• Devans99
    2.5k
    The title of this post is, of course, a variation on Leibniz’s Principle of Sufficient Reason (='everything has a cause'). I think the six words of the title rather economically explain quite a lot:

    Time Has A Start

    Everything in time has a cause, so to avoid an infinite regress, there must be something outside of time that is the cause of everything else (including time). Something outside of time is beyond causality and has no ‘before’ so it is uncaused. This something created time.

    Why is There Something Rather Than Nothing

    Something that is beyond time/causality has no ‘why’ property. There is no explanation for it. It simply IS - never created - never destroyed - it exists permanently. So ‘why is there something rather than nothing’ is an inappropriate question - the uncaused cause has nothing logically before it so there is no why/cause/explanation for it.

    There is a God

    The uncaused cause must be able to cause an effect without itself being effected. Therefore it must be self-driven. Therefore it must be intelligent. An intelligent creator of the universe fits my personal definition for God.
  • jgill
    233
    And then there is determinism.

    Wiki: "Confusion of causality and determinism is particularly acute in quantum mechanics, this theory being acausal in the sense that it is unable in many cases to identify the causes of actually observed effects or to predict the effects of identical causes, but arguably deterministic in some interpretations"

    Also

    Wiki:"The many-worlds interpretation accepts the linear causal sets of sequential events with adequate consistency yet also suggests constant forking of causal chains creating "multiple universes" to account for multiple outcomes from single events."

    This is where I become interested in metaphysics, for I favor this concept. :cool:
  • Gregory
    429
    The materialist option says that time started with the first motion. The first cause was gravity in the first motion. There is absolute space but not absolute time. If there was absolute time there would be something spiritual behind it. But again not necessarily an intelligence. The world could have flowed from an eternal Tao without the Tao changing or knowing anything
  • Devans99
    2.5k
    Whatever QM says, I feel that in the macroscopic world, 'everything in time has a cause' still holds. The origin of things involves huge amounts of matter/energy so is a macroscopic question, so I'm inclined to regard the (possible) acausal nature of matter/energy at a microscopic level as not relevant.
  • Gregory
    429


    You need to give up the the Newtonian idea of time
  • Devans99
    2.5k
    The materialist option says that time started with the first motion. The first cause was gravity in the first motion.Gregory

    But what was the cause of time starting? It seems it cannot be gravity as gravity requires time to express itself? Perpetual motion is impossible so there must have been a start of motion. What caused a start of motion? Call it X. What caused X. Say Y. What caused Y. Say Z. So we are in an infinite causal regress - which requires something from beyond time/causality to start the whole sequence.

    You need to give up the the Newtonian idea of timeGregory

    I believe in spacetime. It is finite and it has a definite shape. So it can be said to have a start as all definitely shaped objects have identifiable start points.
  • Gregory
    429


    Free will requires reason, but reason is prior to free will. Likewise, gravity causes time, upon which it is dependent to work. There is no contradiction there. We have a self-contained universe. There are just a number of discrete motions going infinitely into the future

    Going to LA, talk to you latter. Think about what I said here
  • jorndoe
    809
    An atemporal, "eternal" cause of a universe that has a definite age (like 14 billion years) is incompatible with the principle of sufficient reason, since such a cause lead us to expect an infinite age of the universe — there's no sufficient reason that the universe is 14 billion years old and not some other age, any other age in fact.

    Something strangely "atemporal" would be inert and lifeless.
  • 180 Proof
    616
    New year. New(?) nonsense ... :clap:

    Everything in time has a cause, so to avoid an infinite regress, there must be something outside of time that is the cause of everything else (including time).Devans99

    Outside of discursive argumentation, what's wrong with "an infinite regress"? What physical law, or condition, precludes it?

    Something outside of time is beyond causality and has no ‘before’ so it is uncaused. — Devans99

    Why multiply entities unnecessarily (vide Ockham)? Suppose time is "outside of time"? Suppose causality is "beyond causality"? On what grounds should we - do you, D99 - assume otherwise?

    This something created time. — Devans99

    "Something" is either formal or factual. Formal, or abstract, denotes the absence of causal relations (i.e. cannot create). Factual, or physical, presupposes (space)time; claiming (it) "created time" merely begs the question, and invites the sort of "infinite regress" the OP seeks "to avoid".

    :yawn:

    The uncaused cause must be able to cause an effect without itself being effected. — Devans99
    Why?

    E.g. pandeism suggests otherwise ... :chin:

    Therefore it must be self-driven. — Devans99
    Non sequitur.

    Therefore it must be intelligent. — Devans99
    Non sequitur redux.
  • Devans99
    2.5k
    An atemporal, "eternal" cause of a universe that has a definite age (like 14 billion years) is incompatible with the principle of sufficient reason, since such a cause lead us to expect an infinite age of the universe — there's no sufficient reason that the universe is 14 billion years old and not some other age, any other age in fact.jorndoe

    Interesting point. But the universe must have some age and it cannot be infinite, so why not 14 billion years? If you believe in 4d spacetime (as I do) then spacetime in its whole entirety has some form of eternal existence, we just happen to experience the part of spacetime that is 14 billion years since the BB.

    Something strangely "atemporal" would be inert and lifeless.jorndoe

    It seems a logical requirement that such a thing exists and is causally efficacious. I acknowledge I am not sure how it could work though (as are others who have considered the problem down the ages).

    I believe it is possible that a mapping between each point in spacetime and the timeless thing could exist so that the timeless thing could express itself within spacetime. As to how it could tie its own shoelaces, I have no answer.
  • Devans99
    2.5k
    Outside of discursive argumentation, what's wrong with "an infinite regress"? What physical law, or condition, precludes it?180 Proof

    Mathematical induction precludes it: Assume there is no first cause. If there is no nth cause then there is no nth+1 cause. Then there is nothing.

    Why multiply entities unnecessarily (vide Ockham)? Suppose time is "outside of time"? Suppose causality is "beyond causality"? On what grounds should we - do you, D99 - assume otherwise?180 Proof

    The universe appears to be fine tuned. So there seems to be a need for a fine tuner. Imagining the whole of (the fine tuned) spacetime to exist eternally provides no answer to how it was fine tuned. The assumption of a timeless first cause that caused spacetime works better.

    "Something" is either formal or factual. Formal, or abstract, denotes absence of causal relations (i.e. cannot create). Factual, or physical, presupposes (space)time; claiming (it) "created time" merely begs the question, and invites the sort of "infinite regress" the OP seeks "to avoid".180 Proof

    It is possible that something of substance could exist yet it be not of / beyond spacetime. Such a being would be able to interact with matter to create the universe. I admit I am not sure how such a being could work but it seems a logical requirement.
  • 180 Proof
    616
    Mathematical induction precludes it:Devans99
    Since when is "mathematical induction" a physical law? (vide Hume, Popper, et al)

    The universe appears to be fine tuned. So there seems to be a need for a fine tuner.Devans99
    Lost me. :roll: I can't decide - post hoc fallacy? compositional fallacy? hasty generalization fallacy? (re: problem of induction, etc)

    I admit I am not sure how such a being could work but it seems a logical requirement.Devans99
    Yet not a physical requirement (therefore, not a sound one). Symptom of faulty - false - premises, etc.

    As to how it could tie its own shoelaces, I have no answer.Devans99
    Of course.
  • Devans99
    2.5k
    Since when is "mathematical induction" a physical law? (vide Hume, Popper, et al)180 Proof

    Causality is a physical law (at least at macroscopic level and we are dealing with a macroscopic question here). I referenced mathematical induction merely to demonstrate how that physical law requires a first cause.

    Lost me. :roll: I can't decide - post hoc fallacy? compositional fallacy? hasty generalization fallacy? (re: problem of induction, etc)180 Proof

    Not sure what you mean. There are about 20 physical constants that must be at or near current values for the spacetime to support life. That seems to imply something external to spacetime created spacetime with specific characteristics so that it would support life.
  • jorndoe
    809
    Mathematical induction precludes it: Assume there is no first cause. If there is no nth cause then there is no nth+1 cause. Then there is nothing.Devans99

    How does that work? Can you set it out concisely?
  • Devans99
    2.5k
    How does that work? Can you set it out concisely?jorndoe

    An example from pool. Cue hits the white ball. White ball hits the black. Black ball goes in the pocket. If the cue does not hit the white, then nothing happens. So removing the first element in a finite causal regress nullifies the rest of the regress. Infinite causal regresses have no first element/cause by definition so they cannot logically exist.

    Another example from pool. A frictionless, perfect pool table. The balls are currently wizzing around. They will go on wizzing around for a potential infinity of time. Can we deduce a first cause - the break off shot by the player. Or should we assume that the balls have 'always' been wizzing around. The second would be an infinite causal regress - an impossibility.
  • 180 Proof
    616
    Causality is a physical law (at least at macroscopic level and we are dealing with a macroscopic question here).Devans99
    Causality is not a physical law; it's a speculative category (metaphysics) or methodological principle (epistemology applied to model theory/building e.g. classical physics). And if the topic is 'the origin of the universe' then we are always, necessarily dealing with the "macroscopic level" at its microscopic - planck scale, or quantum - initial conditions (i.e. quantum cosmology).

    I referenced mathematical induction merely to demonstrate how that physical law requires a first cause. — Devans99
    Ad hoc fallacy. :roll:

    There are about 20 physical constants that must be at or near current values for the spacetime to support life. That seems to imply something external to spacetime created spacetime with specific characteristics so that it would support life.Devans99
    Non sequitur redux redux. :shade:

    Physical constants belong to scientific models and not to what they model, namely, the universe. Maps =|= territory, they merely approximate via abstraction of salient, or selected, features. We "fine-tune" our physics to the universe, D99, not the other way around.

    Also, the Many-Worlds Interpretation of QFT, especially with respect to QG (quantum cosmology), entails that the Planck Era universe c13.8 billion years ago in superposition @ (so-called) BB consisted in countless universes each constituted by every possible physical value (i.e. ratios we designate "constants"), with this, our current "anthropic" universe being just one out of many possible universes; thus, the plausibility of which alone debunks the "need for" "intelligent" "fine tuning" as the late particle physicist & philosopher Victor Stenger points out at length in his The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning.
  • jorndoe
    809
    cannot logically existDevans99
    an impossibilityDevans99

    Well, merely saying so doesn't make it so.
    Can you at least deduce a contradiction then?
  • Devans99
    2.5k
    Causality is not a physical law; it's a speculative category (metaphysics) or methodological principle (epistemology applied to model theory/building e.g. classical physics). And if the topic is 'the origin of the universe' then we are always, necessarily dealing with the "macroscopic level" at its microscopic - plamck scale, or quantum - initial conditions (i.e. quantum cosmology).180 Proof

    I think you are a believer in phenomena such as quantum fluctuations. They do not exist IMO. They are purely theoretical... there is no clear empirical evidence that they exist. In any case, they respect the law of conservation of energy and are extremely tiny so can account for precisely squat in the macroscopic universe. Even if they did naturally produce matter/energy (somehow), that would lead to infinite matter/energy density (with infinite time). You can call causality what you like but it is an inescapable truth that everything in the macroscopic world is bound by it. And the BB was a hugely macroscopic event, so its clear that it needs a macroscopic cause.

    Physical constants belong to scientific models and not to what they model, namely, the universe180 Proof

    It is a minor miracle that the atom exists and it requires specific fine tuning of the properties of quarks, electrons, the strong nuclear force, the electromagnetic force. All have to have their current values else no complex matter would exist and therefore no elements, no chemical compounds, and no life.

    Also, the Many-Worlds Interpretation of QFT, especially with respect to QG (quantum cosmology) entails that the Planck Era universe c13.8 billion years ago in superposition (so-called) BB consisted in a countless universes each constituted by every possible physical value (i.e. ratios we designate "constants"), with this, our current "anthropic" universe just one of many possible universe; thus, the plausibility of which alone debunks the "need for" "intelligent" "fine tuning" as the late particle physicist & philosopher Victor Stenger points out at length in his The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning.180 Proof

    I do not buy such explanations:

    - Any explanation of origins of the universe that involves a billions to one shot coming off is not worth the paper it's written on.
    - Each of those countless universes is made of the same stuff and evolve in the same way, so they all support life
    - Certain physical law apply across all possible universe and those laws must be fine tuned else our universe would not support life
    - We have a sample size of 1 that all universes support life so the statistics indicate they all support life
  • Devans99
    2.5k
    Well, merely saying so doesn't make it so.
    Can you at least deduce a contradiction then?
    jorndoe

    The contradiction is:

    - Effects are currently happening in our universe
    - But if there is no first cause, no effects are possible (contradiction)
    - So we must conclude that there is in fact a first cause
  • jgill
    233
    Each of those countless universes is made of the same stuff and evolve in the same way, so they all support lifeDevans99

    How can you possibly know this? Have you traversed the spectrum?

    But, interesting thread. :chin:
  • Devans99
    2.5k
    How can you possibly know this? Have you traversed the spectrum?jgill

    No. Multiple universe theories are not testable so not scientific IMO.

    I don't really believe in multiple universes, but if they do exist, then which of the following is more likely:

    1. They are all made of completely different stuff and evolve in completely different ways
    2. They are all made of similar stuff and evolve in similar ways

    I think the 2nd is much more likely, leading to the conclusion that most or all such universes support life; a conclusion that fatally undermines the so called strong anthropic principle.
  • 180 Proof
    616
    I think you are a believer in phenomena such as quantum fluctuations. They do not exist IMO. They are purely theoretical... there is no clear empirical evidence that they exist.Devans99
    :roll: e.g. Casimir effect ... Lamb shift ... Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation ... quantum uncertainty ...

    ... but okay. Good luck with that! :wink: I'm done here.

    *Happy 2020*
  • staticphoton
    130
    the Many-Worlds Interpretation of QFT, especially with respect to QG (quantum cosmology) entails that the Planck Era universe c13.8 billion years ago in superposition (so-called) BB consisted in a countless universes each constituted by every possible physical value (i.e. ratios we designate "constants"), with this, our current "anthropic" universe just one of many possible universe; thus, the plausibility of which alone debunks the "need for" "intelligent" "fine tuning"180 Proof

    Multiverse is a speculative aspect of eternal inflation, inflation itself being just a postulate for explaining isotropism and homogeneity in the observable universe. Not sure how this can be offered as an argument to debunk anything.
  • Devans99
    2.5k
    Thanks for the conversation. Happy new year to you to!
  • jgill
    233
    I don't really believe in multiple universes, but if they do exist, then which of the following is more likely:
    1. They are all made of completely different stuff and evolve in completely different ways
    2. They are all made of similar stuff and evolve in similar ways
    I think the 2nd is much more likely, leading to the conclusion that most or all such universes support life; a conclusion that fatally undermines the so called strong anthropic principle.
    Devans99

    Since MUs is such a mind-blowing concept I don't think "more likely" has any bearing. But have a good new year! :cool:
  • staticphoton
    130
    I think the 2nd is much more likely, leading to the conclusion that most or all such universes support life; a conclusion that fatally undermines the so called strong anthropic principleDevans99

    I don't see why it would be so.
  • jorndoe
    809
    - But if there is no first cause, no effects are possible (contradiction)Devans99

    You keep saying so without showing it. :confused:
  • Gregory
    429
    Devans99 is just impossible :(
  • Relativist
    999
    Congratulations! You have successfully proven to yourself something that you already believe. I hope you realize why such rationalizations are unpersuasive - they do not change minds.
  • Gregory
    429


    He won't even consider Hawking's no boundary hypothesis
  • Devans99
    2.5k
    You keep saying so without showing it. :confused:jorndoe

    I've demonstrated it several times quite clearly to you. Maybe you will take Leibniz's word for it:

    ’Suppose the book of the elements of geometry to have been eternal, one copy having been written down from an earlier one. It is evident that even though a reason can be given for the present book out, we should never come to a full reason. What is true of the books is also true of the states of the world. If you suppose the world eternal, you will suppose nothing but a succession of states and will not find in any of them a sufficient reason.’ - Leibniz, Theodicy

    IE a first cause is required to give solidness to the succession of states of the world.

    He won't even consider Hawking's no boundary hypothesisGregory

    I've considered it. It uses a complex variable for time. That is unlike any time I'm familiar with. So I do not think it reflects the universe we live in.
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment

Welcome to The Philosophy Forum!

Get involved in philosophical discussions about knowledge, truth, language, consciousness, science, politics, religion, logic and mathematics, art, history, and lots more. No ads, no clutter, and very little agreement — just fascinating conversations.