Are there Absolutes?

Blog 20140514

Captain Bligh writes:

No absolutes?

There are absolutes, perhaps not to the physics world, but to the philosophic world, which are not too far apart when it comes to these universal topics, such as space, motion, and time.

[GB: George, thanks so much for another of your critical comments. I am sure they will be useful to many folks even though I have a lot of problems with them (see below).]


1) I can see that I am absolutely present as a finite form as part of an infinite world.

[GB: What means “absolutely present”? My grammar checker says to remove “absolutely” as being redundant. I tend to agree. One is either present or not.]

2) I am pretty absolutely certain you are too.

[GB: Sounds like you are not all that certain.]

3) There is an absolute, but infinite universe, philosophically and I think physics understands this almost to a person.

[GB: Why do you need to add “absolute” to your description of the universe? Sorry, but the current understanding of physics is that the universe is finite (almost to a person). That is, after all, what cosmogony is all about. A universe with a beginning, especially one that explodes from a central point, must be finite.] 

4) There is an infinite energy occupying space. It seems doubtful that space and energy can exist without the other, but I don't know what others say about this absolute. 

[GB: Sorry, but there is no “energy” occupying space. Energy neither exists nor occurs. Energy is a calculation describing the motion of matter. Perhaps you are thinking of the Fourth Assumption of Science, inseparability (Just as there is no motion without matter, so there is no matter without motion). In Infinite Universe Theory, we do indeed assume that matter in motion is infinite, but we would never call that an absolute. While we assume inseparability and infinity to be true, we could never provide absolute proof of that assertion.]   

5) Most importantly, to my physics, is the absolute now, by which I mean the instantaneous change occurring in an infinite universal energy that seems to be in a wave type form. No past, no future, exist only the movable Now, if you know what I mean.

[GB: Sorry, but I would never know what you mean by that. We use the terms, past, present, and future to describe time, which is the motion of matter. There is no such motion that could be “instantaneous change,” as I pointed out in a comment about catastrophe theory that I published long ago.[1] Here is an example of what I mean by the slogan “time is motion” with reference to past, present, and future: Consider a baseball being pitched toward a batter. The ball exists, of course, throughout its travel. As it travels toward the batter, its former path describes its past and its still-to-be-realized path describes its future. At no point does the ball have an “absolute now” or experience an “instantaneous change”.  Any “now” that we can use to describe the ball after we catch it is certainly not absolute either, for all microcosms are continually in motion per inseparability. No matter how tightly we hold the ball, the submicrocosms within and supermicrocosms without will be in continuous motion. That is why “now” is always relative, never absolute, as you seem to realize with your appellation of “movable” to your absolute Now. It is why no one can ever give a correct answer to the question: How old are you now? No matter what your answer, you always will be older by at least a few microseconds.

Your statement about change in “an infinite universal energy that seems to be in a wave type form” is worthy of the faithful followers of Einstein. Perhaps you mean that all microcosms are moving within an aether medium that is subject to wave motion produced by still other microcosms.]

There are lots of absolutes philosophically speaking and the absolute now contains everything else. The everything else is of course all relative to each and every other thing.

[GB: Huh? See above.]

Metaphysics, I guess, but it has to be consistent with physics, to me.

[GB: Metaphysics is “that which goes beyond physics”. As I have maintained throughout my work, there are two opposing types of metaphysics: determinism and indeterminism. To be “consistent with physics,” you would have to use the deterministic assumptions I included in "The Ten Assumptions of Science".]


[GB: George:

Remember that absolutism is the indeterministic opposite of the Ninth Assumption of Science, relativism (All things have characteristics that make them similar to all other things as well as characteristics that make them dissimilar to all other things). With each microcosm in the infinite universe moving with respect to all other microcosms, I really do not see any “absolutism” being possible. In "Universal Cycle Theory” Steve and I pointed out that, in the infinite universe there are no true constants. Per the Second Assumption of Science, causality (All effects have an infinite number of material causes), any measurement we can make will always entail a plus or minus. Pi, for instance, is 3.1416… followed by a non-repeating infinite series of numbers. By 2011, Pi had been calculated to 10 trillion digits with no end in site.

Newton and other indeterminists have sought some absolute reference frame, but that is not possible in an infinite universe guided by the Fourth Assumption of Science, inseparability (Just as there is no motion without matter, so there is no matter without motion). In the First Law of Motion, I think that Newton had to invent absolute space because he knew that an object moving in perfectly empty space could not be considered moving at all unless there was a referent. Of course, when we think about the First Law, we are really putting ourselves in the place of the referent.

That brings us to your declaration that absolutes are “perhaps not” in the physics world, but that there certainly are absolutes in philosophy. Sorry, George, but Infinite Universe Theory does not allow for that either. If that were true, then there would be no possible debate concerning the things considered “absolute”. You may be absolutely sure that you and I exist, but not everyone believes that. I once met a faithful follower of Einstein who claimed that I did not exist, but that the event of my birth did. Talk about the relativist’s objectification of time! Immaterialists would disagree with you about the nature of existence. To this day, many of them still claim that consciousness creates existence and not the other way around.

There is a sucker born every minute. When that little guy puts that blanket over his head, he makes the entire universe disappear—so he thinks. In due time he will realize that the universe is material and that it will continue to exist no matter what he does. The philosophical struggle between determinism and indeterminism allows no room for absolutes no matter how much the opposing sides scream and shout. That is why I called them "The Ten Assumptions of Science" and not the ten absolutes of science. They can never be proven beyond a shred of an indeterminist’s doubt. All we can do is to assume them and get on with our work.

I sympathize with your search for philosophical absolutes. In the infinite universe, we are continually faced with uncertainty (It is impossible to know everything about anything, but it is possible to know more about anything.), an assumption that is by no means certain itself. With everything in the infinite universe moving from place-to-place in a seeming blur of events, we would like to grab unto a saving raft. Idealists of every stripe are comforted by their holy books filled with what they think are absolutes. Many a student of philosophy began that pursuit in the search for certainty. With experience, however, we finally realize that absolutes are not to be found anywhere. An imagined absolute, like the concept of free will itself, is worthless in scientific philosophy. In science, the closest we ever get to absolutes involves the supposition that each of our fundamental assumptions is true. Nonetheless, the purpose of those fundamental assumptions is not to be absolutely true, but to be useful.

Usefulness also is the primary criterion when we use idealism in science. Thus, we can imagine “perfectly solid matter” and “perfectly empty space” as the endpoints of a continuum of real things. We know that those ideal endpoints can never really exist, but find them useful for understanding the reality in between. All scientific models are like that. All are abstractions on reality, for we can never include the infinite detail that is inherent in even one microcosm. The only thing we lose by eschewing absolutism and claims of perfection in theory is the na├»ve hubris of classical mechanism.]

[1]Borchardt, Glenn, 1978, Catastrophe theory: Application to the Permian mass extinction: Comments and reply: Geology, v. 6, p. 453-454. ( 
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/221706038_Catastrophe_theory_Application_to_the_Permian_mass_extinction_Comments_and_reply )



Bligh said...

I apologize. Let me start all over.
George May 23 2014
Re: Blog 2014521
There is noting incoherent about something having more than one perspective to it. Matter of fact that is part of objectivity. Relativity is another concept, it means related to. All things in the universe are inter-related.
As for Finite Particle, that is incoherent with modern physics. There is not such thing as a finite particle, at least not at a foundational level. Yes, we can identify finite things as humans but that is our phenomenal view of nature, not nature as it really is. Echoes of Kant, here. I keep advocating a wave like energy universe, particles are contingent. I guess waves are contingent. Everything is contingent on its past history or "cause." That's materialistic determinism to me.
BW sounds like Parmenides with this all space occupied idea. Of course it is all occupied. I suggest that we use the word "field" to represent a way of presenting absolute wave energy, whatever that is. That is just our current model.
I don't know how, personally to conceive of space as empty. There is no such thing. All space is field energy. Yes, I know physicists treat energy as some calculation or quantity, but it certainly is a real thing, whatever it is.
Re: Eight assumption. Infinity. I use the something from nothing argument. That IS impossible. Logically. Proving it is impossible, but Infinite "space" and "time" are absolutes, by necessity. Ex Nihilo Nihil.
I point out that it is also impossible to get outside an infinite universe to examine it from additional perspectives. We are stuck with not knowing it all.
part 1

Glenn Borchardt said...


You are getting there, but are still hung up on energy: “All space is field energy. Yes, I know physicists treat energy as some calculation or quantity, but it certainly is a real thing, whatever it is.” As I have said a thousand times, energy is not a thing. It is a description of things in motion. It is not true that “all space is field energy.” Instead, all space is filled with microcosms (things) in motion. “Field energy” is used by indeterminists who, being immaterialists like Einstein, refrained from considering the constituents of space to be material. That is why energy can never be defined adequately as anything other than an equation and why you must say “whatever it is” and why you have to append “certainly” to your idea that energy is a thing.

Maybe this example will help: When water (a microcosm) rushes (the motion of the microcosm) down the stream, we can perform a calculation describing that process. We may say that the water has “energy,” but all it really has is motion. This is true for all energy calculations, except those involving aether. If we deny the existence of aether, we have no choice but to describe its mysterious actions by what then becomes an equally mysterious term, “energy.” We would have to do that for water as well, if we decided to become a “water denier.”

George, maybe you have to reread "The Ten Assumptions of Science." This was covered under the Fourth Assumption of Science, inseparability (Just as there is no motion without matter, so there is no matter without motion).]

The whole indeterministic assumption of absolutism was covered under the Ninth Assumption of Science, relativism (All things have characteristics that make them similar to all other things as well as characteristics that make them dissimilar to all other things). I think you need to examine your indeterministic need for absolutes: “Infinite "space" and "time" are absolutes.” Try to banish that word from your vocabulary. It is useless. You can scream and shout and proclaim “absolutivity” all you want, but infinity (The universe is infinite, both in the microcosmic and macrocosmic directions) will still be an assumption. Absolutism is a contradiction of the Third Assumption of Science, uncertainty (It is impossible to know everything about anything, but it is possible to know more about anything), which you must ascribe to with your statement that: “We are stuck with not knowing it all.”]