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Hartle-Hawking Model

  1. Nov 5, 2007 #1
    [SOLVED] Hartle-Hawking Model

    Stumbling across an Intelligent Design website, I found a criticism of the Hartle-Hawking Cosmological Model. The real reason why this was so critiqued was because it ruled out a Creator, something that theists hold dear to. Now, I do not have anything against theism, but I really get aggrevated when creationists try to use their "creation science" to disprove mainstream theories. I have studied biological evolution for quite a long time, and I am amazed at the ignorance of some creationists. Like I have stated, I have no angry feelings toward theists, but when they try to add God into mainstream science, I do not like it. The site I was talking about is called Skeptical Christian. Here is the link which I found:

    http://www.skepticalchristian.com/co...l_argument.htm [Broken]

    The paper, criticizing the Hartle-Hawking Model, said:

    D. Stephen Hawking’s Quantum Cosmology refutes the Cosmological Argument

    "An interesting cosmology, known as the Hartle-Hawking model, was articulated in Stephen Hawking’s best seller, A Brief History of Time. This cosmology purports to eliminate the need for a First Cause, even while maintaining that the universe has not existed forever. If true, the Hartle-Hawking model undermines the need for the God hypothesis.

    Unfortunately for the non-theist, a demonstration of the bad metaphysical and philosophical assumptions employed in order to eliminate the need of a First Cause undermines this model. Namely, the Hartle-Hawking model uses the concept of “imaginary time” by plugging numbers such as the square root of – 3 into equations. Since there is no real number for the square root of – 3, it is referred to as an imaginary number. The Hartle-Hawking model uses these numbers in order to create a concept called “imaginary time”, which, when plugged into the equations, eliminates the need for a First Cause. However, this whole line of thinking is just confused. The positing of imaginary time is bad metaphysics. What are we supposed to make of the concept of “imaginary time”? Those who promote the Hartle-Hawking model have the burden of proof to enlighten us as to what this combination of words really means. Otherwise, we might as well say that “blarks” eliminate the need for a First Cause. Postulating “imaginary time” is akin to postulating “imaginary inches”. Just as “imaginary inches” is totally useless as an actual concept, so is supposed “imaginary time.”

    However, Hawking counters that imaginary time is “a well-defined mathematical concept.” 16 Of course, it is apparent to many that a mathematical concept does not always relate to reality. The late Sir Herbert Dingle argued this effectively:

    “Suppose we want to find the number of men required for a certain job under certain conditions. Every schoolboy knows such problems, and he knows that he must begin by saying: ‘Let x = the number of men required.’ But that substitution introduces a whole range of possibilities that the nature of the original problem excludes. The mathematical symbol x can be positive, negative, integral, fractional, irrational, imaginary, complex, zero, infinite, and whatever else the fertile brain of the mathematician may devise. The number of men, however, must be simply positive and integral. Consequently, when you say, ‘Let x = the number of men required’ you are making a quite invalid substitution, and the result of the calculation, though entirely possible for the symbol, might be quite impossible for the men.

    “Every elementary algebra book contains such problems that lead to quadratic equations, and these have two solutions, which might be 8 and –3, say. We accept 8 as the answer and ignore –3 because we know from experience that there are no such things as negative men, and the only alternative interpretation-that we could get the work done by subtracting three men from our gang-is obviously absurd….

    “So we just ignore [one] of the mathematical solutions, and quite overlook the significance of that fact-namely, that in the language of mathematics we can tell lies as well as truths, and within the scope of mathematics itself there is no possible way of telling one from the other. We can distinguish them only by experience or by reasoning outside the mathematics, applied to the possible relation between the mathematical solution and its supposed physical correlate.” 17

    Therefore, we see that the mere fact that imaginary time is a “well-defined mathematical concept” does nothing to support the notion that it corresponds to reality. But, once imaginary numbers are converted back to real numbers, the First Cause for the universe once again becomes necessary, and we are forced to admit that God is the best answer to the question of why the universe exists.

    Another problem with plugging imaginary numbers into the time dimension in these equations is that it forces one to recognize time as another spatial dimension. However, this is more bad metaphysics, since space and time are inherently different. According to Craig:

    “Space is ordered by a relation of betweenness: for three points x, y, and z on a spatial line, y is between x and z. But time is ordered in addition by a unique relation of earlier/later than: for two moments t1 and t2 in time, t1 is earlier than t2, and t2 is later than t1.” 18

    Thus, it is seen that time and space are distinct. Therefore, the Hartle-Hawking model receives a further blow. Given that the theory involves at least two metaphysical absurdities, we are justified in rejecting the Hartle-Hawking model as a valid cosmology.

    A brief side note should be mentioned. The name of Stephen Hawking carries with it a massive amount of respect and perhaps even polemical value. He is possibly regarded as the smartest man on the planet, for good reasons. He is surely a brilliant man deserving of high praise. But this does not mean that his theories must be accepted without a grain of salt. Even the most brilliant men are prone to make mistakes or reach unfounded conclusions, particularly due not to the scientific data, but the philosophical and metaphysical assumptions present in their theories. As we have seen, the Hartle-Hawking model presents serious metaphysical assumptions that remain unverified and must not go unchecked. We must not simply stand back and assume that “Hawking’s got it all figured out”. I only mention this because I have been accused of “implying that Stephen Hawking is an idiot”. I have attempted to do no such thing here. Rather, I have merely attempted to show that Hawking’s model is undermined by bad metaphysical assumptions that have remained unverified."

    I have seen the same criticism of this on many creationist sites. The main reason the creationists reject the model is because of the use of imaginary numbers and imaginary time. If imaginary numbers, time, space, etc. Have no basis in the real world as the author suggests, does this blow the argument?

    Thank you.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 5, 2007 #2

    Chris Hillman

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    Wrong forum!

    pbethala, this forum is not a debunking site; it's mission is to promote discussions of mainstream cosmology (including current controversies which are currently being argued over in mainstream publications). See these rules and note that quoting extensively from or linking to cranky websites is strongly deprecated at PF.

    I suggest you take your questions about "creationist" websites and suchlike to this forum at BAUT. Please note that (if I understand correctly), this forum at PF is intended for debunking "paranormal" claims, not "creationist" claims.
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2007
  4. Nov 5, 2007 #3
    Sorry about that... I will close the thread.
  5. Nov 5, 2007 #4

    Chris Hillman

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    You should be able to delete your two posts in this thread (try hitting the "EDIT" button and look for "Delete this post"), and if so I will delete mine.

    If you don't get any joy at BAUT you can ask Ivan Seeking about reposting your question in "Scepticism and Debunking".
  6. Nov 7, 2007 #5


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    I see no harm in discussing such ideas in the appropriate forum.
  7. Nov 7, 2007 #6

    Chris Hillman

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    Well, Ivan complained once when I innocently suggested that a "debunking" thread be moved to the forum he moderates, "Scepticism and Debunking". I can never quite remember what he said, but something to the effect that its for debunking "paranormal" topics, not topics from "Young Earth cosmology" [sic]
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