Tuesday, November 29, 2011



First, let's look at this article on Time: Hypertime -- why we need 2 dimensions of time and Physics with Two Time-like Dimensions

The question is not, is THIS specific case true or not. The point is that we cannot eliminate such possibilities because we LACK knowledge. Can you demonstrate conclusively that Time is a single-dimensional and linear property of the Cosmos having all and only those properties that would support the Kalam argument?

So, WHAT is Time? What causes "Time"? What do we really know about Time and Simultaneity?

It HAS been demonstrated that there is a Relativity of simultaneity.

How are these issues accounted for in the Kalam when it draws conclusions that would be deeply dependent on such facts? It seems to very much gloss over everything technical and its supporters like to quote scientists who make statements favorable to their position but those opinions are not yet facts.

So what they present as a 'simple' premise is actually a complex series of premises with dozens if not hundreds of presumptions.

Time is still very much a deep mystery so right off the bat we're dealing with an argument that depends on our ignorance rather than our knowledge and instead presumes to insert our common sense notions of Time in place of actual understanding. Nor can we conceive of what it means to "exist outside of time" or be immaterial. You can't just assume something CAN be immaterial, you have to PROVE it (or at least demonstrate it to a reasonable level of satisfaction).

This same 'common sense' notion failed spectacularly in both the case of Quantum Mechanics and Relativity and we know for a fact that the current Standard Model is incomplete. How much more evidence of the limits of our knowledge do we need?

If you are measuring the spin orientation of electrons in a Graphene matrix then the Standard Model is the best model we have at present. Theories are only accurate within the Realms in which they have been tested. Extrapolations are proposed TESTS of the Theory, not scientific fact. There are at least 20-30 ORDERS OF MAGNITUDE of phenomena yet to explore below where we can currently probe. If we thought the Standard Model explained it all we wouldn't be building LHC's to try to probe these domains.

Hypotheses about M-branes, colliding universes, multiverses, Many Worlds, String, Spin Loops, etc abound - they remain hypotheses because we have NO empirical data that can point the way forward. Funny thing that empirical data, eh?

So any premise based on these notions which exceeds the realms in which we have tested these theories is patently absurd. We might excuse Kalam for he wrote at a time when we had a profound lack of knowledge about these realms, but that is no longer an excuse. We are aware of where our ignorance lies. M-Theory sits on VASTLY firmer ground than Kalam.

It seems a nasty little bit of word play, nothing more.

Hume wrote:
[T]here is an evident absurdity in pretending to demonstrate a matter of fact, or to prove it by any arguments a priori. Nothing is demonstrable, unless the contrary implies a contradiction. Nothing, that is distinctly conceivable, implies a contradiction. Whatever we conceive as existent, we can also conceive as non-existent. There is no being, therefore, whose non-existence implies a contradiction. Consequently there is no being, whose existence is demonstrable.

Statements like "Either matter is created or it is eternal or self-generating. There are no other alternatives" are false dichotomies (trichotomies?). YOU DON'T KNOW is the only honest and intelligible thing we can say.

Let me give you an example that illuminates a KEY issue this person is missing. We exist INSIDE the Cosmos, we can only see it from the INSIDE. We have no (known) way to access a deeper mode of viewing and understanding our Cosmos (which could provide limits on how much we're able to actually know about it). How bad is this "inside view"? Imagine that you actually existed inside a computer simulation - you would have access ONLY to the sensory data the computer provided you. You could "see" atoms pushed around by forces exactly like the forces we observe. But beyond the reality of your senses and instruments you would know NOTHING about the computer upon which the simulation was running. Much would be hidden from you. mass-energy would be an illusion, not what it seemed to actually be. The conservation laws would be a mere consequence of circumstance. Your entire understanding of the universe could be shifted, but you would never be able to know it. We're limited to describing the observed forces.

So you cannot honestly say that these are the ONLY options, they are the only options YOU can think of. You don't have to imagine that the universe actually IS a computer to understand that there could be a deeper level of understand that isn't 'visible' from the inside. This is not solipsism either - it is a discussion about the limits of our knowledge.

One last point (for now), Kalam also contains a very serious equivocation fallacy on the nature of 'begins to exist'. The things that 'begin to exist' in our experience do not necessarily 'being to exist' in the same sense that spacetime itself would. All we observe is the shifting of already existing patterns. So we're speaking about TWO very different levels of phenomena.

We do not know what the implication of quantum virtual particles are on this question. In some senses they MAY just be further shifting of existing spacetime. But we have absolutely ZERO knowledge about what would happen outside of a spacetime so we cannot say much about it. What we do know is that universe APPEARS to have ZERO total energy - which could indicate that the origin of spacetime was something LIKE a quantum fluctuation that was sufficiently large to leave behind the universe due to some asymmetry in the laws of physics outside our spacetime.

Kalam hides behind a very classical view of causation and time that is not strongly supported by the physics and there are a large number of implicit assumptions that are highly questionable and unresolved. And though it pretends to rest on 'simple empirical observations' it extrapolates far far far beyond any reasonable expectation of their applicability.

Ockham would not be amused.

(Also posted by me as comment on DebateGod)

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