Anatomy Of A Failed Atheist Argument

This post was formerly titled, “Oh, There’s A Contradiction Alright!” but I changed it in honor of Angra Mainyu because it is such a shining example of the sophistry and willful ignorance so prevalent on the atheist side of contemporary philosophy of religion. Should Angra Mainyu have the wherewithall to return and play fair, and actually demonstrate that which he asserts, I’ll gladly change the title to, “cl Didn’t Get It.” You’ll see, the comment thread says it all.

Of Angra Mainyu’s blog, a commenter recently remarked,

An interesting blog with some good arguments, among others what appears to be a thorough refutation of the Kalam Cosmological Argument.

I thought to myself, “That sounds interesting, maybe I’ll go have a look.” Needless to say, a thorough refutation is not what I found. Thorough, yes, but a refutation… not as much so.

Keep in mind that I’m no big fan of William Lane Craig’s Kalam Cosmological Argument. I prefer Aristotle’s whole kinesis approach, because I think it conveys the ontological concepts more clearly, while providing for a seemingly irrefutable argument favoring a specific type of theism. I’ve always felt there was a bit too much ambiguity in Craig’s KCA, but that’s beside the point.

Our author believes he has established a contradiction given Craig’s delineations, and quotes Craig thus:

By an “event,” one means any change. Since any change takes time, there are no instantaneous events so defined. Neither could there be an infinitely slow event, since such an “event” would, in reality, be a changeless state. Therefore, any event will have a finite, nonzero duration. [2] The reason I hold God to be timeless without the universe is that I think that an infinite regress of events is impossible, and, according to a relational theory of time, in the absence of any events time would not exist. The reason I hold God to be temporal since the beginning of the universe is that the creation of the universe brings God into a new relation, namely, co-existing with the universe, and such an extrinsic change alone (not to mention God’s exercise of causal power) is sufficient for a temporal relation. [3] So if God is timeless, he is also unchanging, but it does not follow that He cannot change. I’d say that He can change and if He were to do so, He would cease to be timeless. And that’s exactly what I think He did. [4]

Then, the author responds with a progression of his own, based on what he believes to be airtight responses given Craig’s delineations:

God changes from timeless to temporal.

Any change is an event, so let E(0) be the event “God changes from being timeless to being temporal”. [5]

Now, if t=0 is the beginning of time, then E(0) is an event that ends at t=0, since t=0 is the first time at which God is temporal.

Since every event has a finite, non-zero duration, E(0) has some duration e>0, and ends at t=0.

Then, there is a time interval of duration e prior to t=0.

That contradicts the hypothesis that t=0 is the beginning of time. [6]

Hence, the author’s claim that Craig’s delineations lead to a contradiction. Are you sold?

I say the author’s claim is bogus. Before I get into it, can anyone else see where the author went wrong? For those who really, really want a hint, take a look at the 3rd reference to Craig in the author’s citation above…

243 Comments

  1. God’s change from timeless to temporal can’t take time because, until God becomes temporal, nothing can be temporal, that is, nothing can take time. But Craig seems to invite the confusion by positing that an event means any change, whereas according to Craig’s definition, God’s transformation isn’t an event

    But whence the premise: who says events necessarily take time? In quantum mechanics, at least as I understand it, state changes occur instantaneously.

  2. Angra Mainyu says:

    The contradiction is clear: Craig claims that any change takes time, and what I explained is that the change in God (e.g., his changing from not knowing any tensed facts to knowing some tensed facts) is, well, a change

    In fact, in his reply to my post, Craig acknowledged that the statements appeared to contradict each other, but falsely claimed that he was using the words in a technical manner in one case, so there was no actual contradiction.

    I replied again, explaining why his claim wasn’t true and his reply failed.

    In addition, I provided other, alternative reasons why the KCA fails to provide support for theism, just to be thorough.

    As for instantaneous changes, I considered the matter too, showing that it’s contradictory too.

    I’m not sure what kind of instantaneous change in QM you’re talking about, but if it’s a claim that, say, if two particles are entangled, then changes propagate instantaneously, that does not mean instantaneous in the sense that is relevant to the KCA, since the entangled particles would be changing from one moment to the next – even if there is no delay from the change in one particle to the change in the other particle; that’s another matter.

    P.S: I don’t know whether the HTML tags will work here.
    So, just in case:

    Craig’s reply: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=9269
    My reply: http://angramainyusblog.blogspot.com/2012/01/kalam-cosmological-argument-once-again.html

  3. cl says:

    Sorry, but I don’t think there’s anything I can do. So long as you refuse to meet him on his own terms, there will always appear to be a contradiction. All I can say is I’m pretty sure Craig intends “change” to mean something like “transition from potency to act” in the Aristotleian sense. The way I see it, his reply succeeded. It was exactly what a successful reply should be: he established context (which you omitted), clarified his terms, and re-evaluated your objections in light of said clarification.

    Although, there is one part of your reply that interests me:

    As for instantaneous changes, I considered the matter too, showing that it’s contradictory too.

    How so? I didn’t see the support for that.

  4. Angra Mainyu says:

    No, he didn’t establish context. He made a false claim that context supported his interpretation, and that he had meant ‘change’ in a technical sense, and I show why that was not the case.

    However, I already explained that carefully in my reply, so no point in insisting. Also, as for the matter of instantaneous changes (not simultaneous causation, but instantaneous changes), I explained the contradiction carefully as well, so I don’t see any point in adding more arguments, either.

    In any case, I did not expect to persuade any theists (in many years, I never persuaded any theist of anything substantive regarding any kind of argument involving any of their religious beliefs, so I’ve stopped trying long ago; I try to persuade fencesitters and give good arguments to other non-theists), so essentially on both issues (and the rest of the KCA), all I would do is invite readers to take a close look at Craig’s arguments, my arguments and yours, and assess the matter(s) for themselves.

  5. cl says:

    No, he didn’t establish context.

    No, you didn’t establish context when you should have (no big deal it’s a mistake all serious writers have made), and, just as Dr. Craig said, you cobbled together different passages from different contexts. Dr. Craig then had to go and clean up the mess you made.

    He made a false claim that context supported his interpretation, and that he had meant ‘change’ in a technical sense, and I show why that was not the case.

    No you didn’t. You simply allege that Dr. Craig’s claim was false, expect readers to take your word for it, then say,

    …there is no such “this technical sense” of “change” in Craig’s KCA.

    And yet, I’ve given you a perfunctory elaboration of the “technical sense” I think Dr. Craig alludes to, and you refused to grapple with it! Well, if you don’t want to grapple, that’s fine, but don’t say the other wrestler isn’t there. That you ignore X doesn’t mean X doesn’t exist.

    However, I already explained that carefully in my reply, so no point in insisting.

    Where? I’ve looked your argument up and down. Right now I’m looking specifically at Section 9: Craig’s Reply, Events, and Timelessness, and all I see is what I just quoted.

    Also, as for the matter of instantaneous changes (not simultaneous causation, but instantaneous changes), I explained the contradiction carefully as well, so I don’t see any point in adding more arguments, either.

    Where? Are you at least open to the possibility that your argument is not as clear to outsiders as it is to yourself?

    In any case, I did not expect to persuade any theists (in many years, I never persuaded any theist of anything substantive regarding any kind of argument involving any of their religious beliefs, so I’ve stopped trying long ago;

    Similarly, I don’t expect to persuade you that the error is actually your own, which is why I said I didn’t think there was anything I could do unless you were willing to meet Dr. Craig on his own terms. Now, whether or not the KCA holds water makes no difference to me or my faith. For years, I was a theist who rejected all variants of First Cause arguments. In other words, I don’t stand to lose anything by conceding your argument even if I felt it was cogent, and I engage it purely to ensure I’m not missing anything. I’ve seen a lot of people say they can debunk First Cause arguments, yet the claims never pass muster when closely expected. You shouldn’t shy away from the challenge to make your case on the mistaken assumption that you won’t be able to persuade me, because believe me, I can be persuaded. All you have to do is demonstrate. Would you like to proceed?

    If so, maybe you can start by showing me these careful explanations. If not, well… I wish you the best.

  6. Angra Mainyu says:

    First, context does not support your claims. It’s obvious – read his the quote from his book, or his argument – that he did not define ‘change’, but used it in the usual sense of the word.

    He defined ‘event’ as ‘any change’.
    My quotation from his book actually provides that context and shows that very clearly: it shows how ‘event’ is defined. I can’t just quote everything in his book due to copyright restrictions, but it’s good enough for readers who are being careful and aren’t being irrational (clearly, the hostility you display from the first post here, alongside the errors in it, show that you’re not in that category; but then again, you’re a theist discussing a matter related to your beliefs, so I wouldn’t expect otherwise.)

    Second, in fact, in his reply to my post, Craig claimed that the technical definition of ‘event’: he claims that he’s stipulating that ‘event’ has a non-zero, finite duration (note that that has nothing to do with the definition you provided).

    However, his claim is false. As I point out in my argument – and proved by showing the quotation from his book -, he did not define ‘event’ as having a non-zero, finite duration. He defined ‘event’ as ‘any change’, and then went on to claim that changes have a non-zero, finite duration.

    Of course, I’ve already explained this in much greater detail in my argument, and in fact insisted on those points more than once, just in case someone didn’t see it as once…I guess I’ll add one more repetition, just because (though, of course, I wouldn’t expect to reach someone who is being irrational, like you).

    Third, I don’t expect readers to take my word for it – as readers who aren’t being irrational would have realized by now.

    Clearly, I pointed out that he defined ‘event’ in terms of change, and that he claimed – not stipulated – that, under that definition, events have a non-zero, finite duration, because changes do.
    My quotation of his book should be enough, but in any case, readers can take a look at his book to see that there is no such technical sense.

    Fourth, after showing the contradiction, I also explained that claiming that an event had zero duration (which would contradict Craig’s claim) still wouldn’t save the KCA from a another contradiction.
    I wouldn’t expect you to see that, but readers who aren’t being irrational – if they’re being careful, of course – will see it.

    Fifth, of course, my argument may not be as clear to outsiders who are being rational as it is to me, which is why I repeated some of the key points more than once.
    On the other hand, no amount of repetition will make the argument clear to people who are obviously being irrational.

    Sixth, the idea of ‘meeting Dr. Craig in his own terms’ suggests that I’ve misinterpreted his words. My argument – and the relevant quotations – show that that is not so. He falsely claimed that he had said something very different from what he had said, as I showed.

    Seventh, as I said, I also showed – more than once – the contradiction in instantaneous events/changes. I will, perhaps, repeat that again just in case, but the point is that even if he had stipulated what he claimed (which is a false claim on his part, as I showed), a contradiction (and thus, all of them) would still follow.

    Eight, even leaving that aside, a ‘timeless’ state would not ontologically differ from a state at t=0. So, the argument would fail just because of that – which I also showed.

    Ninth, I provided independent reasons why the KCA failed, even if one didn’t count any of the above.

    Tenth, I already demonstrated all of that in my argument. You just cannot see it, because your faith gets in the way of rational thought, but that’s beside the point.

    Eleventh, of course, your faith (a kind of irrationality based on the emotional stake on the belief) does not depend on the KCA. But the irrationality you display in this thread is clearly connected to your religious beliefs, and your disdain for atheists (e.g., you wouldn’t want to concede the KCA, because that raises the issue that I might be right about other things that matter to you; besides, you already made a psychological commitment with your initial post to irrationally defend the KCA, etc.)

    Finally, the previous points are, of course, not nearly as exhaustive in debunking the KCA as my full argument is, and repeating more parts here would be a waste of time, and besides you will never concede or give up; I might spend months and you would still be going for the last word, even believing that you’re correct (which is kind of annoying given how badly incorrect you are, but whatever).

    So, you will have your last word and be satisfied in your belief that you achieved victory; I will merely invite any readers who are interested in the matter to see for themselves.

    So, hasta la vista!

  7. JohnN says:

    ANGRA MAINYU: I guess I am technically a “fence-sitter” or whatever you say, but this is interesting to me. Honestly I felt Cl had a point because you wrote

    God changes from timeless to temporal.
    Any change is an event, so let E(0) be the event “God changes from being timeless to being temporal”. [5]
    Now, if t=0 is the beginning of time, then E(0) is an event that ends at t=0, since t=0 is the first time at which God is temporal.
    Since every event has a finite, non-zero duration, E(0) has some duration e>0, and ends at t=0.
    Then, there is a time interval of duration e prior to t=0.
    That contradicts the hypothesis that t=0 is the beginning of time. [6]

    First let me be sure I understand your argument. Correct me if I’m wrong but you are asking, If an EVENT is a CHANGE that takes TIME, how can there be an event BEFORE time?

    Sorry Cl if I’m steeping on your toes

  8. cl says:

    Sorry Cl if I’m stepping on your toes

    Not at all, hopefully you don’t prove as “irrational” as I… :p

  9. cl says:

    Angra Mainyu,

    Again: if you won’t meet Dr. Craig on his own terms, there’s nothing else that can be said. Repetition doesn’t trump willful ignorance. I’d be more than happy to participate in a formal debate over this, if you’re interested. We both appear fairly confident, let’s see what the judges think.

    Do you accept?

  10. Angra Mainyu says:

    Johnn,

    You’d have to read the argument for the details, but what I’m saying is that given that any change takes time, it would follow from Craig’s claims that there was some temporal period of finite duration before there was time, which is contradictory.

    Moreover, I show that even if we consider – contra Craig – instantaneous changes, a contradiction still follows.

    Furthermore, l show that leaving all that aside, there would be no ontological distinction between the so-called “timeless” state of God and a first temporal state at t=0, so the timelessness claim would just be at best special pleading.

  11. Angra Mainyu says:

    CL, an argument is an argument is an argument: even if all the judges from your site believed that you’re right and that my argument fails to show a contradiction, that would not convince me that my argument fails to show a contradiction, just as even if everyone who posts in a site believes that arguments for Young Earth Creationism (YEC) show, beyond any reasonable doubt, that YEC is true, that would not convince me that YEC is true – not even close.

    In brief, I don’t assess the merits of an argument that I can understand based on what other people claim about it – in fact, I psychologically couldn’t do that; if I can see that an argument works (or does not work), no number of people just telling me otherwise – but giving no compelling reasons – will convince me (else, I would probably be still a Christian!); only reasons can convince me, not numbers.

    Anyway, just in case: If Craig had meant what you suggested by ‘change’ – which, as I’ve shown in my argument, he didn’t -, then the contradiction would follow just as well.

    In fact, in that case, let’s consider the change C1: “God changes from having the potency to becoming temporal, to being temporal”, or C2: “God changes from having the potency of knowing tensed facts, to knowing tensed facts”, etc.

    That is a change both in the sense Craig uses the word “change” – which is the ordinary English sense of the word -, and in the sense you mistakenly posited as Craig’s usage.

    So, by Craig’s own claim, changes have a non-zero, finite duration.

    Hence, C1 (or C2, etc.; one has options) has a non-zero, finite duration e >0.

    However, C1 ends at t=0, the beginning of time, the first temporal state of God, which means that there was a temporal interval of duration e > 0 before t=0, which is a contradiction.

    Of course, even if we leave all that aside, as I showed in my argument, another contradiction follows even if we assume instantaneous changes – and then all contradictions follow, etc. -, so as I pointed out, a contradiction follows regardless of what Craig meant by “change” in this context – though he did mean “change” in the ordinary sense of the word in English.

  12. cl says:

    Angra Mainyu,

    …I don’t assess the merits of an argument that I can understand based on what other people claim about it…

    That’s great, neither do I.

    …in fact, I psychologically couldn’t do that; if I can see that an argument works (or does not work), no number of people just telling me otherwise – but giving no compelling reasons – will convince me (else, I would probably be still a Christian!); only reasons can convince me, not numbers.

    Again, that’s great. I believe it’s (generally) irrational to accept appeals from authority / popularity. We agree.

    …even if all the judges from your site believed that you’re right and that my argument fails to show a contradiction, that would not convince me that my argument fails to show a contradiction…

    Well remember what I said, though: First Cause arguments are not integral to my faith, and I have no desire to convince you. However, I have a strong desire to test my own thinking at every turn; to make sure my conclusions aren’t fraught with error. In order to do that, I need a willful partner.

    Will you accept?

  13. Angra Mainyu says:

    CL,

    I’m not entirely sure what it is you’d want me to accept, but let me explain my perspective:

    a) I’ve presented an argument thoroughly debunking the KCA.
    You posted here that “needless to say”, there was no debunking. The “needless to say” indicates that, beforehand, you already believe that you’d find no debunking. In fact, you found one, but did not recognize it (I know you disagree, but what else can I do beyond inviting people to read my argument? I can try a summary, with specific links to specific parts (in case someone missed some part), but other than that, there is not much I can do).

    b) That fits right in years of experience debating theists. I’ve never convinced anyone of anything connected to their religion and in any way relevant, even if indirectly so.

    c) Still, tried to explain briefly the contradiction, and you insisted (despite my best efforts, and despite a very thorough and detailed debunking in my post) that I had to meet Craig “in his own terms”, suggesting I had misrepresented what he meant.
    I showed otherwise in my post, though, but I also showed that even assuming he is telling the truth about what he meant – which I showed to be false a contradiction follows (see next post, or see my argument).

    d) None of the above persuaded you in the least – which is right in line with my experience with theists.

    Given all of the above, I have to say I do not see the point in further debate. Why would the point be?
    I’ve already invited readers to take a look for themselves, and I’ve reckoned it’s almost impossible that anything I said might persuade you.
    In fact, I’ve spent sometimes many months on a single debate, to no avail; I do not have that kind of time these days. That’s one of the reasons I started the blog – to leave something for people to read, without having to repeat the same thing a zillion times.
    Now, I don’t even have time to keep blogging, and I’m not going to post again for the foreseeable future.

    So, I really do not see the point of debating anymore, if that is what you propose.

    Still, if you can give me some good reasons, I would be willing to consider addressing specific points again. In the next post, I will provide a brief summary, with links, and perhaps you can present some counterargument – other than claiming that I misrepresented Craig, which is not a counterargument but more like insistence on a claim, despite my careful explanation as to why I did not misrepresent him, but ultimately it’s beside the point, since I do not need to use Craig’s statements in order to derive a contradiction (as I did in the post).

  14. Angra Mainyu says:

    Essentially, what I claim (and defend in my post) is that (among other points):

    1) I showed that a contradiction follows from Craig’s position, and that a contradiction would still follow if we assumed instantaneous events/changes.

    2) I analyzed Craig’s reply, and showed that:

    a) His claim about what he meant in his website when he said that God changed – i.e., that he merely meant that God in his first temporal state has different properties from his properties at his timeless state – is a false claim.

    He did not merely meant that.
    He did not say hat God changed from temporal to timeless, or that he ceased to be timeless – clearly, that would not have meant the same, and Craig himself does not accept the possibility of change from temporal to timeless.
    So, Craig did not merely claim that God in his timeless state has different properties from God in his first temporal state.
    The claim of a change is not only a claim that the properties differ, but there is also a direction:God has some properties in his timeless state, and changes and has some other properties in his first temporal state: it goes in one direction, not the other.
    In other words, the change is from the timeless to the temporal state, not vice versa, so what he meant is not merely that God’s properties in his timeless state are different from his properties in his first temporal state.

    b) His claim that he had used ‘change’ in a technical sense in his book, was also false. I explained why that was so, by quoting the relevant part of his book (giving context, not just claiming that context supports one’s views, as Craig falsely did) and explaining what he did say (of course, everyone is invited to read his book for more context, if they so choose).

    c) Even if we accepted his (false) claims about what he meant, a contradiction would still follow. Essentially, if the change/event in God from not knowing tensed facts to knowing some tensed facts has duration zero, then at t=0, God knows some tensed facts, and also at t=0, it is not the case that God knows some tensed facts – since the beginning of the event/change is also at t=0, because the event/change has duration zero, and it ends at t=0 -, which is a contradiction.

    d) I pointed out – just in case – that objecting and talking about some ‘timeless change’ would make no sense – deploying the word ‘timeless’ is not a ‘get out of logic free’ card -; Craig did not raise that objection, but I considered it anyway, just in case.

    3) I left the above aside for the sake of the argument, and considered, from a somewhat different perspective, why the idea of a God that is timeless sans creation, and temporal with creation, fails..

    [I will continue in the next post]

  15. Angra Mainyu says:

    4) Even if all of my previous arguments failed (which they do not), I addressed Craig’s arguments in support of both premises:

    a) I showed that the first and second philosophical arguments fail to support the second premise (namely, that the universe had a beginning in a sense that’s relevant to the KCA), and also, that the arguments allegedly based on science fail as well, and on top of that create a problem for Craig’s own theory of time – which he uses in the KCA.

    b) Moreover, I showed that first premise is unwarranted.

    5) Also, even leaving all of that aside for the sake of the argument, I went on to show that even granting the conclusion that the universe has a cause fails to provide support for theism. .

    What’s the reply I got?
    A beforehand dismissal that ‘needless to say’ I’ve not debunked the KCA.
    Again, other than inviting readers to assess the matter for themselves, I don’t see any other good course of action for me.

  16. Angra Mainyu says:

    CL,

    Since you said that you didn’t find my argument showing that a contradiction still followed, I’ve rewritten the section dedicated to Craig’s reply, adding that particular explanation to that part of the post as well.

    Additionally, I gave more details about why Craig’s claims about what he meant are not true, and the contradiction remains.

    Further, I gave even more details in the argument showing that the timeless God that becomes temporal makes no sense, even leaving that aside.

    I’m still not sure what you meant to ask when you asked me whether I’d be a willful partner (a debate? I’m afraid this is already taking too long, and I’m getting nowhere), but while I do not expect to persuade you, at least I took the time to further explain the contentious points as if I were trying.

  17. cl says:

    I fixed the link. Thanks for going the extra mile. I will read your link and get back to you ASAP. In the meantime, here’s what I had written before your last two comments came in.

    I’m not entirely sure what it is you’d want me to accept,

    My challenge to a formal debate. What’s the point in going back and forth if neither of us are learning? I want to test my response to your arguments, get some “peer-review” if you will. Plus, why pass up an opportunity to put your argument in print and get it out to more people? That’s right in line with your stated desires on your blog. Well, if you don’t want to debate, that’s fine, but I would like the courtesy of a clear “yes” or “no” answer so we can try different strategies toward common ground.

    …let me explain my perspective:

    There’s no need. I fully understand. You *really believe* that you’ve debunked the KCA and you *really believe* that my faith prevents me from seeing it. Yet, for some reason, you hold this position despite the facts I’ve stated thrice: I was a theist long before I accepted any First Cause arguments. They are not integral to my faith. Therefore, I have no good reason to be emotionally invested in any of them. I’m not in fear of my faith crashing down around me. I just think you’re wrong (although to be fair I haven’t read your latest link yet).

    The “needless to say” indicates that, beforehand, you already believe that you’d find no debunking.

    That’s correct. There’s nothing “irrational” about making a prediction based on a solid track record. Like I said, I’ve seen many people claim they can debunk the KCA and with few exceptions, most misunderstand it (and I agree with you that Craig’s presentation can seem unclear at times). I misunderstood First Cause arguments myself, before I came to accept Aristotle’s version. I strongly suspect you might be making similar errors as I was, and the way you’ve used “potency” in your last few comments supports this suspicion.

    …what else can I do beyond inviting people to read my argument?

    Well, I was hoping that you’d take my advice with a grain of salt and rewrite your argument replacing all instances of “change” with “transition from potency to act.” When I did that, your misunderstanding of Craig’s terms became clear as day. Like I said, I don’t fault you. Craig’s KCA invites confusion because he chooses to sacrifice precision for communicability (that’s not a slam on Craig either, that’s his choice and I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with it).

    …you insisted (despite my best efforts, and despite a very thorough and detailed debunking in my post) that I had to meet Craig “in his own terms”, suggesting I had misrepresented what he meant.

    I appreciate your efforts, but that remains correct: I still believe you have unintentionally misrepresented what Craig meant.

    …I also showed that even assuming he is telling the truth about what he meant – which I showed to be false a contradiction follows (see next post, or see my argument).

    Yeah, you’ve said that… remember I said that’s actually the part I’m actually most interested in discussing but let’s get the first matter resolved.

    I’ll read your link and we can go from there.

  18. cl says:

    Yeah, you’ll probably try to say it’s because I’m “irrational” again, but you still haven’t convinced me. Much of that new material was simply recycled from this thread, and what is new doesn’t make sense. For example, you write,

    On that note, let us suppose the the event E(2) “God changes from not knowing any tensed facts at S, to knowing some tensed facts at t=0” has zero duration.

    Okay, let’s suppose…

    So, at the beginning of the event, it is not the case that God knows any tensed facts – since the event is precisely the change in God from not knowing any tensed facts, to knowing some tensed facts. On the other hand, at the end of the event, God does know some tensed facts.

    Doesn’t it seem incoherent to speak of the “beginning” or “end” of that which has zero duration?

  19. cl says:

    Really, thanks again. You made a worthwhile effort and at least now I’m pretty sure I see the argument you intended regarding the “instantaneous” part of the claim. All the accusations that Craig is lying are really tiresome to stomach, simply because you don’t know whether Craig *really is* lying or you might just be misinterpreting him.

    I’ll return to the “not instantaneous” part of the claim and give a more detailed reply shortly. In the meantime, it would really help me understand how you view time if you could answer this: in the context of gaining knowledge about some incident X –say somebody runs in the room and says, “There’s an animal outside!” — at what time are you unaware of X? At what time are you aware of X?

  20. Angra Mainyu says:

    My challenge to a formal debate. What’s the point in going back and forth if neither of us are learning? I want to test my response to your arguments, get some “peer-review” if you will. Plus, why pass up an opportunity to put your argument in print and get it out to more people? That’s right in line with your stated desires on your blog. Well, if you don’t want to debate, that’s fine, but I would like the courtesy of a clear “yes” or “no” answer so we can try different strategies toward common ground.

    As I explained, I see no point in more debate here, and the same reasons (even more strongly) apply to a formal debate:
    Briefly, I already explained my points as carefully as I can, I will of course not persuade you even without a formal debate – let alone in the context of one.

    Also, while a formal debate would allow me to make a more thorough case than, say, debates in a forum or like this, even a formal debate does not allow me to make nearly as thorough a case as I’ve made in my blog, so I don’t see the point in repeating the case, but making even less comprehensive one.

    Also, I’m not planning to blog again for the foreseeable future due to time constraints; committing to a formal debate would appear not only pointless, but a problem in case real life gets in the way.

    As for getting my argument to more people, I’m not sure how that would help, or how a formal debate would put it in print. Still, given the time constraints, even if that would help me reach more people, I’d have to pass on that one.

    Of course, that will reinforce your belief that you’re right and even that you won, or that I’m afraid of losing. Such is life. Still, someone who carefully and rationally takes a look at the exchange, at Craig’s arguments and at mine, will realize that you’re wrong, since I’ve already debunked the KCA – though, again, you will never realize that, regardless of what I say; but also again, such is life.

    There’s no need. I fully understand. You *really believe* that you’ve debunked the KCA and you *really believe* that my faith prevents me from seeing it. Yet, for some reason, you hold this position despite the facts I’ve stated thrice: I was a theist long before I accepted any First Cause arguments. They are not integral to my faith. Therefore, I have no good reason to be emotionally invested in any of them. I’m not in fear of my faith crashing down around me. I just think you’re wrong (although to be fair I haven’t read your latest link yet).

    The fact that you’ve not been convinced despite the amount of reasons and the thoroughness of my argument (yes, I did debunk the KCA, even though you will never realize that), shows that there is a strong emotional commitment, whatever the causes are.
    On that note, I’m not a mind reader, but I already provided some plausible reasons why you’re invested.
    One could add to them of course the in-group/out group mentality, which is very common in humans, and which strongly predisposes you to side with theists – your in-groups.

    That’s correct. There’s nothing “irrational” about making a prediction based on a solid track record. 

    That does not seem to square with the “That sounds interesting, maybe I’ll go have a look”, but whatever.

    Well, I was hoping that you’d take my advice with a grain of salt and rewrite your argument replacing all instances of “change” with “transition from potency to act.” When I did that, your misunderstanding of Craig’s terms became clear as day.

    First, Craig did not mean that. I showed that repeatedly in my post. You’re merely repeating something I repeatedly showed to be false.
    Second, if I were to argue against that claim – a completely different one -, I would write the argument differently, because, well, I would be debunking a different argument.
    Third, I even showed here (post #11) that that would result in a contradiction just as well.
    Fourth, even if Craig had meant that, it wouldn’t matter, since a contradiction still follows. So, the point is moot..
    Fourth, even leaving the contradiction aside, and regardless of whether he meant what you claim he meant, the claim of a timeless God that creates time is untenable: it’s just a misuse of the word ‘timeless’, but he would just be making an exception to his own premises, while obfuscating with his language.
    That does not depend on an interpretation of what Craig said, and still debunks Kalam.
    Fifth, even leaving all of that aside, I showed that the KCA does not provide support for theism on entirely different grounds, which I already explained:
    a) I showed that the first and second philosophical arguments fail to support the second premise (namely, that the universe had a beginning in a sense that’s relevant to the KCA), and also, that the arguments allegedly based on science fail as well, and on top of that create a problem for Craig’s own theory of time – which he uses in the KCA.
    b) Moreover, I showed that first premise is unwarranted.

    c) Even leaving all of that aside for the sake of the argument, I went on to show that even granting the conclusion that the universe has a cause fails to provide support for theism. .

  21. Angra Mainyu says:

    I appreciate your efforts, but that remains correct: I still believe you have unintentionally misrepresented what Craig meant.

    Yes, I know you will never be persuaded otherwise. Such is life.

    Yeah, you’ll probably try to say it’s because I’m “irrational” again, but you still haven’t convinced me.

    Yes, I know that I’ve not convinced you.
    It would be irrational on my part to believe I can do so.

    Much of that new material was simply recycled from this thread, and what is new doesn’t make sense. 

    Yes, clearly: if I’m just clarifying, it will be like what I said here and also in my post, before. I’m not making any new arguments here.

    Doesn’t it seem incoherent to speak of the “beginning” or “end” of that which has zero duration?

    No. If there is a change, it makes sense to ask when it begins, and when it ends.
    Also in terms of intervals, if an interval [a,b] has length 0, then it begins at a, and ends at a – that sounds perfectly natural.
    However, that’s just notation, so if you reject that, that’s no problem. I can put it differently:
    If the change in God from not knowing any tensed facts to knowing some tensed facts is instantaneous and occurs at t=0, then at t=0 both the states from which God changes and into which God changes are present at t=0.
    So, at t=0, it’s not the case that God knows some tensed facts, and at t=0, God knows some tensed facts. That is impossible.

    I think I’ll add that alternative notation to my blog as well, just in case someone else gets confused by the terminology and raises a similar objection.

  22. Angra Mainyu says:

    I just added the reformulation to my post, and even included another potential objection, just in case.

  23. Angra Mainyu says:

    Really, thanks again. You made a worthwhile effort and at least now I’m pretty sure I see the argument you intended regarding the “instantaneous” part of the claim. All the accusations that Craig is lying are really tiresome to stomach, simply because you don’t know whether Craig *really is* lying or you might just be misinterpreting him.

    Actually, we can in many cases ascertain whether a person is lying, based on what they say and generally how they behave. Given what Craig said, and for the reasons I explained carefully, I came to the conclusion that Craig is indeed lying.
    Of course, I will not convince you of that, but so all I can do is reject your claim that I do not know that he’s lying and state I know precisely for the reasons I explained; there is no innocent explanation of his claims. Yes, of course, you disagree. I know. Such is life.

    Sorry that you find my point difficult to stomach, but it’s true.
    Also, to be frank, I too find the excuses people make for Craig also hard to stomach, though admittedly not nearly as hard to stomach as Craig’s own actions and claims.
    He’s pretty intelligent, but that only makes him more dangerous. Dishonest claims are not the worst he does, though, but they become worse since it’s dishonesty at the service of spreading his religion, which holds (for instance, and just to point out another one of his actions):

    http://www.reasonablefaith.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=6199

    William Lane Craig:
    That’s why I went on to offer the second, better solution: that the rejection of Christ as Lord and Savior, being a rejection of God Himself, is a sin of infinite gravity and proportion and therefore plausibly does merit infinite punishment. So seen, people are sent to hell, not so much for murder and theft and adultery, but for their rejection of God.

    So, Craig thinks that the “better solution” is that those who – for instance – fail to believe that Jesus is a the son of a superpowerful creator – and the same being as the creator! -, after being exposed to Christian doctrine, deserve infinite punishment for their failure to believe.
    On top of that, he’s clearly implying that non-theism – at least, after exposure to Christian doctrine – is far worse than murder.
    He may well believe that murderers also deserve infinite punishment, but if so, it’s not for the murder itself, but for rejecting God by murdering people.
    So, in Craig’s view, non-theism is far worse than murder, theft and adultery, and he spreads that belief. Most Christians just don’t really think about that kind of stuff. But Craig spent decades thinking about it, and still makes that kind of claims.
    Those of us being targeted as a group don’t find that easy to stomach, at all – with the difference that his claims are false.

    By the way, I’m not suggesting that adulterers, thieves, Craig, or even murderers deserve infinite torture (Craig apparently doesn’t want to call Hell “torture” because he thinks that’s a negatively loaded word; of course, the characterization is accurate); infinite Hell would be infinite evil. I’m just pointing out some of his actions, with predictable negative consequences.
    Incidentally, even though in the quote above, he clearly says that the “better solution” is that rejection of God merits infinite punishment, here Craig seems to maintain that all immoral actions merit infinite punishment.
    The most likely interpretation – given the wording, and the fact that Craig is generally dishonest – is that he contradicted himself, tailoring the reply to the moment’s convenience, and without realizing he had said something very different in another reply (not that that would be the worst part of his claim about infinite punishment, by the way).
    A much less likely interpretation is that he only implied that all immoral actions merited infinite punishment because they involve the rejection of God.
    However, I’m afraid that that one is not as nearly as clear as the falsity of his claims in his reply to me – yes, okay, you disagree. Noted, but nothing else I can do.

    I’ll return to the “not instantaneous” part of the claim and give a more detailed reply shortly. In the meantime, it would really help me understand how you view time if you could answer this: in the context of gaining knowledge about some incident X –say somebody runs in the room and says, “There’s an animal outside!” — at what time are you unaware of X? At what time are you aware of X?

    Before someone run into the room, I’m not aware of it.

    After they run into the room, I’m aware of the claim. Later, I might check whether there is a non-human animal outside.

    The process of gaining knowledge in humans, is, however, gradual. I don’t know that there is a specific picosecond such that at t, I did not know, and at t+1 picosecond, I did.

    In the case of God, though, that is not the case. At every instant in time, God knows everything there is to be known about the world at that particular time (and more). No room for fuzziness (to make my argument, though, all that would be required is a state at which God does not know tensed facts, followed by a state at which he does).

  24. cl says:

    If there is a change, it makes sense to ask when it begins, and when it ends.

    Correct, but remember, in order for there to be a change (according to Craig’s terms which you claim to be interpreting correctly), we need a duration greater than zero. In your example, the duration is not greater than zero. Therefore, it is incoherent to speak of the “beginning” or “end” of that which has zero duration.

    But that’s just a minor quibble. I need clarification here:

    …if an interval [a,b] has length 0, then it begins at a, and ends at a – that sounds perfectly natural.

    The common English definition of interval is “a space of time between events or states.” Is that what you mean when you say interval?

    Let A(0) denote the state of affairs in which I am unaware of the animal outside, and let A(1) denote the state of affairs in which I am aware of the animal outside. On your view, does an interval exist between A(0) and A(1)?

    If so, what is its duration, and how would you denote this interval?

  25. Angra Mainyu says:

    Correct, but remember, in order for there to be a change (according to Craig’s terms which you claim to be interpreting correctly), we need a duration greater than zero. In your example, the duration is not greater than zero. Therefore, it is incoherent to speak of the “beginning” or “end” of that which has zero duration.

    Craig claimed that changes have a nonzero duration, didn’t define changes as such, but regardless, here your reasoning is mistaken.
    Clearly, if there is a state S at which God does not have property P (P is the property of knowing at least some tensed facts, or some other property you like), and then a state t=0 at which God does have property P, then there is a change. That’s regardless of what Craig meant by it – I don’t need that for the argument.
    It makes perfect sense to talk about the beginning and the end of the change: the beginning of the change would be a state of the world at which God does not have property P, and the end would be a state at which God has property P.
    But no need to: we can change notation, and we can simply put it in terms of an initial state, and a final state of the change: the initial state of the change is the state at which God does not have property P, and the final state is the state at which God has property P.
    There is a change, then, from a state at which God does not have property P, to a state at which God has property P.
    Note that I don’t need to make any assumptions as to whether changes can have duration zero. I merely point out that there is a change, and that either it does have a zero duration, or it does not have a zero duration.
    If the change has a non-zero duration e>0, and since the state to which God changes – namely, the state at which God has property P – exists at t=0, then there is some temporal interval of length e before t=0, a contradiction.
    If the change does have a zero duration, and since the end state of the change – namely, the state at which God has property P – exists at t=0, then the initial state of the change – namely, the state at which it is not the case that God has property P – exists at t=0 as well. That is a contradiction.

    So, either way, a contradiction follows. That is independent of whether Craig meant what I showed he meant, so we can leave that aside in any case.

    I guess I can include even more clarifications in my post, but on the other hand, it’s impossible to deal with all potential quibbling…still, I will add another subsection and more details.

    The common English definition of interval is “a space of time between events or states.” Is that what you mean when you say interval?

    Okay, essentially the same, but including degenerate intervals. Still, not the point; I can leave that aside and make the case regardless, as I did above.

    Let A(0) denote the state of affairs in which I am unaware of the animal outside, and let A(1) denote the state of affairs in which I am aware of the animal outside. On your view, does an interval exist between A(0) and A(1)?

    Actually, A(0) and A(1) do not seem to be well defined, since there are many states at which you do not know, and many states at which you do.
    However, if you pick a specific state at which you do not know and name it A(0), and then you pick a specific state at which you do know and you name it A(1), clearly, there is an interval of nonzero, positive duration: the change between the two states of affairs takes time. It cannot be instantaneous.
    Still, due to fuzziness of language, there might not be a ‘first nanosecond’ at which you know. As I mentioned, fuzziness is not a problem in the case of God, since, at any time t, God knows everything there is to know about the world at t.

  26. cl says:

    Hey, I appreciate the time you’re putting into this, and I’m trying my best to avoid long exchanges because I don’t want you to get burnt out and leave. And I don’t want to burn out and give up. That’s why I’m now sticking to short, concise questions. I wish that you would do the same with your answers because these long, meandering slogs tend to make comprehension more difficult (for me at least). There’s no need to put a lot of time in this, let’s just trade short questions until we make some progress. Less is more.

    I don’t know that there is a specific picosecond such that at t, I did not know, and at t+1 picosecond, I did.

    I don’t either. This is exactly like the question that haunted the Atomists.

    Actually, A(0) and A(1) do not seem to be well defined, since there are many states at which you do not know, and many states at which you do. However, if you pick a specific state at which you do not know and name it A(0), and then you pick a specific state at which you do know and you name it A(1), clearly, there is an interval of nonzero, positive duration: the change between the two states of affairs takes time. It cannot be instantaneous.

    Sure, there are “many states” on either side of the awareness split, but I’m talking about two specific states. To return to my example and make it more well-defined, let A(0) denote the final instance / picosecond of the “unaware” state, and let A(1) denote the first instance / picosecond of the “aware” state.

    In this situation, is there a nonzero, positive duration between picosecond A(0) and picosecond A(1)?

  27. Angra Mainyu says:

    Sure, there are “many states” on either side of the awareness split, but I’m talking about two specific states. To return to my example and make it more well-defined, let A(0) denote the final instance / picosecond of the “unaware” state, and let A(1) denote the first instance / picosecond of the “aware” state. In this situation, is there a nonzero, positive duration between picosecond A(0) and picosecond A(1)?

    I do not believe they exist, as I do not believe in a first picosecond at which a person is an adult.
    The words in our language, like ‘aware’, or ‘adult’ are not precise enough for that.
    On the other hand, that is not a problem in the case of my argument, since we have a first temporal state at t=0; if you’re going to argue for an open interval and infinitely many past times, you can do that but at the cost of rejecting Craig’s position – he talks about a first temporal state, even if sometimes he denies a beginning point; in any event, I can derive other problems, but let me know if that’s what you’re trying to do (else, I would have to keep making long posts, refuting a zillion potential objections to be sure, and that’s too much).

    By the way, I added further details and clarification to my post, even using a terminology you might prefer. (though I’m not trying to convince you, I’m making the points as crystal clear as I can).

  28. cl says:

    … I’m not trying to convince you, I’m making the points as crystal clear as I can).

    Hey thanks, I’m glad it seems we’ve gotten past the rough parts. What I really want are simple, direct “yes” or “no” type answers with little to no explanation (unless truly needed to clarify something) to a series of questions. So much has been said I’m not sure I understand you. Feel free to take your time because I just kicked off a debate with Peter Hurford which will command the majority of my keystrokes over the next few weeks, but I will certainly return to this argument periodically. Recall that we’re only talking about your claim that a contradiction persists even if we grant that the event in question was instantaneous.

    From your opening sentence, it sounds like you’d say “no, there is no nonzero, positive duration between picosecond A(0) and picosecond A(1).”

    Is that correct?

  29. Angra Mainyu says:

    Hey thanks, I’m glad it seems we’ve gotten past the rough parts. What I really want are simple, direct “yes” or “no” type answers with little to no explanation (unless truly needed to clarify something) to a series of questions. So much has been said I’m not sure I understand you. Feel free to take your time because I just kicked off a debate with Peter Hurford which will command the majority of my keystrokes over the next few weeks, but I will certainly return to this argument periodically.

    I’m afraid I probably do not have the time to keep debating for weeks; it’s been somewhat difficult already.
    I just posted a new version of the argument, which is basically the same, but shorter and I think more to the points, trying to clarify the matter.
    However, in a few weeks, I probably won’t be able to come back to debate more (and definitively won’t be able to keep re-writing for clarification).
    I was hoping to wrap this up in days at most.

    Recall that we’re only talking about your claim that a contradiction persists even if we grant that the event in question was instantaneous.

    I wasn’t talking only about that. But okay, I can address that.

    From your opening sentence, it sounds like you’d say “no, there is no nonzero, positive duration between picosecond A(0) and picosecond A(1).”

    No, that is not what I meant.

    I meant that as far as I know, there probably is no A(0), or A(1).

    I meant that they’re ill-defined, because the words that we use to describe the world around us (in this case, ‘aware’) are probably too fuzzy to make that a correct definition in that context. (I gave the example of ‘adult’ to illustrate that point).

    We gradually become aware of a fact (e.g., the presence of a non-human animal outside), and so there is a time at which we are not aware of that fact, and later (say, a few seconds later), we are aware of it.

    However, if you try to pin down the first picosecond at which we are aware of it, I don’t think there is one; the change from not being aware to being aware is a process that takes some time – much more than a picosecond -, involving mental processes in which different parts of our mind react at slightly different times.

    On the other hand, there is no problem in my argument about what the first instant at which God knows at least one tensed fact is, as long as there is a time t=0, a beginning of time, since at that time, God knows it, and there is no previous time.
    So, the definition is good, and the argument can be made.

    I was asking whether you were trying to escape the contradiction by positing that there is no t=0, and that, for every time t, there is some time u prior to t.
    That might work assuming the coherence of ‘timeless’ (as used by Craig), but it’s incompatible with Craig’s position..
    Of course, you might try to run the KCA anyway, rejecting Craig’s position, and avoiding the contradiction that follows from his position.
    Such a different KCA fails too, for other reasons, which I addressed in my post.

  30. Angra Mainyu says:

    By the way, the new version has a shorter and more direct explanation of the contradiction, in case you prefer a really brief reply.

  31. cl says:

    I’m afraid I probably do not have the time to keep debating for weeks; it’s been somewhat difficult already.

    Well, I’ve already suggested avoiding repetition in favor of concise statements and questions, so… I don’t know what else to say. I’m not asking you to dedicate much time at all. Like I said, less is more. I’m busy, too, and the most I can afford to spend is 15-30 minutes a few times a week. Besides, I don’t want this to drag on, I just want some straight, simple answers so I can sketch out your positions and figure out where we’re talking past each other here.

    No, that is not what I meant.

    I meant that as far as I know, there probably is no A(0), or A(1).

    Well, you see? Hopefully now you can appreciate why I ask for straight “yes” or “no” answers. We could have saved another, ahem, interval had you given me a straight “yes” or “no” answer. Nonetheless, now you have, and for that I thank you.

    I meant that they’re ill-defined, because the words that we use to describe the world around us (in this case, ‘aware’) are probably too fuzzy to make that a correct definition in that context. (I gave the example of ‘adult’ to illustrate that point).

    “Adult / child” is not a Boolean state and depends upon arbitrary criteria (different cultures have different conceptions of adulthood and childhood). However, “aware / unaware” strikes me as a Boolean state with specific neurophysiological correlates. But I’m not interesting in quibbling so let’s cast this aside and forge ahead a bit.

    However, if you try to pin down the first picosecond at which we are aware of it, I don’t think there is one; the change from not being aware to being aware is a process that takes some time – much more than a picosecond -, involving mental processes in which different parts of our mind react at slightly different times.

    And you state that the change from unaware -> aware only takes time for humans (due to “fuzziness with language”), correct? IOW, do you believe the change from unaware -> aware is instantaneous for God? I ask because you wrote,

    …fuzziness is not a problem in the case of God, since, at any time t, God knows everything there is to know about the world at t.

    It sounds like you’re saying that God’s awareness of any event is instantaneous (whereas there is “lag time” for human awareness). Is that correct?

    If not, can you explain what you mean when you say, “at any time t, God knows everything there is to know about the world at t?”

  32. Angra Mainyu says:

    Well, I’ve already suggested avoiding repetition in favor of concise statements and questions, so… I don’t know what else to say. I’m not asking you to dedicate much time at all. 

    I’m also in favor of that as long as it works. But when one tries with short statements, and is not understood, then clarifying makes the statements longer, and so on.
    Moreover, in many cases, you try to simplify but that does not represent my position accurately, and then I have to elaborate just to try to get there.
    Anyway, I’ll keep trying while I can.

    Well, you see? Hopefully now you can appreciate why I ask for straight “yes” or “no” answers. We could have saved another, ahem, interval had you given me a straight “yes” or “no” answer. Nonetheless, now you have, and for that I thank you.

    But the previous answer was clear as far as I can tell. I cannot tell in advance what you’ll find unclear, so all I can do is try different alternatives. But that takes time, unfortunately.

    “Adult / child” is not a Boolean state and depends upon arbitrary criteria (different cultures have different conceptions of adulthood and childhood). However, “aware / unaware” strikes me as a Boolean state with specific neurophysiological correlates. But I’m not interesting in quibbling so let’s cast this aside and forge ahead a bit.

    Okay, instead of ‘adult’ I could have tried ‘adult in New York today’ (and not ‘legal adult’), or maybe ‘car’ (in the US), ‘zebra’, etc.
    I would agree with neurophysiological correlates, but do not think that our word ‘aware’ defines them sharply enough for that. But you’re right this is not important to the matter at hand.

    And you state that the change from unaware -> aware only takes time for humans (due to “fuzziness with language”), correct? IOW, do you believe the change from unaware -> aware is instantaneous for God? I ask because you wrote,

    I not would say that the fact that it takes time for humans is due to fuzziness. Humans take time to become aware; lack of precision in our word ‘aware’ precludes the existence of a first picosecond at which a human is aware; our language is not precise enough to describe the mental processes of a human being to a precision of picoseconds. But those are two different matters.

    Humans aside, the change from unaware to aware is not instantaneous in the case of God – that would be a contradiction, as in the contradiction in the KCA I derive when assume that the events/changes are instantaneous.
    What happens in the case of God is that he’s at every time t aware of everything at that time, not that his knowledge changes instantaneously.

    Perhaps, the following would clarify (or not; I can only try):

    God’s learning is instantaneous in a non-relevant sense of ‘instantaneous’, namely in the sense that if something (say, G(t)) is true at t, then God knows that G(t) at t, with no delay.
    However, clearly it’s not the case that at t, God knows that G(t) and it’s not the case that God knows that G(t) – that would be a contradiction.
    So, God’s change from not knowing that G(t) to knowing that G(t) is not instantaneous: it does not occur completely at G(t), but it starts at some time u<t, at which ¬G(t) (but, say, G(u)).

    That said, the above may not have clarified matters, so to simplify: all I need is that God knows tensed facts at t=0 to derive the contradiction (and the latest derivation of it is as short as I can make it, so I'm afraid I can't improve on that one).

    It sounds like you’re saying that God’s awareness of any event is instantaneous (whereas there is “lag time” for human awareness). Is that correct?

    No, I mean that the fuzziness in our language, in words like ‘aware’ or ‘knows’, makes those words inadequate to describe the process by which a human mind changes, to a precision of picoseconds, but on the other hand, those words are precise enough to describe God’s gaining knowledge of tensed facts, since there is no issue about different part of God’s mind reacting in slightly different ways to information coming from multiple sources, etc.: God simply knows at every time t, everything there is to know about the world at t.

    But my argument is simpler than that: I get the feeling that you’re trying to find a problem in my argument raise an objection, but you appear to be drifting away from the key points, and it’s difficult to address your concern directly if I don’t know where you’re headed.

    I already addressed one possibility, but was incompatible with Craig’s position; I’m not sure what else you might be getting at.

  33. cl says:

    Well, part of the problem is that I didn’t realize you were using words like “instantaneous” in a non-standard definition.

  34. Angra Mainyu says:

    Just to be clear: the issue of fuzziness and lack of precision of our language is orthogonal to the matter at hand; we can get into that, but we get further away from my argument to a contradiction.

    For instance, on the issue of ‘awareness’ in humans, the lack of precision of the language has nothing to do with the impossibility of instantaneous changes.
    The lack of precision is a matter of human language, and ultimately human psychology.
    The impossibility of instantaneous changes has nothing to do with that, but I honestly do not know how to make the argument more straightforward and brief than in the latest version in my post.

  35. Angra Mainyu says:

    Well, part of the problem is that I didn’t realize you were using words like “instantaneous” in a non-standard definition.

    I do not know that I was, but in any case, I was using them as Craig did, namely as the denial that the changes/events in question have a non-zero, finite duration.

    Still, if you think that that’s non-standard, or that that was not clear in my post, etc.; I’ll clarify that in a moment, but I can simply say ‘the event/change has a zero duration’ instead.

    So, in brief, my argument goes: if the event/change has a zero duration, then a contradiction follows. If the event/change has a non-zero duration, then a contradiction follows. One way or another, a contradiction follows.

    That does require a t=0, though; I can’t derive the same contradiction if, for every time t, there is a time u prior to t. However, I also showed that that ‘open interval’ variant is incompatible with Craig’s view.

    Anyway, let’s hope that that’s clear enough.

  36. cl says:

    Actually, I spoke too soon: you *are* in fact using “instantaneous” in its standard definition, but you claim to be using it “a non-relevant sense.” From Merriam Webster:

    Instantaneous: done, occurring, or acting without any perceptible duration of time; done without any delay

    From your comment 2-15-2012, 5:07 PM:

    God’s learning is instantaneous in a non-relevant sense of ‘instantaneous’, namely in the sense that if something (say, G(t)) is true at t, then God knows that G(t) at t, with no delay.

    According to you, God’s learning is “instantaneous” in the standard dictionary definition of that word–not some hitherto undisclosed “non-relevant sense” as you allege. Now unless you want to make some serious concessions and start playin’ straight, I’m afraid this little merry-go-round is gettin’ near the end.

  37. Angra Mainyu says:

    Actually, I spoke too soon: you *are* in fact using “instantaneous” in its standard definition, but you claim to be using it “a non-relevant sense.”

    The non-relevant sense is not the one I used in my argument, and the dictionary definition you give does not allow us to distinguish between the two senses.

    However, this is a side issue, so I just made it simpler. I simply changed notation and removed the word ‘instantaneous’. Hopefully, you’ll find the new notation clearer.

    According to you, God’s learning is “instantaneous” in the standard dictionary definition of that word–not some hitherto undisclosed “non-relevant sense” as you allege. Now unless you want to make some serious concessions and start playin’ straight, I’m afraid this little merry-go-round is gettin’ near the end.

    Okay, I have years of experience talking to theists, so I couldn’t have expected otherwise, but frankly, the suggestion that I would have to be making concessions – and serious ones at that! -, when I’ve going all the way to rewrite arguments to avoid the terminology you dislike, managed to get to me. What really gets me is that you actually believe that you’re right, and somehow that I’m the one in a difficult position after the exchange.

    Look, you highlight the part of the definition ‘with no delay’, whereas you don’t highlight ‘with no perceptible duration’.
    Whatever you highlight, in my argument, I had already derived the contradiction without using ‘instantaneous’, but had also used it later. Now, I even removed that, and wrote ‘of zero duration’ only.

    If you believe that understanding ‘instantaneous’ as ‘of zero duration’ was non-standard, I disagree but there is no need to dispute the point. I just removed that notation.
    The contradiction in Craig’s position is just the same. Do you have any counterarguments?

  38. Angra Mainyu says:

    Of course, the suggestion that I am not playing straight is particularly offensive, especially given that, at every turn, I have to remind myself that even though your posts look like you’re trying to divert the issues and avoid conceding, you actually aren’t doing it on purpose (my many years of experience debating theists tell me that), and you can’t see that I’ve gone through considerable lengths trying to get the matter back on track.

    But whatever. If you have a counterargument that actually addresses my argument, I’d like to see it.

  39. Angra Mainyu says:

    Just in case (though given your latest accusation, the hopelessness of this become more clear, but offensive is offensive), regarding the ‘instantaneous’ stuff, the sense that was not relevant was that if something (say, G(t)) is true at t, then God knows that G(t) at t, with no delay, but that’s no delay with respect to G(t) – i.e., God knows it exactly at t.

    The sense that is relevant is that God’s change from not knowing that G(t) to knowing that G(t) does have a non-zero duration; otherwise, a contradiction would follow: so, the delay that matters is not between G(t) and God’s knowing that G(t) (no delay there), but between God’s not knowing that G(t) and God’s knowing that G(t).

    So, even going by the ‘no delay’ definition, the change of ‘instantaneous’ that counts is that in which the lack of delay applies to the state of God at which he does not know, and the state at which he does (which does result in a contradiction), and not between the state of the thing he knows about and God’s knowing about it – which has nothing to do with the matter at hand.

    So, it’s not even a matter of definitions, but of what it is that you apply the concept of ‘no delay’ – or, for that matter, of ‘zero duration’ -; what matters it the duration/delay between one state of God and another state of God, not between the state of the object of God’s knowledge, and God’s knowledge of that object.

    My mentioning of this two senses was an attempt to clarify a matter you hadn’t understood.

    But if you still believe I’m wrong about it, dishonest or whatever, of course you’re wrong, but in any event, my argument remains:

    If the change has a nonzero duration, then a contradiction follows.
    If it has a zero duration, a contradiction follows.

    If someone claims that the change is somehow partly timeless and so it neither has a nonzero nor a zero duration, I already dealt with that in my post:
    1) Craig himself claims that in his timeless state, God is changeless.
    2) In any case, partially ‘timeless change’ would be nonsense.

    I already dealt with all of that here.

    In short, deploying words like ‘timeless change’ can’t be used as a ‘get out of logic free’ card.
    So, that objection works.

    Finally, saying that the changes in question have no beginning of end (as Craig does), would simply be false.

    There clearly is an initial state of the event ‘God changes from not knowing any tensed truths, to knowing at least one tensed truth’. The initial state is that at which God does not know any tensed truths, and the final state is one at which he does. That is enough to derive a contradiction.

    Rather than obscuring things, I’m doing all I can to clarify them; if you don’t have time to read my posts carefully, I’m okay with leaving it at that; else, I await a reply.

  40. Angra Mainyu,

    From Comment #32:

    God’s learning is instantaneous in a non-relevant sense of ‘instantaneous’, namely in the sense that if something (say, G(t)) is true at t, then God knows that G(t) at t, with no delay. However, clearly it’s not the case that at t, God knows that G(t) and it’s not the case that God knows that G(t) – that would be a contradiction. So, God’s change from not knowing that G(t) to knowing that G(t) is not instantaneous: it does not occur completely at G(t), but it starts at some time u<t, at which ¬G(t) (but, say, G(u)).

    Your argument would prove the impossibility of any change from a timeless universe to one in time—generally, as the force of the argument has nothing to do with God. It would mean the universe suddenly coming to exist with the big bang would be impossible for logical reasons, given that the universe before the big bang was timeless (as is sometimes assumed).

    If time were created by the big bang, then the time leading up to the big bang has no duration. You’re confronted with the same “contradiction” in which—extending for no interval prior to the universe’s inception (because there were no time intervals, absent time itself)—the atemporal universe co-exists with the actual universe, instead of preceding it, imbuing the universe with contradictory properties at the same time (both no tenses and tenses).

    Is it really a contradiction? Finding a contradiction rests on the postulate that if no temporal interval separates two events or two states, then they occur at the same time. But this postulate doesn’t apply when the preceding state is timeless.

  41. Angra Mainyu says:

    Your argument would prove the impossibility of any change from a timeless universe to one in time—generally, as the force of the argument has nothing to do with God. It would mean the universe suddenly coming to exist with the big bang would be impossible for logical reasons, given that the universe before the big bang was timeless (as is sometimes assumed).

    Actually, that is not true, but thanks for bringing that up, because you’re the second philosophically informed theist who raises that objection, which suggests I should include a section or subsection to show why it fails; I’ll do that in my post later when I can, but before I do that, let me explain why the objection fails:

    First, the Big Bang is a hot, dense state at which the universe existed about 13.7 billion years ago. There is no actual point of zero volume and infinite density (that would not even be defined).

    Second, the Big Bang is not said to be ‘timeless’.

    Third, even if left that aside and went with your assumption that the Big Bang is ‘timeless’ (whatever that means), the contradiction cannot be derived for a crucial reason: in that case, there is no t=0.
    In other words, in order to derive the contradiction, I define an event like  ‘E(2)’ I mean the event/change ‘God changes from not having P(2) to having P(2) for the first time’.
    That assumes that there is such thing as the first time that God has P(2). The assumption is true as long as there is a t=0, but it would be false if there is no t=0, and instead, for every time t, there is a time u prior to t.
    So, deriving the contradiction requires a t=0.
    However, as I showed here Craig’s position entails that there is a t=0, rather than, for every time, a previous one.
    Also, as I explained here, in a Big Bang model with an added singularity at the beginning, the singularity is t=0, but for every time t greater than 0, there is a previous time u. If, on the other hand, we do not call the singularity ‘t=0’, but call it ‘timeless’, then there is no t=0.
    So, if the singularity is t=0, there is no timeless state, and no contradiction is derived. And if the singularity is ‘timeless’ (assuming that means something), then there is no t=0, and the reasoning by which I derive a contradiction from Craig’s position, is blocked.

  42. Angra Mainyu says:

    Alright, the new section is up, addressing the Big Bang objection.

  43. cl says:

    Stephen R. Diamond,

    But this postulate doesn’t apply when the preceding state is timeless.

    Yeah, this guy doesn’t get it. I’m glad you popped in this thread. Given your interest in dissecting language and your lack of emotional attachment to either of our positions, it seems you’re the perfect person to take a look at my counterarguments. I’ll post a succinct summary shortly and would love to hear your feedback — not just because you’re a philosophically informed atheist (you are an atheist, correct?), but because you’ve already demonstrated a willingness to think independently and eschew party lines (in other threads we’ve shared).

  44. Angra Mainyu says:

    Yeah, this guy doesn’t get it.

    I’m afraid that you’re mistaken.

    Deriving the contradiction requires a change from one state to the next. If someone posited a timeless state that does not interact with anything else (for instance), no contradiction could be derived, even if we assume that the word ‘timeless’ is meaningful.

    I explained the reason why the contradiction can be derived in my blog, but I’ve now given more details.

    Essentially, what Craig is doing is making an exception to the claim that everything that begins to exist, has a cause of its existence, by mislabeling ‘timeless’ a state of God that should be called ‘t=0’.

    However, his ‘timeless’ state is not timeless at all. It just has all the features of an initial temporal state, and should be called that. Precisely the reason a contradiction can be derived is that he’s denying that the state he describes is temporal, but the state in question still has all the features of an initial temporal state.
    In any case, you can find the details in the section I linked to above, if you’re interested.

  45. Angra Mainyu says:

    not just because you’re a philosophically informed atheist (you are an atheist, correct?)

    Sorry, I thought CL were the one making that point, not Stephen, so I was talking about CL.

  46. Angra Mainyu says:

    Stephen, I don’t know whether you’re a theist; I hope you got why the ‘Big Bang’ objection does not work, and why a contradiction can be derived from Craig’s position. :)

    If not, it seems to me the disagreement will persist.
    Still, perhaps the rest of the post might persuade you, since other sections still show that the KCA provides no support for theism, on independent grounds.

  47. Angra Mainyu says:

    Stephen, I checked your blog and it seems you’re a non-theist, so I guess now I know. ;)

    Sorry I didn’t realize you were the one raising the objection before; I thought I was replying to CL.

  48. If the initial singularity is labeled ‘timeless’, then for every time t, there is some time u<t. Hence, there is no t=0 at all, and no 'first time.'

    You’re contending that instantaneous change is logically impossible. But, you add, it’s possible to add a limiting edge of the change process: no event occurs at the limit. This maintains consistency. Yes, it does, and that’s why the big bang story is (I think) the only way to represent instantaneous change.

    Consider the quantum examples I alluded to. When electrons are forced into different “orbits,” they make this transition instantaneously. Is there a contradiction, in that it’s in both states at time 0? An interesting puzzle, and one I hadn’t thought of before you brought it up, but unlikely to be dispositive in a debate, since instantaneous change bears the imprimatur of science.

    But how would you represent this instantaneous change without lapsing into contradiction? I’m not a scientist, but the only way I see is that the change is represented as occurring at the times limiting the states’ perdurance.

  49. Should be the time (singular) limiting…

  50. Angra Mainyu says:

    You’re contending that instantaneous change is logically impossible. But, you add, it’s possible to add a limiting edge of the change process: no event occurs at the limit. This maintains consistency. Yes, it does, and that’s why the big bang story is (I think) the only way to represent instantaneous change.

    That paragraph is not entirely clear to me; if you take a look at my exchange with CL, you’ll see that there was some miscommunication using the word ‘instantaneous’, so I’ll try to be cautions not to misread.

    Just in case, to clarify my view, in the case of the Big Bang, I’m not suggesting that there is an initial singularity, or that the models that include one (which is not part of General Relativity) indicate how to get out of it, etc.
    What I’m saying in that part of my reply is that the objection to my derivation of a contradiction based on the suggestion that it would prove too much because it would show that the Big Bang Theory is contradictory, would not work even if we assume such timeless singularity (whatever that means).
    I’m not sure whether you agree with my reply to that objection, but if you disagree, I would suggest that you try to derive a contradiction in the Big Bang (or in a model that adds an initial singularity to the Big Bang model) by means of mirroring my reasoning to a contradiction in Craig’s position..
    On the other hand, if you agree with my reply to the Big Bang objection (i.e., if you agree that my position does not commit me to a contradiction in the Big Bang, or even in a hypothesis that adds a timeless singularity – whatever that is – to modern cosmology), then please let me know, and we can move on to some other objection to my case against the KCA. :)

    Consider the quantum examples I alluded to. When electrons are forced into different “orbits,” they make this transition instantaneously. Is there a contradiction, in that it’s in both states at time 0? An interesting puzzle, and one I hadn’t thought of before you brought it up, but unlikely to be dispositive in a debate, since instantaneous change bears the imprimatur of science.

    A question is in which sense you’re saying they make the transition ‘instantaneously’; I’m not sure.
    I’m not a physicist, and I would need more information about which phenomenon you’re talking about exactly (a link might help), but what is clear to me is that they do not make the transition instantaneously in the sense that at the exact same time, the electron has already made the transition, but it is not the case that it has already made the transition. That would be a contradiction.
    In fact, Craig himself does not claim that, at t=0, God knows at least one tensed truth, and at t=0, it is not the case that God knows at least on tensed truth. That would be contradictory.
    Part of my argument is to show that a contradiction can be derived from his position.

    Side note: there is actually no need to show a contradiction. It’s enough to show (for instance), that the scenario he describes as ‘timeless’ is ontologically indistinguishable from one in which God exists at t=0 without a cause. , and that shows that the KCA provides no support for theism, in Craig’s version or relevantly similar ones.

    Alternatively, my arguments in later sections work as well, even extending the result to other potential versions of the KCA, even if they do not show contradictions.

    But how would you represent this instantaneous change without lapsing into contradiction? I’m not a scientist, but the only way I see is that the change is represented as occurring at the times limiting the states’ perdurance.

    I’m not a physicist, either, and I’m not entirely sure which phenomenon you’re describing, but since you mention limits, there is a key point to be taken into consideration: science does not assume discrete time, and it does not assume a t=0.

    On the other hand, Craig’s position entails that time is discrete> .
    It also entails that there is a first instant in time, a t=0.
    So, it follows from Craig’s position, that for every point in time t, there is a next one u>t, and no point in time in between, and there is an initial time t=0.

    So, I’m not entirely sure what phenomena you’re describing here or how you’re using the limits (please clarify), but Craig’s position blocks the possibility of such limits in reality.

    Hence, if there is some sense of ‘instantaneous’ in which limits would allow for instantaneous changes, then that’s not a difficulty for my case against Craig’s version of the KCA – or similar ones -, since no such limits are possible under Craig’s position, so in order to show a contradiction in Craig’s position, I only need to show a contradiction when such limits are not possible.

    Granted, someone might come up with a version of the KCA that assuming a tenseless theory, or assuming infinitely many past events. I deal with such possibilities in later sections.
    So, to be clear, it is not my claim that all potential versions of the KCA would entail a contradiction; Craig’s does, and relevantly similar ones.
    Other versions fail for other reasons, which I consider in later sections (the arguments in later sections also show that Craig’s version fails, so I’m debunking Craig’s version more than once, with independent arguments).

  51. cl says:

    Not that I think anyone is holding their breath, but I’m not going to be returning to this argument until the weekend…

  52. Angra Mainyu says:

    CL, does that mean that comments aren’t possible until then, or may we go on?

  53. cl says:

    No, by all means continue. Who knows? Maybe talking to Stephen will help us get past our difficulties.

  54. Angra Mainyu says:

    Okay, it seems comments are possible. I’m not sure why my previous comment didn’t get through, then.

    Stephen, I’ve posted a more thorough comment that may be awaiting moderation, but briefly:

    Whatever role limits may play, in order to show a contradiction in Craig’s argument, I may assume that such limits do not exist, since Craig’s position entails that they do not exist.

    More precisely, Craig’s position entails that:

    a) There is a time t=0.

    b) For every time t, there is a next time u>t. In other words, there is no time between t and u. So, any model that allows approaching a time arbitrarily would be false (even if for some reason useful); if theism + a tensed theory of time are true (which Craig is committed to), then it follows that time is discrete.

    I show why both a) and b) are true in my post (section 4) and subsection 6.1) respectively).

  55. cl says:

    Ah, I think I see why you were asking: your previous comment got caught in the spam filter because it had more than one link. It should be live now, sorry for the lag.

  56. Angra Mainyu says:

    No, by all means continue. Who knows? Maybe talking to Stephen will help us get past our difficulties.

    Thanks.
    I made a post earlier that seems to be waiting moderation, or it was lost, I’m not sure. Do you know if it’s there?

  57. Angra Mainyu says:

    Ah, I think I see why you were asking: your previous comment got caught in the spam filter because it had more than one link. It should be live now, sorry for the lag.

    No problem, and sorry I didn’t see that reply before I posted above.

  58. What I’m saying in that part of my reply is that the objection to my derivation of a contradiction based on the suggestion that it would prove too much because it would show that the Big Bang Theory is contradictory, would not work even if we assume such timeless singularity (whatever that means).
    I’m not sure whether you agree with my reply to that objection, but if you disagree, I would suggest that you try to derive a contradiction in the Big Bang (or in a model that adds an initial singularity to the Big Bang model) by means of mirroring my reasoning to a contradiction in Craig’s position.

    You showed how the big bang escapes contradiction, but the problem is the theistic creation of the universe would escape contradiction too. God transitions the universe from timeless at t=0. That is to say, he then makes the big bang: at t=0 there’s a singularity, and tensed events exist only following t=0.

    Is the universe untensed or tensed at t=0? As you wrote, “All I need is that God knows tensed facts at t=0 to derive the contradiction …” God does (b>not know tensed facts at t=0. To ask whether God knows or doesn’t know is a kind of question that doesn’t make sense for instantaneous transitions.

    A question is in which sense you’re saying they make the transition ‘instantaneously’; I’m not sure.

    But

    what matters it the duration/delay between one state of God and another state of God, not between the state of the object of God’s knowledge, and God’s knowledge of that object.

    And in the quantum case, it’s a matter of the duration/delay between one state of an electron and another. So, it seems to match, but to tell you the truth, I haven’t grasped any distinction between your two types of instantaneous change; you provide examples, but you don’t show why they aren’t merely examples of one ordinary “type” of instantaneity. You haven’t conceptually articulated the distinction.

    So, God creates the universe at t=0, the initial temporal limit of the temporal universe. Is the universe tensed or untensed at that point? That’s like asking whether an electron is in energy state 1 or 2 at the point it instantaneously transitions from one to the other. The question seems inherently meaningless for instantaneous transitions.

    If Craig blew the initial definitions as badly as it seems, I don’t see much point in belaboring his mistakes. I’d either accept his changes or ignore him, but what’s the point of belaboring a misstated argument that everyone now recognizes as such? You and Craig make much of the claim that all events have a duration, but I don’t see why Craig made or needs that claim. His argument, to my simple mind, is that a string of causes can’t go back forever; hence, they must terminate in something unchanging: not requiring or suffering causes of its own. I think he’s wrong about that central claim and that the existence of actual infinities is provable.

    I appreciate your effort to find some other chink in the argument, even if I don’t think it’s successful. As far as I know, yours is an original counter-argument.

  59. Angra Mainyu says:

    You showed how the big bang escapes contradiction, but the problem is the theistic creation of the universe would escape contradiction too. God transitions the universe from timeless at t=0. That is to say, he then makes the big bang: at t=0 there’s a singularity, and tensed events exist only following t=0.
    Is the universe untensed or tensed at t=0? As you wrote, “All I need is that God knows tensed facts at t=0 to derive the contradiction …” God does (b>not know tensed facts at t=0. To ask whether God knows or doesn’t know is a kind of question that doesn’t make sense for instantaneous transitions.

    It does make sense to say that God knows tensed truths at t=0. For instance, at t=0, God knows that there is no prior time, that t=0 is the first instant in time, and so on.
    Also, you call it ‘instantaneous transition’, but what do you mean by that?
    If you mean that the duration of the change is literally zero, then a contradiction follows – which is the contradiction that I showed.
    On the other hand, in the case of the Big Bang, there is no change of duration literally zero.

    And in the quantum case, it’s a matter of the duration/delay between one state of an electron and another. So, it seems to match, but to tell you the truth, I haven’t grasped any distinction between your two types of instantaneous change; you provide examples, but you don’t show why they aren’t merely examples of one ordinary “type” of instantaneity. You haven’t conceptually articulated the distinction.

    But it’s not a match. In the case of state of the electrons, there is no duration that is literally zero…
    However, since you keep saying that I’ve not conceptually articulated the distinction, it seems to me I may have missed something about your objection – i.e., I may not have fully understood it.
    While I’m not entirely sure, I have a hypothesis about what that might be that might be helpful.

    So, I added some points to the section about the Big Bang – precisely to stress a distinction – and, in fact, I added another brief section to deal with a potential objection that might be the objection you’re raising, by distinguishing between a zero duration and an infinitesimal duration (I added it as section 6, right after the section about the Big Bang).

    In that new section, I explain a distinction that might be the conceptual articulation that you’re asking for.
    If not, I would need more info about what you actually object to (but the post is getting too long, so I hope I can get your distinction soon enough).

    So, God creates the universe at t=0, the initial temporal limit of the temporal universe. Is the universe tensed or untensed at that point? That’s like asking whether an electron is in energy state 1 or 2 at the point it instantaneously transitions from one to the other. The question seems inherently meaningless for instantaneous transitions.

    Actually, that the universe – or, more precise – time is tensed, does not have to do with any duration of a transition. If a tensed theory of time is true, then time is tensed at every time, even t=0 – by definition of a tensed theory of time.

    That said, you’re using the word ‘instantaneous’ again, to describe the transition. Are you saying that it’s a change that has a duration actually zero?

    If so, that would entail a contradiction.

    If Craig blew the initial definitions as badly as it seems, I don’t see much point in belaboring his mistakes. I’d either accept his changes or ignore him, but what’s the point of belaboring a misstated argument that everyone now recognizes as such? You and Craig make much of the claim that all events have a duration, but I don’t see why Craig made or needs that claim.

    Well, actually, there is something crucial not about the KCA but about his theory of time that requires that.
    I’m not sure whether he realizes it, but as I showed (see section 7.1), a tensed theory of time + theism entail that time is discrete. So, there are no events of an infinitesimal duration, no limit points, etc.

    In fact, we assume events like the ones you’re talking about (involving electrons and limit points, etc.), they can’t literally have a duration zero (because of contradiction).

    But if there are limit points, infinitesimal durations, etc. (see section 6), then the KCA fails just because of that, since section 7.1 shows that a tensed theory of time + theism entails that no such events exist, so from the existence of such events, one can conclude that either theism is false (a lethal result), or that a tensed theory of time is false (lethal for nearly all versions of the KCA, including Craig’s; I deal with the rest of the versions in section 13, but without a tensed theory, that’s just easy).

    His argument, to my simple mind, is that a string of causes can’t go back forever; hence, they must terminate in something unchanging: not requiring or suffering causes of its own. I think he’s wrong about that central claim and that the existence of actual infinities is provable.

    Okay, but that’s not necessary.
    Even if my previous arguments don’t persuade you (but see section 6; maybe that just addresses your point), in section 7, I show that there is no ontological difference between what he tries to describe at ‘timeless’ and an uncaused God at t=0, so finitely many past events would not be of help for the KCA:

    And the reason I debunk Craig’s version (and other versions) of the KCA is that many people mistakenly buy into it (you don’t, okay).

  60. Angra Mainyu says:

    After further considering your objection, it seems to me that the mere possibility of some infinitesimal won’t convince you. I actually don’t find infinitesimals to be the best option myself; rather, pointing out the lack of an endpoint seems to be better as a means of blocking the objection, but that didn’t persuade you, so it seems to me I won’t persuade you.

    Given that, it seems to me that I won’t be able to persuade you that there is a contradiction there; perhaps, section 7 convinces you that Craig’s KCA fails anyway due to the misuse of ‘timeless’, but I don’t know that it will…

  61. Angra Mainyu says:

    Stephen, one detail: I assumed there are temporal instants to simplify. Craig’s position is that there are intervals. The proofs are similar, only somewhat more complex, but if you like, I can consider both a tensed theory of time with instants, or with intervals.

  62. cl says:

    Okay so I just woke up and I’ve got time for a quick one:

    Stephen R. Diamond,

    You wrote,

    You showed how the big bang escapes contradiction, but the problem is the theistic creation of the universe would escape contradiction too. God transitions the universe from timeless at t=0. That is to say, he then makes the big bang: at t=0 there’s a singularity, and tensed events exist only following t=0. Is the universe untensed or tensed at t=0? As you wrote, “All I need is that God knows tensed facts at t=0 to derive the contradiction …” God does (b>not know tensed facts at t=0. To ask whether God knows or doesn’t know is a kind of question that doesn’t make sense for instantaneous transitions.

    Yes, that is exactly how I was processing this as well. It’s clear as day to me, and I get a sense of confirmation that you seem to agree so far. Angra Mainyu replied,

    It does make sense to say that God knows tensed truths at t=0. For instance, at t=0, God knows that there is no prior time, that t=0 is the first instant in time, and so on. Also, you call it ‘instantaneous transition’, but what do you mean by that?
    If you mean that the duration of the change is literally zero, then a contradiction follows – which is the contradiction that I showed.

    The contradiction does *NOT* follow. On account of the instantaneousness of the event, Angra Mainyu writes (on his own blog),

    However, if the end point of an event of zero duration is at t=0, and the duration is actually zero, then the conclusion is that the beginning point of the event is at t=0 as well, entailing a contradiction.

    As I asked before, doesn’t it seem incoherent to speak of a “beginning” or “end” of any event with zero duration? The allegation is that God at T=0 both knows at least one tensed truth and doesn’t know any tensed truths—but this isn’t true. Elsewhere, he describes the “pre-temporal” nature of God’s existence as, “a timeless state S.” Well, there you go: for any plot point in the timeless state S, God doesn’t know any tensed truths, because no tensed truths exist. However, at T=0, God then knows at least one tensed truth. At S God knows no tensed truths, but then, instantaneously, with no delay as Angra Mainyu has already committed to, God knows at least one tensed truth at T=0. Remember, he claims that “at any time T, God knows everything there is to know about the world at T.” By his own stipulation, it is logically impossible for God to NOT know at least one tensed truth at T=0. There is never a T=0 where God doesn’t know at least one tensed truth. Angra Mainyu mistakenly insists that an event of zero duration has a “beginning” and “end,” but this is incoherent. There is no contradiction.

    At least, that’s my pre-coffee assessment :) I’d love to hear what you think of it, especially because you’re an atheist who’s never committed the ad hominem fallacy by claiming my faith prevents me from seeing the majesty of this allegedly all-powerful argument.

  63. Angra Mainyu says:

    As I asked before, doesn’t it seem incoherent to speak of a “beginning” or “end” of any event with zero duration? 

    No, that there is a beginning and and endpoint to the event – i.e., to the change – can be ascertained without any reference to the duration. Since the change is between two states of the world, namely a state at which God does not have P(2), and the first state at which God does have P(2), the beginning point is that at which God does not have P(2), and the endpoint is that at which God does have P(2).
    Then, after establishing that it’s a change between a definite beginning and endpoint, we can consider whether the duration is zero, or nonzero, and either option results in contradiction.
    That said, this is going in circles by now, and surely there will be no convincing either way, so let me try a different approach.
    Would you say that, if the events were temporal, a contradiction would follow?
    In other words, is the claim that one state is timeless that makes you think that there is no contradiction?

    At least, that’s my pre-coffee assessment :) I’d love to hear what you think of it, especially because you’re an atheist who’s never committed the ad hominem fallacy by claiming my faith prevents me from seeing the majesty of this allegedly all-powerful argument.

    That is not an ad hominem fallacy, it’s a claim about psychology, based on observations of a specific case (i.e., our exchange) and many other cases of theists (not only theists have faith, by the way (many non-theists have faith-basde commitments to some ideology)), and it’s not related to the merits of the arguments themselves.
    By the way, you’ve made psychological claims to, from dismissing my argument beforehand – ‘needless to say’ -, to mistaken assessments about not rationality, but intention and honesty – ‘playin’ straigh’
    No matter, questions about our respective psychological states and questions about the KCA are orthogonal to one another, so that’s no fallacy unless someone tried to reach conclusions about the KCA based on said psychological states.
    If I’m mistaken for your reason for rejecting my case against the KCA – which you seem to be rejecting entirely, not just the contradiction -, that would not affect the case, of course…though I guess that, after all, the warfare might me mental… :D but that takes long too, and I’d rather make a truce on that if possible at all and stick to the KCA, which takes long enough on its own.:)

  64. Angra,

    I can’t do your comments and additions justice until later today or this evening, but I want to raise one point, which seems crucial. You write:

    In the case of state of the electrons, there is no duration that is literally zero.

    But that’s exactly what I’m claiming: the duration between the the electron’s occupying state 1 and state 2 is zero.

    As you point out, this seems to result in a contradiction. At time t, when the transition takes place, it seems the electron is in state 1 and state 2. It would be most interesting to know how physicists actually deal with this, but the only way I see to avoid the contradiction is to treat statements about what happens at t is meaningless (and analogously, to treat God’s state at t=0 as meaningless).

    Perhaps the ontological conclusion is that points in time don’t exist, only temporal intervals do. Then within an interval containing t–(t + an infinitesimal duration) to (t – an infinitesimal duration)–the electron is both tensed an not tensed.

    [But I haven’t yet looked at what you say about infinitesimals, and I notice that you conclude that Zeno’s paradox implies time is discrete–which I once thought to be the case but no longer do.]

  65. “the electron is both tensed an not tensed.” Should be: the electron is both in state 1 and state 2–or in state 1 and not in state 1 at the same time.

  66. CL,

    especially because you’re an atheist who’s never committed the ad hominem fallacy by claiming my faith prevents me from seeing the majesty of this allegedly all-powerful argument.

    But then, we’ve never argued our disagreements …

  67. cl says:

    Stephen,

    But then, we’ve never argued our disagreements …

    I can’t speak for you, from what I’ve read on your blog we’re more in line than most (a)theists. Nonetheless, here’s our chance! Let me have it! ;)

    Seriously though, I’m curious to hear what *YOU* think of my comment at #62. I don’t expect you to agree with me or take my side, but maybe you can help us out here. Am I missing something in my objections?

  68. Angra Mainyu says:

    But that’s exactly what I’m claiming: the duration between the the electron’s occupying state 1 and state 2 is zero.
    As you point out, this seems to result in a contradiction. At time t, when the transition takes place, it seems the electron is in state 1 and state 2. It would be most interesting to know how physicists actually deal with this, but the only way I see to avoid the contradiction is to treat statements about what happens at t is meaningless (and analogously, to treat God’s state at t=0 as meaningless).

    Okay, I see.
    There is a difference between the electron’s being in state 1 and state 2, and the electron’s being in state 1, and not being in state 1 at the same time. Only the latter is a contradiction.
    I’m no physicist, but that’s a matter of logic.
    In the case of Craig’s God, state 1 is not knowing any tensed facts, precisely the denial of state 2.

    Should be: the electron is both in state 1 and state 2–or in state 1 and not in state 1 at the same time.

    You mean, like the cat paradox?
    That was actually meant to show an absurdity.

    Anyway, if the previous points do not convince you, we can limit the matter to the case of God:

    At the first temporal state, God knows (by omniscience) all tensed facts at the first temporal state, and it can’t be that it’s not the case that God knows any tensed facts.

    If God didn’t know any tensed facts even though there is at least one, he would not be omniscient – of course, the derivation of a contradiction is sufficient, but you’re not convinced, so I’m trying that as an alternative.

    Perhaps the ontological conclusion is that points in time don’t exist, only temporal intervals do. Then within an interval containing t–(t + an infinitesimal duration) to (t – an infinitesimal duration)–the electron is both tensed an not tensed.

    I was afraid you’d say that. :D
    Actually, Craig denies that there are points; that makes no difference to the end result, but the arguments are somewhat more complicated, and so I used instants instead of intervals to simplify the arguments, since I need to try to balance detail and complexity, and my post has grown way too complex already.
    That said, intervals it is. Or rather, I will include both instants and intervals, considering both options. I’ll post it as soon as I can write the require adaptations.
    In fact, I’ve just got an idea. Since the contradiction argument isn’t persuading you, and since this is way too long already, perhaps, I might have a better change with the part of the argument that deals with Craig’s claim of timelessness. Maybe I’ll make another, very brief post, focused only in that particular part of the argument, so that you can assess it more quickly.
    Later, if we agree about that one (else, such is life), we can come back to the issue of the contradiction.
    Alternatively, if you prefer to keep discussing the contradiction (or both at once), we can do that.

    [But I haven’t yet looked at what you say about infinitesimals, and I notice that you conclude that Zeno’s paradox implies time is discrete–which I once thought to be the case but no longer do.]

    I’ve realized the infinitesimals do not address what you were getting at and I don’t find them to be a good solution, after all, so (I think) I removed them or mostly removed them – post is way too long already.
    As for Zeno’s paradox, actually I’m not saying that they entail that. What I’m saying is that theism + a tensed theory of time entails that. But even that is not required, and from your reply above it seems there is some miscommunication, so I will simplify: I will merely claim (because it’s sufficient), that Craig’s arguments and claims in the context of the KCA, entail that time is discrete.
    That’s a simpler argument, and just as sufficient to establish the point I’m trying to establish, so we don’t need to get into the all Zenonian stuff. I’ll make the required modifications as soon as I can (finally, something in the argument gets simpler, not more complex).

  69. Angra Mainyu says:

    Okay, the thing is up.

    I wrote it quickly, so there might be some errors (e.g., cut, copied and pasted, and then forgot to fix something, or some links are dead, etc.); please let me know if you find any.

    Regarding QM and the contradiction, do you agree that ‘electron 1 is in state a and it’s not the case that electron 1 is in state a’ is a contradiction?

    If so, then saying that such states are possible would not be denying a derivation of a contradiction, but accepting contradictions.

  70. cl says:

    Eh, this isn’t really what I wanted to do today but here we go. A slog for a slog:

    Angra Mainyu,

    Look, you’re free to comment however you want here, but here you are again, rambling ad nauseum while ignoring the heart of my counterargument. Don’t say this is an “attack” or “psychological,” either. It’s factual, not personal, or ad hominem. I warned you in the comment policy: Inflammatory vitriol, opinionated ramblings and fallacious arguments are subject to harsh rebuttal and/or mockery. Because of your persistence I think we could actually make good sparring partners, but now you’re going to get a friendly but terse little “wake-up” spanking.

    That said, this is going in circles by now, and surely there will be no convincing either way, so let me try a different approach.

    Not with a stubborn attitude like that, no, there won’t be any convincing! Your mind appears to be already made up. You already said that no number of people could convince you that you are wrong, and that only reasons can. Problem is, you haven’t addressed all the reasons yet. You handled a few and for that I’m grateful, but you just keep scurrying back to your blog and making revisions with no apparent regard for your opponent’s desire for firmly cemented goalposts. Rinse, wash, repeat. You accuse Craig of “lying” while you yourself engage in the grossest of sophistry with the word “instantaneous.” Yes, you should try a different approach: you should actually address the heart of my objection. Quit dancing. Quit talking. Quit jamming up my spam filter up with overlinked comments. Quit spinning circles with words and address the counterarguments for the love of God (or in your case the Flying Spaghetti Monster). Don’t reply “I did!” either, because you didn’t. Your comment at #63 did not address the meat of my comment at #62. Don’t disagree there, because you can’t, and here’s the proof. As far as my objection is concerned, here is your pertinent reply from #63in it’s entirety:

    Since the change is between two states of the world, namely a state at which God does not have P(2), and the first state at which God does have P(2), the beginning point is that at which God does not have P(2), and the endpoint is that at which God does have P(2).

    50 words. I don’t feel like opening Microsoft Word to check, but I’m pretty confident #63 contains over 200 words. This means even by my conservative estimate, your last comment to me was only 25% relevant to the arguments. Now, that wouldn’t be a problem had you actually addressed my objection. After all, I did ask for concise explanations! But you have to address the objection! I’m not going to cite it for you, either. Read #62 and prove to me that you’re actually thinking before you dig into your keyboard.

    That is not an ad hominem fallacy, it’s a claim about psychology,

    The hell it wasn’t. It’s about as close to textbook as one could possibly get, according to IEP:

    You commit this fallacy if you make an irrelevant attack on the arguer and suggest that this attack undermines the argument itself.

    You made an irrelevant attack on the arguer. You claimed that I was an irrational theist whose faith prevented the exercise of reason [i.e. undermined my arguments and/or my ability to properly frame yours]. The subtext was, “cl’s objections aren’t true, his faith is getting in the way of reason.” So don’t try to cover up the big giant turd you left laying on my front door, buddy. I’m the type of guy that would give you the shirt off my back, but when it comes to debate respect must be earned.

    By the way, you’ve made psychological claims to, from dismissing my argument beforehand – ‘needless to say’ -, to mistaken assessments about not rationality, but intention and honesty – ‘playin’ straigh’

    Oh please. As opposed to an attack on the arguer, dismissive tone based on previous experience is neither ad hominem nor psychological; it’s a linguistic preference founded upon an empirical data set. I have no idea what your intent is. I honestly can’t tell if you’re being willfully obtuse or if you’re just plain stubborn. You don’t strike me as a troll, because you seem very passionate about your arguments (and that’s a good thing). But like I said, quit dancing and let’s get to the bottom of this.

    …that’s no fallacy unless someone tried to reach conclusions about the KCA based on said psychological states.

    AHEM: you reached a conclusion about my objections—not on the merit of evidence or cogent rebuttal—but on an alleged psychological state [your false claim that my faith was preventing the exercise of reason]. That is a fallacy by your own definition. I even gave you good reason to believe I *WASN’T* an irrational theist. Laughably, you apparently failed to read or grasp what I said: for most of my twenty-something years of being a theist, I rejected all variants of First Cause arguments! That should be a huge, flashing red sign to you that the chances of me being “emotionally invested” [READ: irrational] are trivial. What would I have to lose? Now, I’m sure you have met many irrational, emotionally invested theists. So have I. I’ve also met that many irrational, emotionally invested atheists, and the refusal to solidly engage key objections was a common denominator in them all. If you’re going to blind yourself to the fact that a somewhat rational theist might exist—someone who doesn’t give a rat’s bum about the KCA or First Cause Arguments and just wants to have a productive exchange to sharpen the wit—well, you’re going to miss out on quite a bit in philosophy and life, I’m afraid.

    Would you say that, if the events were temporal, a contradiction would follow?

    Yes. That was the thrust of the original post, and I am going to lay that argument out very clearly, soon. I left it to the audience in the OP, but nobody jumped.

    …is the claim that one state is timeless [what] makes you think that there is no contradiction?

    *IF* I’m understanding you correctly, yes. I’ve explained my objection as clear as I possibly could to Stephen. I’m not going to repeat myself. It’s there if you want it.

  71. Angra Mainyu says:

    CL, I will reply to the accusations in this post, and to the substantive matters in the next:

    Don’t say this is an “attack” or “psychological,” either. It’s factual, not personal, or ad hominem. I warned you in the comment policy: Inflammatory vitriol, opinionated ramblings and fallacious arguments are subject to harsh rebuttal and/or mockery. 

    No, it’s not factual. It’s what you believe it’s factual. Of course, I disagree with you.

     Problem is, you haven’t addressed all the reasonsyet. You handled a few and for that I’m grateful, but you just keep scurrying back to your blog and making revisions with no apparent regard for your opponent’s desire for firmly cemented goalposts.

    Actually, I disagree the reasons you give. I don’t think that they affect my reasoning; if you don’t believe that my replies (which include my links to my post) address your objections sufficiently, either I’m misreading your objections, or you’re misreading my replies, or both.
    I will try again, though, in the next post.

    You accuse Craig of “lying” while you yourself engage in the grossest of sophistry with the word “instantaneous.” 

    You accuse me of engage in sophistry – and the grossest at that -, when you went on nitpicking about instantaneous, misunderstanding what I said, etc., even though I did my best to explain it.
    Obviously, there is a serious and insurmountable disagreement. Such is life. You believe you have the facts, I believe I have them, and we can keep going. Or not. It’s up to you.

    Yes, you should try a different approach: you should actually address the heart of my objection. Quit dancing. 

    I’m doing that, the best I can. Please quit accusing me of dancing.
    If we’re talking past each other, well such is life, but I keep addressing your claims, as I understand them.

    Quit jamming up my spam filter up with overlinked comments.

    First, I did not post a single link after you told me one of my posts got into the spam filter because of the links (aside from the ‘URL’ link in the form, which I can just leave aside too), so please quit telling me to quit jamming your spam filter.
    Second, those links were supposed to be part of the reply. I wasn’t going to repeat myself here, when a direct link would address your objections by explaining my argument in sufficient detail. Apparently, that did not work. But such is life.

    The hell it wasn’t. It’s about as close to textbook as one could possibly get, according to IEP:

    But I never said that that undermined the argument itself.

    You claimed that I was an irrational theist whose faith prevented the exercise of reason [i.e. undermined my arguments and/or my ability to properly frame yours].

    No, you yourself claim to have faith, which is a form of irrationality. I made an observation based on my experience with many theists (as you did in your opening post), but did not say or suggested that the merits of the arguments depend on who made them.

    The subtext was, “cl’s objections aren’t true, his faith is getting in the way of reason.” So don’t try to cover up the big giant turd you left laying on my front door, buddy. I’m the type of guy that would give you the shirt off my back, but when it comes to debate respect must be earned.

    Given your dismissal of my post in the first place, combined with the fact that you’re a theist despite years of thinking about the matter, my conclusion about your use of reason in context pertaining to your religion is that you’re doing it the wrong way.
    But whatever.

    I honestly can’t tell if you’re being willfully obtuse or if you’re just plain stubborn.

    And yet, you accused me of not playing straight, etc. If you didn’t mean to tell me I was acting deliberately, you misspoke.

    AHEM: you reached a conclusion about my objections—not on the merit of evidence or cogent rebuttal—but on an alleged psychological state [your false claim that my faith was preventing the exercise of reason]. That is a fallacy by your own definition. 

    No, that is not true. I made a probabilistic assessment about the objections you might raise (as you did in your opening post), but never said that any specific objection failed because of your state of mind, which would be the fallacy in question.

     I even gave you good reason to believe I *WASN’T* an irrational theist. Laughably, you apparently failed to read or grasp what I said: for most of my twenty-something years of being a theist, I rejected all variants of First Cause arguments! 

    But you’re a theist after over twenty years of thinking about it, and you dismissed my argument without any good reasons for it. I already gave you potential causes for your attitude. But whatever.
    If I was mistaken about your state of mind when assessing my arguments, that does not change the respective merits of the arguments one iota.

     I’ve also met that many irrational, emotionally invested atheists, and the refusal to solidly engage key objections was a common denominator in them all.

    So have I. But I’m not refusing to engage you.
    By the way, links to specific parts of my posts are parts of my reply, and that – as far as I could tell – engaged some of the points raised here, in more detail than in my posts in this thread.
    Anyway, in the next post, I will address substantive matters.

  72. Angra Mainyu says:

     Your comment at #63 did not address the meat of my comment at #62. 

    Okay, a substantive point.
    You raised the question about whether it seems incoherent to speak of a beginning or an end of any event with zero duration.
    Well, obviously an event with a beginning point (which is some state) and an end point (some other state, which is incompatible with the other one), and a zero duration is contradictory – that’s my point, actually.
    But I don’t assume that the event has a beginning point and an endpoint.
    I conclude that simply because that’s the description of the event. The beginning point is a state at which God does not have property P(2), and the end point is the first state at which he does.
    Then, given that, I conclude that a zero duration entails a contradiction.
    So, I assume a nonzero duration, and I conclude another contradiction.
    If you disagree, fine, please tell me that. But I’m addressing your point.

    Yes. That was the thrust of the original post, and I am going to lay that argument out very clearly, soon. I left it to the audience in the OP, but nobody jumped.

    Okay, so Craig’s saying ‘timeless’ is tactically working. That’s not doable in this debate at this point, but tactically, it seems maybe I should directly target that from starters. I’ll consider that.

  73. Angra Mainyu says:

    CL,

    In this post, I will address your objections as clearly as I can; I’m not trying to make long posts, but I want to be clear, and to make clear also that I’m not trying to avoid any substantive issues.

    So, my point is that what we have is a change/event E(2), from one specific point – which is a state of God’s not having property P2 -, to another specific point (which is the first state at which God has property P(2)).

    So, there is a beginning point (a state of God’s not having property P(2)), and an endpoint (a state of God’s having property P(2)).

    If E(2) has a duration literally zero, then since the final point of E(2) – namely, the first state of God’s having property P(2) – obtains at T(0) – the first temporal state of the world -, and the duration of E(2) is actually zero, then it seems that the initial point of E(2) – a state at which it is not the case that God has property P(2) – also obtains at T(0). But that is impossible.

    Someone might object that the initial state of E(2) is not present at T(0), but at timeless state S, and the final state is present at T(0). However, if the end point of an event of zero duration is at the state T(0) and the duration is actually zero, then the conclusion is that the beginning point of the event is present at T(0) as well…because, well, its duration is zero: duration in this context is a measure of time, not some kind of ‘timeless duration’ of ‘timeless change’ (that would not be meaningful).

    If you’re going to object that I’m assuming that the first state is not timeless, my reply would be that I’m merely pointing out that I’m concluding that it’s contradictory, since you still have a change/event, with a beginning and an endpoint, and a zero duration, and then claiming ‘timeless’ does not affect that.

    Now, that is a reply that you do not find persuasive, just as I do not find your objection persuasive.

    This is not a case of avoiding engaging your objection. My reply is what you can read in this post, and what was in some of those links I had posted earlier.

    We simply disagree on the merits of the arguments. Such is life, but I’m not trying to avoid anything.

    That said, if you think that there is any misrepresentation of your view, it’s surely not intentional. I’m doing the best to understand your objection, but as far as I can tell, I do, and we simply do not agree on the merits of the arguments involved.

    That aside, I do maintain that my post shows that the KCA provides no support for theism even if one sets my argument to a contradiction aside – i.e., that leaving aside those sections, the rest of my post suffices to show that the KCA provides no support for theism.
    Let me know if I’m mistaken, but it seems to me that you believe otherwise, given your opening post, so there is further disagreement on the matter.

    However, I do not know what other objections to my argument you have, so I cannot reply to those.

    Again, I’m not trying to avoid anything here. I simply do not know the reasons why you believe that the rest of my argument also fails to show that the KCA provides no support for theism, so I cannot address them.

  74. cl says:

    Not going to waste too much time on the non-argument stuff but you clearly need help:

    You accuse me of engage in sophistry – and the grossest at that -, when you went on nitpicking about instantaneous,

    That’s right, and the thing about “instantaneous” wasn’t nitpicking. I simply pointed out that you are doing that which you accuse Craig of—playing loose and fast with words that have commonly understood definitions. But, like I said, it doesn’t matter if you say “instantaneous” or “Gnasser,” because that’s just the map. The territory you’ve already committed to–no delay, zero duration–is what matters, and that’s what I’ve focused on. So if you think that focusing on the territory is nitpicking, I can’t help you.

    I’m doing that, the best I can. Please quit accusing me of dancing.

    My bad. I figured a competent atheologian who actually *WAS* addressing the heart of my objection would have done it, you know, way back around #20 where I first left it.

    And yet, you accused me of not playing straight, etc.

    Because you’re not. You can’t take a word Y whose dictionary definition is X, use definition X in your argument, then say you aren’t using word Y in a relevant sense. At least, not if you want people to understand you or give your debate tactics the benefit of the doubt. C’mon.

    I made a probabilistic assessment about the objections you might raise (as you did in your opening post), but never said that any specific objection failed because of your state of mind,

    Wow, are you delusional? Or lying? There’s no other option. You said I couldn’t understand your argument “because [my] faith gets in the way of rational thought,” all the way back at #6. That isn’t a probabilistic assessment, that’s a claim I’m failing to understand your argument because of my state of mind.

    But you’re a theist after over twenty years of thinking about it, and you dismissed my argument without any good reasons for it.

    Wrong. I dismissed your argument because you made the same amateur mistakes as every other would-be atheologian I’ve encountered who claims to have debunked the KCA, and when I gave you good reasons, you failed to address the heart of the objection.

    But I’m not refusing to engage you.

    Don’t get me wrong, you’ve engaged some points. I can’t speak for comments past #70 yet because I haven’t read them, but for the first 70 comments you refused to address the meat of my objection.

    Anyway, in the next post, I will address substantive matters.

    Okay, great… about time.

  75. cl says:

    So much for brevity! This one’s a doozy, but at least 100% of it is about the argument. I’m including it only to show that I’ve understood every pertinent distinction you parsed out at #73. In keeping with all these calls for concision, this comment will be immediately followed by a “short version” with a valid argument which is also effectively sound (since you and Craig agree on the territory, regardless of the map). Unless you can salvage an objection or successfully attack some premise, that argument will show, conclusively, that you haven’t shown a contradiction (given zero duration).

    Well, obviously an event with a beginning point (which is some state) and an end point (some other state, which is incompatible with the other one), and a zero duration is contradictory – that’s my point, actually.

    Yeah, I get it, I’ve gotten it this whole time. Problem is, Craig doesn’t describe events of zero duration as having a “beginning” or “end,” and neither do you. You describe E(2) as having “no delay” and “no perceptible duration.” That’s my point.

    I conclude that simply because that’s the description of the event. The beginning point is a state at which God does not have property P(2), and the end point is the first state at which he does.

    How can an “event” with “no delay” and “no perceptible duration” have a “beginning” or “end?” Think Boolean.

    Okay, so Craig’s saying ‘timeless’ is tactically working.

    It’s not that. It’s that your argument fails to show a contradiction given zero or nonzero duration. We’re only talking about the “zero duration” horn at the moment. Let’s finish this discussion, then I’ll explain why I don’t think you have an argument given a nonzero duration, either.

    So, my point is that what we have is a change/event E(2), from one specific point – which is a state of God’s not having property P2 -, to another specific point (which is the first state at which God has property P(2)).

    That’s been understood this whole time.

    So, there is a beginning point (a state of God’s not having property P(2)), and an endpoint (a state of God’s having property P(2)).

    How so? Both “beginning” and “end” require something between, but you and Craig both affirm that we are describing an “event” with “zero duration.” There is no passage of time such that the terms “beginning” and “end” might have meaning. With regard to God’s knowing at least one tensed truth, there are two distinct, non-overlapping, mutually exclusive Boolean states—period. There is S, and there is T=0 and everything that comes after.

    If E(2) has a duration literally zero, then since the final point of E(2) – namely, the first state of God’s having property P(2) – obtains at T(0) – the first temporal state of the world -, and the duration of E(2) is actually zero, then it seems that the initial point of E(2) – a state at which it is not the case that God has property P(2) – also obtains at T(0). But that is impossible.

    That’s right. That *IS* impossible. That’s because if E(2) has zero duration, there is no “initial point” or “final point” of E(2). The first temporal state of the world *DOES* obtain at T=0, but there is no “initial point” of E(2) because without duration, E(2) is not a “change” or “event” or “state of affairs” in the typical sense of those words, but a seam or demarcation between those things. It is incoherent to speak of the “initial point” or “final point” sans duration.

    Someone might object that the initial state of E(2) is not present at T(0), but at timeless state S, and the final state is present at T(0).

    Or, as I have, oh, I don’t know… eighteen times now, somebody might object that there cannot be an “initial state” or “final state” of E(2) because it has zero duration.

    However, if the end point of an event of zero duration is at the state T(0) and the duration is actually zero, then the conclusion is that the beginning point of the event is present at T(0) as well…

    Why? The conclusion *SHOULD* be that there is no “end” or “beginning” of E(2), as both require duration, which E(2) lacks.

    …duration is zero: duration in this context is a measure of time…

    Understood. Since there is no duration, there is no time to measure. Since there is no time to measure, there is no beginning or end of E(2).

    …I do not find your objection persuasive.

    Then you should be able to form a cogent reply (or replies) to any/all of this, and the argument I’m about to post.

    That said, if you think that there is any misrepresentation of your view, it’s surely not intentional.

    That’s fine, I don’t think you’re misrepresenting my view at all, and I can sense that you’re trying to tone things down and put this thing back on track. Thanks, I’m doing the same. But, to be honest, it would help a little if you made some sort of concession that your assumptions about my faith with regard to our discussion were out of line—as my continued ability to engage your points in full suggests.

    That aside, I do maintain that my post shows that the KCA provides no support for theism even if one sets my argument to a contradiction aside

    I don’t care what you maintain. I’m interested in what you can demonstrate and at the moment we’re only focused on one specific progression in your larger argument. I’d be happy to move to other parts—for example the “nonzero duration” angle— so stay on track. Let’s resolve the “zero duration” part of the discussion, first. The ball’s in your court.

  76. Angra Mainyu says:

    I made a mistake with the quotes in the last part.

    Wow, are you delusional? Or lying? There’s no other option. You said I couldn’t understand your argument “because [my] faith gets in the way of rational thought,” all the way back at #6. That isn’t a probabilistic assessment, that’s a claim I’m failing to understand your argument because of my state of mind.

    Actually, I did claim that you failed to understand parts of my argument because of your state of mind.
    However, another error you’re making is to believe that that involves fallacious reasoning on my part, or even that it would involved it if the claim were false.

    First, I never said that the error in any of your arguments consisted in your state of mind. I said that the cause of your failure to understand my argument (and it was a repeated failure, e.g., despite beyond a reasonable doubt evidence about Craig’s actions) was your state of mind (obviously, if you had understood, you would have realized that my claims about Craig’s actions were true, even if you had, for other reasons, disagreed about whether my other objections succeeded).
    So, even if my assessment about the causes of your failure to understand happened to be incorrect, the fact would remain that there would be no ad-hominem fallacy on my part. At most, there would be a false claim about the causes of your reaction.

    Furthermore, even if my claim about the causes of your reaction, based on my assessment of your behavior and my experience on debating theists, were unwarranted (which of course, I reject, and the reasons are given through this thread), I would have made an epistemic mistake other than an ad-hominem fallacy.

    You seem to be mistaken about what the fallacy consists in, or you’re just too angry with me at the moment to think clearly (whatever the causes, which might involve at this point our previous exchange more than anything else).
    Regardless, the claim of fallacious reasoning on my part is erroneous.

    Wrong. I dismissed your argument because you made the same amateur mistakes as every other would-be atheologian I’ve encountered who claims to have debunked the KCA, and when I gave you good reasons, you failed to address the heart of the objection.

    You are mistaken.
    First, my argument debunks the KCA.
    Second, you provided no good reasons to even suspect otherwise.
    Third, I’ve been addressing your objections all through the debate, by adding more details and clarifications and posting relevant links. You do not realize that your objections fail to defeat what I said in my argument.
    Fourth, I doubt there is an objection that is not sufficiently handled in my post, but in any case, I will deal with any objection you claim that I failed to deal with, if you present it.

    Don’t get me wrong, you’ve engaged some points. I can’t speak for comments past #70 yet because I haven’t read them, but for the first 70 comments you refused to address the meat of my objection.

    No, you went on without even explaining the meat of your objection, and I replied to what you were saying by adding more clarification, details, etc., and links that made you angry for some reason (perhaps, because this was already as much a fight as a debate by then, but there is no way around that; it’s a problem with internet debates; grudges tend to last for years, but no way to unwind time).

    Addition:

    Even now, you’ve not explained all the meat of your objection as far as I can tell.

    What I can tell so far is that it’s partly an objection to my use of beginning point and end point, and partly something related to the ‘timeless’ claim.

    I already addressed the issue of a beginning point, and as for the ‘timeless’ stuff, I would have posted a link to the relevant part of my post, but since that seems to annoy you and in any case you have previously interpreted links as unresponsive, I will address the matter later in a post if I can.

  77. Angra Mainyu says:

    Okay, now let me deal with what I understand about your objection.

    I already addressed it as far as I could ascertain it in #72 and #73, but after further thinking, I’m guessing I can add a few more points to address your objection (though having a clearly stated objection would most certain help; else, I feel a bit like I’m chasing a ghost – and I don’t even believe in ghosts).

    Beginning point and end point of an event.

    The first part of your objection is an objection to talk about beginning and ending of an instantaneous change.

    So, for the first part of your objection, I begin what I said in #72

    An event with a beginning point (which is some state) and an end point (some other state, which is incompatible with the other one), and a zero duration is contradictory – that’s my point, actually.
    But I don’t assume that the event has a beginning point and an endpoint.
    I conclude that simply because that’s the description of the event. The beginning point is a state at which God does not have property P(2), and the end point is the first state at which he does.
    Then, given that, I conclude that a zero duration entails a contradiction.
    So, I assume a nonzero duration, and I conclude another contradiction.

    So, for those reasons, I maintain that there is no problem about talking about a beginning point and an endpoint, since that’s part of the description of the event.
    To that, I add that you seem to say (if I got it right) that there would be a contradiction if we remove the issue of timelessness.
    In other words, if we’re talking about an ordinary, temporal event, whose description contains a first state, and a later state incompatible with the first one, then a claim of a zero duration would entail a contradiction. That seems obvious.

    Timelessness

    The second part of your objection seems to be based on the idea that if one of the ends of the event is a timeless state, that prevents the contradiction.
    That is actually addressed in my post, and now I have added even more details just in case, but since links appear unproductive, I will post the relevant parts here, adding some comments to give further detail.

    Someone might object that the initial state of E(2) is not present at T(0), but at timeless state S, and the final state is present at T(0).

    However, if there is a change from some point to another point, and the duration of such an event is actually zero, then both ends exist at the same time. That’s what duration is. It’s a measure of time, not of ‘timelessness’ – whatever that is.

    If someone claims that that is somehow averted because one point is ‘timeless’, or something like that, they would have the burden to explain what they mean by ‘timeless’ and how that would allow them to avert the contradiction, since it appears quite clear that the contradiction is derived as explained,

    Again, ‘duration’ is a measure of time, and we have to endpoints (beginning and endpoint, to be more precise) at a distant that is zero. Uttering the word ‘timeless’ should not be a ‘get out of logic free’ card.

    Yes, I do get that I’ve not met my burden of proof. I do not agree.
    However, if there is nothing more to your objection, as I said in #73, we simply assess the merits of the arguments differently (as we obviously do in many cases), but that’s not a refusal to reply, or a misreading of your position.

    If that is not the meat of your objection, then please let me know what it is.

    If that is the meat of your objection, there is nothing else to do with regard to that part of my argument: you maintain that it fails to debunk Craig’s KCA; I maintain that it debunks it. We disagree.

    However, in my post, I go on to make a direct case against the timelessness issue; I added further clarification of that, and I also addressed Stephen’s concerns about intervals instead of moments (I consider them both).

    So, what I also say is:

    While the burden would be on the theist defender of the KCA, I will later take the initiative and show that ‘timeless’ fails to denote anything different from a first temporal state. The only difference is in the word that is used – i.e., ‘timeless’ -, but the actual situation would be one of an uncaused creator with a beginning at the first temporal state. Denying that the first temporal state is actually temporal – but without actually denoting any difference – is what allows the derivation of a contradiction as before, since what actually would be happening is an ordinary event/change from the first to the second temporal state of the world, but with the defender of the KCA committed to the claim that that is not so.

    Of course, showing that the so-called ‘timeless’ state is nothing but a first temporal state of the world blocks Craig’s KCA on its own, without further arguing to a contradiction, but the argument given so far is shorter and sufficient, since the burden is on the theist defender of the KCA.

    That case is in subsection 7.2, using the results of subsection 7.1, and subsection 4.
    If you want to take a look, it’s there.

    If you prefer, I can make a new post, focusing on that particular part of the argument exclusively (which I’m considering doing, anyway, given the reactions to my post in this thread).
    Alternatively, I can post that part over here, though it might be too long for a post, plus the format is lost and it’s harder to read.

    I don’t know what your objections to those parts of my argument are, so I cannot address them, but I’m doing all I can to address the parts of your objections that you’ve explained so far, and trying to guess those you’ve hinted at.

  78. cl says:

    Section 9.1(A) of Angra Mainyu’s Argument Refuted

    Let X represent the state of affairs, “God’s knows at least one tensed truth at T=0.” Dr. Craig has already explained:

    …God’s becoming temporal, if He is timeless sans creation, could not be spoken of as an event, since it does not have a non-zero duration. Similarly, God’s coming to believe all tensed truths would not qualify as an event, since it, too, happens instantaneously.

    …now, you’ve already affirmed every word of that. Unless of course you go changing things again, in Section 9 you’ve affirmed that E(2) takes place with “no delay” and “no perceptible duration,” you’ve committed to the proposition “at any time T, God knows everything there is to know about the world at T,” and you’ve affirmed the existence of “some timeless state S.” You can pretend E(2) is not “instantaneous” all you want. Like I said, call E(2) “Gnasser” for all I care. Despite the differences in the map, we all affirm identical territory.

    Your entire counterargument, paraphrased, amounts to: “but that’s a contradiction because God can’t X and ~X simultaneously.” Well, that’s right. God can’t X and ~X simultaneously, but it only appears that God does because you haven’t successfully mapped the terms to their appropriate ontological counterparts. It doesn’t matter whether you use Craig’s words or your own; no contradiction obtains. Again, let X represent, “God’s knowing at least one tensed truth at T=0,” and let S represent some timeless state:

    • P1: At any time T, God knows everything there is to know about the world at T;
    • P2: There is a timeless state S in which God did not know any tensed truths;
    • P3: There is a time X in which God knows at least one tensed truth;
    • P4: There is “no duration” or “no delay” Y such that S -> Y -> X, therefore no gap and no overlap;
    • P5: The relationship S | X is Boolean (per P4);
    • P6: X obtains T=0;
    • P7: ~X necessarily obtains only for any state S < T=0;
    • P8: At any point T>=0, X (per P6);
    • P9: Only at some point S, ~X (per P7);
    • P10: S != T=0;
    • C: The statement “X and ~X at T=0” is false.

    QED.

  79. cl says:

    So, for those reasons, I maintain that there is no problem about talking about a beginning point and an endpoint, since that’s part of the description of the event.

    Well there you go. I guess we’re done. Like I said aaaaaaaalllllllll the way back in the beginning, so long as you refuse to meet Craig on his own terms you will always see a contradiction. Unless you respond with a counterargument containing clearly labelled, articulate, well-formed premises that don’t contradict your previous claims, I rest. I don’t care what you “maintain.” I only care what you can give logic or evidence or argument to support and this has already been going on 5 days.

    To that, I add that you seem to say (if I got it right) that there would be a contradiction if we remove the issue of timelessness. In other words, if we’re talking about an ordinary, temporal event, whose description contains a first state, and a later state incompatible with the first one, then a claim of a zero duration would entail a contradiction. That seems obvious.

    What? No, hell no. Good Lord, are you even reading what I write? You’re not, are you? From #75: “…your argument fails to show a contradiction given zero or nonzero duration. We’re only talking about the “zero duration” horn at the moment. Let’s finish this discussion, then I’ll explain why I don’t think you have an argument given a nonzero duration, either.”

    The second part of your objection seems to be based on the idea that if one of the ends of the event is a timeless state, that prevents the contradiction.

    Wrong. It’s based on the logical entailment than an event of zero duration has no time, hence no “points,” no beginning or end. There aren’t two “ends” of the event. Think Boolean.

    That’s what duration is. It’s a measure of time…

    Correct, but we’re discussing zero duration, which means zero time to measure.

    …we have to endpoints (beginning and endpoint, to be more precise) at a distant that is zero.

    No. Given zero, there is no distance, because there is no duration, which means there are not two endpoints (presuming you meant “two” instead of “to” and “distance” instead of “distant.”)

    While the burden would be on the theist defender of the KCA, I will later take the initiative and show that ‘timeless’ fails to denote anything different from a first temporal state.

    I get that you think that, but that’s why I’ve been saying you might want to take a closer look at Aristotle’s terms, of which Craig’s KCA is largely derivative. God is a being of pure Act, whereas the first temporal state denotes the first kinesis, the first transition from potency to act.

    If you prefer, I can make a new post,

    No thanks buddy! Another post, another revision, rinse, wash, repeat for 80 comments… and you have the audacity say *I’M* the moving target. Unless you mount an objection worth addressing, I’m moving on to the “nonzero duration” angle. How many more times do you need to revise your argument before you’ll consider that you might be wrong?

  80. Angra Mainyu says:

    Just one point of clarification, because I realize there is a mistake that I didn’t fix before posting, so I will correct that point now:
    I said:

    Anyway, in #6, I was talking not about the second argument to a contradiction (i.e., considering the ‘zero duration’ as well), but about your failure to realize that Craig, in his reply to me, Craig had made false claims about what he meant in the quotes from his book and his website I used to derive a contradiction.

    I did infer in #6, after that, and from your previous points (and particularly from my assessment of your assessment of my arguments about Craig’s reply ) and my general experience in these debates, that I should not not expect you to understand the second argument to a contradiction, either, as well as some other key parts of my argument.

    If I remember correctly (but I might not; I’m not keeping track of what I had inferred at which moment), by then I wasn’t sure whether you had read those parts thoroughly and failed to understand them, or you had just skimmed through the argument, but my assessment was based on your OP and your reply about the first argument mostly.

    That said, I’ve already acknowledged (#76) that I did claim that you failed to understand parts of my argument because of your state of mind, and so the basis of my defense remains the same as I said there.

  81. Angra Mainyu says:

    CL, one of my posts seems to be missing.

  82. cl says:

    CL, one of my posts seems to be missing.

    Well, quit makin’ so many damn posts, or maybe slow down and proofread a little better before you fire ’em into cyberspace! I mean c’mon. We all make mistakes, but it doesn’t help to be consistently sloppy. I just checked both “spam” and “trash” and saw nothing. I hope you were prudent enough to keep a copy. I learned that one long ago.

  83. cl says:

    Besides, don’t feel bad, I had to redo #78 from scratch.

  84. Angra Mainyu says:

    Thanks, I’m doing the same. But, to be honest, it would help a little if you made some sort of concession that your assumptions about my faith with regard to our discussion were out of line—as my continued ability to engage your points in full suggests.

    I’m sorry, but you still believe that I didn’t show that Craig did not tell the truth about what he had claimed (for instance); you continue to engage me, but your assessment of the matters at hand hasn’t changed.

    One of my posts is missing, but it’s a reply to #74, which is the one in which you raise serious accusations.

    So, the heat is likely going up unfortunately, but I choose to defend myself in such cases. Yes, yes, I know about the “harsh rebuttal and/or mockery rule”. Such is life, but I’m prepared to defend myself against false charges regardless of their tone, but if I can help it (i.e., as long as I’m allowed to post and can make time for it), I will choose to defend myself in cases such as this.

    I will address your substantive arguments as soon as I can (you probably won’t have to wait long, unless more posts with accusations come, which take precedence, but I will address your substantive points anyway).

    That’s right, and the thing about “instantaneous” wasn’t nitpicking. I simply pointed out that you are doing that which you accuse Craig of—playing loose and fast with words that have commonly understood definitions.

    No, that’s not what I was doing, and that’s not what I accuse Craig of doing, either.
    My use of ‘instantaneous’ was correct, and I explained why I was not violating any common usage. You just didn’t agree. If not, then it was my mistaken, but you still weren’t addressing the matter of my post.
    As for Craig, what I said is that his reply to me contained false claims about what he had claimed earlier, not just that he was playing loose and fast with words that have commonly understood meanings.

    The territory you’ve already committed to–no delay, zero duration–is what matters, and that’s what I’ve focused on. So if you think that focusing on the territory is nitpicking, I can’t help you

    No, focusing on the territory is not nitpicking; not focusing on it but on semantic issues is. You hadn’t addressed my points, since your objections were handled by what I said in my post.
    Still, if you didn’t get it, I’m also posting replies here, no links.
    As for ‘no delay’, that is okay as long as we are clear on which delay is what counts. In other words, I’m talking about zero duration between the initial state and the end state of the change, not about different parts of the end state.

    My bad. I figured a competent atheologian who actually *WAS* addressing the heart of my objection would have done it, you know, way back around #20 where I first left it.

    I spend hours addressing your objections, for several days, even though they were unclear (so, I considered different options, etc.).
    The links you dislike so much were parts of my replies, and I spent a lot of time clarifying points and making my arguments more and more detailed, just to address your objections, as well as Stephen’s.
    In fact, I even posted an entire new version of the argument to do that more clearly.
    That was a better way to address your objections than doing it here, since over there I can link to other parts of the post, and in that way address potential new objections much better.
    However, you instead interpreted I wasn’t playing straight, and kept accusing me of that. Whatever.
    If there is one objection I did not address, well I missed that one. But I don’t think that that’s the case, since my previous links provide arguments that should have sufficed.
    If you’re offended because of my assessment of the rationality of your beliefs or your assessments, that still not change the fact that you’re raising false claims against me.

    Because you’re not. You can’t take a word Y whose dictionary definition is X, use definition X in your argument, then say you aren’t using word Y in a relevant sense. At least, not if you want people to understand you or give your debate tactics the benefit of the doubt. C’mon.

    First, that’s not what I did. My usage was proper, and you misunderstood my reply, getting angry about it. I suppose that your reaction might be a consequence of what I said about the rationality of your beliefs, at least to some extent, but it’s still a misrepresentation of my position.

    Second, even if I were mistaken about the meaning, ‘not playing straight’ implies a dishonest
    If you meant that (i.e., deliberate behavior, ill-intent, etc.), your claim about me is false.
    If you did not mean that, then you’re using the expression ‘not playing straight’ in a non-standard manner.

    Wow, are you delusional? Or lying? There’s no other option. You said I couldn’t understand your argument “because [my] faith gets in the way of rational thought,” all the way back at #6. That isn’t a probabilistic assessment, that’s a claim I’m failing to understand your argument because of my state of mind.

    Of course, I’m neither lying nor delusional, so you are either mistaken, or lying. There is no other option.
    However, my assessment of your replies, from content to tone, allows me to conclude, beyond any reasonable doubt, that you are not lying.
    Instead, you are really angry with me because of what you mistakenly believe I’ve been doing, so that probably colors your assessments of what I say, at this point even more than any effects of your faith.
    So, I can conclude that you are mistaken about that.

    That is a probabilistic assessment about the causes of your failure to understand that Craig was not telling the truth, about other matters. In any case, as I said in #76, there would be no fallacy if I were mistaken about that assessment.

    Don’t get me wrong, you’ve engaged some points. I can’t speak for comments past #70 yet because I haven’t read them, but for the first 70 comments you refused to address the meat of my objection.

    No, you went on without even explaining the meat of your objection, and I replied to what you were saying by adding more clarification, details, etc., and links that made you angry for some reason (perhaps, because this was already as much a fight as a debate by then, but there is no way around that; it’s a problem with internet debates; grudges tend to last for years, but no way to unwind time).

  85. Angra Mainyu says:

    Okay, some of the substantive part. I’ll address more when I can.

    Yeah, I get it, I’ve gotten it this whole time. Problem is, Craig doesn’t describe events of zero duration as having a “beginning” or “end,” and neither do you. You describe E(2) as having “no delay” and “no perceptible duration.” That’s my point.

    Actually, what I explain is that the event I describe has a beginning point and it has an endpoint. Of course, I do know that Craig claims otherwise. What I point out is that the description of the event  ‘God changes from not having P(2) to having P(2) for the first time’ is such that there is a beginning point, and there is an endpoint, so a claim of zero duration entails a contradiction.

    How can an “event” with “no delay” and “no perceptible duration” have a “beginning” or “end?” Think Boolean.

    Indeed, how could it?
    You’re putting the cart before the horses.
    What I do is point out that the event that I describe has, clearly due to its description, a beginning point and an endpoint.
    So, of course given that, a claim of zero duration entails a contradiction.

     Both “beginning” and “end” require something between, but you and Craig both affirm that we are describing an “event” with “zero duration.”

    No, a beginning point and an endpoint require a first state (beginning point) that changes into a second state (endpoint).

    That’s right. That *IS* impossible. That’s because if E(2) has zero duration, there is no “initial point” or “final point” of E(2).

    No, that’s backwards: because there is an initial point, and there is an endpoint, it cannot have a zero duration.

    Or, as I have, oh, I don’t know… eighteen times now, somebody might object that there cannot be an “initial state” or “final state” of E(2) because it has zero duration.

    No, it cannot have a zero duration because it has a beginning point and an endpoint.
    Again, that there is a beginning point and an endpoint, a first state and last state, follows from the description of the event. Then, that entails it cannot have a zero duration.
    That it cannot have a nonzero, finite duration follows from the denial that the first state is temporal.
    Of course, in practice, what Craig is describing is a first temporal state that changes to the second one.

    Well there you go. I guess we’re done. Like I said aaaaaaaalllllllll the way back in the beginning, so long as you refuse to meet Craig on his own terms you will always see a contradiction.

    No, you’re still going on about ‘meeting Craig on his own terms’. I already showed (section 2) that he didn’t tell the truth about what he meant, but that’s not the argument here anymore.

  86. Angra Mainyu says:

    What? No, hell no. Good Lord, are you even reading what I write? You’re not, are you? From #75: “…your argument fails to show a contradiction given zero or nonzero duration. We’re only talking about the “zero duration” horn at the moment. Let’s finish this discussion, then I’ll explain why I don’t think you have an argument given a nonzero duration, either.”

    Yes, I’m reading what you write. No, I had not read #75 yet. Apparently I posted before refreshing the page, sorry.
    My assessment was based on #70, when you replied to the question “…is the claim that one state is timeless [what] makes you think that there is no contradiction?” by saying “*IF* I’m understanding you correctly, yes. I’ve explained my objection as clear as I possibly could to Stephen. I’m not going to repeat myself. It’s there if you want it.”

    I’ll address the rest of your points as soon as I can.

  87. Angra Mainyu says:

    I get that you think that, but that’s why I’ve been saying you might want to take a closer look at Aristotle’s terms, of which Craig’s KCA is largely derivative. God is a being of pure Act, whereas the first temporal state denotes the first kinesis, the first transition from potency to act.

    Actually, the first change is from the first state of the world to the second. Calling the first state ‘timeless’ fails to denote an ontological difference, for the reasons I explained by comparing the two carefully.

    No thanks buddy! Another post, another revision, rinse, wash, repeat for 80 comments… and you have the audacity say *I’M* the moving target. Unless you mount an objection worth addressing, I’m moving on to the “nonzero duration” angle. How many more times do you need to revise your argument before you’ll consider that you might be wrong?

    How many times do I need to explain the same issues with more details, in different ways, etc., before you get that I’m right? (yes, that’s a rhetorical question, but so is yours).

    I didn’t say you were a moving target, by the way. You were just vague about your objections, giving hints instead of making the points clear.

  88. cl says:

    Quick question: when you reposted the comment you screwed up the HTML in, did you repost the entire comment, or only from the point where you screwed up the HTML?

  89. Angra Mainyu says:

    P4: There is “no duration” or “no delay” Y such that S -> Y -> X, therefore no gap and no overlap;

    If there is no duration, given that there is an endpoint and a beginning point and the end point exists at T, then so does the beginning point, entailing a contradiction.

  90. Angra Mainyu says:

    Quick question: when you reposted the comment you screwed up the HTML in, did you repost the entire comment, or only from the point where you screwed up the HTML?

    Just the part where I screwed up the HTML.
    But then the rest was missing, so I reposted much of it in #84.

    And yes, I do have copies of any long posts I make, so no loss. I asked because given the contentious nature of the post, I did not know whether it had been removed due to moderation, or some other reason.

  91. cl says:

    …given that there is an endpoint and a beginning point and the end point exists at T…

    Denying the argument is not the same as supplying a valid counterargument. All you’re doing is saying, “Given that cl is wrong and I am right,” whereas I constructed a valid argument almost entirely on mutually accepted premises. Sorry, but until you do the same, this is just another step in your dance. Give the rational person a valid reason to believe your claim that an “event” of “zero duration” has two points. There are professional theoretical physicists out there who will say just about anything. It shouldn’t be too hard for you to at least try to concoct a counterargument demonstrating the falsity of one or more premises.

  92. cl says:

    From the comment policy: “TWIM supports free speech.” The exceptions are clearly explained.

  93. Angra Mainyu says:

    From the comment policy: “TWIM supports free speech.” The exceptions are clearly explained.

    Fair enough; I thought so, but wanted to be sure because I couldn’t see the post.

    On the net, in my experience one never knows (well, not until one is familiar with a site), but I do appreciate your sticking to that policy (yes, I mean that).

  94. Angra Mainyu says:

    Denying the argument is not the same as supplying a valid counterargument. All you’re doing is saying, “Given that cl is wrong and I am right,” whereas I constructed a valid argument almost entirely on mutually accepted premises.

    That is not true. It is not a premise at all that the event has a zero duration.
    There is a change in God from not knowing tensed truths, to first knowing at least one tensed truth. That follows from Craig’s claims.
    There is a beginning point to that change, and there is an endpoint.
    Of course, Craig denies that there are such points, but what he denies is not the point, but the fact that one can show the beginning point (namely, the only state at which God does not now any tensed truths), and the end point (namely,  the first state at which God knows at least one tensed truth).

    So, we have a change/even with a beginning point, and an endpoint (which I just showed).

    . Give the rational person a valid reason to believe your claim that an “event” of “zero duration” has two points. 

    No, you got it backwards.
    I do not claim that an event of zero duration has two points, a beginning and an end point.
    In fact, I claim that that is impossible.

    I claim that the particular event I’m talking about has two points, a beginning point and an endpoint. I don’t just claim that, I show that (see above, for instance)-

    Then, I consider the hypothesis according to which such event has a zero duration, reaching obviously a contradiction, and I also consider the hypothesis according to which it has a nonzero duration, reaching again a contradiction because the endpoint happens to be in which supposedly is the first temporal state of the actual world.

    The above suffices to debunk the KCA.
    But briefly, what’s going on is this: (but the following is not required for my argument; it’s just my explanation of what’s actually happening; the argument above does not depend on any such explanations)

    In reality, what Craig is describing is a passage from a first temporal state to the second, so of course the duration isn’t zero.

    But allowing an uncaused God with a beginning would contradict premise 1 of the KCA.

    So, Craig simply claims ‘timeless’ in the case of the first state.

    But then, he didn’t at first amend the claim that every change takes time. The result is a contradiction.

    So, he amends that claim (though denying he’s amending anything), and claims that that change does not take any time.
    He even denies it’s a change in a technical sense that he allegedly was using (but wasn’t, though that’s not needed here), and he denies that that change has a beginning or an ending.

    However, his new claims do not change the fact that there is an event with a beginning point and an endpoint, since the description of the event is still there (in fact, even if we assume he told the truth about what he had meant, that fact remains).

    In order to derive a contradiction from his position, obviously I needn’t accept all of his claims.

    The contradiction follows as explained above, and in my post.

    Clearly, you disagree with my assessment and also believe that I have no case whatsoever.

    So, it seems that we have options:

    a) Keep debating this part of my argument (i.e., the issue of the second argument to a contradiction).
    b) Debate some other part of my argument.
    c) Keep fighting over the reciprocal charges.
    d) A combination of the previous options.
    e) Leave it at that, and end the debate.
    f) Alternative suggestions?

  95. cl says:

    It is not a premise at all that the event has a zero duration.

    False. You and Craig have both been using that premise: that E(2) has zero duration. Remember, you said a contradiction entails whether E(2) has zero or nonzero duration.

    There is a change in God from not knowing tensed truths, to first knowing at least one tensed truth. That follows from Craig’s claims.

    Yes, and both you and Craig have been referring to this “change” as having zero duration, so will you quit blathering on and give an argument to make your case?

    I do not claim that an event of zero duration has two points, a beginning and an end point. In fact, I claim that that is impossible.

    Then my argument holds.

    I claim that the particular event I’m talking about has two points, a beginning point and an endpoint.

    You can’t, because the particular event we’re talking about has zero duration, and you just said it’s “impossible” for an event of zero duration to have a beginning and an end point.

    Then, I consider the hypothesis according to which such event has a zero duration, reaching obviously a contradiction,

    Only because you inconsistently claim that E(2) has a beginning and end point even though you just agreed it is “impossible” for an event of zero duration to have a beginning and an end point. Oh, there’s a contradiction alright! You see?

    Look, everything you’ve said after the snippet I just cited is pure irrelevance and more dancing. You’re trying to jump ahead and assert victory when you haven’t even supplied a valid counterargument. The error isn’t with Craig. It’s with you. My argument holds. Prove otherwise with a valid counterargument, not more bald assertions.

    I will keep swatting this down until you at least attempt a valid counterargument. Let’s see how rational you are…

  96. JohnN says:

    ANGRA MAINYU:

    I have one question. Before you said you don’t try to persuade Christians anymore, only fence-sitters. But here all you’ve been doing is try to persuade Cl. Why?

  97. cl says:

    JohnN,

    But here all you’ve been doing is try to persuade Cl. Why?

    Duh! Because I’m like, so irrational.

  98. Angra Mainyu says:

    False. You and Craig have both been using that premise: that E(2) has zero duration. Remember, you said a contradiction entails whether E(2) has zero or nonzero duration.

    No, now you’re misrepresenting my argument.
    My first claim was that it followed from Craig’s claims that E(2) – or similar events – had a nonzero duration, because he claimed that any event/change had a non-zero duration.
    He actually denied that, and made claims about what he had meant that were false (section 2 in the latest version of my argument; section 9 in the earlier one).
    However, I went on to show that regardless of whether E(2) has a nonzero, or a zero duration, a contradiction follows.
    If it has a nonzero duration e>0, then a contradiction follows because the endpoint happens to be in which supposedly is the first temporal state of the actual world, so there would be an interval of length e>0 before the first moment of time.
    If it has a zero duration, then a contradiction follows as explained (and, yes, that’s because it would be an event with a beginning point and an endpoint and a zero duration).
    That’s subsection 9.1 of the older reply to Craig, and section 3 of the latest version.
    I will quote from 9.1, just to be clear.
    From Section 9.1 of argument.

    In this subsection:
    a) By ‘event’ I mean the same as ‘change’.
    b) By ‘P(2)’ I mean the property of knowing at least one tensed truth.
    c) By ‘E(2)’ I mean the event/change ‘God changes from not having P(2) to having P(2) for the first time’.
    d) By ‘S’ I mean the allegedly timeless state of God, at which God does not have P(2).
    e) By ‘t=0’ I mean the first temporal state of the world – and of God.
    If E(2) has a duration e>0, then since E(2) finished at t=0, there is a temporal interval of duration e>0, prior to t=0. But that is a contradiction.
    If E(2) has a zero duration, then since the final state of E(2) – namely, the state of God’s having property P(2) for the first time – obtains at t=0, and the duration of E(2) is actually zero, then the initial state of E(2) – a state at which it is not the case that God has property P(2) – also obtains at t=0.

    The new version is very similar, with some improvement in the writing (check it out if you like).
    In all cases, I make no claim that the event E(2) has a zero duration. Of course, I don’t claim that E(2) ever happened, either.
    What I say is, well, what I’ve carefully explained in my post, what I explained better in my new version, and what I’ve been explaining in this thread, and especially in #94.

    Yes, and both you and Craig have been referring to this “change” as having zero duration, so will you quit blathering on and give an argument to make your case?

    The first part of your claim is false, but that is clearly explained in #94 and earlier in this post.
    As for the second part, I already did make my case.
    I did that in my original post, and in more detail in the new one. I also did that here, in #94, and above by quoting from my blog.

    You can’t, because the particular event we’re talking about has zero duration, and you just said it’s “impossible” for an event of zero duration to have a beginning and an end point.

    No, you got it backwards.
    I do not assume that E(2) has a zero duration, as you can see in my blog (subsection 9.1 of the old argument, section 3 of the new one), or here in #94, or above in this post.
    Sorry, but are you reading what I said?
    I said the following in #94 (for instance).

    There is a change in God from not knowing tensed truths, to first knowing at least one tensed truth. That follows from Craig’s claims.
    There is a beginning point to that change, and there is an endpoint.
    Of course, Craig denies that there are such points, but what he denies is not the point, but the fact that one can show the beginning point (namely, the only state at which God does not now any tensed truths), and the end point (namely,  the first state at which God knows at least one tensed truth).

    So, we have a change/even with a beginning point, and an endpoint (which I just showed).

    Again, I establish that the event/change has a beginning point and an endpoint. I did the same in my blog (see the quote above, or take a look at the argument, or whatever).

    Then, I show a contradiction (see above, or #94, or my blog, etc.).

    Only because you inconsistently claim that E(2) has a beginning and end point even though you just agreed it is “impossible” for an event of zero duration to have a beginning and an end point. Oh, there’s a contradiction alright! You see?

    I’m afraid you misunderstand.
    I do not assume or claim that E(2) has a zero duration.
    First, I show that E(2) has a beginning point and an endpoint (see my blog, or #94, or this post above).
    Second, once that is established, I show that if it has a nonzero duration, a contradiction follows (because the endpoint happens to be in which supposedly is the first temporal state of the actual world, so there would be an interval of length e>0 before the first moment of time), and if it has a zero duration, then a contradiction follows (clearly, since it’s impossible for an event to have zero duration and a beginning point and an endpoint).

    Look, everything you’ve said after the snippet I just cited is pure irrelevance and more dancing. You’re trying to jump ahead and assert victory when you haven’t even supplied a valid counterargument. The error isn’t with Craig. It’s with you. My argument holds. Prove otherwise with a valid counterargument, not more bald assertions.

    No, I’m not trying to jump ahead and claim victory.
    I’m refuting your argument carefully, no bald assertions.
    I’m also pointing out that you disagree, and ask about what course of action you want to take.
    And yes, I just proved that your argument failed, because you simply misunderstood mine. I proved that in #94, and in this very post, above.
    I carefully explained how you misunderstood, and what the real argument is.
    If you continue misunderstanding my argument, and then as a consequence (non-deliberately, let’s be clear) misrepresenting it, then I can only keep showing your error, point out that you disagree, and ask how you want to proceed – until I get tired and leave, so you get the last word at least.
    Sorry, but the error is with you.

    As for Craig, some of what he says is clearly erroneous, and some of it is clearly dishonest; then there is a lot of cases in which it’s not clear whether he’s in error, or he’s being dishonest.

    I will keep swatting this down until you at least attempt a valid counterargument. Let’s see how rational you are…

    I already not only attempted that, but showed where your argument went wrong: you just misunderstood what I was saying, and then attacked something that is not my argument.
    I explained that carefully already.
    At this point, the misconstruction of my argument on your part, despite clarifications, is just too obvious for any careful reader not to notice, so I would suggest you take a closer look at my posts.
    If you’re still so pissed off because of the ‘irrational’ assessment, and then you can’t read carefully as a consequence, okay, I can understand that – it can happen to anyone -, but I was replying to your reply to me in #5, with comments that badly misrepresented what I did, and even something like “Dr. Craig then had to go and clean up the mess you made.”, so I don’t think it was excessively strong.
    In any case, incurring the same mistake over and over won’t help your case, so again I would suggest reading what I’m saying (here, in #94, in earlier posts, or in either version of my argument in my blog) more carefully.

  99. Angra Mainyu says:

    I have one question. Before you said you don’t try to persuade Christians anymore, only fence-sitters. But here all you’ve been doing is try to persuade Cl. Why?

    Am I?

    Or am I just trying to defend my own position and my case, in the eyes of any readers or potential readers in the future, considering the extremely improbable chance of persuading my debate opponent as an extremely improbable beneficial side effect? (by the way, now I know someone is still reading; thanks for the info; I would have debated anyway, since the thread remains here for future reading).

    If I debate someone, I normally engage the other person the best I can, as if I were trying to persuade them, even if I do not have any expectations of persuading them.

    If – very improbable, almost impossible – I persuade them, great; if not (almost certain) it’s still possible that some readers will be persuaded by my arguments.

  100. cl says:

    If E(2) has a zero duration, then since the final state of E(2) – namely, the state of God’s having property P(2) for the first time – obtains at t=0, and the duration of E(2) is actually zero, then the initial state of E(2) – a state at which it is not the case that God has property P(2) – also obtains at t=0.

    Wrong. If E(2) has zero duration, then, by your own admission at #94, it is “impossible” for E(2) to have a “beginning” (initial state) or an “endpoint” (final state). Remove the incoherent language from your argument. Else, justify the special pleading: why should the “zero duration” E(2) be allowed a beginning and endpoint when you just said that is “impossible” for “events” of “zero-duration?”

  101. Angra Mainyu says:

    Wrong. If E(2) has zero duration, then, by your own admission at #94, it is “impossible” for E(2) to have a “beginning” (initial state) or an “endpoint” (final state). Remove the incoherent language from your argument. Else, justify the special pleading: why should the “zero duration” E(2) be allowed a beginning and endpoint when you just said that is “impossible” for “events” of “zero-duration?”

    Actually, I’m precisely showing that a contradiction follows if E(2) has a zero duration, and in order to show that, I’m precisely using that it has a beginning point and an endpoint, which I showed.

    But #94 and #98 are thorough enough, and I see no good reason for (further) repetition.

  102. JohnN says:

    ANGRA MAINYU:

    Okay, maybe you aren’t trying to persuade Cl. It sure looked like it. Let me know if you want to find out why you aren’t persuading me.

  103. cl says:

    Actually, I’m precisely showing that a contradiction follows if E(2) has a zero duration, and in order to show that, I’m precisely using that it has a beginning point and an endpoint, which I showed.

    No, you’re not. Asserting is not showing. Asserting is dancing. You’ve not left a valid counterargument that would falsify any of the premises in my valid counterargument. You assert a contradiction, and you “justify” this assertion with special pleading: you say that it is “impossible” for an “event” of “zero duration” to have “a beginning and an endpoint,” yet you turn around and describe E(2) as an “event” with “zero duration” that somehow *HAS* “a beginning and an endpoint,” and you do this with no explanation or reason whatsoever. You’re contradicting yourself.

  104. Angra Mainyu says:

    No, you’re not. Asserting is not showing. Asserting is dancing. You’ve not left a valid counterargument that would falsify any of the premises in my valid counterargument. You assert a contradiction, and you “justify” this assertion with special pleading: you say that it is “impossible” for an “event” of “zero duration” to have “a beginning and an endpoint,” yet you turn around and describe E(2) as an “event” with “zero duration” that somehow *HAS* “a beginning and an endpoint,” and you do this with no explanation or reason whatsoever. You’re contradicting yourself.

    That doesn’t merit further argumentation. The replies in #94 and #98 are more than enough.

    If you have any other objections, let me know.

  105. Angra Mainyu says:

    JohnN

    Okay, maybe you aren’t trying to persuade Cl. It sure looked like it.

    That’s the best way I know how to debate.
    I guess you can say that I’m trying to persuade readers, and in the process I do what I would have to do to try to persuade Cl, even though I have no expectations to do so.

    Let me know if you want to find out why you aren’t persuading me.

    Your choice, of course.
    If you raise objections, I may address them depending on what they are.
    For instance, f it’s an objection I’ve already addressed, I’m not likely to address it again; I’m quite satisfied with my defense of my arguments so far. But if it’s new, that may be more interesting.

  106. JohnN says:

    ANGRA MAINYU:

    If you raise objections, I may address them depending on what they are.

    I’m not sure if I have an objection. It’s that something is unclear. Are you willing to clear it up?

  107. cl says:

    That doesn’t merit further argumentation. The replies in #94 and #98 are more than enough.

    Those replies are pathetic. Like I said, in #94, all you do is assert:

    There is a beginning point to that change, and there is an endpoint.

    Newsflash: that’s not an argument. That’s not a demonstration. That’s an assertion. You have not shown anything. You’ve asserted something. As for #98, all you do is assert the same damn thing again, with no justification or explanation:

    If it has a zero duration, then a contradiction follows as explained (and, yes, that’s because it would be an event with a beginning point and an endpoint and a zero duration).

    That’s an assertion. You have not shown anything, and you’ve already said it’s “impossible” for an “event” of “zero duration” to have a “beginning and endpoint.” Did you say that or not? Answer yes or no.

  108. cl says:

    Section 1 Of Angra Mainyu’s Argument Refuted:

    Of course, he’s revised and revised it who-knows-how-many-times since he showed up here, but the latest version as of the time of this comment is here. He writes:

    God changes from timeless to temporal.

    Any change is an event, so let E(0) be the event “God changes from being timeless to being temporal”.

    Now, if t=0 is the beginning of time, then E(0) is a change that ends precisely at t=0, since t=0 is the first time at which God is temporal.

    Since every event has a finite, non-zero duration, E(0) has some duration e>0, and ends at t=0.

    Then, there is a time interval of duration e prior to t=0.

    That contradicts the hypothesis that t=0 is the beginning of time.

    This argument is a strawman. Craig already explained that E(0) was meant to be understood as an instantaneous event, an event with zero duration. Angra Mainyu has incorrectly framed the argument from the getgo.

    However, let’s say Craig actually meant what our faithful atheologian says he means as opposed to, you know… what he clearly explained in his excellent rebuttal. If t=0 is the beginning of time, *AND* E(0) is a change of non-zero, finite duration—that is to say, if E(0) is an event that requires time—then E(0) cannot possibly begin until t=0, because there is no time. Therefore, his fourth premise—that E(0) ends at t=0—is false, which means his fifth premise is also false (because it is founded on the fourth). There can be non-zero duration, that’s fine, but the non-zero duration must begin at t=0 and not before (because there is no “before” with regard to time).

    So even if we overlook the fact that the argument is a strawman and evaluate it on *IT’S* own terms, it *STILL* fails to show a contradiction. It’s a fallacious failure, I’m afraid.

  109. Angra Mainyu says:

    I still do not see anything that merits further argument.

    If you want to raise a different objection, please let me know.

  110. Angra Mainyu says:

    Johnn

    I’m not sure if I have an objection. It’s that something is unclear. Are you willing to clear it up?

    I wrote entire new version to clarify a zillion things, but if that has proven not clear enough for you, I’m not sure I can clarify it further.

    Still, I would have to know what it is before I can tell, but all of this has taken me considerable time, so I would ask if you could first read the latest version, please (I won’t post any links, but it’s the latest post on my blog if you’re interested), and see whether some of what you find unclear is clarified there. Maybe it is.

    In particular, if your objection and/or doubt is related to the ‘timeless’ claim (just guessing, though;)), my position is explained in section 3 (after I argue for a contradiction), and later – just in case you still do not find it persuasive – in section 7 (with some references to section 4 if required).

    If that does not work in terms of clarification, I don’t think I can further clarify it, though again, I would have to know what you have in mind before I can tell.

  111. CL,

    You asked for my opinion of your #63.

    The allegation is that God at T=0 both knows at least one tensed truth and doesn’t know any tensed truths—but this isn’t true. Elsewhere, he describes the “pre-temporal” nature of God’s existence as, “a timeless state S.” Well, there you go: for any plot point in the timeless state S, God doesn’t know any tensed truths, because no tensed truths exist. However, at T=0, God then knows at least one tensed truth. At S God knows no tensed truths, but then, instantaneously, with no delay as Angra Mainyu has already committed to, God knows at least one tensed truth at T=0.

    I don’t think Angara’s referring to t=0 as an interval creates any problems conceptually: he doesn’t draw any conclusions from “interval” that he couldn’t draw from “point.”

    You agree with me, and you quote me in #63:

    God transitions the universe from timeless at t=0. That is to say, he then makes the big bang: at t=0 there’s a singularity, and tensed events exist only following t=0. Is the universe untensed or tensed at t=0? As you wrote, “All I need is that God knows tensed facts at t=0 to derive the contradiction …” God does (b>not know tensed facts at t=0. To ask whether God knows or doesn’t know is a kind of question that doesn’t make sense for instantaneous transitions.

    But we’re not in precise agreement. You say God knows a tense fact at t=0; I say he only knows the same after t=0. The argument Angara is making can be clarified with two questions:

    1. When does the universal become temporal (God knows a tensed truth)?

    2. When does the universe stop being atemporal?

    I think you’re (unwittingly) raising red herrings to avoid confronting the question, whose answer seems clearly to be that the universe stops being atemporal at t=0 and starts being temporal at that same point. a) It is temporal for the first time at t=0, and b) it is atemporal for the last time at t=0. You accept a); but how do you answer b)? I don’t see how you can answer anything except that God stops being atemporal at b), once you maintain God starts being temporal at b), given that the change is instantaneous.

    My solution differs from yours in that I deny that God knows any tensed facts at t=0. I maintain that you can only say that God knows tensed facts after t=0. That God knows tensed facts at t=0 is an untrue claim, not because it’s false factually but because we can’t ask about the state of something at a point in time.

    Consider another state change. That it’s wholly in time doesn’t seem to alter the picture. Consider the state change from liquid to solid when water freezes. This is instantaneous: there’s no state between water and ice (which of course would be different from water mixed with ice). Now, is the substance water or is it ice right at the point where it transitions. If the question is meaningful, it does lead to a contradiction. It is water after the transition and ice before, but it has as good a claim to be ice as it has to be water at the transition point.

    I think this comes close to being a genuine paradox. In fact, I now recall that one philosopher, named Grahm Priest (no religious significance implied), maintains that this contradiction and others justify rejecting the axiom that contradictions are always false. He would answer Angra’s conundrum by saying it is both ice and not ice at t=0. But that’s obviously a radical move in logic; I raise it only to show that 1) the argument is serious, not a matter of quibbling about terms like beginning and end; and 2) the argument really has nothing special to do with theology (pace Angra).

    Angra’s argument really amounts to the claim that instantaneous change is incoherent. Were it not for the natural phenomena subject to instantaneous change, the argument might be persuasive. I remember years ago learning about instantaneous electron state changes in freshman chemistry and being incredulous. Instantaneous change is like you travel from point a to point b, these points separated in space, without occupying any space between them and without consuming any time. It’s counter-intuitive but it isn’t logically impossible unless one resists redrawing ontology to accommodate the possibility of instantaneous change.

  112. Angara,

    There is a difference between the electron’s being in state 1 and state 2, and the electron’s being in state 1, and not being in state 1 at the same time. Only the latter is a contradiction.
    I’m no physicist, but that’s a matter of logic.

    Since state 1 and state 2 are mutually exclusive, there’s no difference “between the electron’s being in state 1 and state 2, and the electron’s being in state 1, and not being in state 1 at the same time.”

    (Compare to the state change between water and ice. If it’s water, it’s not ice. Being both water and ice at the same time is a contradiction.)

    Whether instantaneous change can occur is a matter of metaphysics (besides physics proper); it isn’t really a matter of logic. And instantaneous change does seems metaphysically odd. If the way you represent instantaneous change results in contradictions, the demerit belongs to the representation because your premise, “change takes time,” is a contingent fact.

    I think I can give you an example even more ordinary than state changes involving liquids and solids. Consider this scenaria. You’re driving but stopped at a light. The light changes, and you accelerate. Your car begins to move at precisely 2 p.m. Is the car moving or standing still at precisely 2 p.m. The same “contradiction” seems to arise. Is the car moving or idling at precisely 2 p.m?

    At some instant the car transitions from not moving at all to moving. Is the car moving or standing still at that instant? If it’s standing still, it hasn’t started moving, which contradicts the fact that it did start moving at that instant. If it’s moving at that instant, then that point isn’t a transition from stationary to moving.

  113. Angra Mainyu says:

    Stephen

    My solution differs from yours in that I deny that God knows any tensed facts at t=0. I maintain that you can only say that God knows tensed facts after t=0. That God knows tensed facts at t=0 is an untrue claim, not because it’s false factually but because we can’t ask about the state of something at a point in time.

    This is a side issue. It is enough that there is a change in God from a beginning point (at the so-called ‘timeless’ state) to an endpoint (at the allegedly first temporal state).
    Those beginning and end point do not have to be understood as temporal instants. Non-dividable intervals will do just as well.

    Consider another state change. That it’s wholly in time doesn’t seem to alter the picture. Consider the state change from liquid to solid when water freezes. This is instantaneous: there’s no state between water and ice (which of course would be different from water mixed with ice). Now, is the substance water or is it ice right at the point where it transitions. If the question is meaningful, it does lead to a contradiction. It is water after the transition and ice before, but it has as good a claim to be ice as it has to be water at the transition point.

    There is no ‘point where it transitions’.
    Molecules of water change gradually.
    Some of them freeze at some time, some at some other time.
    If time is discrete, they change from one temporal state to the next (whether it’s instants or intervals).
    If time is continuous, there are different states at different points in time.
    Either way, no contradiction ensues.
    If you think otherwise, I propose the following test:
    Could you try to define an event – as I do -, and derive a contradiction – as I do?
    But let me try: if you try to define, instead of E(2), the event W(1) ‘Water changes from liquid to solid”, what you actually have is different molecules changing at different times.
    Yes, there are states at which it’s solid, and states at which it’s liquid, but you do not have any specific such states, so your event is still ill-defined (in E(2), there is a specific state that constitutes the beginning point, and one that constitutes the endpoint).
    If, on the other hand, you pick as the beginning point a specific state at which the water is all liquid, and as the endpoint a state at which it’s all solid, then clearly the endpoint happens later than the beginning point, yielding no contradiction.

    He would answer Angra’s conundrum by saying it is both ice and not ice at t=0. 

    But that wouldn’t deny my argument to a contradiction. Rather, it would claim that contradictions are possible. But if the supporter of the KCA claims that, it’s over. For that matter, I can posit pretty much anything.

     2) the argument really has nothing special to do with theology (pace Angra).

    That’s not the case; you can’t reach a contradiction in the same way in the case of water, etc.

    Angra’s argument really amounts to the claim that instantaneous change is incoherent. 

    No, it does not. It shows that if there is a beginning point (a first state), and an endpoint (a final state) in the event, then if the event has a duration zero, that results in a contradiction. If it has a nonzero duration, that’s fine, except of course if the endpoint is at the allegedly first temporal state, which would result in another contradiction.

     I remember years ago learning about instantaneous electron state changes in freshman chemistry and being incredulous. Instantaneous change is like you travel from point a to point b, these points separated in space, without occupying any space between them and without consuming any time. 

    I’m afraid you’re mistaken. The claim is not that, at the same time t, the electron is in state S, and it’s not the case that the electron is in state S.
    Moreover, if that were the case, that would be a contradiction, so your objection would amount to saying that contradictions are possible.

  114. Angra Mainyu says:

    Since state 1 and state 2 are mutually exclusive, there’s no difference “between the electron’s being in state 1 and state 2, and the electron’s being in state 1, and not being in state 1 at the same time.”

    If they’re mutually exclusive, yes.
    I was considering the general case.

    Whether instantaneous change can occur is a matter of metaphysics (besides physics proper); it isn’t really a matter of logic. And instantaneous change does seems metaphysically odd. If the way you represent instantaneous change results in contradictions, the demerit belongs to the representation because your premise, “change takes time,” is a contingent fact.

    Let’s drop the word ‘instantaneous’, since it’s not the issue. If you have a change between an initial point at which P obtains, and an endpoint at which it’s not the case that P obtains, it can’t be the beginning point and the endpoint exist at some time t (whether t is an instant or a non-dividable interval), since that would mean that, at t, P and ¬P.

    I think I can give you an example even more ordinary than state changes involving liquids and solids. Consider this scenaria. You’re driving but stopped at a light. The light changes, and you accelerate. Your car begins to move at precisely 2 p.m. Is the car moving or standing still at precisely 2 p.m. The same “contradiction” seems to arise. Is the car moving or idling at precisely 2 p.m?

    No, that’s fuzziness of language. Even ‘2 p.m is fuzzy.
    What happens is that if time is continuous, at different instants t, the car is in slightly different states C(t). If time is discrete, every particle in the car is in some state at tome time t1 (either an instant or a non-dividable interval), then another state at t2, etc.; that’s only good old fuzziness, and is not related to my argument.

  115. cl says:

    Stephen R. Diamond,

    This comment will address our discussion of Angra’s claim that a contradiction obtains if E(2) is an event of “zero duration.” My next comment will address your solution (i.e., everything that comes after, “My solution differs from yours…”) in your comment at #111.

    On the one hand, I’m *SO* grateful to be conversing with somebody else. On the other,

    I think you’re (unwittingly) raising red herrings to avoid confronting the question,

    Ah for Pete’s sake… unless of course you mean to imply that I’m subconsciously averse to grabbing the bull by the horns, the quality of being “unwitting” is incompatible with the desire to avoid anything. So, I’ll just go ahead and note the possibility that, contrary to my first impression, perhaps you actually *ARE* one of those atheists. By “those,” I refer to that annoying subset who simply cannot refrain from making allegations about the mind state of the individual they are conversing with, a tactic Angra stooped to in his second comment here. A little charity goes a long way.

    But I digress. Back to the argument:

    The argument [Angra] is making can be clarified with two questions:

    1. When does the universal become temporal (God knows a tensed truth)?

    2. When does the universe stop being atemporal?

    I agree that answers to those questions can clarify Angra’s argument. RE: 1, Angra has already committed to the proposition, “At any time T, God knows all there is to know about the world at T.” Of course, alone, that is compatible with God knowing the first tensed truth at t=0, or some point t>0 (which is the solution you attempt). Right?

    If so, well… RE: 2, in section 3 of his new argument, which was section 9 of his old argument (he seems to change it daily), Angra—in an attempt to show that a contradiction persists even if God’s coming to know at least one tensed truth is defined as an instantaneous event with no delay or no perceptible duration—wrote:

    If E(2) has a duration zero, then since the final point of E(2) – namely, the first state at which God has property P(2) – obtains at T(0), and the duration of E(2) is actually zero, then it seems that the initial point of E(2) – a state at which it is not the case that God has property P(2) – also obtains at T(0).

    We clearly see that Angra’s “zero duration” argument assumes that God knows at least one tensed truth at t=0. So, back to your questions, correcting terms to promote clarity and avoid loading the dice: When does is God become temporal? My answer: t>=0. When does Is God become atemporal? My answer: yes, ~t.

    Since t != ~t, no contradiction obtains.

    As you yourself said so eloquently at #1:

    God’s change from timeless to temporal can’t take time because, until God becomes temporal, nothing can be temporal, that is, nothing can take time.

    That’s right! You nailed it there, and I agree. Although, now I’m confused because your comment at #111 suggests you might no longer agree with your initial assessment. Is that the case? If so, what prompted the change?

    In the interest of thoroughness I’ll keep on. You ask,

    a) It is temporal for the first time at t=0, and b) it is atemporal for the last time at t=0. You accept a); but how do you answer b)?

    By pointing out the pure incoherence of assuming there is a “first time” *AND* “last time” of an event with zero duration, then by noting that Angra already said it was “impossible” for an event of zero duration to have a beginning and endpoint (#94). To speak thus is like positing “first impressions,” or any other incoherent string. An event of zero duration has zero time, hence no beginning, and no endpoint, as those require duration. Remember, in this context, we’re talking about an “instantaneous” event with “zero duration.” Angra has already committed to the following proposition, at #94:

    I do not claim that an event of zero duration has two points, a beginning and an end point. In fact, I claim that that is impossible.

    Okay, I appreciate his firmly cemented goalpost, but if that’s the case, how is it *NOT* special pleading to turn around and claim, as he did in the very next sentence, that:

    I claim that the particular event I’m talking about has two points, a beginning point and an endpoint.

    How are those statements compatible? I’ve asked for an explanation several times, and the only thing I get is some variant of, “I already explained that,” or “maybe I’ll make another revision,” or “that doesn’t merit further argumentation.” Well, how am I supposed to see the light?

    To further press my case, here is a valid, deductive argument from mutually accepted premises:

    • P1: It is impossible for an event of zero duration to have a beginning and endpoint (Angra Mainyu, #94);
    • P2: The event in question E(2) has zero duration; (from #94, also from Craig’s stipulation which Angra provisionally affirms in Section 3 in order to engage Craig);
    • C: It is impossible for E(2) to have a beginning and an endpoint (Logical derivation from P1 & P2).

    Hopefully by now, somebody, anybody can see why this post was sarcastically titled, “Oh, There’s A Contradiction Alright!” As I’ve maintained the whole time, the “contradiction” only obtains because Angra refuses to meet Craig on his own terms. Either mistakenly or deceptively—I do not know—Angra evaluates an “instantaneous event of zero duration” as if it were an event of finite, non-zero duration. Duration and time are necessary prerequisites for any “transition” containing a “beginning” and “endpoint,” therefore it follows that zero duration and zero time means zero transition, zero beginning, and zero endpoint.

    You wrote,

    I don’t see how you can answer anything except that God stops being atemporal at b), once you maintain God starts being temporal at b), given that the change is instantaneous.

    Because “starts” and “stops” are meaningless notions if the event in question has zero duration. I laid that out at #78, with a seemingly valid, 10-premise argument.

    I hope this helps. I dedicated 2 hours to this reply.

  116. cl says:

    Stephen R. Diamond,

    With regard to your solution:

    Now, is the substance water or is it ice right at the point where it transitions. If the question is meaningful, it does lead to a contradiction. It is water after the transition and ice before, but it has as good a claim to be ice as it has to be water at the transition point.

    The question is not meaningful. The propositions are loaded with terms like “transition” which assume an event of non-zero, finite duration. In my opinion, we need only ask, “When ice?” My answer: When not water. Conversely, we need only ask, “When water?” My answer: When not ice. I treat these things as logical Booleans, the same way I treat a lightswitch: it’s never “a little on” and “a little off,” it’s always either on or off. I’m thinking logically, not ontologically. The “event” in question is not part of any ontology at all. Rather, the “event” in question is a logical demarcation between two abstract, mutually exclusive concepts.

    Now, you can argue that I’ve offered a tautology, but that takes this down an entirely new road. Of course, I’m willing to go there, but I’m not willing to accept Angra’s charge of “contradiction” unless he or somebody else can demonstrate it with a valid argument.

    I think this comes close to being a genuine paradox. In fact, I now recall that one philosopher, named Grahm Priest (no religious significance implied), maintains that this contradiction and others justify rejecting the axiom that contradictions are always false.

    As usual, I disagree with the priest :)

    Seriously though, I think we delve into solipsism if we accept Priest’s conclusion. We don’t need to make an exception to the well-established law of non-contradiction. We only need to parse the argument correctly.

    But that’s obviously a radical move in logic; I raise it only to show that 1) the argument is serious, not a matter of quibbling about terms like beginning and end;

    I’m sorry you apparently view the discussion over “beginning” and “end” as “quibbling.” Does that mean you endorse Angra’s use of incoherent terms?

    Angra’s argument really amounts to the claim that instantaneous change is incoherent.

    Well, yeah… when “change” may *ONLY* be defined as “any event that takes time,” yeah, instantaneous change *IS* incoherent! However, Boolean states are *NOT* incoherent. They are undeniable facts of logic which underpin our very ability to converse across this machine.

    Instantaneous change is like you travel from point a to point b, these points separated in space, without occupying any space between them and without consuming any time.

    That’s not how I process it. You seem to conflate a logical demarcation (which cannot have duration) with an ontological transition (which requires duration). “Instantaneous change” is an abstract, logical construct. It denotes the Boolean nature of two mutual exclusive states of affairs. The minute we discuss ontology is the minute “instantaneous change” becomes incoherent.

    This is why I get *REALLY* annoyed with Craig’s KCA. As you said, way back at #1,

    …Craig seems to invite the confusion by positing that an event means any change, whereas according to Craig’s definition, God’s transformation isn’t an event.

    Yep, and here we are, still trying to clean up the mess. It should come as no surprise that I’ve never endorsed Craig’s KCA, but Aristotle’s argument from kinesis.

  117. cl says:

    Angra Mainyu,

    Those beginning and end point do not have to be understood as temporal instants. Non-dividable intervals will do just as well.

    According to Merriam-Webster, an “interval” is “a space of time between events or states.” Unless you mean to imply that you’re using some hitherto undefined “technical” sense of “interval,” incoherence persists. If you *ARE* in fact using some hitherto undefined “technical” sense of “interval,” you commit the same error you charge Craig with regarding the word “change.” Either horn is bad for you.

    But let me try: if you try to define, instead of E(2), the event W(1) ‘Water changes from liquid to solid”, what you actually have is different molecules changing at different times.

    …well yeah, but like the rest of your arguments, that’s sloppy and imprecise. Consider a single molecule, try re-running your argument, and you get something like:

    • ‘Event’ denotes ‘change’.
    • ‘L’ denotes water molecule X as liquid.
    • ‘S’ denotes water molecule X as solid.
    • L != S, such that molecule X can never be both L & S;
    • The statement, “water molecule X is both L and S and any time T,” is false.

    There is no contradiction with the water molecule example, just as there is no contradiction with an instantaneous E(2).

  118. Angra Mainyu says:

    According to Merriam-Webster, an “interval” is “a space of time between events or states.” Unless you mean to imply that you’re using some hitherto undefined “technical” sense of “interval,” incoherence persists. If you *ARE* in fact using some hitherto undefined “technical” sense of “interval,” you commit the same error you charge Craig with regarding the word “change.” Either horn is bad for you.

    I’m talking about ontology of time. And any understanding of ‘interval’ used in philosophy will do, as long as the intervals are non-dividable, since essentially what happens is one state after another.

    In other words, if, instead of instants t0, followed by t1, t2, etc., and the corresponding states of the world T1, T2, etc., there are non-dividable intervals I1, I2, etc., and the corresponding states T1, T2, etc., the argument works exactly as well.

    There is no contradiction with the water molecule example, just as there is no contradiction with an instantaneous E(2).

    If you want to raise another point, let me know. Else, I’ve already dealt with your objections sufficiently (posts #94 and #98, so I will not post further counterarguments.

  119. cl says:

    Angra Mainyu,

    And any understanding of ‘interval’ used in philosophy will do, as long as the intervals are non-dividable, since essentially what happens is one state after another.

    LOL! If this mysterious “interval” is *NON-DIVISIBLE*, why do you divide it such that one state can happen *AFTER* another? Why do you divide a *NON-DIVISIBLE* interval into a “beginning” and “endpoint?”

    The incoherence persists.

  120. Angra Mainyu says:

    LOL! If this mysterious “interval” is *NON-DIVISIBLE*, why do you divide it such that one state can happen *AFTER* another? Why do you divide a *NON-DIVISIBLE* interval into a “beginning” and “endpoint?”
    The incoherence persists.

    Since there is no inconsistency in the first place, I cannot persist. I refuted your objection thoroughly in #94 and #98.

    Regarding non-dividable intervals, of course I’m not dividing anything at all. I’m just making the same argument as explained (e.g., in #98), and I don’t need to worry about intervals or instants, since – regardless of which view of time is assumed -, what matters is that there is a beginning point and and endpoint to the change.

    But that is – again – already explained carefully in #94 and #98, so no point in repeating myself.

    If you want to bring about a different objection, to any other part of my argument, I’m listening.

    If you want to get more details about the intervals and instant stuff, then you can find them in my blog; in fact, I just posted a brief reply to the KCA which contains only one of the objections that I raised in the long reply, but with some more details.

    Of course, this is a side note, since none of that is required to refute the objections you’re raising, but whatever.

    Again, if you want to shift to another part of my argument (in the original version, or the expanded and clarified version, or now in the new, very brief reply that focuses on one single issue, or whatever), I’m listening.

    But if you insist on variants of the old objection that I refuted in #94 and #98, I can just point out that I’ve refuted those objections already.

  121. JohnN says:

    You guys move way too fast for me!

    ANGRA MAINYU:

    But if you insist on variants of the old objection that I refuted in #94 and #98, I can just point out that I’ve refuted those objections already.

    I read #94 and #98 and I can’t follow your argument either. Which parts are you talking about? Would you mind copying and pasting whatever is relevant into a new comment, so I can take a look?

  122. cl says:

    JohnN,

    Sorry we’re hogging the thread. Maybe after this I’ll step back and watch Angra reply to you and Stephen…

    Angra Mainyu,

    But that is – again – already explained carefully in #94 and #98, so no point in repeating myself.

    Yet, here you are repeating yourself, so there must be some point!

    Since there is no inconsistency in the first place, I cannot persist.

    Wrong. You persist whether your argument is consistent or not, and the incoherence in your argument also persists until you demonstrate otherwise. Stop being sloppy.

    I refuted your objection thoroughly in #94 and #98.

    No, you didn’t. You asserted that which you have an obligation to prove via valid argumentation.

    Regarding non-dividable intervals, of course I’m not dividing anything at all. I’m just making the same argument as explained (e.g., in #98), and I don’t need to worry about intervals or instants, since – regardless of which view of time is assumed -, what matters is that there is a beginning point and and endpoint to the change.

    In #94, did you or did you not say it is “impossible” for an “event” of “zero duration” to have a “beginning” and “endpoint?” Stop dancing, and answer the question with a clear “yes” or “no” answer.

  123. Angra Mainyu says:

    Johnn

    I read #94 and #98 and I can’t follow your argument either. Which parts are you talking about? Would you mind copying and pasting whatever is relevant into a new comment, so I can take a look?

    I’m afraid #94 and #98 pretty much are the relevant parts, when it comes to CL’s original objection. With regard to intervals, my point is that I don’t have to worry about whether time consists of intervals or instants, since in any case, there is one first state of the world changing to the next, and that’s what is required.

    But I’m afraid I do not see how to further clarify my arguments for you. If there is any specific paragraph you don’t understand, maybe if you quote it I can address the matter.

  124. Angra Mainyu says:

    CL

    Yet, here you are repeating yourself, so there must be some point!

    No point in repeating the arguments in those posts. You’re ignoring context. But then, you ignored pretty much everything I said and went on to attack a strawman, regardless of the amount of clarification, so whatever.

    Again, if you want to raise new objections to any of my arguments, let me know.

    Else, I’ll just try to address Stephen’s and Johnn’s points if I can.

  125. cl,

    Ah for Pete’s sake… unless of course you mean to imply that I’m subconsciously averse to grabbing the bull by the horns, the quality of being “unwitting” is incompatible with the desire to avoid anything. So, I’ll just go ahead and note the possibility that, contrary to my first impression, perhaps you actually *ARE* one of those atheists. By “those,” I refer to that annoying subset who simply cannot refrain from making allegations about the mind state of the individual they are conversing with, a tactic Angra stooped to in his second comment here. A little charity goes a long way.

    That I “mean[t] to imply that [you’re] subconsciously averse to grabbing the bull by the horns” is the case. The comment was rude, and I apologize, but I do claim the mitigation of taking this invitation as permission:

    I can’t speak for you, from what I’ve read on your blog we’re more in line than most (a)theists. Nonetheless, here’s our chance! Let me have it! ;)
    Seriously though, I’m curious to hear what *YOU* think of my comment at #62. I don’t expect you to agree with me or take my side, but maybe you can help us out here. Am I missing something in my objections?

    I took “help us out” as broader than intended,to include impressions of emotional sources resistance.

    How are those statements compatible? I’ve asked for an explanation several times, and the only thing I get is some variant of, “I already explained that,” or “maybe I’ll make another revision,” or “that doesn’t merit further argumentation.” Well, how am I supposed to see the light?

    He’s sloppy. But the only position he could consistently take (per charity) is that it isn’t the case there is a start and stop point with an “interval” of zero duration. When he expresses himself otherwise, he’s only using an awkward vehicle to describe the point t = 0.

    SRD: a) It is temporal for the first time at t=0, and b) it is atemporal for the last time at t=0. You accept a); but how do you answer b)?
    CL: By pointing out the pure incoherence of assuming there is a “first time” *AND* “last time” of an event with zero duration, then by noting that Angra already said it was “impossible” for an event of zero duration to have a beginning and endpoint (#94). To speak thus is like positing “first impressions,” or any other incoherent string. An event of zero duration has zero time, hence no beginning, and no endpoint, as those require duration. Remember, in this context, we’re talking about an “instantaneous” event with “zero duration.”

    But the relevant interval for the start point is t=0 to t= infinity; the relevant interval for the end point is t=0 to t < 0. To define these start point and end points, you don't define an interval for the act of Creation; you define the intervals over the whole time the universe is temporal. That was why I restated his position to make the intervals involved clear.

    As I see it, both of you see this as a theological issue, when it's just as much an issue in the natural world. Angra tries to decouple it from the natural world, but his arguments are pretty silly. Water changes to ice molecule by molecule, which is why I even made a point to distinguish water mixed with ice from something midway between. Obviously, you look at the molecules, but Angra seemed unwilling to consider that obvious step. I don't think he reads his critics carefully.

    But the best answer to his argument against instantaneous change is just that physicists believe it occurs and it really occurs often, when you look at mundane changes.

    Let’s apply a mundane change analysis to our difference on whether the universe is temporal at t=0. Consider the car starting at the light. At 2 pm is it moving or idling? Moving is temporal universe; idling is atemporal universe. Isn’t it clear it makes no sense to say either it’s stopped or started? [This doesn’t have anything to do with linguistic fuzziness, per Angra.If the vehicle is moving at all, it’s moving.]

    The point isn’t that you can’t define an interval over which to say the vehicle has started or stopped. The interval isn’t the point at which it accelerates. It starts at t=0, because that’s the beginning of the interval during which it’s moving again; it stops idling at t=0, because that’s the end of the interval that it idles. The point isn’t that you must define a nonzero interval to speak of starting and stopping: the relevant intervals are defined over finite time. The point is that you can’t say either that the car is idling or moving at a point of transition.

  126. JohnN says:

    ANGRA MAINYU:

    I’m afraid #94 and #98 pretty much are the relevant parts, when it comes to CL’s original objection. With regard to intervals, my point is that I don’t have to worry about whether time consists of intervals or instants, since in any case, there is one first state of the world changing to the next, and that’s what is required.

    I have a better idea. At least, one that helps me better. Can you write out what you see as Cl’s objection? It might be that I understand Cl different than you.

  127. Angra Mainyu says:

    Johnn

    I have a better idea. At least, one that helps me better. Can you write out what you see as Cl’s objection? It might be that I understand Cl different than you.

    If you present the objection as you understand it, I can tell you whether you got the objection right (but if you did, #94 and #98 will immediately tell you why it fails, so maybe you didn’t, so I suggest asking him).
    Alternatively, I would recommend you ask CL for clarification of his own objection.

    I’m afraid I’ve already spent too much time on that objection, carefully showing why it fails in #94 and #98, and earlier than that, trying to figure out what it means.

    CL is simply mistaken about what my argument is, and no amount of clarification has persuaded him, but my time is not an actual infinity ;), there is only one of my, so I’m afraid I’ll decline getting into the details of that objection again.

  128. I’m sorry you apparently view the discussion over “beginning” and “end” as “quibbling.” Does that mean you endorse Angra’s use of incoherent terms?

    I think arguments about coherence are mostly diversions when the incoherence doesn’t affect the argument. I try to interpret an argument I disagree with to make it as strong as possible. If I understand the argument and defects in its expression can be bracketed off, then I do so.

    SRD:Instantaneous change is like you travel from point a to point b, these points separated in space, without occupying any space between them and without consuming any time.
    CL: That’s not how I process it. You seem to conflate a logical demarcation (which cannot have duration) with an ontological transition (which requires duration). “Instantaneous change” is an abstract, logical construct. It denotes the Boolean nature of two mutual exclusive states of affairs. The minute we discuss ontology is the minute “instantaneous change” becomes incoherent.

    Physicists call transitions “events.” And “events” in physics have no duration: they occur at points in space time. But as far as I can tell, you are just offering a different definition, one we can just as well use. In your terminology, what I term metaphysically strange is then the fact that two mutually exclusive states of affairs occur without any temporal separation. (But whatever we call it, we’ll eventually need some name for what I [and physicists] call “transitions”: for the point in time separating these mutually exclusive states of affairs.

    Applying your terms, the cosmos has two Boolean states: atemporal and temporal, and that’s all to be said. Then, you should agree with me that at t=0, a mere logical point of demarcation, you can’t say the universe is temporal (i.e., that God knows tensed facts).

  129. Angra Mainyu says:

    Stephen,

    As I see it, both of you see this as a theological issue, when it’s just as much an issue in the natural world. Angra tries to decouple it from the natural world, but his arguments are pretty silly. Water changes to ice molecule by molecule, which is why I even made a point to distinguish water mixed with ice from something midway between. Obviously, you look at the molecules, but Angra seemed unwilling to consider that obvious step. I don’t think he reads his critics carefully.

    I’m afraid you’re mistaken, but I’ve done a lot to clarify my points to you, and why the comparison does not work, to no avail (I even wrote entire sections for that, added the case of intervals, etc.).

    Given that, and given how long this has already taken me, I’ve decide to leave this thread (I’m not reaching any of you, and the objections were adequately handled already), unless there is a new objection.

    So, in particular, I’m afraid that I will not spend more time further addressing your objection, or any previous one (I’m letting you know this because you may want to take that into consideration when assessing whether to reply to my posts), unless you come up with a different objection to a different part of my argument.

  130. “what I term metaphysically strange is then the fact that two mutually exclusive states of affairs occur without any temporal separation.”

    Actually, that’s not what’s weird: in fact, it’s necessary. What’s strange (in the atomic case) is that these states, although temporally successive, are spatially separated.

  131. Angra Mainyu says:

    To CL, Johnn, Stephen,

    I’ve already dealt with the objections so far adequately, and as clearly as I can. So, I will not address them any more, since I would essentially be repeating myself.

    If you have any new objections to make (not variants of the old ones, please), please let me know.

    I’m not going to keep reading this thread after about an hour or two, so after that, of course you may raise (new, please) objections in my blog if you’re interested.

    Other than that, I’m leaving.

  132. cl says:

    Stephen R. Diamond,

    As I see it, both of you see this as a theological issue, when it’s just as much an issue in the natural world. Angra tries to decouple it from the natural world, but his arguments are pretty silly. Water changes to ice molecule by molecule…

    No, I agree it’s just as much an issue elsewhere! Why do you think I mention Booleans and computers? In fact, I actually told Angra the exact same thing you just said! Here, since this is actually productive, let me take the time to find it and cite it for you… okay, right here:

    But let me try: if you try to define, instead of E(2), the event W(1) ‘Water changes from liquid to solid”, what you actually have is different molecules changing at different times. (Angra)

    …well yeah, but like the rest of your arguments, that’s sloppy and imprecise. Consider a single molecule, try re-running your argument, and you get something like:

    • ‘Event’ denotes ‘change’.
    • ‘L’ denotes water molecule X as liquid.
    • ‘S’ denotes water molecule X as solid.
    • L != S, such that molecule X can never be both L & S;
    • The statement, “water molecule X is both L and S and any time T,” is false.

    Now, I also get the impression you don’t agree with that chain of logic, because you said,

    Let’s apply a mundane change analysis to our difference on whether the universe is temporal at t=0. Consider the car starting at the light. At 2 pm is it moving or idling? Moving is temporal universe; idling is atemporal universe. Isn’t it clear it makes no sense to say either it’s stopped or started? [This doesn’t have anything to do with linguistic fuzziness, per Angra.If the vehicle is moving at all, it’s moving.]

    No, not at all. Did you mean to say “no sense?” Because I agree with your last sentence: if the vehicle is moving at all, it’s moving. It’s not stopped.

    1) If water molecule X can only be liquid or solid at any point T, then water molecule X is never liquid and solid at any point T.

    2) If vehicle Y can only be moving or stopped at any point T, then vehicle Y is never moving and stopped at any point T.

    3) If stoplight S can only be red or green at any point T, then stoplight S is never red and green at any point T.

    4) If God can only have or not have knowledge of a tensed truth at any time T, then God never has and does not have knowledge of a tensed truth at any time T.

    I can’t figure out where the disconnect is. Do you deny the existence of Booleans? Do we interpret Booleans to have different logical properties and/or ontological ramifications?

    But the only position he could consistently take (per charity) is that it isn’t the case there is a start and stop point with an “interval” of zero duration.

    Exactly. So what are we to make of Angra’s claim that “interval” with zero duration E(2) for some reason *HAS* a start and stop point? If that’s what you meant by “the awkward vehicle,” well, okay… but next you say,

    But the relevant interval for the start point is t=0 to t= infinity; the relevant interval for the end point is t=0 to t < 0. To define these start point and end points, you don’t define an interval for the act of Creation; you define the intervals over the whole time the universe is temporal. That was why I restated his position to make the intervals involved clear.

    …and that’s where you’ve totally lost me. I can only hope you’ll have the patience to elaborate! Are you talking about E(2) as defined in Angra’s argument? If so, aren’t we all in agreement that that an “interval” of zero duration can’t have a start and end point?

    Sorry, I’m not trying to be obtuse or contrarian, I really want to account for this apparently massive disconnect. I fully understand if you lack the time and/or interest.

  133. cl says:

    Stephen R. Diamond,

    Thanks, I’m just glad to hear the following from somebody besides myself. The problem is that he strikes me as the type to scurry off with his tail between his legs and insist that we just don’t understand. Although, I should have seen this coming. In the very beginning he told us that no number of people could convince him he was wrong. You know, right around the same time he was accusing me of not being able to grasp his argument because I’m a Christian (while not realizing that I was a Christian for years before accepting any First Cause arguments). Oh well, go figure…

    He’s sloppy.

    Damned straight he’s sloppy!

    …his arguments are pretty silly.

    Damned straight they’re silly!

    Obviously, you look at the molecules, but Angra seemed unwilling to consider that obvious step. I don’t think he reads his critics carefully.

    Damned straight he’s not reading carefully!

  134. JohnN says:

    ANGRA MAINYU:

    Alternatively, I would recommend you ask CL for clarification of his own objection.

    WTF?! Thanks for wasting the time then. I asked because I’m don’t think you understand Cl’s objection. I wanted to see if you understood it the same way as I. If you care about fence-sitters you don’t persuade by dodging their questions.

    Rude!

  135. cl says:

    Stephen R. Diamond,

    Okay, I just saw #128 and I think I see a little more of what’s going on:

    Applying your terms, the cosmos has two Boolean states: atemporal and temporal, and that’s all to be said.

    Not quite. First, the cosmos are never atemporal on my view. They are always temporal because they are “bound” by time. So, applying my terms, God has two Boolean states: atemporal and temporal. But my next reply will be in the context of cosmos, not God:

    Then, you should agree with me that at t=0, a mere logical point of demarcation, you can’t say the universe is temporal (i.e., that God knows tensed facts).

    I can’t agree with you there, because on my view t=0 is *NOT* a mere logical demarcation, it is an actual point in time; the first point in time. Therefore, at t=0, I can *ONLY* say that the cosmos is temporal.

  136. cl says:

    Stephen R. Diamond,

    Actually, that’s not what’s weird: in fact, it’s necessary. What’s strange (in the atomic case) is that these states, although temporally successive, are spatially separated.

    Sounds interesting, but I’m afraid I don’t know what “spatially separated” reduces to…

  137. Angra Mainyu says:

    WTF?! Thanks for wasting the time then. I asked because I’m don’t think you understand Cl’s objection. I wanted to see if you understood it the same way as I. If you care about fence-sitters you don’t persuade by dodging their questions.

    Rude!

    You’re the one being rude with that reply.
    But I’m not wasting any more time. I’m not dodging questions, by the way, I’ve already spent a huge amount of time in this tread, and explained carefully that, after thoroughly debunking CL’s objections (#94 and #98), I didn’t want to dedicate more time to them.

    Again, there is only one of me, and my time is not infinite.

    As for convincing fence-sitters, clearly I cannot convince all of them. My time is, again, not unlimited. I did enough.
    By the way, if you do not understand that #94 and #98 take care of CL’s objection, I’m afraid you’ve not understood his objection, or you’ve not understood #94 and #98 – but I can’t clarify them further. That’s as good as it gets.

    So, anyway, you can keep the last word and attack me. My earlier replies are sufficient.

  138. Angra Mainyu says:

    Okay, so no new objections. Anyone interested in raising more knows where to find me, but I’m not coming back.

    So, goodbye.

  139. JohnN says:

    ANGRA MAINYU:

    You’re the one being rude with that reply.
    But I’m not wasting any more time. I’m not dodging questions, by the way,

    Are you high? I just asked you to summarize Cl and you said “ask Cl.” Not only is that dodging the question, it shows you’re a moron. I was trying to check if you saw it the same way I did. The only way to know that is if _you_ cooperate.

    Cl, I like you, but this is why Vox said that until they prove otherwise you should assume an atheist is a lying snake. You just wasted 100 comments with this dipshit only to have him split town the second other people got in.

  140. Not quite. First, the cosmos are never atemporal on my view. They are always temporal because they are “bound” by time. So, applying my terms, God has two Boolean states: atemporal and temporal. But my next reply will be in the context of cosmos, not God:

    Understood. I was using “cosmos” to encompass God plus the material universe, but the latter is obviously redundant.

    I can’t agree with you there, because on my view t=0 is *NOT* a mere logical demarcation, it is an actual point in time; the first point in time. Therefore, at t=0, I can *ONLY* say that the cosmos is temporal.

    What are your grounds for thinking t=0 is an actual point in time?

  141. You just wasted 100 comments with this dipshit only to have him split town the second other people got in.

    Anyone is free to terminate a discussion when he thinks it’s going around in circles. And the discussion may yet bear fruit.

  142. cl says:

    Stephen R. Diamond,

    What are your grounds for thinking t=0 is an actual point in time?

    That’s been the stipulation of the debate between Angra and Craig. It doesn’t matter what we call it, T=1, T=N, X3, whatever. All that matters is that the first time and all time after constitutes a set (say N). The mutually exclusive Boolean counterpart to that set is atemporality.

  143. That’s been the stipulation of the debate between Angra and Craig. It doesn’t matter what we call it, T=1, T=N, X3, whatever. All that matters is that the first time and all time after constitutes a set (say N). The mutually exclusive Boolean counterpart to that set is atemporality.

    Of course it doesn’t make a difference what you call it. But it certainly makes a difference.

    Go back to the car again. You can’t just decide to say the initial point in time at which the car accelerates at the stoplight will be said to be within the set of the accelerating states. There’s no time at which you can start the car so that it it is moving at the instant it accelerates. That’s been my analysis all along,and no one objected that it was outside the stipulation. I think it’s a logical truth that if (using your terminology) two boolean states are contiguous in time, the point demarcating them cannot itself be a real point in time.

    Under the stipulation providing that the point of demarcation is a real point in time, Angra won; but all he demonstrated is that God couldn’t have created the universe under the terms of their stipulation because the only way to specify the sets without contradiction uses a point of demarcation, not a point in time.

  144. cl says:

    Stephen R. Diamond,

    You can’t just decide to say the initial point in time at which the car accelerates at the stoplight will be said to be within the set of the accelerating states. There’s no time at which you can start the car so that it it is moving at the instant it accelerates.

    That’s why it’s not the best example. Acceleration isn’t instantaneous and we have the fuzziness problem. Rerun it with the liquid and solid example: surely I can say the initial point at which water molecule X is solid is within the set of solid states. Conversely, if it is melting, surely I can say the initial point at which water molecule X is liquid is within the set of liquid states. Well, doesn’t it follow from those that surely I can say there is never a point where both states obtain?

    Under the stipulation providing that the point of demarcation is a real point in time, Angra won;

    How so? If T=0 is a real point in time, then it’s back to my 10-premise argument and its conclusion (at #78): God is temporal at any point T=0 or T>0, God is atemporal ~T.

  145. cl

    I missed one.

    SRD: Let’s apply a mundane change analysis to our difference on whether the universe is temporal at t=0. Consider the car starting at the light. At 2 pm is it moving or idling? Moving is temporal universe; idling is atemporal universe. Isn’t it clear it makes no sense to say either it’s stopped or started? [This doesn’t have anything to do with linguistic fuzziness, per Angra.If the vehicle is moving at all, it’s moving.]
    cl: No, not at all. Did you mean to say “no sense?” Because I agree with your last sentence: if the vehicle is moving at all, it’s moving. It’s not stopped.

    It makes no sense because it’s a point of demarcation, and you can’t legitimately treat this analytic separating point as if it were an event. (I’m using your terminology because it suggests you understand the distinction I’m making in those terms.

    SRD: But the relevant interval for the start point is t=0 to t= infinity; the relevant interval for the end point is t=0 to t < 0. To define these start point and end points, you don’t define an interval for the act of Creation; you define the intervals over the whole time the universe is temporal. That was why I restated his position to make the intervals involved clear.
    cl: …and that’s where you’ve totally lost me. I can only hope you’ll have the patience to elaborate! Are you talking about E(2) as defined in Angra’s argument? If so, aren’t we all in agreement that that an “interval” of zero duration can’t have a start and end point?
    Sorry, I’m not trying to be obtuse or contrarian, I really want to account for this apparently massive disconnect. I fully understand if you lack the time and/or interest.

    See if my applying your demarcation-point versus event distinction helps. If I understand your meaning, then you understand the point.

    But unless there’s some reason a theist ought to think t=0 is a real point in time—rather than a point of demarcation—the question is a purely technical one and a somewhat artificial one at that. There may be better things to talk about.

  146. That’s why it’s not the best example. Acceleration isn’t instantaneous and we have the fuzziness problem. Rerun it with the liquid and solid example: surely I can say the initial point at which water molecule X is solid is within the set of solid states. Conversely, if it is melting, surely I can say the initial point at which water molecule X is liquid is within the set of liquid states. Well, doesn’t it follow from those that surely I can say there is never a point where both states obtain?

    There’s no fuzzines problem with acceleration. A vehicle is accelerating or not; it’s moving or not.

    When you say a car is going 50 mph at 6 pm, what you’re really doing is saying that, as an interval around 50 mph approaches zero, the vehicles speed approaches 50 mph. A car doesn’t have a speed strictly speaking at a time.

    When you ask whether a car that starts moving at 2 pm is moving at that precise instant, you are asking what is it’s velocity at that point. But the left hand side of the interval you would need to close in on a limit at t=0 isn’t present: what happened before the car took off is irrelevant to its speed when it takes off from a stop. So, the initial point, the demarcation between moving and idling, isn’t an event in the set of moving car events–those after 0–or idling events.

    Moving to liquids and solids–what is the point where the water is first solid when it freezes at t=0? Yes, it’s true that the first point where the water molecule is ice is ice and not water: but what isn’t true is that t=0 is that point. The point is that it’s impossible to name that point (without contradiction). If the water freezes at 1 pm., all we can say is that it is frozen immediately after 1 pm and unfrozen immediately before. The boolean sets can only be specified exclusively, not inclusively. I think that’s the logical force of Angra’s proof (or if not, at least what I think I learned by assessing his inferences.

    How so? If T=0 is a real point in time, then it’s back to my 10-premise argument and its conclusion (at #78): God is temporal at any point T=0 or T>0, God is atemporal ~T.

    Again, let’s revert to the states of matter. Any interval must have an endpoint. If you say the some particular H20 is ice at t=0, when is the endpoint for its being liquid? There’s no satisfactory point in time before t=0. And the same grounds support that liquid obtains at t=0 as that ice obtains at t=0.

    Put another way, if its water at t=0, then the last time it was ice must be prior to t=0. But then the boolean states aren’t contiguous–they have duration, the difference between the first instance of ice and the last of water.

    The problem in your 10-step proof is that you insert that the universe is temporal at t=0 as a premise, but the objection is that the claim is incoherent–because it treats a point of demarcation as an event, and postulate a point of demarcation’s being an event, of course, begs the question.

  147. cl says:

    Stephen R. Diamond,

    It makes no sense because it’s a point of demarcation, and you can’t legitimately treat this analytic separating point as if it were an event.

    How so? To treat it as if it were an event proper would be to assign a beginning and end point, as Angra does. Events take time. However, I deny that the “event” in question has a beginning and an end. It is an “event” that is instantaneous.

    Assume for the argument’s sake that the car had never moved until T=83. Then, every point T<83 falls into the “stopped” set. Similarly, T=83 and every point T>83 fall into the “moving” set. Lastly, there is never a point where the sets overlap.

  148. If it’s instantaneous, then T=83 can’t be part of the moving set. If it were, then what is the last non-moving point? Any point you name introduces a separation between the last nonmoving point and the first moving point. Then, there’d be duration between between being stopped and moving, contradicting the instantaneous character of the change.

    Similarly, T=83 and every point T>83 fall into the “moving” set. Lastly, there is never a point where the sets overlap.

    Well, t=83 is the question, as discussed above. In addition, the sets not only must not overlap, they must be contiguous in time. That’s what instantaneous means. But the sets, in fact, are disjoint rather than contiguous.

  149. cl says:

    I had an idea that might help. At some point (no pun intended) in the next day or two I’m going to attempt a few visual depictions and see how that affects the discussion (presuming anybody is still around).

    If it’s instantaneous, then T=83 can’t be part of the moving set. If it were, then what is the last non-moving point?

    This is why I think the car is a bad example. We don’t have well-defined cues for “moving.” Is it moving when the first wheel turns? All wheels? When torque is exerted upon the axles? To contrast, with the water example, we have clear, distinct states: solid, and liquid. Nonetheless, with regard to the car example, I would say the last non-moving point is,

    ~T>=83.

    In English, any point that is *NOT* T83 or greater.

    Any point you name introduces a separation between the last nonmoving point and the first moving point.

    That seems true.

    Then, there’d be duration between between being stopped and moving, contradicting the instantaneous character of the change.

    It seems to me that only follows if the separation is a change or event of non-zero duration. If it is an instantaneous event with zero duration, as Craig posits and Angra must provisionally accept if he wants to disprove Craig, then there is no duration between stopped and moving, and no contradiction.

  150. cl says:

    So here’s what I’m envisioning with regard to the water example. It may be hard to see depending on your device, but there is a faint line to indicate the logical demarcation between the two states. The dots represent the smallest, non-divisible points of time, you can call them whatever you want:

  151. It seems to me that only follows if the separation is a change or event of non-zero duration. If it is an instantaneous event with zero duration, as Craig posits and Angra must provisionally accept if he wants to disprove Craig, then there is no duration between stopped and moving, and no contradiction.

    The separation is between changes or events–a) being stopped and b) moving. If it’s an instantaneous change, there’s no separation. So it doesn’t make sense to say that “It seems to me that only follows if the separation is a change or event of non-zero duration” because a zero duration means no separation: the separation in question is separation in time; so, if there’s separation, there must be duration. They’re synonyms.

  152. The dots represent the smallest, non-divisible points of time, you can call them whatever you want:

    The diagram helps me understand your position, but the visual representation might be a source of confusion to you. You’re saying that T9 and T10 are separated (in time), yet they’re instantaneous.

    But they can’t be. Instantaneous means not separated in time. It is impossible for two events to be separated in time by zero duration: if the duration of the separation is zero, no separation exists. Zero separation is no separation.

    The reason the diagram misleads is that it pretends to do what I said you couldn’t do (without contradiction): locate the last point in time that it was solid or the first ice point it was liquid. We’re talking here about a limit, where the points fall arbitrarily close to the “zero duration” but never reach the boundary. You placed T9 and T10 exactly where they can never appear, at limit itself. The limit can only be approached, never reached. (If you put the first liquid or last solid points anywhere else, it would still be wrong, because you could always put it still closer to the “zero duration” limit without reaching it.)

  153. cl says:

    I didn’t realize you were equating “separation” with “time.” I wasn’t using it like that. I was using it to mean, well… a separation, something like “seam” or “demarcation.” The vertical line represents the instantaneous change, not the gray dots.

    You’re saying that T9 and T10 are separated (in time), yet they’re instantaneous.

    Actually no, T9 and T10 are points of equal, non-divisible, finite, nonzero duration: the “smallest units of time” (should such a thing exist). It’s the same scenario as with Democritus and the salt.

    The reason the diagram misleads is that it pretends to do what I said you couldn’t do (without contradiction): locate the last point in time that it was solid or the first ice point it was liquid.

    The water molecule was solid all the way through T9. Then, bing! Instantaneous state change to liquid (represented by the vertical line). Then, T10 begins, and the water remains liquid until somebody sticks the ice tray back in the freezer.

    Any point left of the vertical line the water molecule is solid. Any point right, it’s liquid. It even works if the vertical line intersects T9 or T10 (or any other point). Then we have a split point in time, where the water molecule is solid until T9.3459, then, bing! It melts, and remains liquid from T9.346 on, until somebody freezes it again.

  154. Then we have a split point in time, where the water molecule is solid until T9.3459, then, bing! It melts, and remains liquid from T9.346 on, until somebody freezes it again.

    Either T9 and T10 occur at different times or at the same time. If they occur at different times, then they’re not instantaneous. If they occur at the same time, there’s a contradiction. And you can’t have it both ways—although for reasons I don’t understand, you’re trying awfully hard to have it both ways.

    As you state it, the times are different. They’re not instantaneous, as you must claim: 9.3459 is not 9.346. They’re different times, and the change would not be instantaneous if the events occurred at those times t9 and t10.

    Of course, your numbers are made up. But the point remains. No matter how small you make the difference, if they occur at different times, the change isn’t instantaneous. You can bring the points as close as you want, but they can’t coincide.

    That the points are the smallest units of time is beside the point. If the points are finite, they’re separated in time according to their size. If they’re dimensionless points, then the events must occur at precisely the same time. If they don’t, they’re separated in time and, consequently, aren’t instantaneous.

    It’s really a straightforward contradiction, which Angra pegged correctly within the constraints of the stipulation (which I was unaware of). Either the points coincide (if you think of the horizontal axis as representing time) or they don’t. There’s no between. No matter how small you make the difference between T9 and T10 in time, they’re at different times–there’s duration between them–if there’s any time between them.

    This is just math: it shouldn’t be a contentious point. I can see why Angra grew frustrated.

  155. cl says:

    Either T9 and T10 occur at different times or at the same time. If they occur at different times, then they’re not instantaneous.

    Hmmm… are you reading what I’m saying? I mean, really reading? Again: T9 and T10 occur at different times. They are chronological points in time. They are *NOT* instantaneous. I’ve already laid that out clearly in my last comment. Apparently what you said about Angra’s failure to properly read his critics applies here, too.

    They’re different times, and the change would not be instantaneous if the events occurred at those times t9 and t10.

    Events, plural, that occur at T9 and T10? You’re not even on the same page. We’re talking about a single, instantaneous event (solid -> liquid) Now the sloppiness charge applies to yourself as well.

    If they don’t, they’re separated in time and, consequently, aren’t instantaneous.

    The. Points. Are. Not. Instantaneous. For. The. ?th. Time.

    No matter how small you make the difference between T9 and T10 in time, they’re at different times…

    Yes, exactly. T9 and T10 are different times. I’m glad you finally seemed to have grasped that.

    …if there’s any time between them.

    …and since, Angra agreed to the stipulation of an instantaneous event (NOTE: singular), then there is no duration.

    This is just math: it shouldn’t be a contentious point. I can see why Angra grew frustrated.

    Right, while you display a similar inability to properly read your opponent, and similar (though far less flagrant) sloppiness (which is actually shocking given my exposure to your writing). At least before, it seemed like you were trying. Now it seems like you’re sacrificing your intellect in order to avenge your fallen atheist brother. It’s not my fault you’re failing to grasp clearly stated points. Unless you can grasp this, I don’t know where to go from here.

  156. joseph says:

    Quick weigh in, if we are talking quanta of time then the smallest unit of time a change can occur in is whatever that quanta is, it couldn’t be divided. Like the image on a CRT Television might refresh at 50 hertz, you could then not talk of actions that occured in less than 0.02 seconds.

  157. The water molecule was solid all the way through T9. Then, bing! Instantaneous state change to liquid (represented by the vertical line). Then, T10 begins, T9 and T10 occur at different times. They are chronological points in time. They are *NOT* instantaneous.

    I read your previous comment carefully, and that isn’t the meaning I extracted (or extract). I’d suggest we just proceed with your analysis as I now understand it: there is duration between T9 and T10, where T9 is the last time the substance was ice and T10 the first time it is liquid.

    So, if T9 and T10 are different points in time—per your hypothesis—then how can the process look like this:

    The water molecule was solid all the way through T9. Then, bing! Instantaneous state change to liquid (represented by the vertical line). Then, T10 begins…

    The problem here is that there can’t be zero duration between two events and have them occur at different times. If a duration of 0 separates T9 and T10, then T10 occurs at T9+0=T9. And T9 occurs at T 10-0 or T10. When you draw the dots on the opposite temporal sides of the demarcation, you represent them as different events, but if the difference in duration is zero, as you say, then they can be but one event. Zero temporal separation means no difference in time, yet, in contradiction, you hold the points occupy different times.

    If you don’t mind, let’s look at just this part of the argument for the moment. Then we’ll know we’re not building on misconstruals.

  158. I keep forgetting to check the notify of follow-up comments, which I’ll at last accomplish with this “comment.”

  159. joseph says:

    Quick wiki quote, for any intetested parties:

    “One Planck time is the time it would take a photon travelling at the speed of light to cross a distance equal to one Planck length. Theoretically, this is the smallest time measurement that will ever be possible,[3] roughly 10^−43 seconds. Within the framework of the laws of physics as we understand them today, for times less than one Planck time apart, we can neither measure nor detect any change. As of May 2010, the smallest time interval that was directly measured was on the order of 12 attoseconds (12 × 10−18 seconds),[4] about 1024 times larger than the Planck time”

    I don’t really see this as an atheist/theist thing. An x-dimensional timeless manifold, invoked by Hawkins, Peter atkins, Lawrence Strauss etc would face the same problem.

  160. joseph says:

    Sorry, 10^-43 seconds not 10^43, limitations of android

  161. I don’t really see this as an atheist/theist thing. An x-dimensional timeless manifold, invoked by Hawkins, Peter atkins, Lawrence Strauss etc would face the same problem.

    I don’t know what “the same problem” you’re referring to is or what the relevance of the Planck constant is to the present issue. To take a guess, this discussion is about the meaning of instantaneous state changes. CL expresses a view of such changes I think is incoherent. I don’t think it bears on theism as such, but it seems to bear on an argument Craig made. I don’t know why Craig used the definitions he used, since I think he (probably) could have defended his position without them. Whether his definitions are in any way constrained by theism isn’t clear to me yet.

    The Planck constant, as I understand it, tells you only that if two processes are not instantaneous, they must have a duration at least as long as the duration the constant specifies. But here, we agree state changes are instantaneous.

  162. “The Planck constant, as I understand it, tells you only that if two processes are not instantaneous, they must have a duration at least as long as the duration the constant specifies. But here, we agree state changes are instantaneous.”

    Should read “tells you only that if a process isn’t instantaneous…” No read to introduce plurality when talking about processes (as opposed to events).

  163. joseph says:

    “The problem” I’m refering to is how does anything, whether it be a God, a manifold, a first mover etc. cause the start of the universe, if itself (the God, the manifold, the first mover) is timeless, unchanging.

    The second part is “how is the planck constant relevant”?
    Ok, of the bat this isn’t the Planck constant, but a derivative of the Planck constant and a few other constants, confusingly it is called “Planck Time”.
    It seemed relevant because the discussion seemed to head towards the quantisation of time (the chronon), which is an interesting theory which may or may not be true. Anyway, it maybe the case that the smallest unit of time we can measure is on the order of 10^-43 seconds. If that is true then any observable change will not be instaneous, but occur in a minimum of 10^-43 seconds, and we’ll be jumping foward in time in these tiny steps.

  164. joseph says:

    The picture (in space) would be points with 10^-43s seconds between them, not blocks of time with boundaries, I’m extremely limited, so I apologise if this isn’t helpful but something like:
    . . . . . . .
    The full stops would be labelled t1, t2 etc,
    Not:
    […][…][…][…][…][…][…]
    Where each “[…]’ would be labelled t1, t2 etc.

  165. Anyway, it maybe the case that the smallest unit of time we can measure is on the order of 10^-43 seconds. If that is true then any observable change will not be instaneous, but occur in a minimum of 10^-43 seconds, and we’ll be jumping foward in time in these tiny steps.

    I don’t think it implies that any observable change won’t be instantaneous. It doesn’t say anything about instantaneous changes but rather speaks to the smallest possible duration for change that is not instantaneous.

    State changes would, I think, be instantaneous even if time is discrete.

  166. joseph says:

    Ok, my turn to ask questions!
    If time is not of discrete units, and by instantaneous we mean 1/Infinity, or 0, time passing between events, then something like a water molecule would be solid and liquid at the same time, (which seems an awful lot like an uncollapsed quantum wave function).
    If time is of discrete units, how could you talk of less than a unit? It seems like my Granddad’s old riddle,”how long is half a string”.

  167. If time is not of discrete units, and by instantaneous we mean 1/Infinity, or 0, time passing between events, then something like a water molecule would be solid and liquid at the same time

    That’s the topic of this 160-plus-comment discussion. This might be a good time to review the positions. Your question was Angra Mainyu’s argument. Since we all agree that God must have become temporal instantaneously if he is temporal now, as he is according to Craig and CL, Angra’s most relevant argument was that God could not have changed state instantaneously: on pain of the contradiction you indicate. My counter was that since there are instantaneous physical changes, the argument rules out more than it can afford. But I offered an account according to which the demarcation point was the exclusive limit of both the liquid and solid series. Angra was so certain of his argument to a contradiction that he refused to believe that the transition from liquid to solid is instantaneous.

    Meanwhile, CL contended (as had Craig) that the existence of an instantaneous state change is consistent with there being separate inclusive limits to the water series and the ice series of times. That is, that there’s a finite time interval between the last time the molecule is in one state and the first time it is in the other. I contend this analysis is incoherent.

    If time is of discrete units, how could you talk of less than a unit?

    I’m not sure of your point. You could talk of zero units or one unit, just nothing between.

  168. joseph says:

    I’ll get reading….
    Any posts which you consider the most relevant would save me some time.

    I’m not sure of your point. You could talk of zero units or one unit, just nothing between.

    Yup, that was my point!

  169. joseph says:

    Reading from #150 I am stumped by the “zero duration” part of the diagram.

  170. JohnN says:

    STEPHEN:

    Meanwhile, CL contended (as had Craig) that the existence of an instantaneous state change is consistent with there being separate inclusive limits to the water series and the ice series of times. That is, that there’s a finite time interval between the last time the molecule is in one state and the first time it is in the other. I contend this analysis is incoherent.

    I see why Cl got frustrated. You still haven’t understood what he was saying, even though he repeated himself many times. He said there isn’t any such interval. Read for yourself! Read Craig, too, because Craig doesn’t say that either.

  171. >I see why Cl got frustrated. You still haven’t understood what he was saying, even though he repeated himself many times. He said there isn’t any such interval. Read for yourself! Read Craig, too, because Craig doesn’t say that either.

    Where do I say anything about an “interval”? Speak to the actual terms I used. I studiously avoided talk of intervals, because that language helped cl obfuscate. I recently wrote:

    The problem here is that there can’t be zero duration between two events and have them occur at different times. If a duration of 0 separates T9 and T10, then T10 occurs at T9+0=T9. And T9 occurs at T 10-0 or T10. When you draw the dots on the opposite temporal sides of the demarcation, you represent them as different events, but if the difference in duration is zero, as you say, then they can be but one event. Zero temporal separation means no difference in time, yet, in contradiction, you hold the points occupy different times.

    If you don’t mind, let’s look at just this part of the argument for the moment. Then we’ll know we’re not building on misconstruals.

    Now tell me specifically, in the terms I laid out, what’s wrong with this counter-argument? Don’t assume that loose talk about definitions, unrelated to the actual discussion, will work as well for you as it did for cl against Angra.

  172. JohnN says:

    STEPHEN:

    Where do I say anything about an “interval”? Speak to the actual terms I used.

    Here it is again, with bold so you can’t miss it this time:

    Meanwhile, CL contended (as had Craig) that the existence of an instantaneous state change is consistent with there being separate inclusive limits to the water series and the ice series of times. That is, that there’s a finite time interval between the last time the molecule is in one state and the first time it is in the other. I contend this analysis is incoherent.

    Did you avoid talk of intervals there? No. That’s why I say it seems you still don’t get Cl’s argument. You want my opinion of your latest argument? Okay. Is it worded right? Make sure you’re not going to deny what you write this time.

  173. Address the quote in the last post. That’s where I give the argument to CL. What you quoted in my summary to Joseph and general readers, which I see no reason to make acceptable to CL. There’s nothing wrong with “intervals.” Just best to avoid the term in the debate given cl’s propensity to substitute semantics for substance.

    The problem here is that there can’t be zero duration between two events and have them occur at different times. If a duration of 0 separates T9 and T10, then T10 occurs at T9+0=T9. And T9 occurs at T 10-0 or T10. When you draw the dots on the opposite temporal sides of the demarcation, you represent them as different events, but if the difference in duration is zero, as you say, then they can be but one event. Zero temporal separation means no difference in time, yet, in contradiction, you hold the points occupy different times.

    So there it is again. No talk of “intervals” (just because cl can’t get cl’s mind around the zero-interval terminology. Show what’s wrong with the counter-argument (which I had already supplied before your last post), instead of living the delusion that definitions will save your beliefs.

    If you don’t mind, let’s look at just this part of the argument for the moment. Then we’ll know we’re not building on misconstruals.

  174. JohnN says:

    STEPHEN:

    Don’t be a dick. You said Cl argues a finite interval. Then you said you didn’t use the word. You were wrong on both counts.Pretending otherwise is delusion.

    If you don’t mind, let’s look at just this part of the argument for the moment.

    Explain your view of time. Do you see dots like the diagram or do you see one stream?

  175. John,

    Don’t be an ignoramus. I spent scores of posts trying to explain the point to cl. Hell if I’m going to start over with you. What difference does it make whether I used “interval” in the conclusion, when my point was that it didn’t figure in my argument with cl? You are claiming that my argument somehow depends on the concept of interval, not just that I can express my conclusion in those terms. So, show me what’s wrong with it. Why should that be so hard, unless you’re a windbag who likes to go on about terms without concern for what they stand for?

    The problem here is that there can’t be zero duration between two events and have them occur at different times. If a duration of 0 separates T9 and T10, then T10 occurs at T9+0=T9. And T9 occurs at T 10-0 or T10. When you draw the dots on the opposite temporal sides of the demarcation, you represent them as different events, but if the difference in duration is zero, as you say, then they can be but one event. Zero temporal separation means no difference in time, yet, in contradiction, you hold the points occupy different times.

  176. JohnN says:

    STEPHEN:

    So, show me what’s wrong with it.

    I tried. You didn’t answer my question.

  177. John,

    Moreover, cl never accused me of importing intervals into the discussion. This was directed against angra. cl, rather, became indignant that I didn’t agree with him that the definition of interval is important–that is, for all intents and purposes, cl thought I was cl’s side about intervals. So, you spotted the word interval in the conclusion, and ran off with that. That’s because the definition of “interval” is all you could take away from this whole discussion. It’s the kind of “debate” that appeals to the literalist/formalist mind.

  178. Why should I have to answer your question? You claim thare was some fault in my argument. Now you say you need more information to demonstrate the “mistake.” If you see it, show it. What are you saying? That you just know there’s a flaw, and more information will help you get your thoughts together. You have already said cl had reason to be “frustrate.” Finish making your point. Can you state a position; or can you only carp about trivia and proclaim your fellow’s cogency?

  179. “Johnn” wrote at #7:

    First let me be sure I understand your argument. Correct me if I’m wrong but you are asking, If an EVENT is a CHANGE that takes TIME, how can there be an event BEFORE time?

    I’m not going to be concerned about “John’s” claim that I didn’t understand cl. Why should I credit that “Johnn” understood me? Look at his attempt to summarize Angra’s argument. It was so far off, completely missing the point, not even close, that Angra didn’t deign explain it further (despite Angra’s otherwise heroic explanatory efforts).

  180. JohnN says:

    STEPHEN:

    Talk about dense.

    You claim thare was some fault in my argument.

    Did I? Or did I say I thought you misunderstood Cl’s?

    You have already said cl had reason to be “frustrate.” Finish making your point.

    I did. No matter how many times he told you the opposite, you still kept arguing like Cl claimed a finite interval. So I thought maybe you still don’t understand the argument.

    Can you state a position; or can you only carp about trivia and proclaim your fellow’s cogency?

    Did I proclaim Cl’s cogency? I think you’re overreacting.

    Why should I have to answer your question?

    Because you asked for my opinion of your argument.

  181. cl says:

    Personally, I think this notion of “points in time” has prevented the post-Angra part of this discussion from bearing fruit. The more I think about it, the more it seems the “points” in my diagram are linguistic demarcations, not necessarily representative of the territory. At the simplest level, we have movement (kinesis).

    joseph,

    Quick weigh in, if we are talking quanta of time then the smallest unit of time a change can occur in is whatever that quanta is, it couldn’t be divided.

    Yeah, that comports nicely with what I’ve been arguing. At the same time, this strikes me as map, not territory. This is the same problem that drove Democritus and the atomists crazy.

    “The problem” I’m refering to is how does anything, whether it be a God, a manifold, a first mover etc. cause the start of the universe, if itself (the God, the manifold, the first mover) is timeless, unchanging.

    This is where I express my disapproval of Craig’s choice of words (though I also realize he’s between a rock and a hard place with regard to communicability and precision). In the Aristotleian sense, “change” denotes transition from potency to act. To say that God is “timeless” is only to say that before God created the universe, there were no transitions from potency to act. To say that God then “changed” from timeless to temporal is only to say that at the first “point” of time, God co-exists with kinesis. There’s no contradiction, regardless of what we call the first “point” in time. If it’s T=0, then God is timeless at any point ~T.

    Stephen R. Diamond,

    Moreover, cl never accused me of importing intervals into the discussion.

    That’s false. Starting at #153 I expressed my lament that you weren’t meeting me on my own terms. Of course, I didn’t actually *SAY* “Hey Diamond you’re importing intervals into this discussion,” but only a pedant need belabor that point. You certainly *HAVE* been importing “finite intervals” throughout this discussion, not simply in the conclusion as you allege. From #167, almost a full week ago:

    Meanwhile, CL contended (as had Craig) that the existence of an instantaneous state change is consistent with there being separate inclusive limits to the water series and the ice series of times. That is, that there’s a finite time interval between the last time the molecule is in one state and the first time it is in the other. I contend this analysis is incoherent.

    No, that’s not what I contended. I’ve learned that you’re quick to assume dishonesty when in fact your own shortcomings are equally likely for any given misunderstanding. I’ve also learned that you seem to have an aversion to admitting error, even when it’s undeniably pointed out (as it has been in this thread several times now).

    So I gave up, but at least your dialog with JohnN is shedding some new light on things. I feel like I understand your objection in full clarity now. Whereas before, imprecision with language was preventing me from doing so.

  182. TheistDude says:

    Wow. I read almost all the comments from top to bottom, yet I understood nothing! Haha.

  183. cl says:

    TheistDude,

    Yeah, looking back I realize this conversation was a monumental waste of time, despite the small distinctions in understanding achieved. I intend to write a concise follow-up post (or perhaps just a comment) that shows why Angra Mainyu’s argument doesn’t work, and why Stephen R. Diamond’s response doesn’t apply to the beginning of time.

    Thanks for your interest, nonetheless…

  184. joseph says:

    “Craig’s choice of words”
    Yes, I think Angra’s refutation works if we limit ourselves to Craig’s words.

    “Aristotleian sense, “change” denotes transition from potency to act”

    I am, as promised, reading about Aristotleanism, I have not yet found anything to indicate that these “transitions” are timeless, nor found a great definition of potency or act. For example my bicep is tense but not moving. So it was the potency to move, now is moving the action, or maintaining a force the action, is the chemical energy in ATP the potency, or my thought, or merely my existence. Is we keep all of this shrouded in secrecy (or my own ignorance, whichever the case), then I will not be able to understand your point, until the terms are more precisely explained by yourself, or until I bump into it on my literary journeys.

  185. cl says:

    joseph,

    I am, as promised, reading about Aristotleanism, I have not yet found anything to indicate that these “transitions” are timeless…

    Were you under the assumption that I argued these transitions were timeless? I actually believe the exact opposite: Any transition from potency to act (kinesis) requires time.

    Hopefully you’ll ask, “Then why does God’s “changing” from timeless to temporal *NOT* require time? Isn’t that special pleading?” No, it’s not. This is because the “change” from timeless to temporal is not a transition from potency to act. The “prime mover” or “first cause” or God is a being of pure act.

    It’s confusing because Craig uses two different definitions of the word “change” in his various writings, and, as we’ve explained, Angra cobbled them together without regard for context. Basically, this near-200 comment thread all happened because Angra refuses to meet Craig on his own terms, which is what I’ve been saying since the very beginning. I tried my hardest to explain this, but it seems Angra just didn’t want to hear it.

    By all means, feel free to ask more questions…

  186. joseph says:

    “The “prime mover” or “first cause” or God is a being of pure act.”
    ok, so firstly, all acts I know occur in time, so admittedly a timeless being of pure act is frankly, unimaginable, if not definitionally impossible.

    Secondly you seem to prefer a “creatio ex dea(?)” argument, which would mean the devil, Satan, an irredeemable evil, existed as part of God in potential. This confuses me in two ways. 1. Something exists “in potential” in a pure act 2. Something irredeemably evil exists in an oft supposed omnibenevolent being.

    Now, I am using plain, everyday meanings of act, and potential, which may lack the intended nuance.

  187. cl says:

    joseph,

    ok, so firstly, all acts I know occur in time, so admittedly a timeless being of pure act is frankly, unimaginable, if not definitionally impossible.

    First, that you can’t imagine something has absolutely no bearing on whether or not it is true. This is essentially the same style of “argumentation” Peter employed in his POE. It’s bunk, and will never get even a modicum of respect here. Second, this only seems “definitionally impossible” because you are using “acts” synonymously with “changes” or “transitions from potency to act” in the above sentence (those do require time). Third, there is no potency in God, which nullifies the contention that “Satan existed as part of God in potential.” Again, God is a being of pure act. Now, I would probably commit to the notion that no created beings are pure act, and that’s how I would address your concerns about an “irredeemable evil” coming from God.

  188. joseph says:

    “First, that you can’t imagine something has absolutely no bearing on whether or not it is true.”
    Now dear, you know if I just state i can’t imagine something in the hope you’ll explain, without making an assertion based on my ignorance then it’s not an argument from ignorance.

    “Second, this only seems “definitionally impossible” because you are using “acts” synonymously with “changes” or “transitions from potency to act” in the above sentence”
    …And i’ve said I’ll gladly take your definition, why strawman me?

    Potency, again your definition, if Satan existed as a potential thought, or act of god…how did Satan not exist in potential before his creation?

    Note I am not presuming you can’t explain, you said, ask and I’ll explain.

  189. Joseph: ok, so firstly, all acts I know occur in time, so admittedly a timeless being of pure act is frankly, unimaginable, if not definitionally impossible.

    cl: First, that you can’t imagine something has absolutely no bearing on whether or not it is true.

    But this is a gross distortion of what Joseph wrote, which was that acts outside of time are unimaginable, not that he can’t imagine them! Your “rebuttal” to Peter was based on this same distortion. To state something is “unimaginable” is defeasible by showing how it can be imagined. [For example: It seems unimaginable that a solid substance is comprised of more “empty space” than “matter;” which is defeated by showing how the movement of subatomic particles or the operation of fields create the effects that are tantamount to solidity.] By framing the question as Peter or Joseph’s personal inability to imagine–rather that the absence of any hypothesis allowing for how the allegedly unimaginable can be imagined–you illicitly escape the force of genuine inconceivability.

    On “admitting error”: If you check my discussion, say with Joseph in Peter’s forum, you’ll see I readily admit error. This “aversion” is your personal projection. You, on the other hand, are so afraid of being found to have a false belief that you refuse to say much of anything that’s coherent, as in your self-lauded #153:

    The water molecule was solid all the way through T9. Then, bing! Instantaneous state change to liquid (represented by the vertical line). Then, T10 begins, and the water remains liquid until somebody sticks the ice tray back in the freezer.

    Any point left of the vertical line the water molecule is solid. Any point right, it’s liquid. It even works if the vertical line intersects T9 or T10 (or any other point). Then we have a split point in time, where the water molecule is solid until T9.3459, then, bing! It melts, and remains liquid from T9.346 on, until somebody freezes it again.

    This reeks with equivocation. On the one hand, you have “split point in time” (simultaneity … or who knows what); on the other, an “interval”–between 9.3459 and 9.3460. I’ll admit to this error–wasting time on such rubbished thought.

    But it is a fault of mine to make excessive allegations when I’m angry. I did err in alleging you consciously lie, when I was appalled by the secrecy in the debate’s and irritated by emotionally provocative style, when professing to be engaged in an intellectual endeavor.

  190. cl says:

    joseph,

    Now dear, you know if I just state i can’t imagine something in the hope you’ll explain, without making an assertion based on my ignorance then it’s not an argument from ignorance.

    I know. That’s why I refrained from accusing you thus (note the qualifier “essentially”).

    And i’ve said I’ll gladly take your definition, why strawman me?

    I’ve not strawmanned you. You didn’t take my definition. You continued to frame the discussion on your definition. If anything, that’s the strawman.

    Potency, again your definition, if Satan existed as a potential thought, or act of god…how did Satan not exist in potential before his creation?

    This is not “potency” by my definition, and I’ve already taken the effort to explain what I mean when I use these terms. Have you read these? If yes, what part is confusing? If no, may I suggest starting there?

  191. cl says:

    Stephen R. Diamond,

    But it is a fault of mine to make excessive allegations when I’m angry. I did err in alleging you consciously lie,

    Damn straight, and quite frankly, you owe me an apology. You returned my honest compliment with venomous accusation for no other reason than that you lost your temper and projected bad faith where none existed. That’s a big no-no by any rational standard. Nonetheless, thank you for admitting your error. By the way, may I point out how stupid the request was? You asked me to provide evidence of anti-Christians-like-Spacebunny-and-Vox commentary on Vox’s blog when it’s well known that Spacebunny deleted pretty much everything I’ve written there since September.

    But this is a gross distortion of what Joseph wrote, which was that acts outside of time are unimaginable, not that he can’t imagine them!

    You appear to suggest that he *ACTUALLY* meant they are “unimaginable” for everybody but him, but such silliness is beside the point. I don’t allege that transitions from potency to act are imaginable outside time.

    Your “rebuttal” to Peter was based on this same distortion.

    False.

    To state something is “unimaginable” is defeasible by showing how it can be imagined.

    Correct, and this is exactly what I did. Proof: Peter said he couldn’t imagine any higher good from his examples of suffering (i.e. the plague). I then showed that higher goods were quite easily imaginable (arguing that the plague was conducive to HIV resistance and upturn in the European economy; other higher goods can also be imagined). That, my friend, is a bona fide rebuttal according to the criteria you just provided. Now the onus is on you to concede your error again, and say something like, “Actually, cl, you’re right, and I’m sorry… you did rebut Peter’s claim in exactly the manner I suggested.”

    If you concede your error I’ll take that as a second sign of good faith and proceed in this discussion. If not, well… at least I got one concession out of you.

  192. joseph says:

    “….nor found a great definition of potency or act”
    “…i(f) we keep all of this shrouded in secrecy (or my own ignorance, whichever the case), then I will not be able to understand your point, until the terms are more precisely explained by yourself, or until I bump into it on my literary journeys.”
    “…all acts I know”
    “…Now, I am using plain, everyday meanings of act, and potential, which may lack the intended nuance.”
    Well I apologise if you thought I had a definition of “act” or “potential”, I was going with what I knew, explaining I thought you might mean something different, and explaining the problems that the definitions I was familiar with gave me. I was expecting you to say “well i define it like so-and-so, thus that’s not a problem”.
    Not start telling me about the problems (essential or otherwise) of arguments from ignorance. Would you rather I nod along, not understanding in the foggiest? I doubt it.
    Thankyou for the links, I’ll read them by tomorrow. Anyway Night Night Gods or otherwise bless.

  193. joseph says:

    Ok the links took me back to the home page, the science section, was that the intended link or did Android b$gger things up?

  194. cl says:

    Not start telling me about the problems (essential or otherwise) of arguments from ignorance.

    I didn’t mention anything about arguments from ignorance. As for the links, Home > Aristotle’s argument from kinesis, parts 1 & 2. Works just fine on my machine.

  195. joseph says:

    “This is essentially the same style of “argumentation” Peter employed in his POE. It’s bunk, and will never get even a modicum of respect here.”

    “I recently said that most POE arguments reduce to ignorance and/or incredulity. [1] I stand by my words. Peter’s inability to conceive of a higher good or logical requirement does not justify even the provisional assumption that none exists, and to posture otherwise is to argue from incredulity”.

    Is it totally impossible to see why I reached my conclusion that you were comparing my position to an argument from ignorance?

  196. joseph says:

    “You appear to suggest that he *ACTUALLY* meant they are “unimaginable” for everybody but him, but such silliness is beside the point”

    To clarify by the definition of “act/s” I know (emphasis on the I part), yes I am saying that a timeless act is as imaginable as a square-circle.
    I have invited a definition that fairly represents what you are saying, as, no, I don’t want to strawman you, and am interested.

  197. joseph says:

    So I’ve read those. The closest I saw to a definition was:

    “Thus, we can say that a seed is in potency for a tree, or potentially a tree: under the correct conditions, it moves from a state of potency to a state of actuality for the attribute of tree. It becomes a tree”

    So if creation is “ex deo”, I think we could say:

    “Thus, we can say that a part of God is in potency for Satan, or potentially Satan: under the correct conditions, it moves from a state of potency to a state of actuality for the attribute of Satan. It becomes Satan”

    This is one reason I’d object to creation ex deo.

    You think I’m wrong, can you explain where you think I’ve gone wrong, please?

  198. cl says:

    joseph,

    To clarify by the definition of “act/s” I know (emphasis on the I part), yes I am saying that a timeless act is as imaginable as a square-circle.

    So then, it appears Stephen R. Diamond was incorrect again. You *WERE* in fact asserting that such was “unimaginable” to you, just as I said.

    You think I’m wrong, can you explain where you think I’ve gone wrong, please?

    Seeds become trees, plants, etc. God did not become Satan.

  199. joseph says:

    “Seeds become trees, plants, etc. God did not become Satan.”
    Could you further that with reference to creation ex deo?

  200. joseph says:

    Unless Satan alone was ex nihilo? Is that what you mean?

  201. cl says:

    joseph,

    Could you further that with reference to creation ex deo?

    I don’t understand what you’re asking me to explain.

  202. joseph says:

    Ok,
    I give up this particular conversation.
    Sorry for wasting your time CL, no hard feelings.

  203. cl says:

    Oh come on! Don’t do that! I honestly don’t understand what you’re trying to ask. Maybe just take a breather for a day or three and try again?

  204. joseph says:

    Ok.

  205. joseph says:

    Ok,
    A final go, I guess some of my problem is not knowing where the problem is, anyway:

    1/ I think you adopt a “creation ex deo” stance, is that correct? If it is not, I believe the other common options are ex nihilo and ex materia, which of those do you prefer if you don’t adopt an ex deo stance.

    2/ My workaday definition of potential is pretty much:

    Main Entry: 2potential
    Function: noun
    Date: 1817
    1 a : something that can develop or become actual b :promise 2

    It would seem that if God created the Devil, Satan, ex deo, a part of God (from which the Devil came) could be said to be the Devil in potential, something that developed and became the actual devil.

    Twice now, you’ve said no, and I predicted you would.

    So, it seems my logic, my definition of potential, or both are wrong. I’d honestly like to know how. As that’s where my search for truth takes me.

    3/ God is a pure act, or perhaps the pure act. All acts I know exist in time, you’ve said God doesn’t necessarily, how do we now define “act” ?

    I appreciate if you want to give up on this conversation, it’s been depressing unproductive for both of us.

  206. cl says:

    If I thought it was unproductive I wouldn’t have asked you back. Here are three examples illustrating what I mean when I say X is in potency for Y:

    A seed is in potency for a tree. It will become a tree, and will cease to exist as a seed.

    An embryo is in potency for a chicken. It will become a chicken, and will cease to exist as an embryo.

    A singularity is in potency for a universe. It will become a universe, and will cease to exist as a singularity.

    Now, running your example, we would have to say, “God is in potency for Satan. God will become Satan, and will cease to exist as God,” but that’s incoherent given the definitions of God and potency I use. God—as immutable, eternal mover—cannot possibly be in potency, either for Satan, or anything. God will never cease being God, nor will God ever transition from potency to act.

    Make sense?

  207. joseph says:

    I so basically you’re not a creation ex deo gu/guyette, okay that’s clear.

  208. Many have found this thread worthless, but it contains the seed of a significant argument. Since I didn’t reach this conclusion in the course of the discussion, I offer it now, although few readers of this blog will understand it. (See http://tinyurl.com/797wqg9 – but ignorance of basic concepts concerning limits is also responsible for incomprehension.) As I posted on Peter’s blog (“you” refers to Peter):

    Back to the cosmological argument–Angra Mainyu presents another counter-argument. The argument tries to be quite rigorous and lacks an effective summary; I haven’t studied the whole thing. In conversing about the argument in another forum with Angra, I think his essential claim is that instantaneous change is logically impossible. Hence, God must have created the universe in time. Thus, creation is subject to the same causal constraints as other temporal events, whereas the Kalam cosmological seeks to place God’s acts outside time.

    I don’t think Angra’s argument succeeds on its own terms, for the simple reason that instantaneous change occurs in nature, for example, in state changes, as when an ice molecule changes to a liquid molecule instantaneously. Angra says this isn’t the case because it involves the contradiction that at the point of transition, the molecule is both ice and not ice, hence a logically impossible contradiction. I think this is disposed of by regarding the transition point as the exclusive (rather than inclusive) limit ending the ice series and beginning the water series.

    But I think Angra’s argument does lead to a new plausibility argument against divine creation. (Angra’s blog is closed, so I can’t tell him directly.) According to materialism, according to which (I contend) nothing is created ex nihilo, the universe’s initial point, insofar as the term applies, must be an exclusive limit. (Otherwise, as you elegantly point out, the universe would begin to exist.) The exclusive limit implies either a temporally finite yet eternal universe (as you point out) or a transition point from another unknown state (as with an oscillating universe or a universe that’s the product of another universe, or like hypotheses).

    While materialism requires an exclusive limit for the universe at the beginning of time, theism and related forms of objective idealism allow that the universe has an inclusive limit at its inception. Thus, a finding that the universe has an inclusive limit at its inception–say, that the big bang singularity was an actual event) would strongly support some form of idealism. But our current understanding, that the big bang is an exclusive limit, increases the plausibility of materialism against supernaturalism. (A case where “the absence of evidence is evidence of absence.”)

    Here’s where I think my approach to defining materialism differs from your way of defining naturalism. To be informative, the label materialism or naturalism must exclude real possibilities. If “supernaturalism” is defined so that it’s incoherent, “naturalism” is uninformative. A world view must be such as to expose itself to epistemic risks.

  209. “the Kalam cosmological seeks to place God’s acts outside time.”

    For clarity–I mean the act of creation, not all of God’s acts, such as following creation.

  210. cl says:

    joseph,

    I so basically you’re not a creation ex deo gu/guyette, okay that’s clear.

    I still don’t know what you mean when you use that term (creation ex deo), so I can’t really say one way or the other.

  211. cl says:

    In case anybody else is interested in the link Stephen R. Diamond failed to provide, it’s here. Although, I’ve scanned the entire thread and I didn’t see much of anything germane to this discussion.

    By the way, Mr. Diamond… have you calmed down enough to make some concessions regarding your erroneous statements in this thread yet? I’m not asking you to like or respect me, I’m just asking you to be honest (cf. here). You make some points worth addressing but I can’t justify dedicating more time until you prove that you can either concede the errors I pointed out, or successfully rebut my counter-allegations.

    Note that personal attacks don’t count as successful rebuttals in any rational circle.

  212. cl says:

    Mr. Diamond,

    …a temporally finite yet eternal universe…

    And *YOU* accuse *ME* of equivocation! LOL! That which is temporally finite cannot be eternal, unless, of course, you’re, you know… equivocating.

  213. Dialectics, not equivocation. But I can’t take credit: Peter proposes finitely eternal as the right label for what seems to me the least speculative account from cosmology.

    Parsing Peter’s elegant concept further, eternity as ordinarily used has two strands that usually go together in common usage: 1) always existing and 2) having existed for an endless duration. In the modern view of the universe, the second is sacrificed and the first retained.

    Equivocation would be if I tried to use one strand in the sense of “eternity” to answer a question for which the second is relevant. Which is to say, it is exactly what you are doing when you call Peter’s formula equivocal. Despite first meaning’s applicability having been clarified (more by Peter than by me) you (tacitly) insist on invoking the irrelevant second meaning.

  214. Peter’s essay: http://www.greatplay.net/essays/god-is-unproven

    (Section on cosmological argument)

  215. cl says:

    Mr. Diamond,

    I’ll take these evasions as a concrete “no,” you don’t have the ability to admit your errors despite my clear delineation of them.

    Which is to say, it is exactly what you are doing when you call Peter’s formula equivocal. Despite first meaning’s applicability having been clarified (more by Peter than by me) you (tacitly) insist on invoking the irrelevant second meaning.

    False, but thanks for at least attempting a cogent rebuttal as opposed to your traditional slurs and slanders. There’s hope for us yet! At any rate, you’re wrong again: I am invoking the first meaning (always existing), which, by the way, subsumes the second (that which always exists has endless duration by default). That which always existed cannot be temporally finite. The terms are mutually exclusive. IOW, incoherent.

  216. joseph says:

    That snippet helps us advance things. I am sorry you use creatio ex nihilo with so naturally in other posts that I wrongly assumed you were familiar with the alternatives:

    http://unsettledchristianity.com/2009/08/three-creation-concepts-god-nothing-material/

    I should be writing “creatio” not “creation” ex deo,

  217. joseph says:

    ENGLISH FAILURE
    You use the term “creatio ex nihilo” so naturally in former posts, that i wrongly assumed you were familar with the alternatives.

  218. cl says:

    Which snippet are you referring to, and, how does it help us advance things? I’m familiar with the basic concepts (ex nihilo = out of nothing; ex deo = out of Godself), but I’m not sure how you think the distinctions impact this discussion… I’m hoping you can elaborate.

  219. joseph says:

    This snippet:

    “I still don’t know what you mean when you use that term (creation ex deo), so I can’t really say one way or the other.”

    How does it help advance things, well if you’re not an ex deo guy/guyette then it becomes much more difficult to say part of God was Satan in potential. The closest I would come, on creatio ex nihilo or creatio ex materia, would be to say Satan existed as an idea of God, in potential.

  220. cl says:

    joseph,

    …if you’re not an ex deo guy/guyette then it becomes much more difficult to say part of God was Satan in potential. The closest I would come, on creatio ex nihilo or creatio ex materia, would be to say Satan existed as an idea of God, in potential.

    Well, here’s my take: the whole concept of “potential” or “potency” requires that something (in this case, God) acquire properties / attributes it once lacked. Whether we use my “potency” or your “potential,” that is impossible given the God on offer (because God does not change). God does not acquire any new attributes when creating an angel (Satan). God is not in “potency,” nor does God have “potential,” to be anything other than God. It is interesting to recall that God identified himself to the patriarchs simply by saying, “I Am Who I Am.”

    More fundamentally, I’m wondering, how, in your opinion, does any of this relate to either Angra’s argument or my refutation?

    In my opinion, this relates because the first fork of Angra’s argument claims to obtain a contradiction because Craig stipulated that “any change takes time.” I responded that Angra’s use of “change” was synonymous with the Aristotleian “transition from potency to act,” but Craig’s was not. Any transition from potency to act *DOES* require time. However, as both Craig and I pointed out to Angra, when Craig says God “changed” from timeless to temporal, the “change” is not a transition from potency to act. It is an instantaneous change, of zero duration, not defined by movement of matter (kinesis).

    That’s where the second fork of Angra’s argument comes into play. Angra claims a contradiction still obtains even if we meet Craig on his own terms and grant that God’s change from timeless to temporal was instantaneous (zero duration). This is also where Stephen R. Diamond’s comments come into play. Here’s the relevant part of the second fork of Angra’s argument. E(2) represents God’s instantaneous “change” from timeless to temporal. P(2) represents God’s coming to know at least one tensed truth. Angra writes (bold mine):

    If E(2) has a duration zero, then since the final point of E(2) – namely, the first state at which God has property P(2) – obtains at T(0), and the duration of E(2) is actually zero, then it seems that the initial point of E(2) – a state at which it is not the case that God has property P(2) – also obtains at T(0).

    Note that the change is not said to take some small time, not even some kind of infinitesimal, but exactly zero. It can’t be that it’s some infinitesimal, either, because it ends at t=0, which is the absolute beginning of time.

    Hence, at t=0, God has property P(2), and it is not the case that God has property P(2). But that is a contradiction.

    The bold part is crucial. T=0 represents the beginning of time. Well, if time has begun, then timelessness no longer applies. God cannot have P(2) at T=0 because P(2) is timelessness while T=0 is time.

    Angra’s “contradiction” is built on the claim that timelessness obtains at T=0, but that can’t be. Temporality and timelessness are mutually exclusive concepts. Wherever there is time, there cannot be timelessness. Angra is wrong to stipulate that timelessness still obtains at T=0. Such is logically impossible. There is either time, or timelessness. There cannot be both. Even now, weeks after the original argument, this remains crystal-clear to me.

    What do you think?

  221. Angra’s “contradiction” is built on the claim that timelessness obtains at T=0, but that can’t be. Temporality and timelessness are mutually exclusive concepts.

    Why don’t you admit you don’t understand mathematical limits? You could argue the same way, if P=0 is the point where water turns to ice, that it must be either water or ice at that point, because being water versus ice (pertaining to a single molecule) are mutually exclusive concepts.

    Is time and timelessness contradictory in some deeper sense than is water and ice? I wouldn’t mind the conclusion, since it would mean God could not have caused the big bang. But I see no reason why. If God created the big bang, then the singularity itself is the point where reality (or God) is neither timeless or temporal. This isn’t a contradiction because the singularity would then be an exclusive limit of the temporal world.

    Again, you obviously don’t get limits. Why pretend?

  222. MattDonald says:

    “Is time and timelessness contradictory in some deeper sense than is water and ice? I wouldn’t mind the conclusion, since it would mean God could not have caused the big bang.”

    My impression was Cl thinks they’re both mutually exclusive in the same way. A molecule can’t be water and ice at the same time. God can’t be timeless and temporal at the same time. So why believe God couldn’t cause the big bang?

  223. joseph says:

    Hi CL,
    What bearing does this discussion if creatio ex deo, potency, act etc. have on your refutation of Angra’s refutation of WLC? Well you seemed to indicate that if Craig used your Aristotlean Argument from Kinesis, with it’s vocabulary, rather that the Kalam that the case would be clearer. I’m, with your aid, exploring this idea.

    Now my fairly mundane definition of potency would indicate to me that if God had an idea, and then bought it to fruitition, or created it, then parts of God (ideas) have potential, or potency. This seems to be supported by the biblical texts that indicate God can change his mind, his course of action, and even regret that took a particular course of action. I have trouble squaring these concepts with an unchanging God.

    The concept of “instaneous change” seems self-refuting.

    Ihave exactly the same issues with timeless spaceless marhematical manifolds, or whatever it is Hawkins proposes.

  224. The concept of “instantaneous change” seems self-refuting.

    If so, quantum mechanics is self-refuting, since Bell showed that any version of qm must be nonlocal (implying instantaneous changes in different parts of the universe).

  225. joseph says:

    You mean Bell Inequalities?
    Those either support non-locality or disregard hidden variables.
    So as I understand it Quantum interpretations without hidden variables but with locality are ok, as are those with hidden variables and non-locality.
    So Bell Inequalities aren’t the final word on non-locality.
    Non-locality itself doesn’t mean instantaneous change, but faster than light effects, possibly retrocasuality, indicating theories of time may need revision.

    I am dabbling in areas I have little knowledge of, so I’ll readily, and gladly accept correction.

  226. joseph says:

    I admit I am struggling to find a definitive answer on Bell’s Theorem, some sources seem to indicate it does away with hidden variables, others that it does away with hidden variable theories that are local.
    I can’t find mention of whether non-hidden variable theories have to be local or non-local.

  227. I’ll be interested in what you come up with. My recollection is that a less-known Bell paper precluded locality in any version of qm. But on the most relevant issue, you’re correct that I overlooked superliminary finite speeds. To my inexpert tastes, super-luminary speeds were a desperate ad hoc move by a convinced determinist, Bohm, but they do provide an alternative to anyone who thinks instantaneity is illogical. (Yours was, as I hope is evidence in this thread, Angra’s key, claim–and with it, his argument goes through. Are there others of you?)

    Perhaps your researches will say whether the instantaneity of jumps in orbit positions in the Bohr atom–as taught to me in freshman chemistry–can also be controverted through some consistent theory.

    And then there’s the collapse phenomenon in qm, which I’m pretty sure is supposed to be instantaneous–but, I suppose arguing on your side–that instantaneity may be part of the reason the non-Copenhagen schools reject the collapse of the wave function.

    Also, I have no idea what general relativity would do to instantaneous change: I presume, no simultaneity, no instantaneity.

    (I’m not a physicist either; nor am I highly trained in mathematics. My formal training and remunerated experience are in psychology [experimental and clinical] and law. What’s your primary expertise, if you’re willing to disclose?–If not, perfectly fine.)

  228. joseph says:

    Well, I’ve wrtten a reply once already and the stupid computer wiped it, so I try again.

    On Bohmian Mechanics I confess to being confused, as it allows no transfer of data at superluminary speeds, but assumes a quantum particle is always interacting with everyparticle everywhere, it is in a relationship with everything. This seems to be the quantum potential. I am very unsure if this is over lapping light cones but my gut feeling is no.

    Lorentz invariance seems to be another problem as it is for many quantum theories. I note that the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy has this to say:

    Another possibility that should not be dismissed is that a fully Lorentz invariant account of quantum nonlocality can be achieved without the invocation of additional structure, exploiting only what is already at hand, for example, light-cone structure. For a step in this direction, a model in which the reconciliation of relativity and nonlocality is achieved through the interplay of opposite arrows of time, see Goldstein and Tumulka 2003.

    There seem to be other quantum interpreations out there that involve re-interpreting time itself, for example the time symmetric interpretation, in which, as far as I can see, some particles move fowards in time, others backwards.

    It does seem “common sense” takes a beating at whichever quantum interpretation you pick.

    Another thing that I note is that we seem to be conflating two sorts of “instantaneous change”. CL’s seems to be that an object is in two sates at one time. The quantum phenomena of which we are speaking seems to be that if Alice measures the spin of particle A, see will know the result that Bob will measure from particle B, from a relativisitic point of view, before he measures it (before the light cones overlap). The measurement (which seems to be a worse and worse word to use for at the quantum level) takes time, so there is a time when it is unknown, and a time when it is known, in this sense it is not instantaneous.

    Perhaps your researches will say whether the instantaneity of jumps in orbit positions in the Bohr atom–as taught to me in freshman chemistry–can also be controverted through some consistent theory.

    All I can say here is that the minimum time that we think is possible is 10^-43 seconds, so we could never prove that such a change is instantaneous. An interesting related phenomenom is the Quantum Zeno Effect.

    As for my field, I am not that secretive so I don’t mind sharing, I am a veterinary surgeon, I took a Physics A-level, and a couple of extra exams, but dumped mathematics as soon as I was able. I don’t really understand what you’ve said to CL aboput exclusive and inclusive limits, but I’ve been too lazy to educate myself in this regard.

  229. Perhaps we can approach this from another angle. What would you say if certain changes were not instantaneous? What is the water molecule when it is in transition between ice and liquid? Is there some transitional state that is somewhat like water and somewhat like ice? What could that be? (Not slushy water, as we’re talking about a molecule.)

    Or when an electron goes from one “orbital” position to another? Would it be an intermediate orbit, when the theory predicts no intermediate state?

  230. MattDonald says:

    @Stephen R Diamond,

    If the conclusion holds for water and ice, why doesn’t it hold for the God states?

  231. If the conclusion holds for water and ice, why doesn’t it hold for the God states?

    Because the first moment of time is God’s creation ex nihilo, whereas the state changes for water are changes within time. More concretely, water and ice have equal claim to the transition point between the two; time and timelessness don’t have equal claim to the transition between them (in either direction)—the first point in time is unquestionably a point in time—because God said so. (You can say God changed His “state,” but that’s a figure of speech.) A materialist theory requires the initial point being like a state change transition for other reasons, that is, because otherwise it’s an anomalous event.

  232. MattDonald says:

    ” time and timelessness don’t have equal claim to the transition between them”

    Isn’t that even better? Doesn’t Angra need equal claim to make the argument? Isn’t Cl’s whole point that the two are mutually exclusive?

  233. Yes, it’s better against Angra’s argument, but there’s more to life than winning arguments. Angra’s reasoning exposes a fundamental difference between God “becoming temporal” and water becoming ice. This allows an empirical test of materialism as an ontology (against idealism or theism). The universe’s beginning, at its boundary, looks in fact like water becoming ice. CL, I think, resisted my analysis of physical state change not just because he didn’t get the arithmetic but because his theist instincts informed him I was going in a dangerous direction by implying a first point in time might not have existed.

    Look, I never gave any credence to Angra’s argument. Grab a look at the very first comment in this thread. But I recognized the importance of the apparent contradiction he discovered concerning instantaneous change. (Which Joseph independently recognizes.) Discussion with CL could never get beyond the point I stated in that first comment. (And I can become obsessive when someone refused to grasp what I think is obvious.)

  234. joseph says:

    Hi Stephen R. Diamond,
    Ok I’ll try to give an account of an event for an electron, though my knowledge is not complete.

    So the highest level of my chemical education I was taught to view the position of electrons as a sort of probability cloud, something like this:

    http://ars.sciencedirect.com/content/image/1-s2.0-S0010465505003115-gr007.jpg&w=248&h=233&ei=U-B7T5XJA4eSiQeIkom6CQ&zoom=1&biw=1024&bih=572&iact=rc&dur=219&sig=114794002011238581910&page=2&tbnh=124&tbnw=132&start=17&ndsp=21&ved=1t:429,r:2,s:17,i:113&tx=53&ty=69

    I hope that link works. It’s not the best way of viewing an orbital, but I remember being told it works quite well for small atoms. The other important thing I can remeber is that the shapes of orbitals vary:

    http://chemlinks.beloit.edu/Stars/images/orbitals.jpg&w=547&h=452&ei=ouF7T6zZDOKjiAe55JnNCQ&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=661&vpy=52&dur=1172&hovh=204&hovw=247&tx=153&ty=116&sig=114794002011238581910&page=1&tbnh=113&tbnw=137&start=0&ndsp=17&ved=1t:429,r:4,s:0,i:75&biw=1024&bih=572

    So an electron orbital isn’t really a position of a particle in space, but another wave like function of quantum bollocks. If you wanted to push the idea of an electron definately, actually being a particle, which part of my brain desperately does, then the orbital represents the probability of finding an electron at any point arond the nucleus.

    You’ll note that in terms of physical space the orbitals s, p, d, f, g can over lap, the orbitals related to the energy of the electron, it’s angular momentum and rotational momentum (?), the probable position of the electron particle in space around the nucleus is calculated from these pieces of data, and I think you assume things like no external magnetic field, in a vacuum etc.

    As an upshot the electron does not have to change position in space to change orbital, but rather course and speed.

    All of that was basically to make sure we weren’t talking of a bohr orbital, and so that any higher level physicists who read this can tell me what I’ve got wrong.

    So how is an electron changing orbital modelled? If I remember correctly it’s when the electron absorbs a photon of the correct wavelength, and therefore energy, between two orbitals. A photon collides with an electron. A photon transfering energy to an electron takes time. The electron exists in a state before it absorbs the photon, and a state after. It might be that there is a smallest unit time allowed, and maybe, if I understand the quantum zeon effect correctly, if you try to check what’s going on in that time by “measuring” (hitting the thing with another photon), you reset the system. That would mean there’s a limit, so far, as to what questions can be asked of a quantum system. Whether time itself is quantised, or that is the limit of human observation, seems a profound and difficult question, I am not sure if the answer will change anything on a pragmatic level.
    I am very puzzled as well by the idea that time and space may operate differently on such small scale.

    The water molecule, liquid-ice phase transition question seems to be similar, a molecule will have a set of data (vibrational energy, rotational energy, distance from another molecule, whatever data we think apply in this case), and to change energy levels it will absorb a photon. Again, I struggle to comprehend a photon being absorbed, and simultaneously, not being absorbed.

    That was a bit cobbled together, even after forcing myself to sit on it for a day, and I can immediatly see that it’s not of the current degree level standard of physics. Sigh.

  235. joseph says:

    and rotational momentum (?)

    Nope, should have been vector.

  236. joseph says:

    The electron exists in a state before it absorbs the photon, and a state after

    Though maybe you could argue that unobserved superpositional states are “real”, given that we can’t specificy what makes an “observer” or a “measurer” special, in terms of collapsing the wave function, I’m disinclined to view this as the case.

  237. Stephen R. Diamond says:

    It absorbs energy at one orbital “level,” remaining at that level until it saltates to another. At least that’s the measurable result.

    It seems to me that the simplest way to understand nonlocality is to say that the ultimate correlations constituting an object don’t arise within the confines of what common sense calls an object.

    It’s logically possible that there are no real saltations–that everything is the product of a smooth quantitative evolution. But saltations can be imputed not only to quantum theory but to general relativity, in the form of singularities. So, it seems to me that the concept of an exclusive limit can be parsimoniously invoked to model both.

  238. joseph says:

    It absorbs energy at one orbital “level,” remaining at that level until it saltates to another. At least that’s the measurable result.

    I was attempting to expound on that, but that’s the idea.
    Einstein’s photovoltaic effect showed that energy, if modelled as carried by light, was quantised, as photons. So it doesn’t seem that electrons can absord bits and pieces of photons, only complete ones of specific resonate frequencies.
    Yet doing so seems to require time. If you try to observe what’s happening in this duration you reset the system. As for the concept of a saltation, can’t a saltation of energy happen in a saltation of time?
    Non-locality….if you mean entangled “whatevers” are effectively one system I catch your drift.
    I’m going to have to look up “exclusive limit” aren’t I?

  239. As for the concept of a saltation, can’t a saltation of energy happen in a saltation of time?

    Keep in mind that the fact that there’s a smallest observable time period is not tantamount to the quantization of time.

    I’m going to have to look up “exclusive limit” aren’t I?

    Not necessarily. Think of the series: 1/2, 3/4, 7/8 … 1. 1 is the exclusive limit of the series. The series never reaches 1, but gets as close as you like. 1 is the exclusive limit.

    If the series were 0, 1/4 1/2, 3/4, 1, the limit of the series is 1, but unlike the former series, you actually reach 1, the final element. It’s an inclusive series.

    In state changes, I’m contending, the point at which the molecule changes state is the exclusive limit of a time series on each side. You and Angra see a contradiction because you assume the transition point is an internal limit to both series.

    The initial singularity is the exclusive limit of a time series going only in one direction. Theism says God created a first point in time. General relativity shows that there was no first point in time.

  240. Inclusive limit = internal limit.

    Exclusive limit = external limit.

    The first term is the correct one. Is the limit excluded from the series itself or is it included.

  241. joseph says:

    On the point about the smallest observable time not being tantamount to actually quantisation of time I whole heartedly agree, but if that is the limit of what can be measured the only reason to go beyond what we can empirically measure is if it adds explanatory power. I’m sure this is where Bayesian analysis would take us as any theory that posits units of time less than can be measured are surely adding complexity to the argument, or in old fashioned terms they can be trimmed by Ockham’s Razor unless the added complexity is necessary for some reason. As we seemed to be quantising time (well cl definately did) it seems natural to discuss.

    Thankyou for the explanation on limits, Wikipedia was not helpful, and it’s rare to find someone how doesn’t just say “Up yours, learn for yourself”.
    If it solves the puzzle of a change not happening instanteously (within the same unit of time) I’m happy.

    However if it is a mathematical tool only then…well this guy said it better:
    The skeptic will say: “It may well be true that this
    system of equations is reasonable from a logical standpoint. But this does
    not prove that it corresponds to nature.” You are right, dear skeptic.
    Experience alone can decide on truth. … Pure logical thinking cannot yield
    us any knowledge of the empirical world: all knowledge of reality starts
    from experience and ends in it.

    (Albert Einstein, 1954)

  242. MattDonald says:

    I’m trying to figure out why you accept Cl’s reasoning when it comes to water/ice, but not God. You say

    “Angra’s reasoning exposes a fundamental difference between God “becoming temporal” and water becoming ice. ”

    Can you explain it to me?

    “CL, I think, resisted my analysis of physical state change not just because he didn’t get the arithmetic but because his theist instincts informed him I was going in a dangerous direction by implying a first point in time might not have existed.”

    What arithmetic did he resist? Why would he think yours was a dangerous direction if Craig’s argument is inconsequential to his theism? See comment 12

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