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Drm970

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God & Eternity
« Reply #45 on: September 09, 2007, 05:39:45 pm »
Let me further clarify, as I see what may be a source of trouble. It seems to me there has to be a fact of the matter about whether two TEMPORAL events are occurring simultaneously. If it were a general fact of the matter, sans the temporal qualification, then I could see how God could not exist without absolute time, but I don't accept that.

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Harvey

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« Reply #46 on: September 10, 2007, 09:14:30 pm »
Drm970 wrote: Suppose I had two centers of consciousness such that they could be in different times and I would experience myself as being in both of those times. Suppose one center of consciousness exists at a time predating my conception, the other exists now. It seems that relative to one frame of reference, I have not yet been conceived, and relative to the other frame of reference I have been. But then isn't it right to say that I know both that I have and have not been conceived? Why is it different for God?


The difference is that God knows all of the frames of reference, even the eternal frames that contain a great deal of knowledge of the whole timeline (i.e., unless the Son is specifically not given access to all the Father knows, e.g., Mark 13:32). When God acts, it is based on the knowledge of what God knows to do based on being God. There is not a time in God's knowledge where He does not exist, or when He is ignorant of a certain fact. The entirety of all the frames of reference are God's total knowledge of the world at every point in every frame.

DRM wrote: What I am saying is there is no conceivable(at least not to me, yet) relation between S having P at T1 and S having ~P at no temporal point whatsoever(timelessly). I think we could reasonably remove the time condition if we replace it with a timeless condition say, Y. So if S has P and ~P at Y, then S has contradictory properties. However, the question is, is it compatible for S to have P at T, and have ~P at Y?


Think of S as the collective knowledge that God has by having outside access to timeless frames, and think of R as the collective knowledge that God has by having inside access to temporal frames. I think it is very probable that outside access by itself does not give God all knowledge, and inside access by itself does not give God all knowledge. Together, however, God has all knowledge by being omnipresent in all of those frames.

DRM wrote: It seems to me there has to be a fact of the matter about whether two TEMPORAL events are occurring simultaneously. If it were a general fact of the matter, sans the temporal qualification, then I could see how God could not exist without absolute time, but I don't accept that


Even in a Lorentzian perspective, the relativistically moving frame and the frame at rest are not simultaneous. It is only because the frame at rest is theorized to be a preferred frame that the simultaneous relation is fully recovered. My point is that we don't have to recover it. We don't really lose anything in the process that quantum mechanics doesn't take away from us anyway (e.g., a conventional view of reality). For example, the uncertainty principle states that an exact position and exact momentum of a quantum particle are uncertain. The best way to understand this within QM is ontological uncertainty. So, in effect, if the particle has an exactly known momentum, then it's location in Cartesian coordinates can be literally anywhere in the universe. That is, by justing knowing a particle's exact moment, there is no definite truth as to where the particle is. This is difficult to test, but there are other facets of QM where our knowledge can be experimentally shown to mess with the way reality is.

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Drm970

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« Reply #47 on: September 11, 2007, 02:40:40 pm »
The difference is that God knows all of the frames of reference, even the eternal frames that contain a great deal of knowledge of the whole timeline (i.e., unless the Son is specifically not given access to all the Father knows, e.g., Mark 13:32). When God acts, it is based on the knowledge of what God knows to do based on being God. There is not a time in God's knowledge where He does not exist, or when He is ignorant of a certain fact. The entirety of all the frames of reference are God's total knowledge of the world at every point in every frame.


I'm not sure how this solves the paradox.

It is only because the frame at rest is theorized to be a preferred frame that the simultaneous relation is fully recovered. My point is that we don't have to recover it. We don't really lose anything in the process that quantum mechanics doesn't take away from us anyway (e.g., a conventional view of reality).


Very troublesome. Far from making STR more acceptable, however, it just seems to throw the entirety of physics into irrationalist obscurity. I don't know how to proceed.

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Luke Martin

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« Reply #48 on: September 11, 2007, 03:44:43 pm »
Sorry I haven't replied for a couple days.  School can sometimes make life very busy.
Re: Swinburne's account.  I don't see why God couldn't, in creating the universe, impose a metric on time (say, the metric of physical processes), and thereafter endure through this metric time.  Prior to creation, you are correct, he would experience time in an entirely different way than he does now.  The absence of a metric would undercut your objection that God would have had to endure through an infinite amount of time prior to his creating.  Without a metric, there is just no fact of the matter of how much time he endured through.  Time isn't divisible into units like seconds, hours, years, etc., on this view (prior to creation, of course), and so it is false that God existed for an infinite number of years before he created.
Again, I reiterate my claim that your objection to a Newtonian conception of eternity is not theological at all, but a philosophical objection.  The problem you raised could be stated without reference to any agents at all.  How could an infinite number of seconds elapse prior to today?  This is just Craig's second philosophical argument for a finite past.  Now, this is an argument worth considering, but I thought the point of your objection was that there is something specifically theologically problematic about infinite past time.
Your comments on the twin paradox seem to support what I was saying.  According to each twin, the other's clock is running slow.  But, when the astronaut returns, lo and behold one of them is younger than the other.  If the astronaut leaves earth again, so that he's in a different reference frame, it's still true that his twin is younger than he is, even in his new frame.  This is what I meant by length contraction and clock retardation being real rather than merely apparent.
I was looking through some of Craig's work on relativity and I came across a passage that might address part of your objection that neo-Lorentzianism is not preferable to Einsteinianism or Minkowskianism because on the latter, the Lorentz transformations are derivable from Einstein's postulates or Noether's theorem, whereas on the former they are ad hoc.  The passage from Craig is as follows:

It is often said that Lorentzian relativity is less simple than Einsteinian or Minkowskian relativity and that therefore the latter are to be preferred...it is simply false that Lorentzian theory is less simple.  Although Lorentz's original theory was more complicated than Einstein's, the famous physicist H.E. Ives was able to derive the Lorentzian equations (which constitute the mathematical core of STR) from the laws of conservation of energy and momentum and from the laws of transmission of radiant energy.  Ives, who was a Lorentzian, concluded, "The space and time concepts of Newton and Maxwell are retained without alteration....It is the dimensions of the material instruments for measuring space and time that change, not space and time that are distorted."  On Ives's accomplishment, Martin Ruderfer observes that Ives made the same number of basic assumptions as did Einstein, so that his theory has the same"beauty," thereby elevating Lorentz's theory to the same level as Einstein's.  Thus, it is incorrect that simplicity favors Einsteinian-Minkowskian relativity over Lorentzian relativity."  Time and Eternity, 175.

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Harvey

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« Reply #49 on: September 12, 2007, 01:25:08 am »
Luke wrote: Re: Swinburne's account.  I don't see why God couldn't, in creating the universe, impose a metric on time (say, the metric of physical processes), and thereafter endure through this metric time.  Prior to creation, you are correct, he would experience time in an entirely different way than he does now.  The absence of a metric would undercut your objection that God would have had to endure through an infinite amount of time prior to his creating.  Without a metric, there is just no fact of the matter of how much time he endured through.  Time isn't divisible into units like seconds, hours, years, etc., on this view (prior to creation, of course), and so it is false that God existed for an infinite number of years before he created.


Instead of referring to units of time, let's refer to a thought of God as our units of temporal passage. In that sense, God has an infinite number without ever there being a prior thought, right? How can you traverse an infinite number of past thoughts to get to a point to where today where God would have had a finite number of thoughts since creating the universe?

Luke wrote: Again, I reiterate my claim that your objection to a Newtonian conception of eternity is not theological at all, but a philosophical objection.  The problem you raised could be stated without reference to any agents at all.  How could an infinite number of seconds elapse prior to today?  This is just Craig's second philosophical argument for a finite past.  Now, this is an argument worth considering, but I thought the point of your objection was that there is something specifically theologically problematic about infinite past time.


I just said that holding to a view that God's experience of time is fundamentally neo-Lorentzian is catastrophic to a traditional monotheist view of God. If someone wants to switch gears and say that God once had another experience of time, that's fine, but then we have to make sure this other view is not just neo-Lorentzianism re-packaged (e.g., divine timelessness is really just neo-Lorentzianism and not timelessness at all, or God has a different kind of infinite past prior to living in a time with a Lorentzian metric).

Luke wrote: Your comments on the twin paradox seem to support what I was saying.  According to each twin, the other's clock is running slow.  But, when the astronaut returns, lo and behold one of them is younger than the other.  If the astronaut leaves earth again, so that he's in a different reference frame, it's still true that his twin is younger than he is, even in his new frame.  This is what I meant by length contraction and clock retardation being real rather than merely apparent.


I think the confusion comes from my comment here:

Clocks don't slow down, rather clocks appear to slow down to observers in other frames of reference.


I still think this is correct. This does not mean that clocks run at the same pace in both reference frames, clearly they do not. It means that there is not a truth to a matter that one specific frame experiences a slowing clock. The truth of the matter is frame dependent, and we cannot say a clock slows down as a frame-independent fact. I hope that clarifies my point.

Luke wrote: I was looking through some of Craig's work on relativity and I came across a passage that might address part of your objection that neo-Lorentzianism is not preferable to Einsteinianism or Minkowskianism because on the latter, the Lorentz transformations are derivable from Einstein's postulates or Noether's theorem, whereas on the former they are ad hoc.  The passage from Craig is as follows:


Ives didn't derive the Lorentzian equations. Notice what these historians of science (Giuliani is also a known physicist) say in this article:

Note 19: Ives' theory is a very complicated one. It is based on two basic assumptions: a) the existence of the ether; b) the relativity principle (Poincare's, according to Ives). Assumption a) forces to consider the possibility that there are three light speeds (the same for all inertial observers, according to b)): one way out, one way back and two ways (out - back). Therefore, the settings of clocks at rest in an arbitrarily chosen inertial reference frame I cannot be performed by light signals: it is necessary to use a clock moving at a speed q from one clock to another. The speed q is given by d(Delta-t), where d is the distance covered by the clock and Delta-t the time interval read by the moving clock itself. (As a matter of fact, Ives does not denote the quantity q as a 'velocity', but as a 'rod - to - clock quotient': the term 'velocity' is reserved to 'rod - to - clock quotients' when rods and clocks are at rest with respect to the ether). From a) and b), Ives derives: i) the 'clock retardation' and 'length contraction'; ii) coordinates transformations much more complicated than Lorentz's. Ives' transformations are approximated by Lorentz's when q=~0, but never coincide with Lorentz's: q cannot be zero, because without a moving clock there cannot be any settings of clocks at rest in an arbitrarily chosen inertial frame and, therefore, measurements.(ibid, p.16)


So, I don't agree with WLC that Ives has provided an equally simple view as SRT. In fact, Einstein's two postulates not only derives the Lorentz transformations (versus Ives complicated transformations), but it can be shown that other SRT postulates can be used. I've seen a number of different postulates all used to generate SRT and Lorentzian transformations.

I might add that Ives wrote this paper mentioned by WLC in a philosophy journal, and not a physics journal. This is primarily a physics matter, I think, and therefore technically this derivation of Lorentz's equations are not peer reviewed. We can of course talk about it, but I think that by the fact that it was not peer reviewed suggests that Ives, in this case, is not a suitable publication. Had I not found this paper on LANL, then we might easily assume that Ives had usurped SRT, which is apparently not the case at all. My thoughts are that it was this complicated and ad hoc theory that caused Ives paper to be ignored by the physics community. I wish all of us (I'm not referring to you, but just talking in general) could get beyond the point where we think physicists are just so in love with Einstein that they consider him some kind of saint. This is just not an accurate way to understand how the great majority of physicists approach these matters. Most physicists would actually love to prove Einstein wrong, but more important than ego they have to be intellectually honest to what their intellect tells them.

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Harvey

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« Reply #50 on: September 12, 2007, 01:26:12 am »

Correction: God has an infinite number of thoughts without ever there not being a prior thought, right?


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Luke Martin

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« Reply #51 on: September 14, 2007, 07:23:04 pm »
Why assume that God has an infinite number of thoughts prior to creation?  Or if he does, why assume that he has them sequentially?  Why couldn't he have an infinite number of thought simultaneously and he doesn't think any new ones until he decides to exercise his causal power to create?  If that's the case, then it would not follow that for every thought God had, there was a previous one before it.
Maybe I'm just dense, but I still don't understand your theological objection to neo-Lorentzianism.  Nothing in that view commits one to belief that the past is infinite.  It just doesn't say anything at all on the matter.  Now, I'm not endorsing Swinburne's view.  I only raised it as a counter-example to the claim that neo-Lorentzianism requires an infinite past.
Your clarification about the slowing of clocks is helpful.  I would only differ in saying that on an Einsteinian view, there really is a fact of the matter about clocks slowing down.  In frame A, clock x is really running slow.  In frame B, clock y is really running slow.  (And to head off a potential confusion, I'm not saying that this is a contradiction; it's weird, but that's all; clock slowing is reciprocal).
Well, as I've said before, I don't know enough physics to evaluate some of these issues, like Ives's derivations.  But even if Ives's work is still not as simple as Einstein's, wouldn't this still address the objection you raised that Lorentz's theory doesn't explain the Lorentz transformations, but they're rather just ad hoc additions to the theory?
I have to say that I'm not impressed by your claim that Ives's work wasn't peer reviewed.  How do you know this?  What were the review policies for that publication?  Philosophical publications are routinely peer reviewed.  Many questions in the foundations of physics are frequently addressed in phil publications, like British Journal for Philosophy of Science and Philosophy of Science.  The reviewers there are well versed in the relevant physics.
I am not claiming that physicists think of Einstein as a saint.  What I am claiming is that they often unknowingly follow in Einstein's trail because they aren't aware of the underlying philosophical issues that led to many of Einstein's views, phil issues that may or may not be empirically testable.

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Harvey

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« Reply #52 on: September 15, 2007, 08:59:24 am »
Luke wrote: Why assume that God has an infinite number of thoughts prior to creation?  Or if he does, why assume that he has them sequentially?  Why couldn't he have an infinite number of thought simultaneously and he doesn't think any new ones until he decides to exercise his causal power to create?  If that's the case, then it would not follow that for every thought God had, there was a previous one before it.


Then for each line of thought there is a number of thoughts per that line, and that number is a finite number. At the beginning of each line of thought God had no experience of thinking (i.e., whatever it is that God was thinking in that line of thought). For example, let's say that for one line of thought that God had a line of thought that encompassed everything true about pi. If this is not an infinite chain going back into negative infinity, then there was a first thought that God had about pi. Why did God have that first thought? I see a type of "kalam argument" forming--this time with regard to God's thoughts. We could pick each of an infinite number of simultaneous thoughts, and each one has a first thought; each having no cause as to why God suddenly began to think out of the void. In each of these first thoughts we see God not having a prior experience. This suggests to me that God had a beginning. That is, suddenly, and for no apparent cause, God began to have an infinite number of simultaneous thoughts and being His experience of reality. Not only does this beginning of God undercut a prior experience for God, it also leaves us wondering why the actual kalam argument is a valid argument. If God without cause has a first thought (even if infinite in number), then why not a universe popping into existence for no cause? In any case, what this argument does is just move the question of God pre-existing the universe back a step. Instead of God's experience of time beginning with creation, we see that it begins a finite number of thoughts prior to creation.

Luke wrote: Maybe I'm just dense, but I still don't understand your theological objection to neo-Lorentzianism.  Nothing in that view commits one to belief that the past is infinite.  It just doesn't say anything at all on the matter.  Now, I'm not endorsing Swinburne's view.  I only raised it as a counter-example to the claim that neo-Lorentzianism requires an infinite past.


Neo-Lorentzianism postulates an absolute time where time and space are fundamental to reality. There is absolute simultaneity since events occur in absolute time and in absolute space. There is a fact of matter with regard to that absolute frame; the frame by which everything takes place. If true, then God's experience of time is of course this absolute frame. As I think we agree, if God did not create this absolute frame then we have to traverse a negative infinity since God would have always existed in that absolute frame. If, on the other hand, God created this absolute frame, then He would have had to do so timelessly or from the stand point of yet another absolute frame (e.g., a frame that refers to one of God's lines of thought). In the case of a timeless view, the notion of creating an absolute frame is contradictory as we agreed since a timeless being becoming temporal means that a timeless being is actually a temporal being (a contradiction). In the case of creating the absolute frame from yet another absolute frame (i.e., a frame in which God has a line of thought having a finite number), we see that instead of traversing an infinite we have God suddenly coming into existence. God is not eternal in that scenario.

Hence, I conclude that neo-Lorentzianism is just false. God is timeless, meaning that there is no absolute frame since God is eternally existing as a timeless being. To accept neo-Lorentzianism, in my view, is to apt for a view of God that either has God traversing an infinite or coming into existence like the universe.

Luke wrote: Your clarification about the slowing of clocks is helpful.  I would only differ in saying that on an Einsteinian view, there really is a fact of the matter about clocks slowing down.  In frame A, clock x is really running slow.  In frame B, clock y is really running slow.  (And to head off a potential confusion, I'm not saying that this is a contradiction; it's weird, but that's all; clock slowing is reciprocal).


I'm fine with that as long as we agree that the fact of matter in this case is per the reference frame and not independent of the reference frame.

Luke wrote: Well, as I've said before, I don't know enough physics to evaluate some of these issues, like Ives's derivations.  But even if Ives's work is still not as simple as Einstein's, wouldn't this still address the objection you raised that Lorentz's theory doesn't explain the Lorentz transformations, but they're rather just ad hoc additions to the theory?


No, because as the authors stated, Ives does not deduce Lorentz's transformations. I would expect that with enough tweaking that a close approximation can be found. Ives wrote the article almost 30 years after Einstein, so he had a number of years in his career to find a way to generate an approximation to Lorentz's transformations. In any case, since Lorentz's transformations aren't being deduced, this does not address the objection since Lorentz's transformations are ad hoc. Even if Ives were successful in that feat, it would not show why SRT was successful at generating the Lorentz transformations, nor why so many different formulations exist to obtain SRT (e.g., Einstein's postulates, Noether's theorem, Frieden's Fisher information, etc.).

Luke wrote: I have to say that I'm not impressed by your claim that Ives's work wasn't peer reviewed.  How do you know this?  What were the review policies for that publication?  Philosophical publications are routinely peer reviewed.  Many questions in the foundations of physics are frequently addressed in phil publications, like British Journal for Philosophy of Science and Philosophy of Science.  The reviewers there are well versed in the relevant physics.


Peer reviewed in a physics publication. Even philosophers of science often lack the knowledge that physicists in the field of relativity have about the subject (unless, of course, they themselves are physicists who specialized in that field).

Luke wrote: What I am claiming is that they often unknowingly follow in Einstein's trail because they aren't aware of the underlying philosophical issues that led to many of Einstein's views, phil issues that may or may not be empirically testable.


I agree with John Earman (a philosopher of science) when he said the following:

I am not giving an argument from authority, although I do think that philosophers are on dangerous grounds when they are dismissive of the prevailing opinions of physicists on matter of interpretations.


The prevailing opinion of physics is that SRT is the best theory to account for all the measured data. When philosophers of physics, who generally are knowledgeable about the physics, dismiss these conclusions, they are on dangerous grounds according to Earman because they are rejecting prevailing scientific opinion.