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My conclusion (so far) on the suggested infinite past, beginningless physical world: not plausible, likely not possible, here’s why

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One of the more astonishing points of debate that has come out at UD is that at least some defenders of the evolutionary materialistic view are prepared to argue for or assume as default that we have had a beginningless past for the physical world.  This has come up several times in recent years and was again discussed last week.

I will share my take-away conclusion so far.

But first, why are such willing to put up such a spectacularly untestable, unobservable claim?

Because, we first know that non-being has no causal powers so if there were ever utter nothing, such would forever obtain. That a world manifestly is implies that SOMETHING always was. The question is what, given that our observed cosmos is a temporal-causal entity and credibly began at the singularity, perhaps 13.85 BYA:

The Big Bang timeline — a world with a beginning

 

That cannot be a beginning from nothing, so the issue is, what went on before?

Thus, a causal form of the Agrippa trilemma. Circular cause at the world-root would imply the non-existent future stage causing its antecedent past, absurd. There is an objection from such quarters to the concept of a finitely remote beginning, rooted in a necessary being as what always was. So, some are left to defend the claim that an infinite onward past is coherent, feasible and perhaps plausible. And, in that defence, the claim is made, no there are no past stages of the world that are actually transfinitely remote, just that there is an endless onward succession of prior states [each finitely remote] so that overall for any given past stage p or r, there are further states beyond it no matter how large the stage-count from now to p or r is.

Such an argument makes reference to this definition of infinity, from Merriam-Webster, discussed at 68 in last week’s thread:

>>Merriam-Webster:

Definition of infinite

1 : extending indefinitely : endless

infinite space

2 : immeasurably or inconceivably great or extensive : inexhaustible

infinite patience

3 : subject to no limitation or external determination

4 a : extending beyond, lying beyond, or being greater than any preassigned finite value however large

infinite number of positive numbers

b : extending to infinity

infinite plane surface

c : characterized by an infinite number of elements or terms

an infinite set

an infinite series

[KF:] It seems the key point of meaningfulness is in a blend of 1, 2 and 4a:

1 : extending indefinitely : endless . . . . 2 : immeasurably or inconceivably great or extensive : inexhaustible . . . . 4 a : extending beyond, lying beyond, or being greater than any preassigned finite value however large

[KF:] Notice, the key operative terms: “endless . . . . inexhaustible . . . . extending beyond, lying beyond, or being greater than any preassigned finite value however large.”>>

I have responded, and here is my conclusion at the moment:

KF, 98 :>>Perhaps, it is time to draw up some conclusions, and make statements of appreciation.

First, deep appreciation must be extended to DS, JDK and other interlocutors. DS has been particularly helpful over two years, indeed it is he who drew my attention to the surreals as a means of seeing the grand picture of numbers great and small. Despite disagreements and divergence of views, that has been important.

Now, what of the state on the merits? Of what significance is all of this stuff on abstruse topics linked to numbers?

Perhaps, we can start with an extended form of the definition of Mathematics I was taught in M100 by a famous prof: mathematics is [the study of] the logic of structure and quantity.

So, if we are to properly, truthfully understand the world, we should study that logic, the issues of structure and the nature of quantities involved with “numbers great and small.” The surreals are important, and the hyperreals (thus also, infinitesimals).

That search for truthful, adequate understanding has been my main motive, a motive that I recommend to one and all.

Closely linked is the educational issue: how can we bring more and more to a better understanding of these things? (Let me disclose that a bit less than two years ago I was a guest on a local radio show on education matters, and these general issues were focal. I found it particularly interesting to see the public’s reaction to my tying-in music with Mathematics and Physics. That may be a hint on reaching out to people where they are.)

Next, I find that the concept of the hyperreals is truly significant. Especially, by way of the thought-exercise of allowing a point of interest to follow the locus of sinking from 1 towards 0 along the open continuum- interval (0,1] and taking the reciprocal, 1/x.

This generates the line of the reals beyond 1 as a continuum also. Along that line we see 1/1, 1/2, 1/3 etc generating the marker-points that come up from von Neumann-style succession or successive addition by 1’s. Let’s use von Neumann as his approach shows how abstract and powerful numbers are in light of (i/l/o) set concepts. To do so, start with the empty set and denote what are called order types, extending to omega, which for convenience we can represent as w:

{} –> 0
{0} –> 1
{0,1} –> 2
{0,1,2} –> 3
. . .
{0,1,2,3 . . . } –> w

We see here how the set that collects nothing has cardinality (“size”) zero, and let that define our start point for quantity. Zero is an entity with distinct identity. It is something by contrast with nothing — and yes the triple first principles of right reason are embedded here: world = {A|~A} where A is itself i/l/o core characteristics that mark its distinct identity and ~A is another entity distinct from A, the rest of the world and what is in it. So too we may see the corollaries, LNC and LOI: no x in World is A AND ~A, any x in World will be A X-OR ~A, in one or the other, not both, not “nowhere.”

But this already gives us one, and two.

Further distinct identities follow in a chain, 3, 4, etc. The three-dot ellipsis — how I wish it were standard to use four dots for limitless extension — then indicates an endless ordered succession. This is complementary to

1 + 1 + 1 + . . .

We then find that we have countable numbers in endless succession, that endlessness allowing us to recognise a new type of quantity, the order type of the natural counting numbers, omega [here, w].

The set of the naturals is deemed infinite, by way of that ongoing endlessness of succession. In this context, w is the first transfinite ordinal number; denoting the order-type of the naturals.

Back to the 1/x on the continuous, open interval (0,1]. And by multiplying through by -1, we have the negative number line.

Here, we can see the filling-in between the naturals [and integers], which decimal representation allows us to complete by using ever finer decimal fractions without limit. This, we also see in the inner branches of the surreals diagram. The line of the reals is the continuum towards w. The idea of the surreals is to squeeze in on specific values from above and below like the closing jaws of a vice.

Now, we know that 1/x, x = 0 is forbidden, as there are all sorts of resulting problems. However, on the brink of 0, very interesting things happen. Let e be such that e^2 ~ 0, a yardstick infinitesimal. Where [2e]^2 ~ 4 x 0 = 0. Now we hold by selection of the “appropriate” value of e:

1/e = w/1

so, too

1/2e = 1/2 x 1/e = w/2

We unify, and extend the number line to the hyperreals. This goes beyond the somewhat unsatisfactory picture given by whole number succession, that w is the order type of the naturals.

Of course, the point is that (0,1] is a continuum, so the numbers line is here unified for the very small and the very large. With, the span beyond w also a continuum as we can keep sliding in in the all but zero range without actually hitting 0.

And we now use the property that e is not a FIRST infinitesimal but a YARDSTICK one to see that the range of numbers naturally assigns to something like w/2 and the like. As a consequence we can make sense of the idea that infinitesimals are smaller than any real, and hyperreals are larger than any real. That is, the ellipsis marks that veiled grey zone in which finite results yield to infinitesimals on the brink of 0, that are tied by the catapult hyperbolic function 1/x to hyperreals beyond any finite real. Where, of course, the natural counting numbers are the whole number mileposts along the way.

We have built up a significant set of concepts which allow us to better address structures and quantities.

Let me add that if we look at planar space and locate the numbers line as the o-x axis, we may then suggest an anticlockwise, right angle rotating operator i such that i*x gives us a perpendicular axis. Apply i twice:

i*i*x = – x

We just defined i as the square root of -1. We also define a quantification of planar space, where the orthogonal [= perpendicular] o-y axis is the i*x axis. This actually gives us a way to define a new class of numbers, complex numbers:

z = a + i*b

Complex plane poles and zeros drive system response, linking mathematical concepts to empirically evident reality

By watching our i’s carefully, we now have a way to handle quantities with both magnitude and direction, algebraically. Complex numbers are one algebraic way to handle vectors, with powerful results all over mathematics. And, we may extend to three-axis vectors using the ijk unit vectors scheme. (And BTW, that is one reason Physicists use j for the sqrt – 1, it helps further unify.)

Infinitesimals, of course are one gateway to calculus. In effect every real number is surrounded by a cloud of neighbouring infinitesimals. This gives a fairly straightforward interpretation to many Calculus operations. The C19 delta-epsilon, limits based approach came up to handle issues triggered by naive use of infinitesimals. Just as, naive set theory has had to be refined. In pure Mathematics, much effort has to be put in in working around truly pathological cases.

I think this picture is a useful exercise for its own sake.

It also helps us to clarify what is at stake in discussing what it means to claim that the [quasi-]physical cosmos has had a beginningless, thus infinite, past. That is, the logic of structure and quantity includes the bridge between the finite and the transfinite, which then applies to the question of a world or a world-root that was always there. The logic of being applied to the being and origin of the physical cosmos, is not without reference to the logic of structure and quantity.

Truth is unified, coherent, as all truths must hold together in a world, and if truth A is the denial of truth B that would not obtain.

Now, the source of our world cannot be utter non-being, as such hath not causal powers. Were there ever utter nothing, such would forever obtain. That a world in which we exist as self-aware, conscious en-conscienced, thinking and understanding creatures self-evidently exists as a going concern, SOMETHING always was. The debate in cosmology is the nature of that world-source.

Further to this, the world is spatial and temporal. Moving beyond Zeno’s paradoxes, we can consider the going-concern world as a structured set succession of finite-duration stages — years, for convenience — down to now, S:

S = { . . . –> p –> p+1 . . . –> 0}

Now is ever moving on from one stage to the next, there is a cumulative, causal-temporal order to the physical world.

Now, our observed world is generally held to have come from a “singularity” some 13.85 BYA, the big bang. A finitely remote origin. But, whence the “bang”? Not from utter non-being. Down that road lies a great discussion populated with fluctuating quantum foams, oscillating worlds, budding sub-cosmi, multiverses, strings and branes etc.

However, we may look from a different angle, Agrippa’s trilemma in causal form on going concern world-source:

[a] finitely remote cause by a necessary being world-root,

[b] infinite causal regress of a beginningless [quasi-]physical wider cosmos,

[c] self-causation in a circle at the root.

We can address c first. If there is circular cause, the non-existent future reaches back to cause its past. This boils down to appeal to cause from non-being. Ruled out.

Option a would work, but is often deprecated as appeal to the unobserved, god of gaps, violation of Occam’s razor, etc. However, the issue is, there is of necessity a root that was always there, we do not pull a world out of a non-existent hat.

As for necessary being, the von Neumann chain and the linked logic show that distinct identity thus two-ness [and beyond the panoply of numbers] will always be there. It is possible, as actual. It is there in any possible world, not least because such a possible world holds its own distinct identity. It never began, it cannot cease from being, it is independent of external enabling causal factors. Necessary being, though strange to our thoughts perhaps, is real.

Option c is favoured by many and has been the occasion for several exchanges along lines much as above.

The pivotal issue, of course, is what lurks in that grey area indicated by the ellipsis. The answer is, the bridge to the transfinite.

So, if we consider the proposed beginningless causal-temporal world, we find the idea that first, the past is actual. That is, any past stage R was once the present, a duration – R_t from now, where now is regarded as 0 for convenience and past times are negative:

Duration since R:

D(R) = 0 – R_t = – R_t

The beginningless past claim, then, is that for any specific R, and for any specific n in the naturals (N), there will be actual onward past times that are before R, beyond any specific n. That is, limitless in the past beyond R.

Such is a strong claim indeed.

Does it imply that there are past times that are remote of order w?

I have symbolised that situation as in effect S:

{ . . . q –> q+1 –> . . . p-1 –> p –> p+1 . . . 2, 1, 0}

where the first and second ellipses are transfinite in span.

This expansion of the ellipsis beyond p has been denied:

{ . . . q –> q+1 –> . . . p-1 –> p –> p+1 . . . 2, 1, 0}

In particular, it has been held that all specific vales leftwards [L-wards, contrast R-wards] of p are also finite but extend without limit.

Part of the reason, doubtless, is that a stepwise finite stage cumulative process cannot traverse a transfinite span. For, if it attains any stage k, we can treat k as if it were the beginning again, k, k+1, k+2 etc and 1:1 match process from the original point regarded as 0. That is part of how we understand the process to be transfinite, beyond limit. And with that stricture, no stepwise process will span an actual infinite traverse, So, it is held, there is no actually transfinitely remote actual past point. The infinity lies in the beginninglessness, beyond limits nature of the succession. Where all is neatly coherent, it is not impossible and cannot be dismissed; implying, adequate and sufficiently satisfactory explanation.

Another claim was that q smuggles in a beginning. Obviously, no, it too is preceded by a L-ward ellipsis.

So, is that where we must stand? I don’t think so.

The problem lurks in the grey area, we are obviously embarked in the zone where the finite transitions to the transfinite. Where, the implicit pivot of the argument is non-traversal of the transfinite. But, a successive stepwise process that extends L-wards beyond any n in N is clearly of transfinite character. Just what is it that lies “beyond any n in N” other than the transfinite? But if we focus on finitude of specific numbers R or n, we may miss that character.

So, it seems that whether or not one will accept that there is an implied actual past time of character q, one implies successive, stepwise traversal of a transfinite span.

Where, such a stepwise process does not have that power. That is a point by W L Craig, too, as summarised by SEP (it is not just an idiosyncratic, readily dismissed notion):

5 An actual infinite cannot exist.

[He has many reasons for that, which are often hotly contended but on the whole I think he has a serious point . . . at minimum he has shown that modern atheism effectively is reduced to a highly contentious assumption about the past, which is very different from its boast that it can be seen as a default for the intelligent person]

6 A beginningless temporal series of events is an actual infinite.

[Note this]

7 Therefore, a beginningless temporal series of events cannot exist.

Since (7) follows validly, if (5) and (6) are true the argument is sound . . . .

>> 6.3 Successive Addition Cannot Form an Actual Infinite

Craig’s second argument addresses this very point.

8 The temporal series of events is a collection formed by successive addition.

9 A collection formed by successive synthesis is not an actual infinite.

10 Therefore, the temporal series of events cannot be an actual infinite (Craig 1979: 103).

The collection of historical events is formed by successively adding events, one following another. The events are not temporally simultaneous but occur over a period of time as the series continues to acquire new members. Even if an actual infinite were possible, it could not be realized by successive addition; in adding to the series, no matter how much this is done, even to infinity, the series remains finite and only potentially infinite. One can neither count to nor traverse the infinite [–> in such a stepwise fashion] (Craig and Sinclair 2009: 118).

It might be objected that this sounds very much like Zeno’s paradoxes that prohibit Achilles or anyone from either beginning to cross an area or succeeding in doing so. But, notes Craig, significant disanalogies disallow this conclusion. For one, Zeno’s argument rests on progressively-narrowing, unequal distances that sum to a finite distance, whereas in traversing the past the equal distances continue to the infinity of the future.

[–> relative to the distant past in view. This is also the context in which I have consistently spoken of finite stage causally successive stages]

Second, Zeno’s distances are potential because of divisibility, whereas the distances from the past are actual distances or times to be traversed.

Beyond, lurks time’s arrow; entropy. Part of the driving-force of causal-temporal succession is that there are rich concentrations of energy that support processes of change. But that means the sources are gradually degraded and as they are finite, we look at what has been called heat death. Such is a condition where the degradation of energy has attained a point where the energy sources — stars are especially in view — have been used up.

That we are not in this degrades state implies, then, a finite date; at least i/l/o understanding the cosmos as a whole as an isolated system. Of course, it was suggested above, that perhaps there is an external non-physical source able to sustain the world “forever” through adding fresh energy. This is in effect continuous creation by an entity that would recognisably be God.

And that is a shocker for confident evolutionary materialism advocates.

Is there a physically beginningless world coeval with God who sustains it from without?

To such a model, we can note that one may speculate as one pleases, the evidence we can observe prunes speculations by highlighting evidence of a beginning rooted in back-projection of an expanding world with background microwave energy consistent with the about 14 BY origin. Likewise, we would expect to see a huge number of degraded stars, including cooled down white dwarfs. These are not seen with any numbers to support a beginningless world working much as what we observe.

In all of this light, the best explanation on the table is finitely remote origin of our world, tracing to a necessary being world-root.

Beyond, we may discuss implications of such a world having in it conscious, minded creatures able to seek out explanations of an intelligible world, who find ourselves under moral government.

Such is an onward exercise and the road to it lies through the AI issue, including the further exploration of memristors.

DV, another day.>>

Okay, that’s where I think things are just now. Thoughts? END

115 Replies to “My conclusion (so far) on the suggested infinite past, beginningless physical world: not plausible, likely not possible, here’s why

  1. 1
    kairosfocus says:

    My conclusion (so far) on the suggested infinite past, beginningless physical world: not plausible, likely not possible, here’s why

  2. 2

    Another excellent post. Long live UD!!

  3. 3
    ppolish says:

    Seems an infinite past has an endpoint – the present. Does an infinite future have an endpoint too?

    If I were waiting for a bus, I’d rather be waiting in an infinite past – at least I know the bus will come eventually. Otherwise I’d be waiting forever,

  4. 4
    LocalMinimum says:

    Being a lowly wrench, I would consider how I could apply torque to this.

    Lets say our time, which we perceive in cycles of various physical interactions, touched on one side an infinite time span. As KF stated, we’d have to observe an infinite sequence of whatever cycle we’re using to see it from one side to the other, which never happens.

    So, lets make it a little more topologically complex. Lets make it so we can stand to the side of this infinite period, fit it within the width of a picture frame, and stare into it. Of course, viewing it from one angle, my eyes have a limited resolution, so I can only view a finite subsequence. Any viewing equipment, of course, could only provide larger finite subsequences.

    If I were to put a dial on it; a true infinitesimally analog knob; I’d still have limits on the resolution I could manually deflect it. Using a digital interface, I can’t figure how I’d enter the irrational numbers that make up almost all of the Reals on any subinterval (of length > 0).

    So, I’m stuck with this infinite age on my wall, with nothing more to do with it than show it to guests and either remember where I got it from or make up a good story.

    Of course, there’s also the possibility that we simply inflict the infinitesimals and infinities on the universe; perhaps lightspeed defines a max velocity, Planck length defines a spatial resolution, and Planck-time defines a timestep; that Calculus as it’s classically formulated was a clever trick for achieving resolution scale independence; and, as a fellow put it on Stack Overflow: “God uses 128 bit variables.”

    So, I’d be inclined to agree.

  5. 5
    asauber says:

    No matter how you slice it, infinity is never more than a mental exercise.

    Infinity can’t be detected, perceived, or conceptualized.

    In mathematics. it is just a away of IMAGINING a symbolic context.

    In any case, it ain’t science.

    Andrew

  6. 6
    jdk says:

    I don’t think anyone here has suggested that the physical universe doesn’t have a beginning: can you provide a source for your comment that “that at least some defenders of the evolutionary materialistic view are prepared to argue for or assume as default that we have had a beginningless past for the physical world.”?

    All the arguments I’ve seen have been about a more abstract and speculative notion of time: one that extends beyond that which is embedded in our physical universe.

  7. 7
    jdk says:

    to asauber @5: the concept of infinity is absolutely essential to and embedded in many fundamental concepts without which modern science would not exist, such as calculus in general; the transcendental numbers pi and e; trig, exponential, and other functions based on infinite series, etc.

    All of these (and other subjects not necessarily based on infinity, such as complex numbers) are “mental exercises” that can’t be directly detected, perceived or conceptualized”.

    To dismiss infinity, and all these related concepts, as “not science” is to not understand the role of mathematics in underlying our scientific understanding of the world.

  8. 8
    asauber says:

    jdk,

    I’m not dismissing infinity entirely.

    I am dismissing it as useful to anything but a mental gymnastics routine.

    You seem to think that it has value, and maybe it does, but I note it’s value to you is strictly mathematical. Pardon my French, but that’s all mental exercising.

    Discussing infinity in a theological context is where the good stuff is, IMO.

    Andrew

  9. 9
    jdk says:

    Without the notion of infinity, the modern mathematics upon which science depends would not exist. You are wrong to dismiss it as merely “mental exercising” unless you think modern science is just mental exercising also.

    Question added in edit: asuaber, are you familiar with calculus, trig, exponentials, etc. and the way they underlie modern physics. What is your background in this topic?

  10. 10
    asauber says:

    the modern mathematics upon which science depends

    jdk,

    Care to give me a few examples?

    I suspect there is a lot of science that does not depend on infinity.

    Andrew

  11. 11
    kairosfocus says:

    JDK, maybe you were unaware that until the cosmological background radiation knocked it off its perch, the steady state universe view was king. That’s back in the 60’s on. I forget, back in the ’90’s, Hoyle was trying to bring it back in a modified form. Then, there was an oscillating universe model which ran into thermodynamics problems. There is the budding universe model. There is the quantum fluctuation model, and there is the Brane-string based model. I likely have left off some ideas. And BTW, I often speak of world — in the sense of domain of actuality or potential actuality — and refer to the quasi-physical, i.e. wider than the observed cosmos. KF

  12. 12
    kairosfocus says:

    AS, the transfinite is indeed deeply embedded in mathematics, starting with the implication that any given specific natural counting number k has onward successors k+1, K+2 etc. The etc. implies endlessness. When we have irrational numbers such as pi, their decimal fraction, strictly, is endless and non-repeating. The limit concept is endless. And more. Infinitesimals were suspect until the 40’s – 60’s. I suggest the energy-time Einstein form of uncertainty probably gives a floor to times worth speaking about. And so forth. KF

  13. 13
    asauber says:

    natural counting number k has onward successors k+1, K+2 etc

    Thanks KF,

    This too, is strictly a mental exercise. I can keep counting in my head. So whats the point?

    Andrew

  14. 14
    kairosfocus says:

    AS, that the naturals are endless. From this, the reals are endless. Further by using the order-type approach plus von Neumann’s construction, we have that such countable endlessness is its own identifiable, distinct quantity typically termed omega [let’s use w], of cardinality aleph-null. Where, the naturals are rooted in distinct identity, as in {0,1} –> 2, i.e. 0 is a distinct concept, 1 is also and so 2, thence N. Blend in that Mathematics studies/ substantially is the logic of structure and quantity. Inter alia, every possible world embeds these as framework properties. Recognise that 1/x, x in (0,1] allows the close to zero to be such that we fill out the reals and transcend them into the hyperreals in a unified way, with some value e near zero so e^2 ~ 0, and 1/e = w, a yardstick hyperreal, cf. OP. Also, the cardinality of the continuum c exceeds that of the reals, as can be shown. We may apprehend these and many linked abstract — non-concrete — concepts, logically framed quantitative and structural relationships through thought, but they are also framework realities for the world. Thus, they express the order of reality in a powerful, universal language, Mathematics. Hence, Wigner’s amazement over the effectiveness of Mathematics in the physical sciences. In simplest terms, || + ||| –> ||||| in any possible world, an extremely powerful result. And much more. Some would suggest, this domain is one area where we have the privilege of thinking God’s thoughts after him. KF

  15. 15
    jdk says:

    to kf at 11: I was thinking of ideas discussing here, as opposed to theoretical (and highly speculative) ideas to be found in the literature. Also, it’s good for you to point out that you speak “of world — in the sense of domain of actuality or potential actuality — and refer to the quasi-physical, i.e. wider than the observed cosmos.” It is this larger sense of time that I have understood you and others to be discussing, as opposed to the time since the Big Bang.

  16. 16
    jdk says:

    asuaber, I am puzzled by your position. When I use mathematics that involves pi and trig functions, for instance, to calculate a particular flow of current in an electrical circuit, I am doing a mental exercise, although I use symbols so I can write down a representation of that exercise since it’s pretty complicated.

    However, the circuit is physical, and it behaves reasonably accurately in respect to my calculations.

    The science depends on the math. Without the theory that incorporates math (some of which is dependent on infinity), I could not make the circuit.

    So do you dismiss math as “merely” mental exercise, or do you accept is as critical to science?

  17. 17
    kairosfocus says:

    JDK, Those ideas were or are deeply embedded in physical cosmology; which patently has more of a philosophical character than most branches of the sciences. 20-odd years ago, if I had taken that option up, some of those ideas would have been part of an A Level Physics course I taught. (I highlighted medical physics instead of this or physics of music.) As for exchanges here, the OP is broader than that; as should be apparent from how it is framed. KF

  18. 18
    asauber says:

    Quick Google Search:

    “Not only do we lack evidence for the infinite but we don’t need the infinite to do physics.”

    http://blogs.discovermagazine......pafnHxG2Uk

    Andrew

  19. 19
    bornagain77 says:

    asauber, I really don’t think quoting the atheist Max Tegmark on infinity is helping your case any. His main grievance with ‘unconstrained’ infinity is that it falsifies inflation.

    Physics is all about predicting the future from the past, but inflation seems to sabotage this. When we try to predict the probability that something particular will happen, inflation always gives the same useless answer: infinity divided by infinity. The problem is that whatever experiment you make, inflation predicts there will be infinitely many copies of you, far away in our infinite space, obtaining each physically possible outcome; and despite years of teeth-grinding in the cosmology community, no consensus has emerged on how to extract sensible answers from these infinities. So, strictly speaking, we physicists can no longer predict anything at all!
    http://blogs.discovermagazine......pafnHxG2Uk

    Indeed, ‘unconstrained’ infinity, which is exactly the type infinity that Atheists are forced to deal with since they have rejected the infinitude of God as being the source of all things, rears its ugly head over and over again to falsify all the various multiverse, parallel universe, scenarios that Atheists have put forth in their attempts to avoid God.

    In fact, a large part of the following video looks specifically at Max Tegmark’s paper “Parallel Universes by Max Tegmark – 2003”, and finds that ‘unconstrained’ infinity jumps up time and again and frustrates each attempted multiverse scenario that he puts forth.

    Multiverse Mania vs Reality – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQJV4fH6kMo
    Paper:
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1K1zhcd3ElF-3G_DYlMYBR4qaZrvU09lg0MqmhvN2Sw8/edit

    As to inflation in particular, Theists should not be surprised that Atheists would be thwarted in their attempts to explain the initial inflation of the universe as well thwarted in their attempts to explain the subsequent (1 in 10^120) expansion of the universe.

    The following site list several verses that speak of God ‘stretching out the heavens’

    Bible References to God Stretching Out the Heavens
    http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.g.....retch.html

    The following verse is my favorite verse out of the group of verses since, besides speaking of God ‘stretching out the heavens’, it also seems to tie heavily into Christ’s miracle of walking on water:

    Job 9:8
    He alone stretches out the heavens and treads on the waves of the sea.

    Of related interest to mathematics and infinity, Trying to understand infinity as it relates to mathematics played a large, even crucial, role in Godel’s successful elucidation of the incompleteness theorem.

    Gödel, Infinity, and Jesus Christ as the Theory of Everything – video
    https://youtu.be/x1Jw5Y686jY
    paper
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1MnjZgfG35RjfcO27iFKevX5idKT5vCRD1gOagLe7ZRY/edit

  20. 20
    asauber says:

    ba77,

    My argument isn’t about Atheism. It’s about infinity being science or not. Does your definition of science include things that by definition will never be subject to scrutiny? Things that aren’t comprehensible? You can be an Atheist or a Christian and see that infinity is not scientific.

    Andrew

  21. 21
    bornagain77 says:

    Well, I would argue that the way ‘unconstained’ infinity consistently falsifies the supposedly ‘scientific’ conjectures of atheists that try to avoid the infinity of God, as well as the way infinity was integral to Godel’s incompleteness theorem, pretty much make a coherent understanding of infinity a indispensable part of science.

    Unless you want to artificially impose a limit on what science can investigate. A artificial limit that says basically ‘Shut up, and calculate’. In other words, Ignoring the ‘infinity elephant’ in the room of science will not make it magically go away. Infinity is always there in the background, on the edges of math and observation science, constantly begging for a coherent explanation that does not dissolve away into absurdity as it does in the Atheist’s attempt to explain infinity.

    As a Theist, I’m rather fond of the fairly constant ‘infinity conflict’ in science since it constantly reinforces the fact that God is the necessary explanation as the ground for all that exists.

  22. 22
    asauber says:

    Unless you want to artificially impose a limit on what science can investigate.

    There has to be a limit. Science can’t and doesn’t answer a whole lot of questions.

    Andrew

  23. 23
    bornagain77 says:

    “There has to be a limit. Science can’t and doesn’t answer a whole lot of questions.”

    Who says??? You may stamp your feet on this blog saying beyond ‘here be dragons’

    “Here be dragons” means dangerous or unexplored territories, in imitation of a medieval practice of putting illustrations of dragons, sea monsters and other mythological creatures on uncharted areas of maps.[2][3]
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Here_be_dragons

    , but, regardless of what you may believe is the proper practice of science or not, there will always be insatiable curiosity as to what lies beyond our current understanding in those uncharted infinities.

  24. 24
    Bob O'H says:

    This too, is strictly a mental exercise. I can keep counting in my head. So whats the point?

    Well, if you’re a physicist who studies the real world, and you add all these up, you get the answer <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-I6XTVZXww"Z-1/12.

    Apparently this actually falls out of mathematical modelling of the real world. But no, I don’t understand it either.

  25. 25
    LocalMinimum says:

    Bob O’H @ 24:

    That’s Numberphile’s now infamous, poorly (un?) attributed and explained reference to a piece of Ramanujan’s work.

    Ramanujan didn’t actually add up the Naturals, he was working with the Euler zeta function.

  26. 26
    bornagain77 says:

    The Great Debate Over Whether 1+2+3+4..+ ? = -1/12
    Can the sum of all positive integers = -1/12? It can, sort of…
    By Colin Schultz – January 31, 2014
    Excerpt: The video makes it seem so simple, and uncontroversial, almost obvious. But there are some big mathematical assumptions hidden in their argument that, in my opinion, make it very misleading. To put it another way: in a restricted, specialized mathematical sense, one can assign the value -1/12 to the increasing positive sum. But in the usual sense of addition that most human beings would intuitively use, the result is nonsensical.
    https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/great-debate-over-whether-1234-112-180949559/

    Does 1+2+3… Really Equal -1/12?
    A Numberphile video posted earlier this month claims that the sum of all the positive integers is -1/12. Is it true?
    By Evelyn Lamb on January 20, 2014
    Excerpt: We can say 1+2+3…=-1/12 by retrofitting the analytic continuation of a function to its original infinite series definition, a move that should come with a Lucille Bluth-style wink.
    https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/roots-of-unity/does-123-really-equal-112/

    Infinite series are weird — redux!
    Posted on May 25, 2010 by skullsinthestars
    Excerpt: Superficially, one would expect that the derivation must be incorrect, but results quantitatively consistent with experiment can be derived if one replaces D(-1) with zeta(-1)!

    An example of this involves the Casimir effect, first introduced in 1948. In short, it is known that empty space, i.e. vacuum, is never truly empty, but includes “virtual photons” that wink in and out of existence. These virtual photons can be influenced by metal boundaries, just like real photons, and when two metal plates are placed close together, the virtual photons are “squeezed” out of the region between them. The imbalance in virtual photons outside and inside the plates produces a net inward pressure, which can be detected by experiment,,
    The calculation of the Casimir force is outside the scope of this post, but it requires an infinite summation over all the allowed energy states between the plates, of the form

    displaystyle sum_{n=1}^infty n^3.

    This sum is simply the Dirichlet series D(-3); if we naively interpret this sum as a zeta function, we get the result

    displaystyle sum_{n=1}^infty n^3 = zeta(-3)= -1/120.

    If this result is used in the Casimir calculation, the result is quantitatively correct!

    It’s hard to know what exactly to make of this. It is to be noted that, mathematically, it is unambiguously true that the series D(-1) diverges; however, it seems that in quantum field theory the analytic continuation of this series gives the proper result.* There seems to be something very deep in that statement, but I’ll be darned if I know exactly what it means.

    In any case, this post shows again that infinite series can be very weird!

    ********************************

    * It is also worth noting that Casimir used a different approach to determine the sum in his original paper, and didn’t use the zeta function explicitly.
    https://skullsinthestars.com/2010/05/25/infinite-series-are-weird-redux/

  27. 27
    LocalMinimum says:

    Ahhh, the echoing cries of “you can’t add letters!”, by those who take it on faith you can add numbers.

    Perhaps, after you’ve seen it related to a spatial process, you’re willing to accept it on the basis of your intuition. Moving on to equations, and then tensor equations, you’re still able to follow, though it gets a bit more laborious.

    Then you run into compositions of tensor equations that you know the components and their derivation, but to glance at it as one who didn’t, it would be a window to madness.

    Imagine someone who was finding their way into this process, by a different route. One that did not afford them all the background and explanation. Maybe they’re even the first. Imagine they were finding all the useful results, but still lacked for a good means for others to get there.

    Like finding a wall, but there’s a barred window showing something bright and shiny. After some climbing, flips, flops, vent crawling, and other physically analogized mental exertions, they find themselves inside. Maybe there’s even a door they can unlock from the inside, so that others can enter far more easily. They still have to find it, though.

    In any case, the original path is still important; vital if there are none other known.

    If you can’t stand the practice, you have to learn and teach people how to do it better.

  28. 28
    LocalMinimum says:

    BA @ 19:

    Nice point. I’d add that if you’re running into intractable infinities with your formulation, the problem isn’t infinity but your formulation.

    I’ll suggest that it often arises from an incomplete formulation; you’re working with a fragment of what you actually need to explain the phenomena. That, or the phenomena that you’re trying to explain is inherently nonsense.

  29. 29
    asauber says:

    Who says??? You may stamp your feet on this blog saying beyond ‘here be dragons’

    I’m not stamping my feet. I’m pointing out the obvious.

    Infinity is a mental exercise. If you can demonstrate that it’s something else, I’ll gladly pay attention to your demonstration.

    Andrew

  30. 30
    bornagain77 says:

    The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences – Eugene Wigner – 1960
    Excerpt: We now have, in physics, two theories of great power and interest: the theory of quantum phenomena and the theory of relativity.,,, The two theories operate with different mathematical concepts: the four dimensional Riemann space and the infinite dimensional Hilbert space,
    http://www.dartmouth.edu/~matc.....igner.html

    Wave function
    Excerpt “wave functions form an abstract vector space”,,, This vector space is infinite-dimensional, because there is no finite set of functions which can be added together in various combinations to create every possible function.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W.....ctor_space

    “By its conventional definition, a photon is one unit of excitation of a mode of the electromagnetic field. The modes of the electromagnetic field constitute a countably infinite set of basis functions, and in this sense the amount of information that can be impressed onto an individual photon is unlimited.”…
    The final topic to be described is work aimed at the direct measurement of the quantum wavefunction.  Historically, the wavefunction has often been considered to be primarily a conceptual entity that can be measured if at all using highly inefficient methods such as quantum tomography.  However, Lundeen and his coworkers have recently shown [9] how by performing a “weak measurement” followed by a “strong measurement” it is possible to perform a measurement of the wavefunction in a direct and efficient manner.  In recent work, my own group has demonstrated [10] that it similar methods can be used to measure directly the wavefunction of a qubit, which is the fundamental unit of information in quantum information science.
    Robert W. Boyd – The Enabling Technology for Quantum Information Science 2013 – University of Rochester, Rochester, NY – lead researcher of the experiment which encoded information in a photon in 2010
    http://www.bostonphotonics.org.....eminar=202

    Direct measurement of the quantum wavefunction – June 2011
    Excerpt: The wavefunction is the complex distribution used to completely describe a quantum system, and is central to quantum theory. But despite its fundamental role, it is typically introduced as an abstract element of the theory with no explicit definition.,,, Here we show that the wavefunction can be measured directly by the sequential measurement of two complementary variables of the system. The crux of our method is that the first measurement is performed in a gentle way through weak measurement so as not to invalidate the second. The result is that the real and imaginary components of the wavefunction appear directly on our measurement apparatus. We give an experimental example by directly measuring the transverse spatial wavefunction of a single photon, a task not previously realized by any method.
    http://www.nature.com/nature/j.....10120.html

  31. 31
    bornagain77 says:

    Does the quantum wave function represent reality? April 2012 by Lisa Zyga
    Excerpt: “Similarly, our result that there is a one-to-one correspondence between the wave function and the elements of reality means that, if we know a system’s wave function then we are exactly in such a favorable situation: any information that there exists in nature and which could be relevant for predicting the behavior of a quantum mechanical system is represented one-to-one by the wave function. In this sense, the wave function is an optimal description of reality.”
    http://phys.org/news/2012-04-q.....ality.html

    On the reality of the quantum state – Matthew F. Pusey, Jonathan Barrett & Terry Rudolph – May 2012
    Abstract: Quantum states are the key mathematical objects in quantum theory. It is therefore surprising that physicists have been unable to agree on what a quantum state truly represents. One possibility is that a pure quantum state corresponds directly to reality. However, there is a long history of suggestions that a quantum state (even a pure state) represents only knowledge or information about some aspect of reality. Here we show that any model in which a quantum state represents mere information about an underlying physical state of the system, and in which systems that are prepared independently have independent physical states, must make predictions that contradict those of quantum theory. (i.e. Any model that holds the Quantum wave state as merely a abstract representation of reality, i.e. as not a real representation of reality, must make predictions that contradict those of quantum theory.)
    http://www.nature.com/nphys/jo.....s2309.html

    Wave function gets real in quantum experiment – February 2, 2015
    Excerpt: It underpins the whole theory of quantum mechanics, but does it exist? For nearly a century physicists have argued about whether the wave function is a real part of the world or just a mathematical tool. Now, the first experiment in years to draw a line in the quantum sand suggests we should take it seriously.
    The wave function helps predict the results of quantum experiments with incredible accuracy. But it describes a world where particles have fuzzy properties – for example, existing in two places at the same time. Erwin Schrödinger argued in 1935 that treating the wave function as a real thing leads to the perplexing situation where a cat in a box can be both dead and alive, until someone opens the box and observes it.
    Those who want an objective description of the world – one that doesn’t depend on how you’re looking at it – have two options. They can accept that the wave function is real and that the cat is both dead and alive. Or they can argue that the wave function is just a mathematical tool, which represents our lack of knowledge about the status of the poor cat, sometimes called the “epistemic interpretation”. This was the interpretation favoured by Albert Einstein, who allegedly asked, “Do you really believe the moon exists only when you look at it?”
    The trouble is, very few experiments have been performed that can rule versions of quantum mechanics in or out. Previous work that claimed to propose a way to test whether the wave function is real made a splash in the physics community but turned out to be based on improper assumptions, and no one ever ran the experiment.
    What a state
    Now, Eric Cavalcanti at the University of Sydney and Alessandro Fedrizzi at the University of Queensland, both in Australia, and their colleagues have made a measurement of the reality of the quantum wave function. Their results rule out a large class of interpretations of quantum mechanics and suggest that if there is any objective description of the world, the famous wave function is part of it: Schrödinger’s cat actually is both dead and alive.,,,
    There may still be a way to distinguish quantum states from each other that their experiment didn’t capture. But Howard Wiseman from Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia, says that shouldn’t weaken the results. “It’s saying there’s definitely some reality to the wave function,” he says. “You have to admit that to some extent there’s some reality to the wave function, so if you’ve gone that far, why don’t you just go the whole way?”
    http://www.newscientist.com/ar.....iment.html

    New records set up with “Screws of Light” – 21, Nov 2016
    Excerpt: In principle, twisted light can carry an arbitrary large amount of information per photon. This is in contrast to the polarization of light, which is limited to one bit per photon. For example, data rates of up to 100 terabits per second, which correspond to about 120 Blu-Ray discs per second, have already been achieved under laboratory conditions. The transmission under realistic conditions, however, is still in its infancy. In addition to transmission over short distances in special fiber optics, transmission of such light beams over free space, required for instance for satellite communication, was limited to three kilometers so far; achieved by the same Viennese team two years ago
    (Communication with spatially modulated light through turbulent air across Vienna – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OEupkfMqKGY .)
    In the current study, the research team around Anton Zeilinger and Mario Krenn show that information encoded in twisted light can still be reconstructed even after more than 100 kilometers. The experiment has been conducted between the canary islands of La Palma and Tenerife, which is 143 kilometer away.
    http://vcq.quantum.at/research.....s/562.html

    The Applicability of Mathematics as a Philosophical Problem – Mark Steiner – (page 44)
    Excerpt: The role of Hilbert spaces in quantum mechanics.. is much more profound than the descriptive role of a single concept. An entire formalism-the Hilbert space formalism-is matched with nature. Information about nature is being “read off” the details of the formalism. (Imagine reading off details about elementary particles from the rules of chess-castling. en passant-a la Lewis Carro;; in Through the Looking Glass.) No physicist today understands why this is possible..
    https://books.google.com/books?id=GKBwKCma1HsC&pg=PA44

    Double Slit, Quantum-Electrodynamics, and Christian Theism- video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AK9kGpIxMRM

  32. 32
    kairosfocus says:

    AS, a premise of science is that the world is intelligible, amenable to accurate observation and logical analysis; including logical analysis of structure and quantity. Infinity, like complex numbers, is one of those key constructs. And BTW, I have heard strong objections to the imaginary side. That’s why I take a vector approach and use rotation, the i operator. do it on where its been done and you get -x. So i is such that i^2 = -1. I recall the class where the subject was introduced, fellow 6th formers were not happy at all. KF

  33. 33
    Origenes says:

    An infinity has no borders, so there can be no thing external to an infinity. There is no thing external to an infinity, so there can be no external explanation. There is no external explanation, so an infinity has either no explanation, or it explains itself.

    Determinism, the hypothesis that everything must have an external explanation, undergirds science, which, in turn, is deeply connected with the principle of sufficient reason — everything must have a reason or a cause.
    Given a finite world, consisting of let’s say three items (A, B and C), determinism is logically incoherent:

    1. For A, B and C goes that they each have an external explanation (determinism).
    2. A is caused by B, B is caused by C and C is caused by … (?)
    3. C has no external explanation.
    4. Not every A, B and C has an external explanation.

    Aquinas ‘first mover argument’ makes the same point.

    Given an infinite world, consisting of an infinite number of items, determinism is not incoherent. However such an infinite world itself is not intelligible.
    Why not? Because, since there is no thing external to this infinite world, there can also be no rational position that can grasp/encapsulate/understand infinity. An infinite world fails as a rational concept. Any attempt to make sense of it necessarily leads to an incoherent understanding. An infinite world cannot, in principle, make sense to any rational mind.

    Whoever seeks the truth has no use for the concept of an infinite world.

  34. 34
    bornagain77 says:

    Of related note to infinity and how it thwarts efforts to find a purely mathematical ‘theory of everything’,,,

    Quantum-Electrodynamics was the first attempt at unifying relativity and quantum mechanics. Specifically, in Quantum-Electrodynamics special relativity was merged with electromagnetism to produce what is held to be the ‘most precise theory of natural phenomena ever developed’:

    Theories of the Universe: Quantum Mechanics vs. General Relativity
    Excerpt: The first attempt at unifying relativity and quantum mechanics took place when special relativity was merged with electromagnetism. This created the theory of quantum electrodynamics, or QED. It is an example of what has come to be known as relativistic quantum field theory, or just quantum field theory. QED is considered by most physicists to be the most precise theory of natural phenomena ever developed.
    http://www.infoplease.com/cig/.....ivity.html

    Richard Feynman was only able to unify special relativity and electromagnetism into Quantum Electrodynamics by quote unquote “brushing infinity under the rug” with a technique called Renormalization.,,, The infinity that cropped up in the unification of was ‘renormalizable’.

    THE INFINITY PUZZLE: Quantum Field Theory and the Hunt for an Orderly Universe
    Excerpt: In quantum electrodynamics, which applies quantum mechanics to the electromagnetic field and its interactions with matter, the equations led to infinite results for the self-energy or mass of the electron. After nearly two decades of effort, this problem was solved after World War II by a procedure called renormalization, in which the infinities are rolled up into the electron’s observed mass and charge, and are thereafter conveniently ignored. Richard Feynman, who shared the 1965 Nobel Prize with Julian Schwinger and Sin-Itiro Tomonaga for this breakthrough, referred to this sleight of hand as “brushing infinity under the rug.”
    http://www.americanscientist.o.....g-infinity

    In the following video, Richard Feynman rightly expresses his unease with “brushing infinity under the rug.” in Quantum-Electrodynamics:

    “It always bothers me that in spite of all this local business, what goes on in a tiny, no matter how tiny, region of space, and no matter how tiny a region of time, according to laws as we understand them today, it takes a computing machine an infinite number of logical operations to figure out. Now how can all that be going on in that tiny space? Why should it take an infinite amount of logic to figure out what one stinky tiny bit of space-time is going to do?”
    – Richard Feynman – one of the founding fathers of QED (Quantum Electrodynamics)
    Quote taken from the 6:45 minute mark of the following video:
    Feynman: Mathematicians versus Physicists – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obCjODeoLVw

    I don’t know about Richard Feynman, but as for myself, as a Christian Theist, I find it rather comforting to know that it takes an ‘infinite amount of logic to figure out what one stinky tiny bit of space-time is going to do’:

    “Why should it take an infinite amount of logic to figure out what one stinky tiny bit of space-time is going to do?”
    – Richard Feynman

    John1:1
    “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

    of note: ‘the Word’ in John1:1 is translated from ‘Logos’ in Greek. Logos is also the root word from which we derive our modern word logic

    And whereas special relativity, by ‘brushing infinity under the rug’, has been successfully unified with quantum theory to produce Quantum Electrodynamics, no such mathematical ‘sleight of hand’ exists for unifying general relativity with quantum mechanics.

    General relativity simply refuses to be mathematically unified with quantum mechanics in any acceptable way. In technical terms, Gravity has yet to be successfully included into a theory of everything since the infinities that crop up in that attempt are not renormalizable as they were in Quantum-Electrodynamics.

    Unified field theory
    Excerpt: Gravity has yet to be successfully included in a theory of everything.
    Simply trying to combine the graviton with the strong and electroweak interactions runs into fundamental difficulties since the resulting theory is not renormalizable. Theoretical physicists have not yet formulated a widely accepted, consistent theory that combines general relativity and quantum mechanics. The incompatibility of the two theories remains an outstanding problem in the field of physics.
    Some theoretical physicists currently believe that a quantum theory of general relativity may require frameworks other than field theory itself, such as string theory or loop quantum gravity.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unified_field_theory#Current_status

    Does quantum mechanics contradict the theory of relativity?
    Sanjay Sood, Microchip Design Engineer, Theoretical and Applied Physicist – Feb 14, 2016
    Excerpt: quantum mechanics was first integrated with special theory of relativity by Dirac in 1928 just 3 years after quantum mechanics was discovered. Dirac produced an equation that describes the behavior of a quantum particle (electron). In this equation the space and time enter on the same footing – equation is first order in all 4 coordinates. One startling by product of this equation was the prediction of anti matter. It also gave the correct explanation for the electron’s spin. Dirac’s equation treats an electron as a particle with only a finite degrees of freedom.
    In 1940s Dirac’s equation was incorporated into the relativistic quantum field theory that’s knowns as quantum electrodynamics (QED) independently by Feynman, Schwinger and Tomonaga. This is the theory that describes the behavior of electrons and photons and their interactions with each other in terms of relativistic quantum fields that have infinite degrees of freedom. QED allowed extremely precise calculation of anomalous magnetic dipole moment of an electron. This calculated value matches the experimentally measured value to an astonishing precision of 12 decimal places!
    The integration of Einstein’s general theory of relativity and quantum mechanics has proved to be far more difficult. Such an integration would give a quantum theory of gravity. Even after a sustained effort lasting more than half a century, no renormalized quantum field theory of gravity has ever been produced. Renormalization means a theory that’s free of infinities at zero distance or infinite energy because 2 point particles can interact with each other at zero distance. A non renormalizable theory has no predictive value because it contains an infinite number of singular coefficients.
    https://www.quora.com/Does-quantum-mechanics-contradict-the-theory-of-relativity

    Of related note to trying to unify Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity, agent causality (i.e. subjectiveness) is ‘built into’ Quantum Mechanics, whereas General Relativity is based on a totally objective view of reality.

    “The Kochen-Speckter Theorem talks about properties of one system only. So we know that we cannot assume – to put it precisely, we know that it is wrong to assume that the features of a system, which we observe in a measurement exist prior to measurement. Not always. I mean in a certain cases. So in a sense, what we perceive as reality now depends on our earlier decision what to measure. Which is a very, very, deep message about the nature of reality and our part in the whole universe. We are not just passive observers.”
    Anton Zeilinger –
    Quantum Physics Debunks Materialism – video (7:17 minute mark)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=4C5pq7W5yRM#t=437

    The Trouble with Quantum Mechanics – Steven Weinberg – January 19, 2017
    Excerpt: The instrumentalist approach,, (the) wave function,, is merely an instrument that provides predictions of the probabilities of various outcomes when measurements are made.,,
    In the instrumentalist approach,,, humans are brought into the laws of nature at the most fundamental level. According to Eugene Wigner, a pioneer of quantum mechanics, “it was not possible to formulate the laws of quantum mechanics in a fully consistent way without reference to the consciousness.”11
    Thus the instrumentalist approach turns its back on a vision that became possible after Darwin, of a world governed by impersonal physical laws that control human behavior along with everything else. It is not that we object to thinking about humans. Rather, we want to understand the relation of humans to nature, not just assuming the character of this relation by incorporating it in what we suppose are nature’s fundamental laws, but rather by deduction from laws that make no explicit reference to humans. We may in the end have to give up this goal,,,
    Some physicists who adopt an instrumentalist approach argue that the probabilities we infer from the wave function are objective probabilities, independent of whether humans are making a measurement. I don’t find this tenable. In quantum mechanics these probabilities do not exist until people choose what to measure, such as the spin in one or another direction. Unlike the case of classical physics, a choice must be made,,,
    http://www.nybooks.com/article.....mechanics/

    On The Comparison Of Quantum and Relativity Theories – Sachs – 1986
    Excerpt: quantum theory entails an irreducible subjective element in its conceptual basis. In contrast, the theory of relativity when fully exploited, is based on a totally objective view.
    http://books.google.com/books?.....38;f=false

    And yet, if we rightly let the Agent causality of God ‘back’ into the picture of modern physics, as the Christian founders of modern science originally envisioned, (Newton, Maxwell, Faraday, and Planck, to name a few), ,,, then an empirically backed reconciliation between Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity, i.e. the ‘Theory of Everything’, readily pops out for us in Christ’s resurrection from the dead.
    Specifically, the fact that Jesus Christ dealt with both general relativity and quantum mechanics in His resurrection from the dead is made evident by the Shroud of Turin. You can glimpse some of that evidence from the Shroud of Turin at the 23:30 mark of the following video,

    Gödel, Infinity, and Jesus Christ as the Theory of Everything – 23:30 mark
    https://youtu.be/x1Jw5Y686jY?t=1415

    Verse:

    Colossians 1:15-20
    The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

  35. 35
    critical rationalist says:

    @KF

    You mentioned all of the criticisms of a pre-existing universe. Howeve, you have omitted all of the criticisms of our current conception of time. One of which is the lack of a working theory of quantum gravity.

    It’s surprising you’ve omitted this because criticism of String theory, which is one such thery to make time quantum, is commonly made here on UD.

    IOW, even if we ignore criticism of knowledge as justified, true belief, we’re still left with incompatible theories of time due to incompatible aspects of quantum mechanics and relatively. Yet, you’ve used that very same idea of time as if it was an unproblematic part of your criticism of a infinitely old universe.

  36. 36
    critical rationalist says:

    @Origenes#33

    The problem is, this finite bubble of explicably supposedly depends on this inexplicable world you refer to. So it would only seem intelligible if we avoid asking specific questions.

  37. 37
    critical rationalist says:

    In the instrumentalist approach,,, humans are brought into the laws of nature at the most fundamental level. According to Eugene Wigner, a pioneer of quantum mechanics, “it was not possible to formulate the laws of quantum mechanics in a fully consistent way without reference to the consciousness.”11

    You get an A for effort but …….

    From the Wikipedia page on Instrumentalism

    Instrumentalism is one of a multitude of modern schools of thought created by scientists and philosophers throughout the 20th century. It is named for its premise that theories are tools or instruments able to identify reliable means-end relations found in experience, but not to identify realities beyond experience.[1] Its premises and practices were most clearly stated by two philosophers, John Dewey (1859-1952) and Karl Popper (1902-1994). Independently, they defined the school quite similarly, but their judgments of its premises were irreconcilable.

    Dewey was a practitioner of instrumentalism. He held that means-end relations can be discovered by reasoning inductively and deductively about experience. Popper was a critic of the school. He insisted that induction is not scientifically valid, and that realities can be known without experience. These contrary judgments endowed the school with the legacy of confusion and ambiguity described below.

    IOW, instrumentalism approach to quantum mechanics says it’s unimportant to ask if whether anything actually maps to reality or is merely a useful fiction that is an instrument of prediction. So, it’s unclear how a instrumentalist approach can bring humans into the laws of nature at the most fundamental level in the sense you seem to be implying.

  38. 38
    bornagain77 says:

    Good grief, CR trying to lecture anybody on physics (or on science in general) is certainly a fish being out of water.

    “Except in all the cases where they (Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity) completely and repeatedly disagree with actual experimental tests.
    Again, unless you can point me to a working theory of quantum gravity, both quantum mechanics and relativity have been proven false because they disagree with experiment.”
    – critical rationalist
    https://uncommondescent.com/philosophy/actually-the-multiverse-is-cheerfully-beyond-falsifiability/#comment-649909

    Yes folks, CR actually said that. 🙂 ,,, Moreover, CR repeated that claim several times after being corrected.

    Even the double face palm is not enough for that huge non sequitur,

    https://me.me/i/triple-face-palm-because-even-the-three-stooges-can-see-3692610

    Moreover, that is the beauty of science, I can appeal directly to experimentation to support my claim that free will is integral to quantum mechanics (i.e. that the instrumentalist approach is correct):

    “The Kochen-Speckter Theorem talks about properties of one system only. So we know that we cannot assume – to put it precisely, we know that it is wrong to assume that the features of a system, which we observe in a measurement exist prior to measurement. Not always. I mean in a certain cases. So in a sense, what we perceive as reality now depends on our earlier decision what to measure. Which is a very, very, deep message about the nature of reality and our part in the whole universe. We are not just passive observers.”
    Anton Zeilinger –
    Quantum Physics Debunks Materialism – video (7:17 minute mark)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=4C5pq7W5yRM#t=437

    Antoine Suarez
    Excerpt: Suarez cites the Free Will Theorem of John Conway and Simon Kochen as making free will an axiom, without which science itself could not proceed.
    http://www.informationphilosop.....ts/suarez/

    In the following experiment, the claim that past material states determine future conscious choices (determinism) is directly falsified by the fact that present conscious choices are, in fact, effecting past material states. Specifically, as the researchers in the article stated, “quantum mechanics can even mimic an influence of future actions on past events”

    Quantum physics mimics spooky action into the past – April 23, 2012
    Excerpt: The authors experimentally realized a “Gedankenexperiment” called “delayed-choice entanglement swapping”, formulated by Asher Peres in the year 2000.,,
    “We found that whether Alice’s and Bob’s photons are entangled and show quantum correlations or are separable and show classical correlations can be decided after they have been measured”, explains Xiao-song Ma, lead author of the study.
    According to the famous words of Albert Einstein, the effects of quantum entanglement appear as “spooky action at a distance”. The recent experiment has gone one remarkable step further. “Within a naïve classical world view, quantum mechanics can even mimic an influence of future actions on past events”, says Anton Zeilinger.
    http://phys.org/news/2012-04-q.....ction.html

    “If we attempt to attribute an objective meaning to the quantum state of a single system, curious paradoxes appear: quantum effects mimic not only instantaneous action-at-a-distance but also, as seen here, influence of future actions on past events, even after these events have been irrevocably recorded.”
    Asher Peres, Delayed choice for entanglement swapping. J. Mod. Opt. 47, 139-143 (2000)

    John Wheeler’s original delayed choice experiment is also very good for highlighting free will’s primary role in quantum mechanics. The following article highlights John Wheeler’s original thought experiment where our choice to measure whether a photon passes by one side of a galaxy or by the other side of the galaxy is delayed for billions of years. And yet paradoxically,,, our later choice determines which side of the galaxy the light passed, so to speak, billions of years ago.

    Wheeler’s Classic Delayed Choice Experiment:
    Excerpt: Now, for many billions of years the photon is in transit in region 3. Yet we can choose (many billions of years later) which experimental set up to employ – the single wide-focus, or the two narrowly focused instruments. We have chosen whether to know which side of the galaxy the photon passed by (by choosing whether to use the two-telescope set up or not, which are the instruments that would give us the information about which side of the galaxy the photon passed). We have delayed this choice until a time long after the particles “have passed by one side of the galaxy, or the other side of the galaxy, or both sides of the galaxy,” so to speak. Yet, it seems paradoxically that our later choice of whether to obtain this information determines which side of the galaxy the light passed, so to speak, billions of years ago. So it seems that time has nothing to do with effects of quantum mechanics. And, indeed, the original thought experiment was not based on any analysis of how particles evolve and behave over time – it was based on the mathematics. This is what the mathematics predicted for a result, and this is exactly the result obtained in the laboratory.
    http://www.bottomlayer.com/bot.....choice.htm

    John Wheeler’s thought experiment for the delayed choice experiment has now recently, as of Oct. 2017, been experimentally verified for thousands of kilometers in space.

    Extending Wheeler’s delayed-choice experiment to space – Oct. 25, 2017
    Excerpt: We implement Wheeler’s idea along a satellite-ground interferometer that extends for thousands of kilometers in space.,,,
    http://advances.sciencemag.org.....0/e1701180

    Reflecting light off satellite backs up Wheeler’s quantum theory thought experiment – October 26, 2017 – Bob Yirka
    Excerpt: Thus, they could test whether the light was able to sense what they were doing and respond accordingly. The team reports that the light behaved just as Wheeler had predicted—demonstrating either particle-like or wave-like behavior, depending on the behavior of those studying it.
    https://phys.org/news/2017-10-satellite-wheeler-quantum-theory-thought.html

  39. 39
    bornagain77 says:

    Moreover, denying that free will really exists in reality, as atheists constantly try to do, is a self refuting proposition that undermines any claim the atheist may make that he is making a logically coherent argument in the first place:

    Sam Harris’s Free Will: The Medial Pre-Frontal Cortex Did It – Martin Cothran – November 9, 2012
    Excerpt: There is something ironic about the position of thinkers like (Sam) Harris on issues like this: they claim that their position is the result of the irresistible necessity of logic (in fact, they pride themselves on their logic). Their belief is the consequent, in a ground/consequent relation between their evidence and their conclusion. But their very stated position is that any mental state — including their position on this issue — is the effect of a physical, not logical cause.
    By their own logic, it isn’t logic that demands their assent to the claim that free will is an illusion, but the prior chemical state of their brains. The only condition under which we could possibly find their argument convincing is if they are not true. The claim that free will is an illusion requires the possibility that minds have the freedom to assent to a logical argument, a freedom denied by the claim itself. It is an assent that must, in order to remain logical and not physiological, presume a perspective outside the physical order.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....66221.html

    Determinism vs Free Will – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lwPER4m2axI

  40. 40

    BA77 @ 39: “Moreover, denying that free will really exists in reality, as atheists constantly try to do, is a self-refuting proposition that undermines any claim the atheist may make that he is making a logically coherent argument in the first place…”

    A/mats who deny free-will are literally claiming to be self-made carbon-based robots without the ability of discretionary thought. Such thinking borders on lunacy, and may, in fact, be lunacy.

  41. 41
    kairosfocus says:

    CR, do you notice that in this context I speak to causal-temporal succession of finite stages [of the world]? By doing so, I draw out that time is here tied to causally rooted change, an empirically anchored understanding which is robust. Indeed, clocks measure time by using cyclical processes which are as “evenly rotating” as we can get. In that context, the succession of stages (years for convenience and familiarity) is the issue, whether it extends without limit into the past as circular cause is absurd and finitely remote origin from utter non-being is just as absurd. The issue is quasi-physical world with infinite past or else finitely remote origin from a necessary being world root. KF

  42. 42
    EricMH says:

    @AS, don’t you realize numbers themselves are merely a mental exercise? No one will ever scientifically observe the number 2, so obviously it is made up and doesn’t really exist. In reality math was invented by banks so they could keep the masses enslaved with numbers.

  43. 43
    kairosfocus says:

    EMH, actually, once distinct identity exists, distinct units exist so two-ness [and the naturals]. Abstract, non-concrete realities can and do shape physical reality. KF

  44. 44
    asauber says:

    AS, don’t you realize numbers themselves are merely a mental exercise?

    EricMH,

    I do. Anything real could/would relate to finite numbers. Infinity is *strictly* a mental exercise.

    Andrew

  45. 45
    bornagain77 says:

    I don’t follow your logic Andrew.,,, But I, instead of butting in, will let Eric hash his idea out more fully, since he started this interesting line of thought out.

  46. 46
    asauber says:

    BA77,

    Infinity doesn’t represent anything we can perceive, detect, or comprehend. Finite numbers can represent things we perceive, detect, and comprehend.

    Andrew

  47. 47
    bornagain77 says:

    again, i will let Eric finish before commenting.

  48. 48
    asauber says:

    I just skimmed wikipedia of all places and found some interesting stuff.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infinity_(philosophy)

    Andrew

  49. 49
    jdk says:

    All math, including 1 + 1 = 2, as part of an abstract symbolic system, is a “mental exercise”.

    Two caveats to that statement:

    1) Without written symbols or graphical representations, we would not have been able to create a great deal of the math we use. Creating, understanding and using trig functions would never been possible without pictures of triangles and ways of representing non-whole numbers, for instance. Very little of mathematics would be known if we were limited to “just thinking”.

    2. Math can be used to model the physical universe, and can be represented by things in the physical universe: 1 + 1 =2 can be modeled with two stones, but much of upper level math, such as calculus, complex numbers, fractal sets, etc. have no obviously visible analog in the physical world.

  50. 50
    jdk says:

    This is cool: Galileo was ahead of his time!

    Galileo Galilei (February 1564 – January 1642 [86]) discussed the example of comparing the square numbers {1, 4, 9, 16, …} with the natural numbers {1, 2, 3, 4, …} as follows:

    1 > 1
    2 > 4
    3 > 9
    4 > 16

    It appeared by this reasoning as though a “set” (Galileo did not use the terminology) which is naturally smaller than the “set” of which it is a part (since it does not contain all the members) is in some sense the same “size”. Galileo found no way around this problem:

    So far as I see we can only infer that the totality of all numbers is infinite, that the number of squares is infinite, and that the number of their roots is infinite; neither is the number of squares less than the totality of all numbers, nor the latter greater than the former; and finally the attributes “equal,” “greater,” and “less,” are not applicable to infinite, but only to finite, quantities.

    — On Two New Sciences, 1638

    from the Wikipedia article linked to by asauber above.

  51. 51
    kairosfocus says:

    JDK, both are the same set (one in disguise), and our little ellipsis appears again:

    1 — 1 x 1 –> 1

    2 — 2 x 2 –> 4

    3 — 3 x 3 –> 9

    . . .

    In short, both are countable and have the endlessness of the naturals.

    KF

    PS: I think that as identity and its correlates are also about being [a thing is itself i/l/o its core characteristics etc] then there is every reason to expect the logic of structure and quantity to apply to physical entities.

  52. 52
    bornagain77 says:

    Points of interest so far:

    At post 29 Andrew stated,

    “Infinity is a mental exercise. If you can demonstrate that it’s something else, I’ll gladly pay attention to your demonstration.”

    To which I showed infinite dimensional quantum waves are integral to quantum mechanics. And that these infinite dimensional quantum waves have been shown to be ‘real’ instead of abstract, as well I showed that the quantum wave of a supposedly finite single photon can theoretically be encoded with a potentially infinite amount of information, and actually demonstrated that, based on that assumption of a ‘real’ infinite dimensional quantum wave, data rates of up to 100 terabits per second, which correspond to about 120 Blu-Ray discs per second, have thus far been achieved.

    Surely that qualifies as a ‘demonstration’ that infinity is something more than merely a abstract mental exercise since that understanding of infinity laid the groundwork for such a astonishing technological breakthrough of 100 terabits per second.

    At post 42 Eric stated,,

    @AS, don’t you realize numbers themselves are merely a mental exercise? No one will ever scientifically observe the number 2, so obviously it is made up and doesn’t really exist.

    At post 44 and 46 Andrew reasserted his claim against the reality of infinity more clearly,

    44

    I do. Anything real could/would relate to finite numbers. Infinity is *strictly* a mental exercise.

    & at 46

    BA77,
    Infinity doesn’t represent anything we can perceive, detect, or comprehend. Finite numbers can represent things we perceive, detect, and comprehend.

    As to “Anything real could/would relate to finite numbers. Infinity is *strictly* a mental exercise.”, to which I ask, what exactly do you think is ‘real’ in the first place? “Reality” simply does not exist apart from conscious observation

    An experimental test of non-local realism – 2007
    Simon Gröblacher, Tomasz Paterek, Rainer Kaltenbaek, Caslav Brukner, Marek Zukowski, Markus Aspelmeyer & Anton Zeilinger
    Abstract: Most working scientists hold fast to the concept of ‘realism’—a viewpoint according to which an external reality exists independent of observation. But quantum physics has shattered some of our cornerstone beliefs. According to Bell’s theorem, any theory that is based on the joint assumption of realism and locality (meaning that local events cannot be affected by actions in space-like separated regions) is at variance with certain quantum predictions. Experiments with entangled pairs of particles have amply confirmed these quantum predictions, thus rendering local realistic theories untenable. Maintaining realism as a fundamental concept would therefore necessitate the introduction of ‘spooky’ actions that defy locality. Here we show by both theory and experiment that a broad and rather reasonable class of such non-local realistic theories is incompatible with experimentally observable quantum correlations. In the experiment, we measure previously untested correlations between two entangled photons, and show that these correlations violate an inequality proposed by Leggett for non-local realistic theories. Our result suggests that giving up the concept of locality is not sufficient to be consistent with quantum experiments, unless certain intuitive features of realism are abandoned.
    http://www.nature.com/nature/j.....05677.html

    Perhaps the shock of learning about ‘reality’ not existing without conscious observation can be buffered a bit by realizing that in defining what is ‘real’ in the first place mind must be held to be primary. As WJM once stated “Mind controls what is perceived, how it is perceived, and how those percepts are labeled and organized. “

    “In any philosophy of reality that is not ultimately self-defeating or internally contradictory, mind – unlabeled as anything else, matter or spiritual – must be primary. What is “matter” and what is “conceptual” and what is “spiritual” can only be organized from mind. Mind controls what is perceived, how it is perceived, and how those percepts are labeled and organized. Mind must be postulated as the unobserved observer, the uncaused cause simply to avoid a self-negating, self-conflicting worldview. It is the necessary postulate of all necessary postulates, because nothing else can come first. To say anything else comes first requires mind to consider and argue that case and then believe it to be true, demonstrating that without mind, you could not believe that mind is not primary in the first place.”
    – William J. Murray

    As to the next statement that Andrew made,

    Infinity doesn’t represent anything we can perceive, detect, or comprehend. Finite numbers can represent things we perceive, detect, and comprehend.

    Yet Gödel basically destroyed the idea of ‘finiteness’ with his incompleteness theorem which is popularly stated as such, ““Anything you can draw a circle around cannot explain itself without referring to something outside the circle—something you have to assume but cannot prove”,,

    Kurt Gödel (ref. on cite), halted the achievement of a unifying all-encompassing theory of everything in his theorem that: “Anything you can draw a circle around cannot explain itself without referring to something outside the circle—something you have to assume but cannot prove”.”
    – Stephen Hawking & Leonard Miodinow, The Grand Design (2010) @ 15-6

    Thus I hold that the entire idea of finite objects being the basis of what we define as ‘real’,, and the idea of finite objects existing independently of anything else, specifically existing independently of the infinite Mind of God, is simply a false mental construct i.e. a ‘mental exercise’ as you put it. In fact, Gödel himself postulated that “For something to be a whole, it has to have an additional object, say, a soul or a mind.”

    “In materialism all elements behave the same. It is mysterious to think of them as spread out and automatically united. For something to be a whole, it has to have an additional object, say, a soul or a mind. “Matter” refers to one way of perceiving things, and elementary particles are a lower form of mind. Mind is separate from matter.”
    Kurt Gödel – Hao Wang’s supplemental biography of Gödel, A Logical Journey, MIT Press, 1996. [9.4.12]

    And Gödel also held that this composite ‘finite whole’ of material, mind and/or soul could potentially contain the infinite

    “Even if the finite brain cannot store an infinite amount of information, the spirit may be able to. The brain is a computing machine connected with a spirit. If the brain is taken to be physical and as [to be] a digital computer, from quantum mechanics [it follows that] there are then only a finite number of states. Only by connecting it [the brain] to a spirit might it work in some other way.”
    – Kurt Gödel – Section 6.2.14 from A Logical Journey by Hao Wang, MIT Press, 1996.
    https://books.google.com/books?id=pckvCy6L_ocC&pg=PA193&#v=onepage&q&f=false

    In fact, Godel also held that infinite God could “play the role of a (supposedly finite) person.”

    “Einstein’s religion [was] more abstract, like Spinoza and Indian philosophy. Spinoza’s god is less than a person; mine is more than a person; because God can play the role of a person.”
    – Kurt Gödel

    Moreover, as a Christian, I hold that man was created to have a relationship with infinite God. Thus, hopefully you can see that your claim that “Infinity doesn’t represent anything we can perceive, detect, or comprehend” would be fairly disconcerting for me since we were in fact created to basically have a relationship with ‘the infinite’

    Quotes and Verse

    “In a sense, the duality of being is such that simultaneously our bodies straddle the finite while our souls straddle infinity. Infinity is apparent to mankind because we are able to suppose and acknowledge that which is beyond our grasp of understanding. We are unable to comprehend the quantity of the largest number we can think of though we are aware that the largest we can imagine is infinitely large.”
    – John W. Casperson – Toward Spiritual Sovereignty: A Secular Bible – pg 33 – 2007

    The Supreme God is a Being eternal, infinite, absolutely perfect;,,, from his true dominion it follows that the true God is a living, intelligent, and powerful Being; and, from his other perfections, that he is supreme, or most perfect. He is eternal and infinite, omnipotent and omniscient; that is, his duration reaches from eternity to eternity; his presence from infinity to infinity; he governs all things, and knows all things that are or can be done. He is not eternity or infinity, but eternal and infinite; he is not duration or space, but he endures and is present. He endures for ever, and is every where present”:
    – Sir Isaac Newton –

    James 4:8
    Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

  53. 53
    jdk says:

    I know all that about the squares, kf. I just think it’s cool that Galileo thought about as he did so many years before Cantor formalized the understanding.

  54. 54
    Querius says:

    Thank you, bornagain77, for the delightful and enlightening quotes and commentary!

    -Q

  55. 55
    critical rationalist says:

    @BA77

    Yes folks, CR actually said that. ???? ,,, Moreover, CR repeated that claim several times after being corrected.

    So we do have a working theory of quantum gravity? Last time I checked, we don’t. So, how was I corrected?

    String Theory Explained

  56. 56
    critical rationalist says:

    @KF

    CR, do you notice that in this context I speak to causal-temporal succession of finite stages [of the world]? By doing so, I draw out that time is here tied to causally rooted change, an empirically anchored understanding which is robust.

    So you’re denying there are significant criticisms of our current conception of time?

  57. 57
    jdk says:

    Hi CR. I’ve made the following point several times in this discussion, which is one of the reasons why I’ve not got involved in the “infinite past” problem:

    Our understanding of time as “causally rooted change, an empirically anchored understanding which is robust” to quote kf, is based on an understanding of time as it appears in our physical universe. (And even then there are complexities related to both relativity and quantum mechanics.)

    To extrapolate that understanding of time to whatever might be “beyond”” our universe is at best an unverifiable speculation. We have no way of knowing if sequential, causal change, analogous to what we experience here in our universe, is at all applicable to whatever metaphysical world is “beyond”” the physical one we know.

    Therefore, arguments about what “the past” might even mean in respect to anything other than time as we experience it within our universe seem pointless to me, ungrounded in any evidence whatsoever.

  58. 58
    kairosfocus says:

    JDK, yes he looked at it then decided that something was wrong and backed away. KF

    PS: Causal succession of stages is at the heart of the relevance of time. And at cosmological level we are looking at playout of the cosmos on the grand scale, e.g. as the image from NASA shows in the OP. BTW, many thinkers on physical cosmology project beyond the singularity, hence my stress on stages.

  59. 59
    kairosfocus says:

    CR, I am focussing on where the main issues are. KF

  60. 60
    bornagain77 says:

    at 55: Though corrected, CR persists in his claim:

    “Except in all the cases where they (Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity) completely and repeatedly disagree with actual experimental tests.
    Again, unless you can point me to a working theory of quantum gravity, both quantum mechanics and relativity have been proven false because they disagree with experiment.”
    – critical rationalist
    https://uncommondescent.com/philosophy/actually-the-multiverse-is-cheerfully-beyond-falsifiability/#comment-649909

    I would have hoped that CR thinking through his preposterous claim a little more carefully, over the past few weeks or so, might have jarred him to his senses, but alas, there are none so blind as those who do not want to see.

    Even Jesus asked the blind man if he ‘wanted’ to see before He gave him sight:

    Mark 10:51
    “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”

    If this condition of desire were so for a physically blind man, how much more should we desire to have ‘spiritual sight’ so that we might properly discern the things of God?

    John 9 40-41
    Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?”
    Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.

  61. 61
    bornagain77 says:

    CR,,, OK,,, let’s try this one more time,,, as even your own referenced video mentions at the very beginning,

    “What is the true nature of the universe? To answer this question humans come up with stories (hypothesis) to describe the world. We test our stories and learn what to keep and what to throw away.”
    String Theory Explained – What is The True Nature of Reality?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Da-2h2B4faU

    Your video, at the 3:30 minute mark, even goes on to mention ‘that some quantum properties of the electron have been tested and found to be accurate up to 0.0000000000002%’.

    Nowhere in your referenced video did the narrator of the video EVER claim, as you have now done repeatedly, that “both quantum mechanics and relativity have been proven false because they disagree with experiment.”

    In fact, it is precisely because quantum mechanics and relativity have never disagreed with any experiment devised to test their predictions that we know that quantum mechanics and relativity are our best “stories” (hypothesis) about the true nature of the universe.

    Your very own referenced video then goes on to state, at the 5:55 minute mark, that “no prediction of string theory has been proven in an experiment. So string theory did not reveal the nature of our universe”.,,, He then goes on to try argue that string theory, although it has no experimental support, may be useful in some esoteric sense of furthering mathematics.

    The main point being is that your very own referenced video concedes my point that both quantum mechanics and relativity are our best ‘stories’ about the true nature of reality precisely because they both have NEVER failed experimental tests of their predictions. Whereas, your very own referenced video then goes on to concede that “no prediction of string theory has been proven in an experiment”

    To spell all of this out as clearly as I possibly can CR, since “no prediction of string theory has been proven in an experiment” it is the “story” of String theory itself that is brought into question, not the ‘stories’ of quantum mechanics and relativity that are brought into question.

    In fact, in a “minor detail” that was not mentioned in your referenced video, in so far as we have been able to test some of the predictions of string theory, it has failed to live up to its predictions.

    Thus, by the criteria set by your very own referenced video,,,

    “We test our stories and learn what to keep and what to throw away.”

    ,,, as far as experimental science is concerned, it is String theory itself that needs to be ‘thrown away’, and certainly not Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity that need to be thrown away.

    Verse:

    1 Thessalonians 5:21
    but test all things. Hold fast to what is good.

  62. 62
    asauber says:

    OK, so maybe this restatement will help:

    Infinity is strictly an idea. It’s not subject to scientific scrutiny. In that sense it’s not science. It’s philosophy, if anything.

    That being said, there is the infinity of God’s nature that has been revealed to us. That discussion is easy to identify. It’s theology and you can’t apply a scientific method to it.

    I’m just trying to keep things in their proper categories, because people are trying to appeal to infinity in different kinds of ways, and its helpful to keep the thought processes about it organized.

    Andrew

  63. 63
    jdk says:

    kf writes, “…many thinkers on physical cosmology project beyond the singularity.”

    Yes, and my point is that this is unjustified speculation. We have no evidence, one way or the other, that time as it appears to us in our universe is analogous to something, whatever that something might be, “beyond the singularity.”

  64. 64
    jdk says:

    to asauber.

    Questions:

    1. Is the number pi subject to scientific scrutiny?

    2) Are complex numbers a + bi subject to scientific scrutiny?

    3. Is the identity e ^ (i•pi) = -1 subject to scientific scrutiny?

    4. Is the series cos x = 1 – x^2/2! + x^4/4! – … subject to scientific scrutiny?

    5. Is the fact that there are an infinite number of primes subject to scientific scrutiny?

    6. Is the fact that sqr(2) is irrational subject to scientific scrutiny?

    If your answers to any of the above are yes, can you explain what scientific scrutiny would look like?

    If your answer to all of the above are no, are you saying that either

    a) all math is not subject to scientific scrutiny, or

    b) only some math is subject to scientific scrutiny?

    And if b, can you give an example of math that is subject to scientific scrutiny, and, more generally, can you offer some general principles as to how to distinguish math that is subject to scientific scrutiny and math that isn’t?

  65. 65
    asauber says:

    1. Is the number pi subject to scientific scrutiny?

    jdk,

    Answer: no.

    What does this have to do with infinity being an idea or not?

    Andrew

  66. 66
    jdk says:

    I’m trying to understand what you think math is, and how it relates to science.

    Of course, infinity is an idea. Pi is an idea. All of math is a set of logically related ideas.

    Do you agree with that statement?

  67. 67
    asauber says:

    jdk,

    “All of math is a set of logically related ideas.”

    I can agree with this statement with qualifier.

    I’m not a mathematician, but I understand that some math leads to contradictions.

    So I would say, “Generally, math is a set of logically related ideas.”

    Andrew

  68. 68
    jdk says:

    Good: I appreciate the clear and concise answers.

    So, is math in general subject to scientific scrutiny, or not?

    Or is some math subject to scientific scrutiny, and some not?

  69. 69
    asauber says:

    jdk,

    Math is not subject to scientific scrutiny. It’s arranging symbols. The result is always just an arrangement of symbols.

    I have to draw the line of science/not science somewhere.

    Where do you draw the line, jdk?

    Andrew

  70. 70
    jdk says:

    OK, I think maybe I understand your position, and perhaps agree with you. Here’s my perspective.

    Mathematical systems are logically coherent sets of abstract ideas. As such, their truth is self-contained and subject to confirmation only in respect to other.

    We then use math as part of descriptive and explanatory models of the real world, and then we test those models scientifically, in respect to empirical evidence. When we do so we are testing whether the model is correct, not whether the math is true.

  71. 71
    asauber says:

    Thank you for the conversation, jdk. I enjoyed it thoroughly.

    I don’t have a personal vendetta against mathematics, and it’s inclusion or not in what I think of as science should not be taken as trying to demean or enhance it in any way.

    I think what is included in science should be limited. If it isn’t limited, we are just going to have (and have) a big mess of a lot of noise being referred to as ‘science’.

    I guess math just gets to be the thing on the edge.

    Andrew

  72. 72
    kairosfocus says:

    JDK, we know SOMETHING was there, and it is appropriate to inquire from what we know to its sources, using relevant tools and signatures. In the OP above, this is at highly generic level, using causal chains and then applying the Agrippa trilemma [a regressive chain has a root, what is it like?], logic of being and logic of structure and quantity. Such are sufficiently recognised that the field of physical cosmology exists. Nothing, non-being cannot cause. Circularity runs into future and so not yet existent causing its past, again something from nothing. Infinitely regressive quasi-physical world in some form is put up in some quarters but it requires traversal of the transfinite step by step, dubious at best. Finitely remote, necessary being root is what is on the table. I add, evidence of fine tuned physics points to design. KF

  73. 73
    bornagain77 says:

    Andrew, might I suggest that your attempt to ‘draw a line’ in science so as to exclude infinity from science, and only include that which is supposedly finite in science, is an artificial stricture on science that is in many ways similar to the artificial stricture of methodological naturalism that materialists have tried to impose on science?

    Might I also suggest that we are at such a point in science, at the present day, that dealing with infinity forthrightly, instead of basically ignoring it, is now a necessary part of science and is no longer an area of science where we can afford to say beyond “here be dragons”?

    The demarcation for what science is and what science is not has always been one of experimentation, and/or falsification as Popper put it, and has never been one of an arbitrary line someone has drawn in science so as ‘to keep things organized’:

    The Scientific Method – Richard Feynman – video
    Quote: ‘If it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong. In that simple statement is the key to science. It doesn’t make any difference how beautiful your guess is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are who made the guess, or what his name is… If it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong. That’s all there is to it.”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OL6-x0modwY

    “In so far as a scientific statement speaks about reality, it must be falsifiable; and in so far as it is not falsifiable, it does not speak about reality.”
    Karl Popper – The Two Fundamental Problems of the Theory of Knowledge (2014 edition), Routledge

    Dubitable Darwin? Why Some Smart, Nonreligious People Doubt the Theory of Evolution By John Horgan on July 6, 2010
    Excerpt: Early in his career, the philosopher Karl Popper ,, called evolution via natural selection “almost a tautology” and “not a testable scientific theory but a metaphysical research program.” Attacked for these criticisms, Popper took them back (in approx 1978). But when I interviewed him in 1992, he blurted out that he still found Darwin’s theory dissatisfying. “One ought to look for alternatives!” Popper exclaimed, banging his kitchen table.
    http://blogs.scientificamerica.....evolution/

  74. 74
    asauber says:

    only include that which is supposedly finite in science, is an artificial stricture

    BA77,

    Why would I include something unverifiable like infinity in science?

    If I’m going to include unverifiable things in science, what should I exclude and why?

    Andrew

  75. 75
    bornagain77 says:

    And, using experimental science, you can verify that a particle and/or photon is “strictly” finite how exactly?

    Quantum Mechanics itself simply refuses to obey your artificial stricture between what you believe to be “strictly” finite and what you believe to be “unverifiable infinity”. i.e. Wave/Particle duality.

    The supposed ‘demarcation’ between the finite and the infinite does not disappear in Quantum electrodynamics (QED). Indeed the infinity that crops up in the unification of Special Relativity and Quantum Mechanics was not ‘ignored’ in QED, as you suggest doing, but was forthrightly dealt with what is called ‘renormalization’.

    That infinity is basically built into both Quantum Mechanics and QED is thus ‘verification’ that infinity is very much a part of the ‘real’ world.

    Moreover, if you consider pi, with its infinitely many decimal places, to be infinite in its basic character as I do, then, since pi is ‘built into’ General Relativity, infinity is integral to General Relativity also, and has thus been ‘verified’ in our other great scientific ‘story’ about the nature of reality.

    Of related note as to the ‘leftover’ infinity in the renomalization of QED

    Does quantum mechanics contradict the theory of relativity?
    Sanjay Sood, Microchip Design Engineer, Theoretical and Applied Physicist – Feb 14, 2016
    Excerpt: quantum mechanics was first integrated with special theory of relativity by Dirac in 1928 just 3 years after quantum mechanics was discovered. Dirac produced an equation that describes the behavior of a quantum particle (electron). In this equation the space and time enter on the same footing – equation is first order in all 4 coordinates. One startling by product of this equation was the prediction of anti matter. It also gave the correct explanation for the electron’s spin. Dirac’s equation treats an electron as a particle with only a finite degrees of freedom.
    In 1940s Dirac’s equation was incorporated into the relativistic quantum field theory that’s knowns as quantum electrodynamics (QED) independently by Feynman, Schwinger and Tomonaga. This is the theory that describes the behavior of electrons and photons and their interactions with each other in terms of relativistic quantum fields that have infinite degrees of freedom. QED allowed extremely precise calculation of anomalous magnetic dipole moment of an electron. This calculated value matches the experimentally measured value to an astonishing precision of 12 decimal places!
    The integration of Einstein’s general theory of relativity and quantum mechanics has proved to be far more difficult. Such an integration would give a quantum theory of gravity. Even after a sustained effort lasting more than half a century, no renormalized quantum field theory of gravity has ever been produced. Renormalization means a theory that’s free of infinities at zero distance or infinite energy because 2 point particles can interact with each other at zero distance. A non renormalizable theory has no predictive value because it contains an infinite number of singular coefficients.
    https://www.quora.com/Does-quantum-mechanics-contradict-the-theory-of-relativity

  76. 76
    asauber says:

    And, using experimental science, you can verify that a particle and/or photon is “strictly” finite how exactly?

    I don’t know enough about particles and/or photons to answer your question.

    Does one need to invoke infinity to study these things? Why?

    Andrew

  77. 77
    asauber says:

    And BTW, don’t think I didn’t notice you didn’t answer my question:

    If I’m going to include unverifiable things in science, what should I exclude and why?

    Andrew

  78. 78
    bornagain77 says:

    Does one need to invoke infinity to study these things?

    Yes.

    Why?

    Because apparently, instead of infinity being ‘abstract’, infinity is indeed ‘real’ and needs to be dealt with in order to get an accurate description of even a single particle of reality.

    Here is a short video that may help:

    Double Slit, Quantum-Electrodynamics, and Christian Theism
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AK9kGpIxMRM

  79. 79
    bornagain77 says:

    I did answer your question in that ,, 1. infinity is apparently not ‘unverifiable’ as you hold,, and 2. experimentation and falsification is precisely what demarcates science from pseudoscience.

  80. 80
    asauber says:

    1. infinity is apparently not ‘unverifiable’ as you hold

    I’m sure this is where we’ll have to disagree.

    I don’t think an arrangement of symbols verifies that infinity is real.

    Andrew

  81. 81
    bornagain77 says:

    I didn’t say “an arrangement of symbols verifies that infinity is real”. I said “That infinity is basically built into both Quantum Mechanics and QED is thus ‘verification’ that infinity is very much a part of the ‘real’ world.”

    i.e. I appealed to the fact that those mere ‘symbols’ of infinity are central to our most accurate mathematical theories in experimental science.

    If infinity were merely abstract as you hold, there should have been no experimental correspondence with reality.

  82. 82
    asauber says:

    BA77,

    Well, I’m not going to bead a dead horse, or News will get mad. 😉

    This is my last word, so you may have the final say:

    Evidently, I’m not the only person who thinks this way.

    “This is ultimately why I believe infinity should not be an axiom of mathematics. It cannot be imagined – and it is not right to declare something exists which cannot be imaginable – not even in mathematics. If you say you believe in infinity, say you understand it, say you can manipulate it and do mathematics with it – it isn’t true. It can’t be imagined, it can’t be realized, it can’t be used in mathematics – only finite approximations can. You cannot imagine infinity, use infinity, describe, or realized infinity. If you could – it would be finite. Not only does infinity not exist – I think it cannot exist – not in the real world – not in imagination – not in mathematics.”

    http://theorangeduck.com/page/.....esnt-exist

    You can put a symbol for infinity in your mental model. That is the only thing you can do with it.

    Andrew

  83. 83
    bornagain77 says:

    “N J Wildberger, one of the most controversial modern finitist mathematicians.”

    Well, you may appeal to a ‘controversial finitist’ mathematician’s opinion, and I’m sure if I dug around I could find more quotes from Cantor and Godel to support my position,,,, but, again, I first and foremost appeal to experimental physics itself, i.e. Quantum, QED,,, which I have already referenced.

    I’ll take experimental results over opinions any day!

  84. 84

    It’s not every day that we see asauber and bornagain77 at odds. Very interesting thread.

  85. 85
    bornagain77 says:

    TWSYF, better take a picture, because I don’t ever remember disagreeing with anything else Andrew has ever written on UD.

  86. 86
    J-Mac says:

    My conclusion (so far) on the suggested infinite past, beginningless physical world: not plausible, likely not possible, here’s why

    I’m just curious…
    How do you accept the supposed paradox of the apparent effect before causation in quantum mechanics?

  87. 87
    kairosfocus says:

    J-Mac, I am not dealing with quantum scale phenomena, but with cosmos scale phenomena. As for quantum effects, some suggest — note, suggest — to me that we have a path through another dimension that effectively allows really odd things. I note too that “wavicles” indicates that our classical-influenced views are only part of the story. KF

    PS: A take on so-called delayed choice experiments:

    Wheeler’s idea was to imagine a “cosmic interferometer.” Suppose light from a distant distant quasar were to be gravitationally lensed by closer galaxy. As a result, light from a single quasar would appear as coming from two slightly different locations. Wheeler then noted that this light could be observed in two different ways. The first would be to have a detector aimed at each lensed image, thus making a particle measurement. The second would be to combine light from these two images in an interferometer, thus making a wave measurement. According to quantum theory, the results of these two types of experiments (particle or wave) would be exactly as we’ve observed in their standard form. But the light began its journey billions of years ago, long before we decided on which experiment to perform. Through this “delayed choice” it would seem as if the quasar light “knew” whether it would be seen as a particle or wave billions of years before the experiment was devised.

    Although the quasar experiment Wheeler proposed isn’t practical, modern experimental equipment allows us to perform a similar experiment in the lab, where the decision to measure a particle or wave is done at random after the quantum system is “committed.” For example, in 2007 a delayed-choice experiment was made using laser light to create a delayed-choice double slit experiment. In this new paper, the team used an ultracold helium atom to do a similar delayed-choice interference experiment. With both experiments the results were exactly as predicted by quantum theory. So both matter and light exhibit this strange quantum effect.

    While this is great work, the result isn’t unexpected. Quantum theory made a very clear prediction about this kind of experiment, and its prediction has been confirmed. Where things get fuzzy is in the interpretation. One popular way to interpret quantum theory is to presume quanta have a potential wavefunction, which then collapses into a definite state when observed. In this view the act of measurement gives reality to the quantum. In the delayed-choice experiment that would mean the quantum doesn’t become “real” until you measure it, which could be billions of years after its origin in the case of quasar light. But this is an overly simplistic take on things. Quantum objects are real, but simply have indefinite properties. These properties are defined by the experiments we do. What the delayed choice experiments really show is that quanta don’t exist as particles or waves, but are truly unique objects which can exhibit particle and wave properties in certain experiments.

    While that might seem strange, it isn’t magical or mystical. The Moon wouldn’t vanish from existence if everyone closed their eyes, and reality isn’t dependent upon us observing it.

  88. 88
    critical rationalist says:

    @BA77

    Why do we need a theory of quantum gravity?

  89. 89
    critical rationalist says:

    J-Mac, I am not dealing with quantum scale phenomena, but with cosmos scale phenomena.

    Cosmos scale phenomena is an approximation. So, your dealing with an approximation of the cosmos. That’s my point, and apparently J-Mac’s as well.

    Cosmic scale phenomena depends on quantum scale phenomena. Atoms are an emergent property of it.

  90. 90
    bornagain77 says:

    kf, the presumption of ‘realism’ is not nearly as secure as you and Brian Koberlein are contending:

    An experimental test of non-local realism – 2007
    Simon Gröblacher, Tomasz Paterek, Rainer Kaltenbaek, Caslav Brukner, Marek Zukowski, Markus Aspelmeyer &; Anton Zeilinger
    Abstract: Most working scientists hold fast to the concept of ‘realism’—a viewpoint according to which an external reality exists independent of observation. But quantum physics has shattered some of our cornerstone beliefs. According to Bell’s theorem, any theory that is based on the joint assumption of realism and locality (meaning that local events cannot be affected by actions in space-like separated regions) is at variance with certain quantum predictions. Experiments with entangled pairs of particles have amply confirmed these quantum predictions, thus rendering local realistic theories untenable. Maintaining realism as a fundamental concept would therefore necessitate the introduction of ‘spooky’ actions that defy locality. Here we show by both theory and experiment that a broad and rather reasonable class of such non-local realistic theories is incompatible with experimentally observable quantum correlations. In the experiment, we measure previously untested correlations between two entangled photons, and show that these correlations violate an inequality proposed by Leggett for non-local realistic theories. Our result suggests that giving up the concept of locality is not sufficient to be consistent with quantum experiments, unless certain intuitive features of realism are abandoned.
    http://www.nature.com/nature/j.....05677.html

    Quantum physics says goodbye to reality – Apr 20, 2007
    Excerpt: Many realizations of the thought experiment have indeed verified the violation of Bell’s inequality. These have ruled out all hidden-variables theories based on joint assumptions of realism, meaning that reality exists when we are not observing it; and locality, meaning that separated events cannot influence one another instantaneously. But a violation of Bell’s inequality does not tell specifically which assumption – realism, locality or both – is discordant with quantum mechanics.
    Markus Aspelmeyer, Anton Zeilinger and colleagues from the University of Vienna, however, have now shown that realism is more of a problem than locality in the quantum world. They devised an experiment that violates a different inequality proposed by physicist Anthony Leggett in 2003 that relies only on realism, and relaxes the reliance on locality. To do this, rather than taking measurements along just one plane of polarization, the Austrian team took measurements in additional, perpendicular planes to check for elliptical polarization.
    They found that, just as in the realizations of Bell’s thought experiment, Leggett’s inequality is violated – thus stressing the quantum-mechanical assertion that reality does not exist when we’re not observing it. “Our study shows that ‘just’ giving up the concept of locality would not be enough to obtain a more complete description of quantum mechanics,” Aspelmeyer told Physics Web. “You would also have to give up certain intuitive features of realism.”
    http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/27640

    “Look, we all have fun ridiculing the creationists who think the world sprang into existence on October 23, 4004 BC at 9AM (presumably Babylonian time), with the fossils already in the ground, light from distant stars heading toward us, etc. But if we accept the usual picture of quantum mechanics, then in a certain sense the situation is far worse: the world (as you experience it) might as well not have existed 10^-43 seconds ago!”
    – Scott Aaronson – MIT associate Professor quantum computation – Lecture 11: Decoherence and Hidden Variables

    Experiment confirms quantum theory weirdness – May 27, 2015
    Excerpt: The bizarre nature of reality as laid out by quantum theory has survived another test, with scientists performing a famous experiment and proving that reality does not exist until it is measured.
    Physicists at The Australian National University (ANU) have conducted John Wheeler’s delayed-choice thought experiment, which involves a moving object that is given the choice to act like a particle or a wave. Wheeler’s experiment then asks – at which point does the object decide?
    Common sense says the object is either wave-like or particle-like, independent of how we measure it. But quantum physics predicts that whether you observe wave like behavior (interference) or particle behavior (no interference) depends only on how it is actually measured at the end of its journey. This is exactly what the ANU team found.
    “It proves that measurement is everything. At the quantum level, reality does not exist if you are not looking at it,” said Associate Professor Andrew Truscott from the ANU Research School of Physics and Engineering.
    Despite the apparent weirdness, the results confirm the validity of quantum theory, which,, has enabled the development of many technologies such as LEDs, lasers and computer chips.
    The ANU team not only succeeded in building the experiment, which seemed nearly impossible when it was proposed in 1978, but reversed Wheeler’s original concept of light beams being bounced by mirrors, and instead used atoms scattered by laser light.
    “Quantum physics’ predictions about interference seem odd enough when applied to light, which seems more like a wave, but to have done the experiment with atoms, which are complicated things that have mass and interact with electric fields and so on, adds to the weirdness,” said Roman Khakimov, PhD student at the Research School of Physics and Engineering.
    http://phys.org/news/2015-05-q.....dness.html

    The Incompatibility of Physicalism with Physics: A Conversation with Dr. Bruce Gordon – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wk-UO81HmO4

    Divine Action and the World of Science: What Cosmology and Quantum Physics Teach Us about the Role of Providence in Nature – Bruce L. Gordon – 2017
    Excerpt page 295: In light of this realization, the rather startling picture that begins to seem plausible is that preserving and explaining the objective structure of appearances in light of quantum theory requires reviving a type of phenomenalism in which our perception of the physical universe is constituted by sense-data conforming to certain structural constraints, but in which there is no substantial material reality causing these sensory perceptions. This leaves us with an ontology of minds (as immaterial substances) experiencing and generating mental events and processes that, when sensory in nature, have a formal character limned by the fundamental symmetries and structures revealed in “physical” theory. That these structured sensory perceptions are not mostly of our own individual or collective human making points to the falsity of any solipsistic or social constructivist conclusion, but it also implies the need for a transcendent source and ground of our experience. As Robert Adams points out, mere formal structure is ontologically incomplete:
    [A] system of spatiotemporal relationships constituted by sizes, shapes, positions, and changes thereof, is too incomplete, too hollow, as it were, to constitute an ultimately real thing or substance. It is a framework that, by its very nature, needs to be filled in by something less purely formal. It can only be a structure of something of some not merely structural sort. Formally, rich as such a structure may be, it lacks too much of the reality of material
    thinghood. By itself, it participates in the incompleteness of abstractions. . . .
    [T]he reality of a substance must include something intrinsic and qualitativeover and above any formal or structural features it may possess.117
    When we consider the fact that the structure of reality in fundamental physical theory is merely phenomenological and that this structure itself is hollow and non-qualitative, whereas our experience is not, the metaphysical objectivity and epistemic intersubjectivity of the enstructured qualitative reality of our experience can be seen to be best explained by an occasionalist idealism of the sort advocated by George Berkeley (1685-1753) or Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758). In the metaphysical context of this kind of theistic immaterialism, the vera causa that brings coherent closure to the phenomenological reality we inhabit is always and only agent causation. The necessity of causal sufficiency is met by divine action, for as Plantinga emphasizes:
    [T]he connection between God’s willing that there be light and there being light is necessary in the broadly logical sense: it is necessary in that sense that if God wills that p, p occurs. Insofar as we have a grasp of necessity (and we do have a grasp of necessity), we also have a grasp of causality when it is divine causality that is at issue. I take it this is a point in favor of occasionalism, and in fact it constitutes a very powerful advantage of occasionalism. 118
    http://jbtsonline.org/wp-conte.....ressed.pdf

  91. 91
    bornagain77 says:

    critical rationalist, who still has not conceded his monumental blunder in claiming QM and GR are both contradicted by experiment, asks

    Why do we need a theory of quantum gravity?

    Well CR, I know exactly why people are looking for one, but do you?

    Exactly why do you think we need a theory of quantum gravity and/or a ‘theory of everything’?

    In other words, exactly what is the presupposition that makes you, and everyone else, believe there should be such a theory?

  92. 92
    critical rationalist says:

    @BA77

    Well CR, I know exactly why people are looking for one, but do you?

    Then do tell. I asked you, remember?

    Why do we need a theory of quantum gravity?

  93. 93
    bornagain77 says:

    critical rationalist, who still has not conceded his monumental blunder of claiming that both Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity completely and repeatedly disagree with actual experimental tests,,,

    “Except in all the cases where they (Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity) completely and repeatedly disagree with actual experimental tests.
    Again, unless you can point me to a working theory of quantum gravity, both quantum mechanics and relativity have been proven false because they disagree with experiment.”
    – critical rationalist
    https://uncommondescent.com/philosophy/actually-the-multiverse-is-cheerfully-beyond-falsifiability/#comment-649909

    critical rationalist now asks,,,

    Why do we need a theory of quantum gravity (and/or a ‘theory of everything’)?

    Despite my reservations that CR will ever listen to reason, (since he apparently lacks the capacity to admit when he is wrong), and yet primarily for the sake of other readers who are reasonable, I will take the time to answer CR’s question.

    First and foremost, why do we even presuppose that there should be a unification into a ‘theory of everything’ between Quantum Theory and General Relativity in the first place?
    Such a presupposition doesn’t follow from the math. In fact, both General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics are built on different mathematical frameworks.

    The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences – Eugene Wigner – 1960
    Excerpt: We now have, in physics, two theories of great power and interest: the theory of quantum phenomena and the theory of relativity.,,, The two theories operate with different mathematical concepts: the four dimensional Riemann space and the infinite dimensional Hilbert space,
    http://www.dartmouth.edu/~matc.....igner.html

    Shape from Sound: Toward New Tools for Quantum Gravity – 2013
    Excerpt: To unify general relativity and quantum theory is hard in part because they are formulated in two very different mathematical languages, differential geometry and functional analysis.,,,
    http://prl.aps.org/abstract/PRL/v110/i12/e121301

    Moreover, according to work done by leading Mathematician Gregory Chaitin, “an infinite number of true mathematical theorems exist that cannot be proved from any finite system of axioms.”

    The Limits Of Reason – Gregory Chaitin – 2006
    Excerpt: Unlike Gödel’s approach, mine is based on measuring information and showing that some mathematical facts cannot be compressed into a theory because they are too complicated. This new approach suggests that what Gödel discovered was just the tip of the iceberg: an infinite number of true mathematical theorems exist that cannot be proved from any finite system of axioms.
    http://www.umcs.maine.edu/~chaitin/sciamer3.pdf

    Thus, the presupposition that there should even be a theory of everything certainly doesn’t follow from the mathematics. So where does the presupposition come from? Well, I hate to break to our dogmatic atheists readers, but the presupposition that there should even be a single overarching ‘theory of everything’ is a belief that is born solely out of Theistic presuppositions. As Professor Steve Fuller put it,,

    “So you think of physics in search of a “Grand Unified Theory of Everything”, Why should we even think there is such a thing? Why should we think there is some ultimate level of resolution? Right? It is part, it is a consequence of believing in some kind of design. Right? And there is some sense in which that however multifarious and diverse the phenomena of nature are, they are ultimately unified by the minimal set of laws and principles possible. In so far as science continues to operate with that assumption, there is a presupposition of design that is motivating the scientific process. Because it would be perfectly easy,, to stop the pursuit of science at much lower levels. You know understand a certain range of phenomena in a way that is appropriate to deal with that phenomena and just stop there and not go any deeper or any farther.”,,, You see, there is a sense in which there is design at the ultimate level, the ultimate teleology you might say, which provides the ultimate closure,,”
    Professor of philosophy Steve Fuller discusses intelligent design in Cambridge – Video – quoted at the 17:34 minute mark
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....nd-others/

    John D. Barrow agrees with this line of thought by Prof. Fuller,,,

    “Our monotheistic traditions reinforce the assumption that the universe is at root a unity, that is not governed by different legislation in different places.”
    John D. Barrow New Theories of Everything: The Quest for Ultimate Explanation – pg. 18

    Atheists simply have no coherent reason for believing that there should be ‘one unifying rational form to all things’, i.e. a ‘theory of everything’.

    Stephen Hawking’s “God-Haunted” Quest – David Klinghoffer – December 24, 2014
    Excerpt: Why in the world would a scientist blithely assume that there is or is even likely to be one unifying rational form to all things, unless he assumed that there is a singular, overarching intelligence that has placed it there? Why shouldn’t the world be chaotic, utterly random, meaningless? Why should one presume that something as orderly and rational as an equation would describe the universe’s structure?
    I would argue that the only finally reasonable ground for that assumption is the belief in an intelligent Creator, who has already thought into the world the very mathematics that the patient scientist discovers.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....92351.html

    In fact, the first major unification in physics was Sir Isaac Newton’s realization that “the same force that caused an apple to fall at the Earth’s surface—gravity—was also responsible for holding the Moon in orbit about the Earth”,,

    Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation
    Excerpt: The first major unification in physics was Sir Isaac Newton’s realization that the same force that caused an apple to fall at the Earth’s surface—gravity—was also responsible for holding the Moon in orbit about the Earth. This universal force would also act between the planets and the Sun, providing a common explanation for both terrestrial and astronomical phenomena.
    https://www.learner.org/courses/physics/unit/text.html?unit=3&secNum=3

    Today, we just take it for granted that the laws of nature are universal in scope, thus it is hard for us to envision just how crucial this breakthrough in thought was for the birth of modern science.
    And yet, even though practically all scientists today take this presupposition of universal laws for granted, the fact that the laws of nature are universal in scope was a discovery that was made possible only because of Sir Isaac Newton’s prior Christian belief in a ‘universal law giver’.

    As C.S. Lewis put it, ‘Men became scientific because they expected Law in Nature, and they expected Law in Nature because they believed in a Legislator.’

    ‘Men became scientific because they expected Law in Nature, and they expected Law in Nature because they believed in a Legislator. In most modern scientists this belief has died:,,,”
    C.S. Lewis, Miracles: a preliminary study, Collins, London, p. 110, 1947.

    Thus, much to the consternation of Atheists, in so far that anyone believes there should be just one overarching, and unifying, explanation for why the universe is the way it is, i.e. a ‘theory of everything’, that person, whether he is aware of it or not, is holding onto a thoroughly Theistic presupposition about how the universe should operate.

    One final note, if we rightly let the Agent causality of God ‘back’ into the picture of modern physics, as the Christian founders of modern science originally envisioned, (Newton, Maxwell, Faraday, and Planck, to name a few), ,,, then an empirically backed reconciliation between Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity, i.e. the ‘Theory of Everything’, readily pops out for us in Christ’s resurrection from the dead.

    Specifically, the fact that Jesus Christ dealt with both general relativity and quantum mechanics in His resurrection from the dead is made evident by the Shroud of Turin. You can glimpse some of that evidence from the Shroud of Turin at the 23:30 mark of the following video,

    Gödel, Infinity, and Jesus Christ as the Theory of Everything – 23:30 mark
    https://youtu.be/x1Jw5Y686jY?t=1415

    Verse:

    Colossians 1:15-20
    The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

  94. 94
    critical rationalist says:

    @BA77

    CR: Why do we need a theory of quantum gravity?

    BA77: Well CR, I know exactly why people are looking for one, but do you?

    CR: (well that wasn’t exactly what I asked, but) … do tell? Why do we need a theory of quantum gravity?

    BA77 wrote….

    The two theories operate with different mathematical concepts: the four dimensional Riemann space and the infinite dimensional Hilbert space,

    Yes. Those two models are different in that they are incompatible with each other. They say conflicting things about reality.

    It’s like landing in a country and being handed two maps: one when moving forward and another to use when moving backwards. They might be accurate within their corresponding direction of travel, but they conflict with observations when moving in their non-corresponding directions. As such, they are incomplete approximations.

    This new approach suggests that what Gödel discovered was just the tip of the iceberg: an infinite number of true mathematical theorems exist that cannot be proved from any finite system of axioms.

    First, suggesting a theorem that unifies two conflicting theorems may not be provable doesn’t mean those theorems do not conflict with each other.

    Second, which ones might those be? IOW, even if that were true, for the sake of argument, it’s unclear why we should expect a unification of relativity and quantum mechanics be one of those theorems, as opposed to say, atomic theory was not.

    So, not sure how this is actually relevant to the equation at hand.

    So where does the presupposition come from? Well, I hate to break to our dogmatic atheists readers, but the presupposition that there should even be a single overarching ‘theory of everything’ is a belief that is born solely out of Theistic presuppositions.

    If reality is due to an inexplicable mind that exists in an inexplicable ream that operates in inexplicable means or methods, for reasons we cannot comprehend, then it could just as well have some “good reason” which we also cannot comprehend for why we should need different maps when traveling in different directions. “That’s just what the mind wanted”, isn’t a good reason to assume there actual is such a theory.

    IOW, if our bubble of explicability depends on that sea of inexplicability, which theists claim, then it would only appear to be explicable if one carefully avoids asking specific questions.

    But, we’ve digressed.

    Again, why do we need a theory of quantum gravity?

  95. 95
    jdk says:

    cr writes,

    If reality is due to an inexplicable mind that exists in an inexplicable ream that operates in inexplicable means or methods, for reasons we cannot comprehend, then it could just as well have some “good reason” which we also cannot comprehend for why we should need different maps when traveling in different directions. “That’s just what the mind wanted”, isn’t a good reason to assume there actual is such a theory.

    IOW, if our bubble of explicability depends on that sea of inexplicability, which theists claim, then it would only appear to be explicable if one carefully avoids asking specific questions.

    Those are good paragraphs, cr.

  96. 96
    bornagain77 says:

    CR, you still did not admit to your monumental blunder, though corrected twice now, so why should I take anything else you say seriously? It is a huge waste of time to try to reason with someone who refuses to admit to such flagrant mistakes. I have a very dim view of trolls who seek to get in the way of learning instead of seeking to learn.

    Again take up basket weaving and leave science altogether. You are embarrassing yourself. 🙂

    Moreover, the Agent Causality of God is no more inexplicable than your very own agent causality. And your very own agent causality is certainly more explicable to you than anything else you know in the universe, though you, nor anyone else, has a firm clue exactly how the mind initiates its actions on the body.

    A Professor’s Journey out of Nihilism: Why I am not an Atheist – University of Wyoming – J. Budziszewski
    Excerpt page12: “There were two great holes in the argument about the irrelevance of God. The first is that in order to attack free will, I supposed that I understood cause and effect; I supposed causation to be less mysterious than volition.
    If anything, it is the other way around. I can perceive a logical connection between premises and valid conclusions. I can perceive at least a rational connection between my willing to do something and my doing it. But between the apple and the earth, I can perceive no connection at all. Why does the apple fall? We don’t know. “But there is gravity,” you say. No, “gravity” is merely the name of the phenomenon, not its explanation. “But there are laws of gravity,” you say. No, the “laws” are not its explanation either; they are merely a more precise description of the thing to be explained, which remains as mysterious as before. For just this reason, philosophers of science are shy of the term “laws”; they prefer “lawlike regularities.” To call the equations of gravity “laws” and speak of the apple as “obeying” them is to speak as though, like the traffic laws, the “laws” of gravity are addressed to rational agents capable of conforming their wills to the command. This is cheating, because it makes mechanical causality (the more opaque of the two phenomena) seem like volition (the less). In my own way of thinking the cheating was even graver, because I attacked the less opaque in the name of the more.
    The other hole in my reasoning was cruder. If my imprisonment in a blind causality made my reasoning so unreliable that I couldn’t trust my beliefs, then by the same token I shouldn’t have trusted my beliefs about imprisonment in a blind causality. But in that case I had no business denying free will in the first place.”
    http://www.undergroundthomist......theist.pdf

    Moreover, atheistic materialism, in its denial of personhood, free will, and morality, winds up in catastrophic epistemological failure.

    The Great Debate: Does God Exist? – Justin Holcomb – audio of the 1985 Greg Bahnsen debate available at the bottom of the site
    Excerpt: When we go to look at the different world views that atheists and theists have, I suggest we can prove the existence of God from the impossibility of the contrary.
    The transcendental proof for God’s existence is that without Him it is impossible to prove anything. The atheist worldview is irrational and cannot consistently provide the preconditions of intelligible experience, science, logic, or morality. The atheist worldview cannot allow for laws of logic, the uniformity of nature, the ability for the mind to understand the world, and moral absolutes. In that sense the atheist worldview cannot account for our debate tonight.,,,
    http://justinholcomb.com/2012/.....god-exist/

    “Hawking’s entire argument is built upon theism. He is, as Cornelius Van Til put it, like the child who must climb up onto his father’s lap into order to slap his face.
    Take that part about the “human mind” for example. Under atheism there is no such thing as a mind. There is no such thing as understanding and no such thing as truth. All Hawking is left with is a box, called a skull, which contains a bunch of molecules. Hawking needs God In order to deny Him.”
    – Cornelius Hunter
    Photo – an atheist contemplating his ‘mind’
    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-H-kj.....0/rob4.jpg

    Indeed, rationality itself finds no haven in the atheist’s worldview.

    Sam Harris’s Free Will: The Medial Pre-Frontal Cortex Did It – Martin Cothran – November 9, 2012
    Excerpt: There is something ironic about the position of thinkers like Harris on issues like this: they claim that their position is the result of the irresistible necessity of logic (in fact, they pride themselves on their logic). Their belief is the consequent, in a ground/consequent relation between their evidence and their conclusion. But their very stated position is that any mental state — including their position on this issue — is the effect of a physical, not logical cause.
    By their own logic, it isn’t logic that demands their assent to the claim that free will is an illusion, but the prior chemical state of their brains. The only condition under which we could possibly find their argument convincing is if they are not true. The claim that free will is an illusion requires the possibility that minds have the freedom to assent to a logical argument, a freedom denied by the claim itself. It is an assent that must, in order to remain logical and not physiological, presume a perspective outside the physical order.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....66221.html

    (1) rationality implies a thinker in control of thoughts.
    (2) under materialism a thinker is an effect caused by processes in the brain (determinism).
    (3) in order for materialism to ground rationality a thinker (an effect) must control processes in the brain (a cause). (1)&(2)
    (4) no effect can control its cause.
    Therefore materialism cannot ground rationality.
    per Box UD

    The Absurdity of Inflation, String Theory and The Multiverse – Dr. Bruce Gordon – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ff_sNyGNSko
    Here is the last power-point slide of the preceding video:
    The End Of Materialism?
    * In the multiverse, anything can happen for no reason at all.
    * In other words, the materialist is forced to believe in random miracles as an explanatory principle.
    * In a Theistic universe, nothing happens without a reason. Miracles are therefore intelligently directed deviations from divinely maintained regularities, and are thus expressions of rational purpose.
    * Scientific materialism is (therefore) epistemically self defeating: it makes scientific rationality impossible.

    So basically, Atheists would rather embrace insanity than ever embrace God.

    Moreover, since Agent causality is true and therefore must be gotten into the scheme somehow, the atheist ends up falsely attributing Agent causality where it ought not be attributed.
    Specifically, the atheist ends up attributing agent causality to inanimate objects in both physics and in biology.

    “to say that a stone falls to earth because it’s obeying a law, makes it a man and even a citizen”
    – CS Lewis

    Though bad in physics, this problem of falsely attributing agent causality where it ought not be attributed, is particularly acute in biology,,,

    The ‘Mental Cell’: Let’s Loosen Up Biological Thinking! – Stephen L. Talbott – September 9, 2014
    Excerpt: Many biologists are content to dismiss the problem with hand-waving: “When we wield the language of agency, we are speaking metaphorically, and we could just as well, if less conveniently, abandon the metaphors”.
    Yet no scientist or philosopher has shown how this shift of language could be effected. And the fact of the matter is just obvious: the biologist who is not investigating how the organism achieves something in a well-directed way is not yet doing biology, as opposed to physics or chemistry. Is this in turn just hand-waving? Let the reader inclined to think so take up a challenge: pose a single topic for biological research, doing so in language that avoids all implication of agency, cognition, and purposiveness1.
    One reason this cannot be done is clear enough: molecular biology — the discipline that was finally going to reduce life unreservedly to mindless mechanism — is now posing its own severe challenges. In this era of Big Data, the message from every side concerns previously unimagined complexity, incessant cross-talk and intertwining pathways, wildly unexpected genomic performances, dynamic conformational changes involving proteins and their cooperative or antagonistic binding partners, pervasive multifunctionality, intricately directed behavior somehow arising from the interaction of countless players in interpenetrating networks, and opposite effects by the same molecules in slightly different contexts. The picture at the molecular level begins to look as lively and organic — and thoughtful — as life itself.
    http://natureinstitute.org/txt.....ell_23.htm

    CR complains that God is inexplicable. I complain that CR’s chosen atheistic worldview is insane and even deceitful in its ‘borrowing’ of agent causality from Theism. ,, I’ll choose inexplicable over insane and deceitful any day!

  97. 97
    J-Mac says:

    CR,

    J-Mac, I am not dealing with quantum scale phenomena, but with cosmos scale phenomena.

    Cosmos scale phenomena is an approximation. So, your dealing with an approximation of the cosmos. That’s my point, and apparently J-Mac’s as well.

    Cosmic scale phenomena depends on quantum scale phenomena. Atoms are an emergent property of it.

    I don’t think you should be quoting me CR…I have been identified as a closet atheist by true Christians here at UD…

    So, if I question any of the well assumed “Christian dogma” even if my questioning it is supported by experimental, scientific evidence, you should run away. The so called Christian dogmas are above the law…even God’s…

  98. 98
    bornagain77 says:

    As to (re)establishing the Agent Causality of God back to physics, as the Christian founders of modern science originally envisioned, it is good to see how Quantum Mechanics has now validated certain aspects of “Mind” that Albert Einstein himself once claimed would never be a part of experimental physics:

    Albert Einstein vs. Quantum Mechanics and His Own Mind – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxFFtZ301j4
    Paper:
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1SvgUc2xn5reoofYWQtb2kpgoP5HoxloffFg48qtf2ZY/edit

  99. 99
    kairosfocus says:

    CR, JDK et al:

    I see:

    If reality is due to an inexplicable mind that exists in an inexplicable rea[l]m that operates in inexplicable means or methods, for reasons we cannot comprehend, then it could just as well have some “good reason” which we also cannot comprehend for why we should need different maps when traveling in different directions.

    What is this about inexplicable minds and realms etc? Other than, maybe, that you object to the concept of a necessary being. That of course puts us back to the issue of the logic of being.

    A simple classification of beings is on considering possible worlds. Non-being or a true nothing, of course is one pole. Where, as non-being has no causal power, were there ever utter nothing, such would forever obtain.

    So, THAT a world undeniably IS, entails that SOMETHING ALWAYS WAS.

    This is already a point of key insight about worlds and their roots.

    We are already seeing that fairly obvious and well known facts have implications and considerations lurking that beg to be probed to gain insights. Already, we see that the mere fact of a world now being entails that something always was, there never was utter non-being.

    Where, too, we see that logic, the driving force of mathematics, also can address major themes of being and the nature of the world.

    Thus, we can also see that the notion that one has to resort to quantum physics etc to validly e4xplore the roots of the world stands corrected. No, what we need are relevant facts and willingness to explore their import. Where, that in our world we have a causal-temporal succession of finite scale stages is utterly patent, starting with the fact of our calendar and the mounting years on it.

    Going beyond, we can take it as given that there is an exploration of the observable cosmos, physical cosmology. In that exploration, we see things like the Hubble expansion which is a cumulative temporal-causal process. One that, with other phenomena, points to a singularity 10 – 20 BYA, often dated to 13.85 BYA these days. In that context, there is a study of cosmology that speaks to temporal-causal succession, rooted in the general Theory of Relativity and engaging quantum processes and phenomena as appropriate. However, this does not undermine the basic fact of finite stage, cumulative causal-temporal succession.

    In turn, the molecular scale processes involved imply redistribution of energy per random processes, leading to a dissipation of concentrations of energy. In particular, stars have a life cycle that can be explored through analysis of the physics of H-rich gas clouds and balls.

    The Hertzsprung-Russell diagram provides an empirically grounded classification of stars per luminosity and temperature/spectral class, which then allows understanding of that physics as manifesting a pattern of dynamics across time rooted in the mass of a gravitationally collapsing gas cloud that eventually ignites fusion and runs through a process that eventually dissipates the energy in the star. One result is that certain relatively low mass stars eventually form white dwarfs which are in effect cooling down dead stars. Across the temporal causal process at cosmic level then, across time the number of these should rise. This leads to the implication of a finitely old observed cosmos.

    Likewise, the HR diagram fits into a temporal-causal framework where more massive stars generally burn out more quickly, using up the original H fuel. Then there may be onward phases up tot he point of an Iron core, as this is the peak of the bending energy per nucleon curve so neither fusion nor fission can harvest more energy. This can lead to spectacular explosions of stars, one form of supernova.

    However, this also points to how a restricted H-R chart for a star cluster . . . gravitationally linked, and inferred to have formed at about the same time, with of course a statistical distribution of masses . . . can then lead to seeing the main sequence branching off to the giants band at a point that allows estimation of cluster age. Typical values are like 6 or 8 – 10 BY.

    So, we have fairly robust reasons, empirically anchored, to face an expanding observed cosmos with evident origin some 14 BYA in a singularity. Beyond this we cannot directly observe but we may explore on what we have learned, through logical analysis tied to structure and quantity and further constrained by the physics we have learned and reasonable what-if scenarios.

    This 9is a context in which we cannot simply point to the big bang and say finito, beginning of the world. Beginning of the observed cosmos, yes, but we have a logical reason to infer that it comes from something prior, the issue is what.

    In that context we may project onwards with an examination of possible prior stages and anchor them on what we do see and know from our observed cosmos. hence the exploration of prior stages in the abstract and the question as to whether we have circular cause, origin from nothingness or infinite regress of the quasi-physical domain or finitely remote origin from a necessary being world root.

    That leads us back to the logic of being, having addressed non-being.

    The other pole, clearly, is possible being.

    Of possible beings, we obviously have contingent ones [think a fire or ourselves] which would be in one possible world at least but not in every possible world. So, we consider two neighbouring worlds, very closely similar but such that contingent being X is in World A but not in world A’. That is, there is an enabling condition E that is connected to the difference between the two, such that X is or is not. E = 1 in A, E = 0 in A’. E is thus seen t o be an enabling, external causal factor for X. For example for a fire, we have fuel, oxidiser, heat and a combustion chain reaction. As fore fighters know, cutting off any of the sides of the fire tetrahedron will block or kill a fire.

    We are already seeing that one reason for the sense of mystery and suspicion I noted on, is that there is lack of basic familiarity, due to gaps in our education system.

    Unsurprising.

    Now, consider another candidate being, Y such that there is no pair of worlds A and A’ where Y is in one but is not in the other. Either Y is in all possible worlds, or Y is not in all possible worlds. Y is a candidate necessary being; let’s stipulate, a serious one [not something like a flying spaghetti monster, which is material and composite so is inescapably contingent].

    If Y is such a candidate, Y either will exist in any possible world, or it will not exist in any possible world.

    Do such beings exist?

    Yes, the natural numbers must exist in any possible world, e.g. 2.

    For, in any distinct possible world, there must be some unique circumstance C such that it is an aspect of its distinctiveness. C is by contrast with ~C in that world so:

    W = {C|~C}

    Instantly we have distinct identities, thus distinct units. This immediately means that no distinct world is possible in which two-ness, thus the number two, does not exist. Two-ness did not begin, it cannot end, it is not caused by any external enabling on/off factor C, it obtains in any possible world. Two-ness is a necessary being, and the natural numbers as a direct result are also necessary beings. Which BTW brings in that infinity is always a relevant consideration in any possible world. Just the fact that we can set subsets of N in 1:1 correspondence with it endlessly, implies that.

    We can therefore characterise a serious candidate necessary being as having no dependence on enabling causal factors C, and as thus either being in all possible worlds or not being in any possible world. The difference is a logical consideration tied to being, best illustrated by a simple example, the proposed square circle understood in the Euclidean domain sense and context (I here lock out the rhetoric of unannounced context switching, which has been played here at UD in the past). As core characteristics of circularity and squarishness stand in mutual contradiction, no distinct entity A may be a square circle, The square circle is an impossible being.

    So, a serious candidate necessary being either is in all possible worlds or it is impossible of being in any possible world as core characteristics tied to its proposed identity are in mutual contradiction.

    This may be unfamiliar, thanks to our education system, but it is not unintelligible.

    Now, too, we begin to see something.

    As AS noted above, numbers are inherently mental, abstract phenomena. Yes, so if numbers exist in any possible world, it is instantly deeply plausible that worlds are the product of mind. And such would make sense of how we can use our own minds to explore the logic of worlds, mathematically, empirically, conceptually etc.

    Is this vague and inexplicable and by implication dubious?

    H’mm, what are we using to contemplate this discussion, other than our own minds?

    Where, we cannot imply or infer that mind reduces to a delusion of blindly computing matter that somehow managed to get itself assembled into brains through blind chance and/or mechanical necessity. J B S Haldane pointed out the folly of that long since:

    “It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms. In order to escape from this necessity of sawing away the branch on which I am sitting, so to speak, I am compelled to believe that mind is not wholly conditioned by matter.” [“When I am dead,” in Possible Worlds: And Other Essays [1927], Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209. (NB: DI Fellow, Nancy Pearcey brings this right up to date (HT: ENV) in a current book, Finding Truth.)]

    Sawing off the branch on which we all must sit is not exactly advisable. In other words, any scheme of thought that implies grand delusion in our mindedness is patently absurd and self-refuting. That raises serious difficulties for evolutionary materialistic scientism, as we saw just now in outline.

    So, the fact of conscious mindedness is to be reckoned with, including that we find ourselves governed by duties to truth, fairness, soundeness in reasoning etc etc. In short, conscious mindedness under moral govenrtment is a first fact of our existence, the fact through which we access other facts and work to try to make sense of them. Not least, by carefully contemplating the logic of structure and quantity, aka mathematics. Where the abstract, rational nature of mathematics makes nonsense of schemes of thought that undermine the credibility of mind.

    In short the dismissiveness cited above skirts the crumbling edge of a cliff.

    But, let us go on.

    As the OP above shows, it is implausible [and at least likely an appeal to an impossible being] to infer an infinite past, beginningless quasi-physical world of causal temporal succession as best explanation of our observed world. Just on the logic of stepwise finite stage succession as we observe in our world at as close a hand as our calendars.

    Yes, commonplace phenomena can have huge implicit significance.

    Now, we are looking at a finitely remote necessary being as best explanation for our actualised world. One which exhibits considerable cosmological fine tuning that sets it at a locally, deeply isolated operating point in the space of plausibly feasible physics. This, credibly being a signature of design.

    Where, we are minded, en-conscienced, responsibly and rationally free, morally governed creatures and contingent beings in that world. This is a basis on which we do science and mathematics.

    What sort of necessary being candidate can cogently explains such a world?

    a powerful, minded, deeply knowledgeable designer with deeply moral character. Indeed, on further issues relating to the IS-OUGHT gap and rooting of morality that bridges the two, there is just one serious candidate. If you doubt me, simply put up a coherent, credible alternative: ______ (This is a world roots, worldview exploration, so the appeal is to comparative difficulties of alternatives.)

    I predict (on long experience), no cogent alternative will be forthcoming.

    What, then, is the candidate to beat?

    A rather familiar one: the inherently good, wise Creator God, a necessary and maximally great being worthy of loyalty and of the reasonable, responsible service of doing the good in accord with our evident nature.

    Such is of course utterly unwelcome and unpalatable in too many circles today. And, it is unsurprising to see dismissiveness and distractive rhetoric. What is far rarer is to see a serious grappling with the comparative difficulties challenge.

    But, we can close the circle. No, we do not need to go off into detailed explorations of the quantum world to note that the world we observes moves in finite stage succession in a causal-temporal process. Such is manifest. It is well worth exploring the import of that bare fact, as a context for detailed explorations if desired, certainly as a constraint on our speculations. In making that exploration the logic of stepwise countable sequence is applicable and raises the Agrippa trilemma in causal form. This then leads to relevant logic of being and to the conclusion that the best explanation is finitely remote world origin, tied to a necessary being world root. Where the necessary being nature of an inherently mental, abstract entity, number [the heart of Mathematics] points to the best explanation of worlds being mind. Where, sorry, we have minds and access the world through mindedness so we should be willing to take mind seriously.

    In that context, morally governed mindedness allows us to further characterise the best candidate.

    A familiar figure.

    KF

  100. 100
    jdk says:

    kf writes, :If you doubt me, simply put up a coherent, credible alternative: ______ ”

    I did that one time, at length. Of course it failed to be coherent or credible in kf’s eyes because of the extreme certainty with which he holds his views, and his lack of understanding of the speculative and unverifiabilty of philosophical systems, no matter how coherent and credible they may appear to be in the eyes of their adherents.

  101. 101
    critical rationalist says:

    @KF & WJM

    You didn’t address my criticism. Nor did you claim that anything was inaccurate. I’m trying to take this claim seriously, as if it’s true in reality, for the purpose of criticism.

    Again, the problem is: the explicable bubble we live in supposedly depends on an inexplicable sea ruled by an inexplicable mind that operates by inexplicable means and methods that we cannot comprehend. As such, the best explanation we can possibly have not only in this sea, but in our bubble as well, is that this inexplicable mind “rules” by fiat.

    IOW, our bubble would only seem explicable unless we carefully avoided asking specific questions.

    Or did I get it wrong somewhere?

    Sure, you can personally believe that the laws of physics will remain constant or that we should be able to understand them. But that is a very specific theological belief build on yet specific philosophical belief, which does not follow from any supposed necessary justificationist “world root” being that supposedly must act in a causal sense. Specially, it assumes this being doesn’t have so perfectly “good” reason to do otherwise tomorrow which we cannot comprehend.

    So, I’d say, you cant get here from there.

    In fact, I’d suggest that a deity that just started everything running, and then went on to creating other universes, is more compatible with a comprehensible world that Christianity because it’s not even around to interfering with the affairs of its creation.

  102. 102
    critical rationalist says:

    CR, you still did not admit to your monumental blunder, though corrected twice now, so why should I take anything else you say seriously?

    If I need to be corrected, then why do we need a theory of quantum gravity? You still haven’t explained it.

    Note: this is not to be confused with whether any such theory can be provable, etc. Rather, that those two mathematical models conflict with each other in the same sense that of requiring two maps for a single country that disagree depending on which direction you’re traveling. That conflicts with observation.

  103. 103
    kairosfocus says:

    CR, the logic of explanation provides adequate reason to see necessary being as root of reality — in a context where why is there something rather than utter non being is a pivotal challenge. A world is, why? . Intelligence and design are sufficiently intelligible as we ourselves exemplify both and experience both. The options on the table at this level are implausible and/or impossible or even absurd. No one promised to answer all questions or resolve all difficulties. KF

  104. 104
    J-Mac says:

    @87 kairosfocus

    “J-Mac, I am not dealing with quantum scale phenomena, but with cosmos scale phenomena. As for quantum effects, some suggest — note, suggest — to me that we have a path through another dimension that effectively allows really odd things. I note too that “wavicles” indicates that our classical-influenced views are only part of the story. KF

    PS: A take on so-called delayed choice experiments:”

    There are obvious conclusions from facts, such as:

    the delayed choice experiments

    quantum entanglement-where entangled particles seem to affect each other faster than speed of light

    quantum effects in the brain suggesting backwards referral in time or be time indeterminate

    Aharonov’s formulation suggests that each quantum state reduction has a dual vector, both forward and backwards in time.

    What are those conclusions? How about one that states that on subatomic level time, distance either don’t exist or don’t matter? I could go on but I would have to side with your and others’ at UD views on timelessness, lengthless, Infinite-dimensional Being… but I can’t anymore…

  105. 105
    mikeenders says:

    Late to this discussion but how its played out is one of the reasons I don’t argue with atheists and materialists in regard to the infinite past. Its after all a tacit admission that materialism is temporal and bankrupt as an explanation for reality.

    An infinite past by definition cannot have any explanation or ultimate cause for absolutely anything. Everything is magical and even one could say – supernatural. Further, though less intuitive, at no point of time in an infinitely old universe can anything be considered to be derivative. In that construct reality is not discovering or coming upon anything new (life, Humans, intelligence, functions etc – all necessary repeats). Its merely cycling through its certainty and is eminently fine tuned since being infinitly old necessitates its indestructible and incapable of losing possibilities.

    Most atheist then become very uncomfortable when I point out that their claim was that my position was less rational and yet they just admitted they own something without a cause and all powerful – only they have added on an irrational condition – Reality works only through natural materialistic means except for the ultimate cause of just about everything.

    I maintain one point of origin for cause and effect and they admit to chasing turtles all the way down and never ever stopping.

    SO I say let them have their infinitely old reality. Its great fun and goes a great ways down the road to showing materialism is The quintessential emperor with no new clothes.

    added benefit is they don’t get the opportunity to run off and handwave into arguments about what time is and delayed choice experiments etc ect – those only go to show more evidence materialistic causation is temporal in nature.

  106. 106
    kairosfocus says:

    JDK, your claimed alternative IIRC could not bridge the IS-OUGHT gap — and BTW, the above is not “my” argument as such, it is a summary of well-known results. Those who reject the inherently Good God end up in suggesting an unbridgeable gulch between IS and OUGHT, or end up arguing in a circle that fails to get to the root of reality post Hume’s Guillotine [ only at world-root level is a sound bridge possible], or end up in some version of might and/or manipulation make ‘right,’ or end up implying that good/evil is essentially arbitrary or the like. If you think you have a case adequately founds moral government other than on the inherently good God, and/or that my objection is invalid simply state it — a one paragraph summary should be enough. As for your onward characterisations, they are little more than a strawman caricature. if my counter to your case is so patently ill-founded, it should be obvious in answer to your summary. KF

  107. 107
    mikeenders says:

    Jdk @7

    “To dismiss infinity, and all these related concepts, as “not science” is to not understand the role of mathematics in underlying our scientific understanding of the world.”

    this is just a totally ridiculous argument. Science we often hear its what can be observed and tested. Just because we use mathematics in science and infinity is expressed in maths does not make infinity observable or testable. Any aspect of mathematics is scientific when and if we can map it to observable reality NOT because it is grouped within

  108. 108
    kairosfocus says:

    J-M: A long time ago, it was pointed out that in him we live and move and have our being. That’s a worldview level claim and is separate from the empirically reliable inference to design as cause per tested sign. As to the thread above, I have already laid out how I am discussing well within the ambit of cosmology and empirical observation that our observed cosmos has a grand scale temporal-causal history comprising a succession of finite duration stages. That is empirical observation and were quantum theory or general relativity [or special] inconsistent with such, it would radically undermine the theories as empirically dubious. In fact, it is fairly obvious that the theories are in fact compatible with the grand scale temporal-causal succession of stars, galaxies and the observable cosmos as a whole. KF

  109. 109
    kairosfocus says:

    CR,

    Do you see where your scheme of beliefs ends up, as is implied in your very objections themselves?

    I clip, for an example:

    you can personally believe that the laws of physics will remain constant or that we should be able to understand them. But that is a very specific theological belief build on yet specific philosophical belief, which does not follow from any supposed necessary justificationist “world root” being that supposedly must act in a causal sense. Specially, it assumes this being doesn’t have so perfectly “good” reason to do otherwise tomorrow which we cannot comprehend.

    Are there going to be constants of reality, stable laws in a physical world? Inevitably yes: were there a stable pattern, P, that no law is constant, that P would be a stable pattern. A self-contradiction of reality, something which cannot be. So, let us have that there is no stable pattern that there are no stable patterns, P’. This is tantamount to, there are stable laws.

    Stability of some core of laws is evidently a necessary condition of there being a world, on the sheer logic of being.

    Further, to such, insofar as that there will be structures, quantities and the like in a distinct world, the logic of structure and quantity will apply, both analytically and as a matter of the logic of being. Whether such laws will be simple and readily understood is of course an open question. Witness that physicists speak of the simplicity of physics, but this is notoriously one of the most difficult of disciplines.

    However, insofar as logic and structure and quantity apply, we should be able to find some intelligibility to the ways of the world, i.e. the patterns. Which will in core part be stable.

    Now, yes, I freely acknowledge to the thought crime of the founders of Modern Science, that their and my Judaeo-Christian frame of thought gave them high confidence in the intelligibility of the world, such that they were willing to persist in the pursuit. We now have had a scientific revolution and we have established a body of cumulative knowledge and theories. Such theories are held per provisional warrant — notice, not “justification, which you full well know is not relevant post Gettier, Grue etc — on reliability vs observed phenomena.

    Hence, BTW, the application of the correspondence principle above.

    I will continue to hold confidence in the stability of the world and in its intelligibility, until and unless you show good cause to turn from this. Empty hyperskeptical dismissal/ sneering is not good cause.

    I notice too, that you have not responded to the logic of being as outlined. Non-being has no causal powers so were there ever utter nothing such would forever obtain. As a world is, SOMETHING always was, the discussion is what is the best warranted candidate per comparative difficulties anchored on empirical evidence and relevant logic including that of structure and quantity, i.e. mathematics.

    This brings up a causal form Agrippa trilemma, accounting for the succession of the causal temporal succession of the stages of the world per its root. Circular cause requires a future stage to — while not yet existing — cause its origin; fail on something from non-being. that leaves infinite regress vs finitely remote world-root as a necessary being.

    Infinite regress is maximally implausible and likely incoherent given the need to successively span the transfinite past to reach now. However, given the deep hostility towards the idea of a finitely remote creation event growing from a necessary being world-root, that will be promoted or implied with an almost desperate ferocity.

    The clip above seems to reflect this pattern, not any serious answer to the alternatives to root the world.

    If you have an actual substantial objection, let us hear it: __________

    KF

  110. 110
    jdk says:

    to mikeenders at 107. If you read further in the thread, you’l see that I came to understand more about what asauber was saying, and to more or less agree with him.

  111. 111
    jdk says:

    kf writes, “your claimed alternative IIRC could not bridge the IS-OUGHT gap.”

    True – I offered a view in which there is no IS-OUGHT gap. This is what I meant when I wrote “Of course it failed to be coherent or credible in kf’s eyes because of the extreme certainty with which he holds his views.”

    If you have a criteria which is inviolable, then of course any philosophy which violates it will be deemed insufficient. But that in itself is not an argument that your criteria is in fact truly inviolable in truth, as opposed to just inviolable to you.

  112. 112
    kairosfocus says:

    JDK, simply tell us in a paragraph or just link. I find it note worthy that you have again alluded vaguely. Now, there is of course the massive fact that it is generally found that there is a significant difference of kind between IS and OUGHT, and that the issue of resolving it has been such a thorny problem that it is commonly held that facts and values live in utterly distinct spheres. So, let us hear a solution that does not fall into nihilism, or incoherence or question-begging etc. KF

  113. 113
    jdk says:

    It was a long series of posts spread over three or so threads. I’m not going to try to find it, or to rehash the issue again.

  114. 114
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: A current UD thread on how relevant the above is, here. KF

  115. 115
    kairosfocus says:

    JDK, Why don’t you simply link one of the threads? It seems clear that you lack confidence in the substance of claims made. For instance, the golden rule only works because we are under moral government and are substantial moral equals, thus having mutual duties of care and respect, hence rights as binding moral expectations. But to rightly claim a right, you must first be in the right. All of this points straight to the need for bridging is and ought at world root level, or else we see ungrounded ought. Opening the door to might and manipulation make ‘right.’ KF

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