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  1. #241
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    Re: WLC's Argument Against an Actual Infinity

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Thank you for the explanation.

    Perhaps due to my lack of familiarity with this concept I don't see how I am excluding them from consideration. I also am not sure why this would be an objection to my point originally made. Specifically, I was noting that whether we consider the passage of time (or adding to the vault) as discrete or continuous, it doesn't seem to make much difference in the total length of history (or total value in the vault).
    I'm not sure how you're concluding that "the vault never contains an infinite number of coins" unless you mean "There is no positive integer n such that after n deposits, the vault contains an infinite number of coins". Which is perfectly true--if you put n coins into an empty vault, the vault contains no more than n coins--but if that's your only conclusion, I don't see what it has to do with the infinitude of the past. Yes, after adding n events to the past, the past contains n more events; how does that suffice to show that the past is finite?

    I agree. Again, this is the difference between the idea of "could there be an infinite number of coins?" and "have we added an infinite number of coins to the vault?" We aren't talking about whether not the universe is capable of containing an infinitely long straight line, but rather, is it possible, given that you are at some point P, to have crossed an infinite amount of that straight line.
    Well, fine. You're saying that if we walk a step at a time down the path, it's impossible that we could have walked an infinite distance. What's the argument? Your task is to show (without assuming that there was ever a first step, or that the universe is past-finite) that if someone walks one step at a time, the number of steps they've taken must be finite.

    I think it is important to remember that we are at a definite "now," a distinct coin in the analogy. And we must remember that for ~F to be true, then the output of S must be infinite. IE the value in the vault, the distance crossed or the time passed is infinite in amount. But there is not distinct point where S produces an infinite output. It is only in the realm of the "infinite coin" that this becomes true, but the "infinite coin" is not a distinct object, just as infinity isn't a distinct number. And as such we can't be at that distinct point, now. We can't be the infinite moment added to the set that is the past (which oddly is also the next moment and all the past moments as well). Thus if we are at a distinct now and S is the process through which time is passed, then ~F cannot be true.
    I honestly don't know what any of this means. Imagine you're on the real number line, and you've got a bunch of coins, each one labeled with a distinct real number between 0 and 1 (inclusive). Each of these are tokens of "events", let's say. You travel along the real number line in a special car that moves at a speed of 1 unit / second, starting at a = -1 and finishing at a = 1; when the car crosses the value t, it automatically deposits coin t into your bank account.

    So after you arrive at b, you've deposited all the coins into the account, and you've done so one at a time (never two or more coins at the same time). What's the flaw? Where's the contradiction?

    I don't recall vouching for anything. Rather, I noted that the persons publishing them were not untrained amateurs (as alluded to) and that at least two of them were published or presented in a professional setting.
    "Crackpot" doesn't mean untrained, amateur, or unpublished.

    Neither of the above guarantees accuracy, but it does indicate that a better response is required to dismiss them than what has been offered.
    They weren't dismissed by virtue of being untrained, amateur, or unpublished. They were dismissed by virtue of doing physics poorly.
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  2. #242
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    Re: WLC's Argument Against an Actual Infinity

    Quote Originally Posted by CLIVE
    "Crackpot" doesn't mean untrained, amateur, or unpublished.
    No, it is name calling and is not a sufficient rebuttal or critique of an argument.
    Surely you have better grounds than this angle?
    Why not just call squatch a "crack pot" and move on? .. Isn't it because that is a fallacy and such a bad one that you or GP would hardly stoop to it?

    Please don't defend the name calling, its sad.

    Quote Originally Posted by CLIVE
    They weren't dismissed by virtue of being untrained, amateur, or unpublished. They were dismissed by virtue of doing physics poorly.
    No, they are accused of "not knowing what they are talking about". It is one thing to be wrong, and another to be clueless (as accused).

    But what use is that accusation? To support it you will have to at least support that the position is wrong, which is what the thread is about anyway yes? So why distract with name calling and side accusations?
    To serve man.

  3. #243
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    Re: WLC's Argument Against an Actual Infinity

    Quote Originally Posted by CliveStaples View Post
    Which is perfectly true--if you put n coins into an empty vault, the vault contains no more than n coins--but if that's your only conclusion, I don't see what it has to do with the infinitude of the past.
    This specific response concerned whether or not the process changed if you considered coins or a flow of metal. It doesn't seem obvious to me that it makes any difference. The value of the vault is equivalent if you added 100 $1 coins, or poured in 100 ounces of metal valued at $1 an ounce.

    Quote Originally Posted by CS
    Well, fine. You're saying that if we walk a step at a time down the path, it's impossible that we could have walked an infinite distance. What's the argument? Your task is to show (without assuming that there was ever a first step, or that the universe is past-finite) that if someone walks one step at a time, the number of steps they've taken must be finite.
    I agree, and the general thrust of the argument (more on this in a bit) is that he process described (walking a path, adding coins, etc) is insufficient to produce an actual infinite result given the observed evidence (we are at a distinct point, now or here, we are adding a specific coin).

    Quote Originally Posted by CS
    Imagine you're on the real number line, and you've got a bunch of coins, each one labeled with a distinct real number between 0 and 1 (inclusive). Each of these are tokens of "events", let's say. You travel along the real number line in a special car that moves at a speed of 1 unit / second, starting at a = -1 and finishing at a = 1; when the car crosses the value t, it automatically deposits coin t into your bank account.

    So after you arrive at b, you've deposited all the coins into the account, and you've done so one at a time (never two or more coins at the same time). What's the flaw? Where's the contradiction?
    So in this example, we are depositing an infinite number of coins per second right (I'm assuming that "unit" means traversing an integer? If not, then what is the precise "unit" we are crossing in a second?)? IE the cardinality of the set is infinite, but not the duration. That would seem to be an important distinction given the discussion offered is concerned with duration, not necessarily with cardinality. Thus, even in the scenario you present, the process is not infinitely long, even if it has infinite cardinality. It is 2 units long. Which returns again to the continuous/discrete discussion above I think. This is similar to the process I objected to a few days ago in which the coin is just infinitely divided into smaller fractions until you have an infinitely small bit of a coin each time.

    I think however, the analogy fails one of the initial conditions of Craig's argument however. He argued that the "amount" added (ie the value of the coin, the distance traveled, the value of |a-b| if a and b are two real numbers such that b is immediately subsequent to a) must be constant and non-zero. The value of |a-b| would seem to be 0.00000 repeating (not sure how to mark that on ODN) and as such not a non-zero, constant value. (Just as 0.9999 repeating is equal to 1, 0.000 repeating is equal to 0).


    Quote Originally Posted by CS
    "Crackpot" doesn't mean untrained, amateur, or unpublished.
    No, but it does imply a dismissal without reason, an ad hom fallacy unwarranted for those with professional training and presenting in a forum of other professionals with professional training.
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
    "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.” -G.K. Chesterton
    Also, if you think I've overlooked your post please shoot me a PM, I'm not intentionally ignoring you.


  4. #244
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    Re: WLC's Argument Against an Actual Infinity

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    This specific response concerned whether or not the process changed if you considered coins or a flow of metal. It doesn't seem obvious to me that it makes any difference. The value of the vault is equivalent if you added 100 $1 coins, or poured in 100 ounces of metal valued at $1 an ounce.
    ...right, that's just a different way of rephrasing "A finite sum of finitely-measured sets is finitely measured". Which is obviously true, but doesn't suffice to show that an infinite past is impossible.

    I agree, and the general thrust of the argument (more on this in a bit) is that he process described (walking a path, adding coins, etc) is insufficient to produce an actual infinite result given the observed evidence (we are at a distinct point, now or here, we are adding a specific coin).
    Please, squatch, just make your argument and state your reasoning.

    So in this example, we are depositing an infinite number of coins per second right (I'm assuming that "unit" means traversing an integer? If not, then what is the precise "unit" we are crossing in a second?)?
    "1" is the unit. It can be 1 year, 1 second, 1 anything. Remember, you're on the real number line. What you're crossing are numbers.

    IE the cardinality of the set is infinite, but not the duration. That would seem to be an important distinction given the discussion offered is concerned with duration, not necessarily with cardinality. Thus, even in the scenario you present, the process is not infinitely long, even if it has infinite cardinality. It is 2 units long. Which returns again to the continuous/discrete discussion above I think. This is similar to the process I objected to a few days ago in which the coin is just infinitely divided into smaller fractions until you have an infinitely small bit of a coin each time.

    I think however, the analogy fails one of the initial conditions of Craig's argument however. He argued that the "amount" added (ie the value of the coin, the distance traveled, the value of |a-b| if a and b are two real numbers such that b is immediately subsequent to a) must be constant and non-zero. The value of |a-b| would seem to be 0.00000 repeating (not sure how to mark that on ODN) and as such not a non-zero, constant value. (Just as 0.9999 repeating is equal to 1, 0.000 repeating is equal to 0).
    You are completely misunderstanding the discrete/continuous difference.

    What you're adding to the past are moments or events. These are the units of time. You think that adding them "continuously" means adding what amounts to a single event or moment in a gradual/continuous fashion. You're equivocating; if you "slice up" each moment/event, and each of those sliced pieces are themselves moments/events, then the count of moments/events is infinite. But you don't admit this; instead, you switch to a different metric. You're no longer counting the number of moments/events, you're counting the (total) length of these events.

    Which is fine, it's not like we shouldn't be using that metric. But your argument still fails on this front; I'll restate the counter-argument. How do you know you've only added a finite length of time to the vault? The "process" you're considering involves only (if you are indeed not assuming a "first" contribution) the addition of lengths to the vault. Why are you only considering the state of the vault after finitely many lengths have been added? How do you know the vault doesn't already contain an infinite length (i.e. the sum of lengths in the vault is infinite)?

    [Every single one of your statements could be put rigorously in set-theoretic form. Why not just do that?]

    No, but it does imply a dismissal without reason, an ad hom fallacy unwarranted for those with professional training and presenting in a forum of other professionals with professional training.
    This is 100% wrong. Dismissing something as being crackpot isn't an ad hom fallacy, it's an evaluation of the quality of work. Someone who claims that sqrt(2) is rational because the definition of irrational numbers is "wrong" is a crackpot, because they're doing math badly (in this case, they're equivocating on the definition of "rational", i.e. failing to apply the proper definitions when evaluating a theorem, and are thus doing math badly).

    ---------- Post added at 10:14 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:13 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    No, it is name calling and is not a sufficient rebuttal or critique of an argument.
    Surely you have better grounds than this angle?
    Why not just call squatch a "crack pot" and move on? .. Isn't it because that is a fallacy and such a bad one that you or GP would hardly stoop to it?

    Please don't defend the name calling, its sad.
    It isn't name-calling, MindTrap. It's an evaluation of quality. Saying that someone is a lousy carpenter might indeed be an insult, but when it comes from another carpenter, it's a professional evaluation.

    And Squatch pretty much is a crackpot on this matter. But he's confidently asserting that WLC's claims are true, and since I don't have access to challenge WLC (who is also a crackpot on this issue), I'm relegated to Squatch.

    No, they are accused of "not knowing what they are talking about". It is one thing to be wrong, and another to be clueless (as accused).

    But what use is that accusation? To support it you will have to at least support that the position is wrong, which is what the thread is about anyway yes? So why distract with name calling and side accusations?
    What do you think "not knowing what they are talking about" amounts to in this case, if not "doing physics badly"?
    Last edited by CliveStaples; March 12th, 2014 at 12:16 PM.
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  6. #245
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    Re: WLC's Argument Against an Actual Infinity

    Quote Originally Posted by CliveStaples
    Saying that someone is a lousy carpenter might indeed be an insult, but when it comes from another carpenter, it's a professional evaluation.
    Having a degree in Carpentry does not all of a sudden mean all of your insults magically turn into professional evaluations. You still have to give an explanation as to why the carpenter is lousy.

    Quote Originally Posted by CliveStaples
    This is 100% wrong. Dismissing something as being crackpot isn't an ad hom fallacy, it's an evaluation of the quality of work. Someone who claims that sqrt(2) is rational because the definition of irrational numbers is "wrong" is a crackpot, because they're doing math badly (in this case, they're equivocating on the definition of "rational", i.e. failing to apply the proper definitions when evaluating a theorem, and are thus doing math badly).
    How exactly does calling someone a "crackpot" support your argument in any way (which it would have to in order not to be considered an ad hom)? You have already established the premise (the person in question is doing physics/math poorly). Calling someone a "crackpot" does nothing to further this premise and its only purpose in this context is to denigrate the person's reputation/character. If you want to argue that the quality of the person's work is poor, then you have to demonstrate for the audience how and why this is the case.

  7. #246
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    Re: WLC's Argument Against an Actual Infinity

    Quote Originally Posted by Freund View Post
    Having a degree in Carpentry does not all of a sudden mean all of your insults magically turn into professional evaluations. You still have to give an explanation as to why the carpenter is lousy.
    Which I did.

    How exactly does calling someone a "crackpot" support your argument in any way (which it would have to in order not to be considered an ad hom)? You have already established the premise (the person in question is doing physics/math poorly). Calling someone a "crackpot" does nothing to further this premise and its only purpose in this context is to denigrate the person's reputation/character. If you want to argue that the quality of the person's work is poor, then you have to demonstrate for the audience how and why this is the case.
    Oh, I don't think it furthers my argument. And I agree, calling the work crackpot is a claim in need of support. But the point isn't that my argument is supported, but that the work fails to support Squatch's argument.

    The work was presented in order to support a claim. The work has elementary mistakes, bad math, and bad physics. Do you want a technical demonstration of these errors?

    Also, it amounts to a kind of linkwarz if each side can post as many studies as they like as "support" without presenting any mathematics/physics themselves.
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  8. #247
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    Re: WLC's Argument Against an Actual Infinity

    Quote Originally Posted by CliveStaples
    Which I did.
    I don't think I was as clear as I could have been. My apologies. For clarity's sake, you stated the following:

    Dismissing something as being crackpot isn't an ad hom fallacy, it's an evaluation of the quality of work.

    The problem with the term crackpot as it was originally used in this discussion is that it was presented as a bare assertion in lieu of an actual rebuttal. Compounding the issue is the negative connotation of the word: "Crackpot" is rarely used in a positive light, and it clearly wasn't a positive usage in this thread. As such this was no more than an appeal to ridicule, which makes it a fallacious claim. In this case I don't think it was an ad hom, however when you go on to state that "Squatch pretty much is a crackpot"--you cross the line. This is definitely an ad hom as it is an attack on Squatch's character.


    Quote Originally Posted by CliveStaples
    Oh, I don't think it furthers my argument. And I agree, calling the work crackpot is a claim in need of support. But the point isn't that my argument is supported, but that the work fails to support Squatch's argument.
    Again, calling the work (and even the person) "crackpot" adds nothing to the discussion, so why include it? The professional thing to do in this case is to demonstrate why and how the work fails to support Squatch's argument without resorting to name-calling.

    Quote Originally Posted by CliveStaples
    The work was presented in order to support a claim. The work has elementary mistakes, bad math, and bad physics. Do you want a technical demonstration of these errors?
    Yes, otherwise all I have to go on is your word that the work has "elementary mistakes, bad math, and bad physics".

    Quote Originally Posted by CliveStaples
    Also, it amounts to a kind of linkwarz if each side can post as many studies as they like as "support" without presenting any mathematics/physics themselves.
    If you want to discuss these topics amongst the peers in your field, then go ahead and do that. Don't whine and complain though about people outside of your field expecting you to be able to demonstrate your expertise in a way that is understandable. If you want to be considered a professional, then act like one.

  9. #248
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    Re: WLC's Argument Against an Actual Infinity

    Quote Originally Posted by GoldPhoenix View Post
    1.) These are crackpot* alternatives to Special Relativity (and GR and QFT, by the looks of it). It appears as though you think "SR" means "An explanation of time dilation, length contraction, and the simultaneity of relativity (i.e. 'relativistic phenomena')." It does not. I means "Lorentz invariance" and "The Principle of Relativity":

    In physics, special relativity (SR, also known as the special theory of relativity or STR) is the accepted physical theory regarding the relationship between space and time. It is based on two postulates: (1) that the laws of physics are invariant (i.e., identical) in all inertial systems (non-accelerating frames of reference); and (2) that the speed of light in a vacuum is the same for all observers, regardless of the motion of the light source. It was originally proposed in 1905 by Albert Einstein in the paper "On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies".[1] The inconsistency of classical mechanics with Maxwell’s equations of electromagnetism led to the development of special relativity, which corrects classical mechanics to handle situations involving motions nearing the speed of light. As of today, special relativity is the most accurate model of motion at any speed. Even so, classical mechanics is still useful (due to its simplicity and high accuracy) as an approximation at small velocities relative to the speed of light.

    Special relativity implies a wide range of consequences, which have been experimentally verified,[2] including length contraction, time dilation, relativistic mass, mass–energy equivalence, a universal speed limit, and relativity of simultaneity. It has replaced the conventional notion of an absolute universal time with the notion of a time that is dependent on reference frame and spatial position. Rather than an invariant time interval between two events, there is an invariant spacetime interval.


    --Wikipedia, Special Relativity

    Contrarily, Lorentzian aether theory was a competing explanation of how electromagnetism works (But can't compete in modern experiments and the repeated non-existence of luminiferous aether theory), and "Lorentzian relativity" is a category -- created not by physicists, but philosophers-- who wanted to disregard SR and maintain an absolute frame of reference (based on their own philosophical prejudices) but still main competitive with SR's prediction and successes. Largely, these people have no idea what they're talking about and don't understand basic physics. At some level, this is just semantics, but given the historical origins of the term "special relativity", it seems intellectually dishonest to call a set of theories aspiring to be modern day "Lorentz aether theories" as a subset of "Special Relativity". They are not. The only reason that I can figure for why these people would want their theories to be called "Special Relativity" (even though most of them openly disparage Einstein) is that they want people to think of them as being more legitimate. They aren't that, either.


    2.) There's a thousand different ways to say this, but "Principle of Relativity" + "Constancy of the Speed of Light" == "Lorentz Invariance" == "Special Relativity" == "Time Dilation, Length Contraction, and Relativity of Simultaneity". The whole strength of this fact is that the true physics is contained in the expression "My theory is Lorentz invariant." Physicists don't bother to even talk about the principle of relativity in modern papers, they just say "Lorentz invariance." This is because if you have an interpretation, let's say it's based upon "X" and "Y", and it gives rise to the predictions of relativity: "X" + "Y" == "Time Dilation, Length Contraction, and Relativity of Simultaneity" == "Lorentz Invariance". So either you derive the exacts results of SR, or you have created a new theory. You've finally admitted to the idea that your theory "leads to a different prediction". So we can move off of this point, but I want to re-iterate this: If your theory reproduces the exact results of SR ('relativistic phenomena') then you're theory has Lorentz invariance.



    *Superluminality in field theory is a very technical subject (and I'm not going to get into the details), but it does not necessarily imply a violation of relativity or causality.
    Quote Originally Posted by Freund View Post
    The problem with the term crackpot as it was originally used in this discussion is that it was presented as a bare assertion in lieu of an actual rebuttal.
    ...not to add to the derailment of an otherwise thoroughly-removed-from-the-tracks-discussion, but is it just me or is it not the case that GP --not Clive-- not only first used the term "crackpot" in this discussion, but he also went on to offer a very specific and qualified rebuttal?

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  11. #249
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    Re: WLC's Argument Against an Actual Infinity

    Quote Originally Posted by Freund View Post
    I don't think I was as clear as I could have been. My apologies. For clarity's sake, you stated the following:
    Dismissing something as being crackpot isn't an ad hom fallacy, it's an evaluation of the quality of work.

    The problem with the term crackpot as it was originally used in this discussion is that it was presented as a bare assertion in lieu of an actual rebuttal.
    To be fair to GP, his specific criticisms of the paper were repeatedly eaten by ODN's server.

    Compounding the issue is the negative connotation of the word: "Crackpot" is rarely used in a positive light, and it clearly wasn't a positive usage in this thread. As such this was no more than an appeal to ridicule, which makes it a fallacious claim. In this case I don't think it was an ad hom, however when you go on to state that "Squatch pretty much is a crackpot"--you cross the line. This is definitely an ad hom as it is an attack on Squatch's character.
    Squatch doesn't put his argument in mathematically- or logically-rigorous forms, but confidently makes statements about "infinity" and "possibility". That's a giant red flag for crackpot logic.

    I'm not criticizing Squatch's character. I'm criticizing his argument. His argument is informal, imprecise, yet repeatedly asserted. Squatch's character virtues and vices are irrelevant to the discussion.

    Again, calling the work (and even the person) "crackpot" adds nothing to the discussion, so why include it? The professional thing to do in this case is to demonstrate why and how the work fails to support Squatch's argument without resorting to name-calling.
    It's a substantive description. It adds to the debate because it outlines a claim. I agree that claims need to be supported, but you seem to think that asserting a proposition doesn't add to an argument, because arguments should only include propositions that support other propositions. Which is odd.

    Yes, otherwise all I have to go on is your word that the work has "elementary mistakes, bad math, and bad physics".
    I understand that GP is drafting a rather full and detailed response on the merits of the sources, so I'll defer the specifics to him. I mentioned the general errors, which anyone with a pre-graduate understanding of mathematics should have been able to verify.

    If you want to discuss these topics amongst the peers in your field, then go ahead and do that. Don't whine and complain though about people outside of your field expecting you to be able to demonstrate your expertise in a way that is understandable. If you want to be considered a professional, then act like one.
    There's a problem, though, because it takes a good deal of effort to read through and understand errors in bad papers. Good papers are easy to read; their logic is open and clear, their deductions well-reasoned, and their conclusions follow in a logical, reasonable way from previously-established results in the paper. Bad papers can be exceptionally difficult to read, because their logic is often obfuscated, their reasoning often concealed and implicit, their deductions often given without reasoning, and their conclusions often seemingly unrelated or detached from what has gone before.

    Citing a bad paper, however, is quite easily done. Treating each paper as reliable unless proven unreliable leads to a large burden on the verifiers. This is the whole point of disallowing linkwarz. If Squatch has an argument about physics, why is he allowed to merely cite papers rather than presenting his (technically-flawless but layman-accessible) arguments himself?

    ---------- Post added at 05:09 PM ---------- Previous post was at 05:05 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    ...not to add to the derailment of an otherwise thoroughly-removed-from-the-tracks-discussion, but is it just me or is it not the case that GP --not Clive-- not only first used the term "crackpot" in this discussion, but he also went on to offer a very specific and qualified rebuttal?
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  13. #250
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    Re: WLC's Argument Against an Actual Infinity

    Squatch, I've given a lot of time --in fact a whole lot more time than I should have-- researching the authors and sources for you. I am absolutely not going to do this again. So let me be very clear:


    I will not be drowned in authors while you try to nail jello to the wall with dubious, nebulous claims. Next time, I will only be responding to a single authoritative source or not at all. I appreciate that you're trying to read up and be well-researched, but it is far more important that you have a single (or collection of) credible author(s) with a peer-reviewed paper in a reputable, respected journal. Consider this a formal challenge, if you like. I can't give one pre factum, so this is more of a forewarning. If you give me a source, I will challenge to substantiate the trustworthiness of your source based on:


    1.) A credible author (this means at least PhD in physics, and far more preferably a position at a research university or research institute).
    2.) A peer-reviewed paper from a reputable journal related to relativity. (Reputable journals include: Nature, JHEP, JCAP, any of the PRL's, etc; this is cultural knowledge, so I can tell you whether or not he journal is respectable, but if it's not one of those, then you should start being skeptical of your source)
    3.) Your summary so I can tell that you understand what it was that they did.


    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    This isn't a valid rebutal GP. I also take exception to your characterization of my sources as "crack pot," (perhaps I misunderstood you) given the academic background of the authors and publications I don't think these works can be so easily dismissed as you would seem to feel. While I have agreed with you that this is hardly the popularly held viewpoint, it is hardly the equivalent of someone working out of their garage on a tinfoil time travel hat either.
    You seem to misunderstand the term "crackpot". There are people with Nobel prizes who are crackpots*. Having a PhD does not provide an ammunity from being a "crackpot". Plenty of PhD's have engaged in crackpot theories. Let's take a really important, indisputable example: Michael Behe. Michael Behe is the lone biologist supporting intelligent design. There's a literal disclaimer on his university's website, telling everyone that his opinions are his own and do not represent the views of the university. Professor Behe is a tenured professor in biology who's work has been repeatedly repudiated and debunked by his colleagues. This is why scientific consensus is a far more reliable tool for understanding Nature than a single PhD alone, even if they are a professor. The long story short is that a PhD does not make your claims automatically credible, although I would consider having one as a necessary requirement to even be considered reasonable (at least if you're going to make grandiose claims like "Special Relativity** is false").


    * A great historical example is Einstein in his rejection of quantum mechanics and his following crazy theories.


    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch
    As for my sources:

    Paper 1: László Székely has a PHD in Mathematics, has been a research fellow at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and has more than a dozen published papers to his name. László Ropolyi has a PHD in Physics and a PHD in Philosophy.
    Author 1: László Székely has a PhD in mathematics. It must be something close to the theory of relativity, no? Well, you'd be wrong. While he may not be a crackpot in the field of graph theory, which is his specialty, this does not lend any credence to his ability to handle theoretical physics. Well, maybe Feynmann diagrams he might be able to lend some weight to, but no, having a PhD in mathematics specializing in graph theory does not an expert in theoretical physics make. Now, if it were really good work, maybe I wouldn't criticize it as such. But he's walking into a field with no formal degree and telling them that they've f***ed up something very basic in their field. Well, if you buy that, then when I finish my PhD, I'll publish a paper on theology for a formal proof of the non-existence of god, then publish it in a no-name theology journal; if you take this work seriously, you'll have to, on pain of contradiction, take my disproof of god work seriously, too. After all, all PhD's are apparently equal in your world. But you make this mistake repeatedly throughout your post, so I thought I'd clear up this point here and now. I will, however, continue to point out the absurdity of this position as I continue, because what you don't seem to understand is that there's kinds of authoritative sources. I may be an expert on physics, but I'm not an expert on every subject in physics, let alone on any other academic field.

    Author 2: László Ropolyi is an author that allegedly has a PhD in physics. I say allegedly, because for all my research, I can't actually find any record of this. And short of him having a PhD in condensed matter physics, I really, really should be able to find him. So there's several questions here. Firstly, his profile says that he got both of his PhD's in philosophy and in physics --as well as both of his masters-- in five years. This does not sound like a terribly rigorous curriculum. His profile lacks a Curriculum Vitae (extremely unprofessional), and on top of all of this, this is a guy who has allegedly been in the field for 45 years and has 14 citations for his whole career? (I'm close to beating his number of citations, for comparison, in less than one year on a single paper) That speaks very, very ill of his competence. So, let's assume that he does have a PhD in condensed matter physics, then he still isn't an expert in it, as condensed matter theorists only use ordinary quantum mechanics, for the most part).

    In short, he is a no-name philosopher who got all 4 of his degrees, allegedly one of them being in (probably condensed matter) physics, in five years from a no-name university and career that has bore a mere 14 citations and a grand total of 15 papers. This isn't the kind of guy that you want as an authoritative source.

    This work is not authoritative and only is amongst philosophers. (In fact, if you read there paper, they literally say this is a purely philosophical issue)

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch
    Paper 2: Gianfranco Spavieri has a PhD in Nuclear Engineering and a Masters in Physics. Jose Erazo is professor of physics at Universidad de los Andes and has a PHD in physics. Prof. Sanchez also has a PHD in physics and has several papers published in peer reviewed journals. Prof. Gilies has a PHD in physics and has a half dozen peer reviewed papers in the field of gravitational physics and cosmology.
    My error, this is an actual physics paper. I mean, not a terribly interesting physics paper, but it's a legitimate one. But this doesn't go in your favor, I'm afraid to tell you; you should have done your research on this paper. I would like to note that I'm pretty certain that you're wrong about J. Erazo having a PhD, I'm pretty certain that he's either Prof Sanchez or Prof Spavieri's PhD student, as I can find no recording of him having a PhD.


    1.) This paper actually wasn't published; I looked over the regular channels and nothing exists. The research, minus Sanchez and Erazo, was submitted to the arXiv in 2010 (And much less focused on aether theory). The research done is paper was published later, however, under a different name. A year later, in 2011, it was published as A survey of existing and proposed classical and quantum approaches to the photon mass by the same authors (You can check for yourself that it contains same content about the photon's variable mass). Actually, the paper follows a very strange evolution, given that it appears in three different versions with different authors tells me they probably had a dispute (I'm guessing Sanchez wanted to be more focused on aether theory aspects).

    2.) I can't understate this, but it's clear that these authors (Or at least the two that published) do not believe in Lorentz aether theory. Unfortunately, you'll have to take my word for this, because it's a writing style issue (Physicists rarely will actually say they're against something in print, instead they will say things like, for instance "The claim of these authors is that the available data point towards a consistency of non-null results when the interferometer is operated in the 'gas-mode', corresponding to light propagating through a gas [9] (as in the case of air or helium, for instance, even in modern maser versions of optical tests).", which overtly distance themselves from the authors proposing the model). They clearly don't agree with Lorentzian aether theory, they're simply providing a falsification method.

    3.) The journal-reviewed paper did come out and did provide a method of falsifying that particular aether theory, in this case exploring the mass of photons. One might ask, therefore, if someone has actually done the experiment (or more precisely realized that relevant data had already been collected to test the hypothesis). I'm glad you asked. Why yes, some were. They weren't the exact same as the ones proposed, but tested the same physical predictions. These modified experiments (which cite the Spavieri, et al, paper) was performed (two different ways, actually). I'll let the paper explain it to you:


    In other words, the experiment to discover Lorentzian aether theory was (completely unsurprisingly) conducted and that aether (LR) model was falsified. So at this point it doesn't even matter if they agreed with Lorentzian aether theory or not. Personally, I think these works are pointless (there's much better reasons to reject these ideas, but that's a side issue at this point). In short, the physicists provided models of falsification which were performed and falsified.


    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch
    Paper 3: I cannot verify Daniel Shanahan's prior experience, though I will note the paper I offered is available via arXig.org, and given their review/endorsement system that would seem to question the idea offered that it is nonsense.
    Firstly, there's no peer review on the arXiv. Anyone can publish on the site. There is a system in place to protect the actual physics and mathematics subsets; this system involves publishing with a reputable author, which then allows you to publish your papers on the main math and physics arXiv section (The one that academics actually read). There's a universally known "bulls***" crackpot dumping ground, which is purposefully not protected by this mechanism, under the titles "General Physics", "History and Philosophy of Physics", and "Popular Physics". This place is a known cesspool for crackpots; no one reputable reads or submits to these sections on arXiv. (It's a clever way to get rid of most of the quacks and crackpots).

    Now, knowing that, guess which section on the arXiv Shanahan submitted his paper to? I'll leave you to guess. (It was also published at a no-name journal, so I'm not giving that any credence; also it was a philosophy journal, not a physics journal).


    Secondly, Shanahan has no training. I should re-iterate, reading Shanahan's paper, it's clear he has no training. I wrote more professional documents (both in content and clarity) in undergraduate. There's more I can specifically say, but I said the majority of it in my last post, at least in abridged form.

    This is not an authoritative source.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch
    Paper 5: Albrecht Giese's paper was accepted and presented at German Physical Society and 8th Symposium Honoring Mathematical Physicist Jean-Pierre Vigier.
    Presenting at a conference doesn't mean that it's credible. I went to a conference where a speaker gave a talk about Penrose's crackpot "cycles" in the CMB; basically everyone was rolling their eyes during the entire talk. They really hounded him on questions, however, which was amusing. But no, speaking at a conference doesn't mean they're automatically credible. For instance, his website is screaming "crackpot":

    http://ag-physics.org/

    Look, he even has a section to say how he can predict dark energy. As near as I can tell, he has no peer-reviewed papers on the subject (please contradict me), let alone one from a credible journal (Definitely contradict me if at all possible). So no, not even in the ball park of an authoritative source. This guy definitely gets my crackpot seal of approval.

    This is not only not an authoritative source, this guy probably does actually wear a tinfoil hat.


    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch
    Can you offer a specific experiment that purports to show that LR is incorrect and can you explain why that experiment shows that? You make this claim again and again that implies the data has moved beyond LR, but you haven't offered up any empirical evidence that this is the case.
    Well, first they'd need to actually have a model. So far, I've seen a smattering of words-rich, equations-poor papers that all mutually disagree with each other in their proposed mechanisms for where and how they'd disagree with Lorentz invariance (which are themselves just self-admitted speculations and lacking any precise explanation). Shanahan, amusingly, is consistent with Lorentz invariance, meaning it must be equivalent to Special Relativity**, even if he does completely screw up the quantum mechanics/quantum field theory.

    1.) I was referring, however, to the first set of Lorentzian aether models that simply, frankly do not hold any kind of water. Those are demonstrably wrong by experiment (See the Michelson-Morley experiment for more details).

    2.) As per the claim of finding a specific example, I provide one about discrediting the so-called variable mass photon models. Of course, this is a game of whack-a-mole. You could waste an entire career debunking these hokum theories. When you're not bothering to come up with viable theories (or even worse not describing them in terms of concise, mathematical terms, but instead nebulous philosophical mumbo-jumbo), it's easy to come up with hundreds of garbage models.


    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch
    Setting aside that this statement would seem to disagree with the previous sentence you wrote, this is a positivist viewpoint (something you'll note I mentioned you would invoke earlier). If person makes a car or a automated machine line makes a car does not mean the two processes are identical, even if by examining the output I am unable to tell which process occurred.
    You seem to not understand. I'm not making a positivist claim. I'm using the statement that "If it produces Lorentz invariance, then it has Lorentz invariance. If it produces Lorentz invariance, then it is Special Relativity**." This is because Lorentz invariance is so constraining, not because I'm making an argument about positivism.

    Either it obeys Lorentz invariance or it doesn't. If it does, then it'll produce identically SR**. The metaphysical and philosophical issues I leave on the sidelines, but they will only be that: philosophical interpretation issues, and not novel new phenomena that can be experimented upon. If it produces explicit Lorentz-violating phenomena, then it's a different story.


    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch
    I had a similar problem when I was attempting to offer that post. Something about the formatting that came when I posted the equations over, but I'm not sure exactly what the problem was. It only worked when I deleted all the equation formatting, which I understand is frustrating.
    'Tis indeed.


    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch
    This response is a bit disappointing. I'm sorry you can't be bothered to review the sources offered. If you had reviewed them you would have realized they are not incoherent, you simply didn't review them enough to see how they are related. Remember LR simply holds that relativistic effects are the result of changes to matter rather than changes to the underlying spacetime. The paper you reference is proposing a mechanism to explain the physical process that the author argues leads to those effects. That doesn't make it incoherent in the slightest. No more than arguing industrialization is the explanation for increased out put is incoherent to an argument that output is tied to productivity.
    And this response is even more disappointing. This is the fifth time I've tried to you to defend the issue of how a non-Lorentz invariant theory can give rise to fundamental particles with half-integer quantized spin, and once for the fifth time you fail to respond.

    Maybe this will help: I Challenge to support a claim. you to explain the following:

    "I understand that it sounds appealing from your perspective to reject a single line of a theory, give it a new alternative (model), and then say "Problem could be solved this way." But like changing a single line in a computer program, you introduce a profound number of new and complex problems if you reject Lorentz invariance and say that it is just an "apparant phenomena". As someone who can trot further down the code and see what goes wrong, I say that there's quite a bit that gets immediately screwed up.

    The laws of Nature are literally suffused with Lorentz invariance, down to the literal definition and properties of particles ("Excitations of quantum fields, which take up an irreducible representation of the Poincare group", source: Weinberg's "Quantum Theory of Fields" in chapter 2; which, when translated into English, is basically just a formal statement that particles fundamentally obey Lorentz invariance). Just one example of this is the intrinsic "spin" of a particle. It entirely comes from Lorentz invariance (I can't find a good source for this fact online, without going to very technical sources, so let's go with the vague statement of Paul Dirac's Wiki page: "Dirac's equation also contributed to explaining the origin of quantum spin as a relativistic phenomenon."). It cannot be understood or explained in the absence of Lorentz invariance. Another thing is the entire issue of how and why gauge theories work in physics (Like the Standard Model of Particle Physics), the literal structure of General Relativity (via Weinberg's Theorem), etc.

    Everything we've seen in Nature shouldn't look the way that it does if Lorentz invariance is false."


    And until you address this appropriately, you are not allowed (on pain of challenge tags) to say that I haven't presented a reason as to why Lorentzian relativity fails. This is my central reason. (And it's a very strong line of evidence, if you understand modern physics). If you want clarification, I'll provide it, but you cannot wiggle out of this critique of Lorentzian relativity.






    ** Yes, I know you think that Lorentzian relativity is a form of Special Relativity. It is not. I will continue to refer to these theories by their proper names: Special Relativity and Lorentzian aether theory or Lorentzian relativity.
    Last edited by GoldPhoenix; March 13th, 2014 at 07:57 AM.
    "Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities." --Voltaire

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  15. #251
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    Re: WLC's Argument Against an Actual Infinity

    Quote Originally Posted by CLIVE
    It isn't name-calling, MindTrap. It's an evaluation of quality. Saying that someone is a lousy carpenter might indeed be an insult, but when it comes from another carpenter, it's a professional evaluation.
    Whatever makes you feel justified about name calling.

    Quote Originally Posted by CLIVE
    And Squatch pretty much is a crackpot on this matter. But he's confidently asserting that WLC's claims are true, and since I don't have access to challenge WLC (who is also a crackpot on this issue), I'm relegated to Squatch.
    As long as you feel better with name calling than discussing actual arguments or the substance of them.

    Quote Originally Posted by CLIVE
    What do you think "not knowing what they are talking about" amounts to in this case, if not "doing physics badly"?
    It is an attack on qualifications, who's form has been soundly rebutted.... now GP has offered a valid form of critique, why not focus on that and not name calling?

    Quote Originally Posted by DIO
    ...not to add to the derailment of an otherwise thoroughly-removed-from-the-tracks-discussion, but is it just me or is it not the case that GP --not Clive-- not only first used the term "crackpot" in this discussion, but he also went on to offer a very specific and qualified rebuttal?
    As long as the name calling is going to be defended, then it should be focused on, if one can not give up such an patently fallacious argumentative approach, then the actual issue is hopeless.

    Quote Originally Posted by CLIVE
    "Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people."
    Nice to see that you are content to stand your ground on the "person" judgment and how you think such stands reflects on others.
    To serve man.

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    Re: WLC's Argument Against an Actual Infinity

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    Whatever makes you feel justified about name calling.


    As long as you feel better with name calling than discussing actual arguments or the substance of them.


    It is an attack on qualifications, who's form has been soundly rebutted.... now GP has offered a valid form of critique, why not focus on that and not name calling?


    As long as the name calling is going to be defended, then it should be focused on, if one can not give up such an patently fallacious argumentative approach, then the actual issue is hopeless.


    Nice to see that you are content to stand your ground on the "person" judgment and how you think such stands reflects on others.

    I am surprised he waited so many pages to call crackpot after responding to Squatche's constant rephrasing of zeno's paradox as proof of no actual infinities being able to exist. He didn't call squatch a name just his theories. He is almost out of wiggle room why derail the thread now? Or is now the time to derail the thread?

  17. #253
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    Re: WLC's Argument Against an Actual Infinity

    As to the assertions that Clive and I shouldn't label disreputable authors as "crackpots"


    A side discussion has appeared while I've written my last two replies. People seem to think that Clive started using the term crackpot first (Dionysus has rightfully pointed out that I first used the term). People also seem to be very offended by this appraisal of one's understanding/judgment/views. Let me take a minute to deal with this then. Let's split this up into the different issues that have been raised.


    Quote Originally Posted by MT
    Please don't defend the name calling, its sad.
    It's calling a spade a spade. If not to do that, then why are we on this forum?


    Quote Originally Posted by Freund View Post
    How exactly does calling someone a "crackpot" support your argument in any way (which it would have to in order not to be considered an ad hom)? You have already established the premise (the person in question is doing physics/math poorly). Calling someone a "crackpot" does nothing to further this premise and its only purpose in this context is to denigrate the person's reputation/character. If you want to argue that the quality of the person's work is poor, then you have to demonstrate for the audience how and why this is the case.
    You're wrong. If you come onto this forum, present 1,000 non-experts as experts, and try to substantiate your opinion with them, I'm not guilty of an ad hominem fallacy when I point out that they're non-expert crackpots, you're committing a false appeal to authority fallacy. And then if you shift the burden of proof to make me defend why his non-experts are not actually experts, that's intellectually bankrupt and it is two intellectual fallacies stacked on top of each other. No offense to Squatch, but his initial post with his "sources" did exactly that.

    I'm not going to spend my time personally debunking, for instance, Giese's work. It's not my job to tell Squatch for him why his author is or isn't credible. It is his job to defend his author's credibility to me, his opponent.


    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    No, but it does imply a dismissal without reason, an ad hom fallacy unwarranted for those with professional training and presenting in a forum of other professionals with professional training.
    I've addressed the false charge of fallacy above about "ad homs", but I'll also add the following because apparently multiple long-term members have forgotten basic fallacy theory:

    An ad hominem fallacy is an attack on a person's character that isn't relevant to the argument they're making. If you present an author that is clearly not an expert and you present them as an expert, and I call them a crackpot --it's not an ad hominem. I'm directly challenging your usage of their opinions as some kind of "fact" to hang your argument on. That's a relevant critique of their character which pertains directly to your argument.

    Similarly, if someone argues, "I'm the smartest man alive, therefore whatever say is the most likely thing to be true." and you retort "But you aren't even smart, let alone the smartest man alive", then you aren't committing an ad hominem fallacy. It is directly relevant to a proposition in their argument.


    Quote Originally Posted by Freund
    Again, calling the work (and even the person) "crackpot" adds nothing to the discussion, so why include it? The professional thing to do in this case is to demonstrate why and how the work fails to support Squatch's argument without resorting to name-calling.
    Wrong. It is poor debating ethics to waltz into a thread, make a very bold claim, and then substantiate it with an appeal to authority without checking for oneself the credibility of these experts. It's not Clive's job to have Squatch put his argument into a simple deductive form with clear, concise logical reasoning. It's Squatch's job. It's not my job to go through Squatch's sources to verify if they're reputable. It's Squatch's job.

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    Why not just call squatch a "crack pot" and move on? .. Isn't it because that is a fallacy and such a bad one that you or GP would hardly stoop to it?
    I'll be clear. I think that someone is a crackpot only if we mean someone who fulfills one or all of the following:

    A.) Has no formal training in the subject matter, yet continues to make the claim irrespective of what experts tell them and irrespective of their evidence.
    B.) Has (and defends) a view which is disregarded by the majority of experts as a "fringe" opinion.
    C.) Continuously refuses to provide arguments or present evidence at the level accepted within the field, yet continuous to make claims about the subject matter (especially the more audacious the claim).


    In Squatch's case, he's done all three, so honestly, I'm kind of sympathetic to Clive's assertions. I would refer to Squatch's views, however, as crackpot, rather than Squatch himself. But even then, Squatch is a layman and it's hard for me to expect him to hold a coherent view on the topic.


    With that said, it is this sense in which Clive has used the term "crackpot":


    Quote Originally Posted by CliveStaples View Post
    Squatch doesn't put his argument in mathematically- or logically-rigorous forms, but confidently makes statements about "infinity" and "possibility". That's a giant red flag for crackpot logic.

    I'm not criticizing Squatch's character. I'm criticizing his argument. His argument is informal, imprecise, yet repeatedly asserted. Squatch's character virtues and vices are irrelevant to the discussion.


    As to the linkwarz issue:


    I'll make the point again, to explain my recent ultimatum to Squatch about making him proof-read his own documents and vet his own sources:


    Quote Originally Posted by CliveStaples View Post
    Oh, I don't think it furthers my argument. And I agree, calling the work crackpot is a claim in need of support. But the point isn't that my argument is supported, but that the work fails to support Squatch's argument.

    The work was presented in order to support a claim. The work has elementary mistakes, bad math, and bad physics. Do you want a technical demonstration of these errors?

    Also, it amounts to a kind of linkwarz if each side can post as many studies as they like as "support" without presenting any mathematics/physics themselves.
    Quote Originally Posted by Clive
    There's a problem, though, because it takes a good deal of effort to read through and understand errors in bad papers. Good papers are easy to read; their logic is open and clear, their deductions well-reasoned, and their conclusions follow in a logical, reasonable way from previously-established results in the paper. Bad papers can be exceptionally difficult to read, because their logic is often obfuscated, their reasoning often concealed and implicit, their deductions often given without reasoning, and their conclusions often seemingly unrelated or detached from what has gone before.

    Citing a bad paper, however, is quite easily done. Treating each paper as reliable unless proven unreliable leads to a large burden on the verifiers. This is the whole point of disallowing linkwarz. If Squatch has an argument about physics, why is he allowed to merely cite papers rather than presenting his (technically-flawless but layman-accessible) arguments himself?

    Clive has really hit the nail on the head. Going through BS papers trying to work out the garbage that they're saying. So let me take a moment here.


    I spent an hour and a half just trying to work through Shanahan's vague and nonstandard notation, mathematical blunders and typos, misunderstandings/complete lack of knowledge about the physics that happened after the 1924 de Broglie paper (The entire vaguely-stated issue he raised about the origin of wavefunctions was answered in the 1930's during the birth of Quantum Field Theory), their lack of knowledge of how to solve simple spherical wave equations, and even with all of that, the chief error in Shanahan's paper had nothing to do with these issues.

    It was Shanahan's obfuscating, obtuse, indirect, vague, and unclear writing style that was filled with smuggled premises, constant non-sequitur's, and --for want of a better way to describe it-- throwing jello at the wall hoping something would stick. It read like it was written by a sophomore in college. Clive really said it best here:


    "Bad papers can be exceptionally difficult to read, because their logic is often obfuscated, their reasoning often concealed and implicit, their deductions often given without reasoning, and their conclusions often seemingly unrelated or detached from what has gone before."



    Shanahan's paper is really a prime example of this. It's not even just bad physics, it's also bad philosophy. The whole point of being a cogent philosopher is to be... cogent. The details of Shanahan's paper barely needed to be read to know it was going to be a terrible paper, once I saw how poorly he wrote up his paper. There's a reason why almost every student in a scientific or mathematical discipline has to take courses on scientific and mathematical writing, on top of the criterion for valid presentation of homework in every course that they take. You usually are not born knowing how to make a good argument. Good arguments have:

    1.) The primary, new claims of the paper are clearly established in an abstract; these claims are specific and well-defined.
    2.) An acceptable amount of the primary knowledge is stated in an introduction, with the primary sources cited in this introduction.
    3.) In the actual writing, all of the reasoning for the new claims is clearly delineated. This means where each step might not immediately follow, but where the details can easily be filled in and the information about filling between the steps stated. This way, there are not large gaps of logic.
    4.) All of the reasoning that can be given mathematically is given mathematically. It is simpler and easier to read and understand, and moreover, is simply more rigorous.
    5.) The writer is concise and only tackles the specific, and to be reasonably free of typos (especially in important sections of the paper); they should never bloviate, pontificate, or make unsubstantiated speculation.
    6.) This work is submitted to a panel of experts who evaluate your results to confirm their accuracy and credibility.


    This is why I am making Squatch vet his own sources. On top of the fact, of course, that it was already his job to do so in the first place.
    Last edited by GoldPhoenix; March 13th, 2014 at 10:06 AM.
    "Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities." --Voltaire

  18. #254
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    Re: WLC's Argument Against an Actual Infinity

    Quote Originally Posted by GP
    As to the assertions that Clive and I shouldn't label disreputable authors as "crackpots"
    Let me stop you right there. What I challenged and objected to was your claim that they were crackpots that WASN'T SUPPORTED. You argued against the position, but you hadn't done a lick of work or support(at that time) to show that they were "crackpots" and "didn't know what they were talking about".
    It was nothing more than name calling at that point, and it was that position which clive has also defended AS IT WAS. That is simply unacceptable and it certainly isn't what we are "here for".

    Quote Originally Posted by GP
    It's calling a spade a spade. If not to do that, then why are we on this forum?
    It WAS unsupported name calling, and it doesn't have any place in this forum or any serious debate. You could substitute any other adjective and it would be obvious what you were doing. "Idiot", "retard" "kook" and you would not even attempt to defend this line, even though each of those words also have "criteria".

    Quote Originally Posted by GP
    You're wrong. If you come onto this forum, present 1,000 non-experts as experts, and try to substantiate your opinion with them, I'm not guilty of an ad hominem fallacy when I point out that they're non-expert crackpots, you're committing a false appeal to authority fallacy
    You did not support it, and thus it was nothing more than name calling and totally insufficient in form (which was my objection). This line is getting sad... just really sad, especially with the perfectly valid line of argumentation sitting in your lap.

    Quote Originally Posted by GP
    And then if you shift the burden of proof to make me defend why his non-experts are not actually experts, that's intellectually bankrupt and it is two intellectual fallacies stacked on top of each other. No offense to Squatch, but his initial post with his "sources" did exactly that.

    I'm not going to spend my time personally debunking, for instance, Giese's work. It's not my job to tell Squatch for him why his author is or isn't credible. It is his job to defend his author's credibility to me, his opponent.
    You have to support your accusation of "appeal to authority fallacy" (which is not what you called it, but that is the correct term). You have to show WHY it is an appeal to authority fallacy.
    You didn't do that, you simply name called, dismissed and moved on in little more than a rant.. to which I objected(reasonably).

    Quote Originally Posted by GP
    In Squatch's case, he's done all three
    First, none of those qualities are apparent or inherent to the word "Crack pot" that is your own idea that you have injected to a debate which is unreasonable to simply assume everyone knows it.
    Thus your accusation was nothing more than name calling as it was presented.

    Second, you still have to show that those criteria are actually met. You do have a burden once you make the claim. If you want to challenge his sources, you don't call them names you question their qualifications directly.
    IE "Support that these people are qualified to speak on the matter". Squatch did make a solid attempt at that. Meaning you have to step up your game as a debtor, make a claim and support it (which you did) .


    ... Now, that all said, You have actually done what is required in post #250, but I won't have you guys pretending that it wasn't name calling, not your burden to support the truth of or that it was reasonable to to just name call and move on. Nor can you hide behind the pretense of "calling a spade a spade" and "that's what we are here for".. You know what we are here for, post #250, we are not here for the name calling that preceded and was passed off as the ruling from on high. If that is the stand you guys are going to make.. then you may as well ...... (edit.. removed).
    To serve man.

  19. #255
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    Re: WLC's Argument Against an Actual Infinity

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap
    You did not support it, and thus it was nothing more than name calling and totally insufficient in form (which was my objection). This line is getting sad... just really sad, especially with the perfectly valid line of argumentation sitting in your lap.
    You're making the same mistake again.

    Saying that a particular source is not authoritative is not "name calling". GP outlined the common usage of the term crackpot for you; if you are unfamiliar with its use among mathematicians and scientists, then hopefully you've learned something today.

    It is indeed a claim in need of support, but it is emphatically not name calling. Name calling would be something like, "This guy is dumb. This guy had bad hair. This guy is ugly. This guy likes Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." Calling someone a crackpot (or more accurately, describing their work as crackpot) is like calling someone (or their work) sloppy, incomplete, mistaken, erroneous, flawed, deeply flawed, really deeply flawed, really ridiculously deeply flawed, etc. These aren't name-calling, they're allegations of error. "Crackpot" is an allegation of a particular class of error, belonging to the fields of mathematics and the sciences.

    The foundation of ODN, and indeed reasonable discourse in general, is that arguments are subject to criticism. If you don't like seeing arguments get criticized, then maybe ODN isn't a place you should frequent.



    Now, can we please drop the issue of "name-calling" and return to the question at hand, namely whether are good reasons to think that an actual infinity is impossible (or the narrower question of whether an infinite past is actually impossible)?
    If I am capable of grasping God objectively, I do not believe, but precisely because I cannot do this I must believe. - Soren Kierkegaard
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  20. #256
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    Re: WLC's Argument Against an Actual Infinity

    Quote Originally Posted by CS
    You're making the same mistake again.
    You haven't addressed not one lick of what I said, as I have already rebutted every point you are trying to make.

    Quote Originally Posted by CS
    Saying that a particular source is not authoritative is not "name calling".
    Of course not.. but that isn't what was done. He used name calling which you defended AS saying a source is not authoritative
    That is simply NOT the proper way to make that point, and now that you have repeated that point, it still doesn't change that fact.

    Quote Originally Posted by CS
    GP outlined the common usage of the term crackpot for you; if you are unfamiliar with its use among mathematicians and scientists, then hopefully you've learned something today.
    Common use my ass.
    Quote Originally Posted by DICTIONARY
    Noun

    An eccentric, crazy or foolish person. A kook.
    That is what the "common use" of what the word means. Now AFTER I pointed out the name calling he did offer his NEW definition and the sense that he was using it, but you were defending it's use before that.
    As I pointed out before, there is nothing inherent to the word that would indicate the definition he offered, it certainly isn't the "common use" of the word, your really stretching to try and re-define words.

    Quote Originally Posted by MT POST 254
    First, none of those qualities are apparent or inherent to the word "Crack pot" that is your own idea that you have injected to a debate which is unreasonable to simply assume everyone knows it.
    Thus your accusation was nothing more than name calling as it was presented.
    Quote Originally Posted by CS
    It is indeed a claim in need of support, but it is emphatically not name calling. Name calling would be something like, "This guy is dumb. This guy had bad hair. This guy is ugly. This guy likes Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." Calling someone a crackpot (or more accurately, describing their work as crackpot) is like calling someone (or their work) sloppy, incomplete, mistaken, erroneous, flawed, deeply flawed, really deeply flawed, really ridiculously deeply flawed, etc. These aren't name-calling, they're allegations of error. "Crackpot" is an allegation of a particular class of error, belonging to the fields of mathematics and the sciences.
    I'm calling BS, please provide a source for the official meaning of the word "crack pot" means what you say.
    So far we have you and GP claiming it is some official use of the word.
    Again, as it was ORIGINALLY OFFERED it was nothing more than name calling and that is what you have been defending, it is sad.

    Challenge to support a claim. support that "crack pot" has an alternate official "technical" use in mathematics and science that means what you say. Other scientists simply saying the word isn't evidence.


    Quote Originally Posted by CS
    The foundation of ODN, and indeed reasonable discourse in general, is that arguments are subject to criticism. If you don't like seeing arguments get criticized, then maybe ODN isn't a place you should frequent.
    At no point have I said anything that can reasonably be construed to mean that I don't want an argument criticized. I have instead called for VALID form of criticism that rises above name calling.
    That if a source's validity is going to be challenged it can not be done by simply throwing the word "crack pot" around and pretending it is some official term.
    It is name calling and It takes a special level of intellectual dishonesty to not see that. The fact that you have tried to go to the mat on such a stupid point, instead of accepting that GP's post 250 was a PROPER form of criticism of one's authority and not the previous rant that he offered, speaks volumes about your bias.

    The fact that I have recognized that post 250 is a LEGIT and VALID criticism means that your bias has blinded you so much as to say that I don't like criticism. It is more born from the fact that you want the right to call people names in the place of an actual argument.

    Seriously.. take a step back and check yourself.


    Quote Originally Posted by CS
    Now, can we please drop the issue of "name-calling" and return to the question at hand,
    Sure, as soon as you concede the point or stop forwarding the idea that calling sources "crack pots" is not name calling and accept that it is by no means a substitute for valid credential challenges.

    I find it disturbing that you would cling to such an invalid form of criticism(IE your a crack pot) when the superior and valid form(appeal to authority fallacy) has been basically accepted. That you can not see the obvious fallacy you want to hold on too, means there is no point in trying to engage you on any meaning aspect beyond that. Just call your opponent crazy(See linked actual meaning of the word) and shut down the debate if that is all you have to offer.
    To serve man.

  21. #257
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    Re: WLC's Argument Against an Actual Infinity

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    You haven't addressed not one lick of what I said, as I have already rebutted every point you are trying to make.


    Of course not.. but that isn't what was done. He used name calling which you defended AS saying a source is not authoritative
    That is simply NOT the proper way to make that point, and now that you have repeated that point, it still doesn't change that fact.


    Common use my ass.
    Simply put, MindTrap, you have no experience or expertise that would confer any weight to your opinion on this matter.

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap
    That is what the "common use" of what the word means. Now AFTER I pointed out the name calling he did offer his NEW definition and the sense that he was using it, but you were defending it's use before that.
    As I pointed out before, there is nothing inherent to the word that would indicate the definition he offered, it certainly isn't the "common use" of the word, your really stretching to try and re-define words.




    I'm calling BS, please provide a source for the official meaning of the word "crack pot" means what you say.
    So far we have you and GP claiming it is some official use of the word.
    Again, as it was ORIGINALLY OFFERED it was nothing more than name calling and that is what you have been defending, it is sad.


    Challenge to support a claim. support that "crack pot" has an alternate official "technical" use in mathematics and science that means what you say. Other scientists simply saying the word isn't evidence.
    You're engaging in a strawman fallacy. crackpot doesn't need to have an official, formal, technical use in the mathematical or scientific communities or literature. It's a term that's often deployed when analyzing claims (such as alleged proofs of squaring the circle, or of the parallel postulate) that lack rigor, clarity, or rely on poor logic--equivocation on definitions, category errors like offering metaphysical statements as mathematical fact, etc.

    To support this meaning as being common among the uses of crackpot (not that you've shown that it's uncommon, or that your pronouncements on the matter carry any weight due to your familiarity with its use in the mathematical or scientific communities):

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crackpot_index This "index" doesn't amount to a technical definition of the term "crackpot" (or, to the extent that it does, the definition is not necessarily in widespread use), but it is evidence that crackpot is used as an allegation of bad reasoning / mathematical error and not simply name-calling.

    http://www.goodmath.org/blog/2013/03...-crackpottery/ This post (and many others like it on the site) uses the term "crackpot" in the sense I've given above, not just as name-calling but as an allegation of bad reasoning / sloppy math.

    This site http://brenocon.com/blog/2008/01/ind...rackpot-paper/ describes this post (by Scott Aaronson, a professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science who is probably most well-known as an expert on quantum computing) as "Indicators of a crackpot paper":

    1. The authors don’t use TeX. This simple test (suggested by Dave Bacon) already catches at least 60% of wrong mathematical breakthroughs. David Deutsch and Lov Grover are among the only known false positives.

    2. The authors don’t understand the question.
    Maybe they mistake NP≠coNP for some claim about psychology or metaphysics. Or maybe they solve the Grover problem in O(1) queries, under some notion of quantum computing lifted from a magazine article. I’ve seen both.

    3. The approach seems to yield something much stronger and maybe even false (but the authors never discuss that).
    They’ve proved 3SAT takes exponential time; their argument would go through just as well for 2SAT.

    4. The approach conflicts with a known impossibility result (which the authors never mention).
    The four months I spent proving thecollision lower bound actually saved me some time once or twice, when I was able to reject papers violating the bound without reading them.

    5. The authors themselves switch to weasel words by the end.
    The abstract says “we show the problem is in P,” but the conclusion contains phrases like “seems to work” and “in all cases we have tried.” Personally, I happen to be a big fan of heuristic algorithms, honestly advertised and experimentally analyzed. But when a “proof” has turned into a “plausibility argument” by page 47 — release the hounds!

    6. The paper jumps into technicalities without presenting a new idea.
    If a famous problem could be solved only by manipulating formulas and applying standard reductions, then it’s overwhelmingly likely someone would’ve solved it already. The exceptions to this rule are interesting precisely because they’re rare (and even with the exceptions, a new idea is usually needed to find the right manipulations in the first place).

    7. The paper doesn’t build on (or in some cases even refer to) any previous work.
    Math is cumulative. Even Wiles and Perelman had to stand on the lemma-encrusted shoulders of giants.

    8. The paper wastes lots of space on standard material.
    If you’d really proved P≠NP, then you wouldn’t start your paper by laboriously defining 3SAT, in a manner suggesting your readers might not have heard of it.

    9. The paper waxes poetic about “practical consequences,” “deep philosophical implications,” etc.
    Note that most papers make exactly the opposite mistake: they never get around to explaining why anyone should read them. But when it comes to something like P≠NP, to “motivate” your result is to insult your readers’ intelligence

    .
    10. The techniques just seem too wimpy for the problem at hand. Of all ten tests, this is the slipperiest and hardest to apply — but also the decisive one in many cases. As an analogy, suppose your friend in Boston blindfolded you, drove you around for twenty minutes, then took the blindfold off and claimed you were now in Beijing. Yes, you do see Chinese signs and pagoda roofs, and no, you can’t immediately disprove him — but based on your knowledge of both cars and geography, isn’t it more likely you’re just in Chinatown? I know it’s trite, but this is exactly how I feel when I see (for example) a paper that uses category theory to prove NL≠NP. We start in Boston, we end up in Beijing, and at no point is anything resembling an ocean ever crossed.
    At no point have I said anything that can reasonably be construed to mean that I don't want an argument criticized. I have instead called for VALID form of criticism that rises above name calling.
    That if a source's validity is going to be challenged it can not be done by simply throwing the word "crack pot" around and pretending it is some official term.
    It is name calling and It takes a special level of intellectual dishonesty to not see that. The fact that you have tried to go to the mat on such a stupid point, instead of accepting that GP's post 250 was a PROPER form of criticism of one's authority and not the previous rant that he offered, speaks volumes about your bias.

    The fact that I have recognized that post 250 is a LEGIT and VALID criticism means that your bias has blinded you so much as to say that I don't like criticism. It is more born from the fact that you want the right to call people names in the place of an actual argument.

    Seriously.. take a step back and check yourself.



    Sure, as soon as you concede the point or stop forwarding the idea that calling sources "crack pots" is not name calling and accept that it is by no means a substitute for valid credential challenges.

    I find it disturbing that you would cling to such an invalid form of criticism(IE your a crack pot) when the superior and valid form(appeal to authority fallacy) has been basically accepted. That you can not see the obvious fallacy you want to hold on too, means there is no point in trying to engage you on any meaning aspect beyond that. Just call your opponent crazy(See linked actual meaning of the word) and shut down the debate if that is all you have to offer.
    There is no fallacy, MindTrap. You're a crackpot--or more precisely, You're making crackpot arguments--isn't a form of criticism any more than You're wrong is a form of criticism. Rather, it's the topic sentence of a line of criticism that outlines the statements that the criticism will show to be true: That the argument employs poor reasoning, does sloppy math, changes its claims midway through, muddles definitions, etc.

    If you don't accept that crackpot has in its common usage among mathematicians and scientists the meaning that I've explicitly said I was using when I said it, then just accept that I've assigned the string of letters crackpot a specialized, technical definition for my use of it in this thread. Since I've already explained what I meant by the term, whether or not the meaning I gave is the common meaning is outside the scope of this thread. With my explanation of what I meant by crackpot, i.e. that it is merely an allegation of various species of mathematical/scientific error, it is manifest that I was not merely name-calling but was instead alleging error.

    Any further discussion about the common meaning of crackpot is off-topic, as should be clear to any reasonable readers (if there be any left), and belongs in another thread. If you or anyone else continues to belabor the point, I will report the posts and hopefully a mod will step in to help keep this thread on the topic of William Lane Craig's arguments against actual infinities.
    If I am capable of grasping God objectively, I do not believe, but precisely because I cannot do this I must believe. - Soren Kierkegaard
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  23. #258
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    Re: WLC's Argument Against an Actual Infinity

    While I fully expect Squatch to either concede that he is wrong about Special Relativity or continue arguing, there's a few issues that I'd like to attack that Squatch has been raising about physics entailing the existence of a beginning of the universe and singularities; something has changed very importantly because of some interesting recent research by Professor Donoghue at UMass.



    1.) I made this claim against the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin paper a long time ago that Craig uses:

    Quote Originally Posted by GoldPhoenix View Post
    2.) Skimming through the Borde, et al, paper, it seems like they're missing out on an important detail --quantum gravity. Before I comment on that, there's a website that does a decent job refuting Craig's interpretation of the Borde, et al paper, here. But my problem with all of these arguments about cosmology is that no one knows what the UV-complete theory of gravity is. This means that at the small scales near the Big Bang, we simply cannot say what came --if anything-- before the Big Bang. People who work in one area of physics (Particularly in cosmology) really like to make strong claims using General Relativity about these issues, but there's no reason to trust GR at all if you go far enough back. And importantly, if you go far enough back to where the beginning of the Big Bang occurred, this is precisely where you trust GR the least. You can't, therefore, make any statement about the case where some quantum gravity effects come into play and create a stable way --independent of the ekpryotic model-- of cycles of the universe. We simply don't know, so Craig cannot, in good conscience, make these claims.
    Firstly, I have been challenged several times that this is somehow some wild speculation on my part or some bizarre personal philosophy. I have re-iterated that this is not the case, this opinion is one that I have not crafted on my own, and that it is the "standard lore" of physics. A week or so ago I finally found a nice summary from an expert --a third party of untarnished reputation-- stating my opinion; I posted this in another thread, but it's just as useful here, too. This is from Sean Carroll, a professor of theoretical physics at CalTech:


    Sean Carroll on WLC:

    "The second major point Craig makes is a claim that I ignored something important: namely, the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin singularity theorem. This is Craig’s favorite bit of cosmology, because it can be used to argue that the universe had a beginning (rather than stretching infinitely far backwards in time), and Craig is really devoted to the idea that the universe had a beginning. As a scientist, I’m not really devoted to any particular cosmological scenario at all, so in my paper I tried to speak fairly about both “beginning cosmologies” and “eternal cosmologies.” Craig quotes (misleadingly) a recent paper by Audrey Mithani and Alex Vilenkin, which concludes by saying “Did the universe have a beginning? At this point, it seems that the answer to this question is probably yes.” Mithani and Vilenkin are also scientists, and are correspondingly willing to be honest about our state of ignorance: thus, “probably” yes. I personally think the answer is “probably no,” but none of us actually knows. The distinction is that the scientists are willing to admit that they don’t really know.

    The theorems in question make a simple and interesting point. Start with a classical spacetime — “classical” in the sense that it is a definite four-dimensional Lorentzian manifold, not necessarily one that obeys Einstein’s equation of general relativity. (It’s like saying “start with a path of a particle, but not necessarily one that obeys Newton’s Laws.”) The theorem says that such a spacetime, if it has been expanding sufficiently fast forever, must have a singularity in the past. That’s a good thing to know, if you’re thinking about what kinds of spacetimes there are.

    The reason I didn’t explicitly mention this technical result in my essay is that I don’t think it’s extremely relevant to the question. Like many technical results, its conclusions follow rigorously from the assumptions, but both the assumptions and the conclusions must be treated with care. It’s easy, for example, to find examples of eternally-existing cosmologies which simply don’t expand all the time. (We can argue about whether they are realistic models of the world, but that’s a long and inconclusive conversation.) The definition of “singularity in the past” is not really the same as “had a beginning” — it means that some geodesics must eventually come to an end. (Others might not.) Most importantly, I don’t think that any result dealing with classical spacetimes can teach us anything definitive about the beginning of the universe. The moment of the Big Bang is, if anything is, a place where quantum gravity is supremely important. The Borde-Guth-Vilenkin results are simply not about quantum gravity. It’s extremely easy to imagine eternal cosmologies based on quantum mechanics that do not correspond to simple classical spacetimes throughout their history. It’s an interesting result to keep in mind, but nowhere near the end of our investigations into possible histories of the universe.

    None of this matters to Craig. He knows what answer he wants to get — the universe had a beginning — and he’ll comb through the cosmology literature looking to cherry-pick quotes that bolster this conclusion. He doesn’t understand the literature at a technical level, which is why he’s always quoting (necessarily imprecise) popular books by Hawking and others, rather than the original papers. That’s fine; we can’t all be experts in everything. But when we’re not experts, it’s not intellectually honest to distort the words of experts to make them sound like they fit our pre-conceived narrative. That’s why engagement with people like Craig is fundamentally less interesting than engagement with open-minded people who are willing to take what the universe has to offer, rather than forcing it into their favorite boxes."


    (The full article can be found here. Note that WLC has responded, but fails to address the entire issue of quantum mechanical effects in question (presumably because he doesn't have an understanding of the issue and thus is unable to comment). I only include this because people might find this response and misunderstand that WLC actually gave a coherent response to Carroll's claims. Refuting a single model by Carroll is not equivalent to understanding the issues of quantum gravity, as raised by Carroll.)



    2.) Actually, one of the big names in loop effects in quantum gravity, John Donoghue just released a very interesting paper which actually says that quantum corrections from gravity might very well avoid singularities altogether, although here it doesn't even require a full quantum gravity model because everything's much larger than the Planck length. So if people want my opinion on why quantum effects are important, then please see "Non-local quantum effects in cosmology 1: Quantum memory, non-local FLRW equations and singularity avoidance".

    "In an expanding universe, we explore how classical behavior emerges from the quantum regime. In a contracting universe, singularities are inevitable in the classical theory, as shown by the Hawking-Penrose singularity theorems [2]. We study whether quantum effects could lead to the avoidance of singularities. Our work contains some approximations, described below, but within the context of those approximations it does seem that quantum effects do lead to non-singular bounce solutions in at least some situations."

    In this case, it is for a collapsing universe, but the point remains: It seems that singularities can be avoided when you include the quantum effects (not that the issue of a full theory of quantum gravity is avoided, since the quantum effects actually kick in before we reach the Planck length). This is basically proof (in a different case, but it raises the question quite nicely) that what I have raised is a valid criticism of the whole program of the BVG "theorem". Applying a theorem to classical spacetimes is not a valid way to ask whether or not our universe is past finite. (Also, don't be worried about the "non-local" business, it's coming from the approximation, but it's a valid one that is commonly used.)





    PS: Note that the recent discovery at Bicep 2 now makes an extremely powerful case for quantum gravity even by itself. These results only make sense in the presence of inflation, but what hasn't been mentioned is that the calculations use the canonical quantization of GR --so explicitly quantum gravity-- where it's valid (larger than Planck lengths), and this leads to the prediction of the gravity waves that we now see (although their quantum properties have been washed out as the universe expanded, their creation was due to quantum gravity and quantum field theory effects). This was a great victory for quantum gravity.
    "Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities." --Voltaire

  24. #259
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    Re: WLC's Argument Against an Actual Infinity

    I had actually planned on posting my reply to you here in the other thread you offered it, but since I was on this I'll put it here. My other reply to you and to CS is forthcoming, I'm having a good conversation with CS via PM that is a prerequisite to a response to him.


    Quote Originally Posted by GoldPhoenix View Post
    1.) I made this claim against the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin paper a long time ago that Craig uses:
    A couple of large issues with this.

    1) Carol incorrectly states Craig's position. Craig has not said that "the universe definitively had a beginning." This is something he was called on quite recently by Craig in a debate they had http://www.reasonablefaith.org/media...mology-carroll

    Craig has the same position of certainly Carol has. It is more likely than not that the universe had a beginning.

    This is a small objection, but it does show that Prof. Carol (whom I like quite a bit btw) isn't exactly a neutral observer in this. He does have a personal stake in both the BVG theorem (more on this in a bit) in with his personal philosophy (as he notes in the debate).

    2) His second paragraph misstates the BVG theorem. When he says "It’s easy, for example, to find examples of eternally-existing cosmologies which simply don’t expand all the time." Perhaps this was a misstatement, but it is incoherent as a response. No one is arguing that a universe that isn't, on average, expanding must be past finite. That is, quite literally, the only condition the BVG theorem requires. That the universe be, on average, expanding. It doesn't even matter if it goes through periods of contraction, as long as on average it is expanding.

    3) Carrol raises no cohesive argument about quantum gravity here for Craig to reply to, he simply invokes it as a possible answer with no real explanation why. Given that barebones invoking, Craig's response seems pretty reasonable. It is possible that an invoking of Quantum Gravity will cause the picture of current cosmology to so radically shift that our current musings are all irrelevant. But that is a condition that needs to be flushed out before we start weighing it in the probability of the premise in question. I might as well argue that we might well have Christ come back tomorrow so we should support the second premise. Until Quantum gravity has a model and evidence, it doesn't really support the empirical question of which premise is more likely right?

    4) Prof. Vilenkin disagrees with both Profs. Carrol and Krauss who have both brought this topic forward. Krauss even impeached his own integrity in the debates in Australia which is why I think Carrol is a far, far better defender for atheism than Krauss is.

    Any theorem is only as good as its assumptions. The BGV theorem says that if the universe is on average expanding along a given worldline, this worldline cannot be infinite to the past.

    A possible loophole is that there might be an epoch of contraction prior to the expansion. Models of this sort have been discussed by Aguirre & Gratton and by Carroll & Chen. They had to assume though that the minimum of entropy was reached at the bounce and offered no mechanism to enforce this condition. It seems to me that it is essentially equivalent to a beginning.

    On the other hand, Jaume Garriga and I are now exploring a picture of the multiverse where the BGV theorem may not apply. In bubbles of negative vacuum energy, expansion is followed by cocntraction, and it is usually assumed that this ends in a big crunch singularity. However, it is conceivable (and many people think likely) that singularities will be resolved in the theory of quantum gravity, so the internal collapse of the bubbles will be followed by an expansion. In this scenario, a typical worldline will go through a succession of expanding and contracting regions, and it is not at all clear that the BGV assumption (expansion on average) will be satisfied.

    I suspect that the theorem can be extended to this case, maybe with some additional assumptions. But of course there is no such thing as absolute certainty in science, especially in matters like the creation of the universe. Note for example that the BGV theorem uses a classical picture of spacetime. In the regime where gravity becomes essentially quantum, we may not even know the right questions to ask.

    http://www.reasonablefaith.org/hones...#ixzz2wWCIdBoI


    In a recent conversation with Prof. Vilenkin, Dr. Craig asked him specifically about the model that Carrol puts forward along the lines you mention above. You'll note that Prof. Vilenkin has published two papers showing why this model cannot be past eternal:



    Dear Bill,

    > I’m troubled that Lawrence Krauss in some respects misrepresented your views
    > in our dialogue in Sydney. In an attempt to rebut the evidence for a
    > beginning of the universe, he showed a powerpoint of your letter with the
    > last two sentences of the second paragraph deleted.

    My letter was in response to Lawrence’s email asking whether or not I thought the BGV theorem *definitively* rules out a universe with no beginning. The gist of my answer was that there is no such thing as "definitive ruling out" in science. I would say the theorem makes a plausible case that there was a beginning. But there are always caveats.

    I did not hear your debate in Sydney, but I don’t think Lawrence would intentionally misinterpret my views. I have known him for a long time, and he has always been an honest and straightforward fellow.

    > Having read two of your recent papers in which you show why the
    > Aguirre-Gratton model and the Carroll-Chen model do not succeed in restoring
    > a past-eternal universe, I knew that Krauss was misconstruing you. You
    > meant “possible” in the sense that they violate the one condition of the BGV
    > theorem, not “possible” in the sense of providing a realistic model of a
    > past-eternal universe.

    > Moreover, I had a copy of your letter to Victor Stenger in which you
    > explained the messy singularities such contracting models would face, so
    > that it would never come to a new expansion. I surmised that your letter to
    > Krauss also contained some such qualification.

    The Aguirre-Gratton model can avoide singularities by postulating a small "initial" closed universe and then allowing it to evolve in both directions of time. I put "initial" in quotation marks, because Aguirre and Gratton do not think of it that way. But this model requires that a very special condition is enforced at some moment in the history of the universe. At that moment, the universe should be very small and have very low entropy. Aguirre and Gratton do not specify a physical mechanism that could enforce such a condition.

    Carroll and Chen claim that the universe did not have to be small at that special moment. But in my recent paper I show that in this case singularities are unavoidable.

    > You should be aware that your work has entered into popular culture, where
    > it has become the subject of heated debate. Certain staunchly secular
    > thinkers want to avoid the beginning of the universe because to them it
    > smacks of theism, and so they are bent on reconstruing the significance of
    > your work. That is why you are receiving letters from people like Stenger,
    > Krauss, et al. I hope to have understood and represented you accurately.
    > If not, I want to be corrected.

    I think you represented what I wrote about the BGV theorem in my papers and to you personally very accurately. This is not to say that you represented my views as to what this implies regarding the existence of God. Which is OK, since I have no special expertise to issue such judgements. Whatever it's worth, my view is that the BGV theorem does not say anything about the existence of God one way or the other. In particular, the beginning of the universe could be a natural event, described by quantum cosmology.

    > In that vein, I do have a question about your statement: “the BGV theorem
    > uses a classical picture of spacetime. In the regime where gravity becomes
    > essentially quantum, we may not even know the right questions to ask.”
    > Elsewhere you’ve written:

    > “A remarkable thing about this theorem is its sweeping generality. . . . We
    > did not even assume that gravity is described by Einstein’s equations. So,
    > if Einstein’s gravity requires some modification, our conclusion will still
    > hold. The only assumption that we made was that the expansion rate of the
    > universe never gets below some nonzero value” [Vilenkin, 2006, p. 175].

    > How are these statements compatible? The 2006 statement sounds as if a
    > quantum theory of gravitation would not undo the theorem. But the letter to
    > Krauss sounds as if we are awash in uncertainty.

    > I have my own idea of how you might understand these statements, but rather
    > than burden you with my surmises, I’d prefer to simply ask you how you
    > understand the situation.

    The question of whether or not the universe had a beginning assumes a classical spacetime, in which the notions of time and causality can be defined. On very small time and length scales, quantum fluctuations in the structure of spacetime could be so large that these classical concepts become totally inapplicable. Then we do not really have a language to describe what is happening, because all our physics concepts are deeply rooted in the concepts of space and time. This is what I mean when I say that we do not even know what the right questions are.

    But if the fluctuations are not so wild as to invalidate classical spacetime, the BGV theorem is immune to any possible modifications of Einstein's equations which may be caused by quantum effects.

    Best regards,

    Alex

    Ibid.


    Quote Originally Posted by GP
    PS: Note that the recent discovery at Bicep 2 now makes an extremely powerful case for quantum gravity even by itself. These results only make sense in the presence of inflation, but what hasn't been mentioned is that the calculations use the canonical quantization of GR --so explicitly quantum gravity-- where it's valid (larger than Planck lengths), and this leads to the prediction of the gravity waves that we now see (although their quantum properties have been washed out as the universe expanded, their creation was due to quantum gravity and quantum field theory effects). This was a great victory for quantum gravity.
    Great find, I was also going to post the same article in the KCA thread. Of course, I'll put in my standard disclaimer that all science reporting is garbage so we'll need to wait to see how it plays out a bit.

    Interestingly, it does seem to invalidate the Turok Model which is the oft appealed to cyclical model referenced in that thread, which I think reinforces Prof. Vilenkin's comments above that there just doesn't seem to be a cosmological model on the scene today that is past eternal and plausible.
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
    "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.” -G.K. Chesterton
    Also, if you think I've overlooked your post please shoot me a PM, I'm not intentionally ignoring you.


  25. #260
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    Re: WLC's Argument Against an Actual Infinity

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    I had actually planned on posting my reply to you here in the other thread you offered it, but since I was on this I'll put it here. My other reply to you and to CS is forthcoming, I'm having a good conversation with CS via PM that is a prerequisite to a response to him.




    A couple of large issues with this.

    1) Carol incorrectly states Craig's position. Craig has not said that "the universe definitively had a beginning." This is something he was called on quite recently by Craig in a debate they had http://www.reasonablefaith.org/media...mology-carroll

    Craig has the same position of certainly Carol has. It is more likely than not that the universe had a beginning.

    This is a small objection, but it does show that Prof. Carol (whom I like quite a bit btw) isn't exactly a neutral observer in this. He does have a personal stake in both the BVG theorem (more on this in a bit) in with his personal philosophy (as he notes in the debate).

    2) His second paragraph misstates the BVG theorem. When he says "It’s easy, for example, to find examples of eternally-existing cosmologies which simply don’t expand all the time." Perhaps this was a misstatement, but it is incoherent as a response. No one is arguing that a universe that isn't, on average, expanding must be past finite. That is, quite literally, the only condition the BVG theorem requires. That the universe be, on average, expanding. It doesn't even matter if it goes through periods of contraction, as long as on average it is expanding.

    3) Carrol raises no cohesive argument about quantum gravity here for Craig to reply to, he simply invokes it as a possible answer with no real explanation why. Given that barebones invoking, Craig's response seems pretty reasonable. It is possible that an invoking of Quantum Gravity will cause the picture of current cosmology to so radically shift that our current musings are all irrelevant. But that is a condition that needs to be flushed out before we start weighing it in the probability of the premise in question. I might as well argue that we might well have Christ come back tomorrow so we should support the second premise. Until Quantum gravity has a model and evidence, it doesn't really support the empirical question of which premise is more likely right?

    4) Prof. Vilenkin disagrees with both Profs. Carrol and Krauss who have both brought this topic forward. Krauss even impeached his own integrity in the debates in Australia which is why I think Carrol is a far, far better defender for atheism than Krauss is.

    Any theorem is only as good as its assumptions. The BGV theorem says that if the universe is on average expanding along a given worldline, this worldline cannot be infinite to the past.

    A possible loophole is that there might be an epoch of contraction prior to the expansion. Models of this sort have been discussed by Aguirre & Gratton and by Carroll & Chen. They had to assume though that the minimum of entropy was reached at the bounce and offered no mechanism to enforce this condition. It seems to me that it is essentially equivalent to a beginning.

    On the other hand, Jaume Garriga and I are now exploring a picture of the multiverse where the BGV theorem may not apply. In bubbles of negative vacuum energy, expansion is followed by cocntraction, and it is usually assumed that this ends in a big crunch singularity. However, it is conceivable (and many people think likely) that singularities will be resolved in the theory of quantum gravity, so the internal collapse of the bubbles will be followed by an expansion. In this scenario, a typical worldline will go through a succession of expanding and contracting regions, and it is not at all clear that the BGV assumption (expansion on average) will be satisfied.

    I suspect that the theorem can be extended to this case, maybe with some additional assumptions. But of course there is no such thing as absolute certainty in science, especially in matters like the creation of the universe. Note for example that the BGV theorem uses a classical picture of spacetime. In the regime where gravity becomes essentially quantum, we may not even know the right questions to ask.

    http://www.reasonablefaith.org/hones...#ixzz2wWCIdBoI


    In a recent conversation with Prof. Vilenkin, Dr. Craig asked him specifically about the model that Carrol puts forward along the lines you mention above. You'll note that Prof. Vilenkin has published two papers showing why this model cannot be past eternal:



    Dear Bill,

    > I’m troubled that Lawrence Krauss in some respects misrepresented your views
    > in our dialogue in Sydney. In an attempt to rebut the evidence for a
    > beginning of the universe, he showed a powerpoint of your letter with the
    > last two sentences of the second paragraph deleted.

    My letter was in response to Lawrence’s email asking whether or not I thought the BGV theorem *definitively* rules out a universe with no beginning. The gist of my answer was that there is no such thing as "definitive ruling out" in science. I would say the theorem makes a plausible case that there was a beginning. But there are always caveats.

    I did not hear your debate in Sydney, but I don’t think Lawrence would intentionally misinterpret my views. I have known him for a long time, and he has always been an honest and straightforward fellow.

    > Having read two of your recent papers in which you show why the
    > Aguirre-Gratton model and the Carroll-Chen model do not succeed in restoring
    > a past-eternal universe, I knew that Krauss was misconstruing you. You
    > meant “possible” in the sense that they violate the one condition of the BGV
    > theorem, not “possible” in the sense of providing a realistic model of a
    > past-eternal universe.

    > Moreover, I had a copy of your letter to Victor Stenger in which you
    > explained the messy singularities such contracting models would face, so
    > that it would never come to a new expansion. I surmised that your letter to
    > Krauss also contained some such qualification.

    The Aguirre-Gratton model can avoide singularities by postulating a small "initial" closed universe and then allowing it to evolve in both directions of time. I put "initial" in quotation marks, because Aguirre and Gratton do not think of it that way. But this model requires that a very special condition is enforced at some moment in the history of the universe. At that moment, the universe should be very small and have very low entropy. Aguirre and Gratton do not specify a physical mechanism that could enforce such a condition.

    Carroll and Chen claim that the universe did not have to be small at that special moment. But in my recent paper I show that in this case singularities are unavoidable.

    > You should be aware that your work has entered into popular culture, where
    > it has become the subject of heated debate. Certain staunchly secular
    > thinkers want to avoid the beginning of the universe because to them it
    > smacks of theism, and so they are bent on reconstruing the significance of
    > your work. That is why you are receiving letters from people like Stenger,
    > Krauss, et al. I hope to have understood and represented you accurately.
    > If not, I want to be corrected.

    I think you represented what I wrote about the BGV theorem in my papers and to you personally very accurately. This is not to say that you represented my views as to what this implies regarding the existence of God. Which is OK, since I have no special expertise to issue such judgements. Whatever it's worth, my view is that the BGV theorem does not say anything about the existence of God one way or the other. In particular, the beginning of the universe could be a natural event, described by quantum cosmology.

    > In that vein, I do have a question about your statement: “the BGV theorem
    > uses a classical picture of spacetime. In the regime where gravity becomes
    > essentially quantum, we may not even know the right questions to ask.”
    > Elsewhere you’ve written:

    > “A remarkable thing about this theorem is its sweeping generality. . . . We
    > did not even assume that gravity is described by Einstein’s equations. So,
    > if Einstein’s gravity requires some modification, our conclusion will still
    > hold. The only assumption that we made was that the expansion rate of the
    > universe never gets below some nonzero value” [Vilenkin, 2006, p. 175].

    > How are these statements compatible? The 2006 statement sounds as if a
    > quantum theory of gravitation would not undo the theorem. But the letter to
    > Krauss sounds as if we are awash in uncertainty.

    > I have my own idea of how you might understand these statements, but rather
    > than burden you with my surmises, I’d prefer to simply ask you how you
    > understand the situation.

    The question of whether or not the universe had a beginning assumes a classical spacetime, in which the notions of time and causality can be defined. On very small time and length scales, quantum fluctuations in the structure of spacetime could be so large that these classical concepts become totally inapplicable. Then we do not really have a language to describe what is happening, because all our physics concepts are deeply rooted in the concepts of space and time. This is what I mean when I say that we do not even know what the right questions are.

    But if the fluctuations are not so wild as to invalidate classical spacetime, the BGV theorem is immune to any possible modifications of Einstein's equations which may be caused by quantum effects.

    Best regards,

    Alex

    Ibid.




    Great find, I was also going to post the same article in the KCA thread. Of course, I'll put in my standard disclaimer that all science reporting is garbage so we'll need to wait to see how it plays out a bit.

    Interestingly, it does seem to invalidate the Turok Model which is the oft appealed to cyclical model referenced in that thread, which I think reinforces Prof. Vilenkin's comments above that there just doesn't seem to be a cosmological model on the scene today that is past eternal and plausible.
    So you just said what I have said all along. If the universe began it had a beginning.

    So some someone's assumption that there is a 50.00000001. % chance it began vs eternal doesn't settle the debate enough to declare the universe began.

 

 
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