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Existence


ydoaPs
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The Kalam Cosmological Argument goes a bit like this.

1.Whatever begins to exist has a cause.

2.The universe began to exist.

3.Therefore' date=' the universe has a cause.

[/quote']

 

I have a problem with this argument. I don't think I can accept either 1 or 2 without support.

 

The universe began to exist.

'Things' we encounter in this universe are either fundamental(quarks, leptons, etc) or composite(like a brick or you). Composite 'things' begin to exist only in that the system comprising the 'thing' is a modification of a prior system. It's really just a causal change in a pattern of pre-existing 'things' along with a change in system definition.

 

If I recall correctly from my school days, matter/energy can be neither created nor destroyed, but rather only changed in form. Doesn't this suggest that the energy/mass always existed and only the configurations change?

 

Whatever begins to exist has a cause.

Regardless of whether or not 'things' can begin to exist, I have a problem with this premise. As far as I can tell, causality only applies to things which already exist. One state of a system causes the next state, etc. If something doesn't exist, how can it be acted upon? It seems that for something to be caused to exist, it must already exist and as such the notion of causing something to exist appears to be nonsensical.

 

How does one cause a non-existent thing to do something?

 

 

And I didn't even bring up the question of what caused the cause! Oh, wait.....D'Oh!

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It seems that for something to be caused to exist, it must already exist and as such the notion of causing something to exist appears to be nonsensical.

 

How about a particle-antiparticle pair, created from energy?

 

And I didn't even bring up the question of what caused the cause! Oh, wait.....D'Oh!

 

Well we either have an infinite regression or uncaused effects. I'll take the infinite regression: we deal with infinity all the time in mathematics and don't have hangups with them like the ancient Greeks did.

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Why does the universe have to have a beginning? maybe the universe is the result of many never ending natural processes that just can't see beyond if we could see beyond the beginning of the big bang we could see an entirely new way energy and matter is constructed and in an infinite multi verse infinite processes can happen continuously over infinite stretches of time giving birth to finite processes that get swept back into the infinite swirl every few trillion cycles or so. and we are only capable of seeing finites ones. Brane theory would seem to point that direction.

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When we talk about the beginning of the universe, we have to account for the beginning of time, which by it's very nature breaks down immediately. What has happening before time that over time lead to the existence of time?

 

I am pretty sure (as you pretty much said) nothing has been observed to be created since the big bang, only that energy and matter have changed form in such ways as to lead to things we give distinct names to, like the creation of a new star out of interstellar gas. So when it actually comes to "something beginning to exist" we really have zero experience with this phenomenon. The only thing that could qualify is the universe itself, so I have to agree with your critiques.

 

To address the "infinite regression" hypothesis - the current universe has a distinct form, and that form is a direct result of it's previous form. If you go "on back forever" you are basically have no initial state and as such the current form ends up based on "nothing" yet we do experience a very specific state. For this reason I doubt infinite regression is viable.

 

My best guess is that the universe began with a distinct quantity of energy imparted from a universe that has not intersected ours since. (Last part, based on the lack of acausal phenomena - everything still appears to move with an internal consistency and does back as far as we can see in time.) Purely speculating, I would suspect that since our minds are geared to work within this universe and dimensional range that it may be impossible to really trace first origin back beyond a certain point.

 

 

Regarding particle / anti-particle pairs from energy - I think that would still be matter/energy changing form, and the energy used is still energy from the big bang, so it's not really created.

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I agree with ydoaPs. I don't think claims 1 or 2 have any evidence to back them up.

 

We can extrapolate our current expansion back in the past, and this implies that the universe was point-like 13.7 billion years ago, but there is no reason to believe that that extrapolation in good for anything beyond (13.7 billion years - 10-12 seconds). Now, obviously the extrapolation has served us well, but what happens in that 10-12 seconds is absolutely crucial to the idea of creation, and we have absolutely no data on it.

 

In fact, ekpyrotic and/or cyclic cosmologies are becoming more fashionable.

 

Personally, I think the idea of creation is a bit of a red herring, put on us by our inability as humans to understand time as just another dimension. An analogy I like is the full body MRI you see in hospitals. When it gives the first slice, just beyond your head, there is nothing, and then on the next slice you have a small part of the top of your head. With each slice the cross-section grows until it is as big as it is going to get. But no-one would say that your body was 'created' by the first slice, and the top of your head is no more the beginning of you than any other part. Similarly to the scanner, I think our very nature chooses the direction we call 'time' and makes us place special significance on 'creation'.

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Personally, I think the idea of creation is a bit of a red herring, put on us by our inability as humans to understand time as just another dimension. An analogy I like is the full body MRI you see in hospitals. When it gives the first slice, just beyond your head, there is nothing, and then on the next slice you have a small part of the top of your head. With each slice the cross-section grows until it is as big as it is going to get. But no-one would say that your body was 'created' by the first slice, and the top of your head is no more the beginning of you than any other part. Similarly to the scanner, I think our very nature chooses the direction we call 'time' and makes us place special significance on 'creation'.

 

I've thought the same thing. Taking the analogy further, you can see that each slice is related to the immediately adjacent slice in predictable ways. If all you ever saw was middle slices, you might conclude that there always has to be a next slice in both directions, because the relationships between adjacent slices predict it.

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Yes, created from energy. Did the particle and anti-particle exist before that?

 

I think his point was that if it was created from energy, then the particle antiparticle were not the first things. Energy is a property, not an existence of its own, so it has to exist as part of "something".

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The cause-effect principle is a fallacy borne of human bias. According to a reading of Hume, we see how human experience "imprints" causality onto event observed in the universe. Our experience with observed events brings us to assume the same causal relationships to unobserved events. We project our "causal necessity" fallacy due to cognitive/observational biases.

 

Kant takes this a step further and supposes that the principle of causality cannot be experienced outside the mind (because it is constructed by the mind in its observation of external objects).

 

Other skeptical empiricists says that our mind puts impressions of causality into the environment, since as Kant suggested, causality isn't experiences outside the mind.

 

The tricky part is in the assumption that our observations is an accurate representation of reality and so how do we now that things we can't or aren't observing are conforming to our expectations (based on previous experiences) of them?

 

The problem with creation is that we don't even have any non-anthropomorphic observation which to judge the causality experience by. If I can't even be sure that hitting a pool ball across the table, striking another ball is responsible for the incident angle... how can I be sure that the beginning of the universe has a cause?

 

And even if you do assume that, what created the thing that created the universe? Religious types tend to stop causality at God without realizing that this violates their own assumed axioms (though those that do must resort to the vague - God isn't logical argument)

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The current sub-particles assumed to exist at the formation of the universe have a logical inconsistency with basic observation. In science, the substructure of matter is obtained through particle colliders. However, the beginning of the universe was not a colliding scenario, since the spacing was getting bigger and bigger and not smaller and smaller. The current assumption would be more appropriated for the collapse of the universe when things smash together. The illogic is like saying blowing up the balloon so all the dots on the surface spread out, is the same as shrinking the balloon so they are able to touch to form all those particles.

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I always just assumed that the big bang was the beginning of our known universe... but I never assumed that it was the beginning of everything.

 

I like Terry Pratchett's joke about the big bang: "In the beginning there was nothing.. and then it exploded."

 

I like to think that the Big Bang was an ultra-massive white hole connected to an ultra-massive black hole from an alternate, collapsing universe. Of course, if that were true, then this universe would probably be destined to collapse and spawn another white hole in another universe.

Edited by jryan
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  • 3 weeks later...

Here's an article I wrote for UrbanPhilosophy incorporating some of the above sleep-deprived ranting:

 

 

 

 

I should let you know now that this article is going to be very informal. I'm going to go an objection to the Kalam Cosmological Argument and an objection to said objection. Before my objections, I should take a moment to review the argument itself. Craig describes it as follows:

Whatever begins to exist has a cause.

The universe began to exist.

Therefore' date=' the universe has a cause.[/quote']

Whatever begins to exist has a cause.

 

There are two very distinct ways things can begin to exist. The first is what we will refer to as making things(using pre-existing materials to form new ones). The second is what we will refer to as creating things(creation ex nihilo).

 

'Things' we encounter in this universe are either fundamental(quarks, leptons, etc) or composite(like a brick or you). Composite objects are just convenient shorthand for collections of interacting fundamentals. A good example of what I am talking about is electricity. Somewhere along the line, we realized our convention for electrical current is wrong(the current goes in the opposite direction of that which the electrons actually travel). Now we could have just changed the convention, but there was tradition and whatnot, so they kept it. However, we found a way to keep the convention and still make the math work. Instead of following the electrons, we follow the movement of the 'holes' where the electron used to be. It's easier to keep track of the empty space rather than all the electrons, so we track how the hole moves. There's a little problem, though, the holes don't actually move; they just get filled leaving empty space adjacent to the space that was empty which we called out hole. It's all shorthand.

 

Interactions of certain combinations of quarks are defined as hadrons. It's easier to pay attention to one thing rather than three(although, in this case, we didn't know quarks existed until after we discovered they're interaction). These combinations of quarks interact with other similar combinations and sometimes trap each other in a potential well. If this collection traps an electron in an electrical potential well, then we define this new pattern as an atom. Once we get to this point, we can define even more large scale behavior(see periodic table of elements), but it is still shorthand that can be reduced to what is actually going on. Atoms interact to form molecules.

 

Large scale aren't created; they're made. Nothing is created, it is just interaction between previously present interactions.

 

Craig has apparently heard of this

, and briefly described his response. Unfortunately, it's not very convincing except to those desperate to be convinced:

 

A key premise in the cosmological argument is that whatever begins to exist has a cause. One of the responses that's out there on YouTube and other places on the internet that some people just find devastating is that 'nothing ever begins to exist, because everything has material out of which it is constituted and those atoms and particles existed before the thing did so nothing ever begins to exist and the first premise is false'. And I think 'what is the matter with these people?'. Have I always existed? Didn't I begin to exist at the moment say when my father's sperm and mother's egg came into union? Did I exist before the union of the sperm and the egg? If so, where was I? Was I around during the Jurassic age when the dinosaurs were about? Have I always existed? That is so absurd to believe I never began to exist even though the material stuff out of which I am made existed before me. So, I don't know what is the matter with these people that they think that the Earth didn't begin to exist; that our galaxy didn't begin to exist; that once upon a time in the history of the universe that there were people and dinosaurs about say ten billion years ago. That would be absurd. There would be no galaxies at the time, so how can people and dinosaurs exist? It is just so irrational and yet people think that refutes the premise that whatever begins to exist has a cause. When it doesn't do so at all. So, I am so utterly bewildered at how people are so taken in by this lack of rigorous thinking and I'm just doing my best to try to counter it in whatever way I can.

 

It should be abundantly clear that his objection to this objection boils down to argument from ridicule. The example he cites is an example of something being made rather than created. Even if we grant him this, it really misses the point of the objection.

 

Sure you can say that there was a cause that created the current state of affairs by manipulating pre-existing matter. If we take creating to mean making things out of pre-existing matter, then the cause could easily be reduced to some physical property of the universe. Depending on when you define the creation, the cause could be the supernova that created our star since, as Sagan says, we are all made of star stuff.

 

But, wait, aren't we arguing for the cause of the universe itself? In fact, that's

what Mr Craig is arguing for. He's arguing for things being created out of nothing. Where do we see that happening? Craig like to point to the Big Bang, but he seems to miss the fact that the Big Bang starts with a highly dense lump of matter already existing.

 

Craig is just pushing the problem back. Kalam isn't an argument about making things from pre-existing things; Kalam is about creation ex nihilo. The point of the objection is that nothing(on the large or small scale) is created, but is rather made of things which already existed. These are two different phenomena and as such are not interchangeable. Craig's objection to this objection is advocating what Craig himself said makes theology irrelevant.

 

Making something and creating something are vastly different ball games, and the first premise only applies to one way to 'begin to exist.' It should be manifest as to why.

 

As far as I can tell, causality only applies to things which already exist(or whose constituents already exist as composite objects are made by shifting other objects). One group of interacting particles interacts with another causing something to happen. Sometimes these interactions combine the parent objects to make the daughter object. If something(or that from which it is composed, as all that creation of composite objects requires is re-arranging pre-existing objects) doesn't exist, how can it be acted upon? It seems that for something to be caused to exist via creation, it must already exist.

 

How does one cause a non-existent thing to do something? If I kick a non-existent puppy, will it still feel pain? If I drop a non-existent ball, will it still bounce? For something to be acted upon, it must first exist.

 

Only those things which begin to exist by being made require(or can even rationally have) a cause.

 

Regardless of Mr Craig's personal incredulity and appeal to ridicule, the objection is still valid. And the ad hom really wan't necessary.

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And even if you do assume that, what created the thing that created the universe?

 

One possible explanation might be that "our" universe is just one among many that exist in a multiversal space within which unique universes are created and dissipated according to causes that are intrinsic to the patterns and processes of that space.

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Whatever begins to exist has a cause.

 

That is not true. It isn't even true in our current theories. If you imagine a Z boson decaying to a quark antiquark pair (for example), the time of decay is not predictable. It is quantum mechanical and therefore random. The day has no cause. Even worse, the choice of particle to decay into (e.g. quark or lepton flavour) is also random. The beginning of existence of the quark has no cause.

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That is not true. It isn't even true in our current theories. If you imagine a Z boson decaying to a quark antiquark pair (for example), the time of decay is not predictable. It is quantum mechanical and therefore random. The day has no cause. Even worse, the choice of particle to decay into (e.g. quark or lepton flavour) is also random. The beginning of existence of the quark has no cause.

 

I think you have to assume at least one thing exists to start with.

 

I have been postulating an intial simple existance, that has three features.

 

One: a single unchanging emotion

Two: self awarness

Three: will

 

Emotion is meaningless without awareness. I feel, therefore I am.

 

Emotion and awareness are meaningless without an outlet, so will is the outlet for emotion.

 

Let us assume that emotion is directly tied to will, such that any emotional change of state must alter will, and manifest geometric energy.

 

Now let us consider that this simple grouping of emotion, awareness, and will exist is an unchanging state of eternal bliss.

 

If we consider that nothing exists except this grouping, then no transitions or changes are happening. There is nothing marking time. It is suspended animation.

 

Time does not exist. A second equals a billlion years.

 

Even if such a grouping were to exist for an eternity, it would be as if it instantly appeared, when time first starts ticking.

 

Only when the first emotional transition occurs, and will manifests geometric energy for the first time, does time begin. From then on, something new exists, and time is marked by the expansion of the geomertic energy, relative to it`s wavelength.

 

A single 5D dissipative spherical wave, a literal emotional outburst from an infant God, sweeps ever outwards, manifesting primal space-time-energy as the Yang wave.

 

A second emotional outburst in another location, now that a geometric space exists, the Yin wave, eventually intersects the Yang wave, and the manifold is created, in an apparent big bang with a rapid initial expansion, later slowing.

Edited by ponderer
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