Saturday, April 18, 2009

Philosophical problems with The Big Bang model

The universe is all that is. The concept of multiple parallel universes (multiverses) is merely a theoretical construct without any counterpart in reality as experienced by human beings (by definition).

Starting from simple observations, without theorizing or modeling for now, the universe is a very vast expanse of space, with stars and galaxies and other forms of matter as far as the aided eye can see. The universe also manifests movement of matter (heat, energy, momentum), and the effects of various force fields (e.g. electromagnetic and gravitational). And all this implicitly assumes Time, the so-called fourth dimension in which events happen, and in which causality is seen as self-evident and fundamental.

Time and Causality imply a history, and a future. The topic that I want to briefly, and philosophically, address in this article is the history of the universe itself, rather than of any particular object in the universe. That is, to try to understand whether the universe is infinite and eternal, or finite and having a beginning, or any other combination.

The most popular model of the universe at present is the Big Bang Model, which has the following fundamental tenets:
  • The universe, with its properties, space and time and the physical laws, had a beginning, known as the singularity.

  • It is finite, and has been “expanding” since that singular beginning.
My aim in this article is to philosophically, and in a common sense way, analyze the implications of these tenets.

Let us consider the first proposition, that the universe had a beginning. The obvious questions are: How come it began? What caused its birth? Where was the cause located if not in the universe, etc.

Now, let us assume the universe had a causative factor. In which case the factor was existent, and since all existence is collectively known as the “universe”, to say that the factor “caused” the universe (i.e., that the factor was distinct from the universe) is to confuse the meaning of the word “universe”, by understating its overarching reach. The factor, by definition of the word “universe” (all that is), is within the universe. This is the first problem, P1.

The second problem, P2, is with the very notion of “beginning”. The Big Bang model ventures into the fantastical realm when it claims that Time itself had a beginning at the event of the Big Bang. Now this presents a quandary similar to that in P1. The notion of “beginning” presupposes Time. To say that “Time” had a beginning, is to consider “Time” as an event, as for example, that the horse race had a beginning. Sensibly speaking, Time is not itself an event; it is the very dimension (the fourth dimension in Minkowski Space) in which events happen. You cannot sensibly plot "Time" itself as an event on a space-time diagram.

The above two are formidable problems with the Big Bang model. Some scientists and philosophers do seem to be grappling, quite ineffectually, with these.

The third problem, P3, is with the notion of cause itself. If time and “physical laws” (whatever they may be) were non-existent, then this preempts any question of causation of the universe. Then we might as well throw up our hands and leave, because by definition no explanation is possible for an event when causality, time, laws all were absent.

The next problem, P4, is with the notion of space itself expanding. This suffers from a confusion of language as well. Space is where expansion happens. How can space itself expand? What is it expanding into, in that case? How can matter receding from some other forms of matter (cf. the red shift) imply that the space in which everything is “expanding” (whatever that means)? All one can imply is that, assuming the red shift and other measurements are correctly indicative of matter’s movement, the distribution of matter seems to be getting sparser in the pervasive volume of space, in other words, that there is “intrinsic expansion”. To make the leap that this “intrinsic expansion” is “extrinsic” is completely bogus and theoretically unsound. I was happy to note that some scientists, at least, agree with me about this problem.
The prevailing view is that of Chodorowski: "unlike the expansion of the cosmic substratum, the expansion of space is unobservable". (Wikipedia article on Metric Expansion of Space)
I would go further and say that not only is this unobservable in practice, it is in principle unobservable and is philosophically and logically contradictory.

The last problem, P5, is not really a problem, but a rather conceptual meditation on the very definition of eternity and infinity, in time and space respectively. In my understanding, infinity can never be observed in the physical realm, it can only be thought about. What one can experience is always finite and limited. Even in thought, the notion of infinity comes primarily from mathematics (for example the aleph-0 and aleph-1 infinities). Eternity, likewise, is a conception (or a deduction) which is in principle not an experiential possibility.

If the Big Bang model presumes a beginning to Time, and a limit to Space (both contradictory concepts to begin with, but let’s play along for a while), it can still be argued that the universe is eternal and infinite. This is because now the notion of eternity can only mean: earlier than any time, i.e. as long as Time has been (sic). And, similarly, the notion of infinity in space can only mean: further than any distance, i.e., as far as space exists (sic). Considering especially the notion of “curved space”, it can be contemplated that infinite space is consistent with a “bounded universe” because now the notion of distance itself has been subverted. Or rather, twisted.

27 comments:

dadi ma ke kissey kahani said...

damn good write-up...provocative and convincing at the same time.

thanks and i cannot even begin to counter...

Harmanjit Singh said...

Some more pertinent articles/links on this topic:

http://www.leaderu.com/offices/billcraig/docs/creation.html

http://www.leaderu.com/real/ri9404/bigbang.html

(Creationist perspective to the Big Bang model)

http://www.iep.utm.edu/t/time.htm#SH4b

And finally, this Q&A takes the cake. Jaw dropping:

http://www.bigbang.org/comple-e.htm#Happiness

Harmanjit Singh said...

Cosmology FAQ sidesteps these questions by quoting Wittgenstein!

http://www.astro.ucla.edu/~wright/cosmology_faq.html#XIN

Change said...

For the purpose of analyzing the problems you have stated let me state those problems here again

P1: The factor, by definition of the word “universe” (all that is), is within the universe. This is the first problem

P2: Beginning of Universe

P3: Absent of causality, time & Physical laws

P4: Notion of expanding universe

P5: Problem in observing infinity.

Again for the purpose of analyzing these problems, we may have to define/understand certain facts.

The first fact is the understanding of limitation of thought. In a broad sense, thought is nothing but the result of the process of processing of our brain, which entirely depends on our experience. Our experience is limited and hence the reach of thought is limited.

Let me explain what I mean by our experience. When we were young and see the sky above our head for the first time and if at all it evoked some reactions within us, it must be something like, the sky is a wall like thing which is surrounding the earth and it is blue in color. Later we understand that there is no wall surrounding the earth. The color we are seeing is just the scattered light of sun, scattered by the fine particles or medium just above the surface of earth. Thus our experience has reached another level and now we see things from that perspective and it continues.

What is big bang theory? In a broad sense, it is the measure of this universe with the thought of human being and the experience of human being as the basic instruments to measure; for the telescope and whatever sophisticated instruments to measure energy and matter are also due to human thought and experience. It is a theory conceived by human mind which is supported by a mathematical model. The mathematical model is deduced based on instruments designed by human thought. The instrument devised by human thought has a maximum limit, which is the limit of thought itself.

Before looking into the problem, we may have to look into creation by keeping aside the concepts of God and concepts given in scriptures. This is because, if somebody is thinking at this level, definitely the concept of God us causation has no meaning due to the fact that if we accept that concept, there is no meaning for all these thoughts, theories and philosophies.

Based on the exiting mathematical models, there are basically two components in existence. One is energy and the other is matter and the entire energy can be equated to matter or the matter can be equated to energy. We may have to consider two phases, if we are discussing about the beginning of universe. These two phases are EXISTANCE and UNIVERSE. The universe is what we can observe. Existence is, as the name suggests, everything including the universe. We have already noted that universe is the measurable part of existence or the one which can be modeled by mathematical equation.

Any matter in this universe has certain spin or vibration. If there is no vibration, there cannot be any matter and it is only energy. And there must be a limit for the vibration, above which the matter cannot exist and it is only energy. The Big bang theory explains the creation of this universe in which we are a part. Before the big bang, this universe was infinitely high density, with in a small space, where there is no measure of that small space, but within the existence. Hence for the universe, the measure of space and time begin at the time of big bang, but it is not the beginning of time and space for the existence itself.

How do we come to the point that the space for universe is expanding. This is only based on observation of measureable parameters. We have to note the statement that the universe is expanding or the space for universe is expanding. It is not the space itself is expanding. For the purpose of understanding, we may equate it to a blowing balloon. When we blow the balloon, the space inside the balloon is expanding, but not the absolute space. The case with the universe is also same, the space contained by the universe, as a result of big bang, is expanding – not the absolute space.

Now the physicists are started giving a model of multiple history of the universe, which means the universe was created and annihilated multiple times. And there may be another universe with in existence, which may contain another billion of galaxies or all together with a different structure. It is not within our experience and hence we may not be able to speculate about that.

I think with this explanation, the difficulties mentioned by problems P1 to P4 are no more.

For P5, my suggestion is that whatever beyond our experience, for the purpose of fixing our thought, we give the name infinity.

http://change-within.blogspot.com

Harmanjit Singh said...

Hi "Change",

Thank you for your comments.

Your essential counterpoint to P1/2/3/4 is the following:

"These two phases are EXISTANCE and UNIVERSE. The universe is what we can observe. Existence is, as the name suggests, everything including the universe."

I disagree that there is anything IN PRINCIPLE apart from the universe. You are saying that we don't know it yet, but since human mind/perception is limited, there may be something beyond our observations (in EXISTENCE but not in UNIVERSE, using your terminology) which can cause the observable universe.

I think this is mysticism, plain and simple. Esp. when you say that the universe is what is measurable, i.e. when you claim that there is something (beyond the universe) which is in principle immeasurable.

I think my paradoxes, as stated, still stand as valid paradoxes.

"For P5, my suggestion is that whatever beyond our experience, for the purpose of fixing our thought, we give the name infinity."

Not so, mathematicians use the concept of infinity not for any reason of concentration, but for theoretical/mathematical reasons.

Are you a spiritualist, by the way?

Harmanjit Singh said...

Hi "Change", my guess was not inaccurate. However, you have probably have been influenced by J Krishnamurti.

As per your blog article ( http://change-within.blogspot.com/2009/03/bondage-freedom-1.html ), you say:

"That is whenever we use the word “I” or “Me”, it is just the bundle of qualities which our mind is projecting about ourselves plus our body. When the Indian philosophies indicates that we must forego our “ego” or “I centeredness” or “self” to reach the state of realization means, we must come out of this projection of our mind about ourselves to enter into pure reality. That implies, we are no more certain bunch of qualities, we are just the absolute existence as it is. We have the complete knowledge of existence within us by means of our conscious/subconscious/unconscious/collective-unconscious mind."

And in:

http://change-within.blogspot.com/2009/04/anger.html

"Whenever the projection of our mind is challenged, our mind expresses the reaction as anger. The intensity of anger depends on the intensity of challenge. When we are caught in psychological bondage, the mind always project everything it sees, make it as an image and store it back in the memory. Depend on the usage of this image for our survival, the mind seeks security for the projected image, and this will be breeding point of attachment and possessiveness. Hence the intensity of our anger depends on how far we are attached with the image projected by the mind or how far the mind seeks security of that image."

Anger is part of our animal heritage, it is an in-born pattern at birth, though one which can be dismantled, and not a construct.

Change said...

“....I think this is mysticism, plain and simple. Esp. when you say that the universe is what is measurable, i.e. when you claim that there is something (beyond the universe) which is in principle immeasurable....”

I do not think there is nothing called mysticism. It is logical or mystical depend on the thinker of certain concept.

If you say to a person, who has not heard about television and who is not aware of the electromagnetic ways, I am seeing some thing happening on the other side of earth as it happening – for that person, it looks like mysticism. This is because television is not in his experience. By experience I mean the knowledge; for knowledge is experience.

Here also it is similar case. Our limit of thought is the limit of our experience/knowledge. If we want to expand our knowledge, we may have to see further with out rejection, which does not mean we have to accept every thing as told, which is beyond our experience. In that case it will become mysticism again.

My point here is that nothing is illogical or mystical in existence. It is our limitation to see the logic due to the limitation of our experience. To transcend this limitation, yet not to be caught in the trap of mysticism, we may have to look beyond our experience with the complete understanding of limitation of our experience.

“ ….....Esp. when you say that the universe is what is measurable, i.e. when you claim that there is something (beyond the universe) which is in principle immeasurable....”

In a broad sense, it is the measure of this universe with the thought of human being and the experience of human being as the basic instruments to measure; for the telescope and whatever sophisticated instruments to measure energy and matter are also due to human thought and experience. The instruments to measure, as on now, is limited with in this universe. The current measurement of space is that the far most galaxy from earth is about 4 billion light years away. Probably, when we evolve further, we may be able to invent new instruments to measure beyond universe. This will happen when our experience goes beyond our universe. If we limit our thought with in this universe, there will not be a possibility of finding such instrument. Hence in our experience, the space width of existence is 4 billion light years. It may or may not beyond this limit. There is a possibility as well as there is not a possibility. My point is that if we conclude the point that there is no such possibility, we are closing the possibility of finding such thing, if it really exists. On the other hand, if we accept there is some thing beyond this universe, we are entering in to a realm on mysticism. It is up to us, where do we choose to stand.

“...Are you a spiritualist, by the way?....”

I do not know your definition of spirituality. Hence my answer may not be the correct answer for your question. I am a spiritualist. I am writing my thoughts on my blog http://change-within.blogspot.com. May I invite you to this blog to find it yourself.

Thanks

G. Randolph Mayes said...

Your points are good ones, but using terms in unfamiliar ways is how philosophy and science gets done. Copernicus abused the concept of earth and Darwin abused the concept of species and QM abused the concept of particle and and the concept of wave in precisely the same way. It is useful to point out that a term is being used in ways that make no sense from an ordinary language perspective. We need to know when we are doing it. But that doesn't mean we need to stop.

PhysicsDude said...

Okay here is the resolution:

Time did not exist before the big bang, because time is a measure of change and there must be some phenomenon to calibrate it. A singularity in the void affords no change against which time may be meaningfully said to exist.

Space did not exist before the big bang for the same reason it is because the notion of space needs at least 2 particles as a referent measure. Before big bang no particles hence no space.

The more problematic aspect of big bang is that according to quantum mechanics there cannot be a vaccum, particles and antiparticles constantly form in this vaccum, therefore how could they have not formed before the big bang occured. This is a more serious problem.

Harmanjit Singh said...

Hi physicsdude,

Thanks for your comments.

"Time did not exist before the big bang, because time is a measure of change and there must be some phenomenon to calibrate it. A singularity in the void affords no change against which time may be meaningfully said to exist."

# It is a remarkable statement, and since it is making /such/ a fantastical-sounding claim, it should be subject to the most minute philosophical and scientific scrutiny. And I disagree that "time is a measurement of change". It is the substratum (the 4th dimension) which makes events possible. It is philosophically possible to imagine the passage of time even when nothing is happening (absolute zero, no motion of any kind, all throughout the universe). Ultimately, it comes down to this: if there is nobody to measure time, and no way to measure time, does time still exist? I say yes. To say otherwise is to accept a form of subjectivity like "If a tree falls in a forest with nobody to hear it, it makes no sound."

"Space did not exist before the big bang for the same reason it is because the notion of space needs at least 2 particles as a referent measure. Before big bang no particles hence no space."

# I understand this argument, but it makes little sense. The notion of space does not need even one particle. "Space" is more fundamentally existent than what occupies space. The existence of particles, or of vacuum, has to presume space.

"The more problematic aspect of big bang is that according to quantum mechanics there cannot be a vaccum, particles and antiparticles constantly form in this vaccum, therefore how could they have not formed before the big bang occured. This is a more serious problem."

This is (correct me if i am wrong) essentially another variant of saying "how can something come from nothing".

Change said...

Hope, you may allow this comment, even though it is in the same line as I posted earlier but with some more views of mine.

Creation is the conversion of particles with or with out out mass into one or more massive particles. In physics mass less elementary particles are called Bosons and massive elementary particles are called Fermions. Hence creation is the conversion of two or more Bosons into Fermions.

Because of momentum conservation laws, the creation of a pair of fermions (matter particles) out of a single photon or Boson cannot occur. However, matter creation is allowed by momentum conservation law when in the presence of another particle (it may be another photon or other boson, or even a fermion) which can share photon's momentum. Thus, matter can be created out of two photons, for example (this is the process inverse to annihilation).

The law of energy conservation sets a minimum photon energy required for creation of a pair of fermions: this threshold energy must be greater than the total rest energy of the fermions created. To create an electron-positron pair the total energy of the photons must be at least 2mec2 = 2×0.511 MeV = 1.022 MeV (me is the mass of one electron and c is the speed of light in vacuum), an energy value that corresponds to soft gamma ray photons. The creation of a much more massive pair, like a proton and antiproton, requires photons with energy of more than 1.88 GeV (hard gamma ray photons).

Please note that the below statements are not established theoretically with the support of mathematical modeling. However, it may be possibility with respect to the laws of nature which we are already aware of.

From the law of relativity, we know that energy can be converted to matter or matter can be converted to energy.

Before the creation of this universe or before the creation of the point of infinity density before the big bang itself, there must have been space and completely filled with energy. We know that evolution is self sustaining event. (Yes, evolution is an event – a continuous event, which may be the basis of time). Based on that, at certain stage of evolution, part of the energy is converted to matter which is supported by relativity theory. Once the matter is formed, vibration is its basic property. Or the properties of any matter depend on the vibration. Due to the vibration of these particles, the infinitely high density matter, which was responsible for the big bang was formed.

With respect to the discussion on time,

“-------And I disagree that "time is a measurement of change". It is the substratum (the 4th dimension) which makes events possible. It is philosophically possible to imagine the passage of time even when nothing is happening (absolute zero, no motion of any kind, all throughout the universe). Ultimately, it comes down to this: if there is nobody to measure time, and no way to measure time, does time still exist? I say yes. To say otherwise is to accept a form of subjectivity like "If a tree falls in a forest with nobody to hear it, it makes no sound….”

The above analogy may have to be corrected to describe time, in the domain in which we are discussing. It should be like, if there is no forest for the tree to fall, and no body to hear it, …….. I think, this is the domain in which the discussion is going. Hence obviously no sound because of the falling of tree from an unavailable forest.

Similarly, there is no time for the universe before the universe is created by means of evolution of existence. All these questions are there because we are the observers observing against backdrop universe, which was created at certain point of time and, we are with in this universe and not able to go beyond our frame of reference, which is this universe itself.

Surbhi Goel said...

Harmanjit:"It is philosophically possible to imagine the passage of time even when nothing is happening (absolute zero, no motion of any kind, all throughout the universe)."

# Are you making a distinction between clock time and duration here.
In that case, Bergson's idea of time comes to my mind and also two types of memory: habit formed memory and recollection, the first being stored in our brain while the second in our consciousness. Clock-time is best described as a series of events one after another and can be explained rationally and measured (the scientific/brain approach to memory), while duration is the perceived ‘flow’ of time and can only be guessed by instinct and intuition. (the consciousness approach to memory). This means that time isn’t only the order in which things happen, but also the way they do. While clock-time can be measured by mathematical means such as seconds and minutes, duration cannot since it is an individual interpretation. ( the kind we find in our experiences). Like in a photograph the moment captured in space and time is a particular moment and a clock time , say at 2.30 pm. But the experience extends to every moment that the photograph is viewed. Hence the duration is extended.

I am deviating from the debate, but to understand it better and clear my concepts.

Please bear with me.

PhysicsDude said...

"Time did not exist before the big bang, because time is a measure of change and there must be some phenomenon to calibrate it. A singularity in the void affords no change against which time may be meaningfully said to exist."

# It is a remarkable statement, and since it is making /such/ a fantastical-sounding claim, it should be subject to the most minute philosophical and scientific scrutiny. And I disagree that "time is a measurement of change". It is the substratum (the 4th dimension) which makes events possible. It is philosophically possible to imagine the passage of time even when nothing is happening (absolute zero, no motion of any kind, all throughout the universe). Ultimately, it comes down to this: if there is nobody to measure time, and no way to measure time, does time still exist? I say yes. To say otherwise is to accept a form of subjectivity like "If a tree falls in a forest with nobody to hear it, it makes no sound."

Time is different for different observers according to theory or relativity. According to which only speed of light is constant. Thus the clocks of an observer slows down according to how fast it is moving. You may say that time is subjective.


"Space did not exist before the big bang for the same reason it is because the notion of space needs at least 2 particles as a referent measure. Before big bang no particles hence no space."

# I understand this argument, but it makes little sense. The notion of space does not need even one particle. "Space" is more fundamentally existent than what occupies space. The existence of particles, or of vacuum, has to presume space.

Not so, Space is very much a relative quantity, relative to your reference measure.

Nowadays overwhelmingly most physicists are instrumentalists: they only attempt to answer questions posed by experiments or measurements. Your questions are ontological, like postulating an objective existence of space and time. Physicists shall remain quiet on such questions: for them space-time only makes sense in the context of observation, and for that one requires a reference frame, (for example something like periodic motion of atoms to calibrate time and something like wavelength of light to calibrate space).



"The more problematic aspect of big bang is that according to quantum mechanics there cannot be a vaccum, particles and antiparticles constantly form in this vaccum, therefore how could they have not formed before the big bang occured. This is a more serious problem."

This is (correct me if i am wrong) essentially another variant of saying "how can something come from nothing".

On the contrary according to quantum physics nothing always gives birth to something all the time. The existence of nothing at all or a vacuum is impossible.

srid said...

The existence of nothing at all or a vacuum is impossibleHow does one explain the 'empty space' between the atoms, or between electrons in an atom where literally nothing exists?

Harmanjit Singh said...

Hi Srid:

"How does one explain the 'empty space' between the atoms, or between electrons in an atom where literally nothing exists?"

# Even though you are asking someone else, I can try to provide an answer to this question. There are many ways to answer your question:

- You are talking of the Rutherford model of atoms, where electrons circle the nucleus like the planets circle the sun. The quantum model of the atom does not admit of clearly delineated trajectories of electrons with nothing in between, or of molecules having "empty space". The quantum model of an atom, AFAIK, is that there is a cloud of possibilities of where an electron, or an atom, can be. I.e. that the wave function is not discrete but only has a peak at one point (where the Rutherford model predicts the electron), but is also non-zero elsewhere.

- At the macro level, 100% vacuum is a theoretical construct and is impossible to achieve. Do read the first paragraph of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vaccuum

- Even if the vacuum is to exist, and the Rutherford model is considered factual, the vacuum is a macro concept and does not refer to the space between electrons and the nucleus, etc.

Harmanjit Singh said...

Hi Physicsdude,

"Time is different for different observers according to theory or relativity. According to which only speed of light is constant. Thus the clocks of an observer slows down according to how fast it is moving. You may say that time is subjective."

# I have a philosophical objection with Relativistic time. All Relativistic theory describes is observers measuring durations between observable phenomena and coming to different measurements based on their frame of reference.

That does not have to mean that there is no objective "flow of time" which is happening for all observers equally. In other words, in my opinion, relativistic time is not contradictory to Newtonian time, but is more of a measurement paradigm.

For example, in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Relativity_of_simultaneity , the article says that two observers may differ about the simultaneity of two events, but that is like saying if two observers differ about the measured loudness of the sound of the tree falling in the forest, there is nothing like objective sound. I recommend the (unfortunately) out-of-print book, "Relativity Time and Reality" by Harald Nordenson in which he tries to show, successfully I think, that relativistic time experiments presuppose Newtonian time.

"Not so, Space is very much a relative quantity, relative to your reference measure."

# Space is the a-priori dimension(s) in which quantities can be calculated. How can you define space itself in terms of what is in it, and how the distances between these are measured?

"Nowadays overwhelmingly most physicists are instrumentalists: they only attempt to answer questions posed by experiments or measurements."

# Correct. And they should then limit themselves to making statements about measurements. For example, if, due to the constancy of speed of light in all frames of reference, it is found that measurements of time using light are relative, then the only statement one can make is that "this measurement, M, is in this frame of reference, R, using these visual signals". To say something ontological like there is nothing like "Newtonian time" or "absolute simultaneity" is to overreach the conclusions of the experiment.

"Your questions are ontological, like postulating an objective existence of space and time."

# Correct. And the physicists claims' are also ontological, but negatively so (i.e. they are denying absolute/objective time and space). I think they are unjustified in making the leap from measurements to ontological claims.

"Physicists shall remain quiet on such questions: for them space-time only makes sense in the context of observation, and for that one requires a reference frame, (for example something like periodic motion of atoms to calibrate time and something like wavelength of light to calibrate space)."

# Not so. Physicists routinely make statements like:

"The theory of relativity does not allow the existence of absolute time because of nonexistence of absolute simultaneity." (wikipedia article on absolute simultaneity)

Even Heisenberg's uncertainty principle makes the leap from a limitation of measurement to an ontological statement.

Einstein, himself a subjectivist when it came to measurements of time, was an absolutist when it came to the uncertainty principle, which he fought against in his later life.

I refer you to the EPR paradox. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epr_paradox ).

"On the contrary according to quantum physics nothing always gives birth to something all the time. The existence of nothing at all or a vacuum is impossible."

# Thanks for the clarification!

May I suggest that, since the discussions seem to be becoming wider in scope, and "blogger comments" are not the best platform for having an involved discussion with citations etc., that we continue the discussion on a mailing list: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/actualfreedom ?

Thanks for your cooperation.

Harmanjit Singh said...

"Are you making a distinction between clock time and duration here."

# No, I am making a distinction in different conceptions of time in my original article. But in my dialogue with Physicsdude, I am making a distinction between ontological/objective time and durational/measured time.

Your digression about psychological time and clock time is an interesting discussion in its own right, but irrelevant, if I may be so forthright, to this particular blog post.

Change said...

Time is the measure of duration. Duration is the gap between two events.

The basic question here during the discussion of this subject is whether time exists before the creation of this universe, either by the way of big bang or any other means.

As indicated in this blog, time is the fourth dimension to define position of an object. If there is no event happening means there is no question of defining any position and hence there is no requirement of the measure called time. When there is no requirement of certain thing, we can very well say, it doesn’t exist.

My suggestion for this question shall be, if there is any event happening before the creation of this universe, then time exists otherwise no. I think, there is no widely accepted theorem to support the possibility of some events before the creation of this universe by whatever means.

As on now, big bang theory is the widely accepted theory with respect to our universe, where the measure of duration is required only from the event of big bang. If you have to believe time was required before big bang also, what is the alternative theory you are suggesting so that we can try to explore that theory.

The aim of the blog was stated as analyzing the two points of big bang theory, namely.

• The universe, with its properties, space and time and the physical laws, had a beginning, known as the singularity.
• It is finite, and has been “expanding” since that singular beginning.
But looks like, the discussion is deviating from philosophical/common sense aspect to the core of quantum physics.

http://change-within.blogspot.com

PhysicsDude said...

I have a philosophical objection with Relativistic time. All Relativistic theory describes is observers measuring durations between observable phenomena and coming to different measurements based on their frame of reference.

That does not have to mean that there is no objective "flow of time" which is happening for all observers equally. In other words, in my opinion, relativistic time is not contradictory to Newtonian time, but is more of a measurement paradigm.

# No, relativity does away with the notion of an objective time, no reference frame is privileged, so there is no objective time.

if two observers differ about the measured loudness of the sound of the tree falling in the forest, there is nothing like objective sound.

#Which is also true: loudness is a function of your location and measuring instrument, why should there be an objective loudness, irrespective of all this.

Correct. And the physicists claims' are also ontological, but negatively so (i.e. they are denying absolute/objective time and space). I think they are unjustified in making the leap from measurements to ontological claims.

# We are simply stating that no reference frame is privileged according to Einstein's theory and evidence is in our favor.

pankaj said...

i dont have much of a problem with a universe which cant be explained within the parameters of common sense perception - the creation of time itself, curving space etc. it seems extremely plausible that the human brain is not capable of fully comprehending the workings of the universe (at least not within the parameters of the structure of human thought - the concept of causality, time, space).

importantly, these are not theories one can simply rubbish. with countless minds educated in advanced physics considering the question, the theory is still standing.

Sriram said...

Science is emperical, not philosophical. Radiation observed indicates a doppler red-shift, which means expanding universe. Bing bang explains this.

If you have a better hyposthesis which explains doppler shifts and other observed effects, go ahead. Till then Bing bang stays.

Harmanjit Singh said...

Hi Sriram, Pankaj:

I do understand, and state, that the Big Bang model is the most popular cosmological model at present, and hence I implicitly acknowledge that the vast majority of the scientists have not raised their voice against any aspect of it.

However, any scientific theory has to be philosophically and logically consistent. An illogical theory is simply invalid, no matter how close to observations and measurements some of its formulae lead to. A contradictory set of axioms, for example, can be used to prove any statement at all but that doesn't make them a valid theory.

I am neither arrogant nor humble in presenting what I consider philosophical problems with the BB model, and these problems, if one is truly scientific, have to be answered without appeal to authority, "limitation of mind", popular opinion, etc. Physicsdude, for example, has tried to answer my questions by engaging me, correctly mostly, as to the conceptions of time in modern physics.

Many modern disciplines have given logic and philosophical integrity a go-by in their desire to present one esoteric theory after another. Postmodernism is one example, and modern physics is not too far. Quantum Physics and BB cosmology are venturing into the fantastical realm completely oblivious to needs of logical rigor or philosophical precision.

For a grave example of this tendency, try to read the following article on wikipedia and try to see what a cat-and-mouse game scientists are playing with assumptions and logic versus observations:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copernican_principle

For further stimulation, may I recommend (do note that I do not necessarily agree with what is written in the following pages):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-standard_cosmology

http://www.bigbangneverhappened.org/

http://www.cosmologystatement.org/

Harmanjit Singh said...

Hi Physicsdude

"Which is also true: loudness is a function of your location and measuring instrument, why should there be an objective loudness, irrespective of all this."

# There is an objective vibration in matter and air when a tree falls in a forest, and even if no one is there to hear it, the vibration is there and dies out in due time. Loudness is a measure of the amplitude and energy of the vibration, my statement is that due to a disagreement over the measurement over this loudness, to discount the existence of that objective sound is a leap of ontological faith which is unjustified.

Harmanjit Singh said...

Do note that I am not a subscriber of the heliocentric model at all. But I do consider that any position in space is unique, and if we are observing something from earth, it is very possible that from some other vantage point, we might see something different at a large scale (e.g. it is not a given that we will see an expanding universe from all points in the universe.)

My purpose in providing a link to the copernican principle is to point out the complexity of principles being used to interpret the observations and measurements in modern physics.

PhysicsDude said...

#There is an objective vibration in matter and air when a tree falls in a forest, and even if no one is there to hear it, the vibration is there and dies out in due time. Loudness is a measure of the amplitude and energy of the vibration, my statement is that due to a disagreement over the measurement over this loudness,

Loudness arises out of interaction of the measuring instrument with the environment. It is one aspect of an unknown reality or more precisely the result of an experiment: what else exists independent of measurement (matter, vibration) is purely speculative, or more precisely an ontological model that aids in understanding and prediction.

And I know that ontological models are more intuitive for humans, and perhaps also better suited to the advancement of science. However, the epistemological stance is also perfectly logical.

Harmanjit Singh said...

Hi Physicsdude

"ontological models are more intuitive for humans, and perhaps also better suited to the advancement of science. However, the epistemological stance is also perfectly logical."

# Two comments:

- Epistemological stances need to refrain from making unjustified ontological claims.

- Do you have any articles/links which shed further light on this issue of ontological claims of relativity / quantum-mech / modern cosmology as regards time, space, uncertainty, nothing makes something, etc.? I would have thought this to be a hot topic amongst philosophers of science.

Harmanjit Singh said...

Well, at least concerning space I finally found the relevant terms of the debate between physicsdude and myself:

It is "Container space" and "Absolute space" versus "Relational space":

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Relational_space

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Container_space

Regarding Time, the debate is between "Absolute Time" or "Newtonian Time" versus "Relativistic Time" (note that Time has different conceptions in SR and GR relativity theories)

On a digression, you might have a laugh or two reading the all-too-serious views of the originator of the inflationary theory of the universe:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Guth#Creating_a_new_universe

That's what happens when one gives up common sense and lets imagination run riot.