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Is time just an illusion?

by Outlandish_Existence
Tags: illusion, time
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vanesch
#109
Dec1-06, 01:22 PM
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Quote Quote by Doctordick View Post
What I am pointing out is that Einstein’s theory of relativity (both special and general) do not provide any convenient mechanism for establishing the past/future boundary.
Worse ! It makes it impossible to have one ontologically existing. The reason is that such an ontologically existing past/future boundary would be a space-like hypersurface which would then "flow" through the spacetime manifold at a certain "Newtonian" rate. However, the worldlines of different observers would see their intersection of this hypersurface with their worldline evolve at rates which are not compatible with the eigentimes along these worldlines for all thinkable worldlines.



Here you are being dragged by Einstein’s success into the idea that “time” should be represented as another dimension. What is so awful about the Newtonian means of representing time: as a parameter of position along its path through the geometry? And furthermore, if you are adding time to Einstein’s picture, what need is there for time in that four dimensional construct you are borrowing from him? Finally, the Newtonian means of representing time yields a clear exposition of the present (that boundary between past and future, which is, of course, a function of the observer).
Yes, but the problem is that a specific event will be in "the future" for one observer and "already in the past" for another.

That brings you back to my argument (in my opus) that the proper fourth dimension to be used here is Einstein’s invariant interval not time: i.e., a factor measured along the world lines in Einstein’s picture.
But how do you handle then something like the twin paradox where we have two lines between two events A and B, with different eigentimes along them ?
pibomb
#110
Dec1-06, 05:15 PM
P: 60
Quote Quote by Outlandish_Existence View Post
I can no longer see time. All I recognize is the morphing and changing of energies/masses/matters. This concept of time we have is slowly deteriorating from my mind. There is no time, all things are just constantly changing? Nothing ever really leaves us... and nothing is ever really born new in terms of energy. So all that we have is all that we have and it never goes anywhere except for changing into differenent physical, dimensional, and material states? So everything is not really passing... only changing. Time will never leave us, we must learn to leave time.
Time is a way of expressing change. Without change, time wouldn't seem real and without time, change would not be real either. You need to define time more clearly, but as of now, time is a human method of stating the "space" between events.
vanesch
#111
Dec2-06, 12:01 AM
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In another thread about the same problem, pervect provided some great references on the topic:

http://www.physicsforums.com/showpos...89&postcount=6
Doctordick
#112
Dec3-06, 11:24 AM
P: 625
Quote Quote by vanesch View Post
Worse ! It makes it impossible to have one ontologically existing. The reason is that such an ontologically existing past/future boundary would be a space-like hypersurface which would then "flow" through the spacetime manifold at a certain "Newtonian" rate. However, the worldlines of different observers would see their intersection of this hypersurface with their worldline evolve at rates which are not compatible with the eigentimes along these worldlines for all thinkable worldlines.
I am afraid you are just too bound up in Einstein's picture to understand what I am talking about. As a starter towards understanding my attack, take a quick read of Resolution of the Relativity/Quantum Mechanics Conflict. The entire resolution of the conflict is not presented there but the central issue is developed and a trained physicist ought to be able to pick up on the issue I am talking about. If you honestly examine the issue carefully you will discover some rather surprising consequences.
Quote Quote by vanesch View Post
Yes, but the problem is that a specific event will be in "the future" for one observer and "already in the past" for another.
Again, you are too bound up in Einstein's picture to appreciate that the problem you see is purely a problem of your perspective. Time can only be defined along an observers path and then only in a manner consistent with his interactions with the universe. It is the presumption that time can be universally defined which is the crux of the problem. It is a well known fact that no real experiment can bring the issue, "that a specific event will be in "the future" for one observer and "already in the past" for another", into an experimental conflict. That is exactly the issue I complain about: the geometry should not include possibilities which can not be achieved or it is not the proper geometry to analyze reality.
Quote Quote by vanesch View Post
But how do you handle then something like the twin paradox where we have two lines between two events A and B, with different eigentimes along them ?
In my presentation, time is only defined along the path of the observer (the observer can be any physical phenomena) and is nothing more or less than a description of the path length of that observer. Different paths have different path lengths thus leading to what is called the twin paradox.

Talk to me if you find anything there difficult to understand.

Have fun -- Dick
Paul Martin
#113
Dec3-06, 01:48 PM
P: 341
Quote Quote by Paul Martin
It is conceivable that the number of such blocks might be limited to some number like 11, as speculated both by Plato and by some string theorists.
Quote Quote by AnssiH
Well, I must say I certainly have never been able to conceive any way to make it work without adding any "dynamic" component somewhere one way or another.
I agree. Maybe we can talk about what that "dynamic" component might be.
Quote Quote by AnssiH
If you decrease the number of "pointers" in each higher dimension, then wouldn't it just mean that the "upmost" pointer is pointing to the rest of reality, "all the time"?
Yes. But I don't think that poses an insoluble problem. If the "rest of reality" were a hierarchical nested set of static space-time blocks (MWI), then the pointer would be pointing at it (into it) "all the time".
Quote Quote by AnssiH
I've said it many times in this forum that once I've tried to reconcile spacetime with the philosophy of the mind, it has become by far the most elegant option to assume that reality really is in motion, and metaphysically so.
I agree with your view here. But, it leaves us with the questions of what exactly is it in, or about, reality that is in motion? And what, exactly, is motion itself? I'd like to explore those questions a little deeper.
Quote Quote by AnssiH
Yeah, and certainly it can be questioned whether even in this case the extra dimensions should even be imagined as if they are spatial dimensions, after all they are very different from the three we are familiar with.
I think this is a good question to begin with. What is a spatial dimension, and whatever it is, is it the only reasonable candidate for the extra dimensions?

Please correct any of this analysis, but this is the way I see it: A dimension is a degree of freedom. Thus, we may have not only spatial dimensions with position as the variable, but we may have dimensions of color, or energy density, or other variables.

It doesn't seem reasonable to consider change in color or temperature or other non-spatial variable to be motion. So, we could define 'motion' to be a change in position by an entity (the thing that is in motion). The "thing", as you point out, seems to be a stable pattern of some sort. With this definition, we require the "thing" that is in motion, and at least one spatial dimension. So "motion" is the process of the "thing" occupying successively different positions in a spatial dimension.

Now, let's ask what that "thing" might be. Can we say, for example, that a graph of the function y = x is in motion? Well, no, it is static. How about considering a short segment of the ink mark on the graph to be a "stable pattern", and we notice that for different positions of x, the "stable pattern" changes to a different position vertically. Is that motion? I think it makes no sense to say so. But what if you observe that graph, and your eyes and your attention follow the ink line from the origin up to the right some distance. Is that motion? Well, yes it is. At least your eyeballs moved. But more importantly, your subjective conscious experience of attending to the successive ink mark segments not only gave you the illusion of motion, but the experience was along the lines of what we usually associate with motion.

Thus it seems that, continuing with my suggestion above, if the "rest of reality" were a hierarchical nested set of static space-time blocks (MWI), and the pointer is pointing at it (into it) "all the time", the "illusion" of motion, and the necessary conditions for QM and GR would be satisfied if the pointer follows world lines within the various blocks.

The pointer would serve as the observer and would somehow determine which, or how many, of the optional branches to take at each encountered quantum event. Whether the pointer splits and becomes several, each following a world line in a different one of the MWs, or whether the pointer has the free will to choose one over the others, or whether there is some deterministic random algorithm which makes the choice, would be questions for further investigation, but that wouldn't change the ontological or the physical explanation, it seems to me.
Quote Quote by AnssiH
Basically, if you assume a learning system that initially doesn't have any pre-conceived idea of reality at all, it is forced to form some idea of reality by making assumptions about "what exists" and by building an association network that is basically system's own conception of the world; its worldview. (And the only way to build a worldview without anything to begin with is to build concepts that can be placed in juxtaposition with each others, such as "space" is what "matter" is not, and vice versa...)
The worldview that results is not something that has its root in some fundamental truths, but rather it is a self-supported circle of beliefs. ... This is all what would result if a system must learn without any prior knowledge about reality. Such a system can never quite be certain of the ontological nature of its own reality either.
I agree completely. But what exactly is this "learning system"? Let me suggest some possibilities.

For starters, we have the living human brain. You have already explained how the brain builds a worldview just as you described above.

Next, we can imagine sophisticated robots that are probably going to be built in the not-too-distant future, which will be set to work exploring heretofore unreachable parts of our universe, such as nano- and micro-scale environments, deep space, deep oceans, etc. And, as you point out, regardless of what they learn about their respective environments, they "can never quite be certain of the ontological nature of [their] own reality."

Next, going backward in time, we can consider the most primitive precursors of life on earth as being such "learning systems". Everything you said above applies to them as well, as it does to all their progeny, including us.

Finally, going back even further in time, we can ask whether the most primordial, or fundamental ontological entity, whatever it was, might not also have the same characteristic of being a "learning system". It makes sense to me that it might, and it seems to me that it might be fruitful to investigate the consequences of this hypothesis. What do you think?

In your post #107 in Quantum Physics>Against "Realism", you wrote,
Quote Quote by AnssiH
You may be tempted to say "maybe MWI is just this idea", but to me MWI is like all the other interpretations, and they are basically arguing about whether everything is made out of "earth, air, water and fire" or from "solid, liquid and gas", or perhaps the fundamentals are "opaque" and "transparent" matterpieces, when they should be concentrating on much much deeper issues. Something like, how could inertia be fundamental? Think about that.
I have thought about it. It seems to me that an "ability to know", i.e., a "learning system" could be fundamental. It seems less complex than, say, assuming something like energy (the ability to do work), or a field (the ability to force), or a set of laws (the ability to prescribe), is fundamental. What do you think about that?

In that same thread, you wrote,
Quote Quote by AnssiH
I don't think anyone has been able to actually make any explanation about how the "illusion of flow of time" could be achieved if nothing is in motion in reality, but everybody are very willing to dismiss the whole problem as meaningless because you really don't bump into it until you get to the philosophy of the mind, which may seem unrelated to physics, but it is not.

So you could say my belief is that we just haven't figured out the proper model yet, but that we are capable of doing so by letting go certain particularly sticky assumptions about reality.
Let me try. If we let go of all assumptions except for the existence of a primordial "learning system", (AKA "an ability to know", "an ability to realize", "a receptive principle", "pointer") we can imagine an evolutionary scenario in which "the "illusion of flow of time" could be achieved if nothing is in motion in reality..." Here's how:

This "learning system" exists (by hypothesis). Therefore, something and not nothing exists. Therefore that fact also exists. The "learning system" has the "ability to know", so it is reasonable to conclude that it might know that single fact (i.e. that something exists). (Even at this beginning point, your observation is well taken, that the "system can never quite be certain of the ontological nature of its own reality", so the "learning system" might know that something exists, but it can't know the nature of the "learning system" itself.)

The fact that a fact is known is a new fact, which could then be known. Similarly, a large set of facts, or information could be generated and developed. (I'm not exactly sure how, but I think it could be worked out.) This set of information, together with the "learning system" itself, would comprise reality. If the "learning system" could act as a "pointer", by successively attending to various details of that set of information (like stable patterns in it), then "the "illusion of flow of time" could be achieved [even though] nothing is in motion in reality".

It should be noticed that in this model, even though nothing in reality is in motion, there is an evolution going on: new information is being added. This is consistent with the part of reality we observe (our universe) in that it already contains a sizeable amount of information and if we consider the present moment of any worldline to be a temporal boundary, it seems that this boundary continues to recede (procede?) into the future.

So reality, as you suggested, really is in motion, but the real motion is only in the "pointer" and not the MWI blocks. I suppose you could also say that the growth of the blocks is motion in the same way that the growth of a coral reef could be said to be motion. The reef is static, but the boundaries move.

I am eager to hear your thoughts on these ideas.

Warm regards,

Paul
Paul Martin
#114
Dec3-06, 03:00 PM
P: 341
Hi Dick,

Quote Quote by Doctordick
The static nature of Einstein’s picture rests with the fact that he is describing the rules obeyed by known data. His picture describes the future only in the sense that, once the future becomes the past, what ever it is it will be described by that picture. Thus it is that what is actually static about his picture is that it represents “the past”. That is also the exact source of Einstein’s problem with quantum representation of his general theory of relativity: i.e., quantum deals with uncertainty and uncertainty is what is not known: i.e., not part of the past. Another way of viewing that is realization that all changes in our knowledge of the past lie in the future.
I think that the analogy of a coral reef that I mentioned to AnssiH is consistent with Einstein's picture. The reef at any moment is static and represents "the past". It is all known information. But at the boundary, new information is added and the boundary between what is known and what is unknown, moves out a little. QM describes the unitary evolution of the structure of these additions. It is debatable whether a single outcome is added at each new quantum event (which leaves the problem of how it was chosen), or whether all possible outcomes are added to the structure, each one going into a separate and distinct space-time block (MWI). Either way, it is like the growth of a coral reef, albeit in the MWI it must be a hyperdimensional reef.
Quote Quote by Doctordick
Reality must include the future and we can only know exactly what it is after its absolute entirety is “the past”: at that point, it is static! That’s why all the big boys put forth the “many universes” theory. It is the only way uncertainty can be handled in Einstein’s picture.

What I am pointing out is that Einstein’s theory of relativity (both special and general) do not provide any convenient mechanism for establishing the past/future boundary. Essentially, all the professionals will do is point out that the boundary can always be shown to exist in any valid frame of reference. My position is that a proper representation of reality has to do more than that; it has to provide for the exact nature of that boundary: the change from fixed static information (the past) into the unknown (the future}.
In my picture, nothing would prevent the "pointer" from traversing a particular worldline many times, or traversing several worldlines in any arbitrary sequence, or partially, or intermittently. The "future" would only have meaning in the context of a particular traversal of the pointer on a particular worldline and at a particular point on that worldline. In this context, the "future" would consist of the future light cone with origin at that point on the worldline.

Now, given the evolutionary coral-reef-like nature of the space-time block(s), there would be discrete ends to each and every worldline. In the event the pointer encounters one of these ends, the quantum outcome, however it is determined, will construct the addition on the overall structure. This raises the question of whether such evolution may proceed in the absence of a visit by the pointer, or not. My guess is that it can be either. In the case the pointer is not involved, then some deterministic algorithm probably decides (in the non-MWI interpretations). In the case the pointer is involved, the choice may be much more complex. These are just some thoughts you stirred up with your comment.
Quote Quote by Paul Martin
I think that claim would be going too far. Space-time (the map) may be static, while reality (the territory) may include dynamic components above and beyond space-time.
Quote Quote by Doctordick
"Above and beyond space-time” would imply that it specifies information outside that represented by Einstein’s geometry. This essentially adds a fifth dimension to the problem..
Yes. At least a fifth dimension. My guess is that, in reality, there are several more as well. Maybe a number like 11.
Quote Quote by Doctordick
Your six dimensions clearly arise from Einstein’s four dimensional plus one to represent dynamic change and a second to handle the fact that Einstein’s space-time is not Euclidean. You clearly agree that the one representing dynamic change is essentially what we mean by time.
Yes. I agree with that.
Quote Quote by Doctordick
Here you are being dragged by Einstein’s success into the idea that “time” should be represented as another dimension. What is so awful about the Newtonian means of representing time: as a parameter of position along its path through the geometry?
Maybe not "awful", but just a little constraining. I do consider "time" to be just another spatial dimension in the block. But it seems to have the constraint that worldlines must always increase in that dimension. That is, the degree of freedom in the temporal dimension is not as "free" as in other spatial dimensions: we can't go backward in time, or even stop going for that matter. But within that constraint, I agree with the path-position parameter as a definition of time.
Quote Quote by Doctordick
And furthermore, if you are adding time to Einstein’s picture, what need is there for time in that four dimensional construct you are borrowing from him?
Only to explain the time-like nature of subjective experience, as AnssiH has pointed out.
Quote Quote by Doctordick
Finally, the Newtonian means of representing time yields a clear exposition of the present (that boundary between past and future, which is, of course, a function of the observer).
The problem is that Newton has one clear boundary for all observers, which we now know is not the case. As you say, it is a function of the observer.
Quote Quote by Doctordick
That brings you back to my argument (in my opus) that the proper fourth dimension to be used here is Einstein’s invariant interval not time: i.e., a factor measured along the world lines in Einstein’s picture. A factor clearly measured by any clock in contact with the entity of interest (essentially, exactly what is measured by clocks). When you do that, the geometry becomes Euclidean even for general relativistic effects. This totally removes the need for that sixth dimension you added. Five dimensions are entirely sufficient to the problem.
To the extent that I understand you, I think I agree with you. From the standpoint of understanding time and motion here in our local 4D block, I think five would be sufficient. The reason I favor considering more than that is the problem of the number of "pointers" in a block. As is apparent, there are at least six billion pointers just on our planet. In my view, as you may have noticed, these "pointers" are manifestations of structures and algorithms in hyper-space-time which serve as "drivers" of organisms as vehicles. So are there six billion drivers in hyperspace-time? or One? My guess is that the number is somewhere in between, and that at successively "higher" levels of dimensions, the number of pointer/drivers diminishes, until at the highest level there is only One.

That is why I would really like for you to work out solutions to your fundamental equation in 4, 5, 6 and even higher dimensions to see if we can't get a clue as to what the possibilities for structures and dynamics might be in those spaces. I know. I know. You did it for n dimensions, and that should be sufficient. But I think that specific solutions for specific higher dimensions might shed more light than a general solution does.
Quote Quote by Doctordick
As I see it, the only difference between our perspectives is that you don’t regard language communications as subject to the same laws. From my perspective, the problem of understanding what is meant by a collection of words is exactly the same as the problem of understanding what is meant by a collection of scientific experiments. That is why the set A is left as undefined in my “explanation” paper. In the final analysis, “all experience is subjective” and needs to be examined in an objective manner (in terms everyone agrees to – mathematics, the condensed essence of logic}.
As I see it, the only difference between our perspectives is that I don't understand as much as you do. On the point of language communications being subject to the same laws, I agree with you completely. In fact, it is only language constructs that we can deal with at all. What we think of as ontological "particles" are nothing more than stable patterns in something, as AnssiH has pointed out, and we can only guess at what that "something" is. My guess is that it is nothing but information. And thus, the only thing that can operate on it is language. I think that all of reality is nothing more than a language game when you get right down to it. It is the "pointer" going over the various patterns in the information that has evolved.

Good talking with you again, Dick.
Warm regards to all,

Paul
vanesch
#115
Dec4-06, 06:45 AM
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Quote Quote by Doctordick View Post
In my presentation, time is only defined along the path of the observer (the observer can be any physical phenomena) and is nothing more or less than a description of the path length of that observer. Different paths have different path lengths thus leading to what is called the twin paradox.
Let us call "doodle" the quantity that separates (absolute) past from future. What is "doodle" then according to you ? Observer eigentime ?

I mean: for every event, you should be able to assign a quantity which is called "doodle" and which, when doodle > 25, is "future" and when <25, is "past". How do you do this ?
Doctordick
#116
Dec6-06, 04:27 PM
P: 625
Quote Quote by vanesch View Post
I mean: for every event, you should be able to assign a quantity which is called "doodle" and which, when doodle > 25, is "future" and when <25, is "past". How do you do this ?
Again, you are so involved in the standard Einsteinian perspective that you fail to comprehend what I am saying. Time is a parameter, embedded in your (and likewise everyone's) mental picture of reality, used to refer to order of changes in that reality (the past is what you know; what has already happened *TO YOU*, and the future is what you do not know; what has yet to happened *TO YOU*). As such time comparisons between entities following different paths through that reality can not be expected to agree on the particular value some other entity assigned to some specific event; however, they will certainly all agree that contact interactions occur at the same time in everybody's personal coordinate system, they just won't agree as to what number should be attached to the event to differentiate between past and future. The transition from past to future (i.e., the present) is a very personal thing having nothing to do with the structure of the universe. I presume you have some knowledge of relativistic physics and, if that is the case, you should be well aware of the fact that the time differences (time assignments established in different frames) never resolve down to actual causality inversion.

As I said in that article, consider a four dimensional Euclidean space (x,y,z, tau) where free fundamental entities propagate at a fixed velocity (since the conventional concept of mass does not exist exist in my picture, the quantum mechanical solution yielding the probability of finding the entity is simply a traveling wave with a fixed velocity). Now, if mass is defined to be the name assigned to momentum in the tau direction (yielding energy as the magnitude of the total momentum), what will common interactions look like? Remember, all your experiments are done in laboratories constructed of uncountable numbers of fundamental entities all in eigenstates of mass (momentum quantized states relative to the tau direction), presume action at a distance does not occur, and all observed forces are due to virtual exchange of fundamental entities. Work out the mathematics and see what you get! I guarantee your description will be identical to standard modern physics (that is, if you don't make an error in your analysis). And that analysis will also generate all the common general relativistic effects.

Have fun -- Dick
Doctordick
#117
Dec6-06, 04:48 PM
P: 625
Hi Paul,

I am afraid you are just too bound up in your personal beliefs to see the problem objectively.
Quote Quote by Paul Martin View Post
To the extent that I understand you, I think I agree with you. From the standpoint of understanding time and motion here in our local 4D block, I think five would be sufficient. The reason I favor considering more than that is the problem of the number of "pointers" in a block. As is apparent, there are at least six billion pointers just on our planet. In my view, as you may have noticed, these "pointers" are manifestations of structures and algorithms in hyper-space-time which serve as "drivers" of organisms as vehicles. So are there six billion drivers in hyperspace-time? or One? My guess is that the number is somewhere in between, and that at successively "higher" levels of dimensions, the number of pointer/drivers diminishes, until at the highest level there is only One.

That is why I would really like for you to work out solutions to your fundamental equation in 4, 5, 6 and even higher dimensions to see if we can't get a clue as to what the possibilities for structures and dynamics might be in those spaces. I know. I know. You did it for n dimensions, and that should be sufficient. But I think that specific solutions for specific higher dimensions might shed more light than a general solution does.
Sorry, but you are just wrong. You are a mathematician so you should understand the issue of analog phenomena; i.e., different phenomena which, though they involve quite different entities and totally different relationship, none the less end up obeying identical dynamic equations (think about those analog computers circa 1960's). We had one in the physics department when I was a graduate student and I got some experience programing them.

What I am getting at here is the issue embedded in that old question, "how do I know you are experiencing the same phenomena when you say you are seeing 'green' as what I am experiencing when I think I am seeing 'green'?" The correct answer to the question is, "I don't!" We don't worry about the issue because all the related phenomena (any experiment either of us can conceive of related to the issue) end up being in simple accordance with the presumption that we are seeing the same thing. What this really means is that the phenomena and the surrounding aspects you experience are analogs to the phenomena I experience so, if they happen to actually be different, that fact is of utterly no experimental consequence.

That is exactly what is so important about my discovery, the nugget of which is given in my paper The Universal Analytical Model of Explanation Itself. The set A constitutes the complete collection of ontological elements a given explanation is to explain. The set C is the actual information upon which that explanation is based (the explanation cannot be based on A because we are not all knowing). The set B(t) constitutes changes in what we know: i.e., changes in C. I define an explanation to be a method of predicting our expectations and from that definition deduce the fact that, if the explanation is internally consistent with itself, the fundamental elements of that explanation must obey my fundamental equation. That fact has utterly nothing to do with what those elements are or what experiences are contained in the explainer's personal knowledge C.

What it says is that a logical self consistent explanation of anything must obey that equation. I call the result the "Foundation of Physical Reality" because it provides us with a foundation for communication: i.e., physical reality. What I am getting at here is that it makes utterly no difference as to what kind of universe you live in or what your experiences are, if you come up with an internally consistent explanation of any aspect of that reality, I know that your explanation (that is, what you are able to communicate to me) must obey that equation.

The consequence of that fact is that we all agree about the nature of Physical Reality: i.e., it makes no difference what your personal experiences are (the universe you live in could bear no resemblence at all to the one I experience), those explanations which are internally consistent have to be analog representations of my experiences which are internally consistent. The reason we all agree about physical phenomena is that all the fundamental relationships of modern physics (including chemistry, biology and any of the other hard sciences) are actually approximate solutions to my fundamental equation. Thus they constitute phenomena within our varied experiences which have explanations which are analog representations of the same thing even if we are actually talking about totally different phenomena. It follows that, when we get away from physics and mathematics, we have utterly no reason to presume we are even talking about the same things or that a mutual analog to our thoughts even exists.

Now, to get to the issue of dimensionality. My fundamental equation is essentially two dimensional. The first dimension is to allow representation of "difference" (if every element of A is identical to every other element, we have only one element to talk about). The second dimension allows us to consider two different elements of C to be the same element of A. These two dimensions are no more than a recording mechanism (a mental note pad so to speak). The actual number of elements in C are presumed to be so large as to be essentially uncountable (I think you like the word "pointers" to refer to this issue). Fundamentally, this is an n body problem and is quite definitely a mathematically insoluble problem; however, if one takes the universe one event at a time (presuming the solution for the rest of the universe is known) I show that there exists a one dimensional solution for that one event and in fact show that Schroedinger's equation is an approximation to that solution (which also allows me to define some of those analog concepts: momentum, energy and mass).

I then expand the problem by collecting the elements of C in sets of three. Essentially regarding each of these three different sets as independent of one another (no problem as all of the original elements were independent anyway, as the dependence comes purely out of the explanation and not out of reality). When I do that I get a three dimensional Schroedinger's equation implying the fact that our three dimensional picture of the universe must obey Newtonian mechanics on an anthropomorphic level (Newtonian mechanics is an analog model of that collection of elements going to make up an internally consistent explanation of whatever it is you are explaining).

The fundamental point you are missing is the fact that the rest of the universe must be known or we cannot solve the problem (that presumed solution for the rest of the universe provides the boundary conditions for our "one body solution" in three dimensions). My next step, in chapter four, is to use the definitions developed in the deduction of the Schroedinger approximation to essentially set up a one body problem in six dimensions. That effort is my derivation of Dirac's equation. The six dimensions are, for practical purposes three for the electron (momentum in the tau direction being quantized essentially eliminates tau) and three for the photon (since it is massless, the tau dimension is insignificant). The deduction produces both Dirac's equation and Maxwell's equations in a relativistically correct representation.

Essentially, relativity is a phenomena which arises in a four dimensional analysis, relativistically correct electromagnetic phenomena arise from that six dimensional representation. If one allows non-zero tau momentum in the second particle, one obtains the nuclear strong force. And finally, under the presumption that our boundary conditions are valid (given to us by the agreement between our solutions and our success at physics) we can examine the consequences of variations in interaction density and, by this means, obtain all the known general relativistic effects including gravity itself. Gravity is a distortion in our above solution created by the radial variation in interaction density.

The reason I bring all this up is that the dimensionality of the representation expresses the number of independent variables in the solution space. We can take the number up to eight only because we have a very good idea as to how the boundary conditions are to be represented (the impact of those millions upon billions of other significant events). That result has been achieved by our subconscious through millions of years of evolution and survival. What you want to do requires us to express those boundary conditions correctly for these higher dimensional representations. Before you step off in that direction, you ought to consider carefully exactly what I have done as it is intimately related to dimensional representation.

Essentially I have shown that the "individual entities" in that higher dimensional representation (up to around eight dimensions anyway, a two body problem in four dimensions) have to obey the laws of physics; thus the question you have to answer before you can begin to cast the whole universe in a higher dimensional representation is, what are the resultant boundary conditions of such a representation. To put that question in another form, it should be seen as totally equivalent to, "what is or is not possible when we require all the entities in the universe to obey the laws of modern physics. We have trouble conceiving how four dimensions comes to require relativity and electromagnetic effects (though we can show it analytically), how can you expect to conceive of the impact of higher dimensional interactions and what relationships are or are not possible in such a representation? Without the boundary conditions, you cannot even state the problem.

By the way, have you ever looked at my posts on Hypography Science Forums? Take a look at "A simple geometric proof with profound consequences".

Have fun -- Dick
mosassam
#118
Dec7-06, 09:58 PM
P: 192
Sorry to just butt in like this but I have a query concerning Time and it's obvious I've finally found the right place. Looking at the previous posts I see that I'm completely out of my depths in terms of the science - I'm more of an 'accidental philosopher'. Because of my ability to remember the past or make predictions about the future I've always taken for granted the arrow of time from Past to Future through the Present. However, after looking more closely I find my personal experience is of an ever-changing NOW - my actions in the past were done NOW as were the memories these actions created. I carry these memories with me NOW and when I observe any physical effects of my past actions (ie: initials carved in a tree when I was 11) I observe them NOW.
I had also assumed that Time is a measurement of change but it appears that Time is more like a byproduct of change and as such can be used to measure it. This is all very philosophical but I would like to ask anyone if there is a mathematical proof for Time, or some kind of scientific proof. Time is a fundamental aspect of physics so I am assuming that it has an objective existence that has been proven. Apologies if this is a completely bonehead question.
vanesch
#119
Dec8-06, 06:06 AM
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Quote Quote by Doctordick View Post
Again, you are so involved in the standard Einsteinian perspective that you fail to comprehend what I am saying. Time is a parameter, embedded in your (and likewise everyone's) mental picture of reality, used to refer to order of changes in that reality (the past is what you know; what has already happened *TO YOU*, and the future is what you do not know; what has yet to happened *TO YOU*).
Yes, but that is your "subjective time" if you want to.

As such time comparisons between entities following different paths through that reality can not be expected to agree on the particular value some other entity assigned to some specific event; however, they will certainly all agree that contact interactions occur at the same time in everybody's personal coordinate system, they just won't agree as to what number should be attached to the event to differentiate between past and future.
Ah, but here already, I have a problem. When you say that "past and future" have a physical, objective meaning - which I guess you are saying - this means that for all events (even those that are far away), one should be able to say whether they are "in the past" or "in the future" ; otherwise, the concept of "past" and "future" has no objective, observer-independent meaning (and can hence not have an ontological status). For your view, this is necessary, because "past events" exist, while "future events" don't even exist. So the question should be legitime, to ask: when I saw the firecracker go off nearby, at that moment, for me, did, or didn't, the explosion of a remote firecracker "exist" ? At that very moment of course, I didn't have any information about the remote firecracker. But later on, I did. So it should be justified to ask what was the ontological status of the remote exploding firecracker WHEN MY FIRECRACKER WENT OFF, no ? Otherwise, we are in a totally relational view of reality, and don't allow for a genuine ontological and objective status of "past" and "future", but only a subjective reality which is observer-dependent.

Now, same question, but for an observer zipping by me, which crosses me exactly when the nearby firecracker explodes (so that we both see the firecracker explode at the same moment).

The transition from past to future (i.e., the present) is a very personal thing having nothing to do with the structure of the universe. I presume you have some knowledge of relativistic physics and, if that is the case, you should be well aware of the fact that the time differences (time assignments established in different frames) never resolve down to actual causality inversion.
If you want to assign an ontological status to "past" and "future", then this should be entirely observer-independent. That means, one should be able to tell (even after the fact) whether a specific event (explosion of a fire cracker) was in the past or in the future. The reason is that if this ontological status of past and future is something of the kind "exists" or "doesn't exist", then a fire cracker explosion cannot "exist" for one observer, and "not exist" for another observer. So you have to introduce a "master observer" somewhere, whose time is "the genuine time" and who will decide what.

Your alternative formulation is of course possible. You can do GR "in ether mode", and introduce an arbitary timelike vectorfield: it will be the gradient of a scalar function which you can call "time" and separate past from future that way. But it violates the spirit of GR. You have introduced a preferred foliation of spacetime.

There was a guy of the name of Ilya Schmeltzer or something who did something very similar. Of course, once you've introduced "an ether" that way, you can go back to the Newtonian vision of time.
vanesch
#120
Dec8-06, 06:28 AM
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Quote Quote by Doctordick View Post
That is exactly what is so important about my discovery, the nugget of which is given in my paper The Universal Analytical Model of Explanation Itself.
This has a strange smell to it. Has this been published officially somewhere ? On first reading, it doesn't make sense at all to me.
Doctordick
#121
Dec8-06, 10:34 PM
P: 625
Quote Quote by mosassam View Post
I had also assumed that Time is a measurement of change but it appears that Time is more like a byproduct of change and as such can be used to measure it. This is all very philosophical but I would like to ask anyone if there is a mathematical proof for Time, or some kind of scientific proof. Time is a fundamental aspect of physics so I am assuming that it has an objective existence that has been proven. Apologies if this is a completely bonehead question.
Time is a basic ontological concept and as such certainly cannot be “proved” from an epistemological perspective (you can google those terms for clarification); however, time can be seen as a required concept from the perspective that we are not all knowing and the representation of change in our knowledge has to be possible in any rational world view. If one examines the situation carefully, it can be seen that no further refinement of the concept is necessary at all. But, in order to understand that assertion, you would need to understand calculus and my presentation, “A Universal Analytical Model of Explanation"
Quote Quote by vanesch View Post
Yes, but that is your "subjective time" if you want to.
I think the real problem here is that you cannot comprehend that it is you (and the rest of the physics community) who are making the error when you presume that there exists a “subjective time” which can be absolutely mapped into a universally valid coordinate system. By universally valid, I mean a coordinate system which can be used to express all aspects of reality. If you have any decent training in physics, you should be aware of the problems arising when one tries to create a general relativisticly correct theory of quantum mechanics. I am asserting that these problems are entirely due to the erroneous concept of time taken to be obviously valid by the physics community. Take a look at my paper, http://”Resolution of the Relativity...nics Conflict”.
Quote Quote by vanesch View Post
So it should be justified to ask what was the ontological status of the remote exploding firecracker WHEN MY FIRECRACKER WENT OFF, no ?
The correct answer to that question is NO! Time is a subjective matter and not a coordinate of the universe!
Quote Quote by vanesch View Post
Otherwise, we are in a totally relational view of reality, and don't allow for a genuine ontological and objective status of "past" and "future", but only a subjective reality which is observer-dependent.
No, I would not agree with that statement. What is subjective is the time elapsing between events. All observers will agree exactly with the concurrence of specific events so there is considerably more objective analysis than implied by the statement, “but only a subjective reality which is observer-dependent”.
Quote Quote by vanesch View Post
Now, same question, but for an observer zipping by me, which crosses me exactly when the nearby firecracker explodes (so that we both see the firecracker explode at the same moment).
Both parties will agree that they both saw the explosion at the same moment and, further, that the firecracker exploded at the very same moment that the fuse burned into the charge; what they will argue about is the elapsed time between those two events (a subjective matter wholly dependent upon their personal presumptions as to the proper geometry to be used to describe the circumstance).
Quote Quote by vanesch View Post
If you want to assign an ontological status to "past" and "future", then this should be entirely observer-independent. That means, one should be able to tell (even after the fact) whether a specific event (explosion of a fire cracker) was in the past or in the future. The reason is that if this ontological status of past and future is something of the kind "exists" or "doesn't exist", then a fire cracker explosion cannot "exist" for one observer, and "not exist" for another observer. So you have to introduce a "master observer" somewhere, whose time is "the genuine time" and who will decide what.
I will agree that you need to introduce “a master observer”, if you wish to attach a “time” parameter to the collection of events, but where do you come up with the idea that you should be able to attach such a parameter to these events? As I said, you are just too embedded in Einstein’s perspective to realize that it is not only unnecessary but a globally invalid concept.
Quote Quote by vanesch View Post
Your alternative formulation is of course possible. You can do GR "in ether mode", and introduce an arbitary timelike vectorfield: it will be the gradient of a scalar function which you can call "time" and separate past from future that way.
Why do you refer to my presentation as an ”ether mode”? Past and future is a statement about the state of the universe available to an entity at a particular point in its path through the geometry. Even in Einstein’s perspective, the exact information as to the state of the universe available to a specific entity at each point in its path is a universal observable (it’s right there at the point of his light cone). The only problem is attaching a universally agreed upon parameter to that collection of events.
Quote Quote by vanesch View Post
But it violates the spirit of GR. You have introduced a preferred foliation of spacetime.
Does it really? Are you saying that a geometry which yields the “speed of light” as the same in any direction is not a preferred foliation of space-time? Can you give me an experiment which proves the speed of light is the same in the plus or minus x direction? Wouldn’t such a proof violate the basic premise of relativity itself? I say Einstein chose that particular “preferred foliation” of the geometry to be used because it was convenient to his Newtonian world view. Actually Einstein is the one who has failed to present the universe in a manner independent of the old “ether” concept. Even today I regularly read articles clearly discussing the “structure of space-time”. Now, if that is not an “ether” concept, what is?
Quote Quote by vanesch View Post
Quote Quote by Doctordick View Post
That is exactly what is so important about my discovery, the nugget of which is given in my paper The Universal Analytical Model of Explanation Itself.
This has a strange smell to it. Has this been published officially somewhere ? On first reading, it doesn't make sense at all to me.
Exactly what do you mean by “a strange smell to it”? Are you trying to suggest it is a piece of “Cr*p”? That seems to be the consensus of the physics community but that doesn’t make them right! Yes, it is officially published somewhere: on my web site where you read it! As far as it not making sense to you, what did you do, just scan it? It is fundamentally a deduction and the line where you were confused should be clear if you read it carefully. If you have any serious rational questions, I am here to answer them. If your real interest is just to dissuade others from thinking about what I say, I have no interest in battling windmills.

Have fun -- Dick
AnssiH
#122
Dec9-06, 02:28 PM
P: 249
Quote Quote by Paul Martin View Post
Please correct any of this analysis, but this is the way I see it: A dimension is a degree of freedom. Thus, we may have not only spatial dimensions with position as the variable, but we may have dimensions of color, or energy density, or other variables.

It doesn't seem reasonable to consider change in color or temperature or other non-spatial variable to be motion. So, we could define 'motion' to be a change in position by an entity (the thing that is in motion). The "thing", as you point out, seems to be a stable pattern of some sort. With this definition, we require the "thing" that is in motion, and at least one spatial dimension. So "motion" is the process of the "thing" occupying successively different positions in a spatial dimension.

Now, let's ask what that "thing" might be. Can we say, for example, that a graph of the function y = x is in motion? Well, no, it is static. How about considering a short segment of the ink mark on the graph to be a "stable pattern", and we notice that for different positions of x, the "stable pattern" changes to a different position vertically. Is that motion? I think it makes no sense to say so. But what if you observe that graph, and your eyes and your attention follow the ink line from the origin up to the right some distance. Is that motion? Well, yes it is. At least your eyeballs moved. But more importantly, your subjective conscious experience of attending to the successive ink mark segments not only gave you the illusion of motion, but the experience was along the lines of what we usually associate with motion.

Thus it seems that, continuing with my suggestion above, if the "rest of reality" were a hierarchical nested set of static space-time blocks (MWI), and the pointer is pointing at it (into it) "all the time", the "illusion" of motion, and the necessary conditions for QM and GR would be satisfied if the pointer follows world lines within the various blocks.

The pointer would serve as the observer and would somehow determine which, or how many, of the optional branches to take at each encountered quantum event. Whether the pointer splits and becomes several, each following a world line in a different one of the MWs, or whether the pointer has the free will to choose one over the others, or whether there is some deterministic random algorithm which makes the choice, would be questions for further investigation, but that wouldn't change the ontological or the physical explanation, it seems to me.
You are suggesting a hierarchical set of static spacetime blocks, where there exists a pointer that is metaphysically in motion and acts as an observer, thus giving rise to a subjective experience where there exists a "now" moment.

Whether there exists such a nested hierarchy or not does not give us any observable effects here. If you suggest there is something like a pointer that is in motion and as such reading the static blocks, you might just as well say there is that one 4-dimensional block and the pointers are moving through it. This would be simpler to imagine and being that both flavours are just maps anyway, the latter seems more useful.

Either way, the problem remains. It is not particularly elegant to say reality is such a place where nothing is in motion, except for some kind of pointer that is having or providing subjective experience. If it is asserted that time dimension is necessary for what we call motion, it is not elegant to say something is in motion outside of it.

So, when I said "once I've tried to reconcile spacetime with the philosophy of the mind, it has become by far the most elegant option to assume that reality really is in motion, and metaphysically so", I meant, to assume that things we observe to be moving really are in motion, in such sense that there is no "past and future in existence all the time". Instead, there is just a present. If this is true, then it naturally follows that where there occurs a process that gives rise to subjective experience, the subjective experience also is in motion, experiencing a present as it is occurring "all the time".

This does not need to be in conflict with any observable effects of relativity. It is just a different map of the same terrain. I don't know how well this is recognized today, since people are so used to think in terms of spacetime and lorentz-transformation. I guess it is not too well recognized, judging from the lengthy articles of Dr. Dick. His description is basically just a different way to look at the same thing. The topology of events is preserved while the shape of the map is very different, and here the topology is all that physical things can observe.

A clock does not measure how time dimension is in motion, but it measures the topology; we compare the motion of two physical things, and say the clock advanced this and this much while some other object advaced this and this much.

Here, the different but compatible ways to imagine reality imply different sorts of ontologies, and in fact I have just been arguing elsewhere that because of how we learn, we can always build arbitrary number of different kinds of ontologies. It will always be a matter of faith to choose between the ontologies, as long as they provide the topology that we observe to be true.

But just to give credit where credit is due, Einstein was aware of this (I don't think you need to be so harsh to the man Dr. Dick :)

The shape of spacetime is not observable property, as long as the topology between things is preserved. The measurement devices do not have a life that is independent of reality:

For the construction of the present theory of relativity the
following is essential:

1. Physical things are described by continuous functions, field-
variables of four coordinates. As long as the topological connection
is preserved, these latter can be freely chosen.
2. The field variables are tensor components, among the tensors is a
symmetrical tensor gik for the description of the gravitational
field.
3. There are physical objects, which (in the macroscopic field)
measure the invariant ds.

If 1 and 2 are accepted, 3 is plausible, but not necessary. The
construction of a mathematical theory rests exclusively upon 1 and
2. A complete theory of physics as a totality, in accordance with 1
and 2 does not yet exist. If it did exist, there would be no room
for the supposition 3. For the objects used as tools for measurement
do not lead an independent existence alongside of the objects
implicated by the field equations.

- Albert Einstein

This can basically be seen as an assertion against the ontological view he favoured himself (subjective simultaneity and static spacetime). We can draw all kinds of simultaneity planes on the spacetime diagram, and assume that they mean this or that, and consequently assert that there must be such a thing as subjective simultaneity, but it need not be that way.

Different views, while preserving the topology, can be argued to be less elegant in some geometrical sense, but on the other hand, it is hardly a trivial to show why would the simplest way to draw the map on paper also be the way reality actually is. Lorentz-transformation can imply invalid ontology while it can predict the correct observable effects. Spacetime diagrams can imply invalid ontology while they can predict the correct observable effects.

I agree completely. But what exactly is this "learning system"? Let me suggest some possibilities.

For starters, we have the living human brain. You have already explained how the brain builds a worldview just as you described above.

Next, we can imagine sophisticated robots that are probably going to be built in the not-too-distant future, which will be set to work exploring heretofore unreachable parts of our universe, such as nano- and micro-scale environments, deep space, deep oceans, etc. And, as you point out, regardless of what they learn about their respective environments, they "can never quite be certain of the ontological nature of [their] own reality."

Next, going backward in time, we can consider the most primitive precursors of life on earth as being such "learning systems". Everything you said above applies to them as well, as it does to all their progeny, including us.

Finally, going back even further in time, we can ask whether the most primordial, or fundamental ontological entity, whatever it was, might not also have the same characteristic of being a "learning system". It makes sense to me that it might, and it seems to me that it might be fruitful to investigate the consequences of this hypothesis. What do you think?
Well it is pretty different from what I'm thinking. I am thinking that it is the complexity of the cortex that gives rise to the learning process that forms the semantical worldview. I am not giving much weight to the idea that semantical learning is something that some simple metaphysical entity is doing (dualism), for quite a few reasons.

I am aware my view cannot solve the Hard Problem, but I would also expect it to be so for a learning system that cannot understand reality directly, but has a subjective experience by having formed a mental model of reality, based on the raw data that is meaningless independently (i.e. the sensory data in its raw form does not carry meaning apart from the learning systems interpreting the data in such or such ways; recognizing such and such objects or sounds or scents from it).

There are also some fairly good descriptions of how the cortex might, at a low level, actually be doing all this. For one, look at Jeff Hawkins' "On Intelligence".

In your post #107 in Quantum Physics>Against "Realism", you wrote,
I have thought about it. It seems to me that an "ability to know", i.e., a "learning system" could be fundamental. It seems less complex than, say, assuming something like energy (the ability to do work), or a field (the ability to force), or a set of laws (the ability to prescribe), is fundamental. What do you think about that?
I think "energy" and "fields" and such things are semantical concepts that can be used as a part of a map, to comprehend how some system works, or more properly, to make some predictions about the behaviour of some system. Any model of reality is a framework that posits such and such things as fundamental. That the model can be used to predict the behaviour of reality correctly doesn't mean that when we imagine its fundamentals, such as "energy", in our heads, we are actually imagining a true sense of reality. We are still just conscious of a map.

I do not think it is fruitful to assume that something as complex as the building of a semantical worldview and interpretation of sensory data accordingly, would be a fundamental function. It is not exactly trivial to build such models, and it is not necessary even. Semantical learning can be seen as (complex) mechanical behaviour, as long as the "knowledge base" of the system is all it subjectively knows about reality, and the knowledge base is something that is an artifical expression of "real things".

I.e. when you are aware of looking at an apple, it is a case if the apple being expressed by the spatial/temporal patterns in cortex. This expression is all you know about reality. Strictly speaking, you don't know what the apple is like "in reality" apart from your own ideas of it.

The fact that a fact is known is a new fact, which could then be known. Similarly, a large set of facts, or information could be generated and developed. (I'm not exactly sure how, but I think it could be worked out.) This set of information, together with the "learning system" itself, would comprise reality. If the "learning system" could act as a "pointer", by successively attending to various details of that set of information (like stable patterns in it), then "the "illusion of flow of time" could be achieved [even though] nothing is in motion in reality".

It should be noticed that in this model, even though nothing in reality is in motion, there is an evolution going on: new information is being added. This is consistent with the part of reality we observe (our universe) in that it already contains a sizeable amount of information and if we consider the present moment of any worldline to be a temporal boundary, it seems that this boundary continues to recede (procede?) into the future.

So reality, as you suggested, really is in motion, but the real motion is only in the "pointer" and not the MWI blocks. I suppose you could also say that the growth of the blocks is motion in the same way that the growth of a coral reef could be said to be motion. The reef is static, but the boundaries move.

I am eager to hear your thoughts on these ideas.
Is this last idea different from idealism? It would require a metaphysical consciousness, in a sense, and in it reality would only occur as a metaphysical learning process of some sort. It is not a map I would readily expect to be close to how reality is, although idealistic models can be much more coherent internally than most flavours of dualism or panpsychism or naive realism. I am still thinking materialism seems most coherent, as long as one is also aware of this leading to the fact that our conscious experience is limited to consist of the ideas the cortex forms about reality. There are some very good survival reasons why the cortex would do this, and why subjective experience could come to exists as a side-product of all the building of an artificial ideal or model of reality.

I'm sorry I cannot be brief. I've tried and usually everything I say gets misinterpreted into some kind of idealistic or solipsistic view :)

-Anssi
vanesch
#123
Dec10-06, 02:17 PM
Emeritus
Sci Advisor
PF Gold
P: 6,236
Quote Quote by Doctordick View Post
Exactly what do you mean by “a strange smell to it”? Are you trying to suggest it is a piece of “Cr*p”?
Well, for one thing, there's quite some hokus pokus going on. You map a finite set on some random points on the real axis, you assign them some probabilities in all generality, which can always be written as the absolute value of a complex number, and suddenly that mapping, from that set of measure 0 on the real axis, into those complex numbers, should be a differentiable function, and imposing some conditions on that, and out of it pops the Dirac equation... come on !

It is not very difficult to obtain the Dirac equation when you require exactly the right kind of transformation rules. But they seem to really be begging the question.

True, any finite state machine can be modelled within the system of real numbers, but usually no calculus technique works on those kinds of very singular objects, let alone series devellopment and derivatives.
mosassam
#124
Dec10-06, 10:41 PM
P: 192
Quote Quote by Doctordick View Post
Time is a basic ontological concept and as such certainly cannot be “proved” from an epistemological perspective (you can google those terms for clarification); however, time can be seen as a required concept from the perspective that we are not all knowing and the representation of change in our knowledge has to be possible in any rational world view.
If one examines the situation carefully, it can be seen that no further refinement of the concept is necessary at all. But, in order to understand that assertion, you would need to understand calculus and my presentation, “A Universal Analytical Model of Explanation"
I think the real problem here is that you cannot comprehend that it is you (and the rest of the physics community) who are making the error when you presume that there exists a “subjective time” which can be absolutely mapped into a universally valid coordinate system. By universally valid, I mean a coordinate system which can be used to express all aspects of reality. If you have any decent training in physics, you should be aware of the problems arising when one tries to create a general relativisticly correct theory of quantum mechanics. I am asserting that these problems are entirely due to the erroneous concept of time taken to be obviously valid by the physics community. Take a look at my paper, http://”Resolution of the Relativity...nics Conflict”.
The correct answer to that question is NO! Time is a subjective matter and not a coordinate of the universe!
No, I would not agree with that statement. What is subjective is the time elapsing between events. All observers will agree exactly with the concurrence of specific events so there is considerably more objective analysis than implied by the statement, “but only a subjective reality which is observer-dependent”.
Both parties will agree that they both saw the explosion at the same moment and, further, that the firecracker exploded at the very same moment that the fuse burned into the charge; what they will argue about is the elapsed time between those two events (a subjective matter wholly dependent upon their personal presumptions as to the proper geometry to be used to describe the circumstance).
I will agree that you need to introduce “a master observer”, if you wish to attach a “time” parameter to the collection of events, but where do you come up with the idea that you should be able to attach such a parameter to these events? As I said, you are just too embedded in Einstein’s perspective to realize that it is not only unnecessary but a globally invalid concept.
Why do you refer to my presentation as an ”ether mode”? Past and future is a statement about the state of the universe available to an entity at a particular point in its path through the geometry. Even in Einstein’s perspective, the exact information as to the state of the universe available to a specific entity at each point in its path is a universal observable (it’s right there at the point of his light cone). The only problem is attaching a universally agreed upon parameter to that collection of events.
Does it really? Are you saying that a geometry which yields the “speed of light” as the same in any direction is not a preferred foliation of space-time? Can you give me an experiment which proves the speed of light is the same in the plus or minus x direction? Wouldn’t such a proof violate the basic premise of relativity itself? I say Einstein chose that particular “preferred foliation” of the geometry to be used because it was convenient to his Newtonian world view. Actually Einstein is the one who has failed to present the universe in a manner independent of the old “ether” concept. Even today I regularly read articles clearly discussing the “structure of space-time”. Now, if that is not an “ether” concept, what is?
Exactly what do you mean by “a strange smell to it”? Are you trying to suggest it is a piece of “Cr*p”? That seems to be the consensus of the physics community but that doesn’t make them right! Yes, it is officially published somewhere: on my web site where you read it! As far as it not making sense to you, what did you do, just scan it? It is fundamentally a deduction and the line where you were confused should be clear if you read it carefully. If you have any serious rational questions, I am here to answer them. If your real interest is just to dissuade others from thinking about what I say, I have no interest in battling windmills.

Have fun -- Dick
Again, apologies for my layman status, please be patient. You seem to be saying that Time is a philosophical construct (I had to Google ontological) and cannot be "proved" mathematically or scientifically. You also refer to it as a 'required concept'. My understanding of this is that Time has no objective existence but (warning! - oversimplfication approaching) because it has been such a successful measuring device, and because the passing of time is such a deeply intuitive aspect of human consciousness, that it is accepted as part of the scientific paradigm. For me at least, this runs counter to my view of physics as a 'hard' science.
AnssiH
#125
Dec11-06, 02:37 AM
P: 249
Quote Quote by mosassam View Post
Again, apologies for my layman status, please be patient. You seem to be saying that Time is a philosophical construct (I had to Google ontological) and cannot be "proved" mathematically or scientifically. You also refer to it as a 'required concept'. My understanding of this is that Time has no objective existence but (warning! - oversimplfication approaching) because it has been such a successful measuring device, and because the passing of time is such a deeply intuitive aspect of human consciousness, that it is accepted as part of the scientific paradigm. For me at least, this runs counter to my view of physics as a 'hard' science.
Hmmm, how should I put it... The ontology of time is a question about what is the "true nature of time", or more properly, how should we understand time so to hold an idea that is as true to reality as possible. (With any question of ontology one must also understand map/territory relationship. Wikipedia it)

Now, in the "standard interpretation" of relativity, it is asserted that time is such a thing where it doesn't "pass" in an everyday sense at all. I.e. because relativity says simultaneity is subjective notion, it pretty much follows that in reality the "present moment" cannot be thought to exist, but rather all of time exists at once.

This view of course goes counter to our subjective experience, and sure enough, is problematic when you try to actually understand the nature of subjective experience. But here one can choose to interpret spacetime differently, without losing any observable effects of relativity. These would be different ontological views of time, that no one can prove or disprove with an experiement.

So is it possible to adopt such a view where there does exist a universal "present moment" and things really are in motion (so to explain why we, as physical beings, consciously experience a single present moment)?

Yes! If you imagine a static spacetime block in front of you, it is the topology of things, the way they connect, that gives you the observable relativistic effects. If you imagine the spacetime to bend one way or another, the topology does not change and thus no physical thing can ever detect this bending.

Similarly, the simultaneity planes attached to observers are also unobservable imaginary things. They do not change the topology of spacetime. To say that simultaneity is subjective is, strictly speaking, an ontological assertion. (Although it is often not treated as one, mainly because this assumption is what made it possible for Einstein to construct the model, and by assuming relativity of simultaneity, a spacetime diagram is geometrically simple to draw and understand from within one frame)

Now you should also be able to see how you could just choose to see this same spacetime as if there exists only one 3D-slice of it at a time, and as if this slice is really moving from "past" towards the "future". Does this change the topology of spacetime? No! This would essentially be such an ontological interpretation of relativity where simultaneity is universal, but the topology of physical connections causes time dilation effects.

Bear in mind that the above are just some principles. I would not use these concepts to construct an ontological view (because it doesn't offer any reason as to why the topology is such as it is), but I hope it goes to show that it is the topology of spacetime that is physically important and observable, and assertions about relativity of simultaneity or static spacetime blocks or such assertions about the nature of time are a matter of ontology, not something that can be proven.

As a simple exercise about the importance of topology, consider the fact that in any view of time, it cannot be said that time metaphysically and objectively moves at a rate that we observe it to move. Once a person is able to disgard naive realist view of reality, it is easy to see that the subjective experience of the "rate of time" depends on the speed with which the physical processes in the brain proceed. Twice the speed, and the time would seem to slow down to half. Here if course "twice the speed" could only mean "twice the speed as compared to external reality", i.e. it would only change the topology of "spacetime". I could say that "in reality it could take thousand years for one second to proceed and we as physical beings could not notice it", and this confused assertion hopefully reveals how our ideas of time are completely semantical. The "rate of passage of time" is not important, the topology is, and so is the existence of "present moment" for subjective experience.

-Anssi
Doctordick
#126
Dec11-06, 04:02 PM
P: 625
Quote Quote by AnssiH View Post
Instead, there is just a present.
If nothing exists but the present, where do your memories come from. And finally, how can you think about the present? There isn't enough time for you to do anything!
Quote Quote by AnssiH View Post
But just to give credit where credit is due, Einstein was aware of this (I don't think you need to be so harsh to the man Dr. Dick :)

The shape of spacetime is not observable property, as long as the topology between things is preserved. The measurement devices do not have a life that is independent of reality:
Now that's a very nice sentiment, but does it really agree with his judgements?
For the construction of the present theory of relativity the
following is essential:

1. Physical things are described by continuous functions, field-
variables of four coordinates. As long as the topological connection
is preserved, these latter can be freely chosen.
And exactly how would one prove that statement? Proof that something physical is continuous would involve examining every point in that continuum. Such an examination would take an infinite amount of time and thus could not be completed. It follows that this statement is an assumption and not a testable assertion.
2. The field variables are tensor components, among the tensors is a symmetrical tensor gik for the description of the gravitational field.
This is clearly a theory; in fact it is his theory of gravity!
3. There are physical objects, which (in the macroscopic field) measure the invariant ds.
Now this I might agree with, but not from his perspective.
If 1 and 2 are accepted, 3 is plausible, but not necessary. The construction of a mathematical theory rests exclusively upon 1 and 2. A complete theory of physics as a totality, in accordance with 1 and 2 does not yet exist. If it did exist, there would be no room for the supposition 3. For the objects used as tools for measurement do not lead an independent existence alongside of the objects implicated by the field equations.
Well, in my opinion, his perspective is distorted by undefendable assumptions which are the source of his failure; and the source of the failure of the physics community to established a TOE.
Quote Quote by AnssiH View Post
I.e. when you are aware of looking at an apple, it is a case if the apple being expressed by the spatial/temporal patterns in cortex. This expression is all you know about reality. Strictly speaking, you don't know what the apple is like "in reality" apart from your own ideas of it.
Absolutely correct. Perhaps you can get your mind around another very perplexing problem (solved by no one except myself because no one has seriously examined it). Which comes first, your senses of reality or your mental model of reality: i.e., how do you model your senses without a mental model of reality? The correct answer is, you cannot! The clue to solving the problem is realizing that you are free to model your senses: i.e., how your senses work can not be taken as an [i]a-priori[i] given. They should, instead, be taken as a free parameter which can be used to build a solution to the problem of understanding reality.
Quote Quote by AnssiH View Post
I'm sorry I cannot be brief. I've tried and usually everything I say gets misinterpreted into some kind of idealistic or solipsistic view :)
I sympathize as I often find myself in exactly the same position.
Quote Quote by vanesch View Post
Well, for one thing, there's quite some hokus pokus going on. You map a finite set on some random points on the real axis, you assign them some probabilities in all generality, which can always be written as the absolute value of a complex number, and suddenly that mapping, from that set of measure 0 on the real axis, into those complex numbers, should be a differentiable function, and imposing some conditions on that, and out of it pops the Dirac equation... come on !
Ok, begin with my definition of "an explanation", and take it one step at a time. Either the validity of the step follows from what has been presented or it doesn't! I think the "hokus pokus" is in your imagination (created solely to provide you with a rational for ignoring what I say. Of course that's just my opinion.

And, by the way, a lot more than Dirac's equation pops out!
Quote Quote by mosassam View Post
For me at least, this runs counter to my view of physics as a 'hard' science.
I went into physics because math and physics seemed to be the only fields where the issue, "who is b*** sh***** you ", seemed to be answerable in a clear and decisive manner. As math was totally abstract and says nothing about reality, physics was the only subject left to study. By the time I got to graduate school, the professional physicists were as bad as any other field; i.e., they were giving me undefendable propositions as if they were fact! Note that I don't hold that science should be defended via a democratic vote: i.e., consensus need not be consistent with "valid".

As to the issue of the necessity of the concept "time", if you are to hold the opinion that the concept "time" is unnecessary for a description of your experiences, I would ask you how you propose to reference change in your knowledge?

Have fun -- Dick


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