1,239 comments posted · 2 followers · following 7

11 years ago @ Things Findo Thinks - Which blog should go? · 0 replies · +1 points

Thank-you Michele, that's very kind.
I plan to import the content of this into the archives of A Borrowed Flame, and I hope that you'll keep reading there ;)

11 years ago @ Things Findo Thinks - Nothing to see here, f... · 1 reply · +1 points

I apologise for giving the impression that I was mocking you. I was actually being somewhat facetious towards @askegg.

11 years ago @ Things Findo Thinks - Nothing to see here, f... · 3 replies · +1 points

I'm not a fan of the multi-verse either - I understand the problem it's trying to avoid (the improbability of the nature of our universe) but I think it merely kicks the can down the street. That's all beside the point though, in that the underlying issue - why is the universe the way it is - doesn't seem to lead cosmologists to say answer that it is so necessarily.

I find the multiverse hypothesis more like a religion that physics.

You should talk to this guy - he reckons there are emprical tests for the multiverse.

11 years ago @ Things Findo Thinks - Nothing to see here, f... · 0 replies · +1 points

Let me reiterate for the slow “the universe MAY not actually permit absolutely nothing to exist”. Either absolutely nothing IS possible or it is not - I am allowing for both [possibilities].

Note my edit there - I think this is what you mean, yes? I suggest we keep the term 'contingency' in this discussion to refer to the opposite of necessary - that is, an entity which could have been otherwise, or failed to have existed. One of the two possibilities you are talking of entails contingency, they other does not.

And for the equally slow (;P) my post did recognise that you were talking about "may not" scenarios, but I went on to point out that the only reason why it would be that possibilitiy would be if the universe were necessary, which is a position you don't want to defend.

If this is the universe’s version of “absolutely nothing” then there seems to be an awful lot going on.

And clearly then, we're no longer talking about "nothing". Tthe normal meaning of nothing is "not anything". Nothing cannot, by definition have anything "going on", which brings me to your second response:

if absolutely nothing IS possible then what can we say about it, and how would we know? Strange as it may seem, absolutely nothing may have weird properties that bend our mammalian brains - it may spawn universe for example. We don’t know.

Again, you're not actually talking about "nothing" but something which you've simply labelled "nothing". I made this point in the post - that you're treating nothing as it were something which could be observed, and now, which has certain properties. But nothing isn't anything, it cannot, by definition, have any properties. Nothing isn't something that "exists", because it isn't anything - it is the lack of something. Therefore, to say it is possible that the universe doesn't permit nothing to exist is equivalent to saying that it's possible that the universe exists necessarily, which, while technically true, is not something we've good reason to think is the case, and good reason to think isn't the case.
In this case, where's the force of your objection?

I know it's your favourite, but I'll leave the tu quoque alone for the moment ;)

11 years ago @ Things Findo Thinks - Ultimate questions · 1 reply · +1 points

I think you're right when you say we're at cross purposes - it's one of the main points in the post: that most of the time the real issue is a difference in background beliefs and assumptions that we bring to the issues we discuss.

Suffice it to say that I don't share your low view of philosophy, and that I think the garage-dragon analogy is quite a false one ;)

Has never-the-less, been a very stimulating and thought-provoking discussion, thank-you!

11 years ago @ Things Findo Thinks - Ultimate questions · 3 replies · +1 points

I don't think saying 'we don't know' rules out the option of coming to reasonable (i.e. reasoned) conclusions.

I also think there is a vast difference between a single "pointer" philosophical argument (amongst a number) for holding a metaphysical belief, and convicting someone of a crime (remember, I'm not arguing that anything is proved, or that there is a silver bullet).

11 years ago @ Things Findo Thinks - Ultimate questions · 5 replies · +1 points

My point is that our logical rules of cause and effect as we know them don't apply to anything before the existence of space-time, because our existence and experience is solely based in space-time.

I don't think we can make that claim. At best, we simply don't know - which leads me to think that it's safer to assume that causal logic still applies. I don't see that causality has to be tied up within our temporal state.

11 years ago @ Things Findo Thinks - Ultimate questions · 7 replies · +1 points

I think I understand where you're coming from. I spent some time yesterday thinking about whether this was falling foul of the compositional fallacy.. and I'm not convinced that it is.


On one hand, you are arguing that the beginning of existence of the universe requires a timeless entity outside space-time, yet on the other you're relying on everything inside space-time to inductively reason.

I'm not sure that the KCA argues specifically for a time-less entity, that is merely the logical outcome. I think, rather, that it is merely (perhaps initially) arguing for a cause (either material or efficient) based on the contingent nature of the universe. I think it's then special pleading to say that what applies to all other contingent entities doesn't apply to the universe as a contingent entity. To say that inductive reasoning breaks down also seems unjustified.. why does it break down?

11 years ago @ Things Findo Thinks - Ultimate questions · 9 replies · +1 points

In the sense that we know it, yes. By definition, anything outside space-time is timeless, I should think.

11 years ago @ Things Findo Thinks - Ultimate questions · 0 replies · +1 points

The big bang theory, in all its iterations, only deals with the Planck time onwards, and remains absolutely silent on anything prior to that.

But before that the universe wasn't.

Hawking says as much in that lecture.

Right, which is why he then reiterates in his conclusion that the universe began to exist some 15 billion years ago.

You're trying to agree with him and then blatantly contradict him.

The universe is a brute fact and thats that.

What do you mean by that - that the universe is a necessary entity? How do you back up this claim?

But you dont get the right to quote Craig's philosophical wibble and claim any sort of evidence for a creator.

I have the right to quote whatever I like, and to point to whatever evidence I choose to, just as you have the right to find it unpersuasive and think someone's argument "wibble". But really, if we're back at this level of discussion, count me out.