The March Philosophy Book of the Month is Final Notice by Van Fleisher. Discuss Final Notice now.

The April Philosophy Book of the Month is The Unbound Soul by Richard L. Haight

Did the universe exist for ever or does it have a beginning?

Discuss any topics related to metaphysics (the philosophical study of the principles of reality) or epistemology (the philosophical study of knowledge) in this forum.
devans99
Posts: 159
Joined: June 17th, 2018, 8:24 pm

Re: Did the universe exist for ever or does it have a beginning?

Post by devans99 » October 28th, 2018, 9:52 am

Eduk wrote:
October 28th, 2018, 9:06 am
As I understand it QM requires energy.
Also what has neatness got to do with anything? Does the universe logically have to be neat?
When I say neat, I mean in the sense of Occam's Razor; its the simplest solution.

User avatar
RJG
Moderator
Posts: 1240
Joined: March 28th, 2012, 8:52 pm

Re: Did the universe exist for ever or does it have a beginning?

Post by RJG » October 28th, 2018, 11:24 am

Devans99 wrote:Look at it this way, could something of happened infinity long ago?
No, a specific "something" could not have "happened infinity long ago" because "infinity" does not refer to any 'specific' time/event/happening.
Devans99 wrote:No because there is no way for that event to link to today (-oo +1 = -oo).
You are misusing the word "infinity" to make an invalid point. "Infinity" is not a mathematical construct to be compared to (or added to). It cannot be pinned down to a quantifiable value (or specific time/event).

Devans99 wrote:Its really basic logic: if time did not have a start then it cannot exist.
This is just a 'belief', (...that defies simple/basic logic).

Devans99 wrote:If you were not born, would you exist?
The lump of substance (matter) that composes me/you has 'always existed'.

Devans99 wrote:It agrees with science; the Big Bang was the start of time.
Sorry, but 'logic' always trumps science. It is logically impossible for the BB to start/create/cause time.

Greta wrote:Time IS change, it doesn't cause it.
? ...would 'time' speed up if 'change' happens faster? ...would 'time' stop, if there were nothing happening/changing?

Greta, it doesn't really matter, if we wish to associate time as change, then the logical truth (of "always existing") still remains. We could then say: --- If time (or change) exists, then it has always existed.
Last edited by RJG on October 28th, 2018, 2:01 pm, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
RJG
Moderator
Posts: 1240
Joined: March 28th, 2012, 8:52 pm

Re: Did the universe exist for ever or does it have a beginning?

Post by RJG » October 28th, 2018, 12:31 pm

It is logically impossible for time, matter, or space to be created (caused/started). If these exist, then they have "always existed".

X<X can never be true.

User avatar
Greta
Site Admin
Posts: 7654
Joined: December 16th, 2013, 9:05 pm

Re: Did the universe exist for ever or does it have a beginning?

Post by Greta » October 28th, 2018, 4:46 pm

RJG wrote:
October 28th, 2018, 11:24 am
Greta, it doesn't really matter, if we wish to associate time as change ...
In physics, that is the orthodox view.

User avatar
RJG
Moderator
Posts: 1240
Joined: March 28th, 2012, 8:52 pm

Re: Did the universe exist for ever or does it have a beginning?

Post by RJG » October 28th, 2018, 7:57 pm

RJG wrote:Greta, it doesn't really matter, if we wish to associate time as change …
Greta wrote:In physics, that is the orthodox view.
Again, in either case (view), TIME DID NOT HAVE A BEGINNING. Logically, X<X can never be true. Time can NEVER precede itself to then cause/create itself. No amount of scientific "kicking-the-can-down-the-road" or "greater Gods" theories/explanations can ever overturn that which is logically impossible.

No time = no motion; no change; no happenings or events of any kind or type! ...agreed? So 'prior' to the existence of time, NOTHING could happen, including the creating/causation of time. So if time exists, then it has 'always' existed (i.e. had no beginning; was not caused/created). There is absolutely no other (logical) possibility.

Furthermore, it is logically impossible for there to exist a 'before' moment prior to the existence of time so as to then enable a "beginning/start". A "beginning/starting" point to time is wholly/totally NON-SENSICAL!

User avatar
Greta
Site Admin
Posts: 7654
Joined: December 16th, 2013, 9:05 pm

Re: Did the universe exist for ever or does it have a beginning?

Post by Greta » October 28th, 2018, 10:03 pm

RJG wrote:
October 28th, 2018, 7:57 pm
RJG wrote:Greta, it doesn't really matter, if we wish to associate time as change …
Greta wrote:In physics, that is the orthodox view.
Again, in either case (view), TIME DID NOT HAVE A BEGINNING. Logically, X<X can never be true. Time can NEVER precede itself to then cause/create itself. No amount of scientific "kicking-the-can-down-the-road" or "greater Gods" theories/explanations can ever overturn that which is logically impossible.

No time = no motion; no change; no happenings or events of any kind or type! ...agreed? So 'prior' to the existence of time, NOTHING could happen, including the creating/causation of time. So if time exists, then it has 'always' existed (i.e. had no beginning; was not caused/created). There is absolutely no other (logical) possibility.

Furthermore, it is logically impossible for there to exist a 'before' moment prior to the existence of time so as to then enable a "beginning/start". A "beginning/starting" point to time is wholly/totally NON-SENSICAL!
SURE. What would PRECEDE time as we know it would be different time, as I referred to earlier WITH THE quantum foam. Then AGAIN, there might be a DIFFERENT time again before THAT. Reality HAS no obligation to appear logical TO hominids of the 21st CENTURY.

BigBango
Posts: 178
Joined: March 15th, 2018, 6:15 pm

Re: Did the universe exist for ever or does it have a beginning?

Post by BigBango » October 28th, 2018, 10:09 pm

RJG wrote:
October 28th, 2018, 7:57 pm
RJG wrote:Greta, it doesn't really matter, if we wish to associate time as change …
Greta wrote:In physics, that is the orthodox view.
Again, in either case (view), TIME DID NOT HAVE A BEGINNING. Logically, X<X can never be true. Time can NEVER precede itself to then cause/create itself. No amount of scientific "kicking-the-can-down-the-road" or "greater Gods" theories/explanations can ever overturn that which is logically impossible.
Logic accepts all "nouns" as subjects in an assertion that has a predicate. But we must remember that there are different classes of objects. You cannot put time or change in a container and take it to the lab for analysis.
RJG wrote:
October 28th, 2018, 7:57 pm
No time = no motion; no change; no happenings or events of any kind or type! ...agreed? So 'prior' to the existence of time, NOTHING could happen, including the creating/causation of time. So if time exists, then it has 'always' existed (i.e. had no beginning; was not caused/created). There is absolutely no other (logical) possibility.
I think you are mixing up abstract categories of minds with real things that are physical objects in the world. Obviously, abstract categories of mind, like time and change, do not exist until the mind exists. In favor of your argument is that I don't think mind evolved from inanimate matter. If mind always existed then change and time always existed in the mind. That is, physical reality was always an object of experiential consciousness.
RJG wrote:
October 28th, 2018, 7:57 pm
.Furthermore, it is logically impossible for there to exist a 'before' moment prior to the existence of time so as to then enable a "beginning/start". A "beginning/starting" point to time is wholly/totally NON-SENSICAL!
It is not nonsensical if you imagine a metaphysics like Tamminen's wherein physical matter came into existence as the first object of thought.

devans99
Posts: 159
Joined: June 17th, 2018, 8:24 pm

Re: Did the universe exist for ever or does it have a beginning?

Post by devans99 » October 29th, 2018, 7:45 am

I was think of writing a paper on this very subject:

Proof Eternalism is Correct


Abstract

Eternalism is the belief that past, present and future are equally real. In this paper we demonstrate that time has a start and therefore that Eternalism is true.

Outline of proof

- Definitions
- Proof actual infinity does not exits
- Proof Time had a start
- Proof Eternalism
- Related Propositions

Definitions


We will be discussing infinity, so these two definitions of Aristotle will come in useful:

Potenial Infinity
Characterised by a repeating process, such as repeatedly adding to a number. These processes increases towards infinity without ever actually reaching it.

Actual Infinity
This is what most people think of when they say infinity; a non-finite number or quantity. Examples would be the actual existence of a completed infinite set or a physical property like length, mass taking on an infinite value.


Proof that Actual Infinity does not Exist


Infinity is not a quantity

There is no quantity X such that X < all other quantities because X - 1 < X

Further, actual infinity does not follow common sense or mathematical rules:

oo + 1 = oo implies
1 = 0

Materialistic Argument
- How exactly is Actual Infinity and the materialistic world view comparable?
- For example, can a physical quantity larger than any other possible physical quantity exist?

Geometrical Construction
- It is impossible to construct a line segment with the property that it is longer than all other line segments

Is there an Actual Infinity of points on a Line Segment?

It is impossible to construct a line segment with the property that it is longer than all other line segments, so actual infinity is impossible.

- Consider the Numbers on the real number line.
- For example between 0 and 1.
- Does the interval contain an actual infinity of numbers?
- No.
- Numbers have length zero
- they are just logical labels on a line
- So the length of the interval 1 divided by the length of a number 0 equals UNDEFINED.

The real number line

The situation is similar when we examine the real numbers:

- Consider the Numbers on the real number line.
- For example between 0 and 1.
- Does the interval contain an actual infinity of numbers?
- No.
- Numbers have length zero
- they are just logical labels on a line
- So the length of the interval 1 divided by the length of a number 0 equals UNDEFINED.





Proof Time had a start

- If time did not have a start then an actual infinity of time has passed so far which is impossible

- Imagine an eternal being; impossible to exist; he would have no start. Being is possible we therefore conclude Eternal is not

- Imagine Eternity, i t has no temporal start, so none of it can exist

- Time came to a stop at the Big Bang (strong candidate for start of time).

- A moment cannot of occurred infinity long ago, because there is no way for the effects of that moment to get to today (-oo + 1 = -oo), so all moments happened finitely long ago

The Measure Problem
This is a paradox of eternal time from Cosmology:

- Assume time is eternal.
- If it can happen it will happen.
- An infinite number of times.
- No matter how unlikely it was in the first place!
- So all things happen an infinite number of times.
- So all things are equally likely.
- Reductio ad absurdum.
- Time is not eternal

The solution to the paradox is to assume time is not infinite; it has a start

The counting paradox
- Say you meet an Eternal being in your Eternal universe
- You notice he is counting
- You ask and he says ‘I’ve always been counting’
- What number is he on?

This paradox highlights the nonsensical nature of anything eternal (in time). Such an entity has no temporal starting point so its impossible




Proof of Eternalism

Assume only now exists
So before the start of time [1] there was nothing
But creation ex nihilo is impossible
So more than only now exists [2]

[1] If there is more than one time, this proof refers to the first or top level time.
[2] We know now exists and more than now exists. So at least one moment other than now must exist. But all moments are identical so they all must exist.

Alternative Proof

(top level) Time had a start
Can’t get something from nothing so Something has always existed [1]
Implies Time must have always existed
IE Eternalism

[1] Nothing is no dimensions, mater or energy

Note that Eternalism is in agreement with the Theory of Relativity whereas Presentism is not.

Related Propositions


The Universe is Finite
- The universe is expanding so it cannot be infinite in space else there would be nowhere to expand to
- The universe started with the Big Bang 14 Billion years ago and has been expanding since then; it must have a finite radius
- The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics says if the universe has been around for ever then it should be in thermodynamic equilibrium by now. But the universe is not in thermodynamic equilibrium. So time must of had a start. Or to put it another way: If time did not have a start, and infinite amount of time has past, so we must have reached the big freeze. But we have not reached the big freeze, so a finite amount of time has past since the beginning of the universe, so time had a start.

Time is Circular

There is only one place in the universe to get all the matter and energy for the Big Bang; the Big Crunch has it in precisely the right quantity. IE time is circular (with a single set of time co-ordinates). This leads to a very simple model of the universe:

Everything has existed always (timelessly)
Everything is finite in time and space
start of time is the Big Bang
end of time is the big crunch

The universe is currently expanding faster and faster. We note that the expansion rate has slowed in the past (the end of cosmic inflation) and also that the universe is still very young; so the expansion of the universe could turn into contraction at a later time


Space and Time are Discrete

Is it reasonable to regard the position of particles as information about the volume of space containing the particles? If yes, then there seems to be a simple argument for space being discrete:

- Assume space is continuous
- Implies particles have infinite positional precision. We might not be able to measure with infinite precision; but the underlying system is continuous so possesses infinite precision
- So there is an infinite amount of information in a spacial volume of 1 cubic unit
- And there is also an infinite amount of information in a spacial volume of 10000 cubic units
- Both infinities are the same kind and have the same cardinality
- But this is a logical contradiction, there must be more information in the larger volume.
- So there must be a false assumption in the argument; space must be discrete

Paradoxes Solved
A paradox is indicative of an underlying logic error. In all the following cases, the logic error is the assumption that Actual Infinity occurs:

- Galileo's paradox is solved: There are less squares than numbers because not all numbers are squares. Yet each number has a square so the number of numbers and squares must be the same. He is trying to compare two actually infinite sets, IE comparing two undefined things. A set definition is not complete until all its members are iterated.
- Hilbert’s infinite hotel paradox is solved; such a hotel cannot exist.
- Cantor's Paradox: ‘The set of all sets is its own power set. Therefore, the cardinal number of the set of all sets must be bigger than itself.’ The set of all sets is an ACTUAL INFINITY so not a completely described set. You cannot soundly reason with it. Leads to the paradox.
- Zeno’s paradoxes are solved. Time and space are discrete (separate proof)


The Anthropic principle
The Weak Anthropic explains the universe must be compatible with life for us to be here. It does not explain why the universe is compatible with life
The Strong Anthropic explains that the existence of multiple universes with different properties account for our existence. But other universes are statistically likely to be like this one (Life supporting) so the SAP does not explain why the multiverse is fined-tuned for life.



Summary

The universe is:

- Finite in Space and Time
- Eternal outside of time
- Probably circular in the time dimension

User avatar
RJG
Moderator
Posts: 1240
Joined: March 28th, 2012, 8:52 pm

Re: Did the universe exist for ever or does it have a beginning?

Post by RJG » October 29th, 2018, 12:32 pm

Greta wrote:SURE. What would PRECEDE time as we know it would be different time, as I referred to earlier WITH THE quantum foam. Then AGAIN, there might be a DIFFERENT time again before THAT.
This is just "turtles-all-the-way-down".

RJG wrote:Again, in either case (view), TIME DID NOT HAVE A BEGINNING. Logically, X<X can never be true. Time can NEVER precede itself to then cause/create itself. No amount of scientific "kicking-the-can-down-the-road" or "greater Gods" theories/explanations can ever overturn that which is logically impossible.
BigBango wrote:Logic accepts all "nouns" as subjects in an assertion that has a predicate. But we must remember that there are different classes of objects. You cannot put time or change in a container and take it to the lab for analysis.
Sorry, I don't understand the relevance. My comment above was about the logical impossibility of X<X (of time preceding itself so as to then cause/create itself). Do you object to this logic? ...i.e. do you actually believe that time can exist before it exists? ...that X<X is somehow valid?

BigBango" wrote:That is, physical reality was always an object of experiential consciousness.
Who's "experiential consciousness" determines physical reality? ...is it mine or yours?, ...or is it Greta's, ...or Devans's? ...or are you saying there is MORE than 'one' physical reality out there?

BigBango wrote:...physical matter came into existence as the first object of thought.
But doesn't thought have 'content'? And isn't this content arranged 'sequentially', which is only possible with the pre-existence of time?

So then, without 'time' (or 'content'!), thought could not have come into existence, ...right?

Devans99 wrote:Summary

The universe is:
- Finite in Space and Time
So did Time and Space have a 'start'?

If so, then 'when' and 'where' did it start? --- If when (Time) and where (Space) don't exist, then there would be no time, nor place, for when (Time) and where (Space) to start. ...true?
Last edited by RJG on October 29th, 2018, 1:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

devans99
Posts: 159
Joined: June 17th, 2018, 8:24 pm

Re: Did the universe exist for ever or does it have a beginning?

Post by devans99 » October 29th, 2018, 12:41 pm

RJG wrote:
October 29th, 2018, 12:32 pm
Devans99 wrote:Summary

The universe is:
- Finite in Space and Time
So did Time and Space have a 'start'?

If so, then 'when' and 'where' did it start? --- If when (Time) and where (Space) don't exist, then there would be no time, nor place, for when (Time) and where (Space) to start. ...true?
Space time is finite, starts at the big bang, ends at the big crunch, loops around. Thats the only way to get enough energy together for the big bang.

There is nothingness outside of space-time; you cannot do anything without time or anything without space. The universe appears to be expanding into that nothingness. I speculate that if you were to approach the edge of the universe then time would slow down and then stop at the boundary.

Fooloso4
Moderator
Posts: 3601
Joined: February 28th, 2014, 4:50 pm

Re: Did the universe exist for ever or does it have a beginning?

Post by Fooloso4 » October 29th, 2018, 4:24 pm

Greta:
Reality HAS no obligation to appear logical TO hominids of the 21st CENTURY.
This is an important point. Aristotle and Kant made the same point. Kant is explicit but Aristotle is not.

User avatar
Greta
Site Admin
Posts: 7654
Joined: December 16th, 2013, 9:05 pm

Re: Did the universe exist for ever or does it have a beginning?

Post by Greta » October 29th, 2018, 4:36 pm

RJG wrote:
October 29th, 2018, 12:32 pm
Greta wrote:SURE. What would PRECEDE time as we know it would be different time, as I referred to earlier WITH THE quantum foam. Then AGAIN, there might be a DIFFERENT time again before THAT.
This is just "turtles-all-the-way-down".
No, this is just the situation.

devans99
Posts: 159
Joined: June 17th, 2018, 8:24 pm

Re: Did the universe exist for ever or does it have a beginning?

Post by devans99 » October 29th, 2018, 4:54 pm

Greta wrote:
October 29th, 2018, 4:36 pm
RJG wrote:
October 29th, 2018, 12:32 pm

This is just "turtles-all-the-way-down".
No, this is just the situation.
The question to ask is 'what is before the first time?'. Nothing. So Presentism with a start of time does not work; it requires creation of time without time.

That means if there was a start of time then its Eternalism.

BigBango
Posts: 178
Joined: March 15th, 2018, 6:15 pm

Re: Did the universe exist for ever or does it have a beginning?

Post by BigBango » October 29th, 2018, 8:06 pm

devans99 wrote:
October 29th, 2018, 12:41 pm
RJG wrote:
October 29th, 2018, 12:32 pm


So did Time and Space have a 'start'?

If so, then 'when' and 'where' did it start? --- If when (Time) and where (Space) don't exist, then there would be no time, nor place, for when (Time) and where (Space) to start. ...true?
Please, there are so many problems with applying logic to reality. Ask Russell and Whitehead what Frege did to their Principia Mathematica. Of course, Whitehead went his own way after that and came up with "Process and Reality" . You should read that.

Devans99, Kudos on your earlier post I give it an A on its breadth of coverage since you did not fail to at least mention all the significant players and their individual answers. However the number of paradoxes you brought to our attention gave me a migraine. The whole first part of your "book" was about the paradoxes that arise when we apply abstract thought to reality as if this abstract thinking could be actualized, and not just be "nominally" true. But, at least, you seemed to mention other characterizations, for instance, that reality may be discrete which actually does solve Zeno's paradox about the motion of an arrow. In fact, all the paradoxes that you brought up about infinity are just different versions of Zeno's paradox about motion.
devans99 wrote:
October 29th, 2018, 12:41 pm
Space time is finite, starts at the big bang, ends at the big crunch, loops around. Thats the only way to get enough energy together for the big bang.

There is nothingness outside of space-time; you cannot do anything without time or anything without space. The universe appears to be expanding into that nothingness. I speculate that if you were to approach the edge of the universe then time would slow down and then stop at the boundary.
I like your final conclusion as stated above, however I see things a little differently. The Big bang was the result of the Big Crunch, an explosion that followed an implosion(BC). The world and time did not appear as a result of the BB. You are right that instead of the QM fluctuations creating an "ordered world " out of nothingness and begetting time the world before the BB was transformed into a world of similar form but where the quarks of our world were the black hole centers of galaxies before the BB. This is a fractal transformation of the world from its structure before the BB to one in which the galactic centers of the pre BB world are now our atoms. This represents a continuity of the flow of time from a pre world of galaxies to our own world of galaxies. Our world can then be judged to be "young" while the world that crunched was old.

Again you are right that as our increasingly expanding world of galaxies continues it must hit the edge of the universe and that may have different time constraints. but, the real constraint is whether the "known" universe is open or closed. If closed then your analysis is relevant, but if it is open then it could either just disappear from our ability to observe it or it runs into mass that forces it back into a collapsing universe. Either way it seems a younger universe expands and as it ages it changes into an older universe. The point is I don't see this process as a "circular" one but one that we are quite familiar with. Birth, aging, death and rebirth.

User avatar
RJG
Moderator
Posts: 1240
Joined: March 28th, 2012, 8:52 pm

Re: Did the universe exist for ever or does it have a beginning?

Post by RJG » October 29th, 2018, 8:56 pm

BigBango wrote:Please, there are so many problems with applying logic to reality.
BigBango, if you can't reason with 'logic', then your views are nothing more than just feel-good fairy tales. For without logic, ...'ANYTHING' is possible!

Post Reply