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Author Topic:   What is Time and Space
GDR
Member
Posts: 3716
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 155 of 204 (310433)
05-08-2006 11:53 PM


Still Googling
Here is a web site devoted to the study of consciousness, space and time.

http://www.quantumconsciousness.org/

And here is a short and recent article by Penrose from that site.

Must a "theory of everything" include consciousness?

Marking the century anniversary of Einstein’s first major contributions, an article in Nature (433, 257 – 259, January 2005) surveyed some of the world’s top physicists on the current status of a “Theory of everything”. Roger Penrose remarked that such a theory must include consciousness. Here is his statement:

The terminology 'theory of everything' has always worried me. There is a certain physicist's arrogance about it that suggests that knowing all the physical laws would tell us everything about the world, at least in principle. Does a physical theory of 'everything' include a theory of consciousness? Does it include a theory of morality, or of human behaviour, or of aesthetics? Even if our idea of science could be expanded to incorporate these things, would we still think of it as 'physics', or would it even be reducible to physics?

As for myself, I perhaps have enough of the physicist's arrogance about me to believe that a physical 'theory of everything' should at least contain the seeds of an explanation of the phenomenon of consciousness. It seems to me that this phenomenon is such a fundamental one that it cannot be simply an accidental concomitant of the complexity of brain action. It must be of such sophistication that the brain is enabled to dig more deeply into the fundamental workings of the Universe than are more commonplace physical systems. And if this is so, then we are very much farther from a proper understanding of the laws of nature than most physicists seem to believe.

Indeed, irrespective of the consciousness issue, in my opinion, we are nowhere close to an accurate, purely physical theory of everything. I find it remarkable how many physicists will express the view that, despite some missing details and unifying concepts, we know virtually all we need to know to describe the fully detailed physical behaviour of systems — at least in principle. Yet, there is at least one glaring omission in present physical theory. This is how small-scale quantum processes can add up, for large and complicated systems, to the almost classical behaviour of macroscopic bodies. Indeed, it is not just an omission but an actual fundamental inconsistency, sometimes referred to as the measurement paradox (or Schrödinger's cat). In my view, until this paradox is resolved we must necessarily remain very far from a physical theory of everything — whether or not such a theory exists.

Roger Penrose


Everybody is entitled to my opinion. :)
Replies to this message:
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GDR
Member
Posts: 3716
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 160 of 204 (311779)
05-14-2006 4:46 PM
Reply to: Message 159 by cavediver
05-13-2006 5:37 AM


Re: A relevant (long overdue) response to Sidelined
Thanks cavediver

I'll take the liberty of quoting from a previous post of mine in this thread.

"I have had experiences, as have most of us, where time definitely slowed for me. One case in particular. I was riding a bike and the peddle snapped off. My leg went under the bike and I rolled over backwards with the bike going over top of me. The process probably took about .5 secs but in my personal time frame it probably took about 3 secs. I remember thinking that I was going to wreck the white jacket I was wearing, and that I was going to have to lift my head and put my chin on my chest or I would crack my coconut on the pavement."

I also contend that time is passing at a considerably faster rate for me now than it did when I was a child. This is a sentiment that everyone seems to have. If time is just what our consciousness perceives it to be it would make sense of a lot of experience in our life. However, as was pointed out, it brings into question a lot of other things that we thought we knew.

My point I guess is just that life experience seems to support Penrose's, and your, thoughts on consciousness. In addition it seems consistent with SR as we all have our own individual time anyway.

Thanks again for your insights.


Everybody is entitled to my opinion. :)
This message is a reply to:
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 Message 161 by cavediver, posted 05-14-2006 7:18 PM GDR has responded

    
GDR
Member
Posts: 3716
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 162 of 204 (311853)
05-15-2006 12:41 AM
Reply to: Message 161 by cavediver
05-14-2006 7:18 PM


Re: A relevant (long overdue) response to Sidelined
OK. It does seem to me that time doesn't pass at a consistent rate but I get your point of operating with a full hard drive as we get older. It doesn't explain my experience on the bike but that may just be some form of reflex reaction to a particular incident.

Can you tell me what you believe would be left if all consciousness ceased to exist. Presumably time would cease but would matter exist? Is the suggestion then that the existance of the entire universe depends on consciousness?

Can this line of study be tested by empirical means or does this cross over into the strictly philosophic?
Thanks for your post.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 161 by cavediver, posted 05-14-2006 7:18 PM cavediver has responded

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 Message 163 by cavediver, posted 05-15-2006 5:29 AM GDR has responded

    
GDR
Member
Posts: 3716
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 164 of 204 (311934)
05-15-2006 10:33 AM
Reply to: Message 163 by cavediver
05-15-2006 5:29 AM


Re: A relevant (long overdue) response to Sidelined
cavediver writes:

This is a GR-"solution"-inspired view:
The universe does not depend upon conciousness. It just is. It has no dynamics, it does not evolve. Every slice that we think of as a moment in time is fixed and exists "always".

I copied this off the internet. It is from a review of Julian Barbour's book

The moment you stop thought
time too stops dead.
The line between science and mysticism sometimes grows thin. Today physicists would agree that
time is one of the strangest properties of our universe. In fact, there is a story circulating among
scientists of an immigrant to America who has lost his watch. He walks up to a man on a New York
street and asks, "Please, Sir, what is time?" The scientist replies, "I'm sorry, you'll have to ask a
philosopher. I'm just a physicist."

I'm trying to piece together various things that I have read without any real basic knowledge which certainly presents a challenge.

Time then is a series of nows which presumably means that change also occurs in chunks as well. If change is dependent on consciousness it would mean that if consciousness stopped time would no longer exist and there would be nothing to observe our universe.

What do we mean by change in this scenario? Would that include change at the quantum level? I'm way out of my depth here but doesn't the uncertainty principle require an observer to bring about change? If I'm right about that would the end of consciousness, (lack of any observer), mean that all change even at the quantum level stops? If all quantum change stops then wouldn't that mean the universe as we now know it would no longer exist?


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GDR
Member
Posts: 3716
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 168 of 204 (314677)
05-23-2006 4:49 PM
Reply to: Message 166 by cavediver
05-15-2006 7:22 PM


Re: A relevant (long overdue) response to Sidelined
Roger Penrose writes:

Yes I think physicists would agree that the feeling of time passing is simply an illusion, something that is not real. It has something to do with our perceptions.

Hi cavediver

I'm hoping that you will comment on this quote from Penrose.

Do you agree with him that most physicists would agree with his statement?

What does he mean by illusion? If time is just a series of nows that are eternal I'm wondering if that would qualify as an illusion.

Is Penrose's thinking on this consistent with Julian Barbour?

How come all you guys that seem to write about this come from the UK?

Edited by GDR, : typo


Everybody is entitled to my opinion. :)
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GDR
Member
Posts: 3716
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 173 of 204 (314762)
05-23-2006 9:18 PM
Reply to: Message 172 by cavediver
05-23-2006 7:15 PM


Re: A relevant (long overdue) response to Sidelined
cavediver writes:

It's the tea Too bad you chucked all of yours into the sea a while back

That would be our good friends to the south. We kept the tea and the Queen. :)

Thanks


This message is a reply to:
 Message 172 by cavediver, posted 05-23-2006 7:15 PM cavediver has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 174 by cavediver, posted 05-24-2006 4:21 AM GDR has responded

    
GDR
Member
Posts: 3716
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 175 of 204 (314862)
05-24-2006 11:04 AM
Reply to: Message 174 by cavediver
05-24-2006 4:21 AM


Re: A relevant (long overdue) response to Sidelined
cavediver writes:

So... what is it that makes the Canucks ask all the awkward questions?

If I'm representative it would be because I'm a lot better with questions than I am with answers.

Incidently in sidelined location of Edmonton there is a physicist named Don Page. (By the way he is Christian as well.)He's worked closely with Hawking and even lived with him for a while. He is quoted in the material about Barbour that he believes that not only will we eventually find that time is an illusion but so is space. It seems that the more you guys find out the curiouser it gets. Nothing is as it appears.


Everybody is entitled to my opinion. :)
This message is a reply to:
 Message 174 by cavediver, posted 05-24-2006 4:21 AM cavediver has responded

Replies to this message:
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GDR
Member
Posts: 3716
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 178 of 204 (315939)
05-29-2006 10:46 AM
Reply to: Message 158 by cavediver
05-13-2006 5:19 AM


Re: Time, Space, Consciousness and Penrose
cavdiver writes:

Replace "illusion" with "emergent property" and you pretty much have our current understanding. I don't think "illusion" is too far off the mark. The "flow" seems to require a conciousness to exist to appreciate it. Other than for conciousness, everything is just a static 4 dimensional construct as General Relativity has told us for the past 100 years...

I keep trying to sort out the relationship between time space and consciousness. I'm not clear on what you mean by emergent property.

This is where my basic logic is taking me. The flow of time requires consciousness in order to perceive that flow. If all consciousness stopped everything would just exist in the eternal now without change. (At least that is if I understand you correctly.)

The problem I have with that is as distance = space x time, then if time is non-existent or zero then distance must also be zero. In other words how if time doesn't exist, can distance or space exist? If space becomes meaningless then aren't we right back to the initial singularity.

Incidentally all of this has made me look at the size of our universe in a totally different way. The universe seems so immense but it seems to me that it has to be "perceived" that way. If we lived in a three dimensional universe then it would require an edge or a boundary. Once time is factored in for our 4D universe there can be no boundary, in just the same way that aside from mountains etc we can continually move in any given direction from any given point on the surface of our planet. Just as it is true that the last statement is true regardless of the size of our planet it should hold true that the size of our universe is an irrelevancy and beyond our comprehension.

My universe has shrunk. :)


Everybody is entitled to my opinion. :)
This message is a reply to:
 Message 158 by cavediver, posted 05-13-2006 5:19 AM cavediver has not yet responded

    
GDR
Member
Posts: 3716
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 180 of 204 (346587)
09-05-2006 1:48 AM
Reply to: Message 159 by cavediver
05-13-2006 5:37 AM


A little knowledge is a dangerous thing
cavediver writes:

So there is no time variable that montonically increases... there is just a fixed, possibly infinite, time dimension. Part of the four dimensional mess of matter that makes up the universe are these sub-structures that we call humans, although we are more familiar with dealing with single cross-sections of these humans. These strcutures are sufficiently complex that somehow (don't ask me how) this thing known as conciousness arises, and appears as a dynamic 3-d process within the static 4d structure. How this conciousness makes sense of a temporal order is difficult to determine but certainly the thermodynamic arrow of time is involved.

I’ve re-read this thread and others, re-read Brian Greene’s “Fabric of the Cosmos”, bought Penrose’s “Road to Reality” and skimmed it but it was mostly over my head. I also read books by Hawking, Randall and others.

I’m trying to get my head around some of these concepts but there is one thing, (among a zillion others) that really has me puzzled right now. :frazzled:

I understand that space/time is absolute and that space and time are tightly linked. I understand that time is broken up into quantum moments that probably last just one unit of Planck time. (10 to the 43rd moments every second which kinda takes your breath away.) As we mentioned earlier Julian Barbour goes so far as to suggest that each one of those moments is a separate eternal universe. (I’m a long way from getting my head around that.) Other physicists talk about there being an infinite number of universes. That really has me curious. Frankly I’m not clear at all as to what they mean by a universe in that context and I’d be interested in a definition.

OK. Here’s the problem. SR tells us that we all have our own time. Time does not pass for me at the same rate as it does for my wife. We live in different time zones so to speak. (I’m definitely not going any further with that concept.:) ). If space and time are so tightly linked, then it seems to me that if our passage through time is different, then as space/time is absolute, our space vector (if that is the correct term), must be different as well, in order to balance off our time variation so that our space/time is equal.

So, as I see it then, our passage through space/time is the same because space/time is absolute but we occupy different points in both space and in time. I have some understanding of what it means to occupy different points in time but I’m not sure what it means when applied to space. I assume that it means something more than the fact that we occupy different 3d locations as we could do that even when our time vector is equal. Does this mean that we live in different universes? (I sure hope my wife doesn’t see this.:eek: ) When physicists talk about infinite universes could it mean that each one of us live in our own personal universe?

Honest, I don’t do drugs but I admit I have friends who are starting to wonder about that. :)


Everybody is entitled to my opinion. :)
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GDR
Member
Posts: 3716
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 183 of 204 (347535)
09-08-2006 11:17 AM
Reply to: Message 182 by cavediver
09-08-2006 4:28 AM


Re: Time
One term I can't seem to understand is "universe". You said that the term means everything that is but what is a universe when Julian Barbour suggests that every moment in time is an eternal universe? If a moment is a planck time that would mean that there is a lot of universes out there.
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 Message 185 by cavediver, posted 09-08-2006 2:11 PM GDR has responded

    
GDR
Member
Posts: 3716
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 186 of 204 (347586)
09-08-2006 3:17 PM
Reply to: Message 185 by cavediver
09-08-2006 2:11 PM


Re: Time
I'm sorry to be slow but when you say "imagine all possible variations of the universe at a fixed time " I can't come up with more than one. :( That is my basic problem. I don't understand what it means to have multiple or infinite universes. It may be that there is no way to understand it outside of mathematics.

Is a universe one precise organization of all matter at one precise time?(I only use Barbour because his theory is more definitive than just proposing multiple or infinite universes.)

In what way would universes be similar?

When you say in the last sentence "our universe" are you speaking about a universe that is the one that all of us experience?


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GDR
Member
Posts: 3716
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 188 of 204 (347592)
09-08-2006 4:03 PM
Reply to: Message 187 by cavediver
09-08-2006 3:23 PM


Re: Time
Thanks cavediver. That's helpful. I'm curious to know what the impact of relativity is on the model as if we all have different times how can we all be in one universe at any given moment.

I'm out the door for the afternoon so that will give me time to think about it. It's great to have you back. :)


Everybody is entitled to my opinion. :)
This message is a reply to:
 Message 187 by cavediver, posted 09-08-2006 3:23 PM cavediver has not yet responded

    
GDR
Member
Posts: 3716
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 189 of 204 (347733)
09-09-2006 2:20 AM
Reply to: Message 185 by cavediver
09-08-2006 2:11 PM


Re: Time
cavediver writes:

Now, pick a path through these universe-cross-sections. This gives us "our universe". There will be certain rules that restrict the possible directions of this path, and that gives us time.

I assume that each individual picks their own path. Wouldn't that mean then that everyone has their own universe?


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 Message 185 by cavediver, posted 09-08-2006 2:11 PM cavediver has responded

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 Message 192 by cavediver, posted 09-10-2006 5:30 PM GDR has responded

    
GDR
Member
Posts: 3716
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 195 of 204 (347985)
09-10-2006 6:54 PM
Reply to: Message 192 by cavediver
09-10-2006 5:30 PM


Re: Time
cavediver writes:

That path would probably be determined by some minimisation of some "action"-like quantity... as in the principle of least action.

I'm sorry, but that is over my head. It may be as low as you can get it in which case I think I'm out of luck. :frazzled:

Edited by GDR, : No reason given.


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GDR
Member
Posts: 3716
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 197 of 204 (348132)
09-11-2006 2:16 PM
Reply to: Message 196 by Son Goku
09-11-2006 1:57 PM


Re: Time
That is really helpful. Thanks. Now I have to try and envision that path that cavediver was talking about.

By the way here is an item on Barbour from the edge.

http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/barbour/barbour_index.html


Everybody is entitled to my opinion. :)
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 Message 196 by Son Goku, posted 09-11-2006 1:57 PM Son Goku has not yet responded

    
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