The Instigator
Lucretius
Pro (for)
Losing
18 Points
The Contender
Paradigm_Lost
Con (against)
Winning
20 Points

The Big Bang Theory Does Not Require A Singularity At T=0

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/16/2008 Category: Science
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,952 times Debate No: 4063
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (11)
Votes (12)

 

Lucretius

Pro

There is a common mistake regarding the Big Bang Theory that all correct formulations of it require a singularity to occur at the very beginning of time. This is based on the flawed assumption that general relativity is applicable by itself during all periods of time going back to pre-Planck Time. This is simply not so: I seek to show that the need for quantum gravity arises before time zero occurs, and that recent findings in quantum gravity demonstrate that a singularity does not actually occur and that spacetime never attains infinitely small values of volume.
Paradigm_Lost

Con

"This is based on the flawed assumption that general relativity is applicable by itself during all periods of time going back to pre-Planck Time."

Well, anything prior to the singularity is an assumption, particularly how everything comes from nothing. But I digress.

For this debate I intend on a two-pronged approach that places emphasis on empirical observation and philosophy to show that time indeed could be mathematically categorized as T=0. With that brief introduction, lets get started.

First and foremost, anything that exists only exists because of a cause. What do I mean? Something that exists only exists as the result of something else -- cause and effect. And the cause of somethings existence is always outside of itself, meaning, nothing has ever been demonstrably shown to have existed without a cause facilitating its existence. For instance, your birth was not the cause of your own doings. Rather, you exist because two people, along with the laws of nature, have allowed for your procreation. These are immutable laws of physics that have never been shown to be usurped. I naturally would defy PRO to prove otherwise in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. I do not intend to use a logical fallacy, such as an argument of consensus, however, these theories reach beyond the theoretical stage for countless astrophysicists, mathematicians, and cosmologists. It therefore lends itself to more than mere credence and ends up being self-evident truths about life and the universe in which life itself is contained therein.

Secondly, since time and space are essentially homologous, as in "space-time," one cannot exist without the other. This seems fairly axiomatic without introducing lengthy theorems to prove it, because if something exists, when did it exist, and where did it exist? Obviously one cannot do without the other. For instance, when two events are separated by timed intervals, enough time passes between them for there to be a cause/effect relationship between the two events. For a particle traveling less than the speed of light, any two events which occur to or by the particle must be separated by these intervals -- hence, time, space, and matter being distinguishable from one another, however, they are not separate entities for they need each other in order to exist. Its that triune nature of physics that allow for life.

Now, consider that there was no singularity, no point in which time began. Would time itself then become timeless? Surely not just on a philosophical level, because time outside of space means nothing, and indeed, could not exist in actuality-- never mind conceptually. Time, I think you would agree, are not merely contrivances of the human mind. Sure, humans have assigned intervals to time for our own benefit, but time in fact is a very real phenomenon regardless of how we divvy it up for our own convenience.

Lastly, empirical evidence in the form of Hubble's redshift strongly imply that when the universe began, time itself began. Obviously you see it differently, and I'm intrigued as to how you intend on proving otherwise. But what happened before Planck's Time (10-43 seconds after the universe began) no one knows empirically. However, fundamental forces such as gravity begin to differentiate between other laws. And if we were to go backwards in the time-line, we see that the universe began at T=0. If for no other reason, time cannot be infinite for the sole fact that space was not infinite, nor is there not infinite mass. This more than amply implies that time had a beginning, and tracing it back, we see the singularity.

I am, however, very interested in your argument. As a caveat, I would suggest that it be readable for to the average layman. Swamping them down with mathematical theorems will be useless for all parties involved. It may smack of sophistication, but if your adherents can't understand what you are talking about, its pointless.

I'm looking forward to the debate Lucretius.
Debate Round No. 1
Lucretius

Pro

Thanks for taking up the debate! I'll get right into addressing your criticisms (written as if to a third party):

We see the greatest objection appear to lie in Paradigm's usage of philosophy (specifically ontology), the nature of time, space, and matter. He makes two claims: (1) That nothing can exist without a cause, and that thus it requires spacetime to have a beginning. (2) Space and time comprise something called space and are inextricably linked to one another.

On both of these claims I agree, and will seek to demonstrate how they do not assist his argument for a singularity. Let me begin by addressing (1). I agree entirely that in our daily lives every material entity has a cause. This message appears on the internet because I submitted it, for example. There are countless examples of causality everywhere in nature. However, the scope of your argument can thus only fall to things within nature, and not nature itself. That is, while everything within a set obeys a certain property (causality) it does not follow that the set itself obeys that property, especially when the property is defined by the set! (causality makes no sense without time!) This is easily demonstrable by analogy: The United Nations is comprised of various nations from around the world. Does this imply that the United Nations is itself a nation? Is the set of all even numbers itself an even number? Most certainly not. Likewise, while all objects within nature existing in time are subject to causality, this certainly does not imply that time (or nature) itself is subject to causality. In fact, it is most logical to state that time could not have begun, for the very notion of a beginning implies the existence of a time with which to compare (as coming into existence is a sequential act. Time cannot have come into existence without a time before from it to have sprung!)

Secondly, I come to (2). As a physics major I have no qualms with the notion of spacetime, and do not disagree with the notion that with one necessarily comes the other. However, what I fail to recognize is how this is a problem for my argument. Paradigm asks

"Now, consider that there was no singularity, no point in which time began. Would time itself then become timeless? Surely not just on a philosophical level, because time outside of space means nothing, and indeed, could not exist in actuality-- never mind conceptually."

I addressed the problem with the notion of beginning of time above. Now, without a beginning of time this does not negate the fact that causal events occur. It simply means that there was no beginning to time. An analogy may help: on a line of real numbers, there is an infinite number of these, stretching from negative infinity to infinity (which are not real numbers in themselves but denote the notion of being able to add a number on forever in either direction). Now, on the real number line I can always locate points, say, 1 and 2. And I can get from 1 to 2 by the addition of 1. Time likewise behaves similarly. There is always a finite distance between two points, while time itself is infinite in extent. The fact that space and time are linked does nothing to affect my argument: as long as space exists, time exists. If time is infinite, this just means the universe has always existed.

Lastly I come to the empirical claim: that Hubble's redshift can be used to demonstrate that time itself had an origin. Hubble's redshift, for those who don't know, is a line relating galaxy distance to velocity. The further away a galaxy is, the faster it goes. The conclusion is that if we bring all these galaxies back together, there must be a point in time that they were all smashed together into a single point, the Big Bang singularity.

There are multiple problems with deducing this: Hubble's Law (which results in this relationship) in it's simplest formulation is based off of a Newtonian metric, which, while useful for many astronomical calculations, becomes increasingly useless as both relativity and quantum mechanics come into play. Likewise, more complicated and accurate formulations take into account relativity, but leave out the play of quantum mechanics. This is for good reason, quantum effects do not mean anything until we get to a region where Hubble's Law is entirely useless. While great for galaxies, we are talking about a time when all of space was contained within a region smaller than a proton. The fundamental forces were united and behaved in a manner different than what Hubble's Law is theoretically based off of. And most importantly, gravity is quantized, which greatly affects the expansion of space (as energy density results in a gravitational tug, and energy density was quite high during the pre-Planck universe.) Extrapolation of Hubble's Law prior to (or during) the inflationary epoch is also unwarranted. This is because while the Hubble relationship took into account some basic relativity, the metric involved in Inflation is quite different and based on different parameters. We certainly do not apply the inflation metric past the point where it approximates the Hubble metric, nor should we do the opposite and apply Hubble where he's not correct. Likewise, prior to inflation gravity itself is quantized, and this means we shouldn't apply either Hubble or Inflationary metrics without great hesitation! Neither of these metrics are quantized, which means neither of these metrics are appropriate during pre-Planck era work.
Paradigm_Lost

Con

Thank you for your prompt and eloquent reply. I see from the likes of your response that I am going to have to really work for this one!

"the scope of your argument can thus only fall to things within nature, and not nature itself. That is, while everything within a set obeys a certain property (causality) it does not follow that the set itself obeys that property, especially when the property is defined by the set! (causality makes no sense without time!) This is easily demonstrable by analogy: The United Nations is comprised of various nations from around the world. Does this imply that the United Nations is itself a nation? Is the set of all even numbers itself an even number? Most certainly not."

While I like your analogy I'll have to ask then in retort, what IS nature if it is not natural things themselves? The way it seems to me, nature is the totality of natural science. Natural law and natural elements ARE nature. But if you disagree, then I would be willing to hear what your definition of nature is.

But as of now, the dictionary sees it my way, and therefore validates my ontological argument:

http://dictionary.reference.com...

"without a beginning of time this does not negate the fact that causal events occur. It simply means that there was no beginning to time."

Aside from this defying intuition, it also goes against observation. Case in point: A theory suggesting that the universe is somehow timeless is a tautology. Its like saying that it is either up or down, and really gives no substantial reason why it should be so, because, as we all know, it is either up or down.

Secondly, and vastly more important for a physics major, it defies the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The 2LoT stipulates that disorder always increases with time which greatly infers that there was a beginning. If there was not, we should expect mass disarray on an unprecedented level, so much so that life would not be feasible. It also no sooner reconciles how you can have time without space, since they are homologous. You attempted to reconcile this quandary, but I could not make heads or tails of your answer as I found it vague. Clarification would be greatly appreciated.

Of this inequality you have presented, I am curious to know whether you prefer Hoyle's Steady State model to the Big Bang. Because if you do prefer the Big Bang model without a singularity you would have to consider that the state of the universe after the Big Bang would not depend on anything that may have happened before, because the deterministic laws that govern the universe will break down IN the Big Bang. The universe will evolve from the Big Bang, completely independently of what it was like before. Even the amount of matter in the universe can be different to what it was before the Big Bang, as the Law of Conservation of Matter would break down AT the Big Bang. Since that quite obviously is not the case, how do you reconcile that inequality?

Now, Quantum theory introduces a new idea, that of imaginary time, which I can only assume is where this debate is being lead. However, the state of the universe in this imaginary time seems inconsequential even in theory, because we can calculate and observe the state of the universe in real time. One would still expect some sort of Big Bang singularity in real time. So real time would still have a beginning, a singularity, just as we observe and just as it aligns with our ontological intuitions.

I would also like to ask how you feel about the proposed Big Crunch. I only ask because since there was a singularity, and we do have the Second Law, it only seems inevitable that the laws of physics will indeed someday deteriorate with the passing of time. If time itself had no beginning, then conceivably it would have no end either. How would you reconcile this conundrum without risking the very laws of physics that bind the universe in the first place?

The causal inference of man in his understanding is based on the metaphysical intuition that something cannot come from absolutely nothing. A pure potentiality cannot, in it's own right, actualize itself. In the case of the universe, whether we speak of boundary lines, fixed points or the infinite, there was not anything prior, to the singularity. Time simply could not have existed infinitely if space itself was not also infinite.

It was Albert Einstein who noted that time and space are conjoined as homologous and inseparable. Anything other than a singularity is in direct contravention with the Law of Conservation and Energy. Astrophysicists Steven Hawking, George Ellis, and Roger Penrose, have all confirmed Einstein's General and Special theory of Relativity. We know, beyond all reasonable doubt, that time and space had a finite beginning. In fact, even the First Law of Thermodynamics may be in jeopardy with your theory violates the 1st Law of Thermodynamics. The 1st Law states that the sum kinetic energy, potential energy, and thermal energy remain constant in a closed system, such as we see in the universe. Matter, or its energy equivalent, cannot be created or destroyed by ‘natural' means. To put it in the simplest terms possible, there was a lack of anything. The potential for the universe could not have lain itself since it was non-existent before the singularity.

I am not one to balk at quantum physics, which seem to make the impossible possible. But there are immutable laws of physics which are not usurped by quantum physics. The theory you propose seems to challenge every fundamental paradigm that we know about the universe through testing and observation. I find that my incredulity about such a theory to be insuperable. Though I find myself in such a state, I am still open to your inquiry.
Debate Round No. 2
Lucretius

Pro

An excellent reply, I will begin addressing your claims in the following order:
(1) The ontology of nature with respect to natural things within it.
(2) The claim that an infinite universe is a tautology.
(3) The claim that an infinite universe violates the Second Law of Thermodynamics.
(4) The claim that an infinite universe relies on imaginary time
(5) The claim that an infinite universe violates the "Law of Conservation of Matter"
(6) The claim that an infinite universe violates the First Law of Thermodynamics

(1) The ontology of nature with respect to natural things:
Paradigm asks: "what IS nature if it is not natural things themselves?" I would respond with, again, that nature is the set of all things within it, and by this I mean mountains, trees, humans, planets, etc. However, what I do not mean by nature are things that are not really within it, but that ‘define it'. For instance, natural laws, space and time, and energy necessarily exist in order to give us the universe we live in. Everything else in existence requires these four basics. Thus, when I say we cannot apply causality to nature itself, I am in essence referring to these four things: there can be no origin of space, time, energy, or natural law. (*note energy may change forms but never does it violate the First Law, so in essence, energy's constancy can be placed as a subset under natural law.) As a final note, the dictionary does back up this definition when it recognizes the set-subset nature of the universe, see definition 3.

(2) The claim that an infinite universe is a tautology.
Paradigm's other philosophical quarrel with an infinite universe is that he feels it is entirely bereft of explanation as to why it should be timeless. I fail to see how the Big Bang model does anything better. Why, for instance, would a universe have, at some arbitrary point, come into being bereft of all natural law? And where and when would it, or could it, have come from, seeing as space and time did not exist prior to it? In fact, there are many theories regarding infinite universes that only do the same thing those with the singularity model do: take known physical laws, run them in reverse, and see what happens. Doing this, we get models that predict a cyclic universe, or one that succumbs to chaotic inflation, but regardless of the mechanism, they certainly do tell us why the universe does not contain a singularity. As to asking why it is infinite (as if the mechanism wasn't good enough), it is just as poor of a question as why the Big Bang began when it did. It is left to the philosophers, something experimentalists or theoretical physicists cannot hope to answer. They have no laws to work with ‘prior' to the Big Bang model and so can formulate nothing. And there was no beginning in a timeless universe, so likewise they can enforce no initial conditions upon it. If a timeless universe is a tautology, so is the Big Bang model with a singularity.

(3) The claim that an infinite universe violates the Second Law of Thermodynamics.
Leaving philosophy and entering the empirical realm the first claim is (and this one is common) that an infinite universe violates the Second Law. The solution provided by a cyclic universe is a very subtle one (I had to do quite a bit of delving into arxiv.org to pick up on it, and I will be the first to admit I do not fully understand it.) However, in it's known formulation, it is stated that the Second Law reads "entropy can only increase in a closed system, reaching some maximum value." The assumption made in most arguments against a cyclic universe is that our universe is a closed system. This is circumnavigated by the use of branes (which I will admit I am not very fond of) and dark energy, which does have observational backing. I am going to describe the Baum-Frampton model of a cyclic universe as it contains inflation (as opposed to the Steinhardt-Turok model) which has been experimentally verified. But first, dark energy and branes must be explained in brief.
Dark energy is a repulsive energy dominating our universe on large scales (composing some 70% of it.) It is most easily described as the energy that comes with having space. The notion of non-zero vacuum energy is not new. The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle states that over any finite time, there is an energy uncertainty, and the relationship between these two denies the possibility of zero energy. Thus, the universe has some finite energy. Unfortunately for my argument, this energy is attractive (but only when considering objects very close to one another, see the Casimir Effect). However, the argument is similarly utilized for dark energy. While it does not have the theoretical understanding of vacuum fluctuations, it is supposed that dark energy comes with a certain volume of space.

Branes are the result of M-Theory calculations. Brane Theory predicts that there are hyperdimensional objects called n-branes (n=1,2,3…) which drift around in an infinitely large Bulk. Granted I do not like utilizing all these fanciful notions of branes, bulks, etc., as I feel they add a bit too much that is, at present or the near future, unverifiable. However, for sake of argument, let us assume these objects exist.

Moving on then, to the Baum-Frampton model, we suppose the universe we live in today is comprised of it's experimentally verified components (including 70% dark energy.) Given enough time, the universe will have expanded enough so that all fundamental forces (including gravity) act negligibly. Dark energy takes over, and we head towards a scenario called "the Big Rip", in which all matter is ripped apart by this expansion energy, as it continues to accelerate. The Baum-Frampton model introduces branes which, VERY close to when the Big Rip would occur, introduce an extra parameter in the differential equations which ultimately cause the universe to rapidly contract. The result negatively affects the scale factor of the universe, causing it to shrink. It is simply a result that comes out of the mathematics, and where my understanding suffers (see http://arxiv.org... for the paper). However, the universe contracts into many smaller universes which are no longer casually connected to one another, as the contraction of space exceeds that of the speed of light (which is not a violation of relativity, which only pertains to objects within space, not space itself). The only things left in these universes is dark energy and some radiation, which is important because, if it is perfectly homogenous, has zero entropy. Thus, while entropy in the entire Bulk grows, it divides itself by a substantial amount and thus decreases back to a value. This value is constant, and because of this, the number of universes in the Baum-Frampton model is infinite. So, the second law is circumnavigated by a fractioning universe containing dark energy, which has no entropy, and radiation. When the universe contracts, it does so adiabatically, which results in no heat change, and thus by definition no entropy change, so the radiation adds no entropy and indeed remains constant.

(4) The claim that an infinite universe relies on imaginary time
As I made no use of imaginary time in the above explanation of a cyclic universe, I think this point has already been addressed.

I will address the last two criteria, which are one in the same, in the next argument, as my message is now too long!
Paradigm_Lost

Con

I want to thank Lucretius for the debate, and hope to have future debates.

"Paradigm's other philosophical quarrel with an infinite universe is that he feels it is entirely bereft of explanation as to why it should be timeless. I fail to see how the Big Bang model does anything better. Why, for instance, would a universe have, at some arbitrary point, come into being bereft of all natural law? And where and when would it, or could it, have come from, seeing as space and time did not exist prior to it?"

Believe me when I say that I am well aware with the philosophical problems of the Big Bang, most notably, the First Cause problem. But I did not want to derail your debate by introducing metaphysical questions about the supernatural. Stephen Hawking is probably the most renowned living scientist today. As well, he is a recipient of the distinguished Nobel Prize by formulating some brilliant theories concerning vacuum fluctuation and black hole research. Though he is a highly intelligent man with some hard won credentials in the field of quantum mechanics, even he cannot tell you why 0 + 0 should equal everything. He nimbly avoids such problems of Planck's time by simply stating, "What's north of the north pole?" In essence, he is implying that anything before the singularity is inconsequential. Is that really the case? I think to state with a straight face that something comes from nothing is scientific heresy, but hey, that's just me. In his defense, however, I agree that quantum indeterminacy is a given because no one was there to view it. We cannot know with Newtonian precision what happened prior, to Planck's time. My issue, however, is not that we cannot know definitively what happened. My issue is that to disregard it and view it as unimportant is extremely neglectful. Why do you suppose this aversion occurs in the minds of the great scientific minds? My guess is that they have to consider the possibility of a Creator. This idea makes for some very uncomfortable scientists who shudder at the very thought of something greater than the mind of a human being.

Sir Arthur Eddington, who experimentally confirmed Einstein's General theory of Relativity, stated, "philosophically, the notion of a beginning to the present order is repugnant to me... I should like to find a general loophole." Einstein's' reactions to his own theory appeared to acknowledge a threat of an encounter with a higher power. Even still, Einstein very begrudgingly accepted the notion, to which he called, "the necessity for a beginning." The message I am trying to convey is that many great minds have come to similar conclusions based solely on the inferences of science. I think it would be well with us to follow suit in similar fashion even if we drag our feet the entire way.

What is this repugnance to a singularity? I honestly believe that it is a fear of coming to grips with the First Cause. But even if we knew there had to be a First Cause, we still would not know empirically what the First Cause was or how to define it. If there is something like a God, I am confident that it is something we are not supposed to be able to prove empirically. If there is a God, it would not surprise me that just such an entity, if we could even call it that, would intentionally remain elusive to allow for some profound personal insight. But now I seriously digress and am wasting precious bandwidth!

Humor me by reading over these questions, and it will show you that an actual infinite, including timeless time, is not possible in the physical realm, which will inexorably bring you back to the fact that time had a beginning:

1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause of its existence.

2. The universe began to exist.

2.1 Argument based on the impossibility of an actual infinite.

2.11 An actual infinite cannot exist.

2.12 An infinite temporal regress of events is an actual infinite.

2.13 Therefore, an infinite temporal regress of events cannot exist.

2.2 Argument based on the impossibility of the formation of an actual infinite by successive addition.

2.21 A collection formed by successive addition cannot be actually infinite.

2.22 The temporal series of past events is a collection formed by successive addition.

2.23 Therefore, the temporal series of past events cannot be actually infinite.

3. Therefore, the universe has a cause of its existence.

If you can add or subtract to anything, then it isn't an actual infinite. You can't have infinity + 1 or 2 or 3, right? And because you and I were born, there is not an infinite amount of people. It's important to distinguish between an actual infinite from a potential infinite. An actual infinite is a collection of things having a proper subset which has the same number of members as the original collection itself. In contrast, an actual infinite is not like a potential infinite, which is a collection of every point in time finite, but is growing toward infinity as a limit. In other words, a potential infinite can exist, but an actual infinite as it applies to time/space/matter/energy does not exist.

On the philosophical level, time had a beginning, and it conceivably will have an end.

"Leaving philosophy and entering the empirical realm the first claim is (and this one is common) that an infinite universe violates the Second Law. The solution provided by a cyclic universe is a very subtle one (I had to do quite a bit of delving into arxiv.org to pick up on it, and I will be the first to admit I do not fully understand it.) However, in it's known formulation, it is stated that the Second Law reads "entropy can only increase in a closed system, reaching some maximum value." The assumption made in most arguments against a cyclic universe is that our universe is a closed system. This is circumnavigated by the use of branes (which I will admit I am not very fond of) and dark energy, which does have observational backing."

Well, think of it this way: The belief that order comes from disorder is falsifiable to the highest degree. This belief defies the 2nd Law of thermodynamics, more commonly known as entropy. Entropy is expressed that all things, when left to themselves, tend to degrade. When left to its own device all matter tends toward disorder. To further illustrate, there is no such thing as a perpetual motion machine, including oscillating galaxies. Any physical process that begins cannot complete its course with as much useful energy as when it first derived. Moreover, energy cannot increase either, because it would defy the 1st Law. This is in direct polarity with the chaos theory. By all rights, the Second Law is immutable. It is a constant of physics, proving the scientific axiom undeniably. The results are testable, observable, and predictable -- all the markings of scientific truism. To counter this contradiction, the adherents of such false science excuse entropy, stating that it only occurs in a closed system. They cite, that earth is an open system, meaning the earth receives its energy from the sun. The problem to overcome for these naysayers, however, remains the same. Even with our abundant source of solar energy, all things still tend towards disorder and decay. Organisms age and will die; buildings age, dilapidate and disintegrate. This is played out all throughout nature. What then, should this phenomena before referred to, if not entropy? No matter if we call it an apple or an orange, its evidence is overwhelming. Clearly, it is a natural law that everything adheres to.

In closing, it appears that you have not really answered many of my objections that, really, are the same objections by many physicists.

There is no good reason to assume that timeless time (a tautology and a contradiction) should ever be the way things actually are. Time had a beginning. For these reasons, I urge you to vote CON!
Debate Round No. 3
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Paradigm_Lost 8 years ago
Paradigm_Lost
1. Timeless time is a contradiction in terms.
2. Time is connected to space. How can time be infinite but space then be finite?
3. How can the laws of thermodynamics work with infinite time.
4. Theory runs counter to observable data.
5. Theory is at odds with majority of astrophysicists and cosmologists well studied in realm of physics.
6. Theory has no legitimate basis for its assumption.

"Adding 'one' to infinity does not negate the fact that countless events occurred in the past."

The fact that you could at to something claiming to be infinite is the surest way to know it isn't infinite. If there were an infinite amount of human beings, no one would be born, right? If time were infinite then there would never be a time someone was born either. They too would exist continually.

What you are proposing is that time had no beginning, yet travels on a linear line adding things as it goes. That defies everything about the nature of time in relation to the physical universe, for if it were so, time would encompass all points of possibilities simultaneously.

Time itself could not be divided or measured as a physical property of the universe. Time itself would lose all value.
Posted by Lucretius 9 years ago
Lucretius
Even though the official debate is over; I must rebut this ridiculous claim about a first cause being necessary. The argument is older than the hills, and wrong as can be. This notion of the "actual" vs "potential" infinite is a made up concept by philosophers like William Lane Craig (noted theist). Infinity is a concept: not a number. The concept of an ever increasing quantity. By trying to say "I have reached infinity" you are denying it's definition as the concept of an ever increasing entity. All infinities are 'potential' and 'actual' by definition. Adding 'one' to infinity does not negate the fact that countless events occurred in the past. You never reach a beginning, thus it is infinite. Just because I can count to two and then three does not mean that time does not travel back to negative infinity on a number line.

Therefore, just because we are currently experiencing the forward progression of time does not mean that an infinite amount of time has already passed in the past.

As for the arguments from physics, I should have alloted more debate slots to tackle them. They really are not a problem for my arguments, the only trouble is dumbing them all down so those without a physics background can understand them.
Posted by Paradigm_Lost 9 years ago
Paradigm_Lost
"both Pro and Con seem to have a bit of a misunderstanding concerning entropy."

We both seem to have understood it just fine, as entropy does not only entail classical thermodynamics in a closed system alone. But, believe me, I have heard your objection multiple times from different people.

http://dictionary.reference.com...

This article attempts to clear up the ambiguities.

http://www.panspermia.org...

Renown astrophysicist, Richard Feynman explains: "So we now have to talk about what we mean by disorder and what we mean by order. ... Suppose we divide the space into little volume elements. If we have black and white molecules, how many ways could we distribute them among the volume elements so that white is on one side and black is on the other? On the other hand, how many ways could we distribute them with no restriction on which goes where? Clearly, there are many more ways to arrange them in the latter case. We measure "disorder" by the number of ways that the insides can be arranged, so that from the outside it looks the same. The logarithm of that number of ways is the entropy. The number of ways in the separated case is less, so the entropy is less, or the "disorder" is less.
Posted by Lucretius 9 years ago
Lucretius
I know quite a bit about entropy. I'm a college physics major currently doing work in statistical mechanics, which of course, deals with blackbody radiation, thermodynamics, etc. I know all about the proababilistic nature of entropy.

However, for sake of argument, it's much easier to talk about it in terms of chaos/disorder, while the same message inevitably gets across.
Posted by Yraelz 9 years ago
Yraelz
This looks really exciting, going to have to read it when I get back.
Posted by GaryBacon 9 years ago
GaryBacon
This was fun to read, although I'm not sure who won. I will say, however, that both Pro and Con seem to have a bit of a misunderstanding concerning entropy.

Although entropy is described by some high school physics teachers as chaos and disorder, this is inaccurate.

In truth, it is based on the laws of probability and that over time things become evenly spaced out rather than clumped together.

The statement "if it is perfectly homogenous, has zero entropy" should read "if it is perfectly homogenous it has 100% entropy."
Posted by Lucretius 9 years ago
Lucretius
Lastly, I do not like Hoyle's model at all. It's flat wrong! The newer models are consistent with natural laws, but unfortunately make many assumptions, not all of which I'm comfortable. However, Hoyle did make a very profound argument against the Big Bang, which I believe still holds: that is time cannot be caused. Causation is DEFINED by time, how can it itself be caused? It is this nonsense notion of a beginning of time (beginnings require time) that leads one to come to the conclusion time cannot have had a beginning, and thus a singularity is an incorrect understanding of the early era of our universe.
Posted by Lucretius 9 years ago
Lucretius
Oops I forgot the debate only had three parts. Well, the next two responses of mine were:

(5,6) The claim that an infinite universe violates the First Law of Thermodynamics
I have decided lastly, to place the final two criteria in the same box. This is because there is no ‘law of conservation of matter'. If that were a law, nuclear physics would not exist. Matter is changed into energy all the time, so the amount of matter in the universe is not the same. What is conserved is total energy. And this is not violated in the Baum-Frampton model. It is commonly stated that the sum energy in our universe is zero, because inflation presents us with a strong negative gravitational energy, and this is used to offset any positive matter energy in our universe. The theoretical reasons for this exact figure are beyond my knowledge as of now, but likewise, because inflation occurs with respect to quantum spacetime interactions, which ultimately lie in how much energy is present within the universe, perhaps this is what leads to the rate of inflation and ultimately how much ‘negative' energy there is. Basically, I am saying that the amount of energy within our universe is always counteracted by inflation at just the rate to make the sum total zero. This is in turn based on considerations of quantum gravity (mostly I utilize loop quantum gravity.) and how space interacts with normal positive energy. So, the First Law wouldn't be violated because the sum total, zero, remains the same.
Posted by Paradigm_Lost 9 years ago
Paradigm_Lost
"oooo quantam physics yaaaaay *claps*"

Wow, and Lucretius is really gonna make me work for this one!
Posted by Spiral 9 years ago
Spiral
oooo quantam physics yaaaaay *claps*
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