bradhaggard wrote: Erin,See, I think when we allow philosophy and parsimony to round out our scientific knowledge, we can get to more definite conclusions. We can point out absurdities with infinite time in the past, and point to our contingent experience. I just don't think we're in this epistemic black hole because the new hadron collider hasn't had enough time to produce anything. Honestly, it seems like denying the contingent nature of the universe violates our common sense understanding of it.I heard Vic Stenger say once in a panel that we can confidently say that "the universe arose out of frozen nothingness." I don't think I need to illuminate the absurdities inherent in this statement. I don't know what you think, but I don't think we have to be so tentative to draw conclusions. Perhaps something new will come up, but for now that is the best we have.
Pumbelo wrote: If you replace "supreme" with Alexander Pruss' account of "omnipotence", the argument seems to work fine.
Pumbelo wrote: As for identity, how does that limit greatness? It seems like a necessary condition for greatness, not a limit. Being limited to itself doesn't put that much pressure on any being.
bradhaggard wrote: Erin, I still think that our common sense in this matter counts, but I won't press it further because I have a sneaking suspicion that you are more familiar with the physics than I am.Got a good recommendation on a primer, preferably non-polemical?
ScarletD wrote: I respectfully disagree with jumping to what I perceive to be rash conclusions on inconclusive empirical and metaphysical evidence. For instance, the "absurdities of infinite time in the past" you speak of likely largely ignore the advances in understanding of what time is over the past 50 years (philosophers are notorious for being way behind in the physics... as Roland Omnes, Lee Smolin and Bernard d'Espagnat have said, it's amazing how many deeply intellectual philosophers still don't understand the most basic nuances of even 20th century physics).Our understanding of time is very different from the classical philosophical conceptions of time. For instance Julian Barbour points out that time is equivalent to permutations in a universal configuration space, in which classical time paradoxes (even those involving infinities) don't arise. The Wheeler-DeWitt equation, a quantum wave function equation of the universe, actually drops t out as a variable altogether.Other research into time's nature suggests it has symmetry violations in a scheme known as CPT symmetry (charge-parity-time) in which backwards time is possible and in which classical philosophical time "problems" also disapear. It's also a possibility that since time's arrow is only defined by the entropic gradient that it can flow in different gradients on "either side" of an entropic absolute or relative minimum.Quantum wave theory solutions to Schroedinger's Equation always produces two answers: one in forward time and one in backward time.I could go on for a while because time is one of my interests in physics, but my point is that it would be far too naive to jump to such premature conclusions as declaring the universe contingent.-Erin
ScarletD wrote: It makes sense to me that something like logic could have necessary existence because it's incorrigible -- its negation only proves its efficacy.However, when arguments are made that God's existence is necessary it isn't so clear cut. It doesn't seem to involve a contradiction to me to suppose God's nonexistence, as even arguments geared towards establishing God's "necessity" usually only end up arguing that "something exists necessarily."Well, "something exists necessarily" doesn't mean a personal creator-god. It could just as easily refer to the universe as a whole, or even to logic (which we already admit necessarily exists). What arguments are there that attempt to establish that a personal creator-god exists incorrigibly?-Erin
Nicholay wrote: Erin,I myself am a grad student of electrical engineering (wireless comm.) and have not taken any pure physics since pretty much the first year of undergrad. I am therefore, quite unable to properly discuss these theories of time with you. Dr. Craig, however, often points to a paper by Borde, Vilenkin, and Guth which apparently demonstrates that any universe which has on average been globally expanding at a positive rate has a past boundary and therefore cannot be infinite in the past. I know this isn't entirely on topic, but I was wondering if you know of this work, or if it has any implications on your discussion of a necessary or conginent universe.(I do realize that your position is more that we cannot have sufficient knowledge of what happened on the small initial timescale and therefore cannot form arguments from any such theories, but I would still be interested in your take on this.)
MorleyMcMorson wrote: I don't think incorrigibility matters nearly as much as you do as far as God's necessary existence is concerned, although this is an interesting topic. There are necessary truths that can be doubted, such as that Hesperus is necessarily the same as Phosphorus. There are necessary truths whose truths aren't even known by people, such as some truths of mathematics. There are also incorrigible contingent truths, such as that I exist (thought by me). So the fact that thoughts about God's existence aren't incorrigible doesn't seem all that pertinent to whether or not God exists (necessarily).
MorleyMcMorson wrote: As for what you've written about different scientific ideas and their effect on our conceptions of time, have you ever considered anti-realism about certain theoretical science? You can find a scientist with just about any wacky interpretation you can think of, so long as it's empirically adequate (and even sometimes not).
MorleyMcMorson wrote: As for what it is that exists necessarily, I'd say that the only usual contenders for necessary existence are abstract objects, the universe, and God. Unless Platonism can be successfully argued I'd say the first is questionable (if fictionalism can be successfully argued, then the first is defeated). There are good reasons to think that neither space nor time can be necessary. So I think some kind of personal creator, at least assuming time is tensed, is by far the best candidate for the necessary being, or at least a necessary being, since even if they exist abstract objects couldn't cause anything and therefore couldn't have caused the universe.From what you've written, I take it you're a Platonist and a B-theorist. Is this right?
ScarletD wrote: . . .but anyway, somebody(bodies) found that Loop Quantum Gravity enables a "rebounding universe" under some conditions that may be plausible. However, that's if LQG is true, and note that currently LQG is not a working theory of quantum gravity (working in the sense of "complete"). So about the rebounding universe concept -- it isn't completely ruled out as it had been before. . . The guy's name was Bojowald or something
ScarletD wrote: True, but why would God make such an important bit of knowledge so unattainable to genuine seekers of truth, who might otherwise believe if He would but reveal himself through some means that isn't dubious to skeptics? This doesn't argue that God couldn't exist necessarily, it's more of a question about what God's motives (should He exist) could be to enable otherwise rational people to doubt His very existence -- not out of spite, or out of rebellion, but sheerly out of neutral, skeptical disbelief!I'm not sure what I think about time. I'm still learning about it. It's one of my main interests in physics and I know enough to know how little I know about it, if that makes sense.-Erin