Regular Member
  • Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


disillusioned last won the day on November 22 2015

disillusioned had the most liked content!

Community Reputation

824 Outstanding

1 Follower

About disillusioned

  • Rank
    Holy Prophet of the FSM

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
    Still trying to find my way, mostly making it up as I go along.
  • Interests
    Chess, literature, science, philosophy, entertainment, food and drink.
  • More About Me
    "Using words to talk of words is like using a pencil to draw a picture of itself, on itself."
    ~Patrick Rothfuss~

Previous Fields

  • Still have any Gods? If so, who or what?
    I have looked deep into the sauce and cheese.

Recent Profile Visitors

2,744 profile views
  1. Atheist Angel

    I'd like to chat more. PM me if you're interested.
  2. Atheist Angel

    Well I'm sorry to hear that. It almost sounds as if you wish you weren't a Christian. If that's a thought that you want to pursue, then I'm here for you.
  3. Attn B.a.a - Beginning Of The Universe Question

    Josh, Excellent post, some really great thoughts. I think I'm starting to understand where you and Mark went before. That’s one possible way of thinking about what a black hole might be, but that’s not really where science leads us. The scientific view is that a black hole is just an area of spacetime with such a strong gravitational field that nothing can escape it. They’re not actually “holes”, just very dense matter. As such, they don't really need to lead to anywhere. Now, some people like to wax poetic, as Aron Ra was doing in the video, about matter being sucked into black holes and blown out elsewhere, but this is not actually science. I had a number of very detailed discussions with some of my professors in university about this exact topic, and all of them were of the view that this is a nice idea, but it’s not testable. It may be interesting to think about, but to call it science is to go too far. The same can be said, by the way, about the notion that I presented previously about the universe possibly beginning as a quantum particle, and springing into existence out of nothing. A nice idea, and in this case, perhaps an idea which solves a problem and is, therefore, useful, but not testable and hence not science. Moreover, I think that the idea of black holes in our universe emitting matter in other universes and possibly causing new “big bangs” is not only not science, it is also not particularly useful because it raises more questions than it answers. And all the questions that it raises would seem to me to be unanswerable. I’m always hesitant to go down that kind of a road, unless we he have a very clear common understanding that what we are discussing is basically guesswork. I’m not sure I agree with this. I suppose it depends what you mean by “here” and “elsewhere”. I would agree that the material that makes up my body, for example, came from elsewhere in the universe, but I’m not sure that I would take it further than that. Again, as I said before, I don’t see a real reason to think that the universe began to exist in the usual sense. I think it has a past boundary in time, but I don’t think that is the same thing as a beginning. So yes, I would agree that there is no beginning for time (as I would say that it is merely a facet of the universe), but I don’t think that this necessarily means that time requires source material from elsewhere. It is possible, in other words, to think of these things as having always been here, but not as having been here for an infinite amount of time. I agree that this is one way of thinking about this issue. I’m just not sure that it can be called “correct”. It’s a giant “maybe” for me, and I’m not sure that it could ever be otherwise. This is not only because I think these questions are beyond the reach of science, but also because I actually think that these questions might be outside the reach of human reason entirely. We are approaching a discussion of some kind of Ultimate Reality here. But the problem is, the only reality that we know we have is the one we evolved in. Our minds are the product of evolution in this universe. Reason is something that our minds have evolved the ability to do. What reason is there to think that our modes of thought should be potent enough to allow us to describe not only this universe as it actually is, but to go further still and reach an accurate description of Ultimate Reality? I’m inclined to answer “none at all”. But this renders the above interesting, but not answerable. I think our reach, here, may have exceeded our ability to grasp. I'm afraid I can't answer this authoritatively. I can see that this is one way of approaching the issue. My preferred view is still one of an unreachable past-boundary in time, which allows me to solve the question of a beginning by saying that there has always been something, but it hasn’t been here for an infinite amount of time. Just as the graph of 2x is always positive, never infinite, and has a greatest lower bound. But I can see the appeal of what you are writing here as well. But even on this view, to the question of repetition, I would still have to say “I don’t know”. As I wrote at the end of my long and wearisome post on infinity, I would still want to see how the probabilities are being computed before endorsing one side or the other. Again, thanks very much for sharing this. I find it extremely stimulating to think about. I just want to say that despite my hesitance to embrace it as probable, I actually kind of like the idea of infinite repetition. Related ideas spring out of the many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, which was one of the reasons that I decided to study physics in university. So please don't think that I'm somehow foundationally opposed to it. I just don't see that the arguments in its favour are entirely convincing. Still, I can see that it could be true. I want to explore where this leaves us, but I'm out of time for the moment. I'll be back later.
  4. Atheist Angel

    I'm still confused. What exactly are you looking for here on Ex-C?
  5. Atheist Angel

    That's not the compliment that you think it is.
  6. Proposal: Thur's Law

    Jesus, Thurisaz. You already have a day. Why do you get a law as well?
  7. I really need your help!

    All good points. A few years ago I lost a lot of weight, and drinking coffee/tea was one of the few pleasures that I allowed myself. No sugar, obviously, and only a bit of milk. A few years before that, though, I gave up coffee for about a year. I did notice that I felt much more rested during that year than I have since. Still. Coffee is awesome.
  8. Attn B.a.a - Beginning Of The Universe Question

    My sincerest apologies for the following wall of text. TL;DR: I like math, infinity is cool, and I don't think infinite replication is a necessary conclusion. I said in my last post that I think that "infinite" and "indefinite" mean different things. In this post I want to elaborate on this, and also to talk a bit more about some of the issues surrounding infinity. Let's start with a definition of "infinite". Literally, the word means something like "limitless". This is the sense in which mathematicians and physicists usually use the word. "Indefinite", on the other hand, is usually used by mathematicians and physicists to mean something more like "variable", "unknown" or "arbitrary". It's a subtle difference, but a significant one. A couple examples might help to illustrate what I mean. Let's think about the set of natural numbers. That is, the usual counting numbers, N={0, 1, 2, 3, 4, ...}. The set's lower bound is 0. (Actually, it has an infinite number of lower bounds, but its greatest lower bound is 0, so let's just use that, and call it the lower bound). But the number of elements of the set is infinite. This is because there is no largest number in the set. Whatever number we are at, there is always a "next one" which is larger. This is directly analogous to Guth's claim that inflationary time is bounded in the past, but not in the future. In precisely the same way, the set of natural numbers is bounded below, but not above. In mathematics, the number of elements in a set is called that set's "cardinality". So one way of "defining" infinity might be as "the cardinality of the natural numbers". Things which are this sort of infinite are called "countably infinite". By contrast, let's look at "indefinite". Suppose x is a natural number. x is indefinite. It can be anything. But it is not infinite. It can be as large as we want, but it is still finite. This is why I feel justified in saying that I accept Mark's #3, but reject the notion of inflation which began an infinitely long time ago. The statements "inflation began an indefinitely long time ago" and "inflation began an infinitely long time ago" are not equivalent. Alright, back to infinity for a moment. What follows is something a digression, but it's a topic that I've always found to be absolutely fascinating, and the conclusion is relevant, I think. Humour me for a moment, if you will. Let's go back to the natural numbers for a second, and also look at two other sets A={0, 2, 4, 6, 8, ...} and B={1, 3, 5, 7, ...} (ie, the odd and even natural numbers). Both A and B are proper subsets of N, but clearly both A and B have infinite cardinalities. We might be tempted to ask whether their cardinalities are the same, and whether the cardinality of each is less than the cardinality of N. The answer to the first question is "yes", and to the second question is "no". It turns out that the both A and B have exactly the same cardinality as the natural numbers. (This can be proven fairly easily by establishing bijections, pairwise, between the sets). But this means that there are exactly the same number of even numbers as there are of even and odd numbers combined. Somewhat counter-intuitive, but unarguably true. Now let's go one step further and look at the set of real numbers, R. Colloquially defined, the set of real numbers is all the numbers, excluding those which involve taking the square root of a negative (the "complex" numbers). So the set of natural numbers is a subset of the real numbers. The real numbers also contains fractions, pi, the square root of 2, and so on. Clearly the cardinality of the real numbers is infinite. We might be tempted to ask if the cardinality of N is the same as the cardinality of R. The answer is no. This was proven in a number of ways by Georg Cantor. My favourite proof is the diagonal argument. This means that there are more real numbers than there are natural numbers, even though the cardinalities of both sets are infinite. It turns out that some infinities are bigger than others. Mathematicians refer to all infinities which are "equal to" (more precisely, "in bijection with") the cardinality of the natural numbers as "countable" and all infinities which are "larger" than this as "uncountable". Then things really start to get interesting, but maybe only to me. Ok, digression over. Back on topic. One of the reasons why I'm not comfortable with accepting the infinite replication hypothesis is because I think it relies on a naive notion of infinity. Suppose we do have an infinite amount of time, and a finite number of patterns. Will these patterns necessarily be repeated infinitely? I don't know that the answer is necessarily "yes". "Yes" would be a very precise conclusion, built upon imprecise notions. What kind of infinity are we talking about here? Is it countable or uncountable? How is the calculation of the probabilities done? In Guth's paper he explicitly states that "we still do not know how to define probabilities in an eternally inflating spacetime" (p 17). If we don't know how to define probabilities, then how can we conclude that infinite replication has occurred, or even probably occurred? This is related to the counter-argument that I made in Mark's final thread from the Den. What it reduces to is that I'm not comfortable assigning a probability of "1" to an event for which no one apparently has any idea of how to properly calculate the probability. At base, I think this is an example of people getting carried away with their physics, and crossing beyond the purview of science.
  9. Attn B.a.a - Beginning Of The Universe Question

    Yes, I accept his point #3. The thing that I have issue with is that "indefinitely" does not mean the same thing as "infinitely". More on this in the post which will follow this one. Ah. I see where you're coming from here. I have a few thoughts about this, which are also relevant to the Aron Ra video and the notion of eternal source material, but I'm not sure that I can coherently represent them. Please bear with me while I stumble my way through this. Let's take Guth's view of a past-bounded inflationary model as given for a moment. He is clear in his paper that we don't know what happens as we approach this boundary. One possible way of thinking about this is to say that perhaps as we wind the clock back we can get arbitrarily close to the boundary, but never quite reach it. Under this view, time going backwards would asymptotically approach the boundary, but would not ever actually reach or cross it. Much like a graph of exponential decay. I actually quite like this view, and I've used it before to argue against the Kalam Cosmological argument. If time is just a facet of the universe (or inflationary multiverse, if you prefer), then unless there is a universe, there is no time. So even though it may be correct to say that the universe has a past-boundary in time, it can't really be said to have "begun" to exist. We can wind the clock back as far as we want, but we can't ever get to zero, because if we did then the clock would cease to exist. I think this gets us out of the need for ex-nihilo creation, because it means that, in a very real sense, the universe has always been here. I also think it lines up very well with what Aron Ra was saying in the video. But the problem is, I don't think that this actually gets us infinite time at any specific point. Take again the example of an exponential graph: It's true that the graph continues infinitely in both directions, getting infinitely small in one and infinitely large in the other, but at no point on the graph is the y-value actually infinite. This is similar to what I said in my previous post about there never being a point where we actually have infinite time. So that's one possible way of approaching this. Another way of getting around the ex nihilo issue is to embrace a quantum creation model. I've heard both Stephen Hawking and Lawrence Krauss discuss this. The idea is that if we go back far enough in time, the universe collapses to the size of a quantum particle. Quantum particles pop into and out of existence, un-caused, all the time. All that is necessary is for the quantum vacuum to exist, and we can escape the ex nihilo nihil fit issue. Now, I have heard some people argue that the quantum vacuum is not nothing, but I would counter that it may well be. We have no evidence at all that it is possible to not have a quantum vacuum. So it may be possible for the universe/inflationary multiverse to have a definite beginning and yet not be caused, and for there to be no "prior beginning". The third thing I want to say is that I'm not sure that the question you mention, of what existed "before" a given fixed beginning is actually coherent. As I argued above, time is just a facet of the universe. If the universe had a beginning, then time had a beginning with it. The notion of "before" relies on the notion of "time". So I don't think that the question "what came before the universe?" actually makes much sense. Unless there is a universe, there is no "before". Here's hoping at least some of that made sense.
  10. All out of love

    Have you read the Bible? Clearly He isn't emotionally stable.
  11. All out of love

    No, not forced. Apparently they can be coerced, though.
  12. Do they not see how stupid this sounds?

    Well obviously God likes her more that those other three women.
  13. Ethnic Cleansing in the USA

  14. I really need your help!

    Another vote for giving up sugar, or at least significantly reducing it. I still eat desserts sometimes, but I often go days and sometimes weeks without eating anything that exists purely for the sake of getting sugar into my mouth. Also, if you are not already doing so I recommend drinking only water, and lots of it. Coffee and tea are ok, a long as there's no sugar added, but they are both acidic which is not good for the teeth. As far as the phone thing goes, I recommend trying out some good old fashioned books. Also, get outside. Go for walks. Look around. Phones are addictive, no question about it. I suggest that when you get the urge to grab your phone, do something else for 5 minutes first. Just 5 minutes. See what happens.