Is infinite regress impossible? And why so?

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Talyyn's picture
Is infinite regress impossible? And why so?

Hi everyone,

When you are engage in some form of cosmological argument, there is always this question of infinite regress (and then theists bring up First Cause and claim it is their favorite god(s)).

Is the problem logical or/and philosophical?

The cosmological model of the Universe just says it is the result of the inflation of what we name as a singularity, nothing more.I think in this case, the whole point of the argument is moot.

P.S: enjoy the World Football cup!

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Ali's picture
Going to enjoy football world

Going to enjoy football world cup at least you didn't call it the world soccer cup.

Talyyn's picture
"laughing hard", i'm french,

"laughing hard", i'm french, why would have called it "soccer". Do you have any idea for my question?
Thank you!

Ali's picture
Didn't know you were French

Didn't know you were French haven't looked at your profile. All I knew is that your human didn't know you were a surrender monkey

Talyyn's picture
If only he had gave me more

If only he had gave me more fruits, and a massage, i would not have surrendered!!!!

Sapporo's picture
An infinite regress is not

An infinite regress is not falsifiable. That does not mean it is impossible. However, it is also not the simplest explanation - which would be to declare that nature is eternal.

Talyyn's picture
All right! So in scientific

All right! So in scientific philosophy, it doesn't go well with Karl Popper. Yes, we use Occam's razor but sometimes nature is a bit more complicated.

Matt Davies's picture
In terms of logic, infinite

In terms of logic, infinite regress doesn't mean something is not true. For example one way of viewing Godel's Incompleteness Theorem is that not all true statements in an axiomatic system can be proven with finite applications of the axioms. So there can be true statements whose justification is an infinite regress (technically). In Philosophy however, infinite regress is almost universally seen as an unacceptable form of explanation. Something that cannot be shown except by infinite regress will almost certainly be discarded in the philosophical community.
With regards to the cosmological argument though, this accusation that Physics falls into an "infinite regress" is not true. This accusation rests on a very simplistic account of causation and that you can keep finding causes for things. Believe it or not, causation is actually an extremely controversial topic in Physics and Philosophy! There have been numerous attempts to formulate a logical account of causation, but there is no consensus.
Especially in Relativity Theory, many philosophers in physics hold the view that causation is actually a convention, and that there is no objective notion of "causation" at all. You can formulate relativistic physics in such a way that many effects happen before their causes - it makes the mathematics much more complicated, but there's nothing to stop us doing it!
Furthermore, if we accept causation is a thing, then most people agree that causation has something to do with time - a cause must occur before an effect. But at the Big Bang Singularity, it's generally believed that time either no longer exists, or becomes exactly the same as space. At the Big Bang then, causation may not even be defined, so the cosmological argument has nothing to exploit.
A nice demonstration of how a universe needs no beginning is the "Hawking-Hartle" model. In this model, they basically "smooth out" the spacetime at the singularity such that if you were to move in any direction away from the singularity you must move forward in time. In this way Hawking and Hartle have shown that it's perfectly possible to have a universe with time such that "time before the Big Bang" fails to refer to anything.
Anyhow, the cosmological argument basically appeals to an extremely simplistic notion of causation, one that may have been held by everyone in the 1700s but is certainly not held by any serious philosophers and physicists who work on the notion of causation.

LostLocke's picture
Of course infinite regress is

Of course infinite regress is absolutely and totally impossible. If it were possible, that would all but completely eliminate the need for a creator god.
Wait a sec....

Talyyn's picture
And we would able to laugh at

And we would able to laugh at believers once again, saying: I told you so!!

Terminal Dogma's picture
Everything is possible inside

Everything is possible inside the human mind. As far as making statements about the natural world ie the universe.....that requires some evidence.

Cognostic's picture

1. "God did it," is a fake explanation whether or not there is an infinite regress. You don't get to magically insert a god where there in no explanation. Universe creating bunnies is just as good an explanation.

2. You do not get to assert a beginning without time and space and then stick a god in that beginning who has no time or space to operate in. If there was a creation moment, god is acting in some sort of time or space. It's like saying "I have an empty jar with some peanut butter in it." Saying "I don't know" is the honest answer.

3. Insisting an infinite regress is impossible - there must ultimately be a ‘first cause’ or ‘prime mover’. There cannot be a creator to the creator, or we have another ‘infinite regress’. The idea of a God does not solve the problem of an infinite regression.

Okay, What was god doing before he decided to create the universe? Again we have an infinite regression. God does not solve the problem. There must be a moment before god created the universe. A moment before god decided to create the universe. A moment before that and a moment before that. All the Theist is doing is replacing infinite regression with infinite regression. So we ask the question "Where does your God come from" or "Who created god." If God exists without beginning, God is an infinite regression. God does not do away with the problem on infinite regression. If God can have an infinite regression, there is no issue with an infinite regression for reality. Occam's Razor says we do not need to move further than the evidence suggests. We can cut out god. Explaining an enigma with a greater enigma is no explanation at all.

Talyyn's picture
Basically, special pleading.

Basically, special pleading.

PS: What are theses weird thread posted sometimes?

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