1. Cape Town
    Joined
    14 Apr '05
    Moves
    52945
    15 Mar '13 12:26
    In the thread "Why does something exist instead of nothing?" Thread 15183 it was argued (via youtube video) that time cannot be infinite in the past. The argument seems to be based on:
    1. A claim that an infinite past requires 'traversing infinity' which is claimed to be impossible. (though no justification is given).
    2. A claim that infinities are theoretical and cannot exist in reality (though no justification is given).
    3. Analogies using known finite sets which lead to the conclusion that the set is finite (but without justification for why the finite requirement applies or why the analogy is suitable).

    I have heard this argument before, but if it was a valid argument, I would expect to see it in scientific presentations, which I haven't.

    So, what do other people think of the argument? Does anyone think it is valid, and why? Does anyone agree with me that it is invalid, and why?

    And if you think it is a valid argument, would it apply to an infinite future? If you are theist, would it apply to heaven?
  2. Standard memberKepler
    Demon Duck
    of Doom!
    Joined
    20 Aug '06
    Moves
    20099
    15 Mar '13 13:40
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    In the thread "Why does something exist instead of nothing?" Thread 15183 it was argued (via youtube video) that time cannot be infinite in the past. The argument seems to be based on:
    1. A claim that an infinite past requires 'traversing infinity' which is claimed to be impossible. (though no justification is given).
    2. A claim that infi ...[text shortened]... rgument, would it apply to an infinite future? If you are theist, would it apply to heaven?
    Since time is not a mathematical object it is not subject to the arguments given. How would we know that time is finite or infinite then? Well, you can look for a beginning and theorise about an end.

    Science has a reasonably firm beginning point for time, it begins with the other three dimensions when the universe comes into existence via either big bang or creation by something/someone. The end point iis less clear and depnds on whether or not the expansion of the universe is accelerating, whether there is sufficient mass in the universe etc. etc.

    There are also scientists who hold a contrary view and argue that time is infinite both backwards and forwards. Generally these are proponents of some version of Hoyle's steady state universe. And then there are the string theorists and M theorists who just sidestep the whole matter and embed our "universe" in something larger. Now our universe (and time) can have a start but the dimension that is time for us existed "before" our universe.

    Depending on which bit of science you like (or which god(s) you like) you can have time infinite in both direction, forwards, backwards or neither direction.
  3. Cape Town
    Joined
    14 Apr '05
    Moves
    52945
    15 Mar '13 14:39
    Originally posted by Kepler
    Since time is not a mathematical object it is not subject to the arguments given. How would we know that time is finite or infinite then? Well, you can look for a beginning and theorise about an end.
    So it seems you agree with me that there is no purely logical/philosophical argument for finite time being necessary.

    Science has a reasonably firm beginning point for time, it begins with the other three dimensions when the universe comes into existence via either big bang or creation by something/someone.
    I am not sure if you are saying science is reasonably sure that such a beginning exists, or whether you are merely saying that if such a beginning exists then that would be the start of time.
    If the former, then I disagree. As far as I know, science is fairly sure about the big bang, but only from a few seconds after a singularity. What that the properties of that singularity are and whether or not time started at that point, is as far as I know pure speculation ie there are lots of speculative ideas, but none of them are in any way certain.
  4. Standard memberKepler
    Demon Duck
    of Doom!
    Joined
    20 Aug '06
    Moves
    20099
    15 Mar '13 15:08
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    So it seems you agree with me that there is no purely logical/philosophical argument for finite time being necessary.

    [b]Science has a reasonably firm beginning point for time, it begins with the other three dimensions when the universe comes into existence via either big bang or creation by something/someone.

    I am not sure if you are saying scie ...[text shortened]... ure speculation ie there are lots of speculative ideas, but none of them are in any way certain.[/b]
    No argument for finite time, agreed. The trouble with the big bang singularity is it is the point where neither physics nor mathematics work anymore. I suppose that is to be expected if the universe doesn't exist until the big bang has happened. This is why say I string theory and M theory sidestep the issue. There is no singularity so no need to think about what the singularity is! However, that does not mean that time is or is not infinite as the dimension we call time may not perform that function in the universe exterior to ours.
  5. Joined
    30 Sep '12
    Moves
    731
    16 Mar '13 09:211 edit
    I have not yet looked at the other thread or the YouTube video. But an argument that might have been made 100 years ago is that the Universe goes into "heat death" in a time that is large, but not infinite. We are not in that bland thermodynamic state at the present time, so we must only be separated from the beginning by a finite amount of time.

    Newer ideas in cosmology have perhaps made that a shaky argument, though.
  6. Cape Town
    Joined
    14 Apr '05
    Moves
    52945
    16 Mar '13 09:28
    Originally posted by Paul Dirac II
    I have not yet looked at the other thread or the YouTube video. But an argument that might have been made 100 years ago is that the Universe goes into "heat death" in a time that is large, but not infinite. We are not in that bland thermodynamic state at the present time, so we must only be separated from the beginning by a finite amount of time.

    Newer ideas in cosmology have perhaps made that a shaky argument, though.
    That is of course good evidence against a static state universe. But it doesn't rule out anything prior to the big bang. One of the multiverse theories is that big bangs take place as quantum effects in empty space time, and that universes such as ours get 'created' in a larger space time continuum, which could be infinite.
  7. Standard membersonship
    the corrected one.
    Joined
    03 Jan '13
    Moves
    8551
    16 Mar '13 21:233 edits
    1. A claim that an infinite past requires 'traversing infinity' which is claimed to be impossible. (though no justification is given).


    In the example that I used of NO Owning Lender of an ipod, what would be the date on which the original borrower receives what he requests ?

    Let's say to pass on the item requires each person in the series one day to complete.

    The request was made on March 16, 2013 AD.
    On what date would he receive the ipod which he wants to borrow?



    2. A claim that infinities are theoretical and cannot exist in reality (though no justification is given).


    Tell me what actual infinity of something exists then. I mean not conceptual, but in actuality.


    3. Analogies using known finite sets which lead to the conclusion that the set is finite (but without justification for why the finite requirement applies or why the analogy is suitable).


    My set theory is rusty.

    However, practically speaking please tell me. In the example that I used if there is no owning lender of the ipod then how can you pinpoint the time at which the first borrower gets it to be able to pass it down the series ?

    There is no time stamp for an event that will never happen.
    No one should require a math degree to understand that.

    Neither can you tell me what would be the amount of time between two events that will never happen.

    Event 1 - a Owning Lender will be found when none exists.

    Event 2 - the original requestor receives the ipod passed down the series.

    Event 1 will never happen (in the case of no Owning Lender)
    Event 2 will never happen because Event 1 never happened.


    I have heard this argument before, but if it was a valid argument, I would expect to see it in scientific presentations, which I haven't.


    I expect you to put the argument to rest by telling me the date of the two events that will never occur and the distance of time between them.
  8. Standard memberforkedknight
    Defend the Universe
    127.0.0.1
    Joined
    18 Dec '03
    Moves
    15947
    20 Mar '13 22:23
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    In the thread "Why does something exist instead of nothing?" Thread 15183 it was argued (via youtube video) that time cannot be infinite in the past. The argument seems to be based on:
    1. A claim that an infinite past requires 'traversing infinity' which is claimed to be impossible. (though no justification is given).
    2. A claim that infi ...[text shortened]... rgument, would it apply to an infinite future? If you are theist, would it apply to heaven?
    Can you post a link to the YouTube vid? I don't think the linked thread is the one you mean...
  9. Standard memberGrampy Bobby
    Boston Lad
    USA
    Joined
    14 Jul '07
    Moves
    43012
    20 Mar '13 22:31
    Originally posted by twhitehead

    In the thread "Why does something exist instead of nothing?" Thread 15183 it was argued (via youtube video) that time cannot be infinite in the past. The argument seems to be based on:
    1. A claim that an infinite past requires 'traversing infinity' which is claimed to be impossible. (though no justification is given).
    2. A claim that infin ...[text shortened]... id argument, would it apply to an infinite future? If you are theist, would it apply to heaven?
    Eternity Past) ------------------------------ [time/human history]----------------------------- (Eternity Future
  10. Donationrwingett
    Ming the Merciless
    Royal Oak, MI
    Joined
    09 Sep '01
    Moves
    26187
    20 Mar '13 23:47
    Originally posted by Grampy Bobby
    [b]Eternity Past) ------------------------------ [time/human history]----------------------------- (Eternity Future[/b]
    You can't represent infinity with a finite number of dashes.
  11. Standard memberGrampy Bobby
    Boston Lad
    USA
    Joined
    14 Jul '07
    Moves
    43012
    21 Mar '13 00:192 edits
    Originally posted by rwingett
    You can't represent infinity with a finite number of dashes.
    Eternity Past) ------------------------------ [time/human history]----------------------------- (Eternity Future

    "You can't represent infinity with a finite number of dashes." (rwingett) Three distinct segments graphically displayed on a single sheet run the risk of oversimplification. In the event that your interest is genuine, I'd recommend the 164 page publication, "The Divine Outline of History"/ R.B. Thieme, Jr. Mailed Free of Charge from the following site location in Houston, TX: www.rbthieme.org
    .
  12. Donationrwingett
    Ming the Merciless
    Royal Oak, MI
    Joined
    09 Sep '01
    Moves
    26187
    21 Mar '13 00:50
    Originally posted by Grampy Bobby
    [b]Eternity Past) ------------------------------ [time/human history]----------------------------- (Eternity Future

    "You can't represent infinity with a finite number of dashes." (rwingett) Three distinct segments graphically displayed on a single sheet run the risk of oversimplification. In the event that your interest is genuine, ...[text shortened]... Mailed Free of Charge from the following site location in Houston, TX: www.rbthieme.org
    .[/b]
    The sincerity of my interest should not be difficult to ascertain.
  13. Joined
    16 Feb '08
    Moves
    86276
    21 Mar '13 01:401 edit
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    In the thread "Why does something exist instead of nothing?" Thread 15183 it was argued (via youtube video) that time cannot be infinite in the past. The argument seems to be based on:
    1. A claim that an infinite past requires 'traversing infinity' which is claimed to be impossible. (though no justification is given).
    2. A claim that infi rgument, would it apply to an infinite future? If you are theist, would it apply to heaven?
    As I understand it time is a product of the relationship between mass and space 'fabric' i.e. space time.

    As space started with the big bang, time as we know it did not exist before it itself existed so cannot be infinite.

    I've heard it said that eternity is notr the infinite extension of time, but rather the absence of it.

    It all sounds plausible to me, but then I'm a theist and therefore a bigotted loon so please ignore this post.
  14. Standard memberGrampy Bobby
    Boston Lad
    USA
    Joined
    14 Jul '07
    Moves
    43012
    21 Mar '13 01:50
    Originally posted by divegeester
    As I understand it time is a product of the relationship between mass and space 'fabric' i.e. space time.

    As space started with the big bang, time as we know it did not exist before it itself existed so cannot be infinite.

    I've heard it said that eternity is notr the infinite extension of time, but rather the absence of it.

    It all sounds plausible to me, but then I'm a theist and therefore a bigotted loon so please ignore this post.
    "... eternity is notr the infinite extension of time, but rather the absence of it."

    !!
  15. Standard membersonship
    the corrected one.
    Joined
    03 Jan '13
    Moves
    8551
    21 Mar '13 10:093 edits
    twhitehead wrote:
    1. A claim that an infinite past requires 'traversing infinity' which is claimed to be impossible. (though no justification is given).


    1.) How long does it take to count from 1 unto infinity ?

    Answer: Infinity. You never get to the end.

    2.) How long does it take to count DOWN from infinity to 1 ?

    Answer: Infinity. You never can get started.

    Case closed.
    Cheer up twhitehead.
Back to Top