I promised a while ago I'd get round to replying to kingrat on the existence of God, so I finally have. As the argument had little to do with the thread it was taking place in, I thought it made sense to move it somewhere new.
No, I have no real idea what a quantum fluctuation is, this is why I lumped it in with 'incomprehensible concepts' (from the point of view of my understanding of physics, it's incomprehensible at least). The specific term was inspired by memory of an article I once read that, with equal arrogance to those who claim to have proved God's existence, purported to have established that modern cosmology disproved God. I was reminded of one of the 'what caused the Big Bang?' hypotheses he put forward that I failed to understand. The actual phrase was 'a quantum tunnelling from nothing'.Originally Posted by kingrat"
The actual cause of everything isn't important though - I don't profess to have the slightest inkling of what it could have been, so please don't be misled by the choice of poor terminology I don't really understand. The only point I was trying to make was that, even if you believe you have established the need for an uncaused first cause, you cannot ascribe to it qualities of sentience, or anything else people naturally ascribe to God. By definition, we're discussing an unknown outside the realms currently accessible to inquiry. All we could say about is 'something mysterious', which is a long stretch from God.
We haven't demonstrated that all motion is non-deterministic. All we've discovered is that some things behave probabilistically at the level of our observation. Just as the random behaviour of dice from the perspective of gamblers playing a game of Yahtzee doesn't preclude their behaviour being dictated by deterministic laws of motion; nor does the non-deterministic behavioiur of particles we now perceive necessarily mean that their behaviour is not governed by deterministic laws at some deeper level.You are aware of the classics. That would make it easier to explain myself.
One of the enduring consequences of the so-called age of enlightenment is the 'mechanistic' view of reality -- epitomized by the bold statement of a french mathematician, laplace. He claimed that if the initial position and motion of all particles in the universe are known, past present and future can be known to an exact certainty.
The implications were staggering -- so much so that even human free will became nothing more than the motion of individual particles in a person. The distinction was clear -- deterministic processes are those that are governed by natural laws and non-deterministic processes, the province of free will, non-existent.
However, heisenberg's uncertainty, the copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics, and chaos theory showed that ALL MOTION, to some extent, are NON-DETERMINISTIC -- hence are willful.
What's more, you've created a false dichotomy between deterministic and wilfull. Motion could simply be probabilistic.
Or from something. You're getting well outside my competence when we get into theoretical physics, but let me see if I'm understanding your implication right:Currently, we know that the universe is expanding at an accelerating rate -- which means that it is being 'stretched' against the effects of gravity -- which means that a negative energy density is being applied to it from nothing.
There is a negative energy density being applied to the universe, and we have no idea of its source. Thus, God's probably doing it.
Is this is what you're trying to say, then alternative explanations easily spring to mind:
The source is something undiscovered within our universe.
There is more to existence than the universe we can see, and there is interaction between this universe and things outside it - doesn't mean the 'thing outside' has to be God, though.
Do you have any sort of evidence that only the one geometry would have allowed the universe to exist so long? My only encounter with these concepts before was attempting to work my way through Roger Penrose's Road to Reality, a mostly unsuccessful attempt to acquaint myself with modern physics. What has stuck in my mind (because it's at the beginning before things get too complicated) is a discussion on the three possible geometries (Euclidean, hyperbolic and spherical - I'm assuming flat hyperbolic geometry is the same as that you describe as pseudo-spherical?). He discussed different predictions the three models offered for the future of the universe, but concluded that the issue was far from settled amongst physicists - expressing his personal preference for hyperbolic spacetime geometry.Actually, it makes perfect sense.
One of the important criterion of a scientific law is the principle of minimal action -- sort of like okham's razor for theoretical physics.
In cosmology, there are three general models -- the spherical, psuedo-spherical and the flat space-time geometries. The problem is that the flat space-time geometry, the only geometry that makes it possible for the universe to exist for 15 billion years, enough time for all these complexities to form, is also the MOST UNSTABLE. To derive this geometry, cosmologist use a value called the critical density -- an infinitesimally small 'window of opportunity' in the initial conditions of the big bang that it might as well have been fine-tuned.
So you see, that the dynamics of the universe is so complex only lends credence to the teleological argument.
Arguments about the fine-tuning of the universe are always handicapped by the absence of comparison. Yes, the constants of our universe exist in a stable configuration that allows life to exist, but without any way of seeing what different configurations of constants would look like, we can't say it's the only stable configuration.
It's also worth remembering that life as we know is necessarily 'designed' to fit this universe, and things exist in a form which allows them to exist in this universe. The fact that the form in which something exists is one which works best in the universe as it is isn't a very surprising statement. Lots of animals use light as a important means of gaining information about the world around them. They do so because there's light - the light isn't there in order for the animals to see.
Thing is, I don't agree that what is self-evidently true from our point of view need be necessarily true. We can't assume that we have the mental capacit y to understand how levels of reality beyond our experience function. Our thought is constrained by the nature of our minds.Not at all.
There is nothing different between an uncaused cause and an axiom. Both are regarded true simply because they are SELF-EVIDENTLY TRUE.
In fact, the moment you deny the truth value of an axiom, you come up with paradoxes -- as any logician would tell you.
Let's accept, for the sake of argument, that an uncaused cause is a logical necessity. This still doesn't explain to me why the universe itself cannot be the uncaused cause. Or why some event outside of and/or prior to our universe could have been the uncaused, without this event being God.
[quote[You mean the universe could behave in some irrational way outside scientific laws? If the whole universe can do this, why not parts of it? And if this is so, then human predisposition to rational thought is actually an aberration of nature?
That is patently counter-intuitive, only a defective form of logic could have concocted it.[/quote]
Of course the universe can behave in ways contrary to scientific laws. It merely means our 'laws' were mistaken, and need further refinement. I don't really see how it is, though. We're discussing the beginnings of the universe, a singularity where our understanding of the physical laws of the universe cannot be said to apply by definition. Nothing is being violated.
Nor would it be strange if our rational thought doesn't accurately pattern how the world behaves. It's not an 'aberration' - our brains were not designed to comprehend the fundamental nature of the universe or to determine how it began. Our brains evolved under natural selection to produce modes of thought which are generally conducive to the propagation of our genes. Selective pressure doesn't necessarily select for an accurate view of reality, merely one sufficient for survival and reproduction. We know, after all, that humans do have predelictions for irrational thought, and that we routinely misinterpret matters of probability, for example.
Of course we've intruded onto the realm of the metaphysical! We're discussing matters definitionally beyond observation by the means science normally employs. What's your point?As for eternity, time is relative. The lorentz transformation says exactly what that means -- either an interval of time is dilated to infinity or an interval of time compressed to zero. Clearly, you have intruded in the realm of the metaphysical again.
This does not tell me why the universe must be contingent, merely that matter and energy are conserved. I see no link. If anything, it makes the existence of matter/energy seem less contingent if it's always been here in exactly the same amount.Again, you run smack at the conservation of matter and energy -- an iron-clad scientific principle on which almost all physical laws are based.