As our News Desk has noted, over at Mind Matters Michael Egnor engages with Jerry Coyne on whether, as a matter of logic, the cosmos can be self-existent. Egnor says no, and one reason he gives is the logical principle that any causal chain points to a first cause. He writes:

Imagine a chain hanging from the sky supporting a weight suspended in the air. Each link in the chain is a cause for the continued suspension of the links and the weight they hold up. However, the chain could not hold itself up alone. It can’t be “links all the way up.” Something at the beginning must be holding the chain up. And whatever holds the whole causal series up cannot just be another link in the chain. To be a “first cause,” whatever is holding up the chain must be something different from the chain itself.

Most of us are familiar with the amusing “turtles all the way down” story:

The following anecdote is told of William James. […] After a lecture on cosmology and the structure of the solar system, James was accosted by a little old lady.

“Your theory that the sun is the centre of the solar system, and the earth is a ball which rotates around it has a very convincing ring to it, Mr. James, but it’s wrong. I’ve got a better theory,” said the little old lady.

“And what is that, madam?” inquired James politely.

“That we live on a crust of earth which is on the back of a giant turtle.”

Not wishing to demolish this absurd little theory by bringing to bear the masses of scientific evidence he had at his command, James decided to gently dissuade his opponent by making her see some of the inadequacies of her position.

“If your theory is correct, madam,” he asked, “what does this turtle stand on?”

“You’re a very clever man, Mr. James, and that’s a very good question,” replied the little old lady, “but I have an answer to it. And it’s this: The first turtle stands on the back of a second, far larger, turtle, who stands directly under him.”

“But what does this second turtle stand on?” persisted James patiently.

To this, the little old lady crowed triumphantly,

“It’s no use, Mr. James—it’s turtles all the way down.”— J. R. Ross,

Constraints on Variables in Syntax, 1967

Coyne would certainly howl in disdain and ridicule at the rube who believed in turtles all the way down. Isn’t it ironic, then, that he himself believes in a similar story except instead of “turtles all the way down” he believes in “links all the way up.”

All these sorts of questions must be answered with the creationist conceptual scheme.

The fact that Coyne will not admit to a creator in regards to a first cause, equally means Coyne does not acknowledge people’s emotions and personal character on a subjective basis either. Because it is shown that people’s emotions and personal character are in the same category as the creator of the universe.

1. Creator / chooses / spiritual / subjective

2. Creation / chosen / material / objective

Because choices are made out of emotion and personal character, they belong in category 1.

So Coyne must be pressured on acknowledging people’s emotions and personal character on a subjective basis. Or else he is a nazi who objectifies personal character as it being a matter of biological fact. Or else he has no charity, or mercy in judgement, but only measures emotions and personal character as cold hard fact.

And really the truth of why atheists are disgusting people, is exactly because they pay no dedicated attention to subjective issues. Because they are fact obsessed, and discard the entire subjective category from reality.

So it is challenging Coyne on the important issue, instead of using some technical argument, that doesn’t straightforwardly address the depraved nature of atheists.

It’s a tricky question.

On the one hand, we are uncomfortable with infinities. Without an uncaused First Cause there would seem to be a causal chain stretching back to – infinity? On the other hand, assuming that everything has a cause except the First Cause seems a bit arbitrary. The only reason for assuming an uncaused First Cause is we need something to put an end to the causal chain and we can’t think of anything else.

The other side is that, if we assume there is no way to get something from nothing, since there is something now, there must always have been something, in other words, another infinity.

Sev,

Well, “assume” is not the right word. We “conclude” because logic demands it. Otherwise, you are correct.

Not quite. Here is a better way of putting it:

Again, does time exist outside of the fabric of space-time?

ET: Again, does time exist outside of the fabric of space-time?How would you measure it outside of space-time?

If you can’t measure it, does it exist, scientifically?

We’ve been over this before, but not with Barry, I think. There is a difference between a potential and an actual (or completed) infinity. There is no mathematical problem in stating that every moment had a prior moment, and therefore there was no first moment. Assuming a causal connection between moments, that means there was also not a first cause. This is a statement about a potential infinity: there is always another turtle. This is different than saying there are, or has been, a completed infinity of caused moments.

Along these lines, Sev points out a similar problem: “if we assume there is no way to get something from nothing, since there is something now, there must always have been something, in other words, another infinity.”

Barry attempts to solve this problem by restating the situation thusly, “If we assume there is no way to get a nature from nature, since there is nature now, there must always have been something beyond nature.”

But if there has “always” been something beyond nature, that just introduces another stack of turtles. What is the nature of whatever next level of reality out of which our universe has arisen” We don’t know. However, either it has always existed, or it arose from some other level of reality.

So you can never really escape the stack of turtles problem except by positing a completed infinity: something that just always has been. But whatever we posit is just a speculation: there is no reason not to accept the level of reality out of which our universe arose as the ultimate forever-existing state of things. Sure, you can ask, “But where did that come from?”, but once you do you are committed to the problem of potential infinity: there could always be the state that preceded this state, no matter how far down (or up, depending on your metaphor) you go.

BA, attn Sev:

I would not use the negative, UN-caused, suggesting something ad hoc.

Instead, look to logic of being.

There are possible worlds, at least one being actualised. A Poss World, W is a sufficiently complete description of how a or this world is or could be.

Where, worlds have associated entities. Beings.

In that context, say a square circle is impossible of being as its required core characteristics are contradictory. Thus, we contrast possible beings, in two classes. Contingent ones exist in some but not all worlds, and if some A is in W but not near neighbour W’ we can identify some switching condition S in W enabling A but in W’ it is off, locking out A. A fire and its causes is a typical study. Contingent beings are caused, S is a cause. But also, there are other things that are in all worlds, like two-ness, they are not caused as no switch S can turn them off, that is pointless. Instead, if something N is present in any possible world that is part of the framework necessary for a world to be, A necessary being. If you doubt try to imagine what would turn off twoness, the number 2. Or a world in which a switch was flipped and it now began.

The point is, the ultimate cause of worlds is necessary being.

Where, once we use R* to see the point it is obvious that finite stage temporal causal succession through the actual past to now cannot have been infinite. We need a finitely remote necessary being world root.

The real issue is, of what nature.

KF

VL

Well OK then. Not just Coyne.

VL

No, it points to the existence of a necessary being. And since everything in the cosmos is contingent, the cosmos is not a candidate for “necessary being.”

VL

W

I agree that we do not know its nature completely. We do in fact, however, know something about its nature, to wit, it is a necessary being.

The classical concept of “causal chains” has been disproved by quantum physics. What we are left with are two different working concepts of “cause;” the “ground of being” cause, which provides for all existence, experiences and being; and a form of

proximate causewhich is entirely about and occurs according to the state of the observer and not any “prior state” of some “thing” independent of the experience of the observer.The quantum eraser and delayed choice experiments have rendered the philosophical arguments about a linear-time “first cause” obsolete and irrelevant. There is no “first cause” in that sense.

It’s interesting how many of these ancient philosophical arguments have been rendered irrelevant due to the results of quantum physics experiments.

To get rid of those turtles all Viola or anyone has to do is come up with a coherent theory of how blind and mindless processes did it. And only that which had a beginning requires a cause. Science says that this universe had a beginning. Therefore it had a cause.

ET: If you can’t measure it, does it exist, scientifically?Excellent question! I have no answer.

I think I’m far too Newtonian in my own head to contemplate there being no time. I always want there to be some great clock in the sky ticking away at regular beats. I don’t get the idea that it makes no sense to ask what was around before the Big Bang. Good thing I’m not a cosmologist.

To get rid of those turtles all Viola or anyone has to do is come up with a coherent theory of how blind and mindless processes did it. And only that which had a beginning requires a cause. Science says that this universe had a beginning. Therefore it had a cause.It’s hard to get away from that notion. I can’t quite do it myself. The closest I get is imagining our pre-space-time (if that makes sense) like a still pond and then someone throws a rock into it and that’s the Big Bang. So the ’cause’ was outside our universe but not necessarily intelligent. (But, someone had to throw the rock . . . hmm . . ) That is probably completely wrong but, like I said, I don’t really get it.

WJM

They most certainly have not. This statement is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the first cause argument. The quantum foam is not “nothing.” And it is not “necessary.” Add those two things up William.

Mr Arrington said:

I didn’t say anything about “quantum foam.” Now try responding to something I actually said. Or, perhaps try asking questions so you can better understand what I said.

re 13: I, and the general philosophical question, is not just about the physical universe we live in. We all know it had a beginning.

VL said:

No, we do not all know that.

WLM, the general scientific consensus is that our physical universe began about 15 billion years ago. What perspective are you referring to?

WJM, thermodynamics and energy flow. That’s why our world is temporal-causal, there is an arrow to time and things happen, at cumulative or macro scale, at rates with upper speed limits. KF

VL, 14 is more like it, it keeps bouncing 13.7 to 13.8 or so. KF

Perspectives that do not see it that way, such as mine.

KF @20:

Unfortunately, quantum experimentation has disproved that theory.

it is amazing how scared atheists are of intelligence!

but here is food for thought for the atheist.

1-if abiogenesis and evolution are true, then even BEFORE our universe intelligence could have arose

by said process.

2-if the eternal multiverse is true, then you would have an infinity of intelligence arising

for all infinity!..giving rise to infinity complex intelligence’s as well!!!

3-even that pesky judeo christian god would eventually arise within that infinity

and tons of other intelligence as well!

4-so infinity is a catch 22 for the atheist here…

on one hand, it allows them to escape first causations, on the other hand, infinity

means eventually an infinite intelligence would arise within that infinity too.

5-and if particles/energy/matter can just “POOF”..into existence from nothing or almost nothing, then

a boltzman brain or god could too, just POOF into being from nothing..NOTHING (PUN INTENDED)

WOULD EXCLUDE IT THEN

AND HERES A KICKER!…

these virtual particles that are said to just POOF into being….

are they being POOFED into being because they are simple objects/particles?

would more complex arrangement’s be prohibitive by probability?

if there is no quantum bar too high for quantum fields/foams/energy

to create “stuff”, then nothing would prohibit intelligence either from POOFING INTO BEING

FROM NOTHING (OR ALMOST NOTHING) as do those particles/energy/matter

VL states,

Actually there is a fairly big mathematical/logical problem for you.

If you say that we live in a potential infinity with time stretching infinitely into the past, then it would be impossible to ever traverse that infinity in order to get to ‘now’.

The following video, and article with a graph, clearly explains the irresolvable dilemma with your ‘infinite past’ scenario.

Also of note, Consciousness does not suffer from the infinite regress argument, (at least as far as time itself is concerned), because it is always ‘now’ for the immaterial mind that is observing time as it is passing by.

As Antoine Suarez states in the following video (paraphrase), “it is impossible for us to be ‘persons’ experiencing ‘now’ if we are nothing but particles flowing in space time. Moreover, for us to refer to ourselves as ‘persons’, we cannot refer to space-time as the ultimate substratum upon which everything exists, but must refer to a Person who is not bound by space time. (In other words) We must refer to God!”

And as Stanley Jaki stated in the following article, “There can be no active mind without its sensing its existence in the moment called now.,,, ,,,There is no physical parallel to the mind’s ability to extend from its position in the momentary present to its past moments, or in its ability to imagine its future. The mind remains identical with itself while it lives through its momentary nows.”

Moreover, ‘the experience of ‘the now” also happens to be exactly where Albert Einstein got into trouble with leading philosophers of his day and also happens to be exactly where Einstein eventually got into trouble with quantum mechanics itself. Around 1935, Einstein was asked by Rudolf Carnap (who was a philosopher):

Einstein’s answer was ‘categorical’, he said:

That was a very interesting comment for Einstein to have made since we know now, via Wheeler’s Delayed Choice and Leggett’s Inequality, that ‘the now’ is very much a part of physical measurement.

As Scott Aaronson of MIT stated “if we accept the usual picture of quantum mechanics,,,, the world (as you experience it) might as well not have existed 10^-43 seconds ago!”

Prior to that encounter with Rudolf Carnap, Einstein also had another disagreement with another famous philosopher, Henri Bergson, over what the proper definition of time should be (Bergson was also very well versed in the specific mental attribute of the ‘experience of the now’). In fact, that disagreement with Henri Bergson over what the proper definition of time should actually be was one of the primary reasons that Einstein failed to ever receive a Nobel prize for his work on relativity:

Perhaps Einstein should have taken these leading philosophers’s advice about the proper definition of time more seriously?

As to the infinite regress argument as it is applied to the immaterial mind and its ability to know certain things, the results of the infinite regress argument, as applied to the immaterial mind, are quite different for the Theist than they were for the atheist and his fallacious belief that nature must have always existed.

Dr. Winston Ewert and Dr. Robert Marks, (who have both more than earned their respect in the ID community), touched upon that argument to show that, “through application of Gödelian reasoning, there can be, at most, one being in the universe omniscient over all other beings. This Supreme Being must by necessity exist or have existed outside of time and space. The conclusion results simply from the requirement of a logical consistency of one being having the ability to answer questions about another. The existence of any question that generates a self refuting response is assumed to invalidate the ability of a being to be all-knowing about the being who was the subject of the question.”

We’ve had this discussion before, and I’m not going to re-traverse it. But I’ll summarize: if the past is a potential infinity, than only a finite amount of steps have taken place. If it’s ab actual infinity, then it’s something that must be taken as a whole, a la Cantor, so the idea of traversal doesn’t apply. The argument that the past can’t be infinite because that implies an infinite amount of time until now conflates the two different meanings of infinity.

JVL states

Likewise, It took me a very long time for me to wrap my head around the fact that, in special relativity, and at the speed of light, time does not pass.

What finally made me ‘get it’ was watching the following video about Einstein’s ‘thought experiment’ that gave him his breakthrough insight into special relativity

Yet, even after understanding that insight, there was still a problem for me. Namely, how is it possible for something to move from point A to point B in our universe if time is not passing for it?

And the answer too that is that the only way it is possible for time not to pass for light, and yet for light to move from point A to point B in our universe, is if light is of a higher dimensional value of time than the temporal time we are currently living in. Otherwise light would simply be ‘frozen within time’ to our temporal frame of reference.

And that higher dimensional nature of special relativity is exactly what Hermann Minkowski, one of Einstein’s mathematics professor’s, had found prior to Einstein’s elucidation of the 4-D space-time of General Relativity. (In fact, in 1916 Einstein fully acknowledged his indebtedness to Minkowski)

One way for us to more easily understand this higher dimensional framework for time that light exists in is to visualize what would happen if a hypothetical observer approached the speed of light.

In the first part of the following video clip, which was made by two Australian University Physics Professors, we find that the 3-Dimensional world ‘folds and collapses’ into a tunnel shape as a ‘hypothetical’ observer approaches the ‘higher dimension’ of the speed of light.

To give us a better understanding as to what it would be like to exist in a higher dimension, this following video, Dr. Quantum in Flatland, also gives us a small insight as to what it would be like to exist in a higher dimension:

Moreover, we actually have eye-witness testimony from Near Death Testimonies that corroborates what we know to be physically true from special relativity.

In the following video clip, Mickey Robinson gives his Near Death testimony of what it felt like for him to experience a ‘timeless eternity’.

And here are a few more quotes from people who have experienced Near Death, that speak of how their perception of time was radically altered as they were outside of their material body.

As well, Near Death Experiencers also frequently mention going through a tunnel to a higher heavenly dimension:

In the following video, Barbara Springer gives her testimony as to what it felt like for her to go through the tunnel to a higher dimension

And in the following audio clip, Vicki Noratuk, who has been blind from birth, besides being able to see for the first time during in her life during her Near Death Experience, also gives testimony of going through a tunnel to a higher dimension

And the following people who had a NDE both testify that they firmly believed that they were in a higher dimension that is above this three-dimensional world and that the primary reason that they have a very difficult time explaining what their Near Death Experiences felt like is because we simply don’t currently have the words to properly describe that higher dimension:

That people who have had Near Death Experiences would corroborate what we know to be physically true from special relativity is nothing short of astonishing. Especially given the fact that these people, in all likelihood, no nothing about the intricacies of special relativity.

Shoot, I would go so far to say that such corroboration, with what we know to be physically true from special relativity, completely validates the fact that their Near Death Experiences were indeed real testimonies of what they actually experienced and were not merely imaginary as atheists try to claim Near Death Experiences merely are.

Verse:

VL, you are the one claiming that time is infinite into the past, not me.

You pointing out that it is only a ‘potential’ infinity, and not an ‘actual’ infinity, as far as the future traversal of time is concerned, does nothing at all to alleviate your irresolvable dilemma of having to traverse an infinite past in order to arrive at ‘now’.

As the old joke goes, ‘you can’t get there from here’, or in your case, ‘you can’t get here from an infinitely far away there’!

🙂

But you are never infinitely far away, so the problem you mention doesn’t exist. No matter how far back you go in time, and you can always go back another moment from a mathematical point of view, you are still only a finite distance from now. There is no point in a potentially infinite past that is an infinite distance away.

“But you are never infinitely far away”

Again, you are the one claiming that time is infinite into the past, not me.

BA writes, “Again, you are the one claiming that time is infinite into the past, not me.”

No, I’m not claiming that time is infinite into the past, or not. I’m not discussing that.

What I am doing is I pointing out that the argument that you presented that it can’t be infinite is faulty.

BA, you wrote above,

I am responding to you by pointing out that the “big mathematical/logical problem” that you mention doesn’t actually exist.

VL (and others),

I’d be interested in your reaction to this: https://philarchive.org/archive/WATMDA-2

VL claims that “I’m not claiming that time is infinite into the past, or not.”

and yet VL also claimed, “There is a difference between a potential and an actual (or completed) infinity. There is no mathematical problem in stating that every moment had a prior moment, and therefore there was no first moment. Assuming a causal connection between moments, that means there was also not a first cause. This is a statement about a potential infinity: there is always another turtle. This is different than saying there are, or has been, a completed infinity of caused moments.”

Oh well. if saying that “every moment had a prior moment, and therefore there was no first moment” is not claiming time is infinite into the past, then words are essentially meaningless for VL.

BA, please quote, and read, accurately: I wrote

When you omit the “There is no mathematical problem in stating that … ” part, and just quote “every moment had a prior moment, and therefore there was no first moment”, you make it sound like I am making a statement of fact which I am defending, which is a false attribution. You are cherry-picking a portion of what I wrote to inaccurately represent what I am saying.

Hi EDTA. I have seen that article before, and read others who make similar arguments.

The flaw from which the whole argument flows is in the second paragraph, where it states “from ‘eternity past'”. That just restates BA objection in 26, where he wrote, “If you say that we live in a potential infinity with time stretching infinitely into the past, then it would be impossible to ever traverse that infinity in order to get to ‘now’.” There is no moment in the past an infinite distance away. But that is different than saying there is no first moment.

And that is what I addressed in 28 and 31, differentiating between a potential and actual, completed, infinity.

If you are defending “There is no mathematical problem in stating that every moment had a prior moment, and therefore there was no first moment”, then you, directly contrary to what you claimed, have an irresolvable mathematical/logical dilemma. You have to traverse an infinite to get to now. Yet there is no ‘first moment’ in which you can start your traversal to now.

As you yourself stated, “there was no first moment”.

i.e. ‘you can’t get here from an infinitely far away there’!

Viola Lee:

From when and where? Starting from now and walking back, yes. But we cannot start at an infinite past because there isn’t any start to an infinite past. So “turtles all the way down” is looking at it backwards.

The problem is thinking in terms of space-time (infinity) and applying it before space-time existed.

bornagain77:

Right, except there isn’t any “there”. So it would be “you can’t get here from there because there doesn’t exist”

ET writes, “The problem is thinking in terms of space-time (infinity) and applying it before space-time existed.”

I’m just talking about the mathematics of infinity. I agree with you that space-time as we know it in our universe can’t be extrapolated back before or outside our universe, whatever that means.

What are the turtles

made of?What is the fundamental nature they are derived from?In other words, what is their fundamental ontology?

Time is a creation. It’s not part of the core ontology of reality. But consciousness is.

These sorts of Koan-producing questions and ideas should be a clue for the philosophical nincompoops, but it’s astonishing how little exposure or awareness they seem to have about such things.

Jerry Coyne is a philosophical nitwit. Yawn.

No, BA, you never have to “traverse an infinite”

Here is the mathematical argument

Suppose you propose Time t(n) as the first moment in time. It is a finite distance away, so a finite traverse would get to now.

However, all negative numbers (moments in the past in this model) have a predecessor, so the moment t(n-1) came before t(n).

This shows two things:

1a) t(n) was not really the first moment of time

2b) t(n-1) is also a finite distance away, so getting from t(n-1) to now is also a finite traverse.

Continuing this process to t(n-2), t(n-3) and so on, we see that,

1b) There is no first moment of time

2b) No matter how far back you go, all points in time are a finite distance away, so getting from there to now is a finite traverse.

VL,

In the linked article, Waters is not defending Craig’s argument, which is where the quote in the second paragraph comes from. Waters is making an improved argument. Have you read the entire linked paper?

No, I haven’t EDTA: it seemed pretty dense. Is he improving Craig’s argument, or just embellishing it in a variety of ways? I’m inclined to think he’s making the same mistake in a variety of different contexts, but perhaps I’m wrong about that. I’ll try to look at it again.

But, do you find a problem in the argument I present in #43?

VL,

Well, I see a couple of things:

>However, all negative numbers (moments in the past in this model) have a predecessor,…

This right away equates time with an infinite series, which seems to bring in an infinite past right from the start. Perhaps time moments do not equate to an infinite negative series.

>No matter how far back you go, all points in time are a finite distance away, so getting from there to now is a finite traverse.

But “no matter how far back you go” implies infinity, so this statement says that an infinite distance is also a finite distance. So that doesn’t quite work either.

Waters seems to be trying a different approach which adds some rigor to the argument above what Craig was attempting. I trudged through it, and it seems solid.

(This was written before I saw 46. I’ll post this now anyway.)

OK, EDTA. I looked at the part of the paper, Methuselah’s Diary, where Waters offers an improvement.

First, have you read and understood his mathematics? I am a math teacher, and could probably decipher that if I wished, but it would be a lot of work.

However, I notice immediately that he says,

But there are

neverany negative integers (of the form t – m in his notation) that are “infinitely distant in the past.” For him to even mention this makes me suspect that he is falling prey to the same mistake that I said Craig was making.Skipping a lot of math, he concludes,

Now I’m not sure what he proved here. Earlier he said “Finally, let DF represent the subcollection of all days in D that are finitely distant in the past. By this defintion, DF is a finite collection, which he then proves. What did he prove if he defined DF as a finite collection? This is not clear to me. But I note that he, like me, points out that any purported earliest day e has a predecessor (e-1), so I don’t think there is any earliest day.

So I really don’t understand what he thinks he’s proved, but as I said, I don’t think I want to do the work of deciphering his argument. (I’m already spending more time on this that might be reasonable)

Jumping to his conclusion, he writes, “Moreover, this argument can be naturally generalized to demonstrate not only that the past is finite but also that it has a first moment.” I am doubtful, but as I said, I’m not going to try to get a completely undertsand of the argument.

However, I am inclined to agree with Conway, who is quoted in the article as saying,

So let me repeat. Do you understand Waters argument? If so, could you explain it?

EDTA,

First, I already said to ET above that I don’t think we know at all what the nature of time might be outside our universe. I’m just discussing this from a mathematical point of view.

But more importantly, as I am trying to stress, a distinction needs to be made between a potential and an actual, completed infinity. Stating the every moment has a predecessor creates a potential infinity: a series that has no limit. That is different than the set of all negative integers, which is a completed infinity that only exists in the abstract. This is the distinction Cantor began with when he started his mathematics of infinity.

My above remark about potential and actual, completed infinities applies to this remark also.

Another way to say this is:

1. the set of negative integers is infinite, and

2. every member of the set is finite.

You write, “Waters seems to be trying a different approach which adds some rigor to the argument above what Craig was attempting. I trudged through it, and it seems solid.”

Can you summarize? What exactly does Waters establish, and how? Did you think you understood the mathematical details of his argument? I didn’t.

Viola:

if the past is a potential infinity,What does a “past potential infinity” mean?

If it’s [an] actual infinity, then it’s something that must be taken as a whole, a la Cantor, so the idea of traversal doesn’t apply.But it also means that it’s nonsense, since infinities don’t apply to discrete

actualities…The argument that the past can’t be infinite because that implies an infinite amount of timeUm, the problem is when you try to

mapan infinite set to a set ofreal instantiations, such as discrete seconds of time. There is noisomorphicmapping possible. It is nonsense.Infinite sets have interesting properties, but isomorphism to real world instantiations is not one of them. One of the

for infinite sets is that they arevery reasonsnotisomorphic to real world sets. And by real world sets, i mean things, physical or abstract, instantiated or measurable in the real world. That would include, for example, atoms, stars, or seconds of time.WJM- Its great to see someone finally understands quantum physics , can you please explain how it does away with a” first cause in that sense”.

Martin,

Quantum physics experiments have conclusively shown that there is no such thing as “local reality,” disproving the idea that the things we are observing have internal, inherent qualities and characteristics. These states occur as the result of current observation. Before that, what “exists” is informational potentials that have no innate qualities that cause our experience of them. Informational potential cannot “cause” anything to occur in and of itself.

Delayed-choice, quantum-eraser and other such experiments have shown that past states and characteristics do not cause the results of the observation, rather that it is the observation that causes past states and characteristics. It has been shown that we can change past states by changing the nature of our observation, going back billions of years.

Therefore, in terms of linear time regression, there are no “past states” causing “future states.” There is no causal chain; conscious observation in the “now” is the necessary, proximate and sufficient cause of everything that occurs. Nothing exists external of that which can cause the observational experience. Thus, there is no “first cause” in the linear-time sense we normally think.

Time and space are experiences in the now, the result of consciousness interacting with informational potentials, not inherent, binding features of the specified qualities of something we are observing, causing our observations. Quantum experiments have conclusively demonstrated this.

Yet, people continue to argue and debate as if none of that happened, as if time, space and specified qualities are things causing our experience. They are aspects of experience, not the cause of that experience.

VL et al, no. The ACTUAL past has to have been just that, actual. Where, for scaling, the hyperreals R* are just as “real” as were the negatives and zero which were hotly controversial in their day. We are just uncomfortable with making them explicit. What the actual past means is that for every stage p that actually happened [think years for convenience], it was once the present, then through causal-temporal stages of succession we had p –> p+1 –> p+2 –> k –> . . . –> n, the current now. Which is receding into the past as we speak. The claim, infinite or beginningless past means — per logic of temporal – causal, successive being as just outlined — that for any k in the past, there are unlimited further actual past stages beyond any particular p, i.e.: . . . –> p-2 –> p-1 –> p. That implies an actually transfinite, stepwise successive traverse whether we can count it out or not. Which, we know cannot be traversed as no suggested transfinitely remote K can succeed itself in finite, successive stages to a completed transfinite. And hiding in how any negative number n we represent has n-1. n-2 etc beyond simply makes the required transfiniteness implicit and lost in our verbiage. We are only warranted to speak of a finite, temporal causal succession to now. That is, there was a beginning to the temporal-causal order, which says nothing about the eternality of necessary world framework entities. Save, that a temporal causal order requires such a wider order of being, with capability to cause worlds such as ours, as its ground. Of course, that can be elaborated. And, one of the implications of this is that evolutionary materialistic scientism and/or its fellow traveller schemes of thought are compelled to imply or tacitly assume utterly bizarre and likely impossible theories of the past. KF

PS: For conceptual help, start with infinitesimals as Robinson tamed in the 1960’s, dx, dy, dt etc, only let’s use Newton’s h (see here). h is near to zero such that 1/n for any finite counting number exceeds h. So, we can infer a transfinite H such that 1/h –> H greater than any finite n in N. Many properties ensue, eg H-1, H-2 etc to any H-n, n finite are valid and will also be transfinite, i.e. there is a gulch to finite n in N that is of transfinite span. And so forth.

This (your particular concept of “the past”) has been scientifically, experimentally disproved, inasmuch as science proves or disproves anything.

Looks like maths doesn’t work when we talk about past infinite and eating chips. Some math teachers have that predisposition to see everything through maths lens. Which can be comical. Or not.

Since VL is a math teacher who believes it is mathematically reasonable to traverse an infinite series with a finite number of steps, in order to reach ‘now’, perhaps she can put her apparently unmatched mathematical talents of ‘taming infinity’ to good use and ‘renormalize the “untamed infinity’ that exists between General Relativity, (which is our best mathematical description of space-time), and Quantum Mechanics, (which blatantly flouts our concepts of space and time).

In the following video Michio Kaku states the mathematical ‘infinite’ dilemma’ between General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics as such,

And Professor Jeremy Bernstein states the current situation as such, “there remains an irremediable difficulty. Every order reveals new types of infinities, and no finite number of renormalizations renders all the terms in the series finite.

The theory is not renormalizable.”

And as the following theoretical physicist noted, “You would need to add infinitely many counterterms in a never-ending process. Renormalization would fail.,,,”

Of related interest, The main conflict of reconciling General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics appears to arise from the inability of either theory to successfully deal with the Zero/Infinity conflict that crops up in different places of each theory:

Of related interest, Dr. William Dembski in this following comment, though not directly addressing the Zero/Infinity conflict between General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, offers this insight into what a ‘unification’ between the infinite and the finite might look like for the Christian Theist.

Of note: I hold ‘growing large without measure’ to be a lesser quality infinity than a fraction in which the denominator goes to zero.

The reason why ‘growing large without measure’ is a lesser quality infinity than ‘a fraction in which the denominator goes to zero’ is because something that begins to grow large without measure must necessarily have some sort of beginning in time and must also necessarily have some sort of infinite space to grow into. Whereas, on the other hand, to form a fraction in which the denominator goes to zero is to force a finite object into a type of infinity that can have no discernible beginning in space or time. That is to say, to form a fraction in which the denominator goes to zero is to force a finite object into a true infinity.

In more technical terms, I view growing large without measure to be a potential infinite and I view a fraction in which the denominator goes to zero to be an actual infinite.

Thus, in Christ’s resurrection from the dead we apparently have a mathematically sound ‘traversal of the infinite’ in that “The Cross is a path of humility in which the infinite God becomes finite and then contracts to zero, only to resurrect and thereby unite a finite humanity within a newfound infinity.”

People may claim that all this is just a bunch of theoretical posturing that has no relation to the real world, but the Shroud of Turin itself gives us evidence that both gravity and quantum mechanics were successfully dealt with in Christi’s resurrection from the dead.

Supplemental note:

Verse

WJM, no, as we have seen, there is no good reason to imagine that the common world we experience is utterly dubious, an external reality “theory” rather than an actuality we observe and interact with through our conscious embodied actions. Such as, typing and uploading a comment that begins, “. . . This (your particular concept of “the past”) has been scientifically . . . ” KF

KF @56

1. It only renders your particular conceptualization of how and where “the common world of experience”

occurs“dubious.” It doesn’t render the “common world of experience”itselfdubious.2. Science has demonstrated that “actuality” (specified states and characteristics) is a quality of

experience,not of the “things” we are supposedly having experiences of. The science is clear on this, whether it upsets your worldview or not.No attempt to salvage your worldview by an assorted, diverse barrage of conveniently-employed forms of logic, appeals to consequence, “common human experience” or “balance of worldviews” is going to change the actual evidence.

There is no

local reality“out there” causing our experiences. Time to do some serious conceptual remodeling.At 55, BA writes, “Since VL is a math teacher who believes it is mathematically reasonable to traverse an infinite series with a finite number of steps,”

I have said no such thing. BA appears to be incapable of understanding what I have written.

Interestingly enough, instead of addressing any specific detail of my argument, he rattles off 1600 copy-and-paste words about quantum mechanics, relativity, and Jesus Christ.

Amazing! 🙂

Bornagain77: Since VL is a math teacher who believes it is mathematically reasonable to traverse an infinite series with a finite number of stepsI agree with

Viola, they did not say that. Not at all.I suspect

William J Murraymight say: Just like when you start at zero on the number line and conceive of it extending in both directions infinitely far we perceive only NOW and didn’t have to traipse through infinity to get here. Or maybe not. That was somewhat the view put forth in the Jane Robert’s Set books.When I or

Violamake a comment about the mathematics we are NOT saying it maps directly onto a real world or a real world experience. If we seem pedantic about being precise with the use of mathematical terms it’s because we were taught to be that way; our professors made sure of that! I still tend to correct my spouse when she reals off a list of numbers and says ‘oh’ instead of ‘zero’.Of note: I hold ‘growing large without measure’ to be a lesser quality infinity than a fraction in which the denominator goes to zero.The reason why ‘growing large without measure’ is a lesser quality infinity than ‘a fraction in which the denominator goes to zero’ is because something that begins to grow large without measure must necessarily have some sort of beginning in time and must also necessarily have some sort of infinite space to grow into. Whereas, on the other hand, to form a fraction in which the denominator goes to zero is to force a finite object into a type of infinity that can have no discernible beginning in space or time. That is to say, to form a fraction in which the denominator goes to zero is to force a finite object into a true infinity.

In more technical terms, I view growing large without measure to be a potential infinite and I view a fraction in which the denominator goes to zero to be an actual infinite.Clearly you never took graduate level mathematics where things are defined and restricted to particular meanings and behaviours.

Anyone want to have the different sizes of infinity conversation again? 🙂

WJM- So if I fire a cruise missile and an hour later it hits a building and kills everyone inside did me firing the cruise missile cause those deaths, did my actions in the past cause the deaths in the future.

Viola Lee states, “I have said no such thing”, in regards to believing it possible to mathematically traverse an infinite series with a finite number of steps” in order to get to ‘now’.

Yet, in her own words, “There is no mathematical problem in stating that every moment had a prior moment, and therefore there was no first moment”,

Besides suffering from the dilemma of trying to traverse an infinite number of steps with no beginning in time, (with no time zero), from which to start her ‘potentially infinite’ count to the present, VL is also suffering from the dilemma of thinking her previous words are basically meaningless in regards to he subsequent words.

🙂

Marfin @ 60

Short answer: no. You’re having a sequence of experiences caused by your observational state.

BA, your selective quoting habit is astounding. Yes, I wrote, “There is no mathematical problem in stating that every moment had a prior moment, and therefore there was no first moment”.”

I also explained why this did not involve an infinite traverse:

Here I clearly say exactly the opposite of what you are claiming I said.

Can you address the whole argument? What line of the above argument is faulty?

In response to my fairly straight forward, and obvious, observation that ‘growing large without measure’ is a lesser quality infinity than the infinity that occurs when ‘a fraction in which the denominator goes to zero’, (since obviously “to form a fraction in which the denominator goes to zero is to force a finite object into a type of infinity that can have no discernible beginning in space or time”), JVL remarks that “Clearly you never took graduate level mathematics where things are defined and restricted to particular meanings and behaviours.”

Well, from what I read, the only reason it is mathematically verboten is because the infinity that crops up can’t be ‘limited’, (i.e. the infinity can’t be mathematically ‘tamed’), which is a problem that exactly underscores my claim that dividing 1 by 0 is an actual infinity and not merely a potential infinity.

My entire point was to clarify that ‘growing large without measure’ is a lesser quality infinity than ‘a fraction in which the denominator goes to zero’, and nothing in how they mathematically ‘limit’ infinity when a denominator approaches zero contradicts my claim.

VL states,

Apparently VL sees no problem with holding two contradictory beliefs at the same time.

🙂

Some people just can’t be reasoned with I guess.

Oh well, I’m off to do better things today.

Bornagain77: “There is no mathematical problem in stating that every moment had a prior moment, and therefore there was no first moment”Correct. Mathematically. The number line does not have a smallest value, it extends infinitely far in the positive and negative direction. But you never get to ‘the end’. You don’t start at ‘the end’.

VL is also suffering from the dilemma of thinking her previous words are basically meaningless in regards to he subsequent words.No, you don’t understand the mathematics as

Violadoes. Math is not a spectator sport. You have to practice and get trained and put on your pads and get knocked around a bit before you score a touchdown.My entire point was to clarify that ‘growing large without measure’ is a lesser quality infinity than ‘a fraction in which the denominator goes to zero’, and nothing in how they mathematically ‘limit’ infinity when a denominator approaches zero contradicts my claim.You’re not making sound mathematical arguments. IF you want to show that one kind of infinity is different from another you have to make a solid, mathematical case. Which you have not done.

Study the mathematics up to a graduate level and you’ll see what we are saying.

Apparently VL sees no problem with holding two contradictory beliefs at the same time.The ideas are NOT contradictory mathematically speaking. You need to learn to speak the language.

Something I can’t wrap my head around is the Holy Trinity; that just makes no sense to me. But a lot of intelligent people have spent a lot of time thinking about it so I tend to not try and argue with them about it. ‘Cause I really don’t know what I’m talking about.

JVL joins VL in her insanity, and states “You don’t start at ‘the end’”

LOL, there is no ‘end’ (no time zero) to start at in order to start the count. Which is precisely the problem!

JVL then, humorously wants to lecture me on the finer details of mathematics.

Word of advice JVL,,,, I think before you presuppose to lecture me or anyone else on mathematics that you first not believe that ‘turtles all the way down’ is a mathematically sound argument.

🙂

Bornagain77: Word of advice JVL,,,, I think before you presuppose to lecture me or anyone else on mathematics that you first not believe that ‘turtles all the way down’ is a mathematically sound argument.Did I say that ‘turtles all the way down’ is a mathematically sound argument . . . for the creation? I don’t think I did.

Look, mathematically if you pick a point on the number line, any point you like, then any other point you specify will be a finite number of steps away from that point. Infinity is not a point. Infinity is not a step.

IF we think we can model the passage of time mathematically and NOW is time zero and we pick our units to be years then t = -1 is a year ago, t = -2 is 2019, etc. You can keep doing that a long as you like and when you stop at a particular t = -something you will still be a finite number of years away. Cosmologists think the Big Bang happened at something like t = -13.8 billion years. If there is a creator God who exists outside of our limited view of space and time then it seems plausible that God would recognise t = – 14 billion years and t = -20 billion years and t = -200 billion years, etc. BUT all of those points are a finite number of steps away from t = 0 which is today.

That’s all we’re saying. Just because there is a mathematical -infinity doesn’t mean we think that time extends backwards forever and ever.

As frequently happens with these discussions, the math people are using terms differently from the non-math people.

VL,

>Can you summarize? What exactly does Waters establish, and how? Did you think you understood the mathematical details of his argument?

I did read and understand the whole thing, although it took a careful reading to do so. The high-level summary is that if time moments go indefinitely into the past, he shows that a contradiction is reached at a finite point in the past. So his conclusion doesn’t seem to rest on any subtle characteristics of infinity itself.

Unfortunately, any deeper summary would have to be the whole argument itself. But I find it to be conclusive.

WJM- Do you actually believe that to be so, and be willing to live your life accordingly.

WJM,

Still intrigued by MRT, but don’t have any personally-verifiable evidence to compel me to accept it over ERT. And I lack a sufficient understanding of QM to see that it entails your hypothesis. And I don’t want to just take it on someone else’s word that the QM experiments really imply what is claimed. And the QM experiments (which the researchers themselves believe are being carried out in an external reality, btw) are beyond what I can perform myself.

In short, the experiments, their interpretations, and the resulting claims are just too distant from me to verify. I’ve watched some youtube videos you recommended, but again, I cannot personally verify any of the claims made.

What I need is direct, personal evidence that only MRT could explain. That would be sufficient motivation to at least invest some time trying to understand more of QM.

Is there anything you could do (over the internet, say) that only MRT could explain? I can think of some possible experiments, but am concerned that the very idea would be dismissed with a “it doesn’t work that way”, and that would leave me more skeptical than now.

Any suggestions?

to BA: let’s go one step at a time.

I claim the following is true: Every negative integer is a finite distance from zero.

Do you agree with this claim, or not?

JVL,

busy but i clip:

Our problem is not with scales of quantity but with the causal-temporal, thermodynamic, physical necessity of causal temporal succession. I highlight the problem:

That is the challenge you have to address.

KF

I claim the following is true

I am very familiar with how zero came into common use in the western world through Fibonacci or Leonardo Bigollo Pisano, the son of an Italian merchant who regularly traded with areas of North Africa where Arabic or Indian integers were in common usage. He would bring Leonardo with him during his trading missions.

I’m sure the same calculations can be done with positive integers.

Thanks, EDTA. I hoping you are willing to continue this discussion, and maybe step through his proof with me.

You write, “The high-level summary is that if time moments go indefinitely into the past, he shows that a contradiction is reached at a finite point in the past.”

Intuitively I don’t see how a contradiction could be reached at some finite point in the past that isn’t a contradiction at the point immediately after that point. This is would like to understand better.

You write, “Unfortunately, any deeper summary would have to be the whole argument itself. But I find it to be conclusive.”

Can you even describe what the contradiction is without summarizing the argument that establishes the contradiction?

Let’s start with his introduction of terms. I’ve bolded specific questions.

1. “Let t represent today, D the collection of all days prior to t”.

D represents all the days in the past. If we assume, for convenience, that t = 0 represents now, D represents the set of negative integers. I assume collection is the same as set.

Do you agree with these statements?2. “? the total relation on D where d1 <= d2 if and only if d1 is earlier than or the same as d2, and = the relation on D where d1 = d2 if and only if d1 <= d2 and d2 <= d1 (that is, d1 is the same as d2)"

These are obvious uses of <= and =. I note, however, that d isn't defined, but I assume it is a particular day in the set. Therefore, saying d1 <= d2 means that d1 is farther in the past than day d2.

Do you agree with these statements?However, I’m not sure what “total relation on D” means here.

Can you explain what the significance of this phrase is?3. “Furthermore, for any d in D and any positive integer n such that d precedes t by at least (n + 1) days let (d + n) represent the unique nth day following d in D; similarly, if d does not follow a possible earliest day of D by less than n days let (d – n) represent the unique nth day preceding d in D”

I don’t understand what the first clause is getting at here. To help think about this, let’s let n = 10 as an illustration. Therefore, for any day that is at least 11 days in the past, (d + 10) represents the 10th day after d. That is for d = 11, d + 10 = day 1, for d = 12, d + 10 = day 2. I’m not sure where this is going, but this seems to be what it is saying.

The second clause says, “Similarly, if d does not follow a possible earliest day of D by less than n days let (d – n) represent the unique nth day preceding d in D”

Here he introduces “possible earliest day”, without further elaboration, even though the existence of an earliest day seems to be the point of the proof. But, letting that go, and letting n = 10 again, this seems to says that if a day is more than 10 days from the earliest day (call it e), then for the 11th day after e, d -10 would be the first day after e, and so on.

Again, I don’t know where this is going. However, I am concerned that he is introducing a closed set from e to t here when in fact the existence of e is the point in question

Can you elaborate? Do you understand his meaning as I do? Do you know why this is going to be useful?4. “Finally, let DF represent the subcollection of all days in D that are finitely distant in the past so that DF only contains those days in D that are of the form (t ? m) for some positive integer m and not any possible days in D that are infinitely distant in the past.”

As I said earlier, I do not understand this. There are no days (negative integers) that are “infinitely distant in the past.” If DF “represent the subcollection of all days in D that are finitely distant in the past”, then DF is in fact D because

allnegative integers are a finite distance from zero. All negative integers can be represented by (t – m) for some positive integer m, because the negative integers are just a mirror image of the positive integers.Do you agree with this, or are there parts you disagree with?It seems that understanding all this is a necessary prelude to the further argument, so perhaps we can get clear about these issues first.

Kairosfocus: That is the challenge you have to address.No, I do not have to address that challenge because I have only said widely held and true statements about the nature of mathematics. Why you continue to think such statements are questioning your philosophy is a complete mystery to me.

I have NOT said there is an infinite past as far as humans are concerned. I have made a supposition that a being outside of our space and time might have some notion of a past that extends further than 14 billion years before present but that was just a supposition. I have no great desire or need to debate that point or defend it.

KF, JVL falsely attributed this quote to me, “There is no mathematical problem in stating that every moment had a prior moment, and therefore there was no first moment”.

That is VL’s ludicrously insane claim, not mine.

Their fallacy is starting from now and counting backwards and then stating, “You see no mathematical problem”.

Yet, we don’t want to know how the past got here from this present moment, (as if that question even makes sense), and as they assume with counting backwards from the present moment into supposedly infinite past moments, but instead we want to know how the present moment got here from a ‘supposedly’ infinite past moment.

Yet, by their own claim that ‘there was no first moment’, (i.e. no ‘time zero’), then they are forced to traverse an infinite number of past moments to try to get to the present moment, which is clearly impossible.

Again, their argument is insane.

to BA: let’s go one step at a time.

I claim the following is true: Every negative integer is a finite distance from zero.

Do you agree with this claim, or not?

VL, in order to explain the present moment from a supposedly infinite past moment, you cannot assume the present moment as the starting point of your infinite count.

You are assuming the existence of the very thing that needs to be explained.

Bornagain77: Again, their argument is insane.But we’re not making the argument you say we are making.

I don’t understand what it gains you to continually misrepresent our position.

VL @ 75,

1. …Do you agree with these statements?

Yes.

2. …Do you agree with these statements?

Yes.

I understand “total relation” to mean that it applies to all possible pairs d1 and d2 that we will be concerned with.

3. “Furthermore, for any d in D and any positive integer n such that d precedes t by at least (n + 1) days let (d + n) represent the unique nth day following d in D;”

>I don’t understand what the first clause is getting at here.

He is defining an operator (__ + __) [including the parentheses] , where the first operand is an element of D, and the second is an integer. So he’s defining the notation he will use later in expressing relative days in D. It’s the formal way of expressing the combination of a set element with an integer.

By stipulating that d must precede t by at least n+1 days, he is thereby keeping d in the set D (which was defined as the set of days strictly prior to today).

>Here he introduces “possible earliest day”,

Yes, he’s leaving its existence up in the air for now, since it is part of the conclusion. He can then consider/approach/derive whether there is such a thing.

4. “Finally, let DF represent the subcollection of all days in D that are finitely distant in the past…”

He’s assuming that everyone agrees that there is a set of days in D that are finitely in the past. Any day for which we can actually write down the integer with numerals for instance will be finitely in the past. The question is whether this set encompasses every possible day, or whether there are days beyond the finite. That’s still up in the air, i.e., does D == DF?

>”…and not any possible days in D that are infinitely distant in the past.”

So again, he’s being tentative about whether such days exist. This is just setting up the symbols and notation for what follows.

I think this is what he means so far, yes.

I don’t understand your statement, BA. First, I am not trying “explain the present moment from a supposedly infinite past moment.” There is no such thing as an “infinite past moment.”

Would you be willing to respond to this one question?

I explain the problem of assuming the existence of the present moment, and you still want to count, with negative integers, into an infinite past from the present moment?

You’ve got to be kidding me.

Moreover, it is not as if physics has not already rendered all of this philosophical/mathematical discussion completely moot. We know for a fact, from physics and cosmology, that time had a definite beginning.

VL, JVL, keep digging, the hole is quite clear. That the sort of bizarre unobservable suppositions have to be made to avoid admitting that a beginningless actual past is an infinite past in the face of the problem of successive traverse tells us that the underlying worldviews being defended are in serious trouble. So, what is it that they fight so hard to avoid, why? Ans, a beginning. It remains, whether admitted or not, that a beginningless past is infinite and requires past moments transfinitely remote from now, which cannot be traversed in successive finite stage steps to now. Yes, every past stage we can represent specifically by counting back to it or by labelling will be at finite remove as we can imagine a yet more remote stage. Such does not make our imagination actual and it underscores that stages that could traverse stepwise to now are finitely remote. An infinity of finitely removed past stages is bizarre as finite removal from now of any stage is finite. If all spans we can even symbolise are finite and we must imagine more beyond that just tells us we can only justify reference to a finite duration of past. If ever the stages cumulatively were transfinite the distance metric to the most removed would likewise be transfinite. Which could not step forward to now. KF

PS: The point about Z or N is that there is an ellipsis of endless succession showing that for any k we can count to we have k+1 etc onward, i.e. the ellipsis implies that we cannot traverse the span completely, we can only point to the potential infinity. We can catapult past it using infinitesimals and see that counting down from some H cannot get to a k finitely removed from 0. That is the infinite traverse in steps problem, it cannot be done. The causal-temporal, finite stage past gets to now in steps, it is finite.

KF, could you specifically explain what is wrong with my argument at 43?

Bornagain77: I explain the problem of assuming the existence of the present moment, and you still want to count, with negative integers, into an infinite past from the present moment?I don’t know why I should bother anymore trying to explain something you clearly do not understand.

BA, you write, “I explain the problem of assuming the existence of the present moment, ”

BA, I don’t understand this. Could you explain more, please. The model I am using is that we are letting t = 0 be the present moment, now, so -1 represents yesterday, -2 the day before yesterday, etc. (assuming days as our units.) I believe this is the context used by traditional discussions by people like Craig and the paper EDTA quoted.

Are you meaning to say that the present moment doesn’t exist, so that framework is faulty?

Kairosfocus: VL, JVL, keep digging, the hole is quite clear. That the sort of bizarre unobservable suppositions have to be made to avoid admitting that a beginningless actual past is an infinite past in the face of the problem of successive traverse tells us that the underlying worldviews being defended are in serious trouble.Clearly, no one is actually trying to understand what

Violaand I are saying. It’s bizarre really, when some people just keep arguing against something that no one has supported.The point about Z or N is that there is an ellipsis of endless succession showing that for any k we can count to we have k+1 etc onward, i.e. the ellipsis implies that we cannot traverse the span completely, we can only point to the potential infinity. We can catapult past it using infinitesimals and see that counting down from some H cannot get to a k finitely removed from 0. That is the infinite traverse in steps problem, it cannot be done. The causal-temporal, finite stage past gets to now in steps, it is finite.Pure gobbledygook. I defy anyone to make sense of this.

VL, long since done. Whether or no you admit or recognise it 0,1,2 . . . represents that we can count a finite traverse and can only point to continuation towards the transfinite. As we can recognise successive finite causally connected stages of the ACTUAL past succeeding to now, the actual past must be a complete-able count, i.e. finite and with a first stage. What one may mathematically imagine is irrelevant to what has to have been completed actually from the once now since succeeded past to get to now just one finite step at a time. In consequence to say the past is a potential transfinite is to evade the import of the need to complete the span from every actual past point in steps to now. Later, if I have time, I can do some excerpt and comment but it is not going to change the issue. KF

In consequence to say the past is a potential transfinite is to evade the import of the need to complete the span from every actual past point in steps to now.I should give up I think. No one is actually paying attention to what

Violaand I are saying. Why not, I can’t fathom. There must be a reason.Thanks, EDTA. We are in agreement about everything up to this statement:

“Any day for which we can actually write down the integer with numerals for instance will be finitely in the past.The question is whether this set encompasses every possible day, or whether there are days beyond the finite.”

1. I’m not sure why you use the qualifying phrase “write down with numerals,” and why you don’t just say represent with integrers. Is there a reason? Obviously there are integers large enough that we could never, in practice, write them down with numerals, although we could, in theory. Did you have something specific in mind with that phrase.?

2. I am assuming that the model we are using is the number line of integers. And yet you talk about “days beyond the infinite”. What model other than the integers are you considering, as all integers are finite.

In the real world there will be one number that will not have a predecessor. Use positive integers to make your case. (prefer not to use negative integers). There will be a positive integer for which there is no bigger integer because there is nothing for it to point to.

There will be a time period in past for which there is no previous time to measure. So the mathematical series is finite and has no larger number.

JVL,

your latest buzzword for hyperskeptical dismissiveness fails.

Try, 0,1,2, . . . then extend:

0,1,2 . . . k,k+1,k+2 . . .

Shift:

0,1,2 . . .

k,k+1,K+2 . . .

See the finitude of what we can count to, k, and the onward traverse in the ellipsis we CANNOT traverse in +1 steps (or +1,000,000,000,000 etc steps for that matter)? Every number in the succession we can explicitly count to is finite, every onward number we can specifically represent as k is also finite, and there is onwardness. The ellipsis of onwardness — if necessary I can use four dots — is where the transfinite comes in and it cannot be traversed in finite stage steps. Here, go to a transfinite hyperreal, H to more clearly see what is implicit:

0,1,2 . . . k,k+1,k+2 . . . H,H+1,H+2 . . .

Now, insert a similar downcount from H which also cannot traverse in finite steps down to k:

0,1,2 . . . k,k+1,k+2 . . . H-2,H-1,H,H+1,H+2 . . .

The ellipsis is where the key message is.

We can complete or symbolise a finite traverse and point onwards using an ellipsis. That ellipsis tells us what we cannot exhaust or traverse by counting.

And that holds whether you explicitly show what happens beyond the transfinite span or not.

Obviously, this also obtains for the mirror image, negative numbers.

KF

JVL claims that, “you clearly do not understand” (our argument)

But alas, I understand it all too well.

If I may take liberty to explain your argument to you, “in order to explain how the present moment can possibly come from some infinitely past moment, all you need to do is first assume the present moment came from an infinitely past moment.”

🙂

VL @ 91,

>1. I’m not sure why you use the qualifying phrase “write down with numerals,” and why you don’t just say represent with integrers. Is there a reason?

Well, this has nothing to do with Waters’ argument. I was just giving a criterion that I would use to guarantee something was finite. If I go beyond that, I’d really have to think about what I was agreeing to, and I wanted to stick to a minimal set of numbers we’d both agree were finite. For instance, if I agreed that “we could never, in practice, write them down with numerals”, then I wouldn’t be certain of what I had just agreed to.

>2. I am assuming that the model we are using is the number line of integers.

I don’t know that Waters is going that far. I’m just sticking with his model as he presents it.

>And yet you talk about “days beyond the infinite”.

Uh, I think I said “days beyond the finite”. Yeah, I did.

>What model other than the integers are you considering, as all integers are finite.

Just Waters’ model with the sets D, DF and the (+) operator, so far.

@Bornagain77:

Isn’t the whole point, that there is NO infinitely past moment?

Yes, that’s the point. No point in the past is an infinite distance from now.

Kairosfocus: See the finitude of what we can count to, k, and the onward traverse in the ellipsis we CANNOT traverse in +1 steps (or +1,000,000,000,000 etc steps for that matter)? Every number in the succession we can explicitly count to is finite, every onward number we can specifically represent as k is also finite, and there is onwardness. The ellipsis of onwardness — if necessary I can use four dots — is where the transfinite comes in and it cannot be traversed in finite stage steps.Sigh. I have never said you can get to the infinite. You can’t. No one is saying that.

Bornagain77: If I may take liberty to explain your argument to you, “in order to explain how the present moment can possibly come from some infinitely past moment, all you need to do is first assume the present moment came from an infinitely past moment.”No one is making that argument. Sigh.

Jerry: In the real world there will be one number that will not have a predecessor. Use positive integers to make your case. (prefer not to use negative integers). There will be a positive integer for which there is no bigger integer because there is nothing for it to point to.How many times do we have to say: we are talking about mathematics here, NOT the real world.

I give up. You people are clearly not even trying to understand.

This is how a group of people ostracise themselves from intellectual discourse. They deny, deny, deny without having taken the time to fully understand the topic and then get upset because no one is listening to them.

You bring it upon yourselves.

Concerning WJM’s MRT, I think we agree that the world we all inhabit is created in our minds. Where we differ is that I believe it is a model, an incomplete representation of an external reality, based on limited information gathered by our senses, which exists beyond our conscious awareness and whose existence does not depend on our awareness of it.

However, as WJM has pointed out, there is no way that I can see for me to prove it. I cannot step outside myself to see if I and the external reality I assume is out there are indeed two separate entities. And, as WJM has said, his is the more parsimonious explanation. Why assume an external reality if it doesn’t give us any greater explanatory purchase?

That said, it does raise some interesting questions.

The first is the source of the information of which we are aware. Information is usually held to be about something. If I am aware of a tree, the source of the information that becomes a tree in my conscious awareness is the actual tree itself. If there are no trees then why am I aware of something like a tree at all? What is the source of that awareness?

The second question is under MRT is there any difference between fact and fiction? We distinguish fact and fiction broadly as the former being external reality and the latter being essentially a figment of our imagination based off what we know of external reality. But if there is no external reality, only the internal reality of our conscious minds, does that mean that under MRT there is no ontological difference between fact and fiction? In other words, for example, the Shire from

Lord of the Ringsor the galaxy long ago and far, far away inStar Warsare actually out there to be experienced since they have been imagined, for want of a better word?Following from that, is there actually any truth other than what we experience? On the correspondence theory of truth, for example, the truth-value of a claim about the nature of some aspect of external reality can be judged by observing how closely it corresponds to what it purports to describe. MRT would seem to exclude that version of truth.

Basically, it seems to me that while MRT is arguably a more parsimonious theory, it raises question of origins that are every bit as intractable as those of other versions of the nature of reality.

BA, observe how I discuss the current causal-temporal stage of the cosmos. That is the way cosmology looks at the cosmos using the General Theory of Relativity. KF

VL claims that “No point in the past is an infinite distance from now.”

Why is she talking about distance when she is trying to explain time?

I thought they were trying to be precise in their definitions and all that?

Shouldn’t she have claimed, “No point in the past is

an infinite timefrom now” instead of claiming that “No point in the past is an infinite distance from now.”???But if she stated her claim as she should have stated it, without confusing time and distance, then it would have defeated her entire argument that time itself is infinite into the past.

Moreover, when space and time are combined, as they are in general relativity, (and as VL inadvertently did in her claim), then there are mathematical proofs, as I already referenced in post 83, that space and time cannot be infinite into the past.

Moreover, I also have a serious problem with them assuming “now”, i.e. the present moment, in their attempt to count backwards from ‘now’ to an infinite past.

“The experience of ‘the Now”, as I already referenced in post 26, is a property of the immaterial mind and is not physical property.

To repeat Stanley Jaki, “There is no physical parallel to the mind’s ability to extend from its position in the momentary present to its past moments, or in its ability to imagine its future. The mind remains identical with itself while it lives through its momentary nows.”

Thus, they inadvertently are also assuming the reality of their immaterial mind in their argument for an infinite past which is, supposedly, strictly verboten for any self respecting materialist who wants to explain the existence of time without reference to the infinite Mind of God.

BA77 I guess ViolaLee is a boy. Not that it would matter.

I can assure you Viola Lee is a full-grown adult.

Isn’t the point how can we get here, now if the past was infinite? And that we wouldn’t be here now if the past was infinite?

Starting here and now is cheating and doesn’t get to the point.

Viola and JVL are talking about one thing and the rest are talking about something else.

EDTA said:

There’s nothing I can do except what I’m doing. BTW, I’m calling it IRT now – idealism reality theory.

We can count units of time from a point in time. In order for infinite past to have

meaning, you’d have to be able tocount froman infinite past, which is nonsense. We cannot start with an infinite quantity (such as an infinity number of seconds of time) and count down from it. Infinity minus one = infinity. It is not a numberfrom whichyou can count. Thus, infinite time past ismeaningless.You can say the words until you’re blue in the face, but you’re not saying anythingmeaningful.The thing to keep in mind about infinity is that it is

not a number. It is an abstractset. Or rather “they”, since there are infinite sets of infinite sets and so on. They are abstract sets with strange properties, which arenot isomorphicto anything in the “real” universe, nor to each other.ET writes, “Viola and JVL are talking about one thing and the rest are talking about something else.”

Yes, this is true.

To EDTA: I appreciate the discussion we’ve had, and we could probably continue profitably, but I think I don’t want to put in the time it would take. I just got my new camera and I want to spend time studying it, and I have various, as KF would say, real-world issues to deal with. So thanks for a civil and focussed conversation.

WJM- If what you now believe about what quantum physics proves , is that not a past action ( experimental evidence)making a future thing ( your belief about it)not causal then why then do you believe it to be so.

WJM- Sorry last post reads like I am under them influence. The point I was trying to make is that if there is no cause and effect then science is null and void , as the proof of the quantum physics experiments being a cause and you forming a belief based on that cause being an effect , hence cause and effect.

So if no cause and effect how can experimental science be of any value as it has no effect.

Seversky @99 asks a couple of the best questions about IRT (formerly MRT) I’ve ever come across.

Bravo. What an insightful, intelligent, well-considered question.

To begin answering this question, let me ask this: how is it a tree (or a rock, or a stream of water, or a turtle, etc.) came into existence in the first place? Does it matter if we look at the tree as information, matter, or energy?

If we’re thinking in DRT (dualism reality theory, formerly external reality theory) terms, if we go back in time far enough, none of those things existed back at or near the beginning, the “big bang.” The

potentialfor their eventual existence had to exist in some format – an arrangement or pattern that could physically, statistically, mathematically produce those things in the future. Without the potential that at least allowed for their eventual formation, they could not have come into existence.That “potential” is the same as information. The information for the tree

necessarilyexisted as instantiated potential (instantiated in patterns, arrangement, qualities of matter or energy) at the beginning of the universe (under DRT.) IOW, the information for a thing necessarily preceded the coming into existence of the the thing, even under DRT.Thus, IRT again just dispenses with the unnecessary middle-man of material or energetic instantiation; our experience is our mind interacting with informational potentials.

Another truly meaningful question, one that needs to be asked and answered to acquire even a basic understanding of IRT.

Under IRT, all possible things exist at least in the form of information potentials; if something did not, then they would be unimaginable as well as not available in physical experience (like square circles.) Under my particular version of IRT, all possible things are being experienced “somewhere” by “someone.” But, does that mean there is no distinction between “fact” and “fiction?”

It depends on how you look at it. “Fiction” would be things not known to have occurred (or known to have not occurred) in our common physical world experience. But, isn’t that all fiction can possibly be anyway? How would we know if the events described in a book of fiction did not occur somewhere, at some time, in some possible world or dimension?

This can be answered logically. You agree we have no access to any purported world existing outside of mind; the only truths we can possibly measure or validate are

aboutour experiences, which are all mental in nature. Even if there was a non-mental world that information was coming from, we have no capacity, even in principle, to valid statements about that world as “true.”Marfin @109 said:

I didn’t say there was no cause and effect; I said it doesn’t exist in the way we normally (time-linear results of matter-energy state interactions) think about it. The state of the observer causes the observer’s experiences. Currently, science is about modeling those patterns of experiences as theories about matter, energy and most recently under quantum theory, information and consciousness.

Quantum experimental results in the past didn’t cause me to believe in some form of IRT. My observational state located and translated that information into my experience and generated my experiential relationship with that information. I could just as easily have never accessed that information, not understood it, or rejected it, if my observational state had been different.

EDTA:

I just wanted to add, there are personal experiments one can conduct under IRT (formerly MRT) in order to explore the experiential potentials available, but like any theory, it requires a decent understanding of the model to know how to conduct and evaluate the results of the experiment.

Informally (outside of quantum experiments,) what you’re working with under my IRT is a set of subconscious programs, most of which people are usually unaware of. These programs select and process information into experience.

At the very root of these programs is something like an operating system; I call it the reality operating system. It organizes the information gathering and processing according to its version of reality – what is real, and what is not. Multiple users have the same reality operating system, just like multiple users have the same computer or game platform operating system.

Now, what were talking about here are two different operating systems operating at the deepest subconscious level: IRT (formerly MRT) and DRT (formerly ERT.) Using the analogy of a computer and operating systems, we have many other programs installed that are running on our particular operating system that do not run on other operating systems. There are many DRT programs that are incompatible with the IRT operating system.

Now, how does one go about testing whether or not the IRT not only functions, but provides us access to programs we do not have available on the DRT platform?

But, this analogy isn’t correct, because I’m proposing, and the evidence indicates that IRT is not just another operating system; it represents the bit code (machine) language that allows any operating system or program to function. This is what these quantum experiments are about and why the results violated the DRT and “materialism” operating system expectations.

So, this is the tall order you are requesting: an experiment that will conclusively violate what your current reality program is producing as your sets and sequences of experiences,

includinghow you normally think about things as “reality” (results that will “convince” you.) That’s virtually impossible under IRT because “state of the observer” (which includes all your current subconscious programming) is what causes experience; it is not caused by the experiences.So, you see the problem here. Undermining one’s reality program is no small task and it has very uncomfortable experiential consequences. Yes, we can deprogram or reprogram our reality program, but you have to invest the time and effort to “learn to code” and be ready to manage what happens as a result.

VL, 75:

A first clip, to EDTA:

1: Question begged by assumption at the outset.

2: As I explored in a recent paper, N,Z,Q,R,C,R* etc are present as world framework, abstract entities in any distinct possible world.

3: That is utterly different from and tangential to the material question of traversing finite stage, causal-temporal, cumulative succession across the actual past to now. Where,

4: every actual past point p that actually happened [think years for convenience], it was once the present, then through causal-temporal stages of succession we had a chain of successors to now

p –> p+1 –> p+2 –>

k–> . . . –> n, the current now. Which, is receding into the past as we speak.5: The claim, infinite or beginningless past (D = Z- in your argument at 75 above] means — per

logic of temporal–causal, successive beingas just outlined — that for any particular k in the past, there are unlimited further actual past stages beyond any particular onward p, i.e.:. . . . –> p-2 –> p-1 –> p.

6: That lead ellipsis

. . . implies an actually transfinite, stepwise successive causal-temporal traverse. Which,

7: we know cannot be traversed as no suggested transfinitely remote

K(observe the contrasted upper case) can succeed itself in finite, successive stages to a completed transfinite span. That is,8: I am first capturing the integers in a wider context, the transfinite hyperreals, established through infinitesimal h –> 1/h –> H a transfinite integer [for convenience] greater than any finite n in N, where N mileposts R+. R- is the mirror image as is obvious. K is a negative transfinite, integer hyperreal, so we see:

. . . . K, K+1, K+2 . . . . p-2, p-1, p, p+1, p+2 . . .

k, k+1 . . . -2,-1,*0*,1,2 . . . n, n+1, n+2, . . . . H, H+1, . . . .9: Notice, I have here shifted to number lines, we are not looking at causal temporal succession for the moment. I used *0* to note the cloud of infinitesimal hyperreals around 0 including h. Further, observe that from p-2 to n+2, all traversals are finite, so physically feasible. Any particular actual past p can traverse onward through 0 to n. I use 0 as the big bang singularity for convenience.

10: Again, with –> to represent immediate causal-temporal, thermodynamically constrained transition of finite stages, any actual past point p must be able to traverse to n:

p –> p+1 –> p+2 –> . . .

k–> . . . 0 –> 1 –>2 –> . . . –> n11: What you assume is that D can have in it only finite values but is collectively such that any finite p is exceeded by an onward prior chain without limit. That begs the question, and further fails to recognise the implication of the open sided ellipsis.

12: That is why I have set the wider context of R* that helps us see what . . . . -2,-1,0 really entails, once issues of temporal-causal succession are brought in. D is implicitly transfinite and traversal of the supposed never having begun set of prior stages requires stepwise traversal of the transfinite.

13: yes, any particular p will be finite and exceeded, but that is the point, our symbolism of the open ended ellipsis shows that we can traverse the finite span but can only point to the onward open ended span, what a potential infinite is all about.

14: Counting in reverse 0, -1, -2, . . . p, on and on cannot be completed, precisely because of the impossibility of completing a transfinite span in steps. This is where we use 1/x and infinitesimals like h to connect to the onward hyperreals of transfinite scale. Obviously, we can go -1/h = -H, a negative transfinite hyperreal.

15: For some negative transfinite K, we can go K+1,K+2 etc validly but given the stepwise traverse problem we never get to p in any actual succession of steps. (Refer again to the hyperbolic catapult, 1/x, used to connect infinitesimals and transfinites on the hyperreals number line, with finite reals embraced and mileposted by n in N.)

16: As I have pointed out any number of times for four plus years now at UD, the ellipsis in the successor notation for exhibiting N is STRUCTURAL and carries a high significance. Let us go to the von Neumann construction, using ==> for assignment or interpretation:

{} ==> 0

{0} ==> 1

{0,1} ==> 2

. . .

{0,1,2, . . . (k-1)} ==> k

{0,1,2 . . .k} ==> k+1

. . . .

w, omega, the first transfinite ordinal, and onward

17: From this, N, we can construct Z,Q,R,C,R* etc. But obviously, we could not exhaustively complete the steps of construction of successors to w as for any specific finite k, it is bounded by equally finite specific successors from k+1. Equivalent, through shift left, to starting from 0 all over. Even without the explicit transfinite, the ellipsis cannot be completed in successive steps.

18: Now, observe that Z- is the mirror image of N, i.e. n + (-n) = 0, identity element for +. If traversal of the transfinite cannot be completed going upwards from 0 it cannot be completed going downwards across Z- from 0 either.

19: Magic step, recognise that exhausting the open, four dot ellipsis on the negative side before getting to any particular p is the same traverse only in the reversed direction of travel.

20: In mathematics, we can readily point to a potential infinite and accept the intuitions that yes we could go on and on without limit, but on logic of being for actual physical past stages p, we cannot do that.

21: Instead, we have to actually traverse every intervening stage from the once the-present, now succeeded to n, today’s present stage, and that has to be done one step at a time constrained by thermodynamics, forces, motions etc.

22: In short, as others also did, you have begged the logic of physical being and causal temporal succession question.

23: That you seem to be forced to do that by inserting an assumption of already traversed transfinite succession to the accessible past p, speaks volumes.

24: What lurks in there is the need for eternal, necessary worlds framework being as adequate causal ground for this or any other possible world. For, infinite causal-temporal succession cannot be traversed, circular cause is the impossibility of self-causing prior to existence, and were there ever utter non being such would forever obtain . . . there would be no world.

25: A world, manifestly, is [and WJM there is no good reason to suggest or infer that our senses, experiences and memory that tell us about it are on the whole dubious or delusional]. It is not self explanatory. logic of being requires necessary being as root of this and other possible worlds. The issue is, of what character.

KF

VL & JVL, in effect the question is what sufficient reason do you have to hold or suggest that the physical, causal-temporal past is without beginning, given the challenge of completing a stepwise traversal of the transfinite in finite scale steps. Absent very good reason — not an assumption of completed traversal, there is reason to hold that we are only warranted to project a finite past for our physical cosmos. KF

Kairosfocus:You sure spent a long time objecting to one phrase: D represents the set of negative integers. You don’t need to take 25 paragraphs to point out that

Violadid not explicitly say that D was a finite set. Also, you don’t need to invoke anything but the integers to bring up that the past is finite. And since no one has objected to that notion I’m not sure why you thought you needed to reiterate things you’ve said many, many times in the (finite) past.I have a theological question: is there a time in the past before which God did not exist?

JVL

1: It was necessary to show the implicitly transfinite traverse in the proposal of D.

2: God is necessary being, our world — and so, its contents — is contingent. Time is about contingent, changing reality. We need necessary being as root of reality in which at least one contingent world exists. The issue is, of what nature. The God of ethical theism is a serious candidate to be that necessary being.

KF

PS: Wikipedia:

WJM- So are any experiences real ?, or are they real but just influenced by the state of the observer ?

Are trees real ? , if not ,are science experiments real. ?

Kairosfocus: It was necessary to show the implicitly transfinite traverse in the proposal of D.We’ve all read your reasons many times over.

Violamade a statement that seemed to imply they were postulating an infinite set of past times. All you needed to do was to query that statement.God is necessary being, our world — and so, its contents — is contingent. Time is about contingent, changing reality. We need necessary being as root of reality in which at least one contingent world exists. The issue is, of what nature. The God of ethical theism is a serious candidate to be that necessary being.So . . . God existed ‘before’ time? If God brought our contingent reality into being then that seems correct.

In mathematics (particularly set theory), a finite set is a set that has a finite number of elements. Informally, a finite set is a set which one could in principle count and finish counting.Please don’t. I KNOW the mathematics. I don’t need a lecture.

do reflection in 0 to see what the set of negative integers therefore is and what VL’s suggestion on D impliesI GOT IT! You can be incredibly patronising at times.

JVL,

at this point the necessity of laying the matter out is underscored, and the need to roll the tape, to point to what is being sidestepped and buried under further exchanges.

VL, 75, again, to EDTA:

I remind, from Wikipedia:

In short, VL was asserting by assumption at outset, traversal of a transfinite to get to t, today. The pivotal matter is whether that can be done. Where, we can see from even Wiki testifying against ideological interest:

“Informally, a finite set is a set which one could in principle count and finish counting . . . . A set that is not finite is called infinite. For example, the set of all positive integers is infinite: { 1 , 2 , 3 , … }”It is easy to see that the negative integers, Z- are the mirror image in 0, and are similarly infinite, of cardinality aleph-null.

This confirms that assuming at outset that D is in effect Z- means claiming a completed transfinite, stepwise traverse. Where, as even Wiki is admitting, it is FINITE sets that can be exhaustively counted through. Which is the equivalent to saying that one cannot traverse the transfinite exhaustively in steps. I showed why above, which you dismiss as if it were empty repetition.

My wider point stands.

As to oh God is before time, it is sounder to say, he is the causal ground of our causal-temporal domain of being or world, which credibly had a definite beginning. You will observe that in the model of time I laid out, I used 0 as the singularity, taking in various multiverse and sub cosmos from fluctuations models. The grounding of worlds I speak to is beyond our big bang.

Further to such, you need to ponder causality, the logic of being, impossible of being vs possible, contingent vs necessary. Stuff gone through before in significant detail but again treated as if it is not there in the background or is irrelevant. Or worse.

That’s not Cricket.

KF

Kairosfocus: at this point the necessity of laying the matter out is underscored, and the need to roll the tape, to point to what is being sidestepped and buried under further exchanges.Fine, I’ll just ignore the things I’ve already heard multiple times.

In short, VL was asserting by assumption at outset, traversal of a transfinite to get to t, today.Why didn’t you just ask

Viola: oh, sorry, you seem to be saying this, is that what you meant?As to oh God is before time, it is sounder to say, he is the causal ground of our causal-temporal domain of being or world, which credibly had a definite beginning. You will observe that in the model of time I laid out, I used 0 as the singularity, taking in various multiverse and sub cosmos from fluctuations models. The grounding of worlds I speak to is beyond our big bang.So . . . some kind of time extends before our Big Bang? A supreme being ‘above’ all that would have their own clock?

Further to such, you need to ponder causality, the logic of being, impossible of being vs possible, contingent vs necessary. Stuff gone through before in significant detail but again treated as if it is not there in the background or is irrelevant. Or worse.I’m just trying to understand how things work in your view.

Does God have their own clock by which they measure progression of events? On the first day . . . on the second day . . .

JVL, things you have previously ignored or set aside without due warrant, you continue to do the same. Thanks for letting us know why the matter cannot be resolved. Besides, I have not previously addressed the Wikipedia summary against known interest on finitude and exhaustive countability. Nor has VL used the case with D as embracing Z-. Thus, my correction that the question of transfinite traverse stepwise has been begged, vitiating the onward argument. It remains that any actual past p must once have been the present then was succeeded stepwise to now. In context it implies the span to any actual past p is finite. A claimed transfinite number of actual past points traversed stepwise to reach now collapses as such a traverse is not feasible. That is there is a finitely remote past limit, a beginning; even beyond the big bang. KF

PS: As to the exploration of Eternity and how it intersects with our time etc, our concepts of succession and change etc, if something comparatively simple as stepwise traversal of the transfinite is a stumbling block, then there is no basis for profitable discussion on matters of philosophical or systematic theology. What might be feasible is basic logic of being, possible worlds and cause, but whether that is to be profitably engaged remains to be seen. Do you understand why some things cannot be in any possible world? That others might, some being contingent and caused, some framework to any world existing and necessary? That actual worlds require a necessary root being of some nature?

Kairosfocus: things you have previously ignored or set aside without due warrant, you continue to do the same.Really? When have I claimed there is an infinite past?

Thanks for letting us know why the matter cannot be resolved.Depends on how much you want to try and explain I think.

Nor has VL used the case with D as embracing Z-.Again, why not just ask

Violaif they meant to imply an infinite past? Easy, conversational, non-confrontational . . .Thus, my correction that the question of transfinite traverse stepwise has been begged, vitiating the onward argument.Why not just ask if that’s what

Violameant? You take offence at the least suggestion of a disagreement.A claimed transfinite number of actual past points traversed stepwise to reach now collapses as such a traverse is not feasible.Fine. I’m not claiming an infinite human-detectable past. I don’t think

Violais either despite that one statement which you have now spent a lot of verbiage railing against instead of just asking a polite question.That is there is a finitely remote past limit, a beginning; even beyond the big bang.Okay, okay . . . so, even outside our universe the past is finite? Correct?

As to the exploration of Eternity and how it intersects with our time etc, our concepts of succession and change etc, if something comparatively simple as stepwise traversal of the transfinite is a stumbling block, then there is no basis for profitable discussion on matters of philosophical or systematic theology.I never said there was an infinite human-detectable past!! Mathematics is NOT reality!!

Do you understand why some things cannot be in any possible world?I’m trying to understand your cosmic view which is why I’m asking questions.

That others might, some being contingent and caused, some framework to any world existing and necessary?Again, I’m trying to understand which is why I’m asking questions.

That actual worlds require a necessary root being of some nature?And I’d like to know: how does that being perceive the passage of time? Do they have their own clock?

Marfin @117:

What do you mean by “real?”

JVL,

we can readily enough see that the core point is made, given the backing away. The setting up of D as past time and aligning it with Z- has failed, a set that is clearly infinite so that D would be an infinite past by definition. The inability to traverse such stepwise exhaustively again settles the matter. A temporal causal world and quantum foam antecedents with fluctuations etc will require a beginning.

So, we must reckon with the logic of being. Utter non-being, were it ever the case would have no causal power so that would forever obtain. A contingent world implies a necessary being root with adequate causal capability. Where, necessary beings transcend the temporal-causal order, they are framework for any world to be and so always are. We see eternality as a different mode of existence from the inherently contingent order of a thermodynamically governed, temporal-causal world such as ours. For example, two never began nor can it cease. Which ties directly to distinct identity at the core of logic. That immediately makes mind as plausible candidate, mind capable of sourcing worlds, such as ours.

As for mathematical entities, they are real, as two is real, embedded in the entities of our world. Try an apple on a table, bright green — Granny Smith. Call it A. It is distinct from not that apple, ~A. W = {A|~A}. Eat said apple, never mind its sourness. Has twoness disappeared? No, other things up to this particular world hold distinct identity. Indeed, at macro level the apple is simple unity, ~A is complex. Different things can have unit property, and onward we can see N,Z,Q,R,C etc. Twoness is also contemplated in mind and can be eternally so contemplated. Without beginning, without end, fabric to any possible world.

So, Math as the logic of being addressing structure and quantity is real, as obviously is the study. This is not just a game with labels and symbols that by some magic of coincidence happen to fit with physics.

In the sort of physics that suggests quantum foams with expanding fluctuations etc, a sort of quasi physics and quasi time extends beyond the singularity. All quite speculative. It is that speculative possible world that cannot escape logic of being addressed to thermodynamically controlled causal-temporal succession. It is also why stage counts are more relevant that “years.”

Since you apparently want to do analysis before arithmetic basics, I give you this much. The enabling source and sustainer of worlds as necessary being would be antecedent to timelines [on a foam subverse, many disparate timelines for different fluctuations are possible]. Getting to more specific claims requires particular views. For example in Hinduism Atman is Brahman. In ethical theism in the Judaeo-Christian tradition, worlds are initiated, sustained and powered by the Creator, who is therefore actively present everywhere and everywhen. If that antecedent presence is absent, there is only non being in the imagined locale. We imagine from a where and when. Other views contemplate gods in the flow of time as superhuman figures not strictly ground of being with a name, I AM that reflects that character.

Does such a view vitiate freedom? Some imagine so but err. To enable possibilities and to be simultaneously aware of the before and the after does not determine the choice made, it simply accurately reflects what use or misuse is made of borrowed powers. And more, but again, that would open up vast tangential domains.

The fundamental point at the core of thread and op alike is that it’s turtles all the way down without beginning fails.

KF

Kairosfocus: we can readily enough see that the core point is made, given the backing away. The setting up of D as past time and aligning it with Z- has failed, a set that is clearly infinite so that D would be an infinite past by definition. The inability to traverse such stepwise exhaustively again settles the matter. A temporal causal world and quantum foam antecedents with fluctuations etc will require a beginning.I’m not sure anyone was disputing this but . . .

So, we must reckon with the logic of being. Utter non-being, were it ever the case would have no causal power so that would forever obtain. A contingent world implies a necessary being root with adequate causal capability. Where, necessary beings transcend the temporal-causal order, they are framework for any world to be and so always are. We see eternality as a different mode of existence from the inherently contingent order of a thermodynamically governed, temporal-causal world such as ours. For example, two never began nor can it cease. Which ties directly to distinct identity at the core of logic. That immediately makes mind as plausible candidate, mind capable of sourcing worlds, such as ours.I’m not sure what any of this means or what question of mine you are trying to address. Can anyone clear this up for me?

As for mathematical entities, they are real, as two is real, embedded in the entities of our world. Try an apple on a table, bright green — Granny Smith. Call it A. It is distinct from not that apple, ~A. W = {A|~A}. Eat said apple, never mind its sourness. Has twoness disappeared? No, other things up to this particular world hold distinct identity. Indeed, at macro level the apple is simple unity, ~A is complex. Different things can have unit property, and onward we can see N,Z,Q,R,C etc. Twoness is also contemplated in mind and can be eternally so contemplated. Without beginning, without end, fabric to any possible world.Again, what question of mine are you trying to address?

So, Math as the logic of being addressing structure and quantity is real, as obviously is the study. This is not just a game with labels and symbols that by some magic of coincidence happen to fit with physics.I keep reading but I keep not understanding. Surely it’s possible for you to be a bit clearer in your responses?

In the sort of physics that suggests quantum foams with expanding fluctuations etc, a sort of quasi physics and quasi time extends beyond the singularity. All quite speculative. It is that speculative possible world that cannot escape logic of being addressed to thermodynamically controlled causal-temporal succession. It is also why stage counts are more relevant that “years.”I’m losing the will to live now.

Since you apparently want to do analysis before arithmetic basics, I give you this much. The enabling source and sustainer of worlds as necessary being would be antecedent to timelines [on a foam subverse, many disparate timelines for different fluctuations are possible].So, you’re saying God doesn’t recognise a constant and solid timeline?

Getting to more specific claims requires particular views. For example in Hinduism Atman is Brahman. In ethical theism in the Judaeo-Christian tradition, worlds are initiated, sustained and powered by the Creator, who is therefore actively present everywhere and everywhen. If that antecedent presence is absent, there is only non being in the imagined locale. We imagine from a where and when. Other views contemplate gods in the flow of time as superhuman figures not strictly ground of being with a name, I AM that reflects that character.Whatever all of that means.

Does such a view vitiate freedom? Some imagine so but err. To enable possibilities and to be simultaneously aware of the before and the after does not determine the choice made, it simply accurately reflects what use or misuse is made of borrowed powers. And more, but again, that would open up vast tangential domains.I didn’t ask about freedom? Are you even trying to respond to my queries? It feels like you’re just blowing smoke to put me off.

The fundamental point at the core of thread and op alike is that it’s turtles all the way down without beginning fails.NO ONE supported that. I cannot believe that you are so indifferent to what people are actually asking you and telling you.

Look, go back and reread my posts and actually try and answer my questions. Okay?

Summary of the issue: It’s not turtles all the way down, because you can’t ever get to “all the way down”. But there is always another turtle. 🙂

VL, D is assumed in in 75 as having aleph null cardinality, i.e. you begged the question of infinite stepwise traverse. Notice, that finite sets can be exhausted by such a traverse but those that cannot are not-finite, i.e. infinite. Your argument in 75 fails at outset. KF

JVL, there we go again. I set up my points of response step by step [such as understanding different possibilities for being which shows why necessary being is eternal and part of the fabric for any world to exist with two as a case in point], showing what was needed and I let the record stand as it is adequate for purpose. KF

KF, are you aware that post 75 is about trying to understand the paper that EDTA linked to at #34?

Viola Lee:

That is the summary of the issue from someone looking at it backwards. And there aren’t any turtles. Just an intelligently designed space-time fabric of a universe.

Viola:Summary of the issue: It’s not turtles all the way down, because you can’t ever get to “all the way down”.“All the way down” isn’t meaningful, because it isn’t isomorphic to anything in our universe including turtles or units of time.

But there is always another turtle.A conclusion not supported by any facts in evidence.

VL, kindly notice what you started out with in 75 above to EDTA and then effectively asked me to respond to:

As Wiki correctly acknowledges, “

a finite set is a set which one could in principle count. For example, { 2 , 4 , 6 , 8 , 10 } is a finite set with five elements. The number of elements of a finite set is a natural number (a non-negative integer) and is called the cardinality of the set.and finish countingA set that is not finite is called infinite. For example,.”the set of all positive integers is infinite: { 1 , 2 , 3 , … }As an almost trivial point, Z-, the mirror image of Z+ in 0, has the same cardinality, aleph null, i.e. is infinite. So, you directly imply the claim that D, “the collection of

all daysprior to t,” is infinite. Thus, counting out 0,-1,-2 . . . will fail to exhaust it, and one cannot count in the direction from left to 0, . . . -2,-1,0 either.That is effectively the points I have made for several years and in your presence. A transfinite span cannot be completely traversed in finite stage steps, and so once every actual past time p was once the present and has been succeeded p+1, p+2 . . . t to use your symbol, the completed span — so, the DURATION since any such p will be finite. Furthermore, if we leave the implicit transfinite D = Z- so to speak, it cannot have been completely traversed to t. By the meaning of the transfinite scale of Z-.

That is, the actual past was finite.

There are not infinitely many turtles all the way down. And were there somehow, the span of turtles to t cannot be traversed completely in steps.

KF

You guys are taking these turtles awfully seriously! 🙂

Turtles all the way down, almost

WJM @ 112,

>So, you see the problem here. Undermining one’s reality program is no small task and it has very uncomfortable experiential consequences…

An interesting way to put it, “undermining one’s reality program”. I’m going to have to drop the inquiry. Thanks for the explanations, though.

I can’t believe this discussion has continued this long.

JVL,

We have no idea if God has anything analogous to our concept of time. I doubt we could conceive what it was even if it did exist.

KF, instead of lecturing us on math we all know, you should try instead to follow a conversation with the intent of understanding it. I was trying to understand the paper EDTA recommended, and was trying to compare my understanding with EDTA’s. You know, we were having a cooperative discussion where we were trying to understand each other. You should try it sometime. See EDTA’s response at 81.

KF you write, “VL, kindly notice what you started out with in 75 above to EDTA and then effectively asked me to respond to:”

No, I wasn’t effectively, or otherwise, asking you to respond. I was just asking if you were aware that ETDA and I were discussing a paper.

Since we are discussing time itself and whether it is infinite or not, I guess it would be fair for us to ask the question, “What is Time?”

First off, I think it is important to note that time does not have an independent physical existence of its own, but that time has a contingent existence that is always based on some regularity of nature that we measure.

And indeed, what we base our measurement of time on has changed drastically throughout history: (although the orbit of the earth around the sun has always been the ‘master regularity’ that we ultimately base our measure of time on)

As well, I think it is also important to point out that time is immaterial in its foundational essence, in that it involves us counting numbers. Yet, Numbers, like time itself, has no physical existence on its own that we can measure.

As Berlinski noted, “The number four, after all, did not come into existence at a particular time, and it is not going to go out of existence at another time. It is neither here nor there. Nonetheless we are in some sense able to grasp the number by a faculty of our minds. Mathematical intuition is utterly mysterious.”

Thus it follows that time is an abstract concept of the immaterial mind that has a contingent existence, (not a necessary existence), that is based on some regularity of nature that we measure and count with immaterial numbers, via, and ultimately, count with our immaterial minds.

To drive this point further home, the fact that time does not have an independent physical existence of its own is hinted at in the following article which states, “many scientists question whether time even exists.”

As well, on Einsteins 70th birthday, Gödel presented Einstein with a paper on time travel being possible within relativity which Godel held, “demonstrated,,, that time itself,,,, is but an illusion.”

Moreover, the following study confirmed Gödel’s contention to Einstein that “time is not a physical dimension of space through which one could travel into the past or future.”

Moreover, as we have built more and more accurate clocks to measure time with, we have conducted experiments that now show us that time passes differently for the clocks depending on how fast the clocks are traveling (Special Relativity) and/or where the clocks are positioned in relation to a gravitational field (General Relativity).

This is referred to as time dilation. And indeed, the fact that time is not constant everywhere in the universe is of practical concern for satellite navigation systems (Global Positioning System, GPS), in that complex calculations have to made in order to keep the clocks synchronized with one another in order that they may give accurate positioning information to their customers.

The important thing for us to know about time dilation is that time itself, as we understand it, comes to a complete stop in both General Relativity and Special Relativity.

In General Relativity time, as we understand it, comes to a complete stop at the event horizon of a black hole when the gravitational acceleration equals the speed of light,,

Whereas in Special Relativity time, as we understand it, comes to a complete stop at the speed of light. (see post 29 for a more detailed discussion about the time dilation of special relativity)

https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/118649/#comment-728764

Thus in conclusion, and in regards to VL’s contention that time must be infinite into the past, we have every right to ask him or her, “Can you even prove that time physically exists outside of your imagination, much less that it physically exists infinitely into the past?”

🙂

Verse:

BA writes, “VL’s contention that time must be infinite into the past.”

VL absolutely never said that. It is pitiful the way you misrepresent things.

VL’s own words, “There is no mathematical problem in stating that every moment had a prior moment, and therefore there was no first moment”.

Others disagree!

🙂

There is a considerable difference in saying “There is no mathematical problem … ” and “time must be infinite into the past.” That is obvious.

Also above I wrote (and this is something I have said every time this subject has come up, “I don’t think we know at all what the nature of time might be outside our universe. I’m just discussing this from a mathematical point of view.” I am making no arguments about what real time might be: I am just discussing the notion of time as modelled by the negative integers.

My argument is (but I am absolutely sure you will not represent this accurately) is outlined in post 43: it is mathematically consistent to say that time, as modelled by the negative integers, could have no beginning–no first moment– and yet not involve an infinite traverse to now. That’s all.

I am certainly in no way saying that real time, whatever that may be, must be infinite.

In fact, BA, here are two simple pure mathematics questions. Do you think these are true, or not? Explain briefly if you like.

1. There are an infinite number of negative integers. Agree, or not?

2. Every negative integer is finite. Agree or not?

EDTA @ 135 –

This is nothing (yet). I suspect these infinity thread are attempts to make a thread that is infinitely long.

WJM- What do I mean by” real”?, Exactly my point.

VL,

pardon, but the evidence is that you tried to set up transfinite traverse across the past at the outset. I therefore highlighted something from logic of being’s structural and quantitative aspect [what sort of sets can be traversed stepwise in finite stages] and something from physics, that a given stage of the actual past is thermodynamically connected to its immediate successor, chaining to the present]. In that context, any actual past stage p must be connected to now by a chain of actual, thermodynamically controlled causal-temporal succession, stage to next stage.

As a direct result, your D-model of the past (of a past comprising days countable but corresponding to Z-, i.e. an infinite set) fails.

That is the balance on merits, how I am allegedly lecturing you on mathematics you know notwithstanding.

So, if that relatively simple issue is deadlocked, that there can be a more fruitful wider analysis of logic of being, thence why necessary being is required at root of reality does not seem likely just now.

As for onward issues on how the eternality implied in necessary being cashes out on topics like the theistic vision of the eternal God and his relationship to time, absent working through the logic of being, there is no general, worldviews analysis basis for discussion. I will note, that were there ever utter non-being such would forever obtain, that infinite past models fail to resolve stage by stage traverse to the present, that circular causation is trying to pull a world out of not yet being, leaving finitely remote necessary [so, eternal in some sense] being as required root of reality and source as key framework for any possible world to be or to begin and be sustained. That this world has in it inescapably morally governed creatures is a further constraint, we need a reality root adequate to ground goodness.

As for philosophical or systematic or biblical theology, there is no reason for me to think such a tangential matter would do anything more than open up onward tangents.

The key takeaway is, that turtles all the way down, infinite, thermodynamically connected stages models of the past fail.

KF

BA77, time is bound up in thermodynamically driven change. This sets time’s arrow as having degradation of energy as the forward direction; which also ties to degradation of information-rich organisation. We can therefore see a physical cosmos level process that ultimately looks toward a dead cosmos, at perhaps 10^25 s beyond the singularity. Where, origin is ~10^17s past, on the usual timelines. I have already dealt with the issue of finite stage scale, stepwise succession to now. There is no good reason, on structure and quantity aspects of logic of being, to pose any model of the past, say D, where the collection of actual past days is in correspondence with Z-, which we saw in 75 above. That sort of model of the past should be recognised as failing in the starting gates as the implied transfinite traverse of scale aleph null, is infeasible for structure-quantity reasons. There just are no turtles all the way down without beginning. We have to face the logic of being import, that causal-temporal arrow of time reality is finite in the past. Connect to, necessary, so eternal being at root of reality and we are in a much different position for onward thought. KF

JVL, 68:

The challenge here is that the structure of N and Z builds in onward limitless extension,

. . . p, p+1, p+2 . . . -2, -1, 0, 1, 2, 3 . . . k, k+1, k+2, . . .

That is, for any

specificfinitely remote p or k, there is limitless onward succession L-ward or R-ward respectively. Where, the order type of the ordinals that can be matched to N is w, first transfinite ordinal. Where, we count duration or separation, etc, — span if you will — as number of steps between. 0–>1, 1 step, 1 –> 3, 3 steps from 0 less 1 step from 0 or 2 steps, 0 –>k, k steps. p –> 0 p steps. It follows that p –> k, p + k steps, more readily seen as for -r to + k, k – [-r] steps, i.e. k + r. So, the span metric between any two members we count to or represent as countable to from 0 will be finite BUT always there is a continuation beyond.The problem arises when we take past to present time and map it against this structured set, Z, especially Z-. The span count, for such a range is of scale aleph null, i.e. transfinite, recognisable as not just without beginning but infinitely remote in the past. Further to which, there are cosmological models put on the table, that while they are in fact speculative, purport to have a past that is limitless like that. Hence, why in my discussions for years, I set now, n as some positive value beyond 0 as singularity with onward modelled past beyond that.

This puts the issue of an infinite, quasi-physical past on the table.

Hence the relevance of pointing out that the nature of time viewed as successive finite duration stages, is that of causal-temporal succession as the now gives rise to the next now. Our succession of years gives an idea. However, that causal flow is thermodynamically connected, so that every actual past stage p — deliberately, well beyond the singularity — must be able to chain cumulatively from the once now that has become the past to the current now.

That is, stepwise succession of stages p –>p+1 –> p+2 . . . 0 –> n, now, rules. Yes, onward we may well have a potential infinite succession [ignoring heat death] n –> n+1 –> n+2 . . . but at no stage is the span implicit in the ellipsis traversed to completion. Finite, growing without limit onward. But that inability to fully traverse the suggested onward possible future of scale aleph null, is the very same issue as to why such a traverse in the past could not have been completed.

In that context, the logic of structure and quantity poses a problem. Namely, only specifically finite cumulative traverse is feasible. We only can COMPLETE a traverse for a specifically finite span. As noted, we can label stages from Z, including Z- but we cannot exhaust Z- with actual past stages once causal-temporal succession to n is a constraint. The actual past, by logic of being and by the thermodynamic succession constraint, is strictly finite.

That is, if there is a quasi-physical sub-verse underlying our observed cosmos, it too only extends a finite duration — quantified as above — into the causally-temporally connected past. There was a finitely remote specific beginning, even for such a subverse.

KF

VL, every integer p [- direction] or k [+ direction] we actually count to or represent as counted to is finite and bounded by onward remote cases, p-1 etc l-ward and k+1 etc r-ward. But this means that onward succession WITHOUT FINITE LIMIT is part of the definition of Z and of R which it mileposts. So, it is material to note that onward succession feature. As in:

. . . p, p+1, p+2 . . . -2, -1, 0, 1, 2, 3 . . . k, k+1, k+2, . . .

Taking in *0* as there being a cloud of infinitesimals near 0 and closer than 1/n for any finite n in N, we can take one such h and go 1/h –> H, a transfinite hyperreal beyond any finite n in N, thus onward H+1, H+2 etc.

. . . – H . . . p, p+1, p+2 . . . -2, -1, *0*, 1, 2, 3 . . . k, k+1, k+2, . . . –> H [= 1/h, in *0*], H+1, H+2 . . .

Having so opened up our understanding of the intuitive number line we can now see that in R* we can and do have any number of transfinite integers, some even, some odd, and that R is the span that embraces numbers mileposted by counting numbers from 0, N, and their mirror image, Z-; with the property of limitless onward extension beyond any specific p or k as already discussed. It is artificial to constrict discussion to finite values, once the set R* is available. KF

VL’s own words, “There is no mathematical problem in stating that every moment had a prior moment, and therefore there was no first moment”.

I observed that “Others disagree.”

VL responds that, “There is a considerable difference in saying “There is no mathematical problem (in stating that every moment had a prior moment, and therefore there was no first moment). ” and “time must be infinite into the past.” That is obvious.

Hmm “that is obvious”???,,, Really?

But anyways, VL continues, (to quote her in full lest I be accused of misrepresenting VL’s words.)

So VL, since you admit that you are making no mathematical argument as to what ‘real time’ might be, what in blue blazes makes you think that you have “no mathematical problem in stating that every moment had a prior moment, and therefore there was no first moment”?

Your infinite series of negative integers, by your own admission, does not represent ‘real time’.

And if it does not represent, by your own admission, ‘real time’, it must, of necessity be talking about some ‘imaginary time’

But then why are talking as if your mathematical model of counting backwards from ‘now” had any relevance to time whatsoever?

You could have just as well stuck any imaginary entity into your infinite series of negative integers instead of your ‘imaginary time’ that has no connection to the real world. i.e. you could have used widgets, pink unicorns, cosmic turtles, etc.. etc.., it does not matter, because you, by your own admission, are not talking about anything that has to do with the real world. But you are instead talking about something that is, for all practical purposes, totally disconnected from the real world.

As Karen observed at post 131, “All the way down” isn’t meaningful, because it isn’t isomorphic to anything in our universe including turtles or units of time.”

Your argument is mathematically meaningless as far as the real world is concerned.

BA77, further to that, any specific finite value is bounded by onward values. You will note I have specifically identified finite duration stages that can be assigned values along the number line, like successive years. In that context, we can assert the constraint that any actual past stage p must once have been the present but gave rise to the next stage p+1 and so forth to now, n. As a transfinite span cannot be traversed completely in successive finite stage steps, we are therefore only warranted to speak of a past that is finite in two senses. First, that p can complete a stepwise succession to now. Second, that counting the number of steps to now from p will be strictly finite and bounded by steps to n+1 etc, the immediate prospective future. Were p’s to extend such that every member of Z- could be assigned to some p, the overall span would take up the property of being beyond ability to exhaustively traverse by counting, i.e. it would be implicitly infinite. We have very good reason to infer that the actual past has not traversed through a set of stages that would exhaust Z-. That is, the past is strictly finite once stages that were once the present, p, must cumulatively succeed one thermodynamically controlled step at a time, p+1, p+2 etc onward to n, now; even going beyond the singularity, the big bang. Which, recall, I set as 0. Mathematical imagined pasts such as D spanning Z- as VL raised in 75 are not physically real. KF

I suggest in the name of sanity that the words “infinite” and “finite” and their various forms be banished from UD.

It will limit (allowed word) seemingly endless (allowed expression) discussions over nonsense, of worlds that do not exist except in our imagination.

This quote from Mark Twain should be the basis of most comments here.

There are infrequent occasions when something long is necessary but not very often. Once something long has been posted, it can be referred to thereafter with a simple link and a short explanation for linking to it.

BA writes, “Your argument is mathematically meaningless as far as the real world is concerned.”

I agree. It was never intended to be about the real world.

No one gives a flying **** about non-real or imaginary worlds. Sorry for the implied crudity.

But the issue is Jerry Coyne believes he is describing a real world. That is what the OP is about.

I’m using/applying what I learned on the OP that Kf wrote on common sense.

Knowledge is justified true belief (JTB.) But what is JTB? Is there JTB that a creator exists? That a creator exists, knowledge of this is defined as the following

1) a creator actually exists for our universe

2) the person believes that a creator exists is true and

3) the person is justified that believing in a creator is true

It is 3) that then becomes the point of discussion as to whether the person has justification. I personally believe that 3) will never be absolutely certain by design but is extremely likely. Science supports this justification. But for others they will be absolutely certain that it is justified while for others there will nothing close to certainty

Anyone who says they have certainly that 3) is not justified is probably lying. Their assertion for this is probably more of an emotional statement based on something for which I will not speculate. It is definitely not based on any science we know

Turtles or links all the way have no basis in anything we have observed except in wishful thinking that it be so. Those who make this or similar arguments seem desperately wishing a creator not be true for some reason.

All this ignores the nature of the creator and the reasons for the creation. Which since time began has been a basis for much conflict. For this one has to go further into different types of justification.