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.
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 ).
You are correct. What you have written does not make sense. It appears you may be attempting a double circular reasoning argument. Would you care to try again?
Perhaps it would be best to go back to the beginning. The hot big bang is the standard cosmology and it explains how both matter and time began to exist. This cosmology "smacks of divine intervention" or "is compatible with or supportive of the idea of a Universe Designer or Creator God." This Designer or Creator would necessarily have to exist outside of time and matter in order to be its cause.
Assuming the hot big bang is correct for the sake of argument, explain your reasoning.
Perhaps you should read the thread on logical fallacies. It begins here at Message 1. In this thread you can learn why some uses of authority/sources are valid and some are invalid. You might also learn about the fallacy of circular reasoning or begging the question, which is the fallacy PaulK is committing.
(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 ).
I agreed with you only in the sense that what you wrote did not make sense. Let me try to explain your error once again.
Your logic shows an unexamined and false premise. Your unexamined premise is "Nothing exists outside of the material realm of space and time." The problem with this premise is that if a Universe Designer or Creator God exists, then he or she exists outside of space and time. Your entire argument is built around your false premise that nothing exists outside of space and time and so you are committing the logical fallacy of circular reasoning.
Now let's return to your OP where you write:
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.
If a Universe Designer or Creator God exists, he or she did not begin to exist so there is no need for a cause. If the universe began to exist at the big bang, then it needs a cause. The only cause available is something which exists outside of space and time - a Universe Designer or Creator God.
This explains why Stephen Hawking says the big bang "smacks of divine intervention."
It's not just an appeal to authority, it's deeply dishonest, since Hawking himself thinks the exact opposite of the view designtheorist wishes to ascribe to him.
Not true. Hawking's views have changed over time. At the time he wrote the passage I quoted, Hawking did not dispute the fact the big bang "smacks of divine intervention." In fact, it was this fact that cause Hawking to go searching for another explanation for the beginning of the universe. Only in his most recent book has Hawking said a creator is not needed. As I mentioned, I am preparing a thread on Hawking coming up. I hope you will participate.
I think I have already demonstrated your unexamined, implicit and false premise but I will try again. Your argument can be reduced to this simple syllogism.
1. No timeless state or timeless and immaterial beings (such as Universe Designer or Creator God) exist prior to the beginning of time. (This is your unexamined, implicit and false premise.) 2. Everything that exists at the first moment of time came into existence simultaneously with time and so there is no prior moment in which they did not exist. 3. If we take these objects to have a beginning, then it is one different from everyday beginnings. 4. Therefore, the claim "Everything that begins to exist has a cause" is suspect, false or needs a more rigorous definition.
In this form, your argument appears to be logically consistent at the first glance. That is to say, it appears your conclusion follows from your premises. But the first premise (the unexamined premise) is false. It has NOT been demonstrated that no timeless state or timeless beings existed prior to the big bang.
The possibility of a timeless state inhabited by a timeless and immaterial being capable of causing the big bang is denied in your unexamined premise. The acceptance of this possibility is binary, that is to say, one either accepts the possibility of a timeless state and timeless being or one rejects the possibility. There is no third choice. Among those who grant the possibility, some may accept the existence of a Designer/Creator and some may be doubtful.
The argument you raise comes out of the discussion of an earlier thread began at Message 1. This thread is an attempt to argue against the claim the big bang supports the idea of a universe designer or creator God. You are trying to find a way in which the big bang does not support the idea of a designer/creator. The existence of your unexamined premise shows you are committing the logical fallacy of circular reasoning or begging the question.
You have denied that you have the unexamined premise I have identified. This is a testable hypothesis. Since the possibility of a timeless state and timeless Designer/Creator prior to the big bang is binary, you can try to make your argument while explicitly stating your belief in the possibility of a Designer/Creator.
Your argument would then look something like this:
1. It is possible a timeless state inhabited by a timeless and immaterial being (such as Universe Designer or Creator God) existed prior to the beginning of time at the big bang. 2. Everything that exists at the first moment of time came into existence simultaneously with time and so there is no prior moment in which they did not exist. (This is where the argument breaks down because a timeless state was "prior" to the creation of time.) 3. If we take these objects to have a beginning, then it is one different from everyday beginnings. 4. Therefore, the claim "Everything that begins to exist has a cause" is suspect, false or needs a more rigorous definition.
In this form, your argument is not even logically consistent. When your implicit premise is reversed and made explicit, your argument does not hold up - it is pure nonsense.
The big bang tells us that first there was nothing in the physical realm and then the universe burst into existence in a flash of light and energy. Only something outside of the physical realm could be responsible.
"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.
Unambiguous word usage can be difficult when you are discussing unusual subjects. It appears you may have forgotten we are discussing a different realm outside of our "spacetime." What word would you suggest I use to describe events in this timeless state "prior" to the big bang?
Or perhaps you are committing the same logical fallacy that PaulK is committing?
This is not part of my argument at all. However since it is necessarily true (nothing can be temporally prior to time in the general sense since temporal priority is based on a measure of time) it really doesn't matter.
I take this to mean that you do hold to the unexamined, implicit and false premise which I identified earlier. You suffer from the misapprehension that only the physical realm is real or can have the property of time. What is truly needed is a better definition is the timeless realm in which the Designer/Creator inhabits.
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.
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. Even a timeless realm could have an arrow of time without beginning or end.
When you contemplate the multiverse you can see that time can have a separate existence outside of our universe. Do you see?
You seem to be confused. A timeless realm by definition cannot include time.
By timeless, I mean outside the spacetime of our universe. It is not possible to know the exact nature of this timeless realm. Perhaps it has the concept of time but without beginning or end. Or perhaps the realm has an arrow of time but it is possible to move both forwards or backwards and you can remember the future as well as the past. Speculation about the exact nature of the timeless realm is rather pointless as there is no way to settle the question. It is just as pointless to claim that a realm outside of our spacetime cannot have the concept of time as such a claim could never be proven.
As I have stated in other posts in this thread we can postulate other time dimensions which would allow there to be a first moment of "our time" and a temporally prior state (prior in a different time dimension). But this is not what you want - because that leaves open the possibility that the cause is temporal, working in the other time dimension. That is why that possibility has not been discussed in detail here.
I must have missed the posts you are referring to. Try reworking your argument while explicitly acknowledging the possibility the big bang is the action of a being in a different time or timeless dimension.
And if we consider the implications of that, it seems that when you argue for a "timeless' and "immaterial" creator you really mean "a cause outside of our spacetime that could easily be temporal and material". That's really not very helpful or likely to lead to productive discussion.
My argument for a timeless and immaterial creator was based on the big bang as the beginning of the material universe and a finite spacetime. The main focus should be on the immaterial realm because that is easier to grasp. It is not clear to me that an eternal state (no beginning and no end) cannot be described as both timeless (because of infinity) and said to have an arrow of time.
If colliding branes theory were accurate, then the cause could be physical in a different time dimension. I used colliding branes only as an illustration, not because I think it is a viable theory.