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posted on Dec, 16 2013 @ 05:10 PM
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I'm reading Jim Holt's book Why does the World Exist? and I have come across this Hawkingesque idea about the beginning of time, early on in the book, and I'd like to explain why I think this idea is philosophically naive.

Hawking's idea is that the question "What came before the universe?" is null and void, because at the beginning of the Big Bang there is a beginning to time and there was no time before that. Well and good. But the argument goes on to say that this fact means that the universe does not need a cause because there was no time before t = 0, for a cause to exist. This, to my mind, is a thundering fallacy and shows how naive Hawking is when it comes to philosophy. First a few notes on time.

It has been said that change is the definition of time. This is weak. While change is evidence of time it is not a sufficient definition of time. Rather, time is that order according to which change comes about. It is the WAY change happens. Einstein's general relativity describes how change happens in physical terms and as such it can be seen to be a mathematical description of how change happens. This is the correct definition of time, from which we get the concept of spacetime. Spacetime is a mathematical order - it is not change - and as such it is a more rigorous definition of time. Time is the order of things. This order, abstractly, does not require the flow of time. It is a timeless order according to which change happens.

Now when it comes to cause and effect, it is a mistake to imagine that cause and effect are necessarily separated by the flow of time. All that is required is that there is an ordered, necessary relationship between cause and effect. The flow of time is not required. Here are some examples of necessary relationships (cause and effect) that are not dependent on change or the flow of time.

Imagine you are drawing a triangle. You have two sides drawn and are in the process of drawing the third side. The triangle does not exist until you have completed drawing the third side. Only when you have completed the third side does the triangle exist. But the moment the triangle exists the area of the triangle also exists - as do many other properties. There is a necessary relationship between the triangle and its area. The triangle is the cause and the area is the effect but both triangle (cause) and area (effect) come into existence at the same instant. No temporal separation between cause and effect as they come into existence simultaneously.

In mathematical logic 1 + 1 = 2. There is a necessary relationship between the 1s and the 2. In this relationship time, as defined above, as the order underlying relationships, exists, but the flow of time is not necessary. Indeed, in the mind, time exists as an order, whence necessary mathematical and logical relationships exist in a time order that does not require the flow of time or temporal precedence. All that is required is a set of necessary relationships. In this respect logic is to the mind what time is to the physical universe: it is the order inherent in relationships. Logic = time. Indeed, any mathematical system is the equivalent of time in the way that general relativity is time in physical terms.

In other words, one thing can precede another without the need for simple time (the flow of time). There can be a logical precedence or necessity that does not require the flow of time. This is why the definition of time needs to be rigorously defined, as above.

Given these facts we can see how Hawking is being naive when he imagines that there must be a flow of time for the universe to be necessarily dependent on a preceding event. Such an event would not require the flow of time to exist. All that would be needed would be a logical or necessary relationship between the universe an its cause.

Another way to see how the flow of time is not necessary for logical relationships is to imagine you are opening a door. To open the door you must put the key in the lock, turn it, and push to door open. You could do this very slowly so that it takes five minutes to open the door, or you could do it quickly, in two seconds. The flow of time, here, is not, in principle, a factor. All that is required is the necessary relationships between events; the key must be turned if the door is to open. This logical dependency is purely geometric and arises out of the order of spacetime, not the flow of time. Indeed, it may turn out that the flow of time is a purely human, subjective, experience. What all this means is that the universe does not need a cause that precedes it in temporal terms but does precede it in logical or necessary terms so there is no need for an earlier cause to exist before t = 0.
edit on 16-12-2013 by EnPassant because: (no reason given)




posted on Dec, 16 2013 @ 05:51 PM
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reply to post by EnPassant
 



Hawking's idea is that the question "What came before the universe?" is null and void, because at the beginning of the Big Bang there is a beginning to time and there was no time before that.

In science, it doesn't matter what was 'before' the Big Bang, because we're never going to know, and we're never going to get back there to see it.

Interesting thread. S&F



posted on Dec, 16 2013 @ 05:57 PM
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As far as I can tell, with the universe both expanding and curving in on itself, spacetime is a torus like this one (except in all dimensions):

And the "Big Bang" is the singularity point right in the middle of everything. So what happens "before" the beginning of the universe is the end of the universe, and vice-versa.



posted on Dec, 16 2013 @ 07:32 PM
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I cannot fault this.

Great thread.

Good insight!

S&F



posted on Dec, 16 2013 @ 07:33 PM
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reply to post by Blue Shift
 


Well, I'm certainly NO EXPERT ... BUT ...

My 1st thought was that this reminds me of a ... Dog Chasing Its Tail !!! ... ( LOL ).

HOWEVER

This actually makes sense IF you think about ... "HOW COMETS FLY !!!"

AND

How many MORE of these "Universes" ... EXIST ??? ... ( quite honestly, I wouldn't be surprised that our universe is like a single planet within our own universe; talk about "The Never Ending Story" ? ).

-
Sentiment: Glad I saw this within MY lifetime !!! ... ( and/or Kindly, Thank You ).
edit on 16-12-2013 by FarleyWayne because: Added: "The Never Ending Story".



posted on Dec, 16 2013 @ 07:37 PM
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reply to post by Blue Shift
 


My issue with that is that it has to be itself for all infinity. Otherwise, we define boundaries. That implies limits to space.

One large torus that loops in on itself over and over but infinitely, randomly.

this is limiting it to our limited 3 dimensions however. if we imagine beyond it, then we don't need a torus.
edit on 16-12-2013 by winofiend because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 16 2013 @ 07:43 PM
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reply to post by EnPassant
 



But the argument goes on to say that this fact means that the universe does not need a cause because there was no time before t = 0, for a cause to exist. This, to my mind, is a thundering fallacy and shows how naive Hawking is when it comes to philosophy.

Hawking only pushes this perspective because he uses it to say God doesn't exist, since nothing existed before the Big Bang then God didn't exist to create the Big Bang, he claims. I am agnostic myself, and I prefer not to believe in God, but this argument is absurd for one simple reason: God is supposed to exist outside of time and space.

But yes I feel the exact same way as you when it comes to Hawking's theory of creation, he seems to throw logic right out the window when it comes to the Big Bang. Quantum mechanics can explain how the Big Bang occurred without a cause, but if that's how it happened then obviously it must have happened an infinite number of times in the past (meaning things have existed before our Big Bang).

Science simply doesn't like asking questions about what happened before the Big Bang because it forces them to contemplate how the energy of the Big Bang was able to appear from nothing. There is a deep paradox in modern day science which is caused by our inability to accept the idea that something can come from nothing, even though that's exactly what happened during the Big Bang.

If we cannot accept the idea that energy is able to appear spontaneously from nothing then we cannot explain where the energy of the Big Bang came from or what caused it. We get stuck saying that time didn't even exist before the Big Bang and at the very start of everything there was already an infinitely dense point of energy which existed inexplicably and decided to expand for no apparent reason.
edit on 16/12/2013 by ChaoticOrder because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 16 2013 @ 07:44 PM
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reply to post by EnPassant
 


I read his book about a year ago, or maybe it was only six months ago, you know how time is. I found it to be an interesting book. He describes his interviews with numerous notable physicists and thinkers and relates their extreme thinking to the reading public in ways that even I can almost understand.

What I found most interesting about the book was the manner in which Holt describes his questions about existence. How he poses the question that there even IS anything rather than just nothing. Being an existentialist in my marrow I was quickly taken to that non existent edge of reality where I like to stand and laugh in the face of nothingness, which isn't even nothing. But enough of that.

Another wonderful book on time is a book of short stories by Alan Lightman which came out quite a few years ago. "Einstein's Dreams". Lightman, a physicist, compiles a collection of short stories, vignettes, in which he spins out little fictions based on differing concepts of time and how it manifests. Maybe not a great book for serious speculators like yourself, but certainly entertaining and capable of stimulating slower minds such as mine.

I look forward to further posts you might present as you make your way through Holt.

T



posted on Dec, 16 2013 @ 07:45 PM
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reply to post by Blue Shift
 



with the universe both expanding and curving in on itself

As far as we can tell, the Universe does not curve in on its self:


Although the shape of the universe is still a matter of debate in physical cosmology, based on the recent Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) measurements "We now know that the universe is flat with only a 0.4% margin of error", according to NASA scientists.

en.wikipedia.org...



posted on Dec, 16 2013 @ 08:15 PM
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reply to post by winofiend
 

These concepts were covered in a basic physics course I took decades ago. I was promised understanding once I had mastered the mathematics ... but alas. I never lost interest in the subject, I simply never came to 'believe' in the system of understanding.

Obviously there is a quality to space as well as a quality to motion. What would happen to space if everything stopped moving? There certainly wouldn't be a torus anymore ... but where is the evidence of one to begin with?

I would say this as a contradiction to anything Hawking postulates ... Carl Sagan purportedly converted before the end, as if that even matters. Humans are very limited in their powers of observation and understanding. Moving beyond definition implies entering the realm of illusion. We can look at death in the same light: we stop ... or there IS something beyond perception.



posted on Dec, 16 2013 @ 08:27 PM
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If there was time before matter came into both existence and movement, it would have been impossible to measure. An eternity and a split second would be indistinguishable.



posted on Dec, 17 2013 @ 03:26 AM
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EnPassant
Hawking's idea is that the question "What came before the universe?" is null and void, because at the beginning of the Big Bang there is a beginning to time and there was no time before that. Well and good. But the argument goes on to say that this fact means that the universe does not need a cause because there was no time before t = 0, for a cause to exist.

I think Hawking's belief is that the laws of physics mean that the universe was inevitable, as in it was always going to create itself from nothing due to those rules. Perhaps I'm wrong though? I don't think it was that there is no cause exactly, just that the universe / physics itself is the cause in Hawking's opinion.


ChaoticOrder
reply to post by EnPassant
 

Hawking only pushes this perspective because he uses it to say God doesn't exist, since nothing existed before the Big Bang then God didn't exist to create the Big Bang, he claims. I am agnostic myself, and I prefer not to believe in God, but this argument is absurd for one simple reason: God is supposed to exist outside of time and space.

I don't know, Hawking has been fairly open minded. At one point the person suggested that time might reverse and everyone might become younger as the universe collapsed.

God existing outside of space and time literally puts God outside the touch of science and investigation almost completely, so I'd imagine someone like Hawkings who is materialist and scientist for the most part would have nothing to say on that.


Science simply doesn't like asking questions about what happened before the Big Bang because it forces them to contemplate how the energy of the Big Bang was able to appear from nothing.

I think scientists and especially Hawking love asking questions, but I think they like tangible answers as much as they can get them. I also think especially when you deal with quantum physics it's like something from Cthulhu, the idea that the universe just happened and everything is meaningless after seeing spooky particles and things randomly appearing and moving is pretty acceptable.



posted on Dec, 17 2013 @ 03:26 AM
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reply to post by ChaoticOrder
 


Exactly, I get the impression that he is pushing an atheistic agenda here, otherwise he is unbelievably naive when it comes to philosophy.



posted on Dec, 17 2013 @ 03:33 AM
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ChaoticOrder
reply to post by Blue Shift
 



with the universe both expanding and curving in on itself

As far as we can tell, the Universe does not curve in on its self:


Although the shape of the universe is still a matter of debate in physical cosmology, based on the recent Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) measurements "We now know that the universe is flat with only a 0.4% margin of error", according to NASA scientists.

en.wikipedia.org...


A related question is whether space is intrinsically Euclidean (flat). If space is curved is it a curvature OF Euclidean space or something else? As far as science can tell space is very nearly Euclidean with only a minute gravitational deviation.



posted on Dec, 17 2013 @ 06:21 AM
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reply to post by EnPassant
 



Time is that order according to which change comes about.

Yet this order is dependent on the observer's distance from each event and his motion relative to each event — as well as the relative distance and motion of each event to all the others. There is no way to establish an absolute order among them. As Einstein put it, there are no privileged frames of reference.


Einstein's general relativity describes how change happens in physical terms

Could you please amplify this statement? Exactly what does the general theory of relativity tell us about how change happens? I am quite interested in relativity, but except for the well-known (and proven) prediction that clocks run more slowly in a gravity well, I cannot think what you mean.


Imagine you are drawing a triangle. The moment the triangle exists the area of the triangle also exists - as do many other properties. There is a necessary relationship between the triangle and its area. The triangle is the cause and the area is the effect but both triangle (cause) and area (effect) come into existence at the same instant.

A triangle is not a cause of its area. They are effects arising, simultaneously, from the same efficient cause: the person drawing the triangle.


In mathematical logic 1 + 1 = 2. There is a necessary relationship between the 1s and the 2. In this relationship time, as defined above, as the order underlying relationships, exists, but the flow of time is not necessary.

Numbers don't have causes. One plus one does not cause two. Nor does one necessarily precede two; it could just as well follow it, as in the countdown to a rocket launch. The relationship between two integers is a purely mathematical relationship, not one of cause and effect.


Another way to see how the flow of time is not necessary for logical relationships is to imagine you are opening a door... You could do (it) very slowly so that it takes five minutes to open the door, or you could do it quickly, in two seconds. The flow of time, here, is not, in principle, a factor.

Of course the flow of time is a factor. It takes time for the cause (you) to produce the effect (open door). If no time elapses the door does not open.


There can be a logical precedence or necessity that does not require the flow of time.

Your examples do not prove this.

Whether time exists or not, Prof. Hawking is right. Spacetime began at (x, y, z, t) = 0, and all possible states of the universe exist in the configuration space so bounded. We cannot infer that the universe has/had a cause outside spacetime.



posted on Dec, 17 2013 @ 06:24 AM
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Blue Shift
As far as I can tell, with the universe both expanding and curving in on itself, spacetime is a torus like this one (except in all dimensions):

And the "Big Bang" is the singularity point right in the middle of everything. So what happens "before" the beginning of the universe is the end of the universe, and vice-versa.


Wow..that's brilliant!!!!

I don't necessarily believe that always ONE and the same universe comes about, it can very well be "multiple"..but that graphic is...brilliant. I love it.



posted on Dec, 17 2013 @ 06:27 AM
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Blue Shift
As far as I can tell, with the universe both expanding and curving in on itself, spacetime is a torus like this one (except in all dimensions):

And the "Big Bang" is the singularity point right in the middle of everything. So what happens "before" the beginning of the universe is the end of the universe, and vice-versa.


WOW!

That's my hypothesis too...what are the chances.

Let me dig out the post i made about this only a couple of weeks ago.

brb.



posted on Dec, 17 2013 @ 07:37 AM
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From my understanding of relativity, T=0 when mass travels at the speed of light. The faster we go the more time slows down relative to a more slower moving object. Practically we have some issues as our mass increases to the point where it becomes infinite at light speed requiring infinite energy to attain.

So for things that do not have any mass like photons and can travel at light speed without issue, does this mean that time does not exist for these particles? Does this then mean that the big bang is not just an event that was over in a brief moment of time, but still an ongoing reaction as the medium of the electromagnetic spectrum is held in an ongoing state of T=0 ?



posted on Dec, 17 2013 @ 11:18 AM
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reply to post by Astyanax
 



Yet this order is dependent on the observer's distance from each event and his motion relative to each event — as well as the relative distance and motion of each event to all the others. There is no way to establish an absolute order among them. As Einstein put it, there are no privileged frames of reference.


You are talking about the subjective experience of time. All that is necessary are the laws of nature to tell us that there is an order in spacetime. This order allows science to be possible. It is the regularity and predictibility of events that tells us there is an order in things. This order is time. The subjective experience of the flow of time is a pedestrian experience of the order according to which events are related. It is the order itself that is important, not subjective experience of it.



A triangle is not a cause of its area. They are effects arising, simultaneously, from the same efficient cause: the person drawing the triangle.


ok. Consider a train pulling carriages. One carriage pulls the other without the need for the passage of time for the cause and effect to obtain.


Numbers don't have causes. One plus one does not cause two. Nor does one necessarily precede two; it could just as well follow it, as in the countdown to a rocket launch. The relationship between two integers is a purely mathematical relationship, not one of cause and effect.


Cause and effect are one type of necessary order. Mathematical statements are another. In time two raindrops can become one raindrop but in mathematical order there is no need for the passage of time. Time is simply the order of things. In mathematics time is the logical relationship between the elements of a statement.



Of course the flow of time is a factor. It takes time for the cause (you) to produce the effect (open door). If no time elapses the door does not open.


You are missing the point. The flow of time is not a factor in the definition of the logical relationships. The amount of time that flows by does not make any difference to the logical relationship between the parts of the door. But the example of the door is probably a poor one.


We cannot infer that the universe has/had a cause outside spacetime.


Perhaps not but what I am saying is that Hawking cannot make an appeal to a need for an earlier time than t = 0 to make a cause of the universe possible. Another example of cause and effect that do not need the flow of time is the EPR experiment. It seems to operate outside normal time. But it is also possible that the cause of the universe is at t = 0. Why would Hawking say it is less than t = 0? There is no need for precedence in time as such. All that is necessary is a relational cause and effect where cause and effect exist at t = 0.
edit on 17-12-2013 by EnPassant because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 17 2013 @ 11:23 AM
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kwakakev
From my understanding of relativity, T=0 when mass travels at the speed of light. The faster we go the more time slows down relative to a more slower moving object. Practically we have some issues as our mass increases to the point where it becomes infinite at light speed requiring infinite energy to attain.

So for things that do not have any mass like photons and can travel at light speed without issue, does this mean that time does not exist for these particles? Does this then mean that the big bang is not just an event that was over in a brief moment of time, but still an ongoing reaction as the medium of the electromagnetic spectrum is held in an ongoing state of T=0 ?


In this case t = 0 refers to the beginning of time at the big bang.






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