Intelligent Design

The Problem With Most Theological Doctrines and the Theological Argument for Mental Reality

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In most theologies, it is said that God created the material world. It is also said that God is (1) omnipresent, (2) omnipotent, and (3) omniscient; that God knows the future and the past. It is also said that God is an unchanging, eternal, immaterial being and the root of all existence.

Unless God is itself subject to linear time, the idea that God “created” anything is absurd. The idea of “creating” something necessarily implies that there was a time before that thing was created. From the “perspective” (I’ll explain the scare quotes below) of being everywhere and everywhen in one’s “now,” nothing is ever created. It always exists, has always existence, and will always exist, from God’s perspective, because all those things would exist to God as “now.”

“Matter” cannot exist if God is an immaterial being because God “is” everything from a theological perspective. There is no place or state “outside of God” or “unlike God,” because there is nowhere else to exist, and nothing else to comprise anything that is said to exist. If God is fundamentally immaterial being, then everything is fundamentally immaterial. Matter cannot exist in that situation.

All spiritual or religious doctrines extend from the perspective of assigning “not-God” characteristics and perspective to God. IOW, they are characterizations of God and the assigning of attributes to God that inimical to the logical ramifications of the attributes assigned to God by those same metaphysical perspectives.

The idea that God “chose” to create this specific world and limit the experiential capacity of all sentient beings to, basically, a single architecture out of infinite possibilities is absurd because God cannot have a “perspective.” “Perspective” requires a point of view. God cannot have a point of view.

Furthermore, God cannot “make a decision.” A decision requires context, organized sequential experiences, and a perspective – none of which God can logically experience, at least not from the state of “being God”

Even if we ignore all that, let’s say God instantaneously examines all possible experiential architectures “before” he “chooses” one – let’s say the Christian architecture – to limit sentient beings to. The problem with this is that a Godly “examination” of all possible experiential pathways would necessarily mean instantly knowing all possible experiences in every possible architecture – IOW, experiencing every possible life of every possible person in every possible architecture. That’s what omnipresence and omniscience would necessarily entail.

But God exists in a complete state of omniscient, eternal “now-ness, always experiencing all of those other possibilities as those beings in those other possible reality architectures. That’s what eternal omniscience and omnipresence necessarily means. God cannot then decide to “unexist” those other individual experiences in other architectures – they eternally exist as beings experiencing other architectures. Other realities. In the only place and as the only thing any such reality can ever exist – in the mind of God.

If the “perspective” of God is “all possible perspectives at the same time all the time,” then God (from the “God perspective) doesn’t have a perspective. If the nature of your being is “always fully experiencing all possible experiences all the time from every possible perspective,” no experiential decisions can be made; they are all fully being made eternally. There are no “others” to make experiential parameters for; all possible decisions from every individual perspective always fully exist eternally AS those individual beings in the mind of God – the only way anything ever exists as “real.”

Every possible experience, every possible experiential pathway in every possible experiential architecture always and eternally exists as real as any other. As individual consciousnesses, we can only be observational aspects of God, “exploring” an ocean of fully real possibilities, only limited by what is possible in the mind of God.

IOW, no four-sided triangles or 1+1=3 experiences or the like. But that’s the only kind of limitation to what is available to experience. As observational aspects of God, everything is ultimately “within” us. All possibilities. All other aspects conscious aspects of God – other people with individual perspectives, are in this sense “within” us.

188 Replies to “The Problem With Most Theological Doctrines and the Theological Argument for Mental Reality

  1. 1
    GCS says:

    Interesting Comment – maybe not too accurate.
    Problems or issues:
    1 – God is omniscient, I am not omniscient. How can I expect to understand all there is to understand? The writer places himself in a very lofty position.
    2 – God is omnipotent. That means God can do anything not logically inconsistent with His divine nature. We may only have the power to recognize things around us, understanding some but not all of what He does and how He does it (see #1 above).
    3 – Most theologies do not have God creating out of nothing. This is a unique characteristic of the Hebrew God. The unique position of Christianity (derived from Judaism) is that God is fully transcendent and fully imminent at all times. Most religions have divided the two – transcendence and immanence.
    4 – There is a difference between God being in and supporting all things verses the pantheistic idea that all things are just part of God. One of the real mysteries is that God created other creatures to share His life with Him.

    God Bless

  2. 2

    GCS said

    1 – God is omniscient, I am not omniscient. How can I expect to understand all there is to understand? The writer places himself in a very lofty position.

    Not really. I offer a logical extrapolation from the assumed innate qualities of God. Your same objection can be made against any characterization of God. I posit that my characterization is more logically sound, given the assumptions. It’s no more “lofty” than any other characterization.

    2 – God is omnipotent. That means God can do anything not logically inconsistent with His divine nature. We may only have the power to recognize things around us, understanding some but not all of what He does and how He does it (see #1 above).

    See response to #1.

    3 – Most theologies do not have God creating out of nothing. This is a unique characteristic of the Hebrew God. The unique position of Christianity (derived from Judaism) is that God is fully transcendent and fully imminent at all times. Most religions have divided the two – transcendence and immanence.

    Care to explain what those things mean and what the difference between the two perspectives are in relation to my post?

    4 – There is a difference between God being in and supporting all things verses the pantheistic idea that all things are just part of God. One of the real mysteries is that God created other creatures to share His life with Him.

    So, God lives a linear time existence where he creates things? Does ‘mystery” indicate an inability to logically track that from the given assumptions about God’s nature?

  3. 3
    JohnB says:

    @GCS
    It’s obvious the writer of this article is a believer of New Age B.S. and from his writings you can understand he really thinks is a kind of god .He already knows everything and he write to help other people understand “the reality”. :)) coincidentaly what snake was doing in the Garden of Eden.

  4. 4
    Querius says:

    These are legitimate and interesting questions, but extremely difficult to answer for the following reasons. Let’s start with a perspective:

    1. From what we observe through scientific investigations, God’s creation is profoundly complex considering all the different codes in a cell, all the complex chemical cycles, the programmability of our genetics, and so on.

    2. One of the most fundamental assumptions of science is that we have the capability to understand it entirely. For example, our current speculations involve additional dimensions and parallel worlds. Can you visualize a rotating hypercube with four linear dimensions? I’ve seen one generated by a computer program and could almost understand it. Furthermore, it’s extremely difficult to imagine either no time dimension or an infinite number of time dimensions.

    3. Human IQs top out at around 200. Let’s say that God’s IQ is a million. If we have trouble understanding someone with an IQ of 200, understanding God will certainly be a problem for us.

    God created space-time among other things. We can collapse a spatial dimension by geometric projection. Can we convert all time into space or vice versa?

    God describes himself as I AM. Is it possible that God can move in temporal dimensions as easily as we move in spatial dimensions?

    We can imagine and build finite state machines, which are not dependent on time. Can we imagine an infinite state machine also not dependent on time? That doesn’t mean that a state machine is not in motion. State machines can oscillate and form consistent patterns. Have you ever seen The Game of Life (cellular automata)? You can try it online here:

    https://playgameoflife.com/

    Before launching it, click a complex pattern not too near the initial “flier.” Notice that it’s rules-dependent, not time dependent.

    God describes himself as changeless. This includes being changeless in justice, mercy, purpose, intention, character, and so on. But, the fact that there was an “In the beginning” indicates a difference between a non-existent universe to an existent universe.

    This leaves us with many possibilities that are by definition incomplete and untrustworthy. Here are two possibilities:

    a. God lives mostly in another set of space-time dimensions, but created a simulation reality that we exist in. Ancient Jewish thought includes the concept that God fills reality but withdrew somewhat to allow us to exist.

    b. God always maintains consistency but changes “in conversation” that might result in things that are new but not requiring time. This would be like the time-independent state machine of the Game of Life.

    -Q

  5. 5
    bornagain77 says:

    as to:

    Unless God is itself subject to linear time, the idea that God “created” anything is absurd. The idea of “creating” something necessarily implies that there was a time before that thing was created.

    Wow! Just Wow. I didn’t even read past that hubris parading as intellect.

    First God is not a ‘itself’, He is a person, i.e. a ‘himself’. Secondly, God is ‘eternal’ and is above time.

    And if you have a problem with the person of God creating time from his eternal perspective, then I guess God stepping into time, (i.e. subjecting himself to time), to become a human and conquer death, will completely blow your little finite mind out of the water.

    Verse and music:

    Matthew 11:25
    At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.

    Agnus Dei – Third Day
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Bkx0phc50E

    Phil Wickham – (God Does) Great Things (Official Lyric Video)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4CY3nf1Mvw

    Zach Williams – Song of Deliverance (Official Audio)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iUVMAMwPAKE

  6. 6

    Querius,

    Yes, there are things that would be extremely difficult to imagine, perhaps impossible from this perspective, but logic about it can be pursued. Assumed states of being have both logical limitations and consequences. I don’t see how certain theological claims in these various doctrines can be logically reconciled with these presumed states of being. They make sense from a limited perspective, linear-time framework, but from a “god” perspective as posited?

  7. 7
    Querius says:

    William J Murray @6,

    My first question is whether you tried creating and running some random patterns using the rules based, finite-state machine known as the Game of Life? I’m not suggesting that God necessarily operates like a state machine, but I’m just suggesting that decisions and actions don’t necessarily require time.

    So, for the sake of argument, let’s assume that God is revealed in the inspired text of the Bible and let’s do a partial inventory about statements made by or about God.

    God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. – Genesis 1:27 (NASB)

    Let me suggest that this image for humans is of sovereign moral agents capable of real choices, including love, hate cooperation, rebellion, and meaningful dialog. Dialogism as expressed by M.M. Bakhtin is prominent in many parts of the Bible.

    Then the LORD said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.” – Genesis 6:3 (NASB)

    The word, “strive” in Hebrew can mean contend, but most often means to judge.

    “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.” – Isaiah 55:8-9 (NASB)

    Nevertheless, God can communicate with humans on their level just as a human can communicate with a beloved pet. Now I once “tried” explaining quantum mechanics to my beloved tabby, but she had a short attention span and her math was pretty basic. She did like to be petted some, definitely liked treats, and she could tell me when she wanted to be let out.

    “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” – John 4:24 (NASB)

    Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorems demonstrate that not all propositions can be verified or falsified from any single self-consistent mathematical system. Deductive logic is one such system. Logic is not enough and even studying the logos of God, while helpful, is not sufficient.

    To me, logic is like building a bridge of books off the end of a table. Without tangible supports, one cannot get very far due to the shifting center of mass. This is the problem I had with Spinoza. Supports would have to be additional evidence that’s not derived from logic alone.

    -Q

  8. 8
    rhampton7 says:

    God is also perfect, and I don’t see how it’s logically possible to change the mind of a perfect, omniscient being.

    I happen to think the other omnipowers of God are more about what humans want to believe than what God has actually said. God is portrayed as a very emotional, quick to anger, and at times ruthless being in portions of the Old Testament. That doesn’t square well with the Omni characteristics.

  9. 9
    Querius says:

    What if there’s a dialog between God and another sovereign moral entity with free will such as a person?

    Perhaps the omniscience of God is misunderstood. If we can collapse a wave function by observing it, why hasn’t God already collapsed it? Maybe because it’s because God chooses not to do so, leaving it as a wave function.

    Maybe this is part of his granting us free will.

    “There’s some good news and some bad news in physics. The good news is that we finally detected God. The bad news is that it turns out he’s a mathematician.”

    -Q

  10. 10
    JohnB says:

    @Rhampton7
    Of course God is not emotional, but humans ARE… so sometime God communicate like a Leader ,not like Data from StarTrek because nobody would listen.
    Secondly ,how do you judge someone is rutless? 🙂
    If a swat team kill few terorists to save innocent people ,are they criminals or heroes? They killed. If you wouldn’t know the final objective you would judge they are killers. Do you know what objectives had God ? If not you are in hot water.

  11. 11
    EDTA says:

    WJM,

    I do think you have created an internally-consistent description of things here. But it seems to have been created in order to be resistant to falsification.

    As far as theology, you do seem to press some assumptions on to God, however:

    >“Matter” cannot exist if God is an immaterial being because God “is” everything from a theological perspective.

    Not sure where that comes from. God may be over all, but you are saying he can’t can’t create anything outside of himself. I would say he can’t create anything he can’t control. But to use a definition of God that says he can’t create anything outside of himself seems like taking it too far.

    >There is no place or state “outside of God”…
    He cannot create a place outside of himself?

    We take the things of theology, which are dumbed down for us. We try to reason with them, and end up in some strange places.

  12. 12

    EDTA:
    What are the logical ramifications of “omnipresence?” If I take an empty cylinder and fills it with a gas until that gas is omnipresent in the cylinder, what does that mean? Is there room for anything else? If there was, would the gas actually be omnipresent? If you pout a marble in there, would the gas still be omnipresent? Ultimately, “omnipresent” means god is everything.

    If we examine this from the immaterial, mental reality perspective, what does “omnipresent” mean when space and matter don’t actually exist? Where is God “omnipresent?” In all information, throughout mind, and in all experience, and in consciousness itself. God is omnipresent and omniscient because God is everything.

    Mental reality theory isn’t resistant to falsification; it’s impervious to it (at least mental reality as a general theory) because the basic premise is self-evidently true. Self-evidently true statements or concepts cannot be falsified.

    Perhaps existence and reality are really very simple things to understand once you agree to stop denying the obvious and just apply some simple logic extending from self-evident truths.

  13. 13
    EDTA says:

    Omnipresence is an over-simplification, a first approximation. I don’t take it to be a mathematical absolute that we can reason from, as you are attempting. We like single words for concepts; it makes us feel like we fully grasp something. (And it gives philosophers something to attempt to argue from.) But I don’t take God to be omnipresent in the literal, absolute, mathematical sense. He’s not present in hell, for instance.

    He’s not absolutely omnibenevolent, because he doesn’t do every possible good thing that we think he should do. He doesn’t prevent pain, for instance. So his omnibenevolence is just a first approximation, a generalization. He is ultimately very good to those who put their trust in him.

    If we allow omnipotence to include doing contradictory things, then he’s not that either.

    We want to ascribe the highest, most good, things to him, so we use the above words as short-hand for what we can’t otherwise delineate. Any attempt by us to actually list or delineate the exceptions would be futile, because we lack the knowledge. But the concepts are not things we can/should reason from. They’re too vague and fluid.

  14. 14
    Querius says:

    EDTA @13,

    Yep. Well said!

    The Bible quotes God through a prophet, saying that we cannot understand God’s thoughts. It sounds like we’re being told that we shouldn’t try. We have as much chance of getting it right as a news reporter trying to explain first-year calculus.

    Putting it another way, let’s assume that most people don’t understand the details of physical chemistry, algebraic geometry, and artificial intelligence filter schemes. What chance do they have of understanding a spirit being with an IQ of a million?

    The anthropomorphisms are plentiful. “If God is old, he must have a long white beard.” “If God didn’t live on earth, what would he breathe?” “Is God limited by the size of the universe?” “Can God make a rock that he cannot lift?” “If God cannot lie, cheat, and steal then he can’t be omnipotent.” “God cannot be omnipresent because the stars and planets take up space.” And so on.

    But we can have a relationship with God–but on God’s terms. A lot of “trust me” is involved as well.

    -Q

  15. 15
    vividbleau says:

    WJM
    First, appreciate all the good stuff you have written over the years.

    “It always exists, has always existence, and will always exist, from God’s perspective, because all those things would exist to God as “now.””

    I’m not sure about “perspective”, but I do agree they exist to God as now. As a point of clarification. Are you saying that if everything exists to God as “now” that means the actual state of affairs of my existence is not temporal and logically contradictory?

    Vivid

  16. 16

    Querius & EDTA:
    Unfortunately, appeals to the incomprehensibility of god shut down all rational discussion about God. My argument is based on logical extrapolations stemming what were common theological perspectives that were represented to me in the past.

    Vividbleau,
    It means that from an objective, universal “perspective” there is no linear time; from the subjective perspective, sequential experiences are a necessary aspect of continuity of identity and free will.

    I’m not sure what you mean by “logically contradictory” at the end of your question.

  17. 17
    JohnB says:

    This universe is made entirely for manifestation of free will . All other elements are only props. Starting with all fine-tunned universal constants, carbon chemistry, life as a carrier of information(DNA) and as a carrier of consciousness (through which will choose to be with /without God. ) We have absolute free will to choose whatever we want only on a tiny tiny range . Like a warehouse (our body) have thousands of automatic switches ,breakers , relays our free will is only a small switch which God let us to activate or not .

  18. 18

    Querius and EDTA,

    From my perspective, most theological and spiritual perspectives are a lot like belief in materialism, which is why I often refer them as versions of materialism. Materialists must apply “incomprehensibility of the gaps” or offer promissory notes to sustain materialism, and also basically live in de facto denial of the same self-evident truth as most religious or spiritual doctrines.

    Most theological doctrines, like materialism, live in de facto denial of this self-evident, inescapable truth: we live entirely within a mental reality. This is true whether or not an actual external physical world exists. The denial usually justifies itself by making an appeal to consequence. I’ve shown that appeal to be invalid because the consequence they appeal to is not a necessary ramification of mental reality theory; in fact, it’s actually a categorical error.

    The “incomprehensibility” argument is also, as far as I can tell, a convenience that is used to patch up theological doctrines where needed. Apparently, God is comprehensible enough to support the doctrine, and incomprehensible to just the right degree, in just the right ways, in exactly the right places to allow the validity of the doctrine to survive where logic finds an issue.

    It seems to me that these convenient incomprehensibles, whether utilized by materialists, spiritualists, or in theological frameworks, are really all rooted in the same thing: denial of the self-evident truth of the nature of existence. This essential denial cascades down into all sorts of issues that cannot be resolved except by invoking “incomprehensibility of the gaps” or by offering promissory notes.

  19. 19
    bornagain77 says:

    I really don’t know what to make of WJMs recent extended foray into his ‘mental reality theory’. Some parts I really like, but some parts strike me as extremely absurd.

    The main flaw, for me, in WJMs argument(s), seems to be that he is making gargantuan deductive inferences with minimal reference to empirical evidence (i.e. to inductive logic). As I noted previously elsewhere,

    In short, the main flaw is that WJM has, like present day Darwinists and theoretical physicists, regressed back to the ‘deductive logic’ of the ancient Greeks, who argued deductively from first principles and/or presuppositions, and have forsaken the inductive logic that was championed by Francis Bacon and which lays at the foundation of modern science itself.
    https://uncommondescent.com/philosophy/asked-at-areo-magazine-did-the-catholic-church-give-birth-to-science/#comment-703354
    Further notes:
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/mental-reality-theory-vs-external-reality-theory-checkmate/#comment-709226

    In sum, WJM is very much pronouncing on how the world should behave with insufficient attention being paid to how the world does in fact behave.

    And as I have pointed out previously elsewhere, WJMs ‘mental reality theory’, and the primarily deductive form of logic that it takes, (if it would have been the primary form of reasoning that we would have used at the time), would have prevented the discovery of scientific theories which presuppose an objective existence that is outside of our inner subjective mental experience.

    For instance, General Relativity, Special Relativity, and Quantum Electrodynamics all presuppose an objective existence that is separate from our inner subjective experience.

    Thus, as far as empirical science itself is concerned, WJM mental reality theory would be highly antagonistic to what is already established science.

    WJM, could claim that his subjective mental theory supersedes those objective theories, (and that could be true to a certain point), but it still would not, in a rigorous and scientific manner. unify those ‘objective’ theories that are already established outside of his mental reality theory.

    Again, that is not a minor flaw in WJMs mental theory as far as empirical science is concerned.

    On the other hand, Christianity deals with both the objective and subjective theories of science in a rigorous manner in order to ‘unify’ them.

    As stated previously,,

    Yet we do not have just one mathematical ‘theory of everything’ that describes the universe. We have two theories, General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, that simply refuse to be unified into a single overarching ‘theory of everything’.
    In fact, there is an infinite mathematical divide that separates the two theories.
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/god-and-mathematics-why-does-mathematics-work/#comment-710479
    Moreover, if we rightly allow the Agent causality of God ‘back’ into physics, as the Christian founders of modern science originally envisioned,,,, (Isaac Newton, Michael Faraday, James Clerk Maxwell, and Max Planck, to name a few of the Christian founders),,, and as quantum mechanics itself now empirically demands (with the closing of the free will loophole by Anton Zeilinger and company), if we rightly allow the Agent causality of God ‘back’ into physics, then that provides us with a very plausible resolution for the much sought after ‘theory of everything’ in that Christ’s resurrection from the dead provides an ’empirically backed’ reconciliation, via the Shroud of Turin, between quantum mechanics and general relativity into the much sought after ‘Theory of Everything”. Here are a few posts where I lay out and defend some of the evidence for that claim:
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/god-and-mathematics-why-does-mathematics-work/#comment-710481

    Thus in conclusion, while there are parts of WJMs theory that I like, (and parts I find to extremely absurd), I simply find his theory to be incompatible with empirical science itself.

    As I asked WJM before, if your mental theory would have been in place as the major form of reasoning that we used, (where there is no objective existence apart from our own inner subjective experience of it), would quantum electrodynamics have ever been discovered?

    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.

  20. 20

    BA77,
    Mental reality theory is built using a combination of deductive and inductive reasoning. Science under mental reality theory would employ both. As I responded before, just because I originally made an argument for mental reality theory deductively from self-evident and necessary truths, doesn’t mean that’s the only form of logic that can be used to support it or to employ in scientific endeavors under that premise.

    As to whether or not we would have discovered what science has discovered so far under external-material reality theory, who knows? That’s pure speculation. But, let’s assume that we would not have discovered quantum physics under MRT (for whatever reason.) So what? One theory often leads to another theory, which leads to another theory that characterizes things in an entirely different way and opens the door to kinds and arenas of research that weren’t even imaginable before.

  21. 21
    EDTA says:

    WJM,

    The “incomprehensibility” argument is also, as far as I can tell, a convenience that is used to patch up theological doctrines where needed. Apparently, God is comprehensible enough to support the doctrine, and incomprehensible to just the right degree, in just the right ways, in exactly the right places to allow the validity of the doctrine to survive where logic finds an issue.

    There are two distinct things going on here. First is our human propensity to generalize, and then re-specialize. This happens all the time. Someone is bitten by a venomous snake, so we generalize that all snakes might be venomous. We see another snake, and we apply the generalization to the new specific case. Such useful reasoning becomes troublesome in abstract areas like theology and morality: “Thou shalt not bear false witness.” This generalizes to “never tell a lie under any circumstances.” Then when Kant’s hypothetical murderer comes to the door seeking to kill your friend, a re-specializing of the dictum leads to “Well, I guess I have to tell him that my friend is indeed inside.” That’s fallacious, and it gets applied to all the omni-* characteristics of God, leading to the pseudo-problems that Querius points out above. We just need to recognize this fallacy, and avoid making it.

    Second, is our finiteness relative to God. He knows things we don’t, therefore, he has to talk down to us and simplify everything if he is to convey anything to us at all. We get what are necessarily generalizations (and examples and metaphors, etc.), because that is all we can handle. Same thing as when a parent speaks to a young child, but magnified proportionally.

    Our puny “doctrines” will always fall short of fully capturing God. But if we can avoid fallacious reasoning and presuming too much, then we won’t have as many doctrines that need “patching”.

  22. 22
    EDTA says:

    WJM,
    I had earlier asked for some evidence for MRT. Let me be a little more specific. Can you access any information, and provide it to us, such that we could, say, a year from now, verify by other means?
    A few examples:

    – Give us additional digits of precision of one or more “physical” constants–beyond what we know them to be today.

    – Give us the 10^14 through 10^14 + 33 decimal places of pi.

    – Give us the closing values of the S&P 500 stock index on the last day of each month, for year 2021.

    A hundred bits of information should suffice.

    Of course, being unable to do this does not disprove MRT. But it would be spectacular if you could do it.

    [“A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.” It’s Sunday, and I couldn’t resist!]

  23. 23

    EDTA @ 21: You express a theological perspective I don’t share.

    EDTA @ 22: Did I give you the impression that the algorithmic expression process was short in terms of linear time?

  24. 24
    Querius says:

    William J Murray,

    Sorry, I’m with EDTA and Bornagain77 on this one.

    As I said before, a fundamental assumption of science is that we can comprehend it, and we’ve done a reasonable job at successive approximations overall. However, there are indeed some people who can’t and others are brilliant and can comprehend more.

    God, by definition, is far more brilliant than humans. So, does it seem plausible to you that we should assume that we’re able to comprehend God using the tools of logic, a branch of mathematics?

    If God encompasses all facets truth, would you deny Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorems?
    https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/goedel-incompleteness/

    -Q

  25. 25

    Querius,

    No need to apologize! I don’t offer my thoughts in the hope that the are agreed with. I enjoy the challenge.

    God, by definition, is far more brilliant than humans.

    Why is God “by definition” far more brilliant than humans? Do you mean “intelligent?”

    So, does it seem plausible to you that we should assume that we’re able to comprehend God using the tools of logic, a branch of mathematics?

    I’m really not in the habit of eliminating possibilities due to assumptions. I’m more of a “increase possibilities by getting rid of assumptions that limit or deny possibilities” kind of guy.

    If God encompasses all facets truth, would you deny Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorems?

    There’s a difference between what is knowable and what is provable.

  26. 26
    Querius says:

    William J Murray,

    Ok, I’m glad to hear that.

    By intelligence, I mean the God’s capability of designing and programming things compared to ours.

    Let’s say you went to a conference and listen to a presentation by a scientist who found a way to produce a variety of living cells through direct synthesis of DNA and epigenetic programming by use of an innovative mathematical system. This scientist was able to create the multitude of interlocking chemical cycles not limited to only those found in nature, intracellular transport, defense mechanisms, metabolism, reproduction, electromagnetic communication, and the programming necessary for interacting with the environment. In addition, the scientist also had another session on creating self-modifying code among the two dozen or codes so used within cells, including DNA.

    Would you say that scientist was “intelligent”?

    Would you say that you could use your capabilities of logic to independently arrive at the same understanding and results that the scientist demonstrated?

    If you asked the scientist about the mathematics he or she invented for driving the algorithms that were used to generate the desired outcomes, do you think you would be able to understand the scientist’s explanation?

    Would you be grateful to the scientist for an abstracted outline of the general processes employed and perhaps some guidance on your own research?

    Can you give me any examples of what’s knowable and yet not provable through deductive, inductive, and Bayesian logic? I believe there are some.

    Consider I Corinthians 1:20-25 (NASB)

    Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

    From my perspective, I also don’t like the hand-waving, sloppy thinking, and inconsistencies in many theological positions. I’m also an enthusiastic challenger of (usually unstated) assumptions. I also enjoy hamburgers barbecued from sacred cows. But I try to remind myself that my own perspectives of God are going to be limited, incomplete, and sometimes misleading. I don’t make everything a “mystery of the church,” but I pray and probe. I research different translations of the Bible, including Hebrew versions and the Greek Septuagint. I even have a Bible published from the extant fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls. But there are some things I still don’t understand and leave them to be understood or revealed to me at a later time.

    -Q

  27. 27
    EDTA says:

    WJM,
    >Did I give you the impression that the algorithmic expression process was short in terms of linear time?

    I got (perhaps erroneously) the impression that MRT might provide easier access to information that would be effectively inaccessible under other views. I think that came from a different thread where you answered a question of mine about how I might access new/different things via MRT.

    I don’t fully get MRT, but am trying to probe around the edges of it here. Thanks for all your replies.

  28. 28
    bornagain77 says:

    WJM, you don’t seem to get it.

    In deductive logic, you are assuming that your premises are unquestionably true and are then reasoning in a top down fashion to reach your conclusions. Some conclusions which I find to extremely bizarre, even absurd. As kf would state, (paraphrase) your conclusion demands warrant.

    As I see it, either one or more of your premises is false and/or flawed, and you are therefore making a faulty deductive logical step following from that flawed premise. Or else you are ‘overreaching’ your premises.

    You could remedy that situation by proposing and/or predicting a ‘novel’ empirical test and having your bizarre conclusion(s) substantiated. In fact, that would go a long way towards you rigorously establishing your theory as being scientifically true. Much like Einstein rigorously established his ‘objective’ relativity theory as being true by having it empirically established via a solar eclipse, i.e. validating his ‘bizarre’ conclusion of space-time curvature.

    That is one available avenue for you where inductive logic could bring a ‘scientific’ resolution to what I see as, almost, the purely deductive form of reasoning you are using right now to reach (some) conclusions that I find to be rather bizarre, even extremely absurd..

    Whereas, on the other hand, in my claim that Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead provides a very plausible resolution to the much sought after ‘theory of everything’, I am primarily reasoning in a ‘bottom up’ inductive fashion, from the empirical evidence itself. Indeed, I reasoning ‘up’ to my conclusion from the most powerful theories we have in science, i.e. Quantum Mechanics and Relativity

    As stated previously, inductive reasoning is the primary form reasoning that Francis Bacon, (a devout Christian), championed and which lays at the foundation of modern science itself in Medieval Christian Europe,, A ‘bottom up’ form of reasoning which represented a major departure from the deductive form of reasoning that the ancient Greeks used (and which is the deductive form of reasoning that present day Darwinists and theoretical physicists have, apparently, ‘regressed’ back into).

    You claim that your premises are self evidently true (i.e. they are ‘unquestionable’). I’m sure you feel that way, and I am also sure that many Darwinists and theoretical physicists today are also absolutely sure that their premises are self evidently true (i.e. they are unquestionable).

    That simply is not the way inductive reasoning works. In inductive reasoning all premises, no matter how self-evidently true they may seem to be, are open to question, and it is only by bringing a substantial amount of empirical evidence to bear, not to mention surviving vigorous attempts to empirically falsify your premises and/or theory, that your theory and premises can be said to be on solid scientific footing.

    I’ve seen (practically) none of that ‘bottom up’ form of reasoning in your arguments in order to establish your premises as being on solid scientific footing.

    Indeed, as mentioned previously, it seems that your theory simply ignores, or even denies the existence of, all ‘objective’ scientific that have thus far been established as being true. i.e. special relativity, general relativity and quantum electrodynamics.

    This is not a minor problem for you and for you to say “So what?” in response to me pointing that fact out to you just will not cut it. You need to be able to successfully incorporate and/or explain those theories in your ‘new’ theory.

    I’ve seen zero attempt from you to try to do that. Again, it seems your theory simply denies the existence of those ‘objective’ theories, or at least renders those theories, for all intents and purposes, inconsequential.

    Of related note to inductive reasoning, and to repeat my argument for Jesus Christ providing a very plausible resolution to the much sought after ‘theory of everything’, i.e. a very plausible reconciliation between quantum theory and General Relativity.

    Yet we do not have just one mathematical ‘theory of everything’ that describes the universe. We have two theories, General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, that simply refuse to be unified into a single overarching ‘theory of everything’.
    In fact, there is an infinite mathematical divide that separates the two theories.
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/god-and-mathematics-why-does-mathematics-work/#comment-710479

    September 2020 – despite the fact that virtually everyone, including the vast majority of Christians, hold that the Copernican Principle is unquestionably true, the fact of the matter is that the Copernican Principle is now empirically shown, (via quantum mechanics and general relativity, etc..), to be a false assumption.
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/new-edition-of-inference-review-features-richard-buggs-james-shapiro-and-larry-krauss/#comment-713367

    Moreover, if we rightly allow the Agent causality of God ‘back’ into physics, as the Christian founders of modern science originally envisioned,,,, (Isaac Newton, Michael Faraday, James Clerk Maxwell, and Max Planck, to name a few of the Christian founders),,, and as quantum mechanics itself now empirically demands (with the closing of the free will loophole by Anton Zeilinger and company), if we rightly allow the Agent causality of God ‘back’ into physics, then that provides us with a very plausible resolution for the much sought after ‘theory of everything’ in that Christ’s resurrection from the dead provides an ’empirically backed’ reconciliation, via the Shroud of Turin, between quantum mechanics and general relativity into the much sought after ‘Theory of Everything”. Here are a few posts where I lay out and defend some of the evidence for that claim:
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/god-and-mathematics-why-does-mathematics-work/#comment-710481

    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.

  29. 29

    Querius,

    We have two different premises of God then. I would say that God, being everything (omnipresence), is all-knowing . I don’t think God (or any individual) “created” anything because all things eternally exist.

    I think “intelligence” is like “matter.” It appears to be a quality of something from a certain perspective, in certain experiential sequences, but like “Matter” is just an arrangement of thought experiences generated by attention. For example, would you consider an autistic savant super intelligent? Or, is what they do really just their capacity to more immediately access certain kinds of information, like a computer retrieving information off a hard drive?

    Can you give me any examples of what’s knowable and yet not provable through deductive, inductive, and Bayesian logic? I believe there are some.

    Self evident truths are examples of knowledge that cannot be reasoned into because they are often the foundation from which reasoning springs. Like the principles of identity and non-contradiction. I cannot prove “I exist,” but I experience it directly. It is a self-evident truth. I cannot prove I have free will, but I know I do.

    EDTA said:

    I don’t fully get MRT, but am trying to probe around the edges of it here. Thanks for all your replies.

    I have had my attention focused on certain things for decades now. I think I first came up with MRT on my own maybe a couple of years ago? Before that I still thought in terms of an external world and had basically a mystical or spiritual perspective on how the external world was connected to the internal

    This particular algorithmic model is something I came up with about a month ago. One of my focuses of attention now for decades has been on having the most efficient and practical model of reality I could that provided clear methodology towards acquiring my goal. My goal can be summed up as “enjoying my existence as much as possible.”

    So, under the premise of my model, the information that the algorithm should be attaching itself to, along with current other identity structures, and processing into my experience, is “efficiently productive models that provide me with best operational capacity to increase my enjoyment life,” as well as just stuff I enjoy along with other features of my identity information.

    As I said, this particular model occurred to me about a month ago – if that long. It actually just came pouring through as I was writing something else. I don’t know if you do much writing or perhaps some other creative venture, but I can tell you that for me, very often when I am thinking about something or writing something, what comes through is a revelation to me. I’m sitting there thinking, “where the heck did THAT come from? That’s friggin’ awesome.” It’s like I’m transcribing something someone else is dictating to me.

    I can say with completely honesty that, from my perspective, this perspective works for me. The algorithmic model immediately increased my enjoyment of life (which I didn’t even think possible at the time) just because the model utterly released me from any sense that I had to try to micro-manage the process, or even trouble-shoot it by trying to figure out what I needed to do to “help” the “experience manifestation” process out. The algorithm automatically does all that for me.

    MRT and it’s predecessors changed my life and generated “miraculous” occurrences that were utterly unimaginable to me.

    That’s not to say that other belief systems and views don’t generate the miraculous; of course they do and they have their own explanations for those things that fit into their views. MRT is just not compatible with most experiential architectures. That’s another reason I’m not trying to convince anyone of it.

  30. 30

    (EDTA and Querius, something in this near the bottom I think you’ll be very interested in)

    BA77 said:

    In deductive logic, you are assuming that your premises are unquestionably true and are then reasoning in a top down fashion to reach your conclusions. Some conclusions which I find to extremely bizarre, even absurd. As kf would state, (paraphrase) your conclusion demands warrant.

    That’s like saying I’m assuming a self-evidently true statement about existence “is” true. You’re right. I am assuming all self-evidently true statements are true. I didn’t always realize the self-evidently true value of the statement “We live in a mental reality,” but once you understand what that statement means, it is irrefutably true. You know this.

    Is it wrong to base your theory of “how experiential reality works” on a self-evidently true statement about the nature of experiential reality? Of course not. The rest of the theory is fleshed out using deductive and inductive reasoning.

    You claim that your premises are self evidently true (i.e. they are ‘unquestionable’). I’m sure you feel that way, and I am also sure that many Darwinists and theoretical physicists today are also absolutely sure that their premises are self evidently true (i.e. they are unquestionable).

    When you can give me an example of any experience that doesn’t occur in mind, or any line of thought or theory that doesn’t begin, process and end entirely in mind, then feel free to do so and demonstrate that my premise is not self-evidently true. All evidence and reasoning about evidence, models of reality, experimentation and research occurs entirely within mind. You can no more refute that than you can refute “I exist” or “1+1=2” or “there are no 4-sided triangles.

    (EDTA & Querius, I think you guys will find this of particular interest because it’s a real-time example of what is, under my model, the result of years of attention to the kind of information I talked about in the previous comment. The following just occurred to me and I was completely shocked at the sheer elegance of it. I never thought of it before)

    Yes, you can say “Maybe 4 sided triangles exist.” Or you can say “maybe I don’t exist.” Just as you can say “Maybe something outside of mind exists.” But that’s all you can ever do – say a string of words that represent, essentially, a nonsensical idea. You cannot actually imagine a state that represents nonsensical statements. You literally cannot imagine not existing. You can’t imagine a state of “nothingness.” You cannot imagine a 4-sided triangle. These are the true tests of something that is self-evidently true; a state representing the “non-trueness” of the statement cannot even be imagined.

    So here’s the elegant part: You cannot even imagine a world that exists outside of mind. No one can. It’s literally impossible.

  31. 31
    GCS says:

    WJM

    I thought of a few things which you may want to consider.

    1 – We often have the wrong perspective when we consider God. For example: we experience love and consider that God’s love is just a greater version of our love. The reality is that our love is a very small reflection of God’s love which is totally beyond us. God’s love in its essence is far beyond our imagination or understanding. The same can be said of our reasoning powers compared to God. God’s reasoning is far beyond anything we can imagine or understand. The most you can conclude is that by your powers and abilities you think something is the case.

    2 – You appear to be stuck in the either/or conundrum. While it works for many of the ordinary things we deal with, it is not necessarily the case with God. Errors, especially in theology, often occur because we focus on a truth (or partial truth) at the expense of the whole truth. Duality is a common human way of thinking and it works well for many things in the world we deal with. It is not the same with God. God is both fully man and fully human, fully transcendent and fully human, fully just and fully merciful. He is these things at all times in every way. For us to process them we have to separate them, often treating them as opposites.

    3 – In dealing with theological issues we have to have faith. Reason alone never can do it. God has deliberately drawn a fine line. He has given us enough evidence so that if we are seeking, we will find Him in everything. If we are not seeking there is not enough evidence to force us to find Him. Why? Because God wants us to make a free choice to find Him, He will not force Himself on us. He wants us to freely choose to Love Him.
    The interesting result of this is that both sides honestly say that the evidence supports their own case. It is also difficult to understand each other when the evidence is so clear to us. If we understand this then we will have more patience with each other.
    However, only one side is correct. You have to expand your world to include the possibility of God to find out.

    Good luck in your search.

    God Bless.

  32. 32
    bornagain77 says:

    WJM states

    You cannot even imagine a world that exists outside of mind. No one can. It’s literally impossible.

    Actually it is quite easy to imagine a world that exists outside on my mind. In fact, as pointed out previously, several of our most powerful theories in science assume the objective existence of a reality outside of my, or any other, human mind.

    As Mr. Arrington pointed out, your theory “appears on the face of it to entail solipsism.”

    Barry Arrington:
    “WJM, I confess that I do not know much about metal reality theory. It certainly appears on the face of it to entail solipsism. I would be interested to know why you believe it does not.”
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/mental-reality-theory-vs-external-reality-theory-checkmate/#comment-708983

    The assumption that reality depends on my, or any other human mind, (i.e. solipsism), is simply absurd. As Alvin Plantinga pointed out, “We take good care of the professor because when he goes we all go.”

    Solipsist Humor from Plantinga
    ,,,At a recent Lecture I attended by Philosopher Alvin Plantinga, he warmed up the crowd with a few solipsist jokes.,,,
    FYI, solipsism is the rather odd idea that there is only one individual in the universe and that you are it. Everyone else is just a figment of your imagination.
    1. British philosopher Bertrand Russell was a solipsist for a time (why does that not surprise me?), and he once received a letter from a woman who found his arguments very convincing. Well, I suppose it’s not so hard to convince a figment of your imagination that your arguments are brilliant. Anyway, the woman commented in her letter that his description of solipsism made a lot of sense and that, “I’m surprised there aren’t more of us.”
    2. Plantinga also told of an accomplished academic who was a well-known solipsist (I forget the guys name). And Plantinga thought it would be fun to meet a real life solipsist, so he went to visit him. He was treated fairly well considering he was only figment. I mean, it’s not a given that a solipsist would feel the need to be polite to his imaginary friends. After a brief conversation, Plantinga left and on the way out one of the man’s assistants said, “We take good care of the professor because when he goes we all go.”
    http://www.fellowtravelerblog......plantinga/

    Now it is another question entirely if the reality that exists outside of my, or any other human mind, is ultimately dependent on the Mind of God, and is where ‘mental reality theory’ would gain far more traction.

    In fact, I’ve previously argued for God from consciousness as such:

    1. Consciousness either preceded all of material reality or is a ‘epi-phenomena’ of material reality (Jerry Coyne). or is an intrinsic property of material reality, (panpsychism, Philip Goff)
    2. If consciousness is a ‘epi-phenomena’ of material reality (Jerry Coyne). or is an intrinsic property of material reality, (panpsychism, Philip Goff), then consciousness will be found to have no special position within material reality. Whereas conversely, if consciousness precedes material reality then consciousness will be found to have a special position within material reality.
    3. Consciousness is found to have a special, even central, position within material reality.
    4. Therefore, consciousness is found to precede material reality.

    And I used these following eight lines of empirical evidence to inductively support my preceding deductive argument and to thus put my deductive argument for God from consciousness on solid scientific footing.

    Eight intersecting lines of experimental evidence from quantum mechanics that shows that consciousness must precede material reality (Double Slit experiment, Wigner’s Quantum Symmetries, as well as the recent confirmation of the Wigner’s friend thought experiment, Wheeler’s Delayed Choice, Leggett’s Inequalities, Quantum Zeno effect, Quantum Information theory, and the recent closing of the Free Will loophole.)

    Each of those lines of evidence are very interesting to look at in its own right, but to further clarify that it must be the Mind of God that precedes ‘material’ reality, let’s specifically look at the quantum wave function itself.

    Prior to collapse, the quantum wave function of a particle is mathematically defined as being in an infinite dimensional state,,,

    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

    Why do we need infinite-dimensional Hilbert spaces in physics?
    You need an infinite dimensional Hilbert space to represent a wavefunction of any continuous observable (like position for example).
    https://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/149786/why-do-we-need-infinite-dimensional-hilbert-spaces-in-physics

    Moreover, the particle, while it is in its infinite dimensional state, also takes an infinite amount of information to describe properly.

    Explaining Information Transfer in Quantum Teleportation: Armond Duwell †‡ University of Pittsburgh
    Excerpt: In contrast to a classical bit, the description of a (quantum) qubit requires an infinite amount of information. The amount of information is infinite because two real numbers are required in the expansion of the state vector of a two state quantum system (Jozsa 1997, 1)
    http://www.cas.umt.edu/phil/fa.....lPSA2K.pdf

    Quantum Computing – Stanford Encyclopedia
    Excerpt: Theoretically, a single qubit can store an infinite amount of information, yet when measured (and thus collapsing the superposition of the Quantum Wave state) it yields only the classical result (0 or 1),,,
    http://plato.stanford.edu/entr.....tcomp/#2.1

  33. 33
    bornagain77 says:

    Thus, ‘whatever’ is collapsing the wave function from its infinite dimensional and infinite information state, to its finite state of one or zero, must necessarily possess the attributes omnipresence and omniscience.

    Theists just so happen to have a candidate that fulfills those attributes of omnipresence and omniscience:

    Jeremiah 23:23-24
    “Am I only a God nearby,” declares the LORD, “and not a God far away?” “Can a man hide in secret places where I cannot see him?” declares the LORD. “Do I not fill the heavens and earth?” declares the LORD.…

    Psalm 147:5
    Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; his understanding is infinite

    Colossians 2:3
    in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

    Man, or more specifically, the finite mind of man, certainly does not have the capacity within itself to collapse the ‘infinite’ wave function. As God asked Job:

    Job 38:19
    “What is the way to the abode of light? And where does darkness reside?

    And even though ‘finite’ man is certainly not collapsing the wave function, man, via his free will, never-the-less plays a integral role in deciding what type of reality, ultimately, gets presented to him by God.

    As Anton Zeilinger stated, “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.”

    “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 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

    As well, with contextuality we find that, “In the quantum world, the property that you discover through measurement is not the property that the system actually had prior to the measurement process. What you observe necessarily depends on how you carried out the observation”

    Contextuality is ‘magic ingredient’ for quantum computing – June 11, 2012
    Excerpt: Contextuality was first recognized as a feature of quantum theory almost 50 years ago. The theory showed that it was impossible to explain measurements on quantum systems in the same way as classical systems.
    In the classical world, measurements simply reveal properties that the system had, such as colour, prior to the measurement. In the quantum world, the property that you discover through measurement is not the property that the system actually had prior to the measurement process. What you observe necessarily depends on how you carried out the observation.
    Imagine turning over a playing card. It will be either a red suit or a black suit – a two-outcome measurement. Now imagine nine playing cards laid out in a grid with three rows and three columns. Quantum mechanics predicts something that seems contradictory – there must be an even number of red cards in every row and an odd number of red cards in every column. Try to draw a grid that obeys these rules and you will find it impossible. It’s because quantum measurements cannot be interpreted as merely revealing a pre-existing property in the same way that flipping a card reveals a red or black suit.
    Measurement outcomes depend on all the other measurements that are performed – the full context of the experiment.
    Contextuality means that quantum measurements can not be thought of as simply revealing some pre-existing properties of the system under study. That’s part of the weirdness of quantum mechanics.
    http://phys.org/news/2014-06-w.....antum.html

    And as Steven Weinberg, an atheist, stated, “In quantum mechanics these probabilities do not exist until people choose what to measure,,, Unlike the case of classical physics, a choice must be made,,,”

    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://quantum.phys.unm.edu/46.....inberg.pdf

    In fact Weinberg, again an atheist, rejected the instrumentalist approach precisely because, via their free will, “humans are brought into the laws of nature at the most fundamental level” and because it undermined the Darwinian worldview from within. Yet, regardless of how he and other atheists may prefer the world to behave, quantum mechanics itself could care less how atheists prefer the world to behave.

    Although there have been several major loopholes in quantum mechanics over the past several decades that atheists have tried to appeal to in order to try to avoid the ‘spooky’ Theistic implications of quantum mechanics, over the past several years each of those major loopholes have each been closed one by one. The last major loophole that was left to be closed was the “setting independence” and/or the ‘free-will’ loophole:

    Closing the ‘free will’ loophole: Using distant quasars to test Bell’s theorem – February 20, 2014
    Excerpt: Though two major loopholes have since been closed, a third remains; physicists refer to it as “setting independence,” or more provocatively, “free will.” This loophole proposes that a particle detector’s settings may “conspire” with events in the shared causal past of the detectors themselves to determine which properties of the particle to measure — a scenario that, however far-fetched, implies that a physicist running the experiment does not have complete free will in choosing each detector’s setting. Such a scenario would result in biased measurements, suggesting that two particles are correlated more than they actually are, and giving more weight to quantum mechanics than classical physics.
    “It sounds creepy, but people realized that’s a logical possibility that hasn’t been closed yet,” says MIT’s David Kaiser, the Germeshausen Professor of the History of Science and senior lecturer in the Department of Physics. “Before we make the leap to say the equations of quantum theory tell us the world is inescapably crazy and bizarre, have we closed every conceivable logical loophole, even if they may not seem plausible in the world we know today?”
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140220112515.htm

    And now Anton Zeilinger and company have recently, as of 2018, pushed the ‘free will loophole’ back to 7.8 billion years ago, thereby firmly establishing the ‘common sense’ fact that the free will choices of the experimenter in the quantum experiments are truly free and are not determined by any possible causal influences from the past for at least the last 7.8 billion years, and that the experimenters themselves are therefore shown to be truly free to choose whatever measurement settings in the experiments that he or she may so desire to choose so as to ‘logically’ probe whatever aspect of reality that he or she may be interested in probing.

    Cosmic Bell Test Using Random Measurement Settings from High-Redshift Quasars – Anton Zeilinger – 14 June 2018
    Abstract: In this Letter, we present a cosmic Bell experiment with polarization-entangled photons, in which measurement settings were determined based on real-time measurements of the wavelength of photons from high-redshift quasars, whose light was emitted billions of years ago; the experiment simultaneously ensures locality. Assuming fair sampling for all detected photons and that the wavelength of the quasar photons had not been selectively altered or previewed between emission and detection, we observe statistically significant violation of Bell’s inequality by 9.3 standard deviations, corresponding to an estimated p value of approx. 7.4 × 10^21. This experiment pushes back to at least approx. 7.8 Gyr ago the most recent time by which any local-realist influences could have exploited the “freedom-of-choice” loophole to engineer the observed Bell violation, excluding any such mechanism from 96% of the space-time volume of the past light cone of our experiment, extending from the big bang to today.
    https://journals.aps.org/prl/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevLett.121.080403

    Thus regardless of how Steven Weinberg and other atheists may prefer the universe to behave, with the closing of the last remaining free will loophole in quantum mechanics, “humans are indeed brought into the laws of nature at the most fundamental level”, and thus these recent findings from quantum mechanics directly undermine, as Weinberg himself conceded, the “vision that became possible after Darwin, of a world governed by impersonal physical laws that control human behavior along with everything else.”

    Moreover, although free will is often thought of as allowing someone to choose between a veritable infinity of options,,,

    Scientists build a machine to generate quantum superposition of possible futures – APRIL 9, 2019
    Excerpt: “When we think about the future, we are confronted by a vast array of possibilities,” explains Assistant Professor Mile Gu of NTU Singapore, who led development of the quantum algorithm that underpins the prototype “These possibilities grow exponentially as we go deeper into the future. For instance, even if we have only two possibilities to choose from each minute, in less than half an hour there are 14 million possible futures. In less than a day, the number exceeds the number of atoms in the universe.” What he and his research group realised, however, was that a quantum computer can examine all possible futures by placing them in a quantum superposition – similar to Schrödinger’s famous cat, which is simultaneously alive and dead.
    To realise this scheme, they joined forces with the experimental group led by Professor Geoff Pryde at Griffith University. Together, the team implemented a specially devised photonic quantum information processor in which the potential future outcomes of a decision process are represented by the locations of photons – quantum particles of light. They then demonstrated that the state of the quantum device was a superposition of multiple potential futures, weighted by their probability of occurrence.
    “The functioning of this device is inspired by the Nobel Laureate Richard Feynman,” says Dr. Jayne Thompson, a member of the Singapore team. “When Feynman started studying quantum physics, he realized that when a particle travels from point A to point B, it does not necessarily follow a single path. Instead, it simultaneously transverses all possible paths connecting the points. Our work extends this phenomenon and harnesses it for modelling statistical futures.”
    https://phys.org/news/2019-04-scientists-machine-quantum-superposition-futures.html

    ,,, in a theistic view of reality that veritable infinity of options all boils down to just two options. Eternal life with God, or Eternal life without God.

    C.S. Lewis stated the situation for people as such: “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, in the end, “Thy will be done.” All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell.”

    “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, in the end, “Thy will be done.” All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell.”
    – C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce

    On top of that, in order to support the physical, i.e. objective, reality of heaven and hell, I can appeal directly to two of our most powerful and precisely tested theories ever in the history of science. Special Relativity and General Relativity respectfully.

    As I explained in the following post, with General Relativity we find an ‘infinitely destructive’ eternity associated with it. And with Special Relativity we find an extremely orderly eternity associated with it:

    September 2020 – “Where this gets interesting is that, whereas atheists have no experimental evidence supporting their unfounded conjectures for multiverses, Christians, on the other hand, can appeal directly to Special Relativity, General Relativity, and Quantum Mechanics, (i.e. our most precisely tested theories ever in the history of science), to support their belief that God upholds this universe in its continual existence, as well as to support their belief in a heavenly dimension and in a hellish dimension.”
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/physicists-life-forms-could-flourish-in-the-interior-of-stars/#comment-711489

    The implications for individual humans, to put it mildly, are fairly drastic. We, with either our acceptance or rejection of God and what He has done for us through Jesus Christ on the cross, are choosing between eternal life with God or eternal death separated from God:

    I can only plead with any atheists who may be reading this for them to seriously reconsider their stubborn refusal to ever accept God into their lives and to now accept God, even eternal life with God, rather than choosing to reject God and thus choosing eternal life separated from God.

    Video and Verses:

    Shroud of Turin: From discovery of Photographic Negative, to 3D Information, to Hologram
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-TL4QOCiis

    John 3:16
    For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

    John 5:24
    Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.

  34. 34

    Actually it is quite easy to imagine a world that exists outside on my mind. In fact, as pointed out previously, several of our most powerful theories in science assume the objective existence of a reality outside of my, or any other, human mind.

    Assuming isn’t imagining. I can proceed with all sorts of theories and ideas that stem from the idea that one plus one equals “anything I say.” I can proceed with all sorts of ideas that stem from the idea that triangles can have any number of sides. But you cannot actually imagine those things. You can imagine things exterior to your physical body, but not external of your mind.

    As Mr. Arrington pointed out, your theory “appears on the face of it to entail solipsism.”

    I’ve explained repeatedly how it does not.

  35. 35
    Marfin says:

    WJM- Which bible verses are you using when you say God is Omni………

  36. 36
    Viola Lee says:

    William says, “Assuming isn’t imagining. I can proceed with all sorts of theories and ideas that stem from the idea that one plus one equals “anything I say.” I can proceed with all sorts of ideas that stem from the idea that triangles can have any number of sides.”

    I don’t think that is true. 1 + 1 = 2 and triangles have three sides are based on definitions and they can only be not true if you change those definitions. Saying that triangles can have any number of sides is to negate what the word “triangle” means: for instance, it now means “polygon”. I don’t think those are useful examples.

  37. 37

    Viala Lee: Triangle doesn’t by definition mean “three sides.” 1+1=2 is not true “by definition.”

  38. 38
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM,

    I am having focus elsewhere so I cannot really give a lot here.

    However a couple of points caught my eye.

    1: “Incomprehensible” — immensus

    Note Latin text: “Immensus Pater, immensus Filius, immensus [et] Spiritus Sanctus.” That is, beyond measure, infinite beyond bounds. That is the sense of “incomprehensible.”

    A classic text on a facet of this is:

    Isa 55: 6 “Seek the LORD while he may be found;
    call upon him while he is near;
    7 let the wicked forsake his way,
    and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
    let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him,
    and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
    8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.
    9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.

    Here of course there is a bounded rationality on our part so we can have limited but accurate knowledge of God as he shows himself to us in creation, conscience, the gift of rational responsible morally governed mind and revelation through authentic voices, with record (scripture).

    This of course ties to concepts from philosophical theology on the idea of God: inherently good, utterly wise creator, necessary and maximally great being. In short, the concepts in Christian theology are not arbitrary lists of notions but fit into an integrated understanding of what God will be like.

    2: Omnipresence

    The concept is that God is the active, aware, operating root of every where and every when who upholds all things and in whom all things are held together as a coherent cosmos, so he is not displaced from a locale by say there is a stone or a proton there.

    A text or two:

    Heb 1: 1 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. 3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.

    Col 1: 15 He [Christ] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by6 him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

    Much more can be drawn out.

    KF

  39. 39

    Viola Lee: I said:

    Viala Lee: Triangle doesn’t by definition mean “three sides.” 1+1=2 is not true “by definition.”

    I’m wrong about the first. What a triangle is, is true by definition. However, 1+1=2 is not true by definition.

  40. 40
    Viola Lee says:

    The definition of triangle is a polygon with three sides. You can’t imagine a triangle having more than three sides without changing the meaning of the words.

    Also, 1 + 1 = 2 is true “by definition” in a more complicated way: a combination of definitions ( the name for the unit, the name for its successor, and the definition of the operation of addition) plus a postulate about successors, but you couldn’t imagine 1 + 1 = something other than 2 without changing some of those meanings.

    Perhaps you can explain more what you mean?

  41. 41
    Viola Lee says:

    Your post about triangles crossed with mine, so we’ve cleared that up.

    I explain more about 1 + 1 = 2 above. It can only be not true, or imagined to be different, if you change the meaning of at least one of its constituent parts, which are either definitions or postulates.

    One could say that 1 + 1 = 2 is a theorem, proven by a chain of reasoning from a beginning foundation of definitions and axioms (or postulates). But again, it can be something other than it is if you change some of meanings of the constituent parts.

  42. 42
    Querius says:

    William J Murray,

    MRT is precious to you and I won’t denigrate your experience. I had to look up MRT. I logically deduced that you weren’t referring to Mass Rapid Transit. Although mass rapid transit has its strong points, here’s what I think is a better candidate based on your context:

    MRT is a cognitive-behavioral group process that is based on the theory that thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes are the primary determinants of behaviors. MRT is designed to “facilitate a change in the client’s process of conscious decision-making” and “enhance appropriate behavior through development of higher moral reasoning”.

    Is this correct and what you’re referencing?

    We have two different premises of God then. I would say that God, being everything (omnipresence), is all-knowing . I don’t think God (or any individual) “created” anything because all things eternally exist.

    I’m always alerted when someone questions the definition of commonly used words such as “intelligent” and “God.” There’s only one definition that counts, the God who actually exists. Since you enjoy logic, let’s try this out, starting with your premise:

    • All things exist eternally.
    • Eternally means the past and future are infinite.
    • To get to our present point in time, the universe had to traverse an infinite amount of time.
    • One cannot traverse something that’s infinite, and besides that, entropy is always increasing, which means that after an infinite amount of time, the universe arrives at something called “heat death.”
    • We’re not at heat death, therefore all things do not exist eternally.

    I cannot prove “I exist,” but I experience it directly.

    This is similar to my relationship with God, my maker and through Jesus, my savior. I cannot prove it but I experience inner peace, love, and joy directly through the Holy Spirit.

    Much of our relationship to God depends on perspectives and assumptions. Many of these are imperfect and some are completely wrong.

    The terms omni- are not found in the Bible and I don’t think they’re helpful. For example, when Christians pray, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” that seems to indicate that God’s will is not currently being done on earth and that God is not omnipotent—or chooses not to be. Furthermore, the free will that we believe we have might often mean that it’s at odds with God’s will.

    Again, I’m very cautious about drawing many conclusions about God based on logic alone. I rely on the things that God revealed about himself through the Holy Scriptures. I do operate with reasoning, common sense, emotion, and logic in life, but I recognize the limits to these gifts. For example, what I think might be good for me or someone else might not be good at all.

    -Q

  43. 43
    Querius says:

    Viola Lee,

    The study of non-euclidean geometry produces many logical but surprising results.

    Similarly, both in Chemistry and sandwich making, 1+1 might not necessarily equal 2, depending on the chemical reaction or the sandwich:
    1 slice of rye bread + 1 large juicy slice of pastrami = 1 pastrami sandwich. 1+1 = 1 (lettuce, mayo, and horseradish are optional). Now I’m hungry.

    In my high school Physics class, I saw a film of a demonstration that had a profound effect on me in many ways.

    The teacher showed a film of four serious looking men in suits sitting at a square table, one on each side. The table and the chairs were all made of wood. One of the men produced a wooden ball from his jacket and rolled the ball toward the man opposite him. However, the ball seemed to curve and arrived at the man at his right instead. That man also rolled the ball and had similarly puzzling results. Then the teacher stopped the film.

    “Why did the ball change direction?” he mischievously asked the class.

    We all had different theories involving internal magnets, grooves, wires, compressed air, table tilt, motors, gyroscopes, and so on. Very resourceful, but the physics teacher smiled and shook his head. None of the above.

    “Why did the wooden ball change direction?” we demanded.

    “It didn’t,” he replied. He turned the film back on and we saw the camera view zoom out. The table, chairs, and men where on a large rotating platform. We could then see that the ball rolled straight, but everything rotated underneath it. Perspective (frame of reference) is everything.

    Same with God.

    -Q

  44. 44
    bornagain77 says:

    In responce to,,

    Actually it is quite easy to imagine a world that exists outside on my mind. In fact, as pointed out previously, several of our most powerful theories in science assume the objective existence of a reality outside of my, or any other, human mind.

    ,,, WJM states,

    Assuming isn’t imagining. I can proceed with all sorts of theories and ideas that stem from the idea that one plus one equals “anything I say.” I can proceed with all sorts of ideas that stem from the idea that triangles can have any number of sides. But you cannot actually imagine those things. You can imagine things exterior to your physical body, but not external of your mind.

    Huh??? What in the world are you going on about??? Imagining a reality that exists outside my mind is certainly not a logical contradiction as you are trying to imply. Whereas claiming that reality is dependent on my, or any other, human mind clearly entails a large measure of solipsism.

    If you are merely claiming that reality would not exist for us personally if we were not first conscious of it, that is another claim entirely than what you are currently trying to claim. i.e. “You cannot even imagine a world that exists outside of mind. No one can. It’s literally impossible.”

    That I can imagine a world that exists outside of my mind is easy to demonstrate.

    As the joke that I referenced from Planting makes clear, ““We take good care of the professor because when he goes we all go”, the professor’s mind is gone and yet the reality that the professor existed in still persists.

    Thus, clearly, I can easily imagine a reality that is not dependent on my, or on any other, human mind for its existence.

    It ain’t rocket science. And it certainly is NOT a logical contradiction as you are falsely trying to imply.

    And as I stated previously, it is another question entirely if the reality that exists outside of my, or any other human mind, is ultimately dependent on the Mind of God for its existence, and is where ‘mental reality theory’ could gain far more traction.

    In fact, I believe this line of thought was first elucidated in the ‘Idealism’ of George Berkeley, an 18th-century Anglo-Irish bishop

    George Berkeley,,,, A convinced adherent of Christianity, Berkeley believed God to be present as an immediate cause of all our experiences.,,,
    Berkeley believed that God is not the distant engineer of Newtonian machinery,,,
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Berkeley#Theology

    George Berkeley: idealism
    Berkeley was an idealist. He held that ordinary objects are only collections of ideas, which are mind-dependent. Berkeley was an immaterialist. He held that there are no material substances. There are only finite mental substances and an infinite mental substance, namely, God.
    Born: 12 March 1685
    Education: Kilkenny College, Trinity College Dublin
    Place of burial: Oxford

    Perhaps ‘idealism’ is what you are really trying to get at with your ‘mental reality theory’ WJM?

  45. 45
    JVL says:

    WilliamJMurray

    Fascinating stuff. So would you consider the following to be true or false or undecided:

    The Pythagorean theorem

    Fermat’s Last Theorem

    The Axiom of Choice

    The Continuum hypothesis

    The Four Colour Theorem

    Goldbach’s Conjecture

    Is there a difference between those statements regarding their truth, i.e. do they share a common burden of proof?

    If any of your answers to their truthfulness are NO or UNABLE TO DECIDE then what would it take for those statements to be determined as true or false or are some always indeterminate? And how do you distinguish between them?

  46. 46
    Viola Lee says:

    Hi Q, re 43

    The study of non-euclidean geometry produces many logical but surprising results.

    Actually, so does Euclidean geometry! One of my favorites is Morley’s theorem: the three angle trisectors of any triangle intersect to form an equilateral triangle.

    I also think the whole story of the non-Euclidean geometries is an instructive example about the nature of math.

    You write,

    Similarly, both in Chemistry and sandwich making, 1+1 might not necessarily equal 2, depending on the chemical reaction or the sandwich:
    1 slice of rye bread + 1 large juicy slice of pastrami = 1 pastrami sandwich. 1+1 = 1 (lettuce, mayo, and horseradish are optional). Now I’m hungry.

    There’s an important difference between applied and pure math. The fact that one drop of mercury added to one drop on mercury does not equal two drops of mercury does not negate the fact that 1 + 1 = 2. It just shows that some of the math concepts in 1 + 1 = 2 don’t apply to that particular situation. Same with your example: the objects represented by “1” and the operation represent by “+” have to be accurately modelled in the real world for 1 + 1 = 2 to be applicable.

    And last, your example about the rotating table is neat.

  47. 47
    kairosfocus says:

    Q, Coriolis forces and similar virtual forces tied to non inertial frames of reference are always interesting. And yes, one of Einstein’s points is that physical laws take their simplest forms in IFR’s. KF

  48. 48
    EDTA says:

    WJM,

    I too write, but not professionally (yet). Ideas do sometimes surprise me, but after I have written them down and let them marinate for a few months, I am reminded from other reading that I do, that my ideas were more like syntheses of many things learned before. (Then I have to quickly write down where the ideas came from, so I don’t look like a thief later on.)

    I’m almost always able to eventually trace my “realizations” back to their origins, so any surprise I feel at first often fades as I realize where I got the seeds of the idea.

  49. 49
    Querius says:

    Viola Lee,

    One of my favorites is Morley’s theorem

    Cool—I didn’t know that! And from there, it’s equilateral triangles all the way down.

    I also think the whole story of the non-Euclidean geometries is an instructive example about the nature of math.

    Yes, indeed.

    You choose the math that seems applicable. You admire the simplicity, symmetry, and purity of the solution. Then some vandal has to come along and measure an experiment at a higher precision resulting in a small but reproducible deviation . . .

    By analogy, if physicists are driven mad by such complications, how much easier is it to be misled by theological complications?

    As one of my chemistry profs once warned her students (paraphrasing H.L. Mencken), “For every problem, there’s a solution. Neat. Plausible. And wrong.”

    Same with theology.

    -Q

  50. 50
    Viola Lee says:

    I haven’t been involved in the theology discussion, but I imagine you’re right about that.

    And speaking of “equilateral triangles all the way down”, are you familiar with Sierpinski’s Triangle? I read about this in my Chaos and Fractals book. See here if your interested.

    And I think I remember it was you that mentioned Conway’s Life simulation. I just read this on the Wikipedia article:

    “Cellular automata
    The Sierpinski triangle also appears in certain cellular automata (such as Rule 90), including those relating to Conway’s Game of Life. For instance, the Life-like cellular automaton B1/S12 when applied to a single cell will generate four approximations of the Sierpinski triangle.[10] A very long one cell thick line in standard life will create two mirrored Sierpinski triangles.

    I have no idea what this means, though. 🙂

  51. 51
    Viola Lee says:

    Hi Querius

    At #42, you posted the following to William, but I hope you won’t mind if I respond, as infinity is one of the subjects I’m interested in.

    I believe you were offering this as a “proof by contradiction” of William’s claim that all things exist eternally. I am not following William’s mental reality theory, so my response is not really in regards to his ideas, nor to your argument as a whole, but rather to the ideas about infinity in sentences 2, 3, and the first part of 4.

    You wrote,

    1. All things exist eternally.
    2. Eternally means the past and future are infinite.
    3. To get to our present point in time, the universe had to traverse an infinite amount of time.
    4. One cannot traverse something that’s infinite, and besides that, entropy is always increasing, which means that after an infinite amount of time, the universe arrives at something called “heat death.”
    5. We’re not at heat death, therefore all things do not exist eternally.

    First, I’d like to separate two topics: the physical universe we live in and the broader sense of referring to the existence of all of reality, assuming it is eternal, and thus represented by the positive and negative integers on a number line.

    I think the consensus view is that our physical universe had a beginning of unknown origin about 15 billion years ago, and due to entropy will suffer a heat death sometime in the future. It had a beginning, and is thus not eternal. This is not the part that interests me, so I’ll limit my remarks to the parts about the nature of infinity.

    Let’s assume reality of some sort is eternal, so that the past and the future are infinite, as stated in sentence 2.

    I think sentence 3 is wrong. It seems to be implying that having an “infinite past” means that there is some point that is an infinite distance from now, but that is not true. Infinity is not a place on the number line: it is a shorthand way of saying that for any point there is a successor (as you move forward) and a predecessor (as you move backwards). Saying there is an infinite past is saying that there is no “first point” in time, because any candidate for the first point has a predecessor, so the candidate is not the first point. So, by proof by contradiction, there is no first point. Q.E.D.

    That’s what an infinite past means. It means that there is no first point in the past. And yet, since all points are a finite amount of time, there is no “infinite distance” to traverse.

    It makes no sense to say time “started at infinity”, because that implies it started an infinite amount of time from now, and there is no place that was an infinite time from now.

    I know this is hard to wrap one’s head around, because infinity is such a slippery concept, but I think I’m right about this. YMMV

  52. 52
    EDTA says:

    Viola Lee & Querius,

    Pardon my interrupting, but this argument about infinity is very intriguing to me. I think I get the part about infinite time being such that, for any point in either the forward or backward direction, there is always another point farther in that direction. So can the argument be restated as the following:

    1. In our experience, time is a finite succession of moments/increments/etc.
    2. Adding more finite increments still results in a finite total.
    3. Therefore, the infinite (as defined above) cannot be reached in the future direction.
    4. Correspondingly, the infinite past was not ever reached.

    Now, one might say, “Well, don’t stop the process of adding finite increments. Let that go on indefinitely. Then you DO reach the definition of infinite.” But that presumes that infinity can be reached, which is what the argument is about. So we can’t say that, or we’re guilty of reasoning circularly.

    Does that work?

  53. 53
    Viola Lee says:

    Yes, I agree with your 1 through 4. You can proceed indefinitely, but you never “reach infinity” because infinity is not a “place”. All you can every reach is just another moment just a little bit farther in the past.

  54. 54
    Querius says:

    Viola Lee and EDTA,

    Hmmm. I’m really not that familiar with the mathematics of infinities such as Cantor’s and serious mathematicians would have my thoughts on the subject for a light breakfast . . .

    First of all, some people assert that infinities exist only as mathematical concepts and not in reality. Also included in mathematical space are perfect spheres and exact integer lengths.

    You’re right in your perspective that mathematically a point on a number line doesn’t require traversal in all points “to get there” and that infinities aren’t a place, but they do have comparative sizes and ratios as in L’Hospital’s Rule. So let’s do this.

    Let’s move backward in time step by step. Entropy is decreasing at every step. Eventually, one cannot decrease the entropy of the now Perfectly Ordered universe anymore and we’re not able to continue after a finite regression of time.

    But I suppose you might argue that the progress toward Perfectly Ordered is asymptotic (as it’s believed to be close to Heat Death). The problem I have with that scenario is that if we reverse course to move forward in time, the rate of entropy increase is much faster and is not symmetrical with moving backward in time. This leads me to conclude that only a finite amount of time has passed.

    Good points, though.

    -Q

  55. 55
    Querius says:

    EDTA,

    I think your approach in your point 2 is interesting.

    -Q

  56. 56
    kairosfocus says:

    VL,

    actually, no. The issue was hammered out here over several years, it’s the curvy ball again. In this case, the relevant domain is the hyperreals, not the reals. This allows us room to see why a transfinite causal-temporal past of cumulative finite stages cannot be traversed, whether the transfinite was explicit or implicit. The hyperreals turn out to be more relevant than the reals, allowing us to have elbow room to think with.

    The underlying issue in logic of being is that a true nothing is non-being, which can have no causal powers. Were there ever utter non-being, such would forever obtain, i.e. an actual world implies an adequate root of reality always was, circular causation being something from the not yet. That root is finitely remote in a temporal-causal world, which of course may be potentially transfinite going forward, pending an organising factor able to resolve the clock running down problem.

    In such contexts, eternity looms as a different order of being, not simply another causal-temporal successive stage timeline.

    Where, we can identify that a causally independent, non-contingent being is a necessary being that must be part of the framework for any world to exist, i.e. it is or is connected to the reality root and has that eternal character.

    Conceptually, try to imagine a world where twoness does not yet obtain (including, distinct identity); impossible, it is a necessary world framework entity. Serious candidate necessary beings either are or are impossible of being due to contradictory core characteristics like a square circle.

    Reality root candidacy is constrained by adequacy, where we are inescapably morally governed creatures. That demands an adequate reality root capable of grounding it, thus bridging the is-ought gap. There is just one serious candidate — if you doubt, try to put up another _____ . The candidate: the inherently good, utterly wise creator-God, a necessary and maximally great being. One, worthy of our loyalty and the responsible, reasonable service of doing the good that accords with our evident nature.

    As a bonus, such an eternal being is essentially different from a causal-temporal, contingent entity up to and including possible and actualised worlds. Though obviously, such have been eternally contemplated. The issue of actualisation is the matter of creation. Where, after Plantinga we see that a morally governed, free creature can open up worlds of virtues pivoting on love. Similarly, that freedom includes freedom to genuinely think and freely infer not merely carry out a causal-temporal, dynamic-stochastic computational process on a gigo-limited substrate with further questions of its architecture. Such is consistent with a world in which sometimes choice is abused.

    Further to such, the idea of God as just outlined, thanks to the microcosm/holographic principle, leads to deeply coherent, highly familiar frameworks of the divine attributes or facets of being. That is the whole is reflected in each facet and each facet contributes to the others, so that strong coherence obtains. God’s attributes are not an arbitrarily dreamed up chaotic wish list.

    More can be said.

    KF

  57. 57
    JVL says:

    Viola Lee: I know this is hard to wrap one’s head around, because infinity is such a slippery concept, but I think I’m right about this. YMMV

    I think you are correct as well.

    Just wait ’til ET. and Kairosfocus get involved in a discussion about infinity. You will be very ‘amused’.

    PS: I spoke too soon, I see Kairosfocus has already joined the fray.

  58. 58

    Querius @42 asks,

    Is this correct and what you’re referencing?

    Sorry if that was unclear. MRT = Mental Reality Theory.

    BA77 @

    Imagining a reality that exists outside my mind is certainly not a logical contradiction as you are trying to imply.

    This is really, really good. Is the statement “A world exists entirely outside of mind” a logical contradiction? I love this. Thank you so much for crystallizing this for me. I’m going to think about this a while.

    As the joke that I referenced from Planting makes clear, ““We take good care of the professor because when he goes we all go”, the professor’s mind is gone and yet the reality that the professor existed in still persists.

    Thus, clearly, I can easily imagine a reality that is not dependent on my, or on any other, human mind for its existence.

    The only reality the professor still be said to exist “in,” with any capacity to verify, is in the minds of the observers. They have no way to reach any world external of their mind.

    Understanding whether or not a statement is self-evidently true, a logical contradiction, or something else depends on understanding the terms used in the statement and how they relate to each other. I think part of tackling this properly is understanding what it means to say something “exists.” But, I’m still working on it.

    Saying that the Professor “still exists” in an external world is circular reasoning. It assumes we’re experiencing an external world to reach that conclusion. The problem with those that assert this is that they are assuming something that can never actually be directly experienced or verified: an external world. It assumes that what the other people are experiencing is world external of mind.

  59. 59
    ET says:

    JVL, you don’t understand infinity. So perhaps you should just shut up, already.

  60. 60
    daveS says:

    KF,

    The issue was hammered out here over several years, it’s the curvy ball again. In this case, the relevant domain is the hyperreals, not the reals. This allows us room to see why a transfinite causal-temporal past of cumulative finite stages cannot be traversed, whether the transfinite was explicit or implicit. The hyperreals turn out to be more relevant than the reals, allowing us to have elbow room to think with.

    Heh. This is so transparently revisionist. The debate devolved into two (more or less) sides talking past each other.

    It started with a post claiming that some scenario having to do with time was mathematically or logically impossible. I think the OP was by that philosopher/wedding singer guy, but I can’t remember his name.

    The OP said that “X is impossible” because of $argument. Others, including myself responded by saying that $argument was faulty, so whether X is impossible is still up for debate.

    KF enters at some point, at first reiterating that X is impossible, but his position gradually evolved into “Y is impossible”. Which is fine, but no one else is talking about Y. To avoid confusion, we just have to be clear that two different proposals, X and Y, are being debated.

  61. 61
    Viola Lee says:

    Thanks, Dave and JVL, for pointing out that this topic about infinity has been discussed here before. And, even though your description is generic, Dave, I know the kind of thing you’re taking about. I looked at KF’s post and it didn’t seem relevant to the mathematical argument X that I made, but instead seemed to be addressing a whole bunch of other topics that maybe were part of those past discussions, Y1, Y2, Y3 etc.

  62. 62
    bornagain77 says:

    WJM,

    Saying that the Professor “still exists” in an external world is circular reasoning.

    if you are going to try to argue against my points at least state my points correctly. I did not say that the “Professor “still exists” in an external world” as you are trying to claim but I instead stated that “the professor’s mind is gone and yet the reality that the professor existed in still persists.”

    And then I further clarified, “Thus, clearly, I can easily imagine a reality that is not dependent on my, or on any other, human mind for its existence.”

    And as I also further clarified, repeatedly now, that arguing that the ‘external’ reality we are perceiving is dependent on the Mind of God is an entirely different question than what you are currently trying to argue. i.e. “You cannot even imagine a world that exists outside of mind. No one can. It’s literally impossible.”

    I was clear to state that I can easily Imagine a world that is not dependent on MY, OR ANY OTHER HUMAN, MIND, for its existence.

    Now, of course, I hold that the external reality we are perceiving is ultimately dependent on the Mind of God for its existence.

    I even pointed out that George Berkley elucidated this line of logic, long before quantum mechanics came along, with ‘Idealism”.

    Thus, I hold that what you are currently trying to get at with your ‘mental reality theory’ has, essentially, already been worked out with ‘Idealism”

    George Berkeley,,,, A convinced adherent of Christianity, Berkeley believed God to be present as an immediate cause of all our experiences.,,,
    Berkeley believed that God is not the distant engineer of Newtonian machinery,,,
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Berkeley#Theology

    George Berkeley: idealism
    Berkeley was an idealist. He held that ordinary objects are only collections of ideas, which are mind-dependent. Berkeley was an immaterialist. He held that there are no material substances. There are only finite mental substances and an infinite mental substance, namely, God.
    Born: 12 March 1685
    Education: Kilkenny College, Trinity College Dublin

    I believe that Plantinga may also have (lightly) touched upon this line of logic in his book ‘God and other Minds”

    God and Other Minds
    by Alvin Plantinga
    “belief in other minds and belief in God are in the same epistemological boat; hence if either is rational, so is the other. But obviously the former is rational; so, therefore, is the latter.”
    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/496861.God_and_Other_Minds

  63. 63
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, did you notice the remark above on incomprehensible, i.e. immensus meaning unlimited or infinite, beyond any particular finite bound? KF

  64. 64
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, no. I started with the hyperreals, inchoately put. There was a long needless detour through the reals (which turn out to be inadequate and by characteristics not what is implicit in many a number line we meet starting in schools . . . hence my note that the true model of quantity we want in general is hyperreal, with infinitesimals and an intuitive route into Calculus as a bonus) but by reference to model theory we were able to put it back in those terms more firmly established. Once that was on the table, we were able to readily see the challenge of spanning the transfinite as a finite stage cumulative step by step succession. Just as was originally symbolised in 2016, once we realise that every stage of the actual past had to have once been the present and had to have been succeeded by an immediate causally bound successor, then we see that a claimed infinite past — implicitly or explicitly — requires actually transfinitely remote past stages BEYOND ANY FINITE COUNT. And vague comments over well we have further finite values beyond any specific symbolised or counted to finite past point say k’ i.e. k’-1, k’-2 etc does not answer. It just shows that once we get specific and traffick in steps, we are stuck this side of the transfinite. Once we use R* to symbolise such a transfinite, say H’, then go forward H’+1, H’+2 etc, , we readily and clearly see the unbridgeable gap from such to now as we cannot in steps bridge to -2,-1, 0 etc. We are only warranted to discuss a finite past though we may point to a potentially infinite future that keeps adding up once we have a factor that can inject organisation to break through heat death. Such a factor is readily available. KF

  65. 65

    KF @63,

    Yep. Is there a point there I need to respond to?

  66. 66
    daveS says:

    KF,

    There was a long needless detour through the reals

    Nonsense. 🙂

    The proposal being debated (which I called X above) is modeled using the real numbers only. When you introduce the hyperreals, you are changing the subject to Y.

    then we see that a claimed infinite past — implicitly or explicitly — requires actually transfinitely remote past stages BEYOND ANY FINITE COUNT.

    If by this, you mean that “X” implicitly assumes the existence of a particular point T in time such that the interval between T and the present is infinite, that is clearly false.

    All the infinite past proponents arguing in earnest for that position assume that any two points in time are separated by a finite interval. And that the real numbers (or some subset thereof) is adequate to model time coordinates.

  67. 67
    Viola Lee says:

    I see, Dave: My argument is about the real number line: that is X. KF thinks the hyperreals are relevant: that is Y1. I doubt that Querius, or anyone else that makes the argument Querius references, is talking about the hyperreals.

    I see also that KF mentions the heat death factor, which applies to our physical universe only, not the general mathematics of infinity. I pointed out why I though that was a separate subject not relevant to my argument, so that would be Y2. And in his first post, KF brings up God, which would be Y3.

    No wonder you had two sides talking past each other.

  68. 68

    BA77 said: I was clear to state that I can easily Imagine a world that is not dependent on MY, OR ANY OTHER HUMAN, MIND, for its existence.

    If you notice, I don’t use (or at least try to avoid using) personal identifiers when I talk about mind. I’m talking about mind, not “your” mind or “my” mind. “Universal” mind is the superset of all possible mental experiences. What we call “individual mind” would be “universal” mind “looking through” a particular information structure producing an individualized perspective and set of experiences.

  69. 69
    daveS says:

    Viola Lee,

    Yes, in any argument concerning the real numbers here, the hyperreals will no doubt appear. And anyone who resists this will be accused of “locking them out”.

  70. 70
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, just a clarification, comprehensible has a peculiar older meaning. KF

  71. 71
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, for cause I stand by my summary. I have drawn the conclusion that the hyperreals better answer to the issue and help us see the point. There is a way to see why a transfinite span to now cannot be our actual past. Recall, every “year” of the past had to once be the present even as 2020 is a present we all wish were not real. And CV19 is telling testimony to causal connexions year to successor. KF

  72. 72
    drc466 says:

    Time for a Fisking!

    In most theologies, it is said that God created the material world. It is also said that God is (1) omnipresent, (2) omnipotent, and (3) omniscient; that God knows the future and the past. It is also said that God is an unchanging, eternal, immaterial being and the root of all existence.

    Disagree with the “most theologies” paintbrush, but this is a fair description of the fundamentalist Judeo-Christian belief. The rebuttals below will take this perspective when pointing out logical flaws.

    Unless God is itself subject to linear time, the idea that God “created” anything is absurd. The idea of “creating” something necessarily implies that there was a time before that thing was created. From the “perspective” (I’ll explain the scare quotes below) of being everywhere and everywhen in one’s “now,” nothing is ever created. It always exists, has always existence, and will always exist, from God’s perspective, because all those things would exist to God as “now.”

    Logic FAIL #1: TIME DOES NOT CONSTRAIN GOD – THERE MAY BE NO “NOW” FOR GOD.
    What was “created” is our universe, consisting of REAL things both limited to the universe (e.g. matter, energy, time, space, forces, etc.) and not limited (e.g. information, logic, math, etc.). God MUST exist outside the universe in order to “create” it, and therefore is NOT bound by the reality limited within the universe – more specifically to your argument, LINEAR TIME. Because you were created within a universe bound by time, matter, energy, etc., you are incapable of even conceiving what a timeless reality would look like, let alone accurately represent logical restrictions on such a reality. God can NOT be “subject to linear time”, or else He would not have been able to create it. YOUR inability to comprehend timelessness is NOT a logical restriction on its characteristics.

    “Matter” cannot exist if God is an immaterial being because God “is” everything from a theological perspective. There is no place or state “outside of God” or “unlike God,” because there is nowhere else to exist, and nothing else to comprise anything that is said to exist. If God is fundamentally immaterial being, then everything is fundamentally immaterial. Matter cannot exist in that situation.

    Logic FAIL #2: MATTER DOES NOT CONSTRAIN GOD.
    The claim that God “is” everything from a theological perspective is false. Your inability, again, to comprehend how God can be everywhere (theologically true) without being everything (theologically false) is not a restriction on God’s attributes (which, by the way, NO theology claims to understand completely). Judeo-Christian theology clearly states that God “created” everything, and that in Him all things hold together – God is not, therefore, everything. Your logic is sound IF God IS everything – but that is pantheistic in nature, and not a major belief of “most theologies”. You are arguing a strawman.

    All spiritual or religious doctrines extend from the perspective of assigning “not-God” characteristics and perspective to God. IOW, they are characterizations of God and the assigning of attributes to God that inimical to the logical ramifications of the attributes assigned to God by those same metaphysical perspectives.

    Logic FAIL #3: YOUR CONCEPTION OF GOD/NOT-GOD IS CLEARLY NOT THE SAME AS “MOST THEOLOGIES”.
    Your statement here is mere assertion, and depends on your definition of God’s attributes. Which, as we have seen in FAIL #2 above, are a strawman not representative of most theologies.

    The idea that God “chose” to create this specific world and limit the experiential capacity of all sentient beings to, basically, a single architecture out of infinite possibilities is absurd because God cannot have a “perspective.” “Perspective” requires a point of view. God cannot have a point of view.
    Furthermore, God cannot “make a decision.” A decision requires context, organized sequential experiences, and a perspective – none of which God can logically experience, at least not from the state of “being God”

    Logic FAIL #4: ASSERTION WITHOUT BACKING.
    Of course God has a perspective, or point of view. It’s called Perfection, Holiness, etc. And He can make a decision. Again, your logic depends on limiting God to the “realities” of a time/space bound universe, and an inability to comprehend a timeless perfect existence. Your attempt to shoebox timelessness into the constraints of universal time limit your understanding, not God’s attributes.

    Even if we ignore all that, let’s say God instantaneously examines all possible experiential architectures “before” he “chooses” one – let’s say the Christian architecture – to limit sentient beings to. The problem with this is that a Godly “examination” of all possible experiential pathways would necessarily mean instantly knowing all possible experiences in every possible architecture – IOW, experiencing every possible life of every possible person in every possible architecture. That’s what omnipresence and omniscience would necessarily entail.
    But God exists in a complete state of omniscient, eternal “now-ness, always experiencing all of those other possibilities as those beings in those other possible reality architectures. That’s what eternal omniscience and omnipresence necessarily means. God cannot then decide to “unexist” those other individual experiences in other architectures – they eternally exist as beings experiencing other architectures. Other realities. In the only place and as the only thing any such reality can ever exist – in the mind of God.

    Logic FAIL #5: KNOWING =/= EXPERIENCING
    Self-explanatory and “self-evident”. You can know something without experiencing it, so can God. Compounded with a repeat of Fail #2 above, the assertion that no reality can exist that isn’t some pantheistic piece of God (or God’s mind, however you want to look at it). You’ve created a fourth characteristic for God that no major theology would agree with – “omniexperience”.
    [Edit] It is also important to point out that “Knowing” is not restricted to knowing what IS – it is also possible to know what IS NOT. Therefore, God can be omniscient and know what IS NOT a possible reality – basically any reality that God chooses NOT to create. QED.

    If the “perspective” of God is “all possible perspectives at the same time all the time,” then God (from the “God perspective) doesn’t have a perspective. If the nature of your being is “always fully experiencing all possible experiences all the time from every possible perspective,” no experiential decisions can be made; they are all fully being made eternally. There are no “others” to make experiential parameters for; all possible decisions from every individual perspective always fully exist eternally AS those individual beings in the mind of God – the only way anything ever exists as “real.”

    Logic FAIL #6: ONCE AGAIN CONFLATING KNOWING WITH EXPERIENCING
    The issue with WJM’s argument is not the logical conclusions, it’s what he takes as being axiomatic. IF you accept that omniscience = omni-experiencing, or that a timeless extra-universe reality must follow the rules of time/physics within the universe, or that omnipresence = pantheistic, then sure, his logic makes sense. Fortunately, none of those are true.

    Every possible experience, every possible experiential pathway in every possible experiential architecture always and eternally exists as real as any other. As individual consciousnesses, we can only be observational aspects of God, “exploring” an ocean of fully real possibilities, only limited by what is possible in the mind of God.

    Logic FAIL #7: THE LIMITATIONS OF OUR UNIVERSE WERE DEFINED TO BE MUCH GREATER THAN “WHAT IS POSSIBLE IN THE MIND OF GOD”
    Again, the “all knowing = all experiencing, therefore all experiences exist” falls apart rather clunkily in step 1.

    IOW, no four-sided triangles or 1+1=3 experiences or the like. But that’s the only kind of limitation to what is available to experience. As observational aspects of God, everything is ultimately “within” us. All possibilities. All other aspects conscious aspects of God – other people with individual perspectives, are in this sense “within” us.

    Logic FAIL #8: CITING LIMITATIONS THEN CLAIMING LIMITATIONS ARE ESSENTIALLY NON-EXISTENT.
    With very little effort, “four-sided triangles” and “1+1=3” experiences quickly becomes a never-ending list of limitations. You can’t play basketball in the NBA. You can’t move objects with your mind. You can’t live forever. You can’t accurately imagine a reality not bounded by our universes created rules. You can’t know my experience. Etc.

    While I appreciate WJM’s enthusiasm for his “new idea”, it smacks to me (as BA77 alludes to with his rebuttals) as a regression to the pre-Western civilization ideas that science was the realm of logic and analysis, rather than the scientific method and experimentation. Mental Reality Theory seems to sprout from the same root as solipsism, even if it (as WJM argues) isn’t the same thing.

    So here’s a couple questions for WJM:
    1) What practical experiment could be performed that would tell us whether your MRT theory is correct, or the view that objective reality exists (which we experience through our mind and senses)?
    – If, as I suspect, the answer is “none”, then WJM’s argument is merely semantic – what we call an object, he calls a mental experience. To-MAY-to, To-MAH-to.
    2) Applying Occam’s Razor, which theory below is the more likely and useful?
    a) Objective Reality Exists, which we humans experience simultaneously through our senses and mind.
    b) All reality is Mental, which we humans experience through our sense and mind. The fact that we all experience the same “mental” reality, and can create an entire discipline called “science” that defines “laws” of how Mental Reality behaves, is merely coincidental, as there is absolutely no reason why (if reality is not objective) we should all experience a consistent reality that abides by such laws.

    Personally, I find MRT to be sophistry, and quite likely a philosophy that has been considered and discarded multiple times throughout history (see Descartes, Hume, etc.) Additionally, if the only response one can offer to people pointing out flaws in a theory is “oh, you just don’t understand the theory because it is too complex for you”, then it isn’t worth wasting brain cycles on, since the advocate won’t engage in a productive manner.

  73. 73
    daveS says:

    KF,

    I have drawn the conclusion that the hyperreals better answer to the issue and help us see the point.

    But it’s not your choice to make—the infinite past proponents have already chosen their model.

    You are entitled to propose your own model (if only to immediately knock it over), but then you are talking about Y, not X.

  74. 74

    Drc466 said:

    1) What practical experiment could be performed that would tell us whether your MRT theory is correct, or the view that objective reality exists (which we experience through our mind and senses)?

    I’ll take this to mean, “what experiment could be performed to determine whether or not an external physical world exists that is causing our mental experiences.” There is no experiment that can be conducted (even in principle) to verify the existence of an external, physical world. There is no experiment that needs to be conducted to know that all experiences occur in mind. Unless the existence of an external world can be first verified, which it cannot there is no reason to consider it as a serious contender.

    Applying Occam’s Razor, which theory below is the more likely and useful?

    Occam’s Razor means that one insert no more entities into a theory than are necessary to explain the phenomena. MRT has one categorical domain of entities: mind. External physical world theory has two – mind and an external physical world. External reality theory also requires a process by which the external world is translated and processed into a successfully corresponding mental version of that physical world. MRT doesn’t require that.

    As far as “Most Useful,” External Reality theory is a theory held in mind about experiences one has in mind, but which adds to the theory an additional, hypothetical “external physical world..” As with any succession of theories, the latter must take into account the evidence of the former AND new evidence that calls into question the former, and provide more or better explanatory and predictive capacity, which MRT does IMO.

    If you know of any evidence that supports the theory that an external, physical world exists, feel free to provide it.

  75. 75
    JohnB says:

    @Drc466
    Congratulation for your pacience. I also intended to debunk this article but were so many fallacies that my brain overheated. Another problem is that WJM didn’t use logic with this pseudo-theory ,he just got an “inspiration” ( as he admited in a comment) .
    🙂 You imagine that inspiration wasn’t sent by God because was entirely anti-God.

  76. 76
    drc466 says:

    WJM,
    Your argument basically summarizes down into MRT is a better descriptor than Objective Reality because both theories acknowledge that our experiences are dependent on what we perceive through our sense and mind. Yet you don’t really distinguish any characteristics that differentiate between a “mental phenomena” and an objective reality (hence my “semantics” objection). So I’m not ready to agree that MRT is simpler by not requiring objective reality – whether you consider a car a “real” object or a “shared mental experience”, it is a +1 to your Reality theory. You’re just quibbling about its nature, not its existence (as matter or experience). However, for the sake of argument, I’ll let you have this, and take as given that MRT is simpler by not requiring objective reality.

    So that leaves this:

    [WJM] If you know of any evidence that supports the theory that an external, physical world exists, feel free to provide it.

    I’ve already provided this (as has BA77 in a slightly different form): the continuity and accordance of our mental experiences that allow us to practice what we call “science”, and discover foundational traits of our environment, the universe:

    [DRC466] The fact that we all experience the same “mental” reality, and can create an entire discipline called “science” that defines “laws” of how Mental Reality behaves, is merely coincidental, as there is absolutely no reason why (if reality is not objective) we should all experience a consistent reality that abides by such laws.

    If MRT is correct, there is simply no reason why billions of people all experience a consistent, discoverable universe that follows a definable set of “laws”. As you yourself have stated before, MRT is perfectly comfortable with both a “brain in a vat” and “dream state” version of “reality” that have equal footing (in your mind) with what the rest of us refer to as “objective reality”. If we are, in fact, simply experiencing a non-objective reality, there isn’t any reason why F=ma in both our worlds. Or why the color of “GO” on a street light matches the general color of grass for both of us. Or why scientific experiments provide consistent results for different people.

    In fact, that only way for MRT to justify the consistency of our results is:
    1) We live in a shared mental experience where mental phenomena are consistent, even mental phenomena that are after-effects of prior mental phenomena not personally experienced (e.g. if a tree falls in the forest and there is no one there to hear it, do I still trip over the trunk while hiking?). The problem with this justification is that a) it offers no discernable difference with an objective reality, and therefore provides no value as a theory, and b) there isn’t any particular reason why this should be true, as I explained above.
    2) Solipsism – we don’t really share a mental reality, I’m just creating (unreal) persons who appear to share my reality.

    [WJM]Unless the existence of an external world can be first verified, which it cannot there is no reason to consider it as a serious contender.

    Sure there is – the rational, logical conclusion of [almost] every person in the world that objective reality exists, and the practical effects of operating based on that assumption. If it were not true, there should be some practical consequence contradicting the assumption.
    Thought Experiment #1: If I see a train rushing at me, using your logic, I cannot “prove” that the train is a real object in “an external, physical world [that] exists”, and not just an imperfect representation of a mental experience being perceived by my mind. However, the only sane response to my upcoming mental experience is move out of way of the [not real] onrushing train, so I don’t transition from my “living” mental experience to my “dead” mental experience. So which approach is more logical – external, objective reality or MRT? And, again, if your reply is that the mental phenomena called “train” will kill me just as dead as the external objective reality called “train”, we’re just arguing semantics, aren’t we?

    Addendum: I’d like to also provide one additional response to your assertion that God must be somehow stuck in an eternal “now”, unable to act or create due to His omnipresence and timeless/unchanging attributes:
    Thought Experiment #2: Imagine you are a person who suddenly popped into existence in 1970, as a fully mature 40yo, and pops out of existence in 2030. Furthermore, you possess the unique attribute of timelessness and unchanging-ness – your body does not age, you experience your entire life simultaneously, and you know exactly what happens throughout your entire lifespan. Do these properties in any way prevent you from acting during the lifespan? You may simultaneously “know” and “experience” the act of making dinner in 1993 and “know” and “experience” the act of buying a new car in 2020. Your actions are not in any way limited by the fact that you know and experience these actions simultaneously, nor do the actions change you, although they may change the world around you. Now simply imagine having these same attributes extrapolated out to eternity.
    (Note that I am NOT saying that this in any way represents an accurate description on how God can be timeless and unchanging while also having the capability of creating, acting, and deciding – I’m just trying to provoke a consideration of whether timelessness does in fact prevent action, and whether we possess the mental capacity to comprehend/describe such extra-universe attributes).

  77. 77
    Querius says:

    Drc466 @72,

    Nicely explained! I strongly feel that any attempt on the part of a human to trap God by seemly logical statements and conclusions is doomed to failure for the reasons you provided. That we can hardly escape from our temporal perspective isn’t a limitation on God. It’s as if a point on a line tries to logically construct a human in 3D.

    Kairosfocus,
    I appreciate your answer, but frankly admit that I don’t understand the concepts previously argued over. Personally, I think there’s a significant difference that should be carefully maintained between mathematical concepts and observed physical reality.

    For example, I can easily imagine an integer, but as a real-world measurement, I’d suggest that integers are never encountered (i.e. a decimal integer with an infinite number of zeros after the decimal point).

    William J Murray,

    If you know of any evidence that supports the theory that an external, physical world exists, feel free to provide it.

    How are your beliefs different from solipsism?

    I suppose that you might assert that our shared human experiences are also solo mental constructs. If so, how many independent minds are there?

    Many physicists believe in the possibility of a holographic universe and that our external world is not actually physical but rather a simulation. How does that conflict with your beliefs? In other words, could we be living in a simulated world while a different world, an external physical world, also exists?

    Viola Lee,
    You’re right, I wasn’t thinking about hyperreals.

    Yes, I have a passing familiarity with a variety of cellular automata, having played with software generating them, including Sierpinski triangles.

    It’s possible to create a “square circle,” that is an object that can appear as a circle or a square, namely the projection of a cylinder (height = diameter). This is to your point about even Euclidean geometry yielding strange results.

    Regarding infinitesimals, you might enjoy this if you’ve not already seen it:
    n = 0.999 . . .
    Most people would say that this number is infinitesimally smaller than 1. But

    10n = 9.999 . . .
    10n – n = 9.999 . . . – 0.999 . . .
    9n = 9
    n = 1 🙂

    – Q

  78. 78
    Viola Lee says:

    Hi Q. Here are a few comments about your post at 77. (I’m interested in some of the topics and not others.)

    I like your answer to Kairosfocus:

    I think there’s a significant difference that should be carefully maintained between mathematical concepts and observed physical reality.

    For example, I can easily imagine an integer, but as a real-world measurement, I’d suggest that integers are never encountered (i.e. a decimal integer with an infinite number of zeros after the decimal point).

    I’ve taught both pure and applied math, and built a lot of stuff, so I appreciate the distinctions you made.

    Cellular automata and interative functions are a favorite topic of mine. Not many people have heard of Sierpinski triangles, so it’s neat you worked on programming related to them.

    I teach about infinite geometric series in pre-calculus, of which 0.999999… = 1 is an example. The whole business about “infinitesimally small” is of course one of the central issues in calculus.

    I enjoy talking and thinking about math, so thanks for the feedback.

  79. 79
    Querius says:

    Viola Lee,

    Actually, I just experimented with the program, I’m not a programmer. But I know of some resources that I think you might really enjoy:

    There’s an old DOS program named CA LAB that was briefly sold by Autodesk. Check this out:
    http://www.rudyrucker.com/oldhomepage/cellab.htm

    Also check out the following program named Chaos (Mandelbrot set, strange attractors, etc.)
    http://www.rudyrucker.com/oldhomepage/chaos.htm

    And for students who want a humorous cartoon introduction to functions, calculus, and sets
    https://www.amazon.com/Prof-McSquareds-Calculus-Primer-Intergalactic/dp/0486789705

    Enjoy!

    -Q

  80. 80

    Drc466 said:

    Your argument basically summarizes down into MRT is a better descriptor than Objective Reality because both theories acknowledge that our experiences are dependent on what we perceive through our sense and mind.

    Nope, that’s not even close.

    The fact that we all experience the same “mental” reality, and can create an entire discipline called “science” that defines “laws” of how Mental Reality behaves, is merely coincidental, as there is absolutely no reason why (if reality is not objective) we should all experience a consistent reality that abides by such laws.

    A few things here. First, to be explicit, I’m talking about mental reality theory vs the theory that a physical world external of mind exists that is causing mental experience. You keep using the term “objective reality,” but I’m going to assume you mean “external physical world” when you say that.

    Second, you say that under mental reality theory, there is no reason we should have shared mental experiences that largely conform to what we call the laws of physics. I’m assuming you’ve read the reasons offered here and/or by other authors on the subject of mental reality theory Why do you say, then, that there is “no reason?”

    Third, you haven’t actually provided evidence for the existence of an external, physical world. You only made a circular argument – that if there was “no reason” for mental reality experiences to behave this way, what we are left with is external physical world theory. But, that assumes physical reality theory is the best “other” option. You haven’t provided evidence that it even exists, much less that it would or should behave as it does in our experience.

    Could you please begin by first providing evidence that an external physical world exists?

  81. 81

    Drc466 said:

    Thought Experiment #1: If I see a train rushing at me, using your logic, I cannot “prove” that the train is a real object in “an external, physical world [that] exists”, and not just an imperfect representation of a mental experience being perceived by my mind. However, the only sane response to my upcoming mental experience is move out of way of the [not real] onrushing train, so I don’t transition from my “living” mental experience to my “dead” mental experience. So which approach is more logical – external, objective reality or MRT? And, again, if your reply is that the mental phenomena called “train” will kill me just as dead as the external objective reality called “train”, we’re just arguing semantics, aren’t we?

    Every aspect of your thought experience would be solely experienced in mind regardless of whether or not there is an external physical world. If the mind was not capable of producing these experiences, even if caused by an external world, we would not be able to experience them.

    So, we know for an empirical, experiential fact everything in your thought experiment is experienced in mind and can be produced by mind. All the physicality. All the consistency of laws, cause and effect, etc. Otherwise, we couldn’t experience those things.

    This means the burden is on those who assert an external, physical world cause for those experiences to provide evidence that such a world exists. “What everyone else believes” or characterizing it as what “sane” people think is not evidence.

    IF you have evidence an external, physical world exists, feel free to provide it.

  82. 82

    I’ll open that up to everyone:

    If anyone has evidence an external, physical world exists, lay it on me.

  83. 83
    Querius says:

    You mean any one of us in the external, physical world?

    -Q

  84. 84
    Querius says:

    How about the observation that we have nerves that connect to our spinal cord rather than just our brain?

    -Q

  85. 85

    How about the observation that we have nerves that connect to our spinal cord rather than just our brain?

    How is referring to a mental experience (the observation you described) evidence of an external physical world?

  86. 86

    The question is if some mental experiences are caused by an external physical world. You can’t point at a mental experience and say it is evidence of an external physical world because mental experiences are the very thing we’re debating the cause of.

    It’s like saying that we’re looking for evidence that Bob dropped the gun found at a crime, then pointing at the gun and saying that the gun is evidence that Bob dropped it there.

  87. 87
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, that narrowing of perspective inadvertently erects a strawman that distorts ability to see what an infinite past implies. You will particularly note that for something to be the actual past as a stage, it had to have once been the present and then have been succeeded in causally connected cumulative stages to the now stage, 2020 AD in particular. That requires stepwise cumulative succession of finite stages. We are only warranted to account for a finite traverse on those terms, arguments we have seen since 2016 boil down to perpetually begging the question of prior traverse. To assert that at any particular stage that is finitely remote from now the onward past infinity has already been traversed does not answer as to feasibility of such a supertask. The use of the wider frame R* mileposted by Z* allows us to have conceptual tools to address that traverse more clearly and the result is almost trivial, given that the negatives are in effect the additive inverses of the positives. That is, if forward traverse from a given point in N* on in stages cannot be actually transfinite by accumulation, neither can that be so for the prior traverse enumerated by using the negatives. We cannot exhaustively count N, yes, and any k in N is exceeded by k+1 etc, but that simply means the ellipsis of onward succession highlights that the process points to the transfinite and that successive stepwise cumulation cannot traverse such; which is the core point. N*, Z* and R* allow us to clearly represent such and in so doing the challenge of supertask traverse rapidly becomes patent. KF

    PS: for onlookers, the idea per model theory is, accept some H such that it exceeds any such k in N, and such that 1/H = h, a number closer to 0 than 1/k for any k in N. this gives us transfinite and infinitesimal hyperreals and a catapult function which connects the two. H has relevant numerical properties, e.g. it can be even or odd and we can get to a grand continuum, we can even get to C*. This wider frame also allows us to reduce Calculus to an extension of Algebra, using infinitesimally augmented numbers. And much more.

  88. 88
    JohnB says:

    You may want to discuss your theory with a psychiatrist or an exorcist. Don’t worry they are part of your inner self ,they are just different masks of yourself,pigments of your imagination.

  89. 89
    JVL says:

    Kairosfocus: To assert that at any particular stage that is finitely remote from now the onward past infinity has already been traversed does not answer as to feasibility of such a supertask.

    No one who is mathematically aware is saying that.

  90. 90
    JVL says:

    William J Murray: If anyone has evidence an external, physical world exists, lay it on me.

    The bundle of perceptions you identify as being yours . . . where are those happening? How are they stored? You know they’re stored because you have memories of past perceptions (unless you want to think that those memories are being created instantaneously as your ‘universe’ is recreated over and over and over again) so where are those memories collected? How are you able to recall them, frequently on command? What is the mechanism?

  91. 91
    daveS says:

    KF,

    that narrowing of perspective inadvertently erects a strawman that distorts ability to see what an infinite past implies.

    This can only lead to a trivial semantic debate—“What they are proposing is not a truly infinite past, rather quasi-infinite” or some such.

    I planned to respond further, but I don’t think I will, for the sake of my sanity.

    Except for this point:

    H has relevant numerical properties, e.g. it can be even or odd

    I don’t think I’d read this before (about the evenness or oddness)—do you have a source?

  92. 92
    ET says:

    JVL @ 89, anyone who says there was/is an infinite past is saying that

  93. 93

    JVL @90 asks:

    The bundle of perceptions you identify as being yours . . . where are those happening? How are they stored?

    In mind, by mind.

    How are you able to recall them, frequently on command? What is the mechanism?

    By placing my attention on them.

    Do you have evidence for an external, physical world you’d like to share?

  94. 94

    Let me give you a little more meat to chew on, JVL. Apparently you missed where I more fully fleshed out the MRT model.

    The base of existence is infinite (or “universal”) mind. Mind is all that exists. Mind can be characterized this way: infinite consciousness of infinite available information. That state would be what some would call the “God” state. I prefer infinite or universal mind, but whatever.

    Infinite consciousness has its attention on every possible informational subset. An “individual” exists as the experience of consciousness’ attention on any particular subset of information. Individual perspective is generated by this conscious attention on an informational subset. This means there are infinite individuals representing every possible attention/informational subset relationship.

    Everything an individual experiences might be characterized as an algorithmic, or “most efficient” expression of this informational structure.

    If we have “every possible” perspective, then there will be large numbers of individual perspectives that share large amounts of base information, but just different enough in some ways that would distinguish one “person” from another. This means that we can have an enormous amount of shared, consistent, mutually verifiable experiences, as long those experiences reflect shared information the “algorithmic” process is accessing. Our experiences will diverge inasmuch as (1) the information being processed is the same, (2) other aspects of individual information sets don’t cause the algorithm to generate divergent experiences, and (3) individuals in a shared experiential set don’t turn their attention to other available information that would cause experiential divergence.

    Please note, what is being generated by the algorithmic expression of the information generates is ALL experience. Consciousness is not experience, it is what is observing, or having, the experience. Thoughts are not consciousness, they are experiences consciousness is having by having it’s attention on a particular informational structure or pattern.

    Conscious attention is the 100% free variable in the algorithm. The variable is a referential variable; it represents what information the algorithm is referring to in the experience-generating process. The observer directs the path of experience as it moves its attention around. The observer directs it’s attention at information and then has the experience the algorithm produces from that information. The consciousness of the observer is not the experience it is having, although the process creates our “personality,” things we usually refer to as characteristics of who we are, or our “internal” experiences.

    Remember, this is a model intended to better understand our existence and how it works. All the words and thoughts about it are representational from a perspective – mine. The only proper way to discuss or debate it is in principle and logically and not to think of the representational labels as an exact and full understanding of what they are “in principle” describing.

  95. 95
    Viola Lee says:

    Dave, you quoted KF as saying, “that narrowing of perspective inadvertently erects a strawman that distorts ability to see what an infinite past implies.” You then replied, “I planned to respond further, but I don’t think I will, for the sake of my sanity.”

    From what I’ve seen, that seems like a good idea. Discussing infinity in terms of the real number line, as I did, is not “narrowing the perspective”: it is accurately using the perspective that everyone else uses in discussing this topic. (I have done some google research and found no evidence that anything but the real number line meaning of infinity is being used in other conversations about this topic.) I think my argument in 51 is sound: KF’s wanting to talk about hyperreals doesn’t invalidate my argument about infinity on the real number line.

  96. 96
    Querius says:

    William J Murray @85,

    How is referring to a mental experience (the observation you described) evidence of an external physical world?

    What triggers a mental experience?

    -Q

  97. 97

    Further info on MRT: We don’t actually experience “free will choices,” or the decision to put one’s attention on something. That is our ineffable free will that is beyond individual experience. We can only experience the result of the choice. This can be understood by thinking, “I choose to think about ….” and then experiencing whatever you chose; you only know your choice after it has been made and expressed in the experience of what you chose. Give it a try.

  98. 98

    Querius @96: I think I’ve already answered that question just above in my responses to JVL.

  99. 99
    JVL says:

    William J Murray:

    The base of existence is infinite (or “universal”) mind. Mind is all that exists. Mind can be characterized this way: infinite consciousness of infinite available information. That state would be what some would call the “God” state. I prefer infinite or universal mind, but whatever.

    Hmmmmm . . . what is “mind” made of? What holds it together? Why doesn’t it just dissipate. Thinking takes energy yes? Where does that energy come from?

    If we have “every possible” perspective, then there will be large numbers of individual perspectives that share large amounts of base information, but just different enough in some ways that would distinguish one “person” from another. This means that we can have an enormous amount of shared, consistent, mutually verifiable experiences, as long those experiences reflect shared information the “algorithmic” process is accessing. Our experiences will diverge inasmuch as (1) the information being processed is the same, (2) other aspects of individual information sets don’t cause the algorithm to generate divergent experiences, and (3) individuals in a shared experiential set don’t turn their attention to other available information that would cause experiential divergence.

    Where and how is the information being processed? Where does the energy come to do the process? How is the ‘algorithm’ stored and read and implemented? How is the information stored and read?

    Conscious attention is the 100% free variable in the algorithm. The variable is a referential variable; it represents what information the algorithm is referring to in the experience-generating process. The observer directs the path of experience as it moves its attention around. The observer directs it’s attention at information and then has the experience the algorithm produces from that information. The consciousness of the observer is not the experience it is having, although the process creates our “personality,” things we usually refer to as characteristics of who we are, or our “internal” experiences.

    ‘Where’ is the observer relative to other observers? Where does the energy come from that enables the observer to direct its attention?

    Remember, this is a model intended to better understand our existence and how it works. All the words and thoughts about it are representational from a perspective – mine. The only proper way to discuss or debate it is in principle and logically and not to think of the representational labels as an exact and full understanding of what they are “in principle” describing.

    Fine, but what you describe still takes energy and storage and interpretation of perceptions. Where and how is all that done?

  100. 100
    daveS says:

    Viola Lee,

    From what I’ve seen, that seems like a good idea. Discussing infinity in terms of the real number line, as I did, is not “narrowing the perspective”: it is accurately using the perspective that everyone else uses in discussing this topic. (I have done some google research and found no evidence that anything but the real number line meaning of infinity is being used in other conversations about this topic.

    I basically agree, although I do know of one exception, a paper by Quentin Smith which considers models where time coordinates can be separated by infinite intervals. However, I’ve never seen work by infinite-past cosmologists (or anyone else) which seriously advocates such a thing.

    The truth is that KF has dug in on this point and is using every tactic available to avoid discussion of the actual position that is being proposed.

  101. 101
    Querius says:

    William J Murray @98,

    Querius @96: I think I’ve already answered that question just above in my responses to JVL.

    No. Thinking that you already answered the question is not the same as answering the question.

    WJM: If anyone has evidence an external, physical world exists, lay it on me.

    Q: How about the observation that we have nerves that connect to our spinal cord rather than just our brain?

    WJM: How is referring to a mental experience (the observation you described) evidence of an external physical world?

    Q: What triggers a mental experience?

    I bet you’ll say choosing to focus our consciousness on a piece of information, to which I’ll ask what triggers our choice to focus on a piece of information, to which you might respond by saying by choosing to focus on a prior piece of information, to which I’ll ask what triggers our choice to focus on that prior piece of information and so on into a sort of mental perpetual-motion von Neumann chain without any external reality to initiate it.

    How do you know that you’re not the only conscious agent as in solipsism? Do you take it on faith?

    -Q

  102. 102
    Viola Lee says:

    Thanks. Looks like that paper agrees with me, but it’s behind a paywall so I can’t read it. However, it is probably more extensive than I would study anyway. The intro is clear:

    Several contemporary philosophers, like G. J. Whitrow, argue that it is logically impossible for the past to be infinite, and offer several arguments in support of this thesis. I believe their arguments are unsuccessful and aim to refute six of them in the six sections of the paper. One of my main criticisms concerns their supposition that an infinite series of past events must contain some events separated from the present event by an infinite number of intermediate events, and consequently that from one of these infinitely distant past events the present could never have been reached. I introduce several considerations to show that an infinite series of past events need not contain any events separated from the present event by an infinite number of intermediate events.

  103. 103
    daveS says:

    Viola Lee,

    Yes, that paragraph states the point very nicely.

  104. 104

    Watch your comments, people. Keep it friendly and civil. Some comments have been removed and future comments that contain personal attacks or derision will be removed. I’m being entirely civil, respectful and friendly. I expect others to exhibit the same civility.

  105. 105

    JVL said:

    Fine, but what you describe still takes energy and storage and interpretation of perceptions. Where and how is all that done?

    Those things are only relevant and meaningful in the external, physical-world model. Which is part of the reason why I said the logic and principles involved are the best way forward in a discussion about MRT

    I’m still waiting for someone to produce evidence that an external physical world exists. No takers?

  106. 106
    kairosfocus says:

    DS (attn VL), first, see Dr Carol Woods, on Model theory as discussed; in for example a video shared here some time ago she discussed even and odd hyperintegers briefly; which makes sense, H and H+1 in Z* will “naturally” have one being odd, one even. Second, I am not suggesting any idiosyncratic oddity but simply identifying what is embedded in the ellipses of transfinite extension in say . . . -2, -1, 0, 1, 2 . . . These indicate that beyond any particular k we have k+1 etc, and the additive inverses, i.e. for k’ additive inverse to k, we have had past stages k’-1, k’-2 etc without limit, implying precisely transfinite succession to k’. Of course this implies too that there is no specifically identifiable maximal finite integer z so z+1 is transfinite. The Hyperreals embrace the Reals and allow us to see what is implied in a descent of stepwise finite stage causal temporal succession to now where any past value k’ is transfinitely preceded L-wards. The point is, not abstract sets but actual past. That is where the transfinite traverse enters. KF

  107. 107
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, what does a physical world mean to you? KF

  108. 108
    Viola Lee says:

    KF, are you willing to talk about this topic in reference to the real number line only? Or will you only discuss this topic when it includes the hyperreals?

  109. 109
    JohnB says:

    William J Murray
    Watch your comments, people. Keep it friendly and civil. Some comments have been removed and future comments that contain personal attacks or derision will be removed. I’m being entirely civil, respectful and friendly. I expect others to exhibit the same civility.

    My friend,I’m shocked I thought you really belive in your model of mental reality. In your model don’t exist things like “personal attacks ,derision” only algorithms and shared experiences. Are you refusing to accept realities of your model? Live what you preach:

    As observational aspects of God, everything is ultimately “within” us. All possibilities. All other aspects conscious aspects of God – other people with individual perspectives, are in this sense “within” us.

  110. 110
    JVL says:

    William J Murray:

    Those things are only relevant and meaningful in the external, physical-world model. Which is part of the reason why I said the logic and principles involved are the best way forward in a discussion about MRT

    But how can those things occur without expending energy, without information being encoded and stored and then read?

    Is that not just logical and, in fact, necessary for the phenomena you describe? If not then can you support an assertion that they are not required?

    IF you choose to ignore some clear requirements then your model is flawed from the start and insisting that we stick with it is just begging the question. You have to consider the data and logic which runs counter to your model or you’re not really seriously trying to have a logical discussion about its merits.

  111. 111
    daveS says:

    KF,

    Thanks, I do see references to even hyperintegers etc.

    Second, I am not suggesting any idiosyncratic oddity but simply identifying what is embedded in the ellipses of transfinite extension in say . . . -2, -1, 0, 1, 2 . . . These indicate that beyond any particular k we have k+1 etc, and the additive inverses, i.e. for k’ additive inverse to k, we have had past stages k’-1, k’-2 etc without limit, implying precisely transfinite succession to k’. Of course this implies too that there is no specifically identifiable maximal finite integer z so z+1 is transfinite.

    If I understand correctly, yes, these are just elementary facts about the integers. And I guess “implying precisely transfinite succession to k’” just means that if we assume an infinite past from the POV of the present, then the past from _any_ POV among the stages …-2, -1, 0, 1, 2, … would also be infinite. That’s what the “standard” infinite past model supposes.

    The Hyperreals embrace the Reals and allow us to see what is implied in a descent of stepwise finite stage causal temporal succession to now where any past value k’ is transfinitely preceded L-wards.

    Once again, the hypothesis under discussion (X) is that there are no stages or points in time at infinite remove from the present. As Q. Smith states:

    I introduce several considerations to show that an infinite series of past events need not contain any events separated from the present event by an infinite number of intermediate events.

    Cosmologists etc. working on “infinite past theory” have wisely taken Smith up on this. Their model is based on R only, and they can “see” fine without bringing the hyperreals into the picture. Again, it’s their model, their choice.

    The point is, not abstract sets but actual past.

    Yes, we do aim to talk about the actual past. With the aid of “the logic of structure and quantity”, of course, which is necessarily abstract.

  112. 112

    JVL asks:

    But how can those things occur without expending energy, without information being encoded and stored and then read?

    What we call “energetic interactions” are behavioral patterns of phenomena we experience that can be described in mathematical terms. “Energy” and “forces” and “physical laws” is a label for the models of these patterned behaviors. Nothing more.

    For instance, “gravity” is a model of behavior of phenomena, phenomena we experience entirely in mind. There is no actual “thing” we are talking about when we use these words other than referring to the behavioral model. We have fallen into the bad habit of referring to the name of the model of behavior, like “gravity,” as if that word represents the cause of the behavior the model describes.

    There is no such thing as “energy” per se. There are only behavioral patterns of various mental experiences.

    As for “where information exists” and “how is that information accessed and processed,” I’ve answered those questions; the problem is that you want them expressed in terms of an external, physical reality, and reject it when I express it in terms of mental reality.

    Is that not just logical and, in fact, necessary for the phenomena you describe? If not then can you support an assertion that they are not required?

    I can instantaneously create absolutely anything in the set of mental experiences we categorize as imagination. Where was that information “located?” How did I access that information? Where is that experience located? How much room in mind does it take up? How much energy did it take?

    Now you might say, “but imagination is different from the category of experience we label as the external physical world.” Yes, it is, but under MRT, they are both mental experiences. Neither requires what we commonly refer to as energy or space.

    IF you choose to ignore some clear requirements then your model is flawed from the start and insisting that we stick with it is just begging the question. You have to consider the data and logic which runs counter to your model or you’re not really seriously trying to have a logical discussion about its merits.

    Those are only requirements in external, physical world theory, not MRT.

    I’ve answered many questions here. Anyone want to take a shot at providing evidence of an external (of mind), physical world?

  113. 113

    KF asks:

    WJM, what does a physical world mean to you?

    Not enough context in that question to begin to know how to answer it.

  114. 114

    Querius asks:

    How do you know that you’re not the only conscious agent as in solipsism?

    Nobody knows that regardless of what theory they operate under.

    Do you take it on faith?

    Yep, just like everyone else – except solipsists.

  115. 115
    Viola Lee says:

    “Yes, we do aim to talk about the actual past. With the aid of “the logic of structure and quantity”, of course, which is necessarily abstract.”

    Nice line, Dave.

  116. 116
    JohnB says:

    @WJM

    “What we call “energetic interactions” are behavioral patterns of phenomena we experience that can be described in mathematical terms. “Energy” and “forces” and “physical laws” is a label for the models of these patterned behaviors . Nothing more.”

    🙂 Explain behavioral patterns of phenomena . What it is , how and why appear, where ,when, etc. After you explain that probably you will introduce in definition a new term . Well you have to explain also that term…and so on.

  117. 117
    JVL says:

    William J Murray:

    What we call “energetic interactions” are behavioral patterns of phenomena we experience that can be described in mathematical terms. “Energy” and “forces” and “physical laws” is a label for the models of these patterned behaviors. Nothing more.

    Yes, I get that. But you can’t explain how all these ‘energetic interactions’ can occur without using some energy and having a storage system and an interpretation protocol. It’s all just ‘magic’ for you it seems. But what good is a model which doesn’t accommodate digging down into the infrastructure? Why put a limit on what questions can be asked? Why is it that certain queries just end with: because?

    For instance, “gravity” is a model of behavior of phenomena, phenomena we experience entirely in mind. There is no actual “thing” we are talking about when we use these words other than referring to the behavioral model. We have fallen into the bad habit of referring to the name of the model of behavior, like “gravity,” as if that word represents the cause of the behavior the model describes.

    Fine. An interesting choice of topics for you I think since ‘gravity’ has gone through some progressive model changes which more closely mirror the repeated and observer independent data we have. But you don’t believe in repeated and observer independent data because your world is the only one that counts.

    There is no such thing as “energy” per se. There are only behavioral patterns of various mental experiences.

    You keep avoiding the issue: how is it those mental experiences occur, are fuelled and are recorded for later playback? What is the mechanism that enables these things?

    As for “where information exists” and “how is that information accessed and processed,” I’ve answered those questions; the problem is that you want them expressed in terms of an external, physical reality, and reject it when I express it in terms of mental reality.

    Your mental reality is limited and clearly dependent on some infrastructure you refuse to consider important. You propose some ‘system’ of thought which has no basis in logical and rational states. It’s just a pipe dream. You ask for evidence of external reality and then when someone brings up a point which supports external reality you dismiss it as off topic.

    I can instantaneously create absolutely anything in the set of mental experiences we categorize as imagination. Where was that information “located?” How did I access that information? Where is that experience located? How much room in mind does it take up? How much energy did it take?

    Questions you sidestep because you have no answer. You cannot ‘create’ things which impinge on me aside from your replies on these blog threads. You can’t. You can imagine you have but I will not share your experience or reality.

    Now you might say, “but imagination is different from the category of experience we label as the external physical world.” Yes, it is, but under MRT, they are both mental experiences. Neither requires what we commonly refer to as energy or space.

    Well, how do these experiences have an actual existence then? How is it possible to store them and recall them or to relate them? You keep dodging the issue. Where and how are your experiences recorded? Please answer that.

    Those are only requirements in external, physical world theory, not MRT.

    MRT is beginning to sound like an ideological dead end. It gets you nowhere. It answers nothing. It’s a science stopper in that it just pretends that nothing aside from your own ideas have meaning.

    Worst of all, it means you can deny and deny and deny that other people with feelings and pains and problems exists and are worthy of consideration. You can remove yourself from the world, including your own body. And when you die and your brain stops then the reality you bought into will cease without having helped anyone else or alleviated their pain.

    Well done.

  118. 118

    JVL,

    As I’ve already pointed out, you’re asking me to describe MRT in terms of ERT. If that appears to you to be me “sidestepping” your questions, there’s nothing I can do about that.

  119. 119
    drc466 says:

    Your argument basically summarizes down into MRT is a better descriptor than Objective Reality because both theories acknowledge that our experiences are dependent on what we perceive through our sense and mind.

    Nope, that’s not even close.

    Sure it is – let me quote YOU from the post I was responding to:

    [WJM]Occam’s Razor means that one insert no more entities into a theory than are necessary to explain the phenomena. MRT has one categorical domain of entities: mind. External physical world theory has two – mind and an external physical world. External reality theory also requires a process by which the external world is translated and processed into a successfully corresponding mental version of that physical world. MRT doesn’t require that.

    I didn’t explicitly add the part about “[ERT] also requires…”, but the summary is accurate.

    [DRC466]The fact that we all experience the same “mental” reality, and can create an entire discipline called “science” that defines “laws” of how Mental Reality behaves, is merely coincidental, as there is absolutely no reason why (if reality is not objective) we should all experience a consistent reality that abides by such laws.

    [WJM]A few things here. First, to be explicit, I’m talking about mental reality theory vs the theory that a physical world external of mind exists that is causing mental experience. You keep using the term “objective reality,” but I’m going to assume you mean “external physical world” when you say that.

    External, objective, whatever. You do love semantics, don’t you? Yes, I’m referring to an external, physical world.

    Second, you say that under mental reality theory, there is no reason we should have shared mental experiences that largely conform to what we call the laws of physics. I’m assuming you’ve read the reasons offered here and/or by other authors on the subject of mental reality theory Why do you say, then, that there is “no reason?”

    Yep – you! Allow me to quote your exact words on how MRT accepts as real “all” mental experiences, from the comments on another post of yours:

    [WJM]This might be the most beautiful and elegant aspect of MRT. Every “external of mind” reality theory suffers from this same fundamental problem: there is no way to discern between imagination (what goes on in mind) and reality. External reality theorists characterize this as the “brain in a vat” problem; there’s no way to tell if you’re just a brain in a vat imagining an external world or not. They argue that this position cannot be rationally held as true even though it cannot be disproved (or even contra-evidenced) because of the “self-referential absurdity” (as KF likes to phrase it) issue that would ensue. The existence of an objective world external to mind must be taken as a matter of pure faith.

    But that argument is entirely rooted in the very perspective it argues for. It’s a circular argument. That argument is non-existent from a mental, non-external reality framework. In MRT, there is no reason to distinguish, in terms of reality value, between mental phenomena. It’s all completely, totally real. The difference between what we normally refer to as “exterior, physical world” and “imagination” is not the difference between what is real and what is not, it’s just the difference between what information your experiential algorithm is currently generating as “physical” experience and that which it is not.

    So, yes, I have read the reasons offered here, and that is why I say then that there is “no reason”!

    Third, you haven’t actually provided evidence for the existence of an external, physical world. You only made a circular argument – that if there was “no reason” for mental reality experiences to behave this way, what we are left with is external physical world theory. But, that assumes physical reality theory is the best “other” option. You haven’t provided evidence that it even exists, much less that it would or should behave as it does in our experience.

    Could you please begin by first providing evidence that an external physical world exists?

    I have provided evidence for the existence of an external physical world – the commonality of our experience and the efficacy of science in the “real” world versus the non-commonality of our experiences and the lack of efficacy of science in other worlds (e.g. imagination) that MRT would accept as “all completely, totally real” (again, YOUR words). Circumstantial evidence and logical conclusions ARE evidence (accepted in courts of law everywhere, see yours today!)

    Additionally, allow me to turn the question around on you – Could you please begin by first providing evidence that MIND exists? After all, we only have YOUR testimony of YOUR personal experience with mind. Why should we accept your testimony, or as an example, your 12 successful predictions of MRT, as evidence for MRT, if we only have “your experiential algorithm” to go on, and none of it is an actual external physical reality? It strikes me that, like the argument that “our minds are not designed, they are just the result of random chance”, MRT is a self-defeating point of view. By denying the existence of external reality, it denies the possibility of external evidence for the reality of a self-focused theory. By denying external reality, solipsism is indeed the only logical valid conclusion. Extrapolating a “shared” mind that we are all a part of is an unwarranted and unprovable assumption, as you claim external reality to be.

    The fact is, you are asking a stacked, loaded question when you ask “Could you please begin by first providing evidence that an external physical world exists?” by arbitrarily ruling out “the evidence of my senses, mind and logic” by fiat. “If I get hit by a car I die and my mental experience as it is currently experienced ends” should be more than enough evidence for an external, physical reality of a car (since, in my dreams and imagination getting hit by a car does NOT end my mental experience, even though MRT accepts them as “completely, totally real”). Your only way out for MRT is to essentially declare that your mental experience of being hit by a mental phenomenon known as “car” somehow “transitions” your mind (unproven and unprovable – the irretrievably dead can’t tell us). Just say no to epicycles, dude.

    [Edited for spelling/grammar]

  120. 120
    JVL says:

    William J Murray:

    As I’ve already pointed out, you’re asking me to describe MRT in terms of ERT. If that appears to you to be me “sidestepping” your questions, there’s nothing I can do about that.

    You could acknowledge that even MRT must exist in some kind of supporting infrastructure but you won’t do that. For you your own conscience is fundamental and any questions as to how that works or how it is sustainable is beyond the scope of your interest.

    Please answer me this then: there are chronological gaps on this blog wherein you do not respond to queries put to you. Why is that? Why do you not respond immediately to the queries you deem worthy?

  121. 121
    Querius says:

    William J Murray @119,

    Yep, just like everyone else – except solipsists.

    Haha, funny!

    But, I do think my (persistent) response to your stated challenge is valid.

    How about the observation that we have nerves that connect to our spinal cord rather than just our brain?

    I can anticipate your response, but it would imply that all people in reality do not share the same experiences–in one person’s mind (mine), nerves connect to our spinal cord exist and I (erroneously) perceive them to exist in everyone else’s reality in books, lectures, and conversations. In someone else’s personal solipsistic world, they are highly intelligent tree-dwelling octopuses and they think everyone else perceives this, too. Yet another person thinks they’re a moonbat on planet X and so is everyone else. And so on.

    What triggers a mental experience?

    Is your mind basically talking to itself by feeding it amazingly creative input, being stumped by bizarre physics, and arguing with other imaginary beings?

    -Q

  122. 122
    Querius says:

    Viola Lee,

    Did you miss my post @79?

    I think the links would be interesting to you.

    -Q

  123. 123
    JohnB says:

    1)

    [WJM]In MRT, there is no reason to distinguish, in terms of reality value, between mental phenomena. It’s all completely, totally real.

    2)ERT is a mental phenomena.
    3)Therefore ERT is a completely,totally real.

    1A) 1) assert that in MRT all mental phenomena are real
    2A)ERT is a mental phenomena and contradict MRT
    3A)MRT definition is self-contradictory

  124. 124
    Viola Lee says:

    No, I saw your post, Q, and looked at the links. Sorry I didn’t acknowledge that. The programs were old DOS material that wouldn’t help me much, being a Mac guy, but I know of a number of Life, Mandlebrot, and other fractal simulations that run in a browser that are very cool, and that I have played with before. And, as a calculus teacher, I’m always interested in the idea of teaching the concepts in an engaging way that adds some life to learning the necessary mechanics. Thanks.

  125. 125
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, are you aware of non-standard analysis? KF

  126. 126
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, what would a world that is physical, independent of our consciousness and yet allowing us to be rational, responsible, significantly free and even morally governed creatures look like? What would to you count as evidence of such a world? KF

  127. 127

    Querius,

    Your evidence is logically unsound as I’ve already explained. You’re pointing at something that occurs entirely in mind and claiming it is evidence of something that occurs external of mind.

    The funny part of this is that originally external mind theorists claimed there was a world made of matter. Then we couldn’t actually find matter, so they claimed it was made of “energy” (which is really just patterns of behavior; but of what?) Now they have come to the external world theory that it’s all really about information – probability waves. Not waves of energy, but waves of probabilities that only collapse into specific characteristics in the presence of an observer.

    Where is this probabilistic information stored? What is it stored “on” if there is no such thing as “matter” and “energy” isn’t even a “thing”?

    There is only one place patterns of information can be stored, accessed and turned into experiences without any matter to store it on or energy to retrieve it: mind.

    I’m really only stating the obvious here, especially in light of current quantum physics research.

  128. 128
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, recall, we are counting cumulative, causal-temporal successive cumulative stages to the present. Years is partly convenient but runs into trouble before the big bang for our cosmos, i.e. I am not ruling out a multiverse in the common fluctuations model. If that is off the table we already have a credible beginning c 14 BYA and the debate is moot. That said, we count stages in their successive order. For there to have been a transfinite actual past, every countable in principle stage . . . k’-1, k’, k’+1, . . . -1,0,1 . . . n for now has to have once been the present. That means for EVERY finitely remote k’ there are transfinitely remote/many onward stages of the actual past traversed in succession to k’ as is seen by simply redefining the 0-point to what was k’. Yes, every k’ we can count to or represent has transfinitely many antecedent stages traversed to reach it on such a model. Which is where the trouble lurks, as the ellipsis of transfinitely many prior stages is a structural feature. Embracing the span in a hyperreal envelope simply makes it clearer, that there is an implicit transfinite span of antecedent stages for every finitely remote k’ in the model. The model fails through the need to traverse such a transfinite succession in stages. We are only warranted to discuss a finite temporal-causal past of cumulative successive stages to now, including if one goes beyond the big bang for our sub-cosmos. Begging the question by asserting or implying the traverse as already completed simply fails to address the issue. The issue of successive, finite cumulative causal-temporal but transfinite traverse is not going away. KF

  129. 129
    Viola Lee says:

    KF, you ask, “VL, are you aware of non-standard analysis?”

    Yes.

    Here are my questions to you. Can you answer with Yes or No?

    108

    KF, are you willing to talk about this topic in reference to the real number line only? Or will you only discuss this topic when it includes the hyperreals?

  130. 130

    KF asks:

    WJM, what would a world that is physical, independent of our consciousness and yet allowing us to be rational, responsible, significantly free and even morally governed creatures look like? What would to you count as evidence of such a world? KF

    I don’t know, KF. And that’s the point. Neither do you. Nor does anyone. There’s no way to know.

  131. 131
    GCS says:

    WJM

    I think I pointed out the basic problem above. God has created a world where if you are seeking God you will find Him, if not seeking you are never forced to find Him.

    Myself, and apparently others on this string, have no problem coming to a clear understanding that there is a physical world here and that world reflects its creator.

    An interesting thing happened as I headed toward baptism at age 49.5. The world suddenly changed. Actually the world did not change 1 iota, I changed in how I saw it. Basically everything made sense, even your stubbornly holding on to your idea.

    I recognize that I can never change your ideas, only you can do it. I can offer you an experiment to do. Honestly ask God to reveal Himself to you. You will be surprised how quickly you will get an answer.

    Of course the answer will not be a booming voice or writing in the sky. I suspect it will be an unexpected situation in which you will know you have to make a choice. You will know that this is a totally free choice. You will know that it will affect the rest of your life.

    Go for it!

  132. 132

    GCS,
    I fully and completely believe that what you have written, you experienced.

    Long ago I did exactly as you asked – not once, but continuously over time, with an open mind and heart. I had a complete change of perspective. Everything in my life changed for the better. My life became an ongoing series of miraculous events, many of which would be unbelievable to most people. Tragedies turned into triumphs. The design of my life was – and is – clear to me. I didn’t know such love, joy, and happiness existed. It can only be described as divine. This has been my life for decades now. I marvel at and enjoy every aspect of my life. I feel completely fulfilled, yet still excited and enthusiastic for what is yet to come.

    I am happy you found this in whatever way you are experiencing it, brother (or sister).

  133. 133
    Querius says:

    Viola Lee,

    Are you also familiar with Professor E. McSquared’s Calculus Primer?

    -Q

  134. 134
    Viola Lee says:

    I looked at the link you sent, but no, I’ve never seen the actual book. I hadn’t heard about it until I followed your link. As I said above, I feel strongly that we need to make the concepts of calculus engaging, and not just fill a course up with mechanics without a sense of human importance.

  135. 135
    Querius says:

    William J Murray,

    Where is this probabilistic information stored? What is it stored “on” if there is no such thing as “matter” and “energy” isn’t even a “thing”?

    Yep. And glad you asked!

    Here’s what the Bible describes at the start of the Gospel of John:

    “In the beginning was the Word [the Greek word here is Logos, which includes a word, communication, perhaps a concept, and our word logic is derived from logos–in other words information], and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”

    Jesus is described as the living Word of God. Imagine that!

    -Q

  136. 136
    Querius says:

    Viola Lee,

    Just trust me and order the book from Amazon (use the link I provided). You might be able to use at least part of it in your classes and your students will love it!

    Incidentally, I once met the author, Professor Swann. He was as funny and delightful as his books.

    -Q

  137. 137
    kairosfocus says:

    VL,

    why do you wish to impose as a prior, that we confine discussion of what an infinite actual past means, to a particular structured set R mileposted by its subset Z that — per 4 years of discussion now — is likely to be conducive to misunderstanding?

    My eventual recognition of the import of R* in general

    (those arrow-heads on graph axes from 2nd form on and integrals from infinity to infinity from 4th form, as well as pondering why in College, first calculus level Physics, dx, dt etc were treated as fractions, so that some r becomes *r*, a number with an infinitesimally altered cloud around it were start-points)

    . . . starts from discomfort with how we treated what turns out to be a subtle but pivotal structure, the ellipsis of limitless or transfinite or immeasurable or unbounded extension, . . . etc.

    There is nothing wrong, suspicious, deceptive, misleading or confused and dubious with considering a set in its wider, acknowledged, reasonable, wider context, here, the hyperreals.

    My point has been that there is a lot hiding in the ellipses or arrow points on axes etc, which turn out to be a key part of the filling in the details on the import of R mileposted by Z. And in particular, the result of counting up to some k then going on k–> k+0 [to see its import], k+1, k+2 . . . such that this clear subset can be placed in one to one match with 0,1,2 . . . implies the inherently transfinite span lying in both ellipses so that we cannot specify a final positive integer or natural counting number. Where, the use of additive inverses immediately extends to Z, with k’ + k = 0 defining k’ as -1 * k. In that light, . . . , k’-1, k’, k’+1 . . . -1, 0, 1, 2 . . . will draw in the same structure of transfinite extension as we saw for k. Every particular integer we count to, construct or symbolise, k or k’ is bound by onward values R-ward or L-ward as appropriate, values that extend beyond any onward finite case we similarly put up.

    By referring to R* (or more or less isomorphically the surreals, let’s label S*) we can draw on wider thought so we can think more clearly. There is nothing pernicious in that, so I have no reason to take your stipulation as reasonable. What that span allows is then thinking of H’, additive inverse duly extended to the transfinite hyperreal, H. So, we go (with n for now) in a model timeline counted by causal-temporal, successive, cumulative stages:

    . . . H’-1, H’, H’+1 . . . [ –//– ] . . . k’-1, k’, k’+1 . . . -1, 0, 1, 2 . . . n . . . –>

    Notice, I added a structure showing a transfinite span, showing that from H’ we cannot count up in steps to k’. 1/H’ of course is h’, a number closer to 0 than any 1/k’ on the L-ward side. That reverts to the full structure R*. As well, say H is even, H’/2 is in the ellipsis after H’+1 but still we cannot bridge into a stepwise count up to k’. Transfinite traverse, explicitly shown, is impossible.

    The problem is subtler, the ellipsis L-ward from k’-1 is standing in for the transfinite span also. That it is implicit does not make it any less real. And that is my core objection to the idea of transfinitely many stages antecedent to k’, all only finitely remote from 0. The insertion of finitely remote, for any k’ whatsoever, implies the onward structure, which is transfinite in span.

    Where no causal temporal stepwise succession will span the transfinite.

    Thus, my conclusion that we can only properly discuss a finite causal-temporal past of finite stages, years for convenience.

    The observed causal-temporal order and its quasi-temporal antecedents if any are inherently finite in the past, per the logic and quantitative structure of such succession of stages.

    This of course embeds the temporal in the eternal, whatever such turns out to be structurally.

    KF

  138. 138
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, that’s strange, through the window of consciousness we experience a palpably independent world manifestly different from dream-worlds, day by day. We have good reason to accept it went on before we were born or even before there were any humans, and when we go to a funeral we accept that it goes on after we die. Not to mention, many of us acknowledge the distinction between our inner selves and our outer bodies that is severed at death, leading to the disintegration of the latter. It seems to me there is very good reason to see both minds and bodies, in a world that our bodies are definitely part of. Using distinct identity, required characteristics of mind are distinct from brains as computational substrates but the two interact; we are back at the Smith, two-tier controller cybernetic model, with perhaps a quantum influence interface. I think we come close to grand delusion if we try to deny one or the other; that which makes grand delusion probable so undermines credibility of reasoning that it becomes self-referentially absurd. The balanced middle way is to accept both, while using comparative difficulties to understand that in every view there will be difficulties. KF

  139. 139
    EDTA says:

    WJM,

    A few more meta-questions:

    1. If MRT is correct, then why are the majority of its occupants (algorithms) misled by it’s very nature to accept a false (and more complex) picture of what MRT is?

    2. Does #1 affect the probability that MRT is correct? (Does it at least lower it?)

    3. In what other areas of philosophical inquiry has MRT misled the majority of its occupants?

  140. 140
    Viola Lee says:

    KF’s answers, in shorter form:

    “KF, are you willing to talk about this topic [the nature of the past] in reference to the real number line only?”

    KF: “No”

    “Or will you only discuss this topic when it includes the hyperreals?”

    KF: “Yes”

    When Querius asked the original question, he made it clear later that he was not talking about the hyperreals. I don’t think any of the traditional mainstream proponents of the “no infinite past” argument were talking about hyperreals, especially since hyperreals were just conceived about 60 years ago.

    Therefore, I’ll move on and consider the discussion closed as far as I’m concerned.

  141. 141
    daveS says:

    KF,

    I’ve addressed each of these points many times, so I don’t think there’s much point in going over it all again.

    I’ll focus just on this:

    Embracing the span in a hyperreal envelope simply makes it clearer, that there is an implicit transfinite span of antecedent stages for every finitely remote k’ in the model.

    If you have a critique of hypothesis X, then you must refer only to entities which exist in X. When you bring in infinite numbers, you are no longer talking about X, but Y.

    Sometimes I wonder if you just think we’re exceptionally dim and won’t notice this chicanery. This is sort of like the dishonest mechanic who squirts oil on your shocks in order to convince you that you need new ones. Nothing personal, but I try not to engage in any underhanded debating tactics and would appreciate some reciprocity.

  142. 142
    kairosfocus says:

    VL,

    explicit address and implications of the context of discussion are quite different things.

    What you clipped off in your attempted summary is the reason why I point to that issue.

    DS

    Yes, we have had exchanges.

    I am not committing chicanery (that is an utterly unwarranted personality), but it is clear that absent major developments there will be no agreement.

    I note that my very point is that there is the implicit transfinite in the discussion on reals, so it is reasonable to point to the wider context that allows us to see the issues more clearly.

    On logic of dealing with issues and paradigms, can I point out that the rise of modern physics could never have happened if there was a constriction of discussion to terms used in C19 classical physics? this example should suffice to show that imposed datum lines can frustrate discussion.

    KF

  143. 143
    Viola Lee says:

    Hi Dave.

    You quote KF as writing, “Embracing the span in a hyperreal envelope simply makes it clearer, that there is an implicit transfinite span of antecedent stages for every finitely remote k’ in the model.”

    But there is nothing “clearer” or “implicit” about any this. The hyperreals, by definition are numbers that are larger than any real number. Therefore, they establish what KF wants to be true by, as you say, changing the conditions of the topics. All his long-winded explanations are unnecessary, and don’t establish anything. His argument is, “If you consider the hyperreals, I am right.” My response is, “And if you don’t, you are wrong.” KF can only be right if he includes the hyperreals, so that is what he must do.

    This has been instructive: Thanks for cluing me in on how what I thought might be an interesting discussion was likely to go, as it did.

  144. 144
    daveS says:

    Viola Lee,

    “If you consider the hyperreals, I am right.” My response is, “And if you don’t, you are wrong.” KF can only be right if he includes the hyperreals, so that is what he must do.

    Yes, that’s about the size of it.

  145. 145
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, ponder, please, the ellipsis as a structural feature of the reals mileposted by Z, as was already pointed out. What is that telling us on what goes on beyond some large k or its additive inverse k’. That is where the problem is, there is no k that is not exceeded by transfinitely many further naturals mileposting R+. The hyperreals frame all of this allowing us to zoom back and see that wider context; if you want the surreals also allow this, and are in effect isomorphic to the hyperreals in relevant form. What comes out is the reals inherently point beyond themselves. It seems to me that you are seeing R* as radically different and a needless imposition, rather than a highly relevant wider context within which R is embraced. In some ways this reminds me of debated over C. My point is once we face the import of the ellipsis, a claimed infinite past of successive stages that are causally-temporally connected requires spanning the full import of the ellipsis. That is, implicit transfinite traversal, stepwise, which is a futile supertask. KF

  146. 146
    Viola Lee says:

    In reference to the reals (the integers, really), the ellipsis is just a piece of notation to represent the basic postulate that every number has a successor and a predecessor. That’s all.

  147. 147
    daveS says:

    Back to the magical ellipses, eh? 🙂

    KF, all three of us understand the set of integers well enough, including standard notation such as ellipses.

  148. 148
    Viola Lee says:

    Here’s an example to illustrate what’s going on.

    I’m sure all three of us are familiar with the development and structure of imaginary and complex numbers.

    Statement 1: In the real number system, every positive number has two square roots and every negative number has no square roots. This is a basic fact taught in Algebra I, and earlier.

    Statement 2: In the complex number system, every number has two square roots (except zero).

    Suppose person A make statement 1. Person B says no, that’s wrong, and offers statement 2.

    Person A says, “But I’m not talking about complex numbers.”

    Person B says, “But if you were“, you would be wrong!

    Person A: “OK, if I were talking about something that I am not in fact talking about, I would be wrong.”

    🙂 Seems pretty silly to me.

  149. 149
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, what does succession of mileposts WITHOUT ANY FINITE LIMIT mean? KF

  150. 150
    Viola Lee says:

    Good. I think taking arguments one proposition or concept at a time is good.

    It means, as I have stated above, that in the set of real numbers, every integer has a successor and a predecessor.

    Or a bit more formally, if k is an integer, both the integers k + 1 and k – 1 exist.

    Does that seem accurate to you?

  151. 151
    daveS says:

    KF,

    I suppose the sequence a_n = (-1)^n for n in N defines a sequence with no finite limit.

    But you might be talking about sequences which are unbounded, for example a_n = n^2 for n in N. This one has the property that given any integer M, no matter how large, there exists n in N such than a_n > M. Of course a_n = n for all n in N has the same property.

    Edit: I’m not sure what the point of these elementary questions is. Clearly we are all familiar with sequences with no finite limit?

  152. 152
    JVL says:

    Kairosfocus: ponder, please, the ellipsis as a structural feature of the reals mileposted by Z, as was already pointed out.

    The ellipsis is NOT a structural feature. The ellipsis just means ‘and so on in the same pattern’.

    What is that telling us on what goes on beyond some large k or its additive inverse k’.

    The ellipsis is not telling us anything. It’s just shorthand for continuing on in the same pattern.

    That is where the problem is, there is no k that is not exceeded by transfinitely many further naturals mileposting R+.

    So? There are infinitely many reals between any two integers. In fact, there are infinitely many reals between any two given reals. You keep flinging jargon around as if you are saying something profound when you are just restating the obvious.

    What comes out is the reals inherently point beyond themselves.

    That is nonsensical.

    It seems to me that you are seeing R* as radically different and a needless imposition, rather than a highly relevant wider context within which R is embraced.

    No, that is NOT what anyone is saying. You should stop trying to ascribe greater meaning or weight to very small or very large numbers. You don’t want to consider the possibility of there being an infinite past. Fine, you do that. But don’t try and create a could of mathematical jargon in some attempt to justify your belief.

    My point is once we face the import of the ellipsis, a claimed infinite past of successive stages that are causally-temporally connected requires spanning the full import of the ellipsis. That is, implicit transfinite traversal, stepwise, which is a futile supertask.

    This has everything to do with your beliefs and nothing to do with mathematics. I don’t know if there was anything before the Big Bang. But whether there was or not has nothing to do with mathematics. Stop trying to pretend it does.

  153. 153
    Viola Lee says:

    Dave, I appreciate it that KF asked a basic question. Sometimes it’s good to establish what people agree on first. I’m hoping KF comes back and tells me whether what I wrote at 150 is accurate.

  154. 154
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL, on the contrary, the ellipsis brings in the force of infinity. KF

  155. 155
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, what is the implication of, that for every specific natural counting number we can count to or represent k and its additive inverse k’, we can recognise that there is onward extension WITHOUT LIMIT, one that can be matched 1 to 1 with 0, 1, 2 . . . again without limit? Symbolised, by the ellipsis? (Do you see the key factor that keeps getting skipped? The same in “succession of mileposts WITHOUT ANY FINITE LIMIT.”) KF

    PS: It is fairly obvious that there is a paradigm gap here.

  156. 156
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, you full well know what is being discussed in what context. Lay aside the tangents. KF

  157. 157
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM,

    In a sense, I regret that a seeming side issue has come up, though it is significant because it shows that a temporal causal successive finite stage domain is structurally limited in the past, establishing that a different, eternal order is root to reality. Which is of course very hard to swallow if you come from some fairly dominant current perspectives.

    (That comes from recognising that true nothing, non-being, has no causal capability. So were there ever such, it would forever obtain; as a world is, something has always been, something of utterly independent, necessary being character. By contrast, circular retro-cause where the not yet somehow reaches back in order to become is again world out of non-being. And, infinite past chain runs into the implicit challenge of traversal of the transfinite in steps, the point that lurks in the secondary exchange.)

    That said, I wish to again put on the table what appears at 138:

    . . . through the window of consciousness we experience a palpably independent world manifestly different from dream-worlds, day by day. We have good reason to accept it went on before we were born or even before there were any humans, and when we go to a funeral we accept that it goes on after we die. Not to mention, many of us acknowledge the distinction between our inner selves and our outer bodies that is severed at death, leading to the disintegration of the latter. It seems to me there is very good reason to see both minds and bodies, in a world that our bodies are definitely part of. Using distinct identity, required characteristics of mind are distinct from brains as computational substrates but the two interact; we are back at the Smith, two-tier controller cybernetic model, with perhaps a quantum influence interface. I think we come close to grand delusion if we try to deny one or the other; that which makes grand delusion probable so undermines credibility of reasoning that it becomes self-referentially absurd. The balanced middle way is to accept both, while using comparative difficulties to understand that in every view there will be difficulties.

    KF

  158. 158
    JVL says:

    Kairosfocus: JVL, on the contrary, the ellipsis brings in the force of infinity.

    It depends on how they are used:

    You can define the set of all positive integers less than 100 as {1, 2, 3 . . . 99}

    The ellipsis only means: follow the pattern. Yes, they are frequent used to indicate continue on indefinitely but, again, the notation is strictly shorthand, a faster way of writing “continue on in the same fashion”.

    Do not mistake notation for concept(s).

    what is the implication of, that for every specific natural counting number we can count to or represent k and its additive inverse k’, we can recognise that there is onward extension WITHOUT LIMIT, one that can be matched 1 to 1 with 0, 1, 2 . . . again without limit? Symbolised, by the ellipsis? (Do you see the key factor that keeps getting skipped? The same in “succession of mileposts WITHOUT ANY FINITE LIMIT.”)

    So? It’s just a countably infinite set. What is the big deal? It’s not mystical or symbolic or anything like that. It’s just a countably infinite set. The really interesting part is when you start realising that some infinite sets have more elements than some other infinite sets. That’s the real “WOW” moment.

    This is all well established and non-controversial (dare I say) undergraduate level mathematics.

    You want to use the mathematics to draw some other conclusion, you want to apply the mathematics to some situation, you’re saying the mathematics models (or should model) something else. Fine. You may or may not be right. But you’re not saying anything mathematically profound or note worthy.

  159. 159
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL, the context of ellipses of transfinite extension as opposed to finite has been quite clear all along. At one point in the debate I used four dots to emphasise the contrast. That is not generally used but can be if it becomes necessary. KF

  160. 160
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: JVL, the mathematics is telling us something about the structure of reality that then becomes highly significant in a causal-temporal, thermodynamic [energy dynamics constrained] world such as we inhabit. Physics is inextricably intertwined with such structural, quantitative aspects of the logic of being. A simple mathematical point can have most profound physical significance as say key conservation laws bring out. Laws of that order pivot on x1 +y1 . . . z1 = x2 + y2 . . . z2, utterly simple algebra but powerful physical import. And, you full well know or should know this.

  161. 161
    JVL says:

    Kairosfocus:

    JVL, the mathematics is telling us something about the structure of reality that then becomes highly significant in a causal-temporal, thermodynamic [energy dynamics constrained] world such as we inhabit.

    No, it does not UNLESS you choose to try and apply the math to that situation. Which I do not think is sound but I have to say I’m not sure exactly what physical state or situation you are trying to apply the math to.

    Physics is inextricably intertwined with such structural, quantitative aspects of the logic of being.

    Again, you may CHOOSE to try and apply the math but it doesn’t mean the model holds.

    A simple mathematical point can have most profound physical significance as say key conservation laws bring out. Laws of that order pivot on x1 +y1 . . . z1 = x2 + y2 . . . z2, utterly simple algebra but powerful physical import. And, you full well know or should know this.

    What does that even mean; “Laws of that order pivot on . . . “? You just set up an equation with six variables and some ellipsis on either side for some reason. If your pattern is x then y then z would follow and you should just write “x1 + y1 + z1 = x2 + y2 + z2”.

    You are conflating math with an application of it. If you want to talk about your application of the math that’s fine but the math exists independent of its application.

    Just state simply and clearly what physical situation or state or phenomena you want to model, what math you are using and how the math maps to your situation and then we’ll see. You can’t say: because the math says this reality must follow. That’s crazy.

    All models are wrong but some are useful – generally attributed to George Box.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_models_are_wrong

  162. 162

    KF,

    I’m going to paste your comment at 157 in the new thread I created and respond to it there. I’m going to police that thread better to stay on track. This thread is irretrievable. No worries.

  163. 163
    daveS says:

    KF and Viola Lee,

    DS, you full well know what is being discussed in what context. Lay aside the tangents. KF

    I guess Viola Lee was right, as I thought my post addressed exactly the issue you raised. The positive integers or “mileposts in R”, when read left to right, comprise a sequence that has no finite limit.

    What additional points do you wish to make about sequences that have no finite limit? What is this “key factor that keeps getting skipped” you allude to in #155? I honestly don’t know where you’re going with that. It would be helpful if you simply posted the answers to these questions. 🙂

  164. 164
    ET says:

    Unguided/ blind watchmaker evolution cannot be modelled. It must not be real…

  165. 165
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, enough has already been pointed out. The general evasiveness tells us the real balance on merits. KF

  166. 166
    Viola Lee says:

    KF, You didn’t actually answer my question at 150, but I gather you agree that the integers extend without limit in both directions, because there is also a next integer: that is what without limit means.

    And since every such integer is finite, because it is just one more than the last integer, the sequence is without finite limit: there is no largest or smallest integer.

    It seems that we agree about that.

    However, you say, “Do you see the key factor that keeps getting skipped? … PS: It is fairly obvious that there is a paradigm gap here.”

    No, I don’t see what key factor is getting skipped? I know you are mathematically literate: can you explain what is being skipped in mathematical terms.

  167. 167
    Querius says:

    Viola Lee,

    Mathematics is an indispensable tool when matched with experimental results within specified limits, but extrapolation or interpolation based on math is not reliable. One can happily map the number line to time, but there are problems with doing so.

    – The entropy problem is ignored (entropy must continually decrease infinitely as one moves back in time)
    – The connection with space and space-time dilation disappears (and you must have an infinite number of unique time lines)
    – Planck lengths are no barrier (there are an infinite number of distances between any two points)
    – The Big Bang, cosmic expansion, and the red shift are discounted (time and space are infinite and static)
    – Homogeneity is required to fit the math (stars spontaneously appear in an infinite universe)
    – The peculiarities of gravity remain unaddressed and the inverse square law is enforced, even with the orbit of Mercury, for example
    – Quantum mechanics is ignored, especially quantum erasure and the quantum Zeno effect

    Will we will return to applying Platonic solids to orbits and concentric spheres for stars?

    All of these might have mathematical beauty and symmetry, but so far, nature hasn’t been very cooperative. You might want to consider reading Sabine Hossenfelder’s book, Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray.
    https://www.amazon.com/Lost-Math-Beauty-Physics-Astray/dp/1541646762

    Also, I think Kurt Gödel’s incompleteness theorems apply here as well, since it’s very likely that more than one set of mathematical axioms will be required for describing the observed phenomena in the universe.

    -Q

  168. 168
    JohnB says:

    @Querius
    You’ve been too brutal destroying all dreams and hopes about infinity.

  169. 169
    Viola Lee says:

    I agree, Querius, that those are all relevant to the subject of time.

    However, my interest in this topic is strictly about the nature of infinity in pure mathematics, not about the topic of what time might be “outside of” or “before” our universe, or about all the complexities about what time is inside our universe.

    My interest is solely in the mathematical argument made by various philosophers, which you brought up in 51, that an infinite past is impossible. I am interested in explaining, from a purely mathematical point of view, why that argument is wrong.

  170. 170
    JohnB says:

    @Viola Lee

    My interest is solely in the mathematical argument made by various philosophers, which you brought up in 51, that an infinite past is impossible. I am interested in explaining, from a purely mathematical point of view, why that argument is wrong.

    I think sentence 3 is wrong. It seems to be implying that having an “infinite past” means that there is some point that is an infinite distance from now, but that is not true. Infinity is not a place on the number line: it is a shorthand way of saying that for any point there is a successor

    I’m not into maths but if you take a point P on a line which is infinite and is considered that will never reach that infinite “end” then if you inverse notation point P will became infinite and infinite will became point P. If point P is present day and past is infinite then will have to pass a infinite time till reach point P because from infinite past “point of view” this point P is infinite but it’s obvious this point P is NOT infinite because we live/reach in point P( present) Therefore past is finite

    If you consider that on a line between 1 and 2 are a infinity of integers i guess is not related to time and past infinite because is a false presupossition that you can have infinity between 2 limits, it’s a contradiction because infinity means NO LIMITS.

  171. 171
    Viola Lee says:

    John, infinity is not a “place”, and a point P can’t be “at infinity”. That is the basic flaw in your argument.

    Your second paragraph is confused. 1 and 2 are integers, and there are no other integers between them. This has nothing to do with our discussion, which is considering integers as representing equally spaced discrete intervals: what KF is calling mileposts.

  172. 172
    JohnB says:

    John, infinity is not a “place”, and a point P can’t be “at infinity”. That is the basic flaw in your argument.

    🙂 Exactly that I said. that’s why there is no past infinite and if I understand corectly, you would like to exist at least in maths formulas .

    I guess not integers but fractions or decimals .

  173. 173
    JVL says:

    JohnB:

    I’m not into maths but if you take a point P on a line which is infinite and is considered that will never reach that infinite “end” then if you inverse notation point P will became infinite and infinite will became point P. If point P is present day and past is infinite then will have to pass a infinite time till reach point P because from infinite past “point of view” this point P is infinite but it’s obvious this point P is NOT infinite because we live/reach in point P( present) Therefore past is finite

    None of this makes any sense.

    If you consider that on a line between 1 and 2 are a infinity of integers i guess is not related to time and past infinite because is a false presupossition that you can have infinity between 2 limits, it’s a contradiction because infinity means NO LIMITS.

    None of this make any sense either.

    ? Exactly that I said. that’s why there is no past infinite and if I understand corectly, you would like to exist at least in maths formulas .

    Again, none of this makes sense.

    I guess not integers but fractions or decimals .

    Again, not even sure what you’re trying to say.

  174. 174
    daveS says:

    I can’t remember whether I have seen this before, but apparently Ed Feser also is not convinced by “anti infinite-past” arguments:

    A third reservation – the one I will discuss here — has to do with the question of whether one really can demonstrate that an infinitely old universe is metaphysically impossible, and in particular whether one can demonstrate that an accidentally ordered series of causes (as opposed to an essentially ordered series) cannot be infinite.

  175. 175
    JohnB says:

    @JVL

    None of this makes any sense.

    Don’t worry. Read those comments you understand…

  176. 176
    Querius says:

    Viola Lee,

    My interest is solely in the mathematical argument made by various philosophers, which you brought up in 51, that an infinite past is impossible. I am interested in explaining, from a purely mathematical point of view, why that argument is wrong.

    Ok. My mathematical argument would be that a number line is infinite in both positive and negative directions, but that it would simply be inappropriate to map the number line against space-time. Not all math is appropriate for all situations (such as my prior example of the $30 room being shared by three sales guys).

    An analogous situation would be that for large distances from a large mass such as the sun, a 1/R function could be assigned and would have nearly the same change in gravitational gradient (!) as a 1/R^2 function. When R is close to the Sun (as is Mercury), that’s when the difference is most noticeable . . . and in fact, 1/R^2 at those distances also famously deviates due to relativistic effects.

    Or to put it another way, why map a line to space-time when you can project y = tan x instead! Tangents have asymptotes that are way cooler than what boring lines have to offer.

    -Q

  177. 177
    Viola Lee says:

    Q, you write, ” it would simply be inappropriate to map the number line against space-time. Not all math is appropriate for all situations.”

    I agree 100%.

  178. 178
    ET says:

    I would love to hear how an infinite past, from a purely mathematical point of view, could be true.

    On a number line if you start @ 0 then, yes, you can take the infinite journey in each direction. With an infinite past there isn’t a starting point. If you have, from a purely mathematical point of view, an argument against that, I would also love to hear it.

  179. 179
    Querius says:

    ET,

    See @176. You could alternatively apply a circle instead of a number line to space-time. Or a tan x function. The question is, how would you choose between them?

    In fact, the measured red-shift evidence points to the increasing, non-linear expansion of space-time.

    Linear math simply doesn’t match the measured data.

    -Q

  180. 180
    Viola Lee says:

    To ET:

    I offered an argument at 51. A short and slightly different version of the argument is this:

    The confusion arises because what is meant by “infinite past” is unclear. It does not mean time started at “infinity”, because infinity is not a “place” from which you can start.

    It seems to me that “infinite past” means there is no point at which the past started. Suppose you claim that point P is the first “moment” of the past. Since every point P has a predecessor P – 1, there would then be a moment before the start of time P, which contradicts the assumption that P is the first moment. Therefore there is no beginning to time – no first point: That is the sense in which the past is infinite.

    Just thinking of the number line, this can be restated this way: every integer is a finite distance from zero, but there is no limit to how far away from zero an integer can be.

  181. 181
    ET says:

    Viola Lee:

    It seems to me that “infinite past” means there is no point at which the past started.

    It seems to me that you can’t get here from there if you can’t get there from here.

  182. 182
    Viola Lee says:

    That is a good way of stating the argument that I think is wrong.

    The reason is that infinity is not a “there”: it’s not a place (that is, not a point on the number line). “Infinite past” doesn’t mean that the past started at “infinity”, which is not a meaningful phrase. “Infinite past” means that there is no starting point for time, and therefore no limit to how long time has been going on.

  183. 183
    kairosfocus says:

    VL (& attn DS), more exactly, every particular integer or real for that matter as they interpolate between pairs of integers [ . . . j—j+1 . . . ], that we may count to or so bracket, k or k’ will ALWAYS have unlimited further values beyond, which by the ellipsis will be unspecified. It is that implicit transfinite span that poses the traverse supertask challenge. What keeps on being missed is that in indicating a set we have not established a means by which the relevant succession of stages in a causal-temporal, thermodynamically constrained world, can in stepwise succession span that implicit transfinite. What repeatedly occurred in the discussions is the repeated begging the question on prior transfinite traverse. That question is structural and will not go away. The “question” is actually settled in one aspect, a transfinite traverse is an inherently futile supertask, so the remaining question is whether a past countable succession of stages WITHOUT FINITE LIMIT constitutes such a transfinite. The answer is obviously yes, and thus regardless of how any particular k’ and k’-1 as well as the continuum between [ . . . k’-1 — k’ . . . ] may be exceeded onward L-ward by k’+2 . . . (so being finite), the structure exposed by the ellipsis indicates the transfinite span to be traversed. I therefore turn around the idea that any particular specific k’ in the past as label of a stage in the succession to now is manifestly finitely removed, to the point that once we discuss actual stages countably removed from now, they will all be at finite span from us — that is trying to tell us something. We are only warranted to speak of finitely removed actual past stages and a transfinite succession to now is an implicit traversal of the transfinite, leading to failed supertask. The actual past is limited, is finite. KF

  184. 184
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: The underlying significance of this lies in a context, which we need to briefly ponder.

    It is patently indefensible to try to pull a world out of utter non-being as that has no causal capability. Circular retrocausation is the same. So, as a world is, SOMETHING of independent character always was, there is a reality root. The issue is the nature of that necessary being.

    As is now commonly touted, there is a sub-cosmos fluctuating up from an underlying quasi-physical substrate model that has been promoted in part to evade the import of the indications of a beginning at a singularity usually estimated at 14 BYA roughly. Yes, there are other reasons, but this aspect is definitely there, just look at discussions of “nothing” recently made by Physicists and those who picked up on their remarks, publicly embarrassing themselves.

    The key issue is, such a subworld is quasi-physical and has causal-temporal succession of stages of finite duration; which can be counted bringing to bear the structure of the number line and sets tied to it.

    Notice, the numberline and its extension are antecedent to the sets we frame on it, it is the underlying observed mathematical fact we try to model.

    The integers and reals model it, in part as we know from surreals and hyperreals that there are transfinitely large and infinitesimally small numbers. Notice, the resistance above to that simple well established fact.

    But the hyperreals H and h, connected by H –> 1/h = h, closer to 0 than 1/n for any specified counting number, unifies. In fact 0 is surrounded by an infinitesimal cloud, *0* and any real can be vector added with that cloud to yield r –> r “+” *0* –> *r* (and by direct extension we similarly get *H*). Similarly, [0–1) as a continuum interval can be interpolated between any successive integers, there is a pervasive continuum. Bring in additive inverses and the L/R directionality is clear. The number line as antecedent fact is rich, richer than we can fathom.

    There is no good reason to truncate our view of the number line at the level of the reals. It may be helpful to use that frame for some things but it is not an ultimate structure beyond which all is forbidden or frightful and it is equally plain that R is fuzzily bordered, as is Z which mileposts it. In many ways, insert a Schnitt to identify continuum and there is no definable nearest neighbour. Any r has a fuzz of infinitesimally altered values closer than we can get on using reals, *r*, and beyond any particular k we find k+1 . . . where the ellipsis is seen as structural, telling us extension beyond any definable value symbolised by k.

    The reals, integers and naturals inherently point beyond themselves, they scream; we are only part of the big picture lurking in that seemingly simple number line.

    The problem is, this is terra incognita for many. As a matter of course, our education invited us to conflate R and the number line. But, manifestly, the line is the antecedent fact and has much more than R in it.

    That is the paradigm-shift incommensurate leap that has to be spanned. Which is admittedly hard.

    One of the consequences is, once we see this picture we recognise that R and its mileposts Z, have indefinite extensions pointing to the transfinite hyperreals. Whenever we put up a specific milepost pair k/k’ we see beyond k+1 and its complement k’-1. Then more beyond these. The transfinite fuzzy border emerges. Likewise counting inwards to 0 from H’ we see a similar transfinite count, due to the structure of the naturals. So, we are back to:

    . . . H’-1, H’, H’+1 . . . [–//–] . . . k’-1, k’, k’+1 . . . -2,-1,0,1, 2 . . . n —> . . . k,k+1 . . . [–//–] . . . H, H+1 . . .

    The bolded is what we have been talking around, and the point is that we can label stages, reflecting the successive structure and causal dynamics of succession. The ellipsis immediately L-ward of k’-1 is inherently transfinite and CANNOT be traversed stepwise.

    In short we now see that advocates of evolutionary materialism and fellow travellers are forced into the corner of defending an implicit transfinite, already completed succession of stages connected causally-temporally, thus thermodynamically. The difficulties involved, though they will sidestep them, are plain.

    All of this points instead to a different order of being for the required reality root, world zero we can suggest. One, that is eternal.

    The Eternal — the I AM — beckons.

    Which is the root worldview, plausibility structure issue.

    KF

  185. 185
    daveS says:

    KF,

    In short we now see that advocates of evolutionary materialism and fellow travellers are forced into the corner of defending an implicit transfinite, already completed succession of stages connected causally-temporally, thus thermodynamically.

    Like Ed Feser and David Snoke. 🤦

  186. 186
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: What I can find of Feser in his own voice http://edwardfeser.blogspot.co.....lam_2.html KF

  187. 187
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, as you know from several years of discussion I spoke specifically to an identifiable cluster involving people like Krauss and Dawkins etc. as well as those who tend to go along though they may nominally be theists, pantheists etc. Feser is a Thomist, Thomas Aquinas set aside the problem of transfinite causal succession in part as the issue then becomes trivial. Snoke, I hardly know about, but it would not surprise me that the issue of the wider number line and the in context import of the transfinite ellipses has not been thoroughly addressed by him; if I am wrong, kindly provide details and/or links. My concerns on the number line — notice, an antecedent fact of mathematical experience . . . have independent standing, the line is clearly antecedent to R as we have modelled, and R inherently points beyond itself, where Robinson’s rehabilitation of infinitesimals brings back the millennia of cases where they kept popping up even in classical geometric thought, much less the emergence of Calculus in the 1600’s. With Newton’s famous h structurally and logically comes H = 1/h, that matter is settled and R’s mileposts Z then enter as showing us that R is a fuzzy-bordered set built up from finites but structurally embedding transfiniteness (shown by the ellipses) thus pointing beyond itself. We face h smaller than 1/n for any n in N, and so too H greater than any specific n in N. This is antecedent to going N –> Z –> Q –> R. R is part of the wider number framework since what, Archimedes and his bouncing around edges of Calculus, among others. In that context, the futility of transfinite traverse in stepwise cumulative . . . thus, causal . . . succession is readily manifest. As for how heat death is to be evaded on such models, it is looking a lot like there is an implicit appeal to infinite material scale for at least the wider sub universe. Where are the observable signs of such? KF

  188. 188
    daveS says:

    KF,

    The reals, integers and naturals inherently point beyond themselves, they scream; we are only part of the big picture lurking in that seemingly simple number line.

    Apparently the infinite-past-proponents haven’t heard their screams and have chosen to stick with models in which time-points or “stages” are separated by finite intervals.

    I mean, just because the hyperreal numbers exist doesn’t mean we need to use them in every application. Can you imagine what would happen if I walked into a 7-11 and tried to pass an ω-dollar bill?

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