A Good Infinite Regress Step of Some Cosmological Arguments

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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:But the point is the one prior HAS already happened, obviously. If there is some thing happening NOW, then obviously some thing happened prior, so on, infinitely. Nothing hard at all to grasp that most basic of wisdom.
My last response to "wtf" above will help clarify, if you have time to read it.
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Noax
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Re: A Good Infinite Regress Step of Some Cosmological Arguments

Post by Noax »

Immanuel Can wrote:
Noax wrote:Logic does not acknowledge your 'only two possibilities'.
The Law of Non-Contradiction does: either a thing had a beginning, or it had none.
I wanted to clarify this point. Either it is true that my pregnancy occurred after 2010, or it is not true that my pregnancy occurred after 2010. Law of contradiction says one of those is true, but then you're concluding from the latter choice that I had been pregnant. I view 'had a beginning' as such a loaded term, leaving the implication that if there is no infinite regress, then there must have been a time when the universe didn't exist.
"Biases"? Well, if you mean the things a person thinks are true, then I guess we've all got those?
Yes, but you can't use them in presenting evidence for your position. It is fine to hold beliefs, but arguing for that belief requires a start from an agnostic position.

One other thing to point out:
Immanuel Can wrote:
wtf wrote: You want to be able to make the claim that "Every event has a cause."
I don't need to "claim" it. It's manifestly true, and a basic axiom of science, so I just point it out.
It is not an axiom at all. I can thing of no law that depends on it (especially since it is not true). There is the action/reaction relationship (not between events), but that is a consequence of physical law, an observation in need of explanation, not an axiom on which anything rests. Also, there is no assignment of cause and effect in the action/reaction relationship. Physics perhaps has symbols for cause and effect, but I am unaware of their use in classic and relativistic physics, and they appear in no formula that I'm aware of. I will undoubtedly be shown wrong on this, but my point is that it is not basic physics.

As for every event having a cause, that is quite proven false. This seems to be true in classic physics since it is the physics of statistical averages, but in truth, there are plenty of uncaused events. An incandescent light bulb shines uncaused. Sure, electricity heats it up and it shines. That's the classic statistics at work. But there is actually no direct connection between the two. Electricity excites the electron orbits of some atom and that causes nothing more. The eventual photon emission is an uncaused event that follows only a probability curve. Like radioactive decay, no actual event triggers it, so it is not an effect.
Dontaskme
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Re: A Good Infinite Regress Step of Some Cosmological Arguments

Post by Dontaskme »

Lawrence Crocker wrote:As this thread shows, discussion of the issue of completed infinities tends to gravitate towards efficient causation and the possibility or impossibility of an infinite past.
Hello Lawrence.. :wink: I'm just going to throw in a Nonduality stance on this argument.. :wink:

Remember that concepts are fictions. Therefore there is no such thing as 'infinity' let alone an 'infinite regress' These are purely conceptual known things...aka fictions. All known things have never been seen, or experienced, for the seer / experiencer is nowhere to be found by other. The seer is everywhere all at once aka nowhere.

All images seen, all events experienced are projections of the this imageless none mover...aka the vacuum of transparent space aka the standing waves of pure potential, aka light.
Projections are never of the waving waves which is the manifestation of the standing waves as pure potential actualised... aka the fictional events known via the awareness of such. So in effect, the causer is the effect since nothing is ever actually happening, since the actualised waves always return to their original standing waves of pure potential.

That which appears to be without beginning nor end cannot complete, so the idea of cause and effect is irrelevant. These are ideas/concepts. In other words, pure imagination.


That which is, is without cause
That which seems to be, is caused
That which is causeless, is the cause of all things...
That seem to be.

This is power indeed... this is the magic of illusion. And it's a very grand illusion indeed... :D

What do you reckon to that?
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Immanuel Can
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Re: A Good Infinite Regress Step of Some Cosmological Arguments

Post by Immanuel Can »

Noax wrote:... there must have been a time when the universe didn't exist.
Undoubtedly.
"Biases"? Well, if you mean the things a person thinks are true, then I guess we've all got those?
Yes, but you can't use them in presenting evidence for your position. It is fine to hold beliefs, but arguing for that belief requires a start from an agnostic position.
I wasn't, actually. What I was doing was asking you to consider the implications of a hypothetical, not presenting a hypothetical as evidence. Where the word "if" occurs, particularly in capitals, I would hope that's clear.

One other thing to point out:
Immanuel Can wrote:
wtf wrote: You want to be able to make the claim that "Every event has a cause."
I don't need to "claim" it. It's manifestly true, and a basic axiom of science, so I just point it out.
It is not an axiom at all. I can thing of no law that depends on it (especially since it is not true). [/quote]
Do you believe in "uncaused events"? In people that appear and disappear for no reason? In objects that float in the air, but with no "cause" behind the floating?

You can, of course; but you can't do science on that basis. If something is without cause, then no inquiry can be made into "why" is does things...it just "does" them. :shock:
There is the action/reaction relationship (not between events), but that is a consequence of physical law, an observation in need of explanation, not an axiom on which anything rests.
Oh, I don't agree at all. But you can think so if you wish, of course.
As for every event having a cause, that is quite proven false.
Please: do prove this. I would be most interested in what Materialists would have to say.
Like radioactive decay, no actual event triggers it, so it is not an effect.
You can actually hold to this, of course; but you can't hold to it and be a Materialist, Naturalist or Physicalist. These dogmas all require that there is always a material cause for material events. And it's only in debunking these views that I am concerned.

I haven't even considered any metaphysical or non-physical alternatives in what I have posted so far. However, I really didn't need to in order to prove the aforementioned three dogmas irrational, did I? They fail pretty quickly on their own steam, at least in regard to problems like infinite regress.
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Immanuel Can
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Re: A Good Infinite Regress Step of Some Cosmological Arguments

Post by Immanuel Can »

Immanuel Can wrote:
Noax wrote:... there must have been a time when the universe didn't exist.
Undoubtedly.
"Biases"? Well, if you mean the things a person thinks are true, then I guess we've all got those?
Yes, but you can't use them in presenting evidence for your position. It is fine to hold beliefs, but arguing for that belief requires a start from an agnostic position.
I wasn't, actually. What I was doing was asking you to consider the implications of a hypothetical, not presenting a hypothetical as evidence. Where the word "if" occurs, particularly in capitals, I would hope that's clear.
One other thing to point out:
Immanuel Can wrote: I don't need to "claim" it. It's manifestly true, and a basic axiom of science, so I just point it out.
It is not an axiom at all. I can thing of no law that depends on it (especially since it is not true).
Do you believe in "uncaused events"? In people that appear and disappear for no reason? In objects that float in the air, but with no "cause" behind the floating?

You can, of course; but you can't do science on that basis. If something is without cause, then no inquiry can be made into "why" is does things...it just "does" them. :shock:
There is the action/reaction relationship (not between events), but that is a consequence of physical law, an observation in need of explanation, not an axiom on which anything rests.
Oh, I don't agree at all. But you can think so if you wish, of course.
As for every event having a cause, that is quite proven false.
Please: do prove this. I would be most interested in what Materialists would have to say.
Like radioactive decay, no actual event triggers it, so it is not an effect.
You can actually hold to this, of course; but you can't hold to it and be a Materialist, Naturalist or Physicalist. These dogmas all require that there is always a material cause for material events. And it's only in debunking these views that I am concerned.

I haven't even considered any metaphysical or non-physical alternatives in what I have posted so far. However, I really didn't need to in order to prove the aforementioned three dogmas irrational, did I? They fail pretty quickly on their own steam, at least in regard to problems like infinite regress.
wtf
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Re: A Good Infinite Regress Step of Some Cosmological Arguments

Post by wtf »

Immanuel Can wrote:
wtf wrote:What does "causes are actual" mean? You have evidence for that claim? Or even an interpretation of the words that makes the statement sensible?
Ah. I thought so. I figured out afterward that you were unfamiliar with the phrase "actual infinite." My apologies...I thought you were aware of the term. I'll explain.
Aren't you the clever one. You use the phrase "causes are actual," and I ask what that means, and you talk about actual infinity. But that's not the meaning you intended originally nor does it respond to my question.

Are you being disingenuous? Or just not even understanding the words you wrote? What on earth does "causes are actual" have to do with Aristotle's distinction between potential and actual infinity? Which, by the way, I referred to in an earlier post. I'd complain that you didn't read my post, but I'm not even sure you read your own.

I ask again: What does "causes are actual" mean?

Immanuel Can wrote: A "conceptual" infinite is one that doesn't really exist but can be imagined to exist. Take pi, for example: it can be thought about, but cannot actually be calculated. Nobody has ever seen all the digits in pi, and because it's infinite, nobody ever will. But we can think about the idea of pi.
Now that's funny, because it shows that you haven't got a clue about actual versus potential infinity.

The digits of pi as they are understood in modern math is an actual infinity. That is, there is a function that inputs a counting number 1, 2, 3, ... and outputs the first, second, third, etc. digit of pi. That's an actual infinity. The idea that we have a function that consists of ALL the order pairs (n, n-th digit of pi) is exactly the content of the Axiom of Infinity, which says that there is (in math) a completed infinity.

An example of potential infinity is the denial of the Axiom of Infinity. So we can have 1, and 2, and 3, and in fact all of the natural numbers, without having a completed set of them. That's potential infinity. It's not often encountered in math since the Axiom of Infinity is one of the standard axioms. But it's possible to do parts math without it.

Immanuel Can wrote: In contrast, an "actual" infinite is one that actually exists in the real world.
No this has nothing at all to do with the real world. The distinction between potential and actual (or completed) infinity is the distinction between the collection of natural numbers 1, 2, 3, ... and the set of natural numbers. To call them a set says that we have them existing all at once; whereas to deny the Axiom of Infinity says that we have them one at a time but never all at once.

In other words both potential and actual infinity are conceptual entities. Nothing at all is being said about the real world.
Immanuel Can wrote: Such a thing cannot happen. A "causal regress" is a combination of real-world causality and an infinite timespan. That combination is just not possible, because each "cause" must happen before the next one does.
No that's not true either. I already showed you an example (the integers) where you can have an infinite causal regress yet no infinie timespan between any two points. Pick any two integers. Their difference is finite. You are missing this essential feature of this model of causality. There is infinite regress, no first cause, and only a finite interval of time between any two events.
Immanuel Can wrote: Science. Science believes in causal explanations for every event that has a beginning.
Ken has already posted a good refutation of that point. Physics isn't about causes. It's about descriptive models that describe experiments. This is especially true in modern physics. But it was true in Newton's time too. Newton understood that his law of gravity was descriptive and not explanatory. Newton knew that he had no idea what caused gravity; only that his famous equation described it. You should read up on this point. You are misunderstanding science.

Immanuel Can wrote: In other words, it assumes that things never "just start to happen for no reason." If we do believe such things happen, we are believers in magic, not science. Science looks for causality. If it finds none, it cannot get any grip on the thing in question, because it has to answer "why." If there is no causality, there is no "why" to ask about.
Newton EXPLICITLY rejected your point. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypotheses_non_fingo

He was challenged by critics saying that his theory of gravity DESCRIBED but did not EXPLAIN gravity. In fact Descartes at the time had a competing theory, his theory of vortices, that suggested a specific mechanism -- a cause -- for gravity. Newton was asked, "If Descartes has a cause for gravity, why don't you?"

Newton very clearly explained that science does NOT deal in causes, only in descriptions. He said he does not "frame hypotheses." He only describes observable phenomena. This is a very famous incident. It shows that Newton well understood that science does not deal in causes, only in descriptions and mathematical models.

Newton's language is so clear and modern on this point that it deserves repeating here.
Isaac Newton wrote: I have not as yet been able to discover the reason for these properties of gravity from phenomena, and I do not feign hypotheses. For whatever is not deduced from the phenomena must be called a hypothesis; and hypotheses, whether metaphysical or physical, or based on occult qualities, or mechanical, have no place in experimental philosophy.
"I have not as yet been able to discover the reason ...."

Please, give that some consideration. The greatest scientific genius who ever lived explained that he had no idea what causes gravity. Only that he could describe how it behaves. Newton did not believe in "causes" that were metaphysical or based on occult qualities. He only knew what he could observe, measure, and describe. That is science.
Immanuel Can wrote: Fortunately for science that hasn't happened yet, so far as we know. There are things for which science does not yet know a cause; but in every case where it has assumed causality and then pursued it to an answer, it has found it. So science itself depends on causality.
On the contrary, science has no idea of the cause of anything. Science only has mathematical models that agree, up to the limits of measurement technology, with the results of experiments. Science is descriptive and not explanatory. If you are interested in the philosophy of science, as you seem to be, you should try to understand this point. Why does stuff fall down? Gravity. What is gravity? It's a distortion in spacetime caused by matter. Why does matter distort spacetime? Higgs boson. Why are there Higgs bosons? Nobody knows.

Nobody knows what "causes" gravity. We only have increasingly better mathematical models that fit increasingly sophisticated experiments.

You should reflect on these matters. Causality is a philosophical assumption. Science is about building mathematical models that describe observations.
Immanuel Can wrote: Science does have assumptions, and causality is one of them. But causality is a very secure one. We know of nothing that has started to happen that did so without a cause.
That's a philosophical position. An opinion. And it's got no place in modern physics. Spontaneous symmetry breaking. Particles appearing out of the nothingness of quantum foam. In modern physics all kinds of things just seem to happen without cause.
Immanuel Can wrote:
wtf wrote:You're name-checking Hilbert? Please supply specific citations in support of whatever it is you are trying to say.
Google "David Hilbert mathematician," if you wish more.
Oh my. You name-checked Hilbert. Name-checking means that you dropped Hilbert's name into the conversation to try to impress people, but in fact the only thing you know about Hilbert is his name

Let's stipulate that I know who David Hilbert is.

I am asking you to tell me which quote, opinion, paper, or position of Hilbert's specifically supports whatever point you are trying to make.
Last edited by wtf on Thu Feb 16, 2017 4:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Dontaskme
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Re: A Good Infinite Regress Step of Some Cosmological Arguments

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ken wrote: If every action causes a reaction, then even a big bang type reaction was obviously caused by an action. To Me, what that (prior) action was is pretty obvious, but this will not even be looked at, let alone confirmed, until people stop believing that the big bang was the start or the beginning.
Very well said Ken.

Love Barbie. :wink: :oops:


There are no actions in life. Only reactions to what's already not /happening ...as this one seamless constant flow. This is not moving away from itself or moving towards itself. It's a vibration within it's static self.

The effect is what's seen, the causer is never seen, but both the seen and unseen...aka seen effect and unseen causer have to exist in the same place, namely now/here as one without a second..otherwise, there could be no effect for a causer to cause, both causer and effect have to co-exist as one together, because an effect cannot be separated from that which is causing it...just as the seer cannot be separated from what is seen.

So the causer is the effect and vice versa.The effect is the causer. Depends which way you want to look at it. You are both, one and the other, yet neither. ...Like this...

Image

Any description about the hole in the middle of the circle could only be about the circle. In other words, nothing is causing the circle.
Both the 'circle' and the 'nothing' are not the 'no thing' in which they appear. They are both 'objects' (of seeing/knowing).

The no thing that sees/knows this is not.
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Noax
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Re: A Good Infinite Regress Step of Some Cosmological Arguments

Post by Noax »

Immanuel Can wrote:
Noax wrote:... there must have been a time when the universe didn't exist.
Undoubtedly.
Taking the quote totally out of context.
My comment was that if it is not true that the universe had no beginning, it does not follow that there was a time when it did not exist. This was the bias I spoke of that you're taking into the statement. You assume time is not part of the universe, an assumption that's been discarded a century ago.
So what is this 'undoubtedly' thing of which you speak? I can't take it out of context since you really gave none.
As for every event having a cause, that is quite proven false.
Please: do prove this.
Demonstrated, not proved. Nothing is ever proved. I misspoke. There are interpretations that attribute hidden variables to account for the otherwise uncaused events, but these seem to make predictions that do not match experimental results.
Like radioactive decay, no actual event triggers it, so it is not an effect.
You can actually hold to this, of course; but you can't hold to it and be a Materialist, Naturalist or Physicalist. These dogmas all require that there is always a material cause for material events. And it's only in debunking these views that I am concerned.
Why not? You are stating the requirement here, I'm not. Are you defining a view you don't hold?
I haven't even considered any metaphysical or non-physical alternatives in what I have posted so far. However, I really didn't need to in order to prove the aforementioned three dogmas irrational, did I? They fail pretty quickly on their own steam, at least in regard to problems like infinite regress.
I'm not arguing for infinite regress, despite the invalidity of your arguments against it. So perhaps I don't hold to your definition of said dogmas. Tell me why I must hold these 'axioms' of which you speak.
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Arising_uk
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Re: A Good Infinite Regress Step of Some Cosmological Arguments

Post by Arising_uk »

wtf wrote:...
Oh my. You name-checked Hilbert. Name-checking means that you dropped Hilbert's name into the conversation to try to impress people, but in fact the only thing you know about Hilbert is his name

Let's stipulate that I know who David Hilbert is.

I am asking you to tell me which quote, opinion, paper, or position of Hilbert's specifically supports whatever point you are trying to make.
:lol: Well at least it wasn't Einstein or QM.

Although my guess will be a wikied hotel.
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Immanuel Can
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Re: A Good Infinite Regress Step of Some Cosmological Arguments

Post by Immanuel Can »

wtf wrote:I ask again: What does "causes are actual" mean?
It means that "cause" is a concept that only applies to things that are "actual," meaning "real". Numbers don't "cause" one another. They may "precede" one another, but they don't "cause" the next number.

Not so are events in the real world.
...it shows that you haven't got a clue about actual versus potential infinity.
Whoops. You've now misunderstood "potential." Potential means "could be actual." And an infinite regress of causes can't be either potential or actual. It can be thought about,or vaguely imagined as possible, but it doesn't take place in the real world.
The digits of pi as they are understood in modern math is an actual infinity. That is, there is a function that inputs a counting number 1, 2, 3, ... and outputs the first, second, third, etc. digit of pi. That's an actual infinity.
Nope. It's a conceptual infinity.

Try writing pi (which makes you try to bring it into the real world, because each mark is actual and on paper). Call me when you're done. :wink:
Immanuel Can wrote: In contrast, an "actual" infinite is one that actually exists in the real world.
In other words both potential and actual infinity are conceptual entities. Nothing at all is being said about the real world.
That's exactly what I said. Exactly. Neither "potential" nor "conceptual" are "actual." But "potential" is a word we only use of things that could be actual. Neither word applies to "infinite regress of causes."
I already showed you an example (the integers) ...
Merely conceptual. You didn't show me them. Instead, you just asserted you could have done.

You didn't write out an infinity of them for me, and it's the possibility of the total set we're considering, not just one or two digits. "Infinity" is the total set of causal events regressing into the past without start.
Ken has already posted a good refutation of that point. Physics isn't about causes. It's about descriptive models that describe experiments. This is especially true in modern physics. But it was true in Newton's time too. Newton understood that his law of gravity was descriptive and not explanatory. Newton knew that he had no idea what caused gravity; only that his famous equation described it. You should read up on this point. You are misunderstanding science.
Not at all. Science is premised on more than one thing, you realize. "Description" is one of the things science does. Another is "prediction." But without cause-and-effect, you cannot get to prediction; because you have no reason to believe that whatever you predict will be anything "caused" by another thing, or which you could induce to happen again by employing the relevant "cause."

So that's just wrong.
Isaac Newton wrote: I have not as yet been able to discover the reason for these properties of gravity from phenomena, and I do not feign hypotheses. For whatever is not deduced from the phenomena must be called a hypothesis; and hypotheses, whether metaphysical or physical, or based on occult qualities, or mechanical, have no place in experimental philosophy.
You surely don't believe that, do you? That hypotheses have no place in experimental science?

So you wouldn't believe in the Scientific Method? Because it starts with hypothesis.

Not only that, even the idea that "science works" is a hypothesis. Because it has to be accepted prior to finding out that it's true. It can be confirmed afterward, of course; but not without a hypothesis.
Nobody knows what "causes" gravity. We only have increasingly better mathematical models that fit increasingly sophisticated experiments.
Without a hypothesis, you can't even ask this question.
Immanuel Can wrote: Science does have assumptions, and causality is one of them. But causality is a very secure one. We know of nothing that has started to happen that did so without a cause.
That's a philosophical position. An opinion. And it's got no place in modern physics. Spontaneous symmetry breaking. Particles appearing out of the nothingness of quantum foam. In modern physics all kinds of things just seem to happen without cause.
This is an error in language. You have just described how you see things as being "caused," and then told me it proves there's no "cause." Again, causality reappears. You can't escape it.
I am asking you to tell me which quote, opinion, paper, or position of Hilbert's specifically supports whatever point you are trying to make.
Here's something you could look at on Hilbert. It's quick and fun.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=faQBrAQ87l4
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Immanuel Can
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Re: A Good Infinite Regress Step of Some Cosmological Arguments

Post by Immanuel Can »

Noax wrote:So what is this 'undoubtedly' thing of which you speak? I can't take it out of context since you really gave none.
Since infinite regression of causes is impossible, it is beyond doubt that there was a time when the universe did not exist. That's what I meant.
Are you defining a view you don't hold?
I'm speaking about the follies of Materialism. I thought I was clear about that...
...the invalidity of your arguments against it.
Please show the invalidity point.
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Re: A Good Infinite Regress Step of Some Cosmological Arguments

Post by Arising_uk »

Immanuel Can wrote:...
So you wouldn't believe in the Scientific Method? Because it starts with hypothesis. ...
Well the method of creating an experiment to prove a 'hypothesis' might be called the 'Scientific Method' but science starts with observation and in theoretical science there is no need for a hypothesis just a mathematical model that predicts or produces 'hypotheses' that one can test with the 'scientific method'.

I'm amazed you bring this up as a ground in your thoughts as such a method has found your 'God' sorely lacking.
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Re: A Good Infinite Regress Step of Some Cosmological Arguments

Post by Arising_uk »

Immanuel Can wrote:...
Here's something you could look at on Hilbert. It's quick and fun.
:lol: Told you! Although not Wiki but BoobTube.
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Noax
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Re: A Good Infinite Regress Step of Some Cosmological Arguments

Post by Noax »

Immanuel Can wrote:Since infinite regression of causes is impossible, it is beyond doubt that there was a time when the universe did not exist. That's what I meant.
Such a shambles of logic. The one is not the negation of the other. It seems it is beyond doubt that there was a time when there was no time. Or perhaps if time is not part of the universe (as you obviously assume), then it is something not created by God, in which case we're back to that infinite regress thing again which you find impossible.
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Re: A Good Infinite Regress Step of Some Cosmological Arguments

Post by wtf »

Immanuel Can wrote: Here's something you could look at on Hilbert. It's quick and fun.
You linked to a vid about the Hilbert hotel?

Man you are embarrassing yourself now. Why not just admit that you name-checked Hilbert but you don't actually know anything he said that could back up the point you were making, and in fact you don't know anything about Hilbert?

Why not just say the obvious thing? Say, "You know, I seem to remember reading that some guy named Hilbert, whom I don't actually know very much about, said something in support of my opinion. But now I can't find the link. I retract my remark."

That would show that you're here to learn and that you have some humility and some intellectual honesty. And there's no harm in your saying it, since it's so obviously true in this instance.

Likewise the Newton quote. I would have thought that my showing you that Newton himself directly disagreed with your position would cause you to Google around and learn something about that quote. In particular there's an extensive literature discussing exactly what the word hypothesis means in that context, since clearly Newton used hypotheses in his scientific work.

But no, not only didn't you try to educate yourself around that topic ... it's clear that you didn't even bother to click on the link I provided, which discusses that very point.

Ditto your remarks on mathematical infinity. I'm sure you watched a one minute video on the topic once. These convos are more fun when people bring a willingness to learn and a sense of the limitations of their own knowledge.
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