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Time to begin and think.

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Posted

On 14 May 2009, the Planck Spacecraft was launched by the European Space Agency (ESA) in a mission to "collect and characterise radiation from the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) using sensitive radio receivers operating at extremely low temperatures." (1) By doing this, the ESA hoped to answer a number of questions about the universe, including the following:

Mapping the Cosmic Microwave Background anisotropies with improved sensitivity and angular resolution

Testing inflationary models of the early Universe

Measuring the amplitude of structures in the Cosmic Microwave Background

Determination of Hubble constant

Perform measurements of Sunyaev-Zel'dovich effect

(2)

On March 21st, 2013, the Planck Spacecraft returned a detailed map of the light of the Big Bang scattered throughout what-was-the entire universe moments after said event. (3) Observations were made, including the realisation that the universe was considerably older than we thought it was (and a lot older than what Young-Earth Creationists still think it is), and, most astonishingly, our universe is lopsided. (4)

Now, the universe being lopsided could mean a number of things. It could mean dark energy is changing over time, it could mean almost anything a bored physicist wishes to speculate on, but the most exciting hypothesis is that it is an indication that there is a pattern that has been imprinted on our universe from before the Big Bang. (5) if this theory is proven to be true, it may provide clues as to why the arrow of time flows in only one direction. (6)

It would be fun to speculate (and look back) on theories for universal origin that the Planck results have provided potential clues for. No doubt theists will claim that the lopsidedness of our universe is the imprint of God, and atheists will ridicule or deny such a paradigm. Certainly, physicists discovering a possible pre-universe imprint on our reality adds weight to different theories, and of the idea that our universe had a beginning, such as the different cosmological arguments.

Before this post can be continued, it is necessary to first summarise a cosmological argument. For the purpose of this post, I shall use the Kalam model.

The first stage of the Kalam model is based on the idea that everything that has a beginning to its existence must have a cause to its existence. As King Lear said, "Nothing will come of nothing." Until recently, it has been considered an undeniable absurdity that something could just pop into existence sans cause, unless that thing were both atemporal and infinite (i.e. God).

The second stage of the Kalam model makes an assumption that many philosophers and scientists seem happy to agree with, viz that the universe had a beginning.

So, a simple outline of the Kalam Cosmological Argument would read as follows:

P1) Everything that has a beginning has a cause.

P2) The universe has a beginning.

C) The universe has a cause.

As stated before, the religious believe that cause was God. A simplistic scientific paradigm is that the universe was caused by a singularity that, for whatever reason, rapidly expanded, thus commencing the very first seconds of time. The scientific reality is likely to be much more complicated than this, but it serves as a means with which to discuss the theory with the layman. Philosopher William Lane Craig has adapted the model to indicate, due to the apparent impossibility of infinite regress, that the primary cause must have been God. Craig's version of the argument relies on the A-theory of time being true, because under B-theory, infinite regress is possible, because the universe doesn't come into existence; it just exists without tense in a 4-D space-time block. (7)

The B-theory of time may seem implausible, but then so do some of the results of experiments designed to explore quantum mechanics. A summary of the A-theory vs, B-theory debate is available online (8). At this point, it needs to be noted that when physicists and philosophers talk about the flow of time or the arrow of time, they can do so while still holding to the belief that the B-theory of time holds veracity. (9) Certainly Stephan Hawking has discussed both the arrow of time and time as a relative dimension in space. (10)

Another objection to the Kalam model is that nothing begins to exist. One might claim that my wardrobe existed about 20 minutes and a plethora of curse words after I emptied its contents from the Ikea box, whereas somebody else might claim that the beginning of my wardrobe's existence was merely part of a long process in which millions of atoms are rearranged through several stages, part of which has them enjoying life as part of a tree. Going back to the Planck discovery, one could argue that the imprint isn't an indication that the universe began to exist about 13.82 billion years ago, but that what we consider to be the beginning of time was merely a point at which a considerable change in the design of reality occurred, thereby changing the "tree" that preceded the Big Bang into the "wardrobe" that is our current universe. One can get around this by stating that the point at which the atoms become a different object is a beginning of sorts. It all really depends on how much one wishes to change an object before one is willing to declare it a different object. The answers will, admittedly, be different, similar to how there are various answers to the question, "How many planks can one remove from a ship before it is no longer a ship?"

Another objection to the Kalam comes from quantum mechanics, and the observation that, on the quantum level, particles can pop in and out of existence from "nothing." (11) Defendants of the KCA argue that nothing here indicates a vacuum, not literally nothing; however, if the lopsidedness of the universe does indicate an imprint of that which came before, it shows that our universe's beginning, or "beginning" -choose as you prefer- was not an ex nihilo event, and the imprint could indicate there was enough of something for the laws of quantum mechanics to work. Alternatively, it could suggest that cyclic theory is true, and the remnants of the universe that existed before ours are imprinted onto our own. Alternatively, it could suggest that our universe is only a small part of a massive (possibly infinite) block of time. At this point, it is all speculation.

Another alternative is God, but there is enough weight beyond the aforementioned paradigms that do not require God for us to state, with confidence, that even with a beginning (or "beginning") to the universe, and even with a hint that something preceded our universe, it was not necessarily God. As an atheist, my own opinion is that the God hypothesis is untrue. As somebody who has just written all of the above, I am also of the opinion that the KCA is a respectable philosophical argument, but even with William Lane Craig's alterations, it is not an irrefutable argument for the existence of God. Finally, I am of the opinion that a discussion on time, universal origin, and maybe quantum mechanics would be fun, interesting, and helpful in expanded our knowledge, so that perhaps we may make our own speculations and hypotheses on more data that the ESA will make available to the public as projects such as the Plank Telescope provides it to that particular agency.

(1) http://sci.esa.int/s...fobjectid=33333

(2) http://sci.esa.int/s...fobjectid=47365

(3) http://www.guardian....g-bang-universe

(4) http://www.slate.com..._astronomy.html

(5) http://www.preposter...sided-universe/

(6) http://www.math.colu...ordpress/?p=699

(7) Craig, William Lane; Moreland, J. P. (2009). The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology. Oxford: John Wiley and Sons. ISBN 978-1-4051-7657-6.

(8) http://www.cefitzger...historyA-B.html

(9) http://maverickphilo...e-b-theory.html

(10) Hawking, Stephen (1988). A Brief History of Time. Bantam Press. ISBN 978-0-553-17521-9

(11) Stenger, V.J. God: The Failed Hypothesis, Prometheus Books: New York, 2007, p. 124.

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Posted

Great post, Dave. I've linked this before, but it bears repeating.

Beyond Experience: Metaphysical Theories and Philosophical Constraints; Chapter 8: Space and Time

It's a metaphysical tour de force on both space and time, going into great, great depth, by Norman Swartz. And it's pure metaphysics, with no science. It's highly recommended reading on the philosophy of space and time.

Will make fuller posts later on, but this is well worth a read. It is quite long, but quite rewarding.

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Posted (edited)

Buber, we have earlier seen, had tried to imagine an edge of space and a beginning and end to time and found that he was unable to imagine that there could be such things and (unfortunately for him) was unable to imagine that there could not be such things. Recall (from p. 10 above): "A necessity I could not understand swept over me: I had to try again and again to imagine the edge of space, or its edgelessness, time with a beginning and an end or a time without beginning or end, and both were equally impossible, equally hopeless – yet there seemed to be only the choice between the one or the other absurdity" ([37], 135-6).

Therein lies the greatest problem to the scientists, theologians, and philosophers who wish to tackle the problems and theories outlined in my OP: both sides of the dichotomy are inconceivable, and seemingly absurd, yet they appear to be the only possibilities imaginable to many of us.

Of course, just a little afterwards, Swartz does point out that Leibniz argues that space itself does not exist, and a vacuum is impossible;

For instance, Leibniz denied both that spatial relations are 'real' and that a vacuum is a possibility. Both of these claims are, however, peripheral to his main thesis, and I wish only to pursue his main thesis.

To Leibniz, space was only the "spatial relation," IOW, the relation between two objects, and therefore "space" only has meaning in this sense. According to Leibniz, if all objects were to disappear from the universe, space would be a meaningless concept, as its existence depends on the existence of the objects between and around which it "exists," so to speak:

In the absence of physical objects, there are no places. Still less is there a 'physical space' which might be thought to be the conglomeration of all places.

However, I have reservations with this argument, for it suggests that the space between objects is nothing. Not nothing like a vacuum, or the air, but absolutely nothing, nada, nowt, etc. To my naked eye, there is the illusion of nothing between my nose and this screen, but I know this "nothing" is actually millions upon millions of extremely tiny particles. One could say there is a space between my nose and my computer screen, but without these two objects, the atoms in the "space" would still exist. One may say that for it to really count as space, one would have to remove the atoms, but since Leibniz's argument relies on space being the apparent nothingness (which, as has been pointed out, is only a nothingness in so far as we cannot see, hear, smell, taste, or feel anything physical) between two or more objects.

Given also the discovery of dark matter and dark energy discovered by the Planck Telescope, it seems to me that even the parts of the universe beyond our (and, indeed, any) atmosphere is not nothing. Even the vacuum of space itself is not nothing, because quantum mechanics has shown that there exists in a vacuum the laws and criteria with which particles may jump in and out of existence.

It seems, then, that Leibniz's assertion that space is better defined as a spatial relation, and exists only as far as the objects within it exist is false. Even without these objects, space would still exist in the form of loosely scattered atoms, dark matter, and so forth. One could argue that the Leibnizian concept of space would be the "space" between the atoms, etc. but that seems to be altering Leibniz's definitions beyond his intentions.

It will be interesting to read the rest of Swartz's essay, and see how he tackles this problem.

Edited by DaveT

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Posted

The A theory of time is most consistent with presentism, the view that only Now exists. The past used to exist but no longer does; the future will exists but does not yet. However, one can hold to the A theory of time without necessarily being a presentist.

The B theory is most consistent with eternalism, which is that all moments in time actually exist, in the same way that all locations in space exist. One has to be careful in describing this. It is not that all moments in time exist simultaneously. That would be like saying that all locations in space exist in the same place. The other moments in time exist when they exist; the usual method of stating this is that all moments in time, like all places in space, are ontologically on par.

The paper you linked to A and B theory discussed the issue primarily from a semantical point of view, and from the point of view of the nature of Truth: it mainly adheres to a correspondence theory of truth, wherein truth resides in propositions, which are true descriptions of reality.

Empirically, eternalism (broadly, B theory) is much more well supported than than presentism (broadly, A theory.) In fact, some claim eternalism is proven. Here is the proof:

563px-Relativity_of_Simultaneity.svg.png

This is a demonstration of Einstein’s relativity of simultaneity. One must imagine the three colored lines moving upward along the vertical access in constant uniform motion.

Imagining it thus, it is evident that Event B is simultaneous with Event A in the green reference frame, but B occurred before A in the blue reference frame, and will occur later than A in the red reference frame.

We can reconceive this state of affairs as follows: In the blue reference frame, event A lies in the future, and in the red reference frame, it lies in the past. In the green frame, the event is in the present. This means that event A is present for one observer but in the past for another observer and in the future for a third observer. The conclusion seems unavoidable: A exists. It does not “come into” existence, as the A theory, or presentist conception, would have it; it just exists, when it exists. For some people it will be in the past, and for others, in the future.

On this account, then, what we call “now” is not the whole of temporal reality. What we call “now” is a cross section of a much bigger realm, the whole universe: not just the whole universe spatially, but temporally as well. From the B theory of time we can generalizes to 4D Minkowski spacetime: every location in spacetime, called an event, has its own unique coordinates, defined by three dimensions of space and one of time. So B theory now becomes not just a description of space but of space and time, or spacetime.

Of course, all we ever experience is the now, the present; but that’s the same as space as well. All we ever experience is being “here.” The difference between space and time is that with space, we can see that there are other existent “heres”, but since we are not in those locations, we label them “theres.” We can’t see so clearly that there exist other “nows” which, from our vantage point, we label as “later” or “earlier.” But they do exist, on the eternalist account, which is very well supported by the special and general theories of relativity.

More later.

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Posted

Swartz goes on to note:

The neo-Leibnizian theory can equally be characterized as being the 'negative' theory of space. It argues, in effect, that there is nothing more to the concept of space than that places are dependent on the existence of physical objects.2 Take away those objects and there are no 'places'. In imagination annihilate all the matter of the universe. Having done so, in no intelligible sense can you then go on to say: "This is the place where the Andromeda galaxy used to be." Without physical things, there are no places. To say of a world devoid of physical objects that one place might be distinguished from another would be of the same order of nonsense as to say that someone might vacate a room and leave her lap behind. Just as a lap is a spatial feature of one physical object, places are spatial features of two (or more) physical objects. In the absence of physical objects, there are no places. Still less is there a 'physical space' which might be thought to be the conglomeration of all places.

In modern cosmology, the existence of both space AND time is entirely dependent upon the existence of objects and events. If you were able to purge the universe of all matter and energy, there would be neither space nor time. On this account, space and time exist, and have meaning, only insofar as they arise from spatial or temporal relations among existents. If you take away the existents, you take away all spatial and temporal relations, and hence you take away both space and time.

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Posted

Also, of course, Buber and Leibniz had no knowledge of modern cosmology. The universe has three possible shapes, and is either finite but unbounded (no edge) or infinite. In a finite but unbounded (no edge) conception of the universe, a traveler who traveled in a straight line would eventually (after a staggeringly long time!) return to where he started, much like someone circumnavigating the globe. But he would never encounter an "edge" or boundary. If the universe is infinite, he would keep going forever.

Evidence suggests the universe is spatially infinite

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Posted

But isn't what we consider to be space comprised of a lot of this matter? Leibniz seems to be saying the "space" is just nothingness; the empty space between all things, but we know this so-called nothingness isn't empty, as I point out in my previous post.

Furthermore, if we count space as only the bits between dark matter, dark energy, etc. so it does become nothing, and got rid of all that stuff as well, would it be more accurate to say that space, rather than becoming non-existent, has become infinte? It seems to me that, under the Leibnizian theory, if space is literally nothing, why not count that area outside the universe as space?

Also, of course, Buber and Leibniz had no knowledge of modern cosmology.

I did get that impression, and I do suspect Leibniz would have worded his theory differently if he had had such knowledge.

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Posted (edited)

Liebniz is denying the container theory of space, or any attempt to reify space (also known as substantavilism). He is denying a substantavilist concept of space in favor of a relational theory of space. If there is anything at all in the univerese, even a few atoms, then there is a relation between them, a spatiotemporal odering, and this relation is where time and space arise. As Swartz notes later:

In denying, as I have just done in the previous section, that space exists, I did not stop simply with making that denial. What was involved in denying that space exists was the elaboration that what was being challenged was a particular concept of space, a concept which would portray space as being itself something like a spatial object. And it is that particular concept, I argued, which is incoherent and in need of replacement. What was not being challenged, indeed what was being insisted upon, is most of what occurs in the ordinary concept, e.g. that there are physical objects, that they are strewn about the universe in different places at varying, and indeed measurable, distances, and that physics can tell us a very great deal about how material objects can interact gravitationally and can tell us the geometry of the path of radiation in the vicinity of massive bodies. In denying that space exists, not only was none of this latter denied, it was positively insisted upon. The claim that space does not exist is my (and several other philosophers') way of calling attention to the fact that space conceived after the fashion of a quasi-physical object is an untenable notion.
Edited by davidm

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Ah, so he is challenging a concept of space, rather than space per se. I was going to talk about that, but had to step AFK for a bit, and didn't get the chance.

If you're curious, I was just going to say something like, "I'm getting the impression that Leibniz was denying a particular concept of space, and there are other concepts, or ideas, of space that hold true even if one accepts Leibniz's theory."

BTW, get in chat.

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Posted (edited)

Yes, when Liebniz and Swartz deny that space exists, they are denying its reification or substantavilism. It exists only in the sense of being a relation among objects, as time too is a relation among objects. Swartz later compares:

"There is nothing troubling me today" ought not, I suggest, be thought to be saying that I am being troubled and what is doing that troubling is Nothing.

The substantavilist or reification account of spacetime, he is suggesting, errs analogously as above, by wrongly interpreting sentence one to mean sentence 2.

It should be noted that the debate on spacetime has gotten much more complex since the time Swartz wrote this; basically he is describing the substantavilism v. relationalism debate over space, and, like Leibniz, supporting the latter account. Now science philosphy has moved on to much more complex debates like metric vs. manifold substantavilsm, for instance.

Edited by davidm

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Posted (edited)

I understand Leibniz's philosophy to be more radical than Leibniz himself every realized.

While he did maintain that space (and time) weren't objects or things, but mere relations, for they were "well founded phenomena," this would not mean that phenomenology was the "appearing" of phenomena or the "consciousness of phenomena," but instead, that both space & time are ontological categories.

Edited by The Heretic

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Leibniz's philosophy entails an analogy of the phenomenological reality that is a fold, or pleat of matter: a reality that is continuously & dynamically changing. This conception or analogous concept avoids the paradoxes or contradictions or inherent problems of the following theories:

  • Atomism & the void with its problems of cohesion and change
  • Cartesian geometrical extension with its dissolution to points that can neither cohere nor move spontaneously
  • Aristotle's distinction of successive contiguous-continuous (Leibniz offers a dynamic model that makes continuous motion possible)
  • Euclidean geometry of point/line/solid (it's riddled with paradox of mathematical divisibility and actual divisibility of the continuum)

Thus the universe is a fold within a fold. It is a pleat that is singular from moment to moment. Besides being a purely formal device, the spatial metaphor of the fold also contains the possibility of a radical critique of the ontological category of space (and time):

  • site as topos
  • space as empty void
  • boundary as fixed identity
  • limit as end of territorial desire

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There's a brief lecture (in written form) here on space curvature that I think is relevant, particularly to part 8.3 of Swartz's chapter on space and time.

http://www.astronomy.ohio-state.edu/~ryden/ast162_9/notes40.html

Note that both the Swartz chapter, and the lecture provide arguments to suggest that the universe is infinite.

The part in Swartz in which he relates to the human mind's inability to conceive of the curvature of space when space doesn't exist is one I find interesting. The difficulty with cosmology, and universal origin, is that there are possibilities and realities that are beyond human comprehension. The idea of infinite "space" or time seems bizarre to us, as do the ideas of both infinite and finite time, yet what other possibilities are there?

The difficulty in discovering the edge of space and time, and what lies beyond, or of even discovering if there even is an edge to space and/or time is that when the answers are found, most of us won't understand them. Indeed, they will seem absolutely ludicrous, but then try to imagine a more plausible explanation.

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I'd suggest that the idea of "curved space" is not that hard to understand.

Again, it is important to realize that when Swartz argues that space "does not exist," he is arguing against a certain concept of space, in which space is reified as some kind of substantial, real thing, rather than merely a relation among real, existent things.

If space is a relationship among and between objects, and not some "thing" that is substantial (substanativalism), then we can ask: what is the shortest possible distance between two existent objects?

The Euclidean answer is a straight line. Einstein's answer is a curve.

These curving paths are described by gravity. It's why the moon circles the earth.

It's not that there is some "substance of space" that is physically curved. It's just that objects follow curved trajectories and that's it.

As to the "edge" of space or time, again, there is no edge. Topologically "space" on the cosmic scale is finite but unbounded, saddle-shaped (negatively curved, like a saddle), and infinite, or "flat" (infinite and not curved at all on cosmic scales, but curved locally).

This does not mean there is any "thing" that is finite but unbounded, or saddle-shaped, or cosmically flat. It just means that if objects were flung through space, they would follow one of three paths, those described above. The evidence is that the universe is flat and therefore spatially infinite.

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I gathered that. My point was the a lot of people will try to imagine space as a physical thing that is actually curved, like the outer edge of a circle or a sphere, if/when they are told space is curved.

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Such people should be hit. :bonk::slap::smack:

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Reading 8.5 of Swartz's chapter linked by davidm, and so far I'm finding it fascinating.

There is something that seems rather odd to me. It's interesting how modern monotheists like to subscribe to the Kalam Cosmological Argument, which depends on the A-series of time being true, and yet they also don't believe the universe can have come from nothing (which has been argued in the KCA and the Aquinas CS), because it's finite, and therefore must have had a cause; yet, according to Augustine (and, therefore, the A theory), "[Time] can only be coming from the future, passing through the present, and going into the past. In other words, it is coming out of what does not yet exist, passing through what has no duration, and moving into what no longer exists"

So, these theists who subscribe to the KCA believe it's illogical that the universe, or indeed anything with a beginning, can have come from nothing, yet they, by necessity, subscribe to a philosophical theory that dictates that time itself is finite (indeed, much more finite than the universe, since it exists only for the present), and that this finite time comes from nowhere.

Is time, to them, similar to God in the Aquinas model, in that it holds properties so that the argument does not apply to it? * Is time (according to proponents of the KCA) the Kalamic equivalent of a necessary force/being/entity? What are the properties of time in the A-theory that allow it to exist finitely, and also come from nothing? Does the KCA rely not only on the A-series being true, but also on time itself being necessary, though ever finite, flowing constantly in and out of existence in less than the blink of an eye?

* In Aquinas argument, nothing comes from nothing, so everything that exists has a cause, the universe exists, ergo it has a cause; however, God is exempt from this argument, because he is a necessary being/entity/force, so therefore can and must exist uncreated.

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I believe Aquinas felt that the Cosmological Argument went through even if the universe were infinitely old. In that case, God would not be necessary to start the universe, but to uphold it at all times.

If the universe is finitely old (a big if) and under the relational theory of time, where time like space is not a "thing" but a simply a relation among existent things, then there was no time before time 1 just like there was no space because there were no things to make time and space relational to them. IOW, both time and space began with the Big Bang, if the Bang is a true "first event" and to ask what happened before time began is like asking what lies north of the North Pole.

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I believe Aquinas felt that the Cosmological Argument went through even if the universe were infinitely old. In that case, God would not be necessary to start the universe, but to uphold it at all times.

But he did argue that God is a necessary being in the third part of his argument.

P1) Contingent beings are caused.

P2) Not every being can be contingent.

P3) There must exist a being which is necessary to cause contingent beings.

C) This necessary being is God.

Also, in the first part of the argument, Aquinas gives his own reason as to why something (which he decides is God) was necessary to start the universe:

P1) Nothing can move itself.

P2) If every object in motion had a mover, then the first object in motion needed a mover.

P3) Movement cannot go on for infinity.

C) This first mover is the Unmoved Mover, called God.

In Aquinas' second argument, he puts forth a case for God as the primary cause of the universe:

P1) There exists things that are caused (created) by other things.

P2) Nothing can be the cause of itself (nothing can create itself.)

P3) There cannot be an endless string of objects causing other objects to exist.

C) Therefore, there must be an uncaused first cause called God.

Given that there are two more parts to the ACA, namely the argument that God must exist as a perfect standard by which all qualities of goodness are measured, and the argument from intelligent design, how then does it follow that the ACA stands even with the universe being infinitely old, and God not being a necessary being?

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Well, I'll have to go back and read the relevant stuff, but I think the argument is that because the universe is contingent, then even if it is infinitely old, it must still have a necessary "cause" though in the case of infinity it would be a necessary "upholder," which is a necessary being, viz., God.

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I think there's stuff in the Aristotelian Cosmological Argument relating to movement (and the prime mover) that allows for a primary mover within an infinite universe, but I wonder if by pursuing this subject so far, we're moving further away from the more relevant subjects of space and time.

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A lot of these mover/prime mover arguments, or cause and effect arguments, are rendered obsolete by modern physics. QM shows particles can pop into existence out of nothing (without, as it happens, violating the conservation laws) and a self-caused or uncaused universe is perfectly plausible under current science. Also, the eternal inflation theory of the Big Bang suggests that the Bang was not a unique event, that such events are happening all the time and that new space-times are inflating off into their existences separate from our own, and that this process has been going on forever.

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Remember that this part of the discussion commenced due to a personal objection to the Kalam Cosmological Argument, and it is therefore unlikely that I consider either the earlier variations of the argument by Aquinas and Aristotle as likely to be true. :deal:

My last few posts do not exist as a means for me to argue that there must have been a first cause, that everything finite must be caused, or anything of the sort, but as a means for me to understand how proponents of the KCA get around the following:

1) The KCA dictates that everything that began to exist must have a cause to its existence.

2) The KCA is rendered unnecessary by the B-theory of time, therefore the A-theory is more likely to be true.

3) Augustine (who is associated with conceiving of the A-series) claimed that the three parts of time, viz. past, present, and future, are all finite, and all come from nothing. IOW, they begin to exist without cause.

4) This appears to contradict the notion that everything that begins to exist must have a cause to its existence.

One could argue that this makes time nothing more than psychological, like a dream or a figment of the imagination, but Swartz, in 8.5 of that chapter you linked gives good reasons for why this is not the case.

I should point out that I hold neither the A-series, nor the KCA (or either of the other two cosmological arguments mentioned in this thread) to be without fatal flaw. My attempting to find support for them, and counter-objections to the objections against the arguments/paradigms, is merely to enhance my own understanding of these arguments, and, ultimately of related ideas (such as those supporting and opposing the A-series and the cosmological arguments, such as other theories of time, some aspects of QM, etc.)

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:offtopic:

Also, the eternal inflation theory of the Big Bang suggests that the Bang was not a unique event, that such events are happening all the time and that new space-times are inflating off into their existences separate from our own, and that this process has been going on forever.

Something like this happens in the fantastic anime Akira. Makes me wonder how much we see that is sci-fi and considered by the general audience to be impossible is, at least partially, possible. It also makes me think I need to watch the movie again, or read the manga.

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It's a nice point about the A theory of time and the present somehow "coming into existence." How does it do that? What causes the non-existent future to become the present? What causes the present to become the past and hence, go out of existence? Augustine had no answers to these questions and admitted he was confused by the whole thing.

He was confused because the notion of passing time is not tenable. How could it "pass"? Or are we "passing" through it? How fast is time? One second per second? That is an empty statement, like declaring that one travels one mile per mile.

The B theory of time renders a First Event or First Cause superfluous even if time is finite. This is because T1 would be merely in an "earlier than" relation to all other future events, but this does not mean the universe came into existence, because under the B (eternalist) conception time does not pass and things do not "become" through the passage of time. T1 merely IS. It is, when it is, just like all other spatiotemporal points. So on the eternalist account, whether or not the universe is temporally finite or infinite, the notion of creation is superfluous.

Edited by davidm

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