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Demigod

Sin 2 :)

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It also ignores the obvious point that a creator would have existed elsewhere and created this universe from there.

That makes no difference in the argument, only where it's applied. It just layers another dimension of time onto it, since to create from another 'verse there'd have to be a time or time equivalent in that 'verse (remember: creation is temporal), which in turn would have to either exist independently or been created in turn, resulting in the identical paradox. I find that sort of layering to be silly so I don't generally engage in it.

 

Time may be a phenomenon unique to this universe.
The only real alternative is utter stasis, of course, which precludes the possibility of creation. Any alternative which somehow does not preclude creation suffers from the same existential issue and might as well be called a "type of time" rather than being truly substantively different (even if the implementation details are significantly changed). Edited by Pyrian

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I get a kick out of mortal carbon meatbags who live a fleeting existence trying to comprehend the greater cosmos and its workings with their limited understanding and consciousness.

 

Some of you need to read some Lovecraft then go back to your day jobs ;)


Loose BOWELS are the first sign of THE CHOLERA MORBUS!

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Well, one view that a lot of physicists hold is that time is a dimension that is essentially not different to space, and can be thought of as static, and the idea of moving through time to be in a sense illusiory. In this model, the universe is static, it just seems like it changes depending on where in space/time you look. Of course, if you really want to develop a pounding headache, you could try meditating on why there is anything at all. Or if the universe was made by a creator, what created the creator? If a creator can spontaneously come into existence, then it seems just as likely that a universe could spontaneously come into existence without a creator. And you soon get into a chicken and egg arguement that is quite circular, or a debate about infinately layered creators creating creators who create creators and so on ad infinatum... Or you can ponder whether the universe is just a figment of your imagination, and you are the only thing that exists...

 

This is why I don't bother myself with such metaphysical claptrap - I have no conceivable need to know the answers to such questions, or whether such questions have answers, assuming they are valid questions in the first place. And I really don't care anyway, even if I knew the answers to such questions I doubt it would afffect how I live my life. I would rather spend my time doing something I find enjoyable than ask pointless questions about the essential nature of the universe...

 

I just shake my head at people who get so wrought up about what happens in some hypothetical afterlife that they forget to enjoy the one that they know to a reasonable degree of certainty that they actually have. Christanity et al are basically death cults - making every moment of their lives a preparation for another life they have no evidence to suggest will ever happen, thus wasting the only life they actually know they will have.

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Well, one view that a lot of physicists hold is that time is a dimension that is essentially not different to space, and can be thought of as static, and the idea of moving through time to be in a sense illusiory. In this model, the universe is static, it just seems like it changes depending on where in space/time you look.
Right. And that model precludes its own "creation", since the act of creation is itself an internal "illusion" of the model. (You can, as oDDity pointed out, posit an external substitute, but that doesn't really help anything since it immediately suffers the same problem.)

 

Of course, if you really want to develop a pounding headache, you could try meditating on why there is anything at all.
Remember that "why" is largely a causal question itself. Having proven to my own satisfaction that there is at least one thing that simply is and has no (and can have no) additional explanation, I am satisfied that things simply are.

 

If a creator can spontaneously come into existence, then it seems just as likely that a universe could spontaneously come into existence without a creator.
Yeah, the Big Bang is frankly a much simpler explanation than positing the self-creation of a sentient being. Sentient beings are far too complex for that sort of thing, IMO.

 

I just shake my head at people who get so wrought up about what happens in some hypothetical afterlife that they forget to enjoy the one that they know to a reasonable degree of certainty that they actually have.
I find humanity so entirely inclined towards being asinine that in the absence of religion I'd probably make one up just to keep my society from shredding itself uselessly. I've always felt an odd kinship to Jesus, Buddha, etc. in this regard. I think they were people who saw things the way I do, and tried to do something about it.

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That makes no difference in the argument, only where it's applied.  It just layers another dimension of time onto it, since to create from another 'verse there'd have to be a time or time equivalent in that 'verse (remember: creation is temporal), which in turn would have to either exist independently or been created in turn, resulting in the identical paradox.  I find that sort of layering to be silly so I don't generally engage in it.

 

The only real alternative is utter stasis, of course, which precludes the possibility of creation.  Any alternative which somehow does not preclude creation suffers from the same existential issue and might as well be called a "type of time" rather than being truly substantively different (even if the implementation details are significantly changed).

 

No it doesn't, stop being so small-minded. Time is a dimension which may only exist in this universe. The fact that your brain can't grasp the idea of a place with no time, doesn't mean a place with no time is impossible. Even a place without linear time would refute your simplistic argument.

What your saying is 'it takes time to create a universe, and that universe is temporary, so therefore time must have existed wherever that universe was created'

That's bad logic, and an incredibly naive way of looking at it.

1. You don't know what the entity is that might have created the universe, and therefore whether it requres time to perform a creation.

2. You don't know where this entity exists, or whether it is bound by the rules of time the way us simple mortals are in ths universe.

3. It's unwise to assume anything about an entity capable of creating a universe, it is even more unwise to think of it as being bound by simple rules like time the laws of phyiscs like we are. For all you know, the laws of physics and time or linear time may have been concieved of and created by the entity that created this universe, and they may be unique.

The point is that you cannot be certain about anything when thinking about such matters. THat's why I'm an agnostic.

Since we are in possesion of such a tiny percentage of the facts, only a moron would make up their mind as to what did or didn't definftely happen, and what that moron would be doing is making a wild guess.


Civillisation will not attain perfection until the last stone, from the last church, falls on the last priest.

- Emil Zola

 

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And it is perhaps foolish to even assume that the laws that we think govern the universe are really laws, when they could just be a description of the way things normally happen - take gravity for example - we take it for granted that gravity exists and obeys certain laws, but it is impossible to really know if that is really the case. It could be that the laws of physics can change radically without any underlying cause, or maybe they are an illusion altogether. You could be walking along one day and suddenly find yourelf hurtling off into space because gravity just stopped behaving for a brief moment right where you happened to walk. There is no way of knowing whether things are really as they seem. You cannot prove the existence of gravity to an absolute certainty - to do that you would have to test the theory over an infinite period of time over the entire universe, because you can't be sure it will always operate as it does now, or if there are places where it operates differntly. Physics and cosmology are built on a large number of assumptions which may be perfectly reasonable, and are probably correct, but just might be wrong...

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Most of quantum mechanics is a fudge to explain something that doesn’t work properly.

Quantum seems to be a crusade to make the universe fir the theory rather than the theory fit the universe.

 

Time is also not static , as the experiments using atomic clocks show.

Speed, density matter, or the lack there of, gravity etc can effect the flow of time or our perspective on it. Time is our perspective on the movement and interaction of matter and energy it is not something tangible on its own. If the "rules" that govern matter and energy change, and they do under different circumstances, then our perspective of time changes as well.

 

 

I think we need to change the topic title to "life the universe and everything" :)

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IMO a discussion about God, the universe and everything, fits much better a thread with the topic "Sin 2" then a discussion about Bach or Mozart. :)


Gerhard

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:laugh: I think the original topic has long been forgotten...

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And it is perhaps foolish to even assume that the laws that we think govern the universe are really laws,

 

This is an interesting debate in the philosophy of science. On the one hand you have what certainly seem to be "laws" in science, as far as humans can remember and as far as we can see out into the universe, there seem to be certain constants that can be called laws. However, we know now that some laws are incorrect, such as the speed of light is constant at 300Millon Meters per second. It is actually slowing down slightly, or conversely at the birth of the universe (or its rebirth) it moved significantly faster. (Interestingly, this means that the phenomenon we call "linear time", which is only a misperception of 4D space seen by 3D organisms, "moved" faster in the early universe.)

 

Science still chugs along using the models that refer to laws because these things change at a pace that dwarfs the entire history of our planet, let alone a few naked apes drooling and looking up at the stars. But the notion of laws of science has had to defend itself more and more in the last several decades. The entire notion of a universal law owes much of its provenance to Catholic religious doctrine which posited a clockwork universe headed by the Big Guy. The Enlightenment and Scientific Revolution eventually got the Big Guy out of the scientific picture (work in progress here in U.S.A.) but they retained the notion of concrete laws, in part at least because as Einstein said in reaction to quantum theory "God doesnt place dice with the universe." Plus, it probably just made people feel better to think that even if there wasnt a Bearded patriarch in the blue yonder, at least the universe worked with a clockwork precision

 

Obscurus, the points you made illustrate what Bertrand Russell called the "new riddle of induction." Essentially, and forgive me if memory doestn serve 100%, in analytic philosophy, which seeks to establish concrete truths, you cannot establish more than a handful of concrete truths which consist of the a priori set, e.g. if A = B and B = C, then A *Must* = C. Or A = A is another one. A priori, or knowledge whose truth needs no verification because it is self evident, can be deduced, or arrived at using deductive reasoning. Deductive reasoning takes place when one begins with general principles or truths, and then argue for the truth of specific details based on those principles.

 

However, the vast majority of knowledge is not a priori, but rather a posteriori, knowledge whose truth must be verified because it is not self evident. You must build a case of evidence for such truths, and you must use inductive reasoning to do so. Inductive reasoning is the opposite of deductive, with induction you begin with specific details and attempt to shape general principles from them.

 

Simply put, deductive reasoning is used to deduce self contained truths like the ones listed above, inductive reasoning is used to induce truths from information that can only be verified through experience and experiment, the rest of the world after you leave A=A behind.

 

The problem with this is, all we have to go on is our experience to support the inductive truths. To take the case of gravity, how do we know that gravity will work tomorrow? We only have the experience of gravity working yesterday and today. Nothing about gravity makes it an a priori truth, self evident. We have absolutely no way of knowing whether or not it will suddenly stop tomorrow, or reverse its effects, or become someting else entirely. So Russell dubbed it the new riddle of induction", the fact that the vast majority of "true knowledge" about the universe is in fact not concretely true, only experientially true, and that we have no way of determining that it will continue on as it has in the past.

Edited by Maximius

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I can't stand philosophy. A group of twats who invent big words to make themselves sound important. They've never achieved anything.

There's no reason to beleive that gravity will stop working tomorrow, so its not something we should be concerned wtih. Only a philosopher would come up with nonsense like that.

We have to trust our observations and experiments and use them as a foundation to build on. You can't build on shifting sand.

According to Russell's rules, the only certainty is that nothing is a certainty - but where the hell does that get you, and what good does it do anyone?

Russell is wrong of course, for all we know, gravity is a constant and will not change, and speculating that it could stop tomorrow is foolish supposition without purpose or benefit. That sums up philosophy as a whole really.


Civillisation will not attain perfection until the last stone, from the last church, falls on the last priest.

- Emil Zola

 

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Ill agree with you on a lot of philosophy. It is arguing for arguments sake. perhaps valid when discussing the human condition but I fail to see ite relevance in any other field.

 

But then gravity isnt a constant, it can fluctuate with the mass and speed of its origin. Time isnt a constant. Neither is the spped of light. Light can be stopped http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn4474

 

the universe is an odd place.

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Just wanted to pitch in my nerdy nitpicking :)

 

Light slowing down, or in this case "stopping" in a material doesn't violate any laws. Light slows down from vacuum speed all the time, when going thru water for example (that's why we get those refraction effects at the air/water interface, light picks the shortest path, but it's not a single straight line due to the speed difference in the two materials).

 

You can also make light travel faster than the speed of light in certain cases (see superluminal propagation), but it turns out you still can't send information faster than the speed of light with these methods.

 

It's the speed of light in vacuum that's supposed to be constant. I'm not trying to say it is though, I think Astrophysicists have found that all the physical "constants", c, the gravitational constant, etc, have varied at different times/places in the universe. Which just goes to support the philosophical outlook that the only constant is change! :)

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I can't stand philosophy. A group of twats who invent big words to make themselves sound important. They've never achieved anything.

There's no reason to beleive that gravity will stop working tomorrow, so its not something we should be concerned wtih. Only a philosopher would come up with nonsense like that.

We have to trust our observations and experiments and use them as a foundation to build on. You can't build on shifting sand.

According to Russell's rules, the only certainty is that nothing is a certainty - but where the hell does that get you, and what good does it do anyone?

Russell is wrong of course,  for all we know, gravity is a constant and will not change, and speculating that it could stop tomorrow is foolish supposition without purpose or benefit. That sums up philosophy as a whole really.

 

What an interesting discussion of the philosophy of philosophy! Have you ever considered becoming a philosopher? You should consider it, sir, such training makes it easy to spot the >>**CONTRADICTIONS**<< in other peoples arguments. Like the one where a certain (highly talented!) video game AI modelling artist uses philosophy to attack the usefulness of philosophy.

Edited by Maximius

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Before I respond individually, let me say that it was the speed of light in a vaccuum that I was referring to, the "absolute" speed of light has been slowing down. This is in contradiction to what was once assumed to be a universal law, that the speed of light had always been what it is today. I was not clear in my first post.

 

Ill agree with you on a lot of philosophy....

the universe is an odd place.

 

Demigod, I have to disagree with the first part, who is it thats engaging in the study of all those fields outside of philosophy? Humans! That means those fields ARE a part of the human condition, therefore they are open to philosophical inquiry. Its not arguing for arguments sake, at least in analytic philosophy its arguing for the sake of developing better arguments. Because vis a vis Russells Riddle of Induction, all we have to "prove" the vast majority of what we hold to be truths *are* our arguments, not self evident truths like A=A.

 

I suppose the point of philosophy is to remind us how little (if anything) we really ever know.

 

True, Fingernail, it certainly tells us that we dont know it all and CANT know it all but its just as important to understand HOW we know what we know. And to realize that absolute knowledge is limited to the handful of a priori truths in the world. And to realize that all other forms of truth have to come with a qualification of their accuracy.

 

 

Just wanted to pitch in my nerdy nitpicking :)

 

... Which just goes to support the philosophical outlook that the only constant is change! :)

 

Absolutely correct AFAIK, but I was referring to the absolute speed of light in a vaccuum. It was once thought to be constant, given the weight of scientific law, but this had to be changed in light of new evidence. And the last part about change has its own branch, dialectics rather than analytics, although both fields of philosophy naturally arrive at that point. Of course, you could ask the question are we really seeing one thing change into another, or simply different aspects of the same thing?

:wacko:

Whats even crazier, asking either question can lead to the point where BOTH are true, as far as can be told.

:wacko::wacko:

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Aha, problem is we don't know anything. Not for sure.

 

Correct, but we often know enough to get some stuff done. Take an airplanes wing for example. The best aerodynamicists in the world cannot tell you EXACTLY how an airplanes wing works, they have good and better models but thats all. But the buggers still fly.

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Correct, but we often know enough to get some stuff done.  Take an airplanes wing for example.  The best aerodynamicists in the world cannot tell you EXACTLY how an airplanes wing works, they have good and better models but thats all.  But the buggers still fly.

 

Unlike a bee which should not be able to fly but does.

 

I would argue though that it is possible to know and prove things, though not everything. Mathematics for example can prove itself to be right. It is a fundimental part of its systems.

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Actually, I thought I read an article or saw a special somewhere, where they finally figured out how bumblebees were capable of flying... It had something to do with their wings generating tiny vortexes which produced aditional lift.

 

As for "laws", the way one of my teachers described them was: things that have appeared to be true all the numerous times we've tested them, and that we haven't observed to be false yet. This doesn't make them "absolutely known", but for doing anything useful, it's easiest to assume they are. It kind of reminds me of how Einstein said that said no number of experiments could prove relativity true, but a single experiment could prove it false.

 

IMHO, the only thing that is known with absolute certainty is all of mathematics. The rest we're merely pretty sure of, and have no reason to doubt. However, I tend to hold the same opinion of philosophy as ODDity.

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Even math isn't as clear cut as you might think. Consider stuff like Xeno's paradox:

 

You fire an arrow at a target. Suppose the distance from the very tip* of the arrow to the target is L. To get to the target, the arrow must travel thru the point L/2, then L/4, L/8, etc.

 

The paradox is: How does the arrow ever touch the target, when at any given time during flight, it is at some distance D from the target, and you can always find a point at distance D/2 from the target that the arrow must still pass through.

 

The mathematical answer? Infinitesimal numbers. At some point, as we increase N, 1/(2^N) becomes infinitesimal, which math defines as not zero, but smaller than any positive real number. When the distance between the arrow tip and the target "becomes" infinitesimal (as N approaches infinity), the arrow touches the target.

 

Mathematics says that infintesimal numbers are smaller than any number you could ever measure (or even think of), but if they weren't there, math wouldn't quite make sense when applied to the real world. So even though we can never detect them, they must be there, right? RIGHT??

 

* (before anyone gets too smart and brings up quantum mechanics or something, I mean "very tip" in the most literal sense. You can define it in terms of 99% falloff of the wavefunction amplitude squared for the ground state electrons of the tip atom if you want, it doesn't matter :) ).

Edited by Ishtvan

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Being a math major, I know that there are times when things get weird and counter-intuitive... However, the thing I like about math is that even the counter-intuitive stuff can be logically deduced if you accept the major axioms of math which most people take for granted. Of course nothing says that the physics of this universe follow the axioms of real numbers... I was under the impression that Xeno made that paradox as an argument that the real world must be discrete rather than continuous. There ARE cases where calculus doesn't make any sense when applied to the real world, but it doesn't make that branch of math any less true; real numbers DO behave that way... it's just the real world probably isn't composed of real numbers.

 

Of course, on a macroscopic level, physics often behave very similar to something continuous so calculus is still very useful in many cases.

 

EDIT: I guess what I'm trying to say is that math is merely where you make up some definitions and assumptions (and clearly state them) then see what you can figure out from those definitions and assumptions. It doesn't imply any connection to the real world. Physics is what says "Hmm... from my experiences, this mathematical model looks like it does a good job of describing some aspect of the universe." I see math as inherently true, and physics as technically false but almost true.

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Gildoran: IMHO, the only thing that is known with absolute certainty is all of mathematics.

 

Due to the fact that its is ultimately founded on analytic logic, a branch of philosophy. But you admitted in your later post that mathematics is only partially useful for describing the world, it has its qualifications as an explanatory tool as powerful as it is. So while the internal logic of mathematics may be certain, you have no *certainty* about its applications. And Im referring to philosophical certainty, absolute certainty.

 

Gildoran:The rest we're merely pretty sure of, and have no reason to doubt.

 

Oh no? No reason to doubt? But science (and the philosophy of science that guides it) is constantly overturning old explanations, rehashing old ones into new ones, hybridizing between several at once. So even if we feel pretty safe in thinking what we have named "gravity" will be working tomorrow, we will NEVER know for certain that our explanations of gravity are actually certain or not. Which means we will never know with certainty what the phenomena we named "gravity" really is. All we know with *certainty* is that matter exerts a pull on other matter and vice versa and so far in every instance its been an equal but opposite pull.

 

Gildoran: In fcHowever, I tend to hold the same opinion of philosophy as ODDity.

 

All this disregard for philosophy! And by people who use logical, reasoned arguments to attempt to dispel it as useless! Essentially using philosophy to dismiss philosophy! Whats that called again..hmmm....oh yes, a **>>CONTRADICTION<<**. Oh, and BTW has anyone ever heard of ethics, or political philosophy? (Dont say political science, never was a science, never will be.) Lets not forget philosophys more concrete offspring!

 

P.S. Math sux! ;)( actually i suk at it, bad, since like 2nd grade)

 

P.P.S. I think I remember reading somewhere that chaos theory seems to be a branch of mathematics that is internally logical AND seems to be mirrored in the real world. Is this true?

Edited by Maximius

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Due to the fact that its is ultimately founded on  analytic logic, a branch of philosophy. But you admitted in your later post that mathematics is only partially useful for describing the world, it has its qualifications as an explanatory tool as powerful as it is.  So while the internal logic of mathematics may be certain, you have no *certainty* about its applications.  And Im referring to philosophical certainty, absolute certainty.

 

All this disregard for philosophy!  And by people who use logical, reasoned arguments to attempt to dispel it as useless!  Essentially using philosophy to dismiss philosophy!  Whats that called again..hmmm....oh yes, a **>>CONTRADICTION<<**.  Oh, and BTW has anyone ever heard of ethics, or political philosophy? (Dont say political science, never was a science, never will be.)  Lets not forget philosophys more concrete offspring!

 

Reason and logic are not part of philosophy. Philosophers use and abuse reason and logic to prattle on about a lot of nonsense that's no good to anyone, but cannot claim reason and logic for themselves.

 

You cannot say that any argument which uses a reasonable, logical structure is a philosophical debate. Certain truths - like if you have n number of objects and you add one, you then have more then n objects - do not require philosical debate, even though they are reaonable and locigal.

Reason and logic exist separate from philosophy.


Civillisation will not attain perfection until the last stone, from the last church, falls on the last priest.

- Emil Zola

 

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Philosophy, n., 1. The study or science of the truths or principles underlying all knowledge and being (or reality).

 

Reason, n., 1. Logic. a premise of an argument. 2. Philosophy. intellect as opposed to sensibility.

 

Logic, n., 1. The science which investigates the principles governing correct or reliable inference. 2. reasoning or argumentation, or an instance of it. 3. The system or principles of reasoning applicable to any branch of knowledge or study.

 

I think you are arguing over semantics to a degree there oDDity, although you are correct, logic and reason can be considered without reference to philosphy per se. But agnosticism is a philosophical viewpoint, and musing over the mode of creation is a highly philosophical pursuit, although you can put it in the realm of science up to a point using reason and logic.

 

I am a professional scientist (a biologist specialising on mammalian zoology), so I am used to making assumptions in order to test ideas, and working in terms of probabilities instead of certainties. But in a practical sense you have to be able to say, "I make the assumption that it is so staggeringly unlikely that gravity will change suddenly, that I will proceed as though it is absolutely certain that the laws of gravity as I currently understand them are correct", otherwise you will get nowhere fast.

 

Certainty, or rather a close approximation of certainty based on reason, logic and probability allows you to proceed with some endevour without getting too flustered about what-ifs and endless philosophical wanderings.

 

But being certain of something when reason, logic and probability should give you plenty of cause to doubt is very foolish and dangerous, and is the sort of attitude that creates scuicide bombers and holy wars, and endless suffering. And people often get too caught up in deep philosophical arguments to notice that the world is turning to shit around them. Action based on reason, logic and common sense is better than blowing hot philosophical air and doing nothing.

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