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Thread: Does everything have a start and end?

  1. #1 Does everything have a start and end? 
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    Does everything have a start and end? a simple proposition, yet with important implications. For example, time and the universe ; do they have a start and end?


    What do I mean by start?



    • Everything has spacial start point(s). For example, a human you could choose head or feet
    • Everything has a temporal start. This might be a window of time rather than a point. An example for a human would be birth.


    End has a is similar definition. The definition of a thing? A collection of related parts (could be just one part).


    Is there anything without a start or end? I cant think of anything from the natural world. As far as concepts go, all I can think of is infinity. But infinity does not actually exist:


    There is no quantity oo such that oo > all other quantities because oo + 1 > oo.


    So there does not seem to be anything without a start or end (a circle has multiple start/end points).


    What does it mean not to have a start or end? It means that the object is partially undefined; which means it is actually undefined and cant exist. Reasoning with such objects leads to paradoxes.


    If the proposition is correct, it follows that:



    • The universe has a start and end in time and space
    • Time has a start and end
    • Matter/Energy has a start and end



    Any thoughts or counter examples of things without starts or ends?


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    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Devans99 View Post
    which means it is actually undefined and can’t exist.
    The one does not follow from the other.

    because oo + 1 > oo.
    No.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Devans99 View Post
    which means it is actually undefined and can’t exist.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    The one does not follow from the other.
    No.


    I think everything in reality has well defined spacial and temporal starts and ends. How can something exist if it has no temporal start? If you were not born; would you exist? If the universe has no start in time; that implies it has no middle or end in time; so the whole thing cannot exist.


    Similar argument: how can something exist with no identifiable spacial start point? That implies something with no dimensions IE nothing.


    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    because oo + 1 > oo.

    No.


    There are only two other possibilities and they are both absurd:


    oo +1 = oo implies
    1 = 0


    Or


    oo + 1 < oo
    ?
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    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Devans99 View Post
    I think everything in reality has well defined spacial and temporal starts and ends. How can something exist if it has no temporal start?

    How about: it has always existed.

    If the universe has no start in time; that implies it has no middle or end in time; so the whole thing cannot exist.
    This is not accurate.

    Your claim was undefined = non-existent. Definitions are a human concept, ergo your "logic" doesn't necessarily hold for reality.

    There are only two other possibilities and they are both absurd:
    oo +1 = oo implies
    1 = 0
    Or
    oo + 1 < oo?

    Or oo+1 = oo.1
    (Assuming that oo is an attempt at the symbol for infinity).

    1 For cardinals at least: it varies, see here for example.
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    The universe can't have always existed; that would imply no start in time for the universe; which means the present day universe cannot exist (by way of analogy, if you were not born, would you exist?).

    On infinity+1 = infinity, there is nothing in the real world that you can add to and not change the size of; so with transfinite numbers; maths leaves the realm of the real. So sure its possible to imagine something without a start or end, but are there any such things in the real world? Im not aware of any such. And when you try to imagine such things, you immediately get paradoxes like infinity+1 = infinity implies 1 = 0, Hilbert's hotel, and all the other paradoxes of infinity.
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    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Devans99 View Post
    The universe can't have always existed; that would imply no start in time for the universe
    That's a supposition (or argument from incredulity).

    which means the present day universe cannot exist
    Doesn't follow. You're basically claiming that any particular point can't exist on an infinitely long line.

    On infinity+1 = infinity, there is nothing in the real world that you can add to and not change the size of; so with transfinite numbers; maths leaves the realm of the real. So sure its possible to imagine something without a start or end, but are there any such things in the real world? Im not aware of any such. And when you try to imagine such things, you immediately get paradoxes like infinity+1 = infinity implies 1 = 0, Hilbert's hotel, and all the other paradoxes of infinity.
    And yet transfinite cascades (Zemanian) are used for capacitance computations for VLSI inter- connections, threshold-voltage estimation for MOS- FETs, petroleum flow into an oilwell and the resistivity method and the electromagnetic method of geophysical exploration... so much for "leaving the realm of the real".
    Why should the universe fit with what we can devise?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Devans99 View Post
    The universe can't have always existed; that would imply no start in time for the universe
    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    That's a supposition (or argument from incredulity).


    which means the present day universe cannot exist

    Doesn't follow. You're basically claiming that any particular point can't exist on an infinitely long line.



    Either the universe always existed OR the universe had a start. Both cannot be true at the same time.


    If the universe always existed then it cannot have a start so it can’t exist: How can something exist without a temporal start? Do you know any people who were not born? If it has no start point in time in can’t exist in time.


    An infinity long line can’t exist; its a purely theoretical concept.


    What about the paradoxes that come from assuming the universe always existed? The Measure paradox from Cosmology for example:


    - Assume time is eternal.
    - If it can happen it will happen.
    - An infinite number of times.
    - No matter how unlikely it was in the first place!
    - So all things happen an infinite number of times.
    - So all things are equally likely.
    - Reductio ad absurdum.
    - Time is not eternal


    Or this paradox:


    - Say you meet an Eternal being in your Eternal universe
    - You notice he is counting
    - You ask and he says ‘I’ve always been counting’
    - What number is he on?


    What about the 2nd law of thermodynamics? If the universe had been going for ever, we’d be in thermodynamic equilibrium by now. Hence time has a start.
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    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Devans99 View Post
    Either the universe always existed OR the universe had a start. Both cannot be true at the same time.

    I haven't claimed they are.


    If the universe always existed then it cannot have a start so it can’t exist
    Supposition/ argument from incredulity.

    - Assume time is eternal.
    - If it can happen it will happen.
    - An infinite number of times.
    - No matter how unlikely it was in the first place!
    - So all things happen an infinite number of times.
    - So all things are equally likely.
    - Reductio ad absurdum.
    - Time is not eternal

    I see no paradox. (But I do see a slight error in logic/ wording). Could you provide an external reference for this? (All I can find is the Measure problem - which doesn't appear to be what you're talking about).



    Or this paradox:
    - Say you meet an Eternal being in your Eternal universe
    - You notice he is counting
    - You ask and he says ‘I’ve always been counting’
    - What number is he on?

    Wouldn't that depend upon when you find him?



    What about the 2nd law of thermodynamics? If the universe had been going for ever, we’d be in thermodynamic equilibrium by now. Hence time has a start.

    And yet we have these scientific views: [p]hysical observables show no singularity from the infinite past to the infinite future, [Hawking and Hertog] claim that our universe never had a singular moment of creation, [t]he universe may have existed forever.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    If the universe always existed then it cannot have a start so it cant exist

    Supposition/ argument from incredulity.
    A temporal and spacial start is essential for any object to exist. Im sorry if Im repeating myself, but its rather axiomatic. If you remove the Big Bang, does the universe exist any more? I would say no. Something that exists without a start is magical and we should not consider magic in the physical sciences.


    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    I see no paradox. (But I do see a slight error in logic/ wording). Could you provide an external reference for this? (All I can find is the Measure problem - which doesn't appear to be what you're talking about).



    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Measure_problem_(cosmology)

    Its a problem with an infinite universe; it breaks probability as the number of occurrences of all events is infinite; then everything is equally likely.


    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Wouldn't that depend upon when you find him?



    Hes counting, so he must be on a finite number, but that means hes not eternal (if hes on a finite number), hence the paradox.


    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    What about the 2nd law of thermodynamics? If the universe had been going for ever, wed be in thermodynamic equilibrium by now. Hence time has a start.


    There are a lot of Cosmologists with differing opinions; so it stands to reason that some must be violently wrong. My money is on a finite universe. I think the infinite universe people are on cloud 9. This article is by the most sensible Cosmologist on the subject:


    Infinity Is a Beautiful Concept
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    A temporal and spacial start is essential for any object to exist. I’m sorry if I’m repeating myself, but its rather axiomatic.
    That's the problem, it is an axiom to you, maybe it isn't true.
    If people use different axioms they reach different conclusions, all the duck has asked you to do is justify your axiom, so far your reasons for holding it as posted here are pretty dodgy and illogical (so far you have used flawed maths and arguments from incredulity - not a strong base to start from!). Just repeating the axiom without logical justification (as you are doing) is a waste of everyone's time...
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhDemon View Post
    A temporal and spacial start is essential for any object to exist. I’m sorry if I’m repeating myself, but its rather axiomatic.
    That's the problem, it is only an axiom to you...
    If you use dodgy axioms you reach dodgy conclusions...
    I'm not sure it is an axiom: A start is essential for the existence of any object. There is plenty of empirical evidence that things have starts. There is no empirical evidence for things without starts.

    Every object has a temporal start, else it would not exist in time.
    Every object has spacial start points, else it would have no extents, and therefore not exist
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    You just said it was an axiom!

    I’m sorry if I’m repeating myself, but its rather axiomatic.
    If you are this dense as well as being unwilling or unable to take on board statements contrary to what you have already decided is correct I can't be bothered with you...
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    I said it was axiomatic; that does not mean its an axiom.
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  16. #15  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Devans99 View Post
    A temporal and spacial start is essential for any object to exist.

    According tyo you.
    What actual support do you have for the argument?

    Im sorry if Im repeating myself, but its rather axiomatic
    Nope.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Measure_problem_(cosmology)
    Its a problem with an infinite universe; it breaks probability as the number of occurrences of all events is infinite; then everything is equally likely.

    I.e. exactly what I found. And, like I pointed out, not actually related to your argument.


    Hes counting, so he must be on a finite number, but that means hes not eternal (if hes on a finite number), hence the paradox.

    You ARE aware that there are scientific theories postulating that the universe may have had a start and yet last for eternity? Ergo, it's not actually a paradox.


    There are a lot of Cosmologists with differing opinions; so it stands to reason that some must be violently wrong.

    And when numerous cosmologists start to converge on a single position...

    My money is on a finite universe.
    And yet you don't have any scientific support for that.


    I think the infinite universe people are on cloud 9. This article is by the most sensible Cosmologist on the subject:
    "Sensible" because he (sort of) agrees with you?
    The guy who, in that article states "Infinity Doesnt Exist" and has also claimed "all structures that exist mathematically exist also physically"? Do you see any paradox there?

    I said it was axiomatic; that does not mean its an axiom.
    Please explain the difference, since there doesn't appear to be one in English.
    E.g.
    axiomatic adjective

    uk /ˌk.si.əˈmt.ɪk/ us /ˌk.si.əˈmt̬.ɪk/ formal


    obviously true and therefore not needing to be proved:

    Therefore: an axiom.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Devans99 View Post
    A temporal and spacial start is essential for any object to exist.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    According tyo you.
    What actual support do you have for the argument?


    To exist in time, one must have a start in time.
    To exist in space, one must have a start in space.

    The support I have is that every object that we know about for sure in reality follows the above rules. You have a counter example?



    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Devans99 View Post
    A temporal and spacial start is essential for any object to exist.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    According tyo you.
    Its a problem with an infinite universe; it breaks probability as the number of occurrences of all events is infinite; then everything is equally likely.
    I.e. exactly what I found. And, like I pointed out, not actually related to your argument.
    Quoting from the page:

    “In a single universe, cows born with two heads are rarer than cows born with one head. [But in an infinitely branching multiverse] there are an infinite number of one-headed cows and an infinite number of two-headed cows. What happens to the ratio?”

    This is the problem I alluding too. Obviously it goes away if the universe is finite (IE if universe has a start and end).



    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Devans99 View Post
    A temporal and spacial start is essential for any object to exist.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    He’s counting, so he must be on a finite number, but that means he’s not eternal (if he’s on a finite number), hence the paradox.

    You ARE aware that there are scientific theories postulating that the universe may have had a start and yet last for eternity? Ergo, it's not actually a paradox.
    The universe having a start and lasting for a future eternity; a future eternity is not so bad; that’s Potential rather than Actual Infinity. But if you believe in 4D space-time; that Potential Infinity becomes and Actual Infinity (because time becomes a dimension), so I actually believe time has an end too.

    The universe having a start and lasting for a past eternity are clearly contradictory.



    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Devans99 View Post
    A temporal and spacial start is essential for any object to exist.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post

    My money is on a finite universe.

    And yet you don't have any scientific support for that.
    There is certainly no scientific support for an infinite universe (‘very big’ is very different from ‘actually infinite’). There are plenty of arguments that show the universe is finite in space. For example, if the universe is expanding, it can’t be infinite, because it would already be bigger than the size its expanding to.

    There is plenty of empirical evidence for the opposite position of a finite universe. When 99.999% of stuff is finite, is it logical to assume the 0.001% of stuff we don’t know about is infinite?

    Can you explain to me how things without a start work? For example, if you were granted God-like powers:

    - Asked you to make a universe finite in space and time, you would be able to do it.
    - Asked to make a universe a universe infinite in space and time, you would fail


    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Devans99 View Post
    A temporal and spacial start is essential for any object to exist.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    The guy who, in that article states "Infinity Doesn’t Exist" and has also claimed "all structures that exist mathematically exist also physically"? Do you see any paradox there?
    I don’t totally agree with that statement. Mathematics mirrors/models nature, if something is mathematically impossible, it implies but does not prove its impossible in nature.

    But Actual Infinity is worse that that, it runs against common sense too and I don’t believe logical fallacies are possible in nature.


    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Devans99 View Post
    A temporal and spacial start is essential for any object to exist.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Therefore: an axiom.
    I said ‘it was axiomatic’ - a self-evident truth. I did not say I was using it as an axiom (assuming to be true without evidence), because I have given both logical and empirical evidence for the proposition.

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    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Devans99 View Post
    To exist in time, one must have a start in time.
    To exist in space, one must have a start in space.

    Repeating an unsupported claim still leaves it unsupported.
    (And, BTW, since the BB is reckoned by many theories to be the "start of time" it therefore follows that there was no time "before" the BB. Hence it didn't "start" in time).

    The support I have is that every object that we know about for sure in reality follows the above rules.
    So you're generalising and claiming it's a law?

    Quoting from the page:

    “In a single universe, cows born with two heads are rarer than cows born with one head. [But in an infinitely branching multiverse] there are an infinite number of one-headed cows and an infinite number of two-headed cows. What happens to the ratio?”

    This is the problem I alluding too. Obviously it goes away if the universe is finite (IE if universe has a start and end).

    And yet there's no paradox...


    The universe having a start and lasting for a future eternity; a future eternity is not so bad; that’s Potential rather than Actual Infinity. But if you believe in 4D space-time; that Potential Infinity becomes and Actual Infinity (because time becomes a dimension), so I actually believe time has an end too.

    In other words you're skirting the subject.


    T
    he universe having a start and lasting for a past eternity are clearly contradictory.
    According to you.


    There is certainly no scientific support for an infinite universe

    And there is also no evidence it's finite: we simply don't know either way.

    For example, if the universe is expanding, it can’t be infinite, because it would already be bigger than the size its expanding to.
    So you can't add 1 to infinity? Oh, you can.


    When 99.999% of stuff is finite
    We don't know that.
    Perhaps you're confusing observable universe (which does have limits) with the universe.

    Can you explain to me how things without a start work?
    Which part of "always there" did you not understand?

    For example, if you were granted God-like powers:
    - Asked to make a universe a universe infinite in space and time, you would fail

    According to your (unsupported) opinion.


    I don’t totally agree with that statement. Mathematics mirrors/models nature, if something is mathematically impossible, it implies but does not prove its impossible in nature.

    Ah right. Cherry-picking is great, isn't it? He's "sensible" when you find something that supports your opinion, but you feel free to simply dismiss him when he contradicts you.


    But Actual Infinity is worse that that, it runs against common sense too and I don’t believe logical fallacies are possible in nature.
    Then you're not doing science. (Then again, you did post this in the Pseudo section, so...).


    I said ‘it was axiomatic’ - a self-evident truth. I did not say I was using it as an axiom (assuming to be true without evidence

    Again: please explain - precisely - the difference (in your mind) between "self-evident truth" and "obviously true and therefore not needing to be proved:".

    because I have given both logical and empirical evidence for the proposition.
    No, you've made claims, generalised, and waffled.
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    [QUOTE=Dywyddyr;616912]
    Quote Originally Posted by Devans99 View Post
    To exist in time, one must have a start in time.
    Quote Originally Posted by Devans99 View Post
    The support I have is that every object that we know about for sure in reality follows the above rules.

    So you're generalising and claiming it's a law?
    I’m trying to be scientific about it; there is the logical argument, which I’ve tried to break down as far as possible:


    P1 An object can exist with no temporal start
    P2 If the object has no temporal start, it did not come into being
    P3 If it did not come into being, it cannot exist
    C1 An object cannot exist with no temporal start
    C2 All objects have temporal starts


    P1 An object can exist with no spacial start points
    P2 If the object has no spacial start points, it does not have extents
    P3 An object without extents cannot exist
    C1 An object cannot exist with no spacial start points
    C2 All objects have spacial starts

    What in the above arguments do you disagree with?


    Then there is the empirical evidence to back it up; IE everything that we know for sure about in the real world has a start/end.






    [QUOTE=Dywyddyr;616912]
    Quote Originally Posted by Devans99 View Post
    To exist in time, one must have a start in time.
    Quote Originally Posted by Devans99 View Post


    Quoting from the page:


    “In a single universe, cows born with two heads are rarer than cows born with one head. [But in an infinitely branching multiverse] there are an infinite number of one-headed cows and an infinite number of two-headed cows. What happens to the ratio?”


    This is the problem I alluding too. Obviously it goes away if the universe is finite (IE if universe has a start and end).
    And yet there's no paradox...


    The paradox is that two-headed cows are as likely as one-headed cows.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Devans99 View Post
    Im trying to be scientific about it; there is the logical argument, which Ive tried to break down as far as possible:


    P1 An object can exist with no temporal start

    Right here at step one: this is your claim. It's not supported.

    (And I gave a counter-example).

    P1 An object can exist with no spacial start points
    Again: a claim, not a fact.


    The paradox is that two-headed cows are as likely as one-headed cows.
    That's not a paradox.
    (Nor does it necessarily apply to our universe: the reason I stated earlier that the link isn't particularly relevant is that it speaks only of "universes of different types within a multiverse").
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Devans99 View Post
    Im trying to be scientific about it; there is the logical argument, which Ive tried to break down as far as possible:
    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Devans99 View Post




    P1 An object can exist with no temporal start

    Right here at step one: this is your claim. It's not supported.
    (And I gave a counter-example).



    No its not my claim; its the opposite of my claim; I gave a proof via contradiction.






    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post


    The paradox is that two-headed cows are as likely as one-headed cows.

    That's not a paradox.
    (Nor does it necessarily apply to our universe: the reason I stated earlier that the link isn't particularly relevant is that it speaks only of "universes of different types within a multiverse").



    But two-headed cows are rarer than one-headed cows; so it must be a paradox And the paradox applies to any model of the universe that is either infinite in time or space or both.



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    Quote Originally Posted by Devans99 View Post
    No its not my claim; its the opposite of my claim; I gave a proof via contradiction.

    Nope. (And you still haven't addressed the actual - existing - counter-example I gave).


    But two-headed cows are rarer than one-headed cows; so it must be a paradox

    So far they are.
    It's hardly a paradox anyway.

    And the paradox applies to any model of the universe that is either infinite in time or space or both.
    Still not a paradox.
    Perhaps, maybe, over infinity two-headed cows are as common as one-headed cows. But all we have here is a highly localised sample. (And, assuming infinity, that would also mean that our sample is statistically insignificant, let alone a solid indicator of reality).
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    Sorry, the counter example you gave was (I Think):

    "And, BTW, since the BB is reckoned by many theories to be the "start of time" it therefore follows that there was no time "before" the BB. Hence it didn't "start" in time"

    I would say the start of time was co-incidental with the Big Bang so it still had a start it time, t=0.

    In general, the Measure Problem implies all things are equally likely; which is surely a paradox?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Devans99 View Post
    I would say the start of time was co-incidental with the Big Bang
    So, basically, a handwave then?
    And doesn't address the fact that, even if your handwave is right, then time started from no time.

    In general, the Measure Problem implies all things are equally likely; which is surely a paradox?
    Is it?
    It should also be noted that possibilities do depend upon local conditions: perhaps one-headed cows happen to be actually far more likely than two-headed ones under the conditions prevailing on Earth at the current time. (Or even under the "settings" of bovine DNA as they currently stand).
    "[Dywyddyr] makes a grumpy bastard like me seem like a happy go lucky scamp" - PhDemon
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Devans99 View Post
    I would say the start of time was co-incidental with the Big Bang
    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    So, basically, a handwave then?
    And doesn't address the fact that, even if your handwave is right, then time started from no time.



    The way I think about, things happened in this sequence:



    1. Something can’t come from nothing
    2. So base reality must have always existed
    3. If base reality is permanent it must be timeless (to avoid an actual infinity of time)
    4. (Also something without a start cannot exist so time must have a start)
    5. Time was created and exists within this permanent, timeless, base reality
    6. So time must be real, permanent and finite



    So it looks like there was some sort of reality without time in which time was created. Ties in nicely with the BB and also with the 4D space-time view of the universe; time has a start.


    Change and time are separate (eg photons are timeless yet their position and wavelengths change) so it should possible to create things timelessly. Maybe all change in the timeless realm happens at the speed of light?
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