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Author Topic:   Time and Beginning to Exist
kbertsche
Member (Idle past 511 days)
Posts: 1427
From: San Jose, CA, USA
Joined: 05-10-2007


Message 17 of 268 (641975)
11-24-2011 12:37 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by PaulK
11-22-2011 10:21 AM


quote:
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.



But even more fundamentally, we need a rigorous definition and discussion of "causation". You are locking "causation" to a strict temporal sequence, which of course collapses at the Big Bang. But the concept of "causation" is fundamentally a logical concept, not a temporal concept. Time sequence does not determine causation; most things which occur at different times are not causally related. There is discussion and disagreement among philosophers as to whether causation is immanent and locked to time, or is transcendent.

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.

Edited by kbertsche, : Added link


"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 1 by PaulK, posted 11-22-2011 10:21 AM PaulK has responded

Replies to this message:
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kbertsche
Member (Idle past 511 days)
Posts: 1427
From: San Jose, CA, USA
Joined: 05-10-2007


Message 25 of 268 (641993)
11-24-2011 4:39 PM
Reply to: Message 18 by PaulK
11-24-2011 1:11 PM


quote:
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.
...
Do you understand it now ?


I understood your argument just fine. I'll try to clarify my objection.

Here's where you tie "causality" to temporal sequence:

quote:
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.


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".

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.

quote:
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.


But this claim is based on more than our experience; it is based on logic as well. Logically, an effect must have a cause. 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.

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).

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


"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 18 by PaulK, posted 11-24-2011 1:11 PM PaulK has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 26 by PaulK, posted 11-24-2011 5:12 PM kbertsche has responded
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kbertsche
Member (Idle past 511 days)
Posts: 1427
From: San Jose, CA, USA
Joined: 05-10-2007


Message 29 of 268 (642033)
11-24-2011 11:59 PM
Reply to: Message 26 by PaulK
11-24-2011 5:12 PM


quote:
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.

I think I've been pretty clear. The relationship of logical causation to temporality is a primary consideration in this discussion. Your argument is formulated in an attempt to sweep this issue under the rug without careful consideration of it. 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. 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.

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.

Can you please present a reasoned argument for why you believe logical causation necessarily requires temporal priority?


"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 26 by PaulK, posted 11-24-2011 5:12 PM PaulK has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 31 by PaulK, posted 11-25-2011 1:39 AM kbertsche has responded
 Message 32 by NoNukes, posted 11-25-2011 7:42 AM kbertsche has responded

  
kbertsche
Member (Idle past 511 days)
Posts: 1427
From: San Jose, CA, USA
Joined: 05-10-2007


Message 33 of 268 (642068)
11-25-2011 11:47 AM
Reply to: Message 31 by PaulK
11-25-2011 1:39 AM


quote:

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 ?



I agree with your second point, which seems fairly obvious.

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.

In order to dispute the claim that "Everything that begins to exist has a cause" you need to provide a reasoned, logical argument that something can begin to exist with no logical cause. So far, I haven't seen this. I've seen you attempt to summarily dismiss the claim, but not to present a reasoned argument against it.


"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 31 by PaulK, posted 11-25-2011 1:39 AM PaulK has responded

Replies to this message:
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kbertsche
Member (Idle past 511 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

  
kbertsche
Member (Idle past 511 days)
Posts: 1427
From: San Jose, CA, USA
Joined: 05-10-2007


(1)
Message 145 of 268 (642572)
11-29-2011 7:42 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by PaulK
11-22-2011 10:21 AM


quote:
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.



I think we're getting a bit sidetracked on this thread. I'd like to get back to the topic of the OP. Let's tackle your question of what it means to "begin to exist". You claim that we lack a rigorous definition of it. I am skeptical of this. I suspect William Lane Craig has provided a rigorous definition, which I will try to hunt down I the next few days. But in the mean time, let's see if we can come up with some descriptions or synonyms on our own.

I suggest that "begin to exist" is roughly synonymous with:
1) "have a finite age"
2) "have a temporal starting-point of its existence"

If this is what it means, there should be no doubt that the universe "began to exist".

Comments? Do we have general agreement so far?


"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 1 by PaulK, posted 11-22-2011 10:21 AM PaulK has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 147 by Rahvin, posted 11-29-2011 7:52 PM kbertsche has responded
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 Message 154 by PaulK, posted 11-30-2011 3:53 AM kbertsche has responded

  
kbertsche
Member (Idle past 511 days)
Posts: 1427
From: San Jose, CA, USA
Joined: 05-10-2007


Message 148 of 268 (642583)
11-29-2011 8:55 PM
Reply to: Message 147 by Rahvin
11-29-2011 7:52 PM


quote:
quote:
I suggest that "begin to exist" is roughly synonymous with:
1) "have a finite age"
2) "have a temporal starting-point of its existence"
If this is what it means, there should be no doubt that the universe "began to exist".

Comments? Do we have general agreement so far?


"Began to exist" implies a previous coordinate in time where the entity in question did not exist. If time is a like a ray or line segment and the entire Universe is contained only within the coordinates of time, then it is possible for the Universe to have existed at every moment of time and yet for there to be a minimum time coordinate.



So you would actually deny that the universe began to exist about 13.7 billion years ago?!? If you don't like "begin to exist", how would you prefer to describe the finite age of the universe and its origin in a singularity? Any comments from Cavediver or others actually trained in cosmology?

"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 147 by Rahvin, posted 11-29-2011 7:52 PM Rahvin has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
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kbertsche
Member (Idle past 511 days)
Posts: 1427
From: San Jose, CA, USA
Joined: 05-10-2007


Message 160 of 268 (642623)
11-30-2011 9:32 AM
Reply to: Message 154 by PaulK
11-30-2011 3:53 AM


quote:
William Lane Craig has provided his own gerrymandered definition, but he has not supplied the extra argumentation required. For one thing he has failed to even show that our universe has a beginning by his special definition !


Can you please provide Craig's definition, and a reference to where he presents this definition?

Are you sure that he has not supplied the extra argumentation? (How can you be sure unless you've read everything he's written?)


"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 154 by PaulK, posted 11-30-2011 3:53 AM PaulK has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 161 by PaulK, posted 11-30-2011 10:00 AM kbertsche has not yet responded
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kbertsche
Member (Idle past 511 days)
Posts: 1427
From: San Jose, CA, USA
Joined: 05-10-2007


Message 190 of 268 (642757)
12-01-2011 9:55 AM
Reply to: Message 159 by Dr Adequate
11-30-2011 9:13 AM


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, 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.

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 negative latitudes.

{ABE: oops, I guess I wasn't quite awake when I wrote the above, and my latitude definition was off by 90 degrees. I was thinking more along the lines of a normal polar coordinate system. Instead of "negative latitudes" I should have said "latitudes greater than 90 degrees North". But the concept is the same.}

Edited by kbertsche, : Correction


"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 159 by Dr Adequate, posted 11-30-2011 9:13 AM Dr Adequate has responded

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kbertsche
Member (Idle past 511 days)
Posts: 1427
From: San Jose, CA, USA
Joined: 05-10-2007


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
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kbertsche
Member (Idle past 511 days)
Posts: 1427
From: San Jose, CA, USA
Joined: 05-10-2007


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 (Idle past 511 days)
Posts: 1427
From: San Jose, CA, USA
Joined: 05-10-2007


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

  
kbertsche
Member (Idle past 511 days)
Posts: 1427
From: San Jose, CA, USA
Joined: 05-10-2007


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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