Author Topic: Can Both Evolution & Creationism be Wrong?  (Read 3736 times)

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Online One Above All

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Re: Can Both Evolution & Creationism be Wrong?
« Reply #29 on: October 20, 2013, 05:25:01 AM »
Well, you've lost me. It seems like you're saying, on the one hand, time and space could have come into existence without their being time and space, but you don't know how.

Pretty much. I'm not gonna lie and say I know how it could have happened, because I honestly don't know.

On the other hand, it isn't possible for things to not have had a beginning, and that infinity is only a concept.

Why is the first position valid, but not the second? Am I missing something here? (probably)

I don't get your question.

Holy crap. As soon as I wrote that last post, referencing infinity, I saw a member named "meinfinitist" was reading the thread (or at least had clicked on it). What are the odds? Infinitesimal, I'd say.
<snip>

The odds are most certainly not infinitesimal. Regardless, it was bound to happen the more this forum stayed active. With enough time, even the least likely we can conceive thing will happen.

How can time and space exist without Existence?

I don't know.
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Offline Deus ex Machina

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Re: Can Both Evolution & Creationism be Wrong?
« Reply #30 on: October 20, 2013, 05:37:03 AM »
How can time and space exist without Existence?

I don't know.

That's a good start. The logical priority of existence is a straightforward proposition: in order for anything to be said to exist, there must be a state of "existence", just as there must be a state of "heat" in order for anything to be said to be warm (or, indeed, cold), or a liquid state in order for anything to be said to be wet, etc.

It's also not immediately obvious why it's a good idea to suppose that "nothingness" (there being nothing; nonexistence) is some kind of default state of reality, not least because it raises a pretty epic question of how, from nonexistence, there came to be anything at all.
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Offline magicmiles

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Re: Can Both Evolution & Creationism be Wrong?
« Reply #31 on: October 20, 2013, 05:46:30 AM »



On the other hand, it isn't possible for things to not have had a beginning, and that infinity is only a concept.

Why is the first position valid, but not the second? Am I missing something here? (probably)

I don't get your question.

OK. My understanding of your position is that time had to have a beginning. My question is, why is that position logically more valid than "time and space could have come into existence without their being time and space" ?
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Re: Can Both Evolution & Creationism be Wrong?
« Reply #32 on: October 20, 2013, 06:12:13 AM »
<snip>
how, from nonexistence, there came to be anything at all.

Ever heard of virtual particles? They appear from nothing and disappear just as quickly, unless they receive a certain amount of energy. And before you say it's just a hypothesis, there's a thread on the forum about guy who managed to "stabilize", if you will, two (IIRC) virtual photons. Of course, this is all under our current laws of physics. What you want to know is outside the realm of physics, and therefore cannot be answered. We can't (realistically) conceive what a world without physics would be like.

OK. My understanding of your position is that time had to have a beginning. My question is, why is that position logically more valid than "time and space could have come into existence without their being time and space" ?

Who said it was? I still don't get your question. :S
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Offline magicmiles

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Re: Can Both Evolution & Creationism be Wrong?
« Reply #33 on: October 20, 2013, 06:17:52 AM »
I'll try a different angle:

"There may never have been a beginning. But I don't know how its possible."

Is that reasonable?
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Re: Can Both Evolution & Creationism be Wrong?
« Reply #34 on: October 20, 2013, 06:22:28 AM »
I'll try a different angle:

"There may never have been a beginning. But I don't know how its possible."

Is that reasonable?

No. All things must have a beginning.
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Offline magicmiles

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Re: Can Both Evolution & Creationism be Wrong?
« Reply #35 on: October 20, 2013, 06:34:18 AM »
Why?
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Re: Can Both Evolution & Creationism be Wrong?
« Reply #36 on: October 20, 2013, 06:45:35 AM »
Why?

Because infinity cannot exist, as I've said at least two other times in this thread.
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Offline magicmiles

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Re: Can Both Evolution & Creationism be Wrong?
« Reply #37 on: October 20, 2013, 06:50:26 AM »
Why can't it exist?
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Re: Can Both Evolution & Creationism be Wrong?
« Reply #38 on: October 20, 2013, 06:56:56 AM »
Why can't it exist?

Because it's a mathematical concept. In real-life, physics does not allow for infinity. When calculations end with infinite values, you know you screwed something up.
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Offline Deus ex Machina

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Re: Can Both Evolution & Creationism be Wrong?
« Reply #39 on: October 20, 2013, 06:59:54 AM »
<snip>
how, from nonexistence, there came to be anything at all.

Ever heard of virtual particles?

How did I just know you were going to bring up virtual particles.

Quote
They appear from nothing and disappear just as quickly

As I understand it, virtual particles have as a prerequisite some sort of prior state that gives rise to them (the Casimir effect, magnetic fields, and so forth). That doesn't really sound like any kind of ex nihilo creation of new "stuff". Do the systems in which these virtual particles manifest suddenly experience a net gain in energy?

Quote
Of course, this is all under our current laws of physics. What you want to know is outside the realm of physics, and therefore cannot be answered. We can't (realistically) conceive what a world without physics would be like.

That may be so, but the position that such a world is unknowable that equate to it being "nothingness".
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Re: Can Both Evolution & Creationism be Wrong?
« Reply #40 on: October 20, 2013, 07:02:34 AM »
Why can't it exist?

Because it's a mathematical concept.

That's not necessarily a good enough reason to declare the nonexistence of things that may appear infinite.

Quote
In real-life, physics does not allow for infinity. When calculations end with infinite values, you know you screwed something up.

As you yourself said: "Of course, this is all under our current laws of physics. What you want to know is outside the realm of physics, and therefore cannot be answered. We can't (realistically) conceive what a world without physics would be like."

Which makes it an even less good reason to declare the nonexistence of things that may appear infinite.
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Offline magicmiles

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Re: Can Both Evolution & Creationism be Wrong?
« Reply #41 on: October 20, 2013, 07:04:59 AM »
Why can't it exist?

Because it's a mathematical concept. In real-life, physics does not allow for infinity. When calculations end with infinite values, you know you screwed something up.

It seems to me that time and space existing without time and space is a philosophical concept, not possible in real life. Yet you seem happy to allow that possibility.
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Re: Can Both Evolution & Creationism be Wrong?
« Reply #42 on: October 20, 2013, 07:07:27 AM »
How did I just know you were going to bring up virtual particles.

Why didn't you bring them up yourself? Save us both some time?

Do the systems in which these virtual particles manifest suddenly experience a net gain in energy?

That's my understanding, yes.

That may be so, but the position that such a world is unknowable that equate to it being "nothingness".

One of us doesn't know enough grammar. This sentence makes no sense to me.

That's not necessarily a good enough reason to declare the nonexistence of things that may appear infinite.

Bold mine.
Matter also appears to be devoid of empty space, yet we know most of it is actually empty space.

As you yourself said: "Of course, this is all under our current laws of physics. What you want to know is outside the realm of physics, and therefore cannot be answered. We can't (realistically) conceive what a world without physics would be like."

Which makes it an even less good reason to declare the nonexistence of things that may appear infinite.

Bold mine.
See above.

It seems to me that time and space existing without time and space is a philosophical concept, not possible in real life. Yet you seem happy to allow that possibility.

Appearances can be deceiving.
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Offline Deus ex Machina

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Re: Can Both Evolution & Creationism be Wrong?
« Reply #43 on: October 20, 2013, 07:17:52 AM »
How did I just know you were going to bring up virtual particles.

Why didn't you bring them up yourself? Save us both some time?

A triumph of hope over experience, perhaps.

Quote
Do the systems in which these virtual particles manifest suddenly experience a net gain in energy?
That's my understanding, yes.

Please provide evidence to support this. As far as I am aware, your "understanding" is false.

Quote
That may be so, but the position that such a world is unknowable that equate to it being "nothingness".

One of us doesn't know enough grammar. This sentence makes no sense to me.

Sorry, that sentence suffered from hasty editing. I meant to say: That may be so, but the position that such a world (that is, one outside the realms of physics) is unknowable does not mean that such a world is equivalent to "nothingness".

Quote
That's not necessarily a good enough reason to declare the nonexistence of things that may appear infinite.

Bold mine.
Matter also appears to be devoid of empty space, yet we know most of it is actually empty space.

Deflection. Actually, matter, on our current models, appears to be mostly empty space. But this has no bearing on the question of the existence of actual infinities. You confidently state that actual infinities cannot exist; but for support of this you are restricted to a space-time that - on current models - appears to be finite. As you yourself said, appearances can be deceiving; and as I've intimated, we can't really be sure that this apparently-finite space-time is all there is. So you need some other means by which to demonstrate the impossibility of actual infinities.

Quote
As you yourself said: "Of course, this is all under our current laws of physics. What you want to know is outside the realm of physics, and therefore cannot be answered. We can't (realistically) conceive what a world without physics would be like."

Which makes it an even less good reason to declare the nonexistence of things that may appear infinite.

Bold mine.
See above.

See above.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2013, 07:22:01 AM by Deus ex Machina »
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Re: Can Both Evolution & Creationism be Wrong?
« Reply #44 on: October 20, 2013, 07:27:04 AM »
A triumph of hope over experience, perhaps.

I speak of what I know. When I don't know something, I either keep my mouth shut, or I say I don't know.

Please provide evidence to support this. As far as I am aware, your "understanding" is false.

My evidence is the search I did. I don't recall the websites, but they seemed pretty clear: virtual particles appear and disappear from nothing. I haven't searched anything about virtual particles in quite a while, so it's entirely possible there have been new developments in that area, or even that I misunderstood the websites I read.

Sorry, that sentence suffered from hasty editing. I meant to say: That may be so, but the position that such a world (that is, one outside the realms of physics) is unknowable does not mean that such a world is equivalent to "nothingness".

True. However, as per the Big Bang theory, the universe as we know it started from a point. "Before" that, there was nothing.

Deflection. Actually, matter, on our current models, appears to be mostly empty space. But this has no bearing on the question of the existence of actual infinities.

No deflection intended. Unless something is actually deemed infinite and all the math and physics check out[1], I see no reason to consider infinity as a possible concept.
 1. Black holes, for example, don't count, as we simply have no idea what happens inside them.
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Offline Deus ex Machina

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Re: Can Both Evolution & Creationism be Wrong?
« Reply #45 on: October 20, 2013, 08:02:27 AM »
I speak of what I know. When I don't know something, I either keep my mouth shut, or I say I don't know.

Commendable. However, you do not appear to extend this to the possibility of actual infinities, albeit ones that may be outside our frame of reference, or the existence of anything outside our space-time.

My evidence is the search I did. I don't recall the websites, but they seemed pretty clear: virtual particles appear and disappear from nothing. I haven't searched anything about virtual particles in quite a while, so it's entirely possible there have been new developments in that area, or even that I misunderstood the websites I read.

Okay. So basically we have an unestablished assertion, based on a poorly-remembered and possibly misunderstood set of search results, that virtual particles are an instance of something being created ex nihilo.

Quote
True. However, as per the Big Bang theory, the universe as we know it started from a point.

That's all well and good, but this...

Quote
"Before" that, there was nothing.

...is where you appear to leap off into speculation, in defiance of your own advice about speaking of what you know and saying "I don't know" when the situation warrants it.

It's okay to say that "before" the Big Bang, or "outside" the observable Universe, there was/is who-the-frack-knows. It may even be fun to speculate about what such a state of reality might be. However, to categorically and confidently declare there to be "nothing" outside our frame of reference implies some degree of knowledge about the nature of reality that, I humbly submit, you do not actually possess.

Quote
No deflection intended. Unless something is actually deemed infinite and all the math and physics check out[1], I see no reason to consider infinity as a possible concept.
 1. Black holes, for example, don't count, as we simply have no idea what happens inside them.

So, by your own admission you're restricting the scope of your "consideration of possible concepts" to an observable Universe that appears, to all intents and purposes, to be finite in every dimension - except for black holes, which you arbitrarily exclude on the grounds that "we simply have no idea what happens inside them". That's a good way to kill curiosity, and excluding phenomena from consideration in order to validate your own idea might be considered a case of attempting to tilt the board in favour of that idea.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2013, 08:06:00 AM by Deus ex Machina »
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Re: Can Both Evolution & Creationism be Wrong?
« Reply #46 on: October 20, 2013, 08:14:29 AM »
Commendable. However, you do not appear to extend this to the possibility of actual infinities, albeit ones that may be outside our frame of reference.

I have yet to encounter anything that would make my doubt my stance.

Okay. So basically we have an unestablished assertion, based on a poorly-remembered and possibly misunderstood set of search results, that virtual particles are an instance of something being created ex nihilo.

"Poorly-remembered" is your claim. I disagree with it. I tend to remember things I like fairly well.

That's all well and good, but this...
<snip>
...is where you appear to leap off into speculation, in defiance of your own advice about speaking of what you know and saying "I don't know" when the situation warrants it.

You think it's speculation. I don't. It's what I was taught. If you'd like to claim that I'm wrong, you better have some evidence.

It's okay to say that "before" the Big Bang, or "outside" the observable Universe, there was/is who-the-frack-knows. It may even be fun to speculate about what such a state of reality might be. However, to categorically and confidently declare there to be "nothing" outside our frame of reference implies some degree of knowledge about the nature of reality that, I humbly submit, you do not actually possess.

It's not OK to say "before the Big Bang". Would it be OK for me to say "before time"? Same principle.
"Outside the observable Universe", however, is OK, because we know there's more beyond, until you reach the edge of the universe, at which point there's nothing.

So, by your own admission you're restricting the scope of your "consideration of possible concepts" to an observable Universe that appears, to all intents and purposes, to be finite in every dimension - except for black holes, which you arbitrarily exclude on the grounds that "we simply have no idea what happens inside them".

I excluded black holes because, according to what I've read on this very forum, our physics "break down"[1] when we try to figure out what happens in the singularity. Specifically how much time and space are distorted. The distortion appears infinite, but only because we simply don't know enough.

That's a good way to kill curiosity.

If I wanted to kill curiosity, I'd say "there's no way to figure out what happens in a black hole".
 1. I believe these were the member's exact words.
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Offline Deus ex Machina

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Re: Can Both Evolution & Creationism be Wrong?
« Reply #47 on: October 20, 2013, 01:12:25 PM »
I have yet to encounter anything that would make my doubt my stance.

You've not really made it very clear why you even bother to adopt it.

Quote
"Poorly-remembered" is your claim. I disagree with it. I tend to remember things I like fairly well.

You yourself said you don't recall the websites. If you can't recall the sources of your information, why would anyone have any trust in your recall of the data itself?

That's all well and good, but this...
<snip>
...is where you appear to leap off into speculation, in defiance of your own advice about speaking of what you know and saying "I don't know" when the situation warrants it.

Quote
You think it's speculation. I don't. It's what I was taught. If you'd like to claim that I'm wrong, you better have some evidence.

If you're going to make claims about what the Big Bang Theory claims that are not obviously true, then it is you who had better have some evidence to back up those claims when someone calls you on them. Shifting the burden of proof because you don't like them referring to your claim as speculation does not wash. The yardstick I am using here is exactly the same one by which we measure the sincerity and engagement of theists on this board. You don't get a Get Out Of Jail Free card just because you're a member of the in-group. Bad arguments are bad arguments whoever proposes them, and for whatever reason.

But since you asked so nicely, check out this article on HowStuffWorks.com. It says, and I quote, "It doesn't attempt to explain what initiated the creation of the universe, or what came before the big bang or even what lies outside the universe".

In short - you were taught wrong. Further,

Quote
It's not OK to say "before the Big Bang". Would it be OK for me to say "before time"? Same principle.

Firstly, I didn't say "before the Big Bang". I said "'before' the Big Bang", and the quotes are quite deliberate because of the well-established difficulties in applying to the concept of the Big Bang a state of "before". The analogy between such a statement and "North of the North Pole" is famous. But that only causes further problems for you. You are only too happy to use the phrase "'before' the Big Bang" in your claim that such a state was one of nothingness. So why the double standard? And why the inconsistency in your position, where first you claim that "'before' the Big Bang, there was nothing", and now you're resorting to "it does not make sense to speak of 'before' in respect of the Big Bang"?

Quote
"Outside the observable Universe", however, is OK, because we know there's more beyond, until you reach the edge of the universe, at which point there's nothing.

That's another speculative assertion. "Nothing" is perhaps one possible descriptor of the state of reality outside the known Universe - that is, all matter and energy that came from the Big Bang - but it is not the only one. Here's another HowStuffWorks.com article that illustrates further the difficulties with making confident pronouncements about any state of existence "before" or "outside" - and offers some alternative, though admittedly speculative, hypotheses concerning the potential nature of reality outside the event-horizon of this Universe.

Quote
I excluded black holes because, according to what I've read on this very forum, our physics "break down"[1] when we try to figure out what happens in the singularity. Specifically how much time and space are distorted. The distortion appears infinite, but only because we simply don't know enough.
 1. I believe these were the member's exact words.

That our physics "break down" at a point does not necessarily mean reality stops at that point. It means, simply, that we have no means of describing what's going on there. What's there, for all that it might be really, really weird, is still real - it is not "nothing". That a phenomenon is "really, really weird" isn't a good enough reason to exclude that phenomenon from consideration - when, say, talking about the potential for actual infinities to exist.

That's what I am trying to get to. Are actual infinities in some way a logical impossibility, things that cannot exist in reality under any circumstances due to some fundamental contradiction inherent in the proposition itself? Or are they a practical impossibility from a perspective that only this Universe, which is apparently finite in all perceptible dimensions, exists (a perspective which, itself, appears to be an assumption about reality)? If the latter, could actual infinities exist in a scenario where this Universe is not all that exists - a scenario which you appear to have arbitrarily disregarded?

Quote
If I wanted to kill curiosity, I'd say "there's no way to figure out what happens in a black hole".

Your footnote said that "Black holes, for example, don't count, as we simply have no idea what happens inside them." That's not a good enough reason for them "not to count". They're still a part of reality. Instead of dismissing black holes with a "they don't count", wouldn't it be a mark of a curious mind to ask: what does happen inside a black hole, and can an actual infinity exist inside it? An awful lot of the stuff that made up the Universe has found its way into black holes: I'd be more inclined to try to figure out where it went than dismissing it with a "they don't count".
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Re: Can Both Evolution & Creationism be Wrong?
« Reply #48 on: October 20, 2013, 01:37:50 PM »
You've not really made it very clear why you even bother to adopt it.

It's simple logic. If, for example, the universe started out from infinite energy, the entire universe would have infinite energy, as per math[1].

You yourself said you don't recall the websites. If you can't recall the sources of your information, why would anyone have any trust in your recall of the data itself?

You'd make a good point, if I didn't know myself.
The source of my information becomes useless once the information is accepted. If it was accepted, it's because I deemed it worthy. While this process does cause some problems (now being a good example of one), it saves up memory for other things.

If you're going to make claims about what the Big Bang Theory claims that are not obviously true, then it is you who had better have some evidence to back up those claims when someone calls you on them. Shifting the burden of proof because you don't like them referring to your claim as speculation does not wash.

True; TBBT doesn't state that there was nothing prior to the Big Bang in so many words, but it's a simple conclusion based on what it does claim.
TBBT proposes that all of the universe (time and space included) was condensed into a single point of infinite mass and density. Time and space are a requirement for existence, and so nothing could have existed prior to time and space.

The yardstick I am using here is exactly the same one by which we measure the sincerity and engagement of theists on this board. You don't get a Get Out Of Jail Free card just because you're a member of the in-group. Bad arguments are bad arguments whoever proposes them, and for whatever reason.

Nor did I ask for a GOOJFC. I don't need one. If I am wrong, so be it. If I'm not, hooray for me.

Firstly, I didn't say "before the Big Bang". I said "'before' the Big Bang", and the quotes are quite deliberate because of the well-established difficulties in applying to the concept of the Big Bang a state of "before". The analogy between such a statement and "North of the North Pole" is famous. But that only causes further problems for you. You are only too happy to use the phrase "'before' the Big Bang" in your claim that such a state was one of nothingness. So why the double standard? And why the inconsistency in your position, where first you claim that "'before' the Big Bang, there was nothing", and now you're resorting to "it does not make sense to speak of 'before' in respect of the Big Bang"?

Good points. I concede that I was wrong. I ignored your quotes (I'd say it was by mistake, but I doubt you'd believe me).

That's another speculative assertion. "Nothing" is perhaps one possible descriptor of the state of reality outside the known Universe - that is, all matter and energy that came from the Big Bang - but it is not the only one. Here's another HowStuffWorks.com article that illustrates further the difficulties with making confident pronouncements about any state of existence "before" or "outside" - and offers some alternative, though admittedly speculative, hypotheses concerning the potential nature of reality outside the event-horizon of this Universe.

I read that article. Coincidentally, I had also considered the possibility that our universe was once a black hole of another universe, and that all black holes might contain universes. However, I dismissed it, due to the fact that, as far as I know, no black hole has ever been shown to "randomly" expand outward.

That our physics "break down" at a point does not necessarily mean reality stops at that point. It means, simply, that we have no means of describing what's going on there. What's there, for all that it might be really, really weird, is still real - it is not "nothing". That a phenomenon is "really, really weird" isn't a good enough reason to exclude that phenomenon from consideration - when, say, talking about the potential for actual infinities to exist.

That's what I am trying to get to. Are actual infinities in some way a logical impossibility, things that cannot exist in reality under any circumstances due to some fundamental contradiction inherent in the proposition itself? Or are they a practical impossibility from a perspective that only this Universe, which is apparently finite in all perceptible dimensions, exists (a perspective which, itself, appears to be an assumption about reality)? If the latter, could actual infinities exist in a scenario where this Universe is not all that exists - a scenario which you appear to have arbitrarily disregarded?

I think it's the former. That said, if the latter is the case, then you have a point.
And don't assume I have disregarded the multiverse hypothesis (theory?).

Your footnote said that "Black holes, for example, don't count, as we simply have no idea what happens inside them." That's not a good enough reason for them "not to count". They're still a part of reality. Instead of dismissing black holes with a "they don't count", wouldn't it be a mark of a curious mind to ask: what does happen inside a black hole, and can an actual infinity exist inside it? An awful lot of the stuff that made up the Universe has found its way into black holes: I'd be more inclined to try to figure out where it went than dismissing it with a "they don't count".

If we don't know what happens in a black hole, how can it count to prove that infinities can exist?
 1. The only way to decrease infinity is to remove infinity from it.
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Offline Deus ex Machina

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Re: Can Both Evolution & Creationism be Wrong?
« Reply #49 on: October 20, 2013, 02:49:30 PM »
You've not really made it very clear why you even bother to adopt it.

It's simple logic. If, for example, the universe started out from infinite energy, the entire universe would have infinite energy, as per math[1].
 1. The only way to decrease infinity is to remove infinity from it.

The maths potentially applicable to this scenario do not begin and end with adding or subtracting numbers from a (numerical) infinity. What about set theory? If there is a set that comprises all natural numbers, then that set is infinite. However, it does not follow that every subset of that set is also infinite. As such, our known Universe - being analogous to a subset of that set - may be finite, but the sum total of all of existence - being analogous to the entire set - may yet be infinite. Further, in such a scenario you are not removing anything from the sum total of existence; the sum total of energy and matter that makes up the known Universe is still a part of existence whether it's distinguishable as a Universe or not. As such, your footnote appears to be somewhat of a non sequitur: there is no need to "decrease infinity", as a subset of an infinite set may itself be finite.

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You yourself said you don't recall the websites. If you can't recall the sources of your information, why would anyone have any trust in your recall of the data itself?
You'd make a good point, if I didn't know myself.
The source of my information becomes useless once the information is accepted. If it was accepted, it's because I deemed it worthy. While this process does cause some problems (now being a good example of one), it saves up memory for other things.

Clearly the information source isn't quite useless, then. ;-)

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True; TBBT doesn't state that there was nothing prior to the Big Bang in so many words, but it's a simple conclusion based on what it does claim.

It's not evident that it's a conclusion that is warranted at all. It would be useful if you could show your working.

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TBBT proposes that all of the universe (time and space included) was condensed into a single point of infinite mass and density.

It proposes that all matter and energy was thereby condensed, and that the "arrow of time" as we understand it started at the moment of the Big Bang; however, it is careful not to make any pronouncements beyond that.

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Time and space are a requirement for existence, and so nothing could have existed prior to time and space.

You have not established this claim nor given a reason to accept this as a premise, and you've already conceded that you don't know how time and space can exist without existence. The logical position to be hold, conversely to that which you state, is that existence is a requirement for anything to "exist" at all, including (but not limited to) space and time.

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Nor did I ask for a GOOJFC. I don't need one. If I am wrong, so be it. If I'm not, hooray for me.

That's up to you, of course; but if I were wrong, I wouldn't be content with "so be it". I'd want to work out where the error was and how to fix it.

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Good points. I concede that I was wrong. I ignored your quotes (I'd say it was by mistake, but I doubt you'd believe me).

I'm happy to accept your concession, and its explanation, at face value.

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I read that article. Coincidentally, I had also considered the possibility that our universe was once a black hole of another universe, and that all black holes might contain universes. However, I dismissed it, due to the fact that, as far as I know, no black hole has ever been shown to "randomly" expand outward.

It's not entirely clear why one would expect a black hole to "randomly" expand outward in such a scenario.

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That's what I am trying to get to. Are actual infinities in some way a logical impossibility, things that cannot exist in reality under any circumstances due to some fundamental contradiction inherent in the proposition itself? Or are they a practical impossibility from a perspective that only this Universe, which is apparently finite in all perceptible dimensions, exists (a perspective which, itself, appears to be an assumption about reality)? If the latter, could actual infinities exist in a scenario where this Universe is not all that exists - a scenario which you appear to have arbitrarily disregarded?

I think it's the former.

If that's so, then we can ditch all the talk of the Big Bang, black holes, virtual particles, time and space, and get straight down to the brass tacks of logic and maths. If actual infinities are logically impossible, then they belong in the same category as married bachelors, square circles, the natural number Pi and (arguably) omnimax transcendent entities: there'd be some definitional reason why the notions of "infinite" and "real" were logically incompatible. Is there one?

If no such definitional contradiction exists, then what we have isn't a logical impossibility (though it might yet be a practical one, depending on the nature of reality).

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That said, if the latter is the case, then you have a point.

Ok.

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And don't assume I have disregarded the multiverse hypothesis (theory?).

It's not an assumption; it's a direct conclusion from your own position that (1) "time and space are requirements for existence". If one accept that as a premise (and you have declared your adherence to that position, twice now, in this thread), and if one (2) defines as time and space the dimensions in our known Universe alone (as you have also declared in this thread, by asserting that they originate with the Big Bang), then that leaves no room for any sort of existence outside that framework - if (3) multiverses lie outside of your thus-defined time and space, then they cannot exist (1+2+3), so you must either: (a) disregard such notions as multiverses as incompatible with your premises, (b) succumb to logical inconsistency; or (c) ditch at least one of your premises.

You can't really ditch (3). You can't place multiverses within our space-time and still call them "multiverses". Anything within our space-time is definitionally our Universe.

(2) is not a premise that's under serious contention. There may be dimensions outside our known Universe that are analogous to time and space in ours, but they're not what we understand by "time" and "space",

So yet again, that pesky premise (1) - that time and space are a prerequisite for existence - is the premise that looks to be the shakiest, and also the easiest premise of which to unburden oneself. With it, multiverses cannot (logically) exist; without it, they can (again, logically; whether they can exist in reality is a whole other question that is contingent upon a whole swathe of other questions about reality that we're currently ill-equipped to answer).

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If we don't know what happens in a black hole, how can it count to prove that infinities can exist?

For the record, "infinities can exist" isn't (yet) an assertion that anyone has made. We're still stuck on the notion that actual infinities can't exist, as per Reply #1 to this thread. I have expressed skepticism of that position; that does not amount to an assertion or assumption of the contrary position.

Per your statement above, it appears that you believe that actual infinities are in some way a logical impossibility. If so, there's no reason to discount black holes: a logical impossibility remains thus irrespective of the frame of reality we're dealing with. If, however, the supposed impossibility of actual infinities is a feature contingent upon some particular configuration of reality in some particular locale, then excluding black holes might be construed as dismissing a potential frame of reference whereby actual infinities might be found in reality.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2013, 02:56:05 PM by Deus ex Machina »
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Re: Can Both Evolution & Creationism be Wrong?
« Reply #50 on: October 20, 2013, 02:55:30 PM »
Just letting you know: your last thought ended abruptly. I'm assuming it was some glitch/error/whatever on your part. I'll reply to your post once it is completed.
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Offline Deus ex Machina

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Re: Can Both Evolution & Creationism be Wrong?
« Reply #51 on: October 20, 2013, 02:56:38 PM »
Just letting you know: your last thought ended abruptly. I'm assuming it was some glitch/error/whatever on your part. I'll reply to your post once it is completed.

Fixed now.
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Re: Can Both Evolution & Creationism be Wrong?
« Reply #52 on: October 20, 2013, 03:00:25 PM »
Fixed now.

Would you mind if I finish a chapter of a story I'm writing? I'm feeling somewhat inspired, and that doesn't always last.
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Offline Deus ex Machina

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Re: Can Both Evolution & Creationism be Wrong?
« Reply #53 on: October 20, 2013, 03:01:41 PM »
Fixed now.

Would you mind if I finish a chapter of a story I'm writing? I'm feeling somewhat inspired, and that doesn't always last.

Fair do's. It's safe to assume we all have lives outside of the Internet. My wife and four-month-old daughter occasionally demand that I not spend my entire time staring at a laptop, for some reason. Most inconsiderate of them, if you ask me. :D
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Re: Can Both Evolution & Creationism be Wrong?
« Reply #54 on: October 20, 2013, 03:22:28 PM »
The things that we know about the universe pale in comparison to what we don't know. Dark matter and dark energy appear to comprise 90% of our universe of so, and yet we know nothing about it. We don't even know if we are labeling the missing stuff adequately. Gravity still stumps us. And now we have scientists theorizing that our universe popped out of a black hole, and that black holes in our universe might be giving birth to yet other universes. So while human math may not like infinity, and human science may not know how to define the missing dark stuff, those things that we imagine to be possible, those limits we imagine to be real, are all based on very incomplete information. We are babes in the woods, guessing like crazy. It may well be that we are on the right track, but that doesn't answer much when you get down to the nitty gritty of reality.

Creationism can't possibly be right. It matches nothing but its own story. Evolution may well be incredibly incomplete as a theory, but at least we have stuff to back up many of the claims. And the real world doesn't seem to be taking us down any other paths. There is no competition for evolution. Evolution seems to match reality, we can use it to successfully predict things, and knowing the science behind it is useful when it comes to doing things like making new medicines and such. But even I, an ardent supporter of evolution, occasionally come across some biological factoid that has me wondering "How the f**k did evolution ever come up with that!".

Knowledge requires access to information. We don't have access to enough of it right now. We may never have access to enough of it. I like to think that, considering what we are working with, that we're doing a fairly decent job. And that, over time, we'll do better.

I do wish that answers to questions like this could be answered within the span of my lifetime, but I think I SOL in that department.
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Re: Can Both Evolution & Creationism be Wrong?
« Reply #55 on: October 20, 2013, 03:44:37 PM »
Inspiration came and went. Oh well.

Fair do's. It's safe to assume we all have lives outside of the Internet. My wife and four-month-old daughter occasionally demand that I not spend my entire time staring at a laptop, for some reason. Most inconsiderate of them, if you ask me. :D

Well, I understand their pain. If you had a desktop computer on the other hand... ;)

The maths potentially applicable to this scenario do not begin and end with adding or subtracting numbers from a (numerical) infinity. What about set theory? If there is a set that comprises all natural numbers, then that set is infinite. However, it does not follow that every subset of that set is also infinite. As such, our known Universe - being analogous to a subset of that set - may be finite, but the sum total of all of existence - being analogous to the entire set - may yet be infinite. Further, in such a scenario you are not removing anything from the sum total of existence; the sum total of energy and matter that makes up the known Universe is still a part of existence whether it's distinguishable as a Universe or not. As such, your footnote appears to be somewhat of a non sequitur: there is no need to "decrease infinity", as a subset of an infinite set may itself be finite.

You make a good point, but, IIRC, TBBT refers to all the Universe[1]; not just the observable bit. This is all theoretical, obviously, since we can't observe all the Universe.

Clearly the information source isn't quite useless, then. ;-)

Obviously. Any and all information can potentially be useful for something, but that doesn't mean we should retain all of our experiences.

It's not evident that it's a conclusion that is warranted at all. It would be useful if you could show your working.
<snip>
It proposes that all matter and energy was thereby condensed, and that the "arrow of time" as we understand it started at the moment of the Big Bang; however, it is careful not to make any pronouncements beyond that.
<snip>
You have not established this claim nor given a reason to accept this as a premise, and you've already conceded that you don't know how time and space can exist without existence. The logical position to be hold, conversely to that which you state, is that existence is a requirement for anything to "exist" at all, including (but not limited to) space and time.

Why is my inability to come up with an explanation evidence for your position?

That's up to you, of course; but if I were wrong, I wouldn't be content with "so be it". I'd want to work out where the error was and how to fix it.

Indeed. I summarized it with "so be it". I had hoped you knew as much. I try to keep my thoughts to myself sometimes, if I feel it's not necessary to express them, especially given how complex they tend to be. To list all my reasons for something would take time I won't spare.

It's not entirely clear why one would expect a black hole to "randomly" expand outward in such a scenario.

I'm assuming "one" doesn't refer to me.[2]
That doesn't really say anything.

If that's so, then we can ditch all the talk of the Big Bang, black holes, virtual particles, time and space, and get straight down to the brass tacks of logic and maths. If actual infinities are logically impossible, then they belong in the same category as married bachelors, square circles, the natural number Pi and (arguably) omnimax transcendent entities: there'd be some definitional reason why the notions of "infinite" and "real" were logically incompatible. Is there one?

If no such definitional contradiction exists, then what we have isn't a logical impossibility (though it might yet be a practical one, depending on the nature of reality).

Well, color me stupid. I misread that part of your post. I thought you had written about what you called a practical impossibility.

It's not an assumption; it's a direct conclusion from your own position that
<snip>
so you must either: (a) disregard such notions as multiverses as incompatible with your premises, (b) succumb to logical inconsistency; or (c) ditch at least one of your premises.
<snip>

Now you've given me a headache.[3] Thankfully, it's a mild one. I'd explain why, but it's personal.
Anyway, I don't know which to concede. I'll have to give it a lot more thought while I progress in my course (physics).

For the record, "infinities can exist" isn't (yet) an assertion that anyone has made. We're still stuck on the notion that actual infinities can't exist, as per Reply #1 to this thread. I have expressed skepticism of that position; that does not amount to an assertion or assumption of the contrary position.

Per your statement above, it appears that you believe that actual infinities are in some way a logical impossibility. If so, there's no reason to discount black holes: a logical impossibility remains thus irrespective of the frame of reality we're dealing with. If, however, the supposed impossibility of actual infinities is a feature contingent upon some particular configuration of reality in some particular locale, then excluding black holes might be construed as dismissing a potential frame of reference whereby actual infinities might be found in reality.

If we don't know what happens, how can we refer to black holes in this context?
 1. In the sense that all the Universe was condensed blah blah blah.
 2. Not because My name starts with "One". Seriously.
 3. I get headaches whenever I realize I hold two conflicting ideas as being true.
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Offline Deus ex Machina

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Re: Can Both Evolution & Creationism be Wrong?
« Reply #56 on: October 20, 2013, 04:36:24 PM »
The things that we know about the universe pale in comparison to what we don't know. Dark matter and dark energy appear to comprise 90% of our universe of so, and yet we know nothing about it. We don't even know if we are labeling the missing stuff adequately. Gravity still stumps us. And now we have scientists theorizing that our universe popped out of a black hole, and that black holes in our universe might be giving birth to yet other universes. So while human math may not like infinity, and human science may not know how to define the missing dark stuff, those things that we imagine to be possible, those limits we imagine to be real, are all based on very incomplete information. We are babes in the woods, guessing like crazy. It may well be that we are on the right track, but that doesn't answer much when you get down to the nitty gritty of reality.

Creationism can't possibly be right. It matches nothing but its own story. Evolution may well be incredibly incomplete as a theory, but at least we have stuff to back up many of the claims. And the real world doesn't seem to be taking us down any other paths. There is no competition for evolution. Evolution seems to match reality, we can use it to successfully predict things, and knowing the science behind it is useful when it comes to doing things like making new medicines and such. But even I, an ardent supporter of evolution, occasionally come across some biological factoid that has me wondering "How the f**k did evolution ever come up with that!".

Knowledge requires access to information. We don't have access to enough of it right now. We may never have access to enough of it. I like to think that, considering what we are working with, that we're doing a fairly decent job. And that, over time, we'll do better.

I do wish that answers to questions like this could be answered within the span of my lifetime, but I think I SOL in that department.

I think you may be right. It appears that the more we discover about reality, the vaster, stranger and less comprehensible it becomes. And any budding physicist would do well to leave personal intuition at the door, because that shit will really mess up your understanding of physics in this century.
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Re: Can Both Evolution & Creationism be Wrong?
« Reply #57 on: October 20, 2013, 05:14:46 PM »
Well, I understand their pain. If you had a desktop computer on the other hand... ;)

...then I'd be confined to the loft room without access to subscription TV channels. Sometimes this matters. :D

Quote
You make a good point, but, IIRC, TBBT refers to all the Universe; not just the observable bit. This is all theoretical, obviously, since we can't observe all the Universe.

I was more careful there to use the term "known Universe" rather than "observable Universe" in that bit, for good reason: what I'm trying to convey is that which came from the cosmic singularity associated with the Big Bang, whilst avoiding terms such as "originated" (which would imply a premise I don't adopt), but also avoiding any concept of the term "Universe" that might be construed as synonymous with "existence" (which would imply another premise I don't adopt). If there's a set E that encompasses "existence" (or, if you like, "everything"), there's also a set U that encompasses what we would generally term the Universe, or the "known" Universe. U is a subset of E - "everything in the Universe" is a subset of "everything". That's pretty much definitional, whether one believes "everything in the Universe" is "everything" or not. If one adopts the position that the Universe is all there is, then U = E, and is also (necessarily) finite. In multiverse hypotheses, U < E (often by quite a wide margin) - and E may or may not be finite in one or more aspects, depending on the hypothesis.

The Big Bang Theory describes the initial state and early development of U. What the Big Bang does not do is describe a relationship between U and E.

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You have not established this claim nor given a reason to accept this as a premise, and you've already conceded that you don't know how time and space can exist without existence. The logical position to be hold, conversely to that which you state, is that existence is a requirement for anything to "exist" at all, including (but not limited to) space and time.

Why is my inability to come up with an explanation evidence for your position?

It isn't. The logical proposition stands on its own merits: in order for an object to possess an attribute, there must be such an attribute for the object to possess. Your inability to come up with an explanation was merely an attempt on my part to illustrate this.

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It's not entirely clear why one would expect a black hole to "randomly" expand outward in such a scenario.

I'm assuming "one" doesn't refer to me.[1]
That doesn't really say anything.
 1. Not because My name starts with "One". Seriously.

You earlier said that "I had also considered the possibility that our universe was once a black hole of another universe, and that all black holes might contain universes. However, I dismissed it, due to the fact that, as far as I know, no black hole has ever been shown to "randomly" expand outward." That statement confuses me, because there's no obvious connection between a failure to observe an expanding black hole ("randomly" or otherwise) and your dismissal of the notion that black holes may contain universes.

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Well, color me stupid. I misread that part of your post. I thought you had written about what you called a practical impossibility.

That is another (as far as I can figure out, the only other) alternative: that, whilst not necessarily logically contradictory concepts, actual infinities can't practically exist in reality due to the limitations of reality. As I said, I'm happy to concede that it's a possibility that reality doesn't work in a way that allows for actual infinities, but it seems we're still a ways off from establishing that.

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Now you've given me a headache. (I get headaches whenever I realize I hold two conflicting ideas as being true.) Thankfully, it's a mild one. I'd explain why, but it's personal.
Anyway, I don't know which to concede. I'll have to give it a lot more thought while I progress in my course (physics).

Fair enough :)

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If we don't know what happens, how can we refer to black holes in this context?

I think it's fair to posit the question, even if it is (necessarily) speculative, based on a paucity of data.

I'm not trying to trap you, trick you, nor lead you by the nose towards some sort of predetermined hidden conclusion. The question of whether actual infinities exist, or can exist, is (at least to me) an interesting one. I don't claim to have an answer to it, and you're the first person I've encountered who has a fairly clear opinion on it that I've had the chance and the inclination to question. So forgive me if this feels like an inquisition. I'm attempting to be rigorous - which is probably biting off more than I can chew late on a Sunday night ;)

If you stand by Reply #1, it would appear that you would have to say that actual infinities cannot exist in black holes. However, if we don't know what happens, how confident would you be about making that claim, and on what basis?
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