This post brought to you by my participation in the local atheist group, and my recent lack of interest in blogging:
Time and space are concepts that describe the relationship between particular entities. It is meaningless to speak of time or space outside of the entities they relate. In particular, in is meaningless to speak of something being “outside” or “prior to” the universe.
The universe is the set of all entities. To say that “something” is outside the universe means that there is “something” – an entity – that is outside the set of all entities. This a contradiction, of course, since that “something” must be part of the universe, and therefore cannot be outside it. Rather, the universe is an expanding balloon of relativity (with a radius of ~13 billion light years) within which time and space are meaningful concepts.
Time is a measure of the rate of change between entities in relation to a frame of reference. There is no “absolute” time independent of a frame of reference. (For example, we usually measure time as a relation to the rate of earth’s rate of rotation and revolution around the sun..) Time is therefore only applicable to a universe with multiple entities and changing relationships between those entities. It’s therefore impossible to attribute time or space to a singularity (the pre-big bang state) or say that something existed “prior” to the singularity.
For similar reasons, it is contradictory to speak of “multiple” universes. A universe is the set of all existents which are causally related to each other. If entities are not causally related, then they cannot be “aware” of each other, and therefore cannot engage in any relationships, including those of time and space. If we cannot be aware of such entities, then any such proposition must by definition be arbitrary. Thus, if there are dimensions other than those we are currently familiar with, they must be merely conceptually differentiated causal chains, not “separate universes.”