no more fairytales about an eternal universe!

are you tired of the eternal universe argument? you know its not right but you dont have a good counter argument that just shuts it right down?

let me introduce to you the new, improved lemony fresh shut it down refutation.

“In 2003 Arvind Borde, Alexander Vilenkin, and Alan Guth were able to demonstrate a theorem which proved that any universe which has on average been globally expanding at a positive rate has a past boundary and therefore cannot be infinite in the past.”

answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20090610175456AAGUNM3

when the leading lights of QM prove that an expanding universe must have a beginning, i think the eternal universe argument we often hear is deader than a doornail!

what do you all think of this?

If it can be proven, that would be awesome. In fact, that would be really awesome.

For what it’s worth though, Aquinas (I think) said that we can’t know by natural reason whether the universe had a temporal beginning or not (though he said in either case, we still could prove the existence of God). He said that the only reason we know it did have a beginning in time is by divine revelation.

But who knows?

they have a mathematical proof, i wonder what refutations there are?

The Borde-Vilenkin-Guth theorem does provide apologists with some fresh insight into the origin of the universe. The evidence that the universe began at a finite time in the past had already been overwhelming, via cosmic expansion, the Second Law of Thermodynamics, cosmic background radiation, Olbers’ Paradox, and of course, the General Theory of Relativity. However, the latest theorem puts to rest any speculation (which had been without empirical evidence, anyway) that our present universe could extend backward toward infinity by a kind of inflationary expansion model.

Thomas’ objection to Bonaventure’s argument against an eternal universe was based on Bonaventure’s philosophical argument. At the time, there was no evidence of cosmic expansion, et al, so it’s hard to say whether Thomas would have taken a different position had he known of the physical evidence. With that said, I actually agree with Bonaventure’s argument. We can get into that, too, if you’d like. :slight_smile:

There are always the blokes who say the universe is cyclic.

please, tell me about it. i want to know this argument better before i use it to batter the unwary about the head.:smiley:

yeah, i think though that this theorem excludes any pre BB conditions. at least from the little ive been able to digest so far. i think, those are also excluded by SLOT

St. Bonaventure provides five separate arguments against an eternal universe in 2 Sententiarium. The two most widely known are today advocated by William Lane Craig: leaderu.com/truth/3truth11.html

The argument I was referring to was this:

  1. An actual infinite cannot be formed by successive addition.
  2. An eternal universe entails an actual infinite formed by successive addition.
  3. Hence, an eternal universe cannot exist.
  4. Therefore, the universe had a beginning.

Thomas’ disagreement was with (2). He stated that it is always possible to conceive of a time prior to the time before. He suggested that since every moment of time in the past is only a finite distance away from the present, and every finite time can be traversed, then the entire infinite past can likewise be traversed.

The problem I see with this objection is that it commits a composition fallacy. Even though every finite time can be traversed, it doesn’t follow that the infinite whole can be. Besides this, even if it were possible for the universe to be infinitely old, we are left with no explanation as to why the present arrived today and not yesterday, or the day before, or at any finite time in the past - since by that time, an actually infinite period of time had already elapsed.

i have a couple of thoughts here, concieving of a past moment prior to the one before is a far cry from an actual addition isnt it?

doesnt the inflation model validate the idea of successive addition?

interesting, i wonder what refutations of the OP an atheist might make?

Dose this theory refute the idea of the Universe coming from a different Universe?

I don’t have the ability to evaluate the various theories, but to me the talk about multiverses seems a lot like devises like epicycles that were proposed to save Ptolemy’s earth-centered universe.

from what i have read, yes. regardless of starting conditions an expanding universe must have a beginning. let me see if i can find more to post, i found some of it on an atheist site and some on william craig lanes site.

here is a good deal of information.

reasonablefaith.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=6115

You’re correct that our conception of a past moment isn’t the same as an addition. On the other hand, time isn’t formed by going backward, at least not on any standard dynamic theory of time I’m familiar with.

Inflation does validate the notion of successive addition, but the question is whether this addition can be applied specifically to an actual infinite.

ohhh…hadnt thought of that.

I agree with St. Bonaventure’s argument against St. Thomas’ also.
I just hate to have to choose between two great saints. :slight_smile:

That’s an excellent objection - I agree.
Another angle on that same flaw you pointed out.
St. Thomas looks from the present to the past and then says it’s always possible to go farther in the past.
This is exactly the opposite of how we should evalutate an actual infinite.
We have to start at the beginning and measure forward – that’s the only way to traverse any time at all in the infinite set.
But the set has no beginning. One cannot ever even get started measuring anything.
You can’t get to the “next event” for an infinite amount of time – because the entire set never reaches the “next” one.

But we know that today is an event that has been added to a string of events.

Therefore, the string must have had a beginning – otherwise, we would have never been able to reach today.

This is similar to what you just said – just another spin on it.

In either case, I find this completely irrefuable. I don’t see St. Thomas’ counter-point as having anything at all against this, and as so, it is not correct that an infinite universe is possible in logical terms. That’s basically St. Bonaventure’s point also and it also seems irrefutable.

Another old argument that convinced me goes something like this:

An actual infinite set of events has always existed.
Therefore, anything that was possible to happen in that set of events, would have happened.
If it was a billion to one chance – that chance arrived an infinite number of times already.
One possibility is that the set would cease to exist.
If the set ceased to exist, it could not exist again.
Since the universe exists today, it cannot be infinite.
Because an infinite set exhausts all possiblities and non-existence is a possibility.

I think St. Thomas’ argument against this is that the universe could never be anhilated to total non-existence. So, that’s not a possiblity. Something would remain (since matter cannot be destroyed?).

Even still, if it was possible for elements necessary for creating a universe from randomness ceased to exist (that would have to be possible), then the universe would be reduced to that level and never be able to exist again.

Since the universe exists today, it cannot, therefore be infinite.

This is powerful. There is no alternative argument against the First Cause, impossibility of something from nothing, and many other arguments like that.

Hi Reggie,

Thanks for the response. I agree with your analysis.

[quote=reggieM] Another old argument that convinced me goes something like this:

An actual infinite set of events has always existed.
Therefore, anything that was possible to happen in that set of events, would have happened.
If it was a billion to one chance – that chance arrived an infinite number of times already.
One possibility is that the set would cease to exist.
If the set ceased to exist, it could not exist again.
Since the universe exists today, it cannot be infinite.
Because an infinite set exhausts all possiblities and non-existence is a possibility.

I think St. Thomas’ argument against this is that the universe could never be anhilated to total non-existence. So, that’s not a possiblity. Something would remain (since matter cannot be destroyed?).

Even still, if it was possible for elements necessary for creating a universe from randomness ceased to exist (that would have to be possible), then the universe would be reduced to that level and never be able to exist again.

Since the universe exists today, it cannot, therefore be infinite.
[/quote]

This is actually much like Thomas’ third way. Everything that can not-be would at some point in the past be non-existent if, in fact, the past were infinite. However, since something exists, then something must also exist necessarily, e.g. God.

The dilemma for the atheist, then, is having to choose between a necessary entity on an infinite universe, and a first cause of a finite universe. Of course, Thomas offers even more arguments for God’s existence which assume the possibility of an eternal universe; so no matter how we look at it, there are solid intellectual reasons to believe in God.

I just hate to have to choose between two great saints. :slight_smile:

I know what you mean! :smiley:

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