## The Block Universe and The Flow of Time

General philosophy discussions. If you are not sure where to place your thread, please post it here. Share favorite quotes, discuss philosophers, and other topics.

### Re: Trying Replying

charon wrote:Actually it's illusion as, I think, Einstein said himself.
Not likely. Relativity treats time geometrically, as one of four dimensions.

charon wrote:you could divide anything into its component parts but the thing remains what it is. A flower, broken down into the smallest pieces, is still just the flower.
Perhaps poetically. I disagree that an electron, for example, is a flower.

charon wrote:indisputable … there is movement.
A major point of Relativity is that motion is relative, i.e. disputable. In a 4D inertial frame, motion is indicated by a fixed, non-verertical line.

charon wrote:what is your problem then? … What's the problem you're trying to work out?
It may seem otherwise but this isn't my thread. I don't have problems, just replies.

Faradave
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### Re: The Block Universe and The Flow of Time

rajnz00;

But here is the fallacy in the argument. Just because a separate observer judges the two events as happening simultaneously, ie at the same time, does that actually fix the time of the two events which are spatially apart?
Every event has a Now that is special to I think in practical terms that makes no sense. They could conventionally be assigned a simultaneous time by Mary moving along the perpendicular line bisecting the train, but that does not say anything about the Now of the two events. itself.
To say that two events are simultaneous along a line of simultaneity, when they are actually spatially apart, is purely subjective and not peculiar to the events themselves.
They only stem from observations made from afar and do not describe the Now of the objects.

In summary, you are saying each observer has their own 'time'. This is the revelation of SR that universal 'time' is replaced with subjective 'time'. It is malleable, affected by motion, and relative to the observer.
What is lacking is a distinction between the occurrence of the event and the perception of the event. All perception is after the fact, and involves images of the event. If a solar flare is 1,000 ly distant, you won't see it! If it's less than 100 ly, but of short duration, you may be on the far side of earth (in a nursing home, without your telescope) when the image arrives. More instances of events in your future, yet without certainty of observation. Future events don't exist until or unless they happen.
phyti
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### Re: Central Theme

BurtJordaan wrote:In relativity, the closest we come to physical contact is simultaneous and co-located, which defines it in an invariant way for all inertial frames.
A single event is, by definition, co-located and simultaneous in an invariant way (i.e. all inertial observers agree it's a single event). For example, I assert that despite differing 4D coordinates, emission and absorption of a light quantum is a single event (i.e. contact). Trouble is, their simultaneity only occurs in the inertial frame of the light quantum, which is denied validity by convention. Light's inertial frame and interval contact are however apparent with interval-time coordinates. (One needs an out-of-plane perspective to understand its edge. In this case the "edge" is the edge of the surface comprising a light cone.)

BurtJordaan wrote:In 4D spacetime, temporal does not mean "radial" - even in positively curved spaces.
Granted. I don't mean to confuse my use of "radial contact paths" here with my elsewhere model of curved-space, radial-time.

By "radial contact paths" I mean all radii of a ball. That's the complete set of the shortest, non-overlapping paths to its center. We agree that contact with the center is achieved in the limit as the length of any radial path goes to zero. In 4D, there are infinitely more radial paths to a given center than are available in 3D. The vast majority of a 4-ball's radii occur outside the spatial 3-plane, incorporating a fourth dimensional component (i.e. time).

Every added dimension of a ball entails infinitely more radial paths to contact with its center. In spacetime, an infinite majority of such contact paths occur off the equatorial spatial 3-plane, thus having a temporal component.

BurtJordaan wrote:a temporal component does not imply "non-classical" - classical mechanics incorporates time.
I don't believe classical mechanics (and certainly not Newton) allows for "contact" between two temporally separate events. I'm asserting that Relativity's zero interval separation does precisely that.

I notice your avatar is an engineer's dream. Perfect, flat, infinite yet expanding spatial (3D) orthogonality. It is consistent with the best current observations. However, if you further envision time as also orthogonal, you'll intuit spacetime as Euclidean even if admitting otherwise. Such intuition allows contact only when ∆x=∆y=∆z=∆t=0, which seems to be your position.

But spacetime is non-Euclidean. Events with different space & time coordinates can be co-located just as the south pole co-locates points with different longitudinal coordinates on a non-Euclidean globe. On flat maps, this form of contact just appears separated.

This might just be geometric hand waving except for two important observations upon which we all agree.

1. As seen with interval-time coordinates above, intervals shorten to a zero limit as their lengths approach equality.
"…the interval AB between two events can vanish even when the separations Δx, Δy, Δz in space and Δt in time between B and A are individually quite large." Taylor & Wheeler pp.37-38

"The interval between two events is zero when they can be connected by one light ray." p.38

2. All electromagnetic and gravitational interactions transmit energy (as if by contact) across lightlike zero intervals, despite non-zero spatial and temporal separations.

Faradave
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### Re: The Block Universe and The Flow of Time

phyti » May 5th, 2020, 12:49 pm wrote:...... This is the revelation of SR that universal 'time' is replaced with subjective 'time'. It is malleable, affected by motion, and relative to the observer.
What is lacking is a distinction between the occurrence of the event and the perception of the event. All perception is after the fact, and involves images of the event. If a solar flare is 1,000 ly distant, you won't see it! If it's less than 100 ly, but of short duration, you may be on the far side of earth (in a nursing home, without your telescope) when the image arrives. More instances of events in your future, yet without certainty of observation. Future events don't exist until or unless they happen.

You put things very well indeed.

This thing is addictive. I must leave it before I lose my job. But I will post one last reply to Faradave this weekend. Cant let him get away with murder.
rajnz00
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### Re: Hopelessly entangled with you

rajnz00 » May 5th, 2020, 4:16 am wrote:
It seems to me that the most controversial part of your statement is that “the transmission of a quantum of energy does not, and can not, take place until a non-local connection has been established between the emitting and absorbing atoms."

Yes this is the most controversial part because it requires a non-local, faster-than-light connection that does not require the classical photon particle traveling through space to carry light energy from one location to another.

rajnz00 » May 5th, 2020, 4:16 am wrote:
I had a look at the wheeler delayed choice experiment, and from what I could make out from a quick perusal, it seems to be about wave particle duality.

The “delayed choice”experiments look for ways to change the path or the wave-particle nature of light between source and sink. The results of the experiment say it can’t be done. The reason why is because there is no time between the emission and absorption of light in which any change can be made. Once light has been emitted, there is no in-flight time for light in which to make a “delayed choice” about its arrival. Emission and absorption are simultaneous events.

rajnz00 » May 5th, 2020, 4:16 am wrote:
I also had a quick look at the quantum laser experiment, and it says that “A very common misunderstanding about this experiment is that it may be used to communicate information instantaneously between two detectors.”

The quantum eraser experiment is the one I mentioned. You may have looked at an experiment involving entanglement but it doesn’t matter because lasers and entanglement are involved with both.
If light is “instant” then instant communication should be possible but we know from SR that it is not. We can’t observe distance between two simultaneous events without observing an equivalent amount of time between events. Space and time are always an inseparable spacetime.
rajnz00 » May 5th, 2020, 4:16 am wrote:
But in any case there seem to be different interpretations of the results and nowhere do they seem to reach the emphatic conclusion that “the transmission of a quantum of energy does not, and can not, take place until a non-local connection has been established between the emitting and absorbing atoms” that you have made.

One could say this is a default conclusion afrer the classical theory and Wheeler-Feynman theories have been ruled out but the classical theory has not been ruled out for everyone.

rajnz00 » May 5th, 2020, 4:16 am wrote:
Shouldn’t that be that all light we observe comes from someone else’s past? Not our past?
Wouldn’t that be natural if the present is continually slipping away into the past?

No, all light we see in our present has come from our past. This is why light appears to have a travel time even if it doesn’t.

rajnz00 » May 5th, 2020, 4:16 am wrote:
If we observe the sun now, then that observation is of the sun 500 seconds ago because it took light that much time to arrive at our observation. If some one was at the distance of the sun observing us, he wouldn't he be observing our past and not our future?

You are mixing models with the took light time to travel part. Keeping the block universe model and the classical model separate in one’s mind is an enormous difficulty everyone has.

In the block model, light does not have a travel time so it takes no time for light to get from the sun to the Earth. Also for light, there is no distance between the Earth and the sun. But from our perspective, we see a distance and a time between the two. The time intervals we see are are measurements of spacetime where standard units of distance and time are interchangeable. Every 300,000 km of distance includes one second of time. For light related events, c is a dimensional constant giving us the ratio of distance units to units of time.

The sun is 150 million kilometers from the Earth and this is the same as saying the sun is 500 seconds from the Earth or 500 seconds in our past. If I bounce a radar signal from Earth to the sun and back, the signal will travel 300 million kilometers or one thousand seconds into the future so we will need to wait one thousand seconds for the signal to appear in our present. This is not complicated but it takes effort to understand because it is not the familiar Newtonian understanding time.
bangstrom
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### Re: Zero Tolerance

BurtJordaan » May 5th, 2020, 5:07 am wrote:
bangstrom » 04 May 2020, 19:28 wrote:SR tells us that events separated by space are also separated by time so two otherwise simultaneous events can never be observed as simultaneous. How can you tell if the observed signal time was due to the ever-present spacetime between two locations or due to the time it took the photon to travel through space.

From precisely in-between them, I will observe the events simultaneously. I can tell that the two events were not causally connected, but must have happened randomly at the same time. This is the standard physics of today.

The signals could have been deliberately synchronized or they could have been accidentally sent at the same time but the questions remains. How can you tell the difference between the one light signal that was transmitted by means of entanglement and the other signal that was sent at light speed carried by a photon?
bangstrom
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### Re: Zero Tolerance

bangstrom » 06 May 2020, 09:05 wrote:The signals could have been deliberately synchronized or they could have been accidentally sent at the same time but the questions remains. How can you tell the difference between the one light signal that was transmitted by means of entanglement and the other signal that was sent at light speed carried by a photon?

Nobody can transmit light signals by means of entanglement, so you at least know that it was not that.

Light signals mean containing information of some sort.

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### Re: Trying Replying

Nobody can't

Oh, they can, they can. Avatar!
charon
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### Re: Hopelessly entangled with you

bangstrom » May 6th, 2020, 2:50 am wrote:.....
You are mixing models ...
In the block model, light does not have a travel time so it takes no time for light to get from the sun to the Earth. ....

I don’t have time to delve into the various experiments in detail that you claim say the things you claim they do. But aside from you, nowhere have I seen an explicit statement that “the transmission of a quantum of energy does not, and can not, take place until a non-local connection has been established between the emitting and absorbing atoms”, surely a very important conclusion if true.

Your statement that “In the block model, light does not have a travel time so it takes no time for light to get from the sun to the Earth” and then using the block model to make the various claims that verify the block model, is circular reasoning, or begging the question, or whatever you call it. Using the conclusion to argue the conclusion.

When you say, “You are mixing models”, so are you, or to be fair so is Faradave, and I presume you are both arguing the same thing. He jumps back and forth from quantum mechanics to SR effortlessly.

Whereas other scientists are struggling to integrate quantum mechanics with SR and GR, Faradave seems to have done so quite successfully.

You quoted Richard Feynman while making your claims, when Richard Feynman famously said "I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics." (But that was before Faradave came along, who seems to understand it perfectly.)

And even when you say “the classical model” you seem to be mixing up SR and GR with Newton, when you mention Newton, while all our arguments have been using SR.
rajnz00
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### Re: Seeing a Hip-hypothesis in the Particle Zoo

First, rajnz00 (and anyone else), there are already more than enough people unemployed, so don't risk your job for this leisure pursuit. The posts aren't going anywhere. We can wait.

rajnz00 wrote:Whereas other scientists are struggling to integrate quantum mechanics with SR and GR, Faradave seems to have done so quite successfully.
Nature has made the connection so, why not us?

rajnz00 wrote: nowhere have I seen an explicit statement that “the transmission of a quantum of energy does not, and can not, take place until a non-local connection has been established between the emitting and absorbing atoms”, surely a very important conclusion if true.
Agreed, but it's an interesting hypothesis. Consider the following:

1. In quantum mechanics (QM), "intrinsic spin" is not-surprisingly quantized. While the primary spin axis has never been identified (except of-course, by me - it's temporal) it is measurable on every spatial axis, always with the magnitude ±½ for fermions (electrons, quarks, neutrinos).* Bosons (mediators including photons, W & Z), are attributed integer spin, with photons having the value 1.

*Specifically [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spin-½]"spin½"[/url] refers to the value ±½ħ, which has units of angular momentum.

2. Since light quanta (a.k.a. "photons") have spin = exactly 1, it is reasonable to surmise that light quanta only exchange between electrons for which the difference in spin is also 1. Indeed it is unreasonable to presume otherwise because angular momentum (including intrinsic spin) is conserved. Thus, emitting and absorbing electrons must be synchronized along the spatial component of their interval separation.

3. S orbitals and other sub-orbitals may be occupied by up to 2 electrons each. These always self organize by spin so one is +½, the other -½. They are thus synchronized and considered entangled. It is not unreasonable to consider such a self organizing tendency by lightlike connection.

4. Einstein predicted lasers about 50 years in advance. With a majority of nearby electrons in a high-energy state, a passing photon will coax some of these electrons (but not all) to co-emit in a perfectly coherent (synchronized) way. If the light is reflected back and forth through the energized electrons, more and more emit. This again suggests that light and electrons have a mechanism and strong tendency to self synchronize. It's as if the electrons wait to be synchronized before emitting.

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### Re: The Block Universe and The Flow of Time

rajnz00;
All light we observe comes to us from our past. Sunlight arrives from the sun 500 seconds in our past and star light can can be from years or many centuries in our past and it works both ways.

You are walking in fog here. The starlight is perceived/detected now, followed by assigning a local time of observation, followed by an estimated date of emission based on its distance if known. Past is a modifier of 'time'. Light has a propagation rate in space denoted as 'c'. The starlight came from vast distances, its motion unknown to the local observers, and in some cases, before there were observers. Thus the emission was not part of anyone's history. I have used similar phrases like 'looking into the past'. It's amazing how easily figure of speech phrases and metaphors, get into our everyday language. I would say in all observations, we are looking at old images. Even the mosquito bite on your arm, is a few milliseconds old, from the mental processing.

bangstrom;
A whole determinate universe is not necessarily the case. The observation is that the emission of light is not a random scatter but one charged particle only emits light to another charged particle with simultaneous participation at both locations of absorption and emission. Emission and absorption are simultaneous events so energy is conserved. We don’t have a large body of energy in the form of photons in deep space waiting for a place to land. Energy doesn’t have a holding pattern.

What's happening at a solar panel farm, that converts sunlight to electricity?
Is the sun negotiating with panels?
phyti
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### Re: The Block Universe and The Flow of Time

phyti » May 6th, 2020, 12:26 pm wrote:rajnz00;
All light we observe comes to us from our past. Sunlight arrives from the sun 500 seconds in our past and star light can can be from years or many centuries in our past and it works both ways.

I never said that, bangstrom did.

I immediately recognised that as absurd
rajnz00
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### Re: The Block Universe and The Flow of Time

oblivious reactions

Not at all, simply restraining myself :-)
charon
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### Re: The Block Universe and The Flow of Time

http://backreaction.blogspot.com/2008/05/block-universe.html
I believe davidm tried to parse it before saying it was too late at night. When I read it, there were two bombs that exploded (so-to-speak).

I.
Hossenfelder asserts that our powerful sense of a special "present/Now" thing is due merely and entirely to the biological fact that our brains create memories of the past. She threw that gauntlet down on the table pretty hard and then moved on. In particular this means that S.H. is fully aware that no laws of physics pick out a special "present moment". Definitely Special-rel does not. However, in Special-rel you still have a difference between forward flow and backward flow. When you get to quantum mechanics, that disappears. The formalism of QM works equally well in either direction of time. When you get to QFT everything is off the table. This leads us directly into bombshell II.

II.
Notice Hossenfelder prepends her entire article with a disclaimer. She qualifies to the reader that she is going to ignore quantum mechanics, as she says, "things would get significantly more complicated."

Zeno.
I agree with the description of Zeno's paradoxes as given in wikipedia. Literally the first sentence of the article. I do not agree with the (at least 2) people in here that believe Zeno shows that space is quantized. This topic has been talked to death on this forum when Dave_Oblad once posted. For those too busy to click over there, Zeno's paradoxes demonstrate that smooth motion in real-valued space makes no sense. It's very illogical and silly when you break it down. Motion, in the metaphysical sense of motion can't really exist.

You could ask if the physical universe we inhabit denies or abides by this greek chalkboard argument. Modern physics suggests that motion does not happen here either. Alleged counter-examples are electrons in bubble chambers, and the fact that CRT TVs work by "blasting" electrons at a phosphorous plate, like bullets from a gun. We assume this is proof-positive that electrons flow through continuous space like billiard balls and bullets do. Except they really don't. Electrons disappear from a location in spacetime and re-appear somewhere else. Where an electron will be found is determined by the amplitude of the square of the Schroedinger wave.(c.r. The Born Rule.) In CRTs and bubble chambers the forward motion location is only where the electron will be found "most probably". In the formalism of QM, this is explicit. There are no particle trajectories in (the formalism of) QM. There is only a position operator.

`https://thumbs.gfycat.com/EsteemedLiquidAnophelesmosquito-mobile.mp4`
It sounds like I am asserting that the forward-motion location just happens to be the place in which the electron happens to appear, and that this is a convenient coincidence/excuse on my part. I am indeed asserting this, and yes it is a convenient coincidence. Modern physics is chock full of these kinds of coincidences.

QFT
Someone tried to explain to rajnz00 that special-rel is in textbooks, which he dismissed as an Appeal-to-Authority. I don't think that was the intention of the example, but the story gets far worse. Special-rel was unified with quantum mechanics successfully, creating an umbrella framework called quantum field theory (QFT). In QFT, they do things like describe a positron as an electron moving backwards in time, and arriving "from the future". Particles in QFT appear to know where they are going to go before they go there. In other situations they know everywhere they could go in the future, and then act in accordance with that "knowledge". Effects like the Double Slit and thin-film interference are not mysterious to this framework, but are just obvious pedestrian consequences of the theory. The inside of the nucleus of every atom is dominated by the physics of QFT. The nuclear constituents are presumed to "disappear and reappear" (teleport) as the default mode of interaction, and not as an exotic re-interpretation. (c.r. electron capture ).

((Many practitioners give up on "particles" completely, and just describe them as local perturbations of a fundamental field that exists everywhere.))

I mention the parenthetical sidebar only to dovetail with earlier posts. Entanglement is a consequence of the fundamental field being continuous in space. Most descriptions of Entanglement so far mentioned in this tread are actually references to "maximal entanglement". But entanglement can come in degrees, and is actually measured in labs as coordinations between the probabilities of measurement.

The fundamental field is also continuous in time. One consequence is the Delayed Choice Quantum Eraser.

In any case, the above examples have to be covered first. Here is why: When Sabine Hossenfelder uses the phrase "quantum mechanics" she is actually referring to everything in QFT as well. Academics in the ivory tower such as S.H. do not differentiate QM from QFT as I do. (the differentiation may only exist pedagogically). QFT does not accord with human intuition. Our human minds in many cases desire or need a narrative, a mechanism, or a story. QFT seems to be describing reality as a field ... the fundamental field ... which contains knowledge of everything in the universe at the same time, and perhaps even the future as well.

The Block Universe is not justified merely by a few paragraphs penned by Petkov regarding 4D bars and their 3D shadows. There are "significant complications" as S.H. points. I think that davidm might be adopting something that is better described as Possibilism. This viewpoint may derive from a slight confusion about the actual metaphysics of the Block Universe. I will await his reply before further elaboration.

hyksos
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### Re: hyk up

Hi hyksos,

Welcome. Condescension aside (that's how we know it's really you), that was a fine post. Looking forward to more (really).

hyksos wrote:Where an electron will be found is determined by the amplitude of the square of the Schroedinger wave.(c.r. The Born Rule.)
In case anyone is using a fine tooth comb, at the community college it's given the other way around as, "square of the amplitude".

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### Re: Zero Tolerance

BurtJordaan » May 6th, 2020, 7:14 am wrote:
Nobody can transmit light signals by means of entanglement, so you at least know that it was not that.

Light signals mean containing information of some sort.

You say light can not be transmitted by entanglement and I say light can not be transmitted by an imaginary particle, so between the two of us, light is a mystery.
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### Re: The Block Universe and The Flow of Time

phyti » May 6th, 2020, 11:26 am wrote:What's happening at a solar panel farm, that converts sunlight to electricity?
Is the sun negotiating with panels?

That expression may a teleology but that is how John Cramer characterizes the interaction between an electron on the sun and an electron in a solar panel. Cramer’s Transactional Interpretation of QM is a merger of Paul Dirac and Richard Feynman’s earlier theories for light and Cramer often illustrates his theory with a cartoon picture of the two shaking hands before a merger of his advanced and retarded waves going backward and forward in time.
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### Re: The Block Universe and The Flow of Time

hyksos » May 6th, 2020, 6:57 pm wrote:Someone tried to explain to rajnz00 that special-rel is in textbooks, which he dismissed as an Appeal-to-Authority.

Who is it who told me that special relativity is in text books, that I apparently dismissed as an appeal to authority?
I think you may have missed some lessons in English comprehension back in your elementary school days.
Here is where I used the phrase “appeal to authority”:
Faradave » April 26th, 2020, 1:53 pm wrote:
TheVat wrote:an observation IS an event. Photon meets retinal pigment. Excites electron in pigment. Etc.

Yes but what is that “EVENT” you are talking about in your example?
The photon meeting the retina is the RECORDING of an event that took place invariably in the past.
That event is NOT an event that took place in Amy’s life. I REPEAT – IT IS NOT AN EVENT THAT TAKES PLACE IN AMY’S LIFE.
The events that take place in Amy’s life are INVARIABLY in the HERE and NOW and happen to her.
I notice again you have not addressed any of my arguments I made earlier, but again gone back to referring me to authority - Neil Degrass Tyson and Professor Tyler.
I can't be bothered to listen to them. If you cant answer my argument directly but simply say something like - so and so said something that you claim supports you, then I will take it as a simple appeal to authority and you are dodging my arguments.

Background
Davidm gave me the example of Einstein’s train thought experiment and then said:
It must be emphasized that the special theory of relativity, and its consequences such as the one outlined above, would be completely impossible if the presentism that you favor were true.”

I showed him, and anyone who cares to read my deconstruction of his arguments, that this was not so. My arguments still stand. No one has gone to my arguments and said such and such step is erroneous and therefore my conclusion is. Instead of doing that Faradave said Neil Degrass Tyson and Professor Tyler said something that implied the Block universe was true. Sounded like an appeal to authority to me.

Why has my argument not directly been answered? If you can do so, and they are still there for you to read, please do so and let me know. I would be happy to be told where I have gone wrong.

PS In that link that you have provided at the top of your post, Sabine Hossenfelder’s blogpost, she says:
Claims
Petkov wants to show that
1) The block universe view, in which the universe is regarded as a timelessly existing four-dimensional world, is the only one that is consistent with Special Relativity.
…. I will in the following argue that 1) is wrong

I have said so too. I have given my own arguments, I knew nothing of Sabine Hossenfelder, which seem to be vindicated at least by her. I have argued against both Petkov’s claims and the claims that Einstein’s thought experiment implies so and given my own arguments.
rajnz00
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### Re: The Block Universe and The Flow of Time

hyksos » May 6th, 2020, 6:57 pm wrote:.....However, in Special-rel you still have a difference between forward flow and backward flow. When you get to quantum mechanics, that disappears. The formalism of QM works equally well in either direction of time. ....

I'm pretty sure SR and GR do not have an arrow of time, that their equations work both ways.

Someone will doubtless correct me if I'm wrong
rajnz00
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### Re: Jumping to conclusions

Faradave » May 6th, 2020, 11:39 am wrote:.....It's as if the electrons wait to be synchronized before emitting.

There was once a Fleamaster in a circus who had a performing flea called Freddy, who he had trained to jump at his command.

Whenever he said Jump, Freddy the flea jumped an amazing 20 feet. Then one day the Fleamaster got bored, and being a curious fellow, decided to experiment with his flea. He pulled off one leg and commanded it to jump and dutifully Freddy jumped, but only about 18 feet. Another leg and it jumped about 13 feet. And so on, each time still jumping, but progressively less, till Freddy was down to one leg. When commanded to Jump, Freddy still managed to do a pitiful hop, but hardly a few inches, rolling over in his effort. Finally, the Fleamaster pulled off Freddy’s last remaining leg and commanded - Jump! Nothing. Poor old Freddy remained where he was.

The Fleamaster concluded that pulling Freddy’s legs off made him deaf.

Not saying your deduction powers are quite as bad as the Fleamaster, but sometimes you could jump to an erroneous conclusion, while looking at the same evidence
rajnz00
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### Re: The Block Universe and The Flow of Time

Fardave;
1. As seen with interval-time coordinates above, intervals shorten to a zero limit as their lengths approach equality. "…the interval AB between two events can vanish even when the separations Δx, Δy, Δz in space and Δt in time between B and A are individually quite large." pp.37-38

"The interval between two events is zero when they can be connected by one light ray." p.38

[In the original development of SR by Einstein, the invariant interval was an equality:
x2+y2+z2 =(ct)2
the expression for a sphere. There was no need for a 'null geodesic'.
The variable t could only equal zero if the spatial interval on the left equaled zero.
The second statement from Taylor & Wheeler would only be true in the frame of a photon, which no anaut will ever achieve.
This idea, in addition to moving through time, and the block universe, etc, results from substituting the abstract models for reality.
A line can represent 'time', and the line can be manipulated into a curve that intersects itself, in the world of math. That does not imply 'time' in the real world context can be altered.
In the world of math, a rod can be cut at any 'point' for any dimension.
In the real world, a rod can only be cut between atoms/molecules in discrete intervals.]

And a reminder, all things thinkable are not all realizable.
phyti
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### Re: The Block Universe and The Flow of Time

Hyksos, that was a great post on QFT. Please continue with your presentation.

You wrote:

The Block Universe is not justified merely by a few paragraphs penned by Petkov regarding 4D bars and their 3D shadows. There are “significant complications” as S.H. points. I think that davidm might be adopting something that is better described as Possibilism. This viewpoint may derive from a slight confusion about the actual metaphysics of the Block Universe. I will await his reply before further elaboration.

I don’t know how to respond to this, because I don’t know what you mean by “possibilism.” The only possibilism that I am aware of is the philosophical rebuttal of a philosophical doctrine called “actualism” — the idea that everything that has being is actual. Possibilism holds that some entities have being, but aren’t actual, merely possible. From this is derived the doctrine of extreme modal realism, championed by David K. Lewis, whose paper on time travel I linked upthread. According to Lewis, all (logically) possible worlds are actual, but only to their own inhabitants, making actuality, like “here” and “now,” an indexical. This idea means there are possible but (to us) non-actual worlds in which, to use Lewis’s own examples, pigs fly, donkeys talk, and the Greek gods are literally real. These worlds are actual to their own inhabitants. I should have hoped I have not argued for this!

The block universe holds that all spacetime events past, present, and future are equally real; are on identical ontological footing. However, perhaps the above-mentioned possibilism does have a role here — maybe you were referring to this? For me, the present — as I type this, say — is actual (and, of course, possible, since actuality presupposes possibility). But for me, from the indexical now, the future and the past consist of events that are possible but non-actual. Yes, even past fixed events remain merely possible, unless, like three-sided triangles, their truths are necessary. That’s because past, present, and future non-necessary events are, were, and will always be, contingent.

Now on this reasoning, only the indexical present is actual, but all points in spacetime have being. A future temporal a part of me has a “now” that for him is actual; for the temporal part of me that types this, my “now” is actual but my future temporal part’s “now” has being but is not actual. Is this what you are referring to by “possibilism”? Because I don’t think much turns on it. Whether we wish to classify the past and future as partaking of being but not actuality, while the present has both being and actuality, seems a bit of philosophical hair-splitting to me. It remains true that under the block world, the past, present and future are all ontologically on a par.

Now I mentioned that Sabine thinks that because the future exists, we do not have free will because we cannot change the future. I have tried to show that we can’t change the present or past either, so this notion of “change” is irrelevant to free will. I have argued that the block universe, by itself, does not preclude free will, and the logical argument for free will in a block universe is identical to the logical argument for free will in the case of the problem of future contingents, which addresses a supposed threat to free will just in the presentist metaphysics. IOW, the correct (modal) solution to the problem of future contingents vindicates free will both in presentism and eternalism, and for the same reason. I made my case for this upthread.

However, this notion of ”by itself” must be attended to, and I don’t want to do Sabine an injustice. It’s why I insist on differentiating between “pre-determined” and “fixity” in talking about a block universe. They are, in fact, two different concepts. “Fixity” states that the future is as fixed as the present and the past, but is silent on how it (and the present and the past) gets fixed. Pre-determinism is a possible cause of fixity, and fixity is the effect — which puts the two concepts in different categories. If we don’t know how the block universe gets fixed, as I have argued earlier, then there remain several potentially valid causes for its fixity — freely willed acts among them.

In fact, here is a short taxonomy:

Effect:

Fixity of past, present and future

Possible causes of the effect:

Compatibilist free will

Libertarian free will

Pre-determinism, also called superdeterminism (does not allow for any type of free will. More below.)

Standard determinism (supports compatibilist free will, does not support agent-causal libertarian free, can support event-causal libertarian free will)

Indeterminism (does not allow for compatibilist free will, supports agent-causal libertarian free will)

Other?

However, I happen to know, because she said so, that Sabine is a quantum superdeterminist. This is a very different kettle of fish. If superdeterminism is true, we very definitely do not have free will — we do not even have the freedom to set the detectors in a QM experiment! Under QM superdeterminism, there is a single and sole cause of the fixity of the past, present, and future, and that is, in fact, pre-determinism (or, superdeterminism, same thing). You can read all about quantum superdeterminisn, characterized by the author as the conservation of ontology principle, here.

However, she’s still wrong as a matter of logic to insist that we must be able to “change” the future to have free will. To have free will, we need only have the ability to make the past, present and future be what they are. But since she is a superdeterminist, it would be correct to say that superdeterminism does not allow us the freedom to make the past, present and future be what they are. So free will of any kind is eliminated as a cause of fixity, under this idea. The sole cause is pre-determinism.

Now on to this:

TheVat wrote: an observation IS an event. Photon meets retinal pigment. Excites electron in pigment. Etc.

Yes but what is that “EVENT” you are talking about in your example?
The photon meeting the retina is the RECORDING of an event that took place invariably in the past.

And you appear to be doing a victory dance over knocking down a strawman of your own propping up. No, we are NOT talking about, in the train example, the events of the lightning striking the front and back of the train. We are talking about the events of the light striking the eyes. Of course the lightning striking the trains is a record of past events for both Amy and Mary. No one denies this. No frame in SR will ever show anybody an effect preceding its cause.

The point is that when the light strikes their eyes, they each have different notions of simultaneity. For Amy on the train (I believe I put her on the train and Mary in ground frame) the flashes meet here eyes sequentially. For Mary on the ground, they meet her eyes simultaneously. So, yes, the whole thought experiment rests entirely on when the light meets their eyes. THOSE are the spacetime events relevant to the gedanken.

Of course you could put a third observer, Jack, on a train heading in the opposite direction of Amy’s train, and he would see the flash at the back of Amy’s train first, and some time later the flash at the front of the train. So now we have three different planes of simultaneity — One observer sees flashes simultaneously, another observer sees them in order A-B, and third observer sees them in order B-A. The explanation for this is trivial under the block universe: Each observer has observed a different cross-section of existent 4D world. Again, remember, we are talking about the events of the light meeting the eyes of the observers.

I challenge those who reject the block universe and believe in presentism how the above is even possible under presentism. For if you are a presentist, you have two options: Reject relativity theory outright, OR show how presentism is consistent with relativity theory. As Petkov points out that Minkowski pointed out, in SR each observer not only has his own (proper) time, but his own space as well — this is why motion must be relative. An infinitude of space/time slices that can differ from one another, as illustrated in the train gedanken, cannot happen under presentism — under presentism, there can be only one objective universal space, and only one objective universal now in which everyone agrees on what happens now — they must all have the same notion of simultaneity. That is just what presentism means. So there is the challenge to the presentist: reconcile presentism with SR (impossible, according to Petkov and me), or reject SR entirely. Good luck!

Here is a second challenge for the presentist: How long, exactly, is NOW? A second? A nanosecond? A femtosecond? Planck scale? No duration at all?

Once again, the presentist is on the horns of a dilemma. If he/she says that NOW has a duration, then the presentist agrees that the NOW actually has temporal extension to some degree or other — the very thing that the presentist rejects in rejecting the block universe! But if the NOW can have even fleeting temporal extension, what principle prohibits full temporal extension — i.e., the block universe?

If, on the other hand, the presentist thinks that the present has no duration at all, then this is exactly the same thing as saying that the present does not exist at all — a very funny position to arrive at, for a doctrine that says only the present exists!

Curiously, just a few years before Einstein and Minkowski, H.G. Wells deduced, in his novel The Time Machine, that time is a dimension, arguing that there could be no such thing as an instantaneous cube, any more than there could exist a cube lacking one or more spatial dimensions — a cube without height would be a square, without width a line, and without length a point. And without time, it would not even be so much as a point!

This dovetails nicely with Petkov’s point that if a dimension exists, it is simply given everywhere — in the case of time, it follows that time, if it is a dimension (which it is), must be given everywhen — i.e., a block universe.

You write:

PS In that link that you have provided at the top of your post, Sabine Hossenfelder’s blogpost, she says:

“Claims
Petkov wants to show that
1) The block universe view, in which the universe is regarded as a timelessly existing four-dimensional world, is the only one that is consistent with Special Relativity.
…. I will in the following argue that 1) is wrong”

I have said so too. I have given my own arguments, I knew nothing of Sabine Hossenfelder, which seem to be vindicated at least by her. I have argued against both Petkov’s claims and the claims that Einstein’s thought experiment implies so and given my own arguments.

I do not think you argued at all like Sabine. If I am wrong, please correct me, and cite the relevant post/s. I think you denied the block universe model outright — which Sabine does not do; indeed, as I pointed out, she believes the block universe is real! Sabine only denies Petkov’s claim that only the block universe is consistent with special relativity. You went further and denied it outright. In order to support you denial and support presentism, I invite you to address my two challenges, above, which I issued to presentists.

Now, let’s go back to Sabine.

Petkov claims that special relativity alone entails a block universe. I have tried to understand Sabine’s objection to the paper. She says that she “believes” in a block universe because it is plausibly true, derived from the fact that there are no special moments in time. But she does not think SR entails the existence of a block universe, because, she says, SR makes no claims about existence whatsoever.

This puzzled me, until I read further down in the comments sections of her blog posts on this subject. It turns out that she believes, apparently, that no observation makes any claim about existence. She would neither affirm nor deny the existence of an apple, for heaven’s sake, saying that we only have observations of apples, and the observations are their own content. She later said she could neither affirm nor deny the existence of any mind but her own.

Well … OK. Now we’re getting into the realm of metaphysical idealism or even solipsism, and I think those are off-topic for this discussion.

I will only say that if Sabine believes in the existence of a block universe because its existence is plausibly true, can’t she at least say she believes that an apple exists because its existence is plausibly true?
davidm
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### Re: Central Theme

Faradave » 05 May 2020, 20:10 wrote:A single event is, by definition, co-located and simultaneous in an invariant way (i.e. all inertial observers agree it's a single event). For example, I assert that despite differing 4D coordinates, emission and absorption of a light quantum is a single event (i.e. contact). Trouble is, their simultaneity only occurs in the inertial frame of the light quantum, which is denied validity by convention. Light's inertial frame and interval contact are however apparent with interval-time coordinates.

There are a few very confused statements here. A single event is not co-located and simultaneous, unless there is another event. The inertial frame of the light quantum cannot exist, because then the quanta must still move at c relative to that inertial frame. This is a major fallacy of your concept of 'interval-time coordinates. I have given others when you first brought it up.

Fd wrote:Every added dimension of a ball entails infinitely more radial paths to contact with its center. In spacetime, an infinite majority of such contact paths occur off the equatorial spatial 3-plane, thus having a temporal component.

That can only be in the past if the ball expands, or in the future if the ball contracts. Again your definition of 'contact' is confusing.

Fd wrote:I notice your avatar is an engineer's dream. Perfect, flat, infinite yet expanding spatial (3D) orthogonality. It is consistent with the best current observations. However, if you further envision time as also orthogonal, you'll intuit spacetime as Euclidean even if admitting otherwise. Such intuition allows contact only when ∆x=∆y=∆z=∆t=0, which seems to be your position.

Yes. I hold the position that there was a time before inflation when everything in our observable universe was in causal contact with everything else. This does not mean all were co-located. It simply means that e.m. waves had enough time to travel to every part of the universe and to equalize temperatures everywhere. Causal contact is obviously very different from what you describe as 'contact'.

Fd wrote:All electromagnetic and gravitational interactions transmit energy (as if by contact) across lightlike zero intervals, despite non-zero spatial and temporal separations.

The key words (as if by contact) may be meaningful in philosophy or newspapers, but not here. I still do not understand what you hope to achieve by these wishful aims.

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### Re: The Block Universe and The Flow of Time

davidm » May 7th, 2020, 2:15 pm wrote:....No, we are NOT talking about, in the train example, the events of the lightning striking the front and back of the train. We are talking about the events of the light striking the eyes. Of course the lightning striking the trains is a record of past events for both Amy and Mary. No one denies this. No frame in SR will ever show anybody an effect preceding its cause.

The point is that when the light strikes their eyes, they each have different notions of simultaneity. For Amy on the train (I believe I put her on the train and Mary in ground frame) the flashes meet here eyes sequentially. For Mary on the ground, they meet her eyes simultaneously. So, yes, the whole thought experiment rests entirely on when the light meets their eyes. THOSE are the spacetime events relevant to the gedanken.
.......

Maybe relevant to the gedanken but not at all relevant to presentism. Because it doesn't affect it in the slightest.
I challenge those who reject the block universe and believe in presentism how the above is even possible under presentism. For if you are a presentist, you have two options: Reject relativity theory outright, OR show how presentism is consistent with relativity theory.

That is a false dichotomy. There are not only 2 options. The third option is that that SR has not the slightest impact in presentism. In other words the fact that the Now has disappeared into the past is not contradicted by different observers viewing the same events in different slices
As Petkov points out that Minkowski pointed out, in SR each observer not only has his own (proper) time, but his own space as well — this is why motion must be relative.

Irrelevant to the argument
An infinitude of space/time slices that can differ from one another, as illustrated in the train gedanken, cannot happen under presentism — under presentism, there can be only one objective universal space, and only one objective universal now in which everyone agrees on what happens now — they must all have the same notion of simultaneity.

Not at all. 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.
That is just what presentism means. So there is the challenge to the presentist: reconcile presentism with SR (impossible, according to Petkov and me), or reject SR entirely. Good luck!

Can you see what you have done? You have redefined presentism to make it incompatible with SR and then challenged anyone to make your new, incompatible with SR definition, compatible with SR
Here is a second challenge for the presentist: How long, exactly, is NOW? A second? A nanosecond? A femtosecond? Planck scale? No duration at all?

I don't know, but I should think it does have some duration, but very small. The duration is as long as it takes to have an event in an object. Because that event happening is the cause, which gives rise to the effect and then it vanishes. That is how causes and effects remain consistent.
Once again, the presentist is on the horns of a dilemma. If he/she says that NOW has a duration, then the presentist agrees that the NOW actually has temporal extension to some degree or other — the very thing that the presentist rejects in rejecting the block universe! But if the NOW can have even fleeting temporal extension, what principle prohibits full temporal extension — i.e., the block universe?

This dilemma is only created by you, your verbal creation. A fleeting temporal existence would prohibit a block universe precisely because it is fleeting. A block universe is forever.
If, on the other hand, the presentist thinks that the present has no duration at all, then this is exactly the same thing as saying that the present does not exist at all — a very funny position to arrive at, for a doctrine that says only the present exists!

The now would have a fleeting existence enough for the cause and effect to take place and at least for a sentient being like ourselves to create a memory.
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### Re: The Block Universe and The Flow of Time

Classic Dunning-Kruger effect.

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### Re: The Block Universe and The Flow of Time

Fardave;

As resident wizard, maybe you can answer this.

On the 14 billion yr cosmic calendar, the LIGO detection of gravity waves in 2016, happened 'this morning'. Relative to the block universe, where was this event prior to 2016? (Based on past and future coexisting)
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### Re: Central Theme

BurtJordaan » 08 May 2020, 07:01 wrote:
Fd wrote:I notice your avatar is an engineer's dream. Perfect, flat, infinite yet expanding spatial (3D) orthogonality. It is consistent with the best current observations. However, if you further envision time as also orthogonal, you'll intuit spacetime as Euclidean even if admitting otherwise. Such intuition allows contact only when ∆x=∆y=∆z=∆t=0, which seems to be your position.

I need to add something to avoid confusion. I do not "intuit spacetime as Euclidean even if admitting otherwise", because in my depiction, expanding space does not give flat spacetime, but curved spacetime, even if space is flat. Spacetime is positively curved in expanding space, because initially parallel light beams will diverge.

Also note that there is nothing stopping the depiction to have overall curved spacetime, it could as well be negatively as positively curved and the depiction will not change, except over very large scales. There is an excellent paper out on precisely that (not mine, unfortunately): https://www.spacetimetravel.org/sectormodels1/sectormodels1.html
Last edited by BurtJordaan on May 8th, 2020, 11:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Corrected error (positively curved, not negatively)

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### Re: The Block Universe and The Flow of Time

Amazing to see an insulting remark in response to an argument
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### Re: Global Worm-ing

BurtJordaan wrote:A single [4D] event is not co-located and simultaneous,
Sorry for the confusion. I meant that if observers in different inertial frames pass at an agreed origin, they will assign a single separate event (A) different spacetime coordinates. I consider those different coordinate identities to be co-located. No big deal if disallowed.

All inertial observers will agree on the invariant interval separation of A from the origin.

BurtJordaan wrote:The inertial frame of the light quantum cannot exist, because then the quanta must still move at c relative to that inertial frame.
This IS a big deal. For SR, Einstein postulated 1. the invariance of physical law and 2. the invariance of speed limit c (as such a law). It's a good thing to have correctly postulated: c=c’. It's a great thing to explain why.

Why, with all other unaccelerated motion relative, is c invariant?
Given that c is uniquely invariant, we may consider it in terms of its "invariant speed" (i.e. interval speed = ∆d/∆t).

Note, ∆d/∆t is not inherently invariant because the denominator is a relative term. The one exception occurs when ∆d=0 as it is for lightlike intervals. Regardless of their relative measures of ∆t, all inertial observers find light to have interval speed zero.
c is an absolute speed limit because nothing is slower than absolute rest.

With 0/∆t = c = 0 = c’ = 0/∆t’ even "invalid" (by convention) inertial frame-c upholds both postulates, putting its validity back on the table (imo).

[hyksos (…Faradave physics…957 times): Not getting this concept from some other authority is not in itself a refutation. Originality and irrefutability are all the more reason for repetition.]

BurtJordaan wrote:This is a major fallacy of your concept of 'interval-time coordinates.
We already know spacetime coordinates are distorted.

"… the best we can do for figures in Minkowski space is to map them onto Euclidean space, as did Mercator with his flat map of the curved surface of the earth. Such maps necessarily distort metric relations and one has to compensate for this distortion.” – Rindler p.90

Denying an interval-time perspective of lightlike intervals is like denying a globe map of earth. The south pole has "length" in any Mercator projection you care to choose. Ignoring earth's magnetism and axis of rotation, every diameter yields two such lengthy poles, each with its own collection of longitudinal identities. But no one actually standing on one of those poles will find it separated. Its longitudinal coordinates all co-locate there.

Though appearing separate on this map (left), A, B, C, & D should be considered co-located at the south pole or on a lightlike interval. I replace a "photon" with a "pinhole" (particle-interaction wormhole) because its zero interval bypasses space and time of indefinite (but equal) spans (right). The spacelike interval formula is given in a form which applies exclusively to intuitive Euclidian geometry. Thus, a lightlike zero interval appears undistorted.

BurtJordaan wrote:…your definition of 'contact' is confusing. …The key words (as if by contact) may be meaningful in philosophy or newspapers, but not here.
To clarify, I meant real, direct, physical contact.
By classical contact (∆x²+∆y²+∆z² = ∆r² = 0) and by remote contact (∆r≠0), I mean zero interval separation, where ∆r=∆t because interval (∆d) is given by equations: ±∆d=∆r-∆t. Both spacelike and timelike intervals converge to zero as ∆r and ∆t approach equality.
c is an absolute speed limit because nothing gets closer than contact.

BurtJordaan wrote:I still do not understand what you hope to achieve by these wishful aims.
As pertains to this thread, direct contact between an emitter (say, 10 billion years ago) and an absorber (say, 10 billion years hence) by light should satisfy any skeptic regarding the coexistence of past and future.

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### Re: Global Worm-ing

Faradave » May 8th, 2020, 4:55 pm wrote:c is an absolute speed limit because nothing is slower than absolute rest.

Did Einstein say that, or is it just you?
With 0/∆t = c = 0 = c’ = 0/∆t’ even "invalid" (by convention) inertial frame-c upholds both postulates, putting its validity back on the table (imo).

You have made something invalid, valid, by doing what exactly? Dividing 0 by 0?
Denying an interval-time perspective of lightlike intervals is like denying a globe map of earth. ....

I dont know enough about that but I wonder if it's true. Sounds suspiciously like a fallacy.
.... Both spacelike and timelike intervals converge to zero as ∆r and ∆t approach equality.
c is an absolute speed limit because nothing gets closer than contact.

You have arrived at that statement by dividing 0 by 0

Two explanations for the invariant speed of light that seem to be unique to you, and arrived at in a dubious manner, in a sole effort to "prove" the block universe
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