God Must Exist: Infinite Regression is Impossible

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God Must Exist: Infinite Regression is Impossible

Post #1

Post by We_Are_VENOM »

.

First off, by "universe", I mean all physical reality govern by natural law. This would include universes that we know/don’t know about.

1. If God does not exist, then the universe is past eternal.

Justification: We know that the universe exist, and if there is no transcendent supernatural cause, then either

A. the universe either popped into being, uncaused, out of nothing.
B. OR, it has existed for eternity.

I think we can safely remove posit A from the equation (unless there is someone who thinks it is a plausible explanation).

Let’s focus on posit B.

Based on posit B, we need not provide any naturalistic explanation as to the cause of our universe, considering the fact that the term “universe” applies (as mentioned earlier) to all physical reality, which means that any naturalistic explanation one provides is already accounted for as “eternal”.

And if God does not exist, then physical reality (the universe) is all there is, and thus must be eternal.

2. If the universe is not past eternal, then God exists.

Justification: If the universe (all physical reality) is NOT eternal, then it had a beginning.

Since natural law (mother nature) cannot logically be used to explain the origin of its own domain, then an external, supernatural cause is necessary.

If “nature” had a beginning, one cannot logically use nature to explain the origin of nature, and to do so is fallacious.

So, where nature stops, supernatural begins.

3. The universe is not past eternal.

Justification: If the universe is past eternal, then the causal chain of events (cause and effect) within the universe is infinite. But this is impossible, because infinity cannot be traversed or “reached”.

If the past is eternal, that would mean that there are an infinite amount of “days” which lead to today. But in order for us to have “arrived” to today, an infinite amount of days would have to be traversed (one by one), which is impossible, because infinite cannot be “reached”.

Consider thought analogy..

Sandman analogy: Imagine there is a man who is standing above a bottomless hole. By “bottomless”, of course if one was to fall into the hole, he would fall forever and ever and ever.

Now, imagine the man is surrounded by an infinite amount of sand, which is at his disposal.

Imagine if the man has been shoveling sand into this hole for an infinite amount of time (he never began shoveling, or he never stopped shoveling, he has been shoveling forever).

Imagine if the man’s plan was to shovel sand into the hole until he successfully filled the sand from the bottom, all the way to the top of the hole.

How long will it take him to accomplish this? Will he ever accomplish this task? No. Why? Because the sand is bottomless, so no matter how fast he shoveled, or how long he shoveled, the sand will never reach the top.

So lets put it all together…

The sand falling: Represents time travel, and the trajectory of the sand falling south of the top represents time traveling into the past, which is synonymous with past eternity.

The man shoveling: Represents the “present”, as the man is presently shoveling without halt. This is synonymous with our present causal reality. We are presently in a state of constant change, without halt.

Conclusion: If the sand cannot reach the bottom of the hole (because of no boundary/foundation) and it can’t be filled from the bottom-up to the present (man), then how, if there is no past boundary to precedent days, how could we have possibly reached the present day…if there is/was no beginning foundation (day).

However, lets say a gazillion miles down the hole, there is a foundation…then the hole will be filled in a finite amount of time, and it will be filled from the bottom-up.

But ONLY if there is a foundation.

Likewise, we can only reach today if and ONLY IF there is a beginning point of reference, a foundation in the distant past.

4. Therefore, an Uncaused Cause (UCC) must exist: As explained, infinite regression is impossible, so an uncaused cause is absolutely necessary.

This UCC cannot logically be a product of any precedent cause or conditions, thus, it exists necessarily (supplementing the Modal Ontological Argument).

This UCC cannot logically depend on any external entity for it’s existence (supplementing the Modal Ontological Argument).

This UCC is the foundation for any/everything which began to exist, which included by not limited to all physical reality…but mainly, the universe an everything in it.

This UCC would also have to have free will, which explains why the universe began at X point instead of Y point...and the reason is; it began at that point because that is when the UCC decided it should begin...and only a being with free will can decide to do anything.

This UCC would have to have the power to create from nothing (as there was no preexisting physical matter to create from, before it was created).

So, based on the truth value of the argument, what can we conclude of the UCC?

1. It is a supernatural, metaphysically necessary being
2. A being of whom has existed for eternity and can never cease existing
3. A being with the greatest power imaginable (being able to create from nothing)
4. A being with free will, thus, a being with a mind

This being in question is what theists have traditionally recognized as God. God exists.

In closing, I predict the whole "well, based on your argument, God cannot be infinite".

My response to that for now is; first admit the validity of the presented argument, and THEN we will discuss why the objection raised doesn't apply to God.
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Re: God Must Exist: Infinite Regression is Impossible

Post #91

Post by Kenisaw »

We_Are_VENOM wrote: Mon May 03, 2021 12:12 am
Kenisaw wrote: Sun May 02, 2021 7:11 pm I would agree it is absurd that the universe is infinite.
Props to you for acknowledging this. :approve:
Kenisaw wrote: Sun May 02, 2021 7:11 pm That is just as absurd as a god creature being infinite.
Unfortunately, that props couldn't be extended to the next sentence. :(

Why? Because you are incorrect. Why are you incorrect?

Answer: Because when we say "God" is infinite, we are talking infinite in terms of quality, not quantity.

You do see the difference there, don't you?
No, for the reasons that have already been outlined in earlier posts. A god cannot be all knowing, all powerful, all good, all whatever. There is no infinite to any proposed MGB. It is a contradiction, a supernatural square circle.
Kenisaw wrote: Sun May 02, 2021 7:11 pm The idea that anything infinite could reach a point in its existence that gave rise to this universe is irrational to the core.
Ok, back to the props :D :approve:
Kenisaw wrote: Sun May 02, 2021 7:11 pm Given that the data, and the math, show that this universe did have a beginning, the real question then becomes how did that beginning happen. I replied to Historia earlier today about this. Allow me to copy and past part of that here:

Did the universe appear as an effect of a cause? Dunno. Did the universe appear uncaused? Dunno. Does there need to be a cause for a universe to appear? Dunno.
"Everything that begins to exist has a cause".

Do you, or don't you agree with the above premise? Or is the taxi cab fallacy going on here?
Dunno. I can't intelligently answer that question because I don't know how the universe started. If you look at the question from the point of view of our current universe (which is a cause and effect universe) then that statement makes sense. If you look at it in terms of the mathematics done so far on the question of the start of the universe, the answer would be that the statement does not make sense.

The start of the universe happened before the universe, and we have no idea what the rules were or weren't at that moment. The only honest answer is that I don't know if that premise is true or not.
Kenisaw wrote: Sun May 02, 2021 7:11 pm Can true "nothingness" even actually exist? Dunno (because, if it can't, then you can't have something coming from nothing because nothing is not an actual state in reality).
Sounds like you've answered your own question to me.
Which question? I asked a passle of them...
Kenisaw wrote: Sun May 02, 2021 7:11 pm Although we live in a cause and effect universe (thanks to entropy), we have no way of knowing what the rules were before the universe.
If the universe is all physical reality, then what could be "before" the universe?
Dunno. Hopefully all the various concepts being kicked around will lead to the answer to your question.
Kenisaw wrote: Sun May 02, 2021 7:11 pm If entropy is unique to our universe then the idea of cause and effect doesn't mean much, because when the universe appeared it did so under a different set of rules that we know nothing about.
Again, "when the universe appeared" <---implies something was before it.

Either you need one uncaused cause which springed the universe into existence, or you have an infinite regression problem.

Either way, you've got problems here.
Sorry, this isn't a gotcha moment. You've taken my paragraph and split it up, discussing each sentence. A paragraph is one discussion point, not several. This sentence is related to the previous ones before it. The point I was trying to make is that previous to the Big Bang we don't know if the rules were exactly the same, similar, or entirely different to what this universe currently operates under. Cause and effect happens in this entropic universe, and we don't know if entropy is a thing anywhere else. We don't even know if entropy is required for cause and effect to be a thing.
Kenisaw wrote: Sun May 02, 2021 7:11 pm Which is why any attempt to "logic" a god into existence is silly, because there is too much missing data on the matter.
Too much missing? We have all the data we need...

1. Everything which begins to exist has a cause
2. The universe began to exist
3. Therefore, the universe has a cause

Sounds like you already acknowledged #2...so from there, the question is; what could give rise to space, time, energy, and matter (STEM)?

The answer cannot lie in the physical realm, because that is precisely what began to exist.

An external cause is needed. It is inescapable.
Unfortunately you misread my meaning, and have carried that on into this part of your post. I have not acknowledged that the universe began to exist. Mathematically speaking, it didn't. Why is there a universe now, and was it caused or uncaused? Dunno.

On a side note - space and time are not separate things. They are one thing, called spacetime.
Kenisaw wrote: Sun May 02, 2021 7:11 pm Not that the logic of the ontological argument, or Kalam, is good anyway. People in this thread have ironically objected to an always existing universe, yet think of nothing of an always existing god being (or the other way around). People in this thread think something as complex as a god can just happen, whereas something simpler like a universe cannot. There is plenty of bad logic to go around".
Um, I don't recall anyone suggesting that God has always existed in time. If that were the case, then sure, the same problem of infinite regression would apply to God.

But no one is suggesting this, though. Thankfully.
Lots of threads at this site have suggested it. Lots of people say that their god has "always existed" and "has no beginning and no end". Some have even said that, in order for their god to be maximally great, that it would have to be infinite. If I am mistaken that someone said such a thing in this particular thread than that is on me.
Kenisaw wrote: Sun May 02, 2021 7:11 pm The problem with calling the universe popping out of "nothing" absurd is that we don't actually know that it is absurd. No one knows the rules before the universe began, and no one knows what is and isn't possible.

On top of that there are mathematics that show not only is it not absurd, it should be possible for a universe to begin abruptly. Quantum mechanics doesn't have a problem with it. At the same time however, in the interest of intellectual honesty, there is so much we DON'T know that we have no ability to put a level of confidence on all this.
As I stated before, the problem with the universe popping out of nothing is the fact that the state of "nothingness" is selective or deterministic. So why would "nothingness" allow for universes to pop in to being, and not other things? Why not bikes? Money? Apples? Vending machines?

And why did it pop in to being when it did? Why not sooner? Or later?

I addressed this in the OP and I've yet to see a response. Those are in fact legitimate questions if that is the route which is taken.
Every one of those questions is legitimate. The problem we have is that we don't know the answer to them. Can we say, with 100% certainty, that a universe popping out of nothing had to come from a state of nothingness in a selective or deterministic manner? Nope. We don't have the first damn clue what the rules were or weren't. Is that even the right question to ask when the math shows that the universe is still the same thing it was before, just in a different state of that same thing (it was "something" which is the parts of "nothing" that it all adds up to)? Dunno. That's part of the mystery of the universe, in that we aren't even sure we are asking the right questions.

Why did it pop into being when it did? No clue. Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle and the observer effect certainly don't help matters either. Why does it exist the way it does, instead of turtles all the way down? Which I had an answer for you.

If we boil this conversation down to the basic issue here, it is simply this - that arguments like ontological and Kalam have to assume a starting point that is nothing more than conjecture. How can a person make a logical argument by beginning with a statement that isn't logically based? You can't. It doesn't work that way. Maybe some people are ok with guessing in order to get to the end game, but my brain doesn't function that way.

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Re: God Must Exist: Infinite Regression is Impossible

Post #92

Post by Diagoras »

Kenisaw wrote: Mon May 03, 2021 10:20 pm How can a person make a logical argument by beginning with a statement that isn't logically based?
Indeed.

Worth also noting from the ‘other side’ of the debate that our current science can only speculate about the singularity at the absolute beginning of the physical universe. None of our physical laws necessarily apply at that point, and that includes causality. Talk of ‘outside time’ or ‘before the beginning’ is largely irrelevant - they are concepts that can never be tested by observation or application of known laws.

Astronomy has managed to ‘see’ back to the Epoch of Recombination (a fancy way of saying the ‘birth of light’), and physics can construct a workable theory to explain what happened after the first couple of femtoseconds in our universe, but t=0 remains a hard limit that we will never go beyond - just like a black hole horizon or a converging geometric series.

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Re: God Must Exist: Infinite Regression is Impossible

Post #93

Post by brunumb »

We_Are_VENOM wrote: Mon May 03, 2021 10:01 pm
brunumb wrote: Mon May 03, 2021 6:40 pm
And how was it established that God actually had any of those attributes? Or is it just a case of wishful thinking?
We are to the point where the same question is being asked in different ways.

See P1 of the argument and your question is answered.
Sorry, but there is nothing there that specifically answers my question, in which case I am going with wishful thinking. Thank you.
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Re: God Must Exist: Infinite Regression is Impossible

Post #94

Post by We_Are_VENOM »

brunumb wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 1:35 am
And how was it established that God actually had any of those a

Sorry, but there is nothing there that specifically answers my question, in which case I am going with wishful thinking. Thank you.
Thinking that your question wasn't answered in P1 is "wishful thinking".

In which case, that is what im "going with".

Thank you.
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Re: God Must Exist: Infinite Regression is Impossible

Post #95

Post by Bust Nak »

Paul of Tarsus wrote: Sat May 01, 2021 1:28 pm Zero is not a negative number, and neither does the set of negative numbers have a "last" element.
Okay, the set of "negative numbers union with zero" or just go with -1. Why doesn't that count as a last element?
The book is inexpensive and includes a good explanation of both finite and infinite sets.
This is a debate forum, why not try presenting the relevant part of the book as an argument against my claim that "counting all the integer does not involve reaching infinity" or "a sequence capped on just one end is still infinite."

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Re: God Must Exist: Infinite Regression is Impossible

Post #96

Post by Paul of Tarsus »

Bust Nak wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 5:37 am
Paul of Tarsus wrote: Sat May 01, 2021 1:28 pm Zero is not a negative number, and neither does the set of negative numbers have a "last" element.
Okay, the set of "negative numbers union with zero" or just go with -1.
That set is properly referred to as the "non-positive real numbers". It includes any real number that's not positive.
Why doesn't that count as a last element?
You'll need to explain what you mean by "last element." As far as I know mathematicians have no formal definition of a last element in a set.

While I'm waiting for your explanation, it appears to me that you are referring to the non-positive integers which is the union of the sets of negative integers and zero. By "last element" you probably mean the element of greatest value in the set of non-positive integers which is zero. If we speak of the set of non-positive real numbers the element of greatest value is also zero. Note that in the set of negative real numbers there is no element of greatest value because no matter how close to zero a negative real number might be, we can come up with another negative real number that's closer to zero. For example, -0.0001 is very close to zero, but -0.00001 is closer to zero. Just keep moving the 1 digit one place to the right of the leading zeros in previous number this way, and the result is closer to zero. Since there is no limit to how many times you can carry out this procedure, then there is no negative real number of greatest value.
The book is inexpensive and includes a good explanation of both finite and infinite sets.
This is a debate forum, why not try presenting the relevant part of the book as an argument against my claim that "counting all the integer does not involve reaching infinity" or "a sequence capped on just one end is still infinite."
I've been explaining the content of that book or any book involving infinite sets, but doing your homework can help you understand the concepts.

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Re: God Must Exist: Infinite Regression is Impossible

Post #97

Post by We_Are_VENOM »

Paul of Tarsus wrote: Mon May 03, 2021 6:22 pm
Actually, whether time is finite or infinite, we have an infinite number of pairs of times we can choose as our beginnings and our ends. For instance, if we choose the present as the end, then one day ago can be the beginning. We can also choose for the beginning 1.1 days ago or 1.11 days ago or 1.111 days ago, and so on. Just append another 1 as the rightmost digit, and you have another beginning. Since you can create as many numbers and hence as many beginnings this way as you wish, then there is no limit to the pairs of numbers you can choose as points of reference to use as beginnings and as ends. And you can do all this in less than two days ago!

So contrary to what you say, not only do we have two reference points for time durations, we have an infinite number of pairs whether time is finite or infinite.
Bro, what are you talking about? You keep giving these long drawn out responses when none of them negates the fact that yesterday was traversed to get to today...and if the past is eternal, there were an infinite amount of past days leading to the present day.

Nothing you said negates this fact...and I refuse to continue to sit here and try to decipher what you are talking about, when nothing you are saying negates the fact of my contention.
Paul of Tarsus wrote: Mon May 03, 2021 6:22 pm
No. As time progresses, we arrive at points in time continually, and we do so whether time is finite or eternal. Clocks will tick away not caring if the past is eternal or not, and neither will those ticking clocks care if apologists tell them they cannot tick.
As is clear in the sandman analogy, if there is no bottom foundation, then the sand will not reach the top as the man is presently/currently shoveling the sand.

Likewise, if there is no past boundary, then "time" will not reach the present/current day.

Unless you can articulate why past eternity can reach the present, yet the sand will never reach the top of the hole.
Paul of Tarsus wrote: Mon May 03, 2021 6:22 pm
If the universe has an age, then time is finite. Logically, however, the universe doesn't need to be a finite age. I think you may be confusing the possible with the actual. If time is actually finite, that fact in no way proves that time must be finite. It's still logically possible that time is infinite.
You say the universe doesn't need to be a finite age, yet...the age of the universe is said to be some 14.7 billion years.

Hmm.
Paul of Tarsus wrote: Mon May 03, 2021 6:22 pm
I proved that it's nonsense to assume that an infinite amount of time needs to be traversed to get to the present if the past is eternal. If time is infinite, then there was no beginning, and you need a beginning to traverse a span of time.
Makes no sense. If yesterday had to be traversed to arrive at today, then so did the infinite amount of "yesterdays" prior to yesterday.

With all due respect, your logic makes no sense whatsoever.

I assume you agree that yesterday had to be traversed to arrive at today, yet you refuse to carry that same logic/concept to the prior yesterdays.

Again, makes no sense.
Paul of Tarsus wrote: Mon May 03, 2021 6:22 pm If we could travel back in time a duration a, and then spent that duration a, we'd be at the time we are at now. What's the point?
Again, makes no sense. You can have the last word. No more wasting my brain energy. The floor is yours :approve:
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Re: God Must Exist: Infinite Regression is Impossible

Post #98

Post by We_Are_VENOM »

Kenisaw wrote: Mon May 03, 2021 10:20 pm
No, for the reasons that have already been outlined in earlier posts.
The fact that you implied "if the universe can't be infinite, then neither can God", only implies that you don't know the difference...which is why I explained what I explained.
Kenisaw wrote: Mon May 03, 2021 10:20 pm A god cannot be all knowing, all powerful, all good, all whatever. There is no infinite to any proposed MGB. It is a contradiction, a supernatural square circle.
I've already addressed those points, next.
Kenisaw wrote: Sun May 02, 2021 7:11 pm
Did the universe appear as an effect of a cause? Dunno. Did the universe appear uncaused? Dunno. Does there need to be a cause for a universe to appear? Dunno.
Your ignorance on the matter does nothing to negate my knowledge of the matter.
Kenisaw wrote: Sun May 02, 2021 7:11 pm
Dunno. I can't intelligently answer that question because I don't know how the universe started.
You don't have to know how it started to understand that it started.
Kenisaw wrote: Sun May 02, 2021 7:11 pm If you look at the question from the point of view of our current universe (which is a cause and effect universe) then that statement makes sense. If you look at it in terms of the mathematics done so far on the question of the start of the universe, the answer would be that the statement does not make sense.
Either the universe had a beginning, or it didn't. No gray area. Flip flopping aside.
Kenisaw wrote: Sun May 02, 2021 7:11 pm The start of the universe happened before the universe, and we have no idea what the rules were or weren't at that moment. The only honest answer is that I don't know if that premise is true or not.
The argument against infinite regression is independent of these magical "rules" that you are referring too. The rules doesn't defeat the implications.
Kenisaw wrote: Sun May 02, 2021 7:11 pm
Which question? I asked a passle of them...
NVM.
Kenisaw wrote: Sun May 02, 2021 7:11 pm
Dunno. Hopefully all the various concepts being kicked around will lead to the answer to your question.
You keep throwing this "dunno" stuff out there when all you have to do is use your brain. It is called critical thinking.

The mere cause of all physical reality cannot itself be a product of STEM (space, time, energy, and matter). It isn't rocket science.

Also, the one concept that has been kicked around does in fact answer my question.

Answer: Creationism.
Kenisaw wrote: Sun May 02, 2021 7:11 pm
Sorry, this isn't a gotcha moment. You've taken my paragraph and split it up, discussing each sentence. A paragraph is one discussion point, not several. This sentence is related to the previous ones before it. The point I was trying to make is that previous to the Big Bang we don't know if the rules were exactly the same, similar, or entirely different to what this universe currently operates under. Cause and effect happens in this entropic universe, and we don't know if entropy is a thing anywhere else. We don't even know if entropy is required for cause and effect to be a thing.
You can't have STEM without entropy, first of all.

Second, it is irrelevant anyway...because again, the infinite regression problem which plagues an infinite universe is independent of physics...therefore, any knowledge/lack of knowledge we have about "different universes" or whatever else...is...irrelevant.

It doesn't touch the problem.
Kenisaw wrote: Sun May 02, 2021 7:11 pm
Unfortunately you misread my meaning, and have carried that on into this part of your post. I have not acknowledged that the universe began to exist. Mathematically speaking, it didn't. Why is there a universe now, and was it caused or uncaused? Dunno.
Well, you don't know. I know. I've invested a good deal of time trying to explain to you why it was caused...I can't force you to understand the fact that infinite regression is impossible and thus the universe is finite.
Kenisaw wrote: Sun May 02, 2021 7:11 pm On a side note - space and time are not separate things. They are one thing, called spacetime.
Irrelevant...but ok.
Kenisaw wrote: Sun May 02, 2021 7:11 pm
Lots of threads at this site have suggested it. Lots of people say that their god has "always existed" and "has no beginning and no end". Some have even said that, in order for their god to be maximally great, that it would have to be infinite. If I am mistaken that someone said such a thing in this particular thread than that is on me.
To say that X has always existed, does not imply that X has always existed in time.
Kenisaw wrote: Sun May 02, 2021 7:11 pm Every one of those questions is legitimate. The problem we have is that we don't know the answer to them. Can we say, with 100% certainty, that a universe popping out of nothing had to come from a state of nothingness in a selective or deterministic manner? Nope.
That is where we disagree...because I say; Yep.
Kenisaw wrote: Sun May 02, 2021 7:11 pm We don't have the first damn clue what the rules were or weren't. Is that even the right question to ask when the math shows that the universe is still the same thing it was before, just in a different state of that same thing (it was "something" which is the parts of "nothing" that it all adds up to)? Dunno. That's part of the mystery of the universe, in that we aren't even sure we are asking the right questions.

Why did it pop into being when it did? No clue. Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle and the observer effect certainly don't help matters either. Why does it exist the way it does, instead of turtles all the way down? Which I had an answer for you.

If we boil this conversation down to the basic issue here, it is simply this - that arguments like ontological and Kalam have to assume a starting point that is nothing more than conjecture. How can a person make a logical argument by beginning with a statement that isn't logically based? You can't. It doesn't work that way. Maybe some people are ok with guessing in order to get to the end game, but my brain doesn't function that way.
And it is the theists who get accused of being intellectually lazy. When it comes to things leading to supernatural implications, all of a sudden; "we don't know, end of story".

But when if you negate the supernatural implications, it is "we don't know, but lets find out".

Taxi cab fallacy.
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Re: God Must Exist: Infinite Regression is Impossible

Post #99

Post by Paul of Tarsus »

We_Are_VENOM wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 2:47 pmWith all due respect, your logic makes no sense whatsoever.
I'd advise you to visit the mathematics department at a local university. See if you can find a member of that faculty who would be willing to speak to you about how infinite sets can be used to model an eternal past. You are welcome to print out my posts to take with you. Let that professor cast the winning vote regarding which of the two of us is right.

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Re: God Must Exist: Infinite Regression is Impossible

Post #100

Post by Bust Nak »

Paul of Tarsus wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 12:41 pm That set is properly referred to as the "non-positive real numbers". It includes any real number that's not positive.
What's wrong with sticking to integers?
You'll need to explain what you mean by "last element." As far as I know mathematicians have no formal definition of a last element in a set.
That sounded quite a lot like you accept that there is a last element in an infinite set under some definition of last? Use the typical English one: coming after all others in order, where order is determined with "greater than."
While I'm waiting for your explanation, it appears to me that you are referring to the non-positive integers which is the union of the sets of negative integers and zero. By "last element" you probably mean the element of greatest value in the set of non-positive integers which is zero...
Yep, was that not obvious? Either way. is that good enough to qualify as "last?"

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