Understanding through Discussion


Welcome! You are not logged in. [ Login ]
EvC Forum active members: 86 (8926 total)
Current session began: 
Page Loaded: 08-22-2019 6:02 AM
30 online now:
celestialGyoud, Tangle (2 members, 28 visitors)
Chatting now:  Chat room empty
Newest Member: Jedothek
Post Volume:
Total: 860,206 Year: 15,242/19,786 Month: 1,965/3,058 Week: 339/404 Day: 6/51 Hour: 0/2


Thread  Details

Email This Thread
Newer Topic | Older Topic
  
1
23Next
Author Topic:   Time and Beginning to Exist
PaulK
Member
Posts: 15325
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.6


(1)
Message 1 of 268 (641921)
11-22-2011 10:21 AM


The purpose of this topic is to discuss the notion "Everything that begins to exist has a cause" and it's relationship to our Universe and the implications of a finite past.

"Everything that begins to exist has a cause" is an intuitive idea, notably lacking a rigorous definition of "beginning to exist". We must take it then, to refer to the beginnings of everyday experience. In everyday experience the thing does not exist, the cause operates and then the thing exists. And, intuitively the cause is responsible for the change from the state where the object in question does not exist to a state where it does.

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.


Replies to this message:
 Message 2 by Admin, posted 11-23-2011 8:28 AM PaulK has responded
 Message 11 by ProtoTypical, posted 11-24-2011 8:18 AM PaulK has responded
 Message 17 by kbertsche, posted 11-24-2011 12:37 PM PaulK has responded
 Message 19 by GDR, posted 11-24-2011 2:25 PM PaulK has responded
 Message 50 by designtheorist, posted 11-27-2011 12:58 AM PaulK has responded
 Message 82 by Jon, posted 11-28-2011 1:53 AM PaulK has not yet responded
 Message 145 by kbertsche, posted 11-29-2011 7:42 PM PaulK has responded
 Message 260 by kofh2u, posted 11-28-2012 3:29 PM PaulK has not yet responded

    
PaulK
Member
Posts: 15325
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 3 of 268 (641923)
11-23-2011 8:33 AM
Reply to: Message 2 by Admin
11-23-2011 8:28 AM


quote:

How would you address the slightly different formulation, "Everything that happens has a cause"?

It seems to be covered by the same argument. If the universe didn't come into existence, then that isn't something that happened.

quote:

You're talking about the first moment in time, so shouldn't the reason why no cause is needed be that there was no prior time for a cause to operate?

No. I think that the argument I used is a little stronger, since it can't be attacked by arguing for simultaneous causation (which is the common response).


This message is a reply to:
 Message 2 by Admin, posted 11-23-2011 8:28 AM Admin has acknowledged this reply

    
PaulK
Member
Posts: 15325
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 12 of 268 (641949)
11-24-2011 8:36 AM
Reply to: Message 11 by ProtoTypical
11-24-2011 8:18 AM


quote:

Is there anything beside the Universe that is considered to potentially not have a cause? Almost everything in the collective experiance of man has been shown to have had a precedent cause. Some of these causes we can not identify but that is mearly temporary ignorance.

Of course, this fails to address the point. The point is that IF there is no time prior to our universe, we have good grounds to question whether it needs a cause - grounds that CANNOT be answered by our experience, since the situation is completely outside our experience.

quote:

The wall comes when we consider time and cause to be things that only function inside of our Universe. My question is then, how can time and space begin to exist if time and space are required for existence? Can time not exist independent of space?

By my understanding time and space are related in such a way that it is not possible (in an absolute sense). I'm sure that Cavediver or Son Goku could give you a more authoritative answer. However, this is not relevant to the argument which only relies on there being a first moment in time, and the universe existing (in some form) at that point (i.e. we need to account for the energy, not just spacetime).


This message is a reply to:
 Message 11 by ProtoTypical, posted 11-24-2011 8:18 AM ProtoTypical has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 14 by Omnivorous, posted 11-24-2011 10:04 AM PaulK has responded
 Message 38 by ProtoTypical, posted 11-26-2011 7:15 AM PaulK has not yet responded

    
PaulK
Member
Posts: 15325
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 15 of 268 (641963)
11-24-2011 11:01 AM
Reply to: Message 14 by Omnivorous
11-24-2011 10:04 AM


Re: Local effect
quote:

So, yes, I see how one can fairly say our local universe has no local cause, as there is no local time in which it did not exist; but we also must entertain the possibility that the cause(s) of our local universe and time exists/existed elsewhere.

And I do. However, this is not what I am discussing, because placing the cause in an external time, still doesn't render the cause timeless. That is why designtheorist declined to take that tack. His argument requires that there is no time prior to our universe in an absolute sense, and this is what I have chosen to address here.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 14 by Omnivorous, posted 11-24-2011 10:04 AM Omnivorous has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 16 by Omnivorous, posted 11-24-2011 11:09 AM PaulK has not yet responded

    
PaulK
Member
Posts: 15325
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 18 of 268 (641976)
11-24-2011 1:11 PM
Reply to: Message 17 by kbertsche
11-24-2011 12:37 PM


quote:

But even more fundamentally, we need a rigorous definition and discussion of "causation". You are locking "causation" to a strict temporal sequence,

I'm afraid that you seem to be under the impression that I am making the argument that the cause must precede the effect. I am not. I deliberately avoided making that argument so that we did not have to go into that.

The argument in summary is:

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.

3) The obvious reason why a cause would be needed for a "beginning" is to bring the thing into existence. There seems to be no other reason.

4) We cannot say that something that exists at the start of time was brought into existence because there is no time prior to it's existence.

5) Therefore we cannot conclude that a thing which exists at the beginning of time requires a cause by that fact alone.

Do you understand it now ?


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

Replies to this message:
 Message 25 by kbertsche, posted 11-24-2011 4:39 PM PaulK has responded

    
PaulK
Member
Posts: 15325
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 20 of 268 (641981)
11-24-2011 2:34 PM
Reply to: Message 19 by GDR
11-24-2011 2:25 PM


Re: An emergent universe
quote:

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.

That's close. I'm not trying to rule out cause absolutely. What I am trying to do is to show that the inference of a beginning is not justified unless the "beginning" includes a prior state where the object in question does not exist.

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. (They are also no good in arguing for a timeless cause since the cause may well be operating in that time dimension).


This message is a reply to:
 Message 19 by GDR, posted 11-24-2011 2:25 PM GDR has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 21 by GDR, posted 11-24-2011 3:12 PM PaulK has responded

    
PaulK
Member
Posts: 15325
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 22 of 268 (641988)
11-24-2011 3:21 PM
Reply to: Message 21 by GDR
11-24-2011 3:12 PM


Re: An emergent universe
quote:

Ok, but it seems to me that once you use the term "prior" state the whole concept becomes ambiguous.

I would say that it is general, not ambiguous.

quote:

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.

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.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 21 by GDR, posted 11-24-2011 3:12 PM GDR has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 23 by GDR, posted 11-24-2011 3:56 PM PaulK has responded

    
PaulK
Member
Posts: 15325
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 24 of 268 (641992)
11-24-2011 4:10 PM
Reply to: Message 23 by GDR
11-24-2011 3:56 PM


Re: An emergent universe
quote:

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.

If there was something prior in a different dimension of time it wouldn't be only an appearance, it would be a reality.

quote:

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.

Since I've already told you that I'm not arguing for that, it isn't a point that would seem to need repeating.

quote:

I might add though that with the restrictions you have put on the discussion I’m not sure you’ve left much to discuss.

I've got more to say. Anyone who wants to defend designtheorist's argument from his "Big Bang..." thread ought to have something to say, too - even if you agree that I've successfully rebutted it.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 23 by GDR, posted 11-24-2011 3:56 PM GDR has not yet responded

    
PaulK
Member
Posts: 15325
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 26 of 268 (641994)
11-24-2011 5:12 PM
Reply to: Message 25 by kbertsche
11-24-2011 4:39 PM


quote:

Your explanation of "bringing a thing into existence" is tied to time; it implicitly assumes that there was a time "before" which the thing existed. Because there was no time "before" the Big Bang, you claim that the universe was not "brought into existence".

So you understand that much. But obviously you don't understand how that point fits into my argument because you don't deal with it at all.

quote:

The Kalaam argument avoids these problems by using the more neutral phrase "begin to exist" ("bring into existence" implies agency as well as prior time; "begin to exist" is more neutral on both counts). There is widespread agreement that the universe "began to exist" about 13.7 billion years ago.

i.e. the Kalam argument attempts to sweep the problem under the carpet by not considering the issue I have raised. Too bad for the Kalam argument, if that's the best you can do. You can't honestly deal with a problem by refusing to admit that it exists.

quote:

But this claim is based on more than our experience; it is based on logic as well.

No, now you are being silly.

quote:

Logically, an effect must have a cause.

That can only be true if BY DEFINITION an effect has a cause. In which case you need to show that the universe has a cause before it can be considered an effect. Otherwise you beg the question.

quote:

It would be logically incoherent to claim that something caused its own "beginning". The cause must transcend the effect. Since time began at the Big Bang, the cause of the Big Bang must exist outside of time itself.

You still haven't produced a decent argument that there IS a cause of the Big Bang yet.

quote:

Claims that the Big Bang could have caused itself, or that it needed no cause, are nothing more than "special pleading". There are no other examples of things which are either uncaused or self-caused (in the philosophical sense of causation).

I really wish you would stop pretending that my argument contain fallacies that obviously aren't there. If you don't understand fallacies well enough to tell a valid argument from an invalid one then just don't say anything. There's no special pleading in my argument. Given your assumption that time starts with the Big Bang it really is a very special case.

quote:

One might claim that a cause "outside of time itself" is also an instance of special pleading.

Actually I would suggest that you need a sound argument that there is a cause first.

quote:

But I don't believe this holds up. Traditional conceptions of God place Him outside of time (and space) and attribute numerous instances of Him acting in time and space from outside of it. It is not only the Big Bang as a special case, but also the incarnation, the eschaton, etc. where God breaks into time and space from outside of it.

The Bible also has instances of God apparently changing his mind. A timeless being can't change it's mind - so either God was lying (about his original intent) - which is supposed to be impossible according to the Bible, or God is a temporal entity. (e.g. Exodus 32:9-14).

But aside from the fact that the theological issues are not so clear cut as you think, your beliefs about God are not evidence, or even a philosophical argument.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 25 by kbertsche, posted 11-24-2011 4:39 PM kbertsche has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 29 by kbertsche, posted 11-24-2011 11:59 PM PaulK has responded

    
PaulK
Member
Posts: 15325
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.6


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

    
PaulK
Member
Posts: 15325
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.6


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.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 33 by kbertsche, posted 11-25-2011 11:47 AM kbertsche has acknowledged this reply

Replies to this message:
 Message 53 by ProtoTypical, posted 11-27-2011 7:00 AM PaulK has responded

    
PaulK
Member
Posts: 15325
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.6


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:
 Message 41 by thingamabob, posted 11-26-2011 11:58 AM PaulK has responded
 Message 43 by Thugpreacha, posted 11-26-2011 1:34 PM PaulK has not yet responded
 Message 44 by Dr Adequate, posted 11-26-2011 2:36 PM PaulK has responded

    
PaulK
Member
Posts: 15325
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.6


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: 15325
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.6


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

    
PaulK
Member
Posts: 15325
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.6


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

    
1
23Next
Newer Topic | Older Topic
Jump to:


Copyright 2001-2018 by EvC Forum, All Rights Reserved

™ Version 4.0 Beta
Innovative software from Qwixotic © 2019