Cosmology Intelligent Design Physics

Would you believe? Time doesn’t really exist?

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Good news for those racing a deadline. This from mathematician and philosopher Sam Baron:

So we know we need a new physical theory to explain the universe, and that this theory might not feature time.

Suppose such a theory turns out to be correct. Would it follow that time does not exist?

It’s complicated, and it depends what we mean by exist.

Theories of physics don’t include any tables, chairs, or people, and yet we still accept that tables, chairs and people exist.

Why? Because we assume that such things exist at a higher level than the level described by physics.

We say that tables, for example, “emerge” from an underlying physics of particles whizzing around the universe.

But while we have a pretty good sense of how a table might be made out of fundamental particles, we have no idea how time might be “made out of” something more fundamental.

So unless we can come up with a good account of how time emerges, it is not clear we can simply assume time exists.

Time might not exist at any level.

Sam Baron, “Time might not exist, according to physicists and philosophers – but that’s okay” at The Conversation (April 14, 2022)

Most readers are likely way too young to remember Maxwell Smart and Would You Believe? But couldn’t resist so here anyway:

120 Replies to “Would you believe? Time doesn’t really exist?

  1. 1
    polistra says:

    Our measurements of time all depend on maintained oscillations. Seasons, days, pendulums, quartz crystals, resonances of specific atoms. We know that we can make all of these oscillations agree as closely as we need. But our internal perception of time is not linear and not even unidirectional.

    So “time” probably isn’t a definable concept, but oscillation (as a product of inertia and elasticity) is definable.

    The Riefler clock, used by astronomers who marked sidereal time, recognized this distinction clearly.

    http://polistrasmill.blogspot......clock.html

  2. 2
    Querius says:

    Polistra,

    Our measurements of time all depend on maintained oscillations. Seasons, days, pendulums, quartz crystals, resonances of specific atoms.

    Yep. And time is a component of space-time according to Einstein. So, if time really doesn’t exist, then neither does space.

    -Q

  3. 3
    jerry says:

    Denyse,

    Thank you for the video!!!

  4. 4
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Old enough to remember Don Adams – and got a very big laugh out of that for his voice and facial expression. Haven’t seen him in years.

  5. 5
    Seversky says:

    If time doesn’t exist, Dr Who is out of a job.

  6. 6
    kairosfocus says:

    News, cosmologically, time is thermodynamic and cumulative, associated with entropy increase and so with energy flows, heat engines and causal cumulative chains. Nowness is our reflection of where such processes are relative to local clocks and calendars, which brings in relativity. Our shared world is a causal temporal thermodynamic domain, CTThD with a mapped, modelled history to date from a singularity, and within it we use in effect counted reliably regular oscillatory processes as a means to track time and we in effect count or track cycles to map and measure time. Time becomes a quasi dimension when we look at inertial, non accelerated frames of reference, and we profitably speak of spacetime.

  7. 7
    BobRyan says:

    There’s no way to account for energy existing, since it can’t be created. Does that mean energy doesn’t exist?

  8. 8
    kairosfocus says:

    Worse energy is extremely intangible

  9. 9
    William J Murray says:

    We say that tables, for example, “emerge” from an underlying physics of particles whizzing around the universe.

    No, Sam, a “particle” is what emerges from the underlying “physics,” not tables and chairs, and I’m not sure that the “underlying cause” can be said to be any form of physics.

  10. 10
    Querius says:

    Kairosfocus @8,

    Worse energy is extremely intangible

    An interesting question is whether energy has any gravitational attraction. When converting a bit of matter into energy (E=mc^2) by means of a nuclear chain reaction, does the gravitational space-time deformation disappear or does it dissipate?

    -Q

  11. 11
    Bob O'H says:

    “Time is an illusion, lunch time doubly so”
    – Ford Prefect

  12. 12
    aarceng says:

    Polistra @1, time must exist in order to be measured. The different oscillations are just different ways of measuring time. Just like water exists and there are different ways of measuring it; litres, gallons, cubic meters, kg, lbs.

  13. 13
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Useful reading https://iep.utm.edu/time/ >> . . . When we say the time is 7:00, what is the “7:00”? It is a mathematical object. Times are not mathematical objects, although time coordinates are. The time coordinates are names of times. If times are not mathematical objects, then what are they? More generally let’s ask the question, “What is time?”

    Sometimes, when we ask what time really is, we are asking for the meaning of the noun “time.” A first step in that direction might be to clarify the difference between its meaning and its reference. The temporal word now changes its reference every instant but not its meaning. The term time has several meanings. It can mean the duration between events, as when we say the trip from home to work took too much time because of all the traffic. It can mean, instead, the temporal location of an event, as when we say he arrived at the time they specified. It also can mean the temporal structure of the universe, as when we speak of investigating time rather than space. This article uses the word in all these senses.

    Ordinary Language philosophers have carefully studied time talk. This is what Ludwig Wittgenstein called the language game of discourse about time. Wittgenstein said in 1953, “For a large class of cases—though not for all—in which we employ the word ‘meaning’ it can be defined this way: the meaning of a word is its use in the language.” Perhaps an examination of all the uses of the word time would lead us to the meaning of the word. Someone, following the lead of Wittgenstein, might also say we would then be able to dissolve rather than answer most of our philosophical questions about time. That methodology of dissolving a problem was promoted by Wittgenstein in response to many other philosophical questions.

    However, most philosophers of time in the twenty-first century are not interested in dissolving the problems about time nor in precisely defining the word time but rather are interested in what time’s important characteristics are and in resolving philosophical disputes about time that do not seem to turn on what the word means. When Newton discovered that both the fall of an apple and the circular orbit of the Moon were caused by gravity, this was not a discovery about the meaning of the word gravity, but rather about what gravity is. Do we not want some advances like this for time?

    To emphasize this idea, notice that a metaphysician who asks, “What is a ghost?” already knows the meaning in ordinary language of the word ghost, and does not usually want a precise definition of ghost but rather wants to know what ghosts are, something that is provided by having a more-detailed theory of ghosts. This theory ideally would provide the following things: a consistent characterization of the most important features of ghosts, a claim regarding whether they do or do not exist and how they might be reliably detected if they do exist, what principles or laws describe their behavior, how they typically act, and what they are composed of. This article takes a similar approach to the question, “What is time?” The goal is not just to discover the meaning of the word “time” but rather both to discover the best concept of time to use in understanding the world and to develop a philosophical theory of time that addresses what science has discovered about time plus what should be said about the many philosophical issues that practicing scientists usually do not concern themselves with.

    The exploration ahead adopts a realist perspective on accepted scientific theories. That is, it interprets them to mean what they say, even in their highly theoretical aspects, and it does not take a fictionalist perspective on them, nor treat them as merely useful instruments, nor treat them operationally. It assumes that, in building a scientific theory, the goal is to achieve truth even though most theories achieve this goal only approximately, but what makes them approximately true is not their corresponding to some mysterious entity called approximate truth. Many of these assumptions have been challenged in some philosophical literature, and if one of the challenges is correct, then some of what is said below will require reinterpretation or rephrasing.

    This article’s supplement of “Frequently Asked Questions” defines what a clock is and what it is for a clock to be accurate. Saying physical time is what clocks measure is analogous to saying temperature is what thermometers measure. It is not really a serious, precise answer to the question of what is time, but it is not as trivial as it might seem since it is a deep truth about our physical universe that it is capable of having clocks. Clocks have regular, periodic behavior. We are lucky to live in a universe with so many different regular, periodic processes that humans can use for clocks. However, the claim that time is what clocks measure is not without its opponents. Some philosophers of physics claim that there is nothing more to time than whatever numbers are displayed on our clocks. The vast majority of philosophers of physics disagree. They say time is more than those numbers; it is what we intend to measure with those numbers.

    What then is time? Consider how this question has been answered in different ways throughout the centuries . . . >>

    Likewise, note Wikipedia:>>Cosmic time, or cosmological time, is the time coordinate commonly used in the Big Bang models of physical cosmology.[1][2][3] Such time coordinate may be defined for a homogeneous, expanding universe so that the universe has the same density everywhere at each moment in time (the fact that this is possible means that the universe is, by definition, homogeneous). The clocks measuring cosmic time should move along the Hubble flow.

    Cosmic time t {\displaystyle t} t[4][5] is a measure of time by a physical clock with zero peculiar velocity in the absence of matter over-/under-densities (to prevent time dilation due to relativistic effects or confusions caused by expansion of the universe). Unlike other measures of time such as temperature, redshift, particle horizon, or Hubble horizon, the cosmic time (similar and complementary to the comoving coordinates) is blind to the expansion of the universe.

    There are two main ways for establishing a reference point for the cosmic time. The most trivial way is to take the present time as the cosmic reference point (sometimes referred to as the lookback time).

    Alternatively, the Big Bang may be taken as reference to define t {\displaystyle t} t as the age of the universe, also known as time since the big bang. The current physical cosmology estimates the present age as 13.8 billion years.[6] The t = 0 {\displaystyle t=0} t=0 doesn’t necessarily have to correspond to a physical event (such as the cosmological singularity) but rather it refers to the point at which the scale factor would vanish for a standard cosmological model such as ?CDM. For instance, in the case of inflation, i.e. a non-standard cosmology, the hypothetical moment of big bang is still determined using the benchmark cosmological models which may coincide with the end of the inflationary epoch. For technical purposes, concepts such as the average temperature of the universe (in units of eV) or the particle horizon are used when the early universe is the objective of a study since understanding the interaction among particles is more relevant than their time coordinate or age.

    Cosmic time is the standard time coordinate for specifying the Friedmann–Lemaître–Robertson–Walker solutions of Einstein’s equations. >>

    I would suggest, we should ponder our causal-temporal, thermodynamically constrained domain, CTThD. Time is connected to cause, change, cumulative change, thus cause-effect bonds [thence issues of freedom], so to energy flow and therefore thermodynamic constraints and gradual degradation of energy concentrations. Entropy, indeed, is time’s arrow.

    At cosmological scale, we can construct a metric of macro time, which on conventional views currently places us at 13.8 BY beyond the singularity, that number has bounced around a fair deal over the past decade or so, take it with a grain of salt. We then can contemplate micro times, affected by relativistic considerations.

    In that context, we measure time by evidently regular cycles we count, e.g. first days, moon orbits, the cycle of the sun and that of the apparently fixed stars, which are different. Then, we can construct oscillators such as pendulums or regular flows and use accumulation to judge time. Nowadays, masers and the like.

    So, time is physical, thus real, but is pregnant with philosophical considerations.

    KF

  14. 14
    William J Murray says:

    KF said:

    Entropy, indeed, is time’s arrow.

    I can’t figure out if you’re saying entropic CTThD is time, or is a kind of universal clock through which one experiences time.

    If one existed in a non-entropic, non-CTThD world, would “time” not be experienced? How about heaven? Isn’t that supposed to be a non-etropic, non-CTThD world? Does no one experience a passing of time in that world?

    How about dreams and imaginary worlds? Is the sense of a passage of time there caused by an entropic CTThD? Is that what “time” is there?

    I think that by considering these hypotheticals, we can see that the sense of time passing is not caused by, nor necessarily ordered by, any entropic CTThD. Certainly entropic CTThD is not time itself. Rather, the entropic CTThD world is just something we experience along with our sense of time passing. If you take us out of that world and put us in a non-entropic, non-CTThD world, we would still have the sense of time passing.

    Is “time passing” rooted in cause and effect? I don’t see how this case can be made. Even if things occurred without cause, there would still be sequentialized experience we refer to as “time passing,” even if we couldn’t explain that which we experience in terms of causation.

    I think whatever “entropic CTThD” is, it is what generally organizes a large set of our experiences, but I don’t think it’s an intrinsic aspect of time, nor is it the cause of time.

  15. 15
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, I am describing our world from the perspective of the dynamics of time, a Causal-thermodynamic order is temporal; though we experience as causal temporal then on study see the thermodynamic processes. Time is then conceived, likely originally on experience of before after and same time, including day night and seasonal cycles. When we go to time keeping, we thence see time as quantity that is mathematically speaking a continuum, whether that is true at fine grained physical level is another matter. Time flow is then influenced by gravitation and speed of frames of reference considerations. KF

  16. 16
    kairosfocus says:

    PS, dream worlds are riding on such processes and by habit and conceptualisation will reflect the same.

  17. 17
    William J Murray says:

    KF said:

    WJM, I am describing our world from the perspective of the dynamics of time, a Causal-thermodynamic order is temporal; though we experience as causal temporal then on study see the thermodynamic processes.

    That may be what you are attempting to do, but I don’t think that’s what you’re accomplishing. I think the best you can do is associate time with the observation and experience of an entropic CTThD, but that’s as far as you can get. There is no necessary causal or intrinsic link between “time” and CTThD experiences; that’s just what we happen to be experiencing most of the time, at least in one category of experience.

    PS, dream worlds are riding on such processes and by habit and conceptualisation will reflect the same.

    This is not necessarily true, this is just a convenient rationalization. My conceptualizations do not degrade over time; there is no entropy; they are not dependent on physical causation or limitation or any form of linear time other than as my personal experience.

    The binding aspect of time that must exist in any possible experienced world is not that the world is an entropic CTThD, but rather the sequential nature of an observer’s experience in that world. Associating time with entropic CTThD sequences doesn’t mean time is derived from or caused by those sequences.

  18. 18
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, it’s there in the equations that describe the physics; and it is there first as the macro level cosmological pattern tracing to the singularity. That process is antecedent to human observation, individually and collectively. If you want to talk about our perception of time etc, that is long after what is being addressed. KF

  19. 19
    William J Murray says:

    KF @18,

    That process is antecedent to human observation, individually and collectively. If you want to talk about our perception of time etc, that is long after what is being addressed. KF

    Unfortunately, you have absolutely no way to demonstrate this. It’s just speculation built on theory built on a particular interpretation of some of the evidence, while totally ignoring the contrary, quantum evidence. You can assert it all as if true all you want, but in the end nothing about the “past” can be demonstrated.

  20. 20
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, q-foam world etc are not my speculations, just, I have to address them. And. oh there are no observations this is phil in a lab coat is not enough. For much of the actual past competent record provides adequate warrant, especially when joined to circumstantial evidence but fair on the face record from good chain of custody is evidence too. Beyond the span of history, we have weaker but still adequate warrant for weak form, revisable knowledge, providing dynamics are shown capable in accord with Newton’s rules. But evolutionary materialism and fellow travellers have substituted ideological impositions and have dominated institutions. That is what we have to expose and correct in key part. BTW the earliest record we have is written in the cell, warranting an historical inference of intelligent design, not just a scientific argument. KF

  21. 21
    William J Murray says:

    KF said:

    For much of the actual past competent record provides adequate warrant, especially when joined to circumstantial evidence but fair on the face record from good chain of custody is evidence too.

    I’m not making an argument that your beliefs aren’t well-justified. I’m pointing out that your beliefs about time wrt your ontology results in one of two logical absurdities: a “beginning” of time, or infinite regress.

    Repeating your evidence and warrant for your view on time doesn’t change that. Appealing to some unknown state of “root of reality” or “outside of” or “preceding” space-time domain doesn’t change that. Until you can, under your epistemology/ontology, solve this time dilemma other than by waving your hands and invoking the “unknown,” all the evidence and warrant in the world can’t save your perspective from ending up with one of two logically absurd conditions: “time began,” or infinite regress of time.

    Let’s say arguendo I have far, far less evidence and warrant for my perspective. What I do have that trumps your warrant and evidence are self-evident existential truths and logic. People can build all the theoretical and speculative (and useful) models they want, and have very useful systems of warrant for their models, but if that ship ultimately crashes and breaks on the rocky shore of logic and self-evident existential truths, then they are wrong. Appealing to warrant, evidence, usefulness, universal common sense, dire consequences for any other perspective, etc. cannot save that ship.

    All of these things, whether evidence or logic, physical or thought, are experiences. The only thing we can be talking about or considering or using are experiences. Fundamentally, I am a set of experience occurring in the now. There’s no way to get behind that, around it, or outside of it There is no evidence, theory, speculation epistemology or ontology that can change that.

    It doesn’t matter if it means “grand delusion” or not; it’s an inescapable existential truth. “Passage of time” is an aspect of experience and cannot be placed ontologically outside of the “now” experience as an objectified commodity without it crashing on the rocks of the logical time dilemma.

  22. 22
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, that our cosmological timeline began with the singularity usually currently estimated at 13.8 BYA, is not incoherent, nor is it incoherent to think onward, that there was a quantum foam; though, to project a quasi cosmological time onward without beginning runs into traversal of the transfinite. The point is, a CTThD is inherently limited and finite in the past, which is consistent with the associated heat death issue. An infinite past of this order is dubious. Switching tack, we also know, were there utter nonbeing, i.e. no reality, that would remain so, so that a world is implies a root of reality of a different order of existence, necessary being. Knowing this, we can recognise that the concept of a necessary being source and sustainer of worlds is not incoherent, though we may not understand as much about such as we desire, certainly through science and generic logic of being analysis. We know necessary being is eternal and framework to any possible world, with the humble abstract entity, 2, as a case in point. A NB cannot be thermodynamically constrained as e.g. temperature pertains to an assemblage of many microparticles with energy distribution across degrees of freedom, so T is an index of average random kinetic energy per degree of freedom. Temperature pivots on composite materiality at microscopic level. No composite entity with detachable, independent parts will be a necessary being. Nor is a concept space a physical entity, and designs at root are concepts. I add, time has a local sense prior to us, it has a cosmological one even more prior to us, and both tie to thermodynamics of energy flow and dispersal of concentrations; our perception of time is a different matter from what say the natural clock of a radioisotope deposit exhibits, or the cycles of astronomical entities etc. And more. KF

  23. 23
    William J Murray says:

    KF @22:
    All you’ve done is repeat the same things you’ve said before that lead to the same time dilemma issue.

  24. 24
    ram says:

    WJM:I’m not making an argument that your beliefs aren’t well-justified. I’m pointing out that your beliefs about time wrt your ontology results in one of two logical absurdities: a “beginning” of time, or infinite regress.

    Tnx. For some reason most religionists and materialist reductionists ever seem to get this.

    –RAM

  25. 25
    kairosfocus says:

    Ram, a beginning of our temporal-causal thermodynamic domain is a simple projection backwards of cosmological expansion, backed by incidence of white dwarfs, breakaway patterns of stars from the HR main sequence in clusters and the like. Attempted extension of time beyond that is speculative and runs into heat death. Steady state cosmologies of course violate energy conservation if one holds an isolated universe, aka first law of thermodynamics. The logic of finite stage temporal causal succession inherently entails that such cannot traverse a sequence of stages of order type w, i.e. beginninglessnes is not on the cards; for a thermodynamic world including a quantum foam etc. A beginning to such domains is anything but absurd.

  26. 26
    William J Murray says:

    KF said:

    A beginning to such domains is anything but absurd.

    Then it’s a good thing nobody argued that it is absurd. What is absurd is the idea that there was a beginning to time, not some thermodynamic construct that can be used to measure time back to the point where people speculate/theorize that particular construct was initiated.

  27. 27
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, that is the core point, time is inextricably tied to and a key part of causal-thermodynamic, dynamic-stochastic process, locally and cosmologically. Indeed, that leads to how we measure by counting cycles and part cycles of oscillation and/or observing locus on a trend such as RA decay. Time is not isolable from such a domain. The need for necessary being at reality root points to another order of existence which is not thermodynamic, pivoting on stochastic behaviour of collections of micro particles etc. Time has a natural span in our world, ~ 10^25 s, when white dwarfs will cool off, by thermal processes even though they are not particularly good heat emitters. KF

    PS, to give an idea let’s start with classic isolated system, || A –> B || where as A is hotter dQ flows to B, and we have dQ = TdS, T absolute temperature and S entropy. Convert to a rate, dQ/dt = T * (dS/dt), i.e. rate of rise of entropy is directly connected to heat flow rate. Time is inextricably bound up in the causal processes connected to heat flow at a rate and linked entropy. Using for simplicity — this is not utterly rigorous and general, but this toy helps us see — S = k log W, W omega number of accessible distributions of mass and energy etc across available possibilities. A actually loses entropy as flow dQ is away from it but as B is at lower temperature, the inflow so multiplies accessible possibilities that net S for the system rises. Causal, energy flow/work driven events are such that heat is inextricably involved. Work is forced, ordered motion, heat transfer of energy by radiation, conduction, convection. Temperature is an index of avg random kinetic energy per degree of freedom of micro particles.

  28. 28
    jerry says:

    What is absurd is the idea that there was a beginning to time

    This implies that no beginning is not absurd.

    But no beginning implies an infinite number of absurdities.

    So which is it? No beginning which is infinitely absurd or a beginning which makes sense.

            I know, I know, making sense is not part
            of what many ID contributors do.

  29. 29
    William J Murray says:

    Jerry said:

    This implies that no beginning is not absurd.

    No, it doesn’t. I’ve stated repeatedly what the time dilemma is that KF’s ontology faces: either a beginning of time, or infinite regress. Both are absurd. Neither are acceptable, which means our concept of what time is must be wrong.

  30. 30
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS, notice the use of in effect infinitesimals, similar to how economic changes are described. dQ must be so small, it does not significantly affect T but of course as we accumulate, i.e. integrate, we see finite scale effects. That accumulation is across time and is throttled at rates tied to system dynamics.

  31. 31
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, I just amplified a bit on how I am thinking of time and why I accept the framework that sees time as tied to thermodynamics intrinsically. I have already showed why a temporal,causal, energy dynamics, thermodynamic domain is inherently finitely bound in the past. As a world from non being, no reality is not feasible, this means the root of reality, world zero W0, is non thermodynamic, which latter requires masses of individual micro entities subject to stochastic distributions. I am wondering at this point whether you think that we must attach time to W0, rather than a distinct nature, traditionally termed eternity. KF

  32. 32
    William J Murray says:

    KF said:

    WJM, that is the core point, time is inextricably tied to and a key part of causal-thermodynamic, dynamic-stochastic process, locally and cosmologically

    If that is what time is, you run into the time-dilemma issue I have described, which you try to solve – apparently – with the following:

    The need for necessary being at reality root points to another order of existence which is not thermodynamic, pivoting on stochastic behaviour of collections of micro particles etc.

    Unless time exists there, then the thermodynamic universe cannot begin or be created, there cannot be a sentient God and that God cannot make decisions, because all of that presupposes existence within a framework of time. If time is rooted in this thermodynamic world (as you claim,) nothing occurs, causes, choose or begins external of that, because all of those concepts presuppose an already ongoing framework of time.

    Waving your hands and appealing to “another order of existence” doesn’t buy you any relief from the time dilemma.

  33. 33
    William J Murray says:

    KF said:

    I am wondering at this point whether you think that we must attach time to W0, rather than a distinct nature, traditionally termed eternity.

    Without attaching time at W0, W0 cannot be sentient, cannot act, do, create, or cause. The thermodynamic world you refer to cannot “begin” from W0. That is your dilemma to resolve, not mine, because of your ontological conditions.

    You never answered this question of mine: is heaven an entropic, thermodynamic world as you have described this world as? If not, is there no sense of time passing? Do we not do, act, think, talk, move about in heaven?

    My ontology has no such issues, and does not face the time dilemma yours does.

  34. 34
    jerry says:

    our concept of what time is must be wrong.

    UD is the best example I know that time exists.

    Actually

            Too much time!

    Oh, for the good old days when there wasn’t enough time and if we took time off from work, we or our families might starve. Thank God, someone invented more time.

  35. 35
    William J Murray says:

    In my ontology, W0 is potential. Potential doesn’t do anything, nor does it take up any space. Potential requires no time or space. You cannot get behind, under or before it. It’s obviously the actual W0.

  36. 36
    William J Murray says:

    Jerry said:

    UD is the best example I know that time exists.

    I didn’t say time doesn’t exist.

  37. 37
    jerry says:

    Potential

    Potential Is constantly calling my cell phone.

    Last name is Spam.

    I didn’t say time doesn’t exist

    I know, I know. It’s UD that doesn’t exist. At last, we are getting some place. But it does waste time.

    Does this mean we will have more time?

  38. 38
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, we know separately that our temporal domain is not credibly beginningless, indeed we have empirical warrant as outlined that has been about 14 BY for over a generation. There has been an attempt to suggest a quantum foam as root but this is also sufficiently thermodynamic to meet the same constraint. With causal succession of finite stages [years for convenience] we see structural logic of being reasons even beyond physics of heat death why that is inherently finite in the past. And BTW extension of such an order to God runs into the same trouble. We know utter non being is a non starter and circular retrocausation is just another form of this. That points to necessary being reality root, however strange and unpalatable that may seem to many. Actually, that is an advantage in being likely not to be something we are likely to project, its alien-ness, like that of Q-theory, is a plus for its being on the right though not the comfortable track. W0 is non thermodynamic, so not another world similar to ours or the Q-foam or other similar models. It is sufficiently capable to be a source, and is or contains design capability to account for fine tuning. It is inherently without beginning and cannot cease, it is fabric to any possible world. Considering our morally governed being it also needs to bridge is and ought. But, we are dealing here with what is alien and only glimpsed through a glass, darkly. KF

  39. 39
    William J Murray says:

    KF @38,

    As far as I can tell, you’re basically just saying that you are sticking with your views even though you cannot resolve the time dilemma I’ve exposed here. You basically just chalk it up to being an inexplicable mystery.

    Fair enough.

    Are you not going to answer my question about whether or not Heaven is a thermodynamic world like this one, and if not, are we still capable of thinking and acting as if we are experiencing a flow of time there?

  40. 40
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    If you have your own “ontology” why in the world would try to search synchronicity of your ideas with other ontologies? 🙂 Do you try to show your ontology is right and other ontologies are wrong? Then this is an admission of existence of only one true ontology ?

  41. 41
    William J Murray says:

    LCD,

    I enjoy discussing these topics, as I have repeatedly stated.

  42. 42
    JHolo says:

    KF: beginninglessnes is not on the cards

    Why not? I agree that we are fairly certain that our iteration of the universe, consisting of trillions of atoms in 92+ different sizes, had its beginning at the Big Bang. But that is just the beginning of elements, just as the congregation of a sufficient number of atoms in a confined space was the beginning of any element heavier than helium. But none of this means that time had a beginning. The best we can say is that we don’t know and any answer would be pure speculation.

  43. 43
    jerry says:

    Why not?

    Because it leads to absurdity after absurdity.

    If it is physically possible, then it must have existed. And it must have existed in an infinite number of iterations. Including the asking of this exact same question to Kf an infinite number of times.

    Infinite time precludes nothing.

    Again I recommend the Asimov short story, The Last Question.

    The Last Question

    By Isaac Asimov

    This is by far my favorite story of all those I have written.
    After all, I undertook to tell several trillion years of human history in the space of a short story and I leave it to you as to how well I succeeded. I also undertook another task, but I won’t tell you what that was lest l spoil the story for you.

    It is a curious fact that innumerable readers have asked me if I wrote this story. They seem never to remember the title of the story or (for sure) the author, except for the vague thought it might be me. But, of course, they never forget the story itself especially the ending. The idea seems to drown out everything — and I’m satisfied that it should

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

  44. 44
    JHolo says:

    Jerry: Because it leads to absurdity after absurdity.

    People keep repeating this but this is not an explanation, it is just an unsupported dismissal.

    If it is physically possible, then it must have existed. And it must have existed in an infinite number of iterations.

    Or our existence may be the only iteration and the conditions immediately before the Big Bang may have always existed. We just don’t know.

  45. 45
    kairosfocus says:

    JH, you have been present when the reasons, physical and logic of structure and quantity have been laid out. i suggest you consider heat death in 10^25 s as even white dwarfs cool down, and the infeasibl,e supertask of stepwise finite stage — years for convenience — traversal of a succession of order type w, with cardinality aleph null. A potential transfinite with an unlimited future is possible but not an already traversed transfinite past. If you have a problem with successive stepwise traversal, kindly go look at a calendar. And that is before various other issues come up. KF

  46. 46
    kairosfocus says:

    PS, yes something was obviously existent as cause of the singularity. the question is of what nature and a q-foam or the like is sufficiently physical to face thermodynamics constraints and heat death issues as energy concentrations dissipate. Whatever W0 was there before singularity and q foam or whatever, is not of thermodynamic order. KF

  47. 47
    jerry says:

    People keep repeating this but this is not an explanation, it is just an unsupported dismissal.

    No it is not!!!

    When a supposition leads to very definite conclusions, and those conclusions are false, it means that the supposition is false.

    In logic

    P=> Q where P is infinite past and Q is expected consequences.

    Then

    Not Q => not P then lack of expected outcomes implies infinite past does not exist.

    It’s definitely not unsupported dismissal. Maybe you don’t understand basic logic.

    Or our existence may be the only iteration and the conditions immediately before the Big Bang may have always existed. We just don’t know

    This is essentially saying there was an infinity of nothing and then suddenly our finely tuned universe popped into existence.

    Begs the question, what all of a sudden caused it and why so finely tuned.

    This sounds like some all powerful god sat around for infinity and then decided to say “Let there be light.”

  48. 48
    Seversky says:

    To me, the current situation of being faced with two absurdities – either an infinite causal chain or an uncaused first cause – suggests we are missing something profound without which we are not going to find a way past the dilemma.

    The other thing is that Jerry’s reference to Asimov’s The Last Question reminded me of Fred Hoyle’s 1966 SF novel October The First Is Too Late in which he uses dialog between two of the main characters to discuss his thinking on these issues:

    “After a short pause, John went off on a new tack. ‘In physics, we accept a lot of mysterious things.’

    ‘Such as what?’

    ‘Well, it’s very mysterious that our consciousness enables us to take decisions which turn out to improve our description of the world – in circumstances, mark you, when improvement ought to be impossible according to our basic physics.’

    ‘Sounds the sort of thing our religious friends would be glad to hear.’

    ‘They can read it in any textbook they like. Let me give an example. You take a number of radioactive nuclei of a particular kind, the number being chosen so that there’s an even chance of one of them going off in a certain period of time, say ten seconds. Then for ten seconds you surround them with counters, or any other detecting device you might like to use. At the end of the time the question is, has one of them decayed or not. To decide this you take a look at your counters. The conventional notion is that the state of the counters decides whether a nucleus has gone off or not.’

    ‘What you’re saying is that if you did this experiment a lot of times your calculations require that in a half of the cases a nucleus will have decayed and in the other half there will have been no decay?’

    ‘Right. But my problem now concerns an individual case. Has there been a decay or hasn’t there? How do you decide?’

    ‘I would suppose by looking , which is what you said a moment ago.’

    ‘Of course. But here comes the rub. It is perfectly possible to put your counters, or your bubble chamber, your camera, all your gobbledegook in fact, into your calculations – and we know quite definitely that any attempt to get a definite answer out of calculation will prove completely fruitless. The thing that gives the answer isn’t the camera or the counter, it’s the actual operation of looking yourself at your equipment. It seems that only we ourselves take a subjective decision can we improve our description of the world, over and above the uncertainty of our theories. I’m talking about quantum theories now.’

    ‘So you’ve got a real contradiction?’

    I waited as John paused again. He lifted his hand in a gesture. ‘There’s one possible loophole. We could be wrong in comparing ourselves as physical systems with a camera or a counter or anything like that. The essential thing about a camera is that it’s local. Its operation can be described by a strictly finite number of variables, its activities are restricted to a limited volume of space-time. It could be that when we make subjective judgements we’re using connexions ranging all over the universe.'”

    […]

    “‘Because, like all of us in our daily lives, you’re stuck with a grotesque and absurd illusion.’

    ‘How’s that?’

    ‘The idea of time as an ever-rolling stream. The thing which is supposed to bear all its sons away. There’s one thing quite certain in this business: the idea of time as a steady progression from past to future is wrong. I know very well we feel this way about it subjectively. But we’re the vicitms of a confidence trick. If there’s one thing we can be sure about in physics it is that all times exist with equal reality. If you consider the motion of the Earth around the Sun, it is a spiral in four dimensional space-time. There’s absolutely no question of singling out a special point on the spiral and saying that particular point is the present position of the Earth. Not so far as physics is concerned.’

    ‘But there certainly is such a thing as the present. Without the ideas of the past, the present, and the future we could make no sense at all out of life. If you were aware of your whole life at once it would be like playing a sonata simply by pushing down all the notes on the keyboard. The essential thing about a sonata is the notes are played in turn, not all at once.’

    ‘I’m not really trying to say the present is without validity. Rather that it can’t have any validity in physics.’

    ‘Then physics isn’t everything? A bit admission for a physicist, isn’t it?’

    ‘Remember the night we were out walking, back in Hawaii? I said then there were parts of our experience which simply defied physical law. I can develop those ideas a lot further. In a way I’d sooner get it off my chest now, rather than later. It sounds too crazy to put before a lot of people. Yet I’m sure something along these lines must be right. I’m going to put it in terms of a parable. Suppose you have a lot of pigeon holes, numbered in sequence, one, two, and so on…up to thousands and millions, and millions of millions if you like. In fact the sequence can be infinite both ways if you prefer.’

    I said that I didn’t mind. John went on, ‘All right, let’s come now to the contents of the pigeon holes. Suppose you choose one of them, say the 137th. You find in it a story, as you might find one of those little slips of paper in a Christmas cracker. But you also find statments about the stories you’ll find in other pigeon holes. You decide to check up on whether these statements about the stories in the other pigeon holes are right or not. To your surprise you find the statments made about earlier pigeon holes, the 136th, the 135th, and so on, are substantially correct. But when you compare with the pigeon holes on the other side, the 138th, the 139th,…you find things aren’t so good. You find a lot of contradictions and discrepancies. This turns out to be the same wherever you happen to look, in every pigeon hole. The statements made about pigeon holes on the other side are at best diffuse and at the worst just plain wrong. Now let’s translate this parable into the time problem. We’ll call the particular pigeon hole, the one you happen to be examining, the present. The earlier pigeon holes, the ones for which you find substantially correct statements, we call the past. The later pigeon holes, the ones for which there isn’t too much in the way of correct statments, we’ll call the future. Let me go on a bit further. What I want to suggest is that the actual world is very much like this. Instead of pigeon holes we talk about states.’

    ‘I understand what you’re saying. You have a division into a number of states. Choice of any one of them constitutes the present. My problem is, who decides which pigeon hole to look in, the one that constitutes the present?’

    ‘If I could answer that question I’d be a good half-way towards solving everything. Before I say anything about it let me ask you a question. Suppose that in each of these states your own consciousness is included. As soon as a particular state is chosen, as soon as an imaginary office worker takes a look at the contents of a particular pigeon hole, you have the subjective consciousness of a particular moment, of what you call the present. Think of the clerk in an office taking a look, first at the contents of one pigeon hole, then at the contents of another. Suppose he does this, not in sequence, but in any old order. What is the effect on your subjective consciousness? So far as the clerk himself is concerned, he’s jumping about all over the place among the pigeon holes. So your consciousness jumps all over the place. But the strange thing is that your subjective impression is quite different. You have the impression of time as an ever-rolling stream.’

    We walked on for a while. I saw that if the contents of a pigeon hole could never be modified then John was right. It would be possible for his clerk to look into a particular pigeon hole a dozen times or more and you’d never know about it. All you could be aware of, on his idea, was the contents of a pigeon hole, not when or how it was sampled. But there was one thing that bothered me:

    ‘Doesn’t the idea of a sequence of choices on the part of your clerk imply the flow of time? If it does, the argument gets you nowhere.’

    ‘I’m sure it does not. A sequence is a logical concept in which time doesn’t really enter at all.’

    I saw in a general sort of way what he meant. Yet I was troubled. ‘But if you have a rule that requires you to pass from one pigeon hole to the next, like passing from one number to the next, isn’t it really exactly the same as a smooth flow of time?’

    ‘If the rule were the one you say, yes certainly. But you could have rules that didn’t require the next number to be the succeeding pigeon hole. Look, suppose we do it this way. We could choose number 1, then number 100, then number 2, then number 99, and so on until we’ve had every pigeon hole from 1 to 100. Then we could do the same thing from 101 to 200. That would be different kind of rule. In fact there are infinitely many ways in which you can lay down rules, if the sequence itself is infinite. Any particular rule establishes what we call a correspondence between the pigeon holes and the choices. If every pigeon hole is chosen exactly once we have what mathematicians call a one-one correspondence. If every pigeon hole is chosen many times we have a one-many correspondence. The crux of my argument is that you get exactly the same subjective experience whatever the correspondence you choose. It doesn’t matter what order you take the pigeon holes, it doesn’t matter if you choose some or all of them a million times, you’d never know anything different from the simple sequential order. All you can know is the original contents of the pigeon holes themselves.’

    ‘So really the choices could be an incredible hotch-potch. You could have youth and old ages interlaced with each other and you’d never know?’

    ‘Not only that, but you could experience your youth a million times over and you’d never know. If the clerk were to put a note in a pigeon hole whenever he used it, then of course you could know you’d had a certain experience before. But as long as he leaves no note you can never know.’

    ‘I suppose so. Where have we got to now?’

    ‘Quite a way. We’ve got our sequence of pigeon holes, that’s the physical world. We don’t think of one pigeon hole as having any more significance than another, which agress with what I said before. We don’t think of one particular state of the Earth as having any more significance than any other state of the Earth. We’ve completely eliminated the bogus idea of a steady flow of time. Our consciousness corresponds to just where the light falls, as it dances about among the pigeon holes. It lights up first once, then another, in some sequence that is quite irrelevant.

    ‘Now let’s come to the hard part. What is this light? I’m no longer talking in terms of a clerk in an office, because I don’t want to get bogged down in human images. All our pigeon holes are in darkness except where the spot of light falls. What that light consists of, where it comes from, we know nothing. It lies outside our present-day physics.

    ‘You remember I told you that it’s possible to defy our own present-day physical laws and still to make a clear gain in our assessment of the world. You remember the radioactive nuclei with the counters surrounding them? We wanted to know whether or now in a certain period of time a nucleus had undergone decay. I said there was only one way to find out. By looking. In other words by using the spot of light in our pigeon hole. My strong hunch is that it’s the spot of light that permits decisions which lie outside the laws of physics. This is why I’m so sure something else must be involved. It doesn’t need to be anything mystical. It may be subject to precise description, to law and order, the same as in our ordinary physics. It may only be mysterious because we don’t understand it.’

    ‘There’s certainly a lot of things I don’t understand. This light of yours, or whatever you like to call it, how does it decide that you are you and I am me?’

    ‘That could be another illusion. Look, along one wall of our office we have one complete set of pigeon holes, all in their nice tidy sequence. Along another wall we have another set of pigeon holes. Two completely different sets. But there is only one light. It dances about in both sets of pigeon holes. Wherever it happens to be, there is the phenomenon of consciousness. One set of pigeon holes is what you call you, the other is what I call me. It would be possible to experience both and never know it. It would be possible to follow the little patch of light wherever it went. There could be only one consciousness, although there must certainly be more than one set of pigeon holes.’

    I found this a staggering idea. ‘If you’re right it would be possible to be a million people and never know it.’

    ‘It would be possible to be much more than that. It would be possible to be every creature on every system of planets throughout the universe. My point is that for every so-called different creature, for every different person, you need a separate set of pigeon holes. But the consciousness could be the same. There could even be completely different universes. Go back to my decaying nucleus. Hook up a bomb which explodes according to whether you have decay of a nucleus or not. Make the bomb so big that it becomes a doomsday machine. Let it be capable – if exploded – of wiping out all life on the Earth. Let the whole thing go for a critical few seconds, you remember we were considering whether a nucleus would decay in a particular ten seconds? Do we all survive or don’t we?

    ‘My guess is that inevitably we appear to survive, because there is a division, the world divides into two, into two completely disparate stacks of pigeon holes. In one, a nucleus undergoes decay, explodes the bomb, and wipes us out. But the pigeon holes in that case never contain anything further about life on the Earth. So although those pigeon holes might be activated, there could never be any awareness that an explosion had taken place. In the other block, the Earth would be safe, our lives would continue – to put it in the usual phrase. Whenever the spotlight of consciousness hit those pigeon holes we should be aware of the Earth and we should decide the bomb had not exploded.’

  49. 49
    jerry says:

    an uncaused first cause

    Existence is the greatest mystery of all.

    By the way, my mention of the Asimov short story is probably the 10th or more times I have done so. The purpose for referring to it: the logic of infinite universes or infinite times leads to an infinite numbers of gods capable of creating a universe like ours.

    There is no way around this logic.

    No one here seems to understand this or they haven’t read the story which takes about 20 minutes. My guess both.

  50. 50
    JHolo says:

    KF: JH, you have been present when the reasons, physical and logic of structure and quantity have been laid out.

    Yes, I have read these and I just don’t find them very compelling because they are based on assumptions that have not been clearly demonstrated.

  51. 51
    JHolo says:

    Jerry: This is essentially saying there was an infinity of nothing and then suddenly our finely tuned universe popped into existence.

    No it isn’t. We don’t know that nothing existed before the Big Bang. We don’t even know what existed at the very earliest stage of the Big Bang.

  52. 52
    Viola Lee says:

    Jerry, I have read the Asimov story you like so much.

    I’ll point out that an infinite number of universes does NOT necessarily mean an infinite number of possibilities because there might be constraints upon those universes that apply to all, depending on what the source and cause of the universes is.

    So I don’t think your “logical conclusion” is as airtight as you think it is.

  53. 53
    jerry says:

    there might be constraints upon those universes that apply to all

    So I don’t think your “logical conclusion” is as airtight as you think it is.

    What constraints?

    I said anything possible has got to happen an infinite number of times. Tell me what is not possible? Universes exactly like our universe have got to happen an infinite number of times.

  54. 54
    jerry says:

    our existence may be the only iteration and the conditions immediately before the Big Bang may have always existed. We just don’t know

    Whatever it was that always existed, all of a sudden a finely tuned universe popped into existence.

    This screams design and design screams purpose.

  55. 55
    Viola Lee says:

    You mentioned an infinite number of Gods, which certainly may not be possible. I guess I don’t even know what you are saying, so I’ll let it drop.

  56. 56
    kairosfocus says:

    Sev, Uncaused sounds arbitrary but the issue is that the root of reality as we experience it is finitely remote necessary being. Because our formal and informal education tends not to cover logic of being, it sounds strange. But once we attend to the logic we see the real issue is what is the necessary being root of reality. Utter non being means no reality, and has no causal powers, were non reality the case that would “always” be so. That a world is implies that something always was, necessary being. Is it infinite regress of quasi physwical, thermodynamically constrained reality? No, transfinite traverse by successive finite stages [e.g. years] is inherently infeasible. Is it circular retrocausation, no that is reality from non reality. We really do need causally adequate necessary being at root of reality. KF

  57. 57
    JHolo says:

    Jerry: Whatever it was that always existed, all of a sudden a finely tuned universe popped into existence.

    This screams design and design screams purpose.

    You are free to jump to that unwarranted conclusion if you would like.

  58. 58
    jerry says:

    You mentioned an infinite number of Gods, which certainly may not be possible

    The Asimov story tells of a great intelligence developing.

    We have no idea of how intelligent these entities can become. But why should there be a limit on intelligence? Especially since intelligences would be able to investigate how to make themselves more intelligent.

    The Asimov story implies there would probably not be a limit. That is its usefulness besides being an interesting read.

    And in an infinite time span, the number of these super intelligence would be without limit. So where are they? Not just one god, but an infinite number of them.

    As I said an infinite time span implies infinite absurdity. Similar the multi-verse fails for the same reason.

  59. 59
    jerry says:

    You are free to jump to that unwarranted conclusion if you would like.

    Why is it unwarranted?

  60. 60
    ET says:

    Without Intelligent Design all you have to try to explain our existence is sheer dumb luck. And that is the antithesis of science.

  61. 61
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    Seversky
    To me, the current situation of being faced with two absurdities – either an infinite causal chain or an uncaused first cause

    What is the first cause of your thoughts? Is caused or uncaused that first cause of your thoughts?

  62. 62
    kairosfocus says:

    JH, playing mirror talking points doesn’t work. You need to work through the logic of being i/l/o possible worlds speak, to understand what is vs is not possible of being, then of what is possible what is contingent, what is necessary. Impossibility is like euclidean plane square circles; contradictory core characteristics so such cannot be instantiated in any possible world. Contingent beings are in effect caused, necessary ones are framework to any possible world. Try imagining a distinct possible world without twoness in it. Not possible as distinct identity already embeds twoness, ‘distinct.” This leads to why worlds don’t come from utter non being [= utter non reality, which has no causal powers]. If non reality ever were so, nothing would ever be. That a world is implies something always was, a necessary being capable of causing worlds, so of course world zero W0. Infinite regress of physical, thermodynamically constrained worlds is not feasible physically . . . heat death . . . and on need to have traversed order type omega finite stage steps. Circular retrocausation is appeal to a world from non reality. So we have a beginning to physicality, and rooted in necessary being, where that physical reality massively manifests fine tuning. A sign of design. Move to the world of life and we have embedded algorithmic code, language and goal directed stepwise procedures. Design pervades the physical and biological worlds. Then, we are rationally, responsibly free and morally governed, on pain of reducing our intellectual dimension to self discrediting grand delusion. These do not sit well with the evolutionary materialist scientism and/or fellow travellers preferred by dominant elites, but that simply means the new magisterium is off kilter and heading for a big fall. KF

  63. 63
    kairosfocus says:

    Sev, the just above would help you. KF

  64. 64
    JHolo says:

    KF: Infinite regress of physical, thermodynamically constrained worlds is not feasible physically . . . heat death . . . and on need to have traversed order type omega finite stage steps.

    An oscillating universe does not violate the conservation of energy, and is a possible universe that is potentially eternal, in both temporal directions.

  65. 65
    kairosfocus says:

    JH, that alternative failed decades ago, the problem being as usual entropy accumulation. Each cycle has less available high quality energy, each expansion is bigger, it goes up to ~ 100 cycles. That’s ringing not true permanent oscillation. KF

    PS: a perfect sinusoid is eternal, what we see on oscilloscopes is what settles down to good enough when we turn on oscillator circuits.

    PPS, for simplicity, note from 27:

    let’s start with classic isolated system, || A –> B || where as A is hotter dQ flows to B, and we have dQ = TdS, T absolute temperature and S entropy. Convert to a rate, dQ/dt = T * (dS/dt), i.e. rate of rise of entropy is directly connected to heat flow rate. Time is inextricably bound up in the causal processes connected to heat flow at a rate and linked entropy. Using for simplicity — this is not utterly rigorous and general, but this toy helps us see — S = k log W, W omega number of accessible distributions of mass and energy etc across available possibilities. A actually loses entropy as flow dQ is away from it but as B is at lower temperature, the inflow so multiplies accessible possibilities that net S for the system rises. Causal, energy flow/work driven events are such that heat is inextricably involved. Work is forced, ordered motion, heat transfer of energy by radiation, conduction, convection. Temperature is an index of avg random kinetic energy per degree of freedom of micro particles.

    Once you have light sharing around, that is radiation and is inherently dissipative. Entropy increase is baked in.

  66. 66
    William J Murray says:

    Jerry said:

    I said anything possible has got to happen an infinite number of times. Tell me what is not possible? Universes exactly like our universe have got to happen an infinite number of times.

    The problem lies not in the logic, but in your premise about what the nature of existence/reality is.

  67. 67
    William J Murray says:

    Sev @48,

    That was super-amazing.

    Yesterday morning in a forum on Reddit I was discussing analytic idealism with someone and making the case that there was only one consciousness/mind in existence, not billions of individual minds/consciousnesses, and the sense of individuality and “time passing” was exactly what you quoted in your story.

    Last night I noticed the new season of “Undone” was on Amazon Prime, and binged the whole season. It has to do with this same stuff – a multiverse of possible timelines, different states of individual being-ness, and being able to tap into the capacity to rearrange your experiential reality. Even if you were able to go into the past, or hop around from past to future, to the person it would seem like a continuous flow of time from their own perspective. One person explained/understood it via physics, all things and people being part of the same one thing, and another explained it via some cultural mysticism.

    Also yesterday, in between the Reddit discussion and finding that new season of Undone on Amazon, I had a 2-hour zoom group discussion where the main topic was about using emotional/psychological connection to access interaction with these other realities, including the afterlife, instead of trying to figure out linear mechanistic practices that conform to the standard model of sequences necessary to achieve these things, like astral projection.

    In the new season, the emotional/psychological connection was how they were accomplishing this non-linear “jumping” from one timeline-reality to another, or from one dimension to another.

    Then this morning I get up and read your post. That’s a pretty cool sequence of events to occur in less than 24 hours.

  68. 68
    William J Murray says:

    VL said:

    You mentioned an infinite number of Gods, which certainly may not be possible. I guess I don’t even know what you are saying, so I’ll let it drop.

    I think there’s a more fundamental issue with how Jerry (and some others) think about the supposed “absurdity” of “infinite” universes, such as the many-world interpretation of quantum physics, where there is a “universe” for every planck-time variation of something even at the smallest scale. We end up with infinite versions of me, you, the universe, god, gods, etc. One might call that the absurdity of infinite quantity.

    I think the absurdity of the concept is entirely derived from the perspective that he/they are talking about a quantity of things that have material self-existence independent of the experience of consciousness. The idealism/mental reality model provides infinite version capacity that doesn’t fall into absurdity because we’re not talking about a infinite number of self-existent things.

    Referring to the story in Sev’s #48, “potential” might be substituted for all possible arrays of “pigeon-holes.” What is in each pigeon-hole is a segment of all potential as information that produces some sort of experience in some aspect of consciousness. The “light” is one consciousness, one mind. Particular sequences of pigeon-holes might be considered the sense of self-continuity experienced as an “individual.” An “individual” would not be a separate mind/consciousness, but that one mind/consciousness as experienced through that particular sequence of information, or “pigeon holes.”

    So, could that one consciousness/mind experience “being” an infinite number of beings, including gods that create their own universes? Of course. My perspective is that every possible sequence of pigeon holes is being manifestly experienced in the now.

    This is basically the same idea that Bernardo Kastrup refers to as “dissociation;” the one mind/consciousness experiences “other sequences” as “other people,” but they are in fact just dissociated “versions” of itself experienced through the lens of each particular sequence.

    This actually corresponds very nicely to several mystic and spiritual perspectives about how we are all “one,” or are God experiencing itself from many different perspectives, and about how all of reality -all possible worlds – lie within each of us. Many people have reportedly experienced something approaching – at least – that “oneness with God” or “oneness with all” via various spiritual practices, via some NDEs, spontaneous mystical/spiritual experiences, meditation, or the use of psychoactive drugs. These people often report experiencing other worlds, other realities, other universes, even meeting and talking to past versions of themselves, future versions, or alternate versions.

  69. 69
    jerry says:

    and is a possible universe that is potentially eternal, in both temporal directions

    And an infinite number of identical repeating entities and scenarios.

    This identical comment has/will happen an infinite number of times. As has/will every other possible entity/scenario.

    All the anti ID people can offer is one farce after the other.

    Aside: I don’t believe any of this. I’m just pointing to the absurdity that results from certain positions. Absurdity that they then deny which means they are denying their original assumptions.

    The Asimov story just shows that any advanced civilization will try to implement/seek immortality somehow. A phenomenon which we are currently seeing in our very young universe. As such is there is any limitation on intelligence or is it essentially infinite?

  70. 70
    William J Murray says:

    Jerry, I don’t see you jumping in and solving the time dilemma. Did time begin, or not?

    1. Time began: logically, how can one say “time began” if there was not a time before “time began” where it had not yet begun?

    2. Time did not begin: how does this not mean infinite regress?

    I await your non-farcical response.

  71. 71
    William J Murray says:

    KF, are you going to answer my question about heaven? Is heaven an entropic, thermodynamically-constrained world? If not, how is there any sense of time passing (doing, thinking, speaking, etc.) if time is intrinsically the product of an entropic, thermodynamically-constrained world?

  72. 72
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, there are many things we do not know. These should not prevent us from acknowledging what we do know. W0, as an inference on root of reality, exists. Its nature we can identify in part, in part we just do not know enough to confidently claim. I am not clear, per logic of being analysis as to ontological status of what we call heaven [here, considered a possible world], as opposed to that of God as serious candidate necessary being and root of reality; where, I cannot find any good reason to hold God impossible of being as a euclidean plane square circle is. For sure, I am in no position to speculate on the physics of heaven other than to say that there would be a resource to sustain it as a going concern going forward, if it is in fact sufficiently close to our world to be thermodynamic: particles, energy, distributions, radiation, conduction, convection, other energy processes that tie back into thermal energy, from such, time as reflective of causal-thermodynamic process with definable rates [so, underlying dynamics with forcing terms and inertial terms] and measurable by clocks and calendars etc. And on the tradition I have, there seems to be talk of transformation of our world that would fit with that. But such things go well beyond the considerations behind logic of being matters. For sure, they do not shape the logic of being matters. What else we can and do know is our world is thermodynamic and q-foam worlds too, also suggested oscillatory worlds and so forth. Physical worlds such as we inhabit are inherently thermodynamic. And beyond particular worlds there is the sum of what is, reality that can be considered as the superverse or something like that. I doubt that there are separate realities, instead we see misnomers for possible and perhaps actualised worlds within the grand domain of reality. KF

    PS, a HR plot for our galaxy shows breakaway to the giants band: https://itu.physics.uiowa.edu/labs/advanced/hertzsprung-russell-diagram-and-star-clusters This is consistent with ages typically on order 6 – 12 BY. Notice this discussion of clusters, with a clear aging pattern with breakaway and apparent loss of the stars expected to run down first: https://www.e-education.psu.edu/astro801/content/l7_p5.html

    PPS, yes this implies effective randomness of thermally related energy at particle level. Brownian motion is an observable empirical support. BTW, a significant part of Einstein’s Nobel Prize.

  73. 73
    William J Murray says:

    KF said:

    I am not clear, per logic of being analysis as to ontological status of what we call heaven [here, considered a possible world],

    Well, let me clear up the logic for you, KF. Heaven cannot be eternal if it is a entropic, thermodynamically-constrained world. We cannot do or think as sentient beings in heaven unless we experience time passing. If as you have said, that time IS necessarily rooted in an entropic, thermodynamically constrained world like this one, then you’ve doomed heaven to an eventual heat death as well at some point in the future.

    You’re trying to have your cake and eat it too. Either there is a way to experience the passing of time outside of an entropic, thermodynamically-constrained world, or there is not. If not, then you have no explanation for how “God” created this world (the act of creation necessarily referring to a time before and after creation, thus a logically necessary preceding time,) and you have no explanation for how anyone thinks or does anything in Heaven, or how it can be “eternal” in duration.

    We don’t have to know anything more than this to realize: you’ve plunged yourself into a self-contradictory position that you avoid by, essentially, saying “I don’t know how to avoid that logical self-contradiction, but I know I’m right about time and it is necessarily derived from an entropic, thermo-dynamically constrained world.”

    There is an easy, obvious answer to this: time – whatever it is – is not limited to, caused by, dependent on or derived from an entropic, thermodynamically-constrained world. If this universe was created, it had to have been created in an already-existent timeline, presumably one not entropic and thermodynamically bound; if heaven exists as billed, it occurs in a timeline not bound by entropic thermodynamics.

    See how easy that was?

    IOW, you must – logically speaking – be wrong about what time is and how it occurs. The only question is whether or not you can admit to being wrong.

  74. 74
  75. 75
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, heaven would not be eternal in itself if thermodynamic, it would be a sustained entity. This is as opposed to heaven being imagined eternal in itself. That is, I have refused the notion of heaven as by definition necessary being. That is, heaven if thermodynamic is not an isolated system; in effect it would be a conserved world if thermodynamic. We can know that God can manifest himself in a domain like our world so that as is generally suggested that God lives in heaven does not undercut that principle. Isolation, thermodynamic sense, is key to heat death, which is why 120+ years ago and up to the 60’s those advocating a steady state universe were willing to give up energy conservation. That too is part of my thinking. Of course, that theory ran into a wall of empirical difficulties. And more. KF

  76. 76
    Viola Lee says:

    It certainly seems possible that God could also have been indefinitely (that is, for an infinite period) sustaining the “quasi-physical quantum foam” world that you sometimes mention by also injecting energy. That is, the heat death argument is basically a deistic, non-interventionist position whereby God has created and then lets things run down on their own. But in the world, whatever it is, out of which our universe came, it is possible that God maintains the energy level so there is no heat death. Perhaps heat death is only applicable to created universes, but not to whatever else there is out of which universes come. In this case, that world would be eternal, and not subject to the heat death argument.

    I don’t believe that you could know whether that is the case or not.

  77. 77
    William J Murray says:

    KF,
    If you’re going to invoke an “open system” as a means of sustaining heaven, I’m inferring that you mean a thermodynamic word can be sustained from a beginning onward forever from an endless resource of additional energy from “outside” or “under” that world, counterbalancing entropic effects. Simply put, time would not rely on the observation/experience of entropic effects. Buildings don’t have to decay, bodies don’t break down, etc.

    So let’s say you’ve preserved thermodynamic entropy but have negated it’s ongoing effect by bringing in an “outside” endless resource of energy. Fair enough, let’s say you’ve solved the “Heaven” problem.

    You still have the original “creation” problem to contend with. You’ve said that the root-of-being is not thermodynamically constrained – that it is not a thermodynamic system, but rather creates or produces a thermodynamic system. One might visualize that as a thermodynamic system riding on a non-thermodynamic system. The rider has a specific, limited quantity of energy imbued in it from the non-thermodynamic system that is “shut off” from that outside source of energy, so we witness universe-wide entropic effects from “big bang” onward.

    The apparently intractable problem here is one of logic, not physics: how do you logically account for the “beginning” of something from a W0 where time is not passing? How do you logically represent that W0 “doing” anything, much less “thinking” or “deciding” anything, unless it is experiencing passing of time? Even if we take a deliberate God out of the equation, how does a non-thermodynamic q-foam “generate” or “begin” a thermodynamically constrained universe riding on it?

    This logically requires the q-foam to exist in some kind of timeline, a before and after the thermodynamically-constrained universe “was generated, and a W0 timeline where that world runs its course after being generated.

    I don’t see any answer to this other than we are mis-conceptualizing the nature of time. I agree that W0 necessarily exists; I agree it cannot be temporal or thermodynamic in nature. How then, does anything happen from W0?

    This doesn’t need to be answered by physics; it only needs to be answered conceptually, in principle, logically. W0 cannot cause anything to happen at any point because that requires time before and after causation.

    Whatever “causation” is, whatever “time” is, whatever the phenomena of a spatial entropic thermodynamic world is, it cannot be what those things are normally conceived as being because that idea runs into the self-contradictory concept of either time-space beginning, or an infinite regress (or expansion) of space-time framing. Neither of which is logically sustainable.

  78. 78
    Silver Asiatic says:

    If this universe was created, it had to have been created in an already-existent timeline, presumably one not entropic and thermodynamically bound; if heaven exists as billed, it occurs in a timeline not bound by entropic thermodynamics.

    A beginningless, infinite timeline of successive events runs into logical contradictions even outside of an entropic and thermodynamically bound entity.

  79. 79
    William J Murray says:

    The question that I don’t remember ever being asked after I posited “potential” as a way of conceptualizing W0 is this: what is it that has potential? Can “potential” be separated from that which has or offers potential? What would be the root world “thing” that “has potential”? What is the difference between potential and actual? What is “activating” some potential into actual?

    I have other things to do right now, so I’m going to write something down here to return to later:

    We’re mis-conceptualizing potential in that the only difference between potential and actual is limited conscious perspective. In “unlimited” conscious perspective (if there were such a thing, which I don’t think is possible) all possible things are actual.

    Later.

  80. 80
    William J Murray says:

    SA said:

    A beginningless, infinite timeline of successive events runs into logical contradictions even outside of an entropic and thermodynamically bound entity.

    So does a non-infinite timeline with a beginning.

  81. 81
    Viola Lee says:

    SA says, “A beginningless, infinite timeline of successive events runs into logical contradictions even outside of an entropic and thermodynamically bound entity.”

    To return to this question, if God is eternal, and if at all moments of his existence he has also manifested himself in reality, does not that mean that reality has had a “a beginningless, infinite timeline of successive events?”

  82. 82
    JHolo says:

    KF: JH, that alternative failed decades ago,

    Not according to many physicists.

    the problem being as usual entropy accumulation.

    Each cycle has less available high quality energy, each expansion is bigger, it goes up to ~ 100 cycles. That’s ringing not true permanent oscillation. KF


    This may be true based on current knowledge, but physicists are still conducting research into the possibility of an oscillating universe.

    Time is a necessary factor in the second law, but if time began at the Big Bang, as you and others claim, then does the 2nd law exist at the exact time of the Big Bang/Big Crunch?

    The fact is, we don’t know that time began at the Big Bang because we don’t know what happened or what existed at the very earliest stage of the Big Bang.

  83. 83
    jerry says:

    The fact is, we don’t know that time began at the Big Bang because we don’t know what happened or what existed at the very earliest stage of the Big Bang.

    They believe they know what it was like at the earliest stages.

    At least some physicists do.

    Combination of Particles

    At a hundred billionth of a second

    after the big bang, the universe was at a quadrillion (1,000,000,000,000,000) degrees. At that temperature, typical collisions between particles were just a little weaker than the strongest collisions we can currently produce in particle accelerators, so we can experimentally probe the kinds of events that were happening at that time.

    The universe a hundred billionth of a second after the big bang was a dense collection of elementary particles too hot to bond into larger units.

    In addition to being just about the earliest time whose conditions we can recreate in a lab, a hundred billionth of a second was also the moment of a major transition in the early universe. That transition, called the electroweak phase transition, had to do with the forces between particles.

    There are four forces that act between particles: gravity, the electromagnetic force, the weak nuclear force, and the strong nuclear force. Before the major transition that occurred a hundred billionth of a second after the big bang, you could not classify one interaction as being due to the electromagnetic force and a different interaction as being due to the weak force. Those two forces acted identically, as a single electroweak force.

    But after that moment, when the temperature dropped below
    a quadrillion degrees, that one force started acting like two separate forces that behave in different ways. One of those is
    the electromagnetic force, and the other is the weak force. That’s still the behavior we see today.

    The next major transition occurred after a hundred thousandth of a second.

    While that may seem like a very short time, it’s a million times longer than the time before the electroweak phase transition.

    By that time, the universe was too cold to produce most unstable particles, and almost all of the unstable particles had decayed. What remained, then, were the few particles that
    are stable—meaning that, when left alone, they last indefinitely without decaying into anything else.

    A hundred thousandth of a second is a very long time compared to most particle physics processes.

    The First Few Minutes of the Universe

    When the universe reached a hundred thousandth of a second, it primarily consisted of the same particles and other forms of energy it does today: quarks, electrons, neutrinos, electromagnetic radiation, dark matter, and dark energy. The one other big ingredient at this time was antimatter.

    The biggest difference between the particles then and now is that today all of the quarks are bound up in protons and neutrons. But at this early time, they were all flying about freely.

    Quarks combining into protons and neutrons was the universe’s first example of a process that was introduced in Lecture 1: As the universe cooled, particles combined into ever-larger structures.

    But after the formation of protons and neutrons, the next big change wasn’t about particles combining but instead about particles being destroyed.

    Maybe some should get to this guy and tell him that his course is being used by ID people. That should horrify him.

    https://www.thegreatcourses.com/courses/the-big-bang-and-beyond-exploring-the-early-universe

    If nothing physical existed before this then this is the beginning of time. We tend to map our understanding of time onto the creator of our universe as if it were the same thing.

  84. 84
    JHolo says:

    Jerry: If nothing physical existed before this then this is the beginning of time.

    If we could create a perfect vacuum, which we can’t, your logic suggests that time wouldn’t exist in a perfect vacuum.

  85. 85
    jerry says:

    If we could create a perfect vacuum, which we can’t, your logic suggests that time wouldn’t exist in a perfect vacuum

              Thank you for agreeing with me!

    Since our universe is finite and discrete, are there places such that there is no change because nothing is there?

    This brings up another question. Can “nothing” change?

    I am certainly not a physicist and don’t maintain I have unusual understanding. But I do understand logic. And infinite/eternal physical existence implies certain things.

    And if we do not find what infinite/eternal existence implies, then the logical thing to do is question that such thing existed. This is what I have done here and on other threads before this one.

  86. 86
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, we reckon time from the inside, e.g. the singularity was most recently estimated at 13.8 BYA. Antecedence comes from necessary being character of the source; where though strange to us(our education being impoverished) it is clear enough; framework to any possible world so without beginning or end; we see that for twoness, and much more. We then understand eternality in that sense and recognise it is qualitatively different from contingent existence. And note, thermodynamic character is not an occult circumstance, it emerges from energy and the microparticle level with thermal energy of translation, rotation, vibration. That too is why thermal energy cannot wholly become work — forced, ordered motion — but work can be reduced wholly to heat and thence thermal energy. KF

  87. 87
    Silver Asiatic says:

    VL

    To return to this question, if God is eternal, and if at all moments of his existence he has also manifested himself in reality, does not that mean that reality has had a “a beginningless, infinite timeline of successive events?”

    You used the term “reality” there in a way that can be read in two senses.
    First, there is God manifesting himself “in reality” and then after propose that reality itself would be a succession of events.
    God is infinite, completed, actualized (no potential) being. So, God cannot travel through a succession of events from past to present to future. That would be the absurdity of an infinite, beginningless timeline. So God’s existence is in the “eternal now” – fully complete being, existing.
    We could say “God manifested himself in the physical universe” – but that wouldn’t be all of reality since reality would have to include God himself.
    So, there can’t be any development in God’s being, which is what would happen if he was confined to a sequence of time (there would have to be some source for additional knowledge, strength, growth other than God himself – and what would that be and where would it come from?)

  88. 88
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry,

    we observe a cosmos as a whole and first, we identify what cosmological scale time is for that cosmos. As the OP I gave this morning and added a further plot on interpreting cluster HR diagrams shows, we see a burning down candle effect, where BTW observed clusters run to ~10 BY using the large H-rich gas ball prone to become a fusion furnace astrophysical model.

    Our galaxy is commonly estimated at 12 BY. Not coincidentally.

    More broadly the NASA chart plots 13.7 BY, it is from some years back. It is useful to note that these are estimates and are subject to change. Hubble expansion and red shift point to 14 BY. Have done so for generations, near as I can tell.

    So, we see how we come to look at time as a causally connected flow of events with rates, trends and processes we can calibrate and use as clocks/calendars. Events that, as discussed in outline, are strongly thermodynamically connected. With entropy as closely connected to direction and as a key cumulative effect of time.

    This goes into clocks, whether the thought exercise cosmological clock or our local one. Here, I clip the lead part of an Arxiv paper:

    The thermodynamics of clocks.
    G. J. Milburn
    Centre for Engineered Quantum Systems, School of Mathematics and Physics,
    The University of Queensland, Australia 4072.
    ARTICLE HISTORY
    Compiled July 7, 2020
    ABSTRACT
    All clocks, classical or quantum, are open non equilibrium irreversible systems sub-
    ject to the constraints of thermodynamics. Using examples I show that these con-
    straints necessarily limit the performance of clocks and that good clocks require
    large energy dissipation.
    For periodic clocks, operating on a limit cycle, this is a
    consequence of phase di?usion. It is also true for non periodic clocks (for example,
    radio carbon dating) but due to telegraph noise not to phase di?usion. In this case a
    key role is played by accurate measurements that decrease entropy, thereby raising
    the free energy of the clock, and requires access to a low entropy reservoir. In the
    quantum case, for which thermal noise is replaced by quantum noise (spontaneous
    emission or tunnelling), measurement plays an essential role for both periodic and
    non periodic clocks. The paper concludes with a discussion of the Tolman relations
    and Rovelli’s thermal time hypothesis in terms of clock thermodynamics.

    Now, let us remind ourselves, courtesy Wiki speaking inadvertently against interest, on clocks for the cosmos scale:

    Cosmic time, or cosmological time, is the time coordinate commonly used in the Big Bang models of physical cosmology.[1][2][3] Such time coordinate may be defined for a homogeneous, expanding universe so that the universe has the same density everywhere at each moment in time (the fact that this is possible means that the universe is, by definition, homogeneous). The clocks measuring cosmic time should move along the Hubble flow.

    Cosmic time t[4][5] is a measure of time by a physical clock with zero peculiar velocity in the absence of matter over-/under-densities (to prevent time dilation due to relativistic effects or confusions caused by expansion of the universe). Unlike other measures of time such as temperature, redshift, particle horizon, or Hubble horizon, the cosmic time (similar and complementary to the comoving coordinates) is blind to the expansion of the universe.

    There are two main ways for establishing a reference point for the cosmic time. The most trivial way is to take the present time as the cosmic reference point (sometimes referred to as the lookback time).

    Alternatively, the Big Bang may be taken as reference to define t {\displaystyle t} t as the age of the universe, also known as time since the big bang. The current physical cosmology estimates the present age as 13.8 billion years.[6] The t = 0 {\displaystyle t=0} t=0 doesn’t necessarily have to correspond to a physical event (such as the cosmological singularity) but rather it refers to the point at which the scale factor would vanish for a standard cosmological model such as ?CDM. For instance, in the case of inflation, i.e. a non-standard cosmology, the hypothetical moment of big bang is still determined using the benchmark cosmological models which may coincide with the end of the inflationary epoch. For technical purposes, concepts such as the average temperature of the universe (in units of eV) or the particle horizon are used when the early universe is the objective of a study since understanding the interaction among particles is more relevant than their time coordinate or age.

    Cosmic time is the standard time coordinate for specifying the Friedmann–Lemaître–Robertson–Walker solutions of Einstein’s equations.

    Notice, how carefully things have to be factored in to get to a reasonable theoretical clock.

    Next, let us use Wiki as a convenient way to peek into the weird world of a quantum vacuum, thus “foam”:

    In quantum physics, a quantum fluctuation (also known as a vacuum state fluctuation or vacuum fluctuation) is the temporary random change in the amount of energy in a point in space,[2] as prescribed by Werner Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle. They are minute random fluctuations in the values of the fields which represent elementary particles, such as electric and magnetic fields which represent the electromagnetic force carried by photons, W and Z fields which carry the weak force, and gluon fields which carry the strong force.[3] Vacuum fluctuations appear as virtual particles, which are always created in particle-antiparticle pairs.[4] Since they are created spontaneously without a source of energy, vacuum fluctuations and virtual particles are said to violate the conservation of energy. This is theoretically allowable because the particles annihilate each other within a time limit determined by the uncertainty principle so they are not directly observable.[4][3] The uncertainty principle states the uncertainty in energy and time can be related by[5] delta E * delta t GTE 1 /2 ? where 1/2 ? ? 5.27286×10^?35 Js. This means that pairs of virtual particles with energy delta E and lifetime shorter than delta t are continually created and annihilated in empty space. Although the particles are not directly detectable, the cumulative effects of these particles are measurable. For example, without quantum fluctuations, the “bare” mass and charge of elementary particles would be infinite; from renormalization theory the shielding effect of the cloud of virtual particles is responsible for the finite mass and charge of elementary particles. Another consequence is the Casimir effect. [vacuum forces] One of the first observations which was evidence for vacuum fluctuations was the Lamb shift in hydrogen. In July 2020, scientists reported that quantum vacuum fluctuations can influence the motion of macroscopic, human-scale objects by measuring correlations below the standard quantum limit between the position/momentum uncertainty of the mirrors of LIGO and the photon number/phase uncertainty of light that they reflect.[6][7][8]

    This is of course the general context of onward theorising of cosmi popping up as grand fluctuations out of “nothing,” a regrettable terminology as true nothing is non being.

    We can draw upon the Casimir Effect:

    In quantum field theory, the Casimir effect is a physical force acting on the macroscopic boundaries of a confined space which arises from the quantum fluctuations of the field. It is named after the Dutch physicist Hendrik Casimir, who predicted the effect for electromagnetic systems in 1948.

    In the same year, Casimir together with Dirk Polder described a similar effect experienced by a neutral atom in the vicinity of a macroscopic interface which is referred to as Casimir–Polder force.[1] Their result is a generalization of the London–van der Waals force and includes retardation due to the finite speed of light. Since the fundamental principles leading to the London–van der Waals force, the Casimir and the Casimir–Polder force, respectively, can be formulated on the same footing,[2][3] the distinction in nomenclature nowadays serves a historical purpose mostly and usually refers to the different physical setups.

    It was not until 1997 that a direct experiment by S. Lamoreaux quantitatively measured the Casimir force to within 5% of the value predicted by the theory.[4]

    The Casimir effect can be understood by the idea that the presence of macroscopic material interfaces, such as conducting metals and dielectrics, alters the vacuum expectation value of the energy of the second-quantized electromagnetic field.[5][6] Since the value of this energy depends on the shapes and positions of the materials, the Casimir effect manifests itself as a force between such objects. [–> hence, vacuum force]

    Any medium supporting oscillations has an analogue of the Casimir effect. For example, beads on a string[7][8] as well as plates submerged in turbulent water[9] or gas[10] illustrate the Casimir force.

    That aside, at once we see that empty space ‘ent. Truly empty, that is.

    Coming back, our imagined truly empty vacuum zone will, within our cosmos, be part of the wider cosmos experiencing cosmological time and replete with the non-empty emptiness. And so forth.

    In short, once we have enough of a zone to have thermodynamics, time will be there. Where, apparent macroscale emptiness is in fact not so empty after all.

    And we could go on and on, digging in deeper and deeper, with no material difference especially on the cosmological scale of interest.

    Time is deeply entangled with thermodynamics, energy, time and dissipation, i.e. entropy.

    KF

  89. 89
    jerry says:

    I make a sarcastic comment to a ridiculous comment and a lengthy analysis that no one will read ensues.

    Actually the sarcastic comment contains some logic which is at the heart of the issue but was ignored.

  90. 90
    Viola Lee says:

    Let me see what I understand you to be saying, SA.

    I wrote, “if God is eternal, and if at all moments of his existence he has also manifested himself in reality, does not that mean that reality has had a “a beginningless, infinite timeline of successive events?”

    You replied, “You used the term “reality” there in a way that can be read in two senses. First, there is God manifesting himself “in reality” and then after propose that reality itself would be a succession of events.”

    I don’t see what two senses you are talking about. I am assuming that there is a reality of some sort other than our universe out of which our universe came, and I am assuming that reality is a creation of God’s: it is a manifestation of God in reality. I am also assuming that that reality has things happen in it – events that happen in succession. I know these are just speculative assumptions, but I don’t see how I am using using the concept “reality” in two senses.

    You write, “God is infinite, completed, actualized (no potential) being. So, God cannot travel through a succession of events from past to present to future. That would be the absurdity of an infinite, beginningless timeline. So God’s existence is in the “eternal now” – fully complete being, existing.”

    Yes, God does not “travel”: for him, any and all moments are as much “now” as any other moment. For him, moments don’t happen as a succession of events even though he is aware of the succession of events that are part of the reality that is his creation.

    And, to return to putting this in math terms, God is holistically aware of the entire completed infinite set of integers even though the idea of “traversing them” is inapplicable.

    Then you write, “We could say “God manifested himself in the physical universe” – but that wouldn’t be all of reality since reality would have to include God himself.

    I don’t understand this. First, I hope it’s clear I’m not just talking about our universe. I’m talking about the entirety of what reality encompasses. But generally I think God is thought of as being other than reality. He creates reality and may be immanent in reality, but his essence is transcendent and other than reality. So your sentence doesn’t make sense to me.

    So back to my point. If an eternal God, in all his infinite “nows”, creates a reality that contains events that happen in sequence, then the conclusion would be that there are also an infinite number of events in reality.

  91. 91
    Silver Asiatic says:

    VL

    I’m talking about the entirety of what reality encompasses. But generally I think God is thought of as being other than reality. He creates reality and may be immanent in reality, but his essence is transcendent and other than reality.

    It’s just question of terminology. “The entirety of what reality encompasses” is more than what has been created. It may be true that most people would consider God to be something other than reality, but I’m proposing that God is the ultimate reality – from which all ‘created things’ (or ‘created reality’) emerges. So, it’s another way of saying that “reality” – is everything that is “real” – and therefore is “all being” or “all existence”. Everything that exists, is what is real – thus, being or existence we could say is “reality”. So, God can create a real world, and then be “in that world” as you say with immanent presence. Yes, but that world is not all of reality since God is the ultimate “real” being, from which all created things came. We say that because God is permanent being, self-existing. All other reality is dependent on a source. That is how we conclude that God is an actual infinite being since he cannot extract being (reality, existence, etc) from anything else.

    If an eternal God, in all his infinite “nows”, creates a reality that contains events that happen in sequence, then the conclusion would be that there are also an infinite number of events in reality.

    I’m not following you here. If God creates a reality, then that reality has a beginning – from the point of creation. It would not be infinite unless it co-existed with God for eternity. But having an eternal reality that co-exists with God is a problem since its limits and reason for existence would be unexplained.
    One might argue, “if God is eternal then God’s existence is therefore unexplained” but that’s not the case. The eternity of God is the singularity of perfect, independent being and is therefore infinite.

  92. 92
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry, answering physics with sarcasm or the like is of limited utility. Empty vac isn’t, thanks to Einstein energy-time uncertainty, supported by things like the Casimir effect. Pulling back, on cosmos scale we can see entropy laden effects as the “candle” burns down. Notice, the main sequence of stars is going away, heavy stars first and fastest. Locally, even clocks depend on entropy to work well. So, time is deeply entangled with thermodynamics issues. Including of course energy-time uncertainty, which affects how we understand the first law. As for contingent vs necessary being and time vs eternality, that comes from logic of being, another subject not readily, soundly addressed through loaded one liners. And, part of why this blog exists is to give some background for the willing. (Notice, too, today’s OP on clusters and the HR diagram, the candle that is burning down.) KF

  93. 93
    Viola Lee says:

    OK, SA, I can accept the distinction: God is the ultimate reality, which is distinct from the reality he creates.

    Then you quote me as saying, “If an eternal God, in all his infinite “nows”, creates a reality that contains events that happen in sequence, then the conclusion would be that there are also an infinite number of events in reality.”

    And you reply, “I’m not following you here. If God creates a reality, then that reality has a beginning – from the point of creation.”

    Why does there have to be a “point of creation”? If God creates in the eternal “now” there is no “point” that would distinguish when we was not creating from when he was creating. Creation would be an omnipresent act, as eternal as God himself.

    You write, “It would not be infinite unless it co-existed with God for eternity. But having an eternal reality that co-exists with God is a problem since its limits and reason for existence would be unexplained.”

    And what is logically difficult about God’s created reality having co-existed with God for eternity? The phrase “a problem since its limits and reason for existence would be unexplained” doesn’t make sense to me. I don’t think we have an explanation for why this eternal God creates a reality separate from him, but thinking of this has something he does at all moments, rather than has just some, doesn’t make t more inexplicable.

    Last, you write, “One might argue, “if God is eternal then God’s existence is therefore unexplained” but that’s not the case.

    I don’t know why one would argue that. In this discussion we are assuming an omnipresent, omniscient transcendent reality as God. Asking for an explanation about why God exists is not part of the discussion. The discussion is, to summarize, about the reality he has created, and whether it is possible (I say it is) that that creation has happened in every “now” available to God, and thus shares an infinite existence with God.

  94. 94
    Silver Asiatic says:

    VL

    Why does there have to be a “point of creation”? If God creates in the eternal “now” there is no “point” that would distinguish when we was not creating from when he was creating. Creation would be an omnipresent act, as eternal as God himself.

    I see what you’re saying and the problem comes with the question of causality. In your view here, we could have God “creating eternally” which would help us overcome the problem of “a point” of creation,, since God does not act within a time-line, so there could not be a before and after in the eternal now. However, the problem with a co=eternal reality is that without a beginning, that which is co-eternal never was created. It would have to be seen as “eternally existing” and therefore it never received the powers, properties and features that it possesses. It has to derive those from God who “gives” them to created reality.
    Could God give them eternally in a “present now” of a creation act?
    In Christian theology we say that about the relationship of Father and Son in the Trinity, for example that Jesus is “eternally begotten”. But Jesus is not a created being, but mysteriously “one with the Father” (this is not the place for a discussion on the Trinity, but just used as an example of a “co-eternal” relationship).
    But for a created-reality, there has to be a cause of the creation.
    God cannot be determined, or forced or driven by any external thing to create reality.
    So, God created freely by His will.
    If, however, created reality was co-eternal, it would have a necessary existence. It would always exist as long as God existed. So, we wouldn’t have an act of God’s will, but we’d have a being with God-like powers existing eternally, and therefore a necessary being.
    This does not solve the problem of how can there be a “point” where God acts while there is also no succession of time.
    But if, for example, the universe was created by the power of God, then there was a state when only God existed, and then a state where God’s creation existed. That’s how we can say that the universe had a beginning, even though if the prior state of the universe had no time, there couldn’t be a “creation point of time”.

    And what is logically difficult about God’s created reality having co-existed with God for eternity? The phrase “a problem since its limits and reason for existence would be unexplained”

    A thing that does not have a beginning does not have a origin and as such, has no cause for its existence. If it is eternal, then it is self-existing and therefore a necessary being. So God would not make an act of will for the creation of something, but rather, the thing would always exist. It would be unexplained and co-existent forever with God. But that would indicate some kind of dependency of God on the co-eternal thing. Where would that thing get its existence, powers, limitations, characteristics from? Would those be fixed forever in eternity somehow?
    Perhaps we could say “since God acts in the eternal present-now, then all His acts occur simultaneously”.
    Yes, I agree that we cannot speak about “moments” in a succession but also speaking about a simultaneous ever-present-tense creation of, for example, the universe – doesn’t align with what we would see as an act of creation “from nothing” (from God’s being alone with no prior material existing).

  95. 95
    Querius says:

    JHolo,

    Do you believe in the red shift?

    Do you believe in the second law of thermodynamics?

    Do you believe that the expansion of the universe is accelerating, constant, or slowing?

    -Q

  96. 96
    Viola Lee says:

    Thanks for taking this seriously, SA.

    You write, “The problem with a co=eternal reality is that without a beginning, that which is co-eternal never was created. It would have to be seen as “eternally existing” and therefore it never received the powers, properties and features that it possesses. It has to derive those from God who “gives” them to created reality.”

    No, it can be that reality is/has been/will be (it’s hard to use the right tense in reference to an eternal now) constantly created, at every now, and receives its “powers, properties and features” at every moment of creation.

    You ask, “Could God give them eternally in a “present now” of a creation act?”

    Yes. Why not?

    In fact, it’s strikes me as odd to consider the alternative: that there are some “nows” in God’s eternity that he is not creating, and then some that he is. Of course, he could do that (he can do whatever he want, so to speak, and it is not for us to question his motivations), but it is certainly as likely that he has continuously created throughout his eternal existence as it is that he has a vast (infinite) subset of nows in which we has not created. I don’t mean to be flippant, but what is doing then? Existing transcendently without there being any created reality?

    You write, “But for a created-reality, there has to be a cause of the creation.”

    Yes, God is the cause. That is not the question. The question is when? The position I am advancing is that God causes reality co-existent with his eternal being.

    You write, “God cannot be determined, or forced or driven by any external thing to create reality. So, God created freely by His will.
    If, however, created reality was co-eternal, it would have a necessary existence. It would always exist as long as God existed. So, we wouldn’t have an act of God’s will, but we’d have a being with God-like powers existing eternally, and therefore a necessary being.”

    No that doesn’t follow, I don’t think. As you say, God creates as he wills. If he wills to create reality co-existent with his eternal nature, that is a choice, not a necessity. Reality is not a necessary thing, and it doesn’t have God-like powers. It is a contingent creation with God-given powers. So I don’t think your argument in the paragraph above is valid.

    You write, “This does not solve the problem of how can there be a “point” where God acts while there is also no succession of time. But if, for example, the universe was created by the power of God, then there was a state when only God existed, and then a state where God’s creation existed. That’s how we can say that the universe had a beginning, even though if the prior state of the universe had no time, there couldn’t be a “creation point of time”.”

    [Let me clear that I, and I hope you, are not just talking about our universe. We are talking about all of whatever reality exists of which our universe is just a part. The speculation being offered is that one possibility is that some “quasi-physical quantum foam” (KF’s term) exist out of which any number, possible an infinite number, of universes like ours have arisen]

    This is the paradox: God exists in a timeless world with no “points of time” but we experience moments of time because we live in his created world where there are successions of events. However, continuous creation solves the paradox because all moments (all of God’s nows) are moments of creation.

    You write, “A thing that does not have a beginning does not have a origin and as such, has no cause for its existence. If it is eternal, then it is self-existing and therefore a necessary being. So God would not make an act of will for the creation of something, but rather, the thing would always exist. It would be unexplained and co-existent forever with God. But that would indicate some kind of dependency of God on the co-eternal thing. Where would that thing get its existence, powers, limitations, characteristics from? Would those be fixed forever in eternity somehow?”
    I think this is a repeat of the point covered in the paragraph above that starts “God cannot be determined.

    You write, Perhaps we could say “since God acts in the eternal present-now, then all His acts occur simultaneously”.”

    Exactly. That is what I mean by God creating at every one of his nows. He has created all that is, and was, and will be, no matter which point (from our experience) you choose to be the now that is. Therefore there need not be a now of God’s existence that doesn’t have an act of creation, and therefore created reality is co-existent with with God’s eternal nature: the difference being that God doesn’t experience a flow of time because he is at every “now” simultaneously, but the events in his created reality do experience a flow of time: that is one of the created qualities that he has imbued reality with.

    And last, you write, “Yes, I agree that we cannot speak about “moments” in a succession but also speaking about a simultaneous ever-present-tense creation of, for example, the universe – doesn’t align with what we would see as an act of creation “from nothing” (from God’s being alone with no prior material existing).”

    I don’t understand this. God can create: he is an omnipotent creator. He doesn’t create with anything that is other than himself. I don’t understand what is not aligning here.

  97. 97
    kairosfocus says:

    JH, entropy is still king and it will have the identified effect of turning oscillation into ringing. Further to which, the cosmos is such that we are flat or pretty nearly so and expansion is accelerating not slowing down, not readily compatible with slowing expansion precursory to contraction thence oscillation. Maybe I should note, as a comparison, Hoyle tried to renew steady state models in the 90’s, it did not catch on. For that matter, there are numbers of physicists who try to pull a cosmos out of nothing, but in so doing do not really mean non-being. And so forth. KF

    PS: Wiki wriggles on the hook:

    The flatness problem (also known as the oldness problem) is a cosmological fine-tuning problem within the Big Bang model of the universe. Such problems arise from the observation that some of the initial conditions of the universe appear to be fine-tuned to very ‘special’ values, and that small deviations from these values would have extreme effects on the appearance of the universe at the current time.

    In the case of the flatness problem, the parameter which appears fine-tuned is the density of matter and energy in the universe. This value affects the curvature of space-time, with a very specific critical value being required for a flat universe. The current density of the universe is observed to be very close to this critical value. Since any departure of the total density from the critical value would increase rapidly over cosmic time,[1] the early universe must have had a density even closer to the critical density, departing from it by one part in 1062 or less. This leads cosmologists to question how the initial density came to be so closely fine-tuned to this ‘special’ value.

    The problem was first mentioned by Robert Dicke in 1969.[2]:?62,??[3]:?61? The most commonly accepted solution among cosmologists is cosmic inflation, the idea that the universe went through a brief period of extremely rapid expansion in the first fraction of a second after the Big Bang; along with the monopole problem and the horizon problem, the flatness problem is one of the three primary motivations for inflationary theory.

  98. 98
    William J Murray says:

    VL,
    It’s been an absolute pleasure reading your explanation of God’s “eternal now.” I don’t know of any other way to avoid the time paradoxes. This is why I have said that whatever “time” is, it can’t be what we we normally think of it as being.

    You said:

    He doesn’t create with anything that is other than himself.

    Spot on. This is because there is nothing else to use to create, and no other place to “be creating” anything. “creatio ex nihilo” is as nonsensical a concept as the time paradoxes. Creation is something “always occurring” in the eternal now of God, within God, made entirely of God.

    We are God having internal experience of itself, that experience necessarily being a creative act in an eternal now. This perspective corresponds well not only to many spiritual and mystic perspectives, but also with the quantum physics research. We are aspects of God, or Children of God, or “made in God’s image.”

    IMO, we can’t be anything other than the creator creating a perspective of self and other experiencing what seems like “time passing” as internal beings (self) in an external context (other,) even though all of that is actually internal, which is how we think of dreams. A mystical way of saying that is that we are the dreamer, dreaming.

  99. 99
    JHolo says:

    KF: JH, entropy is still king and it will have the identified effect of turning oscillation into ringing

    Then you are smarter than every physicist to ever lived. Nobody knows the conditions and laws that existed at the very beginning of the Big Bang.

  100. 100
    Silver Asiatic says:

    VL

    I only have a brief chance to reply today so I’ll just look at your statement here:

    As you say, God creates as he wills. If he wills to create reality co-existent with his eternal nature, that is a choice, not a necessity.

    Yes, but a choice is a decision-point. There is an act of will – the creation act. This is the language of “a moment” rather than an eternally existing entity which is not God.

    Reality is not a necessary thing, and it doesn’t have God-like powers. It is a contingent creation with God-given powers.

    The God-like power it would have is to be “an uncaused reality” and would never have had a chance to “receive” the powers of being that it would have. Those powers would be limited to a contingent reality. It would have “this much” space, arrangement, order, function, purpose – and not more or less. But this has to emerge from the choice of God and to say that it just existed eternally is to remove the “decision point”. Every aspect of that co-eternal reality would be fixed forever, and therefore never be an option. This is what would be a “necessary being” – there never could be a time when that co-eternal being couldn’t exist.

    He doesn’t create with anything that is other than himself.

    Yes and no. He is the source of all created being, true. So, the phrase ex nihilo means “out of no other created thing”. So yes, the source of all creation is God’s fullness of being. But from that, we have an identity and self which is capable of growth (towards fulfillment in God) and we are aware of our contingency. So, we are dependent on God. We can certainly become God-like even from our limits and we are “within God” in the sense that all of our being comes from Him. But He has created us with an awareness that we are not co-equal with God and we couldn’t identify ourselves as being all-powerful and eternal. We came into existence.

  101. 101
    Silver Asiatic says:

    WJM

    We are aspects of God, or Children of God, or “made in God’s image.”

    But what you’re talking about here is a “relationship” with God. So, that requires that we have an identity that we “own” in the sense that we can make decisions, and be “like God” in our life and actually participate in the relationship.
    We can speak of “oneness with God” but that’s not a given.
    Instead, it’s like a spousal relationship. Husband and wife have a “oneness” that they build over time. That’s the beauty of it.
    If, instead, we were hard-coded to be co-identified with God we would not have a real identity and would not be able to be a true child or God. We’d just be an appendage – as good as that may be, we would not experience the result of our personal choices, to grow towards God (goodness) or choose a lesser path.

  102. 102
    kairosfocus says:

    JH, sarcasm in attempted reply to physics, fails. Here, in particular, I am simply summarising what those who advocate a Q-foam that bubbles up cosmi such as ours as fluctuations, imply or state. Where, they are speaking of a foam of fields and virtual particles with extensions to phenomena such as the Casimir effect. Going further, populations of particles etc with energy distributions are subjects of probability, thus statistical thermodynamics. As that name indicates, probabilistic patterns attaching to clusters of microstates are a major matter, and in that light, entropy is an index of degradation of energy concentrations as states of affairs gravitate towards those of overwhelming statistical weight [and tend to “stick” there]. That is, the trend of time is thermodynamically connected and driven by probability distributions. KF

    PS, a classic, simple first example is an array of 1,000 paramagnetic domains in a weak B-field, with alignments with/opposite to the field. This is a physically plausible analogue of a tray of 1,000 coins and it is more or less where both L K Nash and Mandl [author of my first stat thermodynamics text, in the justly respected Manchester series] began. Let’s go to coins with 50:50 odds of 1/0 or H/T and thus a classic binomial overall distribution. Agitate, there is a strong tendency to go to 500:500 +/- ~ 50, in no particular ordered pattern, precisely because that is where the overwhelming bulk of 1.07*10^301 possibilities is. BTW, this also models the config space for ASCII code text, including every string of 143 characters. But of course, 10^80 atoms acting as observers 10^14 times/s [a fast organic rxn rate] for trays of 1,000 coins, for 10^17 s since the singularity, would sample up to 10^111 possibilities, about 1 in 10^290 of the space. That is part of why we speak of deeply isolated islands of function and the blind search challenge. Intelligence routinely produces tweets of this length but blind monkeys at keyboards search predictably is futile. I trust enough is there to see what the second law is getting at, in part.

  103. 103
    Viola Lee says:

    re 100, to SA

    The image I have, which I think we agree on, is that God is eternal and is simultaneously “now” at every moment of eternity If you think of a line extended infinitely in both directions, God’s presence is the entire completed infinity of the line. There are no scales or markings on the line because he is at every point at all times. There is no “flow”: he is the whole line all at once and always.

    So you write, “Yes, but a choice is a decision-point. There is an act of will – the creation act. This is the language of “a moment” rather than an eternally existing entity which is not God.”

    I don’t understand this. God wills to create reality at every “moment” of his entire existence. Every “moment” is an act of creation. Just as existence is an infinite set of simultaneous “nows”, he has an infinite set of creative acts in which he creates and sustains the contingent reality that is his creation.

    Then, when I wrote, “Reality is not a necessary thing, and it doesn’t have God-like powers. It is a contingent creation with God-given powers.”,

    you replied, “The God-like power it would have is to be “an uncaused reality” and would never have had a chance to “receive” the powers of being that it would have. … But this has to emerge from the choice of God and to say that it just existed eternally is to remove the “decision point”. Every aspect of that co-eternal reality would be fixed forever, and therefore never be an option. This is what would be a “necessary being” – there never could be a time when that co-eternal being couldn’t exist.”

    I don’t see why you think that reality would be uncaused just because it was caused continuously and infinitely. Why does the presence of a decision-point make it caused in a way that continuous causation does not. As I said in another post, the fact that God chooses to create reality continuously and infinitely doesn’t make it necessary: it is an option (God can do whatever he wants to), but the possibility I am discussing is that it is his choice to create continuously. I see no reason why God choosing some of the time to create (i.e, with a decision-point) is more likely or more appropriate for God than choosing to create always.

    Also, I’ll note that being co-eternal (good term) is not the same as being co-equal. Reality is still contingent and limited by God’s decisions as to its attributes. It is not what it is by necessity, but rather is what it is because God chooses for it to be so. Being co-eternal does not change this relationship.

  104. 104
    ET says:

    What does “eternal” mean absent the fabric of space-time? Relativity 101…

  105. 105
    Viola Lee says:

    re 98: Thanks, WJM. I started these comments as “speculative theology”, but I was stimulated by thinking about infinity, and the difference between actual completed infinities, such as the entire set of integers, and potential infinities that can be extended indefinitely. My mathematical vision is that God is like the completed infinity, apprehendable only a whole and not by an accumulation of parts, and reality is like a potential reality which, from the point of view of hypothetical contingent creatures, can only be apprehended as progressing and never ending.

    One way to say it, in theological terms, is that God can see all the numbers from the outside, so to speak–the whole set is visible simultaneously and completely– but in reality events and contingent creatures can only see the numbers from the inside, moving step-by-step towards infinity but never able to realize its completion.

    However, there is still a one-to-one correspondence between every number in God’s completed set and every moment of reality. That is my picture of continual creation. Both God and reality are eternal, but one in the completed sense and only in the potential sense.

  106. 106
    Viola Lee says:

    Oops. Last sentence should read ” Both God and reality are eternal, but one in the completed sense and one only in the potential sense.”

  107. 107
    Silver Asiatic says:

    VL

    I see no reason why God choosing some of the time to create (i.e, with a decision-point) is more likely or more appropriate for God than choosing to create always.

    That God could “create always” is understandable as you explain it. The “creation idea” would be in the “eternal now” anyway so all created time would be contained there in the present-tense of absolute being. All of that is reasonable and seems true. Perhaps in the same way Mozart created an entire symphony in his mind in a flash of an insight. Or Daniel Tammet The Boy with the Incredible Brain can visualize complex math calculations instantaneously and not through a sequential process. So, there wouldn’t be any “moments” of creation in that sense, as you say. That seems right.
    My concern would be, however, in the “implementation” — or in the effect on the created reality.
    Because a created reality, existing eternally, would have to show the effects of an eternal existence within itself somehow. With God, eternity does not create any change. God does not grow older or get worn out. He does not lose or gain energy or power that way. But an eternally created contingent thing would be “an eternity old” and would show some effects from that. Could it gain or lose various qualities? If so, then we have our problem with an infinite sequence (gaining infinitely or losing infinitely – or just changing somehow over an infinite time).
    So, the created reality would have to be preserved by God, somehow, in an unchanging status, where an eternal existence wouldn’t have an effect.

    In Christian theology we wouldn’t have a problem at all (in fact, it’s a doctrine in the ancient creeds) with the concept of God acting eternally – as it is said, Jesus is “eternally begotten of the Father”. So, the Father’s action is not a moment in time, but it continues eternally. But Jesus does not show the effect of an eternal “age” the way a created thing would.

  108. 108
    Viola Lee says:

    Thanks, SA. I appreciate that the “continuous creation” idea makes some sense to you, and I also understand, I think, the concern that a “created reality, existing eternally, would have to show the effects of an eternal existence within itself somehow.”

    Let me recall the context about reality that we started with. Our universe exists, and it has a life span, so to speak, with entropy bringing it to a dead, cold end sometime. The supposition here is that some reality exists “outside” our universe from which our universe arose. A “quasi-physical quantum foam” has been suggested as that source, but the question remains (unanswerable) as to whether universes arise spontaneously and probabilistically as virtual particles do in our universe, or in some manner. However such quantum events could be exactly the place where God influences physical reality by choosing events which would look, if we could observe them, as probabilistic. Also it could be that the quantum foam, as the background reality of God’s constant creation, is not susceptible to entropy gain, and only universes like ours which arise from the foam become instantiated in amore physical sense, subject to entropy gain.

    All of this is both extreme speculation about both God and reality beyond our universe. However, given that we have no evidence about what is outside our universe, I think such speculations are as logically valid as possibilities as other speculations that don’t admit of a reality co-eternal with God.

  109. 109
    Querius says:

    Kairosfocus @102,

    It would be interesting and instructive to see whether JHolo answers the questions posed to him @95 or evades them.

    -Q

  110. 110
    kairosfocus says:

    Q, observe the silence in reply to my posting astronomical evidence and summaries: https://uncommondescent.com/physics/globular-cluster-m55-as-illustrating-apparent-aging-of-our-galaxy-cosmos/ As for Doppler red shifts, a key point is absorption lines characteristic of particular elements as was first studied by Fraunhoffer. These are present in stellar spectra, and are often displaced red-ward relative to where they are observed here on earth. Sometimes, blue-ward. Such reflects a well known phenomenon, Doppler shift, familiar with sound but also present with light due to velocity of approach or recession. Further, once we go to the use of distance metrics, there is a pattern, the Hubble red shift which led to recognition of cosmological expansion, expansion of space itself. Thus the pattern summarised by NASA. KF

  111. 111
    William J Murray says:

    Off-topic, but an interesting article appearing in Psychology Today: “Does An Afterlife Obviously Exist?”
    https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/mysteries-consciousness/202204/does-afterlife-obviously-exist

  112. 112
    Viola Lee says:

    re 110: I don’t get the point. Does anyone doubt the universe is aging?

  113. 113
    Silver Asiatic says:

    VL

    However, given that we have no evidence about what is outside our universe, I think such speculations are as logically valid as possibilities as other speculations that don’t admit of a reality co-eternal with God.

    I think you’ve done a very good job in laying out the issue and giving your defense. It caused me to do some research and consult experts in my own philosophical tradition (Thomistic realism) because my answers to you didn’t seem to be strong enough … and I discovered that St. Thomas argued that there is no way to give a conclusive philosophical argument either way – whether eternally existing creation of a creation in a discrete act (moment of creation). He takes the “creation of time” as a moment, but only as a doctrine revealed (in Scriptures, etc) and not as something that can be defended metaphysically.
    So, he actually gives arguments from Aristotle (who believed in a co-eternal created reality, as you present) which are pretty strong as I see it, and then the attempted refutations. But in the end, there’s no way to determine it – as you have said.
    But the arguments against include:
    1. To say that something was created but also always existed is a paradox
    2. A cause must always exist prior to the effect. If the created reality is the effect, then the cause must exist prior to it so it cannot be eternal.
    3. Any contingent created thing has a mixture of potential and actual. But it is not possible to have “potential existing eternally” since if the potential never becomes actual over an infinity of existence, then it can’t be potential
    4. There is a relationship between a created thing and its creator and that relationship has to have a beginning, in order for the thing to be considered “created by”.
    5. Quantum foam has certain potentials that would be affected by an eternal existence – mainly, if it was possible not to exist, then it would not exist (although God could preserve it in existence).
    6. For something to exist necessarily, it would have to be necessary for God to will that it exists – but there cannot be anything that it would be necessary for God to create, everything is created only for the reason of God’s goodness and the sake of creation, but not because it was necessary. So, whatever created eternal thing existed would exist just because of what it is and not because it was necessary – and what it is could not be explained.
    7. From the above any created reality has some features which are arbitrary, not necessarily so. So, there would some qualities to quantum foam and not others. But these would not be explained except that it was God’s will that those characteristics existed and not others. But there would be no way to rationally access that – it would just be a brute fact that “God did it that way” and not something necessary logically or otherwise.
    8. Finally, I think there’s still a problem where quantum foam existing eternally has to coalesce at “some moment” on an eternal timeline and would be a paradox.

    All of those arguments given … as above, it is also reasonable to say that “anything created in a timeless, fully-actual reality (as in God’s presence)” would be timeless also and therefore eternal. So, there’s no real solution here – only a defense for one side or the other..

    So, in my metaphysics that would be unsolvable by philosophy. Through faith (and not philosophical debate) I believe that time and created-reality was created in an “act” so some kind of “moment” but there’s no way to prove that fully, but only give some logical support for it.

  114. 114
    Silver Asiatic says:

    WJM @111
    Good article.
    He’ll be dismissed because he’s a philosopher and not a physicist, but the data remains for anyone who wants to look at it.
    One thing that does not get mentioned though that yes, “life after death” is validated in that way, but it’s also talking about the existence of the human soul (or call it consciousness that can exist independent of the body). That has huge scientific implications.

  115. 115
    Querius says:

    Kairosfocus @110,
    I’m sure that you’ve also observed that there are some meaty responses here that present significant information of various types either for or against a position. Other posts are full of sound and fury but signify nothing. There is virtually nothing of substance in them but instead, they

    – Make bold assertions without a shred of support believing their opinions irrefutable.

    – Issue aggressive challenges or demands for evidence, but are themselves unwilling to lift a finger.

    – Attack the character, content, or references provided by someone else.

    Here’s a slightly exaggerated example:

    “That’s absolutely the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard on this forum or any others for that matter. You take the cake! Did you even finish high school? Your tired old argument doesn’t hold water and has been thoroughly refuted. And the paper you want us to read was written by a well-known quack from an obscure journal that no knowledgeable person in the field ever reads. You really need to take some classes in basic quantum mechanics/extremophile biology/atmospheric chemistry/existential logic. Can you come up with even ten papers written in mainstream journals that support this wacko’s position? But then I’ve come to expect this sort of thing from people who quote the Bible.”

    So, there you have it. Perhaps this bit is suitable for cutting and pasting in an admittedly less-than-generous response where appropriate. Or it just might further encourage them.

    -Q

  116. 116
    Querius says:

    William J Murray @111,
    Interesting reference. Thank you (even if off topic). I’m reminded of a quote often attributed to C.S. Lewis but came from author George MacDonald.

    “You do not have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.”

    While some people complain this is a gnostic idea, the apostle Paul compared his body to clothing–clothing that was nearly worn out.

    -Q

  117. 117
    Querius says:

    Viola Lee @112,

    re 110: I don’t get the point. Does anyone doubt the universe is aging?

    Yes. That was the standard scientific belief before the Big Bang theory and there are its advocates now.

    -Q

  118. 118
    Viola Lee says:

    I know it was standard before the Big Bang, and I know there are some competing hypotheses now, but they don’t have much of a following, I think. Anyway, I haven’t been paying attention to the discussions here so I really don’t need to know any more.

  119. 119
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, cosmological aging is a mark of rising entropy and onward helps support the observation that time is connected to such. Arrow of time and all of that. Also, as I just added, those who advocate a pre existing foam, set up conditions where entropy is relevant to the antecedent that is put up, pointing to a finite past or heat death would long since have been reached. KF

  120. 120
    Viola Lee says:

    Thanks, SA, for 113. Your research is very interesting, and I agree with the conclusion that these things are metaphysical and cannot be determined one way or the other.

    I appreciate the conversation, and enjoyed working to articulate my thoughts.

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