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Author Topic:   Time and Beginning to Exist
NoNukes
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Posts: 10065
From: Central NC USA
Joined: 08-13-2010
Member Rating: 1.8


Message 196 of 268 (642772)
12-01-2011 1:46 PM
Reply to: Message 190 by kbertsche
12-01-2011 9:55 AM


I don't see how (A) "began to exist" implies prior time

"Began to exist" has the connotation of requiring a process that changed a state from non-existence to existence for the universe. Process are changes that occur over time. There is also the problem that existence and non-existence would logically appear to be discrete states and not a continuum of states.

Perhaps that is not the intended meaning, but if not, the discussion here always seems to introduce that unintended meaning. As long as we recognize that such arguments are just equivocation, I'm fine with using the expression.

On the other hand, the concept of having a finite age does not come with the same baggage. The latter term does not suggest prior time unless your personal mindset is to require such a thing. Finite age merely leaves open a possibility of a prior time.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 190 by kbertsche, posted 12-01-2011 9:55 AM kbertsche has not yet responded

    
DWIII
Member (Idle past 794 days)
Posts: 72
From: United States
Joined: 06-30-2011


Message 197 of 268 (642813)
12-01-2011 9:39 PM
Reply to: Message 190 by kbertsche
12-01-2011 9:55 AM


kbertsche writes:


quote:
How about saying that the universe has a finite age?

Rahvin has a point: "begin to exist" does have its problems. Normally, when we say something begins to exist, we mean that there's a time when it didn't followed by a time when it did. But if, as many cosmologists seem to say, time is an aspect of the universe, then there was no time when the universe didn't exist, making it different from everything else that "began to exist".



I don't see how (A) "began to exist" implies prior time any more than does (B) "has a finite age". They seem pretty similar to me in this respect. Based on our normal experience, both would suggest prior time. But neither one necessarily implies prior time. Both imply a "zero-point" to the thing's existence,

No they don't both imply that (see below).


but neither one says anything about what happened "before" the thing's existence.

The main difference that I see between (A) and (B) is one of perspective. With (B), "has a finite age", one is viewing a thing's existence from the present, and looking backward toward when the thing "started" or "began to exist". With (A), "began to exist", one is viewing the thing from its origin or starting point.

Even more to the point, (B) "has a finite age" does not imply (A) "began to exist". If (B) is true and (A) is false, where does that leave the Cosmological argument, which requires a beginning in the first place?


Looking at the analogy of the North Pole, (B) is somewhat analogous to saying "this city is at a finite latitude", while (A) is somewhat analogous to saying "our latitude coordinate system begins at the North Pole". Both imply that there is a starting point to latitude coordinates. But neither one says anything about the possibility of {... latitudes greater than 90 degrees North...}.

Perhaps another analogy may be appropriate here. In thermodynamics, you could say that absolute zero is the lowest possible temperature, but in our universe (as far as we know), attaining a temperature of absolute zero is physically impossible. Thus, in a sense, there is no such thing as a starting point of temperature, in spite of the fact that absolute temperature can't get to either zero or less than zero.


DWIII

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NoNukes
Member
Posts: 10065
From: Central NC USA
Joined: 08-13-2010
Member Rating: 1.8


Message 198 of 268 (642814)
12-01-2011 10:03 PM
Reply to: Message 157 by Straggler
11-30-2011 6:48 AM


Re: Reality of Time
Did the idea exist before I had thought of it?

Maybe. Is your idea boy meets girl? Yeah, it existed before you thought it up. You can write an infinite number of original stories based on that idea.

Again, you are simply trying to say that ideas and thoughts are the same thing. They are not.

Edited by NoNukes, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 157 by Straggler, posted 11-30-2011 6:48 AM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 202 by Straggler, posted 12-02-2011 12:23 PM NoNukes has responded

    
Dr Adequate
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Posts: 15972
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 4.3


(2)
Message 199 of 268 (642821)
12-01-2011 10:36 PM
Reply to: Message 190 by kbertsche
12-01-2011 9:55 AM


I don't see how (A) "began to exist" implies prior time any more than does (B) "has a finite age".

Well, "begin to" just does imply prior time, and not just with universes.

For example, it is reasonable to talk of a Red Delicious Apple beginning to be red, because first it isn't and then it is; but it would be a strange and freakish use of the English language to talk of a Granny Smith beginning to be green, because there was never a time when it wasn't green. Likewise you can speak of me beginning to learn French, because once I didn't and then I did; but it would not be good English to talk of me beginning to have a Y chromosome. (It would in fact be good English to say "Dr Adequate has always had a Y chromosome" even though the time during which I have done so is not infinite in extent.)


This message is a reply to:
 Message 190 by kbertsche, posted 12-01-2011 9:55 AM kbertsche has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 200 by kbertsche, posted 12-02-2011 11:45 AM Dr Adequate has not yet responded

  
kbertsche
Member
Posts: 1411
From: San Jose, CA, USA
Joined: 05-10-2007
Member Rating: 2.1


Message 200 of 268 (642871)
12-02-2011 11:45 AM
Reply to: Message 199 by Dr Adequate
12-01-2011 10:36 PM


quote:
Likewise you can speak of me beginning to learn French, because once I didn't and then I did; but it would not be good English to talk of me beginning to have a Y chromosome. (It would in fact be good English to say "Dr Adequate has always had a Y chromosome" even though the time during which I have done so is not infinite in extent.)

Interesting example, with some interesting semantic issues.

When you say "Dr Adequate has always had a Y chromosome", we understand that "always" does not have its common sense of "forever" or "eternally". Rather, it has the sense of "as long as he has existed". You are communicating the message that "as long as he has existed, Dr A has had a Y chromosome".

Analogously, one could claim something like "as long as time has existed, the universe has existed". To simply say that "the universe has always existed" is highly misleading; without further qualification of what is meant by "always" this would suggest the Greek concept of an eternal universe.

The claim that "as long as time has existed, the universe has existed" leaves us with more questions, however:
1) is this claim (that time "began" when the universe "began") really true? How do we test this scientifically or prove it logically? It seems to be the common opinion among cosmologists, but do we have any solid reasons for claiming it?
2) what does this imply about a "beginning" of time? Did time "begin to exist" at some point? And if so, what exactly does this mean?


"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 199 by Dr Adequate, posted 12-01-2011 10:36 PM Dr Adequate has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 201 by NoNukes, posted 12-02-2011 12:01 PM kbertsche has responded
 Message 203 by PaulK, posted 12-02-2011 1:14 PM kbertsche has responded

    
NoNukes
Member
Posts: 10065
From: Central NC USA
Joined: 08-13-2010
Member Rating: 1.8


Message 201 of 268 (642873)
12-02-2011 12:01 PM
Reply to: Message 200 by kbertsche
12-02-2011 11:45 AM


Analogously, one could claim something like "as long as time has existed, the universe has existed". To simply say that "the universe has always existed" is highly misleading; without further qualification of what is meant by "always" this would suggest the Greek concept of an eternal universe.

How would having always existed suggest an eternal universe? Having always existed says nothing about what will happen in the future.

I agree that statements like "have always existed" can have more than one meaning, but people who are aware of the different possibilities simply need to ask more questions to find out what is meant.

In other words, having always existed does not suggest the Greek idea of an eternal universe to me.

The claim that "as long as time has existed, the universe has existed" leaves us with more questions, however:
1) is this claim (that time "began" when the universe "began") really true? How do we test this scientifically or prove it logically? It seems to be the common opinion among cosmologists, but do we have any solid reasons for claiming it?

All valid questions in my opinion.

2) what does this imply about a "beginning" of time? Did time "begin to exist" at some point? And if so, what exactly does this mean?

These questions, however would be nonsense.

Edited by NoNukes, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 200 by kbertsche, posted 12-02-2011 11:45 AM kbertsche has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 204 by kbertsche, posted 12-02-2011 2:24 PM NoNukes has responded

    
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10198
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 202 of 268 (642876)
12-02-2011 12:23 PM
Reply to: Message 198 by NoNukes
12-01-2011 10:03 PM


Re: Reality of Time
NN writes:

Is your idea boy meets girl?

No. It's an entirely original (to my knowledge) idea.
Will the idea still exist if my brain ends up under a bus this evening?

NN writes:

Yeah, it existed before you thought it up.

Does an idea exist before it has been thought of by anyone at all? Do you think the idea of hobbits or Goldilocks existed before people (or even brains) had evolved? This is not a rhetorical question.

NN writes:

You can write an infinite number of original stories based on that idea.

But how can the idea of 'boy meets girl' or Goldilocks (to use your previous example) have come into existence without someone thinking of it using a physical brain (or some equivalent)?

NN writes:

Again, you are simply trying to say that ideas and thoughts are the same thing.

Actually I am happy to accept some sort of distinction between the two. The issue at hand is whether or not these things have a physical basis or not.

NN writes:

They are not.

OK. But you keep asserting that ideas are devoid of a physical basis. And this, even based on your own examples, makes no real sense.

NN writes:

What I believe ideas to be are abstract concepts that are separate from the thoughts, writings, and objects that express them. For example, the story of Goldilocks and the three bears is independent from any medium or thought that contains that story.

Did the story of Goldilocks and the three bears exist before there were any people to think of it? Has Goldilocks and the three bears existed since the beginning of the universe?

Did we discover or invent the idea of Goldilocks?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 198 by NoNukes, posted 12-01-2011 10:03 PM NoNukes has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 207 by NoNukes, posted 12-02-2011 3:20 PM Straggler has responded

  
PaulK
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Posts: 13311
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 1.9


Message 203 of 268 (642886)
12-02-2011 1:14 PM
Reply to: Message 200 by kbertsche
12-02-2011 11:45 AM


quote:

1) is this claim (that time "began" when the universe "began") really true? How do we test this scientifically or prove it logically? It seems to be the common opinion among cosmologists, but do we have any solid reasons for claiming it?

I think that we need to remember that it is your side that primarily promotes this point of view. William Lane Craig relies on it to argue that the creator must be timeless. And that's the only reason why I'm talking about it. I don't assume that it is true.

To the best of my knowledge many cosmologists are happy with alternative ideas (e.g Eternal Inflation).


This message is a reply to:
 Message 200 by kbertsche, posted 12-02-2011 11:45 AM kbertsche has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 205 by kbertsche, posted 12-02-2011 2:31 PM PaulK has responded

    
kbertsche
Member
Posts: 1411
From: San Jose, CA, USA
Joined: 05-10-2007
Member Rating: 2.1


Message 204 of 268 (642900)
12-02-2011 2:24 PM
Reply to: Message 201 by NoNukes
12-02-2011 12:01 PM


quote:
quote:
Analogously, one could claim something like "as long as time has existed, the universe has existed". To simply say that "the universe has always existed" is highly misleading; without further qualification of what is meant by "always" this would suggest the Greek concept of an eternal universe.

How would having always existed suggest an eternal universe? Having always existed says nothing about what will happen in the future.
...
In other words, having always existed does not suggest the Greek idea of an eternal universe to me.

Sorry for the confusion. I meant eternal or infinite in the past, i.e. always existing, having no beginning.

quote:
quote:
2) what does this imply about a "beginning" of time? Did time "begin to exist" at some point? And if so, what exactly does this mean?

These questions, however would be nonsense.

I don't thinks so. Philosophers still puzzle over fundamental questions about the nature of time, with two main theories on what it is.

"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 201 by NoNukes, posted 12-02-2011 12:01 PM NoNukes has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 208 by NoNukes, posted 12-02-2011 3:33 PM kbertsche has responded

    
kbertsche
Member
Posts: 1411
From: San Jose, CA, USA
Joined: 05-10-2007
Member Rating: 2.1


Message 205 of 268 (642901)
12-02-2011 2:31 PM
Reply to: Message 203 by PaulK
12-02-2011 1:14 PM


quote:
quote:
1) is this claim (that time "began" when the universe "began") really true? How do we test this scientifically or prove it logically? It seems to be the common opinion among cosmologists, but do we have any solid reasons for claiming it?

I think that we need to remember that it is your side that primarily promotes this point of view. William Lane Craig relies on it to argue that the creator must be timeless. And that's the only reason why I'm talking about it. I don't assume that it is true.

To the best of my knowledge many cosmologists are happy with alternative ideas (e.g Eternal Inflation).



"My side"?? Do you mean physicists or creationists??

Most physicists view time as a dimension similar to spatial dimensions. Thus it is natural for us to think that time "began" when the spatial dimensions did, at the Big Bang. However, we know that time is in some ways fundamentally different from the spatial dimensions. Time is asymmetric, with a direction given by entropy.


"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 203 by PaulK, posted 12-02-2011 1:14 PM PaulK has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 206 by PaulK, posted 12-02-2011 2:42 PM kbertsche has not yet responded

    
PaulK
Member
Posts: 13311
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 1.9


Message 206 of 268 (642905)
12-02-2011 2:42 PM
Reply to: Message 205 by kbertsche
12-02-2011 2:31 PM


quote:

"My side"?? Do you mean physicists or creationists??

I meant Christian apologists and would-be apologists. That's certainly the way William Lane Craig uses it, and he's not the only one.

quote:

Most physicists view time as a dimension similar to spatial dimensions. Thus it is natural for us to think that time "began" when the spatial dimensions did, at the Big Bang. However, we know that time is in some ways fundamentally different from the spatial dimensions. Time is asymmetric, with a direction given by entropy.

My understanding is that it is entirely possible that there are other regions of spacetime in addition to our universe, possibly with an infinite past.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 205 by kbertsche, posted 12-02-2011 2:31 PM kbertsche has not yet responded

    
NoNukes
Member
Posts: 10065
From: Central NC USA
Joined: 08-13-2010
Member Rating: 1.8


Message 207 of 268 (642913)
12-02-2011 3:20 PM
Reply to: Message 202 by Straggler
12-02-2011 12:23 PM


Re: Reality of Time
Will the idea still exist if my brain ends up under a bus this evening?

Does the idea that all men are created equal exist? In what form does it exist? Does the idea of four exist? Would four still exist if every human being were to die tomorrow?

I don't believe that your questions are the least bit relevant.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 202 by Straggler, posted 12-02-2011 12:23 PM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 209 by Straggler, posted 12-02-2011 6:16 PM NoNukes has responded

    
NoNukes
Member
Posts: 10065
From: Central NC USA
Joined: 08-13-2010
Member Rating: 1.8


Message 208 of 268 (642917)
12-02-2011 3:33 PM
Reply to: Message 204 by kbertsche
12-02-2011 2:24 PM


kbersche writes:

NoNukes writes:

kbertsche writes:

what does this imply about a "beginning" of time? Did time "begin to exist" at some point? And if so, what exactly does this mean?

These questions, however would be nonsense.

I don't thinks so. Philosophers still puzzle over fundamental questions about the nature of time, with two main theories on what it is.

You misunderstand me.

I am not suggesting that there are no circumstances under which we can ask about beginnings. I'm suggesting that asking the particular questions you ask, given the initial assumptions that time and the universe start together makes no sense.

So when you asked "what does this imply about a beginning of time" (emphasis added by me), the answer is that the question is already dispensed of by "this".

Edited by NoNukes, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 204 by kbertsche, posted 12-02-2011 2:24 PM kbertsche has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 210 by kbertsche, posted 12-02-2011 7:35 PM NoNukes has responded

    
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10198
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 209 of 268 (642934)
12-02-2011 6:16 PM
Reply to: Message 207 by NoNukes
12-02-2011 3:20 PM


Ideas
NN writes:

Does the idea that all men are created equal exist?

It exists in the minds of men and the minds of men are the product of physical brains. No?

NN writes:

Does the idea of four exist?

The number four is arguably an objective aspect of reality and thus an idea which any intelligent being in our universe will eventually conceive of. Because of the objective nature of this concept it can arguably be said to "exist" in a Platonic sense.

NN writes:

Would four still exist if every human being were to die tomorrow?

Four as an aspect of objective reality? Or the human idea/concept of four? Are they the same thing? Arguably the number four would still exist in a Platonic sense. But is the concept of four comparable to the very human concept of Goldilocks? Or my wholly subjective idea for a novel? Are you conflating incomparable things under the terminological umbrella of "idea"....?

NN writes:

What I believe ideas to be are abstract concepts that are separate from the thoughts, writings, and objects that express them. For example, the story of Goldilocks and the three bears is independent from any medium or thought that contains that story.

  • Did the story of Goldilocks and the three bears exist before there were any people to think of it?
  • If all humans and all record of human civilisation is wiped out will the idea of Goldilocks still exist?
  • Has Goldilocks and the three bears existed since the beginning of the universe?
  • Did we discover or invent the idea of Goldilocks?

    How can the idea of Goldilocks have come into existence without someone thinking of it using a physical brain (or some equivalent)?

    NN writes:

    I don't believe that your questions are the least bit relevant.

    They are highly relevant to any understanding of how you think an idea can exist as distinct from thought and the physical brain basis of thought. Do you really think the story of Goldilocks exists independetly of human minds and thus physical human brians? If so you shouldn't have any trouble at all answering the questions above.

    Let's see........


    This message is a reply to:
     Message 207 by NoNukes, posted 12-02-2011 3:20 PM NoNukes has responded

    Replies to this message:
     Message 211 by Rahvin, posted 12-02-2011 8:02 PM Straggler has responded
     Message 216 by NoNukes, posted 12-04-2011 10:00 AM Straggler has responded

      
  • kbertsche
    Member
    Posts: 1411
    From: San Jose, CA, USA
    Joined: 05-10-2007
    Member Rating: 2.1


    Message 210 of 268 (642941)
    12-02-2011 7:35 PM
    Reply to: Message 208 by NoNukes
    12-02-2011 3:33 PM


    quote:
    You misunderstand me.

    Perhaps, but it looks like you also misunderstand me.

    quote:
    I am not suggesting that there are no circumstances under which we can ask about beginnings. I'm suggesting that asking the particular questions you ask, given the initial assumptions that time and the universe start together makes no sense.

    So when you asked "what does this imply about a beginning of time" (emphasis added by me), the answer is that the question is already dispensed of by "this".



    But my first point was to question this initial assumption that time and the universe start together. What evidence do we have for this claim? Is it really true? How do we know?

    My second point was to ask what the answer to this first question (whether or not time and the universe start together) implies about a beginning of time.


    "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 208 by NoNukes, posted 12-02-2011 3:33 PM NoNukes has responded

    Replies to this message:
     Message 212 by PaulK, posted 12-03-2011 3:38 AM kbertsche has not yet responded
     Message 214 by NoNukes, posted 12-03-2011 7:11 AM kbertsche has not yet responded
     Message 215 by frako, posted 12-03-2011 11:37 AM kbertsche has not yet responded

        
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