Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Video Response to YouTube user StupidTheist

Note: What follows is a transcript of the video above.

This is going to be a video reply to YouTube user StupidTheist. Not to get all meta, but he left a video reply to my fourth video on the Countering the Kalam series and has been expecting me to respond in kind.  I’ll link both our videos in the description box, but this is kind of an “inside baseball” video; and I wouldn’t recommend continuing with it unless you’ve watched both my video and StupidTheist’s response. 

I’m rather new at doing video replies and I’ve seen these can degenerate rather quickly, so I want to mention I’ve rather enjoyed the back and forth with StupidTheist.  Despite his username, he’s rightfully corrected me on a few points I got completely wrong in our back and forth in the comments section and I’ve got give credit where credit is due.  Any time I can come out of an exchange with someone knowing more than I went in it’s a good thing. 

Of course, that all said we still have a disagreement here that needs addressing, but I think we’ve been pretty good at keeping this back and forth strictly to the argument and I’ve come to appreciate the exchanges with him. 

So in his video reply, StupidTheist doesn’t argue for the Tensed or A-Theory of time that William Lane Craig needs for his Kalam argument to work.  StupidTheist appears to be arguing for a far more modest claim: that the Kalam is not circular, and that I am merely taking William Lane Craig out of context when he defends his Neo-Lorentzian view in one argument, and apply it to the context of the Kalam argument.  

To make his point, StupidTheist uses a helpful illustration showing how the approach I used could be problematic.  I’m linking to his video in the description box and for brevity’s sake I’ll just come out and say I agree with his illustration.  An argument can appear circular but not actually be circular if there are other sound supporting arguments that are left out of context. 

However I still hold that my charge of circularity against William Lane Craig in his defense of the Kalam is correct.  To justify this I want to respond with three points:

1.)    Yes, William Lane Craig does offer purely metaphysical arguments that are free from any theological basis for the tensed theory of time.  However these purely metaphysical arguments are unsound or at the very least not conclusive.

Craig offers up a number of arguments that can be freed from theological foundations, but they’re terrible.  I don’t want to get into each and every argument, but I’ll list Craig’s summary of the arguments here, take a brief look at two of them:

The experience of temporal becoming, like our experience of the external world, is properly regarded as veridical.

This kind of thing highlights one of the main problems with philosophy.  It is a great one liner that sounds fantastic, but shows absolutely nothing.  The exact same argument could be made in favor of a flat-earth.
How about this one?

The tenseless theory entails perdurantism, the doctrine that objects have spatio-temporal parts, a view which is metaphysically counter-intuitive, incompatible with moral accountability, and entails the bizarre counterpart doctrine of transworld identity.

Now this one sounds even more impressive, but the statement is again almost meaningless.  Let’s pretend for a second that Craig is right with each of these assertions.  So WHAT if that’s what the tenseless theory entails, just because perdurantism is counter-intuitive, or that you’re afraid of what moral implications the tenseless theory are, neither has anything to do with whether or not the tenseless theory of time is actually true.   This statement is pretty much saying “if this is true, then all this other bad stuff we don’t like will also be true, so the tenseless theory is false!”

That said, all of the above really is more dependent on Craig’s own other philosophical notions and interpretations of the tenseless theory; there are a ton of other philosophical interpretations.
Basically, each of these arguments could be addressed, but quite frankly I don’t think they even need to be. And that leads into the second part of my response to StupidTheist:

2.)  The overall problem with the Neo-Lorentzian interpretation is that it’s rejecting swathes of scientific empirical evidence, as well as one of the most basic logical methods we use to decide between competing theories, specifically simplicity in explaining all available data.  Whether Craig does this for theological reasons or purely metaphysical ones doesn’t really matter, he’s still wrong to do so for either reason. 
Now I realize that for StupidTheist’s argument, this is irrelevant.  He’s strictly dealing with my circularity charge.  I’m making this point largely to highlight that even if the circular charge was invalid, Craig is still wrong to reject all empirical evidence contrary to his preferred view, and the Kalam is still unsound as a result.  

Basically what I’m saying here is that Craig can’t put his theology or his metaphysics over actual physics in terms of determining the truth of reality.  And I can justify this by pointing out that actual physics is objective, consistent, and independently verifiable – unlike theology or metaphysics. 

In fact, I’ve recently uploaded a video showing how Craig is being hypocritical when he embraces the Neo-Lorentzian view but then criticizes other fundamentalist Christians for engaging in science denial.
But I still think the Circularity charge holds, and this leads into my most important point:

3.)    Even though he does offer some non-theological metaphysics to support his views, William Lane Craig explicitly states the justification for the Neo-Lorentzian interpretation is based on theological foundations.
To show this, I’ll just quote Craig himself from his website:
“The central and most radical thesis of my book, namely, that the classical concept of time is based on metaphysical, and specifically, theological foundations which are immune to the relativistic critique, predicated as it is on essentially verificationist assumptions which are nearly universally regarded as untenable and obsolete. In particular, I show that Newton’s concept of absolute time is based squarely on Newton’s theism [...].
The foundations of absolute time were not physical, but metaphysical, namely, God’s sempiternal duration. My argument is that if God exists and a tensed theory of time is true, then God must be temporal, as Newton believed, and that therefore a privileged simultaneity class of events must exist, in which case a Lorentzian Interpretation must be correct. Lorentz himself recognized the connection of his theory to theism...”

-William Lane Craig, “Response to McCall and Balashov”

I’m not sure what more I need to say here.  The charge of circularity holds the minute Craig explicitly calls this the central and most radical thesis of his work on the tensed theory of time, and it’s based on theological foundations.  Sure, he tries to give himself a small out, saying he can give purely metaphysical arguments for this same view, but those arguments are rather easily dealt with.  They’re a smoke screen designed to give cover, and it’s not a very good one.

Further, as I said before no “argument” is sufficient enough to overcome the empirical evidence in the way that Craig is trying to accomplish.


  1. These are not good arguments that you make.

    Lets go with the first one

    "This kind of thing highlights one of the main problems with philosophy. It is a great one liner that sounds fantastic, but shows absolutely nothing. The exact same argument could be made in favor of a flat-earth."
    Not it couldn't really.
    Lets start with the basics.
    I think , therefore , I am . Do you accept this?
    In the same way , when I think , I am aware of myself , I am aware of my changing mental states and past states. Even if I was still a brain in a vat I would still have an awareness of the existence of myself and the. passage of time. Why I can't I acknowledge my changing mental states the same way I acknowledge teh existence of myself?

    "Now this one sounds even more impressive, but the statement is again almost meaningless. Let’s pretend for a second that Craig is right with each of these assertions. So WHAT if that’s what the tenseless theory entails, just because perdurantism is counter-intuitive, or that you’re afraid of what moral implications the tenseless theory are, neither has anything to do with whether or not the tenseless theory of time is actually true. This statement is pretty much saying “if this is true, then all this other bad stuff we don’t like will also be true, so the tenseless theory is false!”"
    Craig actually gives a strong critique of pedurantism in his book. If it is false or highly implausible that is definitely a black mark against B-theory.
    Also isn't that the same as your argument from hell.
    (1)If the Christian God exists , he tortures people in hell . Eternal torture in hell is incompatible with my moral intuition. Therefore the Christian God does not exist.
    (2)If pedurantism is true , personal responsibility is not true. No moral responsibility is incompatible with my moral intuitions. Therefore pedurantism is false or highly implausible.

    Either you can take your moral intuitions as evidence of something , or you cannot. Craig thinks we can.

    "The charge of circularity holds the minute Craig explicitly calls this the central and most radical thesis of his work on the tensed theory of time, "
    This is blatantly false.
    Craig is talking about his book "time and the metaphysics on relativity". this book deals with history of relativity and interpretations of it
    He provides historical data on how relatvity was received and interpreted by scientists. He argues that the Minkovski interpretation was accepted because many scientists were working off of verificationist assumptions. This is also why many theorists rejected Newtonian time.
    Craig is clarifying the philosophical assumptions behind Newton's theory of time and the philosophical assumptions of other later theorists like Einstein.
    This is what he is saying is his thesis. Its is the thesis of his work on historical interpretations of relativity , not his work on tensed theory as a whole. Have you read the book?
    Craig makes an argument that if A-theory is true and God exists , thenn there is a kind of preferred reference frame. Note this is not an argument for A-theory as you seem to assume. Its an argument for a preferred reference frame within theory.

    It seems like you haven't read the book and want to misrepresent Craig's arguments on this point

    1. "Not it couldn't really.
      Lets start with the basics.
      I think , therefore , I am . Do you accept this?
      In the same way , when I think , I am aware of myself , I am aware of my changing mental states and past states. Even if I was still a brain in a vat I would still have an awareness of the existence of myself and the. passage of time. Why I can't I acknowledge my changing mental states the same way I acknowledge teh existence of myself?"

      Yes it can. I can insist my experience of all sorts of things are vertical: that the Earth is flat. That I'm not moving while standing still, etc.

      I find it pretty astonishing that you would bring up Descartes Cogito ("I think therefore I am"), since it is discarded in philosophy as it's been shown that all it really does is sneak in the "I am" premise via language by using "I".

      You can try to argue about properly basic beliefs or something, but it seems to beg the question to simply assert that your experience of time is properly basic, where the same argument could be said about motion, except we know that we're constantly moving through the universe as the Earth rotates on its axis, around the sun, with the galaxy moving through the expanding universe, etc.

      "Craig actually gives a strong critique of pedurantism in his book. If it is false or highly implausible that is definitely a black mark against B-theory.
      Also isn't that the same as your argument from hell.
      (1)If the Christian God exists , he tortures people in hell . Eternal torture in hell is incompatible with my moral intuition. Therefore the Christian God does not exist.
      (2)If pedurantism is true , personal responsibility is not true. No moral responsibility is incompatible with my moral intuitions. Therefore pedurantism is false or highly implausible."

      First, even if I thought Craig's critiques were strong, pedurantism isn't the only game in town with regards to interpreting B-Theory.

      Second the point is more to the fact that I'm not as committed to B-Theory as I am to the idea that the A-Theory is false in so far as Craig needs it to be true.

      However, your point about the argument from hell is spurious, since in that case I'm comparing things about "goodness" in terms of our intuitions vs. the thing that Christians consider to be the defining paradigm of "goodness". This is a case of "moral intuitions vs. science", not "moral intuitions vs. the paradigm of morality". Further, even if you don't want to grant that distinction the argument from hell still goes through as an internal critique of the Christian worldview - forcing Christians to adopt certain positions on what is truly moral that wildly contradict the moral intuitions they claim can only be explained via the existence of their deity (assuming they hold to the moral argument, which most do).

    2. "This is blatantly false.
      Craig is talking about his book "time and the metaphysics on relativity". this book deals with history of relativity and interpretations of it
      He provides historical data on how relatvity was received and interpreted by scientists. He argues that the Minkovski interpretation was accepted because many scientists were working off of verificationist assumptions. This is also why many theorists rejected Newtonian time.
      Craig is clarifying the philosophical assumptions behind Newton's theory of time and the philosophical assumptions of other later theorists like Einstein.
      This is what he is saying is his thesis. Its is the thesis of his work on historical interpretations of relativity , not his work on tensed theory as a whole. Have you read the book?
      Craig makes an argument that if A-theory is true and God exists , thenn there is a kind of preferred reference frame. Note this is not an argument for A-theory as you seem to assume. Its an argument for a preferred reference frame within theory.

      It seems like you haven't read the book and want to misrepresent Craig's arguments on this point"

      The book argues that Christians should reject B-Theory and the standard interpretation of relativity on the basis that it is theologically objectionable.

      Craig can rail against the philosophical prejudices of the 1900's all he wants, that has nothing to do with the fact that even in light of those prejudices being largely overturned, science and metaphysics largely still endorses the standard interpretation for other reasons which are eminently defensible. I have a new video coming out that goes into further detail about why the normal interpretation is held over Craig's NL view.

      I am well aware that his work is arguing for the existence of the preferred frame, which is the Neo-Lorentzian interpretation of STR. He requires that interpretation in order to avoid having STR outright falsify the A-Theory of time. He's working from metaphysical assumptions and conclusions to arrive at an interpretation, rather than taking the simpler interpretation of observable data and revising metaphysical assumptions and conclusions - which is what one ought to do if one is going to follow the evidence where it leads vs. interpret the evidence in light of predetermined conclusions.

    3. So wait . What you're epistemology? How do you know that you're not a brain in a vat?

      "Yes it can. I can insist my experience of all sorts of things are vertical: that the Earth is flat. That I'm not moving while standing still, etc."
      But this is a different sort of claim from basic conscious experience. Like "I exist" or "I feel pain" or "My mental states are changing".

      It is contentious that we do experience the earth as flat. One can for example , see ships sail out under the horizon.
      And the big difference of course , is that we have evidence that the earth is round. You haven't shown any evidence SR is incompatible with tensed time.
      "First, even if I thought Craig's critiques were strong, pedurantism isn't the only game in town with regards to interpreting B-Theory. "
      Minkowskians are pedurantists. Craig provides some arguments that Minkowski space-time entails pedurantism.

      Craig's critique is "moral intuitions vs. metaphysics" because he disagrees with the metaphysical position of tenseless theory. Different interpretations of SR entail different metaphysical committments.

      My main point is that you were misrepresenting what he said. He was talking about the thesis "of his work on tensed theory" while it was only part of the thesis of one book he wrote on relativity and the philosophical assumptions behind the interpretations.
      And I'll disagree with you. There are many basic assumptions behind Minkowski space-time(MST) that are impossible to justify outside of verificationism. Its debatable whether MST is really simpler.

    4. I can endorse a number of epistemeologies, but none of them are based on Descartes Cogito. Seriously, go look up the critiques.

      Craig's appeal to the experience of the present moment is as "vertical" as our experience of "not moving" despite the fact that we're on a planet hurdling through space. Even if I endorsed the Cogito, Craig's appeal would still fail since it's still not on that basic level. Further we don't even have to get into relativity physics to disabuse the notion of our experience of a present moment, all we need is neurology and some thought experiments about how long the "present moment" lasts.

      We have plenty of evidence that SR is incompatible with tensed time, the fact that the laws of nature and apparently space and time itself are Lorentz Invariant. That alone disabused the idea of absolute space and time and in order to get around it Craig invokes the idea that it merely 'appears to be this way' but it is impossible to verify that it is not actually that way. What's worse for Craig is that his view doesn't make any unique predictions, all it does is restore compatibility for his theory to the available evidence. Contrast this with the "orthodox" approach to SR and we have a number of predictions verified by experiment (Meson decay being a good example).

      As for Pedurantism, as I said I don't endorse his arguments, but there is debate amongst B-Theorists about Pedurantism vs. endurantism. Further, I don't even need to endorse the B-Thoery specifically. Time could well be emergent, not fundamental. That's fine for my purposes since all I need is to show that A-Theory is almost certainly false, and SR does that nicely.

      As for Craig's work, I don't know what else to say. He says the central part of his work that J&B were critiquing was based on theology. That was the thrust of his one work on the subject, and his other books do have theological arguments in them.

      I've already stated he can get out of the circular charge by engaging in what amounts to Ken Ham style science denial (Ham also has amusing views on the speed of light, much like Craig does in his preferred frame). We reject the NL view for the same reason we reject YEC models of the universe where the one way speed of light is super fast in one direction - they don't make unique verifiable predictions that their competitors do.

      As for the assumptions on MST, we can suspend assumptions and just investigate reality and we'll find that either there is no preferred frame, or if there is it is undetectable in principle. The no-preferred frame hypothesis is definitely simpler in that regard.

    5. I'll definitely look up the critiques of Descartes. But surely we're aware of change?.(Craig has some stuff on that "how long is the present" stuff in his book on tensed time, btw.).
      I don't think Lorentz invariance is universally accepted , especially in quantum physics and high energy physics.

      I feel like we can't get to either theory (MST or NL) without making assumptions either way. MST assumed clock time (our measure of time) was always equal to real time (because of operationalism/verificationism) , as opposed to NL which says clock time is real time in the prefferred reference frame.
      So in the time dialation experiment , is it just the clock running slower (NL) or time itself running slower (MST)? It seems to be an assumption either way. Either way seems to be unverifable.
      From what I understand both interpretations of SR are empirically equaivalent and predict the same results. MST just caught on because it fit better with verificationism. Meson decay fits just as well with NL.
      And what sort of evidence would you accept for a preferred reference frame? Experiments (like the Bell's inequalities one) that seem to indicate a preferred reference frame are reinterpreted by MST proponents. Of course that's fine , but if any evidence for a preferred reference frame is capable of being reinterpreted to fit your theory , surely you can't complain about lack of evidence for a preferred reference frame.
      From what I read and heard Craig say in his talks on quantum region theorems and the beginning of time, Craig is fine with emergent views of time.

    6. FWIW, I used to lean on Descartes myself as a kind of way out of epistemological problems, and I was disabused of it after getting into the substantial critiques.

      As for "change", what does this have to do with proving that there must be an absolute time? Any subjective changes we're aware of are perfectly consistent on a B-Theory, it's just that it's always about change relative to something else, with nothing being preferred.

      As far as Lorentz Invariance being universally accepted, you're kidding me. Major advances in quantum mechanics and quantum electrodynamics were made once Lorentz Invariance was specified as a precondition of the underlying laws. It's pretty much assumed that all fundamental laws are Lorentz Invariant at this point, since that WAS the major issue at the time Einstein came out with SR.

      Classical mechanics was Galilean Invariant, Maxwell's Equations were Lorentz Invariant and couldn't possibly be Galilean Invariant. There was this unsettling fundamental disconnect between the laws of electromagnetism and the laws of nature being so radically different. Part of Einstein's breakthrough was showing that there was no real disconnect and that all laws of nature were Lorentz Invariant. This has held true through the modern day, and it would be absolutely a breakthrough if we could confirm any Lorentz Violations: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modern_searches_for_Lorentz_violation

      As far as "necessary assumptions", you're making a false equivocation. If we were to suspend judgement and actually go look empirically, we'd find no evidence of any preferred frame, and nothing but evidence for the Lorentz Invariance of fundamental laws of nature. This leads us to conclude, following Occam's Razor, that the underlying reality is Lorentz Invariant, which leads us to a plausible kind of Space-Time.

      In order to disregard empirical evidence, Craig has to discard all observation by making the NL view simply assume an undetectable frame. Any other way and he's falsified, which obviously he can't have.

      I'd recommend watching James Sinclair's talk at the Carroll vs. Craig debate for views on Time from Carroll and Craig. Craig is not good with all types of emergence.

    7. Sorry for the 2 part reply, but I forgot the important bit about Meson decay.

      The original theory for Special Relativity was concerned with electromagnetic forces. The trick to the NL view, originally, was simply that electromagnetic clocks and measuring rods simply run slower/contract the faster they're moving away from the undetectable preferred frame.

      The problem was that the theory had to be modified to account for the fact that now ALL clocks show this admittedly odd behavior, not just electromechanical clocks. There was no way to predict on the NL view that the meson decay would take longer when moving faster, or that gravitational clocks would similarly slow down.

      Conversely, these predictions followed naturally from the MST interpretation of SR and were then empirically verified.

    8. I did look at that talk. It was what I was thinking of (and the stuff in Blackwell). I don't think he said emergence was untrue , but he accused Carroll of the error that more fundamental descriptions are more real.
      This paper has a section on the status of Lorentz invariance in high energy physics and QM.
      I actually didn't know about that mezon decay stuff. Do you have a link?

    9. A few things:

      First, Craig's accusation that Carroll is "wrong" to regard the fundamental descriptions as "more real" is laughable. Everything we understand from physics thus far has taught us that things "emerge" from these fundamental levels. Color is related to the wavelength of light, sound is vibrations in air, temperature is related to the motion of atoms, etc.

      The time reversal invariance of the fundamental laws of physics (so far as we know them) is a significant problem for Craig. It tells us that the past and the future are equally "real".

      Still, it's worth noting that this objection was brought up in reference to the Quantum Eternity Theorem. The theorem states if the total energy of the universe is greater than zero, then the universe must be eternal. You might wonder what if the total energy of the universe IS zero? In that case, the equations tell us that time is NOT fundamental - it's unreal, as McTaggart's original paradox said. Craig is speaking to that scenario, I think, specifically.

      As for your link, the entire thing is about how to use the preferred frame to solve issues related to Bell's theorem. That's not the only possible solution to the issue, and it does require us to violate Lorentz Invariance. As far as we know thus far, Lorentz Invariance seems to be fundamental. Assuming it as a precondition lead to major advances in other aspects of physics, which is a strong argument in favor of it.

      The paper you linked simply says that at high energy particle physics, it is questionable whether or not Lorentz Invariance will hold up. That's certainly true, but I don't see how that helps the argument much. It's still questionable whether or not String Theory is true, and if it is, then that causes all sorts of issues with respect to the Kalam (and I think fine tuning) argument.

      To date, nothing related to actual Lorentz Invariance has been found, and if it was then it would ideally lead to major advances in science - something we should welcome with open arms.

      That does nothing to distract from my current argument with the Kalam.

      Also, for that link, check this out: http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1107/1107.4748.pdf

    10. I forget to mention this in my last comment (that's why I mentioned awareness of change earlier). Attempts of B-theorists to explain how we have an awareness of change are usually incoherent and usually illicitly presupposes some kind of objective temporal becoming in the contents consciousness.

      First, Craig's accusation that Carroll is "wrong" to regard the fundamental descriptions as "more real" is laughable.
      I think you're misinterpreting Craig here. To use an analogy let's say a made a model of an aircraft wing using aerodynamic principles that was a good fit with experimental data. Let's say someone else made a more fundamental model of the wing using molecular dynamics. Just because we don't have a more fundamental model doesn't mean the other results are wrong or don't have a reasonable degree of accuracy. That's what I took Craig's point to be. He wasn't saying we shouldn't make more fundamental models or the fundamental models are wrong. (He wasn't talking about QET at the point. It was a discussion of Sinclair's paper and emergence scenarios)
      Thanks for the link. I'll look at it.

    11. And just one more comment. I was rereading your comment and I want to add a caveat that is only tangentially related
      Physicists , like engineers and economists , try to make mathematical models to describe reality. These models of course , are very useful to predict and interpret data , but they use abstractions. However it is the fallacy of mind- projection to assume your model is reality .
      Tim Maudlin (who was on Carroll's team for the debate) actually talked about ."You have others saying that time is just an illusion, that there isn't really a direction of time, and so forth. ... [P]eople have just been misled, largely by mistaking the mathematics they use to describe reality for reality itself. " (Source) (The whole interview is great actually)
      Philosopher Feser Also has an interesting blog post on the fallacy of mistaking your model for reality.

      I think your complaint about lack of evidence for the preffered frame dissolves when you dismiss the issues related the Bell's theorem. To use your terminology , if you looked at the problem without any MST assumptions , you'd conclude there was a prefferred reference frame.

      From what I've read , most critics of NL concede it is empirically equivalent even though they dispute it on other grounds.
      Craig mentions mesons in his book , but doesn't say it was a problem for NL and says the time dilation effects follow from retarded potentials.

    12. I'll reply to your comments in turn (ie. this is to your first, the next will be to your last one).

      As far as "change" goes, it depends on how you define change, which in my perusal of the literature A-Theorists insist must entail some kind of temporal becoming, which begs the question. Change can be explained in terms of modifications of arrangements of existing "stuff". The underlying fields of matter/energy are still "there", it simply moves from one state to another at different points in space-time. It becomes important to consider what is "fundamental" here and what really happens with respect to "change". I'm pretty sure you can't say that it is "incoherent" or smuggles in temporal becoming, it simply becomes a matter of each not accepting the definitional basis of the other.

      None of that changes what "science" or "the methods of science" point us towards with respect to the nature of space and time. The NL view is far more complex, and postulates unnecessary entities as well as interactions. It also had to be modified multiple times in order to keep up with unanticipated predictions that followed from the traditional interpretation of STR - that of gravitational clocks being equally effected as electromagnetic clocks, and that the fundamental forces are similarly effected - so as to explain the meson decay.

      As far as Craig's point goes - I think you're mistaken. The point Carroll had was that the equations of fundamental particle physics tell us that the past and future are no different from each other; both are equally "real". This is actually a bit different from the MST issue and is more about time reversal invariance of our best theories of particle physics. Craig explicitly says that if that's the case, so much the worse for those theories.

      He ignores the possibility that time could not be fundamental, or that it emerges. No one denies that on the level we operate at time is a useful concept, much like temperature. That doesn't change the fact that what we experience it as has nearly nothing to do what actually underlies it at the physical level.

    13. Before I get to your comment, I would really like to say how much I appreciate a polite informed interlocutor like yourself. Either you will convince me that the post I'm working on regarding this very topic (to reply to WLC's podcast) is wrong and I need to issue a retraction, or you're helping me clarify my thoughts to better answer objections. Regardless, I very much appreciate this exchange!

      As far as models vs. reality goes, I actually agree. I do think you should be very careful with accusations about assuming your model must map to reality - the NL view with all of its extra entities and effects on other aspects of physics (ie. increases in mass to affect gravitational clocks, affects on fundamental forces to slow the rate of decay) is just as much a "model" as the MST interpretation.

      What hasn't been quite so clear here is that I'm not explicitly wedded to MST. The key point is that science tells us that time doesn't work in the way Craig needs it to. In order to show that, all I need to point towards is that by all our measures all of the underlying laws of physics show Lorentz Invariance. The NL view simply says that things only 'appear this way', but they can only do that by assuming the preferred frame exists, and that a host of other effects related to motion relative to this undetectable frame uniformly cause the exact same observations that lead us to believe Lorentz Invariance is real.

      It's like saying the moon is made of green cheese, but that it's covered by a layer of space dust a few meters thick. The "green cheese hypothesis" can always be modified to account for all available empirical data and achieve the "empirical equivalence" of the NL view. It's a silly analogy, but lets hit closer to home: Young Earth Creationists also have models that just like the NL view entail the one way speed of light is different than the two way speed of light. They can come up with their own models, which Craig has called "embarrassing". What criteria does Craig have to call them that? If it's a matter of simplicity, or making further predictions that lead to advances in other areas that also bear the fruit of empirical validation, then that's the SAME criteria we use to accept the traditional interpretation of STR/GTR over the preferred frame variants.

      As for Bell's Theorem, as I've stated elsewhere, the preferred frame solution isn't the only game in town. The many-worlds interpretation similarly can resolve the issue and is also deterministic. There are a number of ways to try and approach the problem, but we simply don't know enough about QM to make predictions that can actually be tested. If we're going to open up a solution to the realm of conceptual space then we've got lots of reasons to go for other solutions that don't violate other underlying principles of physics that have withstood all experiment.

      I'm not saying that the NL view could NEVER become accepted. If we make advances in QM that DO point us in the direction where an undetectable preferred frame could explain the data and then make other predictions that we could then verify, it would gain acceptance and my complaint here falls away.

      But it's equally the case that QM advances could give us the CCC model of Roger Penrose, or that loop quantum gravity gives us a mechanism to have a "bouncing" universe that's eternal, all of which is appealing to the unknown that I'm sure Craig would reject when it suits him.

      The point is what science tells us now is that Craig's conception of time is wrong, so other appeals to science to support his argument becomes cherry picking at best.

      Also as for "time not existing" it could well be that time isn't fundamental and emerges from quantum entanglement, as born out by some experiments that point in that direction: https://medium.com/the-physics-arxiv-blog/d5d3dc850933 (actual paper is: http://arxiv.org/abs/1310.4691 ).

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    15. Thanks! I'm not committted to any view in particular myself. However I don't think the NL is an completely implausible view and I think attacking it as 'circular' or 'unscientific' is hyperbolic.
      I feel like it would be plausible to think the universe had a cause even if time wasn't tensed as well.

      The YEC is a bad analogy of guilt by association (since their model contradicts a great deal of empirical evidence for the age of the earth). A better analogy would be like how some physicists are leaving the Copenhagen interpretation of QM for a 'hidden variables' or 'many worlds' interpretation of QM. The 'hidden variables' and the 'other worlds' are hidden from empirical observation , just like the prefered reference frame in NL is. Both postulate additional entities that account for the effects , but aren't observed.

      As for B-theory and change, tenseless says all events (past ,present,future) are equally real , so there is no change. So tenseless theorists will say that temporal change is a illusion in the mind of an observer .However for an observer to have a changing illusion, there would have to be some kind of objective change in his consciousness or in his mental states. B-theorists have a lot of trouble trying to explain how observers get a sense of temporal change.

      You've inspired me. I might do a post on views of time. I'm convinced a lot of it has to do with epistemology. a verificationist would say something you can't measure isn't real and then you'd get mistakes like the ones Tim Maudlin was talking about , where physicists mistake the "mathematics describing reality , for reality itself" and the mathematics physicists use to describe time for time itself.

    16. I should point out that while the Neo-Lorentzian interpretation is Craig's favored view. , it isn't the only way to reconcile SR with tensed theory. Guys like Quentin Smith and Dean Zimmerman don't endorse the Neo Lorentzian view , but still think SR is compatible with tensed theory.

    17. I don't think it's hyperbolic, specifically because the methods of science tell us that it is incorrect for the following reasons:

      1.) It is more complex than the standard interpretation for a few reasons:
      a.) It postulates an unnecessary entity to explain all empirical data data.
      b.) It postulates additional laws of nature over and above what is necessary to explain why we observe Lorentz Invariance (ie. that light travels slower as it moves away from the rest frame, that retarded potentials affect both mass and nuclear forces).
      2.) It assumes an undetectable in principle object that doesn't explain anything above interpretations that don't require it. This is different than 1.a in that the entity is undetectable. We can appeal to undetectable entities in a conceptual structure, if it can explain empirical data that can not be explained without adding such an entity to the theoretical structure.
      3.) Most importantly, by specifying Lorentz Invariance as a fundamental principle of the laws of nature, it lead to tremendous advances in quantum mechanics and quantum electrodynamics, not to mention without it we wouldn't have moved from STR to GTR.
      a) Theories which lead to additional discoveries/advances, especially in seemingly unrelated areas from what they originally explained are considered far more likely to be true.
      b.) In comparison, the NL view (or any view which requires a privileged frame) required additional modifications to the theory in order to keep up with the new advances made via assuming Lorentz Invariance. Remember, STR was originally concerned with reconciling Maxwell's Equations with the laws of motion, so it was primarily talking about light signals, things regarding electromagnetism. The original view could account for Time Dilation and Length Contraction once it made the ether undetectable, but part of the "Neo" in Neo-Lorentzian is modifying it so that ALL kinds of clocks, gravitational and electromagnetic, are equally slowed in the same way so as to appear Lorentz Invariant, despite the fact that the laws governing that being so distinct. It's the same thing for Mesons.

      The key is that it's not "a matter of taste" on which view you take. Science very clearly shows, not based on positivism or scientism, but based on solid philosophy of science reasons we use to determine the truth of completely unrelated theories that compete for acceptance - that we reject the NL view.

      And the key, I think, is to say, if you're going to reject what science says about time and go pure intuition, then you're being inconsistent when citing science to support other philosophical premises that only work when you interpret the science based on assumptions that go against what science says is true. It's basically cherry picking in the worst way.

      I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.


    18. I think all these are answerable and Craig thinks he's answered them in his book. Craig doesn't go "purely on intuition". He thinks there is no good reason to believe in MST because there are alternative interpretations and MST is subject to strong philosophical objections from fields like metaphysics , philosophy of language.
      I think even if you were right about everything, "Science denier" is way too strong a phrase.
      There are many physicists like John Bell , Davies , Smolin , Valentini and philosophers like Popper have said they think adopting a prefered reference frame was a plausible solution to the EPR paradox (even though not all advocated it themselves). Are all these guys science deniers?
      An analogy would be if I thought the Copenhagen interpretation was the best interpretation of QM. I though versions that postulated extra entities like hidden variables(Bohm) and many worlds (Everitt) using " an unnecessary entity to explain all empirical data". Even if I concluded the Copenhagen interpretation was the best , should I call all the philosphers and scientists who favor a different interpretation a science denier?
      With regards to 3) That paper I linked to discusses this. Other criteria like renormalizability , have played similar roles , but it is recgnized they are not fundamental.
      I'll answer the rest when I have more time and can get my copy of Craig's book out.

    19. I'd like to hear Craig's reply from the book, though everything I've found on it effectively just says "Well the NL view is still compatible with the advances, and I have these metaphysical objections" and those metaphysical objections are rooted in intuition.

      The language issue was largely settled, in favor of the B-Theorists, by DH Mellor, who showed that the truth value of any tensed sentence can be expressed in tenseless facts. Language isn't really a strong objection now.

      As far as science denier, if the term has any meaning as applied to YEC's, then I think it applies when Craig claims that Lorentz Invariance is not "real". At that point, you're denying all possible observation to the contrary and insisting based on other assumptions that a more complex method is at work.

      As for the scientists, I'm not aware any of them advocated it, and Bell advocated teaching the NL view first, so that students could appreciate how the paradigm shifted with Einstein.

      Now if the EPR paradox could only be resolved via the NL view, then I'd sing a different tune, but it's not.

      I think the analogy to the QM interpretation is a false one, since none of the interpretations have yet led to major advances in other areas, no one truly involves being much simpler than the others. QM is still very much an open field, but relativity physics isn't quite so much.

      As for Renormalization, I'm not saying it is absolutely fundamental, merely that "the best science can tell us right now" is that we think LI is fundamental. We're looking for violations, we don't just assume it to be so, nor is it dogmatically held to.

      The key is that Craig can bring up whatever philosophical objections he wants based on metaphysics, that doesn't change that according to the methods of science, the NL view is considered false.

  2. Well just to be clear , Craig accepts Special relativity. He calls it one of the pillars of modern physics and strongly confirmed empirically. To paraphrase him in the book, he takes the view that there is no strong reasons to take a MST realist approach over other view and that MST entails a number of implausible metaphysical committments ,so he rejects it on those grounds. His objections do not rely on intuitions any more than normal considerations of explanatory power ,scope and simplicity in metaphysics or philosophy. They're questions like "Which ontology best explained tensed language" or "which ontology better resolves the problem of temporary intrinsics" or "which ontology better explains our experience of temporal change" that he tries to answer.
    So I don't think your representation of Craig's view is accurate.
    In the language argument Craig is drawing upon newer work from guys like Quentin Smith on tense and language. I don't think Mellor addressed those.
    As for LI. As the Valentini paper I linked discusses,there are motivations for rejecting LI in QM and you can regard LI as something like renormalisability that is useful but not absolutely fundamental , so there's no reason to appeal to this.
    And the point is not that NL isn't the only resolution to the EPR paradox , but its the simplest.You can't claim that simplicity supports the idea of no preferred reference frame (PFR) when you'll adopt a more complex interpretation to integrate Bell's inequalities and the EPR paradox. You can't claim that there is no evidence for a PRF ,when you try to explain away the evidence for it with your theory.
    Craig has a discussion on this and Maudlin concludes, surveying the attempts to explain Bell Inequalities and integrate the EPR results with relativity theory ,that, "One way or another God has played us a nasty trick"
    Several of the physicists I named to advocate a PFR . If believing in a PFR was equivalent to believing something like young earth geology , that situaution would be equivalent to prominent geologists saying they though YEC was a plausible interpretation of the geological evidence (even if they didn't endorse it).
    And this isn't a dispute about the data because teh theories are empirically equivalent. I don't think QM is any more open the SR really. The mathematics and the empirical evidence are all agreed upon. What people differ is on philosophical considerations about what ontology we should adopt based on the data. (Interestingly enough Everitt/Bohm's interpretations of Qm were rejected because of verificationism , the same reason the NL view never caught on).

    1. Sorry for the length of time to reply, got a bit sick, family weekend, etc. :)

      Craig's insistence that there are "no strong reasons to take a MST realist approach" is him simply shifting the burden of proof, and I think, is a bit of a red-herring.

      Let's be clear, thanks to GTR, we both have to agree that "space-time" exists in some form. The way the NL view gets worked in there is that there is a privliged foliation of space-time to use.

      What I'm objecting to is Craig using philosophy or metaphysical concerns to trump the deliverance of science as a method, where he specifically must invalidate a set of assumptions and replace them with far more gratuitous assumptions, especially ones that seem ad hoc or more complex - and that's what he's doing. I also think that this highlights an extreme area of cherry picking on his part - he will appeal to science to support his metaphysics when it suits him (ie. the universe had a beginning) but then insist his metaphysical picture trumps the very same methods (and theories!) when they say things about time he doesn't like.

      The latest reading I had on the subject of language wrt time seemed to indicate that debates on this moved from language over to ontology given Mellor's work.

      Now the big thing for my charge of "science denial" really is on LI, that's where it starts and ends. I don't take WLC to deny STR or GTR, but he does deny the reality of LI - so as to avoid the argument from McCall and Balashov: If space-time is Galilean, then why would the laws of nature governing all sorts of systems be Lorentz Invariant?

      I spent part of the weekend doing some reading on Prokhovnik, trying to figure out what he did. Based on what I could find (reference here: http://reformation.edu/scripture-science-byl/pages/12-relativity-clocks.htm and here: http://reformation.edu/scripture-science-byl/pages/22-relativity-electro-clocks.htm ). Effectively, using the Heaviside equation you’re forced to assume the privileged frame exists AND that all clocks vary based on motion respective to the privileged frame.

      The objections I have there are numerous, but I think I’ll get to it in another reply. The issue here is that for Craig he’s going to use this to deny that the laws are LI, merely that they “appear” that way. But what I’m not sure is clear is whether or not this affects meson/muon decay, since that’s based on the weak nuclear force, not EM or gravitational forces. What’s worse is that the tests for meson decay show that we observe far more mesons (produced by cosmic rays hitting Earth’s atmosphere) at lower altitudes than we otherwise should –based on the known half-life of a meson. Based on that, it’s not merely that clocks tick slower, or that rods contract, it’s that particles aren’t decaying when they otherwise should when moving close to the speed of light. I believe that would be yet a third item that would have to be assumed, in addition to clocks and masses being dependent on motion.

      I’m just not at all sure how Craig or anyone else could say the resulting system wasn’t “really” LI in that case, which puts the issue right back with the original issue McCall and Balashov put forward.

    2. Still the main issue of LI is that we DO hold it as fundamental, and for very good reasons – assuming such led to huge advances in seemingly unrelated fields. The linked paper says that in high energy particle physics, LI MIGHT not be fundamental, and if that’s the case, then it wouldn’t be fundamental in other areas, and as such they would formulate solutions to EPR by violating LI. That is still something that is as of yet, not proven. What we have is a paper saying “wouldn’t it be nice if LI wasn’t fundamental like we assume, then we can solve this issue” (this is not to take away from the paper’s rigor, it’s useful just to show such what-if scenarios).

      The point is that we have very good reasons that have held up in other areas of science to assume that LI is fundamental, and we will revise that at the first sign of evidence.

      As for solving EPR, if you want to go the route of doing away with LI, why stop at just the EPR issue? We don’t need the MWI to avoid the NL solution. Why not simply unify all of physics (ie. GTR and QM) by using the Wheeler-DeWitt equation? Sure, we have to eliminate time completely, but the link I provided above shows how that’s possible given that time could be emergent from entanglement, and we even have evidence of that possibly being the case!

      That’s why Bells experiments and EPR don’t inherently cause us to reject LI or embrace a preferred frame, we simply don’t yet know. We do know that thus far, everything we’ve found entails LI, which has also helped us make further advances and predictions. That’s why LI is still around with us and we’re still trying to solve the issues between GTR and QM!

      As far as QM interpretations go, we don’t really have a full picture yet – there’s still a gaping hole in QM, that we’re hoping will provide us a way to actually settle on an interpretation. I do find it interesting you mention that Everett was rejected based on verificationist principles, since my understanding is that the MWI is currently the most widely accepted QM interpretation at the moment (with Copenhagen falling out of favor). The problem is that no matter which way we go, we have to take on board quite a lot of complex things into our ontology. Also, I think you’re objection to the MWI interpretation is a bit off, since the underlying assumption of it is actually simple – that there is really only one Quantum Wave Function for the entire material universe. Still, I can’t really defend that point since I’m not really well read on the philosophy of QM.

      I hopefully will address the points in terms of the difference with STR/GTR and the NL view in another reply. :)

  3. 1a & 2) Are just consideration of number of entities. There are many other considerations to the truth of a metaphysic. MST requires a commitment to the entity of MST so it is subject to a tu quoque objection.
    Its not clear at all the MST really explains the empirical observations of time dilation and length contraction rather than just postulates them. See here page 5 onwards.
    1b) and 3b) Craig relies on Prokhovnik and Ives
    "Now the question does remain: why do all material systems appear to be Lorentz invariant? But this question is addressed in contemporary neo-Lorentzian theories. For example, Simon J. Prokhovnik essays to explain the apparent Lorentz invariance of all material systems via the retarded potential effect. If he is correct, that explains why all material systems are affected by motion relative to fundamental frame. Note, too, that H. E. Ives was able to derive the Lorentz transformations from the laws of conservation of energy and momentum and laws of transmission of radiant energy. Given these basic laws, the Lorentz transformations will hold for any material system subject to those laws."
    for 3b) I think Prokhovnik has said that retarded potentials can be generalised from EM to gravitational fields , so you'd expect this result as well.
    I'm not saying MST is false , or there aren't any considerations in favor of it. I just don't think the discussion is at a place where you can shut the door and declare all the philosophers of physics who disagree with MST realism are science deniers.

    1. 1a & 2) The idea isn't quite so much the number of entities, though that's part of it. I'm also not sure the tu quote objection applies, since everyone is postulating space and time exist. The idea here is two fold:

      There are Lorentz Invariant laws of nature, which are that way because they operate in a Lorentz Invariant space-time.

      If there is to be a preferred frame, ie. a physical place where the laws of physics operate differently than they do everywhere else, why is there only one? Why is it that all the other places in the universe would be the same except one place/folation? If there are to be differences, why wouldn't there be multiple places in which the laws of physics varied even among each other, let alone there being more than one folation where physics behaved differently from all the others?

      It seems far more principled to say that all observation points to the fact that the laws of physics as we know them here on earth seem to apply the same way everywhere else we observe.

      As far as Prokhovnik's theory goes, you not only assume a PRF, you must ALSO assume that motion affects all types of clocks, so we're talking EM clocks and gravitational clocks. Once you've assumed that, you can reformulate the equations to allow for that assumption and derive it. That's more assumptions than on the standard view, and there are complications with respect to meson/muon decay, which I think must now also be assumed.

      Still, you're not really addressing the larger point in 3 and 3a - that really is one of the strongest pieces of evidence we have for keeping with the standard interpretation, and that's a general rule from science. It's in fact one of the best methods we have for determining the truth of something, since Popper's verificationism has largely been abandoned.

      Craig wants to abandon that criteria of science, or at least override it based on philosophical issues, and I say he can't do that without cherry picking.

  4. Rereading your comment, I think there's a bit of confusion about intuition as laymen use it and as philosophers use it. Laymen use it to refer to a hunch or a gut feeling. The philosophical term (lets call it 'schmintuition' to distinguish) refers to certain non-inferential beliefs people hold.
    Examples of these are;-
    1)The external world is real and not an illusion of consciousness
    2) My senses give me information about reality and I am not a brain in a vat or being deceived by a Cartesian Demon
    3) The world was not created 5 minutes ago (with me implanted with false memories and knowledge of the past)
    4)solipsism is not true
    Without 'schmintuitions' not much knowledge (even scientific knowledge) of any kind would be possible. Schmintuitions are normal considerations in philosophical reasoning used in philosophy , metaphysics , philosophy of science , ..etc.
    If someone says Craig is critiquing the metaphysics of MST based on a 'hunch' , I would disagree.
    If you say he is critiquing the metaphysics of MST according to normal philosophical reasoning (including schmintuition and other reasons) used in philosophy of science and metaphysics, I would agree. You're free to agree as to whether this critique works or not , but not his methods.
    You may be familiar with the distinction , but some of your readers may not be. I'd drop the term 'intuition' so as not to give your watchers the wrong impression.

    1. Here you're getting into the realm of properly basic beliefs, which is it's own can of worms.

      He can't insist that his experience of time is properly basic, at least not in the way that he says that his experience of time must mean that time as he experiences it is fundamental, so as to override alternative conclusions we derive from science - without begging the question. He simply won't allow for the fact that time could be emergent, or that our experience of time isn't reflective of the way reality actually works (assuming that time is in some way fundamental).

      The issue here is that what is at question is the very thing he's trying to bring in via a "schmintuitions" as you call it.

      The entire issue you brought up earlier wrt EPR shows us that reality simply does not behave as we intuit, or even what our 'schmintuitions' tell us it is like. Science at least gives us an objective set of methods that has been extremely successful in describing reality in a way that lets us make predictions and advances in our control over our lives. Craig wants to override these methods based on his metaphysical considerations, or at least he wants to do that when the results of those methods aren't in support of his preferred metaphysical picture.

    2. And one more thing!

      If you want to continue this discussion via email, drop me a line at counterapologist (at) gmail dot com (or just keep replying here). I was reading your posts last night, then reading about Prokhovnik, and then wondering why in the hell am I struggling to fall asleep because I'm thinking about mesons, LI, and relativity.

      It was at that point that I started to question why I don't just give up philosophy and go back to caring about gaming as a hobby again. :P

      Still, I had to engage here because you're really making me think through this in a clearer fashion, and for that I'm really personally grateful.


  5. btw Sinclair wrote something on emergent time here.

    1. I have some sympathies for Sinclair as a person after watching his part in the Carroll vs Craig debate, but this is really bad.

      Reading through the post I don't see too much that I want to quibble with, until we get to the end when he calls a quantum gravity region:

      A) not the universe itself
      D) omnipresent ('indeterminately' present to all locations)
      E) omniscient ('indeterminately' present to all times)
      F) omnipotent (causally prior to and has created all possible worlds)
      H) a person, since all necessary beings are either abstract things like numbers or are minds. But abstract things don't stand in causal relations and this being does.

      To say that is a non-sequitur would be a severe understatement. I don't know which one I'd balk at more.

      The "universe" being defined as all material reality in the kalam means that as he defines it here, he automatically assumes it can't be something naturalistic by definition.

      The Tri-Omni attributes are, to put it mildly, a bit more than a stretch to get there, and calling it a person borders on wishful thinking.

  6. Sorry I haven't posted in a while. I think these are the 3 main points where we differ.
    1)Lorentz invariance
    I think anti-science is way too strong a word. There are serious theorists like Bohm who thought Lorentz invariance was not fundamental. Sure it is against consensus , but that doesn't mean these theorists are anything like anti-vaccers or YECs.
    Even Bell thought it was an open possibility. If Bell was saying the science was open as to whether vaccines cause autism , we'd call him a science-denier.
    I think Valentini is saying more than you credit him with in the paper. He 's saying we have prima facie reason to regard QM as not Lorentz invariant even though many theorists think it is and argues there are good motivations to not regard it as Lorentz invariant so we can solve certain problems. He also points out there are no decisive arguments for Lorentz invariance on the other side.

    2)Physics and metaphysics
    I think physics always has to be interpreted within a metaphysical context. And if you look historically that how's its its always been done , even by Einstein when addressing questions such as the nature of time. The trouble is the philosophy of Einstein's day (verificationism) caused him to redefine the nature of time and make a number of assumptions that are controversial and sometimes downright fallacious. Now Einstein may be right after all , but we need to settle the matter with arguments

    3)The burden of proof
    I think Craig is saying we should take our experience of tense as veridicial unless there is strong reason to doubt it it. Many tenseless theorists would agree actually. For example DH Mellor says
    "Tense is so striking an aspect of reality that only the most compelling argument justifies denying it"
    Mellor thinks the arguments for tenseless are strong enough to meet the burden , Craig doesn't and critically evaluates the arguments in his books

    addendum on quantum gravity

    The main point is that LI can easily incorporate EPR , while MST has difficulty doing so without modifications. Its not like there's a knock-down argument for MST or it is supperior in accounting for every piece of evidence
    I showed the paper you liked to a philosopher of physics who's written on QM and QG . From what I gather he was saying that Wheeler-Dewitt hadn't been established as the right way to do QG and the writers were overclaiming their results and he didn't think it had implications either way for the ontology of time.

    Btw this guy uses a couple of the arguments Neo-Lorentzians use if you want to take a look at it.

    I also did a little round up of papers relevant to Kalam here.

    1. Well you're not the only one who's been unable to reply! Given how much work and family life has intruded on my being able to write anything in response to Craig and you, one would almost think that it was an argument for the divine preventing things! ;)

      Let me go through your points in turn:

      1.) There's more than a bit of difference between the stance: "It's an open possibility that Lorentz Invariance will turn out to not be fundamental" and "The laws of relativity can't possibly be Lorentz Invariant, it only seems that way". Scientists hold to the former, and Craig to the latter. He feels he's justified in this because of how he holds to metaphysical commitments, and that's just wrong. He holds to it by making unfalsifiable assumptions that are significantly more complex than the alternatives (ie. velocity wrt a privliged frame must affect not only electro-magnetic forces, but weak nuclear forces, and have an effect on mass).

      As far as Valentini's paper, read it over. He's trying to keep the possibility open for a Lorentz violating principle, where as so much consensus is against it. He admits the arguments against it are good, but simply not decisive. Note however that it will take evidence to swap the current consensus - we will need to find something that does have Lorentz Violations, not as Craig does, assume it simply can't.

      2.) This can only hold true for a uselessly broad definition of "metaphysics" so that it covers every kind of investigation into reality. We should eliminate as much as we can in terms of what we must assume, down to the bear minimum, and build up confidence in those base assumptions based on inductive evidence. My point here, and what I'm currently working on is that "The methods of science show us that the A-Theory is false". You can argue that the methods of science are the wrong set of tools to use, but you can't really do that and also appeal to science to argue "the universe had a beginning" without cherry picking at best.

      3.) And one could say the same thing about not being in motion while standing still, or that the earth is flat, or a host of other reasons. The argument is that relativity DOES give us very good reasons to think time is not how Craig needs it to be in order to use it as an argument for his god. The problem is that if we follow the methods of science, we will find ourselves denying the A-Theory of time and that's a problem for Craig (since he appeals to the same methods when it suits him).

      4) The point I was making was that you can't say "here's one scenario where NL is better than MST, so that's evidence for it!" Sure MST isn't perfect for every piece of evidence, but it's far better than the alternatives for most that we have! The EPR issue is solvable by a few different methods, one of which is Wheeler-Dewitt. Your argument seemed to be "NL solves EPR easily, so that's evidence for it over MST", which is wrong because we can similarly "solve" many vexing issues by other methods that would falsify the NL view (ie. Wheeler-Dewitt).

  7. Another point is that physicists consider many theories involving Lorentz violations

    If denying Lorentz invariance is science denial , then you have to say all these physicists are science deniers.
    You might say these physicists who accept these theories are not asserting them as settled science , but Craig is asserting NL as settled science either. Iti is just the possibility he accepts.

    1. Just putting this here for completeness sake, but as I said above there's a huge difference in "here's how the laws of nature could violate Lorentz Invariance" vs. saying "the laws of nature as we understand them are not Lorentz Invariant".

      Theoretical Physics is great in that it can do quite a bit at building models, but it takes evidence to break the wall between "theoretical physics" and "accepted theories". Scientists are looking for Lorentz Violations at the fundamental level, and the minute they find them, we will no longer think that relativity is fundamental part of reality. As it currently stands, all evidence we have points to the fact that Lorentz Invariance is fundamental, and subsequently that the way Craig wants folks to think about time is false.

  8. I feel like some of the moves you're making here are incompatible with what you're saying earlier. It seemed earlier you were saying Craig is a science denier because MST had been decisively proven by science and to deny it constituted science denial. now it seems that you're allowing for the possibility of other option to MST and something else might be true , as long a A- theory is false.
    But why assume this? For example George Ellis has argued for a growing block theory of time which includes temporal becoming. There are quantum gravity theories that introduce a preferred foliation that are friendly to presentism.

    And I think you're inconsistent with some of your objections. For example you say there's no evidence of a preferred frame of simultaneity. But when evidence for that kind of simultaneity comes in , you "oh we can explain that data away some other way" like with Wheeler-DeWitt. If you can explain away any evidence for a preferred frame using other methods , nothing can really count as evidence.

    1) When Craig is saying that Lorentz invariance is apparent , he mean's its not a fundamental feature of reality and there's a sort of explanation of why it holds at higher levels of reality in Neo-Lorentzian theory (he gives the example of Proshnovik's retarded potentials as one possible explanation).
    Valentini argues for non-Lorentz invariant quantum mechanics , so he things that Lorentz invariance is not a fundamental feature of the laws of nature and (presumably) he thinks there's some sort of explanation for why it emerges at higher levels. I don't think there's much difference between these positions.
    Craig would say that something like the retarded potentials idea can explain all the effects in a simple manner.
    2) IMO there are historical distinctions philosophers and physicists made between "Time as we model it in physics" and "Time in reality".(Just like the painting in Mona Lisa compares to a woman in reality) Guys like Newton , Leibiniz and Lorentz made these distinctions and held that there were feature of time that couldn't be modeled in physics (like temporal becoming). Einstein didn't make these types of distinctions because of verificationism. Its an important thing to address in debates like these before extrapolating from time in physics to time in reality.
    4) As I said you can explain them in other ways , just like Craig can explain the apparent Lorentz invariance in other ways with NL. The issue is that you're accusing Craig of making more complex assumptions to fit the data , when you have to make a bunch of complex assumptions to fit the EPR data with MST. I'm not too familiar with Wheeler Dewitt so I can't comment too much on that.