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Author Topic:   Time and Beginning to Exist
PaulK
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Posts: 14562
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.1


Message 31 of 268 (642044)
11-25-2011 1:39 AM
Reply to: Message 29 by kbertsche
11-24-2011 11:59 PM


quote:

I think I've been pretty clear. The relationship of logical causation to temporality is a primary consideration in this discussion.

It's clearly less important to my argument than the problem of extending intuitive arguments into situations beyond human experience. And that is an issue that you completely ignore.

quote:

Your argument is formulated in an attempt to sweep this issue under the rug without careful consideration of it

In fact it is formulates such that your "primary consideration" is NOT important to it, as your failure to produce a valid criticism demonstrates.

quote:

Your argument assumes that a logical cause must occur prior in time, so concludes that there could be no logical cause for the Big Bang. I

That's a gross misrepresentation. In fact I intentionally AVOIDED making an argument that assumed that. You don't even manage to get the conclusion of my argument right !

quote:

Instead of facing the question of the relationship between logical causation and temporality and presenting reasoned arguments for it, your argument simply assumes the relationship that you want. Whether you call this "begging the question", "stacking the deck", or "affirming the consequent", it is disingenuous.

Of course this is all completely false, and seems to be based on the assumption that I am using the common argument "cause must precede effect therefore the Big Bang could not have a cause". Which is obviously false to anyone who looks at my argument (Percy spotted that I wasn't using that before even promoting the topic ! Message 2)

quote:

Like it or not, the Kalaam argument does not sweep this issue under the rug. It is formulated in such a way to be neutral on the relationship of logical causation to temporality.

Like it or not, the Kalam argument does not deal with the question I am addressing, it simply sweeps it under the rug, treating an intuitive argument as an unquestionable truth that must hold in absolutely any conditions. I challenge that - and so far you have utterly failed to address it.

quote:

Can you please present a reasoned argument for why you believe logical causation necessarily requires temporal priority?

Since I do not believe that or use it in my argument there is no reason why I should.

Perhaps you would like to address my actual argument instead of the one you would like me to be using.

We can start with these points:


1) "Everything that begins to exist has a cause" is an intuitive argument and therefore if there is a situation outside our normal experience with a relevant difference we cannot rely on it.

2) The case of something which exists at the beginning of time is outside of our normal experience.

Do you disagree with either of these ? Can you present a reasoned argument against either of them ?

(You might wish to consider the profoundly unintuitive results of Special Relativity before arguing against the first)

Edited by PaulK, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 29 by kbertsche, posted 11-24-2011 11:59 PM kbertsche has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 33 by kbertsche, posted 11-25-2011 11:47 AM PaulK has responded

    
NoNukes
Inactive Member


Message 32 of 268 (642056)
11-25-2011 7:42 AM
Reply to: Message 29 by kbertsche
11-24-2011 11:59 PM


Instead of facing the question of the relationship between logical causation and temporality and presenting reasoned arguments for it, your argument simply assumes the relationship that you want. Whether you call this "begging the question", "stacking the deck", or "affirming the consequent", it is disingenuous.

If this accusation is true, it applies to you equally as well. When you argue that everything we know of has a cause, wouldn't it be fair to require you to be more specific? Can't we actually say that every caused event that we know of has a cause that is prior in time to the event?

But by dropping that bit of pleading from our premises, our initial premise takes in more ground than our experience justifies, and makes it appear to be reasonable to extend our deductive reasoning to apply to the universe.

The Kalaam argument is nonsense IMO. It is designed to 'convince' the already convinced.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 29 by kbertsche, posted 11-24-2011 11:59 PM kbertsche has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 36 by Dr Adequate, posted 11-26-2011 12:38 AM NoNukes has acknowledged this reply
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kbertsche
Member (Idle past 110 days)
Posts: 1427
From: San Jose, CA, USA
Joined: 05-10-2007


Message 33 of 268 (642068)
11-25-2011 11:47 AM
Reply to: Message 31 by PaulK
11-25-2011 1:39 AM


quote:

We can start with these points:

1) "Everything that begins to exist has a cause" is an intuitive argument and therefore if there is a situation outside our normal experience with a relevant difference we cannot rely on it.
2) The case of something which exists at the beginning of time is outside of our normal experience.

Do you disagree with either of these ? Can you present a reasoned argument against either of them ?



I agree with your second point, which seems fairly obvious.

I've already explained my disagreement with your first point. Causation is primarily a logical concept. "Everything that begins to exist has a cause" is a logical argument, not merely an intuitive one.

In order to dispute the claim that "Everything that begins to exist has a cause" you need to provide a reasoned, logical argument that something can begin to exist with no logical cause. So far, I haven't seen this. I've seen you attempt to summarily dismiss the claim, but not to present a reasoned argument against it.


"Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." Albert Einstein

I am very astonished that the scientific picture of the real world around me is very deficient. It gives us a lot of factual information, puts all of our experience in a magnificently consistent order, but it is ghastly silent about all and sundry that is really near to our heart, that really matters to us. It cannot tell us a word about red and blue, bitter and sweet, physical pain and physical delight; it knows nothing of beautiful and ugly, good or bad, God and eternity. Science sometimes pretends to answer questions in these domains, but the answers are very often so silly that we are not inclined to take them seriously. Erwin Schroedinger


This message is a reply to:
 Message 31 by PaulK, posted 11-25-2011 1:39 AM PaulK has responded

Replies to this message:
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frako
Member
Posts: 2796
From: slovenija
Joined: 09-04-2010


Message 34 of 268 (642070)
11-25-2011 1:16 PM
Reply to: Message 33 by kbertsche
11-25-2011 11:47 AM


In order to dispute the claim that "Everything that begins to exist has a cause" you need to provide a reasoned, logical argument that something can begin to exist with no logical cause. So far, I haven't seen this. I've seen you attempt to summarily dismiss the claim, but not to present a reasoned argument against it.

Hawkins radiation could fit the bill

A virtual particle comes in to exsistance with his counterpart, but they from on the event horizon of a black hole one falls in to the black hole the other brakes free thus unable to colide with his counterpart it begins to actually exists. Whit out a cause just a series of events.


Christianity, One woman's lie about an affair that got seriously out of hand

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PaulK
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Posts: 14562
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.1


Message 35 of 268 (642073)
11-25-2011 2:42 PM
Reply to: Message 33 by kbertsche
11-25-2011 11:47 AM


quote:

I agree with your second point, which seems fairly obvious.

Good.

quote:

I've already explained my disagreement with your first point. Causation is primarily a logical concept. "Everything that begins to exist has a cause" is a logical argument, not merely an intuitive one.


Quite frankly I find that to be absurd. But if you believe you can provide the logical proof that you claim to have, then please do so, since that seems to be the point of dispute.


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Replies to this message:
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Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16069
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 4.1


Message 36 of 268 (642153)
11-26-2011 12:38 AM
Reply to: Message 32 by NoNukes
11-25-2011 7:42 AM


Can't we actually say that every caused event that we know of has a cause that is prior in time to the event?

And that every cause that we know of is not supernatural.


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Dr Adequate
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Posts: 16069
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 4.1


Message 37 of 268 (642159)
11-26-2011 4:14 AM
Reply to: Message 33 by kbertsche
11-25-2011 11:47 AM


Atemporal Causation And Logic
It is possible to imagine an atemporal cause. For example, image a universe which has existed for all time with the following constituents:

* a planet, on which sits
* a yielding yet resilient cushion, on which sits
* a bowling ball.

Now, without any sequence of events taking place, we would nonetheless like to say that:

* The bowling ball (and the gravity of the planet) are the cause of the depression in the cushion.
* The cushion is the cause of the bowling ball being elevated above the surface of the planet.

This is a rather contrived example, but then it has to be.

---

Now, can we analyze this causation as a logical relationship? Well, we can try. After all, clearly if the bowling ball wasn't there, the cushion wouldn't be depressed, and if the cushion wasn't there, the bowling ball wouldn't be elevated.

So the relationship in general would be: x causes y = not(x) implies not(y). E.g:

* No bowling ball implies no depression.
* No cushion implies no elevation.

And so for God to atemporally cause the universe would just be equivalent to saying that no God would imply no universe.

But there's a snag. Indeed, several snags.

Consider this causal relationship: I drop a brick, causing it to fall. Now this is fine and dandy so far --- not(I drop the brick) implies not (the brick falls).

But it is also the case that not(the brick falls) implies not(I drop the brick). Our account of cause has become so atemporal that we now have to say, not just that my dropping the brick causes it to fall, but also that the brick falling causes me to drop it.

We may note in this connection that some people have suggested that the nature of God is such that he would necessarily cause the universe. In which case not(the universe) would imply not(God). Now if these people are right, then in our "logical" account of cause and effect, it would be correct to say that the universe is the cause of God. And the mere possibility that they are right is sufficient to say that we have a reductio ad absurdum since if God would necessarily cause the universe, we would not wish to represent that fact by saying that the universe is the cause of God.

We might finally note that according to the logical interpretation of implication, not(I own a hat) implies not(unicorns exist), since both sides of the implication are true. And yet it is not true to say that my owning a hat causes the existence of unicorns, nor that even that it would cause the existence of unicorns if I did in fact own a hat. We might try to remedy this situation by observing that not(not(I own a hat)) also implies not(unicorns exist), but this is a thought I shall look at tomorrow, because I am sleepy.

So it seems at least that simple propositional logic is a broken reed for the purpose of giving an account of causality. What kbertsche actually has in mind is of course for him to say.

---

I shall go back to thinking about epistemology, which is easy.


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 Message 33 by kbertsche, posted 11-25-2011 11:47 AM kbertsche has acknowledged this reply

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ProtoTypical
Member
Posts: 1769
From: Ontario Canada
Joined: 08-04-2010


Message 38 of 268 (642166)
11-26-2011 7:15 AM
Reply to: Message 12 by PaulK
11-24-2011 8:36 AM


PaulK writes:

The point is that IF there is no time prior to our universe, we have good grounds to question whether it needs a cause

If there is no time prior to our universe then we have grounds to question whether it can have a cause given that there is no time for that cause to exist in. I do not see why it gives reason to question the need for a cause.

You are saying that because a cause could not, logically, have existed it must not have been needed. You are saying this after observing 13.7 billion yrs worth of causes and effects. I am saying that after observing 13.7 b yrs worth of causes and effects that the cause was, logically, needed and therefore must have existed.

I balk at the idea of something existing without a cause. This is a natural reticence. That is to say that it was caused by my experience of the universe. Not really all that absurd. I have no proof, I suppose, that everything needs a cause. I have no proof that every time I drop an apple that it will fall to the ground as I have not dropped all the apples yet but I certainly have a substantial amount of support for the notion. Every causeless thing in history was beyond our experience until it wasnt. What is absurd is saying that because you cant see how a cause could have functioned that it therefore must not have existed or, worse, was not needed.

Just to be clear, I invoke no gods.

(abe; If we conclude here that there was no need for a cause of the universe, should we stop looking for one?)

Edited by Dogmafood, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
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PaulK
Member
Posts: 14562
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.1


Message 39 of 268 (642172)
11-26-2011 9:50 AM
Reply to: Message 37 by Dr Adequate
11-26-2011 4:14 AM


Re: Atemporal Causation And Logic
quote:

It is possible to imagine an atemporal cause. For example, image a universe which has existed for all time with the following constituents:
* a planet, on which sits
* a yielding yet resilient cushion, on which sits
* a bowling ball.

Now, without any sequence of events taking place, we would nonetheless like to say that:

* The bowling ball (and the gravity of the planet) are the cause of the depression in the cushion.
* The cushion is the cause of the bowling ball being elevated above the surface of the planet.

This is a rather contrived example, but then it has to be.


And this example is one of the reasons why I chose to avoid the "cause must precede effect" argument.

However, if we look at it we cannot say that that the bowling ball caused the depression to come into being. The depression must exist at the very start, without initial cause. All the bowling ball and gravity do is to prevent the cushion from springing back into shape.

Even if we assume that the cushion could react instantaneously to the presence of the bowling ball (which a real cushion could not) and we are as generous to the proponents of the kalam argument as intellectual honesty allows, we are still left with no reason to say that the depression was actually created by the bowling ball. That requires distinguishing between the case where the ball did create the depression and the case where the depression existed all along (in the terminology kbertsche probably prefers, the case where the bowling ball is logically prior to the depression and the case where it is)

Since the depression's existence at the start of time is logically compatible with either case, - even in the extremely generous hypothetical scenario I propose - the argument that "everything that begins to exist has a cause" is inapplicable to anything existing at the start of time, just as I have said.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 37 by Dr Adequate, posted 11-26-2011 4:14 AM Dr Adequate has responded

Replies to this message:
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 Message 44 by Dr Adequate, posted 11-26-2011 2:36 PM PaulK has responded

    
thingamabob
Junior Member (Idle past 595 days)
Posts: 23
From: New Jerusalem
Joined: 02-26-2009


Message 40 of 268 (642183)
11-26-2011 11:53 AM
Reply to: Message 27 by Omnivorous
11-24-2011 10:49 PM


Re: Let There Be (Self-Caused) Light
omnivorous writes:

What caused the virtual photons to begin to exist?

Question

Where did the vacuum exist that the particles popped into existence in, exist?

thing,


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thingamabob
Junior Member (Idle past 595 days)
Posts: 23
From: New Jerusalem
Joined: 02-26-2009


Message 41 of 268 (642184)
11-26-2011 11:58 AM
Reply to: Message 39 by PaulK
11-26-2011 9:50 AM


Re: Atemporal Causation And Logic
Paulk writes:

the argument that "everything that begins to exist has a cause" is inapplicable to anything existing at the start of time,

Are you saying time had a beginning to exist?

If so where did this time exist?

Could you give me a definition of this time?

thing,


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jar
Member
Posts: 30934
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 1.6


Message 42 of 268 (642185)
11-26-2011 11:59 AM
Reply to: Message 40 by thingamabob
11-26-2011 11:53 AM


Re: Let There Be (Self-Caused) Light
What vacuum?

Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!

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Phat
Member
Posts: 11625
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.4


Message 43 of 268 (642197)
11-26-2011 1:34 PM
Reply to: Message 39 by PaulK
11-26-2011 9:50 AM


Re: Atemporal Causation And Logic
Im not sure exactly how to frame my argument, or if I even have one, since I am attempting to explain my thoughts...but here it goes:

In your example, you say to imagine a universe which has existed for all time. If I had existed in any way, shape, form, or possibility at the moment of the singularity, I would be unable to imagine any sequence of events. Thus, the only way I can question, compare, or challenge any idea that may have existed before me is through the gift of life, awareness, and thinking...made possible by and through the reality of time.

My point is irrelevant, I know...in that I in fact am able to question, form sane (or nonsensical) observations, comparisons, and references to spheres, cones, planes, and other objects of geometric imagination made possible, again, by this thing called time.

Were there no human observers, philosophers, and thinkers even in existence..but simply a supercomputer recording every bit of data from the initial observation of time, what sort of data might we expect to find? Of course, the question of how this supercomputer was/is programmed is a moot point.

perhaps a useful question to consider is this: Would philosophy have any meaning in the absence of a human presence?


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Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16069
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 4.1


Message 44 of 268 (642199)
11-26-2011 2:36 PM
Reply to: Message 39 by PaulK
11-26-2011 9:50 AM


Re: Atemporal Causation And Logic
Even if we assume that the cushion could react instantaneously to the presence of the bowling ball (which a real cushion could not) and we are as generous to the proponents of the kalam argument as intellectual honesty allows, we are still left with no reason to say that the depression was actually created by the bowling ball. That requires distinguishing between the case where the ball did create the depression and the case where the depression existed all along (in the terminology kbertsche probably prefers, the case where the bowling ball is logically prior to the depression and the case where it is)

Well, the cushion is resilient. If the bowling ball wasn't there, the cushion wouldn't be depressed, it would spring back into shape. Therefore I think it's reasonable to say that the depression is caused by the ball.

This is strengthened by the fact that we thoroughly understand the nature of the causal relationship: we know about gravity, we could draw a force diagram. Of course, we know about this by our experience of non-static events ... if we were ideal observers only of this toy universe, we should never have found out the causal relationship, but it would still exist.


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Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16069
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 4.1


Message 45 of 268 (642200)
11-26-2011 2:38 PM
Reply to: Message 43 by Phat
11-26-2011 1:34 PM


Re: Atemporal Causation And Logic
I too am unclear as to what your argument is, but see the last paragraph of my previous post.
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