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.
Are not beginnings and ends simply arbitrarily marked points in space and time that we humans—with our measly, puny, insufficient brains—create in order to categorize reality into discrete and comprehensible chunks of information processable by those same measly, puny, insufficient brains?
What solid evidence is there that beginnings and ends actually exist outside of us merely making them up?
"Prior to the beginning of time" is a logical oxymoron. You cannot have a point on a ray located before the origin of the ray, which is what you're referring to.
Unless it's 'rayless'. If something is timeless then it can easily exist outside of Time. However, I wouldn't necessarily utilize temporal terminologies such as 'prior' in speaking of a timeless thing's relationship to Time; I'd probably just be satisfied with saying that it is 'outside of Time'.
Nothing "came into existence." There was no moment of time in which everything that exists did not exist; the full mass-energy of the Universe has existed at every moment of time, as per the laws of thermodynamics. To "come into existence" there must be a prior moment where the thing in question did not exist, and there is no such thing as a moment prior to the first moment, as per above.
This assumes that there are no timeless things that can exist outside of and independent of Time.
you're continuing to talk about locations in time "before" the beginning of time
I'm not here to defend designtheorist, but I would like to point out that they specifically mentioned they were talking not about 'locations in time' but about timeless states and beings. While it is certainly nonsensical to describe these relationships with words such as 'before' (or 'prior'), the basic premise that timeless things can exist outside of Time cannot be questioned.
We can, however, question whether timeless things actually do exist or not and what evidence we might have on that matter.
Not bad! I would like to see your thoughts regarding my Message 91.
You suffer from the misapprehension that only the physical realm is real or can have the property of time.
I think it dishonest to call this a misapprehension. It is the logical conclusion to draw from an empirical standpoint that only physical things have properties, non-physical things being entirely nonexistent.
What is truly needed is a better definition is the timeless realm in which the Designer/Creator inhabits.
I'm not sure how that would help us much. We cannot separate ourselves or our observations from time, and so even a Creator/Designer who exists, at least in part, outside of time would be wholly inaccessible to our senses and we should find no scientific reason for concluding that such a Creator/Designer exists.
Let's accept for a moment the accuracy of the colliding branes theory. If colliding branes were generating innumerable universes, each would have its own spacetime. Is it possible one universe could have been formed "prior" to another? Of course! Each universe would have no direct time relationship to another but it is conceivable that some being could be outside of all these universes and He could identify which universe came into existence first and which last.
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.
In the physical realm of our universe, time is a function of the universe. But that does not preclude the possibility time does not exist elsewhere.
Exactly; but it would, by your own definitions, require that such a place where time does not exist be the same as such a place where the physical realm does not exist. And any place like that is simply inaccessible to the inquiries of science. Science cannot probe the non-physical. So any theory that postulates non-physical things is, by definition, unscientific.
Even a timeless realm could have an arrow of time without beginning or end.
And this makes no sense. How does something which is timeless have any time whatsoever? If there is 'an arrow of time without beginning or end', then the realm is not really timeless.
When you contemplate the multiverse you can see that time can have a separate existence outside of our universe. Do you see?
Exactly like I said above: to speak of the temporal relationships between the multiple universes requires that some form of time exists outside of all of them and in common with all of them.
But this, of course, only pushes the question back even further and solves nothing. Because we can just as well consider all of those multiple universes and the Master Time realm that contains them to be a single super Universe, in which case all of the questions currently asked about our own universe get asked about the super Universe.
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.
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.
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.
I guess I'm not aware of any evidence that we live in a reality made up of three time dimensions.
I've been interpreting the physical vs. non-physical discussion in this thread to be one about empirical things vs. non-empirical things. So I take physical to include pretty much anything that is sensible including energies and forces.
And ideas are obviously sensible.
But, perhaps I've misunderstood how the term was being used.