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Posted by Harvey on October 14, 2002 16:50:03 UTC

Welcome to the forum. I'm glad that you read the past posts and still found it rewarding to read and respond further. I apologize, but recently our little forum has been hijacked by a child of the irrational creationist movement. I call him a child since he refuses to think for himself. In any case, I wish this forum was up to the intellectual standards which are reflected in your posts, but alas, it is not.

***Time, space and God. Comprehendable? May I propose that neither one is not? Prove a black hole to me. Or better yet, a worm. Difficult to do. They seem to exist. But can't we say the same concerning the concept of a god? I believe we, as humans tend get our thoughts "short circuited" by our very own finite existance.***

I like to sort out to standards of knowledge. One is called an 'epistemological standard' and the other is an 'ontological standard'. The first means that we use models by which to understand the world. We don't pretend to know the world, only that we have high confidence in our models that it suffices for our own good. Science is based on an epistemological standard, but sometimes our high confidence causes many to accept it as the other type. This other type, ontological knowledge, is the idea that we can know something about the world beyond just having legitimate reason to accept our models as sufficient. Ontological knowledge is saying that what we know is true about the world.

In your example, I take it that you accept the epistemological standard but think of the ontological standard as naive? Would that be correct? Of course, there are many facets of this issue and I don't mean to present it as a dichotomy between either accepting or rejecting ontological knowledge.

***Mention time and immeadiately you think "beginning" and an "end". Of course you do, its only natural. Or is it? Without a start and a finish then can time even exist? If the universe is expanding(and I am one who believes that it is not,at least as popular opinion currently does) then from what is it expanding? Away from where? or better yet, away from when? The big bang, even if true, does not necessarily negate infinity. And a 24 hour clock can never truly define time. At least as time relates to space. Space and time are both infinite concepts and at best difficult to comprehend. Even more difficult is understanding them.***

I think time can exist with or without a start and with or without an end. The question, to me, is whether time is bounded or unbounded. If bounded, then there is a 'beginning' (or it simply loops to the end of time), or the other possibility is that the beginning is a limit that cannot be approached (like a tangent line). If unbounded, then time is a primitive truth to the world.

***Does time exist? If so could we prove it? Of course not. To what would you compare time with? As we have seen, time becomes more and more strechted the further and further one travels into space.
It is then concievable that time would eventually become so strecthed, relitive to where we started, that it would be a negligable value. Perhaps even non existant. Hmmm. Well, at least no longer relative. Hinting of course that whatever time is, it is always existing and only waiting to be pulled in by some force and slowed down to some speed that is proportional to that force. (Professor E's Relativity)***

I agree that all we can do at this stage is speculate.

***Of couse we can see that space exists. Its out there and it is made out of "space stuff". We know that. And we can say that we understand a little of it. That is, we understand it as it relates to our little place that we occupy within in it. And not very much more. But we have some pretty good guesses as to the rest. But proof? Prove to me that a black hole or a wormhole are as the most popular of hypothesis' put forth today,say they ar. Yet we know that "something" is there. So science can be as much faith as it can be fact.***

I don't space enjoys any higher status of acceptance than time. Space could be as much an illusion as time could be. For example, space might reduce to fields and those fields only give the impression that there is distance between objects.

Yes, I would agree that we have faith that our observations are real indication of there really being that 'something' as there. Although, it seems to be a different kind of faith than believing in something without observations.

***And, putting all religion aside, then so could God. Just look at the hits for this thread alone compared to the rest. You might say "proove that God exists" And I would challenge by asking you to proove the antithisis of such a challenge. Both valid quests as the one of striving to "understanding space"***

Generally I would agree. The issue is about the relationahip of observations to that of belief. We must believe in something, and those beliefs are always going to be founded on certain assumptions that cannot be proven, however if one of our assumptions is that observations increase our reasons to believe, then not all philosophical matters should be equal in terms of justifying our belief of something. In the case of substantivalism (a belief in the existence of spacetime as primitive to the world) we have our experiences (observations of space and time as 'existing') which must be balanced against other observations of General Relativity (e.g., spacetime fields), etc. In other words, we have to interpret those observations in light of all that we experience in the world. The interpretation is where the controversy arises since there are multiple that can at least somewhat convincingly explain all of our experiences. Similarly, with God we have to interpret the observations of their being a universe having a certain amount of complexity to allow life to evolve (etc), and we have to balance that world view with other philosophies that do not require a creator. Both of these are philosophical positions, but who has the better inpretation to our experiences is where the controversy arises. Fortunately, some philosophical views appear to have better foundation than others. For example, reductionism as a philosophy appears to have a great deal of strength. In order to advocate a form of holism, one must account for the success of reductionism. This certainly must require an admission of some form of the reductionist doctrine.

***So what is time? I dont know. What is space? I dont really know that either. What then is God? Perhaps the energy and the "stuff" that the previous two are made of. And that could help to expalin us. We were slowed down just enough to see it all come together relative to our place in space and time.***

My only beef is that we should stay consistent with the meaning of God in terms of its historical and current usage of how God is understood. Simply trying to make a use of the term as energy and the 'stuff' of spacetime doesn't thrill me. Couldn't we find another term? On the other hand, if God is seen within the range of interpretation of theism, then let's use the term 'God' without shame.

***Yet we continue to go to war in the name of God.
and fully equipped with the weapons of science. Those could be the evidence for both existances.***

I don't quite see the last point, but I am thrilled that you are trying to bring this forum back to the point to where it was. I tried over the past couple of weeks of showing these brats the level of rationality present in this forum before they arrived (hopeful that maybe they would feel embarrassed and out of place), but these are kids that were not taught manners and do not realize their place. It's one thing to be an irrational slackard, it's quite another to add obstinance and arrogance to that state. I hope you stick around, but given the irrational distraction that they are providing, I can understand your reasons if you do not.

If you find another site that is moderating the content, let me know. I'm interested.

Warm regards, Harv

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