God and Stones

What on earth is meant by a “needless postulate” that is sometimes useful?

Good point, Lib; poor phrasing on my part. It is not necessary, but sometimes can be useful. I.e., the “solar system” model of the atom is not necessary to our understanding, but speaking of the different shells and outer and inner electrons helps us to understand chemical interactions. I think the most recent model has the electrons existing in a “probablity cloud” around the nucleus like raisins in plum-pudding, but we still use the “solar system” model because it’s a useful model, too.


No, Gaudere: “useful in your argument.” Postulating that you have $10,000 in your purse (not currently present) can be most useful if you are negotiating for a bank loan and are asked for a list of assets. Since you postulate that it is there, and don’t expect to need it to repay the loan, you can list it in good conscience.

Any more philosophical conundrums I can resolve? :slight_smile:


I can’t entirely explain why (hey, I’ve only been reading the boards here for a few weeks, need to get my brain back in shape), but this strikes me like the whole “final frontier” nonsense people like to toss about. “Space really is the final frontier.” “Earth’s oceans are the last, great frontier.” Frontier, last I checked, refers to something which borders on something else.

Or, to put it another way: no matter how final we feel something to be, once we gain a good understanding of it, there’s usually something on the far side we didn’t notice before and don’t really understand until we get there.

Can you really prove the existence of a finite container (or universe) from within?

“Stercus, stercus, stercus, moritus sum!”

I take your point. But mine was that there are two options: a causal universe that extends infinitely back in time, or one that starts at a given point. In the second case, there is a first thing which gives rise to everything else, an initial cause of which everything else is an effect at some remove. (Gaudere noted the third possibility of a non-causal universe.) Since evidence suggests that the universe began at a given point, the Big Bang, then for our universe there was a first cause. Never mind if there is a greater multiverse of which our universe is one element; we do not and cannot know that, because by definition our universe is what we know physically or at least in theory can know. If our universe “grows” conceptually to a point before the Big Bang, then that changes the schematic of the universe. But you still have the dichotomy of perpetuity or first event.

The idea that “there has to be something on the other side” is valid for any spatial representation we can conceptualize (not conceive, but “visualize” conceptually). However, it is not true for all physical qualities. For example, while you can speak of “100 degrees colder than absolute zero” the phrase has no physical meaning. It is a “furious green idea.”

But to attach finite points on either end of the universe, you have to be able to see outside of it, or else how can you be certain an end really is the end? Scientists are still discerning what all happened during the big bang. Let’s say the figure it out, and manage to point to G-d behind the scenes, creating the universe with a word. How do we know there wasn’t a great “clearing of His throat” before hand, which was equally vital to the creation of the universe as we know it?

Because degrees of measurement and “absolute zero” are concepts we’ve devised to quantify the physical world. We can only hold to a fixed range of temperatures (whatever measurement system we use) if we can quantify temperature outside of itself (using other things such as energy, or pressure and volume) and even that only holds as well as we are able to quantify the related elements.

I guess I’m boiling down to: we can measure it as well as the available evidence allows, but while we are present within a finite system, we cannot account for all the evidence while we’re still inside.


“Stercus, stercus, stercus, moritus sum!”

Whatever possible temperature scale we may use, there is no “real” (physically attainable) temperature lower than absolute zero. Perhaps a better analogy, because in space-time coordinates, would be that there is no point north of the North Pole. Similarly, if the universe is bounded in higher dimensions than the three we can perceive, it can be closed yet have no “outside.” And if the universe began with the Big Bang, then while one can conceive of a time scale that runs back “before” the Big Bang, it would have no “real” referent for that period “before the Big Bang.” In fact, some cosmologists suggest that space and time map but are defined by matter and energy in the same sense that north, south, east, west, sea level, etc. are concepts that map but are defined by points on the real physical globe. So prior to the Big Bang becomes a moot concept because with no matter or energy there is no time or space.

I’ve been thinking about this further…

Energy/Matter can neither be created, nor destroyed. Whether the ammount of energy/matter in the universe is finite, or more is leaking in from somewhere, or leaking out, energy itself is infinite in it’s existence. We can break it down to the smallest component particles we can measure (and according to some recent research out at CERN, even some we can’t), but a particle has never spontaneously come into being, or likewise spontaneously ceased to be.

Therefore, can this universe truly be considered finite if this energy must needs have come from somewhere beforehand, and go somewhere afterwards? This energy which constitutes our universe, came from somewhere before the big bang. Whether from G-d, or some indeterminate state of existance we are unable to measure at this time. I know this is way off-topic by this point, since it doesn’t contribute to any of the theological aspects of the question, but it could give new meaning to the phrase “G-d is in all things.”


“Stercus, stercus, stercus, moritus sum!”

With the key here being “physically attainable.” We’ve determined this through means other then measuring temperature itself.

Proveable, because we can examine a map of the earth from outside the planet (standing on the surface, for example).

Which we cannot determine without moving our point of perspective to one of these higher dimensions. Which is not to rule them as invalid. Many physicists working on variations of the Grand Unifed Theory are postulating any number of higher dimensions in order to fit in the discernable effects of how our universe works. But no matter how well developed any such theory becomes, it’s only as good as the available evidence.

“Stercus, stercus, stercus, moritus sum!”

I had a friend who thought that Mick Jagger was God, but I never believed him.

Yer pal,

Is it possible for God to evolve from a Universe that does NOT have first principles?

If nothing is impossible in an infinite universe and infinite time a being very much like God will eventually evolve.

By definition, God is unhindered by space/time therefore, at the moment He evolved into existence, He would simultaneously have always existed. (You following me so far, scooter?)

If time/space is infinite/boundless
Then nothing is impossible
If nothing is impossible, God must eventually happen.
When God happens, by definition, He is not restricted in time. Therefore, as soon as God exists, He has always existed and always will. (I know, makes my head hurt too)

Is this getting a bit silly? But of course!

Rational analysis of spiritual matters is like chasing butterflies with a hammer. You might get something, but why would you want it?

I should like to pose this questions, perhaps for a topic: of all the tribes and peoples of the earth, from Cro-Magnon on up, has there ever been a tribe of primitive existentialists?

About the same time Oog invents the pointy stick, he starts thinking about the Big Mojo.

Monkeys make stuff as a response to something that tangibly exists in thier, you should forgive the expression,“perceptual universe”.

Monkeys who have never seen snow do not make snowshoes. If there were absolutely no basis for spiritual perceptions, then it would not be universal! The great majority of tribal cultures would not have such mojo/voodoo/tantric practices. But they do!

The vast majority have practices for connecting to the “spirit world”. In fact, and heres the punch line again, just in case, is there any evidence of any culture, tribal or otherwise, with NO spirtitual/magical traditions or practices AT ALL??

Show me one. Just one. Any takers?

This sentence is false.

There’s always another beer.

elucidator, congradulations for proving the existance of God. And Santa Claus. And the Easter Bunny. And Odin. And Zeus.
Not to mention Superman, Bugs Bunny, and the Wizard of Oz.

Elucidator wrote

Ditto what Slythe said about Bugs Bunny, Easter Bunny, et al.

For a less flippant response, I’ll clarify exactly where you are making your mistake: Just because time/space is infinite, it does NOT necessarily follow that “nothing” is impossible. An infinite universe will indeed allow for everything to be possible, but only within the laws of reality as defined for that universe.

For example, since there is nothing in our laws of nature which might prevent infinite monkeys from eventually typing out all of Shakespeare, that scenario is legitimate within your comment that “nothing is impossible”. But a four-sided triangle is indeed outside the laws of reality for our universe, and is impossible, even if our universe is infinite.

For more examples, see the postings of Libertarian and myself dated 2-28.

Disclaimer: This post does not attempt to disprove God’s existence. It merely points out flaws in Elucidator’s proof. Other proofs may or may not have similar flaws.

“There are more things in heaven and earth, slythe, than are found in your philosophy.”
— Wm. Shakespeare, slightly modified :slight_smile:

Perhaps “there are more things in your philosophy, Polycarp, than are found in heaven and earth.” :wink:
— Wm. Shakespeare, even more modified

Hmmm…what would you expect to find in heaven? :stuck_out_tongue:

Depends on which metaphorical meaning you are using. Looks like a buncha clouds to me, and beyond that, the rest of the universe. Your interpretation of the word may differ. :wink:

We can conceive of only a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ answer to this question. Why are we limited to only two alternatives?