Latest post of the previous page:Hiya Thundril,
I appreciate the effort but:
We find it virtually impossible to 'picture' the Universe having bounds yet not having anything outside it; not even 'nothingness'. But that is (very roughly speaking) what cosmology tells us.
Well then the cosmologist who pronounces this is a philosopher, not a scientist - which is what I've suspected of some cosmologists for a long time.
You say it is impossible to think of 'nothing'. Very well, let's start with a different, but tangentially related concept;: zero. Of course you have no problem thinking about zero. It's a real number, an integer, and it is the sum of two other real numbers; (x and minus x)
As soon as you apply zero to the world ‘out there’, i.e. outside of number abstraction, you find yourself trying to think of nothing which you can’t do without referencing the negation of something: no-thing. (And the phrase "real number", by the way, is purely intramural to mathematics - everyone now accepts imaginary numbers and their use in applied mathematics; the only import of the word "real" is to distinguish real numbers from imaginary numbers, it's got nothing to do with existence vis a vis non-existence.)
In this example, the analogy would be trying to picture your money being held in a steel box. You can't open the box and see 'minus a hundred quid' in it. You probably can't even picture what that would look like. Even so, if your balance reads 'one hundred pounds overdrawn' that's exactly the situation in the real world.
The only purpose of the minus sign is to denote a liability rather than an asset - your liability to the bank's shareholders, which is a very real £100 they can spend in the real economy. Sorry mate, but again, this has got nothing to do with existence vis a vis non-existence.
a pair of exactly opposite virtual particles (one of matter, the other of anti-matter.). These particles must (except in one very special case) instantly annihilate each other. Note that there is no 'cause' for this phenomenon; it is somthing that very, very probably will happen.
1. I think you mean "there is no known cause". In any case, I struggle to understand how there be no cause yet in one very special case the phenomenon cannot occur. If causation is irrelevant to the phenomenon then how can there be any preventative cause?
2. Further, what does it mean to say "something can become existent without cause"? It means "something can become existent not from something" = "something can become existent from nothing" ("not from some thing" = "from no thing"). And to say "something can become existent from nothing" is self-contradictory because it requires nothing to be at the very least a source of something becoming existent (as per my discussion with animist on the meaning of 'from'), but a source is something whereas nothing is only nothing.
3. About the particles, are you really saying "matter and anti-matter virtual particles" = "non-existence"? Surely not. I mean even if they do annilihate each other as you say, they've first got to exist before they can be annilihated, right? How can non-existence be annilihated??