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Author Topic:   Time and Beginning to Exist
kbertsche
Member (Idle past 81 days)
Posts: 1427
From: San Jose, CA, USA
Joined: 05-10-2007


Message 46 of 268 (642201)
11-26-2011 3:30 PM
Reply to: Message 32 by NoNukes
11-25-2011 7:42 AM


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

What you say is true of most things that we know of, but not everything, as I will show.

Causality is an interesting and complex topic, and has been discussed by numerous philosophers from Aristotle to Hume and Kant. I'll only touch on the issues in this reply.

First, I hope we can agree that we end up with numous logical problems and contradictions if an effect precedes its cause. So we must require that an effect must not precede its cause. But this is not the same as requiring that a cause must precede its effect. For example, a cause and an effect could be simultaneous; this would not create logical contradictions. Or if an effect marked the beginning of time itself, it could have a cause which lies outside of time.

And when we say that an effect must not precede its cause, we must be very careful how we define "precede". We must define "precede" as something like "occurring within the past light cone".

Consider the annihilation of a positron and an electron to create two high energy photons. The measurement of the polarization of one photon will cause the other photon to be collapsed into a specific polarization. In such examples of "spooky action at a distance", an effect can occur simultaneously with its cause, or even before its cause as measured on some clocks. The effect cannot occur inside the past light cone. But we cannot say that the cause is prior in time to the effect.

Edited by kbertsche, : No reason given.

Edited by kbertsche, : No reason given.

Edited by kbertsche, : Added links to Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Edited by kbertsche, : Added summary sentence


"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 32 by NoNukes, posted 11-25-2011 7:42 AM NoNukes has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 96 by NoNukes, posted 11-28-2011 2:01 PM kbertsche has acknowledged this reply

    
PaulK
Member
Posts: 14488
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 1.6


Message 47 of 268 (642202)
11-26-2011 4:39 PM
Reply to: Message 41 by thingamabob
11-26-2011 11:58 AM


Re: Atemporal Causation And Logic
quote:

Are you saying time had a beginning to exist?

No, I'm not. That time had a beginning is an assumption of the argument I am responding to.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 41 by thingamabob, posted 11-26-2011 11:58 AM thingamabob has not yet responded

    
PaulK
Member
Posts: 14488
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 1.6


Message 48 of 268 (642203)
11-26-2011 4:44 PM
Reply to: Message 44 by Dr Adequate
11-26-2011 2:36 PM


Re: Atemporal Causation And Logic
quote:

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.

Yes, but that is a sustaining cause, maintaining the depression, rather than a creative cause bringing the depression into existence. And given a real cushion creating the depression would require time, which is not available. The argument I am dealing with clearly requires a creative cause (and it is an argument for a creative cause). Thus, a sustaining cause is not relevant (and would require a different argument).

Edited by PaulK, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 44 by Dr Adequate, posted 11-26-2011 2:36 PM Dr Adequate has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 71 by Dr Adequate, posted 11-27-2011 1:16 PM PaulK has responded

    
Omnivorous
Member (Idle past 917 days)
Posts: 3808
From: Adirondackia
Joined: 07-21-2005


Message 49 of 268 (642220)
11-26-2011 5:56 PM
Reply to: Message 40 by thingamabob
11-26-2011 11:53 AM


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

Question

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

thing,

Sorry I didn't make that clear:

Gothenburg, Sweden


"If you can keep your head while those around you are losing theirs, you can collect a lot of heads."

This message is a reply to:
 Message 40 by thingamabob, posted 11-26-2011 11:53 AM thingamabob has not yet responded

    
designtheorist
Member (Idle past 1783 days)
Posts: 390
From: Irvine, CA, United States
Joined: 09-15-2011


Message 50 of 268 (642252)
11-27-2011 12:58 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by PaulK
11-22-2011 10:21 AM


Reply to PaulK
Now consider the case of the first moment of time. For everything that exists at that moment of time there is no prior state when it did not exist, and if a cause is needed it is not needed to bring the object into existence, for that simple reason that it already exists. Thus if we take these objects to have a beginning it is one different from the every day beginnings - and in a way that would seem to remove the need for a cause.

This is only true if you have philosophically excluded the possibility of something or someone existing outside of time and matter. Since the question arises from the discussion of the big bang and the fact it "smacks of divine intervention," you are committing the logical fallacy of begging the question. By defining the terms in a manner which precludes the answer you do not want, you are only fooling yourself.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by PaulK, posted 11-22-2011 10:21 AM PaulK has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 51 by Chuck77, posted 11-27-2011 1:08 AM designtheorist has responded
 Message 52 by PaulK, posted 11-27-2011 3:44 AM designtheorist has responded

  
Chuck77
Inactive Member


(2)
Message 51 of 268 (642253)
11-27-2011 1:08 AM
Reply to: Message 50 by designtheorist
11-27-2011 12:58 AM


Re: Reply to PaulK
designtheorist to PaulK writes:

Since the question arises from the discussion of the big bang and the fact it "smacks of divine intervention," you are committing the logical fallacy of begging the question.

Some might say that you are committing the logical fallacy of the appeal to authority with "smacks of divine intervention" in quotation marks obviously referning to Hawking, again.

So committing a logical fallacy in the same sentance you are accusing another member of is not helping. Drop the whole appeal to authority thing you keep bringing into each thread that you have brought here from the get go and begin debating in your own words or no one is going to take you seriously.

I would love to just quote people smarter than me everytime I debate but we're here to debate not to just quote. No one is probably going to really be swayed (save a few) one way or the other so the enjoyment comes from actually debating not trying to convince the other side. Once you understand that it will be easier to stop appealing to authority.

Edited by Chuck77, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 50 by designtheorist, posted 11-27-2011 12:58 AM designtheorist has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 60 by designtheorist, posted 11-27-2011 9:50 AM Chuck77 has not yet responded
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 Message 69 by Dr Adequate, posted 11-27-2011 12:50 PM Chuck77 has not yet responded

  
PaulK
Member
Posts: 14488
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 1.6


Message 52 of 268 (642258)
11-27-2011 3:44 AM
Reply to: Message 50 by designtheorist
11-27-2011 12:58 AM


Re: Reply to PaulK
quote:

This is only true if you have philosophically excluded the possibility of something or someone existing outside of time and matter. Since the question arises from the discussion of the big bang and the fact it "smacks of divine intervention," you are committing the logical fallacy of begging the question. By defining the terms in a manner which precludes the answer you do not want, you are only fooling yourself.

I think that the argument that if something did not occur, we do not need to propose a cause to explain why it did occur is obviously sound. (Arguing otherwise would appear to assume a contradiction).

But since you clearly hold that the existence of "something or someone existing outside of time and matter" somehow gets around this issue please explain it.

How can we need to invoke a cause to explain an event that did not happen?
(To avoid confusion I do not mean to explain why the event did not happen, but to explain why it did - even though it did not. And if that doesn't make sense to you, it's probably because it doesn't ).


This message is a reply to:
 Message 50 by designtheorist, posted 11-27-2011 12:58 AM designtheorist has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 56 by designtheorist, posted 11-27-2011 8:37 AM PaulK has responded

    
ProtoTypical
Member
Posts: 1768
From: Ontario Canada
Joined: 08-04-2010


Message 53 of 268 (642272)
11-27-2011 7:00 AM
Reply to: Message 35 by PaulK
11-25-2011 2:42 PM


PaulK writes:

kbertsche writes:

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.

Why is it more absurd to posit that there is no exception to the rule of cause and effect than it is to posit that there is an exception? The first having a near infinite line of corporal evidence while the later has only logical deduction as support. It seems to me that both lines are at least equally valid.

Is it not comparable to the beginning of life on the earth? We cannot see the cause but we all assume that it had one. I appreciate that the beginning of time would be a fairly unique event but so is the beginning of life.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 35 by PaulK, posted 11-25-2011 2:42 PM PaulK has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 54 by PaulK, posted 11-27-2011 7:45 AM ProtoTypical has responded
 Message 62 by cavediver, posted 11-27-2011 10:13 AM ProtoTypical has responded

  
PaulK
Member
Posts: 14488
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 1.6


Message 54 of 268 (642275)
11-27-2011 7:45 AM
Reply to: Message 53 by ProtoTypical
11-27-2011 7:00 AM


quote:

Why is it more absurd to posit that there is no exception to the rule of cause and effect than it is to posit that there is an exception? The first having a near infinite line of corporal evidence while the later has only logical deduction as support. It seems to me that both lines are at least equally valid.

I am not proposing an exception to the "law" of cause and effect. What I find absurd is the idea that it is a logical rather than an empirical claim. Since you seem to agree that the basis for cause and effect is empirical, you are not disagreeing with my actual claim.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 53 by ProtoTypical, posted 11-27-2011 7:00 AM ProtoTypical has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 55 by ProtoTypical, posted 11-27-2011 8:15 AM PaulK has not yet responded

    
ProtoTypical
Member
Posts: 1768
From: Ontario Canada
Joined: 08-04-2010


Message 55 of 268 (642276)
11-27-2011 8:15 AM
Reply to: Message 54 by PaulK
11-27-2011 7:45 AM


I am not proposing an exception to the "law" of cause and effect.

I thought that you were when you claimed that a cause for the universe was not needed.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 54 by PaulK, posted 11-27-2011 7:45 AM PaulK has not yet responded

  
designtheorist
Member (Idle past 1783 days)
Posts: 390
From: Irvine, CA, United States
Joined: 09-15-2011


Message 56 of 268 (642278)
11-27-2011 8:37 AM
Reply to: Message 52 by PaulK
11-27-2011 3:44 AM


Re: Reply to PaulK
I think that the argument that if something did not occur, we do not need to propose a cause to explain why it did occur is obviously sound. (Arguing otherwise would appear to assume a contradiction).

But since you clearly hold that the existence of "something or someone existing outside of time and matter" somehow gets around this issue please explain it.

How can we need to invoke a cause to explain an event that did not happen?
(To avoid confusion I do not mean to explain why the event did not happen, but to explain why it did - even though it did not. And if that doesn't make sense to you, it's probably because it doesn't ).

You are correct. What you have written does not make sense. It appears you may be attempting a double circular reasoning argument. Would you care to try again?

Perhaps it would be best to go back to the beginning. The hot big bang is the standard cosmology and it explains how both matter and time began to exist. This cosmology "smacks of divine intervention" or "is compatible with or supportive of the idea of a Universe Designer or Creator God." This Designer or Creator would necessarily have to exist outside of time and matter in order to be its cause.

Assuming the hot big bang is correct for the sake of argument, explain your reasoning.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 52 by PaulK, posted 11-27-2011 3:44 AM PaulK has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 58 by Percy, posted 11-27-2011 9:00 AM designtheorist has responded
 Message 63 by PaulK, posted 11-27-2011 10:50 AM designtheorist has responded

  
cavediver
Member (Idle past 1593 days)
Posts: 4129
From: UK
Joined: 06-16-2005


Message 57 of 268 (642280)
11-27-2011 8:51 AM
Reply to: Message 17 by kbertsche
11-24-2011 12:37 PM


This topic is a good one, but the questions are more philosophical than scientific. It's unfortunate that this thread was placed in a science forum, because I fear that science itself will provide no useful answers to the questions. The statement that "everything which begins to exist has a cause" is a philosophical statement made by philosophers. It cannot be properly discussed without delving deeply into philosophy.

Utter rubbish. Come on Kirk, I expect better from you. Causality is 100% physics but "cause and effect" is philosophical nonsense. It is a high-level emergent property of the Universe, not some deep underlying "truth" - at least, according to our current understanding. Your "The Metaphysics of Causation" article is so Newtonian it's ridiculous. Again, that is fine as a way of categorising emergent properties, but these philosophers seem to think they are doing so much more.

In terms of understanding existence, physics left philosophy standing decades ago (not to say that physics has all the answers - far from it)


This message is a reply to:
 Message 17 by kbertsche, posted 11-24-2011 12:37 PM kbertsche has acknowledged this reply

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 17874
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.3


(2)
Message 58 of 268 (642281)
11-27-2011 9:00 AM
Reply to: Message 56 by designtheorist
11-27-2011 8:37 AM


Re: Reply to PaulK
designtheorist writes:

The hot big bang is the standard cosmology and it explains how both matter and time began to exist. This cosmology "smacks of divine intervention" or "is compatible with or supportive of the idea of a Universe Designer or Creator God."

More accurately, some people think the Big Bang "smacks of divine intervention" or "is compatible with or supportive of the idea of a Universe Designer or Creator God." Some people don't.

You're again bogging down in arguments about what people say and who we should believe when the discussion should be about evidence.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 56 by designtheorist, posted 11-27-2011 8:37 AM designtheorist has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 61 by designtheorist, posted 11-27-2011 10:03 AM Percy has responded

    
cavediver
Member (Idle past 1593 days)
Posts: 4129
From: UK
Joined: 06-16-2005


(4)
Message 59 of 268 (642286)
11-27-2011 9:48 AM


Cause and Effect
Cause and Effect is a concept born of our anthropocentric experience. We drop a cup, it falls to the floor and smahes into thousands of shards. It is easy to assign the dropping as cause and the smashing as effect; it is utterly counterintuitive to reverse those roles. And so we learn to assign causes and effects, and feel that behind those things we call effects should lie something to which we can assign the term cause.

But this is only true at the macroscopic level. At the quantum level, everything is time reversible. What appears as cause can just as easily appear as effect. An electron and a positron annihilate to create two photons. Two photons pair-create an electron and positron out of the vacuum. The exact same process viewed in two opposite directions through time.

In fact, as we build up these interactions into something much more complex, we realise that there is no cause and effect as such, but simple consistency. One can say that the effect requires the cause, but there is just as much validity to say that the cause required the effect. Causality is simply a constraint on what parts of the interaction have to be consistent with what other parts.

We can see almost exactly this behaviour in looking at the open ocean. Look at the waves criss-crossing the surface. Can you spot any obvious cause and effect? Waves are entering the area under observation, interacting, moving off away again. Assuming none of the waves are breaking, if we run a video of the waves backwards, could you notice?

What then creates this great disparity between the macroscopic view and the microscopic view? Principally the same macroscopic thing that gives rise to the idea of time: entropy.

When the cup falls and smashes, it takes one path through the space of all possibilites to end up in the smashed state. One path out of a gazillion possible paths. And where just about every one of those gazillion paths ends up in a macroscopically identical state: cup smahed into thousands of shards and scattered over the floor, each piece having come to rest by interacting with elements of the floor and passing over the kinetic energy.

It is completely possible for each element of the floor to interact with a neighbouring shard of cup, to impart just the right amount of kinetic energy to make each shard leap together to form a perfectly formed cup - the energy being sufficient to re-create all the chemical bonds that were brokern in the fall, and being sufficient to lift the cup back into the air back into our hand.

How possible? Just about as equally probable as it was for the cup to fall and smash in the way it did! One in a gazillion.

The difference is that the particular path that leads to the cup resurrection is surrounded by a gazillion paths that look nothing like a cup resurrection, where-as the path that our cup took on its fall was surrounded by a gazillion other paths that all looked essentially the same - a cup falling and smashing.

Why is there such a difference between the space of possible paths in the two cases - smashing and resurrection? That comes down to how special it is to have a "cup" in the first place. You may want to think about what properties the Universe needs in order that at some point it contains a "cup".

The point is that the cause could well be the floor imparting kinetic energy to a bunch of shards and the effect is the creation of a cup in someone's hand - this, from the point of view of the physics, is just as valid as the cause being the dropping and the effect being the smashing.

What we should be thinking is that the smashing is consistent with the dropping, or that the unsmashing is consistent with the catching of the resurrected cup.

This is an enormous subject and I'm just scratching the surface here with this rather rushed and semi-coherent piece. But you cannot talk about a "cause" for the Universe without first appreciating "causes".


  
designtheorist
Member (Idle past 1783 days)
Posts: 390
From: Irvine, CA, United States
Joined: 09-15-2011


Message 60 of 268 (642287)
11-27-2011 9:50 AM
Reply to: Message 51 by Chuck77
11-27-2011 1:08 AM


Reply to Chuck77 and Percy
Perhaps you should read the thread on logical fallacies. It begins here at Message 1. In this thread you can learn why some uses of authority/sources are valid and some are invalid. You might also learn about the fallacy of circular reasoning or begging the question, which is the fallacy PaulK is committing.
This message is a reply to:
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