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The impossibility of a begin of time

  1. Jul 12, 2003 #1
    The impossibility of a begin of time

    One of the contemporary and most popular beliefs both amongst theists and scientists is the belief that the universe had a begin in time.

    This belief has grown due to the fact that more and more evidence is provided for the theory of the Big Bang, a theory which in itself does not state other then that - since we now can witness that far away galaxies are 'receding' from us with increasing speeds (Hubble redshift-distance relation) that the universe was in the far past smaller, denser and hotter.
    In this discussion, the theoretical and observational evidence for the Big Bang is assumed to be correct, and is not of relevance to the discussion. It is hold that the possibility of a begin of time or what was 'before' the Big Bang, and hypothesis based on this, are not part of the Big Bang theory itself, but are part of pre-Big Bang cosmology (like for example the Ekpyrotic model of colliding branes in string cosmology, and the eternal / open / chaotic inflation model)

    So we will focus this discussion entirely on only one aspect of the Big Bang, namely the hypothese and popular belief that the Big Bang denotes or came out of the "begin of time", and which therefore means that there was no before.

    But this topic as such has been long known to scientists and philosophers to be a topic of interest.

    It has been stated in the past that it would be inconceivable that the now would have been formed by an infinite causal events lined up to each other. A contemporary argument for this is known as the Kalam Cosmological argument. But history shows that this argument has been used over and over again, as for example by Leibnitz and Kant.

    And thirdly there is the argument from Thermodynamics, in which the Second law of thermodynamics is applied on the universe as a whole, and which would mean that the universe would already have used it's amount of usable energy, which as we can see happens not to be the case, and therefore it has to be assumed that the universe must have had a definite begin in time.

    So, to be put in brief, the three major arguments for a begin in time are:

    • [1] A postulate or hypothese in which the Big Bang denotes the begin of time.

      [2] The impossibility of an actual infinite, and therefore the need of a definite begin of time.

      [3] The argument from the second law of thermodynamics, which states that the universe is a closed system, and which means that it's amount of usable energy must decrease, and hence a begin in time is required.

    In the following posts I will discuss all three arguments, and provide sufficient counter arguments against these ideas, in defense of the position hold by materialist, that there can not have been a begin of time.

  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 12, 2003 #2
    Introduction part #1


    Before I put in my arguments, let us first denote and state here that, based on these most used argument, a whole lot of people tend to believe that the "begin of time" is an integral part of science. Most people would not even tend to be critical about it, and ask the question how at all a begin of time is possible.

    This has to do with the fact that the Big Bang theory, while at one sided being a well tested theory, but at the other side in the popular understanding of this, the Big Bang theory has become a synonym for the "begin of time" scenario.

    What does the Big Bang theory in fact state and not state?

    We will not try to repeat the whole scientific theory here, but just indicate some of the foundations on which this theory rest. There is of course a lot more that can be said about this, so this is just a short explenation.

    For a more detailed explenation of the Big Bang scenario, I will refer to http://www.astro.ucla.edu/~wright/cosmolog.htm" [Broken]

    Firstly, after the General Relativity theory had been developed by Einstein, it became obvious to a number of theoretical physicsists that one of the solutions to the Big Bang would be an expanding (or contracting) universe model. Einstein also saw this, and because he believed in static universe, he therefore introduced a cosmological constant, that would balance the force of gravity in the universe as a whole, and would cause the universe to be in a stable steady state. Later on Einstein has considered this his "biggest blunder".
    A russian scientist Alexander Friedman however developed some possible cosmological models, of which some were models for an expanding universe. Depending on the overall density of matter in the universe, this model would either: recollapse (closed model: density > critical density) or expand eternally (open model: density < critical denisty), with a balancing model in which the expansion is slowing down and nears zero when time nears infinity (density = critical denisity).
    This model at that time (early '20-ies) was however a purely theoretical model, and was not yet based on observational evidence.
    The tremendous development in astronomic observations however revealed more and more of the distant parts of the universe. Due to the development of reliable standards for measurements (there are a number of tools that are used to measure distances, for the most distant observations astronomy uses a class of stars that have a unique feature, based on the spectrum of the star we know their actual brightness, which makes it possible to measure the distance to such a star and use that as a standard for cosmic measurements).
    One of the most astonishing outcomes of these observations was that there was an appearant relation between the distance to a distant astronomical object, and the redshift. The further away an astronomical object, the more the spectrum is shifted to red.
    This was at that time some unexplained phenomena. The phenomena is investigated, and there have been many attempts to explain this phenomena based on for example the hypothese of tired light: during the long travel of light through the intergalactic cosmos, the light waves would become stretched and loose energy, and therefore appear redder. Although there have been proposed mechanisms for this (for example due to the existence of intergalactic matter, in the form of plasma) none of them was able to explain the redshift-distance relation and observed light spectrum.
    A better explenation was however found when combining this observation with the theoretical model of an expanding universe.
    It in fact showed that the redshift-distance relation was the observational evidence for the expanding universe cosmological model. An astonishing discovery! The Big Bang model was born!
    At that time, not all physicist and cosmologist accepted this model, and for some years, a majority of scientists adapted to a model of a Steady-state universe. This model proposed that there would be some center to the universe, in which new matter was born, and was sort of 'filling the gaps' due to the expansion of the universe, which would result in a steady universe.
    Although initially there were a number of issues that were not solved in the Big Bang model, adjustments and improvements of the model indicated that this was the best theory on hand that fit the observed data, and gave rise to the development of a hot Big bang. The hot Big bang describes that the universe further in the past was smaller, denser and hotter. Due to the "marriage" between cosmology and particle physics that took place, scientific models were developed, that could explain the physical phenomena going on in the early phase of the universe.
    New evidence was found due the observation of the so-called Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation, which showed to be a steady source of microwave coming from all parts of space, indicating a 3 Kelvin temperature of outer space (2.7 Kelvin to be exact).
    Although this was short time thereafter incorporated as evidence for the Big Bang, as the remnants of the photons which were created as a result of the Big Bang itself, at that time there was also another viable explenation on hand, that could explain this phenomena.
    This has to do with the so-called paradox of Olber. He adressed the question as to why the night sky is dark. At the time of Olber the universe was still theorised acc. to Newton as a static and infinite space. When theoretizing that in every part and every direction of space there must be a same amount of luminious matter (stars, etc) with the same luminosity, one can calculate that although the more distant stars are seen dimmer, this is compensated by the increase in the amount of stars the further one looks, and thus would mean that in an infinite universe, the nigh sky should be in every direction of space as brilliant as the surface of the sun! This is obviously not the case, which can be explained on the basis of the Big bang model. The existence of large quantities of dark material (dust) would not be a plausible solution either, because all light what is absorbed would be reemited too. However a possible explenation of the CMBR phenomena was thought to be the solution to Olber's paradox, as that the night sky is in fact brilliant in the 3 Kelvin spectrum.
    Earlier calculations of this, at the basis of the remnants of all the light from all the stars in space, indicated an overall value of space which was near to 3 K. Calculations based on the Big Bang model initially indicated a far larger value.
    However, the explenation of the CMBR as being the remnants of the light of all the stars in the universe was rejected on the basis that this explenation could not possible match the observed spectrum of the CMBR, and which could be explained on the basis of the Big Bang model only. The CMBR therefore is now adopted as strong evidence for the Big Bang model.
    Even so, and still up to today, the Big Bang model has some problems as to explain all the observed phenomena, but is nevertheless the theory that best fits the observational data.
    Due to the marriage of cosmology and physics, the Big bang scenario has been theoretized in models which go as far back as to 10 to-the-minus 43 seconds! The "begin of time" as such, however is not incorporated in the Big Bang model. As to this , physics is set up with the problem that they don't have a theoretical model that could describe how matter in such conditions (immense density and temperature!) would behave, and there appearantly is not a quantum theory of gravity.

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  4. Jul 12, 2003 #3
    Introduction part #2

    Introduction, part 2

    Theory development has not stopped there. Already in the end of the 70-ies the Soviet scientists Starobinsky theoretized about a large scale material transition or tranformation that could have taken place in the early universe. Although the initial model did not work and was far too complex, it did set science and theory development on the right track. One of the scientists that developed this theory into a workable model was Alan Guth, who developed a theory that became known as inflation theory. Inflation theory is built up on vacuum energy.

    "The crucial property of physical law that makes inflation possible is the existence of states of matter that have a high energy density that cannot be rapidly lowered. Such a state is called a "false vacuum," where the word "vacuum" indicates a state of lowest possible energy density, and the word "false" is used to mean temporary. For a period that can be long by the standards of the early Universe, the false vacuum acts as if the energy density cannot be lowered, since the lowering of the energy is a slow process."

    "The peculiar properties of the false vacuum stem from its pressure, which is large and negative (..). Mechanically such a negative pressure corresponds to a suction, which does not sound like something that would drive the Universe into a period of rapid expansion. The mechanical effects of pressure, however, depend on pressure differences, so they are unimportant if the pressure is reasonably uniform. According to general relativity, however, there is a gravitational effect that is very important under these circumstances. Pressures, like energy densities, create gravitational fields, and in particular a positive pressure creates an attractive gravitational field. The negative pressure of the false vacuum, therefore, creates a repulsive gravitational field, which is the driving force behind inflation.

    There are many versions of inflationary theories but generically they assume that some small patch of the early Universe somehow came to be in a false vacuum state Various possibilities have been discussed, including supercooling during a phase transition in the early Universe, or a purely random fluctuation of the fields. A chance fluctuation seems reasonable even if the probability is low, since the inflating region will enlarge by many orders of magnitude, while the non-inflating regions will remain microscopic. Inflation is a wildfire that will inevitably take over the forest, as long as there is some chance that it will start.

    Once a patch of the early Universe is in the false vacuum state, the repulsive gravitational effect drives the patch into an inflationary period of exponential expansion. To produce a universe with the special features of the Big Bang discussed above, the expansion factor must be at least about 10 to-the-power 25. There is no upper limit to the amount of expansion. Eventually the false vacuum decays, and the energy that had been locked in it is released. This energy produces a hot, uniform, soup of particles, which is exactly the assumed starting point of the traditional Big Bang theory. At this point the inflationary theory joins onto the older theory, maintaining all the successes for which the Big Bang theory is believed. "

    [Quotes from "WAS COSMIC INFLATION THE 'BANG' OF THE BIG BANG?" A. Guth] See link http://nedwww.ipac.caltech.edu/level5/Guth/Guth_contents.html" [Broken]]

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  5. Jul 12, 2003 #4
    What does science say or not say?

    What does science say or not say?

    After my first explenation of the purpose of the thread, and an introduction tot the current perspective of the cosmological model, let us go further with the arguments that are used to show that time had a beginning.

    One of the popular beliefs is that:
    • Science explains there is a begin of time
    • the Big Bang denotes the begin of time
    • There is no "before" the Big Bang


    Science as such does not include a notion of a begin of time. Neither it can. For example one of the most and rigourlously tested laws is the first law of thermodynamics. It says that both matter (particles) and energy are conserved quantities. The amount of matter and energy (even when, due to E=mc2, matter and energy can be transformed into another under certain conditions) is therefore conserved, and there is no known mechanism to create matter or energy from nothing, neither is there a way in which matter or energy can dissolve into nothing.

    Even when we consider that there are phenomena, like virtual particles, that seemingly come from nowhere, live shortly, and go back to nowhere, there is no evidence that anyhow this first principle is broken. Even when we don't have a clue as to what caused the creation of a particle-antiparticle pair. There is however no way in which this phenomena can be used to create any measurable amount of matter or energy as a nett quantity. Not knowing the causes for this phenomena of particle-antiparticle creation is however not telling that there is no source for it. There appearently is, although as of yet unknown.
    It is important also to consider that virtual particles exist in what is called a vacuum, although a vacuum is never completely empty of matter or energy. Even in the most distance intergalactic space there is still the gravity field and photons from the CMBR.

    Science therefore still holds on to the principle that matter and energy as such can not be created or destroyed. It is indestructable. This means that a begin of matter can not be conceived, neither an end. Matter and energy are infinite in the sense that they are neither created or destroyed, but always transformed, developing, changing and in motion.

    Science therefore:
    • Does not claim that there is a begin to time
    • Does not denote the Big Bang as the begin of time
    • Does not envision the idea that there is no before to the Big Bang
    An issue which is entirely different is the question as to what in fact did occur or not occur 'prior' to the Big Bang. This is part of theory development known as Pre-Big Bang cosmology, and which is about modelling possible models of the physical universe prior to the Big Bang.

  6. Jul 12, 2003 #5
    First Argument -- Big Bang denotes begin of time?


    Let us now turn to the three arguments which are used by many to 'proof' that time had a beginning.

    First argument

    The "Big Bang" denotes the begin of the universe.
    Due to popular science books, like Stephen Hawkings book "A Brief History of Time" it has become a popular concept to think of the Big Bang as denoting the "begin of time". But despite the popular belief, what are in fact the ideas presented by Stephen Hawking, and in how far or how much do they in fact relate to this concept of a "begin of time"?

    The idea of Stephen Hawking is not about the begin of time as such. What he comes up with is a solution to the ugly nature of the 'singularity'. He therefore assumes that time becomes more 'spacelike' near the singularity, and in that way he overcomes the singularity. It becomes then 'calculable'. But in order to do that, when using complex quantummechanical equations, he needs to introduce another thing. He has to assume that apart from time, which he then calls "real time", he has to introduce "imaginary time". Imaginary here means not something of an imagination, as in something that isn't real but a dream, but imaginary in the sense that it is an independend time axis, which is orthogonal to the normal time axis. And he uses imaginary numbers (which are based on i, the square root of minus 1) to solve the wave equations. Imaginary numbers are used throughout many parts of physical theory, to solve wave equations etc. They are a handy tool for the mathematician, but the term 'imaginary' doesn't mean it is something unreal.
    This imaginary time then, does NOT have a begin. In the book Stephen Hawking even says that in fact imaginary time is "more real" then "real time".

    So, the "beginning of time" is just a popular translation of that idea. It is based on just one part of it, while trowing away the other. But as such this idea does not and can not state that time as such has had a definite begin. Physics can never work with that. It's a fixiuous idea, which does not belong to the real world.

    Stephen Hawking is an atheist. As such he confesses to the idea that the world, the universe, in whatever form has always existed.
    And as an atheist scientist he knows very well that a begin of time is inconceivable and foreign to material sciences. He expressed this as follows: "Physicists don't know how to make physics from nothing".

    Nevertheless, Stephen Hawking is a human too. He is dependend for his daily life mostly on his wife, who is a Christian.
    For his book to be published, and spread amongst a wide audience, the publisher wanted him to put some theistic ideas in. It would increase the selling of the book. After all, Stephen Hawking is only human.

    But if you read the book well, it does not say such a thing as a "begin of time". It can not.

    So, anyone speaking about the "begin of time" as a real physical theory, and base themselves on Stephen Hawking or others, realy makes a mistake. They take then only one part of the theory, and refute at the same time the other.

    There is no scientific theory that states an absolute begin to time itself.
  7. Jul 12, 2003 #6
    Second argument -- Actual infinite impossible, therefore begin of time?

    Second argument

    "If time has no begin, it must be infinite. But a real or actual infinite is inconceivable, therefore time must have had a begin."

    There realy are a lot of these type of argument around. It dates from the time of Leibnitz and Kant, who both provided this argument.
    In the book "Kritik der Reiner Vernuft" (Critique of Pure Thought) Kant not only provided this argument (that time had a begin) but also provided another argument (that time did not have a begin) and showed that the one is as provable as the other.

    A more contemporary form of the argument is known under the name of Kalam Cosmological argument. For the reader who want to read that argument, a link is provided http://www.leaderu.com/offices/billcraig/docs/oppy.html" [Broken]

    In short this argument is as follows:

    In brief: since an actual infinite can not exist, therefore time needs to have a begin.

    The objection against these reasoning is of course: what is an actual infinite? There is only one way in which the infinite time can become an actual, and that is if we want to measure it. How do we measure it? By placing two arbitrary points on the infinite time line. What will we measure? A finite amount of time!

    How strange! It does not matter at all where we place our two points, the distance between them will always be a finite quantity!
    Does this mean that infinite time does not exist? On the contrary.
    What we just discovered was that infinity is built up on only finite quantities. It is a seeming contradiction, but yet is that the case.
    It does not matter where we place a point on the infinite time line. At every point on the time line there will be an infinite past and infinite future.

    A very sharp argument against a similar argument as the Kalam Cosmological Argument, is provided by Friedrich Engels, who in his book Anti-Duhring (1877) http://csf.colorado.edu/psn/marx/Archive/1877-AD/p1.htm#c5" [Broken][/b] made a sharp counter argument against the idea of Herr Eugen Duhring of the possibility of a begin of time.
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  8. Jul 12, 2003 #7
    Third argument -- Second law menas time must have had a begin?

    Third argument

    "The universe is a closed system. The second law of thermodynamics describe that the amount of usueable energy must decrease. Since there are still amounts of usueable energy, this means that time must have a beginning"

    Also this argument, like argment #1 has immense popularity.

    It can be shown that in this case the laws of thermodynamics are taken out of context. And while the law which is used here to argument is called the second law of thermodynamics, ordinary logic will tell us that physics also came up with a first law of thermodynamics. It will be good to study this one first, and not hop immediately to the second law, after all the fact that they have been given numbers must indicate somehow that the first law takes precedence over and is more important then the second law.

    So let's see what these laws state:

    First law:

    In a closed system the amount of energy and matter are conserved quantities.

    Second law:

    In a closed system, the amount of usueable energy must always decrease.


    The universe is a closed system?

    The definition of a closed system is one that is not in thermal contact with the surrounding environment. There is no interchange of energy, neither matter. It is however arguable that we can not extend the definition of a closed system, which in normal cases is only applied to finite systems, to that of the universe. When we also consider the first law, this means that if we consider the universe to be a closed system the amount of matter and energy must be conserved.

    The combination of these two findings will result in an universe, in which the total amount of matter and energy remained constant throughout time, and since they are conserved, we can not think of a begin of time, while the amount of usueable energy must be decreasing. This obviously leads to the paradox then that the usueable amount of energy should have already been gone to zero.

    We go outside, and see: the sun is still shining.
    Something must be wrong then, cause our 'theory' would indicate, all amounts of usueable energy would have already been used!

    a begin of time?

    As a "way out" of this contradiction, it is concluded that "time must have a begin" then. But what good is this "solution"?
    In fact, our very first statement was that the universe was a "closed system". Since the first law is still applicable, it must have been the case then that, since we assume that "time had a begin", this system all of a sudden had 'started' and became filled with matter and energy from appearently nowhere. A flagrant violation of the first law, since we hold it that - if we take it for our argument that the universe is closed in using the argument from the second law, it is not any less closed when we use the argument of the first law!


    A closed system is in fact always denoting a finite system.
    We could consequtively 'built' a system, by adding subsequently all the systems together that are in thermal contact with the initial open system we start with, until we reach a 'closed' system, a system that has no thermal contact with anything outside it. The point is however, that such is undoable, since we are always left with the rest of the universe, with which we are still in thermal contact, and thus did not never achieve our 'closed' system.


    Our initial assumption that the universe is a 'closed' system, must therefore be obviously wrong.
  9. Jul 12, 2003 #8
    I'm not nearly verse enough on these topics to go into big bang, and as it's very late, I only skimmed, so I may post later, but it's my personal belief that if there is a begin time, it doesn't begin with our universe. Of course that leads into my theory that our "universe" as we percieve it is not the highest form of existence, that indeed we are a universe within other universe,within another universe, etc

    Our immediate world teaches us that there is a beginning and end to everything. So must there be a beginning and end to time. The scope of our universe is not yet mapped, and I believe there is an end. It's late..more on this later.
  10. Jul 12, 2003 #9
    And yet the river flows, ceaselessly.
  11. Jul 12, 2003 #10
    It's hard to imagine a beginning to time, and yet if there were no physical universe before the Big Bang, how would it be measured? What would it be relative to? Hmm ... even if there were only time? There would be nothing to experience it, and yet perhaps it's time that's the beginning of all experiences? Almost has a mystical sounding quality now doesn't it?

    Hey I don't know! :wink:
  12. Jul 12, 2003 #11
    Heusdens, as always, you have made an extremely admirable effort in this thread. Kudos.

    Now, as to the mention of the first law of thermodynamics. I will not dispute that energy cannot be produced from nowhere, but will provide the Quantum Mechanical postulate that the energy of a given system cannot be precisely determined. Thus, to say "there was no energy" is fallacious. This means that energy needn't be created at the beginning of time, since it was already there, just not determinately so.

    That having been said, I like your argument for an infinite time line. There is no reason (IMO) to assume that time cannot be infinite, since any point in time that we choose to study is finite.

    Again, my sincere admiration for a thread well-posted :smile:.
  13. Jul 12, 2003 #12
    I think I know what you say, and partly I think you are correct, and partly incorrect.

    What we understand about the material world is indeed that as you have noted, that every specific existence form, no matter how large, is always in a finite extend of time and space.

    But the assumption that as such there is a begin of time is, as I showed, is incorrect. Cause we know that every specific material form has been formed by previous existing material forms, and will turn back into other material forms.

    In this sense, time does not and can not have a begin.
  14. Jul 13, 2003 #13


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    Wow, that's a lot of text to deal with. But whenever someone claims that a beginning of time is impossible, I simply ask for a logical contradiction in the idea. In other words, is the proposal that time had a beginning logically inconsistent? Following the silence that ensues, it is safe to say that most people (although reluctantly of course) must accept that a beginning is at least, a logical possibility. Given their failure to show otherwise, it is absurd to claim it is impossible in that sense.

    Now as to the scientific claims, there is nothing there that prevents a beginning of time. The law of energy conservation doesn't apply, because "no before" does not mean a state in which the energy did not exist. Even if it did, this would not be a problem. For one, the universe is not contingent upon energy for it's existence. Since the net energy of the universe is zero, any such universe created would not violate the first law, since the total sum stays the same. In fact, the net zero energy idea is one feature of many inflation models, where all the energy in our universe is created during the inflation epoch.

    Given a quantum theory of spacetime, a cyclic model of the universe may be allowed, but even then there is no guarantee.
  15. Jul 13, 2003 #14

    You are mistaken about inflation theory. It does not state that the universe comes from totally nothing.

    Haven't you read the text about inflation theory?

    It states about the existence of a bubble of "false" vacuum, which DOES contain energy. Reread that part or look up some basic stuff about inflation theory. You are making a subtle but important mistake.
    Same as people tend to believe that there is a scientific theory about a begin of time. Fact is: there isn't.

    Further, most people reason that when there is no change, when nothing changes or moves, that there would be no time.
    But time is something different as change, since we can measure time with change. Time must therefore be independend and different from change.

    A begin of time is logically inconsistent with causality.
    Causality is that there are events, which are both and simultaniously causes and effects. Events are not their own cause and effect, but in a causal relationship we can distinguish a cause or causes and an effect or effects. But every cause is also an effect (caused by previous cause or causes), and every effect also a cause (of following effect or effects).

    This means: time can not have a begin, unless causality itself is false. But that is what we have experienced to be the case. There is causality, undoubtly. Causality itself can not be 'caused' by something, cause outside of causality itself, there are no causes.
    Therefore causality itself can not have a begin.

    So, if you hold it that time could have a beginning, then at first proof to me that causality is false. Otherwise, your argument doesn't hold water.
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2003
  16. Jul 13, 2003 #15


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    No, but the energy increases by a massive amount. A tiny amount of energy in the vacuum can grow to an enormous amount, but only because the net energy is zero.

    We've been through this before. The classic singularity is based on GR, which last time I checked was a scientific theory. GR is the only working theory of spacetime we have, and is the only guide we have for dealing with the big bang. As well, a quantum theory of gravity is still not necessarily going to prevent a beginning to time, or at least our classic understanding of time.

    Yes, and science tells us without change, there would be no time. At least, there is no need for such independent existence of time. Your conclusion that because we measure time with the amount of change they are therfore seperate, does not logically follow.

    Problem here. You can always start with a first chain in the causality link. There is nothing logically inconsistent about such a series of events that has a first, uncaused event.

    Only if you first define that all events must be effects, would a beginning be a contradiction. But that premise is unjustified, since an uncaused event itself does not suffer any logical inconsistencies.

    No, it would only show that a first event which does not require a prior cause is possible. You still get a series of cause and effect events, though the chain has a starting point.
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  17. Jul 13, 2003 #16

    Events don't exist outside of causality.

    At the very minimum I would require proof for any event that takes place outside of causality.

    Since there is no proof of that, I still state that all events take place within causality. All events are effects of previous causes and all events are at the same time causes for following effects.

    Where is your proof that this is not the case?

    If you state that there can be "uncaused events" then please proof that to us. YOU CAN'T

    Do you confess here in the belief of some sorts of actors outside of time, space and matter, that regulate our existence or create matter out of nothing?
  18. Jul 13, 2003 #17


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    I don't need to prove anything, because my claim is merely that such an uncaused event is logically consistent. If you dispute that, it is up to you to show a contradiction. Otherwise, a beginning is a logical possibility because it is logically consistent. In that case, it's no longer a matter of opinion.


    No such outside forces required. The universe can be self sufficient without the need for an infinite regress of time. Note that I'm not arguing against such an infinitely old universe, only that it isn't a logical necessity.
  19. Jul 13, 2003 #18
    I would disagree with this statement excluding a beginning. For example, if all matter were converted to energy, such as light, space and time would disappear as energy exists at the speed of light. Thus you could have an existence of pure energy lacking time producing an eternal existence without a beginning or ending. However the moment energy converts to matter, then time and space would come into existence thus producing a beginning. Of course the initial cause could not be physical because matter would not exist at that point.

    I can conceive of "no beginning" in a timeless existence. But with time, there must be a "beginning". Time forces a "beginning". A solution allowing for the reality of both would involve different phases or locations of existence each possessing a "beginning" or "no beginning".

    Also an existence of eternal pure energy without a beginning could produce an existence with matter and a beginning. But the reverse would not be true. Matter could only return to pre-existing pure energy state because energy is eternal and timeless. Energy in a timeless state could not be created as there is no beginning.

    The existence of any matter requires time and space and a beginning. The existence of pure energy without matter does not have time or space or a beginning.

    Hopefully that makes sense.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 13, 2003
  20. Jul 13, 2003 #19

    I think we have a slight confusion here regarding the notion of matter. I use the philosophical notion of matter as that what exists outside, apart and independend of one's consciousness.
    The physical notion is something else, as that refers to mass having particles which don't move at the speed of light.
    Energy or fields or particles, or whatever there exists as physical entities, are all forms of matter in the philosophical sense.
    And the matter does not just denote the physical stuff, also chemical or biological compounds or even consciousness itself are manifestations of matter.

    A begin to physical matter is therefore quite possible, but there is necessarily something that exists.

    A real begin of time is not conceivable.
    The material world supposedly went through a transition phase which we denote as the Big Bang.
  21. Jul 13, 2003 #20

    I did make a refutation from logic. The refutation being that causality does not leave room for 'uncaused' events. Effects don't exist without a cause. So the uncaused event was not even there.

    Show me just one example that that is not the case, and I could consider that such a thing ever happened.

    Else: I stick to my interpretation of causality.
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