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Physicist David Snoke thinks that Christians should not use the kalaam argument for God’s existence

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The kalaam argument:

The Cosmological Argument or First Cause Argument is a philosophical argument for the existence of God which explains that everything has a cause, that there must have been a first cause, and that this first cause was itself uncaused. The Kalam Cosmological Argument is one of the variants of the argument which has been especially useful in defending the philosophical position of theistic worldviews. The word “kalam” is Arabic for “speaking” but more generally the word can be interpreted as “theological philosophy.” (All About Philosophy)

David Snoke, president of Christian Scientific Society, co-authored a paper with Michael Behe (2004).

From his article, “Why Christians should not use the Kalaam argument,”

The Kalaam argument is essentially as follows, although there are many nuanced variations of it. First, the argument is made that there cannot be any real infinity in the universe (real in the sense of physically obtained and occurring). It therefore follows that time cannot be infinite in the backward direction, since there are no real infinities. One therefore must have an initial starting point to time. But because something cannot come from nothing, that starting point must have some sufficient cause outside itself. That starting point, or sufficient cause, must be something outside of time, which can be identified with God.

My main problem with this argument is its starting point, in rejecting the idea of any real infinity. It may very well be that the universe has a definite starting point in time, which we can identify as the Big Bang. But in modern physics and mathematics, there is nothing inconceivable or illogical about the idea of an infinitely old universe. If we reject that, it is because of the data and observations, not because it is a logical impossibility. More.

See also: What becomes of science when the evidence does not matter?

297 Replies to “Physicist David Snoke thinks that Christians should not use the kalaam argument for God’s existence

  1. 1
    Dionisio says:

    I don’t think Christians should argue about God’s existence, just live according to His precepts, by His grace and for His glory.
    God’s creation is His general revelation to all people.
    The Christian Scriptures are His special revelation to His people.
    However, it is written that “in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect” [1 Peter3:15 (ESV)]

  2. 2
    asauber says:

    But in modern physics and mathematics, there is nothing inconceivable or illogical about the idea of an infinitely old universe

    Modern physics and mathematics can’t answer philosophical questions.

    Next.

    Andrew

  3. 3
    Latemarch says:

    Somehow because [t0, infinity] can be mapped one to one on to [-infinity,t0] an infinite future must be rejected.

    The rejection of real infinities may be said to “prove too much.” For example, it would
    seem that the same argument proves that no one can have eternal life. It is standard Christian
    theology to say that people live on a semi-finite time interval, with a finite past and infinite
    future (eternal life). But as discussed above, the time interval [t0, infinity] can be mapped one-to-one
    to the time interval [- infinity,t0]. If we reject the reality of infinities into the past, we must reject the
    reality of infinities into the future, since mathematically the same logic applies to both, by a
    simple reflection operation t to -t (Again, observational constraints may cause us to reject one
    or the other. But if we accept the Kalaam argument we must reject forward infinities as well as
    past ones.)

    This kind of logic makes my head hurt.
    The rest of the paper is just as unconvincing.

  4. 4
    daveS says:

    It is a very bad paper indeed.

  5. 5
    Mung says:

    I disagree with daveS. It is good for starting a fire.

  6. 6
    ET says:

    If someone questions the existence of God or some Intelligent Designer just ask them how they think we got here. Then try not laugh too much when they try answering. 😎

  7. 7
    Mung says:

    I was deposited here, by aliens, with a mission to infiltrate Starbucks. Alien species covet your coffee.

  8. 8
    Dionisio says:

    Aren’t they mixing two different categories?
    The universe we’re in, which may have started at the so-called “Big Bang” but as they should well know is not going to last forever, because at the end of this Age of Grace everything should be destroyed. At least that’s what one could interpret in the Scriptures.
    Therefore the universe has a finite past and a finite future, according to the scriptures. No infinites associated with the universe.
    However, the ultimate reality is not constrained by time or space.
    The eternal future is for the souls that were created long after the Big Bank that started this universe. Two separate categories. The souls will outlast the universe demise.
    The universe started at time Ts
    People’s souls were created at Tp > Ts
    The universe shall end at Te > Tp
    People’s souls will last beyond the end of the universe. They won’t be constrained by time after the physical death of the body they occupy while in this earthly life.
    Ts < Tp < Te
    Our souls shall not be constrained by time in the presence of our Creator, because the Ultimate Reality is timeless. The time dimension is part of this universe. Once it gets destroyed, time and space cease to exist along with the universe too.
    There is no concept of day and night in eternity with God, because we shall be in the presence of true Light eternally. Not physical light, but spiritual Light.
    We should be careful when dealing with different categories. Let’s try not to mix them.
    One may or may not believe what is written. That’s what makes us believers or unbelievers.
    But if we claim to believe it, then we should not make the text say more or less than it really says.
    This physical universe, which we associate with the relativity theory, quantum physics, gravity, electromagnetic force, weak and strong nuclear forces, had a beginning and eventually should come to an end. Finite past and future.
    Our souls had a beginning but won’t have any end. Spiritually we have eternal life while the non-Christian souls shall also last eternally but won’t have eternal spiritual life. Spiritually dead souls eternally separated from their Creator’s grace and glory.

  9. 9
    anthropic says:

    My understanding of the kalaam argument is that it assert the following: Everything that begins to exist has a cause.

    Thus, if the universe began, it has a cause.

    And since God never began to exist, He is uncaused. So to ask, “What caused God?”, is to commit a category error.

    I like David Snoke, but his argument doesn’t touch my understanding of kalaam.

  10. 10
    anthropic says:

    My understanding of the kalaam argument is that it assert the following: Everything that begins to exist has a cause.

    Thus, if the universe began, it has a cause.

    And since God never began to exist, He is uncaused. So to ask, “What caused God?”, is to commit a category error.

    I like David Snoke, but his argument doesn’t touch this understanding of kalaam.

  11. 11
    EDTA says:

    >But in modern physics and mathematics, there is nothing inconceivable or illogical about the idea of an infinitely old universe.

    Physics has this unfortunate tendency to find an equation for something, and then play with it until they’ve broken it. For example, extending the time variable backwards beyond 0. This is the same bad habit that uses Einstein’s field equations to predict the existence of “white holes”, analogues to black holes, which have never been observed as far as we know. (There is speculation, but nothing more.)

    So pardon my distrust of postmodern physics and claims that the math now allows an infinitely old universe.

  12. 12
    Dionisio says:

    EDTA,

    There’s no infinite universe in the Christian Scriptures as far as I’m aware of.

    This universe had a beginning and will have an end. Nobody knows when. Only God knows.

    However, the question ‘when’ is relative to our time constrain within this universe.

    At the end of this universe, time and space will go cease to exist too.

    Snoke’s argument is incorrect. Barking up the wrong tree?

  13. 13
    EricMH says:

    I thought the point is that real infinities cause problems for physics? E.g. Hilbert’s hotel, Zeno’s paradox.

  14. 14
    rvb8 says:

    ET, and Dio,

    back to science please.

    Not things science is unqualified to answer; the supernatural!

  15. 15
    Florabama says:

    When physicists argue for the existence of black holes, they do so based on two things, “theoretical” physics and observed effects. No one has ever seen a black hole at the center of a galaxy. No one knows what is on the other side of black holes aka what happens to objects that get sucked in, but none of that keeps physicists from theorizing the existence of black holes based on the observations of galaxies and gravity. The observed nature of the universe points to a creator just as the nature of gravity and observed effects of black holes point to their existence. The Big Bang, the expanding universe, fine tuning, etc etc, all point to a creator. To deny that is to deny logic and reality. There may be a naturalistic explanation, but to deny that the evidence points toward a creator is just willful denial of reality. And accepting, at least that these effects are there, in no way denies infinity or requires an understanding of the state of being prior to the BB or of the nature of the Being that caused it any more than not knowing what’s on the other side of black holes denies their existence.

  16. 16
    Latemarch says:

    rvb8:

    ET, and Dio,

    back to science please.

    Not things science is unqualified to answer; the supernatural!

    Getting uncomfortable in here?

  17. 17
    Dionisio says:

    EricMH @12:

    I thought the point is that real infinities cause problems for physics? E.g. Hilbert’s hotel, Zeno’s paradox.

    If that was the point of Snoke’s article, then why did he make any theological reference? We can discuss physics, math, chemistry, even biology, without having to make any theological reference. In the threads “Mystery at the heart of life” and “A third way of evolution?” there are many comments about the referenced biology-related research papers, but very few -if any at all- make theological statements.

    As it’s indicated @8 & @11 above, Snoke simply made a category mistake in his article. He should try better next time. I state this knowing that it’s possible that theologically Snoke is closer to my position than many folks writing in this website, though maybe that’s not the case. However, as we say in Spanish language, “Al pan pan, y al vino vino”. We should call things by their names and clarify concepts that are confusing.

  18. 18
    Dionisio says:

    Florabama @14:

    Good point. Thanks.

  19. 19
    Dionisio says:

    Latemarch @15:

    Valid question. Yes, that’s what it looks like.
    Anyway, poor thing, always barking up the wrong trees. 🙂

  20. 20
    Dionisio says:

    @8 clarification of terms:

    Please, note that Ts = 0
    Because the time counter was created along with the universe.

    Te could be renamed Tu or simply T, because it represents the total duration of the universe.

    Therefore T is infinitely smaller than infinite.

    On the other hand, the eternality of the souls created within the universe -while it still exist- is not measurable in time, because the time counter is valid within the boundaries of the universe it was created for.
    The souls were created for a timeless immaterial existence beyond the duration of the universe they were created within.

    Therefore, time is never infinite, because it’s limited by Tu. The concept of infinity doesn’t apply to time, which is a concept that makes sense only within the universe while it lasts. Outside the universe time ceases to make sense. It’s all timeless.

  21. 21
    daveS says:

    While the paper is poorly written, he does identify what I think is a weak point in the Kalam argument, namely the premise that there cannot be any “actual” infinities in the universe. WLC says that the Hilbert Hotel demonstrates why these infinities cannot exist. Snoke’s reply:

    What about the Hilbert hotel? Fans of the Kalaam argument, and fans of Hilbert’s “finite mathematics,” often try to create conundrums to prove that real infinities can’t exist. One example is the “Hilbert hotel”. In this scenario, there is a hotel with an infinite number of rooms. One night, each of the rooms is occupied. A new guest arrives and asks for a room, and is told they are all full. The guest suggests the following ingenious scheme: ask the occupant of room 1 to go to room 2 ask that occupant to move to the next room. The occupant of room 1 then sleeps in room 2, and the occupant of room 2 goes to room 3, displacing that occupant, and so on, until everyone has moved one room number higher. Since there is an infinite number of rooms, everyone will find a room, and the new guest can sleep in room 1.

    This seems to imply a contradiction, since all the rooms were occupied at the start, with no empty spaces, but an empty space was found. For a physicist, though, this scenario is easily dealt with by the principle of locality. It takes a finite time for an occupant to move from one room to the next. So really what has happened is that the new guest has set up a traveling wave in the chain of rooms. At all later points in time, there will be one guest walking from a one room to the next, while the other rooms are all occupied. There has not been a new room discovered, but rather a moving “excitation” (to use physics language).

    In view of this explanation, it’s not clear that an actually infinite Hilbert Hotel presents any problem at all.

  22. 22
    ET says:

    LoL@ rvb8- Science seems unqualified to answer the basic questions plaguing evolutionism. No one can answer the question how did natural selection or any other blind. mindless process can produce protein machines like bacterial flagella and ATP synthase.

  23. 23
    asauber says:

    So *really* what has happened is that the new guest has set up a traveling wave in the chain of rooms.

    *Really*

    I’m not sure a fantasy story about traveling waves between hypothetical rooms in a fictional hotel *really* presents anything useful. Seriously, logical problems don’t get solved by throwing words like “excitation” at them.

    Andrew

  24. 24

    ET @ 21 and asauber @ 22: Well said.

  25. 25
    daveS says:

    asauber,

    I also initially thought the use of the term “moving excitation” was gratuitous, but it does accurately describe the situation.

    The new guest simply sets off an infinite, never-to-be-completed process of guests shifting down one room. And while all the guests could fit inside the hotel before, now there is always at least one guest outside the hotel waiting for the next room to become available.

    I would certainly like to know of any logical problems this presents.

  26. 26
    asauber says:

    The new guest simply sets off an infinite, never to be completed process

    DaveS,

    Appealing to infinity in a logical problem about infinity doesn’t *really* solve anything.

    Andrew

  27. 27
    J-Mac says:

    Dionisio @11

    There’s no infinite universe in the Christian Scriptures as far as I’m aware of.

    This universe had a beginning and will have an end. Nobody knows when. Only God knows.

    However, the question ‘when’ is relative to our time constrain within this universe.

    At the end of this universe, time and space will go cease to exist too.

    Have you ever wondered why such a waste of the beautiful universe and the Earth?

    But wait!

    Ps 104:5 says

    “He has prepared Earth upon its foundations that it will not move for an eternity of eternities.”

    I guess eternity doesn’t meaning infinity?

    Also,

    Adam and Eve could have eaten the fruit from the tree of life and live forever… Why didn’t they???

    I guess forever is not the same thing as infinite time?

    Gen 3:22

    “Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever“-obviously on Earth…

    Gen 3:19

    “By the sweat of your brow will you have food to eat until you return to the ground from which you were made. For you were made from dust, and to dust you will return, but your souls will live on so you have nothing to worry about …

  28. 28
    daveS says:

    asauber,

    What logical problem is there to be solved?

    In any case, we are told up front that the hotel is infinite, so the process Snoke and I described obviously would be infinite.

  29. 29
    asauber says:

    What logical problem is there to be solved?

    Asserting an infinite past presents a logical problem. That’s what this thread is about.

    Andrew

  30. 30
    daveS says:

    asauber,

    Asserting an infinite past presents a logical problem. That’s what this thread is about.

    Could you describe this logical problem?

  31. 31
    asauber says:

    daveS,

    I will. But first I am going to ask you a question. Are you being deliberately obtuse?

    Andrew

  32. 32
    daveS says:

    asauber,

    I will. But first I am going to ask you a question. Are you being deliberately obtuse?

    No, any obtuseness on my part is unintentional.

  33. 33
    awstar says:

    Physicist David Snoke thinks that Christians should not use the kalaam argument for God’s existence

    I don’t like the New England Patriots, so I don’t think they should use Tom Brady.

    John Calvin way back in 1536 had something to say about man’s arguments for and against the existence of God. “Stupid is as stupid does” hasn’t evolved one bit in all these years.

    11. Bright, however, as is the manifestation which God gives both of himself and his immortal kingdom in the mirror of his works, so great is our stupidity, so dull are we in regard to these bright manifestations, that we derive no benefit from them. For in regard to the fabric and admirable arrangement of the universe, how few of us are there who, in lifting our eyes to the heavens, or looking abroad on the various regions of the earth, ever think of the Creator? Do we not rather overlook Him, and sluggishly content ourselves with a view of his works? And then in regard to supernatural events, though these are occurring every day, how few are there who ascribe them to the ruling providence of God—how many who imagine that they are casual results produced by the blind evolutions of the wheel of chance? Even when under the guidance and direction of these events, we are in a manner forced to the contemplation of God (a circumstance which all must occasionally experience), and are thus led to form some impressions of Deity, we immediately fly off to carnal dreams and depraved fictions, and so by our vanity corrupt heavenly truth.

    — John Calvin — Institutes (1536) Chapter 5: THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD CONSPICUOUS IN THE CREATION, AND CONTINUAL GOVERNMENT OF THE WORLD.

  34. 34
    asauber says:

    daveS,

    This is a brief summary that I found:

    “infinite regress – a fallacy in which the argument proposes an explanation, but the mechanism proposed stands just as much in need of explanation as the original fact to be explained — and indeed it stands in need of the same kind of explanation. so it is tempting to apply the explanation to itself.”

    Which is what you attempted to do.

    http://www.urbandictionary.com.....%20regress

    Andrew

  35. 35
    daveS says:

    asauber,

    Which is what you attempted to do.

    No, I didn’t attempt to do anything; certainly I didn’t offer any “explanation” for an infinite past.

    It’s your job to identify the logical problem here.

  36. 36
    asauber says:

    It’s your job to identify the logical problem here.

    I just did. The problem is infinite regress (infinite past). Are you comprehending?

    Andrew

  37. 37
    daveS says:

    asauber,

    I just did. The problem is infinite regress (infinite past). Are you comprehending?

    Infinite regress of what? You haven’t shown that there is an infinite regress of explanations, since no explanations have been offered.

  38. 38
    Latemarch says:

    daveS,

    If you start today will you ever arrive at an infinite future? No, always traveling, never arriving.

    So if you start in an infinite past how can you ever arrive at today?
    Yet, here we are…..so the past cannot be infinite.

  39. 39
    asauber says:

    Appealing to infinity is not an explanation. It’s the avoidance of an explanation.

    Andrew

  40. 40
    asauber says:

    daveS,

    You are acting like you haven’t read the OP. Have you read the OP?

    Andrew

  41. 41
    daveS says:

    Latemarch,

    daveS,

    If you start today will you ever arrive at an infinite future? No, always traveling, never arriving.

    True.

    So if you start in an infinite past how can you ever arrive at today?
    Yet, here we are…..so the past cannot be infinite.

    KF and I discussed this point at length in some previous threads. The issue is the assumption of starting at some point infinitely remote from the present. But models of an infinite past (usually) don’t include such points. All past points are finitely remote from the present. And a traversal through an infinite past in that case would have no starting point.

    Gotta run for a while, but I’ll check in later.

  42. 42
    daveS says:

    asauber,

    You are acting like you haven’t read the OP. Have you read the OP?

    Yes, have you read the Snoke article yourself?

  43. 43
    asauber says:

    Yes, have you read the Snoke article yourself?

    No, because I found a major problem in the excerpts, and I suspect the problem isn’t fixed in the rest of the article.

    See my comment @ #2.

    Andrew

  44. 44
    Latemarch says:

    daveS,

    The issue is the assumption of starting at some point infinitely remote from the present.

    That’s what an infinite past means. Otherwise it’s not infinite.
    Always traveling, never arriving. You can’t arrive at today. You can’t arrive at yesterday. You can’t arrive at any finite time in the past.

  45. 45
    daveS says:

    Latemarch,

    If usage is at all important, that’s not what “infinite past” means to virtually all those who write on this subject. I know of one exception from the mid 1970’s. Essentially no one takes “infinite past” to imply the existence of particular points in time infinitely removed from the present.

  46. 46
    Latemarch says:

    daveS@44
    You’re welcome to Humpty Dumpty your way out of the problem but don’t expect me to assent to your definition or that of others that try to squirm out of the logical trap.

  47. 47
    asauber says:

    Latemarch @ 45,

    daveS has a tendency to kinda sorta have an actual position on some things, unless he needs to avoid being pinned down, then he kinda sorta doesn’t.

    Andrew

  48. 48
    daveS says:

    Latemarch,

    Who’s playing the role of Humpty Dumpty here? I’m going by the definition that is found in virtually all literature on this subject, while you are insisting on an idiosyncratic definition no one uses, as far as I can tell.

    Let me explain why I think it’s a reasonable one. What is a finite past? That would be a past where the age of the universe is less than some particular finite value. For example, the universe could be less than 15 billion years old—that’s a finite past.

    The statement “the past is infinite” simply means that the past is not finite. This would obtain if there is no particular finite value n such that the universe is less than n (years, say) old. Put more directly, given any positive integer n, the universe is greater than n years old.

    I don’t believe you can prove that assuming the above statement is true, there must exist some point in the past which occurred infinitely many years ago.

  49. 49
    J-Mac says:

    If infinite dimensions are fundamental to a quantum description of almost all physical systems, why can’t the originator of those physical laws that allow infinite dimensions have infinite dimensions and consequently have no beginning and no end or be eternal?

  50. 50
    Latemarch says:

    daveS,

    The statement “the past is infinite” simply means that the past is not finite. This would obtain if there is no particular finite value n such that the universe is less than n (years, say) old. Put more directly, given any positive integer n, the universe is greater than n years old.

    The universe is greater than 5,000 years old: Therefore the the universe is infinitely old…..really?
    That’s what the above can be reduced to.

  51. 51

    J-Mac @ 48: Great question. Let’s see how the a/mats respond.

  52. 52
    Dionisio says:

    J-Mac @26:

    Have you ever wondered why such a waste of the beautiful universe and the Earth?

    Interesting question. Thank you for asking it.

    Who made it all? I didn’t. Did you?
    How was it all made? I don’t know. Do you?
    How much did it cost to make it? I don’t know. Do you?
    Why was it all made? I don’t know. Do you?
    What was it all made for? I don’t know. Do you?
    What’s the Creator’s plan? I don’t know. Do you?

    But I know He has revealed to His people at least the part of His plan that relates to this world and this age of grace. And it is wonderful, as far as I can understand it.
    Definitely it could have been much worse, but it couldn’t be better. Don’t take my word. Research it yourself. Perhaps God will reveal it to you too. He loves you. I know it because He has proved beyond doubt that He loves me and I’m certain that I’m not better than you.

    I’ll look at your other interesting questions later.

  53. 53
    daveS says:

    Latemarch,

    No, it can’t be reduced to that. It would be correct to say that if for every positive integer n, the universe is greater than n years old, then the past is infinite.

    To clarify further: I’m not saying that “if the universe is greater than n years old for some positive integer n, then the past is infinite”. The condition has to hold for every (or any, as I wrote above) positive integer n.

  54. 54
    Latemarch says:

    daveS,

    Ah, I missed the “any”. My bad.
    So now we’re to a distinction without a difference.
    Since it’s “not finite” it is therefore infinite and again you cannot arrive at today.

    I can see we are not going to come to terms here.

  55. 55
    daveS says:

    Latemarch,

    There is a large difference—-under the definition I am using, an infinite past need not include any times infinitely remote from the present. Therefore you can’t make the argument that the present is unreachable from some point in the past.

  56. 56
    asauber says:

    under the definition I am using

    daveS,

    I’m not sure why you think your definition is meaningful.

    Andrew

  57. 57
    daveS says:

    asauber,

    It’s consistent with that used by virtually everyone who writes about this subject. It’s also consistent with a dictionary definition of “infinite” that KF and I had agreed upon earlier.

    If you have any suggestions for improvement, you’re welcome to state them.

  58. 58
    Dionisio says:

    J-Mac @26:

    Ps 104:5 says
    “He has prepared Earth upon its foundations that it will not move for an eternity of eternities.”
    I guess eternity doesn’t meaning infinity?

    Interesting question. Thank you for asking it.

    Generally speaking many times we hear expressions that seem to indicate something has been settled forever, but if we really think about it, we realize that it may not last forever. For example, someone may establish a revocable trust that benefits their children and grandchildren. One could say that such a legal document will remain unchanged forever, unless the trustee decides to change or terminate it. Hence the duration of the trust is seen differently depending on who looks at it. For outsiders or even the beneficiaries, it’s unchangeable, because there’s nothing anyone can do to change it. For the trustee it is contingent upon his/her own decisions, because she/he purposely made it revocable. For example, the trustee might have setup the trust when the children were still little, but already planned to change some specific terms in some pages on the arrival of grandchildren. However, the children may not be aware of such an intention.

    Perhaps this is not a very accurate analogy, but it may give us an idea of the meaning of “forever” in different circumstances. It’s always good to humbly realize that we have the creature’s perspective, but we lack complete and accurate knowledge of the Creator’s plan. Humility is at the core of the first beatitude taught by the Lord in one of His sermons. There must be an important reason why it was the first one mentioned. I have experienced myself the power of such an attitude, even though it hasn’t been easy to learn it (actually I haven’t acquired it yet, still working on it). At least on the few occasions that I have enjoyed such a feeling, it has given me the freedom to openly admit my ignorance on many issues and calmly ask questions that normally would have been considered embarrassing and I would have refrained from asking.

    Please, point to anything that may seem incoherent in my comments. I’ll gladly review it and correct any inaccuracies or errors. It’s important that we express ideas clearly. Specially when dealing with fundamental topics like this. Thanks.

    Regarding the Bible OT verse you referred to, here are a few English translations from the extant manuscripts that were written in ancient Hebrew or Greek (Septuagint):

    Psalm 104:5

    (ESV)

    He set the earth on its foundations,
    so that it should never be moved.

    (NIV)

    He set the earth on its foundations;
    it can never be moved.

    (KJV)

    Who laid the foundations of the earth,
    that it should not be removed for ever.

    Reformation Study Bible provided by Ligonier Ministries:

    The world is stable and ordered, not chaotic. God’s control of the world is comforting to those who recognize it

    Matthew Henry’s Commentary:

    When we are addressing ourselves to any religious service we must stir up ourselves to take hold on God in it (Isa. 64:7); so David does here. “Come, my soul, where art thou? What art thou thinking of? Here is work to be done, good work, angels’ work; set about it in good earnest; let all the powers and faculties be engaged and employed in it: Bless the Lord, O my soul!” In these verses,

    He looks down, and looks about, to the power of God shining in this lower world. He is not so taken up with the glories of his court as to neglect even the remotest of his territories; no, not the sea and dry land.

    He has founded the earth, Ps. 104:5. Though he has hung it upon nothing (Job 26:2), ponderibus librata suis—balanced by its own weight, yet it is as immovable as if it had been laid upon the surest foundations. He has built the earth upon her basis, so that though it has received a dangerous shock by the sin of man, and the malice of hell strikes at it, yet it shall not be removed for ever, that is, not till the end of time, when it must give way to the new earth. Dr. Hammond’s paraphrase of this is worth noting: “God has fixed so strange a place for the earth, that, being a heavy body, one would think it should fall every minute; and yet, which way soever we would imagine it to stir, it must, contrary to the nature of such a body, fall upwards, and so can have no possible ruin but by tumbling into heaven.”

    I may continue to look for more comments on this subject later.

  59. 59
    Dionisio says:

    J-Mac @26:

    Follow up to comments @51 & 57, also considering the previous comments @8, 11, 16, 19:

    Note that Snoke’s arguments regarding the concept of “infinite” associated with this universe are a mute point within the context he has invoked, because it mixed categories (universe and souls) which have different relations to time.

    Regarding the end of this world it is written in both the OT and NT:

    Isaiah 65:17

    [ New Heavens and a New Earth ] “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind.

    Isaiah 66:22

    “For as the new heavens and the new earth that I make shall remain before me, says the Lord, so shall your offspring and your name remain.

    Revelation 21:1

    [ The New Heaven and the New Earth ] Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.

    I’ll look at the remaining questions later.

  60. 60
    Dionisio says:

    J-Mac,

    Follow up to my comments @51, 57, 58 , also considering the previous comments @8, 11, 16, 19:

    here’s the rest of your comment @26:

    Adam and Eve could have eaten the fruit from the tree of life and live forever… Why didn’t they???
    I guess forever is not the same thing as infinite time?

    Gen 3:22
    “Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever“-obviously on Earth…

    Gen 3:19
    “By the sweat of your brow will you have food to eat until you return to the ground from which you were made. For you were made from dust, and to dust you will return, but your souls will live on so you have nothing to worry about …

    I’m not sure I understand your questions well, but will try to comment on the subject, even though my comments may not answer your question satisfactorily. You may always ask additional questions. Thanks.

    By now you may have noticed that most of my comments are based on scriptural text or other widely accepted biblical commentaries. Still to me the best answers to questions about the Bible are found in the Bible itself. But there are people who have dedicated a substantial part of their lives to study the Bible in the original languages of the oldest extant manuscripts. I like to consult those materials too and encourage others to do likewise. Also it helps sometimes to compare different English translations, and if possible, other languages too. Sometimes I look at Spanish Reina-Valera and some old Polish versions too. I would have liked to be able to read ancient Hebrew and Greek, but I did not learn those languages.

    I’ll try to come back to this another time.

  61. 61
    J-Mac says:

    Hi Dionisio,

    Thanks for your thorough response!

    While you contemplate the many verses and translations, you may find the following verses helpful…

    Isa 45:18

    “For this is what the LORD says– he who created the heavens, he is God; he who fashioned and made the earth, he founded it; he did not create it to be empty, but formed it to be inhabited– he says: “I am the LORD, and there is no other.”

    PS 37:29

    “And the righteous ones inherit the Earth and dwell upon it for eternity.”

    I think that by now you should have some doubts as to what the purpose of the universe and the Earth is…Unless you will continue to try to support preconceived ideas rather then trying to get to the truth…

    Polish

    PS 37: 29

    “Sprawiedliwi posiada ziemie
    i beda mieszkac na niej na zawsze”

    Espaniol

    Salmos 37:29

    “Los justos poseerán la tierra, y para siempre morarán en ella.”

  62. 62
    J-Mac says:

    Truth Will Set You Free,

    J-Mac @ 48: Great question. Let’s see how the a/mats respond.

    A/mats problem is that they are seeking anything as long as they can support their preconceived notions…they are not trying to get to the truth and that’s why they will never be set free… 😉

  63. 63
    Dionisio says:

    J-Mac @60:

    Thank you for keeping this discussion going.
    I’m sure we’re both learning much from it, don’t you agree?

    See again the comment @57 about the figurative language regarding the words “forever”, “infinity”, etc. within certain contexts.

    I’ll try to review the text quoted @59 and @60 to see what we can learn from it together.

    BTW, do you read Polish and Spanish text too? Cool!

    Now, please explain this:

    I think that by now you should have some doubts as to what the purpose of the universe and the Earth is…Unless you will continue to try to support preconceived ideas rather then trying to get to the truth…

    What’s that related to?

    Next, tell me who is this verse referring to?
    PS 37:29

    “The righteous shall inherit the land
        and dwell upon it forever.” (ESV)

    Who is righteous?

    Isaiah 45:18 (ESV)

    “For thus says the Lord,
    who created the heavens
        (he is God!),
    who formed the earth and made it
        (he established it;
    he did not create it empty,
        he formed it to be inhabited!):
    “I am the Lord, and there is no other.

    empty.
    This word is translated “without form” in Gen. 1:2. This was the beginning, not the end of creation. In the same way God does not invite people to seek Him to no purpose. He will carry through with what He has begun (55:11; 66:9) and answer those who seek Him (55:3; Matt. 11:28; Heb. 11:6).

  64. 64
    J-Mac says:

    Dionisio,

    It is related to your preconception that the universe will be destroyed by God; i.e. indicating that the universe must have no purpose, just like materialists claim…

    BTW: I’m aware how the words related to infinity, eternity and everlasting life were used…Your preconceived idea of eternal soul is getting in the way of grasping the fundamental concepts of the purposeful design of the Earth, the universe and life…

  65. 65
    Dionisio says:

    J-Mac,

    Did you read all the Bible references I wrote for you?
    If you did, then how did you make this story about “preconceptions”? Where did you get that from?
    Can you quote the specific text where I presented my preconceptions?
    Should I point to the comments where those verses are, in case you missed them?
    I thought we were understanding each other here, but now I see that’s not the case. 🙂

    @51, 57, 58, 59, 62 also considering the previous comments @8, 11, 16, 19.

    This is from comment @58:

    Isaiah 65:17

    [ New Heavens and a New Earth ] “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind.

    new heavens and a new earth. This prophecy awaits the Second Coming of Christ (2 Pet. 3:13; Rev. 21:1). In the meantime through faith the saints experience in part the blessing of the age to come (42:9; 43:19 and notes). See “Heaven” at Rev. 21:1.
    the former. The adversities and disgrace brought on by sin (41:22 note).

    Isaiah 66:22

    “For as the new heavens and the new earth that I make shall remain before me, says the Lord, so shall your offspring and your name remain.

    new heavens . . . new earth. See note 65:17 (cf. 2 Pet. 3:13; Rev. 21:1).
    your offspring and your name. The people of God will never again suffer reproach, but will enjoy everlasting glory (43:1 note; 65:18, 19; cf. Jer. 31:35, 36).

    Revelation 21:1

    [ The New Heaven and the New Earth ] Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.

    new heaven and a new earth. Some have thought that the new universe will be an entirely new world with no connection with the old. But Is. 65:17–25 and Rom. 8:21–23 indicate that a transfiguration of the old world is in view, like the way in which our new bodies will be transfigurations of the old (1 Cor. 15:35–57). Everything is new (v. 5), which indicates the thoroughness of transfiguration, but the result is redemption and not simply abolition of the old. See theological note “Heaven.”

    Commentaries copied from the Reformation Study Bible provided by Ligonier Ministries

    There are several Bible references in the above quoted text for you to do some homework. 🙂

    Is that the “preconception” you mentioned?
    🙂

  66. 66
    Dionisio says:

    J-Mac

    Did you see this @62?

    tell me who is this verse referring to?

    PS 37:29 (ESV)
    “The righteous shall inherit the land
        and dwell upon it forever.”

    Who is the righteous?

  67. 67
    Dionisio says:

    J-Mac,

    Here’s a list of my comments posted here:

    8, 11, 16, 19,
    51, 57, 58, 59, 62, 64, 65, 66

  68. 68
    Pindi says:

    Dionisio!

    Please turn out the lights when you leave!

  69. 69

    Pindi @ 67: That was good. Smile.

  70. 70
    EricMH says:

    @54 DaveS, if the past is infinite, then there is a point that is infinitely far from the present. Thus, the present would never be reached from that point.

  71. 71
    daveS says:

    EricMH,

    No, not according to virtually everyone who writes on the subject of an infinite past, as I stated above.

    Here’s an analogy: The real number line has infinite length, but there are no real numbers infinitely far from zero.

  72. 72
    ET says:

    Zero would be the starting point but if there is an infinite past there wouldn’t be a zero/ starting point.

  73. 73
    daveS says:

    There is no starting point to an infinite past. William Lane Craig says that an infinite past would be “beginningless”.

  74. 74
    ET says:

    That’s what I said, daves. Zero would not refer to now, as you are trying to make it.

    The question is how did we get to the present from an infinite past?

  75. 75
    daveS says:

    ET,

    Sorry, I misunderstood your comment.

    But you certainly could set zero to stand for the present. Whenever you use the real numbers as a system of time coordinates, you must choose what moment in time has coordinate 0.

    So I could set 0 to stand for the present, and the negative real numbers each to stand for moments in the past. Then −86400 could stand for 86400 seconds (1 day) ago, for example.

  76. 76
    Mung says:

    We can only move forward in time after going back in time.

  77. 77
    asauber says:

    But you certainly could set zero to stand for the present

    I don’t think daveS wants to face the fact that infinity deprives numbers of their meaning. His infinity doesn’t do that. He’s got some kind of religious belief in a meaningful infinity. But that’s certainly not science.

    Andrew

  78. 78
    tribune7 says:

    –My main problem with this argument is its starting point, in rejecting the idea of any real infinity. —

    David Snoke should not use his credentials as a physicist to make a theological argument.

    If his faith is that the universe was always here without a first cause, well, that’s his faith. There is nothing science-based about it.

  79. 79
    Latemarch says:

    daveS is begging the question. He assumes the present in having a zero day. But that is the point, there is no zero day from an infinite past.
    ET, tribune7, and asauber have it right.

    I have no idea who it is that he reads that writes on the subject. It’s apparently not the people that I read.

  80. 80
    daveS says:

    Latemarch,

    Could you elaborate on your second sentence?

    I am saying that if you want to set up time coordinates, you are free to set the present as having time t = 0, or any other number you please. The particular choice of time coordinate for the present is unimportant.

    On the other hand, there is no “first” time obviously, if the past is indeed infinite.

    What exactly is the problem with that?

  81. 81
    Latemarch says:

    daveS,

    Could you elaborate on your second sentence?

    You cannot ever arrive at the present (zero day) from an infinite past. Yet you assume a zero day as a part of the set of rational numbers…..and on into your argument.
    You’re begging the question.

  82. 82
    daveS says:

    Edited: Sorry, I read too fast. Zero day = the present.

    Yes, I am assuming we can identify particular moments in time as the present. Say noon today, my time. How is that a problem?

  83. 83
    Latemarch says:

    Exactly.
    You maintain that the rational numbers are infinite and we are at day zero.
    I maintain that beginning at an infinite past you cannot ever arrive at a day zero.
    You have assumed that which is to be proved.

  84. 84
    daveS says:

    I can’t edit my #81, so I’ll start over.

    Let’s say I specify noon today, my time as “the present”. What’s the argument that that moment is not reachable assuming an infinite past?

  85. 85
    Latemarch says:

    Assuming time.
    Always traveling, never arriving.
    The infinite past is always receding away from the present.

  86. 86
    daveS says:

    On the second point, if you’re always traveling, then you’re always arriving somewhere.

    From the perspective of the moving present, certainly the past is always receding, so I guess I agree with #3 (although I’m not a presentist).

    I still don’t see any problems here.

  87. 87
    asauber says:

    What’s the argument that that moment is not reachable assuming an infinite past?

    infinity = unknowable value

    unknowable value + x (2017.8.1) = unknowable value

    Andrew

  88. 88
    Mung says:

    daveS wants to be able to travel back in time to reach the present.

  89. 89
    asauber says:

    So we can try to identify the present with a value, but the identification only means something in reference to a beginning. If no beginning, nothing to reference.

    Andrew

  90. 90
    Latemarch says:

    Ok,

    On the second point, if you’re always traveling, then you’re always arriving somewhere.

    You may be arriving somewhere, but not here and now.
    That is the point.

    I’ll admit that I’m not very smart. It took me a while of rereading your arguments to find the flaw that ET, asauber, and tribune7 highlighted, though not directly.

    Look up begging the question. You’ll see that you are assuming the present, the point of the whole argument that we are having.

  91. 91
    J-Mac says:

    Dionisio@62

    What’s the meaning of the original word used in the verse you quoted that was translated to land there?

    ziemia- in Polish
    tierra-in Spanish
    earth-in English

  92. 92
    daveS says:

    Latemarch,

    Yes, I am assuming that we both understand the meaning of “present” and that the present exists in some sense. I’m not trying to prove that, however, so I’m not begging the question. In fact, I’m probably assuming many of the standard “facts” about time that you do, but with the additional hypothesis that the past is infinite.

    I am just claiming that no one will be able to derive a logical/mathematical contradiction from the position I am describing.

    You may be arriving somewhere, but not here and now.

    Why not? I don’t understand this. Suppose I were arriving at a point not now, but two weeks ago. Then I would have “arrived” “here and now” from the point of view of two weeks ago.

  93. 93
    asauber says:

    the position I am describing

    In infinity, you don’t have a position. Infinity removes positions.

    Andrew

  94. 94
    daveS says:

    Drink your juice box, Andrew!

    😛

  95. 95
    tribune7 says:

    DaveS, you seem to be approaching the “Who made God” question.

    My view is that it is something axiomatically incapable of being addressed by the mind of man.

    You are taking about infinity i.e. eternity. OK, that’s a basic Christian concept that is part of reality but our minds cannot deal with the infinite. We can only deal with the temporal. IOW, there is no point in trying to figure out what happened before the Big Bang.

  96. 96
    EricMH says:

    @94 DaveS, if each point always has a finite coordinate, then necessarily the distance between them is always finite.

    If our line has no ends, then we just pick a subset of the unending line that is also an infinite line, but with endpoints. There is an infinite distance between these two points, and we can never reach one from the other.

    So, the Kalaam argument works for an infinite line.

  97. 97
    daveS says:

    tribune7,

    Yes, those are very difficult questions. My goal is very modest, however. Is an infinite past logically or mathematically impossible? I think that’s a question that humans can address.

  98. 98
    daveS says:

    EricMH,

    if each point always has a finite coordinate, then necessarily the distance between them is always finite.

    Yes.

    If our line has no ends, then we just pick a subset of the unending line that is also an infinite line, but with endpoints. There is an infinite distance between these two points, and we can never reach one from the other.

    Can you describe this in more detail? I’m assuming we’re talking about subsets of the real numbers. In that case, there are no subsets of R with endpoints which are infinite in length.

  99. 99
    tribune7 says:

    DaveS, is an infinite past (and future) logically or mathematically impossible?

    Logically, of course. Christians assume such a thing.

    And mathematically also possible. Math assumes the infinite if you think about it.

    The thing that is illogical is to deny the Creation event and assume Creation — what Man can grasp — always existed.

  100. 100
    Seversky says:

    J-Mac @ 49

    If infinite dimensions are fundamental to a quantum description of almost all physical systems, why can’t the originator of those physical laws that allow infinite dimensions have infinite dimensions and consequently have no beginning and no end or be eternal?

    If the Universe were infinitely extended in all dimensions, including time, then there would be no origin or creation point and, hence, no originator or creator. There, that wasn’t difficult.

  101. 101
    Dionisio says:

    J-Mac
    Did you see this @63 & @66?
    tell me who is this verse referring to?
    PS 37:29 (ESV)
    “The righteous shall inherit the land
        and dwell upon it forever.”
    Who is the righteous?
    Do you know?
    Buddy, you’re staying behind wrt answering questions.
    Are you tired? 🙂
    BTW, it seems like the post numbers in this thread have increased +1 because many references are shifted.

  102. 102
    Belfast says:

    Reading these comments, I find I don’t have an understanding of infinity, but I sure have a feeling for it.

  103. 103
    asauber says:

    One of the issues here is people think if they can imagine infinity, it must be possible.

    The trouble is that you can’t even imagine it.

    You can imagine it’s possibility, but that’s it.

    Not science, in any case.

    Andrew

  104. 104
    daveS says:

    tribune7,

    I think we’re pretty close on the question I posed then. So far I haven’t found any reason to doubt that an infinite past is logically or mathematically possible.

  105. 105
    asauber says:

    Infinity is the secularists own flying spaghetti monster, and do they ever love the idea of it so dearly.

    Andrew

  106. 106
    Mung says:

    daveS

    Yes, I am assuming we can identify particular moments in time as the present. Say noon today, my time. How is that a problem?

    Since you can allegedly identify particular moments of time as “the present,” please travel back in time an infinite amount of time and label that moment of time that you arrive at, “the present.”

    You should have no problem finding that moment so that you can label it.

  107. 107
    tribune7 says:

    DaveS — I think we’re pretty close on the question I posed then. So far I haven’t found any reason to doubt that an infinite past is logically or mathematically possible. —

    Agreed. OTOH, The First Cause argument is still a valid one.

    Infinity is within the understanding of man. What caused infinity is not.

    That physical laws exist and what they are are within the understanding of man. That physical laws can account for physical laws is ridiculous, however.

    IOW, The First Cause for the existence of physical laws is a legitimate argument for the necessity of something not bound by physical laws i.e. God.

  108. 108
    daveS says:

    Mung,

    Since you can allegedly identify particular moments of time as “the present,” please travel back in time an infinite amount of time and label that moment of time that you arrive at, “the present.”

    In my understanding (or model) of time, there are no two moments separated by an infinite time interval, so what you describe is impossible.

    What you are asking me to do is like starting at 0 on the real number line, then travelling an infinite distance in the negative direction, and then labeling the resulting location with an “x”. There is no such point on the real number line, so it can’t be done.

  109. 109
    daveS says:

    tribune7,

    Yes, I agree that the First Cause argument could still be valid. That’s above my pay grade, however.

  110. 110

    asauber @ 105: “Infinity is the secularists own flying spaghetti monster, and do they ever love the idea of it so dearly.”

    So true.

  111. 111
    EricMH says:

    @DaveS, the subset of real numbers from 0 to 1 has infinite members and endpoints.

  112. 112
    daveS says:

    EricMH,

    Yes, but it has finite length.

  113. 113
    EricMH says:

    @DaveS, You are right.

    But, this is not the right concept for the past, since the past does not keep lengthening unboundedly as the future does. The past has already happened. If the past is an infinitely large set, then everything in that set has to occur before the present can occur, and we are stuck with the same problem.

    Plus, this same problem applies to any member in the set, so nothing can occur if the past is infinite. An infinite past cannot exist.

  114. 114
    daveS says:

    EricMH,

    I don’t think I understand your objection.

    But, this is not the right concept for the past, since the past does not keep lengthening unboundedly as the future does.

    Which concept is that?

    The past has already happened. If the past is an infinitely large set, then everything in that set has to occur before the present can occur, and we are stuck with the same problem.

    I agree with the first sentence and with the first half of the second, but I don’t understand what this problem is that you refer to.

  115. 115
    Pindi says:

    TWSYF and Asauber, why is the concept of infinity limited to secularists? Isn’t it a religious concept also? Life in heaven is eternal I thought? And God always existed?

  116. 116

    Pindi @ 115: Eternity has a beginning but no end, while infinity has no beginning or end. God has always existed (like infinity) but resides in eternity, which is a place/state that has a beginning but no end. That’s my thinking anyway.

    Asauber and I were merely pointing out that a/mats often use infinity to rationalize their beliefs without having to show real evidence, i.e. anything can happen given an infinite number of opportunities. The one thing that they never seem to consider is that God might just be one of those “things.”

  117. 117
    asauber says:

    Asauber and I were merely pointing out that a/mats often use infinity to rationalize their beliefs without having to show real evidence

    Yes, they use the infinite as their God Substitute, hoping no one will notice that their position is completely unscientific, while simultaneously banging on about science.

    Andrew

  118. 118
    EricMH says:

    @DaveS, The question is whether an infinite past makes sense. Even though there is only a finite distance between any point in the infinite past and the present, there are still an infinite number of past points that must be traversed to reach the present. Traversing an infinite set is impossible, since no matter how many points you pass, there are still an infinite number of points remaining. Thus, if the past is infinite, the present will never be reached.

  119. 119
    daveS says:

    EricMH,

    But if you have an infinite amount of time, I don’t see the problem in traversing an infinite set.

    Furthermore, in the traversal of points in time through a beginningless past to the present, it never is the case that there remain infinitely many seconds (say) until the present (so there are never infinitely many more points to traverse).

    That’s because even if the past is infinite, we both agree that at any point in the past, the interval between this past point and the present has finite duration.

  120. 120
    asauber says:

    In an infinity there are no points in time as there is no starting point to reference. You would need a beginning. No beginning of the chain, no chain.

    Andrew

  121. 121
    EricMH says:

    Asauber is correct, the lack of a beginning is the crucial problem, which also makes it hard to talk about since we are so used to things with beginnings.

    We agree there is always a finite distance between any two points. So, as you point out, for any point we pick there is always a finite distance to cover. But, the problem is not starting at a particular point and going to another point. This is the introduction of a beginning, which we’ve agreed does not exist. That’s why I said line segments lengths is the wrong concept to approach this topic.

    A clearer approach is to talk about the past as an infinite set. Traversing the set can then be thought of as taking items out of the set, which does not assume a beginning.

    You claim that with infinite time an infinite number of points can be covered. However, this treats infinity like a finite number N. N – N = 0, but oo – oo is undefined. For example, I can subtract all the even numbers, which is an infinite set, but still an infinite number of odd numbers remain. On the other hand, I can subtract all but 7, leaving you with a finite number. So, it is not defined whether infinite time can traverse an infinite set.

    We can only guarantee elimination of one infinity with another if the second infinity has a greater cardinality, such as a countable infinity minus an uncountable infinity. The integers are a countable infinity, and the reals are an uncountable infinity, so if we could subtract all the reals from the integers (if that makes sense) then we’d eliminate the integers.

  122. 122
    daveS says:

    EricMH,

    I’m certainly happy to talk about countable sets such as the natural numbers rather than intervals in the real line, although I don’t think it makes a great deal of difference ultimately.

    Consider the set of natural numbers N = {0, 1, 2, …}. Each element is removed according to the following schedule: n is removed n seconds before some fixed moment P (“the present”). For example, 2017 was removed 2017 seconds ago. 0 is removed right at the present. According to this schedule, every element of N is eventually removed.

    For convenience let me use this notation:

    P = the assertion that the past is infinite.

    P’ = the assertion that the elements of N can be removed according to the above process.

    I think P’ is a stronger claim than P because in P’, the pairing up of natural numbers with a sequence of moments in time has to be established “outside of time”, for example by a God. In P, we can establish the pairing “in time”, say at the present moment.

    However, I don’t think that you can derive a mathematical/logical contradiction from either P or P’.

  123. 123
    Mung says:

    daveS:

    Each element is removed according to the following schedule: n is removed n seconds before some fixed moment P (“the present”).

    You can’t do that.

  124. 124
    daveS says:

    Why not?

    I mean of course I can’t do it. But perhaps a God who exists outside of time and who can perceive every moment of our time at once could do it.

    As I said above, the assertion that this is possible is stronger than the assertion that the past is infinite, I believe, so I don’t plan to spend a lot of time defending it.

  125. 125
    Mung says:

    First you must arrive at some fixed moment P (“the present”).

    And you can’t do that.

    You can of course assume that you can, But that’s just begging the question.

  126. 126
    daveS says:

    Mung,

    No, I take it as self-evident that we have and therefore can arrive at some fixed moment.

    Then I assume that the past is infinite and ask anyone to show me the contradiction that arises from all this.

  127. 127
    asauber says:

    I take it as self-evident that we have and therefore can arrive at some fixed moment

    In an infinity, there are no fixed moments, because there is no context to have them in. A long moment is the same as a short moment is the same as 1000 years is the same as billions of eons is the same as Al Gore’s lunchbreak time.

    Andrew

  128. 128
    Bob O'H says:

    Will this discussion ever end, I ask myself.

  129. 129
    Mung says:

    It will end when we arrive at a moment in time and label it “the present.”

  130. 130
    Mung says:

    daveS:

    No, I take it as self-evident that we have and therefore can arrive at some fixed moment.

    In a universe where time began.

    It’s not self-evidence that we have and therefore can arrive at some fixed moment if moments of time extend to to infinite past.

    You’re assuming your conclusion. It’s circular and question-begging. But don’t let me stop you!

  131. 131
    daveS says:

    Mung,

    In a universe where time began.

    It’s not self-evidence that we have and therefore can arrive at some fixed moment if moments of time extend to to infinite past.

    You’re assuming your conclusion. It’s circular and question-begging. But don’t let me stop you!

    I really don’t understand your objection I guess.

    I take it as self-evident that we can identify moments in time as “the present”, regardless of whether the past is infinite or not.

    For example:

    A short while ago, I could have accurately stated that “the present moment is [or has UTC time coordinate] 14:25:24 UTC Friday, August 4, 2017”.

    About 48 years ago I could have accurately stated “the present moment is the instant that Neil Armstrong first set foot on the Moon”.

    In a few weeks, I expect I will be able to say “the present moment is when the solar eclipse of 2017 first became total (at my location)”.

    What does any of this have to do with whether the past is infinite or not?

  132. 132
    asauber says:

    What does any of this have to do with whether the past is infinite or not?

    Nothing, daveS. At this point we are just wondering why you are commenting.

    Andrew

  133. 133
    Dionisio says:

    Bottom line: this current universe had a beginning and will have an end, according to the Scriptures. We don’t know much about the coming one, but we know much about the current one, which has no infinity associated with it on neither direction, past or future. Both are finite.
    But the souls, which were created, hence had a beginning, will not be limited by time but by the sovereign will of the Creator. They will outlast this current universe.

    Therefore the arguments about infinity associated with the current universe don’t seem to withstand serious analysis, at least not from the scriptural perspective.

    Isaiah 65:17 (ESV)
    “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth,
    and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind.”

    Isaiah 66:22 (ESV)
    “For as the new heavens and the new earth that I make shall remain before me, says the Lord, so shall your offspring and your name remain.”

  134. 134
    Dionisio says:

    @8 error correction

    It’s “Big Bang” not “Big Bank”

    Oops! 🙂

  135. 135
    daveS says:

    Dionisio,

    Even though you might ultimately be correct about the finitude of the universe, I don’t think you can say that the arguments we have been discussing don’t withstand serious analysis from a scriptural perspective.

    Recall that we are talking about one of the premises of the Kalam cosmological argument, which purports to prove the existence of God, so naturally we are not appealing to biblical evidence. The issue in my view is what one can say about this premise using only mathematical, logical, or perhaps some philosophical arguments, regardless of one’s views concerning the bible.

  136. 136
    Mung says:

    daveS:

    What does any of this have to do with whether the past is infinite or not?

    You’ve been ignoring what everyone else has said to you about it. Why should I be any different.

    How do you arrive at a moment in time such that you can label it “the present” from an infinite past? You have an answer to that or you don’t. You don’t.

    So you ignore the problem, change the subject, and then declare that you can’t see any problem. Well, duh.

    I take it as self-evident that we can identify moments in time as “the present”, regardless of whether the past is infinite or not.

    And only you here seem to think so. To others it is not “self-evident” at all. The only reason it “seems” self-evident to you is because the past is not in fact infinite.

    So what you try to wave away with a flippant “regardless” is in fact the crux of the matter. You don’t get to appeal to “regardless” because in doing so you’re begging the question at hand.

  137. 137
    daveS says:

    Mung,

    How do you arrive at a moment in time such that you can label it “the present” from an infinite past? You have an answer to that or you don’t. You don’t.

    So you ignore the problem, change the subject, and then declare that you can’t see any problem. Well, duh.

    I’m really not sure why this question generates so much hostility. I’m trying to be as straightforward as possible, but you’re right, I don’t understand what you’re asking, I guess.

    I’ll try throwing out a few thoughts. If you had asked me “how do you arrive at a moment in time such that you can label it the present from a finite past?”, I still would have a difficult time. A huge amount of discussion has been generated by that question itself. But I take it we all assume that “time just passes”, and this scenario is not problematic. Is it any worse assuming an infinite past? It’s stranger, but I don’t see how it leads to a contradiction.

    And only you here seem to think so. To others it is not “self-evident” at all. The only reason it “seems” self-evident to you is because the past is not in fact infinite.

    I don’t know. I simply don’t understand how this in any way relates to the finitude of the past.

    If you don’t accept that it’s self-evident, then I will add this to my list of premises: We can and do arrive at moments in time that we can label as “the present”.

    ***

    Finally, let me clarify my position once more, since others have been confused by it. I am not trying to prove that the past is infinite here, or even prove that it’s mathematically or logically possible, so it’s impossible for me to beg the question on that matter.

    I am simply hypothesizing that the past is infinite, and asking others to show me this leads to a contradiction.

    If you are able to show me a contradiction, then you win. You will have shown that at least my conception of an infinite past cannot be correct.

    If not, then the discussion is inconclusive. Nothing has been demonstrated. Perhaps someone will show me a contradiction in the future.

  138. 138
    Mung says:

    daveS

    I’m really not sure why this question generates so much hostility.

    It’s how I respond to people who are being obtuse. Here’s my suggestion. Don’t be obtuse.

  139. 139
    daveS says:

    Don’t be obtuse.

    I’m doing my best not to. IMO, this is a very difficult subject to communicate with others about, so I don’t assume others are being obtuse when we have difficulty understanding each other.

  140. 140
    Dionisio says:

    daveS @135:

    “Recall that we are talking about one of the premises of the Kalam cosmological argument, which purports to prove the existence of God, so naturally we are not appealing to biblical evidence.”

    You’re wrong on that. Actually, that’s an understatement. You’re not even wrong.

    I could tell you why, but first let’s try and see if you can figure it out yourself, with a little help.

    Did you read the title of the OP that started this discussion thread?

    Did you understand it well?

  141. 141
    daveS says:

    Dionisio,

    Yes, I have read the OP a few times and believe I understand it.

    In retrospect, it probably would have been better if I had said something like “naturally we would not quote bible verses to support the assertion that the past is finite, as we need to demonstrate this assertion without assuming God’s existence”.

    Is that closer to being true?

  142. 142
    Dionisio says:

    daveS @135:

    [@140 addendum]

    In case you can’t find the title of this thread, here it is:

    Physicist David Snoke thinks that Christians should not use the kalaam argument for God’s existence

    [emphasis added]

    The article seems addressed mainly to Christians, not to everybody. Actually, it was published in the website of an organization named “Christian Scientific Society”.
    That means that Christians should know more about the validity of the article than non-Christians.

    If that’s the case, which it is, then references to the Christian Scriptures are expected and even required.

    Therefore your statement “so naturally we are not appealing to biblical evidence” is off target, to say it nicely.

    Do you understand this?

  143. 143
    Dionisio says:

    daveS @141:

    Your comment @141 is off target too.

    Please, read carefully my comments @140 & @142.

    Thanks.

  144. 144
    Dionisio says:

    daveS @141

    Please, you may want to read also my comment @1.

    Most probably you won’t understand it, but it may help you to realize that by addressing the Christians, the referenced article implicitly requires referencing the Christian Scriptures too.

    The first Christians were Christ’s direct disciples, hence did not required the Bible, which wasn’t even written then.

    But most Christians through history have found about Christ from reading or hearing the Christian Scriptures.

  145. 145
    daveS says:

    Dionisio,

    First, no, I don’t think it follows that Christians should understand the validity of the article better than non-Christians merely from the fact that it’s addressed to Christian apologists.

    But the reason that Snoke says that Christian apologists should not use the argument is that he believes it may be unsound—it may be false that no actual infinities exist in the universe. And it’s unhelpful to use bad arguments when witnessing to non-Christians.

    Of course you are entitled to use the bible to show that the past is finite and “patch up” the Kalam argument, but it is then no longer useful as a proof for the existence of God, because it’s circular, and hence loses much of its punch.

  146. 146
    Dionisio says:

    daveS,

    The title of the article referenced in the OP of this thread is:

    “Why Christians should not use the Kalaam argument”

    Here it is:

    http://www.christianscientific.....-argument/

  147. 147
    daveS says:

    Yes, I have read the article. Have you?

  148. 148
    Dionisio says:

    daveS,

    It looks as though you have serious difficulties understanding my point.

    The bottom line of the article is wrong, because from the Christian perspective this universe had a beginning and will have an end at some point which is clearly described in the Christian Scriptures. Hence any association of infinity with this universe is against Christian Scriptures, which is God’s special revelation to His people (i.e. the Christians). Only our souls, which are immaterial, outlast this universe.

    Christians don’t have to argue with anybody about the existence of God. Christians see it clearly, others don’t. There’s nothing Christians can do to change that.
    That’s what I wrote @1.

    Science can’t prove or disprove the existence of God. That’s too big a task for science to even try it. It’s too far beyond scientific capability boundaries.

    Combining Christians and infinite matter the way it’s done in the given article rendered it inaccurate in the best case scenario.

    Perhaps the article would have been more philosophically debatable had it not mentioned the Christians in association with infinite matter in the same document.

    Please, make an effort to understand my point, even if you don’t agree with it.

    Thanks.

  149. 149
    Dionisio says:

    @144 error correction

    The very first Christians were Christ’s direct disciples or their disciples, who did not have the entire Bible NT, which wasn’t entirely written at that point. By grace they heard God’s word, got the saving faith and received the Holy Spirit that led them ahead.
    Later in history Christians heard/read the Christian Scriptures, by grace got the saving faith and received the Holy Spirit.
    Many people hear/read the Christian Scriptures but remain spiritually lost and blind.

  150. 150
    daveS says:

    Dionisio,

    I think almost every paragraph in your post would generate a lively debate on its own. 🙂

    I’ll just say that I stand by my post #135 (with the amendments in #141).

  151. 151
    Mung says:

    daveS:

    I’ll just say that I stand by my post #135 (with the amendments in #141).

    Given an infinite past you’re not here to stand by those posts. You simply cannot get here from there. Your assumption that you can is a question begging assumption.

    But don’t let that stop you!

  152. 152
    daveS says:

    Mung,

    It’s an assumption, but not a question-begging one, because I’m not trying to prove it.

  153. 153
    Mung says:

    daveS:

    It’s an assumption, but not a question-begging one, because I’m not trying to prove it.

    It’s an essential premise of your rebuttal argument. As long as you’re willing to grant that your argument doesn’t rebut anything, because it assume the very thing that you’re allegedly rebutting, I’m willing to settle at that. Are you?

  154. 154
    daveS says:

    Mung,

    I would say I’m not actually engaging in rebuttal at all. What I am trying to do is clarify what I mean when I assert that the past is infinite.

    I informally stated above that I’m assuming essentially everything you do about time, with the exception that I assume the past is infinite rather than finite. Therefore it could take a bit of back-and-forth to make sure we both agree on what I am proposing. I didn’t anticipate it was necessary to explicitly include this premise about arriving at the present moment, so I am now clarifying that this is something I was assuming from the beginning.

  155. 155
    Dionisio says:

    Let’s repeat what I posted @1:

    I don’t think Christians should argue about God’s existence, just live according to His precepts, by His grace and for His glory.
    God’s creation is His general revelation to all people.
    The Christian Scriptures are His special revelation to His people.
    However, it is written that “in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect” [1 Peter3:15 (ESV)]

  156. 156
    Dionisio says:

    Let’s insist on this:

    Aren’t they mixing two different categories?
    The universe we’re in, which may have started at the so-called “Big Bang” but as they should well know is not going to last forever, because at the end of this Age of Grace everything should be destroyed. At least that’s what one could interpret in the Scriptures.
    Therefore the universe has a finite past and a finite future, according to the scriptures. No infinites associated with the universe.
    However, the ultimate reality is not constrained by time or space.
    The eternal future is for the souls that were created long after the Big Bank that started this universe. Two separate categories. The souls will outlast the universe demise.
    The universe started at time Ts
    People’s souls were created at Tp > Ts
    The universe shall end at Te > Tp
    People’s souls will last beyond the end of the universe. They won’t be constrained by time after the physical death of the body they occupy while in this earthly life.
    Ts < Tp < Te
    Our souls shall not be constrained by time in the presence of our Creator, because the Ultimate Reality is timeless. The time dimension is part of this universe. Once it gets destroyed, time and space cease to exist along with the universe too.
    There is no concept of day and night in eternity with God, because we shall be in the presence of true Light eternally. Not physical light, but spiritual Light.
    We should be careful when dealing with different categories. Let’s try not to mix them.
    One may or may not believe what is written. That’s what makes us believers or unbelievers.
    But if we claim to believe it, then we should not make the text say more or less than it really says.
    This physical universe, which we associate with the relativity theory, quantum physics, gravity, electromagnetic force, weak and strong nuclear forces, had a beginning and eventually should come to an end. Finite past and future.
    Our souls had a beginning but won’t have any end. Spiritually we have eternal life while the non-Christian souls shall also last eternally but won’t have eternal spiritual life. Spiritually dead souls eternally separated from their Creator’s grace and glory.

  157. 157
    daveS says:

    Dionisio,

    I don’t think Christians should argue about God’s existence, just live according to His precepts, by His grace and for His glory.

    I actually think that’s good advice, but I suspect there will always be Christians who are interested in these arguments. Maybe they even see as an essential component of fulfilling the Great Commission.

    Snoke’s point, in my view, is that if a Christian does choose to argue for the existence of God, then s/he should avoid any about which there is reasonable doubt.

    Therefore the universe has a finite past and a finite future, according to the scriptures. No infinites associated with the universe.

    How certain are you of this? I know there are and have been some Christians who disagree with this (or at least that we can know this) such as Saint Augustine and Saint Thomas Aquinas. I haven’t read their arguments however.

  158. 158
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, an actually infinite past of a temporal-causal stagewise successive “now” state cosmos implies spanning the transfinite in finite-stage stages. Utterly problematic. But of course often ducked under the claim that at any t, the set of past timeline stages at that point was already infinite. Such begs the question of the required actual traversal. KF

    PS: “Proof” is a very slippery term indeed. It is eminently possible to sufficiently warrant the reality of God that an issue of our responsibility in response to the evidence and logic is on the table.

  159. 159
    Dionisio says:

    daveS,

    What do you mean by “Great Commission”?

    Where did you get that term from?

  160. 160
    Dionisio says:

    2 Corinthians 2:17

    For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.

    [Reformation Study Bible provided by Ligonier Ministries]

    not, like so many. It is tragic that then and now many preach the gospel or teach Christianity as no more than a means of earning a living. Paul’s goal was not personal benefit or financial reward, but the glory of God.

    in the sight of God. All Paul’s ministry was carried out in the sight of God, providing him a strong motive for keeping his conscience clear (1:12; Acts 23:1; 1 Tim. 1:5; 2 Tim. 1:3).

  161. 161
    Dionisio says:

    I read and even analyze the opinions of other Christians, but at the end of the day I want to be faithful to what the book says, not what others say that it says. Sola Scriptura.

    Even the commentaries I read and quote should be taken cautiously, ensuring that they don’t make the book say more or less than it really does.

    I should test everything and hold what is good.

    Professor Smoke is a physicist, not an expert in the Bible. He seems to bark up the wrong trees and sometimes it looks as though he uses logic fallacies to support his weak arguments.

    There’s no area of knowledge I can claim expertise in. Not even close. But maybe others should humbly accept that they aren’t experts either?

    A biochemistry professor incorrectly answered an easy biology question that was posed to him here a couple of years ago. Why?

    A hint could be found in 1 Corinthians 1.

  162. 162
    Dionisio says:

    Matthew 28:16-20

    Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

  163. 163
    Dionisio says:

    The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Psalm 19:1

    The psalmist uses creation language here; compare Gen. 1:1–8, where this word has been translated “expanse.”
    [Reformation Study Bible provided by Ligonier Ministries]

  164. 164
    Dionisio says:

    @162 addendum:

    [Reformation Study Bible provided by Ligonier Ministries]
    Commentary on Matthew 28:18
    Jesus now has “all authority.” The Son of Man has come before the Ancient of Days and received the promised dominion (Dan. 7:13, 14). The last stage of history has begun, but it will not be completed until Christ comes to earth in glory (26:64).

    Commentary on Matthew 28:19
    Go therefore. The Great Commission is given on Christ’s authority. Since Christ’s dominion is universal, the gospel must go to the whole world. This commandment is the primary reason for evangelism and missions.

    nations. The same Greek word often translated “Gentiles.” The great promise that in Abraham all the nations would be blessed (Gen. 12:3) is ready to be fulfilled.

    baptizing them. See note 3:6. Those who become disciples are baptized in (lit. “into”) the triune name. There is one name (not “names”), and one baptism; Father, Son, and Spirit are one God. Disciples are baptized “in” this name because they belong to God, having been brought into the new covenant that expresses the will of the triune God.

    Commentary on Matthew 28:20
    teaching them to observe. Disciples are not just taught what to believe, but how to obey. Jesus taught practical holiness.

    I am with you always. Jesus was named Immanuel (“God with us”) at His birth (1:23), and now He promises to be with His disciples to the end of the age. He is with them specifically in the responsibility of teaching His will to the world.

  165. 165
    Dionisio says:

    daveS @157

    As you can see in the comments @159-164 there’s no commission to proving anything philosophically or scientifically. At least I don’t see it. Do you?

    Therefore your statement about the “great commission” seems to denote your lack of knowledge of the Christian Scriptures.

    This means that my comments @1 is valid.

  166. 166
    Dionisio says:

    General and Special Revelation

    http://www.ligonier.org/blog/g.....scripture/

  167. 167
    Dionisio says:

    General Revelation:

    Psalm 19:1–2.

    The heavens declare the glory of God,
    and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
    Day to day pours out speech,
    and night to night reveals knowledge.

    Romans 1:19–20.

    For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

    Special Revelation:

    Hebrews 1:1–2

    Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.

  168. 168
    Dionisio says:

    [Reformation Study Bible provided by Ligonier Ministries]

    Romans 1:19-20

    what can be known about God.

    Paul stresses the reality and universality of divine revelation, which is perpetual (“since the creation,” v. 20) and perspicuous (“clearly perceived,” v. 20). Divine invisibility, eternity, and power are all expressed in and through the created order (see “General Revelation” at Ps. 19:1). The invisible God is revealed through the visible medium of creation. This revelation is manifest; it is not obscured but clearly seen.

  169. 169
    Dionisio says:

    daveS,

    As you can see in the comments @159-170, my comments @1 & @8 are valid and professor Snoke’s arguments are off target.

    Professor Smoke is a physicist, not an expert in the Bible. He seems to bark up the wrong trees and sometimes it looks as though he uses logic fallacies to support his weak arguments.

    There’s no area of knowledge I can claim expertise on. Not even close. But maybe others should humbly accept that they aren’t experts either?

    You may want to do some homework and document yourself better next time you want to engage in a discussion here. Ok?

  170. 170
    Dionisio says:

    .

  171. 171
    daveS says:

    Dionisio,

    What do you mean by “Great Commission”?

    Where did you get that term from?

    The wikipedia entry for “Great Commission” accurately describes my understanding of the term:

    In Christianity, the Great Commission is the instruction of the resurrected Jesus Christ to his disciples to spread his teachings to all the nations of the world.

    I don’t recall where I first learned it, but I hear it fairly frequently in church sermons and encounter it in my reading.

    As you can see in the comments @159-164 there’s no commission to proving anything philosophically or scientifically. At least I don’t see it. Do you?

    No, but I can see how one who is working to bring the Gospel to the world might be interested in using these philosophical arguments to accomplish that goal. I have seen some of these arguments presented in church, by pastors whose job is exactly to fulfill the Great Commission. I have even encountered this in one-on-one conversations with Christians. It might even happen on this very blog! If you’re trying to explain the Gospel to a non-Christian, especially an atheist, it’s quite reasonable to address the existence of God in the abstract, IMO.

    As you can see in the comments @159-170, my comments @1 & @8 are valid and professor Snoke’s arguments are off target.

    Once again, no.

    Let me use the same approach that you used in your initial posts. Who is Snoke addressing here? You pointed out the that audience consists of Christians. In fact, I would argue the audience is more restricted than that. The first two sentences:

    I’ve heard all kinds of well-meaning and well-educated Christian apologists use variations of the Kalaam argument for the existence of God. Although I strongly support the use of logical and rational arguments in apologetics, this one is one that I think should be dropped.

    Who is he talking to here? He says he thinks the Kalam argument should be “dropped”. By whom? Well, apologists who currently use it (or have yet to drop it).

    You, however, have either already dropped it or have never picked it up, so he isn’t addressing you primarily. You and I can both still read the paper to satisfy our intellectual curiosity of course.

    So, let’s go back to the actual intended audience—those who use the Kalam argument as an apologetic. An apologist would certainly be interested in whether the Kalam argument is 1) logically valid and 2) sound. That it’s logically valid is not in question, so the question turns to soundness. That’s what Snoke is examining.

    As I pointed out above, the apologist would not at this point look to support the premises of the Kalam argument by quoting scripture. This much is obvious. One might as well simply quote Genesis 1:1 and stop right there.

    And it could be, for all I know, that Snoke agrees with you that scriptural evidence shows that the past of our universe is finite. Whatever his views on that are, they are irrelevant, because he is investigating whether the premises of the Kalam argument can be shown to be true, without assuming that God exists and that the bible is the Word of God. That’s because he is addressing Christian apologists who have not necessarily dropped the Kalam argument yet.

    Therefore you and not Snoke are off target here.

  172. 172
    Dionisio says:

    daveS @171:

    Do you now see how off target your comment @157 is?

    The so-called Great Commission has nothing to do with arguing about the existence of God. Professor Snoke seems barking up the wrong tree.

    Can you see it now or you still need help with this?

    After having clarified your confusion, do you finally understand my comments @1 & @8?

  173. 173
    Dionisio says:

    daveS @157 & @171,

    Did you read carefully my comments @159-170?

    It seems like you didn’t. Your comments seem to reveal your misunderstanding and confusion.

    Can you try again? Read slowly. Word by word, statement by statement.
    Take your time, don’t rush. Ok?

  174. 174
    Dionisio says:

    daveS @157 & @171:

    The so called General Revelation is to all people.

    However, at the end you still may not understand certain things because the Christian Scriptures are God’s special revelation to His people. You don’t seem to be in that group, are you?

    Note that even many who claim to be aren’t. It’s written.

    Christ may have many fans, but not all are followers.

    He is looking for true followers and He talks to them only.

    He doesn’t want to have any relationship with the fans.

  175. 175
    daveS says:

    Dionisio,

    Let me back up a little.

    Professor Snoke seems barking up the wrong tree.

    Would you please expand on this, and state it in a non-metaphorical way? Are you talking about the issue of “mixing categories” here that you brought up in #8?

    Edit: I don’t see the relevance of #174. I am not one of God’s people of course. I think the issues Snoke raises are comprehensible to any literate person with average intelligence, however.

  176. 176
    Dionisio says:

    daveS @157 & @171:

    Note that my comments @1 & @8 address different but related issues.

    Starting @159 I’ve been pointing at your comment @157 regarding my comment @1.

    So far it seems like you remain confused at best.

    Let’s keep trying, unless you give up.

  177. 177
    Dionisio says:

    daveS @175,

    Evidently your comments regarding my comment @1 remain off target.

    Did you read carefully my comments @1+@159-170?

    It seems like you didn’t. Your comments seem to reveal deep misunderstanding and confusion.

    Can you try again? Read slowly. Word by word, statement by statement.
    Take your time, don’t rush. Ok?

  178. 178
    Dionisio says:

    daveS @175,

    In case you haven’t got the memo yet, even though I’ve said it more than once here, in the first chapter of the apostle Paul’s first letter to the Christians in Corinth, it is clearly stated that an uneducated person with lower than average IQ could sweep and mop the floor with the ideas and theories of the academic PhD folks of this spiritually blond and lost world.

    In this website we have seen the case a couple of years ago where an uneducated guy asked a very easy to answer biology question to a distinguished biochemistry professor who embarrassingly answered it wrong.

    Did you get this now?

  179. 179
    daveS says:

    Dionisio,

    Note that my comments @1 & @8 address different but related issues.

    Starting @159 I’ve been pointing at your comment @157 regarding my comment @1.

    Ok. As far as I’m concerned, the discussion of #1 is over, in that I don’t have much more to say about it. I take it your position is that no Christians view the Kalam argument as a tool for spreading the Gospel? That seems wrong to me, but perhaps it’s my error. Anyway, it doesn’t seem to have anything to do with possible errors on Snoke’s part, which is what I’m interested in.

    In case you haven’t got the memo yet, even though I’ve said it more than once here, in the first chapter of the apostle Paul’s first letter to the Christians in Corinth, it is clearly stated that an uneducated person with lower than average IQ could sweep and mop the floor with the academic PhD folks of this spiritually blond and lost world.

    In this website we have seen the case a couple of years ago where an uneducated guy asked a very easy to answer biology question to a distinguished biochemistry professor who embarrassingly answered it wrong.

    Did you get this now?

    I don’t know what I’m supposed to get. I agree that uneducated people can sometimes “mop the floor” with PhD’s. That’s obviously true.

    What I’m looking for is specifically what Snoke got wrong. Where is he “off target” and how is he “barking up the wrong tree”? I’ve read all your posts, but I need some help in answering these questions.

  180. 180
    Dionisio says:

    @178 error:

    It should read ‘blind’ instead of ‘blond’

    Sorry for the typo.

  181. 181
    Dionisio says:

    daveS @179,

    You may want to update the text you quoted second.

    Your quote doesn’t match exactly what is in the source comment.

  182. 182
    Dionisio says:

    daveS @179,

    “I don’t know what I’m supposed to get. I agree that uneducated people can sometimes “mop the floor” with PhD’s. That’s obviously true.”

    Then why did you write this @175:

    “I think the issues Snoke raises are comprehensible to any literate person with average intelligence, however.”

    Note that you made a big deal of ‘literacy’ and ‘intelligence’ whatever that means. 🙂

    Do you understand now the text you quoted second @179 or still need help to get it?

  183. 183
    Dionisio says:

    daveS,

    Keep in mind that Snoke’s article referenced in the OP of this thread was published in a website that has the qualifier ‘Christian’ at the beginning of its name.

  184. 184
    Dionisio says:

    Here’s what I wrote @1:

    I don’t think Christians should argue about God’s existence, just live according to His precepts, by His grace and for His glory.
    God’s creation is His general revelation to all people.
    The Christian Scriptures are His special revelation to His people.
    However, it is written that “in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect” [1 Peter3:15 (ESV)]

  185. 185
    Dionisio says:

    daveS @157,

    I actually think that’s good advice, but I suspect there will always be Christians who are interested in these arguments. Maybe they even see as an essential component of fulfilling the Great Commission.

    Snoke’s point, in my view, is that if a Christian does choose to argue for the existence of God, then s/he should avoid any about which there is reasonable doubt.

  186. 186
    daveS says:

    Dionisio,

    To answer your #182, I was trying to understand the purpose of your #174. In #174, you seemed to suggest that I might not get certain things because I’m not one of His people. I replied that I believed that the issues in the Snoke paper are accessible to me, being a literate person of average intelligence. I’m not suggesting that an illiterate person of below average intelligence couldn’t also grasp the issues Snoke raises.

    Anyway, I’ve asked a number of times already—where does Snoke miss the target or bark up the wrong tree? Would you please give a brief synopsis of the passages where he goes wrong?

  187. 187
    Dionisio says:

    daveS @179,

    “I think the issues Snoke raises are comprehensible to any literate person with average intelligence, however.”

    No, that’s not true.

    Professor Snoke leads and writes in a Christian website that raises issues related to God and Christianity, which may not be comprehensible to any human –regardless of academic achievements of any kind– unless God makes it partially understandable to certain people He graciously chooses according to the purpose of His sovereign will.

    Education, IQ score, physical condition, health, socioeconomic status, geographical situation, ethnic background, gender, nothing worldly helps in matters of God. Science can’t reach there. Nothing worldly can help. Even Professor Snoke himself may not fully understand the issues he raises.

    Since professor Snoke raises issues related to God and Christianity, the Christian Scriptures should be the basis of his article and of the associated discussion.

    Christians should not engage in worldly arguments on the existence of God. God takes care of presenting His own evidences –the General Revelation– which should suffice to all people.

    If that itself doesn’t persuade someone, nothing else in this world will. Christians should be aware of that reality, because it’s written.

    Your mentioning the Great Commission opened a whole new discussion topic. That belongs in God’s Special Revelation to His people. Not all who call themselves Christians are. Many Germans who called themselves Christians in the 1930s supported the Nazi doctrines which were openly evil. Were they really Christians? Only God knows it. But I doubt they were.

    There’s a great mystery associated with the saving faith in the redemptive value of Christ’s death and His supernatural resurrection. Christians get that faith from hearing God’s word by God’s grace alone. Nothing we do takes us there. Many different people hear God’s word –some even memorize it– but very few have the faith. The grace of God and the work of the Holy Spirit are at the core of this mystery.

    However, the fruit of the Spirit dwelling within the Christian souls should be manifested in their lives. Faith without fruits is not genuine.

    Christ has many fans in this world, but not many followers. He brings to Himself the latter –which are called saints in the New Testament– making them more like Himself through their spiritual renewal in a process called sanctification.

    The goal of the Christians is to give praises, honor, glory to our Creator and to enjoy worshipping Him in His glorious presence eternally.

    Nothing compares to that.

    Sola Scriptura
    Sola Fide
    Sola Gratia
    Solus Christus
    Soli Dei Gloria

  188. 188
    daveS says:

    Dionisio,

    I was referring specifically to the issues Snoke raises in this particular paper on the Kalam argument. I feel competent to discuss those. If you disagree, could you cite passages in the paper which you believe I may not be equipped to understand?

  189. 189
    daveS says:

    Dionisio,

    Christians should not engage in worldly arguments on the existence of God. God takes care of presenting His own evidences –the General Revelation– which should suffice to all people.

    It appears that you and Snoke are in agreement on this point: Christians should not use the Kalam argument.

    Snoke draws this conclusion by demonstrating that the Kalam argument may have a serious flaw, rendering it possibly unsound.

    You draw this conclusion by invoking the general principle you have stated in the above quote—Christians should not engage in any arguments of this sort, whether they appear to be sound or not.

    Is this correct?

  190. 190
    Dionisio says:

    daveS @186, 188, 189,

    Since professor Snoke raises issues related to God and Christianity in a website called “Christian Scientific Society”, the Christian Scriptures should be the basis of his article and of the associated discussion.

    Christians don’t have to be concerned about whether a worldly philosophical argument has flaws or lacks strength in order to prove the existence of God, simply because Christians should not engage in worldly arguments on the existence of God. God takes care of presenting His own evidences –the General Revelation– which should suffice to all people. If that itself doesn’t persuade someone, nothing else in this world will. Christians should be aware of that reality, because it’s written.

    That was barking up a wrong tree.

    Then to make things worse, professor Snoke disregarded Christian Scriptures while speculating about the concepts of time, space, matter, the universe. That mistake weakened his message. My comment @8 touched that point.

    That was barking up another wrong tree.

    Basically, he was off target through his article.

    Had he written his message in a worldly venue, totally unrelated to God or Christianity, I would have commented only on the logical weaknesses of his article. Or perhaps I would have skipped it altogether. I’m not an active member of the Areopagus. 🙂

    But instead professor Snoke made a big ‘rice with mango’* of his article, mixing Christianity with weak non-Christian concepts.

    Christians are –by God’s grace– forgiven sinners who want to refrain from behaving or thinking worldly. Christians are saints (set apart) who want to be godly, faithful to God’s word. However, we still fail many times, but God is amazingly gracious and keeps pulling us up so that we can continue our walk in His truth. It’s a long and winding road –called sanctification– that leads to our complete maturity in the faith and spiritual renewal.
    God loves us, that’s why we love Him. His love is Agape. He initiated it even though we were (and still are) unlovable in our adult rational condition.

    Amazing grace.

    (*) an exotic dessert I ate at a Thai restaurant in Toronto a couple of months ago.

  191. 191
    Dionisio says:

    daveS @188:

    “…could you cite passages in the paper which you believe I may not be equipped to understand?”

    I don’t know what you understand and what you don’t.

    Only our Creator knows what you understand and what you don’t. He can even make you understand things you don’t understand now.

    Do you understand the second word in the title of Snoke’s article?

    What does it really mean?

  192. 192
    Dionisio says:

    daveS @189,

    It appears that you and Snoke are in agreement on this point: Christians should not use the Kalam argument.

    Is this correct?

    No. That is not correct.

    Words have contextual meaning.

    Try again.

    PS. I wonder what the anonymous readers, lurkers, onlookers, think of this discussion by now.

    🙂

  193. 193
    daveS says:

    Dionisio,

    Thanks, your #190 clears some things up for me.

    But it sounds like you are expecting to find theology rather than science in this article, when the organization’s mission is to produce science from a Christian perspective.

    Aside from that, how would you use Christian scriptures in an analysis of the Kalam argument? I really don’t know what that would look like.

    BTW, I notice that you and Prof. Snoke had a discussion in the comments to his article, and Ben Waters also showed up with some input. He brought up some very interesting points in some of the “infinite past” threads here a ways back.

    Re #191: Yes, I do know what the word “Christians” means. A Christian is a person who accepts Jesus as his/her savior.

  194. 194
    Dionisio says:

    daveS @4:

    “It is a very bad paper indeed.”

    daveS @179:

    “What I’m looking for is specifically what Snoke got wrong.”

    Hmm…

  195. 195
    daveS says:

    Dionisio @194,

    I think his overall conclusions about the Kalam argument are correct, but the paper is very sloppy and contains a serious error relating to equating the impossibility of an infinite past with the impossibility of an infinite future. I have reservations about his analysis of Zeno’s paradoxes as well.

  196. 196
    Dionisio says:

    daveS @193:

    “… it sounds like you are expecting to find theology rather than science in this article, when the organization’s mission is to produce science from a Christian perspective.”

    You’ve got it wrong again.

    Read my comment @8 carefully. Take your time.
    It should help you understand my point.

  197. 197
    Dionisio says:

    daveS @193:

    We don’t need extra-biblical arguments because the General Revelation and the Christian Scriptures suffice.

    God doesn’t need us to prove his existence. He takes care of that Himself.

    God wants us to worship Him in truth and spirit. He wants us to love Him with all our strength and mind. He wants us to love our neighbors like the good Samaritan did. He wants us to proclaim His gracious offer of salvation.

  198. 198
    Dionisio says:

    daveS @193:

    “Re #191: Yes, I do know what the word “Christians” means. A Christian is a person who accepts Jesus as his/her savior.”

    What does that mean?

  199. 199
    Dionisio says:

    daveS @193:

    “…how would you use Christian scriptures in an analysis of the Kalam argument?”

    Why would I do that?
    What would I do that for?

  200. 200
    Dionisio says:

    daveS @4:

    “It is a very bad paper indeed.”

    daveS @179:

    “What I’m looking for is specifically what Snoke got wrong.”

    daveS @195:

    “I think his overall conclusions about the Kalam argument are correct, but the paper is very sloppy and contains a serious error relating to equating the impossibility of an infinite past with the impossibility of an infinite future. I have reservations about his analysis of Zeno’s paradoxes as well.”

    Hmm…

  201. 201
    daveS says:

    Dionisio,

    “Re #191: Yes, I do know what the word “Christians” means. A Christian is a person who accepts Jesus as his/her savior.”

    What does that mean?

    It looks like this could go on for a while, so I’m just going to leave it there.

    “…how would you use Christian scriptures in an analysis of the Kalam argument?”

    Why would I do that?
    What would I do that for?

    I don’t know if or why you would do such a thing, I’m just curious what such an article would look like. If you are not interested in it, then I withdraw the question.

    Hmm…

    Yes, have a look at those parts of the paper and I’m happy to discuss them with you. Despite these issues, his final assessment of the Kalam argument is correct, I believe.

  202. 202
    Dionisio says:

    daveS @188:

    “…could you cite passages in the paper which you believe I may not be equipped to understand?”

    I don’t know what you understand and what you don’t.

    Only our Creator knows what you understand and what you don’t. He can even make you understand things you don’t understand now.

    Does the word ‘God’ appear in the text of the referenced article?

  203. 203
    Dionisio says:

    daveS @201:

    [responding to question @198]

    “It looks like this could go on for a while, so I’m just going to leave it there.”

    Why? Ran out of time?
    Do you feel uncomfortable with or intimidated by the topic?

  204. 204
    Pindi says:

    Dionisio @192

    Here’s what I think of the discussion. If you want more people to read what you write and engage with you, try saying succinctly what you think; respond directly with information where people ask for clarification; and stop with the tedious pseudo Socratic attempt.

  205. 205
    Dionisio says:

    daveS @201:

    [responding to question @199]

    “I don’t know if or why you would do such a thing, I’m just curious what such an article would look like.”

    How about an article on using the US Constitution in an analysis of my 7-month grandson or my 7-week granddaughter cooing?

    🙂

  206. 206
    daveS says:

    Dionisio @203: Boredom, mostly.

  207. 207
    Dionisio says:

    This thread

    Visited 2,369 times, 229 visits today

    206 posted comments

    2,163 visits without leaving any comment
    (including repeated visitors)

    July 30 – August 24

    25 days

    Average number of visits per day: 94
    Average number of quiet visits per day: 86

    Today 229 visits.

    Well above the daily average.

    Apparently some onlookers/lurkers have found some reason to come to this thread the last couple of days.

    But it’s time to wrap this up and go back to work.

    🙂

  208. 208
    Dionisio says:

    This thread has shown, once more, that when the discussions get seriously deeper, some folks that otherwise are loud, suddenly run for the door in panic.
    There are certain fundamental topics they prefer to stay far away from.
    In victory we should be magnanimous, merciful, forgiving, gracious, and respectful.
    If God is with us, who can be against?

  209. 209
    daveS says:

    Dionisio,

    I don’t know that anyone has run for the door in panic yet. And I only wish the discussion were heading into deeper matters. But the last serious question you posed was whether the word “God” appeared in the text of the article, which is not terribly deep.

    It might move the discussion along more quickly if you simply stated that yes, the word “God” does indeed appear in the article, and then told us what the significance of that is.

    I’m not sure we share enough common interests in this topic to sustain a discussion, however. I like talking about the Kalam argument, the philosophy of time, and most of the issues Snoke addresses in his paper, but I sense that you are more interested in other things.

  210. 210
    Dionisio says:

    Apologetic mission:

    “in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect” [1 Peter3:15 (ESV)]

    Commentary from the Reformation Study Bible provided by Ligonier Ministries:

    always being prepared. Readiness to confess Christ is an important aspect of setting apart Christ as Lord.

    defense. The word may suggest response to abusive or derisive inquiries from hostile people. Such a response includes an explanation of the main points of Christianity.

    Matthew Henry’s Commentary:

    Instead of terrifying yourselves with the fear of men, be sure to sanctify the Lord God in your hearts (1 Pet. 3:15); let him be your fear, and let him be your dread, Isa. 8:12, 13. Fear not those that can only kill the body, but fear him that can destroy body and soul, Luke 12:4, 5. We sanctify the Lord God in our hearts when we with sincerity and fervency adore him, when our thoughts of him are awful and reverend, when we rely upon his power, trust to his faithfulness, submit to his wisdom, imitate his holiness, and give him the glory due to his most illustrious perfections. We sanctify God before others when our deportment is such as invites and encourages others to glorify and honour him; both are required, Lev. 10:3. “When this principle is laid deeply into your hearts, the next thing, as to men, is to be always ready, that is, able and willing, to give an answer, or make an apology or defence, of the faith you profess, and that to every man that asketh a reason of your hope, what sort of hope you have, or which you suffer such hardships in the world.” Learn, First, An awful sense of the divine perfections is the best antidote against the fear of sufferings; did we fear God more, we should certainly fear men less. Secondly, The hope and faith of a Christian are defensible against all the world. There may be a good reason given for religion; it is not a fancy but a rational scheme revealed from heaven, suited to all the necessities of miserable sinners, and centering entirely in the glory of God through Jesus Christ. Thirdly, Every Christian is bound to answer and apologize for the hope that is in him. Christians should have a reason ready for their Christianity, that it may appear they are not actuated either by folly or fancy. This defence may be necessary more than once or twice, so that Christians should be always prepared to make it, either to the magistrate, if he demand it, or to any inquisitive Christian, who desires to know it for his information or improvement. Fourthly, These confessions of our faith ought to be made with meekness and fear; apologies for our religion ought to be made with modesty and meekness, in the fear of God, with jealousy over ourselves, and reverence to our superiors.

  211. 211
    Dionisio says:

    .

  212. 212
    daveS says:

    Dionisio,

    Had he written his message in a worldly venue, totally unrelated to God or Christianity, I would have commented only on the logical weaknesses of his article. Or perhaps I would have skipped it altogether. I’m not an active member of the Areopagus.

    Suppose this article had indeed been written in a worldy venue. What logical weaknesses would you have commented on?

  213. 213
    Axel says:

    I hesitate to ask/suggest the question, but there it is by way of the concluding sentence.

    ‘But because something cannot come from nothing, that starting point must have some sufficient cause outside itself. That starting point, or sufficient cause, must be something outside of time, which can be identified with God.’- Prof Snoke
    ————–
    ‘But in modern physics and mathematics, there is nothing inconceivable or illogical about the idea of an infinitely old universe.’- Prof. Snoke
    ————–
    Does not the first paragraph above give the lie to the second, in view of Godel’s Incompleteness Theorem.

  214. 214
    daveS says:

    Axel,

    Does not the first paragraph above give the lie to the second, in view of Godel’s Incompleteness Theorem.

    I don’t see how; in any case, I would want to see a rigorous, detailed proof if any of Godel’s Incompleteness theorems were invoked. My 2 cents, anyway.

  215. 215
    mike1962 says:

    ‘But in modern physics and mathematics, there is nothing inconceivable or illogical about the idea of an infinitely old universe.’- Prof. Snoke

    Infinite regress means there is an instantiated infinite set – specifically, time units – which is nonsense, by definition.

  216. 216
    kairosfocus says:

    Dionisio, DS et al,

    Being back at home (though by no means 100%) pardon some thoughts under the thread theme.

    First, on the Christian-Scriptural aspect, D has experience as coming through the days of officially atheistical Communism in Eastern Europe. Inter alia, for a Doctorate one had to present a paper on atheism to demonstrate one’s proper scientific attitude.(Today, in the West, the games seem to be subtler but the same agendas obtain, as some career-busting, blame the victim cases patently demonstrate.)

    That said, I note that nowhere do the Hebraic and Christian Scriptures attempt a formal demonstration of the reality of God. Instead, we read the assertion that denial of God’s reality is a manifestation of willful, sinful folly, and we find this discussion in Rom 1:

    Rom 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.

    19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world,[g] in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

    24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

    26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions . . . . 28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased [reprobate] mind to do what ought not to be done . . . [ESV, as now customary]

    In 2 Cor 10, also, we read:

    2 Cor 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ . . .

    The first of these texts outlines the root and consequences of turning from the acknowledgement of God; debasing of the mind itself so that its products become warped and out of control. This leads to a fast spreading cancer of debased conduct, not just speech, of which erecting ideologies, mythologies and schemes of alleged knowledge and then communities in defiance of the evident reality of God as world root who grounds morality are all predictable manifestations.

    Similarly, we may point to a seeming clincher in 1 Cor 1 (often seen in some quarters as a repudiation of the approach in Ac 17):

    1 Cor 1:18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written,

    “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
    and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”

    20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?

    21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach[b] to save those who believe. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

    So, is it then pointless to discuss warrant for accepting God as world-root?

    Not if we look a bit deeper, starting with 2 Cor 10: there is another side to the story. AMP:

    2 Cor 10: 3 For though we walk in the flesh [as mortal men], we are not carrying on our [spiritual] warfare according to the flesh and using the weapons of man. 4 The weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood]. Our weapons are divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. 5 We are destroying sophisticated arguments and every exalted and proud thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought and purpose captive to the obedience of Christ [Cf. Col 2:2b- 3: “Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge [regarding the word and purposes of God]. 4 I say this so that no one will deceive you with persuasive [but thoroughly deceptive] arguments.”] . . .

    From Col 2, we see that in Christ are found the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, for the Messiah (I switch to the Heb term) is God incarnate for our rescue. So bringing unruly thoughts into proper order under the Gospel is a proper pursuit for Christians, as part of worldviews level integration of knowledge as a coherent whole; Aquinas’ corpus, is a classic — though of course famously incomplete — illustration of this. Indeed, I would argue that this is implicit in the call to Godly reformation as a part of discipleship in Matt 28, a part of the Great Commission.

    With that in hand, it is then helpful to focus the second aspect in 2 Cor 10: “We are destroying sophisticated [–> but obviously misleading] arguments and every exalted and proud thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God.”

    So, the Christian community is mandated to analyse and address thought systems, ideologies, worldviews and cultural agendas etc that manifest the patterns of Rom 1. Where, the underlying core warrant for the Faith is the prophetic tradition and its fulfillment in Christ, especially as attested by the over 500 witnesses of the prophesied death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, leading to life transforming encounter with the living God. (Remember, dismissal of the Christian case implies delusion on the scale of millions, to the point where it would bring the credibility of the human mind into serious question.)

    In this context, there is obviously nothing wrong with sharing the results of such an analysis with the wider community as a part of the invitation to turn from folly and sin to the living God. Indeed, such a sharing would be part of the giving to every man who inquires an answer as to the REASON for the hope Christians have.

    I think this is a basis for addressing the matters in hand from the Christian perspective.

    In short, Christian scholarship can and should be part of the wider scholarship, though we should harbour no rosy-tinted naive hopes about how many will respond.

    In fairly direct terms, minds out of control because they have cut themselves off from the roots of morality are already in a case of undermining the very conscience that prompts us towards truth, reasonableness, responsibility and straight thinking, much less living. (This means conviction including about the sins of the thought world, is a first issue, one we dare not neglect.)

    But, minds that are responsive to the promptings towards truth in the inward parts, are ready to enter into real discussion on the reality of our world. Indeed, to even do responsible scholarship and — yes — science.

    To that I will next turn, DV.

    KF

    [END of part 1]

  217. 217
    kairosfocus says:

    Dionisio et al:

    Indulge me a continuation, now focussed on more general issues. Here I am among other things saying that the Christian intellectual community needs to be a part of the wider community of responsible scholarship. Of course, that is different from the games played by debased minds willfully resistant to evidence, responsibility, truth and reason. (Against such, we can only stand up as witnesses to a better approach.)

    Broadly, I think we need to start from a self-referentiality criterion: no worldview is plausible if it radically undermines responsible reasoned thought and the creation and use of knowledge through prudence and wisdom. Advocates of evolutionary materialistic scientism and linked allegedly scientific atheism of the “brights” . . . self-congratulatory complacency practically drips out of that term . . . and the like, I am looking straight at you. For sobering cause.

    As is commonplace, I start from looking at self-evident first principles of right reason and particularly, linked, first principles of being. The infinite regress vs circularity vs warranted responsible faith-point issue looks at us. So does the IS-OUGHT gap and the need to have a fusion of these in the world-root. On being, the distinct identity of some A implies a coherent set of defining, core, characteristics and possible being. Thence, we see the reality of not just contingent but necessary beings that are framework to any world existing. (Try to imagine a world without distinct identity existing.)

    In this context, incoherent core charateristics lead to impossible beings like square circles. The true nothing stands out as non-being. And as such can have no causal powers, were such to ever obtain as the sum total, then that would forever obtain: 0 –> 0 –> 0 –> . . . ad infinitum.

    There would be no world.

    A world, self-evidently, is.

    Thus we look at possible and even actual beings, which would be contingent or necessary. Some, must be necessary. Contingent beings depend on enabling on/off causal factors as a fire depends on heat, oxidiser, fuel and a chain reaction. They are not self-sufficient. Necessary ones, by contrast, will be independent and eternal, without beginning or ending. So already, we are at the threshold of eternity and the indestructible.

    That alone is already a transformation of the thought life for many, who have never seriously thought about something like this. A transformation that opens up the issue of The Eternal God as the most serious candidate necessary being. Such a being would either be impossible or else would be actual in some possible world, and would be framework to any such world, thus actual in our world (and any other worlds that may exist beyond being thoughts).

    Believing in God as ultimate reality and supreme being is not akin to believing in tooth fairies and the like.

    Atheists, it is high time to set aside such silly rhetoric.

    I have heard this sort of rubbish far too often, and I have seen a presumption of superiority that reeks of imagining that faith in God is a sign of being weak minded or worse.

    Kindly, stop.

    And BTW, clever redefinitions of atheism to try to shift burdens of proof rhetorically also fail the test. Every worldview must stand on its own merits.

    Also, the stance of denial of God, whether explicit or implicit, entails the implication of holding that God is not a serious candidate being [itself utterly ill-advised], and/or of showing just cause to hold the God of generic ethical theism to be an impossible being. Recall, a serious cndidatre necessary being will either be impossible or actual. (And no, post Plantinga, the problem of evil will not do for such; in case someone is about 50 years out of date.)

    I trust this interim stage will also be helpful.

    The foolishness of God is wiser and stronger than men.

    KF

    {END, part 2]

  218. 218
    kairosfocus says:

    Dionisio et al:

    Let me refocus the theme in this thread now, by clipping my brief comment of some days past, at 158:

    158
    kairosfocus August 23, 2017 at 10:25 pm

    DS, an actually infinite past of a temporal-causal stagewise successive “now” state cosmos implies spanning the transfinite in finite-stage stages. Utterly problematic. But of course often ducked under the claim that at any t, the set of past timeline stages at that point was already infinite. Such begs the question of the required actual traversal. KF

    PS: “Proof” is a very slippery term indeed. It is eminently possible to sufficiently warrant the reality of God that an issue of our responsibility in response to the evidence and logic is on the table.

    DS, no, it is not enough to say that at any t, an infinite past is already in hand. We live in a world that is temporally successive and causally linked, with recognisable finite steps. Traversing a transfinite span in finite stage steps is a futile exercise, we are only warranted to speak to a finitely remote past of origins and to the possibility of a potentially infinite continuation. This, in the context of an eternal world root of necessary being character.

    A character, that must account adequately for the morally governed responsible rationality that we manifest — absent searing consciences with hot irons and ending up in debased manipulative minds that justify wickedness and folly while discrediting sound wisdom.

    Leading, to the sort of shipwreck that Ac 27 so aptly captures in a brief historical sketch.

    Beware, that gentle south wind in a dangerous hour, it is likely to be due to air masses moving up and out of the way as a front embedding a noreaster approaches!

    As we have these exchanges, what is it that we are risking, even insisting on marches of folly over?

    In this context, I suggest that a cumulative case that God is real is not just a serious contender, but something that can be warranted to moral certainty. Sufficiently so, that further insistence on resisting God is ill-advised. Indeed, that is the implication of what was already put on the table.

    We are ever so prone to re-label our follies as wisdom and cleverness!

    Let us think again and do better.

    KF

  219. 219
    daveS says:

    mike1962,

    Infinite regress means there is an instantiated infinite set – specifically, time units – which is nonsense, by definition.

    Could you elaborate on why an instantiated infinite set is nonsense, by definition?

    Would a spatially infinite universe be impossible for the same reason?

    As an illustration, suppose I claimed that our universe contained somewhere an “infinite line” of snooker balls, floating in space, with neighboring balls 1 km apart. Is it possible to show my claim is false using mathematical or logical arguments only?

  220. 220
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, the critical issue starts with temporal-causal succession with finite stages in succession to traverse a transfinite span of time. Ponder balls made in succession and placed 1 km apart. Manufacture, materials and travel all would be implicated and would require separate instantiated infinities. A manufacturing, transport and material process of transfinite span such that at any given point and time there were already an infinite number of balls made and in place. That is troubling already. Then, consider the traverse required, which tries to span the transfinite in finite stage steps. This can be seen on 1, 2, 3, . . . k, k+1. k+2. . . . which will allow us to match k on to 1 on showing how we will never pass a finite count, the potential but not the completed infinity will be a problem. We can have a defined infinite set but cannot carry out a stepwise process to traverse it, e.g. by counting. KF

  221. 221
    daveS says:

    KF,

    To clarify, I’m assuming that God creates the snooker balls and places them in this linear arrangement instantaneously and simultaneously wrt to the common rest frame of all the balls. They are not manufactured or placed in succession, and there is no traversal (or counting) in time happening here.

  222. 222
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, so, how do you know there is an infinite array of physical entities of similar character, i.e. snooker balls? (In short how do you move away from a conceptual declaration to physical manifestation.) KF

  223. 223
    daveS says:

    KF,

    God could communicate this information to me through personal revelation or scripture, for example.

  224. 224
    Dionisio says:

    KF @216:

    Thank you for the very insightful comment and for calling my attention onto important biblical passages I had incorrectly missed. Pointing to 2 Corinthians 10:5 is very wise and I highly appreciate it. That’s a timely correction I needed regarding my comment @1. May this serve as an example of how Christians may correct one another always using as reference the Christian Scriptures from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21. This lost world can’t do the same. That’s why there are wars and so many social problems. Because the world doesn’t have any absolute standard that must be used as reference.

  225. 225
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, so, you come to know by faith in the authority of a credible source? That is, a trustworthy authority can have probative value. Meanwhile, the issue that is pivotal surfaces: a finite-stage, causally successive process . . . the relevant kind . . . cannot traverse a transfinite span. KF

    PS: God cannot make a square circle as there is no possible world in which such can exist, it is an impossible being.

  226. 226
    Dionisio says:

    KF,

    The last sentence @207 indicates the current status of my involvement in the rest of this discussion thread. I’d gladly discuss with you any topic of mutual interest here or in another thread, but may ignore the folks who openly show lack of interest in serious discussions.

    As I’ve mentioned before, I saw many characters representing the mythical inhabitants of some areas surrounding the beautiful Norwegian fjords and had no problem being close to them. But I can’t stand the real ones who show up online completely unsolicited. It’s my perception that you’re dealing with some of them here.

  227. 227
    daveS says:

    KF,

    Yes, to the first question.

    As to the second, there is no step-by-step traversal of an infinite set in my scenario, so I don’t see it as setting up an impossible task for God to accomplish.

  228. 228
    Dionisio says:

  229. 229
    Dionisio says:

    KF,

    Please, help me with this:

    Penrose’s heavily speculative Conformal Cyclic Cosmology (CCC) postulates an infinite series of consecutive universes (aeons), each aeon ‘i’ having its own beginning(i) –following the end of the preceding aeon (i-1)– and end(i) –preceding the beginning of the following aeon (i+1).

    Could the first three words in Genesis 1:1 and John 1:1 refer to the beginning of our aeon(i)? Why not?

    In either case, this ‘CCC’ aeon(i) has a beginning and an end.

    Aren’t biblical verses referring to such an end?

    Then even such a controversial and highly speculative idea as the CCC doesn’t seem to contradict the Christian Scriptures. Still this ‘aeon’ history we’re living in is finite.

    That means OOL folks and their Darwinian comrades have to stay up all night long trying to figure out new ‘just-so’ stories. Please, note that no concept of information panspermia from aeon(i-1) to aeon(i) will help them resolve their issues. At the end of every CCC aeon only photons get away from the final ‘black hole disappearance’ scene.

    Basically, let’s focus on this ‘aeon’ knowing that the Creator of the whole show has promised to take some of us out of this spiritually blind and lost ‘aeon’ so we can enjoy His glorious presence and worship Him eternally.

  230. 230
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, the case actually at stake is precisely of the temporally successive, finite stage, causally driven ladder-climbing pattern identified. As for the string of balls case, apply the issues of Hilbert’s Hotel to it. The paradoxical results raise serious questions about any claimed physical instantiation of an actual infinite set of material objects. It may even be a gravitational cosmos collapser. KF

    PS: You may then be advised to ponder the authority of One who broke the power of death, with 500+ witnesses and in fulfillment of centuries-old prophecies in the Hebraic scriptures.

  231. 231
    kairosfocus says:

    Dionisio, oscillating/ cyclical cosmos models run into entropy runaway problems. KF

  232. 232
    daveS says:

    KF,

    DS, the case actually at stake is precisely of the temporally successive, finite stage, causally driven ladder-climbing pattern identified. As for the string of balls case, apply the issues of Hilbert’s Hotel to it. The paradoxical results raise serious questions about any claimed physical instantiation of an actual infinite set of material objects.

    Have you read Snoke’s take on the Hilbert Hotel? Essentially, there is no paradox, because after the new guest arrives, there never is a time at which all guests are housed singly again. There is always one guest outside the hotel, moving to the next room, or perhaps two guests in a room, depending on how the shifting goes. The shifting process never ends. I certainly don’t see anything in that example which suggests the infinite snooker ball arrangement to be impossible.

    It may even be a gravitational cosmos collapser.

    Well, that would be ok. I’m not claiming the arrangement would be stable, just that it could exist for some positive amount of time without creating logical or mathematical problems. However, I suppose if the balls were moving apart from each other with sufficient velocity, the arrangement could continue to expand indefinitely (analogous to an open universe).

    Here’s Snoke on the Hilbert Hotel, for reference:

    This seems to imply a contradiction, since all the rooms were occupied at the start, with no empty spaces, but an empty space was found. For a physicist, though, this scenario is easily dealt with by the principle of locality. It takes a finite time for an occupant to move from one room to the next. So really what has happened is that the new guest has set up a traveling wave in the chain of rooms. At all later points in time, there will be one guest walking from a one room to the next, while the other rooms are all occupied. There has not been a new room discovered, but rather a moving “excitation” (to use physics language).

  233. 233
    Dionisio says:

    KF @231,

    Agree, but that’s the CCC proponents’ problem, not mine.

    What I’m saying is that each aeon is associated with a new history (with beginning and end), all from scratch, even if they had the immigrant photons that escaped aeon(i-1) riding the info panspermia after the flashy closing act ‘black hole disappearance’ and the whole nine yards.

    None of that makes things easier for the OOL and Darwinian fans.

  234. 234
    Dionisio says:

    KF,

    It seems like Penrose’s CCC aeons are finite. They have beginning and end. What is infinite in their highly speculative idea is the actual series of aeons. But we’re focused on our current aeon(i) and all references to history are relative to this aeon(i), hence no infinite past or future.
    God made the whole show. He spoke it.
    We don’t even understand this aeon(i) we’re in, why should we care about the aeon(i-1) or aeon(i+1)?
    First things first.

  235. 235
    Dionisio says:

    The unfolding of the historical style in modern cosmology: Emergence, evolution, entrenchment
    Jacob Pearce
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.shpsb.2017.01.005
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics
    Volume 57, February 2017, Pages 17-34

  236. 236
    Dionisio says:

    […] there is still much to be said on the role of computer simulation in cosmology, the use of statistical reasoning in quantum cosmology, the taxonomic systems used in astro-particle physics, metaphorical reasoning such as the elusive silhouette that is dark matter, the space-time regions connected to black holes, and the unexplained force that is dark energy. By tracing the history of its questions and practices, new aspects of the history of modern cosmology may be brought to light.

    The unfolding of the historical style in modern cosmology: Emergence, evolution, entrenchment
    Jacob Pearce
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.shpsb.2017.01.005
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics
    Volume 57, February 2017, Pages 17-34

    Where’s the beef?

    🙂

  237. 237
    Dionisio says:

    […] there appears a well-defined “scene of response”, rather than of fully-fledged inquiry. Thus, intelligible questions may be considered metaphysical, but not timelessly so.

    “Why These Laws?”—Multiverse Discourse as a Scene of Response
    Jacob Pearce
    doi: 10.1162/POSC_a_00245
    Perspectives on Science
    Volume 25 | Issue 3 | May-June 2017
    p.324-354

    Where’s the beef?

    🙂

  238. 238
    Dionisio says:

    By the end of the twentieth century, many prominent cosmologists were fascinated by the questions why is the universe the way it is, and why does the universe appear to be just right for life to emerge.

    Indeed, the shift to posing questions beginning with why rather than what or how is a relatively recent development in modern cosmology.

    “Why These Laws?”—Multiverse Discourse as a Scene of Response
    Jacob Pearce
    doi: 10.1162/POSC_a_00245
    Perspectives on Science
    Volume 25 | Issue 3 | May-June 2017
    p.324-354

  239. 239
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, I got back up for a moment, to follow up on a point I forgot about 1,000 mi from here . . . I have some new assignments similar to my Dad’s where he was working for 35 years and was not able to get all through for his Dad. I suggest that Snokes’ remark is little more than accepting that the Hilbert Hotel paradoxes involve incomplete-able supertasks, directly connected to the implication of a claimed actual infinity. All of that adds to the force of the paradoxes and the implication that we should not jump too readily from assertions about abstract sets to the physical world. KF

  240. 240
    kairosfocus says:

    Dionisio, yes, the aeons become finite stages in cumulative causal succession, which is where the entropy runaway question comes from, an issue with oscillating universe claims. Entropy, energy quality degradation, is fundamentally irreversible for reasons connected to the relative abundance — statistical weight — of clusters of microstates in systems, thence probability of clusters. The overwhelming trend is to move towards more likely clusters, which degrades available energy to drive changes. KF

  241. 241
    Dionisio says:

    Inflation is an example of a speculative idea that is generally accepted by cosmologists today, even if they agree that it is somewhat post hoc and will potentially be replaced in the future.

    It is unclear whether scepticism towards metaphysics constitutes the norm in cosmology, especially as notions such as metaphysical boundaries have become so blurred.

    Non-empirical criteria are beginning to play a major role, especially when empirical data is more difficult to gather (at higher energies and probing deeper than ever before).

    The same could be said for cosmology, where inquirers are probing space-time realms beyond the linear historical narrative of our universe.

    Where empirical methods are contested, it appears that non-empirical ones emerge as fair game in the scientific community.

    “Why These Laws?”—Multiverse Discourse as a Scene of Response
    Jacob Pearce
    doi: 10.1162/POSC_a_00245
    Perspectives on Science
    Volume 25 | Issue 3 | May-June 2017
    p.324-354

  242. 242
    daveS says:

    KF,

    I suggest that Snokes’ remark is little more than accepting that the Hilbert Hotel paradoxes involve incomplete-able supertasks, directly connected to the implication of a claimed actual infinity. All of that adds to the force of the paradoxes and the implication that we should not jump too readily from assertions about abstract sets to the physical world.

    I think it also undermines WLC’s claim that the Hilbert Hotel shows convincingly that an actual infinity cannot exist in the universe. As Snoke explains, in the physical world (where supertasks cannot occur), you simply end up with an uncompletable shifting process rather than a straightforward paradox.

  243. 243
    Dionisio says:

    KF,

    “…notions such as metaphysical boundaries have become so blurred.”

    “…empirical data is more difficult to gather (at higher energies and probing deeper than ever before).”

    “…inquirers are probing space-time realms beyond the linear historical narrative of our universe.”

    “… non-empirical […] emerge as fair game in the scientific community.”

    A reason I prefer biology is that WYSIWYG, hence no much room left for speculation and obscene gossiping like we see in cosmological physics these days.

    The Darwinian fans speculate in order to keep their boat afloat.

    They do their exuberant extrapolations from micro to macro and other dirty tricks that are quite embarrassingly obvious sometimes.

    But still one can extract valid data from many research papers, while ignoring the pseudoscientific hogwash sprinkled through the text.

    Also empirical data is becoming relatively easier to gather in biology with the advance of technology, hence more data is coming out of both wet and dry labs, thus causing a big data problem in life science.

    That seems more difficult to achieve in cosmological physics literature, doesn’t it?

    Biology is the area of science where the complex functionally specified information is much easier detectable.

    The biological narrative is independent of the cosmological models being discussed. The questions remain in all models.

  244. 244
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, not so. Snoke’s discussion actually brings out that the process of trying to work with infinities as physical entities leads to all sorts of problems. For example, the shift over to room number n*2 to free up odd numbered rooms and then to allow new guests to come in, has all sorts of procedural difficulties that make it physically infeasible though it is trivial in terms of mathematical operations. Snoke is CONSISTENT with the impossibilities of operationalising infinity. Indeed even your suggestion above that God can instantly create a linear array of balls across an infinite cosmos shows this: this is a thinly disguised form of saying, we may describe mathematically and specify a mathematical operator that can do this, however the physical manifestation requires much more to the point where you have appealed to a miracle of creation, i.e. beyond laws of physics. Physical instantiation of mathematical operations within our cosmos requires materials, organisation, controls, effectors, and processes, just like how we can make a logging amplifier, but then have to live with limitations of the device physics. The limitations Snokes points to imply physical infeasibility. The Hilbert Hotel paradoxes point to the implausibility of an actual infinity. The further issue of the actual case our cosmos would present — temporally successive, causally linked cumulative finite stages that have to span the transfinite — directly points to serious logical difficulties of any causal/dynamical process that would face a span the transfinite in space or time. Such processes include even the telecommunications that Hilbert’s Hotel would require: HOW are guests to be told, move to room 2*n, where propagation of signals with embedded information requires feasible wave group velocity and energy transfers, thus finite, sub lightspeed rates of propagation. Infinite rooms implies infinite mass, and if that is not dispersed more or less nearly isotropically and expanding apart, that looks like triggering cosmos-scope gravitational collapse. Infinite mass also implies infinite energy and the sourcing of such is an open question. So would be handling such. And so forth. For one more thing, many years ago now I once pondered such a cosmos then suggested, do a half virtual world by imposing a mirror in the midst. In an infinite cosmos, stars on one side can be exhaustively matched 1:1 with those in the cosmos as a whole — not, in principle and we cannot complete the potentially infinite operational process, but in actuality. And more. KF

  245. 245
    kairosfocus says:

    Dionisio, I hear you. In both cases, analysis can be carried out and issues derived. The world of life is chock full of information and cybernetic systems that point to mastery level design, but that is all we can say on the empirical data. Evidence that the physics and substance of our observed cosmos are set to a deeply isolated operating point in the space of evident possibilities points to extra-cosmic, supremely clever and life-supporting design backed up by ability to build a cosmos. The rhetorical reactions, worldviews alternatives and comparative difficulties that come up on serious discussion are revealing and point to yet wider issues. For instance, the linked logic of being and the way our rationality needs conscience as a compass jointly call for a necessary being world root capable of bearing the weight of ought. Notice how, over years, we have never seen a serious alternative to the candidate put up by ethical theism, God. Also, how — post Plantinga (cf. Free Will Defense etc) — how atheists routinely dodge the issue that God is a serious candidate necessary being so that if you claim of imply warranted non-belief in God (as opposed to non-rational or even irrational disbelief and rhetorical dismissal) you have a responsibility of providing a reason to hold the God of ethical theism to be an impossible being even as a square circle is infeasible of being or as a finite stage stepwise cumulative process cannot actually finish traversal of a transfinite span. Further, notice, the habitual resort of all too many objectors to the trifecta of distraction, distortion and denigration: red herrings led out to strawman caricatures soaked in ad hominems and set alight to cloud, confuse, poison and polarise the atmosphere. Cumulatively, such patterns speak volumes as to the true balance on the merits and as to where the factions we see would take our civilisation. As in, march of ruinous folly enforced by ruthless manipulation and intimidation. As in, look all around you starting with the TV news channels and their increasingly sickening resort to the ruthless agit prop game. When we cannot even get an honest discussion of exactly what the national socialist german workers party manifestly was and what anarchism is i/l/o Marx’s model of civilisational evolution to the capitalist, socialist and communist state on withering of the totalitarian socialist government, we must know that nothing good is afoot. KF

  246. 246
    Dionisio says:

    KF @245,
    You wrote:

    In both cases, analysis can be carried out and issues derived.

    Yes, agree.

    But we have to admit that empirical data is becoming relatively easier to gather in biology than in cosmological physics.

    In biology many researchers, who were educated with a narrow-minded way of looking at their object of study, cannot think out of wrongly preconceived dogmatic paradigms, thus automatically seeing things through the distorting Darwinian lenses. That’s why often they write papers sprinkled with so much pseudoscientific hogwash.

    Also their deficient academic preparation regarding scientific humility and open-mindedness leads them to do reductionist bottom-up reverse engineering in lieu of to-down system-wide research. Certainly in many technological constraints and/or data accessibility practically force them to take the reductionist bottom-up reverse engineering approach to researching.

    However, despite all those issues we see, still the produced reports usually contain valuable information about interesting discoveries –which too often the researchers describe as unexpected and surprising– shedding more light on beautiful cellular and molecular choreographies (regulatory networks and signaling pathways) orchestrated within the robustly designed biological systems.

    Many biology researchers are unaware of the fact that their own papers clearly point to enormous amounts of complex functionally specified information being processed within the biological systems.

    Perhaps that’s a reason why we see electrical engineers, control systems engineers, computer engineers, physicists and other non-biologists getting involved in biology-related research projects these days, at least in dry labs.

    Cosmological physics seems to present a different situation, because their inquirers are probing space-time realms beyond the linear historical narrative of our universe, hence they rely on mostly abstract multidimensional concepts that seem like pie in the sky daydreaming. Sometimes one gets the false impression that those folks are on heavy drugs or mentally exhausted after many sleepless nights. 🙂

    The cosmological physics research literature seems more convoluted, abstract, only accessible to an academic elite that barely can handle the mathematical formulations presented in their papers, hence rarely –or never– can reach any logically coherent and fully comprehensive conclusion that could move scientific knowledge further in the right direction.

    @211 I was walking out the exit door from this thread, but turned around and remained a little longer after seeing you posting comments here, specially a timely correction to one of my misunderstandings.

    Biology research discoveries confirming the undeniable presence of complex functionally specified informational complexity within the robustly designed biological systems with their masterfully embedded variability framework, is what should keep the leash on the other areas of science, including cosmological physics, so that they don’t run away so wildly into obscure ideas devoid of empirical confirmation as they seem to be doing these days.

  247. 247
    Dionisio says:

    KF,

    Do we see in biology the level of pseudoscientific hogwash in its central narrative as we see in cosmological physics?

    […] cosmology still seems to be at its first steps. Main issues such as, which theory for its birth is correct, the Big Bang or the String theory [or Penrose’s CCC?], if it was born by an explosion or by bouncing, the meaning of time and constants, the number of universes, its shape, the number of its dimensions, its age, how to reconcile the general theory of relativity with the quantum theory, black holes or black stars, or weather it is only an illusion, are still widely debated. We do not know what is the composition of 95% of the universe, if it is going to collapse because of the gravitation, or fall apart due to its accelerated expansion, just to mention a few of the major mysteries […]

    Similarities between basic mechanisms of cosmic and biologic systems
    Raphael Kleinmann
    International Journal of Physical Sciences
    Vol. 11(1), pp. 1-10
    DOI: 10.5897/IJPS2015.4396
    Article Number: C6523F656941

    Yes, perhaps we do too many times, but we’ve started to see more papers where that kind of nonsense is very limited and sometimes at the minimum required just to pass the establishment censorship.

  248. 248
    Dionisio says:

    @246 misspelling correction

    It should read:

    “reductionist bottom-up reverse engineering in lieu of top-down system-wide research”

  249. 249
    daveS says:

    KF,

    DS, not so. Snoke’s discussion actually brings out that the process of trying to work with infinities as physical entities leads to all sorts of problems. For example, the shift over to room number n*2 to free up odd numbered rooms and then to allow new guests to come in, has all sorts of procedural difficulties that make it physically infeasible though it is trivial in terms of mathematical operations.

    I agree with much of what you say about Snoke, but recall that WLC, in his discussion of the Hilbert Hotel, speaks as if all these shifting operations are actually feasible in the real world. In his description of the simplest scenario where just one new guest must be accommodated, he states that:

    Guest 1 is shifted to room 2, guest 2 is shifted to room 3, and so on to infinity; then the new guest is placed in room 1, and all guests are housed.

    Snoke correctly points out that this is not what would happen in the real world, so WLC’s account is misleading. Snoke argues that one simply cannot carry out the operations implicit in the Hilbert Hotel paradoxes, but does that imply that a “Hilbert Hotel” structure of some sort could not exist? I don’t see how.

    Indeed even your suggestion above that God can instantly create a linear array of balls across an infinite cosmos shows this: this is a thinly disguised form of saying, we may describe mathematically and specify a mathematical operator that can do this, however the physical manifestation requires much more to the point where you have appealed to a miracle of creation, i.e. beyond laws of physics.

    Yes, I certainly am invoking a miracle beyond the laws of physics with the snooker balls.

    To sum up, we agree that Snoke shows the Hilbert Hotel shifting operations to be infeasible.

    I don’t see how that shows that an actually existing Hilbert Hotel itself is logically, mathematically, or even physically impossible. (Edit: By that I mean it’s not clear God could not create a HH-type arrangement of matter).

  250. 250
    Dionisio says:

    KF,

    Many of the yesterday’s “facts” and theories have been proven to be wrong, and many of the today’s “facts” and theories will be shown to be obsolete tomorrow (Turner, 2013).

    Therefore, there is a constant need for new and original ideas

    Similarities between basic mechanisms of cosmic and biologic systems
    Raphael Kleinmann
    International Journal of Physical Sciences
    Vol. 11(1), pp. 1-10
    DOI: 10.5897/IJPS2015.4396
    Article Number: C6523F656941

    What else is new?

  251. 251
    daveS says:

    PS to #249:

    me: To sum up, we agree that Snoke shows the Hilbert Hotel shifting operations to be infeasible.

    To be clear, we already knew the shifting operations in the HH were infeasible, but Snoke nicely points out that WLC’s discussion is misleading on this matter.

  252. 252
    Dionisio says:

    KF,

    Kind of “out of the central theme” digression for a moment:

    I didn’t know until now that Hungarian Leo Szilard was the first highly distinguished scientist to recognize the connection between thermodynamics and Information theory.
    Just thought you’ll like to read about this too.

    BTW, very clever decision:

    After Adolf Hitler became chancellor of Germany in 1933, Szilard urged his family and friends to flee Europe while they still could. He moved to England.

    Foreseeing another war in Europe, Szilard moved to the United States in 1938.

    Here’s food for thoughts:
    Love your neighbor as yourself?
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Szil%C3%A1rd_petition

  253. 253
    Dionisio says:

    KF,

    Here’s an undeniable proof that biology is more interesting than other sciences, including physics and specially cosmological physics which sometimes sounds like voodoo stuff:

    After the war, brilliant scientist Leo Szilard switched to biology!!!

    🙂

    PS. Physicists Uri Alon at the Weizmann Institute and Jeff Gore at the MIT got involved in Systems Biology.

  254. 254
    daveS says:

    KF,

    Let me try to reframe the issues, suppressing some of the irrelevant details.

    Consider an arrangement A of physical objects, conjectured to actually exist in our universe. For example, the infinite line of snooker balls, the Hilbert Hotel, or even a finite collection of objects.

    We can then discuss “mathematically possible” rearrangements of A. By that I mean rearrangements where we can unambigously specify where each object in A ends up. This could be done by giving a giving a one-to-one mapping from A to itself (a permutation, in other words) or by giving a procedure (for example, the sequence of shifts in a HH rearrangement) or through some other means.

    We can also discuss “physically possible” rearrangements of A. As a first approximation, I will say these are rearrangements of A that can be accomplished in a finite number of steps, with only one object moved per step. For example, simply intechanging guests 1 and 2 in the HH is physically possible, but housing a new guest in an already full HH is not physically possible.

    The question then becomes: Suppose we have some arrangement A for which there is some rearrangement which is mathematically but not physically possible. Does this imply that the arrangement A could not actually exist in the physical universe?

  255. 255
    Mung says:

    Consider an arrangement A of physical objects, conjectured to actually exist in our universe. For example, the infinite line of snooker balls, the Hilbert Hotel, or even a finite collection of objects.

    Let’s conjecture a square circle.

    Let’s conjecture all sorts of physically impossible things.

    Then let’s conjecture that they are physically actual.

    ok, i think I’m following …

  256. 256
    ET says:

    The Hilbert Hotel is a perfect example of infinity + 1, carried out to infinity!

  257. 257
    daveS says:

    KF,

    A correction to my #254: These “rearrangements” I refer to do not necessarily correspond to permutations; however I think you can formulate them all in terms of a one-to-one (but not necessarily onto) function from a set A to itself.

  258. 258
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, WLC simply spoke in the context of the usual descriptions of Hilbert’s Hotel, bringing out the absurdities that show why such cannot be actualised. For instance, a previously full hotel can open up room for infinitely many new guests by moving current guests from room n to room 2n — presumably in parallel by unspecified means for sake of argument — then putting the new ones in odd numbered rooms. In short, due to the difference in meaning of the cardinality of a set between finite and infinite ones, we can put a strict subset in 1:1 correspondence with the original one. The humourously absurd result is that without building one new room, full can be rearranged to be half-empty. This parallels my point that an infinite spatial array of objects . . . a decade ago it was stars . . . can be half split with a mirror and half matched with the whole. That extends to the line of snooker balls too: half the balls have the same cardinality as all of them. And more, showing more and more red flags. KF

  259. 259
    daveS says:

    KF,

    DS, WLC simply spoke in the context of the usual descriptions of Hilbert’s Hotel, bringing out the absurdities that show why such cannot be actualised. For instance, a previously full hotel can open up room for infinitely many new guests by moving current guests from room n to room 2n — presumably in parallel by unspecified means for sake of argument — then putting the new ones in odd numbered rooms.

    Well, again, the version of the HH where guests in room n shift to room 2n also cannot be completed, even if they travel in parallel, because the set of distances the guests have to travel is unbounded. So once more, he describes a process which cannot be completed—it’s physically impossible (yet mathematically possible). It never will be the case that all the new guests will be singly housed; in fact, none of the new guests will *ever* enter the hotel, assuming they must wait for all the original guests to finish moving.

    I don’t see why this would indicate the hotel itself could not be actualized by God.

  260. 260
    daveS says:

    KF,

    Returning to the version of the HH that Snoke deals with, where he describes the shifting as a “moving excitation”: Snoke clearly assumes the guests move in succession, but as you mentioned above, they could all move simultaneously.

    In that case, the process could be completed, apparently. All guests shift to the next room in the first step, then the new guest moves into the first room.

    I take it we would have to appeal to some divine assistance there, for example God could signal all the hotel guests to move at the appropriate time (or help them to synchronize their clocks at least).

    It’s still not clear to me that God couldn’t construct such a scenario.

    Edit: If we allow that God could instantaneously teleport people arbitrary distances, then this would also allow the scenario where guest n moves to room 2n to be completed in a finite amount of time.

  261. 261
    Mung says:

    Why don’t we just have God pop the rooms and their occupants into and out of existence at will?

    Since time begins only for a specific universe when it begins to exist God can create an infinite number of universes in no time at all. It’s not like they have to compete for the same space. 🙂

  262. 262
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, why yes, we agree there is a gap between mathematical operations — even described via a colourful metaphor — and what is physically realisable. That does not change the fundamental incoherence of an entity which being full can become half empty by rearranging guests without building new rooms. That is where serious logical issues arise that point to a serious problem with an actually manifest physical infinity. And back on the material case, a claimed actually infinite past, we see that finite stage stepwise traversal of a transfinite span is impossible. Indeed, that manifests itself in even imagining an actual Hilbert’s hotel in action. KF

  263. 263
    daveS says:

    KF,

    DS, why yes, we agree there is a gap between mathematical operations — even described via a colourful metaphor — and what is physically realisable. That does not change the fundamental incoherence of an entity which being full can become half empty by rearranging guests without building new rooms. That is where serious logical issues arise that point to a serious problem with an actually manifest physical infinity.

    Well, I don’t know of any specific logical problems the HH presents. A bit strange? Sure. Can you derive a logical contradiction from the premise that a HH physically exists? I have yet to see one.

    And back on the material case, a claimed actually infinite past, we see that finite stage stepwise traversal of a transfinite span is impossible.

    Maybe not “we” 😛 At least David Snoke and I remain unconvinced of this.

  264. 264
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, You just saw a case, which was already explained on the difference in meaning between cardinality of finite and transfinite numbers: rearranging “full” to get half-empty. That Hotel paradox is glaring. On traversal of the transfinite, at any stage beyond some given point the number of steps will always be finite. Assign a count of steps (as I did with the aligned pink vs blue punch tape thought exercise): 1,2,3, . . . k, k+1, k+2, . . . is such that k, k+1, k+2, . . . can be put in 1:1 correspondence with it, and will always have the endless continuation still ahead. Align P and B tapes, then slide the B such that k, k+1 etc align with P’s 1,2,3 etc. Both tapes onward from 1 and k will remain in perfect alignment and correspondence, with the endlessness still in front. That is, finite successive steps only ever actually count up to finite values as we can see by counting. There is no finite n such that the n+1th step in succession = omega, and this continues to any actual value of n we attain by cumulative finite stage steps. The cardinality aleph null is defined on observing the endlessness property and seeing that this is a new type of quantity, the first transfinite value. In short, we can address and traverse parts of potential infinities in steps [and point onward to the endless continuation involved] but not actually complete the traverse. After k steps, a finite but potentially a very large value, one still has the endlessness in front, in effect receding like a mirage or the end of the rainbow. Turning this to speak of the past, the only way to actually reach the present from some past p, is that the steps beyond p to now will be finite. We are only warranted to speak of a finitely remote past accessible to now in a finite sequence of onward, causally cumulative, finite stage steps. (As we will recall from earlier discussions, infinitesimal steps do not count.) Talk about endless, completed pasts such that there is always a past infinity are just that, talk. The issue is whether our conception of that past, so easy to symbolise mathematically by an ellipsis can be credibly traversed in finite stage cumulative steps. to that, my answer remains, that the accumulation of actual finite stage causally successive steps will only ever be finite, as can be seen by counting them. Your warrant for the claim that one can in fact physically traverse such a sequence of finite stage steps and complete a transfinite span thereby from the deep past of origins is _______ (apart from oh we think so). KF

  265. 265
    daveS says:

    KF,

    DS, You just saw a case, which was already explained on the difference in meaning between cardinality of finite and transfinite numbers: rearranging “full” to get half-empty. That Hotel paradox is glaring.

    But there is no logical contradiction here. There is nothing wrong with an infinite set being in one-to-one correspondence with a proper subset of itself.

    “Paradox”, perhaps, in the sense of “a statement or proposition that seems self-contradictory or absurd but in reality expresses a possible truth” (from dictionary.com).

    On traversal of the transfinite, at any stage beyond some given point the number of steps will always be finite. Assign a count of steps (as I did with the aligned pink vs blue punch tape thought exercise): 1,2,3, . . . k, k+1, k+2, . . . is such that k, k+1, k+2, . . . can be put in 1:1 correspondence with it, and will always have the endless continuation still ahead. Align P and B tapes, then slide the B such that k, k+1 etc align with P’s 1,2,3 etc. Both tapes onward from 1 and k will remain in perfect alignment and correspondence, with the endlessness still in front. That is, finite successive steps only ever actually count up to finite values as we can see by counting.

    Only if we assume the traversal has a beginning. The relevant traversal here has no beginning, so the total number of steps executed prior to any point is never finite.

    Unless some new approaches to this question emerge, I suggest we agree to disagree on this point for now; perhaps in the future we can come to some resolution.

  266. 266
    daveS says:

    KF,

    Talk about endless, completed pasts such that there is always a past infinity are just that, talk. The issue is whether our conception of that past, so easy to symbolise mathematically by an ellipsis can be credibly traversed in finite stage cumulative steps. to that, my answer remains, that the accumulation of actual finite stage causally successive steps will only ever be finite, as can be seen by counting them.

    I overlooked this part, relevant to my post above.

    Recall that I’m not trying to argue that the past actually is infinite. (For the gorillionth time).

    Others have stated that an infinite past is definitely mathematically or logically impossible, and I’m asking them to substantiate this.

    So, I hypothesize that the past is infinite, and sit back and wait for the someone to show the premise of an infinite past entails a contradiction (and not mere “red flags”). Those who have claimed that an infinite past is mathematically or logically impossible own the burden for demonstrating this. If no one does this, then I simply say that their case has not been made.

  267. 267
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, a moment, there is a glaring problem with the rearrangement of a full set of occupied rooms converting it into a half empty set. KF

  268. 268
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, the issue is not whether the traversal has a beginning, just that at some point it was actually transfinitely remote in the past. Beyond 1 or k there can be onward endlessness for all I care just now but the thing is that if ever there was any transfinitely remote time, say r, from there to now we have to traverse a span that is just that, transfinite. That is where the difficulty lies. I add, given that the next stage causally and cumulatively emerges from the present, creating the next past and next present. Then, again and again, onward, creating the flow of time. KF

  269. 269
    daveS says:

    KF,

    And by hypothesis, it was never infinitely remote from the present.

    But I don’t want to go through these arguments again. Why don’t you leave a comment on David Snoke’s article? Ben Waters did, and had some interaction with Dr Snoke. Another one of your interlocutors here also discussed the paper there.

    You could ask him what he thinks of your argument about transfinitely remote points in the past.

  270. 270
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, the nature of time is it progresses cumulatively from one moment to the next by causal succession. Any time now in the actual past was once the actual present, but has been succeeded stepwise until now. As a direct result if there is no time r such that r was once the present but is now transfinitely remote in the past, then that is another way of saying the past is finite. So, you cannot have your cake and eat it: either you have had actual past points r that are now transfinitely remote and must span a transfinite range of time to reach now by succession of finite steps or else there never was a past time that is now transfinitely remote. On the former case you have an infeasible task to span to the present in finite step cumulative stages that cross a transfinite gap. This leaves the conclusion that we are only warranted to speak of a finite temporal past. KF

    PS: Maybe it has not registered that I am not only generally uninterested from wandering about on the Internet but am in a recovery from the impact of a bereavement.

  271. 271
    daveS says:

    Certainly. I wish you well in your recovery.

  272. 272
  273. 273
    Dionisio says:

    Here’s an old book that touches the subject of this discussion thread, though from a different perspective than the article referenced in the OP:

    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/804656.The_Time_and_Eternity1

  274. 274
    Dionisio says:

    KF @270:

    the nature of time as it progresses cumulatively from one moment to the next by causal succession. Any time now in the actual past was once the actual present, but has been succeeded stepwise until now. As a direct result if there is no time r such that r was once the present but is now transfinitely remote in the past, then that is another way of saying the past is finite. So, you cannot have your cake and eat it: either you have had actual past points r that are now transfinitely remote and must span a transfinite range of time to reach now by succession of finite steps or else there never was a past time that is now transfinitely remote. On the former case you have an infeasible task to span to the present in finite step cumulative stages that cross a transfinite gap. This leaves the conclusion that we are only warranted to speak of a finite temporal past.

    Excellent conclusion to this discussion.

    Thanks.

  275. 275
    Dionisio says:

    Here’s an old video of a presentation on the topic of time and eternity by the author of the book referenced @273:

    https://www.youtube.com/embed/_zY1v8ccyA4

  276. 276
    kairosfocus says:

    Dionisio, nice vid but in German. KF

  277. 277
    daveS says:

    Dionisio and KF,

    Since this issue has been raised again, I’ll try and respond as clearly as I can.

    Consider the following propositions. I’ll frame them in terms of “stages” in a causal chain, as we did before:

    P1: The past is finite iff there exists some positive integer n such that all events in our universe occurred fewer than n stages ago.

    P2: The past is infinite iff the past is not finite.

    P3: The past is infinite iff there does not exist a positive integer n such that all events in our universe occured fewer than n stages ago.

    P4: The past is infinite iff, given any positive integer n, there exists some event in our universe which occurred more than n stages ago.

    I take P1, P2, P3, and P4 to be clearly true (of course any debate is welcome).

    According to KF, P5 below is the correct definition of “infinite past”.

    P5: The past is infinite iff there exists some (single) event in our universe such that for every positive integer n, this event occurred more than n stages ago.

    A question I raised in a previous thread is, are P4 and P5 equivalent? I don’t believe so; P5 places a stronger condition on the meaning of “infinite past” hence I don’t believe P5 is correct.

  278. 278
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, I think the issue has to do with the nature of temporal succession and the resulting causal succession from one stage to the next. If a time r is in the actual past, necessarily, it was once the present and gave rise to r+1 through causal succession, retreating into the past, and r is now under a stack of other past stages where now is the top of the stack. As a result, no actual past time r can be that was not once the present. If r is infinitely remote, it has to have been once the present and is now — through stage by stage causally linked succession — transfinitely remote. But, the transfinite cannot be successfully traversed in finite stage steps. That is the real heart of the matter. If we do not have a means by which past times r can recede to transfinite remove from us, stage by stage then it follows that there was no transfinitely removed past, no infinitely past time. That need for actually once having been the present and then being causally succeeded in finite stages to now is what is being obscured by talk of no matter how high an n you can name, there was something beyond it — boiling down to every specific value we can identify is finite but we posit an unlimited onward extension beyond any such value. That is just what is at stake as there is a physical mechanism that must be satisfied for time to move forward stage by stage. And BTW, have you any basis for thinking this ever beyond any n is true, any empirical observation, or is that just a bare hypothetical, speculative suggestion? I have instead spoken of how time proceeds in a causal, forward direction, stage by stage and what that then points to. KF

  279. 279
    Dionisio says:

    KF @276:

    Oops! Sorry, my mistake.

    I’ll try better next time.

  280. 280
    kairosfocus says:

    Dionisio, understood. Care to give us a paraphrase or summary or money-shot quote in translation? KF

  281. 281
    Dionisio says:

    KF,

    The presentation seems like a summary of his own book referenced @273.

    Werner Gitt was born a couple of years between WW2 started in Gdansk. His birthplace was part of East Prussia but now is in Kaliningrad near the border between Lithuania and Poland.

  282. 282
    Dionisio says:

    @281 error correction
    It should read ‘before WW2’ in lieu of ‘between WW2’.

  283. 283
    Dionisio says:

    KF @280:

    In his book Dr. Gitt talks about:
    Chronos: time of man
    Kairos: God’s time

    Here’s a PDF copy of the paper:

    http://bitimage.dyndns.org/eng.....y_2001.pdf

  284. 284
    daveS says:

    KF,

    Starting with the last question:

    And BTW, have you any basis for thinking this ever beyond any n is true, any empirical observation, or is that just a bare hypothetical, speculative suggestion?

    If I understand correctly, it is indeed a bare hypothetical. I am not interested here in whether there actually is evidence for an infinite past, but whether we can show it to be impossible in some sense.

    Perhaps I will just leave the issue of P4 vs P5 as a FFT, or a rhetorical question. If there is no problem with the derivation of P4 above, why must we use P5, which is clearly different?

  285. 285
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, observe how time proceeds, stage by stage from now to the emerging now by a causally linked process. For argument, think in seconds or the like. Watch a clock, observe the cumulative, stage by stage causal process. Ponder the past week. Satisfy yourself that we experience a now always on the way to the next now, with the past having once been now. For example, for me, two July 18ths are now forever linked to step changes in my life: 1995 and 2017. That specifies a dynamic of stepwise succession that we have seen will inherently always span only a finite traverse from any given now on, regardless of what was before that now. It also means the actual past must once have been the now, succeeded by the same causally driven transition process. In that context we simply have no means to have spanned a transfinite succession, in a context that the real temporal past must once have been the present. We can only be warranted to speak of a finitely remote past. KF

  286. 286
    daveS says:

    KF,

    I have to agree with much of this, but $20 says you can anticipate what my response would be.

  287. 287
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, without a means for time to successfully traverse a transfinite span, there is no basis for discussing a hypothetical infinite past. remember, that past would have to be made up of moments which were once the actual present then were succeeded by causally linked next moments, and so forth down to now. No means for time to span the transfinite and no grounds for suggesting a transfinite past temporal order. No basis for there being some remote past time r that (regardless of onward previous times) was such that it is transfinitely remote from now. Thus, time credibly had a beginning and that needs to be explained on necessary being given the logic of being and the absence of causal capacity for utter non-being, given that there is a temporal world. KF

  288. 288
    daveS says:

    KF,

    DS, without a means for time to successfully traverse a transfinite span, there is no basis for discussing a hypothetical infinite past.

    Even if you asked me to describe a means to traverse an interval of one minute in time, I couldn’t say much other than “welp, it happened”. But I don’t see either of us coming up with new arguments, and I sense that neither of us is inclined to budge an inch on this question, so I won’t add any more on the issue of time until there are further developments.

    Do you at this point believe that God could not create a universe totally empty except for an infinite line of snooker balls? I believe that would be at equilibrium gravitationally assuming all the balls are spaced uniformly, although it wouldn’t be a stable equilibrium I guess. In any case, according to my understanding of physics, it would exist for some positive amount of time before any potential collapse (assuming this hypothetical universe did have gravity).

  289. 289
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, we do observe means by which finite steps of time follow in succession, through causally linked dynamic processes with associated rates as a rule. That is a non-problem. The relevant one is that there is an inherent limit to such succession, it has no way to traverse the required transfinite span were there an actual transfinitely remote time r, that has been succeeded stepwise to now, think in terms of a clock that ticks off seconds much as the old Quartz clocks did until they started to get sweep second hands. This is the context in which we are only warranted to discuss finitely remote past times. KF

    PS: A truly empty space seems to be impossible, space itself is populated by all sorts of things starting with virtual particles. Then we get to dark energy and cosmological expansion etc.

    PPS: I suspect your line would exhibit butterfly effect joined to uncertainties of location and would be inherently unstable. And gravitational effects seem coupled to the existence of mass in effect warping space.

  290. 290
    daveS says:

    KF,

    PS: A truly empty space seems to be impossible, space itself is populated by all sorts of things starting with virtual particles. Then we get to dark energy and cosmological expansion etc.

    PPS: I suspect your line would exhibit butterfly effect joined to uncertainties of location and would be inherently unstable.

    I think this all depends on whether we assume physics to be similar to what we have in this universe. In any case, is it mathematically or logically impossible for that array of snooker balls to exist?

  291. 291
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, did you see what I already said on the subject? Put a mirror half way between two of the balls. Virtual half-universe will match LHS and RHS. Nothing so far, but also, by implication of the endlessness to the two sides, the balls on the RHS — a half split imposed physically — will ALSO be in one to one correspondence with the whole set on both sides. This also obtains for those on LHS. Not, by transforming one set into another like 1, 2, 3 . . . –> x 2 –> 2, 4, 6 . . . etc, but by matching physical items. This result is fully as absurd as a Hilbert Hotel result. KF

  292. 292
    daveS says:

    KF,

    I still don’t see anything absurd, or even very strange about a collection of physical objects being in one-to-one correspondence with a proper subcollection of itself.

    Now, if one could show explicitly that it leads to a contradiction, that would be a different story, but I suspect that’s not possible.

  293. 293
    daveS says:

    PS: I don’t want to sidetrack us, but I’m sure if I stated that each snooker ball carried an electric charge (of some uniform amount), you would be able to calculate an approximation of the electric field (reasonably far away, where the field is close to perpendicular to the line) induced by the ensemble. Therefore the picture of the infinite line of balls is coherent enough to allow physics calculations to be performed.

  294. 294
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, that is the problem, then. KF

  295. 295
    daveS says:

    OT: KF, I hope Irma keeps her distance these next few days.

  296. 296
    daveS says:

    KF,

    Hope everything’s ok. Looks way too close for comfort at the moment.

  297. 297
    Axel says:

    @DaveS, your #71

    ‘EricMH,

    No, not according to virtually everyone who writes on the subject of an infinite past, as I stated above.

    Here’s an analogy: The real number line has infinite length, but there are no real numbers infinitely far from zero.’

    Is it not the case that any similitude, any comparison, any commonality between finite time and infinite time amounts to a category error. Rather like comparing something and nothing.

    Well with his nothing, filled with quantum foam, Dawkins might not see it that way, but then he believes, not only in a blind watchmaker, insane as that is, but a blind universe-maker – de facto with the infinite omniscience and omnipotence of the Christian God.

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