Physics and the Uncaused First Cause

Christian physicist Frank Tipler, via Stephen Hawking, offers an update on St. Thomas Aquinas:

In 1966, Stephen Hawking published his first — completely valid — proof for the existence of God. Over the next seven years, he followed this with even more powerful valid theorems proving God’s existence.

So how did Hawking, who successfully proved God’s existence, remain an atheist? Simple. He simply denied that the assumptions he used in his proofs were true. As a matter of logic, if the assumptions in a proof are not true, then the conclusions need not be true. What assumptions did the young Hawking make? He assumed that the laws of physics, mainly Einstein’s theory of gravity, were true. In the summary of his early research, namely his book The Large Scale Structure of Space-Time, Hawking wrote:  “It seems to be a good principle that the prediction of [God] by a physical theory indicates that the theory has broken down, i.e. it no longer provides a correct description of observations.”

Hawking then began working on quantum gravity, in hopes that God would be at last eliminated from the equations. Alas, it was not to be: God was even more prominent — and unavoidable — in quantum gravity than in Einstein’s theory of gravity. In his latest book, The Grand Design, Hawking has pinned his hope of eliminating God on M-theory, a theory with no experimental support whatsoever, hence not a theory of physics at all. Nor has it been proven that M-theory is mathematically consistent. Nor has it been proven that God has been eliminated from M-theory. There are disquieting signs (for Hawking and company) that He is also unavoidable in M-theory, as He is in Einstein’s gravity, and in quantum gravity. . . .

The alert reader will have noticed that in the above quote, Hawking did not actually use the word “God.” But this is what he really meant. To see this, let us recall just what the word “God” means.

Consider the opening words of the (original) Nicene Creed: “We believe in one God, the omnipotent Father, Maker of all things visible and invisible.” These words give the basic definition of “God” used by Christians and Jews: God is the Cause of everything, but He Himself has no cause. God is the Uncaused First Cause. In his Second Way, Thomas Aquinas proves the existence of the Uncaused First (efficient) Cause, and Aquinas concludes, “to which all give the name ‘God’ (quam omnes Deum nominant).”

So now let us return to the theorems of the young Hawking. By following the history of the universe back into time — in other words, by following the causes of the current universe back into time — Hawking proved that all of these causes had a common cause; a common cause that did not itself have a cause. This common cause was an Uncaused Cause that was beyond the control of the laws of physics, beyond the control of any possible laws of physics. Rather, the entire universe began at this Uncaused First Cause.

In exactly the same way that Aquinas used the word “create,” we can say that the Uncaused First Cause, whose existence was proven decades ago by Hawking, “created” the universe.

Hawking called this Uncaused First Cause a “singularity.”

But given the properties of this “singularity,” it is God.

via Pajamas Media » Proving the Existence of God.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    And all philosophy becomes a footnote to Plato and Aristotle.
    It is funny, or maybe sad, how many people today think philosophy is worthless, and no longer needed.
    I find it curious that Hawking would argue from the conclusion that the “assumptions” are wrong, over and over, and over again. Though it does explain his irrational wanting to be done with philosophy, or was that his publisher.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    And all philosophy becomes a footnote to Plato and Aristotle.
    It is funny, or maybe sad, how many people today think philosophy is worthless, and no longer needed.
    I find it curious that Hawking would argue from the conclusion that the “assumptions” are wrong, over and over, and over again. Though it does explain his irrational wanting to be done with philosophy, or was that his publisher.

  • WebMonk

    Just goes to show that you can’t trust anyone, not at I particularly trusted Tipler. He get’s THAT from The Large Scale Structure of Space-Time??? WTF is Tipler smoking to get stuff like his conclusions out of TLSSST?!?

    And, as I’ve stated on this blog at least a dozen times — Hawking’s TGD doesn’t make any attempts any grand proof or unproof of God. He makes a couple side-comments of a purely social sort of “argument” that there’s no need for God to exist.

    Dr. Veith, would it absolutely kill you to actually post something that actually deals with what the book says rather than just posting more reactions to the book’s dust jacket?

  • WebMonk

    Just goes to show that you can’t trust anyone, not at I particularly trusted Tipler. He get’s THAT from The Large Scale Structure of Space-Time??? WTF is Tipler smoking to get stuff like his conclusions out of TLSSST?!?

    And, as I’ve stated on this blog at least a dozen times — Hawking’s TGD doesn’t make any attempts any grand proof or unproof of God. He makes a couple side-comments of a purely social sort of “argument” that there’s no need for God to exist.

    Dr. Veith, would it absolutely kill you to actually post something that actually deals with what the book says rather than just posting more reactions to the book’s dust jacket?

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Webmonk,
    I myself am not much of an authoritarian, that is I don’t much like to take someones word for something “just because he is an authority” on the issue. Though, I can respect a persons authority, I like to hear what they have to say, and analyze their reasoning, see if it makes sense to me or not, and if not try to give them ample opportunity to explain it to me and answer my questions.
    However, I can not respect your authority on this issue. You are not one, not as long as your name here is Webmonk, because I have no idea who you are for one. I don’t know your credentials, but I’m guessing PhD is not one. Nor can I really respect your attacks thus far on the authorities in question here.
    See I suspect that Tipler has read Hawking, and I suspect that he has done so with much depth, before he wrote this piece. Perhaps he didn’t, but that would not be much in line with his history. So when he analyzes the book, I am willing to give him some benefit of doubt concerning his conclusions. In short I am more inclined to trust his judgment than yours.
    Now I would like to trust your judgment, or at least hear it out. But you have not given me any reason to, except to say the man is crazy for coming to those conclusions. Maybe that is true. But would you come down off your soap box long enough to put together a coherent argument as to why he is wrong for coming to those conclusions, maybe with a few quotes from Hawking yourself? Otherwise, you look like the pot calling the kettle black, when in fact the kettle looks quite copperish to the rest of us.
    And after all, you have admitted yourself that you have not yet read the book. Until you do, I might just be inclined to believe the publisher over you, as notoriously untrustworthy as they are, (and I have some experience there,). Ever thought these guys might be reacting to something not written in the three chapters you read during your last latte trip to Barnes and Noble?

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Webmonk,
    I myself am not much of an authoritarian, that is I don’t much like to take someones word for something “just because he is an authority” on the issue. Though, I can respect a persons authority, I like to hear what they have to say, and analyze their reasoning, see if it makes sense to me or not, and if not try to give them ample opportunity to explain it to me and answer my questions.
    However, I can not respect your authority on this issue. You are not one, not as long as your name here is Webmonk, because I have no idea who you are for one. I don’t know your credentials, but I’m guessing PhD is not one. Nor can I really respect your attacks thus far on the authorities in question here.
    See I suspect that Tipler has read Hawking, and I suspect that he has done so with much depth, before he wrote this piece. Perhaps he didn’t, but that would not be much in line with his history. So when he analyzes the book, I am willing to give him some benefit of doubt concerning his conclusions. In short I am more inclined to trust his judgment than yours.
    Now I would like to trust your judgment, or at least hear it out. But you have not given me any reason to, except to say the man is crazy for coming to those conclusions. Maybe that is true. But would you come down off your soap box long enough to put together a coherent argument as to why he is wrong for coming to those conclusions, maybe with a few quotes from Hawking yourself? Otherwise, you look like the pot calling the kettle black, when in fact the kettle looks quite copperish to the rest of us.
    And after all, you have admitted yourself that you have not yet read the book. Until you do, I might just be inclined to believe the publisher over you, as notoriously untrustworthy as they are, (and I have some experience there,). Ever thought these guys might be reacting to something not written in the three chapters you read during your last latte trip to Barnes and Noble?

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Webmonk, the point I am taking from Tipler has nothing to do with Hawking’s book, as such. As my lead-in and title say, we have here an update of Aquinas, one of whose proofs for the existence of God has to do with the necessity of an “uncaused first cause,” which he then defines as God. What we have in this excerpt is Tipler saying that Hawkings too posited the necessity of an uncaused first cause, which he of course does not identify as God but calls a “singularity.” Tipler is saying that Hawking’s concept of a singularity is the same as Aquinas’s concept of God.

    No one has to read Hawkings’ or Tipler’s books to follow that argument.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Webmonk, the point I am taking from Tipler has nothing to do with Hawking’s book, as such. As my lead-in and title say, we have here an update of Aquinas, one of whose proofs for the existence of God has to do with the necessity of an “uncaused first cause,” which he then defines as God. What we have in this excerpt is Tipler saying that Hawkings too posited the necessity of an uncaused first cause, which he of course does not identify as God but calls a “singularity.” Tipler is saying that Hawking’s concept of a singularity is the same as Aquinas’s concept of God.

    No one has to read Hawkings’ or Tipler’s books to follow that argument.

  • WebMonk

    Ok, so Dr. Veith isn’t making an argument about Hawking, he is posting an article by someone who is making an argument about Hawking. The Uncaused First Cause is an excellent thing to study and discuss.

    But, what you’re using as a discussion of the UFC argument is an article you know to be based on a false premise.

    Several of the articles you posted very clearly stated that Hawking’s position was that our universe did NOT come from an UFC singularity. Remember, Hawking’s book discussing the multiverse – the multiverse being the CAUSE of our universe’s singularity origin?

    And then you somehow ignore all that to post an article by Tipler that says Hawking’s idea of our universe’s origin is an UFC singularity.

    I would have thought you might have recognized something as basic and obvious as that.

  • WebMonk

    Ok, so Dr. Veith isn’t making an argument about Hawking, he is posting an article by someone who is making an argument about Hawking. The Uncaused First Cause is an excellent thing to study and discuss.

    But, what you’re using as a discussion of the UFC argument is an article you know to be based on a false premise.

    Several of the articles you posted very clearly stated that Hawking’s position was that our universe did NOT come from an UFC singularity. Remember, Hawking’s book discussing the multiverse – the multiverse being the CAUSE of our universe’s singularity origin?

    And then you somehow ignore all that to post an article by Tipler that says Hawking’s idea of our universe’s origin is an UFC singularity.

    I would have thought you might have recognized something as basic and obvious as that.

  • shell

    I think the article posted by Dr. Veith says that Hawking begins with the assumption that God isn’t real because any theory that seems to point to God “has broken down” and “no longer provides a correct description of observations.” So when Hawking found that Einstein’s theory of gravity seemed to point to God, he jumped to quantum gravity. When quantum gravity seemed to point to God, he jumped to M-theory in his latest book, The Grand Design. Thus Tipler thinks that Hawking changes his mind when any theory seems to be pointing to God. You may very well disagree with Tipler’s conclusion, but Dr. Veith is not ignoring information; rather he is attempting (with Tipler’s article) to present a more complete picture of the information.

  • shell

    I think the article posted by Dr. Veith says that Hawking begins with the assumption that God isn’t real because any theory that seems to point to God “has broken down” and “no longer provides a correct description of observations.” So when Hawking found that Einstein’s theory of gravity seemed to point to God, he jumped to quantum gravity. When quantum gravity seemed to point to God, he jumped to M-theory in his latest book, The Grand Design. Thus Tipler thinks that Hawking changes his mind when any theory seems to be pointing to God. You may very well disagree with Tipler’s conclusion, but Dr. Veith is not ignoring information; rather he is attempting (with Tipler’s article) to present a more complete picture of the information.

  • WebMonk

    shell – how does any of that deal with Aquinas’ concept of the UFC. Did you actually read what Dr. Veith said about why he put up the article? He thought Tipler’s statement about Aquinas’ Uncaused First Cause being the same as Hawking’s Uncaused First singularity was correct.

    He thought that in spite of having just posted 3 articles about Hawking’s new book, all of which stated just the opposite of what Tipler says.

    Your idea that Tipler is claiming Hawking is jumping from theory to theory trying to avoid God may or may not be true, but it is completely different than what Dr. Veith is talking about – some imagined equivalence between Hawking and singularities and Aquinas’ UFC conception of God.

  • WebMonk

    shell – how does any of that deal with Aquinas’ concept of the UFC. Did you actually read what Dr. Veith said about why he put up the article? He thought Tipler’s statement about Aquinas’ Uncaused First Cause being the same as Hawking’s Uncaused First singularity was correct.

    He thought that in spite of having just posted 3 articles about Hawking’s new book, all of which stated just the opposite of what Tipler says.

    Your idea that Tipler is claiming Hawking is jumping from theory to theory trying to avoid God may or may not be true, but it is completely different than what Dr. Veith is talking about – some imagined equivalence between Hawking and singularities and Aquinas’ UFC conception of God.

  • shell

    Webmonk,
    “How does any of [my comment @6] deal with Aquinas’ concept of the UFC?”
    It doesn’t.
    I was commenting on my understanding of your assertion that Dr. Veith was ignoring information by presenting two of Hawking’s views. (He was not.)
    You are correct in stating that the thrust of the article and this post is not Hawking’s book, as such, but on the “uncaused first cause” as a “proof” for the existence of God. Perhaps there is some good discussion to be found there.

  • shell

    Webmonk,
    “How does any of [my comment @6] deal with Aquinas’ concept of the UFC?”
    It doesn’t.
    I was commenting on my understanding of your assertion that Dr. Veith was ignoring information by presenting two of Hawking’s views. (He was not.)
    You are correct in stating that the thrust of the article and this post is not Hawking’s book, as such, but on the “uncaused first cause” as a “proof” for the existence of God. Perhaps there is some good discussion to be found there.

  • Porcell

    Webmonk, Bror is correct. Until you can provide more convincing proof that you are on a level with reputable physicists, including Tipler and Barr, it is rather difficult to credit your view.

    Veith has done just the right thing by providing us with the views of Barr and Tipler who understand both the science and the philosophy of the matter. You could help the contra view by providing us readable arguments from reputable scientists who favor the view of the Grand Design.

  • Porcell

    Webmonk, Bror is correct. Until you can provide more convincing proof that you are on a level with reputable physicists, including Tipler and Barr, it is rather difficult to credit your view.

    Veith has done just the right thing by providing us with the views of Barr and Tipler who understand both the science and the philosophy of the matter. You could help the contra view by providing us readable arguments from reputable scientists who favor the view of the Grand Design.

  • WebMonk

    shell, I agree that the UFC is a great thing to discuss, but starting a discussion of it by claiming Hawking says something he didn’t is nonsense.

    Dr. Veith really should have known that Hawking didn’t say anything that suggests singularities are like a UFC since he has just recently posted several articles which were specifically stating that Hawking believes the singularity of our universe’s beginning was very definitely a caused thing.

  • WebMonk

    shell, I agree that the UFC is a great thing to discuss, but starting a discussion of it by claiming Hawking says something he didn’t is nonsense.

    Dr. Veith really should have known that Hawking didn’t say anything that suggests singularities are like a UFC since he has just recently posted several articles which were specifically stating that Hawking believes the singularity of our universe’s beginning was very definitely a caused thing.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Shell @ 8,
    There will not be good conversation to be found there with Webmonk. Sorry.
    This is a sad reality. But Webmonk would like us to believe he is Veith’s philosophical and scientific superior. So rather than actually taking stalk of anything that Veith is actually saying in his articles, he goes off on a tangent, by belittling the good Dr. While himself completely missing the point that is being made. As of late this tendency has become quite insufferable.
    I mean generally around here, we can poke fun at opponents while making our arguments, we have even been known to be a little harsh in our assessments of one another. And in good Christian love, we take our chastisements where they are deserved, and forgive one another where they aren’t. People who are heated opponents on one topic, are good friends and allies on others (that is what I love about this blog.) But we make arguements, and analyze arguments. Lately Webmonk would just like us to bow to his “authority” on any given issue, and rather than enlightening us with any actual knowledge or argumentation would rather belittle us for not sharing his lack of knowledge on the topic.
    Webmonk: we get it. The publisher embellished the dusk jacket. Great. Now lets get on with the topic at hand which is still there despite whatever it is Hawking did or did not say in the book he didn’t write, and you didn’t read.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Shell @ 8,
    There will not be good conversation to be found there with Webmonk. Sorry.
    This is a sad reality. But Webmonk would like us to believe he is Veith’s philosophical and scientific superior. So rather than actually taking stalk of anything that Veith is actually saying in his articles, he goes off on a tangent, by belittling the good Dr. While himself completely missing the point that is being made. As of late this tendency has become quite insufferable.
    I mean generally around here, we can poke fun at opponents while making our arguments, we have even been known to be a little harsh in our assessments of one another. And in good Christian love, we take our chastisements where they are deserved, and forgive one another where they aren’t. People who are heated opponents on one topic, are good friends and allies on others (that is what I love about this blog.) But we make arguements, and analyze arguments. Lately Webmonk would just like us to bow to his “authority” on any given issue, and rather than enlightening us with any actual knowledge or argumentation would rather belittle us for not sharing his lack of knowledge on the topic.
    Webmonk: we get it. The publisher embellished the dusk jacket. Great. Now lets get on with the topic at hand which is still there despite whatever it is Hawking did or did not say in the book he didn’t write, and you didn’t read.

  • WebMonk

    What, is Dr. Veith immune from correction when he says something completely wrong? If you think I’m wrong in saying Dr. Veith got it wrong, feel free to show me.

    How is it that Hawking says something about the origins of our universe that equates to Aquinas’ concept of an Uncaused First Cause?

    I think the articles that Dr. Veith himself has posted sufficiently show that Hawking isn’t claiming the origin of our universe was any sort of an Uncaused First Cause. It may or may not have been a singularity (the book talks about some differing views on this) but it was definitely a caused event, and all the articles point that out.

    So, how does Hawking make a claim about the beginning of our universe that equates to the UFC idea?

  • WebMonk

    What, is Dr. Veith immune from correction when he says something completely wrong? If you think I’m wrong in saying Dr. Veith got it wrong, feel free to show me.

    How is it that Hawking says something about the origins of our universe that equates to Aquinas’ concept of an Uncaused First Cause?

    I think the articles that Dr. Veith himself has posted sufficiently show that Hawking isn’t claiming the origin of our universe was any sort of an Uncaused First Cause. It may or may not have been a singularity (the book talks about some differing views on this) but it was definitely a caused event, and all the articles point that out.

    So, how does Hawking make a claim about the beginning of our universe that equates to the UFC idea?

  • shell

    I realize that the intent of this thread is to be a discussion of the “uncaused first cause,” but Hawking’s views are considered in Tipler’s article and have been brought up by WebMonk. So here are Hawkings own words in describing how his cosmology changed from that presented in “The Large Scale Structure of Space-Time” to a cosmology that began to utilize quantum theory.

    “Although the singularity theorems of Penrose and myself, predicted that the universe had a beginning, they didn’t say how it had begun. The equations of General Relativity would break down at the singularity. Thus Einstein’s theory cannot predict how the universe will begin, but only how it will evolve once it has begun. There are two attitudes one can take to the results of Penrose and myself. One is to that God chose how the universe began for reasons we could not understand. This was the view of Pope John Paul. At a conference on cosmology in the Vatican, the Pope told the delegates that it was OK to study the universe after it began, but they should not inquire into the beginning itself, because that was the moment of creation, and the work of God. I was glad he didn’t realize I had presented a paper at the conference suggesting how the universe began. I didn’t fancy the thought of being handed over to the Inquisition, like Galileo.
    The other interpretation of our results, which is favored by most scientists, is that it indicates that the General Theory of Relativity breaks down in the very strong gravitational fields in the early universe. It has to be replaced by a more complete theory. One would expect this anyway, because General Relativity does not take account of the small scale structure of matter, which is governed by quantum theory. This does not matter normally, because the scale of the universe is enormous compared to the microscopic scales of quantum theory. But when the universe is the Planck size, a billion trillion trillionth of a centimeter, the two scales are the same, and quantum theory has to be taken into account.”
    http://www.hawking.org.uk/index.php/lectures/94

  • shell

    I realize that the intent of this thread is to be a discussion of the “uncaused first cause,” but Hawking’s views are considered in Tipler’s article and have been brought up by WebMonk. So here are Hawkings own words in describing how his cosmology changed from that presented in “The Large Scale Structure of Space-Time” to a cosmology that began to utilize quantum theory.

    “Although the singularity theorems of Penrose and myself, predicted that the universe had a beginning, they didn’t say how it had begun. The equations of General Relativity would break down at the singularity. Thus Einstein’s theory cannot predict how the universe will begin, but only how it will evolve once it has begun. There are two attitudes one can take to the results of Penrose and myself. One is to that God chose how the universe began for reasons we could not understand. This was the view of Pope John Paul. At a conference on cosmology in the Vatican, the Pope told the delegates that it was OK to study the universe after it began, but they should not inquire into the beginning itself, because that was the moment of creation, and the work of God. I was glad he didn’t realize I had presented a paper at the conference suggesting how the universe began. I didn’t fancy the thought of being handed over to the Inquisition, like Galileo.
    The other interpretation of our results, which is favored by most scientists, is that it indicates that the General Theory of Relativity breaks down in the very strong gravitational fields in the early universe. It has to be replaced by a more complete theory. One would expect this anyway, because General Relativity does not take account of the small scale structure of matter, which is governed by quantum theory. This does not matter normally, because the scale of the universe is enormous compared to the microscopic scales of quantum theory. But when the universe is the Planck size, a billion trillion trillionth of a centimeter, the two scales are the same, and quantum theory has to be taken into account.”
    http://www.hawking.org.uk/index.php/lectures/94

  • WebMonk

    ” So here are Hawkings own words in describing how his cosmology changed from that presented in “The Large Scale Structure of Space-Time” to a cosmology that began to utilize quantum theory.”

    I must be missing something. Where does your quote mention how Hawking’s views changed, and from what did they change?

    Also, I’m not sure you can get things like
    Hawking begins with the assumption that God isn’t real because any theory that seems to point to God “has broken down” and “no longer provides a correct description of observations.”
    from the speech you linked to, certainly not from the part you quoted.

    Maybe I’m just not following the point you were making with the part you quoted.

  • WebMonk

    ” So here are Hawkings own words in describing how his cosmology changed from that presented in “The Large Scale Structure of Space-Time” to a cosmology that began to utilize quantum theory.”

    I must be missing something. Where does your quote mention how Hawking’s views changed, and from what did they change?

    Also, I’m not sure you can get things like
    Hawking begins with the assumption that God isn’t real because any theory that seems to point to God “has broken down” and “no longer provides a correct description of observations.”
    from the speech you linked to, certainly not from the part you quoted.

    Maybe I’m just not following the point you were making with the part you quoted.

  • shell

    WebMonk @14 asked, “Where does your quote mention how Hawking’s views changed?”
    According to Hawking’s lecture that I cited in post #13, in “The Large Scale Structure of Space-Time,” his use of relativity simply led to the conclusion that the universe had a beginning but not how it began. As he sought to understand the “how,” he began to see the necessity of utilizing quantum theory. He writes, “In order to understand the Origin of the universe, we need to combine the General Theory of Relativity with quantum theory.” This was something that “The Large Scale Structure of Space-Time” did not do according to Hawking. He would later develop this thinking. This is the change (or development, if you prefer) that took place.
    One could make an argument that this “change” was merely using all that physics had to offer in order to come to an understanding of the beginning of the universe. Perhaps. But then why does Hawking bring in the bit about God, the pope, and the inquisition?
    I mention all these things not to explain Hawking’s ideas or motivations but to demonstrate two things: 1) Tipler would not need to be smoking something (post #2) to get implications of God from “The Large Scale Structures of Space-Time,” others (including Hawking himself) acknowledged the possibility of this interpretation. 2) Hawking’s views did change, and Tipler is suggesting that Hawking’s original views in “The Large Scale Structures of Space-Time” seem to coincide (to some degree) with Aquinas’ “uncaused first cause,” which (I think) was the intent of this thread.

  • shell

    WebMonk @14 asked, “Where does your quote mention how Hawking’s views changed?”
    According to Hawking’s lecture that I cited in post #13, in “The Large Scale Structure of Space-Time,” his use of relativity simply led to the conclusion that the universe had a beginning but not how it began. As he sought to understand the “how,” he began to see the necessity of utilizing quantum theory. He writes, “In order to understand the Origin of the universe, we need to combine the General Theory of Relativity with quantum theory.” This was something that “The Large Scale Structure of Space-Time” did not do according to Hawking. He would later develop this thinking. This is the change (or development, if you prefer) that took place.
    One could make an argument that this “change” was merely using all that physics had to offer in order to come to an understanding of the beginning of the universe. Perhaps. But then why does Hawking bring in the bit about God, the pope, and the inquisition?
    I mention all these things not to explain Hawking’s ideas or motivations but to demonstrate two things: 1) Tipler would not need to be smoking something (post #2) to get implications of God from “The Large Scale Structures of Space-Time,” others (including Hawking himself) acknowledged the possibility of this interpretation. 2) Hawking’s views did change, and Tipler is suggesting that Hawking’s original views in “The Large Scale Structures of Space-Time” seem to coincide (to some degree) with Aquinas’ “uncaused first cause,” which (I think) was the intent of this thread.

  • Rob

    I’m sure I’ve missed something. Partly because I feel that perhaps I agree with Hawking, albeit in a weird way. Physics has replaced philosophy. It is now physics, not philosophy that makes grand, sweeping, unverifiable claims and dismisses as backwards anyone who doesn’t jump to accept them. And all the while the practitioners get famous and wealthy on the proceeds.

    This feeling on my part (perhaps utter hubris, but no less unshakable), has led me to toss aside every quantum physics book I’ve ever picked up. That Hawking feels the same way has saved me from ever picking up this one.

    I don’t care what incomprehensible and immeasurable immensity he posits (or used to posit) as having caused our universe, he posits that it is caused. Either it was caused by an infinite regression (beyond the scope of science) or by an Uncaused First Cause. Which brings all of today’s bestseller-penning physicists back to the conclusions made in the Middle Ages.

    Or if you like more recent history, remember Stephen Crane’s poem from 1899:
    A man said to the universe:
    “Sir I exist!”
    “However,” replied the universe,
    “The fact has not created in me
    A sense of obligation.”

    Either we serve a God who, far from aloof, became flesh for our sakes, or we are alone in a very big, very cold place. And since the evidence has to take us beyond the scope of science anyway, I prefer revelation (both general and specific) as a means to knowledge.

  • Rob

    I’m sure I’ve missed something. Partly because I feel that perhaps I agree with Hawking, albeit in a weird way. Physics has replaced philosophy. It is now physics, not philosophy that makes grand, sweeping, unverifiable claims and dismisses as backwards anyone who doesn’t jump to accept them. And all the while the practitioners get famous and wealthy on the proceeds.

    This feeling on my part (perhaps utter hubris, but no less unshakable), has led me to toss aside every quantum physics book I’ve ever picked up. That Hawking feels the same way has saved me from ever picking up this one.

    I don’t care what incomprehensible and immeasurable immensity he posits (or used to posit) as having caused our universe, he posits that it is caused. Either it was caused by an infinite regression (beyond the scope of science) or by an Uncaused First Cause. Which brings all of today’s bestseller-penning physicists back to the conclusions made in the Middle Ages.

    Or if you like more recent history, remember Stephen Crane’s poem from 1899:
    A man said to the universe:
    “Sir I exist!”
    “However,” replied the universe,
    “The fact has not created in me
    A sense of obligation.”

    Either we serve a God who, far from aloof, became flesh for our sakes, or we are alone in a very big, very cold place. And since the evidence has to take us beyond the scope of science anyway, I prefer revelation (both general and specific) as a means to knowledge.

  • Porcell

    WebMonk: I think the articles that Dr. Veith himself has posted sufficiently show that Hawking isn’t claiming the origin of our universe was any sort of an Uncaused First Cause.

    Tipler: So now let us return to the theorems of the young Hawking. By following the history of the universe back into time — in other words, by following the causes of the current universe back into time — Hawking proved that all of these causes had a common cause; a common cause that did not itself have a cause. This common cause was an Uncaused Cause that was beyond the control of the laws of physics, beyond the control of any possible laws of physics. Rather, the entire universe began at this Uncaused First Cause.

    At best, the older Hawking has been ambiguous regarding the uncaused cause, and has apparently ended up by referring to this as Singularity and averring that only empirical and theoretical physical scientists may properly discuss the issue.

    Hawking has far from disproved Aristotle’s argument that the necessary cause of being is an unmoved mover that Aquinas with the benefit of Revelation identified as the Judeo-Christian God with which most Christian theologians have agreed, except for the gnostics and Mainline Protestants going back to Schliermacher, VonHarnack, et al. Augustine was more Platonic, though his argument is based on St Paul and Plato and would hardly brook the shallow naturalism of Hawking and Mlodinow, about whom WebMonk is apparently enchanted and defending with rear-guard fury.

  • Porcell

    WebMonk: I think the articles that Dr. Veith himself has posted sufficiently show that Hawking isn’t claiming the origin of our universe was any sort of an Uncaused First Cause.

    Tipler: So now let us return to the theorems of the young Hawking. By following the history of the universe back into time — in other words, by following the causes of the current universe back into time — Hawking proved that all of these causes had a common cause; a common cause that did not itself have a cause. This common cause was an Uncaused Cause that was beyond the control of the laws of physics, beyond the control of any possible laws of physics. Rather, the entire universe began at this Uncaused First Cause.

    At best, the older Hawking has been ambiguous regarding the uncaused cause, and has apparently ended up by referring to this as Singularity and averring that only empirical and theoretical physical scientists may properly discuss the issue.

    Hawking has far from disproved Aristotle’s argument that the necessary cause of being is an unmoved mover that Aquinas with the benefit of Revelation identified as the Judeo-Christian God with which most Christian theologians have agreed, except for the gnostics and Mainline Protestants going back to Schliermacher, VonHarnack, et al. Augustine was more Platonic, though his argument is based on St Paul and Plato and would hardly brook the shallow naturalism of Hawking and Mlodinow, about whom WebMonk is apparently enchanted and defending with rear-guard fury.

  • WebMonk

    Ok, I think I’m following you now, shell. When you said Hawking had changed his position, I thought you meant in a more discard-the-old-adopt-the-new sort of fashion. As you said, he obviously hasn’t done that – his details have fleshed out, but not made any dramatic about-faces.

    As far as Tipler’s concepts of what LSSST says, take a look at what he claims of it. First, he makes this absolutely bizarre statement that Hawking produced some sort of proof of God’s existence in 1966. That must have been his work “Singularities and the Geometry of Space-Time”. I’ve read it, and it’s a rather dense and generally unexciting (save for theoretical physicists) treatment of the existence of singularities. As far as I can remember, Hawking never even made any side-quips about God, and if he touched on the possibility of our universe coming from a singularity, it was a very brief mention. I’ll grab the book and check again though. It’s been a good 10 years since I last pulled it off the shelf.

    Tipler’s claim is really bizarre, especially his claim that Hawking continued to produce theorems proving God’s existence. Huh!?! Where? Since when? What on earth is he talking about? The only thing I can think he might mean is that Hawking generally proved that GR required a beginning to the universe in a singularity.

    Then, there’s his quote from LSSST that is used wildly out of context. Even just taking the quote by itself doesn’t get it to support the claim Tipler makes of it. He says Hawking rejected assumptions that Einstein’s theory (GR) was true. Nothing of the sort! Where did Tipler get that?!?! Certainly not from the quote he included. Tipler made that up. Tipler claims Hawking tried to disprove God with LSSST, when there was nothing of the sort in the book touching on the existence of God!

    Have you actually read LSSST? The math in it is too much for me to follow, but if I ignore the proving-the-math parts and assume it works out, then it’s pretty interesting. However, I doubt you’ve read it because if you had, you would know what nonsense it is to claim that LSSST is making claims about the existence or nonexistence of God.

    And then Tipler throws in

    Hawking then began working on quantum gravity, in hopes that God would be at last eliminated from the equations. Alas, it was not to be: God was even more prominent — and unavoidable — in quantum gravity than in Einstein’s theory of gravity.

    Where does he get support for that!? He just makes it up. It’s not even remotely accurate. One, where does he get the idea Hawking was trying to eliminate God, and Two, where does he get the idea that GR and QG have a requirement of God’s existence? Neither have any support.

    And now, has Hawking moved away from quantum gravity to M-theory, like Tipler intimates? No. Not even close to it, in fact quite the opposite. M-theory is a type of QG, sort of. They deal with different aspects of the universe, but M-theory is a type of string theory which is a type of quantum gravity theory.

    Tipler’s statement is nonsense – it’s like saying Hawking moved away from A to get to A.

    And, where I’ll stop is to point out YET AGAIN, that Hawking’s book, The Grand Design doesn’t use M-theory to in any way disprove God’s existence. The intersection between M-theory and God is that M-theory provides a cause for the existence of the universe. He doesn’t try to prove that M-theory disproves God, just that the existence of our universe doesn’t necessitate God to create our universe. He doesn’t touch on the need for God to be the one who creates the laws and rules which govern the universes, merely that the rules and laws which exist can explain the existence of our universe without requiring God to make it.

    Where Tipler is getting his nonsense, I don’t know. He doesn’t provide any evidence in the article, and his numerous claims about Hawking go against what Hawking’s books actually say.

    Just to reiterate my @2, if anyone has ever read LSSST, you would know that Tipler must be smoking something to come to the conclusion that LSSST was somehow an attempt to disprove the existence of God.

    shell, go read it, and if you disagree with my reading of it, and you find lots of places where Hawking tried to disprove the existence of God, then post back here, and I’ll send you $20. I pulled my copy of it out and have been looking through it again, and I can’t find anything even remotely like what Tipler is claiming.

  • WebMonk

    Ok, I think I’m following you now, shell. When you said Hawking had changed his position, I thought you meant in a more discard-the-old-adopt-the-new sort of fashion. As you said, he obviously hasn’t done that – his details have fleshed out, but not made any dramatic about-faces.

    As far as Tipler’s concepts of what LSSST says, take a look at what he claims of it. First, he makes this absolutely bizarre statement that Hawking produced some sort of proof of God’s existence in 1966. That must have been his work “Singularities and the Geometry of Space-Time”. I’ve read it, and it’s a rather dense and generally unexciting (save for theoretical physicists) treatment of the existence of singularities. As far as I can remember, Hawking never even made any side-quips about God, and if he touched on the possibility of our universe coming from a singularity, it was a very brief mention. I’ll grab the book and check again though. It’s been a good 10 years since I last pulled it off the shelf.

    Tipler’s claim is really bizarre, especially his claim that Hawking continued to produce theorems proving God’s existence. Huh!?! Where? Since when? What on earth is he talking about? The only thing I can think he might mean is that Hawking generally proved that GR required a beginning to the universe in a singularity.

    Then, there’s his quote from LSSST that is used wildly out of context. Even just taking the quote by itself doesn’t get it to support the claim Tipler makes of it. He says Hawking rejected assumptions that Einstein’s theory (GR) was true. Nothing of the sort! Where did Tipler get that?!?! Certainly not from the quote he included. Tipler made that up. Tipler claims Hawking tried to disprove God with LSSST, when there was nothing of the sort in the book touching on the existence of God!

    Have you actually read LSSST? The math in it is too much for me to follow, but if I ignore the proving-the-math parts and assume it works out, then it’s pretty interesting. However, I doubt you’ve read it because if you had, you would know what nonsense it is to claim that LSSST is making claims about the existence or nonexistence of God.

    And then Tipler throws in

    Hawking then began working on quantum gravity, in hopes that God would be at last eliminated from the equations. Alas, it was not to be: God was even more prominent — and unavoidable — in quantum gravity than in Einstein’s theory of gravity.

    Where does he get support for that!? He just makes it up. It’s not even remotely accurate. One, where does he get the idea Hawking was trying to eliminate God, and Two, where does he get the idea that GR and QG have a requirement of God’s existence? Neither have any support.

    And now, has Hawking moved away from quantum gravity to M-theory, like Tipler intimates? No. Not even close to it, in fact quite the opposite. M-theory is a type of QG, sort of. They deal with different aspects of the universe, but M-theory is a type of string theory which is a type of quantum gravity theory.

    Tipler’s statement is nonsense – it’s like saying Hawking moved away from A to get to A.

    And, where I’ll stop is to point out YET AGAIN, that Hawking’s book, The Grand Design doesn’t use M-theory to in any way disprove God’s existence. The intersection between M-theory and God is that M-theory provides a cause for the existence of the universe. He doesn’t try to prove that M-theory disproves God, just that the existence of our universe doesn’t necessitate God to create our universe. He doesn’t touch on the need for God to be the one who creates the laws and rules which govern the universes, merely that the rules and laws which exist can explain the existence of our universe without requiring God to make it.

    Where Tipler is getting his nonsense, I don’t know. He doesn’t provide any evidence in the article, and his numerous claims about Hawking go against what Hawking’s books actually say.

    Just to reiterate my @2, if anyone has ever read LSSST, you would know that Tipler must be smoking something to come to the conclusion that LSSST was somehow an attempt to disprove the existence of God.

    shell, go read it, and if you disagree with my reading of it, and you find lots of places where Hawking tried to disprove the existence of God, then post back here, and I’ll send you $20. I pulled my copy of it out and have been looking through it again, and I can’t find anything even remotely like what Tipler is claiming.

  • WebMonk

    And yet another reason why I think Tipler is full of it in this article is that he TOTALLY changes the quote he used from LSSST!!!!

    What Tipler says Hawking said:

    It seems to be a good principle that the prediction of [God] by a physical theory indicates that the theory has broken down, i.e. it no longer provides a correct description of observations.

    Here is what Hawking REALLY said:

    It seems to be a good principle that the prediction of singularities by a physical theory indicates that the theory has broken down, i.e. it no longer provides a correct description of observations.

    Tipler totally lied!! He took Hawking’s quote and changed it! Hawking was in no way talking about anything even remotely related to God!

    Tipler falsified what he claims Hawking said!

    Now does anyone believe me that Tipler was full of it?

  • WebMonk

    And yet another reason why I think Tipler is full of it in this article is that he TOTALLY changes the quote he used from LSSST!!!!

    What Tipler says Hawking said:

    It seems to be a good principle that the prediction of [God] by a physical theory indicates that the theory has broken down, i.e. it no longer provides a correct description of observations.

    Here is what Hawking REALLY said:

    It seems to be a good principle that the prediction of singularities by a physical theory indicates that the theory has broken down, i.e. it no longer provides a correct description of observations.

    Tipler totally lied!! He took Hawking’s quote and changed it! Hawking was in no way talking about anything even remotely related to God!

    Tipler falsified what he claims Hawking said!

    Now does anyone believe me that Tipler was full of it?

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Webmonk,
    your losing it. Tipler may have knowingly or mistakenly changed singularity to God in Hawking’s quote. But given that the premise of his paper is that Hawkings use of the word singularity is just a cheap attempt at dodging the use of the word God, your straining intellectual gnats, and failing to grasp the philosophical camel.
    So far today, you have failed to impress me with your intellectual capabilities to a point where I would take your word over Tipler’s. You might, just a thought here, shut up, go and reread the books you claim you haven’t read for a long time, and the ones you haven’t read at all, then carefully read the arguments you are trying to speak on, and come back when you have something intelligent to say on the topic. When you say, “well it’s been 10 years since I read the book, and i may be mistaken on this,” my guess is, you are mistaken on it.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Webmonk,
    your losing it. Tipler may have knowingly or mistakenly changed singularity to God in Hawking’s quote. But given that the premise of his paper is that Hawkings use of the word singularity is just a cheap attempt at dodging the use of the word God, your straining intellectual gnats, and failing to grasp the philosophical camel.
    So far today, you have failed to impress me with your intellectual capabilities to a point where I would take your word over Tipler’s. You might, just a thought here, shut up, go and reread the books you claim you haven’t read for a long time, and the ones you haven’t read at all, then carefully read the arguments you are trying to speak on, and come back when you have something intelligent to say on the topic. When you say, “well it’s been 10 years since I read the book, and i may be mistaken on this,” my guess is, you are mistaken on it.

  • WebMonk

    Bror, I have the book. I’ve read it. Nowhere in it is there even the slightest hint that Hawking is attempting to dodge using God.

    He’s talking about black holes, for goodness sake! Back then they were just theories, and Hawking’s book was dealing with the theoretical existence of black holes. He called them singularities.

    Tipler comes along and purposefully lies and deceives by changing Hawking’s quote to suddenly refer to God rather than Black Holes.

    Here’s a quote by Martin Luther, done up Tipler-style:

    All who call on [my good works] in true faith, earnestly from the heart, will certainly be heard, and will receive what they have asked and desired.

  • WebMonk

    Bror, I have the book. I’ve read it. Nowhere in it is there even the slightest hint that Hawking is attempting to dodge using God.

    He’s talking about black holes, for goodness sake! Back then they were just theories, and Hawking’s book was dealing with the theoretical existence of black holes. He called them singularities.

    Tipler comes along and purposefully lies and deceives by changing Hawking’s quote to suddenly refer to God rather than Black Holes.

    Here’s a quote by Martin Luther, done up Tipler-style:

    All who call on [my good works] in true faith, earnestly from the heart, will certainly be heard, and will receive what they have asked and desired.

  • WebMonk

    Allow me to quote the larger passage which Tipler falsifies:

    from Pages 362-363 of “The Large Scale Structure of Space-Time”

    …. On the other hand the theorems on singularities did not depend on the full Einstein equations but only on the property that RabKaKb was non-negative for any non-spacelike vector Ka; thus they would apply also to any modification of General Relativity (such as the Brans-Dicke theory) in which gravity is always attractive.

    It seems to be a good principle that the prediction of a singularity by a physical theory indicates that the theory has broken down, i.e. it no longer provides a correct description of observations. The question is: when does General Relativity break down? One would expect it to break down anyway when quantum gravitational effects become important; form dimensional arguments it seems that this should not happen until the radius of curvature becomes of the order 10-33 cm. This would correspond to a density of 1094 gm cm-3. However one might question whether a Lorentz manifold is an appropriate model for space-time on length scales of this order. So far experiments have shown that assuming a manifold structure for lengths greater than 10-15 cm gives predictions in agreement with observations (Foley et al (1967)), but it may be that a breakdown occurs for lengths between 10-15 and 10-33 cm.

  • WebMonk

    Allow me to quote the larger passage which Tipler falsifies:

    from Pages 362-363 of “The Large Scale Structure of Space-Time”

    …. On the other hand the theorems on singularities did not depend on the full Einstein equations but only on the property that RabKaKb was non-negative for any non-spacelike vector Ka; thus they would apply also to any modification of General Relativity (such as the Brans-Dicke theory) in which gravity is always attractive.

    It seems to be a good principle that the prediction of a singularity by a physical theory indicates that the theory has broken down, i.e. it no longer provides a correct description of observations. The question is: when does General Relativity break down? One would expect it to break down anyway when quantum gravitational effects become important; form dimensional arguments it seems that this should not happen until the radius of curvature becomes of the order 10-33 cm. This would correspond to a density of 1094 gm cm-3. However one might question whether a Lorentz manifold is an appropriate model for space-time on length scales of this order. So far experiments have shown that assuming a manifold structure for lengths greater than 10-15 cm gives predictions in agreement with observations (Foley et al (1967)), but it may be that a breakdown occurs for lengths between 10-15 and 10-33 cm.

  • WebMonk

    When you say, “well it’s been 10 years since I read the book, and i may be mistaken on this,” my guess is, you are mistaken on it.

    What was that Bror? Was I merely making a mistake when I said Tipler was making stuff up? It had been almost 10 years since I read it last, maybe I misremembered. Let me go check on that.

    Hmmm, nope. Looks like my memory was just fine. Check out page 362. Yup, Tipler was making stuff up.

    But you go ahead and defend him. A little thing like making lies up to support one’s position really isn’t worth noting. Just ignore it.

  • WebMonk

    When you say, “well it’s been 10 years since I read the book, and i may be mistaken on this,” my guess is, you are mistaken on it.

    What was that Bror? Was I merely making a mistake when I said Tipler was making stuff up? It had been almost 10 years since I read it last, maybe I misremembered. Let me go check on that.

    Hmmm, nope. Looks like my memory was just fine. Check out page 362. Yup, Tipler was making stuff up.

    But you go ahead and defend him. A little thing like making lies up to support one’s position really isn’t worth noting. Just ignore it.

  • Porcell

    Bror, you were right earlier. WebMonk, whose scientific and philosophical qualifications are at best dubious, is taking on Tipler and Barr, both of whom have well proven scholarly credentials in both science and philosophy.

    WebMonk is alleging that Tipler, and by implication Barr, are mistaken in their views of Hawking/Mlodinow, though so far he asks us to takethis on his rather slender authority. Were I Veith, I should continue to ignore WebMonk’s slender authority and continue to inform us with scholars like Tipler and Barr.

    Personally, I have found the best argument on this matter comes from William Carroll in his article Stephen Hawking’s Creation Confusion . Carroll makes the basic distinction between Creation by an eternal God and temporal creation whether from the Big Bang, singularity or some sort of M strings.

    Carroll is a Fellow in Science and Religion at Blackfriars Hall and a member of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Oxford. He is author of Galileo: Science and Faith.

    WebMonks, effusions, while fervent and amusing, are basically hollow.

  • Porcell

    Bror, you were right earlier. WebMonk, whose scientific and philosophical qualifications are at best dubious, is taking on Tipler and Barr, both of whom have well proven scholarly credentials in both science and philosophy.

    WebMonk is alleging that Tipler, and by implication Barr, are mistaken in their views of Hawking/Mlodinow, though so far he asks us to takethis on his rather slender authority. Were I Veith, I should continue to ignore WebMonk’s slender authority and continue to inform us with scholars like Tipler and Barr.

    Personally, I have found the best argument on this matter comes from William Carroll in his article Stephen Hawking’s Creation Confusion . Carroll makes the basic distinction between Creation by an eternal God and temporal creation whether from the Big Bang, singularity or some sort of M strings.

    Carroll is a Fellow in Science and Religion at Blackfriars Hall and a member of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Oxford. He is author of Galileo: Science and Faith.

    WebMonks, effusions, while fervent and amusing, are basically hollow.

  • Porcell

    Bror, speaking of authority, following your advice, I’ve become interested in Martin Chemnitz; could you let me know his best works published in English? I know a little German but not enough to hazard reading Chemnitz.

  • Porcell

    Bror, speaking of authority, following your advice, I’ve become interested in Martin Chemnitz; could you let me know his best works published in English? I know a little German but not enough to hazard reading Chemnitz.

  • ptl

    Porcell….since you have not heard from Bror, here’s what you get from a search on “Martin Chemnitz” on Amazon:

    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_11?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=martin+chemnitz&x=0&y=0&sprefix=martin+chem

    Hope it works!

    The “Two Natures” and “Council of Trent” are the most familiar to me, but the “Lord’s Prayer” and “Loci” look pretty good too, judging by the reviews anyway!

    Hope this helps?

  • ptl

    Porcell….since you have not heard from Bror, here’s what you get from a search on “Martin Chemnitz” on Amazon:

    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_11?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=martin+chemnitz&x=0&y=0&sprefix=martin+chem

    Hope it works!

    The “Two Natures” and “Council of Trent” are the most familiar to me, but the “Lord’s Prayer” and “Loci” look pretty good too, judging by the reviews anyway!

    Hope this helps?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Porcell (@24), here is where your tendency to appeal to authority truly fails you: “WebMonk, whose scientific and philosophical qualifications are at best dubious, is taking on Tipler and Barr, both of whom have well proven scholarly credentials in both science and philosophy.”

    Between Porcell, Bror, Dr. Veith, myself, and WebMonk, it’s clear to me that WebMonk has the greatest scientific understanding. I enjoy science, I once wanted to major in it, but I dodged over to engineering. I’m no wiz, but I can tell from his writing that WebMonk knows more about most things scientific than I do. Not that I agree with every conclusion he comes to, but hey.

    And yet Porcell, whose understanding of science is, by his own admission, not all that great, would deem to tell us that WebMonk’s scientific qualifications “are at best dubious” in this discussion. This is, in short, ridiculous. Porcell doesn’t even know thing one about WebMonk’s real-life persona (I at least know his full name), I’d bet, and yet here Porcell is, with his less-than-stellar scientific knowledge, telling me why I shouldn’t listen to someone with obviously more knowledge than he.

    And why, according to Porcell, shouldn’t I listen to WebMonk? Because WebMonk, Porcell complains, “is taking on Tipler and Barr, both of whom have well proven scholarly credentials in both science and philosophy.” But has Porcell thought this through at all? It doesn’t seem so. Because Tipler and Barr are, in turn, taking on Hawking, whose scholarly credentials in science far outrank either of theirs. Porcell has no problem with Tipler and Barr doing that, only with WebMonk doing it.

    And how does Porcell judge that Tipler and Barr are correct in assailing Hawking, while WebMonk is wrong to assail Tipler, in spite of Porcell’s lack of understanding much of what is actually being discussed beyond the very basic philosophical/metaphysical level to which he has boiled down every conversation about Hawking of late? Oh, you’d have to ask him.

    Myself, I’m more inclined to assume WebMonk at least better understands the science than anyone else currently discussing things. (Sorry, Shell @15, I don’t know enough about you.)

    Sorry, Porcell, but that’s the way the “appeal to authority” game goes.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Porcell (@24), here is where your tendency to appeal to authority truly fails you: “WebMonk, whose scientific and philosophical qualifications are at best dubious, is taking on Tipler and Barr, both of whom have well proven scholarly credentials in both science and philosophy.”

    Between Porcell, Bror, Dr. Veith, myself, and WebMonk, it’s clear to me that WebMonk has the greatest scientific understanding. I enjoy science, I once wanted to major in it, but I dodged over to engineering. I’m no wiz, but I can tell from his writing that WebMonk knows more about most things scientific than I do. Not that I agree with every conclusion he comes to, but hey.

    And yet Porcell, whose understanding of science is, by his own admission, not all that great, would deem to tell us that WebMonk’s scientific qualifications “are at best dubious” in this discussion. This is, in short, ridiculous. Porcell doesn’t even know thing one about WebMonk’s real-life persona (I at least know his full name), I’d bet, and yet here Porcell is, with his less-than-stellar scientific knowledge, telling me why I shouldn’t listen to someone with obviously more knowledge than he.

    And why, according to Porcell, shouldn’t I listen to WebMonk? Because WebMonk, Porcell complains, “is taking on Tipler and Barr, both of whom have well proven scholarly credentials in both science and philosophy.” But has Porcell thought this through at all? It doesn’t seem so. Because Tipler and Barr are, in turn, taking on Hawking, whose scholarly credentials in science far outrank either of theirs. Porcell has no problem with Tipler and Barr doing that, only with WebMonk doing it.

    And how does Porcell judge that Tipler and Barr are correct in assailing Hawking, while WebMonk is wrong to assail Tipler, in spite of Porcell’s lack of understanding much of what is actually being discussed beyond the very basic philosophical/metaphysical level to which he has boiled down every conversation about Hawking of late? Oh, you’d have to ask him.

    Myself, I’m more inclined to assume WebMonk at least better understands the science than anyone else currently discussing things. (Sorry, Shell @15, I don’t know enough about you.)

    Sorry, Porcell, but that’s the way the “appeal to authority” game goes.

  • Porcell

    Todd, smart, humble people are very careful about the authority they accept in any field of knowledge. I

    I don’t doubt that WebMonk knows more about physical cosmology than I, though in comparison to Tipler and Barr he is an amateur lacking understanding of the mathematical equations involved in this cosmology. I accept both Tipler’s and Barr’s statement that singularity, string, and M theory have not been reduced to equations, knowing that they understand the relevant equations.

    WebMonk makes the point that The Grand Design has little to say about God or the uncaused cause, though it does advance the naturalistic thesis that the universe is self created and that science has no need for an assumption of an uncased cause or God. I accept Tipler and Barr’s say that this is an oft repeated view of scientists inclined to naturalism as a philosophy that has never been proved by “science” as it requires the logical fallacy of ex nihilo nihil fit [from nothing comes nothing] in that it assumes an infinite regression to zero or nothing. Hawking can play games about the scientific definition of the universe, though in denying an uncaused cause, even with one sentence in the book, he has crossed over to metaphysics and theology.

    I’ve asked WebMonk to cite some articulate physicists who agree with the Hawking.Mlodinow’s naturalistic assumptions; so far he hasn’t come up with one in which case I shall stick with Tipler and Barr. I’m, also, keeping an eye out for what John Polikinhorne has to say about the book.

    I might, also, add that when I managed staff, I was critical of those who didn’t stay well read in the authorities of their field and had little respect for amateur views, no matter how fervently held. In the field of finance those not conversant with relevant authority are usually losers. Just now on the subject of religion, I’ve been looking into Luther, Calvin, Melanchthon, and on Bror’s suggestion, Chemnitz. I, also, have several of Veith’s books on my shelf.

  • Porcell

    Todd, smart, humble people are very careful about the authority they accept in any field of knowledge. I

    I don’t doubt that WebMonk knows more about physical cosmology than I, though in comparison to Tipler and Barr he is an amateur lacking understanding of the mathematical equations involved in this cosmology. I accept both Tipler’s and Barr’s statement that singularity, string, and M theory have not been reduced to equations, knowing that they understand the relevant equations.

    WebMonk makes the point that The Grand Design has little to say about God or the uncaused cause, though it does advance the naturalistic thesis that the universe is self created and that science has no need for an assumption of an uncased cause or God. I accept Tipler and Barr’s say that this is an oft repeated view of scientists inclined to naturalism as a philosophy that has never been proved by “science” as it requires the logical fallacy of ex nihilo nihil fit [from nothing comes nothing] in that it assumes an infinite regression to zero or nothing. Hawking can play games about the scientific definition of the universe, though in denying an uncaused cause, even with one sentence in the book, he has crossed over to metaphysics and theology.

    I’ve asked WebMonk to cite some articulate physicists who agree with the Hawking.Mlodinow’s naturalistic assumptions; so far he hasn’t come up with one in which case I shall stick with Tipler and Barr. I’m, also, keeping an eye out for what John Polikinhorne has to say about the book.

    I might, also, add that when I managed staff, I was critical of those who didn’t stay well read in the authorities of their field and had little respect for amateur views, no matter how fervently held. In the field of finance those not conversant with relevant authority are usually losers. Just now on the subject of religion, I’ve been looking into Luther, Calvin, Melanchthon, and on Bror’s suggestion, Chemnitz. I, also, have several of Veith’s books on my shelf.

  • WebMonk

    Does it not bother anyone that Tipler out and out lied? That he completely and with forethought falsified what Hawking said? That he changed Hawking’s quote to refer to God when Hawking was actually talking about singularities (aka black holes)?

    I re-typed the accurate quote directly out of the book so everyone could see it’s not just an unsubstantiated claim, but does that make a difference for anyone? Does everyone just sweep under the rug that Tipler lied?

  • WebMonk

    Does it not bother anyone that Tipler out and out lied? That he completely and with forethought falsified what Hawking said? That he changed Hawking’s quote to refer to God when Hawking was actually talking about singularities (aka black holes)?

    I re-typed the accurate quote directly out of the book so everyone could see it’s not just an unsubstantiated claim, but does that make a difference for anyone? Does everyone just sweep under the rug that Tipler lied?

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Porcell,
    Well it has little to do with this thread but here are my recomendations, I provided links, but it looks like some of this is also available on Kindle for cheaper. I don’t have kindle.
    http://www.amazon.com/Second-Martin-Life-Theology-Chemnitz/dp/0570046459/ref=sr_1_10?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1284643107&sr=8-10
    http://www.amazon.com/Lords-Supper-Coena-Domini/dp/057003275X/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1284643107&sr=8-6
    http://www.amazon.com/Two-Natures-Christ-Martin-Chemnitz/dp/B001LM0W1I/ref=sr_1_14?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1284643107&sr=8-14
    Actually a lot of this looks like it is going to be in print only in electronic format, any more. Guess it is the way of the future.
    Of course Chemnitz is also credited with the Formula of Concord which is worth careful scrutiny. But this is a biography, and two of his more popular works. The Examen is a thorough examination of the Council of Trent, too pricey for me so I haven’t yet read it, just coveted the glossy covers.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Porcell,
    Well it has little to do with this thread but here are my recomendations, I provided links, but it looks like some of this is also available on Kindle for cheaper. I don’t have kindle.
    http://www.amazon.com/Second-Martin-Life-Theology-Chemnitz/dp/0570046459/ref=sr_1_10?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1284643107&sr=8-10
    http://www.amazon.com/Lords-Supper-Coena-Domini/dp/057003275X/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1284643107&sr=8-6
    http://www.amazon.com/Two-Natures-Christ-Martin-Chemnitz/dp/B001LM0W1I/ref=sr_1_14?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1284643107&sr=8-14
    Actually a lot of this looks like it is going to be in print only in electronic format, any more. Guess it is the way of the future.
    Of course Chemnitz is also credited with the Formula of Concord which is worth careful scrutiny. But this is a biography, and two of his more popular works. The Examen is a thorough examination of the Council of Trent, too pricey for me so I haven’t yet read it, just coveted the glossy covers.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Webmonk,
    Quite frankly, at this point no.
    Not because it doesn’t actually matter. At some point it does I suppose. But you blew your wad with sophomoric grandstanding and no one cares anymore, well at least I don’t. I guess I’m tired at this point. I read Hawking, and I read these other guys, I watch the documentaries, and I’m left scratching my head. Not because anything they say is beyond my intellectual grasp, but they reveal themselves to be talking out their arses, constantly hedging their statements with “may be”, “it might be possible”, “well I think its probable.” And what they are really saying is “were grasping at straws here boys”. I don’t have time for it.
    But I might have had time for a bit more of the discussion.
    Thanks for finding the quote. I still think you are missing the point of Tipler’s argument all together, a point that has more to do with philosophy at this point than physics, or “cosmology” (which I’m beginning to think is worse than medieval metaphysics in its speculations.)

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Webmonk,
    Quite frankly, at this point no.
    Not because it doesn’t actually matter. At some point it does I suppose. But you blew your wad with sophomoric grandstanding and no one cares anymore, well at least I don’t. I guess I’m tired at this point. I read Hawking, and I read these other guys, I watch the documentaries, and I’m left scratching my head. Not because anything they say is beyond my intellectual grasp, but they reveal themselves to be talking out their arses, constantly hedging their statements with “may be”, “it might be possible”, “well I think its probable.” And what they are really saying is “were grasping at straws here boys”. I don’t have time for it.
    But I might have had time for a bit more of the discussion.
    Thanks for finding the quote. I still think you are missing the point of Tipler’s argument all together, a point that has more to do with philosophy at this point than physics, or “cosmology” (which I’m beginning to think is worse than medieval metaphysics in its speculations.)

  • WebMonk

    Of course not. Nobody cares that Tipler lied about what Hawking said in LSSST. No one cares that he lied about Hawking’s 1966 work, Singularities and the Geometry of Space-Time. No one cares that he lied (or at a most charitable take, grossly misunderstood and misstated) several other places.

    None of that matters. All that matters is that Tipler disproved Hawking’s assertions about the nonexistence of God. Never mind that Tipler just made up Hawking’s statements that Tipler then goes on to “disprove”.

    Thank you for at least acknowledging that, Bror.

    How about we have a conversation about how Martin Luther claimed he was a god and able to save people’s souls based on his own good works? After all, he did say

    All who call on [my good works] in true faith, earnestly from the heart, will certainly be heard, and will receive what they have asked and desired.

  • WebMonk

    Of course not. Nobody cares that Tipler lied about what Hawking said in LSSST. No one cares that he lied about Hawking’s 1966 work, Singularities and the Geometry of Space-Time. No one cares that he lied (or at a most charitable take, grossly misunderstood and misstated) several other places.

    None of that matters. All that matters is that Tipler disproved Hawking’s assertions about the nonexistence of God. Never mind that Tipler just made up Hawking’s statements that Tipler then goes on to “disprove”.

    Thank you for at least acknowledging that, Bror.

    How about we have a conversation about how Martin Luther claimed he was a god and able to save people’s souls based on his own good works? After all, he did say

    All who call on [my good works] in true faith, earnestly from the heart, will certainly be heard, and will receive what they have asked and desired.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Webmonk,
    After writing what I just wrote above, I went back and re-read the article Tipler wrote.
    Funny, Tipler acknowledges the following in the article and you seem to miss these:
    1) that Tipler replaced the word “singularity” with the word God in the quote. In other word’s Tipler has not lied in that, he has done something quite on purpose, and has acknowledged what he has done.
    2) Tipler has explained that Hawking would not agree that his singularity is a personal God. Tipler disagrees with this, offers a thumbnail sketch of his reasoning, and refers you to his book for further explanation.
    The upshot of this, is you got so bent out of shape having read the first paragraph, assuming that Tipler was out and out lying and making false quotes, that you missed the force of his argument, and made an arse of yourself here. To try to save face you are pointing to things as dishonest, which Tipler has been very honest about, but given the constraints of a half page article are quite allowable, especially when you are honest about what you have done.
    So thanks for your quote. I knew there was a reason you finding it did not impress me that much. maybe because I read the article for what it says and not what I thought it said? To say Tipler lied in this is to be yourself dishonest.
    Do you see what I am getting at?
    Now perhaps there is reason to disagree with the premises and conclusions of Tipler’s book to which he references, but that would require you to read Tipler and analyze his argumentation. The tumbnail he has given me, and my knowledge of Aristotle and Aquinas, via reading Coppleston, W.T. Jones, Aristotle, and Aquinas tells me that Tipler probably makes a convincing case in his argument.
    In short what you have managed to do Webmonk, is accuse others of doing exactly what you are doing, and they don’t seem to be nearly as guilty of it as you seem to think they are.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Webmonk,
    After writing what I just wrote above, I went back and re-read the article Tipler wrote.
    Funny, Tipler acknowledges the following in the article and you seem to miss these:
    1) that Tipler replaced the word “singularity” with the word God in the quote. In other word’s Tipler has not lied in that, he has done something quite on purpose, and has acknowledged what he has done.
    2) Tipler has explained that Hawking would not agree that his singularity is a personal God. Tipler disagrees with this, offers a thumbnail sketch of his reasoning, and refers you to his book for further explanation.
    The upshot of this, is you got so bent out of shape having read the first paragraph, assuming that Tipler was out and out lying and making false quotes, that you missed the force of his argument, and made an arse of yourself here. To try to save face you are pointing to things as dishonest, which Tipler has been very honest about, but given the constraints of a half page article are quite allowable, especially when you are honest about what you have done.
    So thanks for your quote. I knew there was a reason you finding it did not impress me that much. maybe because I read the article for what it says and not what I thought it said? To say Tipler lied in this is to be yourself dishonest.
    Do you see what I am getting at?
    Now perhaps there is reason to disagree with the premises and conclusions of Tipler’s book to which he references, but that would require you to read Tipler and analyze his argumentation. The tumbnail he has given me, and my knowledge of Aristotle and Aquinas, via reading Coppleston, W.T. Jones, Aristotle, and Aquinas tells me that Tipler probably makes a convincing case in his argument.
    In short what you have managed to do Webmonk, is accuse others of doing exactly what you are doing, and they don’t seem to be nearly as guilty of it as you seem to think they are.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    In short Webmonk, to paraphrase Veith who was much kinder in a comment he made to you on a different thread, You might know a lot about science, no learn how to read!

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    In short Webmonk, to paraphrase Veith who was much kinder in a comment he made to you on a different thread, You might know a lot about science, no learn how to read!

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    And while I am about handing out book recommendations a great book to help you learn how to read is: http://www.amazon.com/How-Read-Book-Touchstone-book/dp/0671212095/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1284648891&sr=8-1

    I know this is how to read a book, but it might also allow you to read a newspaper article.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    And while I am about handing out book recommendations a great book to help you learn how to read is: http://www.amazon.com/How-Read-Book-Touchstone-book/dp/0671212095/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1284648891&sr=8-1

    I know this is how to read a book, but it might also allow you to read a newspaper article.

  • shell

    Webmonk,
    Having seen “The Large Scale Structure of Space-Time” referenced in this thread, I did find it (though with some key pages missing) at http://books.google.com/books?id=QagG_KI7Ll8C&pg=PP1&lpg=PP1&dq=The+Large+Scale+Structure+of+Space-Time
    After glancing through it, I certainly agree with you about two things: 1) the math IS too much to follow and 2) it does not explicitly address the concept of God. However, to say that Tippler is lying is to misread his intentions and to disregard the impact that books and ideas have.

    First, regarding his intentions. Tippler replaces Hawking’s “a singularity” with [God] (notice the brackets). He then goes on to explain why he has inserted this bracketed word,
    “The alert reader will have noticed that in the above quote, Hawking did not actually use the word “God.” But this is what he really meant. To see this, let us recall just what the word “God” means.”
    As you know, the rest of the article defines “God” and “singularity” in such a way to make the claim that they are one and the same. So the question at hand is: “Does YOUNG Hawking’s definition of a singularity as explained in TLSSST coincide with a definition of God?” Now I can clearly understand why one would answer, “No,” as you have done, and I appreciate the detailed arguments you made in post #18. But to say that Tippler is “lying” is to ignore what he has actually written. His substitution of [God] for “a singularity” was acknowledged and explained.

    Secondly, though TLSSST does not explicitly address “God” as such based on my glancing and your more thorough reading, it does have implications that Hawking himself acknowledged in the lecture I referenced in post #13. Hawking says of TLSSST,
    “Although the singularity theorems of Penrose and myself, predicted that the universe had a beginning, they didn’t say how it had begun. The equations of General Relativity would break down at the singularity. Thus Einstein’s theory cannot predict how the universe will begin, but only how it will evolve once it has begun. There are two attitudes one can take to the results of Penrose and myself. One is to that God chose how the universe began for reasons we could not understand. This was the view of Pope John Paul… The other interpretation of our results, which is favored by most scientists, is that it indicates that the General Theory of Relativity breaks down in the very strong gravitational fields in the early universe.” So Hawking acknowledges that someone like Pope John Paul might conclude after reading his book that there was some correlation between the ideas presented in TLSSST and the concept of God. Nevertheless, Hawking does say that the primary implication of TLSSST for him was that relativity was not sufficient in understanding the beginning of the universe and that quantum theory had become necessary. Thus HAWKING admits that someone could read TLSSST and say, “Aha! There is God,” or they could read it and simply say, “We need to use quantum theory.”

  • shell

    Webmonk,
    Having seen “The Large Scale Structure of Space-Time” referenced in this thread, I did find it (though with some key pages missing) at http://books.google.com/books?id=QagG_KI7Ll8C&pg=PP1&lpg=PP1&dq=The+Large+Scale+Structure+of+Space-Time
    After glancing through it, I certainly agree with you about two things: 1) the math IS too much to follow and 2) it does not explicitly address the concept of God. However, to say that Tippler is lying is to misread his intentions and to disregard the impact that books and ideas have.

    First, regarding his intentions. Tippler replaces Hawking’s “a singularity” with [God] (notice the brackets). He then goes on to explain why he has inserted this bracketed word,
    “The alert reader will have noticed that in the above quote, Hawking did not actually use the word “God.” But this is what he really meant. To see this, let us recall just what the word “God” means.”
    As you know, the rest of the article defines “God” and “singularity” in such a way to make the claim that they are one and the same. So the question at hand is: “Does YOUNG Hawking’s definition of a singularity as explained in TLSSST coincide with a definition of God?” Now I can clearly understand why one would answer, “No,” as you have done, and I appreciate the detailed arguments you made in post #18. But to say that Tippler is “lying” is to ignore what he has actually written. His substitution of [God] for “a singularity” was acknowledged and explained.

    Secondly, though TLSSST does not explicitly address “God” as such based on my glancing and your more thorough reading, it does have implications that Hawking himself acknowledged in the lecture I referenced in post #13. Hawking says of TLSSST,
    “Although the singularity theorems of Penrose and myself, predicted that the universe had a beginning, they didn’t say how it had begun. The equations of General Relativity would break down at the singularity. Thus Einstein’s theory cannot predict how the universe will begin, but only how it will evolve once it has begun. There are two attitudes one can take to the results of Penrose and myself. One is to that God chose how the universe began for reasons we could not understand. This was the view of Pope John Paul… The other interpretation of our results, which is favored by most scientists, is that it indicates that the General Theory of Relativity breaks down in the very strong gravitational fields in the early universe.” So Hawking acknowledges that someone like Pope John Paul might conclude after reading his book that there was some correlation between the ideas presented in TLSSST and the concept of God. Nevertheless, Hawking does say that the primary implication of TLSSST for him was that relativity was not sufficient in understanding the beginning of the universe and that quantum theory had become necessary. Thus HAWKING admits that someone could read TLSSST and say, “Aha! There is God,” or they could read it and simply say, “We need to use quantum theory.”

  • WebMonk

    I am quite aware that Tipler talks about what he inserted into Hawking’s quote, and I thought it was blatantly obvious that his “explanation” was an elaboration of a lie. (at least if one actually knows what LSSST is about)

    He said he inserted “God” in there to explain what Hawking really meant, saying Hawking had been referring to an originating source of the universe. But Hawking wasn’t, he was talking about Black Holes!

    Hawking wasn’t trying to prove that the universe originated in a Black Hole at all – he was trying to prove that Black Holes could exist at all. (remember, people thought Black Holes were merely theoretical back then, and hadn’t yet observed them) But Tipler says (lying) that Hawking was trying to prove the universe originated in a black hole, an Uncaused First Cause.

    Is it so hard to see the vast difference between those two statements?

    The Bible says that in the Flood, waters covered the land. If I go down to the beach and prove that water exists, have I just proved that the waters once entirely covered the globe? Of course not! To claim so is to purposefully lie.

    Yet that is exactly what Tipler does – he claims Hawking was trying to prove the universe began as a black hole, when all Hawking was doing was trying to prove that Black Holes could exist at all.

    What is so hard to understand about that?

  • WebMonk

    I am quite aware that Tipler talks about what he inserted into Hawking’s quote, and I thought it was blatantly obvious that his “explanation” was an elaboration of a lie. (at least if one actually knows what LSSST is about)

    He said he inserted “God” in there to explain what Hawking really meant, saying Hawking had been referring to an originating source of the universe. But Hawking wasn’t, he was talking about Black Holes!

    Hawking wasn’t trying to prove that the universe originated in a Black Hole at all – he was trying to prove that Black Holes could exist at all. (remember, people thought Black Holes were merely theoretical back then, and hadn’t yet observed them) But Tipler says (lying) that Hawking was trying to prove the universe originated in a black hole, an Uncaused First Cause.

    Is it so hard to see the vast difference between those two statements?

    The Bible says that in the Flood, waters covered the land. If I go down to the beach and prove that water exists, have I just proved that the waters once entirely covered the globe? Of course not! To claim so is to purposefully lie.

    Yet that is exactly what Tipler does – he claims Hawking was trying to prove the universe began as a black hole, when all Hawking was doing was trying to prove that Black Holes could exist at all.

    What is so hard to understand about that?

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    “Talking about Black holes!”

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    “Talking about Black holes!”

  • WebMonk

    shell, Tipler can say he is merely clearing up Hawking’s meaning, but that doesn’t mean that’s what he is actually trying to do. He acknowledged that he changed it, but then said he did it because what Hawking REALLY meant when Hawking said “singularity” was some sort of UFC. That is part of the lie he made, starting with the substitution itself.

    Changing something, and then saying he changed it for a reason he full well knew wasn’t true, is still lying. It’s just spending two or three paragraphs lying instead of doing it all in one spot.

    I don’t know if the Google Books part includes the whole table of contents, but just in case it doesn’t, I’ll point everyone to a section called “The Initial Singularity in the Universe”.

    Oh noes! Hawking was trying to displace God with a UFC singularity starting the universe!! Ahhhh!!! I’ve been disproved!! Tipler was right!!! Ahhhh!!!!

    Or…. not. Go read the section. It’s not a proof of an initial singularity beginning of the universe, the section is a what-if exploration of a lot of different things, including ideas that the universe began with a singularity. He discusses lots of things in that section, ranging from the CMB to wormholes to the limits of GR to the possibility of naked singularities. It is the end of the book, and it is a catch-all discussion of lots of different things. Scholarly works are frequently like this – they spend 90% of the book discussing the direct topic and then have the last chapter talk about all the various things that are possibly tangentially related in some way.

    Ok, maybe in that section Hawking is trying to prove that the universe began with a singularity, and Tipler is correct.

    Let’s look through it and see, it’s only 16 pages long. Nope, nope, nope, nope. Nothing in there where Hawking tries to prove the universe began with a singularity. In fact when he talks about the ideas that the universe began with a singularity (he is talking about the claim, not making it) he says (and I’ll type in the quote, just in case it’s not one of the pages shown in the Google Books version)

    The creation of the universe out of nothing has been argued indecisively, from early times …. The results we have obtained support the idea that the universe began a finite time ago. However the actual point of creation, the singularity, is outside the scope of presently known laws of physics.

    (page 373)

    Hawking is VERY SPECIFICALLY STATING HE IS NOT proving the universe began from a singularity!

    But, Tipler ignores this, claims just the opposite, and falsifies Hawking’s words (while claiming he is merely clarifying) to mean something wildly different than what Hawking actually said.

  • WebMonk

    shell, Tipler can say he is merely clearing up Hawking’s meaning, but that doesn’t mean that’s what he is actually trying to do. He acknowledged that he changed it, but then said he did it because what Hawking REALLY meant when Hawking said “singularity” was some sort of UFC. That is part of the lie he made, starting with the substitution itself.

    Changing something, and then saying he changed it for a reason he full well knew wasn’t true, is still lying. It’s just spending two or three paragraphs lying instead of doing it all in one spot.

    I don’t know if the Google Books part includes the whole table of contents, but just in case it doesn’t, I’ll point everyone to a section called “The Initial Singularity in the Universe”.

    Oh noes! Hawking was trying to displace God with a UFC singularity starting the universe!! Ahhhh!!! I’ve been disproved!! Tipler was right!!! Ahhhh!!!!

    Or…. not. Go read the section. It’s not a proof of an initial singularity beginning of the universe, the section is a what-if exploration of a lot of different things, including ideas that the universe began with a singularity. He discusses lots of things in that section, ranging from the CMB to wormholes to the limits of GR to the possibility of naked singularities. It is the end of the book, and it is a catch-all discussion of lots of different things. Scholarly works are frequently like this – they spend 90% of the book discussing the direct topic and then have the last chapter talk about all the various things that are possibly tangentially related in some way.

    Ok, maybe in that section Hawking is trying to prove that the universe began with a singularity, and Tipler is correct.

    Let’s look through it and see, it’s only 16 pages long. Nope, nope, nope, nope. Nothing in there where Hawking tries to prove the universe began with a singularity. In fact when he talks about the ideas that the universe began with a singularity (he is talking about the claim, not making it) he says (and I’ll type in the quote, just in case it’s not one of the pages shown in the Google Books version)

    The creation of the universe out of nothing has been argued indecisively, from early times …. The results we have obtained support the idea that the universe began a finite time ago. However the actual point of creation, the singularity, is outside the scope of presently known laws of physics.

    (page 373)

    Hawking is VERY SPECIFICALLY STATING HE IS NOT proving the universe began from a singularity!

    But, Tipler ignores this, claims just the opposite, and falsifies Hawking’s words (while claiming he is merely clarifying) to mean something wildly different than what Hawking actually said.

  • WebMonk

    shell, I think you might be reading something into Hawking’s speech. Look at the section you are quoting again:

    Although the singularity theorems of Penrose and myself, predicted that the universe had a beginning, they didn’t say how it had begun. The equations of General Relativity would break down at the singularity. Thus Einstein’s theory cannot predict how the universe will begin, but only how it will evolve once it has begun. There are two attitudes one can take to the results of Penrose and myself.

    Like I showed in @38, and as the quote above specifically states, Hawking wasn’t proving an existence of a singularity source to the universe.

    “Although the singularity theorems of Penrose and myself, predicted that the universe had a beginning, they didn’t say how it had begun.”

    It is from that ABSENCE of what Hawking and Penrose said that people can jump to whatever positions. Hawking uses Pope John Paul as an figure for the Christian view that since Hawking DID NOT say a singularity began the universe that there is no problem with saying God began the universe through fiat.

    He said the other view, is to say that since Hawking DID NOT prove the universe started from a singularity, that the laws of physics are incomplete and we need a more complete understanding.

    He goes with the second, obviously. But the point is that he was NOT saying people could take his proofs in two different directions, he was saying that his LACK of proof could be approached in two different ways.

    Like an actual reading of TLSSST shows, there was no proving of any sort that the universe began from a singularity. There was a distinct absence of that, and your quote from Hawking’s speech shows that.

    Either way, Tipler deliberately falsified what Hawking said. There isn’t even a way in which Hawking’s proofs in the book could be understood to indicate something. As your quote pointed out, the existence of a UFC singularity could only come from the absence of what the book proved.

  • WebMonk

    shell, I think you might be reading something into Hawking’s speech. Look at the section you are quoting again:

    Although the singularity theorems of Penrose and myself, predicted that the universe had a beginning, they didn’t say how it had begun. The equations of General Relativity would break down at the singularity. Thus Einstein’s theory cannot predict how the universe will begin, but only how it will evolve once it has begun. There are two attitudes one can take to the results of Penrose and myself.

    Like I showed in @38, and as the quote above specifically states, Hawking wasn’t proving an existence of a singularity source to the universe.

    “Although the singularity theorems of Penrose and myself, predicted that the universe had a beginning, they didn’t say how it had begun.”

    It is from that ABSENCE of what Hawking and Penrose said that people can jump to whatever positions. Hawking uses Pope John Paul as an figure for the Christian view that since Hawking DID NOT say a singularity began the universe that there is no problem with saying God began the universe through fiat.

    He said the other view, is to say that since Hawking DID NOT prove the universe started from a singularity, that the laws of physics are incomplete and we need a more complete understanding.

    He goes with the second, obviously. But the point is that he was NOT saying people could take his proofs in two different directions, he was saying that his LACK of proof could be approached in two different ways.

    Like an actual reading of TLSSST shows, there was no proving of any sort that the universe began from a singularity. There was a distinct absence of that, and your quote from Hawking’s speech shows that.

    Either way, Tipler deliberately falsified what Hawking said. There isn’t even a way in which Hawking’s proofs in the book could be understood to indicate something. As your quote pointed out, the existence of a UFC singularity could only come from the absence of what the book proved.

  • shell

    Webmonk,
    First, I appreciate that you engaged the ideas I presented and did not merely dismiss them out of hand.

    I agree that TLSSST is primarily about Hawking proving the existence of black holes/singularities and that in the section called “The Initial Singularity in the Universe” he includes a “what-if exploration of a lot of different things, including ideas that the universe began with a singularity” (post #38).

    Interestingly in the lecture that I’ve referenced several times, he elaborates on this idea that the universe began with a singularity,
    “If Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity is correct, there will be a singularity, a point of infinite density and spacetime curvature, where time has a beginning. Observational evidence to confirm the idea that the universe had a very dense beginning came in October 1965, a few months after my first singularity result, with the discovery of a faint background of microwaves throughout space.”

    It seems that he is saying that he believes that the beginning of time and space within a singularity has serious support and is not merely some vague possibility. Now if Hawking even considers the POSSIBILITY of connecting the beginning of the universe with a singularity (based on TLSSST), is it not a serious idea to consider? Hawking engaged this possibility from the perspective of quantum theory. Is Tipler not allowed to pursue this possibility from a theological perspective?

  • shell

    Webmonk,
    First, I appreciate that you engaged the ideas I presented and did not merely dismiss them out of hand.

    I agree that TLSSST is primarily about Hawking proving the existence of black holes/singularities and that in the section called “The Initial Singularity in the Universe” he includes a “what-if exploration of a lot of different things, including ideas that the universe began with a singularity” (post #38).

    Interestingly in the lecture that I’ve referenced several times, he elaborates on this idea that the universe began with a singularity,
    “If Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity is correct, there will be a singularity, a point of infinite density and spacetime curvature, where time has a beginning. Observational evidence to confirm the idea that the universe had a very dense beginning came in October 1965, a few months after my first singularity result, with the discovery of a faint background of microwaves throughout space.”

    It seems that he is saying that he believes that the beginning of time and space within a singularity has serious support and is not merely some vague possibility. Now if Hawking even considers the POSSIBILITY of connecting the beginning of the universe with a singularity (based on TLSSST), is it not a serious idea to consider? Hawking engaged this possibility from the perspective of quantum theory. Is Tipler not allowed to pursue this possibility from a theological perspective?

  • WebMonk

    Oh, absolutely. Hawking’s view at the moment is quite clear that he does indeed believe our universe came from a singularity.

    My main point is that
    1) Tipler deliberately lied about Hawking’s statements in TLSSST, as well as his statement about Hawking’s work in 1966, SGST. Hawking didn’t make any sorts of claims about the universe having come from some sort of uncaused first singularity. He didn’t make any proofs about the universe coming from a singularity, caused or uncaused, in either of those book. He was talking about the existence of Black Holes.

    Hawking definitely believes that the universe was at one point a singularity or something very like it, and the major thrust of his book TGD is that the singularity was caused by other things.

    No matter how it’s sliced, Tipler’s claims about Hawking’s position are wrong, and in his claims about Hawking’s position in TLSSST and SGST are out and out deliberate falsehoods.

  • WebMonk

    Oh, absolutely. Hawking’s view at the moment is quite clear that he does indeed believe our universe came from a singularity.

    My main point is that
    1) Tipler deliberately lied about Hawking’s statements in TLSSST, as well as his statement about Hawking’s work in 1966, SGST. Hawking didn’t make any sorts of claims about the universe having come from some sort of uncaused first singularity. He didn’t make any proofs about the universe coming from a singularity, caused or uncaused, in either of those book. He was talking about the existence of Black Holes.

    Hawking definitely believes that the universe was at one point a singularity or something very like it, and the major thrust of his book TGD is that the singularity was caused by other things.

    No matter how it’s sliced, Tipler’s claims about Hawking’s position are wrong, and in his claims about Hawking’s position in TLSSST and SGST are out and out deliberate falsehoods.

  • ptl

    Am not sure if this is helpful, as this is pretty tough stuff, but here is my 2 cents worth:

    To me, ultimately, the existence or not of God is not something that can be proven….doesn’t it fall in the same sphere as ghosts and leprechauns, fairies, even angels, at least logically? Well, it does in my little world and so point number 1) the existence of God has to be an axiom. It is something we use as a starting point, like in Math, which we just accept as true….we don’t have to prove it. This is the way classical logic works….you start with axioms and take the rest from there.

    So, as per Hawkings, he is just doing his thing on both sides of that fundamental axiom. If there is a God and that God created the Universe, then these things follow. Sometimes, he goes the other way, which is very interesting. He starts with some science and then shows that it implies a creator, or rather it depends on some sort of first cause….apparently in Einstein’s theories. And that makes sense, since Einstein didn’t believe God played dice with the Universe, etc. etc. and his theories would reflect that assumption (aka, axiom).

    Or Hawkings goes the other way too. Looks to me like he is trying to find a theory that would not require a first cause. Fine and dandy! But that to me, means he is starting his search with the axiom that there is no first cause and then building up the theories on top of that?

    No problem, but the main point to me is that the existence and/or non-existence of God (or first cause) has to be an axiom and starting point. It can never be proven, but is taken to be true as the beginning point of everything that will follow.

    What is interesting about Hawkings is that he seems to look at other theories and determine how they come down on that side of the axiom, whether or not the scientists were aware of it. Kind of cool, but in the end doesn’t prove or disprove anything about the actual beginning, something we will never know (that might be an other axiom?) and have to be content with its axiomatic role.

    It would seem to me that the “danger” of letting it appear that because Hawking has developed cosmological theories which do not require the existence of God (or the lack of need of a God as creator) mean that he has somehow proven there is no God, etc. etc. It should be clearly stated up front by everyone that that is an unprovable axiom and has to be declared either true or false without proof…..requiring something more like faith, for Christians and Scientists too?

    Thank you and good bye……

  • ptl

    Am not sure if this is helpful, as this is pretty tough stuff, but here is my 2 cents worth:

    To me, ultimately, the existence or not of God is not something that can be proven….doesn’t it fall in the same sphere as ghosts and leprechauns, fairies, even angels, at least logically? Well, it does in my little world and so point number 1) the existence of God has to be an axiom. It is something we use as a starting point, like in Math, which we just accept as true….we don’t have to prove it. This is the way classical logic works….you start with axioms and take the rest from there.

    So, as per Hawkings, he is just doing his thing on both sides of that fundamental axiom. If there is a God and that God created the Universe, then these things follow. Sometimes, he goes the other way, which is very interesting. He starts with some science and then shows that it implies a creator, or rather it depends on some sort of first cause….apparently in Einstein’s theories. And that makes sense, since Einstein didn’t believe God played dice with the Universe, etc. etc. and his theories would reflect that assumption (aka, axiom).

    Or Hawkings goes the other way too. Looks to me like he is trying to find a theory that would not require a first cause. Fine and dandy! But that to me, means he is starting his search with the axiom that there is no first cause and then building up the theories on top of that?

    No problem, but the main point to me is that the existence and/or non-existence of God (or first cause) has to be an axiom and starting point. It can never be proven, but is taken to be true as the beginning point of everything that will follow.

    What is interesting about Hawkings is that he seems to look at other theories and determine how they come down on that side of the axiom, whether or not the scientists were aware of it. Kind of cool, but in the end doesn’t prove or disprove anything about the actual beginning, something we will never know (that might be an other axiom?) and have to be content with its axiomatic role.

    It would seem to me that the “danger” of letting it appear that because Hawking has developed cosmological theories which do not require the existence of God (or the lack of need of a God as creator) mean that he has somehow proven there is no God, etc. etc. It should be clearly stated up front by everyone that that is an unprovable axiom and has to be declared either true or false without proof…..requiring something more like faith, for Christians and Scientists too?

    Thank you and good bye……

  • ptl

    Hmmm, having now just read the article in full, would say that it is wrong for the author to say that Hawking “proved” the existence of the First Cause (that is more dangerous than saying that it is equivalent to God). My reading implies that Hawking proved that if one were to accept the Einstein model, then one would be “forced” to accept that it required the existence of the First Cause. But that is not the same as proving that existence in the first place.
    It was always my impression that the existence of God (or the first cause) is just one of those things you cannot prove. Some pretty great minds have tried, like Pascal and Descartes and others, and did not succeed, at least that’s what was taught to me, and am sticking with it :)
    As said in my earlier comments, God and Angels, Leprechauns, Goblins, etc. all come under the banner of things which can or can not be proven. If you are going to accept their existence, or not, it will have to be on faith.
    Perhaps what the author is concerned about is that most regular, non-science, Math folks may misinterpret Hawkings results and use them to support an atheistic “proof” that God does not exist. Much in the same way that Einstein’s Relativity theories were used to support a larger idea that everything is relative….values, ideas, good and evil, perhaps. Well, anyway, read that somewhere….the Madison Avenue marketeers really leveraged Einsteins personality and curiosity and others in turn used that to spin off all sorts of social theories using the ideas of relativity is everywhere? Poor guy was the first rock star scientists in the early days of mass media and pop culture? Given Hawkings stellar (no pun intended) reputation, his ideas could be used (and abused) by others to try and say things he really didn’t say. By the way, my guess is that the book publishers do this all the time in order to increase interest and generate sales (could be even true that they encouraged him to include comments in his first big book that allowed for the possibility of the existence of a God to explain the origins of the universe, not in the name of academic integrity, but because by doing that he didn’t really offend the theists and thus book sales went thru the roof?)
    Well that is about it…this makes me tired…..”Of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh” Ecclesiastes 12:12 (and the rest of the book is pretty good too!)

    Here’s a nice Whitman poem that may also apply..hope you enjoy!

    http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/16083

  • ptl

    Hmmm, having now just read the article in full, would say that it is wrong for the author to say that Hawking “proved” the existence of the First Cause (that is more dangerous than saying that it is equivalent to God). My reading implies that Hawking proved that if one were to accept the Einstein model, then one would be “forced” to accept that it required the existence of the First Cause. But that is not the same as proving that existence in the first place.
    It was always my impression that the existence of God (or the first cause) is just one of those things you cannot prove. Some pretty great minds have tried, like Pascal and Descartes and others, and did not succeed, at least that’s what was taught to me, and am sticking with it :)
    As said in my earlier comments, God and Angels, Leprechauns, Goblins, etc. all come under the banner of things which can or can not be proven. If you are going to accept their existence, or not, it will have to be on faith.
    Perhaps what the author is concerned about is that most regular, non-science, Math folks may misinterpret Hawkings results and use them to support an atheistic “proof” that God does not exist. Much in the same way that Einstein’s Relativity theories were used to support a larger idea that everything is relative….values, ideas, good and evil, perhaps. Well, anyway, read that somewhere….the Madison Avenue marketeers really leveraged Einsteins personality and curiosity and others in turn used that to spin off all sorts of social theories using the ideas of relativity is everywhere? Poor guy was the first rock star scientists in the early days of mass media and pop culture? Given Hawkings stellar (no pun intended) reputation, his ideas could be used (and abused) by others to try and say things he really didn’t say. By the way, my guess is that the book publishers do this all the time in order to increase interest and generate sales (could be even true that they encouraged him to include comments in his first big book that allowed for the possibility of the existence of a God to explain the origins of the universe, not in the name of academic integrity, but because by doing that he didn’t really offend the theists and thus book sales went thru the roof?)
    Well that is about it…this makes me tired…..”Of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh” Ecclesiastes 12:12 (and the rest of the book is pretty good too!)

    Here’s a nice Whitman poem that may also apply..hope you enjoy!

    http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/16083

  • WebMonk

    ptl, like you I’m not sure it’s possible to prove the necessity of a UFC, though it certainly seems like it is a requirement; at least, I’ve never heard any theory of existence that completely avoids the question.

    Even if Hawking is correct that the laws of the existence/multiverse bring about things like universes of spacetime out of nothing but the existence of those laws, it still seems to me that there is the question of where those laws came from. Why are they there? If there is quantum fluctuation from which universes are created, where did it come from?

    Did God create our universe directly? Maybe not. Maybe he created the laws which brought about our universe. Hawking says that our universe was created because of preexisting laws and environment.

    Ultimately there needs to be a something that is uncaused – Aquinas’ UFC. It might be possible to see what that something is by looking at what comes from it. Is that something the God of the Bible? (I believe so.) Is that something merely the laws of the multiverse/existence?

    I’m pretty sure it is not possible to prove conclusively what that something is from a purely scientific position. (actually, I’m absolutely positive it is not possible – there are limitations, not just practical ones, which can’t be gotten around)

    However, the fact that something can’t be rigorously proved doesn’t mean that the universe can’t indicate strongly that the UFC something is indeed God. Absolute proof? Nope. Strong indication? I think so.

  • WebMonk

    ptl, like you I’m not sure it’s possible to prove the necessity of a UFC, though it certainly seems like it is a requirement; at least, I’ve never heard any theory of existence that completely avoids the question.

    Even if Hawking is correct that the laws of the existence/multiverse bring about things like universes of spacetime out of nothing but the existence of those laws, it still seems to me that there is the question of where those laws came from. Why are they there? If there is quantum fluctuation from which universes are created, where did it come from?

    Did God create our universe directly? Maybe not. Maybe he created the laws which brought about our universe. Hawking says that our universe was created because of preexisting laws and environment.

    Ultimately there needs to be a something that is uncaused – Aquinas’ UFC. It might be possible to see what that something is by looking at what comes from it. Is that something the God of the Bible? (I believe so.) Is that something merely the laws of the multiverse/existence?

    I’m pretty sure it is not possible to prove conclusively what that something is from a purely scientific position. (actually, I’m absolutely positive it is not possible – there are limitations, not just practical ones, which can’t be gotten around)

    However, the fact that something can’t be rigorously proved doesn’t mean that the universe can’t indicate strongly that the UFC something is indeed God. Absolute proof? Nope. Strong indication? I think so.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    ptl,
    Ecclesiasties is right up there with favorite books of the Bible for me too.
    In any case, as for whether the smart guys have proved God or not is something you can’t take another persons word for. They were smart guys and they thought they had. I don’t think it is an axiom that has to be accepted or left alone. But the conclusion of axioms most of us would assume to be true, if we couldn’t prove them to be true. I don’t think for instance that Aristotle was all that concerned with proving God to be true or not, but he let the evidence go where it needed to go. He still died a pagan.
    And I suppose that is the problem I have with most of these trying to prove God from physics theories, I.D. and the like. And there can be convincing arguments on both sides of these coins. But you come to know there is a God, and you are left with “now what?” It maybe doesn’t do a whole lot for you. Thomas Nagel talks about his fear of there being a God in “The Last Word” and I think that is what so many run into. “There is a God” is not necessarily good news.
    So in reality I think they are messing around in the wrong place to see if there is a God. I for one could care less about Tipler’s upcoming experiment. I don’t want to discount the 5 classical arguments for God, they are intellectually sound, and quite persistent. But I would rather investigate the evidence for Jesus Christ rising from the grave, and see where that takes me.
    Because, “Jesus rose from the Dead” is good news.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    ptl,
    Ecclesiasties is right up there with favorite books of the Bible for me too.
    In any case, as for whether the smart guys have proved God or not is something you can’t take another persons word for. They were smart guys and they thought they had. I don’t think it is an axiom that has to be accepted or left alone. But the conclusion of axioms most of us would assume to be true, if we couldn’t prove them to be true. I don’t think for instance that Aristotle was all that concerned with proving God to be true or not, but he let the evidence go where it needed to go. He still died a pagan.
    And I suppose that is the problem I have with most of these trying to prove God from physics theories, I.D. and the like. And there can be convincing arguments on both sides of these coins. But you come to know there is a God, and you are left with “now what?” It maybe doesn’t do a whole lot for you. Thomas Nagel talks about his fear of there being a God in “The Last Word” and I think that is what so many run into. “There is a God” is not necessarily good news.
    So in reality I think they are messing around in the wrong place to see if there is a God. I for one could care less about Tipler’s upcoming experiment. I don’t want to discount the 5 classical arguments for God, they are intellectually sound, and quite persistent. But I would rather investigate the evidence for Jesus Christ rising from the grave, and see where that takes me.
    Because, “Jesus rose from the Dead” is good news.

  • Porcell

    While scientists will likely never prove a universe created ex nihilo, Aristotle and Aquinas make a convincing, self evident philosophical case for the necessity of an uncaused cause or, better, an unmoved mover, who is the Judeo-Christian monotheistic Trintarian God.

    Hawking and Mlodinow are basically philosophic naturalists who argue that only empirical and theoretical scientists can discover truth. They might be decent scientists, though naturalism and positivism has been decisively proved fallacious by Van Quine and others.

  • Porcell

    While scientists will likely never prove a universe created ex nihilo, Aristotle and Aquinas make a convincing, self evident philosophical case for the necessity of an uncaused cause or, better, an unmoved mover, who is the Judeo-Christian monotheistic Trintarian God.

    Hawking and Mlodinow are basically philosophic naturalists who argue that only empirical and theoretical scientists can discover truth. They might be decent scientists, though naturalism and positivism has been decisively proved fallacious by Van Quine and others.

  • ptl

    My hunch would be Aristotle would for sure make a case for the necessity of an uncaused first cause….afterall, didn’t they name some kind of logic after him….like Aristotelian logic? That whole philosophy (and the scientific process itself) depends upon the cause and effect principle being fundamental (it might even be thought of as the only way reasonable people think?) as to the very process of doing science. That is, something just happened, now what could be the cause? Let’s do an experiment and see if we can repeat it and find out, yeah! So that to me is the ultimate crux of the matter….how can you do “science” and investigate the how’s and why’s of an event, if you don’t think the event has a cause in the first place? To me, it is simply impossible and illogical, well at least in an Aristotelian logic kind of way. But perhaps there is another type of logic used to support the thesis of an uncaused cause? A type of logic that can ignore the cause and effect dynamic in certain cases….like when it is inconvenient :)

  • ptl

    My hunch would be Aristotle would for sure make a case for the necessity of an uncaused first cause….afterall, didn’t they name some kind of logic after him….like Aristotelian logic? That whole philosophy (and the scientific process itself) depends upon the cause and effect principle being fundamental (it might even be thought of as the only way reasonable people think?) as to the very process of doing science. That is, something just happened, now what could be the cause? Let’s do an experiment and see if we can repeat it and find out, yeah! So that to me is the ultimate crux of the matter….how can you do “science” and investigate the how’s and why’s of an event, if you don’t think the event has a cause in the first place? To me, it is simply impossible and illogical, well at least in an Aristotelian logic kind of way. But perhaps there is another type of logic used to support the thesis of an uncaused cause? A type of logic that can ignore the cause and effect dynamic in certain cases….like when it is inconvenient :)

  • ptl

    ps. And the “singularity” or quantum mechanics answer that things just happen for reasons unknown won’t address my concerns about the need to answer cause and effect issues in searching for answers to the beginning of our universe. Of course, that is just an axiom of mine! One that requires the use of determinstic processes and no stochastic processes allowed….am of the school that there is no such things as purely random events, they just appear that way to us because we don’t know all the causes and effects of the complex situation. Until then, we use stochastic processes to assign probabilities, but that does not convince me that a true random event exists. Actually, in my axiomatic world, they do exists, but they would be called mircales :)

  • ptl

    ps. And the “singularity” or quantum mechanics answer that things just happen for reasons unknown won’t address my concerns about the need to answer cause and effect issues in searching for answers to the beginning of our universe. Of course, that is just an axiom of mine! One that requires the use of determinstic processes and no stochastic processes allowed….am of the school that there is no such things as purely random events, they just appear that way to us because we don’t know all the causes and effects of the complex situation. Until then, we use stochastic processes to assign probabilities, but that does not convince me that a true random event exists. Actually, in my axiomatic world, they do exists, but they would be called mircales :)


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