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Einstein's block universe?

excreationist

Married mouth-breather

DrZoidberg

Contributor
Apparently Einstein believed in a block universe where the past and future exist eternally and are inevitable.

https://plus.maths.org/content/what-block-time

"The block universe theory, where time travel is possible but time passing is an illusion"
https://www.abc.net.au/news/science...eory-time-past-present-future-travel/10178386

This might be compatible with how people think God relates to the universe.

What do people think of that idea?

Quantum fluctuations will fuck it up. Each time you time travel it'll be different. There's no way to, even hypothetically, go back and forward in time.

But more importantly... who cares about what Einstein thinks of anything? It's interesting to study Einstein for historical reasons. But we don't care what... let's say Socrates... said about things he was wrong about. We only care about the stuff that has held up. We don't let the stuff he was wrong about tarnish his memory.
 

excreationist

Married mouth-breather
....Quantum fluctuations will fuck it up. Each time you time travel it'll be different. There's no way to, even hypothetically, go back and forward in time...
Maybe the part about time travel is not useful but the focus of this is about the block universe in general.

But more importantly... who cares about what Einstein thinks of anything?
I do.

It's interesting to study Einstein for historical reasons. But we don't care what... let's say Socrates... said about things he was wrong about. We only care about the stuff that has held up. We don't let the stuff he was wrong about tarnish his memory.
I think there are more modern supporters of the block universe, and like I said it could be compatible with Christians' views of the universe and God.
 

DrZoidberg

Contributor
I think there are more modern supporters of the block universe, and like I said it could be compatible with Christians' views of the universe and God.

It's interesting why you would use the term "supporters"? You make it sound like it's a sports team or a religion. This is just science. Unless you're a scientist, nobody cares what you support or believe. If you, as a layperson pick a team, you have delusions of grandeur. To quote Niel DeGrasse Tyson. The nice thing about science is that it's true whether you believe in it or not.

Right now we have a bag of about 300 viable theory of everything hypothesis, which might all be wrong.

...and who cares if if a scientific theory is compatible with Christians views of the universe? Religion is just myth. It's not objective reality. It might resonate with you for poetic reasons and might describe a version reality that evokes feelings within you, but religion isn't science. Who cares if science is compatible with religion? Science is reality. Religion is myth. Science is reason. Religion is emotions. They're not remotely discussing the same thing. You can feel God's presence in your heart even if God, in a scientific sense, doesn't exist.
 

Cheerful Charlie

Contributor
Apparently Einstein believed in a block universe where the past and future exist eternally and are inevitable.

https://plus.maths.org/content/what-block-time

"The block universe theory, where time travel is possible but time passing is an illusion"
https://www.abc.net.au/news/science...eory-time-past-present-future-travel/10178386

This might be compatible with how people think God relates to the universe.

What do people think of that idea?

If there is a real Universe where time is just an illusion, and God created everything, then God created everything at once. There is no A cause B cause C cause D etc. A is because God created A, B is because Go created B and so on. Thus God creates all moral evil, all natural evil. God then is evil. God then created Hitler and all his actions to the most infitesimal degree. We have no free will. All is just a bizarre puppet show performed by God for what end?

This block Universe idea is shaky on a number of fronts, but if we take it seriously for sake of argument, it utterly devastates the idea of God as understood by Christianity, Islam and similar religions with an omni-everything creator God outside of time and space.
 

PyramidHead

Contributor
I don't think it's true to say that Einstein was a proponent of the block universe as it is ordinarily understood. In the mind's eye, you can imagine this "block" as being a chunk of spacetime filled with events and extended in spatial and temporal dimensions, but existing statically or "all at once". This last part violates the central concept of Einstein's life's work, which is that there is no "at once" that applies beyond the reference frame of a given observer moving at a given speed. For a block universe to make any sense, there would have to be a stable axis of time, such that you could put this block universe on a meat slicer and shave off a discrete quantity of duration that is synchronized across the surface of the slice. Time doesn't work that way. The "present moment" of the Andromeda galaxy, relative to Earth, is effectively two million years long, with no privileged spot within it to properly match up to what we call "now" way over here. And that's our closest galactic neighbor! Anything like a block representing spacetime would surely dissolve into incoherence at the scale of the cosmos.
 

skepticalbip

Contributor
Interestingly, combining the block universe with religion pretty much destroys all the teachings of religion. Everything that has ever happened and will ever happen would be already set in stone by god so there can be no free will, no morality, no sin, etc.

All of an eternal universe would just be a four dimensional fixed piece of art that god could hang over the fireplace in his five dimensional den and occasionally admire when he has nothing else to do. This would make humanity much less than insignificant to the point of meaningless.
 
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excreationist

Married mouth-breather
Interestingly, combining the block universe with religion pretty much destroys all the teachings of religion. Everything that has ever happened and will ever happen would be already set in stone by god so there can be no free will, no morality, no sin, etc.

All of an eternal universe would just be a four dimensional fixed piece of art that god could hang over the fireplace in his five dimensional den and occasionally admire when he has nothing else to do. This would make humanity much less than insignificant to the point of meaningless.

"God Logically Implies A Block Universe Theory Of Time"
http://wmbriggs.com/post/22839/

cambridgeblog.org/2008/09/god-and-time/
"...In other words, what God sees is exactly the block universe. Since any theologian must believe that God knows things as they truly are, this would seem to give theological endorsement to the concept of the block universe...."

About free will:
https://www.skepticink.com/tippling/2012/09/24/time-free-will-and-the-block-universe/

Note I am an agnostic.
 

skepticalbip

Contributor
Sorry but neither of those two posts was a response. This is a discussion board, don't you have an opinion or thought? I can google and find tons of other people's opinion in blogs and articles about almost any subject, but that is not a discussion.
 

excreationist

Married mouth-breather
Sorry but neither of those two posts was a response. This is a discussion board, don't you have an opinion or thought? I can google and find tons of other people's opinion in blogs and articles about almost any subject, but that is not a discussion.
I am disagreeing with what you wrote like "...combining the block universe with religion pretty much destroys all the teachings of religion..." I thought other people's reasoning would be better than my own. Post #9 about time travel is disagreeing with DrZoidberg's "There's no way to, even hypothetically, go back and forward in time".
Personally I find referring to good quality web articles to be very useful because they are often well thought out - better than I could easily come up with on my own. I have only a high school level of education in physics so my solo reasoning about it isn't of a very high standard compared to many people on these forums.
BTW in discussions I've had on Facebook with creationists, I prefer them to find non-creationist articles on the internet to support their views rather than refer to nothing at all or pro-creationist articles.

"....don't you have an opinion or thought?...."

Well it often turns out that any opinions I have that go against mainstream science turn out to be flawed but I still like to explore those things anyway to get an understanding of things even if I'm not strongly supporting them.
 

DBT

Contributor
The passing of time in a block time universe is an illusion. Time doesn't pass or flow, it is a dimension, the fourth dimension.
 

skepticalbip

Contributor
Sorry but neither of those two posts was a response. This is a discussion board, don't you have an opinion or thought? I can google and find tons of other people's opinion in blogs and articles about almost any subject, but that is not a discussion.
I am disagreeing with what you wrote like "...combining the block universe with religion pretty much destroys all the teachings of religion..."
That's fine but you need to then argue why you disagree, not just post a link.

I'll expand further on my reasoning as to why it would destroy the teaching of religion. Imagine god creating a block time universe. When creating one of the individuals to be part of that universe, he would create that individual's past, present, and future complete with all actions that individual thinks he is doing and place him in that universe. Religion promotes the idea that there are individual free will, morality, sin, etc. How could the ideas of religion possibly be correct since everything down to the minutest detail that ever was, is, and will be was fixed and immutable when created? Individuals have no choice since everything is fixed throughout space and time as created. Without the ability to make a choice of action and thought there can be no free will, morality, sin, etc. There could still be a creator god but the creation would be rather sterile and immutable.
"....don't you have an opinion or thought?...."

Well it often turns out that any opinions I have that go against mainstream science turn out to be flawed but I still like to explore those things anyway to get an understanding of things even if I'm not strongly supporting them.
There is nothing wrong with that. That is the point of discussions. No one is always right and we discover our errors in understand by trying to defend those understandings and being shown and convinced where they are incorrect. Alternately, we sometimes learn more that better support our understanding. Both is how we learn and that is a good thing.
 

excreationist

Married mouth-breather
This is a front cover article from New Scientist - Feb 14, 2018:
"Quantum time machine: How the future can change what happens now - The idea that the future can influence the past may finally explain the inherent randomness of quantum theory and bring it in line with Einstein's space-time"
https://www.newscientist.com/articl...e-how-the-future-can-change-what-happens-now/

Here is the full text:
https://www.sott.net/article/377599...what-happens-now-as-in-a-quantum-time-machine

It talks about the block universe.

...I'll expand further on my reasoning as to why it would destroy the teaching of religion. Imagine god creating a block time universe. When creating one of the individuals to be part of that universe, he would create that individual's past, present, and future complete with all actions that individual thinks he is doing and place him in that universe. Religion promotes the idea that there are individual free will, morality, sin, etc. How could the ideas of religion possibly be correct since everything down to the minutest detail that ever was, is, and will be was fixed and immutable when created? Individuals have no choice since everything is fixed throughout space and time as created. Without the ability to make a choice of action and thought there can be no free will, morality, sin, etc. There could still be a creator god but the creation would be rather sterile and immutable.
That article says "God plays sudoku" - so maybe "God" would fill in the initial conditions and places where he intervenes. Then physics (based on sudoku rules) would fill more things in, including physics involving people's choices.

BTW does the hypothetical God know the future? In the predestination book I have it says God knows the future - doesn't that mean that people are deterministic and unable to change their mind from what God knows will happen?
 

skepticalbip

Contributor
...I'll expand further on my reasoning as to why it would destroy the teaching of religion. Imagine god creating a block time universe. When creating one of the individuals to be part of that universe, he would create that individual's past, present, and future complete with all actions that individual thinks he is doing and place him in that universe. Religion promotes the idea that there are individual free will, morality, sin, etc. How could the ideas of religion possibly be correct since everything down to the minutest detail that ever was, is, and will be was fixed and immutable when created? Individuals have no choice since everything is fixed throughout space and time as created. Without the ability to make a choice of action and thought there can be no free will, morality, sin, etc. There could still be a creator god but the creation would be rather sterile and immutable.
That article says "God plays sudoku" - so maybe "God" would fill in the initial conditions and places where he intervenes. Then physics (based on sudoku rules) would fill more things in, including physics involving people's choices.

BTW does the hypothetical God know the future? In the predestination book I have it says God knows the future - doesn't that mean that people are deterministic and unable to change their mind from what God knows will happen?

You seem to be mixing several different and mutually exclusive ideas about the nature of the universe. I don't see that a block time universe would be so much a matter that god knows the future as it would be that the past, present, and future are all created together so all exist simultaneously. It would be a fixed, unvarying universe and if there's a god then he would be at least a five dimensional critter so sees what we think of as past, present, and future as one fixed unchanging block.
 

Kharakov

Quantum Hot Dog
This might be compatible with how people think God relates to the universe.

What do people think of that idea?

According to some perspectives God always has access to the whole, which can mean stuff like: God has multiple save points, or God has many worlds evolving at different rates (so one of the differences in the many worlds is the rate that time passes in different worlds).

To riff on the many worlds interpretation: there could be a world (verse in the multiverse) that is now 10^-42 seconds after the big bang. Information could be inserted in this world that would change the evolution of the whole. There could be another world that is 10 minutes before I posted this message with a naked picture of me before the power went out. I'm hoping.


So when God learns something new- a new way of dealing with things, then God can insert this and re-evolve the universe from a past point. Parts of the universe will stay the same, parts will not (depending on whether there is a universal information update or not- and where in the evolution of the universe the "new" information is acting).



I don't know about a block universe- I think I have a block brain though.
 

excreationist

Married mouth-breather
....You seem to be mixing several different and mutually exclusive ideas about the nature of the universe. I don't see that a block time universe would be so much a matter that god knows the future as it would be that the past, present, and future are all created together so all exist simultaneously. It would be a fixed, unvarying universe and if there's a god then he would be at least a five dimensional critter so sees what we think of as past, present, and future as one fixed unchanging block.
That New Scientist article I linked to talked about a block universe and talked about "God" filling it in like sudoku rather than filling it in in one step.

Also could you answer this:
"BTW does the hypothetical God know the future? In the predestination book I have it says God knows the future - doesn't that mean that people are deterministic and unable to change their mind from what God knows will happen?"
 

skepticalbip

Contributor
....You seem to be mixing several different and mutually exclusive ideas about the nature of the universe. I don't see that a block time universe would be so much a matter that god knows the future as it would be that the past, present, and future are all created together so all exist simultaneously. It would be a fixed, unvarying universe and if there's a god then he would be at least a five dimensional critter so sees what we think of as past, present, and future as one fixed unchanging block.
That New Scientist article I linked to talked about a block universe and talked about "God" filling it in like sudoku rather than filling it in in one step.

Also could you answer this:
"BTW does the hypothetical God know the future? In the predestination book I have it says God knows the future - doesn't that mean that people are deterministic and unable to change their mind from what God knows will happen?"
That is what I was attempting to answer in the post you quoted... repteated here:
I don't see that a block time universe would be so much a matter that god knows the future as it would be that the past, present, and future are all created together so all exist simultaneously. It would be a fixed, unvarying universe and if there's a god then he would be at least a five dimensional critter so sees what we think of as past, present, and future as one fixed unchanging block.

In effect I see it as god would know everything that has occured, is occurring, and will ever occur because it was all created together... it was all set, so since it was all set then nothing can change. This means predetermined to the smallest detail so humans can not change anything having no free will.

This is a universe that I, personally, don't see as possible but it is what the universe would be if the current model of block time is assumed.
 

excreationist

Married mouth-breather
That is what I was attempting to answer in the post you quoted... repteated here:
I don't see that a block time universe would be so much a matter that god knows the future as it would be that the past, present, and future are all created together so all exist simultaneously. It would be a fixed, unvarying universe and if there's a god then he would be at least a five dimensional critter so sees what we think of as past, present, and future as one fixed unchanging block.
Sorry could you be more clear? Does the hypothetical God know the future? Yes or no? I think for Christians who believe in predestination God does know the future - in every little detail. He knows what everyone will do.
 

excreationist

Married mouth-breather
....In effect I see it as god would know everything that has occured, is occurring, and will ever occur because it was all created together... it was all set, so since it was all set then nothing can change. This means predetermined to the smallest detail so humans can not change anything having no free will.
Yes I think that is the concept of predestination. I don't really understand it but many believers claim it is compatible with "free will".

This is a universe that I, personally, don't see as possible but it is what the universe would be if the current model of block time is assumed.
Why is a fully deterministic universe impossible? Many believe in it. Block time is based on a deterministic universe.

BTW
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Predestination
"Predestination, in theology, is the doctrine that all events have been willed by God..."
Also:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Predeterminism
"Predeterminism is the idea that all events are determined in advance. Predeterminism is the philosophy that all events of history, past, present and future, have been already decided or are already known (by God, fate, or some other force), including human actions."

That sounds compatible with the block universe.
 
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DBT

Contributor
There are at least four interpretations of QM that are deterministic;
''Interestingly enough, the formalism of quantum mechanics is itself deterministic. Assuming you know the initial state of an isolated quantum system, the system will then evolve forward in time, following Schrodinger’s equation exactly. The only aspect of quantum theory which is random is what happens when you make a measurement.''
 

excreationist

Married mouth-breather
This might be compatible with how people think God relates to the universe.

What do people think of that idea?

According to some perspectives God always has access to the whole, which can mean stuff like: God has multiple save points, or God has many worlds evolving at different rates (so one of the differences in the many worlds is the rate that time passes in different worlds)....
Though I used to prefer the multiverse idea (due to it making abiogenesis and evolution inevitable) I don't think it is very compatible with traditional Christianity.
Here are some criticisms of it:
https://answersingenesis.org/astronomy/cosmology/faith-in-the-multiverse/
https://answersingenesis.org/astronomy/cosmology/multiverse-is-our-universe-one-of-many/

To riff on the many worlds interpretation: there could be a world (verse in the multiverse) that is now 10^-42 seconds after the big bang. Information could be inserted in this world that would change the evolution of the whole. There could be another world that is 10 minutes before I posted this message with a naked picture of me before the power went out. I'm hoping.

So when God learns something new- a new way of dealing with things, then God can insert this and re-evolve the universe from a past point. Parts of the universe will stay the same, parts will not (depending on whether there is a universal information update or not- and where in the evolution of the universe the "new" information is acting).
Many Christians would say that God can't learn something new. (though maybe there is some Biblical support when he regrets things like making man)

I don't know about a block universe- I think I have a block brain though.
 

skepticalbip

Contributor
skepticalbip:
Could you please explain why it can't be possible for a universe to exist that doesn't in your view allow free will? Note that a thing you are against, Predeterminism, has supporters that are convinced it is compatible with free will.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Predeterminism


It is the nature of the universe that block time specifies that I have a problem with which has nothing to do with free will. I would have the same problem if there were no humans. It isn't the issue of free will that makes such a universe a problem. You just seem to worry about humans so I mentioned that such a universe would not allow for free will either because everything would already be set and unchangeable..

Maybe you could explain why you think a fixed unchanging block time universe would allow for free will instead of linking a site I can't communicate with.
 

excreationist

Married mouth-breather
It is the nature of the universe that block time specifies that I have a problem with which has nothing to do with free will.
Well the front cover article from New Scientist magazine this year (see post #16) focused on the block universe which suggests it is a scientifically plausible idea.

....so I mentioned that such a universe would not allow for free will either because everything would already be set and unchangeable..

Maybe you could explain why you think a fixed unchanging block time universe would allow for free will instead of linking a site I can't communicate with.
Even though I've read a short book about predestination recently twice I don't understand the arguments concerning free will very well. I don't see why I am required to research free will in that article
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Predeterminism
since I am apathetic on the topic. I think you claiming there is no room for free will in predeterminism isn't justified though I guess it would mean you doing research in order to address this.

I'll try and address it anyway though my reasoning might be completely different from people who are experts in this field. One way a person could have "free will" if predeterminism is true is when the person is unaware of the choice they will ultimately make. They have the freedom to make the worst choice if they wish. This will make them see their choice as being "free" even though to those who have full knowledge of the block universe their choice was predetermined the whole time.
 
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DBT

Contributor
There is no possibility of a different outcome within a determined system, so all decisions are determined by the conditions that shape them, making the perception of choosing this option instead of that option an illusion.

An illusion because there was never the possibility of choosing otherwise, or acting otherwise, decisions and actions being determined by the world at large acting upon the brain, itself a determined system.

So, within a determined system, there can not only not be no free will (a poorly defined concept as it is), but no possibility of freedom of action, no possibility of 'doing otherwise'
 

excreationist

Married mouth-breather
...So, within a determined system, there can not only not be no free will (a poorly defined concept as it is), but no possibility of freedom of action, no possibility of 'doing otherwise'
From the perspective of a person, it can feel like they have free will. They can choose something that seems irrational - so they are free to do things that are against their normal preferences. I think that counts as a form of free will.
 

DBT

Contributor
...So, within a determined system, there can not only not be no free will (a poorly defined concept as it is), but no possibility of freedom of action, no possibility of 'doing otherwise'
From the perspective of a person, it can feel like they have free will. They can choose something that seems irrational - so they are free to do things that are against their normal preferences. I think that counts as a form of free will.

Not really. It does count as an illusion of free will. The illusion of the ability to have made a different choice when in fact the choice that happens to be made in any given instance in time is the only 'choice' that can be made, given determinism, given the state of the system in that instance in time.....which of course includes the brain making that decision.

But perhaps, for some, a comforting illusion none the less.
 

excreationist

Married mouth-breather
BTW in movies about time loops like "Groundhog Day" the other characters are all deterministic - they act in an identical way based on how the main character interacts with them.
 

WAB

Banned
...So, within a determined system, there can not only not be no free will (a poorly defined concept as it is), but no possibility of freedom of action, no possibility of 'doing otherwise'
From the perspective of a person, it can feel like they have free will. They can choose something that seems irrational - so they are free to do things that are against their normal preferences. I think that counts as a form of free will.

Not really. It does count as an illusion of free will. The illusion of the ability to have made a different choice when in fact the choice that happens to be made in any given instance in time is the only 'choice' that can be made, given determinism, given the state of the system in that instance in time.....which of course includes the brain making that decision.

But perhaps, for some, a comforting illusion none the less.

Comforting? Perhaps for some?

To my mind, it's a lot more comforting to consider the idea that I have no control over anything. No control, no blame. I couldn't help it, officer.

Like Sartre said, "condemned to be free": ie, freedom entails responsibility, accountability. It's a scary prospect.
 

DBT

Contributor
BTW in movies about time loops like "Groundhog Day" the other characters are all deterministic - they act in an identical way based on how the main character interacts with them.

The character in Groundhog day, through experience, is aware of repeating the same day over and over, so has information available to him that he would not normally have. He knows exactly what is going to happen as he steps outside, so is able to use that information to alter an event he knows will happen but can now avoid. He has a privileged perspective on unfolding events. Though not free from determinism, his repertoire of response becomes wider through trial and error.
 

Treedbear

Veteran Member
...
From the perspective of a person, it can feel like they have free will.

Just because something feels like it's so doesn't mean it is so. Something feeling right simply means that it produces less anxiety within the mind than the alternative. The goal should be to uncover the source of those feelings, which tend to be deeply ingrained unconscious beliefs.

They can choose something that seems irrational - so they are free to do things that are against their normal preferences. I think that counts as a form of free will.

There's usually a rational reason for choosing to do something irrationally. Even if it's just a misguided attempt to prove one has the ability to act irrationally.
 

lostone

New member
I don't think a Block Universe implies the existence of a God at all. IMO, it simply means that something has always existed.
 

Swammerdami

Squadron Leader
Staff member
The "block universe" is a natural way to think about our real universe. The "illusion" of time passing is easily explained with chains of causal relationships. At 3:00 pm I experience something; at 3:01 I remember that experience and plan to respond at 3:02 pm, and so on. My own view of time passing is simply the following of a thread of snapshots, ordered by causal dependencies. These snapshots are called "time capsules" by Julian Barbour, who develops these ideas in excruciating detail!

There may be no way to step outside the "block" and "travel" to a different time. (The ABC Science piece OP links to, and which seems to imply otherwise, is just obfuscation IMO.) On the other hand, threads of causal relationships MIGHT point backwards, or have backward-pointing segments, if some form of retrocausality is valid. But this would be a very different topic.

Apparently Einstein believed in a block universe where the past and future exist eternally and are inevitable.

https://plus.maths.org/content/what-block-time

"The block universe theory, where time travel is possible but time passing is an illusion"
https://www.abc.net.au/news/science...eory-time-past-present-future-travel/10178386

This might be compatible with how people think God relates to the universe.

What do people think of that idea?

Quantum fluctuations will fuck it up. Each time you time travel it'll be different. There's no way to, even hypothetically, go back and forward in time.

But more importantly... who cares about what Einstein thinks of anything? It's interesting to study Einstein for historical reasons. But we don't care what... let's say Socrates... said about things he was wrong about. We only care about the stuff that has held up. We don't let the stuff he was wrong about tarnish his memory.

The "reality" underneath the model of modern physics is still a mystery. There MIGHT be multiple universes but there might not be. Quantum physics MIGHT make the world non-deterministic, but it might not. Nobody is certain about such things. The meme that Albert Einstein was wrong about quantum physics is misinformed. Note that results like Bell's Theorem, often thought to repudiate thought experiments like EPR, do not achieve that in models where retrocausality is allowed.

[Off-topic] One of my peeves is that some people are too eager to reject common-place memes. Marilyn Monroe was the sexiest Hollywood actress? Yes, she probably was! George Washington was the greatest U.S. President? Many historians would agree. Casablanca is the greatest film ever? Self-evident In my opinion!

And Albert Einstein really is one of the greatest scientific geniuses who ever lived. He's on the top pedestal with Sir Isaac Newton and Archimedes. It's common to equate Einstein with relativity, while making Neils Bohr et al the creative genius(es) behind quantum theory. But Einstein was one of the key founders of quantum physics; and it was his 1905 paper demonstrating that light was quantized into photons for which he won the Nobel Prize. Many accounts imply an Einstein vs Bohr duel which Bohr won, but this is over-simplified, particularly given the points I make above.
 

T.G.G. Moogly

Formerly Joedad
I don't think a Block Universe implies the existence of a God at all. IMO, it simply means that something has always existed.
As counterintuitive as such an idea seems to most of us that would definitely be the logical conclusion based on observation. We've been conditioned all our lives with semantic inaccuracies so it's understandable. Words are labels and labels are good ways to communicate but labels aren't the final word.

Sometimes I think there's a mathematical way to equate time with motion in the same way Einstein equated matter with energy.
 

lostone

New member
Physicists are reduced to guessing, but they publish a lot of books with their guesses. It's an income enhancer.

My best guess is that we don't know, and may never know. I have some guesses that I am more fond of than others, and the Block Universe is one of them. Everett's many Universe idea still has virtues. It all comes down to how we view the collapse of the Wave Function. I confess that I still struggle with such basic math as tensor calculus, so the math of QM and GR is over my head, albeit I can almost understand it. Which means that my opinions are only a layman's opinions, and not to be taken too seriously.

When, in some moods, I invoke the God guess, it is of a drunk God or an idiot God like Lovecraft's Azazoth. In which case, one might ask, the great cosmic Waiter, 'this is not what I ordered'. I'll hold on the tip.

IMO, equating time with motion is also equating time with distance, as snap shots, during which none of our pictures can can get faster than the Planck Time over the Planck Distance.
 

steve_bank

Contributor
A wave function can be written to describe the probability vs time of the orientation of a tossed coin. When the coin sops on the ground the wave function has collapsed into a measurable state. The probability of heads or tails has gone to n actual state.

Collapse is a bad choice of words as is 'imaginary numbers'.

The solution to the wave equation for a rectangular box potential well are sines and cosines. You cn look at an infinite potential well and barrier as a perfect lossless mirror.

A gas laser ids a potential well. Photons bounce back and forth between mirrors at the end. When the length of the box is a multiple of the photon wavelength resonance occurs, like a tuning fork ringing or an acoustic resonance..

The wave function describes the probability of a photon at an xyz position vs time. For a large number of photons the distributing becomes a sinusoidal amplitude wave across the box. When measuring a photon the wave function collapse's from a probability into a known state.

In the 90s I took a night class in modern physics. It was a bit anti climatic. The principles are actually basic with different terminology.
 
Apparently Einstein believed in a block universe where the past and future exist eternally and are inevitable.

https://plus.maths.org/content/what-block-time

"The block universe theory, where time travel is possible but time passing is an illusion"
https://www.abc.net.au/news/science...eory-time-past-present-future-travel/10178386

This might be compatible with how people think God relates to the universe.

What do people think of that idea?
The block universe is simply a metaphorical way of imagining ... well, I'm not quite sure what. But it is not something that actually exists anywhere in empirical reality.

Time is the distance between events.

Events are changes in what things currently are, where they are, and what they are doing.

There is basically one set of "stuff", consisting of all "things", and it is constantly in motion and transformation from one form to another. (A transformation would include things like the accumulation of matter into a super-dense black hole and its explosion into a fresh universe).

Time travel is impossible, because it requires putting every thing back to where it was, and how it was, before. And, considering that our Earth is both spinning and orbiting the Sun, and that our solar system is moving through our galaxy, and that our galaxy is moving through space, it turns out that trying to put things back where they were is not a realistic possibility.

The only "block" is the whole set of stuff. There is no room for the whole set of stuff to exist in all of its configurations simultaneously. Even with infinity, there would be no room for that. :)
 

lostone

New member
Reasonable, but I find the whole issue confusing, so my opinion swings back and forth, and I am sure that the next reasonable take I find on it will swing me some other direction. The whole business of 'existence' versus 'nothing' is a philosophical quagmire.
 
Reasonable, but I find the whole issue confusing, so my opinion swings back and forth, and I am sure that the next reasonable take I find on it will swing me some other direction. The whole business of 'existence' versus 'nothing' is a philosophical quagmire.
Oh, well that's a different question. And it is a type of question that cannot be answered. The question, "Why is there something rather than nothingness?", falls into the general category of "Why are things as they are rather than something different?" And I don't think those questions can ever be answered by anything other than, "Because that's just the way it is".
 

bilby

Fair dinkum thinkum
Block time is a perfectly good model of reality. It simply adds time as a dimension to the three familiar spatial dimensions, in which 'blocks' are a commonplace.

As three dimensional beings flowing through a fourth dimension over which we have neither control nor surveillance, it's not particularly useful. It does seem to suggest that both past and future are immutable, rendering time travel if not impossible, then certainly futile.

Travel in time is likely impossible regardless of whether or not spacetime can correctly be modelled as a static object in some higher dimension. Such a model doesn't seem unreasonable to me, but neither does it seem very helpful towards either understanding or altering our reality.

Unless Asimov's work on the endochronic properties of resublimated thiotimolene were to be replicated.
 
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