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.
To save the argument then, we need a rigorous definition of "beginning to exist", we need to show that it is in fact true that everything that meets this definition has a cause - taking care to deal with the extreme cases - and we need to accept this definition when building on the argument.
I hope I’m following this but it seems to me that in the first paragraph that I quoted you successfully point out that your scenario does not require cause. It also does not rule it out. The concept of “beginning to exist” only has meaning in an entropic universe where time or change only happens in one direction.
I think that it is fairly mainstream in science, (correct me if I’m wrong), to consider our universe as an emergent property of a greater reality. If this theory is anywhere near correct then it would make sense that this greater reality would experience change differently and likely that it would have more than one time dimension. If we speculate that the greater reality has 3 time dimensions then we could see that just as we can travel around our planet infinitely that we could travel around in time infinitely. This would allow for a finite universe to be spun off from an infinite universe where the finite universe would appear to have a beginning and an end.
I agree that this is highly speculative but it does show how we can have a time=0 in a finite universe when it is an emergent property of an infinite universe. (I think. )
If all this is true then we can argue either that it would require cause or that it wouldn`t. We could reasonably say that it required cause to have our world emerge in the way that it does or that it wouldn`t. It does seem to me however that it would be unlikely to see an emergent universe with intelligence and sentient beings being spun off from a greater reality without intelligence or sentience. It would all come down to a question of belief because it isn`t a beginning in the way that we are our 4 dimensional world experience anything beginning.
I know I’m way over my head here but I hope it addresses the point you are making.
As I've stated elsewhere scenarios which propose an external time dimension do include a prior state where the object does not exist, so they don't fall under the argument.
Ok, but it seems to me that once you use the term "prior" state the whole concept becomes ambiguous. If we agree that there was a point in our universe when time equalled "0", then "prior' has no meaning even if we are an emergent property of a greater reality with multi-dimensions of time. In that sense our universe as we experience it didn't exist prior to time=0. It just always existed infinitely in a state where our concept of "prior" would be meaningless, at least in the way that I envision it.
That's wrong. In that case "prior" has no meaning IF WE ONLY CONSIDER OUR TIME DIMENSION. It may well be meaningful in another. And that is all that is required for the argument.
You're right. I didn't phrase that well. The greater reality that I envision would be 3 dimensions of time as we experience 3 spatial dimensions. In that greater reality what we call time would be how things are at a specific point in a sea of change in the same way that we might travel to a particular point of longitude and latitude.
From our uni-dimensional experience of change that would give at least the appearance of something "prior" to T=0 but I'm inclined to think that the reality would be different.
However in that scenario and from our perspective I can see where there is no absolute requirement for cause, but again it doesn't meaning that cause doesn't exist either.
I might add though that with the restrictions you have put on the discussion I’m not sure you’ve left much to discuss.
It is the logical conclusion to draw from an empirical standpoint that only physical things have properties, non-physical things being entirely nonexistent.
What about an idea. It is real and can affect our physical reality. It exists and as it can, and does have an effect on the physical and in that sense we might even say it has properties.
You still cannot speak of things outside of time with terms such as 'prior' and 'before'. It's just nonsensical. If the only place where Time exists is within the separate universes, then it truly is not possible for one universe to exist 'prior' to another. If it is possible, we must conclude that there is some Master Time realm in which all of these many universes exist and against which they can all be measured in regards their temporal relationships with one another.
Some science suggests that our universe is an emergent property of a greater reality. If that greater reality has, for example, 3 time dimensions then our whole idea of "prior" could mean something altogether different.
We can draw an analogy between our 3 spatial dimensions and a universe with 3 time dimensions. It could be the equivalent of taking a hypothetical line in space and then moving in one direction along that line. There would be backward and forward but there would be comprehension of backward existing on the other side of the beginning of the line. We might be moving in a single line of time within a greater reality with 3 time dimensions leaving us with no idea, (at least at this point), of how to understand any concept of prior in relation to the beginning of time.
As far as can be discerned, thoughts, ideas, emotions, etc. are all functions of a completely physical organ and comprised of completely physical constituents such as electrochemical energy. Unless you are to introduce a concept such as 'the soul', which isn't a very scientific thing to do. Besides, the very fact that ideas do have influence over clearly physical aspects of reality should be enough to prove that ideas are physical things.
Has anyone even seen an idea? We see activity in the brain but with no way of discerning what is being thought about. Also does an idea have cause? Can you measure an idea? Ideas may result in a physical change or they might not.
An idea is something, but in order for it to be physical it seems to me that you should able to phyically measure it. As I try and get an idea of what to write it would be possible to observe brain patterns as I formulate ideas, but where are the ideas themselves that you can actually measure.?
I guess I'm not aware of any evidence that we live in a reality made up of three time dimensions.
I agree it is only hypothetical but most of what is being discussed in this thread is hypothetical. I’m just suggesting what I see as one possibility. Here is a paper on a 3 dimensional world. Three Dimensional Time Theory: