2005

vexen

Vexen Crabtree's Live Journal

Sociology, Theology, Anti-Religion and Exploration: Forcing Humanity Forwards


Previous Entry Add to Memories Share Next Entry
2005
vexen

God was not the first cause or creator of the Universe

"The Universe Could Not Have Been Created by God: Logic vs. Supposition" by Vexen Crabtree (1999)

Re: It proves nothing in either direction.

(Anonymous)

2002-11-07 06:17 am (UTC)

Here is the dilemma...If something is infinite, it is timeless. It is a hard concept for our finite minds to understand; but if something is timeless it does not have time! When God created something out of nothing (ex nihilo) the creation of time came along with that. To GOd, there is no "present" as we see present. He is in an "infinite now" and able to see past present and future all at one time. There are many arguments about time right now, even with Christian Phiosophers (Plantiga, Craig), but there is one thing that they agree on: God is timeless. He is not "tapping his foot" waiting for something to happen...
Whatever scientific thought that claims that God does not exist, always occurs IN TIME; but if it occurs in the time/space continuum- then this continuum had to come into existence via some external force!
THe question about the timing of God's creation (which the word "timing" is illogical since God is timeless and there was no time before creation), is thoughtful but I think that the paragraph above may answer that....God does not exist in "time", so there is no time that he "decided" to create. Also, I would argue that God does not have thoughts in the same way we do...he does not get "inspired" in the same way we do: in the way that we can be influenced by another person or thing. This is where his omniscience comes in...if he has all possible knowledge, then he already knows what he will create. We are really getting into GOd's psychology here and I want you to realize that there is a limit to what we can know about God's nature- we cannot fully and infinitely understand the infinite- BUT this is NOT saying that we cannot know logically that he exists.

You stated: "In short I don't see any real logic to the statement that an object or being has to be immutable to exsist infinitly"
If something is infinite, it cannot change. Let's put this in Scholastic terms: Aquinas said that an infinite must be "pure actuality". In order to be infinite, you must not be able to change, for if an infinite were to change then the only thing he could change into is "non-infinite". Just assume for a second that God is infinite and that he is just. SO he is infinitely just. If he were to change, and he did an act of injustice, he would thus no longer be infinitely just! An infinite cannot change, for the only thing he could change into is something finite. -hope this helps..Dean


Re: It proves nothing in either direction.

vexen

2002-11-07 06:28 am (UTC)

An infinite thing can change over time, if time is infinite. Then, such a thing will have always been in constant change, and always will.

Re: It proves nothing in either direction.

(Anonymous)

2002-11-07 07:59 am (UTC)

Like we discussed earlier, only one thing can be infinite, So logically if time is infinite, NOTHING else can be infinite. So if time is infinite, it can't change.
BUT, Time cannot be infinite or unlimited! Because time can be divided, and time is continually being added to the present. For instance, the famous Kalam argument: An eternal cannot be surpassed. It cannot be added to or subtracted from. But for every second that passes, time is being added to. It cannot be eternal because we add to it all day every day. It's like when you were a kid and arguing with a friend and said "infinity plus one" and they in turn would say "infinity times infinity" (maybe this is an American thing...?) ANyway, you know that this is illogical because infinitude means unlimited! Time is limited! This same argument can be used to illustrate that the universe and all of the things in it had a beginning. For if time is not infinite, then there must have been a cause, or a beginning of time! That is why alot of scientific arguments for a scientific cause for the universe are invalid. In fact, that is why quantum tunnelling is invalid. (I did some research!) I did not write this, but it seems very relevant "Quantum mechanics is founded on the concept that quantum events occur according to finite probabilities within finite time intervals. The larger the time interval, the greater the probability that a quantum event will occur. Outside of time, however, no quantum event is possible. Therefore, the origin of time (coincident with that of space, matter, and energy) eliminates quantum tunneling as "creator." " Because time is finite, it must have been created, along with everything involved in time. --Dean

Re: It proves nothing in either direction.

vexen

2002-11-07 08:10 am (UTC)

Your argument about time is wrong. Time, if infinite, would not need to be added to or changed in order for us to pass through time. Time can logically be infinite. Anything that moves through time can also be infinite, and change over time, for example if "the universe" is also infinite then it changes over time, forever.

Erm, quantum tunnelling is not "invalid", it is the name given to an observed phenomenon. It occurs. The controversy is over how it occurs, not whether it does or not.

However, despite that misunderstanding, I think what the person you quoted was saying is actually true, and that the singularity cannot have been caused by a quantum event. Quantum maths is tied up in every way to temporal variables. If you look into the big bang theory (standard models) you'll see detailed maths on how time and the speed of light changed speeds rapidly during the time just before inflation, but at the event horizon of this event occurs a logical impossibility, which is a singularity.

If the Universe is finite: A singularity caused the Universe, and Time. This is what the Pope said "accorded with the Catholic concept of Creation" when Hawking presented the standard big bang model to him.

Is it logically impossible for the universe to come from nothing? If it is logically impossible, then god cannot do it. However, if it is logically possible, then it could be reasonably said that the universe came on its' own. Then to postulate the idea of God might be explanitorily superflous.

You have said it is not logically possible. You have also said that something which is not logically possible is not a valid theory. If God can create the Universe from nothing, then it IS logically possible for something to come from nothing. If it is logical, then it can happen. If it can happen, God is not required. Whether the Universe is caused by a singularity or if the Universe is infinite, in either case God is not required.

If you look into Black Hole maths, too, you will find that mathematically there appears to be a singularity at the center of black holes. (Read: John Gribbins "In Search of the edge of time" for a comprehensive, exciting and easy to read analysis of all the theories around this problem).

Singularities are occasions when all known laws have not only broken down, but time itself and other "constants" appear to hit infinite, or impossible, values. There are theories that if a singularity is the cause of the big bang, then every black hole may actually be the event horizon of a new Universe, into which no information can be passed (due to the infinite amount of entropy that is obtained at the edge of the black hole's event horizon).

If a singularity is impossible, then God could not have created the Universe from a singularity. If it is possible for a singularity to occur and cause the big bang then God is not required.

Re: Singularities

(Anonymous)

2002-11-07 08:57 am (UTC)


Some food for thought:

Hawking has not gotten around the need for a Creator. Neither has he escaped the singularity. Frank Tipler, another theoretical physicist, has pointed out that Hawking may simply be substituting, unawares, one kind of singularity for another, more specifically a classical singularity of general relativity for a quantum singularity: "A quantum universe [such as Hawking proposes]... necessarily consists of not just one four-dimensional sphere, but rather the infinity of spheres of all possible radii. However, since it is meaningless for the radius of a sphere to be less than or equal to zero, a four-dimensional sphere of zero radius forms a boundary to Hawking’s universe.... He [Hawking] has eliminated the classical singularity—the beginning of time—only to have it re-appear as the "beginning" to the space of all possible four-spheres.

Hawking himself has argued the case against any real escape for the universe from the singularity and the boundary conditions:
Quotes taken from Stephen W. Hawking, A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes (New York: Bantam Books, 1988), page 171.

"If the universe really is in such a quantum state, there would be no singularities in the history of the universe in imaginary time… The universe could be finite in imaginary time but without boundaries or singularities. When one goes back to the real time in which we live, however, there will still appear to be singularities… Only if [we] lived in imaginary time would [we] encounter no singularities.... In real time, the universe has a beginning and an end at singularities that form a boundary to space-time and at which the laws of science break down."

If we substitute biblical terminology here, we can say that God transcends "real time" —that is, the single time dimension of the physical universe. Thus He is not confined to boundaries and singularities. Both human beings and the physical universe, however, are limited to real time. Hence, they would be confined by boundaries and singularities.
--Dean


I think it would be impossible to logically state that such a transcendental FORCE is conscious, aware, thinking, loving, emotional or alive. In that sense, it is atheistic or at an extreme stretch of the imagination Pantheistic but not Panentheistic.

Re: Singularities

(Anonymous)

2002-11-12 12:13 pm (UTC)

I want to boil what you are saying down to one characteristic: intellegence. I am not worried about emotion or love, these usually have to be demonstrated by the being in existence, not by logic.
The fact of the matter, as seen by experience, when something has complexity it must have had a designer. If you walk up to a sand dune, you figure that the sand was moved into that position by wind. Yet if you see a sand castle, you see the effects of intellegence. Also, you have probably seen a child mold play-doh. Intellegence gives a thing its form. It determines what that thing will look like, what its function is, and sometimes it has the power to destroy that thing.
First of all, I believe that there is enough complexity in this word to see that something had to form it and give it function. Our Dna is an example, the laws that you think are self-existent is another- in fact all of the scientific laws, in my view, are merely the doings of the creator. He set things to motion, formed creation, and it is currently running down. Secondly, this singularity you mention- it needed to have form. No matter what it is or was. It had to have some sort of form - even if it is merely an event, something had to set it in motion and give it form.
If you left your room and left a box of legos open and when you returned they were put together to look like a spaceship, wouldn't you contend that someone or something intellegent did that? You know that a human being is much more complex than that. Even if you left your legos in that room for millions of years, unless and intellegent designer came along, they would still be sitting there....(probably more disorganized than more organized)


Richard Dawkins said “Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose?” Interesting... Dean


This idea of a deity forming creation is not rare. In

There are lots of complex systems are derived from simple, logical laws. For example, the behavior of solids, gases and liquids are described using some very complex laws, stats, formula, etc, but are all based on basic atoms. Crystals look beautiful and complex (snowflakes, for example) but are caused by basic laws.

Trees, complex and involved biological organisms, have all their behavior controlled by chemistry, physics and logic based around the preservation of patterns which get more complex over time (evolution), (in the case of trees it is based on the preservation of RNA).

Nature is full of examples of complex states and systems appearing as a result of simple laws.

Saying that all complex systems have creators is not true. Just look at the whether! Such large scale chaos is statistical in nature, but appears to be very complex because of the sheer scale of the elements. There isn't any "complex" thing in the universe that can't be explained through cause and effect, as a result of simple laws over a long period of time.

Re: Singularities

(Anonymous)

2002-11-13 10:11 am (UTC)

I agree that there are some pretty complex things in the world that do not have an immediate intelligent cause (even though I would argue that God is the Efficient cause that made it possible for those things to exist). BUT I have to argue that there is specified complexity in this world. If you were to be eating alphabet soup and at the bottom of your bowl you found three letters "SOS". You would think "what a complex thing that has come about by chance!" and go about your day. BUT if you found at the bottom of your bowl, "Take the garbage out- love mom" you would know that some intellegent being- "mom" had been messing with your food.

A snowflake and crystals are not specified. IN other words, the parts do not depend on each other for existence. Take an eye for example. THe multiple parts, chemicals, lenses, nerve endings etc. etc. cannot be seen as simply "complex" they are much more than that. THey have purpose in and of themselves, while at the samee time they interact with each other. There is DESIGN there. The function of the eye is only possible with these complex & specifed parts.

"There isn't any "complex" thing in the universe that can't be explained through cause and effect, as a result of simple laws over a long period of time." That sounds pretty dogmatic doesn't it? I know that theists used to be blamed for stating "God of the gaps". In other words, whenever they saw something unusual they would say that it was a "miracle". Well now we know that some of these events were merely the laws of science. But isn't that what you are doing? Well, if I don't know what it is, it must be science! THere can't be anything supernatural, that would go against science...!

Let me remind you that evolution is not an theory of origination, but merely a theory of development. I always have found it ironic that scientists believe in evolution, but also the 2nd law of thermodynamics. Aren't they contradictions? Is everything becoming ordered or disordered? ---
Take care, Dean

Some arguments (ie, from design) are discussed here:
http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/science/physics/index.shtml

The 2nd law of thermodynamics is not in contradiction to evolution, this is a long-standing misunderstanding by certain Christians and has been debunked multiple times and coprehensively so, this information has been available for multiple years but as some Christians do not understand or listen to logic they continue to ignorantly state that a contradiction exists between this law and evolution. Physicists and scientists (and philosophers and logic-itians) see no contradiction.

Argument closer to evolution/creationism can be found here:
http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/science/creationism/index.shtml

Some of these will go through the 2nd law of themodynamics for you.


Re: Singularities

(Anonymous)

2002-11-18 08:48 am (UTC)

Thanks Vexen for your reply....I have looked at these sites and could not find anything specifically dealing with the 2nd law of thermodynamics. You say that Christians are ignorant, but if we were truly ignorant would I even know about these laws? Also, if it is so easily debunked (as you also said with the cosmological argument), then why can't you simply write what your objection to my claim is? Vexen, I am not trying to be antagonistic, but you need to give me some evidence that this is not a contradiction. I consider myself a philosopher and a logician and I see a problem with the syllogisms
1) The world is moving to disorder
2) The theory of evolution states that things are becoming ordered

It is a simple syllogism, but I need some help understanding how this can be true! DH

In a closed system, entropy rules. This doesn't mean their isn't temporary order (such as a repeating crystal found in chaotic waters), and also the Earth is not a closed system due to input of high energy radiation from the Sun.

The Universe as a whole suffers from increased entropy over time. This means that as time goes on, there is less energy available to do work. The expansion of the Universe, plus the diffusion of energy results in an irreversible triumph of entropy. Plants are a method of diffusion, a temporary order to deal will high energy particles, animals are a temporary order to diffuse the energy collected by plants, eventually without an energy source (a closed system) entropy will destroy the energy available for evolution.

I do not say as a generalisation that Christians are ignorant but I did say that some Christians are ignorant about the 2nd law of thermodynamics and I know this, from experience, to be true. Also, I would not hesitate to say that many people are ignorant. In particular, however, some Christians like to define the 2nd law in a non-scientific way to make a strawman argument that there is a contradiction, when those who actually work with laws know that there isn't.

Re: Singularities (Anonymous) Expand

Re: It proves nothing in either direction.

(Anonymous)

2002-11-07 08:29 am (UTC)

I again would disagree. An infinite MUST be unlimited. It cannot have limits, nor can it be limited by another. If there is more than one infinite, they would undoubtably conflict with each other (or limit each other), thus one would have to be limited by the other. It seems to me that you are confusing "infinite" with "everlasting". I am not arguing that something cannot "last forever", I am saying that there has to be something that is unlimited. Time is limited- it is divisible! The unlimited cannot be divisible, nor can you add to it.

I hope I did not come off as ignorant, because of the scientific evidence, I would not argue that there is NO SUCH THING as quantan tunnelling, or even a singularity, just that these things are impossible WITHOUT A CAUSE!

Re: It proves nothing in either direction.

(Anonymous)

2002-11-07 08:41 am (UTC)

I again would disagree. An infinite MUST be unlimited. It cannot have limits, nor can it be limited by another. If there is more than one infinite, they would undoubtably conflict with each other (or limit each other), thus one would have to be limited by the other. It seems to me that you are confusing "infinite" with "everlasting". I am not arguing that something cannot "last forever", I am saying that there has to be something that is unlimited. Time is limited- it is divisible! The unlimited cannot be divisible, nor can you add to it. THe phrase "infinite plus one" does not make sense. It is a category mistake. An infinite is unnumerable. YET I can say that it took three minutes to write this paragraph. I just numbered time! It cannot be infinite.

I hope I did not come off as ignorant, because of the scientific evidence, I would not argue that there is NO SUCH THING as quantan tunnelling, or even a singularity, just that these things are impossible WITHOUT A CAUSE! (Sorry that I did not make that distinction) Something cannot come from nothing without an INFINITE CAUSE. That is what I was saying is illogical.

"If God can create the Universe from nothing, then it IS logically possible for something to come from nothing. If it is logical, then it can happen. If it can happen, God is not required."
This is a fallacy. It is like saying, If a woman is the only source for a baby to be born, then it is logical that women have babies. If it is logical, then men can also have babies. Thus women are not required for babies. ???? I am not merely saying that it is logical for something to come from nothing; I am saying that it is logical for an infinite being to create something from nothing. This infinite being is the necessary condition for something to come from nothing. It is necessary that you need a match to start a fire (or some other lighting device), but does that mean, because this is logical, that I can also start a fire with a water hose? --Dean

Re: It proves nothing in either direction.

vexen

2002-11-07 09:53 am (UTC)

Because something is "divisible", which in the case of time means only "countable", does not mean it is limited.

And, there can be more than one infinite. For example, the Christians hold that both God and the Holy Spirit et all, are infinite, and they are not all the same thing. (They are three, but "of the same substance": Infinite).

I don't know where you're getting these random arguments from about infinity! We pass through time, it changes FROM OUR POINT OF VIEW, that is the nature of time, however this doesn't in the slightest stop time from being infinite, merely because we can't see it all at once!

Time itself doesn't change, we pass it, it doesn't "change" as it goes along, we merely move through time, seeing a different part of 3D it each moment.

Re: It proves nothing in either direction.

vexen

2002-11-07 10:00 am (UTC)

"I am saying that it is logical for an infinite being to create something from nothing."

So it is possible? Why do you think that it is not spontaneous? A singularity? Is there an actual logical reason why you say an "infinite" being is necessary or this is entire thing an excercise in proof by assertion?

You state that cause of the singularity is God, I state that it is the laws of logic and nature. In essence we are claiming the same thing, but giving it a different name. I am not assuming, however, that the cause of the singularity is "omniscient", "loving", etc... I see no reason how we can postulate these things. They're just human projections. When we drop these assumptions, we are left with a mere piece of logic, a natural force, a law of physics, that created the Universe: Manifest in a singularity.

This is assuming that the Universe is finite, of course.

If the Universe is infinite there is no need for God, as the Universe does not need a cause. If it is finite, it was caused by a singularity (by definition), and the cause of this needn't be an all-knowing God any more than it is the Hose, the Elephent or any other random being.

The assumptions in making the cause of the singularity into a God are too great and too complex, occams razor and common sense dictates to me that we have no right or logical reason to make these additional assumptions, if we even assume that SpaceTime is finite.

Re: It proves nothing in either direction.

(Anonymous)

2002-11-11 11:37 am (UTC)

Simply, I don't think it is scientifically possible to demonstate spontaneous generation. That is really what you are asking me to believe. (notice I said believe and not know) If this is not the case, please tell me otherwise. But it seems to me that you are asking me, without proof, to believe that the universe just "popped into existence" without any cause. I have NEVER seen anything at all, that didn't have a cause. So I find that idea contradictory. God is a being with intellegence and the ability to create. Have you ever seen anything created or even molded by logic? Now I can understand that the rain can break down the earth and create new forms (nature), but can it produce itself? Can it bring something into existence without the intellegence to do so? If you are asserting that nature has intellegence, then maybe we are talking about the same "being", but otherwise, this is an equivocation. --DH

Re: It proves nothing in either direction.

vexen

2002-11-11 11:41 am (UTC)

How are you proposing that God created the Universe?

Was it logically possible, or impossible, for God to do this? If logical, explain where the energy came from in the first place.

Re: It proves nothing in either direction.

hiddenpaw

2002-11-07 11:40 am (UTC)

Time dose not need to have started with the big bang or really with the creation of anything else. Just because there were no markers to measure it against dosn't mean it dosn't exsist, just as when a tree falls in a forrest and nobody is about to hear it there will still be an all mighty creeeeekkkkkkakaakkakWUMP!

Look at it this way. If an infinite being with some spar time on it's hands were to start at zero and count to infinity it would take an infinite amount of time. In a simular way if a simular being were to count from infinity backwards to zero you would have to reverse the principle therefore there would be a point at which he would finish counting, this point in time would have to be the presant when ever you are. What is more the number he had reached would for ever be changing and indeed shrinking.

I hate infinity, it makes my head hurt.

Re: It proves nothing in either direction.

vexen

2002-11-08 03:13 am (UTC)

I in the case of the type of infinity we're talking about here, it wouldn't start at 0 at move ahead to infinity, it would start at minus infinity. Therefore starting from the beginning is only possible for infinite objects, and if you counted backwards you would never get to the beginning.

Re: It proves nothing in either direction.

hiddenpaw

2002-11-08 04:22 am (UTC)

Yes and no, If you started your infinite count down an infinite amount of time ago you would get to zero right.....now.....in theory

Re: It proves nothing in either direction.

vexen

2002-11-08 04:50 am (UTC)

No you wouldn't, for that to happen you would have to start at infinity, in which case you can never count down to zero, because infinity-1 (assuming you're couting in ones) is never 0.

Re: It proves nothing in either direction.

hiddenpaw

2002-11-08 05:35 am (UTC)

But infinity minus infinity is 0. It's one of thoughs infinity simultaniously possible and impossible things.

Re: It proves nothing in either direction.

hiddenpaw

2002-11-07 11:19 am (UTC)

Firstly I still don't see why one has to be timeless to be infinite. I imagen it is far harder for a finite mind to comprehend a conciousness that changes exsists yet changes and what's more learns infinitly.
Of course this relies on my belife that time is also infinite.

An interesting thought that has just come in to my head is that assuming time is infinite then an object or being that exsists for an infinite time can have a begining or an end, but not both and still be infinite.

Sufice to say I disagree with tom on his "pure actuality" theory I belive that an infinite being can change.

One bleak thought that is that if god is timless and has no future then he must live without hope which if all on this world is reliant on god means we have no hope either. Like I said though I do see that as how things are.

You are viewing vexen