The Block Universe and The Flow of Time

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Re: Instant Results

Postby rajnz00 on May 23rd, 2020, 12:28 am 

Faradave » May 22nd, 2020, 11:53 pm wrote:Through most of his work in optics light was thought to transmit instantly.


I would be very surprised if Newton thought the speed of light was infinite. His explanation of Snell's law of the diffraction of light was the ratio's of the speed of light through different mediums. And even Galileo knew the speed of light was finite.
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Re: Quotes from Sabine Hossenfelder

Postby rajnz00 on May 23rd, 2020, 2:33 am 

http://backreaction.blogspot.com/2008/0 ... -then.html

Needless to say, my believe that the past, present and future exist in the same sense goes back to time being a coordinate in Minkowski-space and not a parameter. Since some people commented on this in the previous post with mentioning the problem of time in General Relativity, let me emphasize I didn't say it follows that nature can't be a succession of present moments for this reason [2]. I'm just saying that very possibly this is the origin of my personal opinion, and I occasionally wonder how far our education influences the opinions we hold on philosophical questions [3].


(Emphasis mine)

http://backreaction.blogspot.com/2008/0 ... verse.html

In my earlier post Every Now and Then I explained why I think the most plausible explanation for our perception of the now being different from the past and the future is due to the ability of our brains to store memory. I thus believe in the 'block universe' in which there is nothing special about the now, and the past and the future exists in the same way as the present moment.

Nevertheless, I want to point out this isn't more than a believe of mine that I personally find plausible. Especially, I do not think it follows from Special Relativity, as some comments indicated - and as also Petkov argues in his paper.

(Emphasis mine)
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Re: The Block Universe and The Flow of Time

Postby rajnz00 on May 23rd, 2020, 4:22 pm 

DragonFly » May 23rd, 2020, 2:49 pm wrote:....

Using philosophy to build up to to the mode of time, we first have to note that what basically 'IS' has no option but to be, ever, since there can be no alternative, such as 'non-existence', which cannot even be meant or said, and so I've put it in quotes.

It seems, then, that it can only transmute/transition in such a way that it can always return to any of these states of itself, as kind a topological transformation, which 'turning' we call the laws of nature.

More so, it appears that it can never be still, as being energetic, for its temporary patterns can never last longer than an instant. While we call these 'changes', overall it must ever remain as itself.

So, in summary, that one can deduce, I would tend to banish Beginning, End, Nought, Stillness, Infinity, Apart, Originality, Free Will, and He.


Wouldn't that mean that nothing exists? That everything is an illusion? That would explain everything, but I don't find that a satisfying explanation.
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Re: The Block Universe and The Flow of Time

Postby rajnz00 on May 23rd, 2020, 6:35 pm 

DragonFly » May 23rd, 2020, 4:32 pm wrote:There is the Eternal Permanent and that's it.

As for Presentism’s problem being so, then

The unborn future is inherent in the past,
It’s ‘will be’ is real, since no unreal contrast class,
As there’s no opposite to existence—no Nil;
It’s not just that future is going to exist.

The present now undergoes an updating,
In a fleeting swoosh that passes it away,
For the ‘now’ fades, consumed, as future becomes,
Yet, what will become past can’t just non-exist.


I don't think the future is inherent in the past, as in that it can be absolutely predicted by the past.

Presentism undergoes a dynamical updating?

Yes I think so. Constant new Events is this dynamical updating, that are created, or allowed to be created by the expanding Universe.

So reality is created anew at every Now?

Yes, I would say so. It’s a moving wave, which is probably the expansion of the Universe, which is expanding all around each one of us, creating space and time as it goes. The reality that we experience with our Nows.

The expansion is maybe the hardware where information is manipulated?

"Yet, what will become past can’t just non-exist."

I think it can, Even chairs and tables become old. They are not the chairs and tables they used to be. Events happen and pass. Memories fade. Unless there is a Universal memory keeping track of every event. And I don't think so. The evidence is that memories don't last forever and they fade with time.
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Re: The Block Universe and The Flow of Time

Postby rajnz00 on May 23rd, 2020, 6:47 pm 

Re davidm’s posts, I am not claiming his arguments are invalid, or that the Block Universe cannot exist, my argument is limited to showing that presentism, specifically in regard to Einstein’s train thought experiment, is not precluded by that experiment.
And I think I have successfully defended that argument.
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Re: The Block Universe and The Flow of Time

Postby davidm on May 23rd, 2020, 7:10 pm 

This seems to me to be a significantly weaker claim than what you started with. As for Sabine and the block universe, in the comments section of her block universe thread, someone wrote:

Ok sorry, now i get it, i think. You are saying that you don't have to connect existence with simultaneity within SR, because even if we had this hypothetical existence slicing (not the simultaneity plane) to define existence, then we wouldn't know the difference with the laws of SR.[/quote\

To which she replied:

Yes, you got it :-)


To me, this pretty clearly indicates she is endorsing the above-mentioned surface presentism, but only as a defeater for Petkov’s claim that SR by itself entails a block universe. The idea, again, is that there may well be a privileged absolute reference frame that cannot be detected from within SR (or any other current physics). And … yeah, that could be true, I guess, but again, if one goes this route, it is pure article-of-faith stuff — not science.

The important point to note, however, is that the presentist goes this route because he recognizes that SR does pose a major threat to presentism, and must be dealt with if presentism is to be vindicated. So is that now your stand? It sure didn’t seem to be your stand at the start of this thread.

Remember also that Sabine won’t commit to the existence of an apple, based on observing an apple.
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Re: The Block Universe and The Flow of Time

Postby rajnz00 on May 23rd, 2020, 8:15 pm 

davidm » May 23rd, 2020, 7:10 pm wrote:Remember also that Sabine won’t commit to the existence of an apple, based on observing an apple.


That sounds almost like a presentist, who would say that the apple of a second ago is not the apple of now.

That time passes could be an illusion. That the past ceases to exist could be an illusion.

Even that the future exists could be possible, though I find that much harder to believe, as 1. There is no accompanying illusion to sustain that and 2. There is zero evidence that the future exists, unlike the past, which has evidence that it, at least, at one time existed.

Or, that there is permanence could be an illusion. We do have the illusion of permanence. A caterpillar can change almost in front of our eyes, but my car looks pretty much the same today as yesterday when I drove in it. But just like the river of Heraclitus, where we never step into the same river twice, that is an illusion. It does change slowly, imperceptibly, from event to event.

The difference between our Nows and those of a stone is that we have the added facility of recording our Nows with our consciousness, during our lifetimes. It’s almost like that provides crosschecks of events in spacetime.

Therefore, I think that living is a significant event in time. There is a profound difference between being alive and being dead.

Similarly that apple, that we buy from the market, hold in our hand and even bite into, changes imperceptibly from moment to moment. Only being in our Here/Now it’s existence is intersecting with our existence so we can be sure it exists along with us, in our moments.

To me for the past to exist, we would have to have more than Universal time, but a universal memory. If I hit a stone with a hammer n times and walk away, those events would have to be recorded and the records kept permanently

Just my thoughts on the fly.
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Re: The Block Universe and The Flow of Time

Postby DragonFly on May 23rd, 2020, 8:56 pm 



I don't think the future is inherent in the past, as in that it can be absolutely predicted by the past.

As a side note for you all: I just discovered a great new show, called DEVS, that explores this.


Presentism undergoes a dynamical updating?

Yes I think so. Constant new Events is this dynamical updating, that are created, or allowed to be created by the expanding Universe.

So reality is created anew at every Now?

Yes, I would say so. It’s a moving wave, which is probably the expansion of the Universe, which is expanding all around each one of us, creating space and time as it goes. The reality that we experience with our Nows.

The expansion is maybe the hardware where information is manipulated?


Dark energy’s the fuel that keeps on giving.


"Yet, what will become past can’t just non-exist."

I think it can, Even chairs and tables become old. They are not the chairs and tables they used to be. Events happen and pass. Memories fade. Unless there is a Universal memory keeping track of every event. And I don't think so. The evidence is that memories don't last forever and they fade with time.


That all may return is akin to all History.

The sun is not the same sun as it was a trillionth of a second ago, although to us the semblance of the ‘sun’ remains.

There are, strictly speaking, no objects that are identical with themselves over time, and so perhaps the temporal sequence probably remains open.

Nature would then then no longer seen as clockwork, but only as a ‘possibility gestalt’, the whole world occurring anew each moment; however, the deeper reality from which the world arises, in each case, acts as a unity in the sense of an indivisible ‘potentiality’, which can perhaps realize itself in many possible ways, it not being a strict sum of the partial states.

It appears to us, though, that the world consists of parts that have continued on from “a moment ago”, and thus still retain their identity in time; yet, matter likely only appears secondarily as a congealed potentiality, a congealed gestalt, as it were.
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Re: The Block Universe and The Flow of Time

Postby rajnz00 on May 24th, 2020, 12:57 am 

DragonFly » May 23rd, 2020, 8:56 pm wrote:

I don't think the future is inherent in the past, as in that it can be absolutely predicted by the past.

As a side note for you all: I just discovered a great new show, called DEVS, that explores this.

I’ll try and watch DEVS sometime

Random thoughts
The Block Universe makes no sense. My end and yours already exist? Not only that but that of the whole Universe?

After the Big Bang, space and time was created. This creating is still going on and may well never end, so how can we know the end?

Creation itself means something new. Space that didn't exist before, time that didn't exist before. How can it be known what's in the new creation(s)?

In fact we don’t even know the beginning. Everything breaks down an infinitesimal second before the beginning.

We don’t know the beginning and we don’t know the end, so how can we have a Block Universe?

Another time, another place, my friend. I think you are in a more idyllic island than I am.
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Re: The Block Universe and The Flow of Time

Postby davidm on May 24th, 2020, 7:06 pm 

The evidence for a block universe, of course, is the special theory of relativity, such evidence having been spelled out in this thread, and in the many papers I have linked. This is why we see presentists turning cartwheels trying to reformulate a coherent presentism (point presentism, cone presentism, surface presentism) because they understand the challenge that SR poses to presentism.

Presentism fares even worse under general relativity. Closed time-like curves have been mooted that would be spacetime paths to the past. The physicist Paul Davies wrote a book, How to Build a Time Machine, in which he shows that in principle (though perhaps this will always remain beyond our technology) one might connect two disparate regions of spacetime with a wormhole, or even find an existing wormhole that does this, and use it to travel to the past. Of course, these scenarios require that the past exists in order to travel to it, and that the future exists in order to have a spacetime region to travel to the past from. General relativity give us the past, present and future on the required equal ontological footing. Of course, GR is in conflict with QM and may turn out to be incomplete.
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Re: The Block Universe and The Flow of Time

Postby rajnz00 on May 25th, 2020, 2:58 am 

davidm » May 24th, 2020, 7:06 pm wrote:The evidence for a block universe, of course, is the special theory of relativity,

By “evidence” you mean assertion. “The evidence for a block universe, of course, is the special theory of relativity” is an assertion, if I ever saw one.

I do not accept that either the past exists or the future.

Your response:
Eternalism vs. Presentism
Your position is called presentism — the idea that only the present exists. The past used to exist, but no longer does. The future will exist, but does not yet.

The competing position is eternalism — that the past, present and future all exist; they share equal ontological footing. Socrates exists; he is just temporally distant from me — (in an “earlier than” state). People in the far future exist; they are also just temporally distant from me, in a “later than” state. These sorts of temporal relations are called McTaggert’s B-series of time.


So you have defined Presentism above, (as well as eternalism), a definition I agree with. I shall call this definition 1.

This is what you need to be defending, if you are a presentist. The presentist claims that there are distant present events, everywhere in the universe, that occur simultaneously with the finger snap. This is presentism’s core foundational claim, the exact definition or [of] presentism.


I shall call this definition 2.

Now anyone can see that definition 2 is not the same as definition 1.

Definition 2 is defined as the very thing that SR says doesn’t happen. Hence presentism is refuted. Very nice.

If I substitute eternalism for presentism in definition 2, I would get “The eternalist claims that there are distant present events, everywhere in the universe, that occur simultaneously with the finger snap. This is eternalism’s core foundational claim, the exact definition or [of] eternalism.”

Now please tell us how eternalism is compatible with SR? I have perfectly crafted the definition of eternalism to be antagonistic to SR.

But how does davidm arrive at definition 2 from definition 1?

There is obviously an argument from definition 1 to definition 2. An argument is not evidence. The argument has to be examined.

Definition 2 is claimed to be derived from definition 1, through an argument.

I have made comments on both Petkov’s argument (and your argument about Einstein’s train experiment), as to why, on first principles, they are wrong.

Sabine Hossenfelder also didn’t think too highly of Petkov's argument.

Her definition of presentism:
Presentism means there is a notion of 'now' and it is only the 'now' that exists.
Short and sweet and the same as mine.

Her statements which I have quoted are pretty clear and unequivocal, but you have to reiterpret her to suit your narrative and get her to say what she is not saying.
PS
SR does not rule out a privileged, absolute at-rest frame — it only rules out that this frame can ever be found within SR itself.

Where did you get that from? The first postulate rests on the very denial of what you are claiming. Is this your own postulate?

I have used Einstein's thought experiment to give my argument, with the help of phyti and his spacetime diagram and argument, why presentism is perfectly compatible with SR. ( http://www.sciencechatforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=35865&p=350840&hilit=awareness#p350840 ).

It directly contradicts the reasoning in your argument. It is there for you to examine and refute. The argument is simple and short. No Jargon, refernces or labels.

Neither you nor anyone else has addressed it. Or pointed out any fallacies in the reasoning.

You can do so anytime you want.
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Re: The Block Universe and The Flow of Time

Postby DragonFly on May 26th, 2020, 1:12 pm 

Parmenides’ philosophic statement,
That ‘Nothing’ can’t be, nor even be meant,
Shows that what ‘IS’ has to be so, ever,
There being no alternative fundament.
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Re: The Block Universe and The Flow of Time

Postby hyksos on May 26th, 2020, 4:44 pm 

It directly contradicts the reasoning in your argument. It is there for you to examine and refute. The argument is simple and short. No Jargon, refernces or labels.

Neither you nor anyone else has addressed it. Or pointed out any fallacies in the reasoning.

You can do so anytime you want.

Okay buddy, I will address it.

In S-R you can always select your coordinates, and place your <0,0,0,0> point, "origin", anywhere in spacetime you like, and even decide on the choice of the direction of the axes, tilt them and rotate them however you want.

Once you have established an "origin" of your spacetime axis system you can take any vanishingly small topological region around it... a tiny 4D ball with "vanishingly small" radius r. Within your 4D microball surrounding your origin, you can demonstrate both the mathematical and physical reality of presentism, using arguments about "The time in which the signal of Event 1 reached her retina" or whatever it is that you were arguing in bold text.

This argument is correct and fully true. So at this point in my reply your argument has been fully addressed. Now we will move on.

Our situation is such that different observers -- each with their own independent "local ball of radius r" -- will observe the same events taking place at different times, relative to their own local "presentist clock" inside their local ball. We don't want a theory of physics that is merely used to describe what any individual observer will see from his local ball --- that theory would be a mish-mash of independent spacetime pockets with no correlation. Questions about which observer is seeing the True Reality and which observer is seeing the Illusory Reality would never be answered. Is Amy's set of observations what really happened , or was Mary's set of observations what really happened? Curious young students would be ordered to "shut up" if they ask that question.

That's not very satisfying.

What we want is a physical theory of reality. There are independent observers with different flows of time each in their own little microball. In what way do these independent observers relate to each other? Is there a relationship, at all? At base , we are asking that since we know relativity-of-simultaneity actually is physically real -- then what really happened? The Block Universe is a question about the nature of reality, not a question about independent measurements of Event 2 made by Amy's retina.

There are a bunch of retinas. In some way, every atom is a "retina". Keep going with where this logic leads. Take the logic to its apotheosis. How do all these retinas that comprise the universe correlate?
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Re: The Block Universe and The Flow of Time

Postby davidm on May 26th, 2020, 6:10 pm 

If I substitute eternalism for presentism in definition 2, I would get “The eternalist claims that there are distant present events, everywhere in the universe, that occur simultaneously with the finger snap. This is eternalism’s core foundational claim, the exact definition or [of] eternalism.”

Now please tell us how eternalism is compatible with SR? I have perfectly crafted the definition of eternalism to be antagonistic to SR.


But eternalism does not claim this. Presentism claims it. The eternalist claims, um, just the opposite.

There is not need to respond to the rest until you can figure out the simplest things being discussed.
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Re: The Block Universe and The Flow of Time

Postby phyti on May 28th, 2020, 12:26 pm 

hykos;

1. What we want is a physical theory of reality. There are independent observers with different flows of time each in their own little microball.
2. In what way do these independent observers relate to each other? Is there a relationship, at all?
3. At base , we are asking that since we know relativity-of-simultaneity actually is physically real -- then what really happened?
4. The Block Universe is a question about the nature of reality, not a question about independent measurements of Event 2 made by Amy's retina.


1. SR includes perception, 'reality confined to the mind'.
2. Beyond the coordinate transformations, they don't relate.
3. It is a simulated simultaneity, established by a specific method. What happened depends on the observer perception.
4. The observer conclusions/perception depend on their measurements, sensory input, and any necessary analysis. The mental processes are reality, governed by the same laws of physics.
----------------------------------
Each observer occupies their own perception space.
SR theory works without an '_ism'
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Re: The Block Universe and The Flow of Time

Postby rajnz00 on May 29th, 2020, 1:35 am 

davidm » May 26th, 2020, 6:10 pm wrote:But eternalism does not claim this. Presentism claims it. The eternalist claims, um, just the opposite.

There is not need to respond to the rest until you can figure out the simplest things being discussed.


But you haven’t figured out the simple thing I’ve said in my post, which is not that eternalism claims this, but to show how you have crafted your definition of presentism to be perfectly antagonistic to SR.

When I said that you must have derived definition 2 from 1, I was being very charitable, because I couldn’t believe that you could have arrived at definition 2 without some sort of argument or derivation.

But no, there is none. It’s just an assertion, insertion, with no argument or derivation. It has been plonked on apropos nothing, out of the blue, without explanation and you want me to accept it and defend it.

No thank you.

what I have said:

Presentism merely means that the present for each object, exists for a short while, and then disappears into the past. They don't have to agree on what happens now except for themselves.
And
What I am defending is that the present only exists, briefly, fleetingly, but finitely, for you and me (in other words no need for distant events to be simultaneous with us), not the past, nor the future. Call it, label it, what you will.
And – “This Now is unique for every object. My Now is not your Now.” I originally said that in bold.

Maybe some people claim that there are distant present events, everywhere in the universe, that occur simultaneously with the finger snap, who also believe that the present only exists and not the pasty or future. So what?

I am defending that the present only exists, not any other beliefs of anyone believes that.

PS I know where you got that definition from. Petkov’s paper, which I skimmed through. No wonder Sabine Hossenfelder chucked it into the rubbish bin.

Sabine Hossenfelder's definition: “Presentism means there is a notion of 'now' and it is only the “now” that exists.” - Short and sweet.

Hence her conclusion that nature can be a succession of present moments.

I forgot that I had written to Carlo Rovelli in late 2018. He very kindly replied to me and supplied me with a copy of a paper of his. I will share it on here. It has some parts very relevant to our discussion.
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Re: The Block Universe and The Flow of Time

Postby rajnz00 on May 29th, 2020, 2:13 am 

hyksos » May 26th, 2020, 4:44 pm wrote:...This argument is correct and fully true. So at this point in my reply your argument has been fully addressed.


Aren’t you the person who came storming in to announce that the equations of SR carried the arrow of time?

And now you have burst in which your cloud of microballs claiming what?

Fully addressed? Which microball are you in? All you have done is created a lot of smoke to obscure a simple argument and addressed precisely nothing.

The experiment is elegant and simple. We have already selected our coordinates, Amy, Mary, the ends of the train, the flashes of light and the receipt of these on Amy’s and Mary’s retinas. These are the events defined by Einsterin’s experiment. An event is neatly defined in SR.

You can keep your microballs to yourself. Microballs might make you cross-eyed. I suggest you step back to get a clearer view.

Events 1 and 2 are on the ends of the train. Events 5, 4, and 3 are at where Amy and Mary are.

You made something simple unnecessarily complicated. Like the Emperor who wore no clothes, you are prancing about in your transparent bubbles stark naked. I bet 99% of the people reading your post don't know what on earth you are talking about. They don't see anything but are reluctant to speak.

Our situation is such that different observers -- each with their own independent "local ball of radius r" -- will observe the same events taking place at different times, relative to their own local "presentist clock" inside their local ball.

Why not say observers (who observe) and leave it at that? Why do you have to add “each with their own independent "local ball of radius r"”, unless you think this makes you sound more profound?

We don't want a theory of physics that is merely used to describe what any individual observer will see from his local ball --- that theory would be a mish-mash of independent spacetime pockets with no correlation.

There is a correlation, within certain limits, much larger than your microscopic “local balls”. The limits dictated by the speed of light, in which effects follow cause.

Questions about which observer is seeing the True Reality and which observer is seeing the Illusory Reality would never be answered. Is Amy's set of observations what really happened , or was Mary's set of observations what really happened?

Where does “reality” come into it? True or otherwise.

They both really, happened!

They were both observations of events, by different observers, in different frames in uniform motion with each other, events that happened spatially removed from either observer. That’s the whole message of SR.

Why can't you understand that, instead of curling into your ridiculous microballs.

What we want is a physical theory of reality. ... Take the logic to its apotheosis. How do all these retinas that comprise the universe correlate?


Your logic is faulty to the point of ludicrousness. Your “physical theory of reality” takes you far away from the physical reality of the real world, into an illusory, intangible, fantasy world where the past and future exist, all because of your microballs. Away from science into the world of Harry potter.

You have taken the basic, fundamental message of SR, that simultaneity is meaningless among distant objects and turned it upside down, by not only assigning meaning to simultaneity, but deriving a fictitious universe from your false premises.

You have substituted a universal Existence for a universal Now, which is far more ridiculous.
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Carlo Rovelli on The Block Universe and The Flow of Time

Postby rajnz00 on May 29th, 2020, 5:58 am 

The absence of a preferred objective present does not imply that temporality and becoming are illusions. Events happen, and this we call `becoming', but their temporal relations form a structure richer than we previously thought. We have to adapt our notion of becoming to this discovery, not discard it.
There are temporal relations, but these are local and not global; more precisely, there is a temporal ordering but it is a partial ordering, and not a complete one. The universe is an ensemble of processes that happen, and these are not organised in a unique global order.
In the classical theory, they are organised in a nontrivial geometry. In the quantum theory, in possibly more complex patterns.
The expression “real now here" can still be used to denote an ensemble of events that sit on the portion of a common simultaneity surface for a group of observers in slow relative motion; the region it pertains to must be small enough for the effects of the finite speed of light to be smaller than the available time resolution.
When these conditions are not met, the expression “real now" simply makes no sense.
Therefore the discovery of relativity does not imply that becoming or temporality are meaningless or illusory: it implies that they behave in a more subtle manner than in our pre-relativistic intuition. The best language for describing the universe remains a language of happening and becoming, not a language of being. Even more so when we fold quantum theory in.
LQG describes reality in terms of processes. The amplitudes of the theory determine probabilities for processes to happen. This is a language of becoming, not being. In a process, variables change value. The quantum states of the theory code the possible set of values that are transformed into each other in processes.
In simple words, the now is replaced by here and now, not by a frozen eternity.


Space and Time in Loop Quantum Gravity
Carlo Rovelli
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Re: The Block Universe and The Flow of Time

Postby TheVat on May 29th, 2020, 6:43 pm 

Off-topic material moved to separate thread in Arts/poetry forum. Posts here will stick with the guidelines for science forums. Also, posts with snarky or mocking attitude directed at other members may be removed or edited. As always, try to make the humble assumption that content of a post you didn't understand may be owing to gaps in your own knowledge or logic, and not necessarily the fault of the poster. Good luck.
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Re: The Block Universe and The Flow of Time

Postby rajnz00 on June 5th, 2020, 1:01 am 

hyksos » May 26th, 2020, 4:44 pm wrote:...So at this point in my reply your argument has been fully addressed. ...


I humbly accept the sage advice to ‘….always.. make the humble assumption that content of a post (I) didn't (purportedly) understand may be owing to gaps in (my) own knowledge or logic’. I would thus not answer a post by questioning a poster’s intelligence, or imputing he had a mental illness. I would never classify a post, as Shakespeare put it, as “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”, even if in my heart I thought so. That would be an ad hominem attack, and would not say anything about the argument put forward.

Statements such as “or whatever it is that you were arguing” reveal a lack of understanding. And whereas I could “always assume” that the post I am addressing is profound and without blemish, and it is I, by criticising it, who is committing a foolish blunder, there may also be the possibility that, if I do the opposite, and lavish praise on it, the praise I am lavishing on a profound sounding post, maybe be misplaced, due a lack of understanding, akin to the courtiers who lavished praise on a non-existent magical cloak for an emperor, in order not to appear to be foolish.

So instead, I will explain how I came to my understanding that my argument has not been addressed.

An ‘argument’ doesn’t consist of a series of clichés, followed by a conclusion. Those statements must then be used in logical argument to show how they derive that conclusion.

Quite often, (as in this case), the conclusion is reached, by assuming one, or more, (as in this case), unstated premises, which can be, (and are, as in this case), wrong.

The general unstated premise, in all such arguments for the block universe, is that all observers’ events to the past of any observer’s surfaces of simultaneity at any event are fixed and certain. This premise is clearly wrong.

An argument is not addressed or refuted by by-passing its clearly stated logical steps.

It is not addressed by stating something that is clearly and simply put, in a more complicated manner.

And it is not addressed by changing the origins or coordinates of events, as clearly defined in SR, when such a change makes the argument being addressed less clear and does not change its conclusion.
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Debunking Arguments that SR mandates a Block Universe

Postby rajnz00 on June 5th, 2020, 1:24 am 

Debunking Arguments that SR mandates a Block Universe once and for all

I am going to take excerpts from an article, which clearly and concisely, debunks all arguments by proponents who claim Special Relativity mandates a Block Universe (davidm “The evidence for a block universe, of course, is the special theory of relativity”)

https://www.informationphilosopher.com/ ... ivity.html

Several philosophers have argued that determinism, indeed pre-determinism, can be proved to be true by the special theory of relativity.

The argument depends on paradoxes ..that are the results of moving observers having different ideas about what events in their view correspond to "now." They have different "planes of simultaneity." "Now" means they have synchronized their clocks according to Einstein's famous procedure.

Referring to the figure below, moving observer A thinks some event in his plane of simultaneous events (say B1) is happening now. At this moment in cosmic time, B is at B0, where and when he thinks that an event A1 is in A's future, but in his (B's) own plane of simultaneity (the dark lines).

Image

But this is not a transitive relation. (In simple terms B does not follow A, when A follows B, in a non-transitive relation) Just because A sees B1 as his "now" at A0 and B sees an event A1 in A's future as B's "now" does not make the event in A's future "now" for A. It does not prove that "the future is now."

For B at B0 to affect A at A1, the "influence" would have to move faster than the speed of light.

A and B are in a spacelike separation. The earliest possible moment that they could affect one another is if they traveled at the speed of light to meet at C.
…..
The basic idea of using the special theory of relativity to prove determinism is that time can be treated mathematically as a fourth dimension. This gives us excellent results for experiments on moving objects and explains the strange Lorentz contraction of objects in space and dilations of clock speeds for observers in fast moving frames of reference (coordinate systems).

But these philosophers jump to the unacceptable conclusion that the time dimension is like space and so the "future is already out there," any event that is going to happen has already happened. This is the concept of actualism, that only what actually happens ever could have happened..

Just because an event is placed on a space-time diagram, it is not made actual. It is still in the future.

Quantum mechanics has eliminated the physical determinism that Laplace's demon might have used to connect present events causally with events in the future.

Einstein was a confirmed determinist. He might have been surprised to know that so many philosophers attempt to use his theory of special relativity to prove determinism. Einstein believed in determinism …. If the special theory of relativity could be used to "prove" determinism, he likely would have. He did not. He probably knew that it is an absurd argument, an exercise in logic and language, and knew it would fail.

Sabine Hossenfelder said that she believes in the Block Universe, because she thinks it’s “plausible” from “the past, present and future exist in the same sense goes back to time being a coordinate in Minkowski-space and not a parameter”

Minkowski’s mathematical derivation maybe very successful in many experiments carried out, but that does not prove a block universe by implication.

SR and GR are extremely successful in their predictions, such as the slowing of time with gravity. So far they have answered all challenges thrown at them.

The equations of SR and GR are completely reversible for time. The implication of this is that we should be able to go backwards and forwards in time, but we know that a scrambled egg does not unscramble itself.

Not every implication from a successful theory can be assumed to be true. Specially when they are contrary to all observable evidence and lack any proof.

Briefly on Free Will:

The Swiss physicists Nicolas Gisin*[who I quoted at the start of this post] and Antoine Suarez think that nonlocality can explain free will because "something is coming from outside space and time."

*Nicolas Gisin is an experimental physicist who has extended the tests of quantum entanglement and nonlocality (the EPR experiment) to many kilometers from his lab in Geneva. His work has confirmed the correctness of quantum mechanics, and with it the irreducible indeterminacy involved in quantum mechanical measurements.
Gisin is the recipient of the first John Stewart Bell prize. It is Bell's Theorem and the Bell Inequalities that Gisin's work has confirmed.
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Re: The Block Universe and The Flow of Time

Postby davidm on June 6th, 2020, 9:50 am 

I had decided to drop out of this thread for the following reasons.The first is that you are completely ignorant of the subject matter. The second is that you make no effort to read or respond to the papers that I have linked, which you have been warned by a moderator is among the requirements for participating here. The third is that you are not interested in subjecting your views to scrutiny, because you have no desire to be proven wrong: you are here to preach and not to listen. The fourth is that you conveniently ignore salient arguments that I make, while mischaracterizing others and hence straw-manning my positions. The fifth is that when we cite source material, you accuse us of making an argument to authority (which we are not doing), yet you, instead of making arguments in your own words (as we have done) repeatedly lean on the word of authorities, as you have done in your most recent post. To sum up, you are a complete waste of time.

Now, however, I must return, if only briefly, to point out that the Information Philosopher article you link above as a naked appeal to authority supports eternalism and not presentism. That you fail to recognize this fact, thinking instead that it supports your presentist position, is just another proof of your total ignorance of the whole topic.

Here, let me walk you through it.

Start with the discussion at the top.

But this is not a transitive relation. Just because A sees B1 as his "now" at A0 and B sees an event A1 in A's future as B's "now" does not make the event in A's future "now" for A. It does not prove that "the future is now.”


That’s right! It doesn’t! Eternalism doesn’t say that it does! It says the opposite! Eternalism does not claim that the future is “now.” That would be stupid. It would be like me saying, because I live “here” in New York City, then Boston also exists “here” in New York City. That’s insane! Rather, I say that although Boston does not exist “here” in New York City, it nevertheless exists — it exists, where it exists. This is because the term “here” is an indexical, a point-of-view. For me, New York City is “here.” For someone living in Boston, Boston is “here.”

It’s the exact same thing for temporal locations. In the example above, for A, B1 is in his “now.” For B, A1 is in his now, which means that it lie’s in A’s future. Of course, as the writer points out, when they meet at C, the events for all of them will lie in their past light cone. The above state of affairs is a perfect description of eternalism, and a complete refutation of presentism. You also conveniently overlooked the following:

The tenseless way of talking which is appropriate to the four-dimensional space-time world seems to suggest to some people that some sort of fatalism must be true, and that the future is already somehow "laid up." This, however, is a confusion, for the "is" in "is already laid up" is a tensed one and suggests that the future exists now, which is absurd. The events of the future, like those of the past, certainly exist, in the sense in which this verb is used tenselessly, but of course they do not exist now.


Bold by me.

Note well ——> The events of the future, like those of the past, certainly exist, in the sense in which this verb is used tenselessly, but of course they do not exist now.

Precisely what I have been saying all along. This is ETERNALISM. It is not PRESENTISM.

The reason for your gobsmacking ignorance about this topic is, once again, that you fail to read posts for comprehension, or fail to read then at all, and, as noted, you willfully refuse to read or comment on any of the source material I cite. The quote just above is fully correct, and wholly supports what I have been saying, viz.: It is an error to use the tensed (A-theory) of time in discussing the block universe. Rather, one must use the untensed (B-theory) of time to discuss it. I already explained this to you, but you completely ignored it!

As to free will, you have, once again, completely ignored the detailed modal logical arguments that I have made showing why a fixed future does not rule out free will. As I said before, it would be fine if you disagreed with these arguments, and tried to rebut them. Instead, you completely ignore them and persist in your willful, presupposed delusion that a fixed future automatically rules out free will. This is a pathetic performance by you.

But thanks for the post above in support of my position, however embarrassing that fact is for you.
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Re: The Block Universe and The Flow of Time

Postby rajnz00 on June 6th, 2020, 2:39 pm 

davidm » June 6th, 2020, 9:50 am wrote:,,,,Now, however, I must return, if only briefly, to point out that the Information Philosopher article you link above as a naked appeal to authority supports eternalism and not presentism. That you fail to recognize this fact, thinking instead that it supports your presentist position, is just another proof of your total ignorance of the whole topic.

Here, let me walk you through it.

Start with the discussion at the top.


Thank You.

The discussion at the top is:

"Debunking Arguments that SR mandates a Block Universe once and for all"

Who is the one who is ignorant of the topic?

I do not care for your definitions and jargons

I have defined a Block Universe at the start of the thread "According to the block universe theory, the universe is a giant block of all the things that ever happen at any time and at any place. On this view, the past, present and future all EXIST — and are equally real."

"Eternalism is a philosophical approach to the ontological nature of time, which takes the view that all EXISTENCE in time is equally real, as opposed to presentism"

I have defined my views that only the present exists, but not that the present Now is the same for me as for distant objects. You don't define my beliefs for me. (Your definition 2) and then refute them, but we have been through that before.
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Re: The Block Universe and The Flow of Time

Postby TheVat on June 6th, 2020, 8:16 pm 

Rather, I say that although Boston does not exist “here” in New York City, it nevertheless exists — it exists, where it exists. This is because the term “here” is an indexical, a point-of-view....


Yes. Thanks for taking some time, David. I like the clarity of this analogy. I think Julian Barbour would like it, too.

I recommend his book, The End of Time, to anyone reading this thread. It's very... McTaggartish.
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Re: The Block Universe and The Flow of Time

Postby charon on June 7th, 2020, 12:55 am 

Well, I'm glad we agree that Boston doesn't exist in New York City. That's a start :-)
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Re: The Block Universe and The Flow of Time

Postby rajnz00 on June 7th, 2020, 2:19 am 

davidm » June 6th, 2020, 9:50 am wrote:.....
Here, let me walk you through it.
Start with the discussion at the top.

But this is not a transitive relation. Just because A SEES B1 as his "now" at A0 and B SEES an event A1 in A's future as B's "now" does not make the event in A's future "now" for A. It does not prove that "the future is now.”


That’s right! It doesn’t! Eternalism doesn’t say that it does! It says the opposite!


I think you have got the entire thing by the tail.

That is precisely what you have been arguing for your case that presentism is false.
and which the post debunks

You started your argument with :
by davidm on April 23rd, 2020, 7:01 pm
….in Einstein's train example, Mary does see a future event for Amy -- the lightning strike at the back of the train. How do you explain this under presentism? It can't be explained!

To which I replied:
by rajnz00 on April 23rd, 2020, 7:07 pm
Because that is not a future "event" for Amy. That is merely an observation [of an event, that happened elsewhere in the past]

The same argument that seeing the event is not the event.

You also conveniently overlooked the following:

The tenseless way of talking which is appropriate to the four-dimensional space-timThat e world seems to suggest to some people that some sort of fatalism must be true, and that the future is already somehow "laid up." This, however, is a confusion, for the "is" in "is already laid up" is a tensed one and suggests that the future exists now, which is absurd. The events of the future, like those of the past, certainly exist, in the sense in which this verb is used tenselessly, but of course they do not exist now.


Bold by me.


Again you have got the thing by the tail. That is J. J. C. Smart's quote, which you obviously espouse, and which the post argues against.

"Just because an event is placed on a space-time diagram, it is not made actual. It is still in the future."

And

If the special theory of relativity could be used to "prove" determinism, he likely would have. He did not. He probably knew that it is an absurd argument, an exercise in logic and language, and knew it would fail.


Your argument for free will despite there being a Block Universe, is absurd. You can't have one without the other.

Determinism is the philosophical idea that every event or state of affairs, including every human decision and action, is the inevitable and necessary consequence of antecedent states of affairs.
determinism includes pre-determinism from the origin, the idea that the entire past (as well as the future) was completely determined at the origin of the universe.
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Re: The Block Universe and The Flow of Time

Postby charon on June 7th, 2020, 9:08 am 

Look, you two are arguing over words and isms.

There are two people, one in Paris and the other in New York.

If they do something simultaneously they're doing it at the same time.

Their respective clocks will say something different because that's the time system we use but those two events still happen in the same moment.

The same moment is the same moment irrespective of location.

But if the person in Paris types an email and sends it to the person in New York, the person in New york will read it after it has been typed.

One types it in his now and the other reads it in his now but they are not doing it at the same time.

So each person's now is relative to that person.

Those two nows are not the same now. They are different moments in time.

The flow or movement of life is a fact. Change through time is a fact. Today is not the same as yesterday and tomorrow will be different again.

So, since life is a movement, it's not fixed. Nothing is fixed. Everything is constantly moving, changing. That's also a fact.

You can now translate those facts into your respective isms, if you are so inclined, and they will be accurate.
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Re: The Block Universe and The Flow of Time

Postby BurtJordaan on June 7th, 2020, 12:17 pm 

charon » 07 Jun 2020, 15:08 wrote:There are two people, one in Paris and the other in New York.

If they do something simultaneously they're doing it at the same time.

Their respective clocks will say something different because that's the time system we use but those two events still happen in the same moment.

The same moment is the same moment irrespective of location.

Careful with such statements, because, as it surfaces somewhat in your post, "the same time" still remains a coordinate choice dependent statement. There is still no absolute time, so there can still not exist an absolute "same moment".

Some respondents might argue that the cosmological time is as close as we can get to an "absolute time", but it is still just a "choice of coordinates", making it simpler for us to do certain calculations. Other equally valid choices can be made to make things easier, like our UCT standard. Nothing special to it.

But I'm preaching to the converted...
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Re: The Block Universe and The Flow of Time

Postby rajnz00 on June 7th, 2020, 3:35 pm 

BurtJordaan » June 7th, 2020, 12:17 pm wrote:
charon » 07 Jun 2020, 15:08 wrote:... "the same time" still remains a coordinate choice dependent statement. There is still no absolute time, so there can still not exist an absolute "same moment".

“There is no special moment on Proxima b that corresponds to what constitutes the present here and now [on Earth] …… In my opinion, it is the most astounding conclusion arrived at in the whole of contemporary physics.” The Order of Time, Carlo Rovelli

Hard to get one's head around. What's true between Proxima b and Earth is also true between Paris and New York.

I guess it's meaningless to speak of a Now, unless it is here and Now.

But so many use that meaningless paradox to derive absurd conclusions.
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Re: The Block Universe and The Flow of Time

Postby charon on June 7th, 2020, 7:23 pm 

BurtJordaan -

Obviously any particular moment is the same wherever you are, including Proxima b! When I tap my finger on the desk and it goes bang something is happening somewhere else in the universe.

But I think it might be technically difficult to fix up as a practical exercise.

Maybe you could get two atomic clocks to go click at exactly the same time, I don't know! But technically-speaking, of course, any moment is the same wherever you are. Location has nothing to do with it.

One might say that any moment is a universal moment, not being limited to anywhere in particular.
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