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Can the future influence the past?

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captdude

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The following link is listed above a short segment of the article that covers this subject.

http://chapmannews.wordpress.com/2010/03/18/chapman-professor-lands-discover-cover-story/


A series of quantum experiments seems to actually confirm the notion that the future can influence results that happened before those measurements were even made. (Cue spooky music here.) Aharonov and his group made extraordinary theoretical predictions about the nature of quantum reality, sort of like the Cheshire cat story in Alice in Wonderland: “Well! I’ve often seen a cat without a grin,” thought Alice; “but a grin without a cat! It’s the most curious thing I ever saw in all my life!” The novel effects they predicted were verified in many independent experiments (about 15 other laboratories around the world have done or are doing these cutting- edge experiments). Recently they have found their way to the covers of other popular magazines such as Scientific American (Asian edition) and New Scientist (“They said it couldn’t be done – but now we can see inside the quantum world”). Even The Wall Street Journal and The Economist covered it.

Aharonov was — as Einstein had been — puzzled by the fact that two identical radioactive atoms can behave completely differently, decaying, for instance, at different intervals. This indeterminism led Einstein to famously grumble that “God doesn’t play dice with the universe.” Aharonov, says Tollaksen, turned the question around. “Yakir asked ‘What does God gain by playing dice?’ and speculated that nature gains something very beautiful and exciting by playing dice – namely, “if a particle’s past doesn’t contain enough information to determine its fate, then maybe its future does.”
 
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darkmatter4brains

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plus, ever get nervous about an upcoming surgery, or presentation, or what have you, maybe to the point of an upset stomach. That's the future (or at least the anticipation thereof) effecting the past ;)

Anyhow, thanks for posting the article, sounds interesting!
 
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csmyth3025

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The part of the article that catches my eye is this:

But the kicker is that the “playing of dice” is just the right amount so that the future could be relevant for the present without violating causality or free will. Aharonov says. “The future can only affect the present if there is room to write the influence off as a mistake.”
I can imagine two researchers looking at the same data - one says: "See, the future has influenced the outcome of this experiment!" and the other scientist says: "Your nuts, the results are within the error bars of the data!"
 
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dryson

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A series of quantum experiments seems to actually confirm the notion that the future can influence results that happened before those measurements were even made. (Cue spooky music here.) Aharonov and his group made extraordinary theoretical predictions about the nature of quantum reality, sort of like the Cheshire cat story in Alice in Wonderland: “Well! I’ve often seen a cat without a grin,” thought Alice; “but a grin without a cat! It’s the most curious thing I ever saw in all my life!” The novel effects they predicted were verified in many independent experiments (about 15 other laboratories around the world have done or are doing these cutting- edge experiments). Recently they have found their way to the covers of other popular magazines such as Scientific American (Asian edition) and New Scientist (“They said it couldn’t be done – but now we can see inside the quantum world”). Even The Wall Street Journal and The Economist covered it.

Aharonov was — as Einstein had been — puzzled by the fact that two identical radioactive atoms can behave completely differently, decaying, for instance, at different intervals. This indeterminism led Einstein to famously grumble that “God doesn’t play dice with the universe.” Aharonov, says Tollaksen, turned the question around. “Yakir asked ‘What does God gain by playing dice?’ and speculated that nature gains something very beautiful and exciting by playing dice – namely, “if a particle’s past doesn’t contain enough information to determine its fate, then maybe its future does.”
Why would anyone care if the future influenced the past? The past has already occured so they is no reason to dwell on the past but instead to learn the physics systems of the past to build a better understanding of the enivornment around us through exploration and new physic's problems.

It should also be noted that since Einstein coined the phrase “God doesn’t play dice with the universe.” then at least 33% of what Einstein theorized about related to religion or Intelligent Design of which is nothing more than religion hidden in fancy and methodically created sentence's.
 
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captdude

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Why would anyone care if the future influenced the past? The past has already occured so they is no reason to dwell on the past but instead to learn the physics systems of the past to build a better understanding of the enivornment around us through exploration and new physic's problems.
Is this a statement you choose to stand by? If the future actually does influence the past the implications of that are astounding. I think I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and just chalk it up to a bad day :) (posted one like that myself recently ;)

It should also be noted that since Einstein coined the phrase “God doesn’t play dice with the universe.” then at least 33% of what Einstein theorized about related to religion or Intelligent Design of which is nothing more than religion hidden in fancy and methodically created sentence's.

If the future does influence the past it would prove that god DOESN'T play dice. The information that is lacking in the present would be found in the future. Did you click on the link and read the article?
 
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kelvinzero

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If the past can affect the future then the strange part would be if the future cannot affect the past, since the laws of physics are reversible. It is our very firm experience of time as a 'now' flowing from past to future at a constant rate that I find very peculiar. Even the notion of time passing at a constant rate is pretty much nonsensical. A constant rate with what units? One second per second? :?
 
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Kessy

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I think that the central question when it comes to the nature of time is determinism - whether or not it is possible in principle to predict the behavior of a closed system at an arbitrarily distant time in the future given sufficient knowledge of its current state. I would argue that a concept of the passage of time in a purely deterministic universe would simply not make sense - in that sort of universe, the configuration of everything in it (including any sentient beings) would be fixed for every point of time. That means no free will, and that time doesn't pass, it simply is. Why would an observer in such a universe perceive a passage of time at all?

On the other hand, an indeterminate universe does not have a fixed future, which makes the passage of time make much more sense. But the flip side is that it doesn't really have a fixed past, either. If a given set of initial conditions can lead to more then one result, that implies that a given result can have more then one set of initial conditions, and it would be impossible to determine which initial conditions "really" existed.

So I suppose the question is which you find more unpalatable - a future that can't change or a past that can. Personally, I favor an indeterminate universe since it seems more in line with everyday experience. We tend to think of the past as being fixed, but is it really? Anyone who's ever had to deal with eyewitness accounts knows that it's not always so easy to determine which version of the past actually happened.
 
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csmyth3025

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I think the purely deterministic universe died with the general acceptance of the Heisenberg uncertainty principle.

Regarding the passage of time, space-time is just a way of measuring the separation between events (or things). Two events (or things) can occupy the same spatial coordinates but have different time coordinates. Likewise, two events or things can have (or occupy) the same time coordinates but have different spatial coordinates. What those spatial and time coordinates are depends on the observer's frame of reference relative to the frame of reference of the events (or things) being observed.

In a sense, space and time have no meaning unless you have something relative to an object against which to make these measurements. For instance, a single proton has a half life of at least 6.6 x 10^35 years according to Wikipedia. This is the half life of a proton relative to the time it takes the Earth to make one orbit around the Sun.

If that proton were the only particle in the universe, one could not say how long its half life is or even whether it's moving through space because there's nothing else by which to measure these things.

On the question of reconstructing past events from observations of the universe as it is today, cosmologists and scientists in general adhere to the belief that the "laws" of science that they deduce from their observations are the same throughout the universe and throughout time. This is the principle of a homogenous and isotropic universe. If this is not the case, it will make science a lot more complicated than it already is.

Chris
 
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Last89er

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Yes it does, but this was proven long, long ago. Time is actually bidirectional.

 
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csmyth3025

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Last89er":djxrb696 said:
Yes it does, but this was proven long, long ago. Time is actually bidirectional.
I'm an amateur. Please explain your graphic and your statement that time is bidirectional. To me. bidirectional means that the past is in one direction (behind us) and the future is in the opposite direction (ahead of us). This seems reasonable, but it doesn't help me understand how the future influences the past.

Chris
 
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Mee_n_Mac

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Last89er":1wst0rb8 said:
Yes it does, but this was proven long, long ago. Time is actually bidirectional.
Hmmm, not so sure about that. The math that describes "time" works both ways but that's not to say that time itself is bidirectional. We know that, as a whole, entropy increases. I would say that implies time flows in 1 direction, it's just that our math doesn't include this asymmetry.
 
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Last89er

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csmyth3025":10wr7oss said:
Last89er":10wr7oss said:
Yes it does, but this was proven long, long ago. Time is actually bidirectional.
Please explain your graphic and your statement that time is bidirectional. To me. bidirectional means that the past is in one direction (behind us) and the future is in the opposite direction (ahead of us).
Correct. You could think of it as two trains, one from the east coast and one from the west coast meeting in Omaha. If we are riding on the one from the east coast for example, we can assign it a value of t. So then the one from the west coast is -t as we meet it in Omaha.

This seems reasonable, but it doesn't help me understand how the future influences the past.
It is still the same. If you look at time as reversed, it seems like effect preceeds cause. cause(t)--->effect or effect<---(-t)cause
 
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Last89er

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Mee_n_Mac":y8k6lzyl said:
We know that, as a whole, entropy increases. I would say that implies time flows in 1 direction, it's just that our math doesn't include this asymmetry.
Well I say it doesn't. When a system loses heat to entropy, the order of the system increases due to extropy. Even here all is conserved.
 
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