Wednesday, March 16, 2022

What is philosophy?

I just came across this in Shturman and Tiktin’s delightful anthology of Soviet era jokes. (I don't know if it exists in translation.)

Question: What is philosophy?

Answer: It’s a hunt for a black cat in a dark room. Marxist philosophy is distinguished by the fact that there is no cat in the room, and Marxist-Leninist by the fact that one of the hunters in fact yells that he caught the cat.

I wonder what other philosophies it can be applied to.

109 comments:

Michael Gonzalez said...

Would Wittgenstein say that philosophy consists of showing that "black" has no meaning in dark rooms?

Zsolt Nagy said...

There is this song Blue (Da Ba Dee) from the Italian music Eiffel 65 in which the narrator sees everything in blue.
It's quite a silly song not meant to be taken seriously. But it raises also quite an interesting philosophical and epistemic question: How does the narrator or anybody know, what the colour "blue" supposed to be, if literally everything is "blue"?

Na, A. R. Pruss? Did you get a bit of time doing some exercises with quantifiers and the square of opposition?
According to the square of opposition and proper logical quantifier changes in combination with negations every/any (arbitrary)/all thing is blue, if and only if no particular thing is not blue. Or to say, it's not the case, that somethings are not blue. (One might also say in this case, that no thing/nothing is blue, which might be weird for different reasons.)
Here are some further exercises for you, A. R. Pruss:
(1) What's the proper negation and contraposition of the claim "Every Swan is White."?
(2) What's the proper negation and contraposition of the Principle of Sufficient Reason?

Now, where was I? Oh yeah, if everything is blue or to say, that no particular thing is not blue, then how does one know exactly, what "blue" is supposed to be, yet alone that actually everything is supposed to be blue, since one might know about "blue" by differentiation - only if there are things, which are "blue", and if there are things, which are "not-blue", or to say that some particular things are "blue" and some other particular things are "not-blue"?
I guess, that such external things are only known by differentiation and if there are no external things with such different properties, then no body can exactly know such claim to be true as "Everything is Blue.".

Here is the caveat for you, A. R. Pruss:
How do you then exactly know as a theist and theologen, that "Everything (except of course God) is Created.", since if that were to be the case, then that would be dubious and not obvious at all to say at least?

Alexander R Pruss said...

I think *blue* brings special problems with it because of the experiential aspect and the importance of contrasting cases for experience. I find myself inclined to have a kind of relationalist picture of experience, so that each experienced color is experienced in relation to the others, and if there were no others, the experience would be different, and not chromatic. Compare, after all, how when you wear colored glasses, eventually their color disappears.

But apart from the experiential aspect, I don't really see a problem. Even if we had no eyesight, we could have somehow scientifically discovered that everything in the universe emits or reflects light primarily in the 450-495 nm wavelength range. There is no conceptual problem with everything in the world having some property. We now know there are some massless particles. I don't know the history of Newton's thought, but I imagine that he thought that all material objects had mass. I don't think that would have posed any conceptual problem for him. Now, granted, Newton wasn't a materialist: he didn't think all objects were material. But we can easily imagine an early Newtonian materialist who thought all objects were material and all material objects had mass. There wouldn't be any special conceptual difficulty about that, I think.

I think sometimes people make the mistake of thinking that because *one* of the ways we pick out a property is in contrast to other properties, therefore that is the only way we do it. But there are other ways. Sometimes, for instance, we pick out a property as the cause or explanation of something. Thus, Newtonians pick out mass as an explanation of gravity and of the relationship between force and acceleration.

Zsolt Nagy said...

Really?
Newtonians pick out mass as an explanation of gravity, since there is a very specific correlation between gravitational force and mass:
The gravitational forces acting upon an object is proportional to the the masses of all involved objects.
Again hypothetically speaking if "Everything would have the same specific mass", then such a correlation between the gravitational forces and the masses of the objects wouldn't be apparent at all. And if such a correlation between the gravitational forces and the masses of the objects wouldn't be apparent at all, then how would any person yet alone a Newtonian come up with the idea of picking masses for the explanation of gravity?!?

Besides that, I would still like to know from you, A. R. Pruss, what are the negations and counterpositions of "Every Swab is White." and of the Principle of Sufficient Reason?
Also what about the theists position of "Everything (expect of God of course) is Created."??
How sensical is that position?
Is that as sensical of a position as the position of a Newtonian person holding the claim of gravity being caused by masses of objects, when there is no apparent correlation between gravitational forces and masses in the case of "Everything having the same specific mass."?
I guess, that position would be as sensical as the other position, namely not at all "sensical".

James Reilly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
James Reilly said...

Zsolt,

One way that a "counter-position" could be established would be via empirical demonstration (e.g. we now know that not all swans are white, because we've found some that aren't). Another way would be via philosophical argument (e.g. showing that a given principle entails some kind of absurdity). But of course, in the case of PSR, nobody has even been able to provide either an empirical counter-example, or a sound philosophical argument in favor of rejecting it (though many have tried, such as van Inwagen).

Zsolt Nagy said...

Hallo James,

I know all of that.
What I actually do not know, if A. R. Pruss has finally learned his lesson about such things, since he appears to be very conflated about it.
He appears to use the word "any" wrongfully for both quantifiers "all" and "some" in different occasions. Also he appears to think wrongfully, that "if any infinite causal chain would be possible, then some contradictory infinite causal chains would be possible" and since "no contradictory infinite causal chains are possible," "therefore, not any infinite causal chain is possible" or to say according to Pruss, that "no infinite causal chains are possible" or to say, that "any infinite causal chain is not possible".
Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha...
And he is considering himself to be an "analytical philosopher". But I don't know, why exactly he would consider himself to be one, while he is doing such basic logical mistakes.

Besides that, I don't think, that Inwagen has been the only person attempting to give a sound philosophical argument in favor of rejecting the PSR.
Every ontological argument for the existence of a "necessary being" - an existing being without a sufficient explanation and reason for its existence other then by "defining" that being to exist necessarily - is an attempt to give a sound argument in favor of rejecting the PSR.

Alexander R Pruss said...

The PSR, at least as understood by Leibniz ( http://alexanderpruss.blogspot.com/2018/02/leibniz-on-psr-and-necessary-truths.html ) and Pruss, is restricted to contingent truths.

Zsolt Nagy said...

So the PSR has been restricted just in case, that it couldn't be ever asked according to the PSR, "What is the sufficient reason for the existence of God, since according to the general PSR any thing, which exists, has a sufficient reason for its existence?"? In oder to seamlessly attempt a question begging and special pleading argument for the existence of God?
I guess, that would be a "sufficient reason" for such a restriction of the PSR. Got it.

Besides that, I also guess, that such a God being an invention by the human imagination might "sufficiently explain" the appearence of the existence of such a mythical creature - just another "creature" by the human mind.

Michael Gonzalez said...

Zsolt, your attitude isn't helping anything or anyone. Has it ever occurred to you that someone trained in this field, who's been publishing work on this exact topic for decades, might have already thought of and addressed your objections? Have you even read his book on causal finitism, or any of his books for that matter?

I'm just some random person, like you, but even I can see the flaws in what you've brought up.

1) If everything in the world had the same mass, it could still be true that everything with mass is made of particles and the gravitational constant could still be just as it is.

2) The very concept of contingency implies dependence. So a PSR restricted to contingent things (as has been espoused since Leibniz) is perfectly natural. But, let's say we extend it to everything, to please you. The explanation of a necessary thing could just be that it's negation is incoherent. It would have to be a special sort of thing, but lots of philosophers think that's the case for mathematical objects and other such abstracta, so there's nothing in this that's crafted just to exclude God.

Look up Graham Oppy sometime. He's an atheist and yet accepts almost identical reasoning to Pruss', leading him to posit a single necessary state of affairs from which all the contingent stuff comes. Reason leads to that conclusion, wholly apart from theism.

3) There doesn't need to be a coherent "counter-position" in order for the PSR to be accepted. Indeed, the inability to coherently deny something is usually taken as very strong reason to accept it.

I don't mean to speak for Dr. Pruss, but he deserves better than your disrespectful, sarcastic remarks. You should be ashamed of yourself; but, failing that, at least read your opponent's work before criticizing it, eh?

Walter Van den Acker said...

Philosophy is not (or should not be) about the hunt for a black cat in a dark room.
It is (or should be) about the 'hunt' to find out the truth of whatever may be in the dark room, even if there is nothing at all in it.
If you are looking for a black cat, you are not doing proper philosophy.
Likewise, a philosopher who looks for God is not doing proper philosophy either.

As to the PSR, it is natural to look for reasons, but every genuine philosopher should be open to the possibility that existence itself might just be a brute fact. Hence, To claim that the very concept of contingency implies dependence is question-begging.
So far, nobody has successfully argued that the negation of a concrete necessary being is incoherent, so there is nothing wrong with entertaining at least the possibility that there may be eternal brute facts. Richard Swinburne is one of the very few prominent theists who have the intellectual honesty to admit that.
That said, I personally tend to agree with Oppy that reality is somehow necessary. But I cannot prove it, and neither can Oppy, Pruss or anyone else for that matter.

Wesley C. said...

@Walter, If PSR is false then we can never have justified rational expectations for anything in the world around us, or even ourselves, as anything can happen as a matter of brute fact, and the course of reality could deviate as a brute fact, and we should be left perpetually agnostic about reality. There's no way to limit brute facts from somehow applying to things existing but not to anything else that could conceivable also be brute, so we can never have JRE's.

Michael Gonzalez said...

Walter,

The cat thing was a joke. And this whole thread was supposed to be about jokes. But, I'll take any opportunity to talk about these sorts of topics:

1) If a philosopher already has good reasons for believing the cat is there, then the hunt for a cat makes perfect sense. They should be open to the possibility that there is no cat after all, but pursuing the cat is perfectly rational.

2) There is nothing question begging about pointing out that the concept of contingency implies dependence. If one has, for example, a causal theory of alethic modality, then to be contingent may just mean to be dependent on the powers of something. And there is much to recommend such a theory, apart from PSR considerations or any talk of God.

3) It's a simple argument from the coherence of an initial causal source of all possibility and actuality to the impossibility of its non-existence. Swinburne's reasons for thinking God is contingent do not engage with the causal understanding of possibility. And his reasons are sometimes surprisingly weak on this matter (such as that evil worlds would be impossible if God were necessary... which is not true). I'm not saying there definitely can't be brute realities (though I don't think there can be, since the "can" here is a modal one and I take that to imply causation). I'm just saying it isn't as simple as pointing to an example of a brilliant philosopher who thinks so. They may have simply missed something, as we all do sometimes.

4) In any case, I think Wesley is quite right: Without a PSR, we would have no justified expectation of anything. Brute facts can't be limited by anything, nor can probabilities be applied. It's a slippery slope from one brute fact to radical skepticism.

Walter Van den Acker said...

Wesley

That's simply not true. It doesn't follow from 'there may some brute facts' that everything may be a brute fact.
As Michael acknowledges, the basis of reality would have to be a special sort of thing. Now an eternal brute fact is a special sort of thing, so all other things may have reasons, because they are not so special.
0rdonary things are not 'conceivably brute'because we have discovered reasons for them. The reason why there is a crater on the moon is because there was a meteor, and even if the Meteor popped into existence for no reason at all, it is still the reason why there is crater.

.

Wesley C. said...

Walter,

The argument isn't that everything may be a brute fact, but that brute facts may occur or may influence reality in such a way that no justified reasonable expectations are possible (things could really stop existing around you at any moment for no reason, things could appear for no reason, and basically any possibility could be actual for no reason or cause at all). And if brute facts are possible, there is also no good reason to be skeptical of the claim that everything else is also a brute fact (after all, things that we think have an explanation may brutely just look like it and are in fact groundless, and there is absolutely no way to tell), and so no justified reasonable background assumption about what is and isn't a brute fact. You're no longer allowed to hold anything one way or another, because bruteness has no conditions or rules or probabilities, and you can only stay perpetually silent.

As for Michael's statement about the foundation of reality being a "special" thing, he was referring to necessary things, which are very different from somehow existence being uniquely "brute" - there is no way to quarantine bruteness to existence but not to anything else that can just as well be brute also - eternal brute facts are equally as brute and equally as possible as temporal brute facts. Now you yourself believe the foundation of reality may be necessary, in which case you're either a theist or necessitarian, the latter of which isn't any form of atheism.

Walter Van den Acker said...

Wesley

The origine of reality is special and cannot simply be compared to 'ordinary' things'. It doesn't follow from 'the origine is brute' that anything Else may be brute. I believe that ex nihilo nihil fit, so temporal brute facts do not make sense.
Also, the fact that we have found reasons for some things is a justification for the belief that things happen for reasons. Can we be absolutely sure of that? No, but then we cannot be sure that the universe wasn't created last Thursday either.

And, for your information, that the foundation of reality may be necessary does not imply that it is necessary
And necessitarianism is perfectly compatible wit atheïsm.

Wesley C. said...

Walter

I don't see how bruteness can in any way be contained just because one category to which bruteness can be applied is uniquely distinct from another. In fact, since bruteness can be applied to any category and thus is universal, if there's a problem with bruteness as such then it also means all brute categories are problematic.

As for origin of reality - you can't really escape bruteness with that distinction. Because you can just as easily say that the reality we live in is such that certain brute effects will appear and this is so from eternity - which leads to skeptical issues and therefore no justified rational expectations exist.

As for not being sure the things we think are justified aren't actually brute facts - that's the point, and a big one. By definition, brute facts (ex nihilo or not, as brute facts can also be non-ex-nihilo things) are without any condition, intelligibility or probability, and so you literally can't tell whether or not it's likely or not that all seemingly explicable things are really ultimately inexplicable.

This is a problem because unlike with other scenario, if you affirm brute facts are possible you automatically affirm that the above is a serious scenario as brute facts are a reality, which we can never tell whether or not it's true. Any inclination or belief that it's unlikely is unjustified - as such, we should remain completely agnostic as to whether anything really is explicable, because it could be a brute fact that appears as something with an explanation.

Finally, regarding necessitarianism, your distinction is correct, and I should've been more precise. You could hold that there is a necessary foundation that creates reality, but which isn't God - but this wouldn't be classical atheism which denies any necessary foundation beyond reality. And if you hold necessitarianism, then trivially you do reject God's existence as you think reality is necessary and so God isn't relative to it, but it's not at all usual atheism as atheists don't say reality is necessary in itself.

Walter Van den Acker said...

Wesley

This will be my final reply to you, not because I do not enjoy this discussion, but because I don't see us making any progress.

I don't think that the reality we live in is such that certain brute effects will appear and this is so from eternity because while reality itself may not be necessary as such, it does not follow that reality can be anything. A triangle necessarily has three sides, but that doesn't mean a triangle has necessary existence. Hence, there is no contradiction in reality having only contingent existence while having necessary properties.

I have never claimed, by the way, that I am a classical atheist (whatever that may be). There are several brands of theism, and there are several brands of atheism.
Anyway, thank you for the discussion.

Walter Van den Acker said...

Michael

I wrote a long reply to you, but it somehow got lost.
The gist of what I wanted to say, however, is in my replies to Wesley.
Just one thing. I agree that if a philosopher already has good reasons for believing the cat is there, then the hunt for a cat makes perfect sense. They should be open to the possibility that there is no cat after all, but pursuing the cat is perfectly rational.
That's actually what I meant to say. You can't start doing philosophy by hunting for the black cat.

Zsolt Nagy said...

Walter

I'm not quite understanding, how you are concluding from the negation of the PSR (-not any thing, which exists, has a sufficiient reason for its existence/-some things, which exist, have no sufficcient reasons for their existences), that any thing, which exists, has no sufficinet reason for its existence.
This appears to me to be the same mistake, which is A. R. Pruss doing while supposedly concluding Causal Finitism to be true (-any infnite causal chain is not possible) - the same exact quantifier mistake and fallacious hasty generalization.
By what means is there a problem/contrdiction for any brute category/infnite causal chain, if there are some brute categoreis/infinite causal chains with a problem/contradiction?
I don't by these kind of non-trivial statements so easaly.

Look here are an infnite number of natural numbers, which are "odd":
1, 3, 5, 7,...
So some natural numbers are "odd".
Therefore, any natural number is "odd",
since if any/some natural number is "odd", then any/all natural number is "odd". Duh.

Zsolt Nagy said...

My last comment was rather meant to be a reply to Wesley instead to Walter.

Zsolt Nagy said...

Michael

If everything has the same mass, then the gravitational force between two objects F would apparently only be proportional to the reciprocal for the squared distance between two objects 1/r²:
F ~ 1/r²
So then the gravitational constant G' would be only given by this relation here:
F = G'×1/r²; G' = F/(1/r²) = F×r²
Sure, the gravitational constant G' might have the same numerical value as the current gravitational constant G [= F×r²/(m1×m2)], but they have very different physical units associated with them.
G' is measured in Nm² [Newton×meter²] and G is measured in Nm²/kg² [Newton×meter²/kg²] or in m³/(kgs²) [meter³/(kilogramm×second²].
So G' and G are physically not the same thing here. The are different.
And again given supposedly "everything having the same exact mass" it is not apparent at all, how G' might has anything to do with masses or gravity being the result of masses.

Michael Gonzalez said...

Zsolt,

With respect to your G'... why would it not still be F×r²/(m1×m2)? m1 being equal to m2 doesn't somehow cancel out. The denominator would always have the same value (m1 and m2 are always the same and always equal to each other), but it doesn't somehow disappear.....

With regard to Wesley's and my concern that one brute fact lets in an indefinite number of them: It's because there can't be an explanation for why there is only one or why they are only of a particular kind of any other such restriction. If there were limiting explanations about them, they wouldn't be "brute" facts.

Zsolt Nagy said...

Michael

I already explained this, but if you don't get this, then I like explaining it, till you are going to get it.
If "everything has the same exact mass", then there is no correlation between the gravitational force F between the two objects and their masses m1 and m2 apparent at all and if so, then it is also not apparent at all, that F would be in any given way proportional to m1 or to m2.
In the case of "everything having the same mass" it would make any sense to write down the following relations:
F ~ m1 or F ~ m2
So then how would anybody come up with the idea of "F = G'×m1×m2×1/r²", when the relations "F ~ m1" or "F ~ m2" are not apparent at all?
It makes no sense. That would only make sense, if you would hear a second voice giving you such a revelation out of nothing, I guess.

Besides, that from the negation of the PSR only follows, that "some things, which exist, have no sufficient reason for their existences". And it is not specifically difficult to find examples and things, which exist, having sufficient reason for their existences.
For example me or you are currently existing given the sufficient reason, that we were born and approximately nine month prior to our birth our parents had have intimate intercourse.
This is not particularly about finding and having "restrictions", but this is all about finding examples or counterexamples.
Sure, some things, which exist, have sufficient reason for their existences. And why shouldn't be there some things, which exist, having no sufficient reason for their existences? Because of some idiotic, question begging, special pleading and irrelevant "restrictions"?
Why though?

Michael Gonzalez said...

Zsolt,

Whether someone ever came up with it or not, there would still need to be a denominator to properly describe gravity; it would just always be the same. Force calculations rely on mass, and there would still be mass, even if that number was always the same.

The point is that, if things with no explanation can exist, then there would be no limit to them (limits are explanatory). Even the things that seem like they have explanations, or things that seem more or less "probable", could just be brute and we'd have no way of knowing or predicting. Nor could this be confined to special cases (as Walter suggested), because whatever makes those cases "special" would be explanatory. I don't think you've come to grips with the epistemological disaster that would follow from allowing brute facts.

Zsolt Nagy said...

Michael

And how would force calculations rely on mass, if everything would have the same mass? You are making unsubstantiated claims upon unsubstantiated claims.
If everything would have the same mass, then again my explanation follows:
Since in that case force F would only be proportional to acceleration
a, then we might as well say, that force F equals acceleration a:
F = a with N = m/s² [Newton = méter/second²]
How am I exactly reliant on masses in the case of supposedly "everything having the same exact mass"?!?

I know, that I'm existing, since my mother gave birth to me and prior to that my parents had have intimate intercourse without any contraceptions, which sufficiently explains my existence, AND I'm at the same time made out of star dust out of matter, which might as well always been here, since energy/matter can not come out of nothing and from nowhere as far as we know that. So that might be a "brute fact" of this observable universe. The existence of universe itself as whole or the matter in it might as well be a "brute fact". Really what's the "problem" here with all of this?
There is a problem here with such "brute facts", if and only if there is also a similar or the same exact problem with a "non-contingent" and "necessarily" existing being, called "God", without any further sufficient reason for its existence or to say, that there is then also a similar or the same exact "problem" with the existence of God - a supposedly "brute fact" of this actual reality.
Yeah, I don't grasp how this "boot", which I'm on, is supposed to be "sinking" and if this "boot" is actually sinking, then you will also drown with me, since you are also on the same exact "boot", as I am.
You just call it differently.
I call it a "brute fact". You call it a "necessary being".
I call it the "observable universe". You call it "God".
So what's the problem again with there supposedly being a "brute fact/"necessary being"?

Michael Gonzalez said...

Zsolt,

Even if "m" always has the same value, it is still true that F=ma. F does not just equal a. I don't know why you would think that. "a" is a vector that has a magnitude and direction. "m" is a scalar that you multiply with "a". So, unless m=1, F does not equal "a".

How do you know another human just like you won't pop into being next to you right now? Any appeal to laws of nature, probability, etc, all assume things don't happen without explanation. If they can, then there could not be any probabilities or limitations to it (those would be explanatory).

Non-contingent/necessity is not the same as "brute". Necessary facts couldn't have been otherwise. There negations are impossible. That's not the case for brute facts. Completely different issues.

Zsolt Nagy said...

Michael

How is it still true and knowingly true, that F=ma, if everything has the same mass, since then there would be no correlation and no apparent proportionality between any force F and masses of objects?
In that case any force F would be equivalent to acceleration a.

I know, that another human like me won't pop into existence, since nature behaves uniformaly appearently and till now no human has ever popped into existence.
How do you know, that another human like you won't pop into existence? Because you similarly presuppose God behaving like God supposedly *apparently" ever did?
And by what means, couldn't natural presuppositions about facts without sufficient explanations be limited?
Again you are making unsubstantiated claims upon unsubstantiated claims.
I presuppose/postulate there to be matter without explanation.
And this is "limited" by the following postulation: Any thing, which actually exist, comes from matter and therefore there being matter is the sufficient explanation and reason for the existence of any thing coming from matter.
I don't understand you at all. Please justify your claims. What is your warrant other question begging and special pleading?

By the way, the negation of "necessary" is "possibly not".
For example it's not the case, that tomorrow will necessarily rain, if and only if tomorrow will not necessarily rain, or to say, that tomorrow will possibly not rain possibly, or to say, that it is possible, that tomorrow will not rain, if and only if tomorrow will not necessarily rain.
Oh, and how is it not the case for "brute facts", that there negation is impossible? How could a "brute fact" be otherwise?
Would you be so kind as to give an elaboration on that?
Otherwise I have difficulties understanding and accepting this yet again unsubstantiated claim of yours.
How about providing an example for that?

Michael Gonzalez said...

Zsolt,

1) "a" is acceleration. It has a value. That value is not the same as the F value. F is equal to a times m. So, imagine m is 5. Even if the m of every object is 5, F is still equal to a*5, not just to a.

2) If something is truly without any explanation at all, then there cannot be an answer to any "why" questions about it. Those would be explanations. So, if we ask, "why couldn't it be another human right next to me?" Any answer you try to give would be an explanation, and this situation is UNexplained. Do you understand?

3) The claim that anything that exists comes from matter would not allow for any "brute" or unexplained realities either, so you're just contradicting yourself. And you've given no reason to believe your position, or to deny what modern science tells us (that matter had a beginning). You're just asserting things.

4) I didn't say anything about the opposite of necessity. I said that, if a thing is necessary then its negation (the negation of the thing, its non-existence) is impossible.

5) You're confusing "necessary" and "brute". Brute facts could have been otherwise, they just inexplicably aren't. An example of a necessary fact is that 2+2=4. It couldn't be otherwise (it wouldn't even make sense). But if there are 4 sheep in my living room that weren't always there but just appeared, it's clear that they aren't necessary (since their non-existence is possible... they didn't exist a few moments ago, after all). But, if there is no explanation at all for how they showed up, then they are a brute fact. Make sense?

Zsolt Nagy said...

Michael

1) Sure, "a" is acceleration. It has a value And that value is the same as the F value in the case of everything having the same mass for example mi=m=5 for i=1,2,3,...,N or ∞, since then force F wouldn't correlate and be proportional with/to any mass mi=m=5 for i=1,2,3,...,N or ∞.
I can also reiterate. So what?

2) Actually something is truly without any explanation at all, if and only if there cannot be an answer to any "why" questions about it.
There supposed to be no "why" question about "God". So I guess then, that "God is supposed to be truly without any explanation at all. Or is there a "why" question about "God"? I wonder.
Again, you are in the same exact "boot" of denying and negating the PSR. But from the both of us sitting in the same exact "boot" at least I'm capable of acknowledging and being honest about being on that "boot". Why can you not be also homes about it? Because of an idiotic attempt of question begging and special pleading with unsubstantiated claims upon unsubstantiated claims?
I guess so.

"Any answer you try to give would be an explanation, and this situation is UNexplained. Do you understand?"
No, I do not understand, since "that situation" is explained by nature behaving uniformaly, such that "that situation" is not "UNexplained" or to say, that "that situation" is explained (double negation).
How about the following situation?
An infinitely or to say eternal proton sitting somewhere. Never having been popped into existence, since that proton has always been there sitting doing nothing but existing. Is "this situation" also explained and simultaneously "UNexplained"? Do you understand? Comprende?

3) Which "modern science" claims, that matter had a beginning?
The "modern science", which I know off, claims though, that energy/matter can neither be created from nothing nor destroyed into nothing and energy/matter can not come from nowhere, but it is always coming from somewhere, reshapes itself into some other form and then it might go somewhere else.
(There are no energy generators, only energy transformators.)
Sure, I might be asserting some things here and there. But you are asserting a lot of more things like the big bang being evidence for a "beginning of the universe". The big bang is only evidence for the expansion and for the beginning of the expansion of the universe, but not the beginning of the universe and matter itself. Duh.

4) Yeah, I guess, that my response regarding the negation of necessary is irrelevant, since that's not, what you have been talking about. But the again you are talking about a necessary being being defined by the negation being impossible. Gush. Why not just define that directly instead of indirectly:
A necessary being is always the case under any circumstances.
This is much more of clear and direct definition, don't you think?
I think, that this is certainly better than your indirect version. Your version is such a logical twister.

5) I'm not evocating for for 4 sheep appearing out of nowhere, since that is Nonsense. ("Makes sense?" Maybe in your head with a second voice around giving you such nonsensical ideas. In my head with only one voice of thoughts and reason, that doesn't make sense at all.
So stop "straw manning".)
But I'm evocating for 4 sheep always have been and being there in your living room without a sufficient explanation - a "brute fact".
Does that make sense?
Could that have been otherwise? If so, then by what particular explanation?

Michael Gonzalez said...

Zsolt,

1) I don't understand why this is so difficult or why it even matters, but, F≠a. It equals a multipled by m, which is a number that changes the value of a. Whether all the m values in the world are the same or not, m*a is different than just a.

2) If things can only be without explanation at all (i.e. "brute") when there are no answers to "why" questions about them, as you say, then Wesley's and my point is correct: Nothing prevents a human or horse or galaxy from just appearing right here. Any limit you try to place on things without an explanation would be an explanation! It would be a "why" (specifically, why this sort of thing can be brute and that thing can't).

No one said there can't be any "why" about God; merely that the PSR doesn't demand an explanation for His existence. So what? That's because of necessity, which I've shown in point 4 is very different from bruteness. But you could easily ask "why can God be necessary, but horse can't be", and there is an easy answer (unlike in the "brute" cases, where there cannot be an answer). The answer is because horses depend on other things for their existence, and God doesn't.

3) I don't know why people all over the internet have this insane idea about conservation laws. Energy level remains constant in closed systems; but, if the world had a beginning, then it isn't a closed system. This is not complicated.

But, in any case, space, time, matter, and energy all began at the Big Bang, according to the standard theory accepted by most cosmologists. All the evidence we have points to that (including the second law of thermodynamics, which would require us to be at maximum entropy by now if the world had always existed).

4) I wasn't defining it, I was explaining the difference between "brute" and "necessary". One could not have been otherwise, the other could have.

5) Again, I was just illustrating the difference between brute and necessary. You and I agree that the sheep popping into being from nothing would be brute but not necessary, yes? That shows they are different concepts, and that you are incorrect to keep comparing God's necessity to bruteness.

Zsolt Nagy said...

Michael

1) Again, I can also reiterate. So what?Maybe look up the notions of there being a correlation between two things and a thing being proportional to another thing, since apparently you have no idea about those things and about, why exactly supposed to be F=ma.
It's not, that F=ma, because it supposed to be, that F=ma. F=ma, because there is an apparent correlation between F and m and between F and a, such that F is proportional to m and F is proportional to a.
Yeah, I also don't understand, what's so difficult for you to understand. It's quite simple.

2) If things can only be without explanation at all (i.e. "brute") when there are no answers to "why" questions about them, as I might say, then Wesley's and your point is incorrect, since then humans and horsee might have been always there for an eternity without explanations AND WITHOUT EVER COMING INTO EXISTENCE, SINCE THOSE MIGHT HAVE BEEN ALWAYS THERE NEVER NEEDING A "BEGINNING" ALSO EXISTING INDEPENDENTLY FROM ANYTHING ALSO EXISTING INDEPENDENTLY FROM ANY DEITY EVEN INDEPENDENTLY FROM YOUR SO CALLED "GOD".
So stop "straw manning".

Besides that nonsense of yours, yes, the general PSR demands an explanation for the existence of God, since God supposed to exist and according to the general PSR any thing, which exist, has a sufficient reason and explanation for its existence.
So what is the reason and explanation for the existence of God?
Or why does God exist?
I guess, because of question begging and special pleading.

3) And how is the world an open system, if the world has a "beginning"?
Also sure, there the second law of thermodynamics applies to a closed system. How about an open system as you have just suggested the world to be such an open system cause of that "beginning"?
Just google "entropy for open systems".

4) And how could one be otherwise and the other one couldn't be otherwise?
I requested that explanation a long time ago. Where is it?
How about some examples for a "necessary being" and there to be a thing via "brute fact"/without explanation but not suddenly appearing out of nothing and nowhere? How about not "straw manning"?

5) "You and I agree that the sheep popping into being from nothing would be brute but not necessary, yes?"
NOOOO.
That is only "brute" in the sense of you "brute fully" attempting to make a "straw man".
"Sheep popping into being from nothing" is not a "brute fact". That is at best a fallaciously imagined "straw man" putted forward for no better reason than to tackle that instead of a proper "brute fact".

Michael Gonzalez said...

Zsolt,

1) Let's say that the mass of a particular object is 5g. You would plug "5" into F=ma, right? Why would you not still do that if every object was 5g? It's still the right calculation for F. Force isn't the same vector as acceleration. They are different values. And everything having the same mass is different from everything being massless. What if they were all 5g? Or all 10g? You still have to multiply "a" by whatever that number for "m" is, in order to get F! I'm not sure what else to say.... If everything became totally massless, then sure, Force would just equal acceleration (since there wouldn't be a mass factor at all). But, if everything weighed 100kg, Force wouldn't magically equal acceleration; it would equal acceleration times 100kg!

2) I never said the horses or humans couldn't also have been there forever, brutely. That might also be the case. And some unicorns too. That doesn't address my point that there could ALSO be a human or horse that pops into being right here in my office, and if you say that can't happen "because..." then you need to give a "why" (which is exactly what we agreed that you CANNOT give in the case of brute facts). There cannot be restrictions or limits or probabilities, because those are all "why"!

The explanation of God's existence (and any other necessary thing) is that their non-existence is impossible. "Necessarily x" (usually written □x) is logically equivalent to "not possible that not x" (usually written ~◇~x).

3) If all of matter and energy came into being, then the amount of energy in the system changed at that point. Maybe it has been "closed" since then, but it still had a beginning.

And yes, all the laws of thermodynamics are about closed systems, including the second one. So what? The first law is very reliable now that the world exists. The only exception we know of was when the world first came into existence. Unless you can point to some similar special exception to the second law, our observations of entropy increase should likewise be very reliable, and we should wonder why the world is not at maximum entropy yet if it has always existed.

4) Ok. Imagine a world that had always existed, and that always had exactly 10 stars in it. If there is no explanation for why there are exactly 10, then the eternal existence of exactly 10 stars would be a brute/unexplained fact. It wouldn't be a necessary fact, since it would still be coherent to talk about there being 9 or 11 or a million. Brute facts are true even though it is perfectly meaningful and coherent to talk about them being false. Now, consider the necessary truth that half of 10 stars = 5 stars. That is a necessary truth because it is not meaningful or coherent to try and deny it. You'd have to somehow fail to use the words "10", "half", or "5" correctly. That's the difference. It is impossible for half of 10 to be anything other than 5. But it is quite possible to have more or less stars than 10.

5) IF 4 sheep popped into being without explanation, then that WOULD be a brute fact, because it wouldn't have an explanation. ANY fact without explanation is a brute fact. That's what "brute" MEANS! I don't understand why you're disagreeing. I'm not accusing you of thinking that sheep (or anything else) ever actually do pop into being without cause. I'm just saying that if anything ever did, then that would be an obvious case of a brute/unexplainable fact. I only used this example where they pop into being because of how obvious the "bruteness" would be, as opposed to something that had existed forever, where we might wonder whether it was brute or necessary. I was illustrating the difference, and wanted to use a really clear and obvious example of bruteness. I was not straw-manning your own position. I wasn't even talking about your position.

Alexander R Pruss said...

There are a couple of different kinds of reasons for restricting the PSR to contingent propositions. Here are two.

First, we might think there are too many cases where the PSR seems to fail in the case of necessary truths. Why is 0=0? Why is water H2O? Why does the law of non-contradiction hold? Not only do we not know the answers to these questions, but there is something about these questions that makes them seem to be inappropriate.

Second, we don't really have a clear concept of explanation for mathematical truths. Any mathematical theory can be axiomatized in an infinite number of ways. If we had a clear concept of mathematical explanation, there would be an objectively preferable way to axiomatize a theory: namely, we would axiomatize in terms of the objectively explanatory axioms. But I suspect mathematicians are going to be sceptical of there being an objectively preferable way to axiomatize.

Michael Gonzalez said...

Pruss:

What's wrong with saying that the explanation for their necessity is that the string of words one would use to try and deny them is, on examination, meaningless or incoherent? It seems to me that even attempting to deny things like the law of non-contradiction or that 0=0 would inevitably involve speaking nonsense (which means you don't succeed in denying anything after all). Speaking nonsense doesn't count as affirming or denying; it isn't true or false.

Ironically, this does lead to a restricted PSR, but only because there is no such thing as denying a necessary truth, and therefore no such thing as explaining one....

Alexander R Pruss said...

Michael:

I wonder if that would work with Goedelian unprovable mathematical truths.

Michael Gonzalez said...

Pruss:

Can you give me an example? I haven't thought about Godel in years. I do think something like what I sketched can work for mathematics in general, since it would be meaningless to affirm some axioms while denying a logical/mathematical consequence of those same axioms.

Zsolt Nagy said...

Micheal

There is no such thing as explaining a necessary truth, if and only if the general PSR is false.
I guess, then in that case you might as well call that "necessary truth" a "brute fact" and vice versa.
As I said earlier, we are still sitting in the same exact "boot" - denying and negating the general PSR. The only difference between us is, that at least I'm honest about it.

1) "... You still have to multiply "a" by whatever that number for "m" is, in order to get F!...
And by what means do I "have to do that"? Because of an unsubstantiated a priori knowledge claim of "F=ma"?
I'm more of an a posterior knowledge guy.
Given Hooke's law [the force F needed to extend or compress a spring by some distance Δs scales is proportional to the that distance Δs: F ~ Δs and therefore F = k×Δs with the proportional/material/spring constant k] we can measure forces via springs.
Since everything supposed to have the same mass m=5g we will never measure different forces with respect to the same acceleration a, such that there will never be apparent at all, that there is supposed to be a correlation between forces F and masses m and also it will never be apparent at all that force F is supposed to be proportional to mass m in this case here.
How would you even attempt to verify, confirm or falsify, that "F=ma" is supposed to be the case, when everything has the same exact mass and no correlation or no relation/dependency between those two things is apparent at all?
Anybody here subscribe to methodological naturalism? No? Such a shame.

2) "... That doesn't address my point that there could ALSO be a human or horse that pops into being right here in my office, and if you say that can't happen "because..." then you need to give a "why" (which is exactly what we agreed that you CANNOT give in the case of brute facts). There cannot be restrictions or limits or probabilities, because those are all "why"!
Yes, I agree to that, if the "why" has been properly addressed, then the supposedly considered "brute fact" (- please notice, that these quotation marks here imply scare quotes here) isn't actually a "brute fact" and also couldn't have been a "brute fact" to begin with, since any brute fact has no sufficient reason for itself to be a true fact.
I didn't agree to anything else but to this.
Also there might be another reason for "why" the sudden appearance out of nothing and out of nowhere might suddenly happen, such that yet again there is a reason for why your suggestion of that to be an example of a supposedly "brute fact" (yeah, scare quotes again here) is misguided.
More on that in 5).

"... The explanation of God's existence (and any other necessary thing) is that their non-existence is impossible. "Necessarily x" (usually written □x) is logically equivalent to "not possible that not x" (usually written ~◇~x)."
Yeah, I know and understand modal logic. So what?
Do you also know, that "Not necessarily x" (usually written ~□x) is logically equivalent to "possibly not x" (usually written ◇~x)."?
Now that we know all of that, so what?!?
The explanation of God's non-existence (and any other not necessary thing) is that their non-existence is not impossible.
Or to say, that the explanation of God's non-existence (and any other not necessary thing) is that their non-existence is possible.
Now what?!?

Zsolt Nagy said...

... 3) "If all of matter and energy came into being, then the amount of energy in the system changed at that point. Maybe it has been "closed" since then, but it still had a beginning."
There should be a big emphasis on the word "If" here.
What is the evidence of matter and energy coming ever into existence again? Is there even any evidence for that? I know, that there is plenty of evidence against it.
Again, there are no energy generators, only energy transformators.

"And yes, all the laws of thermodynamics are about closed systems, including the second one. So what? The first law is very reliable now that the world exists. The only exception we [unsubstantially assume and postulate] of was when the world first came into existence..."
I corrected your mistake here. You're welcome.

4) "Ok. Imagine a world that had always existed, and that always had exactly 10 stars in it. If there is no explanation for why there are exactly 10, then the eternal existence of exactly 10 stars would be a brute/unexplained fact..."
Sure thing. I'm fine with this till now.

"... It wouldn't be a necessary fact, since it would still be coherent to talk about there being 9 or 11 or a million. Brute facts are true even though it is perfectly meaningful and coherent to talk about them being false..."
But I can also talk about "necessary facts" (yep, you guessed it correctly - again scare quotes here) being false in the sense of something, something, ~□x and something, something, that being logically equivalent to ◇~x even though it should supposedly be the case, that "□x" (by now you should know the drill with this).
So, supposedly "necessary facts" might be true or might be false even though that might have been perfectly meaningful and coherent to talk about them being either true or false as by "brute facts". Duh.

"Now, consider the necessary truth that half of 10 stars = 5 stars. That is a necessary truth because it is not meaningful or coherent to try and deny it. You'd have to somehow fail to use the words "10", "half", or "5" correctly. That's the difference. It is impossible for half of 10 to be anything other than 5. But it is quite possible to have more or less stars than 10."
What about half of 10 being 4.9999...?
But hey let's suppose for the sake of your argument here, that half of 10 is necessarily 5. If that's not supposed to be a "brute fact" without a reason and explanation to be a fact, then by what reason or explanation is half of 10 being 5 is necessarily true? Is there such a reason or explanation and if not, then by what means isn't such a "necessary" fact also considerable to be a "brute fact"?
Just a reminder here: We are sitting in the same exact "boot" - denying and negating the PSR. We just call things differently here and there...

Zsolt Nagy said...

... 5) "IF 4 sheep popped into being without explanation, then that WOULD be a brute fact, because it wouldn't have an explanation. ANY fact without explanation is a brute fact. That's what "brute" MEANS! I don't understand why you're disagreeing. I'm not accusing you of thinking that sheep (or anything else) ever actually do pop into being without cause. I'm just saying that if anything ever did, then that would be an obvious case of a brute/unexplainable fact. I only used this example where they pop into being because of how obvious the "bruteness" would be, as opposed to something that had existed forever, where we might wonder whether it was brute or necessary. I was illustrating the difference, and wanted to use a really clear and obvious example of bruteness. I was not straw-manning your own position. I wasn't even talking about your position."
But the 4 sheep might have also been brought into existence by a "snap" from God, which might have appeared to be without reason or without explanation, given the divine hiddenness of the existence of God - God is basically the best hide and seek player in this world and that's a "brute fact", I guess.
In that case, we/you would fallaciously assume (to know), that there is no explanation or no reason for that to happen, even though there is actually an explanation and a reason, but sadly enough very well hidden from us.
So then why would we/you or for that matter of fact anybody assume (or claim to know) such a phenomenon occurring to be only to be a "brute fact" without explanation or without a reason? If you are referring to such a phenomenon to be supposedly a "brute fact", then you are just making a fallacious appeal to ignorance.
It might have been also the case, that those 4 sheep have been priorly "snapped" away into nothingness by Thanos and his infinity gauntlet and now are brought back into existence from nothing by Hulk. How could anybody tell by only looking at that phenomenon occurring, if that is the case or that isn't the case?
On the other hand 4 sheep being there for all eternity never coming into existence yet existing not anyhow and also not somehow (The Modern Square of Opposition - the next level) is a much more clear and cut case for a brute fact, that to be without any explanations or without any reasons to be the case and a fact of reality.

Michael Gonzalez said...

Zsolt,

1) Do you really think that, if all masses were 5g, we could just calculate the acceleration of an object and that very same number would be the value of the force? Do you really think that? Or do you secretly know that it would still be that acceleration number times 5? This is getting a little bit ridiculous, so I hope you can just honestly answer one way or the other.

2) You didn't address what I asked at all in the first part of your response to (2). I am not talking about whether the "why" is addressed or anything like that. I don't know where you got any of that from. The question I'm asking is this: If brute facts are possible, then do you agree that they couldn't be limited to just certain situations, since any such limits would be a "why"? Anything that would make it "more likely" for, say, the Universe to be brute, rather than a sheep, would be a "why".

And you have complete missed the point about necessity. If a thing is necessary, then its non-existence is impossible. That is not the case for bruteness. You asked me for the distinction and there it is. A brute fact still possibly could have been otherwise; a necessary fact could not possibly have been otherwise.

3) The evidence of matter and energy coming into existence is Big Bang cosmology and the fact that entropy has always been increasing. This is standard cosmology. If you think that all these folks have somehow missed the First Law of Thermodynamics, you're crazy. Of course they know something so basic. The evidence points to the Universe having a beginning, and from then on it may be closed and constant in its energy. It's just like looking at any closed mechanical system and saying it could never have been created because the energy level in a closed system is constant. Come on. It's obviously only constant from the creation of the thing onward.

Instead of trying to correct me, why not answer my question: Do you have any reason to think the 2nd Law has been violated? If not, then why aren't we at maximum entropy if we've had forever to get there?

4) Again, you completely miss the point about necessary facts. If something (like "5 is half of 10") is a necessary truth, then it literally won't make any sense when you try to deny it. Just try and deny it coherently. It's not possible. You mention "4.999..." which is just another way of writing "5", so how is that even worth typing? The point is that brute facts can be denied without incoherence and necessary facts cannot (it literally makes no sense, if you know what "10", "5", and "half" mean, to deny that 5 is half of 10).

5) I stipulated clearly that "IF" the sheep popped into being WITHOUT EXPLANATION, then that WOULD BE a brute fact. So, why bring up what would be the cause if they DID have an explanation (like God or Thanos)??? How does that help the conversation? I am specifically talking about a case in which it actually is brute (like what you believe about the Universe).

In any case, if we're talking about sheep (or anything else) that have always existed, it could still be perfectly coherent to talk about them not existing. Particularly with sheep, they depend on lots of things for their existence (like space, air, particles, etc.). If those other things didn't exist, then the sheep wouldn't. So, unlike with necessary things, we can easily talk about a scenario in which these brute eternal sheep wouldn't exist. Likewise for the material universe, by the way.

Zsolt Nagy said...

Michael

1) "Do you really think that, if all masses were 5g, we could just calculate the acceleration of an object and that very same number would be the value of the force? Do you really think that? Or do you secretly know that it would still be that acceleration number times 5?..."
There are no "secrets" in methodological naturalism, only revelations by nature via metaphysically possible methodes. And in the supposed case of "everything having the same exact specific mass m=5g" our currently available metaphysically possible methods would only revel there to only be a correlation between force F and acceleration a but no apparent correlation between force F and mass m in such a way, that the force F would only be proportional to acceleration a but not apparently proportional or in any way dependent to mass m.
Even if there supposed to be such a dependency between force F and mass m in the case of "everything having the same exact specific mass", then that would be hidden from us given our currently available metaphysically possible methodes.
So then what is your "secret method" to obtain such a hidden and "secret truth"?
Let me guess: That "secret method" of yours is a second voice in your head giving you hidden revelations about our universe, which otherwise can not be obtained with our currently available limited methodes.
Or do you hear and listen to more than two distinct voices in your head?
In that case a visit to a doctor and a specialist might be recomendable.

2) "If brute facts are possible, then do you agree that they couldn't be limited to just certain situations, since any such limits would be a "why"? Anything that would make it "more likely" for, say, the Universe to be brute, rather than a sheep, would be a "why".
Is this supposed to be a coherent question?
What do you even mean by the single word "why" in quotation marks?
Do you mean "sufficient reason" or "sufficient explanation"?
Do you mean explanandum and explanans or abductive reasoning (with observations and hypotheses for the made observations)?
What is that supposed to be that proposition and question of yours?
I will coherently answer your question of yours, if and only if that proposition and question of yours is stated coherently to anything sensical.

"... A brute fact still possibly could have been otherwise; a necessary fact could not possibly have been otherwise."
Yeah, most of my questions are rhetorical. So yeah, I asked you, "what the difference between a "brute fact" and a "necessary fact” is supposed to be.
But then again I have my own idea and definitions about those notions:
Any brute fact is a necessary fact and any necessary fact is a brute fact.
So a "brute fact" could have been otherwise, if and only if a "necessary fact" could have been otherwise. (Please notice the quotation marks here.)
And a necessary fact could not have been otherwise, if and only if a brute fact could not have been otherwise...

Zsolt Nagy said...

... 3) No. The Big Bang cosmology is only evidence for the expansion of the universe and that's the standard cosmology. And no, the evidence doesn't point to the Universe having a beginning. And sorry, but I don't have multiple distinct voices in my head confirming the claim, that "obviously energy is only constant from the creation of the energy and the system onward".
Sadly enough the one and only voice in my head is claiming that claim to be unsubstantiated given the lack of substantiation for that claim.
Or to simply put it, that claim of yours is unjustified and therefore it is irrational to be holding.

"... Do you have any reason to think the 2nd Law has been violated? If not, then why aren't we at maximum entropy if we've had forever to get there?
I never claimed, that the 2nd law has been violated. But I did and do claim, that in the case of an open system, which you are proclaiming for the universe by the way (and I don't by that BS of yours of one time the universe being open and another time the universe being closed - "You can't have your cake and eat it, too.") the 2nd law won't apply.
So we are not at the maximum entropy in the case of an eternal universe given the universe supposedly being an open system, where the 2nd law does not apply, which is not even remotely meaning, that the 2nd law would be violated in any given way. Duh.
By the way, do you have any reason to think, that at one time the universe is open and then another time the universe is closed somehow?
I guess, that you have multiple reasons for that being the case coming from multiple voices in your head. If so, then I would like to have some elaboration on those reasons. And please, one reason from one voice at a time. Otherwise I won't be able to follow multiple voices at the same time.

4) "Again, you completely miss the point about necessary facts. If something (like "5 is half of 10") is a necessary truth, then it literally won't make any sense when you try to deny it. Just try and deny it coherently. It's not possible."
Challenge accepted. God is not necessarily existing or to say, that God is possibly not existing.
And if you have the audacity to make unsubstantiated claims, then why shouldn't I also have such audacity making such unsubstantiated claims?
I don't see any reason for that to be not the case.
Besides I already substantiated that in a previous comment of mine...

Zsolt Nagy said...

... 5) "I stipulated clearly that "IF" the sheep popped into being WITHOUT EXPLANATION, then that WOULD BE a brute fact. So, why bring up what would be the cause if they DID have an explanation (like God or Thanos)??? How does that help the conversation? I am specifically talking about a case in which it actually is brute (like what you believe about the Universe)."
First, that's obviously not, what I'm believing about the Universe.
How many times more do I have to explain that to be a "straw man" till you get that?
Siriously? 5 more times? 10 more times?
That is a "straw man" - not representing in any given way, what I believe about the Universe.
That is a "straw man" - not representing in any given way, what I believe about the Universe.
That is a "straw man" - not representing in any given way, what I believe about the Universe.
That is a "straw man" - not representing in any given way, what I believe about the Universe.
That is a "straw man" - not representing in any given way, what I believe about the Universe.
That is a "straw man" - not representing in any given way, what I believe about the Universe.
That is a "straw man" - not representing in any given way, what I believe about the Universe.
That is a "straw man" - not representing in any given way, what I believe about the Universe.
That is a "straw man" - not representing in any given way, what I believe about the Universe.
That is a "straw man" - not representing in any given way, what I believe about the Universe.
Do you NOW get it? Tell me, if not, since then I will gladly repeat it, till you will get it?
Second, do you really not see the connection here with 1)?
If "everything has the same exact mass"/"4 sheep are suddenly appearing from nothing and out of nowhere without an apparent sufficient reason or without an apparent sufficient explanation", then "it's still F=ma"/"that phenomenon still might have an actual sufficient reason or an actual sufficient explanation given the soft PSR - some things occuring, having a sufficient reason for them occurring" given this hidden secret of nature by a "second voice" in my head as a revelation. Duh.
Now do you see, where this conversation is heading?

"So, unlike with necessary things, we can easily talk about a scenario in which these brute eternal sheep wouldn't exist. Likewise for the material universe, by the way.
Sure thing. Likewise for the supposedly inmaterial God, by the way.
Reminder: You and Me in the same "boot" - denying and negating the general PSR.
;)

Michael Gonzalez said...

Zsolt, it's evident that you aren't actually paying attention, so I don't see much point in continuing this. You just keep looking for ways to respond sarcastically instead of actually engaging with what your interlocutor is saying. Here are my responses, for whatever they're worth to you:

1) If you can't see that the value of "a" is different from "F" in a world where everything has 5g of mass (it would equal F divided by 5; not F itself), then I don't know how to help you. a = F/m, even if there is only one possible value for m.

2) You and I have been using the "why" in quotes for several messages now! What possible good could it do for you to start pretending you don't know what I'm talking about when you yourself worded it that way YESTERDAY?? You said: Yes, I agree to that, if the "why" has been properly addressed.... Come on, man....

But, just in case you've genuinely forgotten, what we agreed is that brute facts cannot have answers to "why" questions about them (like why is it only Universes that can exist brutely? why not sheep or horses? and why not things that pop into being instead of just eternal things?). These would all be requests for an explanation and brute facts, by definition, do not have explanations. Nothing can limit or restrict things so that brute facts are somehow rare or unlikely or not happening all the time all around us. Because any such limit would be explanatory (it would be what you and have been calling a "why").

3) Let's make this one very simple: If you hold that the Universe is and has always been a closed system (like when you invoke the First Law and say the energy must always have been constant), then you have a contradiction on your hands, since the 2nd law says we should already be at maximum entropy.

In my case, I can hold that the Universe has been closed/isolated since it began. And, since that beginning was the first moment in time, the First Law doesn't actually cause any trouble, since all it says is that energy level is constant throughout time. It has been constant since the beginning of time.

Again, if you think the greatest Cosmologists in the world are so stupid that they left out the First Law of Thermodynamics, then I don't know how to help you. To quote Stephen Hawking: "there was nothing around before the Big Bang"

4) Sure, if "God doesn't exist" doesn't have any contradictory or incoherent entailments, then "God exists" is not a necessarily true statement. It's just like any other case. I can also say the words "2+2 doesn't equal 4". But, it's when we analyze the situation that we realize that doesn't actually make any sense, and so 2+2=4 is a necessary truth.

5) Yes, I see where this conversation is heading. Absolutely nowhere, because you aren't paying attention. The 4 sheep scenario STIPULATED that they popped into being uncaused. That has nothing to do with what you believe about the Universe, and I never claimed it did. It has nothing to do with F=ma, or with whether something can be apparently uncaused instead of actually. I'm presenting a scenario in which it actually IS the case that the 4 sheep popped into being without explanation so as to give a sharp and clear illustration of the difference between "brute" and "necessary". But since you've now said you were just asking rhetorically and would rather make up your own definitions for these terms, I withdraw the illustration. Just forget about it. When you do want to know the actual difference between "brute" and "necessary", I'll be happy to illustrate it for you again.

I'm tired of this, and I don't see any point in continuing. If you have a genuine question, and you actually intend to pay attention to the answer and discuss it intelligently, then go ahead and ask it. Otherwise, I'm going to call it quits. Best wishes.

Zsolt Nagy said...

Michael

1) And why exactly is F=ma in the case of everything having the same exact mass? Because you say so?
It's not and was never a question about, whether or not one can see and accept F=ma to be the case. But rather this has been a question about how one is warranted and justified in assuming that to be the case in the hypothetical case of "everything supposedly having the same exact mass".

I'm listening very carefully and trying to answer most of your questions and objections (, which are remotely coherent to anything sensical anyway).
So I find it quite disheartening, if you are finding this otherwise to be the case here, that I would not listen and respond appropriately.
If I appear to be "rough", then that might be only, because I'm trying a different strategy of obtaining any sensical response to my raised questions and objections, since my rational and reasonable approach is apparently not working at all here.
So I guess, that I'm better off fighting fire with fire - responding to unsubstantiated claims with unsubstantiated claims of my own.
That seems to be fair enough...

Zsolt Nagy said...

... 2) "You and I have been using the "why" in quotes for several messages now! What possible good could it do for you to start pretending you don't know what I'm talking about when you yourself worded it that way YESTERDAY?? You said: Yes, I agree to that, if the "why" has been properly addressed.... Come on, man...."
Are you quoting me out of context? Siriously?
Hit command Ctrl+F5, then copy & paste what, I have supposedly said "Yes, I agree to that, if the "why" has been properly addressed", and the reader should empirically verify and convince him- or herself about, what I have exactly meant by that:

From March 28, 2022 at 3:42 PM:
Yes, I agree to that, if the "why" has been properly addressed, then the supposedly considered "brute fact" (- please notice, that these quotation marks here imply scare quotes here) isn't actually a "brute fact" and also couldn't have been a "brute fact" to begin with, since any brute fact has no sufficient reason for itself to be a true fact.
I didn't agree to anything else but to this.
Also there might be another reason for "why" the sudden appearance out of nothing and out of nowhere might suddenly happen, such that yet again there is a reason for why your suggestion of that to be an example of a supposedly "brute fact" (yeah, scare quotes again here) is misguided.
More on that in 5).
From March 28, 2022 at 3:43 PM:
But the 4 sheep might have also been brought into existence by a "snap" from God, which might have appeared to be without reason or without explanation, given the divine hiddenness of the existence of God - God is basically the best hide and seek player in this world and that's a "brute fact", I guess.
In that case, we/you would fallaciously assume (to know), that there is no explanation or no reason for that to happen, even though there is actually an explanation and a reason, but sadly enough very well hidden from us.
So then why would we/you or for that matter of fact anybody assume (or claim to know) such a phenomenon occurring to be only to be a "brute fact" without explanation or without a reason? If you are referring to such a phenomenon to be supposedly a "brute fact", then you are just making a fallacious appeal to ignorance.
It might have been also the case, that those 4 sheep have been priorly "snapped" away into nothingness by Thanos and his infinity gauntlet and now are brought back into existence from nothing by Hulk. How could anybody tell by only looking at that phenomenon occurring, if that is the case or that isn't the case?...

Zsolt Nagy said...

... To summarize: I partially agree and disagree.
If the "why"/explanandum/observation has been addressed with a "sufficient" reason/explanans/hypothesis entailing the made observation, then the "fact"/phenomenon/observation presented as supposedly being a "brute fact" apparently isn't an actual brute fact anymore, since it has a sufficient reason for it to be a "fact" of reality.
Hello. Are you, Michael, listening to me and to what, I just said?
If not, then just bring another voice/personality of yours into the "light". I might have a better listener with him than with you, Michael.

"... Why is it only Universes that can exist brutely? why not sheep or horses? and why not things that pop into being instead of just eternal things?..."
Wow, finally some coherent questions, which I can provide some answers to. Thank you for those.
Now listen carefully. This is, what I actually believe about this Universe:
The existence of a sheep or a horse depends on the existence of the Universe itself.
But not the other way around meaning, that the existence of the Universe is not dependent on the existence of a sheep or a horse.
You might rather want to use the term "being contingent upon something" here. Fine, I guess:
The existence of a sheep or a horse is contingent upon the existence of the Universe itself.
But not the other way around meaning, that the existence of the Universe is not contingent upon the existence of a sheep or a horse.
So naturally the existence of a sheep or a horse is not necessarily a brute fact and the existence of the Universe is not necessarily not a brute fact.

Ask and you shall receive answers and responses. And for the love of your God, don't make and attack an irrelevant "straw man". It really doesn't help your case in any given way.

"Nothing can limit or restrict things so that brute facts are somehow rare or unlikely or not happening all the time all around us. Because any such limit would be explanatory (it would be what you and have been calling a "why")."
That's supposed to be your "why"? Why is that your "why" though?
I don't understand it at all.
Why should someone even reason about the expectations of brute facts occurring or happening?!?!?!?!??!?!?!?!??!?!?!???
Either there are brute facts or there are no brute facts.
Either you find some or not.
Either the Universe is a brute fact or the Universe is not a brute fact.
A suddenly out of nothing and from nowhere appearing Universe is a "brute fact" or it isn't (, because of reasons, which I have previously provided and repeated fro you).
How about an eternal open Universe being a brute fact given this to be a possibility, since the 2nd law of thermodynamics doesn't apply for an open system and is also not violated by such in any given way?...

Zsolt Nagy said...

... 3) "Let's make this one very simple: If you hold that the Universe is and has always been a closed system (like when you invoke the First Law and say the energy must always have been constant), then you have a contradiction on your hands, since the 2nd law says we should already be at maximum entropy."
That's not necessarily the case given that the Universe as supposedly being a closed system might behave like an object in a closed system with a Norton's Dome shaped potential - being in a specific state for an indefinite (or even infinite) amount of time and then suddenly changing its state apparently out of nowhere.
In this specific case the entropy of the Universe wouldn't be necessarily at its maximum value even in the case of the supposedly eternal/always existing Universe (- all this not in any given way violating the 2nd law of thermodynamics, by the way).

"In my case, I can hold that the Universe has been closed/isolated since it began. And, since that beginning was the first moment in time, the First Law doesn't actually cause any trouble, since all it says is that energy level is constant throughout time. It has been constant since the beginning of time."
I'm not quite sure about this, since again there are no energy generators, only energy transformators apparently.
But since this is certainly better than your unsubstantiated BS-suggestion of the Universe being an open system for one time and for another time a closed system in the regards of actually providing some justification for your claim - substantiating that claim of yours - I will gladly concede this point to you and admit, that there is an energy generator possibly.
You see? This is not that difficult to have a rational discussion, if one is actually providing some justifications for his or her claims.

"Again, if you think the greatest Cosmologists in the world are so stupid that they left out the First Law of Thermodynamics, then I don't know how to help you. To quote Stephen Hawking: "there was nothing around before the Big Bang""
I hope, that quote is not taken out of context like mine was.
You see, I barely give quotes, if at all I'm giving any quotes, since quotes are the worst justifications for anything, in my opinion.
Certainly quotes taken out of context can be considered to be no justifications for anything really.

4) "Sure, if "God doesn't exist" doesn't have any contradictory or incoherent entailments, then "God exists" is not a necessarily true statement. It's just like any other case. I can also say the words "2+2 doesn't equal 4". But, it's when we analyze the situation that we realise that doesn't actually make any sense, and so 2+2=4 is a necessary truth."
And by what means did anybody "analyse the situation"? By question begging and by special pleading?
I mean regarding the "situation" of God supposedly existing nessecerally.
By the way, it's a nicely presented slippery slope...

Zsolt Nagy said...

... 5) "Yes, I see where this conversation is heading. Absolutely nowhere, because you aren't paying attention. The 4 sheep scenario STIPULATED that they popped into being uncaused. That has nothing to do with what you believe about the Universe, and I never claimed it did..."

I recall your comment from March 28, 2022 at 4:24 PM (Hit command Ctrl+F5 and then copy and paste "March 28, 2022 at 4:24 PM" in order to find it here on this webpage):

"5) I stipulated clearly that "IF" the sheep popped into being WITHOUT EXPLANATION, then that WOULD BE a brute fact. So, why bring up what would be the cause if they DID have an explanation (like God or Thanos)??? How does that help the conversation? I am specifically talking about a case in which it actually is brute (like what you believe about the Universe)."

Yeah, I think, that it would be a bad idea to continue this discussion, while you are clearly so dishonest. Come back, when you have finally found some proper justifications and substantiations for your claims or at least when you become somewhat more of an honest person.
By the way, just for good measures, your STIPULATION is a "straw man" - not representing in any given way, what I believe about the Universe.

Michael Gonzalez said...

Zsolt,

I apologize if I gave offense. I feel that I should say again: I did not mean in point #5 that you hold a view like that about the Universe. That's not what I said and it's not why I used the sheep analogy. I'm sorry I failed to make that clear.

Here, let's try to make progress where we can:

1) I genuinely don't understand what you're talking about on this one. I wish I did. If everything was 5g, why on Earth wouldn't we have calculated F as 5a? Why would calculate it as equal to a, when it clearly isn't?

2) Why do you keep saying I hear voices? Lol.

Anyway, your points about sheep depending on things are interesting, but... wouldn't those be explanations, and therefore not apply to brute facts?

3) A Norton's Dome type of state would mean the world's state wouldn't evolve, no? The world clearly is evolving, and entropy is increasing visibly.

And it's standard cosmology in any textbook that there was nothing at all prior to the Big Bang. Hawking's quote is in context and is typical of experts in the field.

4) Analyze the nature of alethic modality. The correct account is grounded in causal power, which implies either an infinite regress of causes or a first cause. But infinite causal regresses are incoherent (it would mean reaching the end of an endless series). So, denying a first cause is incoherent.

5) Just to reiterate, I definitely didn't say and did not even mean to imply that you believe anything like the sheep scenario. It was crafted purely to illustrate the difference between bruteness and necessity. That's all. I apologize for the confusion. I withdraw the illustration.

Zsolt Nagy said...

Michael,

1) Dito!
I genuinely also don't understand what you're talking about on this one. I wish I did. If everything was 5g, why on Earth would we have calculated F as 5g×a? Why wouldn't F calculated as equal to a, when clearly there is no clear correlation and no dependency between F and m in the case of "everything supposedly having the same exact mass"?

2) I do keep saying, that you would hear at least two distinct voices in your head, since otherwise I couldn't explain, how you would and could justify, substantiate and give a proper warrant for your claims. I guess, something, something, soft PSR and something, something, burden of proof and something, something, because of such and such evidence, therefore such and such claims.
Otherwise what are we doing here? Searching a black cat in a black room or philosophy or seeking any substantial truth?
Certainly I'm not here for any unsubstantiated claims upon unsubstantiated claims.

Yes, the existence of sheeps being dependent on the existence of other things is kind of an attempt to give an explanation for the existence of sheep.
AND yes, therefore, that is not a "brute fact" and therefore, your so-called "stipulation is very much so disguided and misleading to say at least.

3) Didn't you read my provided link for Norton's dome?
There are two classes of solutions - one, where the system isn't evolving, and the other one, where the system is suddenly starting evolving.
If that provided link is not sufficient for you demonstrating that class of solutions, where the system is suddenly starting evolving without any apparent external force or cause, then here is my GeoGebra-Applet demonstrating such solutions to Norton's dome:
"Norton's dome simulation"
Have fun with it.

Ahm, which "standard cosmology textbook" claims, that there was nothing at all prior to the Big Bang?!?
I'm not aware of any, so would you be so kind as to provide any source for any such "standard cosmology textbook" claiming that to be the case?
Do you have philosophical or scientific "standard cosmology textbooks" in mind?
Or is that just another voice distinct from yours in your head providing yet again such unsubstantiated claims?!?
I would guess, that the latter is the case here.

4) First, that's a false dichotomy, since it's not just either "infinite regress causation of causes" is the case or "a first cause" is the case. But it also might be the case of "circular causation of causes".
Also infinite regresses are not entailing, that reaching the end of an endless series, since there is no end to be reached of an endless series. Duh.
But an infinite regress causation might account for any/all observed causes as a circle of causation might account for any/all observed causes, since again, it's not apparent at all, that there would and could be an energy generator. Apparently there are only energy transformators.
There is really no incoherence in denying a first cause.
(For A. R. Pruss: This is how you do continental material conditionals:)
If any/some thing is supposed to be incoherent here, then that is your, Michaels/theists incoherent logic concerning infinities.

Besides that, according to theists there is no cause for the existence of God.
So then how is that not similarly a denial of a so-called "first cause"?
If there is no cause for the existence of God, then there is also no "first cause", isn't it?

5) Given your comment from March 28, 2022 at 4:24 PM I somehow doubt, that you wouldn't have implied at all that "stipulation" of yours with those sheep to be in some way, what I might believe. Otherwise I accept your apology for that "confusion".

Michael Gonzalez said...

Zsolt,

1) Imagine a world in which there was a rule that all men are 5 inches taller than their wives. Your question amounts to asking "if all the women were the same height, then why wouldn't we calculate the husband's height as equal to their wives?" It makes no sense. They're still 5 inches taller! It's just that they're all 5 inches taller than the same number instead of different numbers. You don't magically get rid of the difference between them.

2) So, we (all the voices in my head and you) agree that, if we allow that the existence of the material world is brute, then we have to allow that anything and everything could be, because any attempt to limit bruteness is an explanation, and that is exactly what you can't have in a brute fact. Yes?

3) Once it starts evolving, entropy starts increasing, no? Or does it get to evolve in violation of the Second Law?

4) Circular cases are incoherent, since things can't be their own causes. And an infinite regress would indeed require reaching the end of an endless series. It's pretty simple:

P1) You can't reach the end of an infinite series.
P2) The series of past events reached its end in the present.
C) Therefore the series of past events cannot be infinite.

And, again, the average explanation of the Big Bang is that it was the beginning of time itself, and therefore there is no such thing as "before" (and so the energy and matter also have a beginning, since they couldn't exist before). A quick Google search brings up the Simons Foundation website and the quote "Textbooks often say that the start of this expansion — the Big Bang — was the start of time." Look up the Wiki article on "Chronology of the universe" and it presents the standard understanding of the entire history of the Universe, and it routinely talks about "the beginning", "the first few seconds", etc etc. Modern cosmology has extremely strong evidence that time itself began about 13.8 million years ago.

And, what on Earth are you talking about when you say "if there is no cause for the existence of God, then there is also no first cause..."???? That's exactly backward. If there WERE a cause for God, then the sequence of causes would keep going; but if there is NOT a cause for God, then God would be the FIRST cause. That's what "first cause" MEANS.

5) I made it abundantly clear, over and over, that I was NOT saying that was your position. I was ONLY illustrating the difference between brute and necessary facts. Maybe we are having some sort of language barrier or something, but let's just drop it. The sheep illustration doesn't matter since you've finally agreed with me in point #3 anyway.

Michael Gonzalez said...

Correction: I meant to say that you agreed in point #2; not #3. Sorry about that.

Zsolt Nagy said...

Michael,

1) "If all the women were the same height, then why wouldn't we calculate the husband's height as equal to their wives?" is neither my question nor my proposition.
My question and proposition is rather this:
If hypothetically and supposedly "everything has the same exact specific mass m=const", then why would any body assume F=ma to be the case, when there is no correlation and relation apparent between F and m in the case of "everything having the same exact specific mass m=const"?
Are you again making and attacking a "straw man"? Why is it so difficult for you to address anything, which I have to say?
Then be that way of yours, then my question and proposition should be in that case of yours:
If hypothetically and supposedly "every woman has the same exact specific height h(any woman)=const", then why would any body assume Δh=h(any man)-h(any woman)=5inches to be the case, when there is no correlation and relation apparent between h(any man) and h(any woman) in the case of "every woman having the same exact specific height h(any woman)=const"?
Is there supposed to be a correlation between h(any man) and h(any woman), because you said so and because there supposed to be the rule "all men are 5 inches taller than their wives"? Because you had a revelation about that from another voice in your head? Really, because you had a revelation about F=ma from another voice in your head, therefore F=ma is actually the case?
Besides, that from supposedly "all men are 5 inches taller than their wives" one might only conclude in conjunction with "every woman having the same exact height", that h(any particular husband)-h(any wife of that particular husband)=5inches.
The question about, what Δh=h(any man)-h(any woman) is supposed to amount, remains in your "stipulation" to be a so called "open question" - undetermined, which is not to be answered by your other voices in your head, but by Methodological Naturalism.

2) "So, we (all the voices in my head and you) agree that, if we allow that the existence of the material world is brute, then we have to allow that anything and everything could be, because any attempt to limit bruteness is an explanation, and that is exactly what you can't have in a brute fact. Yes?"
No. "We" - me and all your other voices in your head and you - do not agree with each other. See above 1).
It's not a question about "if we allow or not something to be the case".
It's about whether or not, that is the case.
And if the existence of the material world is a brute fact, then who are "we" to "allow" or "not allow", that anything other could or couldn't exist?
Either a thing exists or doesn't exist and either exists as a brute fact or doesn't exist as a brute fact. And that's all about it.
...

Zsolt Nagy said...

... 3) An evolving system doesn't necessarily entail that system's entropy to be increasing for any time. Even a closed system doesn't necessarily entail that system's entropy to be increasing for any time. That's not the 2nd law of thermodynamics.
I guess, your voices are at it again providing yet again fallacious revelations.

4) Circular cases are coherent, since things can be their own causes. At least I think, that the movie Predestination (2014) is a fun and coherent movie.
And I guess, that I might have conflated an infinite regress without a definite beginning and with a definite end with an infinite series with a definite beginning and without a definitive end.
In that regard what I really meant was, that of course the end of an infinite series is not reachable, since an infinite series has no definitive end, and of course the beginning of an infinite regress is not reachable, since an infinite regress has no definitive beginning.
But since an infinite regress has a definitive end, hence that definitive end is reachable.

Zs-P1) An infinite regress has a definitive end.
Zs-P2) The infinite regress of past events reached its end in the present.
Zs-C1) Therefore, an infinite regress has a definitive end and the infinite regress of past events reached its end in the present. (from Zs-P1 and Zs-P2 by conjunction introduction)
Zs-P3) If an infinite regress has a definitive end the infinite regress of past events reached its end in the present, then the infinite regress of past events can be infinite.
Zs-C2) Therefore, the infinite regress of past events can be infinite. (from Zs-C1 and Zs-3 by modus ponens)

Besides that, would you be so kind as to provide a step by step deduction providing also the logical inferences, which are used, in each step?
Otherwise I can not really evaluate, if your deductive "syllogism" is valid or not.
Is that even supposed to be a proper syllogism and deduction of your conclusion in your last comment? I don't really know exactly.
Thank you very much...

Zsolt Nagy said...

... Also besides that, I have previously asked very kindly for any sources regarding "standard cosmology textbook" claiming, that there was nothing at all prior to the Big Bang.
Instead you have only provided a yet again taken out of context quote "Textbooks often say that the start of this expansion — the Big Bang — was the start of time." from here:
"Bang, Bounce or Something Else?" (April 22, 2020) from Simons Foundation
By the way, this is the section and context, which that phrase has been taken out of:
"That uniformity is a glimpse of a cosmic prehistory. For 13.8 billion years, the universe has been expanding, cooling and evolving. Textbooks often say that the start of this expansion — the Big Bang — was the start of time. But if so, those widely separated regions could never have attained the same temperature and density, and other basic features of the universe would likewise seem inexplicable. “That’s all related to your assumption that there was a beginning of time, so why don’t you give up on that beginning-of-time idea?” says Paul Steinhardt of Princeton University. “That was a simple extrapolation of Einstein’s equations, assuming no change even when you get to energies and temperatures that have never been probed before.”"
I couldn't have better put that than Paul Steinhardt.
Well, actually I could have:
"That’s all related to your other voices in your head that there was a beginning of time, so what is your justification and evidence for that beginning-of-time revelation from those other voices in your head?"
I also searched for that claim "there being nothing at all prior to the Big Bang" in your referenced wiki article "Chronology of the universe".
Sadly enough I couldn't find, what I was looking for there.
If your claim "standard cosmology textbooks" claiming there to be nothing at all prior to the Big Bang would have any merit to it, then why would it be so difficult to fulfil my request of providing some sources actually claiming that to be the case?
If there are no such sources, then I guess, that your claim has no merit to it, which is to say kindly, that your claim is nothing but BS...

Zsolt Nagy said...

... Also if there WERE a cause for God, then the sequence of causes would NOT NECESSARILY keep going. God might be just an intermediate link in a sequence of causation with a definitive "first cause", which is/might be not God.
Since most causations are unpersonal anyway, then probably that "first cause" is also unpersonal. Since God is personal, I wouldn't suspect/expect God to be that unpersonal "first cause".
If the existence of God is caused, then it's not necessarily the case, that there must be a personal "Grandfather" being responsible for such a cause.
If the existence of God is caused, then it still might be the case, that an unpersonal thing might be responsible for such a cause.
I don't know. Maybe God just popped into existence out of nothing and from nowhere similarly to sheeps being supposedly popped into existence out of nowhere and out of nothing. Who am I or anybody else to allow or disallow such a thing/phenomenon to happen? Because of question begging, special pleading and fallacious voices in our heads, constituting us to be supposedly created in the image of that supposedly necessarily/brutely existing God, isn't such a phenomenon allowed to happen? I don't get this line of reasoning.

5) Yeah, I have never agreed till now with your point 2).
I don't know, what you are talking about in 2) or for that matter of fact there in 5) from your last comment stating, that supposedly according to you "I have finally agreed with you in point #2 anyway".
No. I do not agree with you in your point #2, since I'm not sure, even if that is supposed to be a coherent point about anything substantial.
And I do not know, where you get that idea from, that I would agree to that point of yours.
Well at I have a guess about that: That idea of yours of me supposedly agreeing with you in your point #2 yet again comes from those other fallacious voices from your head.

Michael Gonzalez said...

Zsolt,

1) What are you talking about?? If we figured out what acceleration was (change in speed) and then wanted to calculate force, then unless everything was completely massless, we would have quickly realized that we have to increase the magnitude of the acceleration vector to get the value for force. And not just increase it however we want to, but specifically multiply it by "m" (whether m is always the same or always different or some combination, it's still the number we have to multiply "a" by to get the right value for "F").

2) Now this is just silly. The "allowing" is obviously about how we describe the fact in question. If we allow ourselves to regard any fact as brute (having no explanation), then you and I have agreed that it couldn't be brute because of something about it (e.g. that it's eternal, that it's the whole Universe, that is has no dependencies...). Any such restriction would be explanatory, and brute facts don't have explanations. Do we really need to keep going over and over this?

You said: Yes, the existence of sheeps being dependent on the existence of other things is kind of an attempt to give an explanation for the existence of sheep.
AND yes, therefore, that is not a "brute fact"...


So, do you not agree that the whole matter of "being dependent", or any other such attempt (like being eternal, or whatever else) would be an explanation and would negate the idea that we're dealing with brute facts??

3) If the evolution in question is irreversible, then that's exactly what the 2nd Law says. Look it up.

4a) I assume you're just trying to evade, since the form of my argument couldn't be more obvious but I'll state it more concisely...

P1: If X is an infinite sequence, then X is not a sequence that reaches an end.
P2: The past is a sequence that reaches an end.
C: Therefore the past is not an infinite sequence (via MP)

The problem with your counter argument is that you are equivocating on the word "end". A regress is moving from the present backward. The past sequence is not like that. The sequence of events has been increasing toward the present; not away from it.

4b) I don't keep a collection of cosmology textbooks, so I have no references to give you. I can tell you that the standard Big Bang view (as Steinhardt admitted in that quote) is that the BB is the beginning of time. I can also tell you that the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem proves that any Universe which is on average expanding (which the real Universe is) must have had an absolute boundary in the finite past. If you need a reference for that, the original mathematical formulation was called "Inflationary space-times are incomplete in past directions" and the follow-up that addressed attempted violations was "Did the universe have a beginning?", by Vilenkin and Mithani.

4c) Perhaps we can discuss the question of how well God works as a "first cause" after we've resolved our other issues. My point here was just that you said "if God did not have a cause, then there is no first cause", and that is completely backward. If God did not have a cause, then He is the first cause!

Zsolt Nagy said...

Michael,

1) I'm talking about any measured force F acted upon an object made by a force meter only correlating with any measured acceleration a of that same object made by an accelerometer and not correlating at all with any measured mass m made by a mass balance of the same object, since in the case of "everything having the same exact specific mass" any measurement of any mass m of an object would have the same exact result for any measurement of any force F acted upon that object, which might and is only varying with acceleration a in this specific hypothetical case.
So it wouldn't be "obvious" at all in that hypothetical case, that it is still rational and justifiable to think, that F=ma still applies here.
Sure, "we figured out what acceleration was (change in speed)". So what?
The question is rather, how would you figure out what force F supposed to be, if hypothetically "everything would have the same exact specific mass"?
And what are you talking about?...

Zsolt Nagy said...

... 2) Yeah, I like to go over and over with this till I understand, what you are proposing here.
I like to think, that SOME (NOT ANY - SOME) facts might be brute facts.
So to put it in "your words": I allow SOME facts to be brute facts, since SOME facts might be brute facts. "Yes?"
Do I allow any fact to be a brute fact with this? Maybe, maybe not. I only would "allow" such a thing, if any fact might be a brute fact. But I don't see, how that would be the case.
Do I agree now with this with your point here?
I honestly don't know, since I don't even remotely understand, what you are suggesting and proposing with this "point" of yours here. I tend to think, that I disagree with you here, but again I'm not sure of this, since I don't think, that your point is remotely coherent to anything relevant and substantial here.

Let me try just once:
"If we allow ourselves to regard any fact as brute (having no explanation), then you and I have agreed that it couldn't be brute because of something about it (e.g. that it's eternal, that it's the whole Universe, that is has no dependencies...)"
What is "it"?!?!?!??!???!???!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!??!??!?!?!??!?!?!??!?!??!?!?!?!?!?
Please, formulate your concrete propositions with less, way less "it" and more with concrete words instead.
I would rather put that this way: "If we assume any fact to be as brute (having no explanation), then you and I have agreed that a fact couldn't be brute because of something about fact?!? (e.g. that it?!?'s eternal, that it?!?'s the whole Universe, that it?!? is has no dependencies...)"
And NO, I do not agree with this, since obviously NOT ANY fact are brute facts or to say, that SOME facts are NOT brute facts obviously e.g. Ctrl+f then Copy&Paste "intimate intercourse" into the searchbar in order to find that example of mine here on this webpage again.

"Any such restriction would be explanatory, and brute facts don't have explanations."
What "restrictions" are you even talking about?!? And how does such a "restriction" amount to an "explanation"? Next question: What is then an "explanation" according to you?
Do you mean maybe "allowing things to be something"/"assuming about a thing being something" with "restriction"?
Does "allowing"/"assuming" ANY Swan to be White entailing somehow, that "allowing"/"assuming" Swans couldn't be White, somehow "restrict"/"explain" Swans to be Black, which couldn't be the case, since Swans supposed to be White according to our previously made "allowance"/"assumption"?!?
I honestly don't understand anything, a single thing, what you are trying to convey through those two sentences. And you apparently are not even trying to give some proper explanations for that and plain out assume - sorry - "allow" yourself to be the case, that I would agree with you on that incoherent mess of a proposition and suggestion?!?
NO. NO. NO. Till you have remotely formulated a coherent suggestion and proposition here, I will only responde to this "point" of yours here with a simple NO..
"Yes?"...

Zsolt Nagy said...

... 3) If the evolution in question is reversible, then that's exactly what the 2nd Law says - the entropy won't increase. Look it up.

4a) Oh, I get it now and no, I wasn't equivocating on the word "end", but I was conflating "sequence of events" with "regress of events", since I apparently wrongly assumed "regress of events" increasing towards the present instead of "sequence of events" doing so.
If so, then let me rephrase my previously provided deduction/syllogism:

Zs-P1*) An infinite sequence has a definitive end.
Zs-P2*) The infinite sequence of past events reached its end in the present.
Zs-C1*) Therefore, an infinite sequence has a definitive end and the infinite sequence of past events reached its end in the present. (from Zs-P1* and Zs-P2* by conjunction introduction)
Zs-P3*) If an infinite sequence has a definitive end and the infinite sequence of past events reached its end in the present, then the infinite sequence of past events can be infinite.
Zs-C2*) Therefore, the infinite sequence of past events can be infinite. (from Zs-C1* and Zs-P3* by modus ponens)

Now happy with my syllogism?

Besides that, thank you for your reformulation of your previously provided syllogism. I appreciate it.
But that still could have been better formulated like this maybe:

M-P1: If the past is an infinite sequence, then the past is not a sequence that reaches an end.
M-P2: The past is a sequence that reaches an end.
M-C: Therefore the past is not an infinite sequence (via MP)

Again, less "it"/"X" and more concrete words for them instead. That's way better that way, wouldn't you think?
Besides that, I reject your premise M-P1, since obviously the opposite is the case:
"X"/the past is an infinite sequence AND it's not, that "X"/the past is not a sequence that reaches an end.
Or to say, that "X"/the past is an infinite sequence AND "X"/the past is a sequence that reaches an end:

Zs-P4)/M-P2) The past is a sequence that reaches an end.
Zs-P5)/~[M-C]) The past is an infinite sequence.
Zs-P6.0) If the past is an infinite sequence, then the past is not a sequence that reaches an end. (indirect proof assumption)
Zs-P6.1) The past is not a sequence that reaches an end. (from Zs-P5 and Zs-P6.0 by modus ponens)
Zs-P6.2) The past is a sequence that reaches an end AND the past is not a sequence that reaches an end. (from Zs-P4 and Zs-P6.1 by conjunction introduction)
Zs-C3) It's not the case, that if the past is an infinite sequence, then the past is not a sequence that reaches an end. (from Zs-P6.0-Zs-P6.2 by indirect proof)

Valid syllogisms/deductions are "wonderful". NOT!!!...

Zsolt Nagy said...

... 4b) Keeping a collection of cosmology textbooks is not a necessary condition in order to provide some sources substantiating and justifying your claim of "standard cosmology textbooks" claiming there to be nothing at all prior to the Big Bang. Also assuming or "allowing" to be the case, that "standard cosmology textbooks" would claim there to be nothing at all prior to the Big Bang, are not necessary conditions for providing some sources and justifications for your claim of that to be the case.
Actually knowing about some actual examples and sources on the other hand is very much so necessary for providing some justifications for that claim of yours.
Also by Steinhardt I can only tell, that he also claims, like you, that textbooks often would say, that the start of this expansion — the Big Bang — was the start of time. Also Steinhardt like you didn't even bother to mention at least one example for that.
So that is not really convincing for me at all.
What is more convincing though is your mention of the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem, which provides some evidence for a boundary in the finite past.
Certainly the expansion of the universe had a beginning.
But I don't think, that in the case of an on average expanding universe any/all geodesics flowing into a singularity implies a definitive beginning of time. Certainly geodesics had a definitive beginning in that singularity in that case then. But also time? That's a bit ify.

4c) If God didn't have a cause, then there is no "first cause" of an existence, since God existed/exists eternally, if God exists at all. There/somewhere/nowhere was always something and that something supposed to be God, I guess.
So you/theists are also denying the general PSR and are in favor of a soft/restricted PSR. We both are sitting in the same "boot".

Michael Gonzalez said...

Zsolt,

I apologize for the delay in responding. I didn't see a notification this time, so I didn't realize you had responded. I hope you had a good weekend, and I hope we can make some progress here:

1) What would have happened if we attached two objects to our apparatus when calculating force? The mass of each object might be the same, but are we claiming that, in this scenario, mass is not additive? Two 5g objects wouldn't together be 10g?

2) I'm really sorry I haven't expressed myself in a way that makes sense to you. Let me try again, because this really is a central point for us to work out:

If we allow ourselves to describe any phenomenon or state of affairs as "brute" (meaning that there is no explanation for why it is the way it is instead of some other way), then what we cannot do is have a rational basis for restricting that label to only some phenomena or some types of phenomena. Whatever that basis is would be explanatory, and that's precisely what brute facts can't have. As an example, when I suggested that there was no difference between the likelihood or plausibility of sheep that pop into being and the Universe just existing brutely, you pointed out that you think the Universe has always existed. To think of that as a relevant difference when discussing brute facts means you haven't understood what brute facts are. The relevant differences between states of affairs that make one more likely or plausible than another are exactly the "explanatory" factors that brute facts can't have.

3) Precisely. I specified irreversibility. If we want to include a reversal, the question would go from "why aren't we at maximum entropy?" to "why aren't we at either maximum entropy or collapse?".

4a) Your Zs-P1 is false by definition. The difference between a finite and infinite sequence, growing in a direction, is precisely that the finite one has a definite end in that direction and the infinite one does not.

Also, I appreciate your attempt to help me formulate my argument better, but you have missed the point of using "X" or "it", rather than specifying the past sequence. My claim in M-P1 is about any infinite sequence. It is intentionally general.

Also, your longer argument at the end cuts both ways. You just stipulated that ZS-P6.0 is the premise for indirect proof which makes it the particular premise we will discard if we entail a contradiction. But, ZS-P5 is just as good a candidate, denying it resolves the contradiction just as well, and it's what's actually in contention between us (so treating it as fixed is question-begging).

4b) My statement that standard cosmology, as taught in textbooks, says the Big Bang was the beginning of time was based on my memory and on statements like the one Steinhardt made. Cosmologists routinely talk about the BB as the beginning of time and say that the cosmos is 13.8 billion years old. They talk about how close our observations can take us to "the beginning". And they often dismiss questions about "before" by saying that such a question makes no sense on the Big Bang model, since the BB is the beginning of time. As Paul Davies puts it "the coming into being of the universe, as discussed in modern science... [is] literally the coming-into-being of all physical things from nothing”. The description of John Barrow's book, "The Origin of the Universe", says that the question is about "how time, space, and matter began" and says that Barrow "guides readers on a journey to the beginning of time". This is typical of how cosmologists talk about the standard Big Bang in my experience.

As to the BGV Theorem, it is not just "some evidence", but a mathematical proof of a spacetime boundary.

4c) Again, I don't think you understand the terms you're using here: "First Cause" has always meant the thing that causes everything else but was never caused itself.

Zsolt Nagy said...

Michael,

I had a good snowy weekend. I hope, that yours was also good.

1) If we attached two objects to our apparatus, when calculating force F, then there would only be an apparent correlation between force F and number of objects n and therefore there would be justified relation and dependency between force F and number of objects n in the hypothetical case of "everything having supposedly the same mass":
F~n
→ Fi=ai → total force F=∑ai=na, if ai=a=const for all i=1,2,3,...,n objects.

2) Language!!! (- exclamation marks). There is that again: "If we allow ourselves to describe..."
Either our descriptions correspond to reality or not whether we "allow" that description or not.
I/we don't "allow" the existence of the universe to be a brute fact.
BUT I/we either find or don't find the existence of the universe to be a brute fact.
If there is evidence for the existence of the universe to be a brute fact rather than not a brute fact and I/we find that evidence, then I/we will find the existence of the universe to be a brute fact rather than to be not a brute fact.
AND since there is evidence for the existence of the universe to be a brute fact rather than not a brute fact and I/we find that evidence (There are no energy generators, only energy transformators - the existence of energy, which anything actually existing is made out off, itself is a brute fact probably.), therefore I/we will find the existence of the universe to be a brute fact rather than to be not a brute fact probably.
AND simultaneously if there is evidence for the existence of ourselves to be not a brute fact rather than a brute fact and I/we find that evidence, then I/we will find the existence of ourselves to be not a brute fact rather than to be a brute fact.
AND since there is evidence for the existence of ourselves to be not a brute fact rather than a brute fact and I/we find that evidence ("intimate intercourse"), therefore I/we will find the existence of ourselves to be not a brute fact rather than to be a brute fact.
So all in all - All relevant things considered - the existence of some things appear to be a brute fact and the existence of some other things appear to be not a brute fact.
"Restrictions" are irrelevant and are not required.
Only the Evidence is relevant and is required here.
And by the way, I understand quite well, what a "brute fact" is supposed to be.
I can't really say the same for you. Maybe google it. Or do you want me to provide such a source and link for you? I will gladly do that for you.
And to summarize here: I still very much so disagree with you on this point here...

Zsolt Nagy said...

... 3) You didn't specify irreversibility in any given way:
Just in case you don't understand the word "specify", as you appear to not understand the word "brute fact", here is a link to the definition of "specify":
"specify" from Cambridge Dictionary
Hopefully this will specify for you the word "specify".
If not, then as an example here is my "specification" of a reversible process:
"In thermodynamics, a reversible process is a process, involving a system and its surroundings, whose direction can be reversed [and not necessarily is then reversed] by infinitesimal changes in some properties of the surroundings, such as pressure or temperature.

Throughout an entire reversible process, the system is in thermodynamic equilibrium, both physical and chemical, and nearly in pressure and temperature equilibrium with its surroundings. This prevents unbalanced forces and acceleration of moving system boundaries, which in turn avoids friction and other dissipation."

from the wiki article "Reversible process (thermodynamics)"
Is this a sufficient example for you to specify a "specification" - "specifying" a thing for you?!?

Jokes aside, yet again your unsubstantiated claim "either maximum entropy or collapse" is fallacious. "Either maximum entropy or collapse" is a false dichotomy, since a reversible process can be reversed and not necessarily is then reversed.
For example a gliding ball from the top to the bottom of a Norton's Dome without any friction is a reversible process, which is then not necessarily reversed or has to evolve backwards somehow. So if we consider reversible processes - sorry - "allow" ourselves to describe the expansion of the universe to be a reversible process, then it's clearly not the case, that "either maximum entropy or collapse".
But it is then rather the case, that either maximum entropy or not a maximum entropy with a collapse or no collapse.

Really, what's the matter with you and your such fallacious unsubstantiated claims?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!
Words of advice: Stop listening to the irrational voices in your head and rather start listening to the voices with some amount of rationality.
Otherwise we won't make any progress here...

Zsolt Nagy said...

... 4a) "Your Zs-P1 is false by definition. The difference between a finite and infinite sequence, growing in a direction, is precisely that the finite one has a definite end in that direction and the infinite one does not."
Ah, yeah. Yeah, I guess, I didn't specify that enough, since everything should be in the name of things of course.
So then "third time's the charm", I guess:

Zs-P1') An "infinite into the past - finite sequence into the present" has a definitive end.
Zs-P2*) The "infinite into the past - finite sequence into the present" reached its end in the present.
Zs-C1*) Therefore, an "infinite into the past - finite sequence into the present" has a definitive end and the "infinite into the past - finite sequence into the present" reaches its end in the present. (from Zs-P1* and Zs-P2* by conjunction introduction)
Zs-P3*) If an "infinite into the past - finite sequence into the present" has a definitive end and the "infinite into the past - finite sequence into the present" reaches its end in the present, then the "infinite into the past - finite sequence into the present" can be infinite.
Zs-C2*) Therefore, the "infinite into the past - finite sequence into the present" can be infinite. (from Zs-C1* and Zs-P3* by modus ponens)

I mean, really the name "infinite into the past - finite sequence into the present" already specifies and defineds, that the be infinite and also being a sequence reaching the present.
Besides that, did you know, that "Everything has one end - only the sausage has two.".
An "infinite regression"/"infinite sequence" (please notice again these quotation marks. Whenever I'm using these, I'm really not sure, if we understand the same exact thing. Square quotes!) might have a beginning without an end or might have a beginning with an end or might not have a beginning nor an end.
If my previous premise Zs-P1* (An infinite sequence has a definitive end.) is to unclear for you, then hopefully this time around you have finally the picture of a beginningless sequence with an end resulting/"reaching" our present moment - at least that was, what I have meant by that premise of mine or this time around with "infinite into the past - finite sequence into the present"...

Zsolt Nagy said...

... "Also, your longer argument at the end cuts both ways. You just stipulated that ZS-P6.0 is the premise for indirect proof which makes it the particular premise we will discard if we entail a contradiction. But, ZS-P5 is just as good a candidate, denying it resolves the contradiction just as well, and it's what's actually in contention between us (so treating it as fixed is question-begging)."
Oh so you don't like indirect proofs. No problem, since "One man's modus ponens is another man's modus tollens, another man's disjunctive syllogism and another man's indirect proof."
How about a modus ponens? Here it is with a modus ponens:

Zs-P7.0) The past is a sequence that reaches an end and the past is an infinite sequence. (conditional proof assumption)
Zs-P7.1) The past is a sequence that reaches an end. (from Zs-P7.0 by conjunction elimination)
Zs-P7.2) The past is an infinite sequence. (from Zs-P7.0 by conjunction elimination)
Zs-P7.3.0) If the past is an infinite sequence, then the past is not a sequence that reaches an end. (indirect proof assumption)
Zs-P7.3.1) The past is not a sequence that reaches an end. (from Zs-P7.2 and Zs-P7.3.0 by modus ponens)
Zs-P7.3.2) The past is a sequence that reaches an end and the past is not a sequence that reaches an end (from Zs-P7.1 and Zs-P6.7.1 by conjunction introduction)
Zs-P7.C) It's not the case, that if the past is an infinite sequence, then the past is not a sequence that reaches an end. (from Zs-P7.3.0-Zs-P7.C by indirect proof)
Zs-P7) If the past is a sequence that reaches an end and the past is an infinite sequence, then it's not the case, that if the past is an infinite sequence, then the past is not a sequence that reaches an end. (from Zs-P7.0-Zs-P7.C by conditional proof)

Zs-P4)/M-P2) The past is a sequence that reaches an end.
Zs-P5)/~[M-C]) The past is an infinite sequence.
Zs-P6) The past is a sequence that reaches an end and the past is an infinite sequence. (from Zs-P4 and Zs-P5 by conjunction introduction)

Zs-C3) It's not the case, that if the past is an infinite sequence, then the past is not a sequence that reaches an end. (from Zs-P7 and Zs-P6 by modus ponens)

Now happy with my argument?!? Yes?...

Zsolt Nagy said...

... 4b) Of course cosmologists often dismiss questions about "before" by saying, that such a question makes no sense on the Big Bang model, but not "because the BB is the beginning of time", but because Big Bang model - the model itself - has nothing to say about "before" the BB.
Besides that, is that referenced book of yours "The Origin of the Universe" by John Barrow supposed to be a "standard cosmology book" claiming there to be nothing at all prior to the Big Bang ?
I'm still missing a source for such a "standard cosmology book" claiming such a thing.

As to the BGV Theorem, it is just "some evidence", since first that's a mathematical proof of a spacetime boundary for geodesics and not for spacetime itself for some certain given conditions and second that's just a mathematical proof - where is the evidence for those certain "given" conditions. Sure, our universe is apparently expanding. But does our universe really expand on average?
That's not very clear from our current data and observations of the cosmos.

4c) Sure, you mean by "first cause" the first causation of an existing thing by an already eternally and necessarily existing thing - the firstly caused existence of a thing by another already eternally and necessarily existing thing.
I'm opposed to such a thing, or to say, that I'm opposed to "your first cause", since the substance, which every actually existing thing apparently is made out of, namely energy, already appears to be existing eternally and as a brute fact.
But it also seems to me, that you are opposed to "my first cause" constituting the causation of the first existing thing - the causation of the firstly existing thing.
But I don't get your justification for such a rejection.
Well I don't get any other justifications than unsubstantiated claims made by some voices in your head apparently.
So then why couldn't the firstly existing thing be caused to exist?
Because of something, something, irrelevant and unnecessary "restrictions"?
Because of something, something, question begging and special pleading?
Because of something, something, denying and rejecting something existing as a brute fact, but at the same time being the proponent and a proclaimer of there to be something existing as a brute fact, namely God?
You are still very dishonest.

Michael Birdwell said...

Everyone still engaging in this back and forth needs to calm down.

Michael Gonzalez said...

Zsolt,

1) So, when taking a 5g rock (since all objects are 5g) and throwing it at a 5g window, I could just take the acceleration vector and not modify its magnitude at all to calculate the force of the impact? You really believe that? And if someone just wanted to run the numbers for the force of a totally massless particle (just for fun, or for a math problem), he'd be all set by just using the acceleration vector and not modifying its magnitude (thus getting the same result as with real-world, 5g objects)? This seems insane to me. I don't know if we'll ever make progress on this point. Fortunately, it isn't actually a central or even important point that we're discussing. I think we should just drop it and focus on the important points.

2) It's up to us whether we allow the answer "it just is, without any explanation at all" to even be an option for answering the question "why is this state of affairs real rather than some other?" And you don't seem to understand that, if we allow "it just is" as an available answer, then it is inexplicable why all sorts of things aren't happening all the time without explanation. There can't be any preferential circumstances for a phenomenon that "just is". That would be a contradiction.

There also can't be any "evidence", since "evidence" consists of facts that make the claim more likely, and you can't make "it just is" more or less likely by consideration of any facts! Also, if we apply normal epistemological virtues (like Occam's Razor), then the "it just is" answer would always win, since it has infinite explanatory scope and uses the fewest explanatory entities (none at all!). Do you really not see the catastrophe that that would be for our entire pursuit of knowledge?

Btw, "there are no energy generators" is just your assertion. You haven't proven or even substantiated it. The standard Big Bang model has a beginning to time and energy. The Laws of Thermodynamics deal with existing systems, they don't say anything about the coming-into-being of those systems in the first place. If I had an ideal car engine which always had an exactly constant amount of energy, it would not logically follow that the engine was never created. Its energy is just constant from its creation onward, and no Laws are violated.

Just for the heck of it, I should also add that the best evidence we have says the total net energy of the Universe is actually zero (with gravitational negative energy cancelling out the positive energy), and so even if I accepted your assertion, I could still hold to the standard Big Bang model with a beginning to all time and energy, since the amount of energy remains a net zero. This what Peter Atkins and others have proposed.

3) You need to calm down. I don't know why you think this is an acceptable way to talk to other human beings, but it isn't. Can we not just discuss the issues respectfully? You don't become more correct by causing people to get sick of talking to you.

Now... From the same wiki article you cited:

While processes in isolated systems are never reversible, cyclical processes can be reversible or irreversible. Reversible processes are hypothetical or idealized but central to the second law of thermodynamics.

So, when I specified "isolated systems" I had already dealt with reversibility! Also, you'll notice that your own quote included the matter of interacting with the system's environment (which is precisely what isolated systems DO NOT DO). You're grasping at straws again. Every cosmological model either has entropy continuing to increase, or it has a collapse/circularity, which are the two options I already dealt with.

Michael Gonzalez said...

4) Zsolt, no one is talking about an "infinite into the past - finite sequence into the present". We're talking about whether an actually infinite sequence of counting in a direction could ever reach its end. I have shown that that is a contradiction in terms. There is no end to such a sequence; it would just go on forever, without ever arriving at its end.

Your longer argument has two assumptions (ZS-P7.0 and ZS-P7.3.0) which we already know are incompatible with each other; and all the argument succeeds in doing is drawing out their incompatibility! That's useless to us. We already know that you can't hold "The past is a sequence that reaches an end and the past is an infinite sequence" as well as "If the past is an infinite sequence, then the past is not a sequence that reaches an end". That would literally be holding: (P∧Q)∧(P→¬Q)

What we need is an argument that helps us decide which of those assumptions to give up. If we are aware that the definitive difference between a finite sequence and an infinite one is that the former reach an end in the direction of sequential increase and the latter do not, then we have a premise that is true by definition: "For any sequence, if it is infinite, then it does not reach an end in the direction of sequential increase". Just add to that the premise "the past sequence of events has reached an end in the direction of its sequential increase", and the conclusion that the past is not infinite follows inescapably by simple modus ponens.

4b) I already addressed the issue about cosmology texts, so I won't repeat myself here. I will only add that cosmologists do indeed, quite commonly, say that the reason we don't talk about "before" the Big Bang is because it was the beginning of time. Stephen Hawking compares it to asking "what is north of the North Pole?" Paul Davies says "There was nothing before the Big Bang because there was no such epoch as 'before.'" Alex Vilenkin says "before our universe there was nothing, nothing at all, not even time itself".

The one assumption (that the Universe has been, on average, in a state of expansion) is visibly confirmable. The only ways around it are by positing bouncing or cyclic models, but Vilenkin and Mithani showed none of these can be extended to past eternity.

4c) I'm sorry I haven't done a good enough job to help you "get" what I'm saying and why. But, point 4c isn't about me proving that there really was a first cause in the traditional sense; I was just addressing your comment that, if God did not have a cause, then there is no first cause. That was just a misunderstanding on your part of what is meant by "first cause" in these sorts of discussions.

Michael Gonzalez said...

*tiny correction: I said "system's environment" and I should have said "system's surroundings", to quote you accurately. I know that's the same thing and it shouldn't matter, but smaller issues have mattered before, so I wanted to make sure I was precise.

Zsolt Nagy said...

Michael,

1) "So, when taking a 5g rock (since all objects are 5g) and throwing it at a 5g window, I could just take the acceleration vector and not modify its magnitude at all to calculate the force of the impact?"
For what other reason than question begging and special pleading the unsubstantiated claim of "F=ma" would you "modify" the acceleration vector a to calculate force F in the hypothetical case of "everything having the same exact mass"?

"You really believe that?"
I don't believe that, but I do know that given some rational justifications for that to be the case.
What is your justification for your "belief"? Is that blind trust in the other distinct voices in your heads providing you with some supposedly true revelations from thin air?
I guess so.

"And if someone just wanted to run the numbers for the force of a totally massless particle (just for fun, or for a math problem), he'd be all set by just using the acceleration vector and not modifying its magnitude (thus getting the same result as with real-world, 5g objects)?"
Are you talking about a massless photon interacting with some other particle with some mass like an electron for example - Compton scattering?
If not, then I don't exactly know, what you are talking about here or how that would be in any given way relevant here.
Besides that, why would Compton effect/scattering be possible with massless particles, if any change in momentum F=dp/dt would only be possible by particles with masses, such that F=dp/dt=ma would supposedly be necessarily the case?
I really don't know, what your point is supposed to be here with massless objects regarding and considering my proposition here...

Zsolt Nagy said...

... 2) It is NOT up to us whether we allow the answer "it just is, without any explanation at all" to even be an option for answering the question "why is this state of affairs real rather than some other?",
since any tautology such as "a thing being a brute fact OR being not a brute fact" is supposedly an option and any logical contradiction such as "a thing being a brute fact AND being not a brute fact" is not an option.
Who are you to "disallow" such tautologies on such question begging and special pleading reasons?
By the way, I'm not - I repeat - I am not constituting with this, that then any arbitrary or to say all things might be brute facts, if any thing/some particular, non-arbitrary things might be brute facts.

And you don't seem to understand that, even if we allow "some particular, non-arbitrary thing just is" as an available answer, then it is NOT inexplicable why all sorts of things aren't happening all the time without explanation.
I thought, that we would have already put that idiotic "stipulation" of yours of suddenly appearing sheep out of nowhere and out of nothing behind of us and aside of this discussion. But I guess, that you never actually did.

Besides that, it's not the case, that there can't be any preferential circumstances for a phenomenon that "just is", or to say, that there can be a preferential circumstance for a phenomenon that "just is".
How would/does this result in a contradiction?!?!?!??!?!??!?!?!
In what specific and particular contradiction?!?!?!??!??!?!?!?!?!??!?!?!?!?!??!
I'm so full of your unsubstantiated claims upon unsubstantiated claims.

There also CAN be "evidence", since "evidence" consists of facts that make the claim more likely, and you CAN make "it just is" more or less likely by consideration of facts e.g. the fact of the conservation of mass/energy, the fact of no one capable of building an energy generator, but only an energy transformator, the fact of any physical constants never changing in any given way.
How was the specification of being "contingent" again? Any thing changing is contingent and any contingent thing is changing. So then I guess, that physical constants are non-contingent, since physical constants are not changing in any given way. If so, then why is a non-contingent and necessarily/bruteful being called "God" necessary for the existence of such non-changing and non-contingent physical constants again? Or why would even the existence of such a non-contingent and necessarily/brutefully existing being called "God" be necessary in any given way, if the existence of those non-contingent and non-changing physical constants might be sufficient to explain the existence of anything else?
At least there is some evidence of the existence of those physical constants in the form of empirical observations and measurements. And where is such empirical evidence for the existence of a being called "God"?
Hm. Yeah, something, something, Occam's Razor, I guess.

Apropos, Occam's Razor. Hm, I already heard some other person arguing for the existence of a "thing", which has an infinite explanatory scope and uses the fewest explanatory entities (none at all!) and "just is"/"just exists necessarily", named/called "God".
Again, we are in the same "boot" denying the general PSR.
And again at least I am honest about it and you are not honest about you also sitting in that same exact "boot" and I do not know, why you would be so dishonest about that. I'm only assuming/"believing" you to listen to fallacious "voices" in your head cause of the fallacious reasons of question begging and special pleading...

Zsolt Nagy said...

... 3) Really? You have no clue about, why I might change my tone from "Would you be so kind as to provide any source for any such "standard cosmology textbook" claiming that to be the case?" to "You are still very dishonest."?
Has that request of mine been fulfilled in any given way? Do you really think so?
Should I also repeat that 5 or 10 more times till that is fulfilled and done as I have repeated multiple times that previous "stipulation" of yours to be nothing but a "straw man".
Apropos, that "staw man" of yours. You are still arguing like I would hold that position in any given way (- discussion point 2)).
I would accept, if you would declare your position and the reasons/justifications for you holding that position, which you are holding. But I will never accept you rather trying to explain, propose and suggest the counterposition - supposedly my position - not successfully being irrational to hold, since you didn't even dared to listen to any one of my justifications - if there is no correlation between F and m, which is the case in the hypothetical case "everything has the same exact mass", then F=ma lacks any justifications.
How would you find, if I would claim - "just" claim, that given the omnipotence of God God is similar to a program capable of foretelling any program to halt or not halt for a particular input and since such a program is leading to a contradiction and hence, such a program is impossible, therefore, such a program and similarly God is impossible - "Impossible Programs (The Halting Problem)" by Undefined Behavior?
How would you find, if I would keep asking you to "specify", whether or not God is capable of "specifying" the program P, which halts for a program q as an input, if and only if the program "God"'s output of that program q is, that "program q halts for an input", to halt or not halt in the case of that program P to be given itself as an input, after you have already told me multiple times, that God is not actually similar to such an impossible program or that then omnipotence doesn't necessarily mean to know and to foretell anything under any circumstances, but then omnipotence might mean to know and to foretell everything to the extent of that not resulting in a contradiction?
I guess, that you also wouldn't be that fond of such a conversation.
But I'm not sure. Should we try that?

Btw, "The standard Big Bang model has a beginning to time and energy." is just your assertion. You haven't proven or even substantiated it, which has even been demonstrated by yourself not being capable of providing any proper source for a proper "standard cosmology textbook" making that claim.

And also your "stipulation" of that car is just a reitteration of your idiotic proposition of the universe being an open system in the "beginning" and then being a closed/isolated system for no reason other than question begging and special pleading...

Zsolt Nagy said...

... AND NO. You didn't have "specified" an "isolated" system:
Here is that specification for you:
"In physical science, an isolated system is either of the following:

- a physical system so far removed from other systems that it does not interact with them.
- a thermodynamic system enclosed by rigid immovable walls through which neither mass nor energy can pass.

Though subject internally to its own gravity, an isolated system is usually taken to be outside the reach of external gravitational and other long-range forces.

This can be contrasted with what (in the more common terminology used in thermodynamics) is called a closed system, being enclosed by selective walls through which energy can pass as heat or work, but not matter; and with an open system, which both matter and energy can enter or exit, though it may have variously impermeable walls in parts of its boundaries.

An isolated system obeys the conservation law that its total energy–mass stays constant. Most often, in thermodynamics, mass and energy are treated as separately conserved."

from the wiki article "Isolated system"
(By the way, I just found that text of your quotation in that wiki article "Reversible process (thermodynamics)" and clicked on that word/link "isolated systems" in order to find that "specification" for an "isolated system". DUH.)
You are rather meaning, that you just assume the universe to be a thing, whatever you want it to be rather than whatever it might actually be.

Now that both terminologies "isolated"/"non-isolated" and "closed"/"open" systems have been defiended and specified, by what reasons do you assume the universe to be in the "beginning" an open or a non-isolated system and then apparently for no reason suddenly becoming a closed or an isolated system?
Is that really so much to ask for?!?

Sure, you could still hold to the standard Big Bang model with a beginning to all time and energy, "if" the amount of energy remained and remains a net zero as I might hold to my position of the standard Big Bang model only describing the evolution of an eternal approximately isolated and open universe with net zero amount of energy, where there are no energy generators but only energy transformators, while not violating any physical laws - not even the second law of thermodynamics, but also confirming the first law of thermodynamics - conservation of energy and mass...

Zsolt Nagy said...

... "Also, you'll notice that your own quote included the matter of interacting with the system's environment (which is precisely what isolated systems DO NOT DO). You're grasping at straws again. Every cosmological model either has entropy continuing to increase, or it has a collapse/circularity, which are the two options I already dealt with."
Just in case you didn't dare to read that wiki article "Isolated system" any further:
"Because of the requirement of enclosure, and the near ubiquity of gravity, strictly and ideally isolated systems do not actually occur in experiments or in nature. Though very useful, they are strictly hypothetical.[1][2][3]

Classical thermodynamics is usually presented as postulating the existence of isolated systems. It is also usually presented as the fruit of experience. Obviously, no experience has been reported of an ideally isolated system.

It is, however, the fruit of experience that some physical systems, including isolated ones, do seem to reach their own states of internal thermodynamic equilibrium. Classical thermodynamics postulates the existence of systems in their own states of internal thermodynamic equilibrium. This postulate is a very useful idealization.

In the attempt to explain the idea of a gradual approach to thermodynamic equilibrium after a thermodynamic operation, with entropy increasing according to the second law of thermodynamics, Boltzmann’s H-theorem used equations, which assumed a system (for example, a gas) was isolated. That is, all the mechanical degrees of freedom could be specified, treating the enclosing walls simply as mirror boundary conditions. This led to
Loschmidt's paradox. If, however, the stochastic behavior of the molecules and thermal radiation in real enclosing walls is considered, then the system is in effect in a heat bath. Then Boltzmann’s assumption of molecular chaos can be justified.

The concept of an isolated system can serve as a useful model approximating many real-world situations. It is an acceptable idealization used in constructing mathematical models of certain natural phenomena; e.g., the planets in the Solar System, and the proton and electron in a hydrogen atom are often treated as isolated systems. But, from time to time, a hydrogen atom will interact with electromagnetic radiation and go to an excited state. "

I'm so full of your so-called "specifications", since they are no actual specifications but unsubstantiated claims upon unsubstantiated claims.

Zsolt Nagy said...

... 4) You might be not talking about "infinite into the past - finite sequence into the present", but I am talking about "infinite into the past - finite sequence into the present" and since I'm not "no one", but I am "some one", therefore, not no one but someone is talking about "infinite into the past - finite sequence into the present".
Besides that not "we" only you are talking about whether an actually infinite sequence of "counting" in a direction could ever reach its end.
You are talking about the A-Theory of time. I'm more of a B-Theory of time-type of guy, since you know, if you want to refer to any substantial and current physics you kinda are also referring to that B-Theory of time and not A-Theory of time.
So yeah "counting" or being capable of "counting" is not necessarily necessary for the analysis of any sequence of time.
There are infinitely many natural numbers or an infinite number line, even if no one - not even your "God" - could count all infinitely many natural numbers and be finished with that.
Similarly there might be a "timeline" with an infinite past/non-finite past/without a "beginning" but with an end reaching/resulting in the present moment, even if no one could count infinitely many moments/timepoints.
In what way does this again result in any particular contradiction?

"Your longer argument has two assumptions (ZS-P7.0 and ZS-P7.3.0) which we already know are incompatible with each other; and all the argument succeeds in doing is drawing out their incompatibility! That's useless to us."
Ahh. You are still not a fan of the logical inference proof by contradiction/indirect proof, even though that's as valid of a logical inference as any other valid logical inference like modus ponens or modus tollens.
Yeah. I'm also not such a fan of that but for different reasons.
I'm not a fan of using syllogisms in general without exactly defining and specifying any relevant terms for the relevant premises, since it's just becomes a game of disambiguation and being forced into holding an unnecessary dogmatic contraposition instead of just focusing on the clearly defining those relevant terms:
A particular conclusion/statement shouldn't be true because of formalities but rather because of being corresponding to a true thing. Or to say that a particular conclusion/statement should be true because of all relevant things considered and not just because of what you assume to be true or because of just some not particularly relevant formalities.
If you want that badly to play this kind of game, then I guess, we can play this game about formalities without any particular relevance...

Zsolt Nagy said...

... Your so-called "definition" of an infinite sequence: "For any sequence, if it is infinite, then it does not reach an end in the direction of sequential increase".
Further your argument: "Just add to that the premise "the past sequence of events has reached an end in the direction of its sequential increase", and the conclusion that the past is not infinite follows inescapably by simple modus ponens."
As I can and do reject your premise, I can and do reject your "definition" of an infinite sequence, since that is not a definition but rather a premise of your argument.
It's not the case, that for any sequence s, if s is infinite, then s does not reach an end in the direction of sequential increase, or to say, that some sequence s* is infinite and does reach an end in the direction of sequential increase. That sequence s* is the infinite sequence of negative integers reaching an end in the direction of increase in the number 0:
s*={..., -3, -2, -1, 0}
Since you want to be that dogmatic about this, then I guess, I might as well for this particular game about "formality".
s* might not just be that increasing infinite number sequence, but it might also be that "past sequence of events".
If not so, then where exactly is the contradiction here, since you appear to only require contradictions in order to be convinced of some particular proposition?
Where is the contradiction in the claim "some sequence s* is infinite and does reach an end in the direction of sequential increase. That sequence s* is the infinite sequence of negative integers reaching an end in the direction of increase in the number 0:
s*={..., -3, -2, -1, 0}"?

4b)Really? Alex Vilenkin said, that "before our universe there was nothing, nothing at all, not even time itself"?
If before our universe there was only nothing, then where was "God" before our universe?
If before our universe there was only nothing, then I guess, that also there was no "God" before our universe.
How does this comply with theism or what theists believe about our "God" and our universe or before our universe?
That's a "trick question", since the belief of "there being nothing before our universe" doesn't at all comply with theism, what theists believe or claim.

4c) Yeah. There was or is a misunderstanding here, since "my first cause" differs from "your first cause". I'm not disregarding, what "first cause" is supposed to mean in these discussions, but I want to rather "expand" that notion further like our universe is apparently expanding, since that appears to me to be only natural to do so.
;)

Michael Gonzalez said...

Zsolt,

We've got to make these comments smaller, my friend. And you need to calm down. We can't have a productive conversation like this, and it just makes people frustrated. Let's try to calmly and concisely deal with the main issues, please:

1) My point is that a person who conducted the spring test, or any other test, to come up with the equations for standard mechanics, would not conclude that we can just calculate acceleration and plug that into our dynamics. We need to also include the mass. This all follows from considerations of inertia, which is also mass-dependent. I honestly have no idea why you think we would ever just calculate acceleration and plug that into our dynamics, without taking into account the 5g of mass. I think we need to just agree to disagree on this. We're not getting anywhere.

2) Of course it's up to us whether we consider something a viable option or not. No one thinks we should include "magic" or "sorcery" as viable explanatory options. And brute facts are worse than magic or sorcery. At least with magic or sorcery there is usually a magician or sorcerer, and perhaps a set of rules for how the magic works. With "it just is", there literally aren't any explanatory factors involved at all.

It is a straightforward contradiction to say "there is no explanation at all" and then proceed to give explanatory factors for why something else can't likewise happen with "no explanation at all". If I ask, "why does the Universe exist?", and you want me to accept "it just does, without any explanation" as an answer, then what if Godzilla appears in this room out of nowhere? You can ask "why did that happen?", and I will give the same answer you gave. It just did. No explanation at all. And Occam's Razor would always favor this answer, since it has zero explanatory entities and has infinite scope.

I understand that you think there can't be an energy generator or a beginning to energy. I've already refuted that more than once, but here it is again: All the first law says is that the energy in an existing, isolated system is constant. It says nothing at all about how the system came to be or whether it was always isolated or anything of the sort. In any case, even if you were right, pointing to why there can't be a particular kind of explanation does not mean we're dealing with a situation that has no explanation at all. Perhaps the world has always existed (which wouldn't make it brute, just eternally contingent), or perhaps the total energy of the world is net zero, or... whatever.

If you want to talk about my alternative (a necessary being, rather than a brute one) then we can talk about that. But let's deal with this "bruteness" issue first, please.

Michael Gonzalez said...

3) I gave responses about the "standard cosmology textbook" issue, and my statement was echoed by professional commentators like Steinhardt; but, if that is still something you would regard as dishonest, then I apologize and retract my statement.

Also, please please understand that I am NOT ascribing a position to you when I bring up the possibility of some brute event (like a sheep popping into existence). I am NOT saying that you hold a position like that.

But, I do maintain that the standard Big Bang model has a beginning of time and energy, and I gave plenty of quotes from professionals in the field to back that up.

As for "isolated systems", that is what the law of conservation of energy (from which the first law of thermodynamics is derived) is predicated on. Just look up the wiki article on "Conservation of Energy". All it says is that the total energy of an isolated system remains constant throughout time. If the beginning of the Universe was the beginning of time, then "constant throughout time" would only apply from the beginning onward. Also, nothing proves that our world is or always was an isolated system. So, your insistence that there can't be a beginning/creation to the energy in our world is just a bare assertion. It is not substantiated by conservation laws. And, even if we pretend that you are right about the conservation laws, the total net energy of the world could still be zero and so there wouldn't be any change to the "total energy of the system" even if the world did have an absolute beginning! Your objection is flawed on multiple levels.

Michael Gonzalez said...

4) Temporal becoming is real and obvious (just consider how your mental state is changing right now). The succession of past events has finally arrived at this moment, and it could not do so if it had to traverse and actual infinite prior to getting here.

I have nothing at all against proof by contradiction or indirect proof. I have a problem with someone introducing two premises which we already know are mutually exclusive, and then deriving their mutual exclusivity! That doesn't help anything. We already know you can't hold "infinite sequences cannot reach ends" and "an infinite sequence has reached an end". We don't need an argument to prove that. What we need is something to adjudicate between the two propositions, and what I've stated is that the meaning of "infinite sequence" (and that which distinguishes it from a finite sequence) absolutely requires the former proposition. So the latter is disproved by definition.

However, you dispute that by giving the example of the negative numbers. This means you haven't understood my point, but that may be my fault. I might have stated things sloppily. I know that there is an end to the negative numbers, but the point is that it is impossible reach that end by counting in the direction of increase. You will always just be counting some negative number. And, since the past events have taken place in sequence, there cannot have been an infinite number of them, or else we would never have arrived at the present moment.

Just illustrate it with an infinite space. Imagine that there is a boundary right here, but that space goes on infinitely from here on. If someone claimed to have traversed ALL of that space and finally arrived here, they would be claiming an impossibility, no?

4b) Yes, really! Vilenkin, Hawking, Davies, and many many others have said that, because that is the standard BB model. And it doesn't help you to change the subject to whether theism has the same problem. It doesn't, and we can discuss that, but that's a different topic. The point is that the standard BB model and the statements of all these world class cosmologists are against your idea that conservation laws or laws of thermodynamics make it impossible for time and energy to have a beginning. These cosmologists are not so stupid that they've somehow missed basic laws like that. They are just aware of what I've been telling you all along: Those laws apply when an isolated system already exists; they don't tell you anything about whether the system had a beginning or how it began or even whether it has always been "isolated" or became so later. Those were all just assumptions on your part.

Take care, ZS.

M

Zsolt Nagy said...

Michael,

1) I "know" your point in the sense, that you have iterated that for multiple times. What I still don't get and understand, why that is supposed to be a rational point to have.
Why is F=ma is the case or is supposed to be the case?
You have no idea, how that has been established and justified. You just make an assumption of F=ma to be the case, without any proper justifications and NO, your assumption/claim "a person who conducted the spring test, or any other test, might coming up with the equations for standard mechanics, would not conclude that we can just calculate acceleration and plug that into our dynamics." is not trivial or obvious in the hypothetical case "everything having the same exact mass", since there is no correlation between F and m in that hypothetical case and if there is no correlation such apparent correlation, then there is also no such relation between F and m apparent.
And if there would be no such relation between F and m apparent, then no one would have the idea of "modifying" acceleration a with m to obtain F, since in that hypothetical case it would be already sufficient to claim F=a in order to "derive"/describe any relevant physical phenomenons about the motion of objects.
It's like setting the reduced Planck constant or the speed of light c to "one" for any relevant equations for quantum mechanics or relative theory. Constants are secondary to such equations. The equations themselves describing relevant relations between relevant physical entities are the most important aspect to any theory of dynamics.
That is one of my points here.
Another point I like to make here, that if we would adapt your fallacious "intuition" about F=ma to be trivially or obviously the case, then the questions "Why was Newton the first person to come up with F=ma to be the case instead of for example Aristotle? Why did it take about 2000 years to come up with F=ma, if F=ma is supposed to be trivially or obviously the case?" remain unanswered, I guess.
On the other hand adapting my correct "intuition"/epistemology about F=ma to be NOT trivially or obviously the case, then it becomes quite trivial and obvious, why Newton was the first person to come up with F=ma to be the case instead of for example Aristotle and why it did take about 2000 years to come up with F=ma, since F=ma should only come up in the case of that relation and entailed correlation being apparent. Duh...

Zsolt Nagy said...

... 2) Yes, of course it's up to us whether we consider something a viable option or not.
Also again, old news (Ctrl+f, then Copy&Paste "tautology" into the search bar): All tautologies like "a thing is a brute fact or is not a brute fact" are viable options to be considered. Some conclusion/statement/claim should true, because of all relevant things about that conclusion have been considered and not because of some fallacious assumptions and unsubstantiated claims.

The next segment is just another "straw man" or "red herring". I'm not going to reply to any such "straw man" or "red herring" again.

And no, you did not refute my notion of "there being no energy generators, only energy transformators". You can only refute such a notion by presenting/demonstrating a proper "energy generator" (- scare quotes).
Sure, that notion of mine doesn't come directly or only from the first law. Though that notion of mine comes partly from that and given that no such "energy generator" ever has been presented or demonstrated. Sure, I'm aware of the problem of induction.
So what? The person claiming "every swan being white" is not necessarily incorrect.
Only the person claiming "every swan being white" and simultaneously facing a black swan is necessarily incorrect. Yet, I am no such person claiming "every swan being white" and simultaneously facing a black swan.
I am only such a person claiming "every swan being white" and simultaneously facing another person claiming "standard cosmology textbooks" being claiming "there to be a black swan", while that another person not even being capable of providing a proper source for such a proper "standard cosmology textbooks" making such claims - not even the provided wiki article is making such a claim about "there to be a black swan"/"there being an energy generator"/"the universe coming from nothing"/"there being no time at all prior to the Big Bang".
Exactly, all the first law says is that the energy in an existing, isolated system is constant. It says nothing at all about how the system came to be or whether it was always isolated or anything of the sort. So then why assume the universe coming from nothing or there being no time prior to the Big Bang?
You/We/nobody know such a thing or anything to be certainly the case prior to the Big Bang currently. Our current "knowledge" breaks down at singularities, so of course none of our current "standard cosmology textbooks" will make such a bold claim and statement.
I'm totally aware of this and about my claim of there being no energy generators.
What I do not understand though, why would you be so delusional about your unsubstantiated claims to be certainly the case here?
And no, an eternally existing world wouldn't necessarily be an eternally contingent being.
If so, then by what means? Why are you still making such unsubstantiated claims?
You are just replacing another unsubstantiated claim with another unsubstantiated claim here...

Zsolt Nagy said...

... 3) If professional commentators like Steinhardt would jump off a cliff, would you then also "echo" such an action?
Well, I guess, that you are in a different kind of an "echo-chamber".

Also please note, that your assumption of the event of sheep popping into existence being a "brute event" - such phenomena being the only considerable candidates for "brute facts" - might be a false assumption. It is a false assumption.

Sure, if the beginning of the Universe was the beginning of time, then "constant throughout time" would only apply from the beginning onward.
Also sure, if there was no beginning of the Universe and there was no beginning of time, then "constant throughout time" would have been always the case.
Is there a "black swan"/"beginning of the Universe and time" though?

4) By the way, you did introduce those dubious argument and premises of yours and not me and didn't even care to explain/define properly, what "sequence"/"regression"/"infinite sequence"/"infinite regression"/"sequence of past events"/"reachable ends" are or are supposed to be.
And by which "definition" is and end of an infinite sequence not reachable?!?!?!??!?!???!?!!?!??!??!!??!??!??!?!??!?!?!?!?!??!?!
I will give you my definitions:
An infinite sequence is a sequence, "with a beginning and no end" or "no beginning and with an end" or "no beginning and no end".
An infinite sequence of past events is an infinite sequence with an end in the present and no beginning.
An end of a sequence is reachable, if and only if that sequence has an end.
This implies, that the end of an infinite sequence without a beginning and with an end is reachable - even reachable by "counting" by beginning from any point of that infinite sequence.
Of course you can not begin from the "beginning" of a beginningless infinite sequence, since it has no "beginning" in order to do so. Duh.
So what? Why is again an beginningless infinite sequence of past events with an end into the present supposed to be impossible by definition?
Time doesn't exist, because there are clocks measuring time.
Clocks measuring time on the other do exist, since time exists, which can be measured by clocks. Duh.

4b) So what? If Vilenkin, Hawking, Davies, and many many others have said that, because that is the standard BB model, then that's the "model", I guess, but not necessarily the actual case.
Besides that, the standard BB model is pointing to a singularity and nothing more. Anything beyond that is beyond the current BB model and therefore that's all speculation and even if the BB model would imply a universe coming from nothing, then that's still just a "model"/approximation of the actual case. Where is the empirical evidence for that?!?!?!???!??!??!?!??!??!?!??!?!
The only empirical evidence we have is that, there are no energy generators only energy transformators.

Michael Gonzalez said...

Zsolt,

1) I honestly don't see much value in speculating about alternate histories like this. It was clear even to Aristotle that it takes effort to move an object, and more effort to move it faster. Pushing or dragging an object with you takes more effort than just walking with empty hands. The object does have some mass (even if all masses were the same), and the effort it takes to move it (or, as Newton later showed, to stop it from moving) is because of the combination of mass and acceleration. Do we know for certain how the dynamics of such a world would have ended up? No. Does it matter in any way to our discussion? I really don't think so. Can we just agree to disagree on this one?

2) Here is where we can finally make some progress! You and I now agree that your claim does not follow from conservation laws or thermodynamics alone, and that these only tell us what is the case when the isolated system already exists. So, really, such laws have nothing at all to say about whether energy and time had an absolute beginning. This has been a big part of our discussion, and I'm glad to see it finally resolved, especially because the large number of comsologists who hold a BB model are clearly not so stupid that they forgot basic laws of physics!

However, I understand that's not your whole argument, because you add the inductive point that we have never seen the creation of energy. Well, I'm not 100% certain that's true (some theories on Hawking radiation say otherwise). But, let's just agree that we've never seen it. All that would mean is that the beginning of the entire physical world was a unique event, and we've never seen anything like it since. Well, as you say, "duh!" Lol. Of course the beginning of the world was a unique and unparalleled event! So what? Besides, as you admit, we can't always rule things out because we've never seen one (just imagine if we ignored clear signals from outer space because we have never seen extraterrestrials before, or if we ignored evidence that a computer was conscious because we have never seen artificial intelligence before... never having seen something before clearly does not mean it is impossible). But add to that that we do have lots of evidence for a beginning to time (including the BGV theorem, the one assumption of which is supported by literally all the evidence we have), and it seems clear that we're looking at a black swan.

Michael Gonzalez said...

continuing (2)...

I wish you could understand that I am NOT creating a straw man or a red herring by explaining the consequences of accepting "it just is" as an answer. This is a key point, so let me try to illustrate it: Let's use the example of magic. If someone thought that there can't be a beginning to the world, and therefore we have evidence that the world exists by magic, you and I would probably agree that they're wrong, yes? They shouldn't appeal to magic, but should keep looking for a better explanation of the situation. One reason why we don't allow the "magic" answer is because magic isn't limited by the laws of physics or anything like that, so it would be inexplicable why magical stuff doesn't happen all the time. However, the person could then just give us some "laws of magic" which explain why it only happens in some situations (maybe it requires a wizard, or the stars have to be in certain positions, or whatever). Now, even though these explanations are nonsense, at least there's some sort of distinction. However, if we drop the magic and just say "there is no explanation at all", then we'd have the same problem as magic, but without the ability to point to any "laws" or "rules" or anything like that. "It just is" is worse than magic, because it literally does not permit any distinctions or rules. So then, why aren't things happening all the time by the power of "it just is"??

Now, I never said that an eternal world would "necessarily be contingent". I just said it "could be". In other words, allowing that it is eternal does not immediately entail that it is "brute". Indeed, there is nothing at all that points to it being "brute". I'm not adding a claim here, I'm just showing that we could consider all sorts of explanatory options before throwing up our hands and saying "it just is".

3) All the evidence we have says yes, there is a black swan. The Universe (and time itself) had a beginning.

Michael Gonzalez said...

4) I'm sorry, but I didn't understand what you said about time and clocks. Could you please explain?

As for the main issue about whether the end of an infinite sequence is reachable, just consider all the contradictory and absurd results that would follow. If the past could traverse an actually infinite series of events and finally arrive at the current events, then why didn't that happen yesterday? Or a year ago? Or a million years ago? You can't say that not enough time had passed because, if the past is infinite, then exactly the same amount of time had passed by a million years ago as today! It's just plain meaningless. And there are many thought experiments that help us to see that this is absurd. Here's an example:

Imagine that there are Messengers who have always existed and who pass a piece of paper and a pen to each other once each day. So, each day, it is a new Messenger's turn to get the paper and pen, and here's the rule: If there is already a number on it, then just pass the paper and pen along without writing anything; but, if there is no number on the paper, then write the number of the current day. There is nothing contradictory or problematic about this scenario. But, what happens if the past has been infinite? What number is on the paper? On the one hand, there must be a number (since, if it ever didn't have one, the next Messenger would just write one down). But, on the other hand, there cannot be any particular number, because any number would have had infinitely many previous Messengers who would have written something before that. So, we have a contradiction: There both must be and cannot be a particular number written down on the paper.

There are many many examples like this, and the point is that traversing the entirety of an infinite sequence and arriving at the end is an impossible task.

4b) What you disagreed with me about was that that is the standard BB model. We now agree that it is. So, we don't need point "4b" anymore. Whether the BB model is correct or not is another matter, and I've given arguments for that (including a mathematical theorem).

Zsolt Nagy said...

Michael,

1) And how did Newton show force F to be equivalent to mass m times acceleration a?
I'm not questioning with my point and hypothetical case, what has been derived and shown, but I am questioning and analysing how, that has been derived and shown or what are the necessary or sufficient conditions for such a thing to happen.
You are still missing my point here after what - more than two weeks of back and forth discussion about this? This lack of listening and understanding skills of yours are quite fascinating.
I now might finally know, why someone would come up with the idea and proposition of "religion poisoning everything". It certainly does enhance biases to the extent of being deaf and blind to "reason", I guess.

2) Yeah, I agree that my claim is not following directly from conservation laws or thermodynamics alone, and that these only tell us, what is the case, when the isolated system already exists, as your claim is also not following directly from conservation laws or thermodynamics alone, and that these only tell us, what is the case and how things might behave, when the isolated system already exists. "Yes?"
Sure, such laws have nothing at all to say about whether energy and time had an absolute beginning or not.
Also surely and hopefully all cosmologist know, that the current BB model is only entailing a singularity and anything beyond that selfevidentally "is just" a speculation.

Besides that, Hawking radiation doesn't violate the conservation of energy, since the mass of a black hole is transformed into that radiation of that Hawking radiation of that black hole (- Again, there are no energy generators, only energy transformators.)
But Hawking radiation does indeed violate a conservation law, namely the conservation of information - Black hole information paradox. (You still have so much to learn, young padawan.)

Besides that, this is a "sound" argument:
1. All men are mortal.
2. Socrates is a man.
3. Therefore, Socrates is mortal.

There are no exceptions here - not even for Jesus Christ:
4. Jesus Christ is a man.
5. Therefore, Jesus Christ is mortal.

You really think, I might even remotely make an exception - "allow" a physical law to be violated once for the "beginning" of the universe for what reasons exactly?!?
Because I shall be charitable with your question begging and special pleading reasons?
NO. Nature behaves uniformally.
Why is that supposed to be the case? Because that "is just" the way Nature behaves, I guess. That should be self evident, I guess.
So no exceptions for Jesus Christ and no exceptions for a hypothetical/speculative "beginning" of the universe regarding and considering any conservation laws.
So what, if our current evidence in conjunction with the BGV theorem supports the hypothesis of a definitive beginning to any or all geodesics of the universe from a singularity?
Does or should the evidence in conjunction with the BGV theorem imply something more?
I guess, that I'm missing something here, but I don't know what that is supposed to be...

Zsolt Nagy said...

... I wish you could understand that you are creating a straw man or a red herring by explaining the consequences of accepting "it just is" as an answer. This is a key point, so let me try to illustrate it: Let's use the example of Creation. If someone thought that there can't be a beginning to the world, and therefore we have evidence that the world exists by Creation, you and I would probably agree that they're wrong, yes? They shouldn't appeal to Creation, but should keep looking for a better explanation of the situation. One reason why we don't allow the "Creation/God of the gaps" answer is because Creation isn't limited by the laws of physics or anything like that, so it would be inexplicable why Creation stuff doesn't happen all the time. However, the person could then just give us some "laws of Creation" which explain why it only happens in some situations (maybe it requires a prophet, or the stars have to be in certain positions, or whatever). Now, even though these explanations are nonsense, at least there's some sort of distinction. However, if we drop the Creation and just say "there is no explanation at all", then we'd have the same problem as "Creation/God of the gaps", but without the ability to point to any "laws" or "rules" or anything like that. "It just is" is worse as Creation, because it literally does not permit any distinctions or rules. So then, why aren't things happening all the time by the power of "it just is" or by God and by "Creation"??
Sure, you can point your finger at me and shout, "Hah, you're sitting in that irrational sinking boot of denying the general PSR!"
Then I point my fingers at you and shout back, "So what? You are sitting in the same exact boot as I am and further that supposedly irrational sinking boot appears to be not sinking at all and also to be doing just fine for both of us. So then why don't you point your fingers at yourself and shout to yourself that absurd proposition of yours?!?"...

Zsolt Nagy said...

... 3) Would you be so kind and polite to provide all of that evidence saying, that the Universe (and time itself) had a beginning?
It's your claim, so that's your burden of proof of your claim and not mine.
Or would you be pleased with me actually providing for you with sources of actual "standard cosmology textbooks" not claiming more than the BB model entailing the universe once being in a state of a singularity? How about making a "pro and contra" list together?

4) You might only hold one of the following notions at most at a time, since holding both of them at the same time would result in a vicious reasoning:
(I) Time measuring devices exist, because time exists, which is measurable by time measuring devices.
(II) Time exists, because time measuring devices exist, that are supposed to be measuring time.
I'm not quite sure (I) and (II) to be a true dichotomy or dilemma, since vicious circles are not necessarily irrational or unjustifiable. But in this case holding both (I) and (II) simultaneously appears to be quite dubious to say the least.
I guess, that I'm just more a fan of (I) than a fan of (II), since (I) appears to be more rational to hold.
In my opinion any argument arguing from "successive addition" of events is just claiming (II), which is absurd, since time doesn't exist, because time measuring devices are counting events with a "successive additive" method, but rather time measuring devices exist maybe being capable of counting events by "successive addition", because time exists, which can be measured by time measuring devices maybe by counting events by "successive addition".
So it is a really dumb and idiotic argument and to argue for the impossibility of the infnite past from the impossibility of measuring such entity especially by only considering one particular and specific method.

Besides that no one here besides you (and maybe idiotic proclaimers and proponents of A-theory of time) are questining here, "if the past could traverse an actually infinite series of events and finally arrive at the current events, then blah, blah, blah...", since the past is the past and the past appears to be not traversing anything.
Rather we conceiving/measuring time are traversing parts of it.
Events come and go. And that's it.
By the way to answer that idiotic question of yours,
if the past could traverse an actually infinite series of events and finally arrive at the current events, then of course the actual infinite series of events finally arriving at the current events will only arrive at the current events given the definition of "the actual infinite series of events finally arriving at the current events". Why not yesterday? Because we as time measurement devices have already passed that time moment or event. Duh.
Or why not a year ago? Same answer: Because we as time measurement devices have already passed that time moment or event and are currently in the current event, that being not a year ago. Duh.
Or why not a million years ago? You guessed it, same answer: because we as time measurement devices have already passed that time moment or event and are currently in the current event, that being not a million year ago. Duh.
How do you as a person even conceive time?!?
I don't understand any point of yours besides those being very ambiguous on the ontological notion of time...

Zsolt Nagy said...

... Imagine that there are Messengers who have always existed and who pass a piece of paper and a pen to each other once each day. So, each day, it is a new Messenger's turn to get the paper and pen. There is nothing contradictory or problematic about this scenario. But, what happens if the past has been infinite besides no other particular rule question begging for a definitive first member of a beginningless set without any such definitive first member?
Then there is an infinite number of Messengers without a "definitive first Messenger", who have always existed and who pass a piece of paper and a pen to each other once each day. So, each day, it is a new Messenger's turn to get the paper and pen. There is nothing contradictory or problematic about this scenario.
By the way, what is the whole length of all line segments on that paper, if each Messenger is supposed to be drawing a twice as long line segment as the direct previous Messenger and if the last Messenger is drawing a line segment of the length of 1cm?
So then where exactly is the contradiction here?!?
Even if you would present me with an infinite amount of such scenarios, then I would just shrug my shoulders and question: "SO WHAT?!?"
I can also present you an infinite amount of such scenarios not containing any contradictions.

It's like you would present me with an infinite amount of natural numbers being odd {1,3,5,...} and then claim: "Look here are an infinite number of natural numbers being odd. Therefore, any/all numbers are odd." - Ahh. Why? Why are we supposed to make such a fallacious hasty generalisation?
Sure, you presented to me "some Swans being White"/"some scenarios with infinity are entailing contradictions". Sure, congratulations on demonstrating such a trivial claim to be the case.
So then why do you expect me now to believe, that "Any/all Swans are White"/"Any/all scenarios with infinity are entailing contradictions"?!?
Ctrl+f, then Copy&Paste "March 25, 2022 at 1:40 PM" into the search bar! At least I'm not that stupid to sit in such an irrational "boot".

4b) You have only provided a mathematical theorem pointing towards a singularity and nothing more - this is not to be misunderstood here as that mathematical theorem pointing towards "nothing".
WHERE IS THE BLACK SWAN? WHERE IS THE EVIDENCE OF A BEGINNING OF THE UNIVERSE AND TIME?!?

Michael Gonzalez said...

Zsolt,

1) I have been listening and trying to engage with this point. The only "poison" in our discussion has been your sarcasm and disrespect. Please knock it off.

As I've already pointed out, even Aristotle knew to include mass in discussions of "force" or "effort", because it takes more effort to push an object along a path than it does to walk that path without pushing anything else.

2) So, we agree that neither a beginningless nor a brute Universe are required by any laws of physics, nor is saying "we've never seen one" a good argument at all. I have not mentioned Jesus, so I'm not sure why you are.

So, point #2 is settled and we should turn our attention to evidence that the Universe had a beginning.

3) The BGV theorem shows that there is an absolute spacetime boundary to any world that has been, on average, expanding throughout its history. An absolute boundary to time means the beginning of time. Don't take my word for it, here is what one of the cosmologists who wrote the paper (Alexander Vilenkin) says about it:

It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape, they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning.

Models have been proposed to try and get around this theorem, and they have all failed (again, just take a look at Vilenkin and Mithani's paper). This doesn't prove it beyond all doubt (science never does that), but all the evidence says the Universe had a beginning. Why not go where the evidence leads, especially when we've already removed your one objection (that there cannot be a beginning to energy because of conservation laws)?

4) I'm sorry, but I still don't understand your point about measuring devices. I haven't been talking about measuring devices. Just extrapolate from the fact that the Earth (for example) has existed for a certain number of seconds. So has the Universe, according to all the evidence. But, if someone wants to say that an actually infinite number of seconds have come and gone prior to now, they are claiming something absurd.

You have not understood my question, so I'll rephrase it: "If I ask why the Sun hasn't become a white dwarf yet?" The answer is "because not enough time has elapsed". But, if an infinite amount of time has already elapsed, then there is literally no difference between the amount of time that has elapsed up to now, and the amount of time that will have elapsed 4 billion years from now when the Sun actually does become a white dwarf. Infinity plus 4 billion is exactly the same infinity. So, it is totally inexplicable why the Sun is not yet a white dwarf.

Michael Gonzalez said...

4a) Did you really not understand the contradiction entailed by the Messenger scenario? There both must be and cannot be a particular number on the paper. That's a contradiction produced by thinking the past can be infinite. The scenario is perfectly possible until you add the eternal past. So, an eternal past is impossible.

This is not some hasty generalization, and no one is saying that just because some infinite past scenarios are impossible that therefore they all are. What we're saying is that any scenario in which the Messengers are possible is one in which an infinite past is impossible, and there are no scenarios where the Messengers are impossible (that last bit follows from modal axiom S5: if something is possible, then it is necessarily possible). That's what entails that all infinite past scenarios are impossible. Could this be what you didn't understand about Pruss' arguments? The point is that we give a scenario which is possible in any state of affairs, but then show that adding an infinite past makes it impossible, and so an infinite past is impossible in any state of affairs. This is what Robert Koons calls the "patchwork principle".

4b) See point #3.

Michael Gonzalez said...

I messed up the quotation marks in the second paragraph of (4). Sorry, Zsolt. I meant to say "If I ask 'why hasn't the Sun become a white dwarf yet?'" Then proceed with the reasoning in that paragraph.

Zsolt Nagy said...

Michael,

1) And why did Aristotle knew to include mass in discussions of "force" or "effort"? Because it takes more effort to push an object along a path than it does to walk that path without pushing anything else? Because it's not the case, that "everything is having the same exact specific mass"? Nah, what's the proper negation of "everything having the same exact specific mass"?
Is it, that "some things do not have the same exact specific mass than anything else"?
I wonder, could Aristotle ever "know" or come up with pushing an object along a path taking more "effort" than walking that path without pushing an object?
Should I reiterate myself and should we discuss for another two weeks, that in the hypothetical case of "everything having the same exact specific mass" Aristotle could have never observed, that pushing an object along a path would take more "effort", since in the hypothetical case of "everything having the same exact specific mass" those two things would take the same amount of "effort/work" W, namely W=Fs=μgs with force F=μg (with coefficient of friction μ and earth's acceleration g=9.81m/s) and length of that path s?
You are still missing my point here.
I can do this for another two weeks. No problem.

2) No. I like to know, who you think, you are and are supposed to be capable of "allowing" yourself to disregard such a "viable" option as a tautology like "a thing is a brute fact or that thing is not a brute fact"?
Ctrl+f, Copy&Paste "April 1, 2022 at 10:14 AM" into the search bar.
You appear to have suddenly changed subjects here. But that's our original dispute here and that's still very much not settled here.
I don't know, what you are talking about here.
Is that point 3)?!? I guess so.
Sure, I guess, that settles point 3) then. But point 2) is not settled at all here...

Zsolt Nagy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Zsolt Nagy said...

... 4) Oh so you were "extrapolating" from the fact that the Earth (for example) has existed for a certain number of seconds.
I was also just "extrapolating" from the fact, that the assumption of there being only a finite amount of prime numbers leads to a logical contradiction, which implies there to be an infinite amount of prime numbers.
So then again, what is so absurd about someone claiming an actually infinite number of seconds having come and gone prior to now?

By the way, "because not enough time has elapsed" is not my answer to your question "If I ask 'why hasn't the Sun become a white dwarf yet?'".
You might be listening to the other distinct fallacious voices in your head, but I'm not doing so. So please, do not put words in my mouth.
My answer to that question of yours is the following: Because the Sun is currently a yellow dwarf star - burning hydrogen to helium. Have you ever looked out of your window in the daylight?
I guess not. You are just relying on those fallacious revelations from those other fallacious voices in your head.
So the time of the Sun becoming and being a white dwarf has yet to come.
And are we capable of telling from this, that time is either finite or infinite from the past. No.
Is that - time being finite or infinite - even relevant for the explicability of the Sun yet not being a white star?
No, since I just have to take a look out of my window in order to explain in which phase the Sun is currently in.
Soo. II doon't knoow, whaat youu aree talkiing abouut heree.

4a) No. Only the conjunction of the Bernadette rule If there is already a number on it, then just pass the paper and pen along without writing anything; but, if there is no number on the paper, then write the number of the current day." AND the beginningless set of Messengers entails a logical contradiction. Hence, it's not the case of that conjunction.
So by de Morgan's law it is the case of the disjunction of it is not the case of that Bernadette rule OR it is not the case of that beginningless set of Messengers.
Fred is not a married bachelor - NOT(married AND a bachelor), if and only if Fred is not married or not a bachelor - (NOT married) OR (NOT a bachelor).
So who cares about that false conjunction or that Bernadette rule or your question begging argument?
I do not care for those things.
Who cares about "There both must be and cannot be a particular number on the paper."? I do not care.

What, I do care about, is, if the following infinite causal chain would actually contain any logical contradictions:
-∞ (infinite past) → … → previous egg → previous chicken → next egg → next chicken → … → ∞ (infinite future)
Good luck for showing that, since that is not apparent at all there.
By what means is there supposed to be a contradiction?
By infinity? Hahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahaah....

Zsolt Nagy said...

... 4b) See my point 3).

Zsolt Nagy said...

(Hopefully now with working links.)

3) Here is the original paper for BGV:
"Inflationary spacetimes are not past-complete" by Arvind Borde, Alan H. Guth, Alexander Vilenkin:
"Many inflating spacetimes are likely to violate the weak energy condition, a key assumption of singularity theorems. Here we offer a simple kinematical argument, requiring no energy condition, that a cosmological model which is inflating -- or just expanding sufficiently fast -- must be incomplete in null and timelike past directions. Specifically, we obtain a bound on the integral of the Hubble parameter over a past-directed timelike or null geodesic. Thus inflationary models require physics other than inflation to describe the past boundary of the inflating region of spacetime."
Further into the paper:
"Whatever the possibilities for the boundary, it is clear that unless the averaged expansion condition can somehow be avoided for all past-directed geodesics, inflation alone is not sufficient to provide a complete description of the Universe, and some new physics is necessary in order to determine the correct conditions at the boundary [20]. This is the chief result of our paper. The result depends on just one assumption: the Hubble parameter H has a positive value when averaged over the affine parameter of a past-directed null or noncomoving timelike geodesic."
Just so that you have the proper context here: "Did Time Start at the Big Bang?" by PBS Space Time

You are either willingly or unwillingly misrepresent science.
Either way, sadly you are misrepresenting science.

Besides that, since when did "we" "removed" the notion of creatio ex nihilo alias "the beginning of the Universe" violating the law of matter and energy conservation or the assumption of nature behaving uniformly - the Universe behaving Uniformly?!?
I still very much think, that creatio ex nihilo alias "the beginning of the Universe" is violating those conservation laws, if the Universe is actually and approximately an isolated system. If further the Universe is actually a closed system, then creatio ex nihilo alias "the beginning of the Universe" is definitely violating those conservation laws and the assumption of Uniformity of the Universe. If the Universe is actually an open system, then creatio ex nihilo alias "the beginning of the Universe" is not definitely violating those conservation laws, but it still might violate the assumption of Uniformity of the Universe.
Again, I believe our observable Universe to be an approximately isolated open system.
I "leave a door open" for the possibility and evidence of a true and proper "energy generator" to present itself.
But the current evidence only points to there being no energy generators, but only energy transformators.

Oh and I agree, that creatio ex nihilo alias "the beginning of the Universe" doesn't violate the law of matter/energy conservation for closed systems.
But in my opinion creatio ex nihilo alias "the beginning of the Universe" does indeed violate the more general Conservation laws.
So I guess, that this point is also still not settled.

Andrew said...

Might contribute to some of the other things here later, but right off the bat, I seriously doubt the reasoning behind the 'universe where everything has the same mass' idea. Suppose everything in the universe has a mass of 5 kg. Suppose I have three objects X, Y and Z. Why can't I just stick X and Y together to make a composite object XY with mass 10 kg? Assuming this is possible, then it should still be possible for the Newtonian to experimentally deduce that the gravitational force depends on mass (they could, for example, set up a torsion balance with XY on one end and Z on the other). If it isn't possible, why? The only reasons that occur to me are either:

1) Objects in this hypothetical universe can't stick together for some reason. Firstly, that seems weird - gravity is an attractive force after all, so in this universe, some objects must have become attracted together at some point to make composites. But even if there's some law of physics preventing this, such that X and Y must always have sufficient separation between them that no one would consider them a single object, we could consider systems of interacting objects. Suppose X and Y are located in some region of space, but separated - as long as I am sufficiently far away from them, X and Y can be approximated as a single object XY with mass 10 kg, and we can then consider the gravitational influence of XY on some sufficiently distant object Z.

2) Masses don't add. In other words, when it comes to mass in this hypothetical universe, 5kg + 5kg = 5kg. That seems very weird, and definitely doesn't line up with our normal intuitions about what mass is.

3) Our hypothetical universe only contains two objects with mass. In this special case, I agree you wouldn't be able to directly verify that gravity depended on mass. But, as others have pointed out above, you might still notice a link between the constant of proportionality in Newton's law of gravitation and F = ma, which would get you some of the way. Probably, scientists in this universe (who are presumably either massless, or one of the two objects with mass) would end up saying that the m in F = ma is equal to some constant times the G' in Newton's law of gravity.

Andrew said...

A further thought that occurs to me - there is actually an analogy between Newton's law of gravity in a universe where everything has the same mass and Coulomb's law in our universe! In our universe, the (magnitude of) the electrostatic force between two objects depends on the product of (the magnitude) of their charges. But also charge is quantised - ultimately, every charge is an integer multiple of the elementary charge. (Caveat: quarks have fractional charge. But also, quark confinement means its impossible to experimentally observe quarks in isolation, so this doesn't really affect my point in the end)

So if it is possible in our universe to deduce that electrostatic force depends on charge, even though every charged fundamental particle we can observe has the same magnitude of charge, then it should be possible for scientists in a universe where every fundamental particle has the same mass to deduce that gravitational force depends on mass.

Questions I need to think more about related to this analogy:

1) Does it make a difference that, in our universe, Coulomb's law was discovered before the electron or any other fundamental particle?

My instinct here is to say probably not in the end. While this accident of history did prime us to think in terms of charge rather than, say the relative number of protons and electrons, I still think we could deduce the dependence on charge if things had been the other way around. After all protons and positrons have different masses but the same charge. When looking at how they repel each other, it should become clear that the electrostatic force isn't really related to their masses, but is related to their charges. You could argue that in this instance we'd conclude that in that case Coulomb's law depended on how many charged particles there were, rather than charges per se. But in response to that, in so far as any charge Q = ne (n = number of particles, e = elementary charge), that isn't super far off what we do in physics anyway. But furthermore, some particles are neutral, so we still have to have some concept of 'charge' to distinguish those particles that do interact electrostatically from those that don't. So the concept of charge would still have to arise, even if just as another fundamental constant. The analogy to the universe where everything is the same mass is that mass would just arise as another fundamental constant. It would also still have meaning if there were some massless objects in that universe, such as photons.

2) Does it make a difference that electrostatic forces can be attractive or repulsive, whereas gravity is always attractive?

I can't think why it would, but maybe. My instinct is to doubt it makes a difference though.

Michael Gonzalez said...

Andrew,

This point #1 really isn't salient to the main things we're discussing, so I've been hoping we can just drop it. That being said, you make some very interesting points, and I appreciate your input!

Zsolt,

1) If you're saying that Aristotle walking on the path would take no more effort than Aristotle pushing another object along that path (or perhaps 100s of them), then you are talking about a world that is difficult (if not impossible) to imagine. And none of this helps our main point at all, so I'm just going to stop responding about it.

2) Please see my large discussion of why we don't allow magic as a viable option, and why magic is actually explanatorily superior to "it just is". Just because you can create a tautology, doesn't mean we're dealing with a viable option. If someone was murdered, and I say "it either was or wasn't a wizard", it doesn't follow that we need to consider that as a viable option even for a moment.

4) This is just ridiculous. You claim I put words in your mouth by saying that the normal answer to "why isn't the Sun a white dwarf yet" is "because not enough time has elapsed yet", but then your own answer is "...the time of the Sun becoming and being a white dwarf has yet to come"..... That's either the same thing as "not enough time/years have elapsed" or its just restating the situation (the Sun is not a white dwarf yet because it isn't a white dwarf yet). Either way, I think my point clearly goes through!

4b) Your reasoning (and your comparison to being married and being a bachelor) fail to take into account that the rules for the Messenger scenario say nothing at all about the number of iterations. Nothing in the scenario is in any way predicated on number of instances. With "married" + "bachelor", both terms refer to each other (being "married" includes not being a bachelor, and the definition of "bachelor" includes being unmarried).

3) I did not misrepresent anything; I quoted Alexander Vilenkin (one of the authors) who explained the significance of it himself. As he said "even an unreasonable man" is supposed to be convinced by a proof. And with the proof now in hand, "there is no escape, they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning." That's not me; that's Vilenkin.

We did settle that the Universe having an absolute beginning does not violate any conservation law that applies to existing isolated systems (which, if you click your own link, is exactly what they all apply to). Nor does it violate Uniformity, since it has been the same throughout all of time (time began when the Universe began, and so there has never been a time when it didn't follow these same laws).

Zsolt Nagy said...

Michael,

The point #1 is very much so salient to the main things, we're discussing, since it shows how your core assumption of creatio ex nihilo - "everything being created - being created out of nothing by the Creator" is baseless and irrational to hold. And if that were to have any base or fundament, then hopefully our whole discussion here shows, how rotten and fallacious that fundament truly is.

1) You see? Andrew didn't miss my point and was even capable of addressing it properly in his last two comments. Andrew was even more capable of addressing my point in his last two comments than you, Michael, were capable of addressing anything about my point #1 in the last two weeks really.
So kudos to Andrew for doing so and no kudos to you, Michael.

So Andrew, let us suppose the hypothetical case "everything having the same exact specific mass", namely 5kg, and being capable of building compositions out of three objects X, Y and Z.
Since in this hypothetical case "everything having the same exact specific mass" even the composites such as XY will have the same exact mass.
How is this possible? Well mass density ρ doesn't have to be a constant, such that it depends on the volume V the following way:
ρ ~ 1/V with ρ = m/V.
So bigger objects such as compositions like XY with a bigger volume V have such a low density ρ, such that the mass m remains constant at 5kg for all times and for any object:
ρV = m = 5kg = const
In this case again, there will be no correlation or relation apparent between force F and mass m at all.
If that's not the case or to say, that mass density ρ is a constant or independent to volume V, then of course bigger objects such as compositions like XY will have a bigger mass m overall, such that there might be an apparent correlation and relation between force F and mass m. But that's because than of course in that case of that mass density ρ being independent to volume V implies the proposition of "everything having the same exact specific mass" to be false, since then bigger objects such as compositions like XY will have a bigger mass m overall - NOT-"everything having the same exact specific mass" ≡ "some things having not the same exact mass than anything else".
And then again, that's my whole point: There is an apparent correlation and relation between force F and mass m, if and only if it's not the hypothetical case of "literally everything having the same exact specific mass".
On the other hand I might say this again from my comment "April 5, 2022 at 5:07 PM":...

Zsolt Nagy said...

... If we attached two objects to our apparatus, when calculating force F, then there would only be an apparent correlation between force F and number of objects n and therefore there would be justified relation and dependency between force F and number of objects n in the hypothetical case of "everything having supposedly the same mass":
F~n
→ Fi=ai →
total force F=∑ai=na, if ai=a=const for all i=1,2,3,...,n objects.

This might be also argued analogously for electrical forces due to "charge" as long as "everything has the same exact specific charge" AND "everything has the same exact specific mass".
So either way my point goes here and if so, then holding the conjunction of "there being an apparent correlation and relation between force F and mass m" AND "the hypothetical case of "literally everything having the same exact specific mass" being the actual case" is irrational, since "there being an apparent correlation and relation between force F and mass m, if and only if it's not the hypothetical case of "literally everything having the same exact specific mass" is the case. Or in other words the conjunction of "there being an apparent correlation and relation between force F and mass m" AND "the hypothetical case of "literally everything having the same exact specific mass" being the actual case" entails a logical contradiction and it is very fallacious to hold such a contradictory position.

2) Please see my large discussion of why we don't allow Creation as a viable option, and why Creation is actually explanatorily equal to "it just is". Because we can consider a tautology, doesn't mean we're not dealing with a viable option. If someone was murdered, and I say "it either was or wasn't the devil", it might follow that we need to consider that as a viable option even for a moment.

Please note, that whenever you will argue with "Creation", I will modify and correct that to "Creation" in order to properly "reflect", what you are actually saying and proposing...

Zsolt Nagy said...

... 3) Do you mean the quote from Alex Vilenkin?

"It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape: they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning."
from "Many Worlds in One" (July 10, 2007 ) by Alex Vilenkin

First, you, Michael, still don't know, how to properly quote someone or something.
Second, that's still not a "standard cosmology textbook".
I would rather consider something like this as a "standard cosmology textbook":
"Physical Foundations of Cosmology - Caltech Astronomy" by V. Mukhanov
That book by Alex Vilenkin is just a textbook about cosmology for the general reader.
Third, that quote of Vilenkin is quite fascinating, since that is implying something different in comparison to his done work for the BGV theorem and in comparison to what that BGV theorem actually is implying.
So all in all I'm still not convinced by your quote mining and misrepresentations of science here.

Besides that, I clicked through that link of mine, as you have suggested. Look, what I have found:
From the wiki article "Conservation law":
"A local conservation law is usually expressed mathematically as a continuity equation, a partial differential equation which gives a relation between the amount of the quantity and the "transport" of that quantity. It states that the amount of the conserved quantity at a point or within a volume can only change by the amount of the quantity which flows in or out of the volume."
From the wiki article "Continuity equation":
"Conservation of energy says that energy cannot be created or destroyed. (See below for the nuances associated with general relativity.) Therefore, there is a continuity equation for energy flow:
∂u/∂t + ∇⋅q = 0
where
u, local energy density (energy per unit volume),
q, energy flux (transfer of energy per unit cross-sectional area per unit time) as a vector,

An important practical example is the flow of heat. When heat flows inside a solid, the continuity equation can be combined with Fourier's law (heat flux is proportional to temperature gradient) to arrive at the heat equation. The equation of heat flow may also have source terms: Although energy cannot be created or destroyed, heat can be created from other types of energy, for example via friction or joule heating."


So there are no energy generators, only energy transformators.
I still don't know, what you are talking about except for that being unsubstantiated claims or fallacious revelations from those other distinct fallacious voices in your head...

Zsolt Nagy said...

... 4) Even if what, I would say, would correspond to what, you would suggest here to say, is that "because not enough time has elapsed yet", then so what?
That is expliciable by empirical observation - by simply looking out of the window.
So either way, if you think, that your point clearly goes through with that, then you are clearly thinking that wrongly.

4b) The married bachelor thing was only supposed to be an example for De Morgan's laws and nothing more.
I guess, that's my bad for not having communicating that clearly there. My apologies for that.
Never heard of the Unsatisfiable Pair Diagnosis?
Ahh, I already have forgotten, that you would only listen to other fallacious voices in your heads. Sorry. My bad again.
Your presented (actually any such sort of a) Grim Reaper/Messenger Paradox results from the conjunction of a question begging Bernadette rule for elements and a set of elements not capable of "satisfying" that specific and particular question begging Bernadette rule for those elements.
By De Morgan's laws therefore, the disjunction of the negation of that question begging Bernadette rule for those elements "and" the negation of that set of those elements is the case.
Hence, who cares about such slippery slopes? I do not care about any of that.

Besides that, you are still not addressing anything remotely, what I have proposed.
There is your example by Andrew. So learn from that, how to properly address someone else's given proposition.
Here my proposition by the way:

What, I do care about, is, if the following infinite causal chain would actually contain any logical contradictions:
-∞ (infinite past) → … → previous egg → previous chicken → next egg → next chicken → … → ∞ (infinite future)
Good luck for showing that, since that is not apparent at all there.
By what means is there supposed to be a contradiction?


I will repeat this point and proposition of mine till either you have responded accordingly to it OR the Sun becomes a white dwarf star. Whatever from those two options comes first here.

Michael Gonzalez said...

Zsolt,

Point #1 was always just a side-track because Dr. Pruss suggested that contrast is not the only way to pick out a property. As I've said for days, I do not see your point or see its relevance to this discussion at all. So, I'm glad Andrew wants to discuss this with you. Have fun.

2) I have no idea what point you think you're making here. It's like whenever we are finally making progress, you go crazy and try to change the subject. Our discussion is about how allowing "it just is" to be a viable option creates an epistemological problem. I used the example of magic because we would both agree that's a silly option and that it would let in all kinds of violations of natural law, etc. But, at least magic can have rules and can be dependent on conditions (like a wizard). "It just is" is worse than magic because it has no rules or conditions at all.

3) Well, you knew what I was talking about when you agreed on April 11, 2022 at 2:41 PM, under point #2 (the numbering of points has shifted a bit, so it was #2 back then). And I think you still know and are just arguing to argue. So, after this response, I'm done. You are not really engaging with anything I'm saying in an honest or rational way, and I don't have the time to waste like this.

The link that goes on to give all that information, and to include those statements you put in bold still started with the caveat that this only appeals to existing isolated systems. We've been over and over this, and you did understand and agree, and now you're just grasping at straws. Besides, for the 100th time, that little "t" in the equation you gave is "time". These are vectors related to time! So, if time itself had a beginning, none of these laws would be violated at any point in time. I'm done repeating myself on this.

Vilenkin explicitly says that the upshot of the BGV theorem is that there is no escape from an absolute beginning. Dance around it all you want, that's what the theorem proves.

4) If the reason why the Sun isn't a white dwarf yet is because not enough time has elapsed, then the past must be finite, because if the past were infinite then the overall amount of time that will have elapsed 4 billion years from now is precisely the same as the amount of time that has elapsed as of right now. Infinity + 4 billion is just the same old infinity (specifically, aleph-0).

4b) You can repeat all you like. I'm done with you after this response. You do not know how to engage rationally and productively with other human beings.

But, just so that the answer is out here (even though I've already posted it before and you just aren't paying attention):

The Messenger setup is possible, and its possibility has nothing to do with how many iterations occur. It doesn't even mention the number. Nothing in the setup is based on that. And possibility is a necessary property (modal axiom S5). So, if making the number of iterations infinite transforms the situation into an impossible one, then the infinity is at fault. We have to cut out what caused the contradiction, just like with any indirect proof. The "Unsatisfiable Pair" approach is epistemological poison that would throw into question basic logical concepts like indirect proof and reductio ad absurdum. Watch Robert Koons discussing this with Joe Schmid on YouTube sometime. The UPD is nonsense.

Anyway, I wish you the best in life, and I'm sorry our conversation couldn't make any progress. I was sure it finally had for a second there... Oh well. Take care.