we would more likely say, in our future, higher minds than ours would develop.

The logic seems to point to the existence of one, timeless brute fact. How do you rule out more than one?

I define 'Totality' as not having anything outside/before it. And what a brute it is!

Here is a fun but insightful story I wrote about eternalism/presentism being/becoming that I then turned into a video:

Now Here; No Where
• 2.1k
I've always been for presentism, and like Lee Smolin's take, but I may have to change, due to the besieging relativity of simultaneity and what we've discussed.

I have sympathy for the presentist viewpoint - it is the natural model that agrees with our senses. But as you say, SR/GR says time does not behave in a natural/intuitive manner. Full on eternalism is hard to swallow whole. Growing block universe is a bit more palatable. My feeling on time is that I am deeply confused...

'Intangible'/"non-material" and the like I throw out, for how could they then talk the talk and walk the walk of the material?

I think that quantum entanglement might suggest something more to the universe than we are familiar with and that something could also be causally efficacious within our more familiar universe.

I agree non-material is a stretch, maybe of a different material to us.

I've started watching your video - looks interesting and thought provoking - I will try and watch the rest of it...
• 740
quantum entanglement

It probably shows that relations are more primary than distance. Space, then, is not something in itself, but only the span of the relations/connections.
• 2.1k
For those relations to be concrete without resorting to non-locality, it could show that things are connected in some sort of hidden substrate to reality. So in our reality the particles are a light year apart, in another reality, they are colocated. If such alternative realities exist, maybe a being could exist there too. It sounds far fetched but it reflects my feeling that materialism is making the massive assumption that all humans are familiar with is equal to the totality of existence - that is probably a false assumption IMO.
• 740
hidden substrate

Or we spatialize some great distance when there really isn't any.

Should we continue about the Great 'IS'?

If so, I'm going to replace my use of 'transform' with 'transition' to better capture the idea.

The 'IS' would be the one and only permanent thing, it necessarily being in a continuous transition, and thus never existing as anything particular, even for an instant, as befitting its necessary nature as eternal in that there is thence no point for it to have been designed, leaving it to be not anything in particular, as if it were everything, even.

Properly speaking, only the 'IS' “exists” and all the rest “happens.”

Its transitions are the 'happenings' and they are all temporary. It may be such that we can say that the 'IS', being permanent, cannot be co-substantial with the temporary happenings, but would be more like co-terminal with them.

Something must stitch together all continuous transitions to account for the 'IS' as a unitary existent. The 'IS' must somehow remain the same even as it transitions.

The 'IS' must have an eternal essence that dictates the kinds of, although not the number of, its transitions. This limit is what we would call the laws of nature, although a bit myopically, for the essence of the 'IS' makes the world what it is and not what it becomes.

This condition of the 'IS' would roughly be analogous to a topological space that allows for an infinite number of forms as subject to the limitation that any form must be returnable to some original form.

The objective herein is to allow for unity in multiplicity.
• 2.1k
Or we spatialize some great distance when there really isn't any.

Could be. Distance is very malleable in SR for example.

The 'IS' would be the one and only permanent thing, it necessarily being in a continuous transition, and thus never existing as anything particular, even for an instant, as befitting its necessary nature as eternal in that there is thence no point for it to have been designed, leaving it to be not anything in particular, as if it were everything, even.

That's a point that is hard to tie down. It seems we need at least one permanent thing else there would be logically nothing in the universe. Ruling out more than one permanent thing would be quite a trick, although I think one permanent thing is the natural/likely option - if there is some form of cause effect going on then it leads to a pyramid shape - with a unitary 'IS' at the tip.

The fine tuning argument also appears breaks down: our environment appears fine tuned implies a fine tuner. The fine tuner's environment must be fine tuned, implies another fine tuner. An infinite regress pursues until we get to the 'IS' (first cause) - who cannot have a fine tuned environment because there is nothing to do the fine tuning. Yet the 'IS' is... I hate to have to appeal to the anthropic argument but that seems the only explanation in the end. However, it is remarkable that there is something rather than nothing at all so perhaps that remarkable question has to have a remarkable answer.

Its transitions are the 'happenings' and they are all temporary. It may be such that we can say that the 'IS', being permanent, cannot be co-substantial with the temporary happenings, but would be more like co-terminal with them.

I guess I'm still torn between the 'timeless' environment being something like growing block universe or being more like eternalism (or maybe something completely different). Focusing on the first option:

Maybe the 'IS' creates something time-like with its first action? So it has existed permanently in a static, timeless state and then another dimension is added to it's universe with its first action? In this model, it seems that there must have been a first, uncaused action - actions/happenings cannot stretch back 'forever' (forgive the tense) - that leads to an impossible infinite regress. Likewise, there must have been a first thought. Both an uncaused first action and uncaused first thought seem like strange ideas but there do not seem to be any alternatives (for a non-eternalist model) - no first though/action leads to no universe.

Returning to eternalist option, it is not the case that there would be a first thought / action - all actions would be in some sense concurrent for the 'IS' - it would exist in the 'eternal now'. It would presumably be the case that all the following hold true simultaneously (in some weird non-temporal sense):

1. The 'IS' is existing on its own
2. The 'IS' is creating the universe
3. The 'IS' is finished creating the universe

Maybe it's like a stack of cards - there is an eternal 'card' that represents [1], then an action is performed that leads to another card [2]. So like an eternal stack (from computing). The first eternal stack frame is [1], an action leads to the addition of another stack frame [2]. The stack would not ever be 'popped' though.

Does this maybe suggest that eternal is not a boolean state? Somethings can be 'more' eternal that others?

How do we square eternalism with the Big Bang - what looks like a creative, dynamic process and all the other creative, seemingly dynamic processes in the universe (evolution for example)? If eternalism holds then something has to be eternal and it could be argued that the most natural/optimal thing to be eternal is what we have (Big Bang / evolution).

Something must stitch together all continuous transitions to account for the 'IS' as a unitary existent. The 'IS' must somehow remain the same even as it transitions.

But then performing an action (in our experience) changes that which performs the action. Maybe performing an action causes 'IS' to grow rather than change somehow, that might fit better with eternalism. Or maybe it leaves an old version of it behind and change results in a new version.

This condition of the 'IS' would roughly be analogous to a topological space that allows for an infinite number of forms as subject to the limitation that any form must be returnable to some original form.

The 'IS' may well be something very alien to us. I've mentioned non-material - that might be seen as a get out of jail card and also as something of a cop out - its hardly scientific.
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