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## Debating A Theist: The Infinite Ladder

My constant debate theist (MG) insists that if there is an infinite past time, then it is impossible to get to the present, since you have to participate in an infinite number of events before you can get to any current event. He introduced the analogy of “the infinite ladder” and how if you climb a ladder like this you will never reach the top. However, he confused his own analogy in a big way, as the following series of exchanges over many moons, which I have combined, shows.

My key distinction here is that if you have a finite lifespan and you started an infinite amount of time ago, you obviously won’t be able to get to the present. However, if you were blessed with an infinite lifetime, such as an up-quark (which can neither be created nor destroyed), no problem. A finite lifetime can only travel through a finite amount of time; an infinite lifetime is not under these restrictions.

[Note: previous to-and-fro discussions resulted in the following exchanges.]

MG – “As such, you have a series where each event is closer to a line than the previous ones, and eventually the series reaches that line. Infinite series can’t do that. It’s like having an infinite number of rungs on a ladder, but claiming to have reached that top just now. It’s incoherent.”

JP – If you were climbing a ladder with infinite steps, why would you ever say you’ve reached the top? We have already agreed that infinity has no end points, that is, it has no point.

MG – “If you agree that you can’t climb to the top of an infinite ladder, and you see someone at the top, the correct conclusion is that the ladder wasn’t infinite after all!!”

JP – Wow! It is 1) wrong to use the word “you” since “you” is a finite event, and 2) you have destroyed any logic by saying that you “see someone at the top”. Since I have said that infinity has no endpoints, it is illogical for me to say that I see someone (again a fallacy since someone is also a finite event) at the endpoint.

MG – “The ladder is the past series of events (not “moments”; “events”, like the Civil War, my breakfast this morning, etc.) and ends in the present event (me writing this sentence) because that’s what “past” MEANS. I went through all the steps in the PAST series of events, and I’m at the top (the present event). But, as you said, you can’t get to the top of a infinite scale. So the past is not infinite.”

JP 1 – It is more than possible to pass from an infinite past to the here-and-as if you yourself have an infinite life. This is not a difficult concept.

JP 2 – Of course “you” can’t, since humans have a finite lifespan, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done, especially if you don’t actually have a finite lifespan. Now if you take infinite time and infinite events, the two infinities cancel out and you have only time and events. You can cross any number of events if you have enough time. You can cross an infinite number of events if you have an infinite amount of time. I’ll just replace something that doesn’t have a finite life (ie “you”) with something that does, say an up-quark. Actually, you don’t care about the timing of your First Cause argument for now. Tell me how old an up-quark really is.

MG – “It was a current event, just as each rung of the ladder below me was once the current rung. I still cannot complete a climb of infinite steps. It is logically incoherent. Challenge even your definition of ‘infinite’. And you know it.”

JP – Of course you cannot climb an infinite ladder as you are a temporally finite event. But if something (ie an up-quark) is a temporally infinite “event”, I don’t see the problem.

MG – “So your argument is “well, I agree that you can’t get to the top of a ladder with infinite steps, but… I guess that infinite particle MUST have since it’s here and it’s infinite.” “?”

JP – The proof of the pudding is in the eating. A temporally infinite particle [like an up-quark] it just happens to be in the here and now. For all I know, he tunneled through a wormhole, but here he is. Now you can deny this by “creating” the particle out of existence, thereby disproving or denying the idea that a particle is invincible!

MG – “[A]and you can’t get away with saying “the proof is in the pudding”.

JP – But the proof IS in the pudding. The Cosmos is infinite and yet there are particles here-and-now. Deal with it! Now, even if there is an infinite past and an infinite future, your concept of “The present moment” where we find these particles must fall somewhere on that timeline. Let’s call it noon in New York City (NYC). There was a high noon in New York the day before. The next day there will be a noon in New York. It is not a big deal to time travel through this finite interval between High Noon the day before “The Present Moment” and High Noon the day after “The Present Moment”, a 48 hour period. The existence of an infinite past/future is irrelevant. Now keep pushing this concept backwards and forwards as far as your imagination can imagine.

MG – “From this particle’s frame of reference, something is happening right now, regardless of how other frames of reference consider ‘now’. And, if its lifetime is infinite, then it has happened and completed a truly infinite number of events. before the actual one that is happening now. Correct?”

JP – Yes.

MG – “But you can’t actually complete an infinite number of steps before a point; that would be like climbing an infinite ladder and reaching the top step. It’s impossible. You’ve already accepted that. Basically, just like R [another poster]you continue to agree with both premises, but refuse to accept the conclusion.”

JP – If you have a finite lifespan, you can complete a finite journey. By this same reasoning, if you have an infinite life, you can complete an infinite journey (ie an infinite that is up to the time you’re naming), even though you still have an infinite journey ahead of you. Infinity (past to “point”) plus infinity (from “point” to future” still equals infinity.

MG – “I completely understand that you are saying that a particle of infinite life could be in the midst of an infinite number of events, but what I am saying is that it cannot actually have COMPLETED an infinite number of events before its current event, because conceptually it would be equivalent to climbing the CIEM up a ladder with infinite steps. Do we agree on that (leaving aside what the alternatives should be, like matter/energy being created or whatever)?”

JP – No. Would you not agree that your infinite God could not have completed an infinite number of events before creating life, the Universe and everything, according to Genesis 1 and Genesis 2? If your God could do that, then a particle of infinite life could have done the same. If your God could not have completed an infinite number of events before His “In the Beginning”, then He is not so all-powerful now, is He?

MG – “No, even God cannot have completed a truly infinite number of events before a point… To complete a truly infinite sequence before a point is logically incoherent. It violates the very concept of “infinity “.

JP – Wow! Now, here I thought your invisible magic man in the sky had some control over time. I stand corrected. Pity! I guess that means a particle with an infinite lifespan is more powerful than your invisible magic man in the sky.

MG – “But you have admitted that an infinite set of steps cannot be completed, and that an infinitely long-lived particle would have gone through an infinite number of events before the current one. This is the same as saying that a ladder with one cannot climb infinite steps to the top, and yet this particle has. It is a self-contradiction…”

JP – Speaking of contradictions, “infinite steps” and “higher” is a logical contradiction rather unworthy of you. Anyway, the answer is “No”. Even if the particle has only reached half the top of the ladder, it has still made an infinite number of steps.

MG – “So the problem with reaching the top rung of an infinite ladder isn’t that it’s logically impossible to complete an infinite one; it’s that the climber hasn’t lived long enough? That’s silly. You agree. an infinite number of steps cannot be completed before a point because the very concept of infinity is that it never ends, but then you leave that out when you would mean that the particle must have done something logically impossible or else your worldview needs adjusting and the past had a beginning.”

JP – While all answers are answers, not all answers are answers! Now, here’s the thing: there’s a big difference between something that has an infinite lifespan (like a particle) and something that has a finite lifespan (like you). You can’t climb an infinite ladder and live to tell the tale; an elementary particle can continue. Even a particle will never reach the end, as there is no end to infinity, so your claim that there is a “top rung of an infinite ladder” is itself a total nonsense statement . I remember you were the one who introduced the ridiculous idea or concept of “the top rung of an infinite ladder”.

MG – “In any case, you haven’t understood the ladder analogy.”

JP – I understand that contrary to your statements, my contention is that you cannot have a higher rung on an infinite ladder. case closed

Debate:

Aren’t there an infinite number of lines (rungs in a ladder analogy) you could draw between the start line and the finish line of a race, for example? And yet you can start and finish the race!

Now the question for the readers is: who is right? MG or JP?

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