Boxing Pythagoras

Philosophy from the mind of a fighter

Archive for the tag “Einstein”

On Time, Aristotle, and Relativity

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As I have noted many times over the years, I believe Aristotle’s metaphysics to be every bit as antiquated and outmoded as are his physics. I have expressed wonderment at the fact that everyone seems to have rejected his notions that the Earth is the center of the universe, that heavy things fall faster than light things, that the sky is composed of aetherial spheres, and a great many other things; and yet there are philosophers who ardently and doggedly remain attached to the ideas of hylomorphism, finitism, and– particularly– act and potency.

This latest notion has been a topic of discussion on Boxing Pythagoras very nearly since the start. One of my earliest articles was on William Lane Craig’s Theory of Time which is not explicitly Aristotelian but which is nonetheless predicated upon similar notions to act and potency. This has factored into my discussions on a range of other topics, including the Kalam Cosmological Argument, which explores the implications of the temporal finitude of the universe; the Grim Reaper Paradox, which purports to give good logical reasons to doubt the existence of actual infinities; Free Will and Determinism, regarding how to reconcile the notion of free-will with wholly extant Time; Infinity and Eternity, wherein I discuss how even a universe which does not extend infinitely into the past can be eternal; and most germane to our discussion today, Thomas Aquinas’ Five Ways, in which the eminent 13th-Century philosopher attempted to demonstrate the necessity of God’s existence explicitly through the Aristotelian notion of act and potency.

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WLC’s Time, Part 3: Bell’s Theorem, CMB, and the Aether Frame

Professional apologist William Lane Craig has made some very interesting claims about the scientific understanding of “time” in his published work. Most specifically, WLC thinks that Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity is wrong. In previous installments of this series, we’ve seen Dr. Craig laud Lorentzian relativity over Einstein’s model, and we’ve seen him attacking Special Relativity on the basis of Einstein’s verificationist philosophy. Today, I’ll move on to some of the more specific scientific claims that Dr. Craig makes in his book, Time and Eternity: Exploring God’s Relationship to Time. Specifically, we’re going to look at Dr. Craig’s claim that Bell’s Theorem and the Cosmic Microwave Background are evidence of a preferred inertial reference frame in the cosmos, which I will hereafter refer to as the Aether Frame. If you are unsure what a “preferred inertial reference frame” means, I recommend reading my first post on Lorentzian relativity (linked above) for the details.

Unfortunately, WLC is once again, wrong.

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WLC’s Time, Part 2: Einstein the Verificationist

Originally, I had intended my first article on William Lane Craig’s Theory of Time to be a one-time affair. I stated the basics of my position, laid out my conclusions, and was ready to move on. My final thought, in the article, was that WLC’s Theory of Time is circular: he adheres to the Tensed Theory of Time due to his acceptance of Lorentzian Relativity, and he accepts Lorentzian Relativity due to his adherence to the Tensed Theory of Time. However, on his podcast released this week, Dr. Craig addresses a similarly founded accusation of circular argumentation which was given by a blogger who calls himself, “A Counter Apologist.” While the claim from A Counter Apologist deals specifically with the Kalam Cosmological Argument, he does so by addressing WLC’s Theory of Time as it conflicts with Relativity, in much the same way as my article approached the subject. In his response, Dr. Craig claims that his support of the Tensed Theory of Time is supported by more than just his preference for it, and that he has laid out his arguments for this in his published works. It occurred, to me, that perhaps I was being unfair. My first article was based on a seminar which I had seen Dr. Craig give, rather than on his books. Perhaps, in his written work, I would find that WLC provides greater support for the Tensed Theory.

I’m starting with the arguments presented in Dr. Craig’s book for the popular audience, Time and Eternity: Exploring God’s Relationship to Time (Crossway, 2001).  If I don’t find this work convincing or satisfactory, I’ll try to continue into his more scholarly works on the subject, The Tensed Theory of Time: A Critical Examination (Springer, 2000) and The Tenseless Theory of Time: A Critical Examination (Springer, 2000).

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William Lane Craig’s Theory of Time

William Lane Craig is one of the most noted, well-known, and respected Christian apologists in the world. He is an accomplished philosopher and theologian with a very broad knowledge base and a particular acumen for public debate. He presents his positions with clarity, and he deftly anticipates most of the arguments which his opponents might present. Dr. Craig prepares his work with exceptional forethought and thoroughness, in order to present rational, cogent, and coherent arguments for his case. I have a great deal of respect for William Lane Craig and his work, despite my disagreement with it.

That said, I find myself inordinately perplexed that WLC maintains his death-grip on the idea of a Tensed Theory of Time.

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