How can the universe exist without time?

  • Thread starter Zantra
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Ok there's a contradiction here I can't grasp. It's postulated that time began at the creation point of the universe. If this is so, then how did it begin? We've established that in order for an event to occur, time must exist. So in order for the universe to be created, and events to move forward along that axis, time must have existed before the creation of the universe. Because in order for the big bang to occur, something had to set that in motion, so we can assume that time existed prior to the big bang. Thus, we must assume that something existed before the big bang.

Am I missing something here? because it makes perfect sense to me.
 
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Time is a quantity we use to express how things change in the world. If there was nothing in the world before time zero then nothing was changing either. There was no need for the concept of time "then". Another point of view that makes perfectly good sense. But how do we know which one is correct?
 
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So what you're basically saying is that time may have existed, but since no events were occuring, it not needed. But I'm not comfortable with the concept of just "starting from nothing" Weather through nature's design or another entity, something had to set events in motion. So something had to exist the big bang. If the singularity existed, there were conditions within that singularity. What created the singularity? Just posing that question leads to an assumption that "something" created it because events had to cause it to come into existence. I won't even venture a guess on what that could have been, but based on what we know, everything springs from something, and everything is set in motion through the events of something else: ie cause and effect. So based on that, we must assume that the universe is not the oldest thing in existence.
 
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Originally posted by Zantra
So what you're basically saying is that time may have existed, but since no events were occuring, it not needed. But I'm not comfortable with the concept of just "starting from nothing" Weather through nature's design or another entity, something had to set events in motion. So something had to exist the big bang. If the singularity existed, there were conditions within that singularity. What created the singularity? Just posing that question leads to an assumption that "something" created it because events had to cause it to come into existence. I won't even venture a guess on what that could have been, but based on what we know, everything springs from something, and everything is set in motion through the events of something else: ie cause and effect. So based on that, we must assume that the universe is not the oldest thing in existence.
I can really only express my views on the subject. My viewpoint of Nature is purely mathematical, and the one that you expressed, a very common one, is pretty much mechanical. My viewpoint is that the only real "cause" is that the world fits together in a logical way and everything else is consequence. My view is probably not easy for most people to grasp but it makes sense to me.

Perhaps others will tell us what their thinking is.
 

Hurkyl

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Someone should mention that the big bang theory states that the universe has been expanding since some point in time when it was extremely packed together, but at that time the conditions are so extreme that they go beyond the domain of applicability of our physical theories, so we can't say anything before that point in time. (In particular, big bang theory does not postulate that the universe started out as a point, or there was nothing then something... but it does not say those are impossible either)


In relativistic theories, "time" is as much a part of the universe as "position" is, so if there's no universe, there's no time, it makes no sense to speak about before.
 
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Originally posted by Hurkyl
Someone should mention that the big bang theory states that the universe has been expanding since some point in time when it was extremely packed together, but at that time the conditions are so extreme that they go beyond the domain of applicability of our physical theories, so we can't say anything before that point in time. (In particular, big bang theory does not postulate that the universe started out as a point, or there was nothing then something... but it does not say those are impossible either)


In relativistic theories, "time" is as much a part of the universe as "position" is, so if there's no universe, there's no time, it makes no sense to speak about before.
Well as you said, physics can't describe the conditions of a singularity prior to the big bang, so nor can we exclude the possibility that time existed within that singularity. It may be that consciousness in some form existed within the singularity, it may be that the universe existed on a much more microcosmic scale, and that a cataclysmic sequence of events set off the big bang. Much as we can't determine the conditions of a black hole, we can neither do that with the singularity. It's all speculation of course, but we just don't know. And following that, comes the obviousness that we can't exclude time predating the big bang.

EDIT:

It would also stand to reason that whatever existed prior to the big bang would not be subject to our current laws of physics and mathmatics, which is why it can't be explained mathmatically.
 
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Originally posted by Zantra
Ok there's a contradiction here I can't grasp. It's postulated that time began at the creation point of the universe. If this is so, then how did it begin? We've established that in order for an event to occur, time must exist. So in order for the universe to be created, and events to move forward along that axis, time must have existed before the creation of the universe. Because in order for the big bang to occur, something had to set that in motion, so we can assume that time existed prior to the big bang. Thus, we must assume that something existed before the big bang.

Am I missing something here? because it makes perfect sense to me.

i have said it before, and i'll say it again: the term "before the big bang" has no meaning whatsoever. if there was no time before the big bang than the very term "before" is useless, because it would imply there was a time before. we can imagine it to be an infinite "time" (and i use this term loosely) before the BB of no "time" at all. the fact is, that humans lack the linguistic ability to describe an arena in which there is no time or space.

any speculation into the events (or lack thereof) before the big bang is just that: speculation.
 
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this is what i was trying to get at in my post in the philosophy section... and i posted it there because i knew the possibility of time before time couldn't be explained mathematically. But, i've been considering this, and it makes sense logically, to me,

..ok, time obviously could not exist before time, (and time did not necessarily begin with the big bang) but consider the definition of time. one definition in the dictionary is time- An interval separating two points on this continuum using this definition, one point alone has no 'time.' if you could assume that time began at some point, then really, time wouldn't have begun until the second point. the first point is just that, a point in which time does not exist. from that point onward, time exists and continues to travel seemingly in one direction.
 
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Re: Re: How can the universe exist without time?

Originally posted by maximus
i have said it before, and i'll say it again: the term "before the big bang" has no meaning whatsoever. if there was no time before the big bang than the very term "before" is useless, because it would imply there was a time before. we can imagine it to be an infinite "time" (and i use this term loosely) before the BB of no "time" at all. the fact is, that humans lack the linguistic ability to describe an arena in which there is no time or space.

any speculation into the events (or lack thereof) before the big bang is just that: speculation.
Ok and what is the basis for this assumption? I'm not saying I can back up my claim either, but I'm just trying to point out the possibility that the assumption that nothing existed before bb is false. But you're right: I'm speculating- but so are you. However I'm basing this speculation on the premise that based on what we know of things, that something must have cause the existence of the universe through cause and effect. Asking us to assume that the universe "just is" and "just happened" for no reason is, well... a leap of "faith":wink:

I'm doing nothing more than asking that we acknowledge the possibility
 
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Originally posted by Gale17
this is what i was trying to get at in my post in the philosophy section... and i posted it there because i knew the possibility of time before time couldn't be explained mathematically. But, i've been considering this, and it makes sense logically, to me,

right, and I brought it here because it more at home in this forum. - or not..it's a toss up.
 
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Interesting question.

Since time as we know it is, in
fact, only time as we know it(i.e.
a result of the way our brains
process the imput recieved) Marcus
is correctly confused about the
notion that there was no time
before the Big Bang.

Perhaps, in fact, since every-
thing in the universe now was
once packed together in that
singularity, including conscious
ess, everyone in this thread
once made a pact to get together
and compare notes after the
event, and we all synchronized
our watches to be here now.
 
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Oh, the nothingness of 'nothing'!

There was nothing ... no thing ... as we know it.

All that we know, have become aware of, came into
being when, and after, the event we refer to as the
'Big Bang' occurred ... Including 'Time'!

And, no doubt, some of the things we have yet to
become aware of.

What's so difficult about that?

No Universe = No Time.
No Time = No Universe.
 
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Originally posted by Chagur
Oh, the nothingness of 'nothing'!

There was nothing ... no thing ... as we know it.

All that we know, have become aware of, came into
being when, and after, the event we refer to as the
'Big Bang' occurred ... Including 'Time'!

And, no doubt, some of the things we have yet to
become aware of.

What's so difficult about that?

No Universe = No Time.
No Time = No Universe.

And I would say to you do we just go "poof" and exist? Do plants, and animals and trees just go "poof" and exist? did the earth the moon and the stars of the universe just go "poof" and exist? Well unless you're religious, I think not..

My point is that everything springs from something else. So following that logic, it doesn't make sense that the universe went "poof" and was there. Regardless of time, something made the universe. And since nothing can exist without time, that means that time existed prior to the universe existing.
 
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Zantra:
I have to reiterate my agreement
with your question.

I also want to apologize for ref-
ering to you as Marcus. If it was
a Freudian slip it was in your
favor because I enjoy his posts
alot.

Zoob
 
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So I think we've shown that like many things in the universe, my theory can niether be proven or disproven. But we've established as a valid hypoythesis. Progress is made
 

Eh

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You only run into a logical problem if you start with a prior timeless state. Start with the first moment, and not some state before it, and there is no difficulty.
 
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Zantra,

You have neither a 'point' or a 'theory'!
All you have is an illogical supposition.

You have 'shown' nothing except an inability to think logically.
 
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Thank you, Eh.

Nicely presented.
 
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could it be that the universe (the same one we are in now) collapsed, formed a singularity, and the Big Bang resulted

universe: shrink --> collapse --> singularity --> Big Bang --> expand --> rinse & repeat, ad infinitum


So -- the universe has existed forever.
Collapsing, Big Bang-ing, Collapsing, Big Bang-ing, Collapsing, Big Bang-ing, etc.
-------
This would also help to prove the hypothesis that the universe will NOT expand forever, but is instead doomed to collapse.
 
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Current thought appears to be that the
Universe will continue to expand for
reasons not yet understood.
 
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Originally posted by Eh
You only run into a logical problem if you start with a prior timeless state. Start with the first moment, and not some state before it, and there is no difficulty.

Yes I suppose from that point of view it all makes sense. Of course I've never been one to just "accept things" either. Basically that's what you're proposing I do. Just "accept" that "poof" the universe is.
All sounds pretty "godlike" to me...

I'm completely open to logic. So far all I've see are ambiguous hypothetical assumptions that the universe just blinked into existence. I've presented my logic earlier in this post. Read back. Perhaps you could point out the obvious flaws in my logic, because to me it makes sense that the universe can't just exist without reason. That flies in the face of all current physics, yet it's accepted. We accept it merely because we don't have an answer.

Or maybe "god" just blinked it into existence with a "poof"?:wink:

Again, regardless of the state of time, I refuse to simply accept that there was nothing, then poof. If anything, I'm more inclined to lean towards the infinitely expanding and contracting universe theorem then simply accept that which contradicts science.

But let's simplify this. I've heard some good theories about the beginning of the universe. If I'm wrong, and nothing existed before the big bang, prove it.
 
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Originally posted by Chagur
Zantra,

You have neither a 'point' or a 'theory'!
All you have is an illogical supposition.

You have 'shown' nothing except an inability to think logically.


Again, nature has shown us that everything in existence comes about through a cause and effect. Everything that we known to exist was created through other events. So based on that available evidence, we cannot exclude the possibility that the universe was also created through cause and effect. Which leads to the assumption that something must have created the universe. Explain to me how that is illogical.
 
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Zantra,

'Nature has shown us'?
You must be kidding!
I don't really think so.

Have a nice day.
 
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Originally posted by Chagur
Zantra,

'Nature has shown us'?
You must be kidding!
I don't really think so.

Have a nice day.

If that's the best response you have then have a nice day indeed
In my previous posts I gave specific examples. It seems you haven't even bothered to read them. You also sound like you're very close-minded on a very open-ended issue, and as if I'm debating weather the sky is blue. So far you haven't put forth a single productive thought, only disdain and contempt.

Post something productive or don't post at all
 
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People we don't seem to be making progress here. I've been told by several different people that I'm wrong, but not a single one can present a valid reason why.

Let's try this a different way. Pretend that I know nothing about the universe or it's rules or principals, or the assumptions of physics.
Now you tell me that the universe just "was".

How? why? So far I've been told that I "HAVE" to to think in terms that there was no time before BB, and that it makes sense. Why do I need to accept this? because it's accepted theory? Because there is no other answer?

Now I'm just annoyed because this is the physics forum where logic is supposed to be first and foremost- I believe it says in the rules that you should be prepared to back up your arguments. I feel that I've follow logic drawing a conclusion based on imperical data such as the fact that cause annd effect is what brings new things into the universe. We've also established that events cannot occur without time progression, thus I draw my conclusion that time MIGHT have existed prior to BB.

All I get in response is that I'm not allowed to think that, and that I'm an idiot- No contrary evidence, nothing, just that.

CAN ANYONE present evidence or logic as to why we must assume that time and the universe are not infinite and that before BB there was jut a timeless void?

ANYONE?
WHY?
 

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