I'm interested to hear the thoughts of the community on this. I'm not quite sure I agree with the merit of his first premise. Sure, it's axiomatically stable, but as a factual statement, I don't think it holds much more water than the argument that something cannot come from nothing, as it, in a similar form, lacks an ability to be demonstrated. I agree with it, but I feel like this shifts the burden of proof unnecessarily. I think then, that it creates a house of cards of his argument, as the conclusion is negated if the premise is brought to question.
Anyone have any thoughts on this?
According to the article below, and I can find other similar articles, the big bang theory is generally accepted within the scientific community, is well tested, and explains a range of observed phenomena. I do not think you have any good reason not to accept this.
It also states that the universe is 13.77 billion years old, clearly showing that empirical evidence indicates the universe had a beginning. These are not thought experiments, these are scientific facts based on the most up to date information that is available.
I don't think a reasonable person would say that these things are absolutely true, as it may be the case that future information shows them to be false. However, based on what we do know, the 2nd premise is true.
lucas: "...these are scientific facts based on the most up to date information that is available."
If the most up to date information includes any mathematics, the big bang folk have forgotten that mathematical statements approximate physical reality.
For instance, a differential equation that accounts for the earth's density variations is beyond the current art. Solving such an equation is beyond the capacity of today's computers.
The NASA folk who sent vehicles to the moon had data available to make mid-course corrections to their mathematics. The folk who "ride" mathematics back in time have no data for mid-course corrections.
Some big bang enthusiasts make the unsupportable claim that both space and time originated when their universe did.
I've backed up my claim that the 2nd premise is generally accepted by science.
Your argument appears to be that maths is sometimes wrong therefore the big bang theory is wrong if it uses maths. This is very poor reasoning.
I think you missed his point, Lucas. What we understand are the temporal events down to the planck time units nearest the singularity. We know that it was infinitesimally small and hot which means, as Tom said, the math can help us to interpret the spacial relationship of the big bang to the universe (because we can plainly see its effects), but cannot be accepted as interpreting the causal relationship to time. I'm given to understand that many of the highest level cosmologists do NOT infact except the second premise, so your claim that this premise is accurate is still something that needs demonstration to me.
Where this ties in with how everyone kept bringing up the concept of "nothing" before, is that we must ask if "non-existence" can ever exist? With Hawking's (as well as other cosmologists) contention that "nothingness" is highly unstable under quantum fluctuations, I think the idea that the universe has a "cause" is equally as likely as it always being. Coupled with the fact that we have no means of measuring or interpreting anything close enough to the singularity, this is why I don't accept the second premise.
Sorry for all the lengthy responses, brevity isn't my strongest suit. Let me know what you think about this Lucas - always like reading your responses!
many of the highest level cosmologists do NOT infact except the second premise
I'm surprised you say this as in the video you linked to, Alan Guth says (around 12.10) that the universe can't go infinitely into the past although it can into the future. Therefore I say this means he accepts the 2nd premise. At the very least it says that the universe has not always existed (which I think is just restating the 2nd premise).
As far as the concept of "nothing", I don't think we can say anything as we have no "nothing" to observe or empirically test.
I get the feeling I'm really missing some steps in your reasoning, as you believe things which I find contradicted in the video you recommended, and both you and Tom are making arguments against claims (about space/time) that I have not made.
Don't worry about the length of response. Your paragraphs are ok for the total length and after reviewing some of my own posts I'm trying to become much more brief myself.
"I'm surprised you say this as in the video you linked to, Alan Guth says (around 12.10) that the universe can't go infinitely into the past although it can into the future. Therefore I say this means he accepts the 2nd premise. At the very least it says that the universe has not always existed (which I think is just restating the 2nd premise)."
Around 12:30 (20 seconds later) he states outright that we cannot extrapolate arbitrarily far into the best, that it is mathematically impossible, that at some point inflation began (which again, I haven't disagreed with you on), but that we have NO idea about the origin of the universe. I'm not sure how you concluded that he accepts the 2nd premise from this, but I disagree nevertheless. Even so, let's assume that he does infact accept the premise, for the sake of argument. He is one of the cosmologists that appear on the film, and I did not get the vibe from any of the others that they are accepting of this premise.
All of this is a fancy way of saying precisely what I have been saying, and to a lesser extent, what Tom said.
My whole argument is that we can know that inflation began at some point, but we have no reason to expect (because we have no information on it) that this moment was the "BEGINNING" of the universe.
"As far as the concept of "nothing", I don't think we can say anything as we have no "nothing" to observe or empirically test."
Again, this is my point. Saying that there did exist nothing "before" the big bang, is as arbitrary as saying that nothing did not exist.
A good deal of spelling mistakes in my posts lately. Apologies, Apple spellcheck is a bitch.
Not quite. Tom is actually correct in what he says. There is a difference between the phase shift that promulgated the evolution of our universe and the resultant theory that time also began at this point. Only ONE of them is a scientific fact, according to what we can know at this point, despite what apologists will try to dupe you into thinking.
I had to look for a while to find this again, but maybe this will help:
On point 1. The key word here is "exist". Kalam proponents never define what they mean. Nothing ever begins to exist(has physical presence) objectively. There are simply atoms being assembled into new objects. Another issue is with the word "cause". Cause is what something does not what something is.
On point 2. The universe is a concept; a relation between matter and space. And concepts don't expand. Point 2 is an attempt at reifying a concept into an object. Since something coming from nothing violates the Law of Causality, the only conclusion we are left with is that matter and space are eternal.
I agree about point 1 - I've never witnessed anything begin to exist, simply reconfigured into various forms.
I'm not sure I understand your conclusion about point 2 - you seem to be arguing from a dualistic perspective, but can't anything in the conceptual realm be subject to similar causal mechanisms as matter? Further, I'm unclear as to how the universe is conceptual - are you saying that it is immaterial?
I've previously not commented on whether space and time started at the big bang. From what I've seen of experts interviewed on the subject, we don't know, and the english language starts to have trouble even describing what we don't know.
The video was quite interesting and certainly raises some new points for me regarding the 1st premise. It also exposes how the argument does not logically lead to theism and shows how unfounded any religious implications are, but that is fairly obvious anyway. It was certainly not a solid refutation of kalam in my view.
To whomever (although someday our grammar will allow "whoever") is reading:
"Around 12:30 (20 seconds later) [Guth] states outright that we cannot extrapolate arbitrarily far into the [past], that it is mathematically impossible, that at some point inflation began...."
(Spell checkers other than Apple's also accept any correctly-spelled word; grammar checkers might flag "best" when we human folk know it's a typo and the writer meant "past". "Dumb software!" (I once wrote software, including an early 1970s form of email for limited in-house use.))
Years ago Stephen Hawking said, or was explained as having said, he gave the first few nano-nano-nano-seconds to the Pope. It meant of course that his mathematics did not extend to the so-called big bang.
He was a leader in the field, and leaders need followers. Be wary of followers!
Leaders need to address doubts and persuade; followers need only obey.
Think Sigmund Freud, John Muir, and others. Freud led; his followers obeyed for a while, but instead of addressing further doubts they became dictators and splintered psychiatry (which sometimes strengthens a movement and sometimes weakens it.) Ditto for Muir; his followers obeyed for a while and eventually splintered the environmental movement. Probably helpfully.
Okay, back to cosmology. Hawking admitted that his math neither extended to nor explained the big bang. Followers came along and tried to extend a math suggested by relativity past where Hawking saw it failing. They invented inflation; others invented nothingness.
Accept that with today's hardware, and probably the future's hardware, we will not know.
But heck, if someone with money will pay your salary and for the hardware you need, speak/write with confidence and get some of it.
Catholicism made me a sometimes doubter; politics made me a sometimes cynic.