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Nothing before time

  1. Jul 25, 2003 #1
    Was there ever a time before time? theoretically, is it possible? was there even a breif moment before time existed? an immesurable moment that was infinetly long as well as infinetly small. i picture it as just a freezeframe of the universe, before there was a universe. a freezeframe of nothing i suppose. Nothing, that absence of all, absence of existince itself. theoretically, the only time (for lack of a better word) that nothing existed (again lack of a better word) was before time itself?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 25, 2003 #2
    Yea, I guess I could picture that. Another form of time-existence. How would that work though....
  4. Jul 25, 2003 #3
    We could think along different lines. What if the universal timeline is actually part of a larger whole? I mean, say that the universe is part of a multiverse where our universe is not the oldest in existence. Of course that has a lot of assumptions in it, but there are theories on multiverses.
  5. Jul 25, 2003 #4
    If we did live in a universe which was part of this multiverse, how would time exist? would all the universes have the same time? and would there still be a period of nothingness before time, before all the universes?
  6. Jul 25, 2003 #5


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    If the larger whole of universal time line is beyond our dimension…
    Here’s an odd little example. A spot in one-dimensional world (X-axis) can travel along x-axis but not vertically. A little man on a paper live in 2D world of its own but it can not know beyond X and Y-axis. A 3D figure can travel freely in X, Y and Z-axis but it can never know what time is. For us I suppose we can never know thing from higher dimensions. Or can we?
  7. Jul 25, 2003 #6
    When i was younger i would sit and try and figure how a 4th axis added to our xyz would look... circles and curves... i never did draw it succesfully. But Homer simpson, a 2d character, found himself once in a 3d world... fiction maybe... but i don't think it's unreasonable to think that we could be able figure things about dimensions we don't yet live in.

    1st. assuming time is linear (which i do not personally believe)
    then if you were to plot a point in time and space it would just be on a set of x,y's then i would suppose, if you added in the option of alternate universes, it would create a z... but each plane would be indivually warped depending on that universe. So... at least in my mind, i can picture additional dimensions based on alternate universes with therefore warped axis...
  8. Jul 26, 2003 #7


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    Logic abhors such an idea. No, there wasn't.

    Think about it for a moment. A moment (a time) when time did not exist. Blatent contradiction, so your question is answered with a definite NO.
  9. Jul 26, 2003 #8
    Ok, i knew i hadn't said it quite right. But it seems to me, that in the first moment of existince, time wouldn't exist. in that first moment there is nothing before, and nothing after. Time, i feel, would have to be at least more than one moment. Time being representive of the difference between moments.
    I still don't know if i said that right...
  10. Jul 26, 2003 #9
    On possibility could be that there are multiple rates of time- perhaps in one demension time moves twice as fast as our time, in another twice as slow. Perhaps There is only one timeline and all the universes are interconnected to that timeline, but maybe there are some universes older than ours, some younger. There are many possibilities. My point is that there's no proof that time began with the beginning of our universe. Only that we KNOW that time existed at the point it was created.
  11. Jul 27, 2003 #10
    The idea of time necessarily includes the concept that everything that exists, exists in the form of change, and that changes itself are connected to each other by causality, through causes and effects.

    The idea of a beginning of time is a contradiction within itself.
    It would mean that a change (first there was no time, and then there was time; first there was no change, and then there was change; first there was no matter, and then there was matter) would have had to occur, without that there was time. But when time itself does not exist, no change whatsoever can occur.

    The only way this is said to have been possible to happen, is by arbitrarily from the nothing assume the existence of actors outside of space, time and matter, that 'started' the universe. This however is unwarranted, and ultimately contradictionary.

    The idea of a begin of time concept, necessitates for the idea of a Deity, an actor outside of time, space and matter. But outside of time, space and matter, and outside of causality itself, nothing exists.

    In conclusion: the idea that time had a beginning is a blatantly nonsensical idea. Time does not have a begin.
  12. Jul 27, 2003 #11


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    Also a contradiction.

    I understand though, you've probably got an idea that you can't quite put into words. In philosophy, this is often a sign something isn't quite right. It helps to be able to take the time and put your thoughts into coherent words, because doing so should already clear up any confusion.
  13. Jul 29, 2003 #12
    Gale, when you consider relativity, we experience time as moving forward from past to present to future below the speed of light. When you reach the speed of light, times stops. If you exceed the speed of light, you would experience time as moving backwards from future to present to past.

    So whatever exists at the speed of light, such as light itself, does not experience time. Without time, light cannot experience physical change or time dependent change. It cannot be created or destroyed. It has always existed.

    However light does exist simultaneously with time but it is outside of time. If our universe began at some point, then light would have existed prior to our universe within a timeless existence-before the "first time" of our universe of space, time and matter.

    This existence of light before our universe would not necessarily have been an absence of anything as light would be present as pure energy. We would have an existence of light without time. Any change before the existence of time would have to be non-physical and independent of time.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 29, 2003
  14. Jul 29, 2003 #13
    I'm not sure you have voiced your question clearly, but I'll answer it as said.

    There could be no time before time, assuming a single time axis. If it were before time, then it would be part of time, therefore couldn't be before time. Time before time would be a paradox at best, a logical impossibility at least.

    It would be like saying is there any piece of this stick past the end of the stick. If there were, it would be part of the stick, therefore, by definition, not 'past the end' of the stick.

    Assuming multiple time axes, then the term 'before' needs to be redefined. 'Before' implicitly assumes a linear characteristic, so a planar or higher dimensional characteristic requires a different set of terms and definitions.

    But listen to what you're saying. The first moment would, by definition be time, therefore would be the start of time and couldn't be 'before' time. This isn't a reality issue, it's a logic issue.
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2003
  15. Jul 29, 2003 #14
    That's the point I was trying to get across in my post in physics about Time before BB. Simply the fact that time is infinite, predating even the big bang. But some people can't seem to grasp that concept.

    Gale, check my post in the physics forums again. I've outlined step by step why it's only logical that time predates the Big bang.
  16. Jul 29, 2003 #15
    If time has no beginning, then the phrase 'before time' lacks meaning.
  17. Jul 29, 2003 #16
    A nothing does not contain any cause any reason any foundation for there being or becoming something, and that is the most fundemantal thing we can know.

    What follows already is that since time and causality exist, the universe and all there is have been there all the time, in whatever form or content.
  18. Jul 29, 2003 #17
    finite universe

    Huesdens, there are many that would disagree as we both know...

    Gale here is a thread with a ongoing discussion from a different philosophy forum concerning the infinite existence of the universe. The discussion is not concluded quite yet but the forces for a finite universe are winning and will win the day.

    It begins about two thirds of the way down on this thread here:

  19. Jul 29, 2003 #18
    Re: finite universe


    Because some people fancy mystical things, this doesn't turn the real world into a mystical form.
  20. Jul 29, 2003 #19
    An acausal event does not need to be mystical. It can be perfectly logical and consistence within the laws of existence but beyond our current comprehension-sort of like gravitons and the consciousness.
  21. Jul 29, 2003 #20
    No it can not and I will explain why.

    First let us state that an a-causal event must be defined as having by definition no cause (which is not the same as stating that - for whatever reason - we can not observe a cause).

    If those events in fact would exist, then what would determine those events to exist a-causal, while other events exist causal?

    The answer: nothing would or could determine that, since that would contradict the definition of an a-causal event.

    So, assumeting that a-causal events do exist, removes all possibility for causal events to exist. It then turns into a mere coincidence that so many events look or seem causal.

    So much coincidence which has been established again and again for so any causal events is simply imposible!

    Besides that, the whole universe and existence would become boundlessly senseless.

    Another thing: why is it that certain events "look" a-causal.

    The answer: because we are observing at such a scale that any observation causes so much interaction, that it destroys part of the observation we are inbestigating. Therefore we miss some of the events, that would have made it a causal event.

    We have to deal with the fact that for practical purposes such indeterminism does exist, which we can only "calculate" by the use of probability.

    An example to clarify this:

    Assume we look from above with a camera to a pool billiard.
    As long as we have enough light we can see all the evensts, and they all fit perfectly well in causality. If we reduce the light of the camera, we will at some point miss some events, while still see some events, this make the observed reality a-causal.
    But in reality, the event is as causal as it always was, only the observation can not establish that.

    The quantum events are of course different in nature as this, it was just an example that an observation that looks acausal, does not mean that the underlying reality has to be acausal.
    A better approach would perhaps be, to try to find the courses, and position of the billiard balls, while being blinded, and having to throw billiard balls at the ones which one wants to explore, thereby causing interactions, that make the observation of what the course of the ball was before we hit it, indeterminable.
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2003
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