A Good Infinite Regress Step of Some Cosmological Arguments

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Hobbes' Choice
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Re: A Good Infinite Regress Step of Some Cosmological Arguments

Post by Hobbes' Choice »

Immanuel Can wrote:
Hobbes' Choice wrote:It's still your problem, always will be. You are just too blinkered to see it.
You cannot end a problem with a phrase.
Do you have anything actually relevant to say? No? Okay. Bye.

I shall not bother hereafter.

That's one problem ended. 8)
Typical Kristian. Stuck your fingers in your ears and scweam!!! Sing "lalalalalalalal"
What care have you of reason, evidence and facts, when you have belief??
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Re: A Good Infinite Regress Step of Some Cosmological Arguments

Post by ken »

Immanuel Can wrote:
ken wrote:You may not be able to make sense of this, but I can.
I eagerly await your explanation, then. How can any causal chain ever start, given an infinity of necessary previous causes?
There is NO start.

By definition, 'If every action causes a re-action', then there is no beginning, and there was no end, obviously.

There is no broken link in the causal chain.

By the way all of this also fits in perfectly with a "God" creating Everything.

If the Truth be known there is only a NOW, which is being created infinitely.
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Immanuel Can
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Re: A Good Infinite Regress Step of Some Cosmological Arguments

Post by Immanuel Can »

ken wrote:There is NO start.

By definition, 'If every action causes a re-action', then there is no beginning, and there was no end, obviously.
Actually, since every "action" is by definition a discrete event, you've just made it necessary for there to be a beginning. As for the end, entropy tells us there will be one. So it's not an answer, I'm afraid.
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Re: A Good Infinite Regress Step of Some Cosmological Arguments

Post by wtf »

Immanuel Can wrote:
ken wrote:There is NO start.

By definition, 'If every action causes a re-action', then there is no beginning, and there was no end, obviously.
Actually, since every "action" is by definition a discrete event, you've just made it necessary for there to be a beginning. As for the end, entropy tells us there will be one. So it's not an answer, I'm afraid.
Can you explain what you mean by entropy? Suppose I take the set of integers ..., -4, -3, -2, -1, 0, 1, 2, 3, ...

That's a discrete set. Suppose we say that each event is "caused" by the previous one. Then everything has a cause and there is an infinite regress.

If you prefer your universe continuous, do the same thought experiment with the real number line. In this case there is no next or previous item but any given moment can be thought of as the result of everything that's come before. Another infinite regress with no beginning.
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Re: A Good Infinite Regress Step of Some Cosmological Arguments

Post by Philosophy Explorer »

wtf wrote:
Immanuel Can wrote:
ken wrote:There is NO start.

By definition, 'If every action causes a re-action', then there is no beginning, and there was no end, obviously.
Actually, since every "action" is by definition a discrete event, you've just made it necessary for there to be a beginning. As for the end, entropy tells us there will be one. So it's not an answer, I'm afraid.
Can you explain what you mean by entropy? Suppose I take the set of integers ..., -4, -3, -2, -1, 0, 1, 2, 3, ...

That's a discrete set. Suppose we say that each event is "caused" by the previous one. Then everything has a cause and there is an infinite regress.

If you prefer your universe continuous, do the same thought experiment with the real number line. In this case there is no next or previous item but any given moment can be thought of as the result of everything that's come before. Another infinite regress with no beginning.
"... there is no next or previous item..." Depends on what you mean by "item." In terms of individual numbers, there are no next or previous items. Now consider this:
[2, 3). The next item is [3, 4) and the previous item is [1, 2) so in terms of sets, it makes perfect sense to talk about next and previous items and you can break up the real number line this way with no gaps nor overlaps.

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Re: A Good Infinite Regress Step of Some Cosmological Arguments

Post by Immanuel Can »

wtf wrote:Can you explain what you mean by entropy?
Oh, sorry...broadly speaking, it means the tendency of the world to move from a state of higher order to lower order...decay and decline, really. The idea is that the world is, so to speak, "running down," dissipating energy and creating disorder from order, not the other way around.

This is a very well-established scientific law...maybe the most secure scientific law we have. You can observe it in operation just by putting food colouring into water. In a few minutes, it will distribute equally, and all you'll have is pale blue or green or red water. Everything will be evenly distributed. Or you can observe it by leaving your fence unpainted for a year or two; is your fence better or worse afterward? You get the simple analogies, I'm sure. Order in the universe is running down in much the same manner; energy and order are dissipating. And they will continue to dissipate until we reach a final state in which all the energy in the universe is equally distributed (just like the food colouring in the water) -- a state called "heat death" -- and after that, nothing happens forever, because no particular of energy in the universe is anything but equally distributed relative to every other, so there's no further causality possible.

That's "entropy."
Suppose I take the set of integers ..., -4, -3, -2, -1, 0, 1, 2, 3, ...

That's a discrete set. Suppose we say that each event is "caused" by the previous one. Then everything has a cause and there is an infinite regress.
In asking our question, we're looking at it backward, though. We're saying that before -3 there had to be a -4. But before a -4, there had to be a -5. And so on. But if the chain is infinite, there is no way for it to start. For "-infinity" isn't a real number: rather, it's a sort of conceptual placeholder, a declaration that a thing did not, in fact, have any start at all.

Another way of saying this is that -6 never happened, because -7 couldn't happen until -8 happened, but -8 couldn't happen because -9 hadn't, and so on...backward to infinity. But "infinity" isn't a point, but rather a placeholder for the unending lack of a previous point. So none of the numbers in the sequence can ever happen at all, because their necessary prerequisites have never taken place either, because their necessary prerequisites never happened yet, and so on....to infinity.

That's bad enough. But now, if we plug in entropy, and even if we assume entropy to have once been much slower than it is now (which we really have no reason to suppose, but won't change anything if we suppose it anyway) -- in fact, let's suppose that in olden times it was 1,000 or 1,000, 000 times slower than it is now -- IF infinity has passed already, with entropy of even the most minutely limited kind figured in, then we'd have reached "heat death" an infinite period of time ago.

Is that any clearer? I hope so. If not, feel free to ask me to try again.
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Re: A Good Infinite Regress Step of Some Cosmological Arguments

Post by wtf »

Immanuel Can wrote:

Is that any clearer? I hope so. If not, feel free to ask me to try again.
Not really. I never used the word infinity, you did. I simply pointed to the familiar mathematical example of the integers. They're discrete, one follows another, and there's no first one.

I don't see how entropy applies, since admittedly the integers are conceptual and not physical.

But in your discussion of entropy, you said the world is running down. That may be so, although certainly life on earth has progressed from disorder to order. Why do you think that is?

But you said nothing about how all that original order got there. You're saying that the universe started out as maximally ordered? What does that even mean, and how did it get that way?
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Re: A Good Infinite Regress Step of Some Cosmological Arguments

Post by Immanuel Can »

wtf wrote:But in your discussion of entropy, you said the world is running down. That may be so, although certainly life on earth has progressed from disorder to order. Why do you think that is?
You may suppose so, but we don't find that either in recorded history or in experimental science. So you would be talking speculatively, about pre-history, I would have to guess.

I think we can't hang too much on that.
But you said nothing about how all that original order got there. You're saying that the universe started out as maximally ordered? What does that even mean, and how did it get that way?
Ah, now you ask the important question: if entropy is the law, then from where did the universe get this marvellous amount of energy and order from which it is now progressively declining entropically? There must have been an immense infusion of it somehow...but how?

Of course, for the believer in a First Cause, the answer is obvious; but what is the right answer if one does not believe in such things?
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Re: A Good Infinite Regress Step of Some Cosmological Arguments

Post by ken »

Immanuel Can wrote:
wtf wrote:Can you explain what you mean by entropy?
Oh, sorry...broadly speaking, it means the tendency of the world to move from a state of higher order to lower order...decay and decline, really. The idea is that the world is, so to speak, "running down," dissipating energy and creating disorder from order, not the other way around.

This is a very well-established scientific law...maybe the most secure scientific law we have. You can observe it in operation just by putting food colouring into water. In a few minutes, it will distribute equally, and all you'll have is pale blue or green or red water. Everything will be evenly distributed. Or you can observe it by leaving your fence unpainted for a year or two; is your fence better or worse afterward? You get the simple analogies, I'm sure. Order in the universe is running down in much the same manner; energy and order are dissipating. And they will continue to dissipate until we reach a final state in which all the energy in the universe is equally distributed (just like the food colouring in the water) -- a state called "heat death" -- and after that, nothing happens forever, because no particular of energy in the universe is anything but equally distributed relative to every other, so there's no further causality possible.

That's "entropy."
Why would God create a "world" for it to just decay, until nothing happens forever more?

And, how are you so sure that this is what is going to happen?

Could not, would not, God just create another Universe, or another anything or Everything?

You are aware that two elder, and thus decaying, human beings can create new human beings, just like elder and decaying exploding stars also, on their "heat death", can create new things? You do also realize that if and when two or more already existing, thus older, and therefore decaying and entropic things come together, then they create newer things? Do you also realize that this could happen forever or infinitely?
Immanuel Can wrote:
Suppose I take the set of integers ..., -4, -3, -2, -1, 0, 1, 2, 3, ...

That's a discrete set. Suppose we say that each event is "caused" by the previous one. Then everything has a cause and there is an infinite regress.
In asking our question, we're looking at it backward, though. We're saying that before -3 there had to be a -4. But before a -4, there had to be a -5. And so on. But if the chain is infinite, there is no way for it to start. For "-infinity" isn't a real number: rather, it's a sort of conceptual placeholder, a declaration that a thing did not, in fact, have any start at all.
Why do you persist with the idea that there having to have been a start, in the beginning?

There is no thing in any literature that says that there WAS, nor that there HAD TO, have been a beginning.

There is a beginning, but it is not in the sense that you are thinking of.

Just because human beings had a beginning it is not necessary to believe everything else must of also had a beginning. The Truth is if there HAD TO BE a before, before human beings, then there is most likely a before, before what is presumed to be "the beginning" of Everything. If every action causes a reaction is true, then obviously there is an unbroken causal chain.
Immanuel Can wrote:Another way of saying this is that -6 never happened, because -7 couldn't happen until -8 happened, but -8 couldn't happen because -9 hadn't, and so on...backward to infinity. But "infinity" isn't a point, but rather a placeholder for the unending lack of a previous point.
But infinity is a point. The point at or of infinity is NOW.
Immanuel Can wrote: So none of the numbers in the sequence can ever happen at all, because their necessary prerequisites have never taken place either, because their necessary prerequisites never happened yet, and so on....to infinity.
But ALL of their necessary prerequisites HAVE taken place. If there is a number, which there is, then ALL of the necessary prerequisites must have already taken place, obviously.
Immanuel Can wrote:That's bad enough. But now, if we plug in entropy, and even if we assume entropy to have once been much slower than it is now (which we really have no reason to suppose, but won't change anything if we suppose it anyway) -- in fact, let's suppose that in olden times it was 1,000 or 1,000, 000 times slower than it is now -- IF infinity has passed already, with entropy of even the most minutely limited kind figured in, then we'd have reached "heat death" an infinite period of time ago.
Have you thought about, or even imagined, that creation, itself, could be infinite?
Immanuel Can wrote:Is that any clearer? I hope so. If not, feel free to ask me to try again.
If I ask you to "try again", what is it exactly that I am asking to try, and do, again?

Are you trying to argue that God created everything but everything will die, and after that nothing happens forever?

If you are, then you will have a LOT of explaining to do.
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Re: A Good Infinite Regress Step of Some Cosmological Arguments

Post by ken »

Immanuel Can wrote:
ken wrote:There is NO start.

By definition, 'If every action causes a re-action', then there is no beginning, and there was no end, obviously.
Actually, since every "action" is by definition a discrete event, you've just made it necessary for there to be a beginning. As for the end, entropy tells us there will be one. So it's not an answer, I'm afraid.
If you looked at what I write correctly, then you will see that is was an answer.

You have only said that it is necessary for there to be a beginning to a discrete event, such as that as an "action". Of course every action has a beginning but there obviously can not be a beginning, nor end, to the causal-action/re-action-chain.

Also, just because an action is a discrete event, then that does not, in of itself, mean that the Universe is a discrete event. The Universe may very well be discrete, as in ALL together It is the One and only event happening. But the Universe, Itself, could very well be infinite in nature, which I think you will find is the, One and only obvious True, answer.
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Re: A Good Infinite Regress Step of Some Cosmological Arguments

Post by ken »

Immanuel Can wrote:
wtf wrote:But in your discussion of entropy, you said the world is running down. That may be so, although certainly life on earth has progressed from disorder to order. Why do you think that is?
You may suppose so, but we don't find that either in recorded history or in experimental science. So you would be talking speculatively, about pre-history, I would have to guess.

I think we can't hang too much on that.
If the "world", whatever that is, is running down, then why is the Universe supposedly expanding? Is that part of entropy also?
Immanuel Can wrote:
But you said nothing about how all that original order got there. You're saying that the universe started out as maximally ordered? What does that even mean, and how did it get that way?
Ah, now you ask the important question: if entropy is the law, then from where did the universe get this marvellous amount of energy and order from which it is now progressively declining entropically? There must have been an immense infusion of it somehow...but how?

Of course, for the believer in a First Cause, the answer is obvious;
You say, "Ah, now you ask the important question: ..." but yet you do not answer the "important" question anyway whatsoever other than "Of course, for the believer in the First Cause, the answer is obvious".

WHAT is the supposed obvious answer?

WHO/WHAT is the alleged "first cause"?

HOW did the first cause happen?

WHY did the first cause happen?

WHEN did the first cause happen?

WHERE did the first cause happen?
Immanuel Can wrote:but what is the right answer if one does not believe in such things?
I am not sure what the right answer is for a non-believer, nor for a believer for that matter, but the right answer for the One, who is truly open, is the Universe has probably always had this marvelous amount of energy and order. And always has and always will most likely have this marvelous amount of energy and order. If the Universe can keep expanding, as some say it is, then that could sort of suggest that the Universe, Itself, is not actually "progressively declining entropically".
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Re: A Good Infinite Regress Step of Some Cosmological Arguments

Post by Immanuel Can »

Wow. A lot to answer.

I'll try to pick out what looks essential, just for the sake of not making my reply as lengthy or more. If I miss something you deem essential, feel free to let me know. I'm not trying to avoid anything here, just to be concise if I can.
ken wrote:Why would God create a "world" for it to just decay, until nothing happens forever more?
He wouldn't. But I'm not talking about MY postulate, but rather the Naturalists postulate of a world that has nothing in it but matter and energy governed by scientific laws. The universe with God taken into account does not share the problem of cosmological regress that Lawrence is speaking of.
And, how are you so sure that this is what is going to happen?
Easy. If Naturalism is true, then Naturalistic science says this is exactly what is going to happen. See, for example, Sagan's "Cosmos" series.
Could not, would not, God just create another Universe, or another anything or Everything?
He could. But Lawrence was asking about the no-God hypothesis.
You are aware that two elder, and thus decaying, human beings can create new human beings, just like elder and decaying exploding stars also, on their "heat death", can create new things? You do also realize that if and when two or more already existing, thus older, and therefore decaying and entropic things come together, then they create newer things? Do you also realize that this could happen forever or infinitely?
Actually, on the cosmic scale, none of that is true. And mathematically, infinite regress is impossible.
Why do you persist with the idea that there having to have been a start, in the beginning?
Because that's what causality says is necessary.
There is no thing in any literature that says that there WAS, nor that there HAD TO, have been a beginning.
Actually, there is.
There is a beginning, but it is not in the sense that you are thinking of.
There are actually logically only two possibilities here. Either a) the universe had a beginning, or b) the universe had no beginning. If it's a), the universe is bound by linear time and entropy. If it's b) that needs to be demonstrated scientifically; but all the data says it's not true. The most plausible theory at the moment is of a singularity called "The Big Bang," if you will, commencing things. Whether that was a Naturalist phenomenon or a Divine Act is the matter in question. But time is linear, and we are bound by entropy.
Just because human beings had a beginning it is not necessary to believe everything else must of also had a beginning. The Truth is if there HAD TO BE a before, before human beings, then there is most likely a before, before what is presumed to be "the beginning" of Everything. If every action causes a reaction is true, then obviously there is an unbroken causal chain.
But it cannot be an infinite regress. That's the point I'm trying to make in response to Lawrence's question.
But infinity is a point. The point at or of infinity is NOW.
You've misunderstood the concept. Infinity is not a point. It's a concept, a mere placeholder for the statement "there IS no origin point." It is not a member of the set of the real or rational numbers.
Immanuel Can wrote: So none of the numbers in the sequence can ever happen at all, because their necessary prerequisites have never taken place either, because their necessary prerequisites never happened yet, and so on....to infinity.
But ALL of their necessary prerequisites HAVE taken place. If there is a number, which there is, then ALL of the necessary prerequisites must have already taken place, obviously.
That's an argument for the necessity of a First Cause, actually. And it's correct.
Have you thought about, or even imagined, that creation, itself, could be infinite?
Yes. But having thought it over, I see no way it can be scientific or rational to suppose that. So I have had to reject that idea.
Are you trying to argue that God created everything but everything will die, and after that nothing happens forever?
No. I'm just repeating what people like Sagan have said, and discussing the implications of their view. But I think they're wrong.

I'll get to your further comments a bit later. Must run at the moment. Perhaps you might hold on reply until I get my chance...but it's up to you.
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Re: A Good Infinite Regress Step of Some Cosmological Arguments

Post by Immanuel Can »

ken wrote:. The Universe may very well be discrete, as in ALL together It is the One and only event happening. But the Universe, Itself, could very well be infinite in nature, which I think you will find is the, One and only obvious True, answer.
Actually, the opposite is true. The universe cannot be infinite-in-the-past, at the very least: that we can know deductively. That's the point of considering the regression issue.
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Re: A Good Infinite Regress Step of Some Cosmological Arguments

Post by Immanuel Can »

ken wrote:If the "world", whatever that is, is running down, then why is the Universe supposedly expanding? Is that part of entropy also?
Science tells us it's "exploding." That is indeed part of entropy.
You say, "Ah, now you ask the important question: ..." but yet you do not answer the "important" question anyway whatsoever other than "Of course, for the believer in the First Cause, the answer is obvious".

WHAT is the supposed obvious answer?

WHO/WHAT is the alleged "first cause"?

HOW did the first cause happen?

WHY did the first cause happen?

WHEN did the first cause happen?

WHERE did the first cause happen?
The first cause has to be first, and has to be uncaused. As Leibniz reminds us, whatever we suppose to be that Cause has to be sufficient to the proposed effect. If the "effect" is our universe, then the First Cause must be self-existent, creative, order-producing, immensely powerful...

Only one agent fits...

God.
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Re: A Good Infinite Regress Step of Some Cosmological Arguments

Post by Dontaskme »

Immanuel Can wrote: The first cause has to be first, and has to be uncaused. As Leibniz reminds us, whatever we suppose to be that Cause has to be sufficient to the proposed effect. If the "effect" is our universe, then the First Cause must be self-existent, creative, order-producing, immensely powerful...

Only one agent fits...

God.
The universe is no thing and everything all at once one without a second. We know this because it cannot step outside of itself to look back at itself to verify it happened. The past never happened, the future never comes. The universe therefore must be ''infinity for eternity'' condensed into this immediate infinitesimal now...aka The zero point of conception. In other words it is the micro&macrocosm all in one place aka nowhere.
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