The Kal�m Cosmological Argument

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The Kal�m Cosmological Argument

Post #1

Post by McCulloch »

The Kal�m Cosmological Argument consists of two premises and a conclusion.
  • KA. Everything that begins to exist has a cause or Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
  • KB. The universe began to exist.
  • KC. Therefore, the universe had a cause.
Using a series of sound and valid logical arguments, ToKnowHim, will show in turn, that both of the premises of the KCA are true. And that KC, the conclusion of the KCA, is therefore true.

The principle that for a thing or concept to be accepted, there must be:
  1. Empirical evidence for it;
  2. Repeatable tests of it; and/or
  3. A logical argument to support it.
If a thing or concept fails all three of those criteria, it means that we must be skeptical of that thing.

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Re: KCA

Post #51

Post by McCulloch »

Please step through the logic.
  1. Assume that there is a time when time did not exist.
  2. But, the time when time did not exist is itself a time.
  3. Therefore, time exists at the time when time did not exist.
  4. (c) is a contradiction.
  5. Therefore, the only assumption (a) must be wrong.
  6. Conclusion, there could not be a time when time did not exist.
ToKnowHim wrote:A finite thing, by definition, has bounds (beginning and ending). Take measurement as an example. The circumference of the earth is 24,901 miles (40,075 km). You begin at one point and end at one point (albeit the same point).
I disagree. A finite thing can be either bounded or unbounded. A bounded finite thing has edges or end points, depending on the number of dimensions. The circumference of the earth is unbounded, there is no end point yet it is finite.
ToKnowHim wrote:One thing to consider is that time actually exists, as a thing. E=MC² relies upon this. C = the speed of light. First, light must exist. It does. Then, it must travel at a given rate. It does.

But rate requires time. Without time, rate is meaningless. Duration is an integral part of Einstein's equations; without duration, they fall apart.
I think that you misunderstand me. Time is very real and entirely essential to meaning. But time does not exist, as we have defined existence. Time defines existence. Nothing exists outside of time, by definition. Something is said to exist if and only if, there is a time that can be attributed to its existence. Please review our agreed upon definition of existence.
ToKnowHim wrote:I am about to conduct an Appeal to Authority:
The conclusion of this lecture is that the universe has not existed forever. Rather, the universe, and time itself, had a beginning in the Big Bang, about 15 billion years ago. The beginning of real time, would have been a singularity, at which the laws of physics would have broken down.
Steven Hawking, The Beginning of Time
http://www.hawking.org.uk/the-beginning-of-time.html

Now this is most likely not an erroneous nor fallacious Appeal to Authority; after all, Steven Hawking is, if not THE foremost mind in terms of science, one of the top ten. He's certainly more expert on the subject than you or I.

Time had a beginning. 'Nuff said.
We need to be careful to avoid the fallacy of equivocation. Professor Hawking did not define the word beginning in the same way that we have. He sees time as being finite. He sees that there is an endpoint to time, which is to say that there is a point in time beyond which there is no more time. This is different from the definition of beginning that we have agree to use. Now, if you wish to pursue your argument with a revised definition of to begin, by all means, let's do so. In fact, it might be a good idea. Tying the concept of beginning to time might not be such a good idea. The beginning of a road, for example, may not refer to the time of its construction, but an end point of the road. Time does have a beginning, in the sense that an already constructed road has a beginning. But in this sense, a roundabout has no beginning.

If you are agreeable, I would suggest that we adopt the following terminology:
Temporal beginning means that there is a point in time before which the thing in question did not exist and after which the thing did exist. This definition is identical to what we have been using for begun.
Beginning means that there is along some defined dimension, an end point for the thing in question.

Just one more thing to clarify. It seems that you have implied that if a thing does not have a temporal beginning, that it must be infinite. This indeed would be the case if time were infinite. But since time is not infinite, then anything which has existed for all time is not infinite. It is a tautology that time has existed for all time, therefore if time is finite, anything which has existed for all time is also finite. Professor Hawkins as quoted above is using the word forever in the sense of being infinite not in the sense of existing for all time. The two concepts are quite different and we might get into serious trouble if we confuse them.
Examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
First Epistle to the Church of the Thessalonians
The truth will make you free.
Gospel of John

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KCA

Post #52

Post by ToKnowHim »

I'm going to have to give this some thought. I don't just want to 'rattle off' a response; I think that you, and this debate, deserves better than that.

I tentatively agree to the definition of temporal beginning. Does time itself have a temporal beginning (and therefore ending), as I infer from Hawking's lecture? If you agree, that my be my basis for saying 'time began.'

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Re: KCA

Post #53

Post by McCulloch »

ToKnowHim wrote:I tentatively agree to the definition of temporal beginning. Does time itself have a temporal beginning (and therefore ending), as I infer from Hawking's lecture? If you agree, that my be my basis for saying 'time began.'
After some thought, I believe that I may have the key to our impasse.

The way that we have defined temporal beginning is to say that there is a point in time before which the thing in question did not exist and after which the thing did exist. Clearly time itself cannot have a temporal beginning under this definition (more about that later). But if you were to define temporal beginning differently, such as, the temporal beginning of a thing is the point in time where the thing in question had no existence before that time but did exist after, then time would have a temporal beginning.

The difference is subtle. Using the blue definition, there must be a time when the thing in question did not exist. Using the green definition, it is sufficient to say that the thing did not exist before a specific time.

If you are agreeable, the I would suggest that we adopt the green the definition of temporal beginning to the temporal beginning of a thing is the point in time where the thing in question had no existence before that time but did exist after.
[mrow][mcol]Definition of Temporal Beginning [mcol]Applied to time itself [row color=#aaaaff]blue[col]a point in time before which the thing in question did not exist and after which the thing did exist. [col]There is no point in time before which time did not exist. Because if there was such a point in time, it would be a point in time before the beginning of time, a contradiction. [row color=#aaffaa]green [col]a point in time where the thing in question had no existence before that time but did exist after.[col]Since time cannot exist before time, (a tautology) time, if it is finite, fits this definition.
Examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
First Epistle to the Church of the Thessalonians
The truth will make you free.
Gospel of John

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KCA

Post #54

Post by ToKnowHim »

I think you've hit it on the head.

Temporal Beginning: The point in time where the thing in question had no existence before that time but did exist after.

P1. Time is finite.
P2. Finite things (as far as we know) have temporal beginnings.
C. Time had a temporal beginning.

Time 'began to exist' under this definition. Before that, nothing existed (I want to talk later a bit about the metaphorical 'nothing' espoused by Parminedes). When there was no time, nothing else existed; space, energy, principles of physics, etc. ... because without time as a framework (as you've said), there is no framework for things to exist.

This definition of 'temporal beginning' seems like a good replacement for the 'begin/began' definition we've been using. It's a lot clearer to me, and I think makes my argument stronger.

I'd still like to know if you feel that time is not a 'thing' which began to exist, under this definition, or if you can concede that it DID begin to exist (at least, using this definition).

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Re: KCA

Post #55

Post by McCulloch »

[Replying to ToKnowHim]

Finite things (as far as we know) have temporal beginnings.

I disagree. If we look at the beginning of any thing you can think of, it really is not a beginning at all. It is merely a rearrangement of existing things in to a new configuration. A tree has a beginning, but its beginning is a seed grown on another tree. Water, presumably had a beginning when Oxygen started to combine with Hydrogen. But the Oxygen and the Hydrogen had to have existed before. There is no finite thing that I can think of that had a beginning that did not involve a rearrangement of existing things.

However, time is finite, therefore, either time had a temporal beginning or time is finite and unbounded, like a circle.
Examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
First Epistle to the Church of the Thessalonians
The truth will make you free.
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Post #56

Post by ToKnowHim »

You said:
There is no finite thing that I can think of that had a beginning that did not involve a rearrangement of existing things.
Ok, so water did not exist; then, at some point in time, hydrogen and oxygen combined, and water began to exist. But the hydrogen and oxygen existed prior to that.

You can go on with this example nearly infinitely, back to the big expansion, when nothing but the singularity and/or energy existed.

However: You've said that time itself is not infinite. Time itself has a beginning (under the new definition); without time, nothing else exists. Time had to exist BEFORE anything else existed...

...but nothing is 'made up of' time; things are made of energy, and energy is changing forms (the First Law of Thermodynamics). For energy to exist, time had to first exist.... but before time existed, nothing existed.

Time itself began to exist. Comments?

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Re: KCA

Post #57

Post by McCulloch »

ToKnowHim wrote:However: You've said that time itself is not infinite. Time itself has a beginning (under the new definition); without time, nothing else exists. Time had to exist BEFORE anything else existed...

...but nothing is 'made up of' time; things are made of energy, and energy is changing forms (the First Law of Thermodynamics). For energy to exist, time had to first exist.... but before time existed, nothing existed.
Nothing can exist outside of time, yes. So there must be time in order that anything can be said to exist. But it would also be impossible that there be time with nothing else. Time is meaningless without something happening. Do you imagine that at the beginning of time, there was nothing else in existence, the some time passed and then all of the energy of the universe, in defiance of the laws of thermo dynamics, suddenly came into existence?

My position is far more consistent. Energy cannot be created nor destroyed. Therefore, all of the energy in the universe must have existed for all of time.
Examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
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Post #58

Post by ToKnowHim »

...yes...

but:

I'm still making the same point. If the beginning of energy coincides with the beginning of time, energy still began to exist. Time itself began to exist. The principle I'm adhering to has not changed. Before time existed, nothing natural existed; nothing natural COULD exist. I accept that.

Can you accept this premise?

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Re: KCA

Post #59

Post by McCulloch »

[Replying to post 58 by ToKnowHim]

Yes, time, energy and the universe all began to exist. For each, there is a time before which they did not exist.
Examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
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The truth will make you free.
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KCA

Post #60

Post by ToKnowHim »

Wow. I'm impressed. After a good deal of beating my head against the wall, you *SEEM TO* agree to my premise. This is (ultimately) what I've been trying to say all along, although (as you correctly pointed out) my choice of words made things difficult or impossible to reach this conclusion.

However, that having been said, we HAVE reached this conclusion.

Now:

Premise 9.
Natural things began to exist.

Premise 10.
Whatever the first natural thing ‘x’ to exist was, began to exist due to a natural cause.

Conclusion 5.
Nature was caused by that which is natural.

Premise 11.
Natural things began to exist.

Premise 12.
Whatever the first natural thing ‘x’ to exist was, began to exist due to a cause that was not natural.

Conclusion 6.
Nature was caused by that which is notnatural – i.e., something supernatural.

Now, before you jump on this: The 'first' thing can easily be concurrent things; in other words, time/energy existing simultaneously, or nearly so; it doesn't have to be a single 'thing.'

"What sayest thou? Speak suddenly; be brief."
Richard III, Act IV, Scene 2

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