Cosmology Intelligent Design Multiverse

Remember how endless cycles of universe were supposed to show that the universe has no real beginning?

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A wheel has come off:

As with Penrose’s model, Steinhardt and Ijjas’s model faces the philosophical problems of an infinite universe, and it must rely on a large number of questionable assumptions. Their effort to construct a model to explain the universe is perfectly reasonable, so I have no criticism of their sincerity or their competence. Yet the conclusion that the universe had a beginning is far more parsimonious and consistent with the evidence. The main reason for the resistance against it from many in the scientific community is its philosophical and theological implications.

Brian Miller, “Paul Steinhardt’s Cyclical Cosmology Fails to Challenge a Cosmic Beginning” at Evolution News (January 12, 2022)

The paper is open access.

While we are here, wouldn’t an infinite universe include the possibility that it doesn’t exist? Playing with infinity is playing a dangerous game.

There is a good article by Robert J. Marks on the topic of infinite parallel universes here.

70 Replies to “Remember how endless cycles of universe were supposed to show that the universe has no real beginning?

  1. 1
    EDTA says:

    >” wouldn’t an infinite universe include the possibility that it doesn’t exist?”

    It sounded like this article was about the cyclical (rebounding) universe idea, not the multiverse. But yes, in an infinite set of universes, one of them might be empty. But even that is different from there being no universe (or multiverse) at all.

  2. 2
    Seversky says:

    Could there be an empty universe? Isn’t it like saying there is absolutely nothing. How can absolutely nothing be said to “be”? I can say I have five pennies in my pocket and it means that there exist in my pocket five penny coins. I can also say there are five non-existent penny coins in my pocket but does that mean anything other than my pocket is empty?

  3. 3
    Belfast says:

    You haven’t been keeping up with origin of universe theories, Seversky.
    Explanations of the origin of the universe commonly re-define “nothing” as “something,” for example, ‘gravity’, or an ‘unstable quantum field’.
    In any case, you are confusing a universe with a container, in this case a pocket. But a pocket has dimensions, an empty universe has no dimensions in this theory. It’s there all right because it lies in one of the sets.
    Sorry, but I can’t think of the assumptions needed for an empty universe. Just guessing, because branes have been mentioned, there could well be submanifolds of six-dimensional shapes.
    But keep asking rhetorical questions.

    complex submanifolds of certain six-dimensional shapes called Calabi–Yau manifolds,

  4. 4
    Belfast says:

    You haven’t been keeping up with origin of universe theories, Seversky.
    Explanations of the origin of the universe commonly re-define “nothing” as “something,” for example, ‘gravity’, or an ‘unstable quantum field’.
    In any case, you are confusing a universe with a container, in this case a pocket. But a pocket has dimensions, an empty universe has no dimensions in this theory. It’s there all right because it lies in one of the sets.
    Sorry, but I can’t think of the assumptions needed for an empty universe. Just guessing, because branes have been mentioned, there could well be submanifolds of six-dimensional shapes.
    But keep asking rhetorical questions.

  5. 5
    EDTA says:

    Sev,
    >Could there be an empty universe? Isn’t it like saying there is absolutely nothing.

    No, those are two different things. Not sure what an “empty universe” means; only News can say for sure. She might have been suggesting that in a multiverse, one of the universes might have had nothing in it, which is an interesting possibility.

    On the other hand, hypothesizing that there could have been nothing is another claim: It might have been the case that nothing had ever existed: no universe, no multiverse, no matter or energy of any kind, so space, no fields–nothing.

  6. 6
    kairosfocus says:

    EDTA, having nothing (material) in it and being a genuine utter nothingness — non-being — are different. Were there ever utter nothing, such having no causal capacity it would forever obtain. That is, there would be no world of any kind. That a world is, implies something of necessary being, world framework nature with capability to be source of worlds always was and — per necessity of being — always will be. That opens up a whole domain of possibilities. KF

  7. 7
    Bob O'H says:

    Off topic, but kf you now have have 2 l & FP 48i’s.

    Although this many just be another manifestation of an endless cycle of universes, where a wheel has come off.

  8. 8
    JVL says:

    Great, now I’m banned from:

    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/are-mutations-really-random/

    I got one comment in to Bornagain77 just now but I wasn’t allowed to post a comment replying to Lt Com Data. Sorry about that, it’s not my fault. I’m not going to spread comments all over the forum so when I get banned from a thread I’m leaving that conversation; not out of choice.

  9. 9
    William J Murray says:

    EDTA:
    Nothing is not a possible thing. “No thing” is a self contradiction, a form of A = not-A, or the thing one is referring to is a not-thing.

    KF said:

    EDTA, having nothing (material) in it and being a genuine utter nothingness ..

    Unfortunately for KF’s argument, we have not found any “matter” as of yet in this universe, and information is not “nothing.” A universe doesn’t require anything material to exist within it at all.

  10. 10
    jerry says:

    I’ll repeat – an infinite of anything physical is a self contradictory absurdity.

    Playing with infinity is playing a dangerous game

    Any thing infinite means that every possible outcome must exist. If you disagree, then explain what cannot exists.

    This means that some entity in this infinity has unlimited intelligence and not only is its intelligence unlimited or infinite, there must be an infinite number of such intelligences.

    If anyone disagrees, explain your reasoning or else I’ll assume all agree and an infinite universe cannot exist.

    An infinite universe is self refuting.

  11. 11
    TAMMIE LEE HAYNES says:

    Can anyone help me answer this.

    Some scientists speculate that the universe is cyclic. That is, it repeatedly goes thru a cycle of
    1) big bang
    2) expansion
    3 contraction
    4 big crunch
    5) go to 1

    But according to Top Peer Reviewed Scientists emprical data says that our unverse is expanding at an accelerating rate, because the “vacuum energy”* has a positve value.

    My question is : How could you get ever repeating cycles, when the cycle that we live in will never end?

  12. 12
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry, the universe cannot have had an infinite number of years for convenience in its past, you cannot traverse the transfinite in finite stage steps. As to an actually infinite amount or number of any PHYSICAL quantity, e.g. number of atoms, that is running into so many things that are absurd that it is ludicrous. KF

  13. 13
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    TAMMIE LEE HAYNES
    Can anyone help me answer this.

    Some scientists speculate that the universe is cyclic. That is, it repeatedly goes thru a cycle of
    1) big bang
    2) expansion
    3 contraction
    4 big crunch
    5) go to 1

    Ask the scientists : “Who pays the bill for energy? or “Do you believe in miracle(the existence of an “perpetuum mobile” system )?.
    Then wait for answer. 🙂

    I think that , in real life, “the infinite” can only be qualitative .Never quantitative . We are biased to think (almost)everything only through 3D spatio-temporal dimension which is a limitation but an useful intelligently designed limitation. 🙂

  14. 14
    Querius says:

    TAMMIE LEE HAYNES @11,

    Another good question is “Why is there something rather than nothing?” You’ll get answers such as because of gravity, or because of random quantum fluctuations, or because of the multiverse. But all of these are something, not nothing (i.e. non-existence).

    Here are some more questions to ask:

    “How does gravity exist without space-time?”

    “How can probabilities exist without time?”

    “How is the multiverse different from a giant cosmic turtle that lays universe eggs?”

    -Q

  15. 15
    Fasteddious says:

    The book, “Why Does the World Exist?” by Jim Holt discusses the “Why is there something rather than nothing?” question via edited interviews with ten people of various expertise and backgrounds, from cosmology to philosophy to theology and points in between. It made for some fascinating discussions at our “Faith and Science” group.

  16. 16
    Seversky says:

    My underst5anding is that, at this point, the data suggests to an accelerating expansion of the Universe which will lead to all points in the Universe becoming progressively further and further apart. The Universe will ultimately go dark and cold and life such as we know it will cease to be possible. Of course, that projection could change if new data becomes available.

  17. 17
    jerry says:

    The Universe will ultimately go dark and cold

    Except

    The Last question by Isaac Asimov

    https://physics.princeton.edu/ph115/LQ.pdf

  18. 18
    PaV says:

    Let’s say there was an elastic ball that was perfectly efficient so that when you dropped it from a certain height it would return to that same height over and over and over again. Now you walk into a room and you see an elastic ball bouncing up and down over and over again without losing height. Wouldn’t your first question be, How could a ball be perfectly efficient?, followed by, Who dropped the ball?

  19. 19
    chuckdarwin says:

    From Miller:

    [Penrose’s] effort to construct a model to explain the universe is perfectly reasonable, so I have no criticism of [his] sincerity or [his] competence.

    Penrose won the Nobel Prize just last year. I’m betting that he is immensely relieved to have Miller’s imprimatur declaring his “competence.”

  20. 20
    Barry Arrington says:

    Sev, I asked you this question in the other thread. Maybe you missed it.

    You wrote that the

    overwhelming majority regard dumping newborns in dumpsters as being evil

    Suppose the overwhelming majority regarded dumping newborns in dumpsters as good. Would it then be good?

  21. 21
    ET says:

    seversky:

    …the data suggests to an accelerating expansion of the Universe which will lead to all points in the Universe becoming progressively further and further apart.

    Farther and farther apart. Use “farther” when discussing/ describing a literal physical distance. Use “further” when discussing/ describing degrees or extents. As in “Unfortunately, in order to further my career, I will have to drive farther from my home.”

  22. 22
    kairosfocus says:

    BO’H, thanks, corrected and k is up with more from Willard. I also put a link to my outline on likelihood ratios in j. KF

  23. 23
    EDTA says:

    Fasteddious @ 15,

    The book, “Why Does the World Exist?” by Jim Holt…

    I read that book a couple of years ago. Marked it up with all the logical errors he and his interviewees make. The most egregious error they continually make is that all of their “nothings” are always something: a sphere of zero radius, quantum this that or the other thing. Holt (who supposedly has a PhD in philosophy) doesn’t even see the problem here. True nothingness (which did not obtain, clearly) would have none of those things; it would be complete non-being, have no properties, etc. We don’t have to worry about it, because that is not what we have. But as KF said, if that had obtained, then that’s all there ever would have been.

    WJM,

    Nothing is not a possible thing….the thing one is referring to is a not-thing.

    I am not trying to express a contradiction. When I say “no thing”, “no” modifies “thing” by indicating its absence. If I said “there is no apple on the table,” I’m not expressing a contradiction, I’m expressing an absence, relative to a potential presence that did not obtain. So in this hypothetical state, for any positive thing we can think of (physical, hypothetical, conceptual, an attribute, a property, etc.) and have a word for (because we know of such things), it hypothetically did not exist. KF’s “genuine utter nothingness — non-being”. I don’t see a logical contradiction there.

  24. 24
    Querius says:

    EDTA @23,

    The most egregious error they continually make is that all of their “nothings” are always something: a sphere of zero radius, quantum this that or the other thing.

    Exactly!

    “What’s greater than God, more evil than the devil, rich people lack it, poor people have plenty of it, and if you eat it you’ll die?”

    -Q

  25. 25
    William J Murray says:

    EDTA said:

    I am not trying to express a contradiction. When I say “no thing”, “no” modifies “thing” by indicating its absence. If I said “there is no apple on the table,” I’m not expressing a contradiction, I’m expressing an absence, relative to a potential presence that did not obtain. S

    “No apple on the table” is a qualitatively different kind of statement than the term “nothing.” “0” is still a thing. An empty set is still a thing because it necessarily refers to an absence of a thing in the context of other existent things – like a set that is not empty.

    “Nothing” in terms of the absolute no-thing, including no comparative distinction, is a self-contradiction because it attempts to make a thing out of no available thing-ness. It cannot even be conceptualized or imagined. It is like trying to imagine a square circle. There not being an apple on the table is not “nothing.”

    I don’t see a logical contradiction there.

    I think that’s because neither you or KF understand that absolute “nothingness” is not remotely the same kind of statement as the mere absence of “a” thing. “Absence” in any normal use of the word requires a context of things that some thing can be absent from so that you can recognize it as absent.

    “No-thing” in the sense we are talking about here is as pure a logical self-contradiction as a square circle. It is an attempt to conceptualize nothing as a possible thing. That is directly trying to make A eaual not-A.

  26. 26
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, non-being is a coherent CONCEPT, but that a world is implies that there never was utter non-being or that would forever obtain and there would not be a world. KF

  27. 27
    William J Murray says:

    KF said:

    WJM, non-being is a coherent CONCEPT, but that a world is implies that there never was utter non-being or that would forever obtain and there would not be a world. KF

    I didn’t say anything about “being” or “non-being.” I have no idea what that phrase is supposed t mean.

  28. 28
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, be-ing is — and notice, the IS — the focus of ontology, a key aspect of metaphysics. Non-being, is the antithesis of being, and nothingness is associated intimately. Utter non-being would be an absolute nothing, and is an antithesis to there being a world. We can conceive of it, but utter non-being at any point would be absence of worlds so we would not be here to talk about such, nor anybody else. KF

  29. 29
    William J Murray says:

    KF,
    IF you mean nothing, say nothing. You cannot “conceive of” nothing. It’s not possible. You can say the word, just like you can say “square circle,” but you cannot “conceive” of it. Go ahead, Imagine “nothing.” What is it? Blackness? Whiteness? A space absent of color and objects? All those are still things. “Nothing” is an absolute logical self-contradiction that cannot even be imagined.

    I’ve corrected you once. Unlike you, I’m not going to keep doing it. You are free to believe as you wish.

  30. 30
    asauber says:

    “You cannot “conceive of” nothing. It’s not possible.”

    WJM,

    Likewise, you can’t “conceive of” infinity. Everything resolves to something finite. So toss infinity in the bin.

    Andrew

  31. 31
    JVL says:

    Asauber: Likewise, you can’t “conceive of” infinity.

    Which infinity are you talking about?

  32. 32
    asauber says:

    “Which infinity are you talking about?”

    JVL,

    There is no “which” infinity. None of them can be conceived.

    Andrew

  33. 33
    JVL says:

    Asauber: There is no “which” infinity. None of them can be conceived.

    You mean YOU can’t conceive them. You can’t make statements about other people. Cantor showed there is (mathematically) different sizes of infinity. I can follow the proof, can you?

  34. 34
    asauber says:

    “Cantor showed there is (mathematically) different sizes of infinity.”

    JVL,

    Size is finite.

    Andrew

  35. 35
    JVL says:

    Asauber: Size is finite.

    Not even a clever dodge.

    Mathematics is logic. Cantor mathematically proved that there are different infinities. It’s easy to look up his proof. Can you find a fault with it: yes or no?

    My recommendation: don’t put your oar in when you don’t actually understand the waterways.

  36. 36
    asauber says:

    “Not even a clever dodge.”

    JVL,

    That’s because it’s not a dodge. Size is finite, and you having a fit about it isn’t going to change anything.

    Andrew

  37. 37
    JVL says:

    Asuaber: That’s because it’s not a dodge. Size is finite, and you having a fit about it isn’t going to change anything.

    And you can’t find a fault with Cantor’s proof. I’m not having a fit. I’m appealing to well established and well supported mathematics. YOU are desperately trying to claw back some kind of respectability instead of just being honourable and admitting you’re in over your head.

    Are you honourable or not?

  38. 38
    asauber says:

    “YOU are desperately trying to claw back some kind of respectability instead of just being honourable and admitting you’re in over your head.”

    JVL,

    Not at all. These ideas have been infinitely discussed at UD over the years. I’ve read everything you wish to argue before, many times. I’m open to you demonstrating that size is something other than finite. I bet you can’t do it.

    Andrew

  39. 39
    JVL says:

    Asauber: Not at all. These ideas have been infinitely discussed at UD over the years. I’ve read everything you wish to argue before, many times. I’m open to you demonstrating that size is something other than finite. I bet you can’t do it.

    I will leave it up to Cantor who, more that 100 years ago, dealt with this. He showed that size was something other than finite.

    So, again, the question is: can you find a fault with Cantor’s reasoning? So far you can’t.

    When ignorant people claim they have bypassed well-established and argued over mathematics then you know they can’t play the game.

    If you can’t deal with the mathematics then you lose. You could do the honourable thing and admit you don’t understand the mathematics. OR you could just continue to bluff and duck and dodge and not actually address the issues.

  40. 40
    jerry says:

    Einstein on infinity

    Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.

    We have living proof of stupidity on UD.

  41. 41
    asauber says:

    “He showed that size was something other than finite.”

    JVL,

    All you have to do is present the elegant logic that demonstrates this. Just cut and paste it.

    Andrew

  42. 42
    JVL says:

    Asauber: All you have to do is present the elegant logic that demonstrates this. Just cut and paste it.

    Easily done. Here’s just one:

    https://www.sciencealert.com/here-s-the-simple-proof-that-there-must-be-multiple-levels-of-infinity

    And remember: if you can’t follow the logic it doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

  43. 43
    asauber says:

    “Not only do infinite sets not exist, but the very concept is logically contradictory – no different than “square circles”.

    http://steve-patterson.com/can.....nite-sets/

    Andrew

  44. 44
    JVL says:

    Asauber: “Not only do infinite sets not exist, but the very concept is logically contradictory – no different than “square circles”.

    Okay, you have definitely punted on the logic and the mathematics.

    You lose. Big time. You didn’t even try You just ran away. That is sad. Very sad.

  45. 45
    asauber says:

    “Okay, you have definitely punted on the logic and the mathematics.”

    JVL,

    I haven’t. And you are in mere denial. I guess you are just that way.

    Andrew

  46. 46
    JVL says:

    Asauber: I haven’t. And you are in mere denial. I guess you are just that way.

    You didn’t address the mathematics. You asked for the logic, I provided it, you ran away.

    Do you think lying for your cause is worthy? Do you think you gain any points for pretending and then running away?

  47. 47
    asauber says:

    “You asked for the logic, I provided it, you ran away.”

    JVL,

    I didn’t. I showed that your position is based on a flawed premise. You just won’t accept that you are wrong. You are lashing out. Go have a rest.

    Andrew

  48. 48
    JVL says:

    Asuaber: didn’t. I showed that your position is based on a flawed premise. You just won’t accept that you are wrong. You are lashing out. Go have a rest.

    You didn’t ‘show’ anything. You linked to a website which made a flawed argument.

    You failed to find a flaw in the logic. You didn’t even look at it. Cantor’s work has been accepted by mainstream mathematics for over a century after spending a bit of time being argued over.

    You are saying that over a century of mathematicians are wrong when you haven’t been able to find a flow in the logic of the proof. You never even looked at the proof.

    You gave a linked to some website with some under-reviewed thoughts which have not been scrutinised and checked and argued over by people who know the field. It makes some vague and unsupported arguments about infinite sets which, if accepted, would have stifled mathematical reasoning.

    That’s pretty poor. That doesn’t count. You don’t understand the mathematics. You are just copying and pasting arguments that support your view without being able to actually understand the issues.

    You lose.

    All this stuff has been looked at and argued over a long time ago. A lot of very smart people have gone over this stuff many, many, many times. You may be pretty smart but I rather doubt you have come up with something that hasn’t already been considered and addressed. It’s up to you to catch up and learn those arguments.

  49. 49
    asauber says:

    “You linked to a website which made a flawed argument.”

    JVL,

    *You* linked to a website which made a flawed argument, which I easily exposed. But you can have the last word. I have better things to do.

    Andrew

  50. 50
    JVL says:

    Asuaber: From the website you cite:

    First, numbers do not exist “between” 0 and 1. Numbers relate to quantity and magnitude, and their metaphysical existence is conceptual, not spatial.

    Too funny. Too stupid.

    Thus, it’s clear: the modern world desperately needs new foundations for mathematical reasoning. Math needs to be logical – grounded in the principles of identity, non-contradiction, and clear conceptual reasoning – and it also needs to be metaphysically precise. We need to eject infinities, Platonism, and Cantorism from all of mathematics, and relegate them to the world of mysticism and Numerology.

    An enormous amount of work has to be done, and it’s vitally important. Right now, mathematics is filled to the brim with false knowledge based on mistaken premises. Not only do the foundational ideas have to be revised, but we also have to throw out all of the conclusions which follow from those premises – at this point, that’s a considerable amount of modern mathematics. A century has been wasted analyzing what follows from a logical contradiction.

    Infinite sets do not exist; Cantor was wrong; and it will take nothing less than an intellectual revolution to place mathematics back on firm foundations.

    Absolute rubbish. Typical stuff from someone who hasn’t actually figured out the logic behind the mathematics.

    You haven’t ‘proved’ anything. You’ve linked to a goofy, unreviewed and ridiculous website which flings a lot of metaphysical ideas about without proving anything. And mathematics is, actually, about proofs.

    You’ve got no proofs.

  51. 51
    JVL says:

    Asauber: *You* linked to a website which made a flawed argument, which I easily exposed. But you can have the last word. I have better things to do.

    You clearly can’t do the math. You clearly do not understand the work that has been done. And when that is pointed out to you you flee.

    You didn’t expose anything. You linked to a goofy, unsupported, flawed argument on some non-peer reviewed website. Gosh.

    Run away if you like. I’m still here, waiting for you to find a flaw in Cantor’s logic

  52. 52
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    An atheist shouldn’t talk about logic and mathematics because both are used to create codes(like DNA) so both exist before the existence of the matter. Random chance never produces codes ,only garbage. So how the codes appear according to your understanding?
    All universal constants are also codes that work together in one super code that allow the existence of other biological codes . Everything is about interconnected codes , codes inside other codes , matter is just the paper and the ink for the codes.

  53. 53
    EDTA says:

    WJM,

    >Imagine “nothing.” What is it? Blackness? Whiteness? A space absent of color and objects? All those are still things.

    I’m not sure why the test of being able to imagine something or not is a test of its logical viability. I can describe infinity, but I cannot imagine it in any full sense. I can’t really imagine gravity in all its implications, either. I can’t imagine some mathematical constructs, but can work with them symbolically. Imagination is a meager attempt at wrapping one’s head around something; it’s not a good test of the possibility of something.

    >An empty set is still a thing because it necessarily refers to an absence of a thing in the context of other existent things – like a set that is not empty.
    >“No-thing” in the sense we are talking about here is as pure a logical self-contradiction as a square circle. .. That is directly trying to make A equal not-A.

    A square circle is a contradiction, because a geometric object is indeed a thing, and cannot have the two given properties (circularity, squareness) simultaneously. But absolute nothingness would have no properties, so there wouldn’t be any pairs of properties to lie in contradiction to each other. The analogy with a square circle doesn’t work as a disproof.

    I agree that an empty set is a thing, but had absolute nothingness obtained, it would contain no sets, empty or otherwise. [Forget the apple analogy; bad idea.]

    >absolute “nothingness” is not remotely the same kind of statement as the mere absence of “a” thing.

    Right. It would be the simultaneous absence of absolutely everything, not just one thing at a time.

    >“Absence” in any normal use of the word requires a context of things that some thing can be absent from so that you can recognize it as absent.

    Perhaps this is not a normal use of the word, because with absolute nothingness, there is nobody around to be bothered that there is nothing to put in opposition to it to recognize the absence. Nobody needs to recognize it for it to have obtained. It’s just absence.

    (Surely you can incorporate this in to MRT _somehow_!)

    >It is an attempt to conceptualize nothing as a possible thing.

    In philosopher-speak, it is the attempt to conceptualize a possible state of affairs that might have obtained. That is not a “thing”.

    Because absolute nothingness has no properties, it cannot appear black or white; it has no appearance–and nobody would have been around to observe.

    I’m open to a real deductive argument that absolute nothingness is a contradiction, but I still don’t see it yet.

  54. 54
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM,

    On nothing from Collins Dictionary, picking from 22 related usages . . . clearly, a very active concept:

    nothing (?n????)
    pron
    1. (indefinite) no thing; not anything, as of an implied or specified class of things: I can give you nothing.
    2. no part or share: to have nothing to do with this crime.
    3. a matter of no importance or significance: it doesn’t matter, it’s nothing.
    4. indicating the absence of anything perceptible; nothingness
    5. indicating the absence of meaning, value, worth, etc: to amount to nothing.
    6. zero quantity; nought

    When we use being to speak of entities and/or their states of affairs in general, nothing denotes the antithesis, non being. Ari put it as what rocks dream of, rocks of course presumably have no dreams. So, we can form the concept. Which is different from, say, a seven sided pentagon.

    In this context, we can conceive of utter non being as contrasted with worlds and their contents. Then, extend to utter non being, i.e. absolute global absence of being. As non being has no causal capability, were such so, it would forever obtain. Put another way, as a world is, something with causal capability to be wellspring of worlds always was. Which leads us to contemplate world framework, necessary beings as a category.

    More can be said but that is enough to show the concept.

    KF

  55. 55
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL, cut some slack, obviously the linked is about a finitist. They have a different scheme of thought, and we may disagree but let them play with their abstract, logic-model world. I of course can and have conceived transfinite sets and note the math that uses them, playing with surreals and hyperreals as you know. There are folks who had long exchanges with me arguing against hyperreals, much as some argued against 0, then negatives then complex numbers. I find hyperreals make sense and allow us to understand transfinites and infinitesimals thus take a fresh look at an old approach to Calculus. Others balk, likely because we cannot traverse a transfinite in finite stage steps and as a physical countable transfinite is probably not possible. And so forth. KF

  56. 56
    kairosfocus says:

    EDTA, muy interesante. Good stuff mon. KF

  57. 57
    kairosfocus says:

    AS, we can conceive of the limitlessness of counting numbers then give its transfinite cardinality the number name aleph-null. Then, take successor values of the order type of N, w, w + 1 and so forth, or compare the successive power sets of the set N, where pow(A) = the set of subsets of A, of cardinality 2^A, which gets bigger and bigger in succession. So, we can construct a framework and so far it has not tossed up a blatant unresolvable contradiction and has some utility. So, we can work with it. KF

    PS, ready for march 49?

  58. 58
    asauber says:

    KF,

    I started a new job late in the year last year, so I have not earned the time to take off to go to the March, and my heart is aching because I can’t go. 🙁 But I will be there in spirit! I heard the mayor of DC is conjuring up new rules to dissuade people from Marching. It’s disgusting to say the least.

    Andrew

  59. 59
    William J Murray says:

    EDTA said:

    I’m not sure why the test of being able to imagine something or not is a test of its logical viability.

    It’s not a test. Could people 10,000 years ago imagine the internet? Also, of course we cannot ever hold an infinite amount of things in our imagination.

    But, that’s an out-of-context application of what I’m talking about. I framed what I meant by using the “square circle” comparison and by exposing “nothing,” in the manner we’re using the term, as an actual, literal self-contradiction. No sentient being can imagine (conceive) a literal thing that is self-contradictory. It cannot be done – not because of the limitations of imagination, but because of absolute qualities of what it means for something, anything, to exist even as an imagined thing. “Nothing” cannot be imagined not because of limitations to imagination; it’s literally something that cannot exist, even in imagination, because it is an inherent, literal self-contradiction.

    But absolute nothingness would have no properties, so there wouldn’t be any pairs of properties to lie in contradiction to each other. The analogy with a square circle doesn’t work as a disproof.

    “Square Circle” is exactly like “nothing.” Absence of properties is a property. If “absence of properties” is not a description or property, what are you even talking about? If whatever you’re talking about has no properties, you’re not talking about anything. You’re engaging in a string of nonsensical words because you’re not talking about anything.

    This is similar to the way people mistakenly reify a model, like gravity, as a cause. You’re talking about “nothing” as if it’s a possible thing with the property of not having any properties. It’s pure nonsense.

    In philosopher-speak, it is the attempt to conceptualize a possible state of affairs that might have obtained. That is not a “thing”.

    Concepts are things. “Nothing” cannot be conceptualized. It’s literal non-sense.

  60. 60
    Viola Lee says:

    KF writes, “There are folks who had long exchanges with me arguing against hyperreals.”

    Misrepresentation of what folks actually argued against.

    And what is march 49?

    And the Tao that can be spoken is not the real Tao. Language and our thinking process has to deal with duality, setting off one thing from what it is not. That which is beyond what is cannot be grasped with language.

  61. 61
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, that stuck record talk point is now clear, so I speak for record. From 2016 on over three years [were you there back in 2016?], there were people who objected to and even refused to allow consideration of the hyperreals, and linked to that to using the 1/x function to catapult between transfinites and infinitesimals, as well as to using R* to frame the question of what a transfinite past would entail. I eventually had to use a YT interview with a Model Theorist who had been Robinson’s student to establish the point. There was debate over the point that the nature of the transfiniteness involves that every specifically represented finite -k has onward -(k+1), – (k+2) so that there is no specifically defined furthest removed finite negative integer, pointing to the onward transfinites. R* mileposted by Z* in the general vicinity of 0 makes such plain. It is thus clear that whether one is implicit or explicit, the traversal of a transfinite span in steps — what without beginning implies — is an infeasible supertask and the temporal-causal-thermodynamically connected spacetime past therefore cannot have been transfinite, as logic of structure and quantity not just heat death. The positioning of the span of finite counting numbers as labels for the “years” in the wider context of hyperreals helped make that clear for those willing to see. It was and remains the case that we cannot have had a beginningless actual past without there having been a transfinite actual past, each “year” being succeeded by a causally, thermodynamically connected successor down to the present. KF

    PS: March for Life, AS regularly attends and I normally host pics etc.

  62. 62
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, so some say. to that I respond, that what is intelligible is what guides us and it is what we need to address. Where it is plain for all to see that contrary to objections and claims, the relativist thesis, explicit or implicit is indeed in effect S = ~[O*M] = 1. Which, for cause I have shown is self referentially incoherent. Further to which there are indeed claims as to what is the state of affairs involved with matters of right conduct etc and objectivity is intimately connected to warrant for finite, fallible, error prone but reasonably rational and significantly free creatures who need to reckon with what it is to be rightly, soundly guided. KF

  63. 63
    kairosfocus says:

    AS, okay, point us to where the march will be live blogged or on video. KF

  64. 64
    EDTA says:

    WJM,
    >Absence of properties is a property.

    Absence of properties is a meta-property, not a first-order property. Absolute nothingness has no first-order properties.

    >If “absence of properties” is not a description or property, what are you even talking about?

    I’m describing it only by a single second-order property: that of having no first-order properties.

    >If whatever you’re talking about has no properties, you’re not talking about anything.

    Bingo! I am talking about the one thing that has no first-order properties at all. Only one thing can be that, and prior to a few years ago, I never even conceived of such a thing. But I can and have conceived of it. Join me in going where your mind has never gone before!

    >Concepts are things.
    But the concept is not the (non-)thing itself. The concept is just a higher-level description of the (in this case) non-thing. (Maybe meta-conceptualize is a better word.)

    A failed argument against this idea might go something like this:
    P1. Every concept is itself a thing.
    P2. Absolute nothingness is a concept.
    P3. Therefore absolute nothingness is itself a thing.
    Contradiction!

    But this fails because the concept is not the same as what it conceptualizes. So I reject Premise 2. Do you see another approach to demonstrating absurdity?

  65. 65
    asauber says:

    KF,

    https://www.ewtn.com/ always has live and encore coverage of the March and related events.

    Andrew

  66. 66
  67. 67
    asauber says:

    There is also rally coverage info here- https://marchforlife.org/national-march-for-life/

    Andrew

  68. 68
    William J Murray says:

    EDTA said:

    I’m describing it only by a single second-order property: that of having no first-order properties.

    What “it?” There is no “it” for you to talk about or assign a first or second-order property to.

    WJM said:

    If whatever you’re talking about has no properties, you’re not talking about anything.

    EDTA responded:

    Bingo! I am talking about the one thing that ….

    I don’t know what else to say about this, or how I can make it any clearer that you’re speaking in a self-contradiction.

    You continue here:

    But the concept is not the (non-)thing itself.

    Really? And you don’t see what’s wrong with the way you had to write that sentence?

  69. 69
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, non being, restricted or global, is a reasonable concept, antithesis to being. Nothingness would be associated. No need for yet another word fight. KF

  70. 70
    Querius says:

    EDTA @64,
    Nicely said. I think I can add Nothing to this thread.

    Stay tuned . . .

    -Q

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