Please forgive another round on the block universe, but I had a brief visit with Paul Davies and wanted to give the folks on the forum a report along with some quotes from his book. Sorry for the lengthy post. I was at a high school reunion in Phoenix last weekend and was staying with my brother in Tempe, AZ. Paul Davies, author of several physics books (popularizations for the layman), is the Director of the Cosmology and Beyond Center in the physics department at Arizona State University in Tempe. I read again his book, “About Time” (again), during the flight out and was anxious to meet him. I caught him in the middle of a busy schedule, but he was very nice in taking a few minutes to visit and autograph my copy of his book. I mainly wanted to report for you a sense of his views on the block universe concept that we’ve worked over quite a bit here. It is clear from his book and comments to me that he embraces this concept and feels that most physicists do as well, although he seems to prefer the term, “block time.” I could not get him to buy into the idea that the 4th dimension, X4, is fundamentally of a spatial character, having the same basic spatial nature as X1, X2, and X3. I asked him, “Given the block universe concept, should we not regard X4 as having a spatial nature rather than thinking of it as a time dimension?” His comment was, “Well, you can think of it that way, but that’s not the world we live in.” I think that is pretty much in line with the thinking of most of our forum members here. Here are a few quotes from his book on the block time concept: CHAPTER 2 He has a section in Chapter 2 titled, “Timescape.” Each section has a quote or notable saying under the title. This section has a quote by Einstein that many of you are familiar with, “The distinction between past, present and future is only an illusion, even if a stubborn one.” Page 71. Paul Davies writing, “…there is only one rational conclusion to draw from the relative nature of simultaneity: events in the past and future have to be every bit as real as events in the present.” “The idea that events in time are laid out ‘all at once’ motivated Einstein to write the words quoted at the start of this section.” Page 72. “If time can be spatialized, at least for the purposes of mathematical representation, then it must be treated as a fourth dimension…” Page 73, referring to the British scientist Charles Hinton’s 1880 essay “What is the Fourth Dimension” . “Hinton asserts that the now of our conscious awareness is merely a subjective phenomenon…” Paul Davies writing, “Einstein himself wasn’t too thrilled with the unified spacetime idea at first, dismissing Minkowski’s new four-dimensionality as ‘superflous’ pedantry, but he came around to the idea in due course.” Page 76. “Spatializing time like this may advance our understanding of physics, but a heavy price has been paid. Human life revolves around the division of time into past, present and future; people will not relinquish these categories just because physicists say they are discredited.” “This is perhaps what disturbs people most about block time. If the future is somehow ‘already there,’ then we can have no hand in shaping it. ”Weyl once wrote: ‘The world does not happen, it simply is.’ If you believe Weyl, Einstein did; hence the quote at the start of this section, penned in consolation to Besso’s widow following his death (just a few weeks before Einstein’s own.” “In their professional lives most physicists accept without question the concept of the timescape (block time), but away from work they act like everybody else, basing their thoughts and actions on the assumption of a moving present moment.” CHAPTER 12 Page 253. “I have already explained how the theory of relativity leads to the notion of block time, and the picture of time as the fourth dimension simply ‘laid out all at once.’ Since Einstein, physicists have generally rejected the notion that events ‘happen,’ as opposed to merely exist in the four-dimensional spacetime continuum.” “...Oceans (rivers?) of ink have been spilled on the subject, yet still the flow of time is as mysterious as ever, So mysterious, in fact, that philosophers such as Smart have been forced to conclude that there is no river of time. It is, so to speak, all in the mind. ‘Certainly we feel that time flow,’ Smart concedes, but in his opinion, ‘this feeling arises out of metaphysical confusion.’ In fact, he believes it is merely ‘an illusion.’ ” Page 255. “David Park is a physicist and philosopher at Williams College in Massachusetts with a lifelong interest in a time which he too thinks doesn’t pass. For Park, the passage of time is not so much an illusion as a myth, ‘because it involves no deception of the senses… One cannot perform any experiment to tell unambiguously whether time passes or not.’ “ “When it comes to the truly objective properties of the world, reference to the flow of time appears superfluous.” Page 260. “Einstein scuttled the notion of a universal now, and pointed the way to ‘block time,’ in which all events—past, present and future—are equally real. To the physicist, human beings of the twenty-fifth century are ‘there’… They are there in the future.” Paul Davies's views would not be properly represented without his comment on page 283 (the last page): "In my opinion, the greatest outstanding riddle concerns the glaring mismatch between physical time and subjective, or psychological time. Experiments on human time perception are in their infancy; we have much to learn about the way the brain represents time, and how that relates to our sense of free will." "It is my personal belief that we are approaching a pivotal moment in history, when our knowledge of time is about to take another great leap forward. Einstein left us an important legacy. He showed us how time is part of the physical world, and gave us a magnificent theory that interweaves time with space and matter. Throughout the twentieth century, scientists have diligently explored the consequences of Einstein's time, both theoretically and experimentally. In doing so, they have unearthed some unnerving and bizarre possibilites, many of which have turned out to be true. Yet they have also encountered severe obstacles to a full understanding of time, hinting that Einstein's revolution remains unfinished. I believe its completion will prove a major outstanding challenge to twenty-first-century science."