The B-theory of Time: My Debate with a Physicist

Tim

Stratton

(The FreeThinking Theist)

|

September 16, 2015

I recently engaged in a debate with a physicist who objected to the Kalam Cosmological Argument based on his metaphysical assumption of the B-theory of time (he referred to this theory as “eternalism”). I have written about some of the problems with the logical conclusions that follow from this metaphysical assumption here and here.

When I joined this Facebook conversation, Charles Einman (who claims he has a PhD is physics from Cambridge) had already been railing against the Kalam and the existence of God based on his “eternalism.” After reading his objections I responded and this led to a rather long dialogue that I think you will find enlightening.

Ultimately, this physicist tacitly admitted that in order to avoid the theistic conclusions of the Kalam, he must affirm that he, Charles, exists timelessly, eternally, and necessarily! Talk about self-idolatry! In order to reject the idea of a timeless, eternal, and necessary God, the committed atheist must affirm that he exists timelessly, eternally, and necessarily. This physicist did not seem to have much training in logic or metaphysics (which is my field). His major confusion was a lack of understanding between ontology (reality) and epistemology (how we come to know reality).

I hope you enjoy reading this exchange. It all started when I jumped into the conversation with this response:

Tim Stratton: I see many errors in Charles’ objections to the KCA. Especially when he steps into philosophy and metaphysics. I do not have time for a debate this week, but here are three articles I have written on the issue which summarize some of my thesis work:

http://freakengministries.com/logic-science-god-the…/

http://freakengministries.com/the-kalam-evolution-the-b…/

http://freakengministries.com/the-b-theory-of-time…/

Bottom line: if one rejects an A-theory of time (at least at some level), then evolution does not count as an explanation of primate complexity and the process of rationality which leads to knowledge goes down the drain.

Charles Einman: Wow. You’re understanding of the B-Theory of Time and what it entails is terrifyingly wrong. In no way does evolution require the A-Theory of Time to be true. I actually don’t even know where to begin to explain how wrong this is, but here is the crux of your wrongness:

//For instance, if evolution is simply explained as “change over time” and there really isn’t any genuine change or time on the B-theory, biologists should reject it because “evolution absolutely requires a sequence of events (e.g., mutation, survival, reproduction) and the order is important.”//

There is genuine change and time on the B-Theory, there is just not an absolute/privileged reference frame for observing said change or time. Do you really think that Tenseless Time entails that time and change are not real? This is bad philosophy and worst cosmology.

Tim Stratton: So, Charles, do you think things actually happen in a static state?

CE: What do you mean: “in a static state”? Of course things happen and of course Time is real. Time is just our approximation of how things are affected by the macroscopic effects of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, namely how clocks (biological and mechanical) are affected by the movement from lower entropy states to higher entropy states.

Here is a nice Wiki Article about Time as it relates to physics:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_in_physics

*[Side Note from Tim: I posted a comment along with a video and it somehow  vanished. Charles commented on the missing comment and I posted the video again below.]

CE
: I’m not watching a 6 minute video about something I likely understand better than those who made the video. Come on man. Do you really think that the B-Theory of Time entails that Change and Time are not real?

Let’s do it this way Tim, what is the difference between the Neo-Lorentzian view of time and the Einsteinian view of time?

Tim Stratton: My last post is missing. Here it is again: https://youtu.be/F8G-eq7uGX4

I understand the implications of the B-theory just fine. I’ve debated physicists on this issue and their contention has never been in regards to my understanding of the B-theory of time.

I do not argue that the Neo-Lorentzian view is true, Charles, I argue that the B-theory cannot account for any genuine process like [Darwinian] evolution or the process of rationality leading to knowledge.

Other world-renowned physicists agree. Take George Ellis, for example. He offers a model of the block universe which rests on the A-theory. However, if the A-theory is true (on any model), then God exists.

If an interpretation of scientific data is logically incoherent, then that interpretation is false.

 

CE: So what is the difference between the Neo-Lorentzian view of time and the Einsteinian view of time? I can give you a quick summary:

Both state that time is experienced relatively depending on your reference frame, however, Neo-Lorentzian relativity makes an extra ad-hoc assumption that there is an arbitrary, undetectable, privileged frame of reference which plays no role in the physical predictions of Special Relativity. This reference frame is what Lorentz referred to as the aether and what Craig attributes to “god’s reference frame.” Ockham’s Razor would have us remove such an unnecessary and undetectable ad hoc assumption unless it can be demonstrated to exist or unless it offers some additional explanatory or predictive power. Therefore, until this can be demonstrated this sort of assumption should be rejected. Accepting it because it is required to keep your First Cause Argument for a god afloat is not a very tenable justification for relying on a view that all of modern cosmology rejects.

*[Side Note from Tim: What Charles does not understand is that I am not necessarily arguing for the Neo-Lorentzian view of time. What I am doing is demonstrating exactly WHY his model (based on the B-theory of time) is logically untenable. His view ultimately rejects evolution as an EXPLANATION of complex primates AND his view destroys the very method employed to gain knowledge. Therefore, if he claims to know anything as a scientist, his model cannot be true. I don’t know if the Neo-Lorentzian model is true or not – maybe the aether does exist – but I do know that the model Charles offers is logically incoherent and ultimately self-defeating. Perhaps that is a good reason to postulate this “aether?”]

Tim Stratton Read my last comment again, Charles. You are missing the point. Read my three articles too.

CE: I read one and already which demonstrated that you don’t understand what Tenseless Time actually entails (as I pointed out above). There is no way I can justify using my time to read the other 2.

Tim literally thinks that time and change are not real on a Tenseless view of time and thus thinks evolution requires a Tensed view of time. This was a serious argument he made and then posted online in a sourced article for the world to see. It’d be funny if it was satire.

For what it’s worth, none of Craig’s arguments have adequately touched on any of my objections. He has addresses specifically the equivocation fallacy and special pleading fallacy I raised, but has yet to satisfy, at least for me, how the second premise does not require “existence” to be defined as existence ex nihilo and/or existence ex deo. As far as his Special Pleading rebuttal, he relies on the notion that the universe likely has a beginning which is supported by modern cosmology and thus cannot be past-eternal. This is a poor rebuttal for 2 reasons. 1) Modern cosmology does not support that the universe likely has a beginning (see my other point on this) and 2) It is a false dichotomy to suggest that the only 2 options are a past-eternal universe or a past-eternal unembodied and maximally powerful, knowing, and personal mind.

*[Side Note from Tim: Foreshadowing alert! By the end of our conversation, Charles will see that these are, in fact, the only two options to choose from. Moreover, Charles claims that “modern cosmology does not support that the universe likely had a beginning.” Well, tell that to some of the worlds leading cosmologists! Arvind Borde, Allan Guth, and Alexander Vilenkin, constructed a theorem (the BGV theorem of 2003) which reaches the conclusion – nature had an absolute beginning. No matter what model one holds, none of them can be extrapolated into past infinity (unless one postulates eternalism – but that raises bigger problems). Dr. Guth (The “G” in BGV) concluded there was a “mother of all beginnings” and stated: “… Even within the context of inflation with many bubbles forming, there would still be somewhere an ultimate beginning.[1] Dr. Vilenkin makes this point even stronger:

“It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape: they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning.”] [2]

CE: My other objections, like the rebuttal to the A-Theory of Time, his failed definition of something coming into existence, the Quantum Eternity Theorem, or that cosmologists don’t agree that the universe likely had a beginning have either been waived away as being hyper-skeptical or metaphysically untenable (which basically means do not support his view of metaphysics) or they were not addressed at any level.

Tim, now you defending the A-Theory of Time without supporting a Neo-Lorentzian view of relativity is seemingly impossible. The only way to do this seems to deny Special Relativity altogether.

George Ellis, in no place I see, rejects Special Relativity. He seems to be in support Possibilism or the Growing Block Universe. This means he is in support of the A-Theory of Time.

See here: http://arxiv.org/abs/gr-qc/0605049.

Tim Stratton Just because some of the data makes sense, Charles, it doesn’t mean that the B-theory is completely accurate. Some of the leading cosmologists and theoretical physicists in the world will tell you that. I suggest reading the work of Foitini Markoupolo and George Ellis.

George Ellis proposes a spacetime model of an evolving & growing block universe, where the future boundary of spacetime represents the present time, and changes as time evolves along timelike worldliness. This “growing block” model is based on the A-theory of time [things actually happen and are ontologically dynamic as opposed to static] and thus cannot escape the Kalam’s conclusion.

http://youtu.be/It6Me78dal8

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/…/physicist-george…/

I’m not arguing for a Neo-Lorentzian model, I simply argue that the B-theory (devoid of any level of A-theory or dynamic time) is logically incoherent, and therefore, this metaphysical assumption is fallacious.

Since Charles simply asserts that I don’t know what I’m talking about and is happy to just post links, let me explain what I’ve learned over several years of research. In 1905 Albert Einstein developed his special theory of relativity which assumed that 3-demensional objects endured through dynamic time (what is now thought of as the A-theory of time). Three years later, Herman Minkowski offered Einstein’s theory in a vastly different manner. He presented it in a geometrical way no longer thinking of objects as 3-dimensional enduring through dynamic time, but rather, thinking of objects as 4-dimensional with the added dimension of physical time (the space-time block assumes what is now referred to as the B-theory of time). This model of reality is not empirically observable, but rather, a metaphysical assumption of what reality is like [in an ontological sense]. This is similar to a frozen fish tank. Nothing is objectively moving or happening. Everything is static on this model.

Now, I agree that the B-theory of time can make sense of some of the physicist’s math. However, it runs into some major logical and scientific problems as well. Moreover, the B-theory of time is inconsistent with how we all live and perceive reality.

Now, those committed to their atheistic assumptions must oppose the Kalam and argue for the B-theory of time because on this model, things don’t really happen [in an ontological sense] or “begin.” There is no *real* “current moment” (just subjective illusions). On the B-theory, we don’t really pass through time and into the future. On the B-theory, the future is already “there” just on a different location of the block. This is why B-theory advocates will tell you (as Sean Carroll does) that there is no free will on their model. The future is already set along with the entire 4-D space block. On this model, nothing really happens (just illusions of happenings).

This theory of time is also known as the static theory, or the “tenseless” theory of time. The reason it is called a “tenseless” theory of time is because there is really no objective past, present, or future [just locations on the block].

The advocate of the A-theory holds that the properties of past, present, and future are objective. That is to say, what happened in 1985 is really a past event, and is no longer occurring. What is happening now is really happening right now, and what will happen tomorrow has not yet occurred. This seems to be prima facie justified and intuitively obvious. However, to avoid the final conclusion of the Kalam, one must logically refute one of the two premises. If one could show that the static, or B-theory of time, was reality, the Kalam would seemingly lose its force (unless the B-theory “block” of space-time came into existence – this would be a B-theory block floating on a stream of dynamic A-time). The B-theory of time holds that any point in time, or tense designation, is purely a subjective statement from an individual [based on their illusion]. There is no “now,” or for that matter, “no time like the present” [on eternalism]. For people in 2015, 2015 is now, but for people in 1985, 1985 is now. Temporal becoming is nothing but a subjective illusion if the B-theory of time is correct.

To help visualize, watch the very short animated video (actually made by an atheist) that does a good job describing the “B” or “block theory” of time that I posted above.

Charles, don’t tell me I don’t understand the implications of the B-theory and then quote Sean Carroll who agrees that everything is static and therefore rejects free will.

There are several philosophical/logical objections to the B-theory, but it occurred to me that there is a scientific objection to it as well, namely that evolutionary biologists might have some strong objections against the B-theory of time. By the way, the evolutionary biologist at the University of Nebraska rejects the B-theory of time because it does not allow for an *explanation* of complex primates. Think about this:

If evolution is simply explained as “change over time” and there really isn’t any *genuine* change or time on the B-theory (because all is frozen or static), biologists should reject it because evolution absolutely requires a sequence of events (e.g., mutation, survival, reproduction) and the order is important.

For the atheists who see the B-Theory as their escape route from the Kalam (and God), they unwittingly open themselves up to some major evolutionary problems. For example, on the B-theory, there is no genuine evolution. This space-time “block” just exists and every moment of time (or location on the block) is equally real. Now, if the “block” is contingent in any way, then God exists via the Leibnizian Cosmological Argument. However, if the “block” began to exist, as I mentioned above, there would be an absolute A-theory of time as the foundation of the “space-time block” in which the B-theory applies (imagine a frozen aquarium of fish floating upon a moving stream).

It seems the only way the committed atheist could object to an ultimate or absolute A-theory of time is to affirm that the space-time block exists necessarily and eternally with no beginning. But, even if committed atheists want to argue that the B-theory “block” is eternal and necessary, that means humanity never really evolved. We exist “today” (on our part of the block) just as much as the first single-celled ancestor “still” exists on its portion of the block. Evolution, then, loses all explanatory power as to why advanced primates exist. We can summarize this argument in the following logical syllogism:

1. If evolutionary biology is true, then change must have occurred insofar as there has been a genuine development of species.

2. If B-theory is true, then all species are equally old or ageless as the static block itself.

3. Therefore, if B-theory is true, then no development of species has genuinely occurred.

4. Therefore, if B-theory is true, then evolutionary biology cannot explain the complexity of developed species.

In conclusion, evolution makes zero sense on the B-theory, which is why the evolutionary biologist I mentioned told me that evolution demands a model that ultimately rests on an A-theory of time – even if it’s a model we have not yet discovered.

Therefore, if an atheist wants to appeal to the B-theory to reject the theistic implications of the Kalam, they must deny evolution. I am very open to the possibility that God created via evolution (this would not be a problem for an omniscient and omnipotent being), but atheists must appeal to evolution as a means to explain complex primates without a need for God. On the other hand, if the atheist holds to evolution as an explanation of primate complexity today, they must accept the Kalam (or at least not object to it by appealing to the B-theory).

Pick your poison (so-to-speak), but either way, God is the inference to the best explanation [a Reasonable Faith].

Therefore, affirming the B-theory of time just to resist the theistic implications of the Kalam is not a good idea. As, Dr. Craig says, affirming the B-theory of time “has a very high price tag!

George Ellis, “The Evolving Block Universe: A More Realistic…

YOUTUBE.COM

Johanan Raatz:  [Sean] Carroll says spacetime emerges from entangled information, which is integrated information which is a conscious state according to IIT. If Carroll’s physics is true, then so is Berkeleyan idealism.

Tim Stratton Allow me to make one more objection to the B-theory of time: Libertarian Free Will (LFW) is illusory if the static theory of time is true; therefore, rationality (and knowledge) is illusory, too. This is because if the B-theory “block” is eternal, then it exists agelessly with no beginning [why it’s called “eternalism”]. If it is not necessary and eternal, then it “popped” into being all at once fully formed. Either way, all moments/slices/positions of the block are already set. They are all equally real. In the same way that there is no authentic process of biological evolution (change over time) on the B-theory, there would also be no genuine reasoning, which requires dynamic time to engage in the process of rationality.

If the eternal block universe and the B-theory of time is true, then everything is set (or frozen) eternally in the block of space-time. If this eternal frozen block of space-time is reality, then persons are better thought of as “frozen worms” stuck in a certain position in the block. Since dynamic time is illusory on this view, so-called “moments” are just “slices” of the block (seconds are thinner slices than minutes). It follows that the “person” reading this article right now is just a “slice” of the frozen worm in the block. It is a different slice of the worm that ate breakfast yesterday. You are literally not the same thing that existed last week and the slice of you that currently exists at the “tomorrow moment” on the block is different than the slice reading this debate. In fact, if the B-theory of time is true, you have no control or choice as to what you are going to do or think tomorrow or next year. It is already set in stone and eternally frozen in space-time.

All of these “slices” that are in the “prior” position on the block are different slices of the “person” making the choice or decision at different coordinates on the block. In the same way that an innocent defendant in front of the judge is a different slice than the guilty slice that robbed the bank, the slice of the frozen worm deriving a conclusion is different than the one considering competing hypotheses and deliberating between them. Therefore, just as the process of evolution is illusory on the B-theory, so too would be the process of rationality (which requires not only dynamic time, but also libertarian free will to choose the best explanation). It seems that continuity of first-person identity is a necessary condition of LFW. It follows then, that if the “slice” deciding isn’t even the same one taking action, I don’t see how libertarian freedom could be anything but illusory on this view.

We can demonstrate this with the following deductive syllogism based off of my Freethinking Argument Against Naturalism:

1- If the eternal block universe and the B-theory of time is true, then libertarian free will does not exist.

2- If libertarian free will does not exist, rationality and knowledge do not exist.

3- Rationality and knowledge exist.

4- Therefore, libertarian free will exists.

5- Therefore, the eternal block universe and the B-theory of time is false.

To make my point stronger, I like to think about the B-theory “block” as a frozen aquarium. Imagine that everything in the aquarium is in a fixed position and is as old or ageless as the aquarium itself. If the frozen four dimensional spacetime “worm” called “Tim” exists in a fixed position in the block of ice, and the “right end” is just as ageless (or the same age) as the “left end,” I just don’t see how libertarian free will is anything but an illusory misconception on this view. Moreover, the way we “behave” on the B-theory is causally determined by the position in which we happen to be eternally frozen inside the block. It does not seem that we have any choice or control over the position we happen to be eternally frozen in.

To help visualize, imagine going down a twisting and turning water slide at the swimming pool. The shape of the slide causally determines my movement. If the slide veers to the right, it is impossible for me to turn to the left even if I want to. It seems to me that although God’s knowledge would not stand in causal relation to our actions, the shape of all that is “frozen” inside the block would stand in causal relation with my subjective illusion of self-consciousness and my actions.

For this reason, not only is evolution illusory on the B-theory of time, libertarian free will, rationality, and knowledge, are all nothing but misapprehensions if the B-theory of time is true, and these are good reasons to freely choose (which is impossible on Chrarles’ view) to reject the B-theory of time.

Tim Stratton It’s not just evolution that requires the A-theory to be true, but if anyone thinks they are rational, or have come to rational conclusions that bring justified true belief (knowledge), then the A-theory seems to be the only option. If one claims they possess justification for their beliefs, they must reject the block theory of time (one could appeal to the “evolving block theory” posited by George Ellis which is ultimately based on the A-theory).

In conclusion, allow me to reiterate what I established earlier. It is not a good idea to affirm the B-theory of time just to resist the theistic implications of the Kalam Cosmological Argument. Affirming the B-theory of time “has a very high price tag!”

Here’s the bottom Line: You cannot conclude a model of reality which destroys the very method you used to reach your conclusion. This is the epitome of self-refutation and appealing to the B-theory of time and the eternal block universe commits this exact logical fallacy. As I always say, any argument based on a logical fallacy is no argument at all.

Tim Stratton I will point out that Johanan Raatz has purported a B-theory model that can possibly escape my objections to it; however, this model requires the necessary existence of God! I’m sure you will be opposed to that model based on your question-begging atheistic assumptions.

However, even Johanan‘s B-theory model is based on an undercurrent of A-theory time.

Johanan Raatz:  Charles, yes [Sean Carroll] is not a cognitive scientist as he admitted and is therefore not qualified to hold to the position of atheism. The trouble is this physics (AdS/MERA) + IIT from cognitive science give you God from idealism. To answer this he has one of three options at his disposal:

1.) Accept IIT and thus quantum idealist based Berkeleyanism.
2.) Reject IIT and thus contradict the leading theory in cognitive science.
3.) Claim agnosticism on IIT and thus on God.

So he can either be a theist, an atheist and reject science, or an agnostic. Not wanting to and not being qualified to do 2 and disliking 1, he is trapped into 3. Carroll is not an atheist. Carroll is an agnostic.

Johanan Raatz: At the end though A or B theory are compatible with theism.

*[Tim Stratton: I would add that only a very specific *theistic* model of the B-theory of time could avoid the problems I’ve raised against the B-theory if naturalism were true.]

Anderson: How could a God always exist?

CE: Wow these are by far the longest responses I’ve ever seen. They also don’t seem to stop coming in. Let’s see if I can’t grab the important bits out and comment accordingly:

1) //This “growing block” model is based on the A-theory of time and thus cannot escape the Kalam’s conclusion. //

So you cite one physicist that is in support of Possibilism and thus the A-Theory of Time is tenable? Possibilism still requires a privileged reference frame and thus Lorentzian relativity. This makes him on a very lonely island in the community of physicists. Even Ellis himself mentions this reference frame in the paper I cited:

“However the time surfaces are no longer invariant under change of reference frame: they depend on the observer’s motion relative to the coordinate system. So the usual objection to the idea of a special relativistic evolving universe is, How do we choose which surfaces are associated with the evolution of spacetime? This choice is arbitrary, and so the unfolding of time is indeterminate: it is not a well defined unique physical process”

Source: http://arxiv.org/ftp/gr-qc/papers/0605/0605049.pdf

2) //If the eternal block universe and the B-theory of time is true, then everything is set (or frozen) eternally in the block of space-time.//

How does eternalism suggest that things are set or frozen eternally? I guess that would be true for a 4th dimensional observer, but since we exist inside the universe and not outside this is really a strange point to make. This is the exact reason your understanding seems to be flawed on the B-Theory of Time. You are looking at it as if you are outside of the universe. Evolution and change and our observations and experiences occur within the universe and thus your argument can’t get off the ground. This seems to explain your entire misunderstanding over the B-Theory of Time.

*[Side Note from Tim: Charles is the one with huge misunderstanding here. He vacillates between ontology and epistemology when it’s convenient for him; however, this is an error. He admits that – ontologically speaking – things are really frozen eternally in a static sense. He says, “I guess that would be true,” but then he refers to our subjective and incorrect illusion of subjective experience from within the frozen/static block to say that things changes are occurring. My point is this: they are not REALLY occurring; we just feel like they are. Kip Thorne makes my point here (start at 9:50)]

CE: I guess if we were 4th dimensional beings our language and concepts on the universe would be greatly altered, but since we are not I don’t think this sort of thing is very helpful.

3) Now your syllogism here s completely flawed:

//1- If the eternal block universe and the B-theory of time is true, then libertarian free will does not exist.
2- If libertarian free will does not exist, rationality and knowledge do not exist.
3- Rationality and knowledge exist.
4- Therefore, libertarian free will exists.
5- Therefore, the eternal block universe and the B-theory of time is false.//

– I reject Premise 2 because in no way is a libertarian view of free will required for rationality and knowledge. This would need to be demonstrated, but since you did not care to do this I will simply reject it out of hand.

*[Side Note from Tim: For the sake of those following along, I have demonstrated that libertarian free will is a necessary ingredient for knowledge gained via the process of rationality. Click HERE to read my case.]

CE: I also reject the notion that Libertarian Free Will is even a coherent concept. This is the notion that we can and do act freely outside of factors like desire. This is demonstrably false because if you resist the desire to steal because you do not want to be a thief then your desire to not be a thief was greater than your desire to steal. I don’t see how you can explain choice without invoking at the minimum the effects of personal desire and thus Libertarian Free Will is a non-starter.

4) //I will point out that Johanan Raatz has purported a B-theory model that can possibly escape my objections to it; however, this model requires the existence of God! I’m sure you will be opposed to that model based on your question-begging atheistic assumptions!//

I don’t mind the idea of god existing and if someone has a viable mathematical model that requires or predicts the existence of a god then that would be a first. Please link to that scholarly journal that published this model because I would love to read it.

*[Side Note from Tim: Based on Charles’ Facebook page, I do not believe for one minute that he does not “mind the idea of god existing!” He seems to be a gay-marriage advocate and detests Christian theism as Jesus teaches that marriage is between one man and one woman becoming one flesh for one lifetime. Charles seems very biased in my opinion and is very emotional in his rants against Christianity. He does mind if God (with a capital “G”) exists!]

Regarding the mathematical model predicting the existence of God, the first question he needs to consider is WHY should math be the tool for the job? Answering that question will point you to God in the first place. Moreover, the BGV theorem of 2003 (as I pointed out above) proves that nature had an absolute “mother of all beginnings.” If this is the case, the theistic predictions of the Kalam logically follow. On top of that, we have the teleological argument for the existence of God. Watch this short video! 

 

Anderson: how could a “God Mind” always exist but other things could not? What do Christians mean their God “always existed?”

Robertson: How could anyone even know if that’s the case even if such a deity does exist?

*[Side Note from Tim: These questions will be answered below.]

CE: So if I understand where we are now:

1) Tim Stratton rejects the B-Theory of Time because he thinks that if it were true we would experience all time at once and not as we actually do. Also he thinks it removes Libertarian Free Will. Since the former is an obvious non-sequitur and the latter requires the untenable notion of Libertarian Free Will it seems the B-Theory of Time is perfectly safe and is still supported by the overwhelming consensus of physicists.

*[Side Note from Tim: Charles is attacking a straw man here as I never argued that we would “experience” time all at once! I demonstrated, that our experiences are subjective illusions and do not correspond to ontological reality the way it objectively is if Charles’ model of time is true. Charles also rejects Libertarian Free Will, and therefore must affirm the logical implication that his thoughts and beliefs were causally determined and forced upon him by physics, chemistry, or just the physical structure of the 4-D block of space-time. All he can do, then, is offer question-begging assumptions (a logical fallacy) that his determined thoughts and beliefs are better than my determined thoughts and beliefs. Any argument based on a logical fallacy is no argument at all.]

CE: Sooooo…. now I don’t know where we go from here. Tim obviously doesn’t understand what is entailed by Eternalism.

Tim Stratton Charles said: “So you cite one physicist that is in support of Possibilism and thus the A-Theory of Time is tenable? Possibilism still requires a privileged reference frame. Even Ellis mentions this in the paper I cited.”

Ellis is considered one of the most respected cosmologists in the world today, so perhaps we should hear him out. You obviously haven’t had enough time to watch the video I posted.

My point (that you are completely missing, Charles) is this: The B-theory of time does not allow for an explanation of primate complexity, nor does it allow you to possess knowledge. Therefore, you cannot even know the B-theory is true even if it is true.

So even if scientists have not figured out how to make their math work on an A-theory [besides the Neo-Lorentzian view of time], if they cannot possess knowledge on the B-theory, and since evolution goes out the window on the B-theory, the B-theory (as currently understood) is logically incoherent and therefore, false. Unless you want to start making incoherent claims and affirming them as true. That will be a heavy burden to to carry.

You asked, “How does eternalism suggest that things are set or frozen eternally? I guess that would be true for a 4th dimensional observer, but since we exist inside the universe and not outside this is really a strange point to make.”

You are confusing what seems to be the case with what is the case. According to the B-theory, we are nothing more than illusions of self-consciousness traveling down a tornado slide at the water park. The shape of the slide causally determines my movement. On the B-theory, the shape of the frozen/static block determines your subjective illusions of movement. You don’t really have a choice in the matter, although it might *feel* like you do. On the B-theory, it’s nothing but an illusion.

You said, “This is the exact reason your understanding seems to be flawed on the B-Theory of Time. You are looking at it as if you are outside of the universe. Evolution and change and our observations and experiences occur within the universe and thus your argument can’t get off the ground.”

Geesh! From inside the static universe, you will have the illusion of behaviors and beliefs, but to understand the way it is (reality), you need to think outside the frozen box! Once “observing” it from outside the box, one would see that nothing is really happening in an objective and ontological sense. In fact, the day of your death is already set and is just as old or ageless as the day of your birth. This is not uncontroversial. If B-theory is reality, this is the way it is.

You said, “Now your syllogism here s completely flawed:

//1- If the eternal block universe and the B-theory of time is true, then libertarian free will does not exist.
2- If libertarian free will does not exist, rationality and knowledge do not exist.
3- Rationality and knowledge exist.
4- Therefore, libertarian free will exists.
5- Therefore, the eternal block universe and the B-theory of time is false.//”

You objected: “I reject Premise 2 because in no way is a libertarian view of free will required for rationality and knowledge. This would need to be demonstrated, but since you did not care to do this I will simply reject it out of hand.”

Oh the assumptions you make. Ask Steve if I will argue this until the cows come home. Here is a short pop-level article I wrote summarizing 3 years of MA thesis work (this is not exhaustive by any means):

http://freakengministries.com/freethinking-atheists-are…/

You said, “I also reject the notion that Libertarian Free Will is even a coherent concept.”

You were just determined to think that if it’s true or not! If you cannot freely follow the evidence to freely infer the BEST expiation of the data, then why should you assume your determined thoughts and beliefs are any good? Question-begging assumptions anyone? Surely you are not a presupper are you?

Anderson: Is it that Christians actually can’t explain what they mean by claiming their God exists and is eternal?

CE: Please, enough Tim. We understand how the math works on the A-Theory because it works according to Lorentzian Relativity and we understand how Lorentzian Relativity works. It’s just currently not a tenable position.

Side Note from Tim: Charles seems to think the A-theory is “untenable” because we need to postulate something we cannot empirically detect called the “aether.” Scientists have done this in the past with what was known as “the God particle,” and then over three decades later they empirically verified its existence. However, because this aether is currently undetectable, Charles thinks this view is “untenable.” What he does not realize is that it is his view that rejects darwinian evolution, rationality, and even knowledge itself. If any model is “untenable,” it’s his!

CE: You also seem to misunderstand the difference between Free Will of making cognitive decisions (which seems to exist) and Libertarian Free Will of making decisions devoid of any other factors (which cannot exist with the mere understanding of personal desire). In no way does Eternalism have any affect over human free will. We live inside the universe and thus experience time. You just don’t seem to be grasping this point. This is a philosophical issue that you seem to be on the wrong end of because if you support the notion of Libertarian Free Will then you are demonstrably wrong, as I’ve pointed out previously.

Tim Stratton Charles said, “Please, enough Tim. We understand how the math works on the A-Theory because it works according to Lorentzian Relativity and we understand how Lorentzian Relativity works. It’s just not a tenable position.”

Please, enough, Charles, that is not what I am arguing for. Please stop attacking straw men. That is a logical fallacy and any argument based on a logical fallacy is no argument at all! I have demonstrated via logical deduction that the B-theory is not a tenable position as it cannot account for evolution, rationality, or knowledge! If you cannot understand these deep concepts, then there is nothing I can do for you.

You said, “You also seem to misunderstand the difference between Free Will of making cognitive decisions (which seems to exist) and Libertarian Free Will of making decisions devoid of any other factors (which cannot exist with the mere understanding of personal desire).”

Read my article, Charles. You are missing the point again:

http://freakengministries.com/freethinking-atheists-are…/

CE: //I have demonstrated via logical deduction that the B-theory is not a tenable positions as it cannot account for evolution, rationality, or knowledge! If you cannot understand these deep concepts, then there is nothing I can do for you.//

I’ve explained how this is because you do not understand what is entailed by the B-Theory of Time or that the notion of Libertarian Free Will, while not affected in ANY way by eternalism, is flawed on philosophical grounds.

I will not waste my time on another one of your misinformed articles Tim. I’m sorry, but I gave you one chance and you demonstrated a lack of understanding. I can see now that in no way can I convince you of why you don’t understand Eternalism, but if you think that the universe is static and unchanging on eternalism then you are speaking about it as if you are existing outside of it and since I doubt you do exist outside the universe your point is moot.

Tim Stratton Are you admitting, Charles, that you did not really infer that the B-theory of time is the best explanation? Are you saying that everything you believe is based on your personal desires which are ultimately determined via the initial conditions of the big bang?

If inference to the best explanation is an aspect of reality, so is libertarian free will (at least some times).

Tim Stratton Answer my question.

Tim Stratton You said, “I can see now that in no way can I convince you of why you don’t understand Eternalism, but if you think that the universe is static and unchanging on eternalism then you are speaking about it as if you are existing outside of it and since I doubt you do exist outside the universe your point is moot.”

This is ludicrous! Did you do a MA thesis on this topic and have it scrutinized by scientists, metaphysicians, and philosophers? I did! If anyone has no idea of what he’s talking about, it’s not me!

 

CE: //Are you admitting that you did not really infer that the B-theory of time is the best explanation?//

The B-Theory is a necessary outcome of our current understanding of Special Relativity. Since I and the overwhelming consensus of my colleagues in the physics community find that Einstein’s SR is the inference to the best explanation it must logically follow that I and ostensibly all of colleagues (I guess except for Ellis) find the B-Theory the Inference to the best explanation.

//Are you saying that everything you believe is based on your personal desires which are ultimately determined via the initial conditions of the big bang? //

No I don’t believe that beliefs are subject to choice. I don’t choose to believe in gravity, I believe it because otherwise I would have walked off a cliff and died by now and not be talking to you.

//This is ludicrous! Did you do a MA thesis on this topic and have it scrutinized by scientists and philosophers? I did! //

No, my MA Thesis was in Particle Physics. My PhD Thesis was on entropy and its relationship with early universe cosmology. That is actually where my research is focused. It just so happens that Entropy and Time are incontrovertibly linked and thus I spend most of my time thinking and researching and talking and writing about time.

Tim Stratton You said, “The B-Theory is a necessary outcome of our current understanding of Special Relativity. Since I and the overwhelming consensus of my colleagues in the physics community find that Einstein’s SR is the inference to the best explanation it must logically follow that I and ostensibly all of colleagues (I guess except for Ellis) find the B-Theory the Inference to the best explanation.”

Charles, how can you REALLY engage in the inference to the best explanation on the B-theory? The vast majority of scientists today also affirm evolution as an explanation to primate complexity. However, your B-theory rejects genuine “change over time.”

You said, “I don’t believe that beliefs are subject to choice. I don’t choose to believe gravity, I believe it because otherwise I would have walked off a cliff and died by now and not be talking to you.”

Wow! So you actually affirm that all of your thoughts and beliefs are determined? Did I read that correctly, Charles?

Tim Stratton Here’s the bottom line: there might be mathematical problems with our *incomplete* picture of the A-theory. However, there are logical and scientific problems with the B-theory.

CE: The issue is that experiencing entropy and thus time seems to be required within a block universe if which we experience time relative to our velocity and gravitational effects. We do in fact experience time in this way and thus it seems we live in such a universe. Sorry, but your options are Lorentzian Relativity or Einstein’s Relativity in order to explain the Relativity of Simultaneity that we have and do observe. You seem to choose the Lorentzian relativity, which is fine, it’s just an untenable position currently seeing as how it requires an an arbitrary and unnecessary ad hoc assumption.

Tim Stratton:  [Talk about “untenable!” Charles, your view rejects darwinian evolution and the ability to reason. You cannot destroy the very method you used to reach your conclusion with your conclusion!]

CE: //Here’s the bottom line: there might be mathematical problems with our incomplete picture of the A-theory.//

We understand the picture on A-Theory and there are no mathematical problems it’s just currently an untenable position.

//However, there are logical and scientific problems with the B-theory.//

Only if you don’t understand Eternalism, which seems to be the case here given your article on Eternalism and Evolution. I sent that to a Astro-biologist buddy of mine and we are currently having a good chuckle over it, by the way. I hope that wasn’t your MA Thesis!

Tim Stratton That doesn’t surprise me since you have demonstrated a complete lack of knowledge when it comes to metaphysics. Your friend is probably in the same boat.

You keep talking about subjective “experience” but these would be illusions if B-theory is reality. I am not talking about illusions, Charles, I am talking about objective reality and the logical implications that follow.

Namely, if B-theory is true, you cannot KNOW anything!

If all of your thoughts and beliefs are causally determined and forced upon you (as you admitted), then all you can do is beg the question and assume your determined thoughts are better than mine (let alone true). You cannot rationally affirm, provide warrant for, or justify that your determined beliefs (and your determined beliefs about those beliefs) are true. All you can do is assume. This is not warrant (therefore, knowledge goes down the drain), this is begging the question. Any argument based on a logical fallacy is no argument at all.

Tim Stratton Since you continue to assume your determined beliefs about the eternal block universe are better than my determined beliefs (begging the question), answer this:

If you were able to transcend the block, is the point of the block in the position we would call “tomorrow” already there? Objectively speaking (not according to subjective experience), are you (on the portion of the block we would call “today”) just as old or ageless as the single-celled common ancestor?

CE: //You keep talking about subjective “experience” but these would be illusions if B-theory is reality. I am not talking about illusions, I am talking about objective reality and the logical implications that follow.//

Sorry, but no. The passing of time is not an illusion. It is very real, whether or not you subscribe to the B-Theory, well unless you are a solipsist, but if that’s the case why even take the effort to have a discussion? Again we live inside the universe so it is not static from our vantage point, understand?

//Namely, if B-theory is true, you cannot KNOW anything! //

Cool, I reject this statement.

//If all of your thoughts and beliefs are causally determined and forced upon you, then all you can do is beg the question and assume your determined thoughts are better than mine (let alone true).//

Sure, but Eternalism does not suggest that our thoughts or decisions are forced upon us. I must stress that we do not choose what we believe, if you think we can, choose not to believe in gravity and see how walking off a cliff works in relation to that belief. I am guessing you would not be able to choose such a belief and thus proving my point.

//You cannot rationally affirm, provide warrant for, of justify that your determined beliefs (and your determined beliefs about those beliefs) are true. All you can do is assume. This is not warrant (therefore, knowledge goes down the drain), this is begging the question. //

Since you simply asserted this without any justification I will reject it with the same amount of justification.

//Any argument based on a logical fallacy is no argument at all.//

Cool, good thing none of my arguments are I guess.

//If you were able to transcend the block, is the point of the block in the position we would call “tomorrow” already there?//

Sure, but since we do not transcend the block, but rather seem to live inside the universe your point is moot. I enjoy the thought experiment, but it is really pointless when discussing reality.

//Objectively speaking (not according to subjective experience), are you just as old or ageless as the single-celled common ancestor?//

Do things that are currently not alive have an age? If not then this is an unintelligible question. If they do then I would need to know how old you consider the single-celled common ancestor to be. If you think it is older than 27 year then I am younger than it. If you think it is younger then 27 years then I am older than it. Again I don’t transcend the universe and thus I experience time within the universe, understand???

Come on Tim. We are obviously not going to agree. You think the Eternalism means the universe is static and unchanging, I think that you are describing our universe from a vantage point of outside the universe which is silly to do.

I’m not interested in further discussing your misunderstandings of science or philosophy or eternalism.

Anderson: “2- If libertarian free will does not exist, rationality and knowledge do not exist.”

Strat, I thought LFW included “possible” choice paths? Again, if a God knew our one real and actual future how could this LFW be true?

[Tim Stratton: Anderson, that’s a good question but the answer is actually quite simple: Knowledge does not stand in causal relation. If God has omniscient certainty and knows how you will *freely* choose, then if his knowledge is removed from the scenario nothing changes.]

Tim Stratton Thank you for making my point, Charles! I asked: “If you were able to transcend the block, is the point of the block in the position we would call “tomorrow” already there?”

You said, “Sure, but since we do not transcend the block and seem to live inside the universe your point is moot.”

How in the world is the point “moot?” We are talking about objective [and ontological] reality and not subjective experience. You just affirmed my case!

You said, “I enjoy the thought experiment, but it is really pointless when discussing reality.”

You are making a HUGE mistake of equivocating human subjective illusions with ontological reality, Charles! I encourage you to take some classes in metaphysics as it is the study of ultimate reality, logic, and epistemology.

I asked, “Objectively speaking (not according to subjective experience), are you just as old or ageless as the single-celled common ancestor?”

You didn’t answer my question and asked, “Do things that are currently not alive have an age? If not then this is an unintelligible question.”

Read my question carefully, Charles: “Objectively speaking (not according to subjective experience), are you just as old or *ageless* as the single-celled common ancestor?”

It’s possible that the B-theory block could have “popped” into existence fully formed (theistic B-theorists hold this view). If so, it would have an absolute age and exist temporally even if all things in the block were just as old as each other and the block itself. This is a question metaphysics deals with.

Now if the block is literally eternal, then you would be just as *ageless* as the single-celled common ancestor. That is why evolutionary biologists reject your theory!

AndersonTim Stratton and Johanan Raatz, in what time theory do you believe your God is located?

Tim Stratton: Anderson, in a nutshell: I believe God is timeless (like the B-theory) in an eternal state sans creation. At the first moment of action/creation (the beginning of A-theory time), God exists eternally into the future in a dynamic state of time [God is no longer in a tenseless eternal state but a dynamic state with no end who also had no beginning]. This is logical because even if God erased all of creation, He could never create the universe again for the first time.

CE: 1) //How in the world is the point “moot?” We are talking about objective reality and not subjective experience. You just affirmed my case! //

Okay. Last time I explain this. You cannot talk about the perspective of observing the universe within it and the perspective of observing the universe outside of it and get angry that the descriptions do not conform. When I’m inside a pool I am wet and when I am observing the pool from outside of it I’m not. Should I say the pool must not actually exist since I’m not wet when describing my experience from both vantage points? This is so obviously silly, but still you make the same argument when describing our experience of the universe from inside of it and outside of it. Come on Tim, you have to be smarter than this.

2) //You are making a HUGE mistake of equivocating human subjective illusions with ontological reality! I encourage you to take some classes in metaphysics as it is the study of ultimate reality, logic, and epistemology. //

Never said that subjective illusions are ontological realities. I just don’t think human experience is an illusion. This is not my viewpoint nor is it required on Eternalism. I personally find any form of Idealism at worst untenable and at best unpractical and I tend to lean towards Representative Realism. This may change after my discussion with Johanan… who knows?

3) //Read my question carefully, Charles: “Objectively speaking (not according to subjective experience), are you just as old or *ageless* as the single-celled common ancestor?”//

Objectively speaking I am existing at a place and time in which my likely single-celled common ancestor is not alive or present. Objectively this question is unintelligible. If you are equating “objective” with “existing outside the universe” then you have a strange definition of objective.

4) //It’s possible that the B-theory block could have “popped” into existence fully formed. If so, it would have an absolute age and exist temporally even if all things in the block were just as old as each other and the block itself. This is a question metaphysics deals with. //

Sure it’s possible, but that doesn’t mean it’s plausible or probable. I tend to not support a view of existence ex nihilo and or existence ex deo as these have not ever been demonstrated (see my original objections I made with regard to the KCA). I could imagine a lot of possibilities in order to support a lot of strange god claims, or fairies, or the Lochness Monster, but I tend to require demonstrable evidence before I believe something to be more likely than not. Having some non-zero possibility does not impress me. All that means is that it does not contradict any of the Logical Absolutes.

Tim Stratton I asked, “How in the world is the point “moot?” We are talking about objective reality and not subjective experience. You just affirmed my case!”

Charles said, “You cannot talk about the perspective of observing the universe within it and the perspective of observing the universe outside of it and get angry that the descriptions do not conform. When I’m inside a pool I am wet and when I am observing the pool from outside of it I’m not.”

Wow. That analogy is so dissimilar it’s not even funny. You affirmed that objectively speaking, your death is just as ageless as your birth and the entire block itself. Therefore, objectively speaking, all processes are illusory. All of your thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors are causally determined by the 4-D space-block. You can only assume your thoughts are good (a logical fallacy). The process of rationality leading to knowledge and the process of evolution go down the drain on your model, Charles.

I actually think you are very smart, Charles; however, you don’t seem to have much education regarding metaphysics, logic, and epistemology. Most scientists don’t.

I said, “You are making a HUGE mistake of equivocating human subjective illusions with ontological reality! I encourage you to take some classes in metaphysics as it is the study of ultimate reality, logic, and epistemology.”

You said, “Never said that subjective illusions are ontological realities. I just don’t think human experience is an illusion. This is not my viewpoint nor is it required on Eternalism.”

This is what you simply do not understand, Charles (and I know this is not your field). If eternalism is true, then your death exists just as eternally on its portion of the block as your birth and the single-celled common ancestor. That’s the logical implications of your theory. That is why biologists reject it!

You said, “I personally find any form of Idealism at worst untenable and at best unpractical and I tend to lean towards Representative Realism.”

I am not an idealist, but I am sure open to it as Sean Carroll is along with a plethora of other theoretical physicists. However, if your B-theory is true, you are not in control of what you believe or even what your preferences are (you admitted this)! What does it matter what you “personally think?” You could be causally determined to be wrong. Assuming otherwise is a logical fallacy.

I said, “Read my question carefully, Charles: “Objectively speaking (not according to subjective experience), are you just as old or *ageless* as the single-celled common ancestor?”

You replied: “Objectively speaking I am existing at a place and time in which no single-celled common ancestor exists.”

You are now simply talking about your place on the block. What you continually misunderstand (or intentionally ignore) is that I am referring to the entire block! On your view, the slice of you on the portion of the block you call “today” is just as ageless as the portion of the block with the single-celled common ancestor and the entire block itself.

In your objection to my question asking if you were as “old or ageless” as the single-celled ancestor, you ignored the “ageless” part and complained about “age.” I told you that metaphysics (which you don’t understand) deals with those questions so I was merely being careful in my question to you. You seemed to miss the point again and said:

“Sure, but I tend to not support a view of existence ex nihilo and or existence ex deo as these have not ever been demonstrated (see my original objections I made with regard to the KCA).”

I know you think you were causally determined to think that if it’s true or not. There is no real or genuine inference to the best explanation on your view, just determined thoughts and beliefs of which you have no say over. It seems your view is that YOU along with the entire block universe exist eternally and necessarily with no beginning.

Tell me, Charles, if you can exist in this manner, why can’t God?

And you claim that I am the one with strange claims! So far, you have rejected evolution and rejected the ability to infer the best explanation, and rejected knowledge! Meanwhile, I am the one engaged in thinking logically about ultimate reality (metaphysics) and not just subjective perceptions and illusions.

Tim Stratton I’m done for the night. Thanks for the conversation, Charles. I do affirm that you are quite knowledgeable in your field; however, I don’t think you realize when you step out of your field of expertise and into another in which you have no training (metaphysics, logic, & epistemology).

CE: //Wow. That analogy is so dissimilar it’s not even funny (you have to be smarter than this). You affirmed that objectively speaking, your death is just as ageless as your birth and the entire block itself.//

I did not affirm this. “Objectively” does not equal “Observing the universe from outside the universe”, you seem to think it does on Eternalism. This is very strange. Please stop making this equivocation.

//I actually think you are very smart, Charles; however, you don’t seem to have much education regarding metaphysics, logic, and epistemology. Most scientists don’t. //

I agree. Most of my colleagues don’t, I do however and I find your misunderstanding of Eternalism, even after me explaining where your misunderstanding is, to be absurd. You seem to think that eternalism is not tenable because if we transcended a block universe we would not experience the universe the same way we did when we were inside of it. I agree that our experiences would be different, of course they would, that is entailed on eternalism. That doesn’t mean that “objective” statements require that we speak about the block universe as if we existed outside of it because we don’t exist in such a way. That is very silly sir.

//I am not an idealist, but I am sure open to it as Sean Carroll is along with a plethora of other theoretical physicists. However, if your B-theory is true, you are not in control what you believe or even what your preferences are (you admitted this)! What does it matter what you “personally think?” You could be determined to be wrong. Assuming otherwise is a logical fallacy. //

You are not in control of your beliefs whether eternalism is true or not.

Tim Stratton: [That’s based on a question-begging naturalistic assumption, Charles!]

CE: Whether or not you are in control of your preferences likely falls in this same category. I have no choice whether or not I prefer sour foods. They don’t taste good to me so I don’t prefer them. I cannot change my mind and say that I prefer them, because my preferences are not based on my choices per se. Now my choice whether or not I eat something sour definitely seems to be a choice I make cognitively, but eternalism does not preclude such choice if you are living inside of the block universe, as we seem to. Again this all comes back to this strange idea that on eternalism our reality within the universe must correspond to how reality would be if we lived outside of the universe. This is very silly and strange. Why do you keep perpetuating this notion?

//You are now simply talking about your place on the block. What you continually misunderstand (or intentionally ignore) is that I am referring to the entire block! //

No I know, but I only know my place within the block and I don’t experience the block from outside of it. This is where your confusion seems to exist. I have pointed this out over a dozen times now. Speaking objectively does not require I speak about the block from the vantage point of existing outside of it because I do not exist outside of it nor has that sort of existence been demonstrated as being possible. I imagine that if a god-like creature did exist it would transcend the block, but again that sort of existence is not something that even seems coherent given our understanding of the universe and whether or not it has been ruled out is meaningless to me since as it is unintelligible.

//I know you think you were causally determined to think that if it’s true or not. There is no real or genuine inference to the best explanation on your view, just determined thoughts and beliefs of which you have no say over. It seems your view is that YOU along with the entire block universe exist eternally and necessarily with no beginning. //

I’m a compatibilist. I see no conflict with our freedom to make decisions based on our cognitive faculties and a world governed by deterministic underpinnings. I find no reason why these 2 things cannot co-exist. It seems you do, but that just means we disagree in our worldviews, but I think we have already determined that to be the case.

//And you claim that I am the one with strange claims! So far, you have rejected evolution and rejected the ability to infer the best explanation, and rejected knowledge!//

Not once have I rejected any of these things. That seems to be a lie or a false assumption.

//I am the one engaged in thinking logically about ultimate reality (metaphysics) and not just subjective perceptions and illusions.//

I don’t think my perceptions within the universe are illusory. I’ve already explained this and explained how this is not entailed by eternalism. Why do you keep making this claim?

Anderson: I think all of this is extremely interesting however I’m not sure where it could demonstrate the existence of an “Almighty God.”

Tim Stratton I had a quick moment to answer a couple questions:

Anderson, you asked: “TS, I’d love it if you or Johanan could explain what it actually means for your God to be claimed “eternal.” Thanks!”

Good question, Anderson! I mean God exists in the same way that Charles thinks he exists. On Charles’ view, Charles has existed eternally and in a static state. This is why I asked him if he could exist in this manner, why can’t God?

Charles said, “I did not affirm this. “Objectively” does not equal “Observing the universe from outside the universe”, you seem to think it does on Eternalism.”

Not at all, Charles! I am making a case about objective reality and it is YOU that keeps bringing up the way our subjective illusions. This is very strange.

I said, “I actually think you are very smart, Charles; however, you don’t seem to have much education regarding metaphysics, logic, and epistemology. Most scientists don’t.”

You said, “I find your misunderstanding of Eternalism, even after me explaining where your misunderstanding is, to be absurd.”

You affirmed my view of it! So have countless physicists. This was my field of graduate study. On the eternalism view, the block of 4-D space-time exists without beginning. Everything is set in the static block and we are only left with the subjective illusion of libertarian free will and “flowing” through dynamic time.

You miss the entire point and said, “You seem to think that eternalism is not tenable because if we transcended a block universe we would not *experience* the universe the same way we did when we were inside of it.”

No, no, no! I am arguing for objective reality – not subjective experience. If you cannot understand this, Charles, this conversation is pointless.

You said, “You are not in control of your beliefs whether eternalism is true or not.”

Do you have control over that belief, Charles? If not, do you just assume you are right and that my determined beliefs are false? I know you are no logician, but that is the epitome of a question-begging assumption. This is a logical fallacy, and any argument based upon a logical fallacy is no argument at all.

You said, “Now my choice whether or not I eat something sour definitely seems to be a choice I make cognitively, but eternalism does not preclude such choice if you are living inside of the block universe, as we seem to.”

On eternalism, what you eat tomorrow is just as old or ageless as the single-celled common ancestor. You have been eating it (so-to-speak) on that portion of the block just as agelessly as the day you were born. You only have an illusion of freedom to decide what you are going to eat, but the eternal block universe determined that for you. You have no choice in the matter, unless, of course, you are wrong about your assumptions.

You said, “This is very silly and strange. Why do you keep perpetuating this notion?”

I agree and that is why I reject the B-theory of time. I keep perpetuating this notion because these are the logical implications of your theory.

I said, “You are now simply talking about your place on the block. What you continually misunderstand (or intentionally ignore) is that I am referring to the entire block!”

Tim Stratton Charles, you said, “No I know, but I only know my place within the block and I don’t *experience* the block from outside of it.”

Wow! I am not talking about subjective experience (that is illusory on your model). I am talking about objective reality [ontology]!

This is where your confusion exists, Charles (I know this is not your field). I have pointed this out over a dozen times now. Speaking about ontological and objective reality is completely different than our subjective illusions. I am trying to talk about reality and you think because you have an illusion of something different, that ontology goes down the drain. Again, you are a scientist, but you are obviously no logician. There is nothing wrong with that, but you do need to realize when you are no longer in your field of expertise. At this point, I might as well ask a plumber what he thinks.

Nothing against plumbers.

You said, “I imagine that if a god-like creature did exist it would transcend the block, but again that sort of existence is not something that even seems coherent given our understanding of the universe…”

Again, this statement proves you are outside of your field. If God exists, he would transcend all nature. How, then, would the study of nature [science] make anything that is other than nature incoherent?

You said that the existence of God was “meaningless to [you] since as it is unintelligible.”

Speak for yourself, Charles! It’s not my fault you cannot comprehend the comprehendible. Moreover, on your view, you are causally determined to not be able to comprehend things that Johanan and I can.

I said, “I know you think you were causally determined to think that if it’s true or not. There is no real or genuine inference to the best explanation on your view, just determined thoughts and beliefs of which you have no say over. It seems your view is that YOU along with the entire block universe exist eternally and necessarily with no beginning.”

You proved once again you are WAY outside of your field with this response: “I’m a compatibilist. I see no conflict with our freedom to make decisions based on our cognitive faculties and a world governed by deterministic underpinnings. I find no reason why these 2 things cannot co-exist.”

Logic would be a good reason! Again, I know you are no logician, so I will try to explain:

Compatibilists want to have their cake and eat it too by attempting to demonstrate how both naturalistic determinism and human free will can exist together harmoniously. At face value, it certainly seems that deterministic free will is an oxymoron; nevertheless, compatibilism affirms that the laws of nature and past events determine all things, yet we are “free” to choose to act exactly the way we want or desire to act. Accordingly, a person is “free” in the sense that nothing is stopping them from acting upon their wants and desires. This is not the same kind of freedom that I have been arguing for, because although one is free to act on his wants and desires, his wants and desires are determined by the laws of nature and past events (he had no choice in the matter). If our wants and desires are determined, and our actions are determined by our wants and desires, it follows that the laws of nature and past events determine our actions. Therefore, this “freedom” the compatibilist argues for isn’t free at all.

We can see the logic of this demonstrated in what is known as the Consequence Argument:

If determinism is true, then our acts are the consequences of the laws of nature and events in the remote past [or the static structure of the eternal B-theory block of space-time]. But it is not up to us what went on before we were born; and neither is it up to us what the laws of nature are. Therefore the consequences of these things (including our own acts) are not up to us.

The consequence argument assumes two “rules” that demand examination:

Rule Alpha: There is nothing anyone can do to change what must be the case (or what is necessarily so). This rule seems self-evident; after all, if one could change a necessary thing, it wouldn’t be necessary after all, but rather, a contingent type of thing. There is nothing we can do about things that exist or occur necessarily because they must be.

Rule Beta: If there is nothing anyone can do to change X, and nothing anyone can do to change the fact that Y is a necessary consequence of X, then there is nothing anyone can do to change Y either.

This rule seems to be explicitly obvious as well because if an event necessarily occurs from a necessary entity, then the event is necessary and we are powerless to do anything to stop it from occurring. This has been called the “Transfer of Powerlessness Principle,” and as Robert Kane says, “In other words, our powerlessness to change X ‘transfers’ to anything that necessarily follows from X.”

Compatibilists argue that, hypothetically speaking, one could have freely chosen differently if and only if their wants or desires would have been different. However, in a deterministic world (on Calvinism, naturalism, or the B-theory), their thoughts and desires could not have been any different than the way they were determined to be. Therefore, their actions and beliefs could not have been any different either, even if they were “free” to deterministically act on them. We are not talking about how a person could hypothetically act or not act; we are talking about the determined desire to want to act or not act in the first place.

Bottom line: I argue that in order to be rational, an agent must have the ability to freely deliberate and infer the best explanation via the laws of logic instead of being causally determined by the laws of nature or the eternal structure of a 4-D static block.

I said, “And you claim that I am the one with strange claims! So far, you have rejected evolution and rejected the ability to infer the best explanation, and rejected knowledge!”

You replied: “Not once have I rejected any of these things. That seems to be a lie or a false assumption.”

These are the logical implications of your view, Charles. That’s much different than a false assumption. Moreover, I have explained exactly why this is the case. Do you want me to copy and paste our conversation again? If eternalism is true, what you do “tomorrow” has been determined for eternity. You will have a subjective illusory experience making you *feel* like you are making a choice, but what ever it is that you do “tomorrow” has been frozen in a static state for eternity with no beginning. This is the vital difference between ontology and epistemology. This is the difference between objective reality and illusions of subjective self-consciousness. I am the one in this conversation appealing to the way things are (ontological reality).

You simply keep asserting otherwise.

Anderson:  Tim Stratton, Conversely, why couldn’t far less than almighty souls, materials, forces, and/or energies exist eternally without the need of an “Almighty God?”

Wallace Marshall: Here is an interesting quote from physicist Lee Smolin about the need for cosmologists to disengage from the B-theory of time:

“All the theories that triumphed had consequences for experiment that were simple to work out and could be tested within a few years…Whatever else one says about string theory, loop quantum gravity, and other approaches, they have not delivered on that front…I believe there is something basic we are all missing, some wrong assumption we are all making…More and more, I have the feeling that quantum theory and general relativity are both deeply wrong about the nature of time. It is not enough to combine them. There is a deeper problem, perhaps going back to the origin of physics…Around the beginning of the seventeenth century, Descartes and Galileo both made a most wonderful discovery: You could draw a graph, with one axis being space and the other being time. A motion through space then becomes a curve on the graph. In this way, time is represented as if it were another dimension of space. Motion is frozen, and a whole history of constant motion and change is presented to us as something static and unchanging. If I had to guess (and guessing is what I do for a living), this is the scene of the crime. We have to find a way to unfreeze time — to represent time without turning it into space. I have no idea how to do this. I can’t even conceive of a mathematics that doesn’t represent a world as if it were frozen in eternity…One thing I do know about the question of how to represent time without its turning into a dimension of space is that it comes up in other fields, from theoretical biology to computer science to law. In an effort to shake free some new ideas, the philosopher Roberto Mangabeira Unger and I recently organized a small workshop at Perimeter bringing together visionaries in each of these fields to talk about time. Those two days were the most exciting I’ve spent in years.” (Lee Smolin. The Trouble with Physics. pp. 256-58).

Ricardo Martinez: How about this: “And the mathematical conjuction of the representations of space and time, with each having its own axis, can be called *spacetime*. The pragmatist will insist that this spacetime is not the real world. It’s entirely a human invention, just another representation of the record we have of Danny throwing the ball to Janet. If we confuse spacetime with reality, we are committing a fallacy, which can be called the fallacy of the spatialization of time. It is the consequence of forgetting the distinction between recording motion in time and time itself.

Once you commit this fallacy, you’re free to fantasize about the universe being timeless, and even being nothing but mathematics. But, the pragmatist says, timelessness and mathematics are properties of representations of records of motion —- and only that. They are not, and cannot be, properties of real motions. Indeed, it’s absurd to call motion “timeless,” because motion is *nothing but* an expression of time.

There’s a simple reason that no mathematical object will ever provide a complete representation of the history of the universe, which is that the universe has one property no mathematical representation of it can have. Here in the real world, it is always some time, some present moment. No mathematical object can have this particularity, because, once constructed, mathematical objects are timeless~ Lee Smolin, Time Reborn: From The Crisis In Physics To The Future Of The Universe, pp. 34-36

Anderson: It looks again like no one wishes to address the “God exception,” AKA, the “Our God can be eternal but nothing else can!”

Ricardo Martinez: Anderson, by eternal you mean timeless or everlasting throughout all time? For the first one could just argue using a Leibnizian Cosmological Argument (and can argue in other ways against us being Static, etc). For the second one can just use the Kalam argument. Both of these though would take not only a long time but change the topics everyone is discussing above.

Tim Stratton Charles has claimed “dozens” of times (his words) that I don’t understand eternalism or the logical implications of his metaphysical assumptions even though metaphysics is not his field, but mine. That is to say, although I have clearly and specifically explained exactly what follows from his B-theory assumptions, he simply asserts that I “don’t understand it.” Let’s take a look at what Stanford University has to say about eternalism:

“Eternalism is a philosophical approach to the *ontological* nature of time [does that sound familiar?], which takes the view that all points in time are equally “real”, as opposed to the presentist idea that only the present is real and the growing block universe theory of time in which the past and present are real while the future is not. Modern advocates often take inspiration from the way time is modeled as a dimension in the theory of relativity, giving time a similar ontology to that of space (although the basic idea dates back at least to McTaggart’s B-Theory of time, first published in The Unreality of Time in 1908, only three years after the first paper on relativity). This would mean that time is just another dimension, that future events are “already there”, and that there is no objective flow of time [it seems like we’ve read something like this before]. It is sometimes referred to as the “block time” or “block universe” theory due to its description of space-time as an *unchanging* four-dimensional “block”, as opposed to the view of the world as a three-dimensional space modulated by the passage of time.”

If things are unchanging, then things are not happening. There is no biological evolution and there is no process of reason leading to knowledge.

This is exactly what I have been explaining throughout the course of this thread. On Charles’ view, the future is “already there.” This is why evolutionary biologists are rejecting the B-theory as complex primates exist eternally with no beginning on their side of the block. They exist just as eternally as the single-celled common ancestor. Therefore, evolution explains nothing! It follows that if one appeals to evolution to offer an explanation in an effort to avoid creationism, they must reject the B-theory. If you think Charles is right and I am wrong, go take it up with Stanford University and teach their professors a thing or two based on your qualifications and credentials as internet atheists.

Wallace Marshall and Ricardo Martinez have both offered work of physicist/cosmologist, Dr. Lee Smolin, who is an expert on “time.” He makes a great case as to why we must reject the B-theory even if we don’t quite have the A-theory completely figured out yet. He mentions that the B-theory offers more problems than solutions. Some of these problems make the B-theory completely untenable and I have been pointing out some of them throughout this thread. Not only does the B-theory flush biological evolution down the toilet, justified true beliefs (knowledge) goes along with it. This is because the B-theory entails determinism and rejects libertarian free will (any purely naturalistic view does).

I’ve made a case, offered videos, and provided articles of mine explaining this in detail. I have also explained that the B-theory is offered as an ontological model of reality and that our subjective perceptions from within the block have nothing to do with the way the block really is. Charles does not seem to understand his metaphysical blunder. He is confusing ontology with epistemology. He is confusing the way things are (reality) with the way things can “appear” (illusion). If the future is already there, it is already fixed. In fact, the future is not even worth worrying about on the B-theory of time. There is nothing you can do to change it and your life is utterly meaningless if this model happens to be true. The future is just as “set-in-stone” as the past.

I understand the logical implications of Charles’ metaphysical assumptions just fine. He can assert that I don’t and continue to conflate ontological reality with illusions of observers, but that is a logical error.

In his discussion with Albert Einstein, Karl Popper argued against determinism:

“The main topic of our conversation was indeterminism. I tried to persuade [Einstein] to give up his determinism, which amounted to the view that the world was a four-dimensional Parmenidean block universe in which change was a human illusion, or very nearly so. (He agreed that this had been his view, and while discussing it I called him “Parmenides”.)”

Popper continued: “I also brought in the somewhat obvious biological arguments: that the evolution of life, and the way organisms behave, especially higher animals, cannot really be understood on the basis of any theory which interprets time as if it were something like another (anisotropic) space coordinate. After all, we do not experience space coordinates. And this is because they are simply nonexistent: we must beware of hypostatizing them; they are constructions which are almost wholly arbitrary.”

Tim Stratton Anderson, you asked: “Why would just YOUR necessary being need to exist? Why couldn’t another being, beings, thing or things do the trick?”

I see you have been asking this question a lot throughout this thread. Ricardo offered perfect being theology which can answer that question once one has a proper understanding of great-making properties. However, Anderson, let me offer another argument:

1- Time began to exist.
2- Therefore, the cause of time must be timeless, eternal, and necessary.
3- Apart from time things do not happen unless the cause of time is a volitional agent.
4- A volitional agent is a person (not to be confused with a human).
5- Therefore, the cause of time is a person.
6- Therefore, the cause of time is a timeless, eternal, and necessary person.

Feel free to call Him whatever you’d like, but most refer to Him as, “God.”

This is not “special pleading” as Charles contends; it is a logical deduction.

The only way to avoid this theistic conclusion is to reject (1) and say that instead of God existing timelessly and eternally, YOU do! However, if you do that, as I’ve demonstrated, you lose all rights to affirm evolution as an explanation of complex primates and you lose all warrant to claim you possess justified true beliefs (knowledge).

B-theorists need to go back to the drawing board as Dr. Lee Smolin explained.

CE: I’m not doing this Tim S. Your last response was an epic long novel and this is not far off. We just seem to differ on many of our philosophical views (e.g., I’m a compatibilist and you subscribe to libertarian free will & I subscribe to the established theory of relativity while you support an outmoded Lorentzian relativity).

The only thing I still find confusing and wholly incorrect is that you seem to equate objective reality on eternalism as viewing the block universe from outside the universe. This is a very strange equivocation to make and I don’t see any reason to do this. Events that occur within the universe is the objective reality that is experienced by observers. The reason we don’t experience a static universe is because we don’t experience the universe from outside of it. This is not a hard concept to grasp, so I’m having trouble believing this is your area of expertise. Most undergraduate philosophy majors would not even make such a strange mistake and they would especially not say that evolution is not possible on eternalism, which might be the silliest thing anyone has ever said to me and I’ve argued with YECs.

Sure the block universe can be described a specific way from outside of it, but this is not a very helpful description since the events we experience don’t occur outside of it. This does not mean that the events we experience are not objectively real and consistent on eternalism, because they are. Sure, our experiences of these events are subjective, but the events themselves take place inside the universe and thus talking about these events from outside of it is incoherent. This notion of viewing the objective reality of a block universe from outside the universe is seemingly unintelligible to me. This seems to be your hang up on eternalism and it is because you seemingly do not understand that eternalism does not entail some frozen static experience of the objective events within the universe.

I’ve explained this over a dozen times now and I will not waste my time on repeating myself again.

Tim Stratton Have I been talking to a brick wall?

Charles said, “This notion of viewing the objective reality of a block universe from outside the universe is seemingly unintelligible to me.”

That’s obviously true! I bet if you’d take some classes in logic, metaphysics, and epistemology it would start to make sense. Your understanding of eternalism is at odds with Stanford University. You probably assume that you know more than their PhD Metaphysicians don’t you. By the way, you continue to state that you think compatibilism works but you offered nothing in response to my systematic destruction of your view above (unless I missed something).

Anderson: how could a being always have been almighty? No one is addressing this.

*[Side Note from Tim: The rational inferences of the Kalam Cosmological Argument demonstrate that whatever the cause of time and space was must be enormously powerful. This does not prove an “almighty” cause of the universe, but it definitely points in that direction. The ontological argument, on the other hand, logically proves that a Maximally Great Being exists, and therefore, God is almighty!]

CE:  //That’s obviously true! I bet if you’d take some classes in logic, metaphysics, and epistemology it would start to make sense. //

Ad hom, not a response.

//By the way, you continue to state that you think compatibilism works but you offered nothing in response to my systematic destruction of your view above (unless I missed something).//

I probably missed it in the swarm of Homer-esque comments you’ve made. I’m sure it was very inspired, but unless you care to offer it again in a paragraph or two it will go without a response. I will not take the time to dig through and find it.

Anderson: Tim Stratton, no one has “offered” anything that indicates a specific (only ONE) almighty being could exist and had to create everything. There could be billions, trillions, googolplexes or semi powerful energies and forces that are responsible for everything and not at all in need of almighty power.

Tim Stratton That’s not ad hom, Charles because I’ve explained this in depth and detail, and specifically pointed out exactly what errors you are making and you continue to make them anyway.

If you really care about truth, Charles, scroll up a little bit and find my response regarding your incoherent view of compatibilism.

Tim Stratton: Anderson, does my argument end with “persons” or “a person”? Even if you changed it from person to persons, why posit more explanatory causes when one is enough. Remember the Razor of Occam!

CE1- Time began to exist.
2- Therefore, the cause of time must be timeless, eternal, and necessary.
3- Apart from time things do not happen unless the cause of time is a volitional agent.
4- A volitional agent is a person (not to be confused with a human).
5- Therefore, the cause of time is a person.
6- Therefore, the cause of time is a timeless, eternal, and necessary person.

– Reject First Premise (1) until it can be demonstrated.
– First Conclusion (2) is a non-sequitur and thus fallacious
– Reject Second Premise (3) until it can be demonstrated that time began to exist and also is not an emergent property of a more fundamental quantum regime (basically you have to disprove the Quantum Eternity Theorem) for this to be true.
– Third Premise (4) is fine, person-hood is not necessarily limited to the human species
– Second and Third Conclusions (5 & 6) are unsound conclusions given the previously noted issues with this syllogism.

Anderson: Wallace Marshall, I already know the Christian claims, more of them are not what I want to hear. I want to know why ONLY YOUR GOD can be the exception and not other things.

CE: //If you really care about truth, Charles, scroll up a little bit and find my response regarding your incoherent view of compatibilism. //

You’ve yet to demonstrate a basic grasp of the entailments of eternalism and continue to make sophomoric missteps in your reasoning or ability to formulate even a simple syllogism. This does not bode well for my current impression of your acumen and I do not feel that you deserve the effort it would take to dig through your excruciatingly long comments. Sorry.

I am happy to accept the existence of a god. That does not bother me in the least. I just need to see some demonstrable evidence for such a claim. I do have an issue, however, with denying an established scientific theory based on observed and demonstrable evidence in order to keep alive the KCA. I have seen no reason that you have presented as to why I should jump ship from demonstrable evidence, the consensus in modern cosmology, and the majority view in western philosophy and support an currently untenable position of the A-Theory of Time. All the evidence and support is in your disfavor and no matter how many poorly devised syllogisms you make or hilarious articles you write about your misunderstanding of eternalism until you can provide an actual sound and logical argument founded on demonstrable evidence I don’t see you having much success. I kind of like standing on the side with all the evidence and support from academia in my favor, call me crazy.

Tim Stratton  Do you think I’d offer an argument I cannot defend, Charles? Let’s look at it again:

 1- Time began to exist.
2- Therefore, the cause of time must be timeless, eternal, and necessary.
3- Apart from time things do not happen unless the cause of time is a volitional agent.
4- A volitional agent is a person (not to be confused with a human).
5- Therefore, the cause of time is a person.
6- Therefore, the cause of time is a timeless, eternal, and necessary person.

Charles, feel free to reject (1), but then you must affirm that instead of God existing timelessly and eternally, YOU do! However, if you do that, as I’ve demonstrated and clearly explained, you lose all rights to affirm evolution and all warrant to claim you possess justified true beliefs (knowledge).

Please don’t just assert (2) is fallacious… EXPLAIN why you think it is. I can defend it all day long, but I’d love to hear you attack it specifically first. Also, things that exist timelessly are either necessary or necessary properties of the necessary substance. Unless by “emerging” you are referring to an underlying A-theory [I know you will reject the A-theory at all costs due to it’s theistic implications].

Anderson, my argument [from time] along with Occam’s Razor proves monotheism. From there we can discuss the historical evidence of the resurrection, but that is really not the point of this thread.

Charles, you said, “You’ve yet to demonstrate a basic grasp on the entailments of eternalism”

I just quoted Stanford University PhD metaphysicians who explain why you are the one who doesn’t understand the logical implications of your own assumed worldview. I guess they don’t count.

You said, “… and continue to make sophomoric missteps in your reasoning or ability to formulate even a simple syllogism.”

Assertion without explanation! Please explain why it is fallacious instead of simply chanting that it is [over and over].

You said, “This does not bode well for my current impression of your acumen and I do not feel that you deserve the effort it would take to dig through your excruciatingly long comments.”

I really don’t care if one who is opposed to logic holds a high impression of my acumen. I’d rather be on the side of truth and logic than on the side of Charles and incoherence. Call me crazy.

Tim Stratton If the majority holds a view that is logically incoherent, then the majority holds a false view.

Anderson: Tim Stratton, I don’t claim any certain things exist eternally but I do ask if it’s possible why couldn’t all kinds of things be included. Occam’s Razor doesn’t prove anything; it only says that the simpler something is the more likely it is to be true. Now using it with a complex to the infinity god belief would show it was of very slight chance.

Tim Stratton Anderson, my logical deduction proves a Person caused time. Occam’s razor makes it clear that it is unreasonable to posit more than ONE person. Therefore, it makes good sense (inference to the best explanation/reasonable faith) to think there is one Person who caused time.

I am not referring to any religion anyway, I am simply appealing to logic and reason.

Anderson: I’m with you Charles Einman, I’m more than happy to accept any entity as real as long as it has some evidence.

Tim Stratton Except for logical evidence!

CE: //Feel free to reject (1), but then you must affirm that instead of God existing timelessly and eternally, YOU do! //

I don’t exist timelessly and eternally and this is not entailed on eternalism. You seem confused.

//Please don’t just assert (2) is fallacious… EXPLAIN why you think it is. I can defend it all day long, but I’d love to hear you attack it specifically first. //

I did. It does not follow logically from the first premise, thus it is a non-sequitur, thus it is fallacious. That is all implied when I said it was a non-sequitur. Time beginning to exist does not lead to the conclusion that the cause of time must be timeless, eternal, and necessary. You need at least 1 maybe 2 more premises to build to such a conclusion. Come on Tim, I thought logic was your thing?

Tim Stratton [If you read the next premise, Charles, you will see that “apart from time things do not happen.” It logically follows that the cause of time cannot be in time. Do you want to start making logically incoherent statements like “time existed before time existed?” Things cannot “begin to exist” apart from time as beginnings require time. It logically follows that the cause of time did not begin to exist. Therefore, the cause of time is timeless, eternal with no beginning, and is either necessary or a necessary property of a necessary substance. Occam’s Razor demosntrates the cause of time is probably a necessary, eternal, and timeless substance. That is what I call God, but feel free to call “IT” whatever you’d like.]

CE: //Also, things that exist timelessly are either necessary or necessary properties of the necessary substance. Unless by “emerging” you are referring to an underlying A-theory.//

So you are saying that a more fundamental Quantum Regime is necessary if the energy of the universe is zero (see QET) and thus no need for an unembodied mind? The other option is a non-zero energy which necessitates a past-eternal universe, so I guess pick your poison or disprove the QET, but it’s a mathematical theorem so good luck with that.

//I just quoted Stanford University PhD metaphysicians who explain why you are the one who doesn’t understand the logical implications of your own assumed worldview. I guess they don’t count. //

I’m sure that no Stanford University PhD in any field of philosophy would argue that “eternalism makes evolution untenable because the universe is static from the vantage point of being outside of the universe.” It’s a silly argument no reasonable philosopher would ever make, unless she was being satirical, so I’m sure me and all PhD level philosophers would agree that you don’t understand what is entailed by eternalism.

//Assertion without explanation! Please explain why it is fallacious instead of simply chanting that it is. //

I did, did you not read my critique of your poorly constructed syllogism?

Anderson: My deduction could include googolplexes of eternal things. How do you get just one Tim Stratton and that just happens to be your Bible God?

Tim Stratton Let’s just start here, Charles:

I said, “Feel free to reject (1), but then you must affirm that instead of God existing timelessly and eternally, YOU do!”

You responded: “I don’t and this is not entailed on eternalism. You seem confused.”

Please explain exactly WHY this does not follow, Charles. Please explain why I am the one that is confused and you understand this perfectly.

Tim Stratton Anderson, I never said that. Occam’s razor mandates that it is more reasonable to posit one cause over multiple causes when only one cause does the trick.

Anderson:  Tim Stratton, Occam’s Razor doesn’t prove anything. If it did there would be only one person on Earth.

Tim Stratton Anderson, you just made me lose my reasonable faith! [Occam’s Razor demonstrates there is no need to postulate more than one cause of the time and space when one cause is perfectly sufficient.]

CE:  Tim, for one to exist eternally one must exist at all possible points in time. I may exist for a stretch of about 80 years or so, but that does not mean I exist eternally because existing for 80 years is nothing at all like existing all possible points in time. Now, the only way it would be coherent on eternalism to say I exist timelessly would be if the person describing me existed outside the universe. Since such a kind of existence has not even been demonstrated as possible or coherent it makes no sense to describe me in such a way.

Anderson: Tim Stratton Occam’s razor would laugh at the infinity of complexities of an almighty being.

CE: Not sure if William of Ockham would laugh at it, but I often do.

Tim Stratton Charles, I see your point of confusion here. You are conflating the points on the B-block of 4-D spacetime with the existence of the entire eternally exiting block itself.

You said, “For one to exist eternally one must exist at all possible points in time. I may exist for a stretch of about 80 years or so, but that does not mean I exist eternally or timelessly.”

That “80 year stretch” exists eternally on that slice of time on the block that exists eternally. Therefore, YOU exist eternally on that part of the block. Einstein even believed this!

CE:  //That “80 year stretch” exists eternally on that slice of time on the block that exists eternally. Therefore, YOU exist eternally on that part of the block. Einstein even believed this!//

Sorry, this is not a point of confusion. You are describing the block as if you exist outside of it. You don’t, so why do this?

Tim Stratton Go back and read what I quoted from Stanford. We are talking about ontology here, Charles. A slice of the block is just as eternal as the eternal block. That’s why it’s referred to as eternalism.

CE: Sure, from an outside the universe perspective I would exist timelessly, but definitely not eternally. Eternal is being used too loosely here as it must mean something existing at all points in time. The only way it would be coherent on eternalism to say I eternally exist is if you, again, are living in some other kind of time outside the universe viewing the universe from that vantage point. Why do you keep talking about the universe as if you transcend it???

CE:  Tim Stratton, the only way it would make sense for you to describe someone in a block universe as existing eternally and timelessly would be if you are a transcendent being, which to those inside the block universe would probably be referred to as a god. Does this mean you are a god? That would explain the confusion in terminology and speaking like you view the universe from a transcendent vantage point.

Tim Stratton Charles, you said, “Sure, from an outside the universe perspective I would exist timelessly, but definitely not eternally. Eternal is being used too loosely here as it must mean something existing at all points in time.”

Charles, “eternal” has two definitions in metaphysics: 1- existing at all points in time, and 2 – existing without beginning. [If something is timeless (as you admit you are on your view), then it is beginningless since beginnings require time. If you are beginningless, then you are eternal with no beginning.]

I see the point of confusion is that you are referring to (1) while I have been referring to (2). Go back and read my argument with an understanding of (2) and I think you will follow it.

Unless you are willing to say the B-Block came into existence in some way (which would require a dimension of A-theory), then the block, along with all of its contents – including YOU – exists in a timeless and static state with no beginning. This is an eternal existence.

CE: //Charles, eternal has two definitions in metaphysics: 1- existing at all points in time, and 2 – existing without beginning.

I see the point of confusion is that you are referring to (1) while I have been referring to (2). Go back and read my argument with an understanding of (2) and I think you will follow it//

The issue is that I still have a beginning. There is a point in time and space [on the block] where even a transcendent being could point to and say “this is where you begin within the universe.” The issue is there is no point in which the universe began within the universe because it necessarily, by definition of the universe, would have to exist at all point in time.

You seem to think that we need such a transcendent being to create the universe, which is possible, but I don’t see any reason to assume such a thing given the current state of the evidence. That’s where I stand on it.

Tim Stratton  Charles, you said, “There is a point in time and space [on the block] where even a transcendent being could point to and say “this is where you begin within the universe.”

Yes, Charles, but the eternal block universe itself – including the “point” you are referring to never had an ontological beginning. The block and all points of the block are eternal. That is why the model you keep referring to is called, “eternalism.”

You said, “You seem to think that we need such a transcendent being to create the universe, which is possible, but I don’t see any reason to assume such a thing given the current state of the evidence.”

I gave logical evidence. What’s wrong with that? Moreover, if anything did exist apart from time and space, science would be the wrong method to use to discover such an entity. Science is the study of nature and we are discussing things that would or could exist apart from nature. Science is the wrong tool. That is what logic is for and logic does the trick.

That’s where I stand on it.

Tim Stratton I’ve got to go be productive. Have a good day and thank you for the fun conversation and debate.

***

Post Debate Comments: After a solid two days of discussion, this is where I left the conversation. It became clear that this physicist had no idea of the logical implications of his metaphysical assumptions that his scientific theory was based on. I did not specifically argue his physics (others on the thread did that), I argued the logical incoherence of his model. Since science is based on and assumes logic (not the other way around), if a scientific theory is logically incoherent, it is simply a bad/false theory! As the quantum physicists, Rosenblum and Kuttner have stated,

A theory leading to a logical contradiction is necessarily an incorrect theory (p.95).

I had made my point and was quite pleased with how this debate turned out. To avoid the theistic conclusions of the Kalam Cosmological Argument, committed atheists must affirm the B-theory of time. By making this move, however, B-theorists must reject Darwinian evolution as an explanation of primate complexity and ultimately deny that they possess justified true beliefs (knowledge). Therefore, if they possess knowledge that the B-theory of time is true, it logically follows that the B-theory of time is false!

Wallace Marshall, Steve Williams, Johanan Raatz, and Ricardo Martinez continued to debate his physics after I left the conversation. After this debate one thing became clear: God is the inference to the best explanation! 

Stay reasonable,

Tim

 

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About the Author

Tim

Stratton

(The FreeThinking Theist)

Tim pursued his undergraduate studies at the University of Nebraska-Kearney (B.A. 1997) and after working in full-time ministry for several years went on to attain his graduate degree from Biola University (M.A. 2014). Tim was recently accepted at North West University to pursue his Ph.D. in systematic theology with a focus on metaphysics.

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