Ever smaller

Infinite regression is the idea that in the universe there is no smallest scale. There will always be a new scale, which is smaller then the previous one. I met this idea on the blog of Bob about Nassim Haramein and had a very short discussion with a certain James about it.

I would like to show here, why this is in my opinion not possible, although I think to understand why the idea is so appealing. The reason I think that this idea is so attractive is that it postpones the idea that there is a particle, which is not dividable. The problem with that particle is that it is unclear of what it is build up. If it does elementairy, then it is one and undividable. There is nothing between the particle and it's size and nothing. The size of the particle describes how big something is from nothing. It shows how mind boggling this difference is. You can probably calculate how much energy is needed to create this matter out of nothing. The smaller the amount of energy needed, the more intuitive it is that that can happen. And when you have reached some particle with a particular size then it is so easy to divide this particle in even smaller parts. That makes the understanding of the creation of something out of nothing more acceptable. Then there is a new first cause to look for. Otherwise you are gazing at the border of existence and there you should have to explain how that happened. That is mindboggling.

However...

I do understand that there has to be a quantified step from nothing to something. I do understand that I do not understand how this quantified step can happen. I could escape this puzzling of the mind by thinking that being infinitely divisible is the solution. But that solution stops being a solution when I realize that it will never explain how the border from nothing to something is crossed as that difference between nothing and something is always divisible. It is a runaway argument.

This type of argument is one of the three pillars of Münchhaussen trilemma. The Münchhaussen trilemma or Agrippa's Trilemma are the three main argument types, how to proof that a reasoning will fail. The three pillars are:

  1. All evidence is based on other evidence. This building on other evidence will continue endlessly.
  2. It will end at an unproven hypothesis, an axioma.
  3. It will end in circular reasoning, that is evidences are proven by supporting each other.

The notion of infinite divisibility is itself already paradoxical in nature. It says that every building block consists of at least one smaller level of building blocks, which means that no building block is just there, which implies that no thing can be explained by itself. You will never meet solid ground, although you are standing on it right now. Furthermore it has the hidden axioma that you can firmly stand on ever smaller building blocks that are based on others. Next to this did James stipulate that the universe is in a state of existing and not-existing at the same time. There you have the circular argument, the third pillar of the trilemma, because both states require each other to explain themselves. Everywhere is the smell of Baron von Münchhausen, who was able to pull himself out of the swamp.

However...

The trilemma works. But how does it evaluate itself? Is it an example of 'evidence based on other evidence'? Or will it end in an unproven axioma? Or is it a form of circular reasoning? As it has only three possible outcomes, it does not fall for the trap of infinite regression. But according to its own assertion all reasonings will end in one of those three ways. That in itself is obviously an axioma as it does not prove that these three outcomes are the only possible ones.

Is it possible that there are reasonings that will not fail, because they reason about situations that can not be proven to be true or not? I think they do exist. These reasonings take place in for instance politics or relationships or in the evaluation done by philosophers to argue if something is true, false or true nor false or can not be said to be true or false.
A concrete example of the latter is when someone tries to proof that all reasonings will fail using the Münchhausen trilemma. If the proof is correct, then is there at least one reasoning that did not fail. So, in order to proof itself, the reasoning to come to this conclusion has to be incorrect. Baron von Münchhausen would love this.

Furthermore can you ask yourself if the universe we live in is an open or closed system? If we live in an open system, that is a system without end, then is circular reasoning never the way to go. However, if we assume that we live in a closed system - and if it all started with a big bang, than is that very likely - then will it be thinkable to have a theory that describes the whole system. This is what the physicists call the Theory of Everything. Any closed system can be described completely and when completely described, it will automatically consist of circular reasoning. In the end is circular reasoning within a closed system inevitable and is it the proof required to show the validity of the theory.