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Against The KCA

RyuuKyuzo
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3/28/2013 12:12:11 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
So, in my last debate with phantom I argued what I believe is a new argument against the cosmological argument. I didn't present it as well as I'd like to have, but hey ideas need to be ironed out, and so I've re-written the argument taking what criticisms I've been given into account. I'd like to get some critical feedback from you guys (theists, atheists and logicians in general) and if anyone knows of anywhere where this argument has been given before, please let me know (I'd hate to continue calling this an original argument if it's already been thought of).

I'll post the revised version in the next post. Feel free to bring up any issues you feel are either full contradictions, or even things you think simply need to be said more clearly. I will ask that you make your objections clearly labeled both to make then easy for me to find, and so other people won't post the same objection.

Note: this was written in an essay format, so it includes information you probably don't need to read like a short intro on who STA was, etc.
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RyuuKyuzo
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3/28/2013 12:12:24 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
The Argument From Motion " Debunked

St Thomas Aquinas (STA) was a priest of the Dominican order and is, to this day, considered to be one of the greatest theologians to ever live. In his most famous work, the Summa Theologiae, STA provides 5 proofs for the existence of God. The first of which is called The Argument From Motion. The argument is as follows:

1. Nothing can move itself.
2. If every object in motion had a mover, then the first object in motion needed a mover.
3. Movement cannot go on for infinity.
4. This first mover is the Unmoved Mover (called God).(Aquinas, 2006)
This argument attempts to prove that God is a logical necessity as without God, we would have to admit there is an infinite regression of causes (movers), which he asserts is a logical impossibility in premise 3. Therefore, this argument implies that there was a definitive beginning to our universe which must have been caused by something outside of our universe which is not subject to the constraints of cause and effect as we understand the constraints of cause and effect to be.

It is further insinuated that this "unmoved mover" must be sentient and all powerful, as a non-sentient entity wouldn't have the capacity for the inclination to create our universe, and if it wasn't all powerful it would lack the ability to do so. However, this argument is faulty as the logic of probability clearly shows the beginning of motion and the very existence of our universe itself were statistical certainties. Let us examine the qualities of the archetypal monotheistic God.

1. Omnipotence
2. Omniscience
3. Self-Aware
4. Time-less

The first point is clear enough. God must be all powerful. Secondly, it must know everything. Thirdly, it must be aware of its own existence (be conscious), and finally it must exist outside of time (in order to not be bound by it). If this entity does not meet one of these three criteria, then this entity certainly cannot be the God Yahweh, and could be argued to not be deserving of the title of "God" whatsoever. The issue with this argument arises when one realizes that only points one and four are supported by STA's argument. That is to say, there must be a space outside of our universe that contains an infinite amount of energy and is not constrained by time as we understand time to be.

To illustrate the point, consider the following thought experiment:

Let us assume any given vacuum out in the depths of space. This vacuum is as close to a perfect-vacuum as is scientifically possible. We know there are such places in the universe. Let us also say that every few millenia, some rogue matter floats through this space. This matter can be anything " hydrogen, oxygen, platinum, even uncommitted electrons. Each kind of particle floats through in varying quantities at varying frequency. Given one single millennium, what are the odds of the atoms needed to spontaneously form a perfectly-ripe apple, coming together at just the right moment to form one such apple? Practically zero percent, but not quite zero percent.

Let's say the odds of such a thing happening are one-in-one-hundred-million. Logically, it would follow that if we increase our time-frame a million-fold, we would expect to see an apple spontaneously form exactly one time. It may still be the case that one does not form at all, or that it may form more than once, but the odds are as such that only once can be reasonably expected. Now, let us increase our time frame to infinity. If we allow for an infinite amount of time, we have opened the door to an infinite amount of possibilities. This is literally the case. So long as matter floats through this space, there remains the potential for any sort of formation to occur. The odds may be miniscule, but given an infinite amount of time any formation that is not absolutely impossible becomes guaranteed to happen -- Not just once, but an infinite amount of times.

Given an infinite amount of time and energy, even bizarre scenarios, such as the spontaneous formation of this very room and everything and everyone in it will happen and infinite amount of times. This must be the case, because the clock never stops. Given this argument, if we accept and conclude the logical necessity for a space outside of our own universe that contains both an infinite amount of energy and an infinite amount of time, we have already gone as far as philosophically required to prove that the existence of our universe was an inevitable occurrence. Therefore, STA's argument falls short of its goal. Since it is not necessary for this entity (or this space outside our universe) to be self aware or have the cognitive capacity to retain knowledge as we commonly understand the concept of retaining knowledge, or to be any sort of living organism whatsoever in order to provide a logically consistent argument outlining how our universe could come to exist, we must conclude that STA was wrong to suggest that merely the need for an Unmoved Mover is enough to logically prove the existence of God (as commonly defined).

While this argument provides the logical necessity for such a space, there is more that needs to be done if this argument is to be compelling outside of theologian circles. If such a space exists within reality, then we would expect to see a similar conclusion drawn from the works of the natural sciences, and indeed the last few decades of advances in particle physics have pointed towards such a conclusion.

For evidence of the existence of such a space, I appeal to supersymmetric string theory. Superseymmetric string theory is a branch of string theory, which exists as an attempt to unify general relativity with quantum mechanics. In doing so, this theory will establish itself as the one true theory of everything, which is the holy grail of physics. In the attempt to unify general relativity with quantum mechanics, supersymmetric string theory has come to a peculiar conclusion. That conclusion is the existence of higher spatial dimensions (Witton, 1995).

We see objects in two-dimensions. It is only through moving around objects and through our other senses that we learn objects have depth. This depth exists in the third-dimension. The third dimension can be viewed as an infinite amount of two-dimensional planes existing adjacent to one another. Like wise, if we go up one spatial dimension, we will find ourselves in a space comprised of an infinite amount of three-dimensional membranes, also existing adjacent to one another (although the word "adjacent" no longer properly conveys how these membranes align). Depending on which version of supersymmetric string theory one adheres to, it can be concluded that there are between ten and twenty-six spatial dimensions, each comprised of an infinite amount of membranes one dimensional order of magnitude lower, aligned adjacently.

Within these higher dimensions we have the entirety of our universe's time-line, as well as the entirety of an infinite amount of parallel universe's time-lines. We have a space which literally contains an infinite amount of energy and an infinite amount of time, as we understand the concept of time. While this theory is far from conclusive, and experimental finding are far from fully explained, we can see that the concept of a space containing an infinite amount of time and and infinite amount of energy is supported both by the mathematics of quantum and particle physics, and the logic of philosophy. As such, we can conclude that there is no logical necessity for God despite the existence of our universe. Simply by the laws of probability, our universe was already guaranteed to come into existence, and so the argument from motion has been debunked.

1. Aquinas, T. (2006)."Summa Theologiae: Volume 31, Faith: 2a2ae. 1-7"(Vol. 31). Cambridge University Press.
2. Witten, E. (1995). String theory dynamics in various dimensions."Nuclear Physics B,"443(1), 85-126.
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Fanboy
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3/28/2013 12:27:23 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
I have a few questions(I would love to do detailed debate about the objection if you are interested):
1. Supersymmetric string theory is presupposed for the working of this objection, correct?
2. Why favour supersymmetric string theory over other theories?
3. Is the infinite number of possiblities limited by what is metaphysically(and physically for that matter, possible)?
4.Why should we believe, as in your thought experiment, that highly improbable events, in fact all most entirely improbable events, are even practically possible within the context of the universe? You could appeal to some other highly improbable events but that might beg the question depending on how you use it.
5. Doesn't your entire argument rely on a completely infinite spacio-temporal universe?
6. What do you define as God?
7. What would you call an entity that has timelessness and omnipotence?
8. Why does God need to be sentient to have motivation or will?
9.Why are motivation and will neccessary to create a universe?
10. Doesn't your argument fail to attack the premises but rather infer that the conclusion is faulty?

I have more but I will save them for potential debate opportunities.
Nur-Ab-Sal
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3/28/2013 12:41:10 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/28/2013 12:12:24 AM, RyuuKyuzo wrote:
Therefore, this argument implies that there was a definitive beginning to our universe

No, it does not. Aquinas held no such thing.

"But neither can it be proved that the world began. For when and where a thing exists is abstracted from in its definition, and proofs rest on definitions. So there is no proving that men and skies and rocks did not always exist. Nor can we search God's will, except as regards things he cannot but will, and creatures are not of that sort. But God can reveal his will to man and be believed. That the world began is therefore an object of faith, not of proof or science. And it is as well to remember this so that one does not try to prove what cannot be proved and give non-believers grounds for mockery, and for thinking the reasons we give are our reasons for believing. Those who think the world always existed could agree that God made it out of nothing; agreeing that it was not made from anything, but not that it was made after nothing, as we understand the word creation. However far back in the past we go, from that day to this a finite time and can be traversed. [To argue that if the world always existed an infinite number of past days would have had to be traversed to get to today] tries to talk as though there actually were two points in time with an infinite number of days between. Causes essential to an effect cannot me multiplied infinitely; the stick moving the stone, the hand the stick, and so on for ever. But an incidental infinity of causes is not thought impossible, if they all fill one place in the causal hierarchy; a workman could go on forever changing hammers when they break, since it is incidental to the causality of the hammer that another preceded it. And this is the case with procreation: it is incidental to a man procreating that he procreated, because he procreates as a man, not as a son of a man; and all men procreating fill the same place in the causal hierarchy, so that procreation could last for ever. But this would not be so if the dependence were through this man to chemical elements to the sun and so on for ever." (ST 1.46.2)
Genesis I. And God created man to his own image: to the image of God he created him: male and female he created them.
RyuuKyuzo
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3/28/2013 12:47:32 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/28/2013 12:27:23 AM, Fanboy wrote:
I have a few questions(I would love to do detailed debate about the objection if you are interested):
1. Supersymmetric string theory is presupposed for the working of this objection, correct?

No. SSST is only brought up to establish that the conclusion I'm arguing for philosophically is also supported with mathematical arguments.

2. Why favour supersymmetric string theory over other theories?

SSST is really just a blanket term for all the variations of string theory. All of them work for this argument, so there's no need to specify.

3. Is the infinite number of possiblities limited by what is metaphysically(and physically for that matter, possible)?

What is and is not possible according to us is limited to the sort of reality we have experience with. Under different rules, different things become possible and so I suppose that all things become possible, but it's not exactly something comprehendable in a meaningful way, so I can't say for sure what is and is not possible in a multiverse outside of logic.

4.Why should we believe, as in your thought experiment, that highly improbable events, in fact all most entirely improbable events, are even practically possible within the context of the universe? You could appeal to some other highly improbable events but that might beg the question depending on how you use it.

The idea is that if you aren't constrained by the limitations of time as we understand the limitations of time to be, and if you have the infinite capacity for creation, then we must logically conclude that our universe was naturally going to come into existence by necessity.

5. Doesn't your entire argument rely on a completely infinite spacio-temporal universe?

No. Our universe obviously isn't infinite in time. The multiverse would be (at least infinite to the extent I require it to be to be eternal). It should be noted that God also requires infinite spacio-temporal qualities, so these things are assumed either way. The alternative is that there is nothing eternal outside our universe, which leads to the logical contradiction the CA originally points out as justification for the necessity of God.

6. What do you define as God?

I'm talking specifically about Yahweh here.

7. What would you call an entity that has timelessness and omnipotence?

The natural Universe (not the upper-case "U"). That "being" becomes God when we ascribe sentience to it, but without sentience, it's just natural processes interacting without agency.

8. Why does God need to be sentient to have motivation or will?

The God of the bible is self-aware. You can define God in such a way that God is not self-aware, but then you've also defeated the argument as a means of establishing the God of the bible, which is the whole point.

9.Why are motivation and will neccessary to create a universe?

They aren't. This is what my argument sets out to establish.

10. Doesn't your argument fail to attack the premises but rather infer that the conclusion is faulty?

It doesn't fail to attack the premises because it makes no effort to attack them. There are already many arguments which attack the CA on it's premises. I wanted to make an argument granting as many liberties as possible before an unwarranted assumption was made (God's sentience).


I have more but I will save them for potential debate opportunities.
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RyuuKyuzo
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3/28/2013 12:51:42 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/28/2013 12:41:10 AM, Nur-Ab-Sal wrote:
At 3/28/2013 12:12:24 AM, RyuuKyuzo wrote:
Therefore, this argument implies that there was a definitive beginning to our universe

No, it does not. Aquinas held no such thing.

"But neither can it be proved that the world began. For when and where a thing exists is abstracted from in its definition, and proofs rest on definitions. So there is no proving that men and skies and rocks did not always exist. Nor can we search God's will, except as regards things he cannot but will, and creatures are not of that sort. But God can reveal his will to man and be believed. That the world began is therefore an object of faith, not of proof or science. And it is as well to remember this so that one does not try to prove what cannot be proved and give non-believers grounds for mockery, and for thinking the reasons we give are our reasons for believing. Those who think the world always existed could agree that God made it out of nothing; agreeing that it was not made from anything, but not that it was made after nothing, as we understand the word creation. However far back in the past we go, from that day to this a finite time and can be traversed. [To argue that if the world always existed an infinite number of past days would have had to be traversed to get to today] tries to talk as though there actually were two points in time with an infinite number of days between. Causes essential to an effect cannot me multiplied infinitely; the stick moving the stone, the hand the stick, and so on for ever. But an incidental infinity of causes is not thought impossible, if they all fill one place in the causal hierarchy; a workman could go on forever changing hammers when they break, since it is incidental to the causality of the hammer that another preceded it. And this is the case with procreation: it is incidental to a man procreating that he procreated, because he procreates as a man, not as a son of a man; and all men procreating fill the same place in the causal hierarchy, so that procreation could last for ever. But this would not be so if the dependence were through this man to chemical elements to the sun and so on for ever." (ST 1.46.2)

If the universe had no beginning, then it doesn't require a creator and so God is an unnecessary assumption anyway.

Your choice.
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Nur-Ab-Sal
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3/28/2013 12:55:51 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/28/2013 12:51:42 AM, RyuuKyuzo wrote:
At 3/28/2013 12:41:10 AM, Nur-Ab-Sal wrote:
At 3/28/2013 12:12:24 AM, RyuuKyuzo wrote:
Therefore, this argument implies that there was a definitive beginning to our universe

No, it does not. Aquinas held no such thing.

"But neither can it be proved that the world began. For when and where a thing exists is abstracted from in its definition, and proofs rest on definitions. So there is no proving that men and skies and rocks did not always exist. Nor can we search God's will, except as regards things he cannot but will, and creatures are not of that sort. But God can reveal his will to man and be believed. That the world began is therefore an object of faith, not of proof or science. And it is as well to remember this so that one does not try to prove what cannot be proved and give non-believers grounds for mockery, and for thinking the reasons we give are our reasons for believing. Those who think the world always existed could agree that God made it out of nothing; agreeing that it was not made from anything, but not that it was made after nothing, as we understand the word creation. However far back in the past we go, from that day to this a finite time and can be traversed. [To argue that if the world always existed an infinite number of past days would have had to be traversed to get to today] tries to talk as though there actually were two points in time with an infinite number of days between. Causes essential to an effect cannot me multiplied infinitely; the stick moving the stone, the hand the stick, and so on for ever. But an incidental infinity of causes is not thought impossible, if they all fill one place in the causal hierarchy; a workman could go on forever changing hammers when they break, since it is incidental to the causality of the hammer that another preceded it. And this is the case with procreation: it is incidental to a man procreating that he procreated, because he procreates as a man, not as a son of a man; and all men procreating fill the same place in the causal hierarchy, so that procreation could last for ever. But this would not be so if the dependence were through this man to chemical elements to the sun and so on for ever." (ST 1.46.2)

If the universe had no beginning, then it doesn't require a creator and so God is an unnecessary assumption anyway.

Your choice.

No, both St. Thomas and I believe the Universe has a beginning. However, St. Thomas believed that one could not prove that the Universe never began, because time as an accidentally-ordered series, or what we would call linear. St. Thomas only affirmed that we could not prove through philosophical arguments that the World began; he believed the World began through divine Revelation (as he states in the quote above).

Rather, St. Thomas's argument is structured around an essentially-ordered series, or what we would call simultaneous or hierarchical. This is the sort of example that St. Thomas gives in his First Way. However, you can just slap your super-symmetry quantum cosmological differentiation physics onto the KCA, since the KCA does indeed argue from the impossibility of an accidentally-ordered infinite series. But to counter St. Thomas with it would be missing his point.
Genesis I. And God created man to his own image: to the image of God he created him: male and female he created them.
wiploc
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3/28/2013 1:01:30 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/28/2013 12:12:24 AM, RyuuKyuzo wrote:
1. Nothing can move itself.
I can.
2. If every object in motion had a mover, then the first object in motion needed a mover.
3. Movement cannot go on for infinity.
4. This first mover is the Unmoved Mover (called God).(Aquinas, 2006)
... this argument implies that there was a definitive beginning to our universe which must have been caused by something outside of our universe

"Outside our universe" doesn't make sense. Did Aquinas really perpetrate that nonsense, or are you grafting on something from William Lane Craig?

It is further insinuated that this "unmoved mover" must be sentient and all powerful, as a non-sentient entity wouldn't have the capacity for the inclination to create our universe, and if it wasn't all powerful it would lack the ability to do so.

Didn't Aquinas just say, "which we call God"? I don't think he's responsible for the bits about sentient and all-powerful. Not as part of the cosmological argument. Even William Lane Craig says those are separate arguments, not part of the CA.

However, this argument is faulty as the logic of probability clearly shows the beginning of motion and the very existence of our universe itself were statistical certainties. Let us examine the qualities of the archetypal monotheistic God.

1. Omnipotence
2. Omniscience
3. Self-Aware
4. Time-less

I'm skeptical about #4. Is that really an archetypal quality? I thought Jehovah used to be eternal, and only turned timeless when theists started arguing against infinities.

Given an infinite amount of time and energy, even bizarre scenarios, such as the spontaneous formation of this very room and everything and everyone in it will happen and infinite amount of times.

Just not true. If you had ten blocks, randomly reshuffled every second, then, yes, in an infinite time you'd get every sequence over and over. Works with a hundred blocks too, or any finite number.

Does not work with transfinite numbers. This is a stay-off-my-side quality of argument. You can only make this argument until you run up against someone who has a facility with trans-finite numbers, and then you'll have to quit. So you may as well quit now. You have no reason to claim that your apple is one of only a finite number of configurations.

This must be the case, because the clock never stops.

We don't know that the clock never stops. Theists regularly claim that it does stop. We don't know that either. But they are quoting reputable scientists when they say that. Are their quotes fraudulent? I'm not sure. But I think your claim that the clock never stops is also unfounded.

Given this argument, if we accept and conclude the logical necessity for a space outside of our own universe that contains both an infinite amount of energy and an infinite amount of time,

How is that a logical necessity? Even if we granted every claim you made above, it seems like this part is just tacked on, having nothing to do with what went before.

Therefore, STA's argument falls short of its goal.

Of course it does. P1 is pre-Einsteinian mechanics; P2 and P3 contradict each other; and the conclusion isn't related to the premises. Total fail. You don't need to stretch to defeat the CA. You certainly don't need to be teaching people trans-finite mathematics when you don't grasp it yourself.

Since it is not necessary for this entity (or this space outside our universe) to be self aware or have the cognitive capacity

Now this is a good point. But you don't have to run around the block to get there. Why not start there?

They say,

1. Nothing can move itself.
2. If every object in motion had a mover, then the first object in motion needed a mover.
3. Movement cannot go on for infinity.
4. This first mover is the Unmoved Mover (called God).(Aquinas, 2006)

So you say, "'Called God?' 'Called God?' Man, did you skip a step."

Or you can point out flaws in the premises, or the fact that the conclusion doesn't flow from the premises.

While this argument provides the logical necessity for such a space,

Nonsense.

For evidence of the existence of such a space, I appeal to supersymmetric string theory.

Is SST correct? You forgot to say. If you claim it is correct, do you base that on your personal authority, or on a scientific consensus? This, if we are to entertain your claim, is something we need to know.
Fanboy
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3/28/2013 1:05:35 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
11. In your mind, What are the qualifications for agency?
12. Does your theory apply to all forms of cosmological argument?
13. What of Thomist's argument from outside the universe?
14. Why not suppose other interpretation of quantum mechanics? What makes string theory better than loop quantum gravity, the many worlds hypothesis, or any number of attempts to reconcile the theory of general relativity with quantum mechanics?
RyuuKyuzo
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3/28/2013 2:42:09 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/28/2013 1:01:30 AM, wiploc wrote:
Stuff

This is in point-by-point order.

- Granted

- It makes sense when you use "universe" with a small "u". Bug "U" = everything, small "u" is just the observable universe.

- By "further insinuated" I'm talking about how Christians will further assert that the being the CA argues for is their God, not that the CA itself necessarily argues this. Remember, I'm arguing specifically against the God of the bible. This is a different argument, but the point is that if the conclusion of the CA is contradictory to these other arguments, then the CA fails as an argument for the God of the bible.

- It's just a semantical issue. "Eternal" works as well. The point is that God isn't constrained to the limitations of time.

- I'm not sure I understand your point here. I'm not saying an apple is part of a finite number of possible configurations, I'm sure there's the potential for an infinite amount of configurations if we allow for enough space, but given an infinite amount of time and energy, you would expect apples to occur.

- To justify the God Yahweh, we require some kind of eternity. If God is eternal, then the clock never stops for him. I'm merely assuming the same thing the Christians must, with the exception of God being necessarily sentient. It's possible that there is no such thing as eternity in any possible way, but that conclusion rules out Yahweh as well, so the Christian position is defeated regardless. Like I've said earlier, my effort here is to grant as many liberties as possible. I want to take the argument out from the inside out.

- Note the qualifier "if". Once again, Yahweh requires space outside our universe (note the small 'u' again) for him to exist in -- even if that space is literally only composed of himself, it's still space as far as it needs to be for my argument. Keep in mind, my goal isn't to knock out Yahweh immediately.

- I agree, but not about the trans-finite numbers.

- A lot of this is meant to preempt objections theologians may bring up. To this extent, a little block-running is needed.

- agreed

- disagreed

- It's correct to the extent that it follows mathematically. That's all I mean to use it for. It offers a mathematical argument for the same thing I'm arguing for.
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RyuuKyuzo
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3/28/2013 2:47:51 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/28/2013 1:05:35 AM, Fanboy wrote:
11. In your mind, What are the qualifications for agency?

Consciousness, I suppose. I would say "free will", but that's another debate entirely.

12. Does your theory apply to all forms of cosmological argument?

I'd like to say yes, but I'm sure there's a bizarre version I haven't seen yet so I can't say for sure.

13. What of Thomist's argument from outside the universe?

Hmm?

14. Why not suppose other interpretation of quantum mechanics? What makes string theory better than loop quantum gravity, the many worlds hypothesis, or any number of attempts to reconcile the theory of general relativity with quantum mechanics?

These aren't necessarily in contradiction to what I'm talking about. Out the (admittedly few) particle physicists I've talked to, they've all pretty much agreed that string theory (specifically M-theory) is the only kid on the block that serves as a serious contender for the Theory of Everything.
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RyuuKyuzo
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3/28/2013 6:52:13 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/28/2013 6:48:02 AM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
What do you mean "nothing can movie itself"? A cricket can move itself...

Things must be acted upon for motion to occur. That is to say, something must act on an object in such a way to take it out of a state of potential to a state of movement. That thing could be another object, or its own intentions if its a living thing, but when it comes to the beginning of the universe we have no living things to act on themselves.
If you're reading this, you're awesome and you should feel awesome.
RyuuKyuzo
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3/28/2013 6:31:17 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I won't be able to due any follow-up on this thread for the next little while. Sorry to waste everyone's time. If you post your critiques, I'll come back to them at a later time.
If you're reading this, you're awesome and you should feel awesome.