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FQXi BLOGS
November 17, 2019

CATEGORY: Blog [back]
TOPIC: Time and Foundations: 2010 Large Grant Round [refresh]
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FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster wrote on Apr. 6, 2010 @ 19:29 GMT
I hereby announce the beginning of the 2010 round of FQXi's Large Grants Program!

We now invite proposals for research on foundational questions in physics and cosmology. The focus for this round is "Time and Foundations".

As the name implies, we wish to especially encourage projects targeted on the Nature of Time. To quote from the Request for Proposals, "The topic of Time is of both deep and broad interest for research in foundational questions in physics and cosmology. Science, and particularly physics, has produced dramatic insights into the nature of time...Careful consideration of time has likewise caused revolutions in physics, and may again do so."

We will also consider more general proposals of exceptional quality, including suitable outreach projects. All proposed projects should qualify as foundational and unconventional. You can get a sense of the range of supported work by checking out the funded projects from the previous grant rounds.

Application works the same as previous years, with a two-step, online process, and an external panel of expert reviewers. The only major change takes place behind the scenes, since we now direct grants through a Donor Advised Fund, which issues the grants based on our advisement. Grantees, however, will continue to interact directly with FQXi just as before (c.f. grant reports).

To view full instructions on submitting a proposal, including the official Request for Proposals documentation, click here. Initial Proposals are due June 14, 2010, and funds for approved applications will be available soon after January 1, 2011.

If you have questions, feel free to post them here.

Let me finish by adding that all of FQXi's programs, grants and otherwise, survive on donations from individuals and organizations. If you or an organization you know would like to support foundational research but don't know how to actually get the money to the researchers, please contact us. We can work with you to identify areas where your support can make maximal impact.

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FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster wrote on Apr. 7, 2010 @ 17:05 GMT
No questions yet? Great! Here's an issue everyone needs to be aware of:

You must be affiliated with a non-profit organization to be eligible for this grant program. By non-profit, I mean a 501 (c)(3) or other tax-exempt organization, as defined by the US IRS. For varied legal, ethical, and practical reasons, the DAF will issue the grant checks to the organization, not directly to the grantee.

So let me say again, you MUST have an affiliation with a non-profit.

But, keep in mind that you don't need to be a University Professor, as a look at our past grantees reveals. Many different sorts of non-profits exist, including some built for precisely this situation. See Theiss Research, for instance.

Furthermore, you have flexibility in the nature of the affiliation. You don't have to be an employee, but the nonprofit must be able and willing to administer your potential grant.

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Steve Dufourny replied on Apr. 8, 2010 @ 10:12 GMT
Hi dear Brendan,

hihihi still a problem for me and my capacity of administration, I am already out .hihihi and 14 june it's my birth date hihihi me and my isolation in my garden of 125 m² ,well I am going to create a non profit system heu in 2015 hihihi I can't focus for administration, it's bizare .I am probably crazzy thus , I am going to take my meds, until soon hahaha An affiliation, an affiliation ok but where are they the affiliations ...

Have you seen the number of institutes, foundations and others.

Kavli in California, The nobel , the Wolf prize, the ......more the labs and all the universites with their departments.....it's a real puzzle all that , in this case the competition is a parameter which decreases the velocity of evolution.

In fact all is divided, that has no sense all that.

This planet is bizare due to some chaotic parameters, humans and not universals.

I have an idea , we are going to create a real spaceship and hop we change of planets, ok all FQXi members and friends, let's create an affiliation on an other planet , hihi an other sphere more ecological .And hop centralisation of competences, skills, exists it a solution, yes if and only if the universal conscious is on the board.....the affiliations shall be inutiles thus but it's an other question , the evolution seems the sister of the hope.

The centralization and the volume , the spherization appears like a beautiful dance ,the centralization and the volume ,....but the harmony is the center....that is the question.

Best Regards

Steve

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Dr. Cosmic Ray replied on Apr. 8, 2010 @ 12:28 GMT
Dear Steve,

I understand that you feel isolated in Belgium, and that you must remain in Belgium to take care of your Mom. You are still young, not quite 35. I think you should strengthen your knowledge base and your thesis. Perhaps some day you will have an opportunity to move back to Paris and truly prove yourself. Do not give up hope, and do not lose your mind waiting on opportunity.

Your Friend,

Ray

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Steve Dufourny replied on Apr. 8, 2010 @ 15:45 GMT
Hi Ray,

Thanks, Never Paris like I explained you in private, Oh No never Paris , I am parano now hihi.Really Ray, totally parano, it's tiring you know.I don't know how do , my mom indeed is not very well,this life is tiring.No job, nothing.It's a catastrophe Ray.I must adapt me but how .If I had a kind of scholarship for technology and enginiering and improvement of my theory in a good university or others, I will go because there my head is going to BOUM .

In fact you know the most frustrating, I am not utile Ray, I speak I am arrogant but I am not utile.

A life of crazzy ,I think I have bands due to my bankrupcy 7 years ago.

I rebegin my life simply, I am stronger but I have bands hihihi you know it's logic I am parano, here in my region, people causes a big problem, I have lost 12 plants(fuschias and others plants like passifloras, abutilons), indeed they need heat during winter anbd you know what hop OUT the green house, and hop all deads my plants, a production for an economic stability .It's logic I am parano, I have always people against me , it's a planet of crazzy .

Thus if I am bizare sometimes, sorry to all I am just crazzy , parano, and tired hihihihi but I live .

You know Ray, even if I catalyze like a baby sometimes, I like this platform and people who write and are here.

And for what you say, I thank you very much and my mother also.You know I was surprised ,and not a little.Now I have yours, thus one day also ....hihihi thanks still.

About your book, I read it with a lot of interest, I don't agree in the whole like i said before, but several points you analyze are very relevants.The different scales can be appraoched and harmonized with the good renormalization of the serie if I can say.

The limits can show you several truths in my humble opinion.

Best Regards and friendly

Steve

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Florin Moldoveanu wrote on Apr. 8, 2010 @ 17:10 GMT
Hi Brendan,

I've got a question. What is the process of selecting the winning proposals? Do you keep the reviewers identities secret from each other? Do you solicit expert opinions from people not affiliated with FQXi? In what way is this different than an NSF process?

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FQXi Administrator Anthony Aguirre replied on Apr. 8, 2010 @ 19:36 GMT
Hi Florin,

The review process is actually modeled on the NSF one: there is a panel that reviews the proposals, then meets in person to hash out the results; proposals for which there is insufficient expertise on the panel itself are sent to outside experts (who may or may not be FQXI 'affiliates'). This process works quite well. They key difference from the NSF is in the review criteria, the instructions given to the panel, and the choice of panelists.

Anthony

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Constantin Leshan wrote on Apr. 8, 2010 @ 18:11 GMT
Dear Brendan Foster,

I studied nuclear physics (5 years) in Kiev University but I don't have any scientific title as Professor or Dr.; Can I apply for a grant 'Time and Foundations'? I have a very unconventional theory about nature of time that allows time travel (to future) but there is a problem with scientific titles. My title is Mr. Leshan, not Dr. Leshan because I don't have money to finish my education. But I assure you that I'm capable to research the nature of time and publish a high quality research papers; Even I promise to make some patents and experimental devices for time travel... I discovered the theory of Hole teleportation already.

I have a lot of problems because I don't have titles as Prof. or Dr... Can you help people like me?

Sincerely,

C. Leshan

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FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster replied on Apr. 9, 2010 @ 14:53 GMT
Your title makes no difference, as Freeman Dyson will confess. But, keep in mind the issue of affilition-with-nonprofit, that I mentioned below.

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Marcel-Marie LeBel wrote on Apr. 9, 2010 @ 00:11 GMT
Brendan,

I may have voiced my concern before on that subject, but I would like to re-state it once more.

When you or FQXI says that the foundational question concerns the “Nature” of Time and that “The topic of Time is of both deep and broad..” we both know very well that what we are talking about is something out of reach of physics. This is something totally outside the domain of science. And yet, it is of the greatest importance. This is metaphysics pure and simple. If FQXI really wants something foundational, it will have to invite and consider very seriously a metaphysical approach to metaphysical questions.

Maybe it is a nice water cooler or break time subject to ponder for physicists. That’s o.k.. But the answer to these very valid metaphysical questions is simply not in their hands. Never was and never will. Metaphysics is a totally different system with its own impossibility, subject matter and rules. Once metaphysics hands over the metaphysical answer then the physicists can adjust it for empirical testing knowing exactly how the answer had to be modified to suit that purpose. This way, beyond the necessary spoiling of the metaphysical concept for the purpose of physical testing, the metaphysical answer is preserved.

I hope that you and FQXI understand this simple fact. Or else, Time is exactly what we are all wasting here.

Without Prejudice,

Thanks,

Marcel,

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John Merryman replied on Apr. 9, 2010 @ 02:10 GMT
Marcel,

Not to be too argumentative, but time is not any more metaphysical than temperature, it's just that physics is stuck on trying to develop a mathematical description of the narrative series and, as we all well know, different clocks move at different speeds.

Energy moves around, so one configuration morphs into another. The only problem is that it is the configurations going from potential to residual, not some meta-dimension along which the present moves in one direction/exists at all points.

It will be an interesting contest to watch, though the results will be more a function of the grant making process than a truly freewheeling consideration of the arguments. I would like to make a suggestion (that has no chance of being considered): That in order to qualify for the contest, any participant must be willing to discuss their entry up to some reasonable limit. I say this because in the original Nature of Time contest, the name entries made the most minimal effort to debate, if any at all. Now I can understand the perception that anyone participating in these discussions without a PhD is, by definition, a crank, the fact is that being able to discuss these sorts of ideas with those who are interested, but lack the specialized education would in fact be a useful exercise in communication for those who may be overly focused on their particular field.

Not that I will be participating in this round, since I don't have any clearer observations about time than I made previously and am not part of any organization.

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Georgina Parry replied on Apr. 10, 2010 @ 02:48 GMT
It is going to be impossible to disprove the existence of time just as it is impossible to disprove the existence of God. I can not think of any experiment that could satisfactorily disprove it.

However it should be possible to show that it is not necessary to include a time dimension, giving time realms, in a scientific model of material reality. When this is achieved, to the satisfaction of other scientists, and it is shown that physics still works but without the paradoxes and weirdness, time in its current muddled form, especially the notion of existential historical time will just become irrelevant to the business of conducting and thinking about physics. It may even come to be considered unscientific superstitious nonsense to include notions of speculative time realms or dimensions within scientific discussion or experimental design. It is not necessary to disprove existential time but only show that it is unhelpful and unnecessary when used as anything more than a tool for measuring spatial or energetic change.

Time is the biggest problem for physics imo. How one extricates time but leaves a fully functional scientific model that answers the foundational questions but still accounts for observations is an endeavor for scientists and need not be merely a meta physical exploration.

It is not about just finding a few experiments to conduct on time but reformulating the means of interpretation of those observations already obtained and confirmed. I know there are many people who will say that if one does not utilize the scientific method then it is not science. However it is still necessary to develop the best tool (a self consistent, logical and utilitarian scientific model) for interpreting those observations. Otherwise the observations obtained via the scientific method will be misinterpreted. The use of models, that because of their paradoxes and "weirdness", are clearly inadequate or erroneous will result in "comprehension" that is also inadequate or erroneous. That, to the shame of so called Homo sapiens, is the status quo of science in the 21st century, imo.

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Marcel-Marie LeBel replied on Apr. 11, 2010 @ 03:09 GMT
John,

Not everything you can’t touch is metaphysics. Natural metaphysics is about substance and cause. Substance as in “what is the universe made of?”, and cause as in “what makes it evolve by itself?”

Physics is concerned with our experience of the substance, not with the substance itself. Physics find the “laws of nature” as we experience them. Equations are made of metric facts related by a formula where a “cause” is irrelevant. The best way to understand a cause is to study a spontaneous event like a clock ticking or an object falling.

Every crank is not necessarily heaving a revolutionary idea, but every revolutionary idea comes out first from a crank called a “Kuhn’s outsider”.

Georgina,

The Time of physics is not something we experience directly. It is something that we (have to) deduce from experience. It is by definition the perfect candidate for a substance. So, the proof of physical time is not in the experience, but in the proper deduction from that experience.

Time passes in a spontaneous way. We integrate this passage using a clock which spontaneous process we believe represents well the passage of time. The time duration the clock gives us is an integration of the passage of time. This duration or integration is would not possible without the actual existence of its first derivative, the rate of the passage of time. We may deduce it, but can’t experience it directly. The local rate of passage of time directs the rate of every thing including all the chemical reaction in our body. Yet, none of our senses are privy to the passage of time, or we would be totally blinded, a bit like a goldfish in a glass of milk. But we are sensitive to very rapid variations in the rate of passage of time: a small portion of the EM spectrum, light.

The status quo is caused by the following state of affairs. It has been fashionable for some time for philosophers to do science and for scientists to ponder philosophical questions. Philosophers do philosophy using a scientific approach and scientists try their hand at philosophy… also using a scientific approach. So, who’s tending the metaphysical questions?

Jonathan,

My natural metaphysics does paint the whole universe as a monism which substance and cause is the passage of time. Time is therefore relevant not only at all levels of science and philosophy, but also to everything we know, think and do. I think, from Maupertuis and Boltzman, that life in the universe is an inevitable spontaneity, simply because on the long run, life is a better absorber/ radiator than the black body itself.

Marcel,

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Jonathan J. Dickau wrote on Apr. 9, 2010 @ 19:40 GMT
Greetings to all,

The nature of time is indeed one of those questions that may be beyond Physics but has profound relevance to any discussion of natural law. I'm happy to see FQXi picking up this thread again, and I am also glad I'm coming to this forum page after a little time to reflect. Time's nature has been a subject I've been investigating for about 30 years now, so I would not want to miss out on the opportunity to have my research funded, but initially I had my doubts I could even qualify.

As it turns out I will likely be fielding a proposal, after all, in collaboration with Brian Whitworth, whose ideas about time jibe well with my own. And I am pleased to report that I have just joined the advisory board of the journal Prespacetime, where you can read about Whitworth's VR Space-Time theory in the most recent issue. And you can also find an expanded version of my recent FQXi contest essay, which is published there.

I have informed a number of my colleagues doing relevant work about the RFP and I therefore expect there will be plenty of interesting new entries to the FQXi field, for this funding cycle. I wish you all Good Luck, and I hope to join you among the awardees at the end of the process.

All the Best,

Jonathan

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Jason Wolfe wrote on Apr. 11, 2010 @ 10:22 GMT
I just watched a really good movie called the Lake House starring Keanu Reaves and Sandra bullock. They become pen pals across a time gap of two years. I don't believe in time travel, but it proves to be a fascinating thought experiment. No lottery tickets were purchased. I kept wondering if Reaves (2yrs in the past), could change Bullock's memory of the past. When he missed their dinner date the movie got interesting. It made me wonder about things like determination, decision making and commitment to be at some place and at some time 2yrs from now.

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Georgina Parry wrote on Apr. 11, 2010 @ 13:39 GMT
Brendan,

I'm not sure how easy you will find this question. I have opted for a multiple choice format to help you.

I have attempted to thoroughly explain and defend my ideas on this site. On the whole I think I have done a reasonable job of that, though not entirely without mistakes. I still, after all the time spent, have no idea how any of my ideas are regarded by Fqxi members, if they are regarded at all.

As far as I can tell all members are indifferent to, or unaware of what I have to say, on or off this site, as no response positive or negative or neutral is ever given.I occasionally am reminded that, prior to finding this site, one academic informed me that no scientist or philosopher will ever take anything I have to say on time seriously.I have also been, well meaningly I will assume, advised to learn physics on more than one occasion.

It is one thing for a crackpot to attempt to disseminate and propagate their particular memes via forums and to annoy "serious" scientists with their half baked ideas. Quite another to ask for money to pursue their "research". My question is - Is that sizable Scooby snack reward (for foundational and unconventional research proposal) reachable? Please select the most appropriate and honest reply based on your perspective from the other side of the wall. So that I might realistically determine my current position in the absence of any other feedback.

a) make us laugh b)in your dreams c)learn some physics d)too high but your welcome to embarrass yourself e)you might surprise us f) go for it we'd like you to make a proposal.

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FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster replied on Apr. 12, 2010 @ 16:37 GMT
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I understand your trepidation, but I can only extend the same invitation to apply to you that we have given to everyone. All appraisals of applications will be made by an external review panel, so neither I nor any FQXi administration can give you a sense of the chances. We have no way of knowing what the panel will decide. I think that means, choice (f).

One objective point that I need to emphasize though [since many people still haven't got it] is that you must be affiliated with a nonprofit organization to receive a grant. Since I gather you are an independent researcher in some way, this may be an issue. You can read my earlier post for some advice on this.

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Georgina Parry replied on Apr. 12, 2010 @ 22:30 GMT
Brendan,

thank you for the reply. I was not sure that you would. I was going to be annoyed at your cowardice if you chose not to. Now I can only feel annoyed at your diplomacy, which just isn't the same! That was far too easy for you. With hindsight it was a rubbish test.If everyone gets an f I still have no idea how my posts are regarded.

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J. C. N. Smith wrote on Apr. 11, 2010 @ 15:53 GMT
Brendan,

Given that the topic of the FQXi 2010 large grants program, "Time and Foundations," closely echoes the topic of the spring 2008 essay competition, "The Nature of Time," I can't help being curious to learn how your expectations differ regarding work that will be produced under the 2010 grants program as opposed to work (in the form of essays) that was produced for the 2008 essay competition.

Had I heard about the 2008 essay competition before the deadline for submitting entries had passed I would have submitted an original essay entitled "Time, Illusion and Reality: An Unconventional but Constructive Look at the Fundamental Nature of Time," which may be found here.

I believe this essay directly addresses those questions about the nature of time which motivated the 2008 essay competition and which also motivate the 2010 grants program. While I hold out little hope that the essay will find a home among proposals given consideration for the grants program I nevertheless recommend it as worthwhile reading for anyone interested in this topic.

Best Regards,

jcns

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John Merryman replied on Apr. 11, 2010 @ 17:34 GMT
JCN,

Very interesting thought process. Some quibbles though;

"If then, as we have proposed, a particular time is identically equivalent to, and is completely defined by, and only by, a particular configuration of the universe, it follows logically that time changes if, and only if, the configuration of the universe changes."

This part I agree with.

"But displacements...

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J. C. N. Smith replied on Apr. 12, 2010 @ 15:50 GMT
Mr. Merryman,

First, let me thank you for taking the time and trouble to give my essay a careful reading, which you obviously have. It appears that we are not too terribly far apart in our thinking on this topic.

You wrote, "There is no universal clock, though we like to think there is for convenience." My only counter to that is that there is a universal clock, and it is the...

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John Merryman replied on Apr. 12, 2010 @ 17:36 GMT
jcns,

I'm afraid I'm a real heretic when it comes to accepting Big Bang Theory as a given. Some of my thoughts on that are expressed in the memorial to Professor Burbidge: http://www.fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/618#post_17939

If it's not something you wish to unravel, there is an interesting article at NewScientist I linked toward the end which is interesting. The simple fact is...

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Marcel-Marie LeBel wrote on Apr. 11, 2010 @ 17:06 GMT
I feel I am speaking in the desert… Natural metaphysics requires some training of the mind. So, here goes my story.

I had already been pondering the concept of gravitation for some 25 years. What had bothered me lately was that we did not understand gravity. I mean, we have a few physical descriptions. But an understanding would have to be unique since, no matter which approach we took, these were only different views of the same single/unique type of event. Some day in February 1989 5 am, I woke up and sat in my bed. I had just realized what “understanding” meant. There had to be, it had to be a logical reason for gravity to work because that was what “understanding” meant; having a logical explanation for gravity, not a metric one which included/required our presence a.k.a our experience. We had to deduce that the GR time dilation (time integration=duration) in the gravitational field necessarily required the existence of the corresponding (first derivative) time rate differences. This would expose a real permanent substantial gradient in the time rate. In this time rate gradient, absolutely anything that exists would do so with a higher probability where time is slower. How’s that?

One simple way to state this is to say that something exists more where it actually is longer. This is logical. Conversely, we say that something will move spontaneously in a direction toward which it has a higher probability to exist.

I insist on the “probability” aspect of this because, it is where the QM people traded the metaphysical “existence vs rate of passage of time” for the physical/empirical measurable probability of finding.

If one wants to understand how the universe works by itself, one must try to understand what determines the probability of being, not the probability of finding. But they are both necessary. To understand logically, one uses the probability of being. To experience it, one uses the probability of finding.

Does anyone understand anything I just said?

Marcel,

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John Merryman replied on Apr. 11, 2010 @ 17:48 GMT
Marcel,

"One simple way to state this is to say that something exists more where it actually is longer. This is logical. Conversely, we say that something will move spontaneously in a direction toward which it has a higher probability to exist."

The problem here is that with a slower rate of change, levels of complexity take longer to develop, so you will actually find less higher orders, chemically, biologically, etc. though more lower orders, in the more static environment.

My thought on gravity is that it's the opposite effect from light. Energy expands outward, while mass is what contracts inward. Mass contracts to a level of energy such that it breaks down and radiates back out. So presumably radiation travels to the point it loses momentum and collapses back down into gases and then liquids and solids and the cycle begins again. These two forces are constantly pulling against each other.

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Steve Dufourny replied on Apr. 12, 2010 @ 17:12 GMT
Hi all,

Dear John,

I totally agree ,you say

"My thought on gravity is that it's the opposite effect from light."

It's important in fact about the attraction and the repulsion if we take the gravitational stabilities like a modulator of evolution, thus where appear synchronizations of evolution between light and gravity.

The intrinsic code is in the gravity in my humble opinion.

Thus the sense of rotation of the entangled quantum systems can be taken with two main gauges for the sense which implies tghe sortings of evolution.

After it's the velocity of rot.which implies the mass, it's the reason why light has no mass , because the two maximum are ,the spinal and the linear velocity.The volumes are thus essentials for the synchro.

The correlation mvV can be made.

The gravity decreases the two velocities, linears and spinals....

Best Regards

Steve

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John Merryman replied on Apr. 12, 2010 @ 23:28 GMT
Steve,

Yes, gravity is something of a vortex, while light is expanding out and only when the energy collapses back does it start to spin. I think the photon is actually a collapse, or discharge of light from the expanding wave, when it connects with mass. It's just that detectors are material, so it seems that light is a form of particle, when it's more of an bolt of electricity.

As a continuation of my last comment to jcns, I was saying the linear, rational left brain makes distinctions, but didn't fully relate it to the right brained intuition which makes connections. Here is a rather well known talk by Jill Bolte Tayler, a neuroscientist, at TED some years ago, describing her own experience with a stroke in the left hemisphere and her ability to understand what was going on, even as her own brain was breaking down. In it she describes having a fully functioning right brain that could fully process the reality of the present, but lacked the left brained ability to rationalize what needed to be done. I think this has a lot of bearing on the problems in physics and mathematics today, in which the people in these fields are very left brained and can fully analyze all the distinct bits of information, but lack the right brained ability to really see the larger reality. Thus they come up with such nonsense as "it from bit," in thinking that the physical world emerges from masses of information, rather than the masses of information simply being a form of effluent of the reality. All our knowledge is simply studying the entrails of past presents. That's why they see time as a narrative, generally static dimension, rather than the dynamics of change. There is simply the raw energy, whether it's expanding out, spinning in, or some vastly complex interaction of the two. Our precious knowledge is just a minor reductionistic framing we use to survive.

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John Merryman wrote on Apr. 12, 2010 @ 01:43 GMT
Georgina,

Of course I remember. It's just that the forum is most suited to a specific range of debate and we have our own perspectives on that discussion.

That additional dimension assigned to time is essentially the narrative series. Much like we read these lines in a linear fashion to extract their meaning, it is elemental to the thought process, but reality is not linear. It is cumulative and destructive, since the amount of energy remains the same, so old information is erased to record new. The past fades as the future emerges. Now physics has constructed an immutable path from that blurred past into that opaque future, when what it really is, is waves of probabilities crashing into each other and rippling away into the fog.

As for the functioning of the grant process at FQXi, remember you are dealing with people who have devoted their lives to academic studies of the forces of nature and the compensation isn't always that great, so if a group of them are given the job of disbursing some cash, it's somewhat likely that some amount of circular reasoning is likely to come into play, where someone who has equally devoted their lives to similar pursuits is rewarded, as a way to validate the efforts of those in the decision making process. This isn't cynicism, just an understanding of the forces of nature at work.

I agree there is an emotional need for feedback, even the negative, if no other, but personally I try not to devote any more effort than I can afford to waste. My play money, so to speak. The returns and feedback are more situational and environmental, since the function of the brain is to navigate, basic education provides its own pleasure.

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John Merryman replied on Apr. 12, 2010 @ 02:39 GMT
Georgina,

Remember also that physicists like positive feedback too and there is no more positive feedback in this day and age than a little hard cash flowing yours and your own. Though that monetary system seems heading into a negative feedback loop of monumental proportions:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/756
4748/Sovereign-debt-crisis-at-boiling-point-warns-Bank-for-I
nternational-Settlements.html

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Geirgina Parry replied on Apr. 12, 2010 @ 03:33 GMT
John,

I always appreciate your replies. Respect.

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John Merryman replied on Apr. 12, 2010 @ 09:54 GMT
Georgina,

We are all floating here out in the middle distance of some galaxy for a brief moment. It's nice to share it with those who are fascinated by the raw essence of being, than playing games of oneupmanship over baubles. Frankly I could use some money too, as the family business teeters on the edge, but it seems most of humanity is in similar, if not worse situations. So when everyone else seems focused on wherever the crowd wants, there are always innumerable other paths to enjoy. Even if it means enjoying them alone. Best always.

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Anonymous wrote on Apr. 13, 2010 @ 13:36 GMT
Philosophers have beat you guys to this question a long time ago. They have been debating the Ontological properties of time since the beginning of Western thought.

The only thing anyone has ever been able to aggree on is that without change, there would be no concept of time. The 'passage' of time in any reference frame can only be measured based on the changes that systems undergo within that reference frame. Measuring time involves comparing notes. A change in one system is compared with the change in another.e.g -- in my coordinate system, an object has changed it's position from A to B while the hands on my clock have changed from C to D. The arbitray unit measure of time is chosen to be one tick on the hands of the clock. It could easily have been chosen to be a measurement of a unit change in any other periodic system.

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J. C. N. Smith replied on Apr. 13, 2010 @ 15:13 GMT
Dear Anonymous,

Thank you for this tutorial on the nature of time. Now that you've finally resolved this issue once and for all, perhaps FQXi can find other uses for their grant money.

jcns

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Anonymous replied on Apr. 13, 2010 @ 15:21 GMT
What is the issue to be resolved? What does anyone hope to gain that has not already been stated in prior inquiries into the physical or metaphysical nature of time? In the end, all authors will simply end up repeating the formalisms that have already have arrived at. Actually, I do in fact think that FQXI could make much more practical use of the money.

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Steve Dufourny replied on Apr. 13, 2010 @ 17:16 GMT
Hi all,

Dear Anonymous, I agree time is just a constant of evolution, its duration is irreversible in my opinion.

Sometimes I say why people wants to check that .

When einstein spoke about time, it was in a wghole point of vue or near the walls of our physicality.

Thus of course people thinks they can interpret with bizare localities.

The time is of course a part of the space but we can't check these walls , thus it's a lost of time .

It's a little if people wants check the universal entropy , it's stupid simply, we must accept our laws and their constants and irreversibilities in an universal point of vue.

The nature of the time is simple, a constant irreversible of evolution, that's all.

Thanks dear Anonymous for this pragmatism about our physicality and its pure realism and rationality.All is in 3d and a time constant , that's all.

Never Einstein will speak like that about the space time.It's a little if we want see the Big Bang really.No it's totally different the relativity and its intrinsic time.The time exists like the sun and that's all.It's a tool of building for the big equation if I can say.

Many confounds the globality and the locality it seems to me humbly.

Best Rega(ds

Steve

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J. C. N. Smith wrote on Apr. 13, 2010 @ 15:47 GMT
Dear Anonymous,

If you're sincerely interested in learning what the issue is that is yet to be resolved I'd recommend, just for openers, that you read Lee Smolin's book 'The Trouble With Physics,' with particular attention to his comment, "More and more, I have the feeling that quantum theory and general relativity are both deeply wrong about the nature of time. It is not enough to combine them. There is a deeper problem, perhaps going back to the origin of physics." (p. 256) And that's just where the fun begins.

Cheers

jcns

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Anonymous replied on Apr. 13, 2010 @ 19:59 GMT
That doesn't tell me anything about what needs to be resolved when it comes to trying to define 'the nature of time.' We have already implicitly defined what time is by appealing to the notion of causation and the mathematical formalisms that go along with it. It is a superfluous and esoteric question and one that is more suited for philosophers.

No doubt, the theoretical community can attempt to define the problem in a new light by employing a different perspective using a new mathematical formalism. But in the end, the result will be that what such a formalism says about the nature of time itself is no different than what has already been hashed and rehashed ad infinitum. Their will simply be a clever new way to arrive at the same answers we are used to by taking a different route. All roads eventually lead to Rome.

I also can guarantee with near 99.9999% certainty that whatever anyone comes up with will have likely been stated in one way or another in one of the journals of the Philopshy of Science. The subject of time has been dissected ad infinitum in an uncountable number of ways over the past few decades, ever since the advent of Relativity theory. Logicians and Philosophers have worked out logical set theories of time as recurrences of ordered patterns, they have defined time as a parametric representation of state variables, or as an entity with a directional compontent determined by entropy. In all cases, the picture might look different, but it states the same thing on a fundamental level--time is a synonym for change.

Formulating a new idea within a slick mathematical framework won't change the fact that the underlying fundamental property we attribute to time is change itself. You can slice and dice it many different ways, but asking what time is, asside from this basic fundamental concept, is superfluous and redundant.

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John Merryman replied on Apr. 13, 2010 @ 22:53 GMT
Anon,

I fully agree that time is change. The problem is that physics has confused the effect, the sequential series of events, with the cause, the process by which existing energy is mutating from one to the next.

Thus such arguments are made that the present is an illusion because from different points of view, separate events can be perceived to appear in alternate orders, so it is inferred there is no simultaneous present. This is actually just an effect of subjectivity.

There is only what is present and it is not traveling along a fourth dimension from past events to future ones, but is creating and replacing them, so that what was future becomes past. The arrow of time goes from what is first to what is second and for the events, they are first in the future, then in the past.

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Georgina Parry replied on Apr. 13, 2010 @ 23:23 GMT
Anonymous,

the sum total of the muddled concepts of time, which is just called "Time" is more than change alone. Observed change gives subjective experience of time. The subjective experience of the passage of time with reference to an external periodic measuring device, such as a clock can be denoted te.

The body also has natural internal circadian rhythms that are set by the...

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Marcel-Marie LeBel wrote on Apr. 13, 2010 @ 21:59 GMT
Dear all,

The universe apparently came from a very tiny point… Chances are then, that the whole universe is all made of the same stuff. Furthermore, a universe evolving by itself in a logical way requires that it indeed be made of a single stuff (substance) or nature.

So, what is the substance that makes the whole universe?

If you answered mass, energy, waves etc. you understand these are too many words for a single (one) substance. Wrong answer to a good question. Mass, energy, waves etc. may be different forms of this substance, as they appear to us…but, they must all be forms or variations of a single substance! Logic oblige!

O.k. If you answered as above, you really thought it was the right answer. So, because you thought it was the right answer, you have long stopped looking for the answer. In other words, because you think that you know what you actually don’t know…..you do not realize what it is that you don’t know! Got it?

Physics, of course, does somehow realize this ignorance because, it has institutionalized this ignorance as part of its definition. Physics is not metaphysics.

Now for the question. If physics knew about what the universe is actually made of, how much more could it do? If we were to speculate on the ratio of, what physics can or could do as we know it now / on / what it could do if it did understand what the universe is made of (aka the substance), what would it be? 100% ? 50% ? 10%? Knowing what the universe is made of could bring no change to physics (100%), or considerable change (50%) or incredible changes and development (10%). How much are we missing?

Speculate and explain.

Thanks,

Marcel,

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Marcel-Marie LeBel replied on Apr. 13, 2010 @ 22:24 GMT
O.k. Here is my personal answer.

If we understood what is behind all various empirical forms, a lot of different equations would make much more sense. We would have a TOE so, lets give it 60%.

Understanding gravitation instead of just describing it would bring us to control it.

For major development, I bring it down to 40%.

For understanding what it is that we are really doing when we do physics … This would have an incredible predictive power of things we can’t even imagine now. For a richer future of physics, I bring it down again to 10%.

So, this is what I think we would gain (90%) by paying attention to fundamental metaphysical questions.

Marcel,

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Georgina Parry wrote on Apr. 13, 2010 @ 23:43 GMT
I think this an important point that could get overlooked so I repeat.

It is necessary to realize that there are two different versions of the universe. That which is observed, the image, and that which has objective material reality. Failure to take this into account causes problems of incompatibility of the science, imo. At the sub atomic scale particles interact with the objective material universe, where everything exists simultaneously in (imo, 4 dimensions of )space. But it is attempted to relate those findings back to the space-time model which is constructed to explain human observation and experience, that of 3 dimensions of space and perception of time separation.

John,

Why do you consider potential (future) to present actualization to be better than former configuration (past) changed to present configuration? They are the same thing imo. Although your point does show that the arrow of time could point in either direction depending on how you wish to consider it. Therefore is not very useful as an objective tool rather than just a subjective perception. So it would seem that it is not actually an arrow in time but space. Not pointing from future to past or past to future but denoting both an energy change and change in spatial position within space alone.

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John Merryman replied on Apr. 14, 2010 @ 02:38 GMT
Georgina,

As you point out the difference between an objective present vs. the subjective perception of information converging on the observer, this too is a relationship between what it is the observer experiences, past events leading to future ones, vs. the objective reality of a field of energy creating and replacing its forms, such that they go from future potential to past circumstance. Now both are completely valid representations of the same reality, it is just that the field of physics is attempting to describe the linear subjectivity as the objective reality. That linear dimension of events is not physically real, as only what exists is and physics presumes to seek out the fundamental under the emergent effects, not try to pass the effects off as fundamental. This leads to any number of incoherent concepts growing from the original misconception, or being postulated to cover the gaps between theory and observation, whether it is time travel, block time or multi-worlds.

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Georgina Parry wrote on Apr. 14, 2010 @ 04:23 GMT
John,

yes. As you say "future potential to past circumstance or past events leading to future ones are both valid representations of the same reality." Though the arrow of time would superficially appear to point in opposite directions.

In order to solve the time paradoxes and deal with quantum weirdness it needs to be recognized that there is no time dimension in objective material reality. Everything that exists exists simultaneously in one present or now without any temporal distribution. There is no space-time just space. There is no existential material past realm and no existential material future realm. This does not falsify general and special relativity though, which still provides good and demonstrably accurate models. These models function to make accurate predictions about what is observed by human beings. Observations within the subjective perception of the universe, that can be modeled with space-time. Not within the unobservable, objective, material reality of space.

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Georgina Parry replied on Apr. 14, 2010 @ 04:40 GMT
John, I meant to reply to thread but my last post ended up here. Anyway I was really just reiterating what you had to say. It is really good that we can agree on this, rather than us both splitting hairs over the best description as we sometimes have. At least we, and Mr Smith, are making real progress in comprehension of time. It might just take a while for mainstream physics to catch up.

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John Merryman replied on Apr. 14, 2010 @ 09:51 GMT
Georgina,

I don't mean to question the effectiveness of the math of relativity, it's just that some of the logic drawn from it is mistaken. As you point out, there is no existential past or future, so the notion we can find a way to traverse the supposed dimension of time, much like we traverse space and travel about in time is an obvious example.

I also keep making the point that we could use the same logic of spacetime to relate temperature and volume and say temperature is another parameter of volume, because changing the volume of a given amount of energy would have an inverse effect on its temperature.

So it's not the math, but the conclusions drawn from it I have problems with.

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Georgina Parry replied on Apr. 14, 2010 @ 10:48 GMT
John,

well said. I agree that it is interpretation of the mathematics that has been the problem for scientists. Many people understand the mathematics of relativity but even with that understanding draw incorrect conclusions from it because they do not comprehend what it actually represents.

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T H Ray wrote on Apr. 14, 2010 @ 14:01 GMT
Georgina,

If I read you correctly, I think you are talking about the difference between relativity, a classical theory, and quantum mechanics ("the universe in which sub atomic particles interact.")

Well, that's what all the fuss in theoretical physics is about. If you have a falsifiable theory accompanied by a mathematical model that smoothly connects that subatomic world to the classical, you have struck gold.

Tom

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John Merryman replied on Apr. 14, 2010 @ 17:30 GMT
Tom,

The classical world treats time as a linear dimension, ie. history. Relativity correlates this to the distance function of space using the speed of light and the effect velocity has on a moving clock. Georgina is pointing out the past and future are emergent effects of change, not an existential dimension.

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T H Ray replied on Apr. 14, 2010 @ 17:51 GMT
John,

Deja vu, all over again? I have tried in vain to get across to you that time and space are inseparable in general relativity. Time is _not_ a "linear dimension"; it is a property of the 4-dimensional spacetime field, space continuous with time, thus treated as an extra dimension -- try to understand the structure as a 4-dimensional Pythagorean theorem.

Tom

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Georgina Parry replied on Apr. 14, 2010 @ 22:23 GMT
Hi Tom,

I was saying that relativity pertains to the universe that is observed which is an electromagnetic image. What is generally called the Universe is that image.It is spread over time and space. Space-time provides an accurate model of the image and so relativity is reliable and useful for making predictions of what will be seen. It is not wrong. I agree that time is woven inseparably into the fabric of that model of observed reality and that is where it belongs.

We can not observe the material universe that exists in one single now rather than spread over time. It can be touched and its gravitational effect may be detected but it can not be directly observed in the same way as the EM image of the universe. That is the actual material substance that exists in space now. Despite being unobservable that is the objective material universe in which sub atomic particles interact and that QM unknowingly tries to explain with mathematical models,imo. It is not possible to related the findings back to a space-time model and get compatible answers because the EM image modeled by space-time is not the unobservable objective material universe that exists in space alone.

I think to have an image there must have been an object. So there are two versions of reality the object itself and the image of it. I am sure that if we were to go further out into the universe with space exploration we would encounter objects that we have not observed from earth. The material reality. The further out the blinder we will be because our EM derived map will be more and more out of date. The number of anomalies that conflict with the space-time version of the universe will increase with distance away from the earth and Hubble. Just because we can not see the material substance that exists there now does not mean that it is not there. That material substance is the objective version of the universe. The real thing.

How the objective material universe is best modeled is another question.IMO it requires an additional spatial dimension, continuous change in position along it and no time. In order to fit with sub atomic and macroscopic observations, fit with current physics (except expansion of the universe), give rise to the perception of time and account for gravity. It would only be a model.

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John Merryman wrote on Apr. 14, 2010 @ 16:41 GMT
Tom,

I'm afraid to say our discussion doesn't directly pertain to QM, but is the same discussion about the treatment of time in relativity that you and I could not find agreement on.

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T H Ray replied on Apr. 14, 2010 @ 17:54 GMT
John,

In fact, Georgina _did_ refer to the quantum domain, or is the " ... universe in which sub atomic particles interact" in some world different from this one?

Tom

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John Merryman replied on Apr. 15, 2010 @ 02:02 GMT
Tom,

The operative term was "directly." I do feel QM is a strong subtext to this discussion, but the issue, as we were discussing it, was the way that Relativity tries to model the classic narrative understanding of time as fundamental.

QM does only view reality in terms of that "sea of energy," with no time dimension. As I keep pointing out, time emerges from motion, so it would be an effect of that quantum soup, however it is reconfiguring itself. Whether it takes an observer or not, if the wave collapses, there is a before and after. It's just that this sequence is an effect of the collapse, not some underlaying dimension. There is no reality other than what is present.

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Georgina Parry replied on Apr. 15, 2010 @ 08:50 GMT
John,

Re your discussion with Tom, you say "there is no reality other than what is present". You mean by that, I am sure, that there is no other existential material reality in space other than this. As there is another misunderstood "reality". Which is that illusion of material reality which is observed and can modeled using the mathematics of relativity and space-time. The temporally spread EM patchwork image of material reality, formed from emitted and reflected EM radiation, which most people mistakenly regard as the only real reality. Precisely because it is observed. Unlike the existential material objective reality that can not be directly observed and exists entirely simultaneously in space without any spread over time.

All,

I accept that what is seen is formed from the input of emitted and reflected EM radiation that has taken various lengths of time to travel from material object to eye of observer or detector and appears together in one subjective present moment or image. The objects are seen as they were when the EM radiation was emitted or reflected, perhaps also with some distortion of the image, not as they materially exist now. So I must accept that there is another version of that present moment in which the material objects all exist as they are now, (unless destroyed or changed into something else). Even though I can not see it. That is the objective material reality of space in which sub atomic particles interact. They are not interacting with the images of objects as they were but as they are in space now, in one simultaneous existence. Therefore space-time mathematics does not and should not be expected apply to the subatomic realm.

Whether time is considered real or not depends on what version of reality is being considered. Time is an undeniable part of the experience of subjective observed reality but is not part of unobservable objective material reality, with one simultaneous existence of all matter and particles but continuously changing spatial arrangement.

Which reality is more real will depend upon personal preference. Some people will continue to consider that which is seen by the eyes and gives observations for scientific investigation and is modeled using space-time to be most real. Others will think that merely an EM illusion insurmountable due to the limitations of our senses. They are the ones psychologically willing and able to regard the unobservable, timeless, objective material universe to be the real existential reality.

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J.C.N. Smith wrote on Apr. 14, 2010 @ 16:51 GMT
Why does this blog remind me of what happens when someone throws a big chunk of raw meat into a tank full of starving piranhas?

Clearly, many of us have a deep and burning desire fully to understand the nature of our universe, with an understanding of the nature of time being an important part of that larger goal. And it clearly has little or nothing to do with thoughts of monetary compensation.

It's fun to observe and to participate in this quest for understanding-cum-feeding frenzy. And thank you to FQXi for providing us with the tank and for tossing us the chunk of raw meat.

jcns

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John Merryman replied on Apr. 14, 2010 @ 17:35 GMT
jcns,

That might be a point in the essay contest, but this seems to be specifically a grant to test one's theories. As such it wouldn't apply to those of us who think it's a problem of interpretation, rather than experimentation. Of course the proposal for the grant could be to take out a full page ad in NewScientist to promote one's interpretation.

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Paul N. Butler wrote on Apr. 15, 2010 @ 00:05 GMT
J.C.N.,

I read your paper and found that you have a good insight into the nature of time. All things in the world whether they are made of sub-energy, energy or, matter, etc. are composed of motions. When you talk about the configuration of the universe, what you are really saying is the specific condition of all the motions that make up everything in the universe at that point. On the...

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Steve Dufourny replied on Apr. 15, 2010 @ 12:13 GMT
We know the duration Paul, we know in 3D and we know the motion and the energy and the mass.

But we do not know the 8 dimensions.

If you want convince .....thus adapt with your 8d...if it is possible, after we shall see if you are right.

At this moment all is false .

Frankly

Steve

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J. C. N. Smith replied on Apr. 16, 2010 @ 03:09 GMT
Mr. Butler,

Just a quick note to thank you for your corrected post and to let you know that your earlier corrections, etc., have not really "disappeared," per se, but have merely been "compressed," for lack of another, more accurate term for it. If you look carefully in the blog, not all posts are always shown, but you can get back to them. It can be a bit confusing.

jcns

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Dan Benedict wrote on Apr. 16, 2010 @ 03:05 GMT
Georgina, John, JCN Smith and FQXi members,

I agree with many of the ideas and concepts of the nature of time expressed above. I fact, I have been able to go a step further and have developed a unique new cosmological model based on a similar, yet deceptively simple understanding of the nature of time in physics. This model was founded on first principles alone, with only the most minimum number of assumptions. Its corresponding theory agrees with most, if not all, of the evidence for the Standard Model, yet also contains new results. These results have provided insight into some of the here-to-fore unanswered foundational questions and should be verifiable. As it stands now, the new model is in its infancy and, as such, should possess fertile grounds for further research in many areas. There is still much work to be done!

Therefore, I would like to take this opportunity to invite any interested person or persons into a collaboration to further develop this model into a complete theory and submit the results to the appropriate scientific journal(s). I am willing to travel, at my own personal expense, to an initial meeting in order to explain the details of this new cosmological model. All interested person(s) must at minimum:

1) be able to meet the the requirements of a principle investigator as noted in FQXi’s grant application process.

2) be well reversed in the mathematics of Theory of General Relativity and of Modern Cosmology.

3) be open to the idea that the Standard Model is not only incomplete, but may be incorrect.

With my ideas and your expertise and credibility, we should be able to not only provide a scientifically viable alternative to the Standard Model, but a superior one. I certainly would not waste your time or my resources, if I didn’t believe this new theory provided profound results.



I may be contacted via e-mail at exploren1@hotmail.com

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J.C.N. Smith replied on Apr. 16, 2010 @ 04:33 GMT
Mr. Benedict,

Your post is intriguing, to say the least! Your emphasis on simplicity and verifiability is refreshing and encouraging. One quick, practical suggestion would be that you to make contact with some organization such as the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Canada where you would find experts well qualified to evaluate your work. It's been my impression that the Perimeter Institute tends to be more open to unconventional but well-founded ideas than many organizations.

I look forward to learning more about your new cosmological model and the thinking about the nature of time upon which it's based.

Best Wishes,

jcns

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John Merryman replied on Apr. 16, 2010 @ 10:02 GMT
Dan,

You're certainly welcome to my ideas on the open source principle, but I'm afraid I don't meet FQXi's criteria. My interest isn't with physics per,se, but the larger sociological implications of a viable bottom up theory of reality, rather than the top down, center point configuration on which Relativity is based, but seeks to push the boundaries.

Here is a fairly recent effort to wrap this concept up into one package:

http://www.exterminatingangel.com/index.php?option=c
om_content&task=view&id=612&Itemid=479

I'm also interested on what your reference to cosmology implies, in terms of a new model. We recently had a discussion on the topic, in a memorial to Professor Geoffrey Burbidge:

http://www.fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/618

I originally developed my understanding of time out of an effort to reconcile the inconsistencies in the Big Bang model.

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Dan Benedict replied on Apr. 17, 2010 @ 17:29 GMT
CNS and John,

Thanks for your interest. Unfortunately, I work full time at a job that doesn't allow much time to participate in these discussions. Let me state that it was never my intention to develop an alternative cosmology, only to try to discover a better comprehension of the nature of time. Only after a series of epiphanies, did I realize that I, not only had developed a clearer understanding of the nature of time, but that this knowledge, when applied to the universe as a whole, could be used as the basis for a new model of the cosmos that was unique and logically consistent. It is logically consistent in that it gives a reasonable explanation for both redshift as well as the CMBR and as such I originally thought that I had just reconstructed the Standard Model from first principles rather than from General Relativity. I later realized after much additional contemplation and study that this model was indeed unique due to the insight that it gave to some of the fundamental questions of Cosmology. I have developed several other hypotheses, that if proven correct, will further explain much that is presently unknown or misunderstood.

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Georgina Parry wrote on Apr. 16, 2010 @ 03:52 GMT
John,

I agree, relativity gets a shaking but it doesn't have to be thrown out. It provides a way of working with subjective reality to obtain accurate predictions about what will be observed. It is still useful.

It has been generally assumed that relativity and space-time must be either right or wrong but it is not that simple. It will have to sit alongside another, complementary, model of objective reality. The two models together representing both the physics of subjective experience and the underlying objective physics of the material Universe, separate from experience.

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John Merryman replied on Apr. 16, 2010 @ 10:05 GMT
Georgina,

Finding out how it all fits together is what it's all about.

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Georgina Parry replied on Apr. 16, 2010 @ 12:48 GMT
John,

I'm not sure whether you mean how subjective reality data can be converted to data in the objective model or how objective reality leads to subjective reality. I will therefore address both questions.

Subjective reality to objective reality.

There is no temporal spread of objects in objective reality. So an object that is seen as it existed in the past or in a no longer...

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Georgina Parry replied on Apr. 16, 2010 @ 14:00 GMT
I would just like to add that although I said that subjective reality can not be converted to objective reality it may be possible to make well reasoned guesses or predictions of the current objective reality from subjective reality data. Although there will always be uncertainty as to the reliability of the prediction.

As meteorologists and climate scientists know, prediction is a difficult business because of the complexity and chaos within weather systems. Likewise the complexity and chaos within objective reality will make prediction of its state or that of individual particles within it, based only upon "old" subjective reality data, unreliable.

The older the data the more unreliable the prediction of current objective existential reality will be. Which is worth bearing in mind in experimental design. Just as weather prediction is quite reliable over a very short time scale but very unreliable over long time scales. Due to the effect of chaos, whereby a very small perturbation can cause a large difference in out come.

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Anonymous wrote on Apr. 16, 2010 @ 23:07 GMT
John

You said "That was more of a philosophical observation, since the effect of our subjective reality is objective in terms of its own reality," I don't understand what you are saying here. I could regard my own subjective reality as objective but I would be deluding myself, as are most other people. I know that my reality is constructed by my mind. That might sound just a little schizophrenic but that is how it is for the mentally well. We live in a world that is our own private illusion. The schizophrenic mind just produces a subjective reality that is even more at odds with the subjective reality produced by the minds of other people. Subjective reality is not objective, as I see it, because it is produced by a subject and pertains to experience.

You said "as well as the fact that there is no way to actually frame truly objective reality, as any frame would be subjective." This I agree with. There is of course no way for the human mind to create something entirely objective. I have said often a model can only be a model, it can not be the reality itself. So the model will be an imperfect simplification at best and something totally wrong that works at worst. That does not mean there should be no model,imo.

John, I am not anti science. Although some theory will have to be shed and consigned to a historical period of well intentioned misadventure,imo. The cat should be allowed to leave with dignity and uncertainty should be slotted into its correct place. It is not my intention to show that science can not give explanations.I have argued that those explanations are a model of reality only and not real.They can not be believed but only accepted for what they are. I am also saying that everything that we experience to be real is not the existential material reality. Therefore there needs to be two complementary models. One for experience of reality and one for existential material reality. If this is to be modeled.

The unknowable objective material reality could be explained by religious or metaphysical or scientific models. Nobody can know is the correct answer, you are correct, but it is emotionally and intellectually unsatisfying for a scientist. One might say, as you seem to be saying, it is too complex to bother modeling. We might say it is the Tao. It is unknowable and flows as it will. But that does not help science, it is resignation. Despite its complexity a logical, self consistent model that answers the foundational questions can imo be produced. Hydrological systems and weather systems are very complex but they can still be modelled, even if those models are imperfect.

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Georgina Parry replied on Apr. 16, 2010 @ 23:08 GMT
That Anonymous is me.

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John Merryman replied on Apr. 16, 2010 @ 23:33 GMT
Georgina,

I'm not saying our subjective perception is objective. I'm saying our physical reality is as objective as any other physical reality. Much of it our sense of awareness frequently doesn't perceive.

I'm also not being resigned about the process of discovery, just commenting on the many and inevitable pitfalls in the process.

I do see this process of mental growth as following physical principles, such as the subjective viewpoint amounts to a warping of information around one's point of perspective, much like gravity warps the passage of light.

Gravity also describes how people cluster around ideas long after a more objective view would move on. So I'm not knocking anyone, as I realize they have their subjective reasons for doing whatever they are doing, even if it seems foolish to me. Frankly I do plenty of foolish things for reasons I understand, but can't always explain. Not because I can't always put them in words, but because others would think I'm crazier if I told them. As I've said before, we may all be branches of the same tree, but the result is that we all point in different directions.

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Georgina Parry replied on Apr. 17, 2010 @ 09:40 GMT
John,

now I understand what you meant. I think that there may have been confusion because of the language I used. When I referred to my subjective reality I was referring to my internal mental construct of the world that exists exterior to me, with which I operate in the world. Not me the human being object, being only subjective in my existence. As I regard the material that makes up my body to have existence in objective reality like any other matter. So I think we agree on that. That material being in a state of continuous change too like any other matter.

Though if you were to look at me or I was to look at myself in a mirror we would not see my objective material reality but our own subjective reality "image" of me formed by our own brains. It can be reasonably speculated that a dog having greater ratio of rod to cone light receptors will form a different subjective reality of image of me having less color definition in the image.

My subjective awareness of the material object that is me is limited to that information which is made available to my consciousness from sensory input and internally generated input regarding myself, such as internal pain, physiological state and mental state, general health etc. Then there are those other more abstract characteristics of me such as principles, likes and dislikes, social role etc by which I define myself as an individual person rather than a material object. Subjective again, as those characteristics are selected by me the subject to define myself for my own self knowledge. Ie. this is who I am.

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Georgina Parry wrote on Apr. 17, 2010 @ 03:34 GMT
John,

with respect I think that is the wrong question. The series of events is not more fundamental than the existing reality. But existent reality is materially real and the series does not have material existence but is remembered or can be imagined. The series is thus a subjective reality that has no place being in a model or conceptualization of purely existential material reality. For full comprehension of what is going on, subjective reality (experience) must be considered alongside objective material reality not one or the other only.

It is my opinion that a change in spatial position, within objective reality, is an energy change and vice versa. Even when a body is already in motion, because universal potential energy is continuously exchanged for change in spatial position. That is why I think the dimensions of a model of objective reality could be considered spatio-energetic. So every spatial change is also energy change and can not occur independently. The energy -is- the change in configuration within objective reality, not time.

Change in spatial position produces those changes which allow passage of time to be experienced in subjective reality. The direction of the perceived change depends on how one wishes to think about it and express it. One may consider causality to build the present from past events. Or one may consider future potential to lead to present events. The idea, the design, the actualization. The ball with potential energy at the top of the hill to the ball at the bottom of the hill. Both are occurring but you John, are giving greater emphasis to that direction less often considered. I am not saying that you are wrong to do that, but that I consider it to be only a choice made from personal preference of viewpoint, rather than necessity. Though it does highlight that there is a choice of preferred viewpoint available.

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John Merryman replied on Apr. 17, 2010 @ 10:01 GMT
Georgina,

I agree it is a matter of viewpoint as to whether one is analyzing past events in order to predict future ones, which naturally favors a past to future dichotomy, or whether one is elementally engaged in the present and is adapting to the multiple variety of effects occurring, such that it is a matter of having past frames breaking down to reveal new ones. Given the way I live my life, professionally and personally, I have to be very elementally engaged in the present. The question then would be, what is the elemental reality and what is the emergent, higher order synthesis. The problem for physicists is that they are especially higher order synthesizers trying to analyze the elemental.

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Georgina Parry replied on Apr. 17, 2010 @ 11:22 GMT
John,

I understand now, glad we agree on that. I also have come to appreciate the difficulty some physicists, with expert working knowledge of complex theory, have leaving that aside to consider at a very basic level simpler, more fundamental but vitally important ideas. You and I are posting here on FQXi about what we consider existentially real and foundational to a model of objective material reality. It is absolutely necessary to be working up from the correct foundation, to end up with logical self consistent theory without paradoxes and nonsense. Thank you once again FQXi for recognizing that.

IMO Failure to acknowledge that there are two equally valid but different versions of reality has been one of the 2 big problems. There has been a relativity is either right or it is wrong mentality, looking for a single theory solution, since QM and relativity have not been successfully united.The necessity for two complementary models has now been clearly explained. Subjective experience can not be left out of physics (sorry Lawrence) because it is already modeled within relativity. Like it or not.

The other big problem has been failure to understand time. The conceptualization of time that has been agreed by you, Mr.smith and myself overcomes the time travel paradoxes. Anyone who still wants to believe in existential time realms, the possibility of time travel and the existential reality of those paradoxes must be unaware of the solution given or have completely failed to understand what has been said, imo. It is not scientific to choose a nonsensical interpretation of theory over logical interpretation that provides a sensible solution.

Those two problems that have held up the progress of physics for decades have now been highlighted, discussed and debated and are resolved in my opinion. These posts may sound too philosophical for a physicist to be interested in but it is vital foundational work necessary for restarting real progress physics once again.

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John Merryman replied on Apr. 17, 2010 @ 16:13 GMT
Georgina,

I'm afraid the likely response is that we will be ignored. At least for as long as possible. Physics is currently dominated by tactically minded people who focus on the details, because it's generally assumed the basic model is beyond serious question. It is difficult to find chinks in the armour, though FQXi seems to provide a possible conduit, but I'm inclined not to hold my breath. If anything, it's most likely the approach will enter into formal discussions gradually, without any acknowledgment that it was proposed by outsiders. If this did happen, it would likely blow up over time, as the media attention would eventually examine the process and players, but that will take quite awhile.

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Paul N. Butler wrote on Apr. 17, 2010 @ 05:18 GMT
J.C.N.

Thanks for your help about the missing posts. Since they don’t appear on the screen, how do you get back to them? Another interesting question is, what causes some messages to be completely taken off the screen while others are left on and if they are too long they are just truncated with the person’s name and the first few lines of the message and then have the (view entire post) prompt on the next line to expand it out, so that you can read all of it if you desire. It seems that if it is compressed such that it no longer appears on the screen no one will know that it is there, so it will be ignored, unless that is someone’s purpose. Learning how to see the hidden messages could open up a whole new outlook on a blog.

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J.C.N. Smith replied on Apr. 17, 2010 @ 14:08 GMT
Mr. Butler,

"Thanks for your help about the missing posts. Since they don’t appear on the screen, how do you get back to them?"

If you look closely between posts, you will occasionally find the prompt, "Show all replies (x not shown)." If you click on that link the missing posts will reappear. It does add to the challenge of finding things quickly. Happy hunting!

jcns

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Eckard Blumschein wrote on Apr. 17, 2010 @ 17:31 GMT
Dear JCNS,

Retired researchers like me do not have a chance for getting fostered. Our strength could be versatile experience, common sense, and sometimes even forensic abilities. Maybe, Constantinos Ragazas is not wrong. May I ask you for your comment on his argument?

Regards,

Eckard

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John Merryman replied on Apr. 17, 2010 @ 21:49 GMT
Eckard,

That link doesn't seem to work.

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Eckard Blumschein replied on Apr. 18, 2010 @ 08:05 GMT
Thank you, John. The link refers to the Article "The Crystallizing Universe". I will try and hopefully provide the correct link for your convenience.

I should add that the growing army of retired individuals is in the comfortable position of being rather independent and highly motivated but not subject to time consuming distraction and much less prone to be cheated.

What about me, I do not trust in any arbitrarily chosen assumption or interpretation. My attitude towards singularities is expressed in a provocative interpretation of infinity: |sign(0)|=1. I nonetheless enjoy operating with (unilateral) singularity functions.

In acoustics I learned to adapt the model instead of trying to use only ray or only wave methods.

Eckard

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J.C.N. Smith replied on Apr. 18, 2010 @ 13:51 GMT
Mr. Blumschein,

I've as yet not been able to focus on the question you addressed to me. The one undeniable thing about time is that I don't have nearly enough of it. I'll do my best to look at Mr. Ragazas's argument to which you referred me, but it may not happen immediately. In order to stay abreast of all the threads in all the blogs here at FQXi, not to mention elsewhere, one would need to exist simultaneously in multiple parallel universes, but thus far I've not noticed that happening in my own case.

jcns

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Georgina Parry wrote on Apr. 17, 2010 @ 21:35 GMT
John, all.

I am so tired of going over this stuff.I have been on this site going over and over it because I consider it so important that these ideas are heard and seriously considered. I have been saying these things every which way I can think of for so long. Talking to who ever will listen for a while and sometimes, apparently just to myself.I have given as much detail and clarity as...

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J.C.N. Smith replied on Apr. 17, 2010 @ 21:50 GMT
Ms. Parry,

I feel (and often share) your frustration, but I think we're making progress. As some wise person once told me, qui patitur vincit.

jcns

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John Merryman replied on Apr. 17, 2010 @ 22:12 GMT
Georgina,

Remember what they say about the stock market, that it can remain irrational for longer than you can remain solvent. The trick to maintaining your sanity is simply to figure out what sanity requires. If you get yourself in a box and the rational way of escaping it doesn't work, don't stress, just zen out on the problem and your mind finds other avenues.

As for where physics is going, remember there are tens of thousands of people involved and none of them really control the situation. Even if some are in positions of power, frequently they are captive to the requirements of that situation. Personally one of my main reasons for trying to understand time was to come to terms with my own mortality and in that regard, whether society sticks a little star by your name is not terribly consequential.

I also appreciate finding someone who sees it the way I do.

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Georgina Parry replied on Apr. 18, 2010 @ 00:28 GMT
John,

I do appreciate what you are saying. There is inevitable inertia. Some things take time to change because people are just not aware of the progress and changes in understanding that have been made. Also though we can not just pull the rug away and expect business to carry on as usual. There are lifetime careers, livelihoods, reputations, academic syllabuses, institutions that rely on the status quo of science. Should the mass delusion be maintained for the sake of continuity or should the house of cards fall so that it can be properly rebuilt? FQXI does at least provide a means of shaking the structure even if it will not give way.

I am very patient and can be very chilled. I agree that it is good to just leave things alone sometimes and let new perspectives form subconsciously. Sometimes I can laugh at the futility of what I am doing and how bizarre it must seem, without proper consideration of meaning, implication and significance.I do not regard myself as ambitious, definitely B rather than A personality type. But I am intelligent, enjoy using that intelligence and dislike it being underestimated. I am like the annoying little kid with hand permanently in the air, itching to shout out "I know, I know." That's why it is so annoying to hear that "Nobody knows". That's why sometimes it is annoying to be told that -I- don't understand. Then there are days when I am just tired and grumpy and I feel like complaining.

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Anonymous wrote on Apr. 17, 2010 @ 21:58 GMT
Anonymous,

You said "What matters to science is testability. i.e.--how can we know that what we are proposing corresponds to reality? The answer is observation.

That is so not the answer Anonymous.

You have not taken into account that there are 2 versions of reality . That which is experienced and that which has objective existence separate from experience. What we observe is the product of processing of input to give a subjective impression of what exists externally and this is considered by you and most people to be the only reality. It is however not the same as the existential objective reality that can not be observed. It is always only an image or impression formed from a former spatial configuration of matter that has no real existence now, not the existential material reality.

What really matters to science is that scientists grasp this and apply it in their work. The fact that the conceptualization of time outlined here by Mr. smith and others solves the time paradoxes is in itself enough to show that it is the better way of thinking about time. If you would prefer to say I'd rather keep the paradoxes and nonsense because you can not demonstrate this experimentally then you really have not thought deeply enough about this,imo.

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Georgina Parry replied on Apr. 17, 2010 @ 22:02 GMT
That Anonymous response to anonymous was me, Georgina Parry.

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Anonymous replied on Apr. 17, 2010 @ 22:16 GMT
This simply is not true. The ultimate litmus test of validity in science is empirical observation, not theory.

If it looks like a duck, acts like a duck, quacks like a duck, then it's a duck, even if your theory, reasoning, and intution insists it's a cow.

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Georgina Parry replied on Apr. 17, 2010 @ 22:41 GMT
Anonymous,

I am so sorry that you can not appreciate that the very foundations of science have to be rebuilt. To restart real progress after decades of inability to surmount the foundational problems. If you wish to believe that personal subjective reality is the only existential reality and that what you see (a mental fabrication from "old" EM radiation input) is more real than what actually exists materially, you really haven't thought deeply enough about this.

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John Merryman wrote on Apr. 17, 2010 @ 23:00 GMT
anon,

The problem with empirical observation is interpretation. It's a fairly well accepted fact that different people can have different interpretations of the same evidence. An obvious example would be the discussion Georgina and I have been having as to whether time goes past to future, or if it is the future becoming the past. How would you propose testing that? It seems to me far more a situation of analyzing the evidence we have, as opposed to discovering as yet hidden evidence.

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Anonymous replied on Apr. 18, 2010 @ 02:11 GMT
Since this view adds the conjecture that time flows forward as well as backwards, one would need to show, through some obsrvation or experiment, that time flows in both directions.

Such a proposition cannot be currently tested nor falsified, therefore it is simply a conjecture, and one which is vacuuus as it predicts the same outcome for observations as currently exists with contemporary theories. This conjecture is not a hypothesis or a theory, but simply a conjecture without any novel explanatory power. It predicts nothing new and offers no valid reason for discarding a current theory. Such a conjecture exists in limbo and cannot be stated as fact until the time at which an experiment can be conducted to either disprove the conjecture or elevate the conjecture to the status of theory.

That is how science works and how it always has worked. When scientists deviate from this path and elevate their conjectures to theory, without any supporting physical evidence, we have situations such as prominent scientists running around telling the general public that we live in a multiverse. This is not only bad science, it is a move in general, as it can come back to haunt you and damage your reputation.

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Georgina Parry replied on Apr. 18, 2010 @ 03:39 GMT
Anonymous,

No. I will assume that you have just not read the arguments, rather than you just fail to understand. It can be agreed that direction of flow is just a matter of how one wishes to consider and discuss time. It is a subjective experience and mental construct. If you consider the proposition vacuous you have either not read the discussions or have not given it sufficient thought, imo.

That there is existential past and future realms, that the time paradoxes are existentially real, that space-time is objectively real can also not be proven. Those conjectures are due to subjective experience (not empirically proven science) and a particular interpretation of the space-time construct. That afore mentioned view of how time works is the generally accepted view since widespread acceptance of Einstein's work on relativity. An incorrect interpretation of the meaning of the mathematics leading to paradoxes and nonsense. (Not the same thing as the mathematics being wrong.)

It is not philosophically better to say the incorrect interpretation must be adhered to because it was though of first. That is nonsense. If it is not possible to replace an interpretation of mathematics and conceptualization of reality when a better one comes along then what on earth has science been about? Ideas get replaced by better ideas or we do not progress.

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John Merryman replied on Apr. 18, 2010 @ 08:39 GMT
Anon,

"Since this view adds the conjecture that time flows forward as well as backwards, one would need to show, through some obsrvation or experiment, that time flows in both directions.

Such a proposition cannot be currently tested nor falsified, therefore it is simply a conjecture, and one which is vacuuus as it predicts the same outcome for observations as currently exists with contemporary theories. This conjecture is not a hypothesis or a theory, but simply a conjecture without any novel explanatory power."

What reality do you live in? This moment in time will rather quickly recede into the past, as does any other. The question is whether it is the present that is fundamental, or the series of events which pass through it. Your position is logically similar to my suggesting the sun is not actually traveling east to west, but that it is the earth rotating west to east, relative to the sun and you were to say it is vacuous, because it is quite evident that the sun moves east to west.

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Georgina Parry wrote on Apr. 18, 2010 @ 04:01 GMT
Anonymous,

you said "The foundation of science IS the scientific method -"

The scientific method is how science is done. It is not how results or data are interpreted. There are occasional new insights that revolutionize scientific thinking by providing a new framework for interpretation of experimental results.

The scientific method only allows slow incremental increase in knowledge. It is new interpretation that can revolutionize understanding.

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Georgina Parry replied on Apr. 18, 2010 @ 07:26 GMT
Anonymous,

The scientific method is also not how existing mathematics or theory are interpreted to produce conclusions from those results.

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Paul N. Butler wrote on Apr. 18, 2010 @ 21:52 GMT
J.C.N.

Thank you for your help in allowing me to see all the posts on the page. I found out that I had been living in a local FQXI perspective that had not allowed me to even know that you had responded to my first posts to you with the errors and corrections because not only my posts, but also your answer to them was compressed off the screen before I had a chance to read your reply, so I...

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J.C.N. Smith replied on Apr. 20, 2010 @ 14:02 GMT
Mr. Butler,

A quick note to let you know I'm not ignoring you. I'm simply a bit overwhelmed at the moment with trying to follow so many interesting threads. Your long post will take some time to digest. You'll have to admit that your last paragraph is a bit daunting! That said, thank you for taking the time and trouble to offer an explanation of your thinking. Now I'll need to do some additional thinking. This is something of a vicious, exponentially expanding circle; so much to think about and so little time in which to do it!

jcns

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J.C.N. Smith replied on Apr. 23, 2010 @ 16:54 GMT
Mr. Butler,

Apologies for being slow to reply. Thank you for these additions to what you'd said previously.

Regarding motion amplitude, if I understand you correctly, you're using this as a way to talk about "speed" without explicitly talking about "time" in the process. This is an admirable goal. Achieving this goal in a fully satisfactory manner is not easy. My own reasoning tells me that speed should be a dimensionless quantity; it represents a ratio of two displacements. One of the two displacements in this ratio is some arbitrary "standard" displacement (call it Y), and the other displacement is the displacement we wish to compare with that standard. For example, we might talk about "particle A" undergoing a displacement of X units while "particle B" undergoes a displacement of Y units. Thus we'd say that the "speed" of particle A is X/Y. And the units vanish (because they're the same in both numerator and denominator).

But there are flies in the ointment here. The first of these flies in the ointment resides in the way we determine the magnitudes of the displacements of particles A and B. We typically would say that particle A undergoes a displacement of X units while particle B undergoes a displacement of Y units. But the "while" here subtly re-introduces a time variable, although we may not want to call it that. And then there is the matter that a displacement must be measured relative to something, but relative to what? Off hand, I don't know how to get around these problems. And yet this seemingly (at least at first glance) "simple" problem of how to talk about and compare motions without somehow introducing the notion of time certainly is central to doing physics using the concepts advanced by several people, myself included, in this blog.

Ernst Mach is the "godfather" of thinking about these issues, and rather than re-invent this wheel it might behoove many of us to go back and review his work, regarding which much of interest has already been written in Julian Barbour's book 'The End of Time.'

I admit to not fully grasping the idea you have described in your long last paragraph. I further admit to becoming psychologically uncomfortable when the number of dimensions which must be introduced to explain a concept begin to multiply. Nevertheless, one key to success here would be to see whether your concept leads to any testable predictions, which is the mantra to which we must always return in the name of doing good science.

I realize that these comments are not satisfying, but they're the best I can do at the moment. Sorry.

jcns

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Paul N. Butler wrote on Apr. 20, 2010 @ 06:18 GMT
Georgina,

To truly have the ability to observe the complete objective reality, one would need to have certain abilities, whether directly or by way of intermediate structures. First he would need to be able to simultaneously and continuously observe every motion in the motion continuum (universe) and know its position, direction of motion and motion amplitude. This would give one the...

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Anonymous replied on Apr. 20, 2010 @ 11:48 GMT
Paul ,

Goodness me that was a long one.I would like to refer you to the thread called Survival in many world where I have answered some of your questions in a post reply to Jason.

Yes the whole of the objective model's space, the whole stack of pages, is just space. Things can move around in that space from page to page. All macroscopic objects are progressing afore but sub atomic...

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Jason Wolfe replied on Apr. 20, 2010 @ 20:40 GMT
Georgina,

If you convert time into a spatio-energetic dimension, how do you keep track of causality? How do you keep track of the fact that the electron was ionized from the atom because the photon excited it? Without time, you lose that sense of this caused that.

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Georgina Parry replied on Apr. 22, 2010 @ 00:26 GMT
Jason,

You are talking about conducting experiments and making observations. This is conducted within the subjective reality or experience of reality. The objective reality model is another way of interpreting reality which allows the foundational questions to be answered that can not be answered via experimentation, observation and space-time model.I regard it as more as a tool for comprehension and interpretation rather than directly relevant to experimental situations.It allows another view of what is going on.

Perhaps the best way to explain this is to say that in the objective reality model time could still be regarded as being there but it is not recognized or called time in this model.It represents spatial change and interactions in 4 dimensions of space. In a representation of the space the path of a particle through it could be drawn. If the paths of many particles were drawn the interactions in time and space could be seen, even though there is no time in this model. The path does not exist as a real object in this reality because the particle only actually exists where it is, not where it has been. It can not replicate itself so as to leave a copy of itself behind or smear itself across space. So the path is imaginary, there is nothing of the particle still there. The space that has been passed through has not now become the past it is still just space. (But that imaginary path could be regarded as what happened in the past.) It is not existentially real and that is important. There is no past realm or future realm or absolute present it is all just space and is still just space even though stuff has happened.

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John Merryman wrote on Apr. 20, 2010 @ 09:58 GMT
Georgina, Paul,

One field which examines this relationship between the subjective linear perspective and the broader non-linear context is Complexity Theory. The problem physics keeps having is that it is still operating under hundred+ year old rules of trying to nest the non-linear within a larger linear process, so such ideas as Big Bang theory emerge, where the entire universe is defined as a single object, traveling along a single narrative, yet the logic keeps breaking down, but rather than go back and reconstruct the view as fundamentally non-linear, where it is our subjective view creating horizon lines of perception, they simply nest that original hypothesis within a larger non-linear process and thus we have multiverses.

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Georgina Parry replied on Apr. 20, 2010 @ 20:42 GMT
John,

I am a fan of fractals, chaos and complexity. As I said to Paul I think that as well as having to allow relativity and its space time to sit alongside a timeless objective reality space model it is most likely necessary to allow a third view also. All 3 being the same reality but different ways of comprehending it. One being the reality of what actually exists the next our subjective experience of what exists and deductions from that experience and the third the self similar scaling pattern within either an objective reality or subjective reality model.I do not have a problem with saying that all of these aspects of one reality can not be explained with one model but at least 3 models are needed to fully explain it.Saying one model or view is correct is not saying the other views must be wrong.

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Georgina Parry replied on Apr. 21, 2010 @ 01:32 GMT
John,

I am aware of the connotation that could be placed on what I have just said. Though I am not deliberately placing it there myself. I have no hidden agenda. The Templeton foundation might approve though. As you, and others, have said its a case of blind men describing the same unseen elephant.

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John Merryman replied on Apr. 21, 2010 @ 09:59 GMT
Georgina,

Actually three defining reality is a very old concept. Remember the tao isn't just yin and yang, but the combination of the two making the whole circle as well. What we call religion today is just very old insights that have become encrusted with a bunch of anthropomorphic symbols in order to appeal to large numbers of people. Polytheistic deities were what we would call memes today, large group concepts, activities, formations, etc, which the group perceived. This evolved into pantheism, as the connections between these concepts became ever more obvious and mythologized as social interactions of the anthropomorphic deities. Monotheism is an attempt to institutionalize that insight, to turn the unity of connectedness into a unit that can be governed. But with Christianity it started to break down again and you have the trinity. The basic problem with our understanding of religious concepts is that the universal state of the absolute, the connection of everything, is basis, not apex, so a spiritual absolute, or source, would be the raw essence of being and life from which we rise, not a moral and intellectual ideal from which we fell. Good and bad, the attraction of the beneficial and repulsion of the detrimental, are simply the biological binary code out of which complex thought and evolved social orders rise.

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Jason Wolfe wrote on Apr. 20, 2010 @ 20:11 GMT
John,

I'm beginning to think that the physics community is bottlenecked, stuck at this level of physics because they only use half of their brains, the logical half. Without the use of creativity, they are stuck. They can't understand what the mathematics means in terms of common sense. They are stuck and won't listen to me. They will remain stuck until the utter meaningless turns to boredom. They will look around and wonder if it's OK, acceptable to use the creative side of their brain. I'm probably going to look at other physics websites in the meantime.

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Georgina Parry replied on Apr. 20, 2010 @ 20:30 GMT
Jason,

the main problem I have with considering your ideas is the speed at which they change and evolve. It is difficult to really seriously consider something in a very, very short time. If something is worth considering, as I believe the matter of time and gravity are, then they need to be thought about very deeply and precisely and over a considerable period of time. I can not just write a handful of symbols to fully express the meaning I am trying to convey. It takes time to think and to clarify the meaning before I then write those thoughts clearly. I too have rushed to write down my novel thoughts in the past and this has resulted in work that I am not happy with, which still contains my own lack of full and clear comprehension. When considering your ideas I barely have time to catch on to one and it has changed into something else or something completely different. It is too many ideas moving too quickly for me, though very interesting to observe.

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Jason Wolfe replied on Apr. 20, 2010 @ 21:01 GMT
Georgina,

I appreciate your candid response. They have had to change and evolve so quickly because I have been trying to wrap my head around the full set of "what must occur to build a hyper-drive".

I can explain it in simple language: The crew/cargo/space-ship exist inside of a space-time generator. The generator transitions between our space-time, and the coexisting hyper-space. There is a hyper-space rocket made out of hyperspace molecules. This rocket causes the generator to transition back and forth between hyperspace and space-time. Use this kind of a system makes it possible to trek around the galaxy and explore strange new worlds, etc...

But every one of these concepts needs a very detailed explanation. In addition, I have to relate it back to the experimental results of physics. I know how important everyone's time is. The hyper-drive is an enormously difficult nut to crack. But I've cracked it. I just don't know how much I can simplify it.

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John Merryman replied on Apr. 21, 2010 @ 16:29 GMT
Jason,

The physics community isn't stuck, just suffering a little institutional inertia.

Interesting interview on the Diane Rehm show today, where she talks to the former head of the Hubble Telescope program and he mentions how it totally blew everyone away when they discovered galaxies that where practically as old as the universe is assumed to be. Of course, something had to give, so they totally rewrote how fast galaxies formed, rather than questioning the logic of the BBT. So physics isn't stuck. It's just a question of whether they are going in the right direction.

He also brought up multiverses.

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Paul N. Butler wrote on Apr. 21, 2010 @ 22:26 GMT
Georgina,

You try to deny that a change in position is motion. But motion basically is the change in spatial position from one point in space to another regardless of whether it occurs in the lower three dimensions or in a fourth dimension. I know that you inwardly recognize that because in your post you said “Things can move around in that space from page to page …but sub atomic...

view entire post


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Georgina Parry replied on Apr. 22, 2010 @ 10:56 GMT
Paul,

Thank you for your consideration. It is still a prodigious post.

You said "You try to deny that a change in position is motion." No I don't I say that I try to say -change in spatial position in preference because I am describing a model without time.

You said "I do not see what problem you see in the existence of motions or for that matter the individual time periods that are generated by them." I do not have any problem with it at all. I am just describing another way of looking at this.

Concerning your long list of questions I have answered these questions many times before on FQXi. Perhaps you could quickly browse through some of my posts on this thread and survival in many worlds to get a better idea of what I am trying to explain.

Answers:1].It is an orientation. All macroscopic matter moves along it in one direction. Moving in the other direction would require a very large energy input.2].It is perpendicular you may prefer the term orthogonal to the other 3 dimension. 3]. It is just an orientation in space it has no physical reality. In the same way as the grid lines on a map do not exist on the ground. 4]. Change in position along the 4th dimension is an energetic process whereby potential energy is converted to change in position in space. Change in position within 3D space is exchange of potential energy and kinetic energy for change in spatial position. In this model all change is spatio-energetic not spatio-temporal.5]. All matter is recycled. The energy is the change in position of the matter it is not a substance that can run out. 6]. I do not think that quantum uncertainty is related to chaos but I do think that chaos and chance leads to uncertainty. Chaos theory is a well established area of physics and is used in many areas of research and modeling where complex dynamic systems are involved.7]. I must refer you to my other posts where I have discussed this fully. This model in my opinion allows many of the foundational questions to be answered. It gives a new perspective on time. It allows an explanation of gravity. It explains how instantaneous action of gravity can occur. It heps to explain the constant observed speed of light. It helps explain why more electrons than positrons are observed. It can be used in a model that solves the time travel paradoxes. And more. It allows construction of a model of an objective reality unlike our subjective experience of reality. This allows a new perspective of the same physics enabling the foundational questions to be answered that have been unsolvable due to the current space-time viewpoint of reality.

I agree thta there is unknown structure which will affect outcomes. The complexity of the structure and its changes in formation making this even more difficult to fully model. Though I also do think that sometimes out comes do just come down to chance.

We all have questions. Good luck with your research.

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Georgina Parry wrote on Apr. 22, 2010 @ 12:09 GMT
John,

I wanted to reply to one of your posts but now I can't locate it. Partly to say how well I thought you had described the difference between what is happening and how it is perceived. You had explained that there is a non linear process occurring that the mind makes into a linear process.

A minor but important point concerning clarity and accuracy of meaning. You said something like.. "we perceive flashes of perception of time." Although I understood what you meant I do not get conscious flashes of perception of time but a seamless flow of changing imagery. For precision I would prefer the wording - the conscious mind is updated with "flashes" of new information about the spatial arrangement of matter from the subconscious processing areas of the brain. (Forgive me if I have misquoted you I did have a good look for your post.) I think knowledge of how the neurological process works maybe worth looking into. To check whether there are discreet bursts of new information rather than continuous updating flow. Research must have already been conducted on this. I'm too tired to look tonight. Perhaps you know more about this than me.

You also mentioned how important the temporal sequencing of data is, to make sense of the data and prevent mental overload. Your good analogy was white noise. This ties in very well with Jill Bolte Taylor's TED video. That we both have referred to previously. Which is reliable evidence from an expert.I really think this is very relevant and if anyone hasn't seen it already they really should.

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John Merryman replied on Apr. 22, 2010 @ 21:48 GMT
Georgina,

I couldn't find it either. I think this method of branching posts doesn't quite work. I think if they do it this way, than the particular thread should have all recent additions to that particular thread on the left, not just two from all active threads. Then each blurb should link directly to that posting.

Yes, it probably should have read" flashes of changing events," given that dissecting time is the topic.

I think our brians do function something like a movie, where we form series of images that flow together in a seemingly seamless fashion. It might be a more chaotic process than the mechanical linearity of film though.

As for the JBT video, her right brain was still processing images, it just wasn't organizing and analyzing them. So it must have still been a serial movie effect, but with no sense of narrative direction.

Remember though, that our consciousness is more like the projector light, shining through the film, rather than the film itself. We are the perception that is in the now. The series of images go by, from future to past. Eventually we too become one with those images, fading into memory, as the eternal projector light flashes onto new images.

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Georgina Parry replied on Apr. 22, 2010 @ 22:25 GMT
John,

I agree with you about the difficulty of navigating this system of threads. Another problem is that posts may be added to a thread but unless one looks through them all will not necessarily come upon it.I can at least post to thread now. I have had times when my computer has refused to allow me to do that. Also sometimes others refer to thread numbers but I do not see any index or way to access such numbered posts. Do you?

You said "I think our brians do function something like a movie, where we form series of images that flow together in a seemingly seamless fashion. It might be a more chaotic process than the mechanical linearity of film though."

I think that is probably so too, (not about Brian but about our brains.) I was wondering if there was neurological evidence that could confirm that. Or whether brain activity is too complex to discern discreet bursts of updating input from processing areas, either within the visual cortex or from areas associated with memory for example. Which might signify data, allowing recognition of something observed, being sent to other areas of the brain. Thus enabling conscious recognition of the thing observed. It would be good if a neurologist or specialist in this sort of area would give some insight into this question. This is either already known or it would be something worth researching imo.Unless someone can tell us I will see if I find any information on this.

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FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster wrote on Apr. 22, 2010 @ 14:51 GMT
I have an important update to announce, regarding the application process. Specifically, the application preparation process.

An applicant pointed out to us that there is no way to save an unfinished application. We have now created a document (fill-able pdf) version of the application, which you can download at the application website. This form is NOT the application, but you can use it to prepare the application. To apply, you just copy your text into the online webpage.

But beware: Don't send us the document. To apply, you MUST use the online webform.

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Anonymous replied on Apr. 23, 2010 @ 14:16 GMT
Can I submit a paper for free?

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Anonymous wrote on Apr. 23, 2010 @ 14:14 GMT
What if time really does not exist at all, in a physical sense, and is simply an emergent feature of the underlying processes which manifest the entities we observe with our senses?

What if time is not really a physical property of nature, but just an abstraction that exists in the minds of sentient beings who try to make sense of the changes we observe to take place around us?

If time is something that flows, like water in a stream, then it must be something that exists in and of itself and has properties that can only be defined in terms of the causal influence it has on material objects. Since this causal influence is universal and knows no bounds, it follows that time, if it really exists in a physical sense, is similar in scope to the concept of the ether--the mysterious substance that permeates all of space and is the invisible substrate upon which the game of physics is played out.

This idea is internally consistent and leads to cognitive dissonance, especially when the subject of relativity enters the picture. It is easier to forumlate a notion of change in nature that is based on underlying fundamental processes, rather than by some ethereal superspook, called time, that has causal control over the processes we observe.

Our current notions of the nature of time goes back to Newton's day. These metaphysical notions are outdated and never kept pace with modern theory.

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Georgina Parry replied on Apr. 24, 2010 @ 00:26 GMT
Hello Anonymous,

You said "What if time really does not exist at all... "What if time is not really a physical property of nature, but just an abstraction... I think that it is so. I therefore think that there should be equal burden of proof put upon those who deem the space-time model the only true interpretation of reality, as is put upon those who deem a timeless existential reality equally but differently realistic. The space-time model causes the time paradoxes which are nonsensical.

Concerning the Granddad paradox - it is just not possible for countless replicas to exist throughout time because matter can not just double itself repeatedly from nothing so as to leave a trail of copies behind or smear itself through space leaving itself behind but also being fully now. Relativity may say that this is how it is but it is a wrong interpretation. Anyone who says that there is an existential past or future realm should be expected to explain why they consider pure mathematics to be a more reliable measure of reality than physics and logical interpretation.ie How do the copies get there? Please provide the physical mechanism where by the matter is replicated to have many different locations rather than just one.

You said "It is easier to forumlate a notion of change in nature that is based on underlying fundamental processes, rather than by some ethereal superspook, called time, that has causal control over the processes we observe." I agree and that is what I have been working on. I think time can be regarded more like the pathway taken by things flowing in the medium of space,which can be modelled by spatio-energetic change rather than spatio-temporal change and that currents and disturbances in the medium give rise to what we regard as forces.

P.S. I wish you would just choose a name, Zarg, Cat Twinkle, A., anything. Then I might know if you are an Anonymous I have spoken to before or a new Anonymous or which of several different people all being Anonymous.If you are the same Anonymous I have spoken to before please forgive my directness in expressing my opinions. My opinions are always intended to respectfully give an alternative view point. Not to demean, insult or in any other way offend. However when someone says "This is the answer" and I consider it not to be so, I can only say, No it isn't. Disagreement and logical argument is not the same as hostility or lack of respect for the other person involved.If we have never spoken before and you do not have a clue what I am talking about then I can only say that that is the problem with being Anonymous. Previous conversations that you have not had maybe attributed to you or conversations you have had maybe attributed to another Anonymous.

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Georgina Parry replied on Apr. 24, 2010 @ 01:46 GMT
Continuing from my previous post and for the sake of completeness.

In the case of the twins paradox using a timeless (objective) model of space, where everywhere is just space rather than space-time. An objects only existential reality is within that space which is always now. (It does not exist as a material object in the past or present.) Twin 1 stays home on earth which is within space existing "now". Twin 2 leaves earth and travels in timeless space which also exists in the only "now" and then returns to earth which is again in space "now".Although there have been spatio-energetic changes permitting the change of position in space, there has been no difference in the passage of time and so no difference in aging and so no paradox. Twin 2 has been traversing space as set out on a map with no temporal difference between his location and location of sibling. Rather than traveling within space-time with time difference between different locations built in to it, because it is a model constructed from observation and is therefore a subjective view.

P.S. Anonymous I do not know if that will make sense at all. I do not know if you have been following the discussions or are new to this site.

Such an atemporal model answers the foundational questions that can not be answered by the space-time models alone. It needs to be used in tandem to explain what is happening in existential material reality rather than reality deduced from observation and experience.

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Georgina Parry replied on Apr. 24, 2010 @ 02:25 GMT
When I said that the space traveling twin has no difference in age to his stay at home twin, that was merely considering the physics. There are of course biological aging effects of being in space. Such as muscle loss, bone density decrease and harmful effects of extra cosmic radiation exposure. Which may lead to further biological aging, such as increased DNA damage and associated increase in cancer risk.

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J.C.N. Smith wrote on Apr. 24, 2010 @ 13:20 GMT
A question/suggestion for the FQXi Administrators:

Is it possible that some clever person behind the scenes at FQXi could develop a way to automatically number posts to the various FQXi blogs? Lacking such a system, it eventually becomes more and more difficult to navigate blogs as they grow and develop various internal threads, etc. This is exactly the sort of task which should be reasonably easy to automate with the miracle of modern computers, I'd think.

For example, posts to this blog might all begin with the number "629" to denote the topic. Then under that the posts could be numbered sequentially. And as various threads split off within the blog they could be given their own sub-numbers or letter designations, or whatever would be most logical.

Also useful would be a search capability within blogs, which, for example, might allow us to pull up all the posts by a given author in chronological order.

These additions certainly would make the blogs much more user friendly, in my opinion.

Thanks.

jcns

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FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster replied on Apr. 27, 2010 @ 15:42 GMT
We don't have plans yet to add our own personal search feature, but we do keep it on the list of possible changes. [You can get decent search results already with creative use of Google, and I don't think we'll add anything till we feel we could beat that.]

We do label posts with date,time---can you explain how the numbering system would improve that scheme?

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J.C.N. Smith replied on Apr. 28, 2010 @ 13:33 GMT
As blogs grow in size (this topic had 265 replies as of a few moments ago), it becomes more and more difficult to locate specific comments. Part of the difficulty arises from the fact that not all comments within a thread are shown. Moreover, the comments are not displayed in chronological order; many comments are "hidden" within sub-threads, which throws chronology to the wind. As has happened in this blog, people occasionally do not see replies to their comments, because the replies are inadvertently not made to that specific internal thread (I've been guilty of making this error myself), etc.

It seems to me that having the capability to search on posts chronologically by author, for example, would be helpful. The numbering system I suggested in my previous post (if combined with a search capability) would simply make it easier for posters to refer others to specific posts (for example, "see my post 629.57.a.36," whereupon that post could be immediately pulled up in a search).

I'm baffled by your comment about creative Googling. Are you suggesting, for example, that I could find a specific post in this topic, written by John Merryman, just for example, via Googling? If so, you'll need to explain to me how it's done.

But perhaps I don't understand the purpose of these blogs. It would be helpful if someone at FQXi would explain the "official" view (assuming such exists) regarding the purpose of the blogs. If the convenience and ease of use of the blogs for the bloggers themselves is not a high priority, then it's perhaps fine to leave things exactly as they are.

The fact that other bloggers have not weighed in on the matter suggests that nobody other than myself sees a need for any changes, in which case it certainly wouldn't be worth investing much time, effort, or money to accomplish the things I've proposed.

Thanks for your reply/request for clarification. I hope this helps you understand where I was coming from at any rate.

jcns

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Jason Wolfe replied on Apr. 28, 2010 @ 18:21 GMT
When I Google: fqxi Lawrence "Jason Wolfe" wormholes; I get one hit which leads to one fqxi blog topic. There were dozens of conversations across several topics. Taking the conversations out of chronological order makes it take longer to find recent conversations. When I was out of town for 3 days, I couldn't even begin to check for responses to my comments.

Can we at least go back to chronological entries? Making it possible to respond to one particular comment makes it very time consuming to find it again. That would be a cheap and easy way to fix this problem. However, if you have the time/money/desire to better organize these topics, organize them as:

Topic Name/number:date.

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Anonymous wrote on May. 5, 2010 @ 13:55 GMT
John, in 19066 you wrote: "describing space as the three dimensions is flawed".

Topic of the blog is "Time and Foundations". Will the Large Grant Round 2010 achieve more than a few more educated efforts without genuine avail?

I hope so while I fear, nobody of those who are in position to apply will accept the crucial role for the only non-arbitrary point. I am referring to the very moment in reality, or maybe in records from it, or even in predictions. My argument is simple: Cartesian coordinates, Christian/Greenwich time scale, and also the 4th dimension of spacetime require arbitrary choices. Minkowski was correct when he interpreted relativity as a rotation. However, he overlooked an ambiguity. The fictitious rotation in complex plane can be directed clockwise or anti-clockwise. May we expect getting consistent unifiable theories on such arbitrary basis?

Eckard

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Georgina Parry replied on May. 10, 2010 @ 06:07 GMT
Eckard,

You make a good observation about the position of the non arbitrary point. That position "now" in objective reality is where the collision or interaction and detection occurs but it is not the observed present. The results of collisions interactions and detections can only be observed when they are already an event in the past- because of the delay in interpreting the results of the interaction and detection. Where it exists "now" can only be predicted but not with certainty. So we are -blind- to objective reality.

With regard to rotation. I imagine a chaotic situation where there are eddies currents within the flow of the main body of substance, such as is observed within rivers and weather systems. So that some parts may be rotating in the opposite direction to others (and may also sometimes change direction). This could have relevance to chirality within physics processes, chemical and biological forms. So to use a model that allows rotation in one direction only will not be fully accurate. How such variation can be modeled, and used with other models of reality, to give accurate predictions is a very interesting matter for consideration, imo.

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Eckard Blumschein replied on May. 20, 2010 @ 13:10 GMT
Georgina,

You wrote: "You make a good observation about the position of the non arbitrary point. That position "now" in objective reality is where the collision or interaction and detection occurs but it is not the observed present. The results of collisions interactions and detections can only be observed when they are already an event in the past- because of the delay in interpreting the results of the interaction and detection. Where it exists "now" can only be predicted but not with certainty. So we are -blind- to objective reality."

Well, I agree that perception is a time-consuming process with limited accuracy, even when a transmitted signal tells you it is exactly noon. Nonetheless you will certainly not question that it is reasonable to stick on the observed principle that a cause always precedes the belonging full effect, no matter whether and how we observe it. We can see a blast before we hear it but it cannot be ascribed to a later cause. Therefore, the ideal moment of now is the only natural point of reference. It relates without prediction to what really happens: to the object of concern, not to the observer.

Eckard

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Georgina Parry replied on May. 20, 2010 @ 21:21 GMT
Eckard,

Yes here again I agree with you entirely. What is happening in objective reality is not the same as the experience in subjective reality. What was in objective reality ( the absolute rather than relative perspective) determines what is. What will be (unknown but prediction could be made) has no effect on what is, imo.

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Eckard Blumschein wrote on May. 5, 2010 @ 13:57 GMT
Sorry for getting anonymous, Eckard

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John Merryman replied on May. 5, 2010 @ 17:20 GMT
Eckard,

Eventually they will have to start with a clean sheet of paper and realize zero is the blank sheet, not the point at the center.

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Eckard Blumschein replied on May. 5, 2010 @ 20:39 GMT
Yes John, the sheet cannot get more than blank. There are no negative items. Accordingly we must not blindly believe in anti-items and belonging imaginary time. A future process itself cannot really be observed in advance.

Eckard

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John Merryman replied on May. 6, 2010 @ 03:33 GMT
Eckard,

There can be polarities, but if they cancel each other out, what's left isn't the point in the middle, but the blank page. That blank page is space. It doesn't expand or contract, only the polarities do that. Energy expands, mass contracts, until it turns back into energy and expands again, then eventually cools off and starts contracting again.

Just as time is not units of measure, but the processes creating them, space is not units of measure, but what's between them. It's not aether, as that's a form of matter. It is equilibrium. If something is spinning, the centrifugal force isn't due to the rotation relative to other objects, but the rotation relative to the inertia of space. The reason a clock slows proportional to its velocity is due to that same inertia.

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John Merryman wrote on May. 6, 2010 @ 17:03 GMT
Georgina, (new post at the bottom.)

Actually what makes it work is disequilibrium. What there is doesn't settle into a neutral state, but is constantly expanding and collapsing. It's not that life is pointless, but that there are no absolute points. We all have any number of things which give meaning to our lives and others to which we give meaning. So if you find yourself just floating up there in the stratosphere, without the energy to push on further, it just means you are at the top of the cycle and starting the slide back down. There are any number of ways to deal with this. Cut some ballast. Enjoy the ride back down. Use the opportunity to study the scenery.

A big part of our sense of pointlessness is the atomized community our ever more reductionist obsession with detail has created. One of my ways of dealing with this is to let all those voices in the head have their say and there is less need for outside input. (Of course, various of the people around me think I'm a bit touched anyway, so it's not such a problem.) It's somewhat surprising what there is to learn by standing back from yourself and really seeing what comes up. In a strange way, you really become one with your world, not just a semidetached observer.

It's like I pointed out about time. When we view it as traveling through the events, we are separate from them, but when we see the events forming and fading, we are part of them.

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Georgina Parry replied on May. 6, 2010 @ 20:41 GMT
John,

OK we are looking at it slightly differently, describing it differently but probably trying, in our own ways to describe the same thing, doing the same. I am still talking about something that is continuously moving and changing. I have not said that it settles into a particular state and stays like that forever. That is what current mainstream scientific theory is talking about. The long cold death of the universe. I don't believe it. All nature cycles eventually. Some cycles take longer than others, some are more obvious than others, but it happens, one way or another.

Although I am saying there has to be a flow, I am not talking about any direction in -that,this,our- space. Whether real or imagined in the model it is everywhere and no direction that can be pointed to within -that,this,our- space. That orientation penetrates everything everywhere, and the flow effects everything, everywhere. Its omnipresence is like time but it is not time. Time is the sequential sampling of space in which change is occurring and a part of that change is the continuous flow of matter, imo. That's how it seems to me anyway- in order to have everything work as it does and be able to describe it.(If I'm not going to describe it it doesn't matter what it is doing and how.)

I was not saying life is pointless but that human endeavor, which may seem very worthwhile, perhaps even fulfilling, may be regarded as ultimately pointless. The universe continues on regardless. The span of the Homo sapiens existence is just a minute episode in the span of Eternity. What we choose to give importance to in our lives makes us who we are, and we are all different, imo.

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John Merryman replied on May. 6, 2010 @ 22:00 GMT
Georgina,

I know what you are trying to say. I'm just making the point that flow implies a direction. There is the overwhelming urge to ascribe a direction to events, but the "flow" goes both ways. Past to future and future becoming past.

Life may be pointless, but that means the entire universe is equally, if not more, pointless, since it is otherwise senseless. Yes, we can assume infinitely long spans of time in which we are an ever smaller blip, but would you prefer not to have that degree of vision? It's like seeing other galaxies, yet knowing that the very best humanity might ever do is to reach a few other stars in our own. Does that mean we would prefer not to see far more than we can ever attain? There is much glory in just being able to look out in wonder.

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Georgina Parry wrote on May. 7, 2010 @ 00:16 GMT
John, Yep.

Don't know if it really counts as a direction if it can't be pointed to.

It is perpendicular to (-that, this, our-)currently occupied objective space, which means I can't point to it but it still has a particular orientation. There is the relationship to the hypersphere as a whole and every piece of matter within it. It is a scalar dimension like time in the space-time model,acting everywhere at once on everything, giving objective spatial change in position and corresponding energetic change values within the hypersphere, not a time value..... That's my way of thinking about it. It might sound too complicated or abstract or irrelevant to the actual objective reality of the universe but it makes sense to me. More sense than other possible descriptions.

John, There are multiple perspectives on everything. Though they can't all be seen simultaneously. Scale and relative importance is just one. Look at it another way and it seems totally different, even though its still the same...I like looking at the stars. Keeps me humble.

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Jason Wolfe wrote on May. 7, 2010 @ 06:38 GMT
John,

"Life may be pointless, but that means the entire universe is equally, if not more, pointless, since it is otherwise senseless."

Just because physics puts constraints on what can be done physically, why does that make the universe pointless? Don't get me wrong, I'm not picking on you. I've suffered from the same kinds of lousy thinking. I figured out that physics fundamentally cannot confirm or deny the existence of anything that gives us meaning. All it can do is tell us the energy/entropy required to project into this physical universe. Don't let some egghead keep you away from something that you find meaningful.

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John Merryman wrote on May. 7, 2010 @ 09:54 GMT
Georgina,

The function of the brain is to navigate. Plant don't need one because they don't move. So in order to navigate, we need a map that works for us, even if it isn't one that would work for others.Of course the problem is when one person's map conflicts with another's. A good example is that you might say the Israelis and the Palestinians use different maps to describe the same land.

Jason,

The problem isn't with the universe, but the concept of meaning, as I pointed out before to James. It is reductionistic and static, some distinct value to be drawn from the larger reality, while that reality is wholistic and dynamic. It is an idealization of focus, in reality, what gives us pleasure. Consider the religious ideal of a God to give its followers meaning, or the scientific search for ever more detailed descriptions of reality that give scientists something to think about. It is that fundamental need to distill some order from the random and chaotic, yet the very process of distillation leave you with less than you started with, but much more defined. Therefore it is an never ending process, because every success creates another goal or need. I admit there are sometimes I am something of a plant, just taking it in and letting it decide what's what.

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georgina Parry replied on May. 7, 2010 @ 20:42 GMT
John, All,

I agree. We only need a map because -human curiosity- requires an explanation for things, how they are arranged and function. The map I am suggesting is far more sensible for explaining the objective reality of physics that the current time distorted map. Although the time distorted map accurately portrays our experience.

Thinking of an analogy quickly. Let an unfit man map the contours of the landscape based on how difficult it feels -to him- to climb various hills. As he travels further from his starting position he will tire more and the hills will become harder to climb. Not because they are bigger but because he is becoming fatigued. The final map will be a representation of his experience. The hills further away are more difficult to climb than the ones nearby, despite their actual magnitude. Very far away even a small hill may be difficult to climb.

There is a separation not just in space now but in difficulty of climb too. Close to easy, far away difficult. This is a real experience for the man. It can be confirmed by others doing the same exercise. Does this actually alter the magnitude of the hills in objective reality? No it doesn't. Wherever the starting position of the man the hills will become more difficult to climb as one moves out from that position. It will be the same for any other starting position as well. So two different climbers starting at different positions will experience different relative difficulty of the hills. If the same hill is climbed by both, but one climbs it early on in his journey and the other much later in his journey, they will experience the difficulty of the hill differently. Even though it is the same hill with the same magnitude. Despite the reality of this experienced phenomenon we do not map geographical maps with a level of fatigue dimension. Level of fatigue is human experience not a part of the geography.

The "map" I am suggesting is still just a map. A product of a mind that seeks to distill and reduce and simplify in order to explain. This map though is not distorted by human time perception. It works -for me- to theoretically explain those questions that space-time can not answer. If other people insist on using space-time where it is inappropriate or try to relate their experimental results back to a space-time model, then they may well continue to ask "why doesn't it work.Is it wrong?" If we don't seek to explain but just accept what is then no map is needed. If we do seek to explain the right sort of map is needed according to the particular situation under investigation, imo. One single map will not do both jobs. They are necessarily different.One maps experience, the other objective reality separate from experience.

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John Merryman replied on May. 8, 2010 @ 01:14 GMT
Georgina,

It's a good analogy, but they believe in their map and with all the multiverses, Inflation theories, block time, etc. they are not going to let a little common sense stand in their way. Logic has been banned. It's all in the math. If distance and duration can be correlated, then viola, time=space!

Two possible stumbling blocks: If space is inherently inertial, then there is no need for the Higgs to create mass.

If redshift is an optical effect, then the James Webb telescope, being built to study the infrared and black body radiation, will possibly see it is the light of even more distant galaxies, which have fallen completely off the visible spectrum, not just homogeneous energy from the singularity.

Of course, that doesn't mean there won't be some further plot device to explain how the observation really does fit the theory.

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Georgina Parry replied on May. 9, 2010 @ 00:39 GMT
John,

I am glad you liked the analogy. (I hope no unfit men are offended.) It will be interesting, when the results are in, to see how they are interpreted and where it leads.

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