The BLOCK Universe idea

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"Science begets knowledge, opinion ignorance.
Some were not so happy with the BLOCK model: (From Wiki)

"Avshalom Elitzur vehemently rejects the block universe interpretation of time. At the Time in Cosmology conference, held at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in 2016, Elitzur said: "I’m sick and tired of this block universe, ... I don’t think that next Thursday has the same footing as this Thursday. The future does not exist. It does not! Ontologically, it’s not there."

Cat :)
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"Science begets knowledge, opinion ignorance.
I have been thinking a lot about the BLOCK model. Leave aside, for the moment, the question of how it came about, I want to address the question of Time Travel. N.B. I m not promoting this model, but just enjoying a thought experiment.

We must be very clear about the suggestions of the block model. Each individual (and object) has a world line or time line which appears in spacetime. Your world line begins at birth, the separation of your individuality from the world line of your mother. The world line then continues until death. This world line is supposed to be "real" at all points. Some limitation in our perceptive mechanisms means that we can only cope with one "now" at a time.

Now, Time Travel would involve receiving information in some form from "other" parts of your worldline. For your "physical body" to visit other parts of your world line, it would have to have been built into the world line. The only question is whether some non-physical 'you' would have to be responsible for collection of information. Would this have to have been built into the world line? If so, where does it stop? There is a great danger of falling into a totally deterministic situation where, right back to the Heisenberg Uncertainty principle,

Is the BLOCK model suggesting that worldlines are world lines of consciousness, rather than of baryonic matter. What then about objects. We are in danger of a philosophical mire.

Whether the situation is fluid, or an exact parallel of what is available to the conscious element of our worldline, we do not know. What I mean by that, is do we think about our past - just another "real" component of our world line - or is there some superconscious element of our identity which can overcome the perception limitation and "oversee" different "now's" in the worldline, or even other worldlines.

The answer, of course, is that we do not know.

Cat :)
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My concerns with the Block Universe model are the "lessons" that some might take from it, to their own detriment and that of society overall.

If the future is already determined, then what is the point of making efforts to change the perceived direction toward an unfavorable outcome? Why not just "enjoy life" now and see what is going to happen when it happens, because putting a lot of unenjoyable effort out now will in no way make any difference in tomorrow, assuming that the Block Model is true.

With no way to prevent pre-determined bad future events or to lose out on pre-determined good future events, why be a "good" person who exercises self-control? If you feel like murdering somebody, why not just do it, because you are going to do it anyway and get caught or get away with it, no matter what you think you choose to do. So why bother to think about it? When somebody asks how you could do such a terrible thing, the defense is that "The Block Universe made me do it - an had no alternative - not my fault."

Basing real behavior on an unverified theory would be stupid if it creates new risks that could be addressed constructively if a different theory is followed and turns out to be true.

So, while I see no problem with kicking around a thought to see whether it can teach us anything, I see no evidence to support the reality of a Block Universe. Making some supposedly descriptive mathematics "work" is not the same as truly representing reality.

Popular media stories that make it sound like the future it predetermined and unavoidable, even if unknowable. are just what some sick minds will latch onto to avoid taking responsibility for their anti-social actions. So, it is not a theory that I would want anybody to think has any significant probability for being true.

But, if it is true, then there is no need for "believers" to make any effort to convince the rest of us, because we will either become convinced or not in the future, not matter what they say now. But, maybe they just can't stop themselves, because the Block Universe is making them do it. ;-)


"Science begets knowledge, opinion ignorance.
UE, I totally agree with your comments in the BLOCK model regarding determinism. I have always made it clear that I am just putting the idea up for comment or possible refinement.

I am, perhaps, surprised that no one has at least pointed to the world lines, and asked "who wrote the book". That is my biggest and, in my view, overwhelming objection to the BLOCK MODEL. That, and the question as to whether every object, down to subatomic particles, has a world line.

Cat :)
"Who wrote the book?" is just the equivalent of "What created the Big Bang out of nothing?"
Any theory that postulates a beginning needs something to answer why and how there was a beginning, if it is assuming that there was nothing before, not even time.

I find it easier mentally to accept that there was no beginning of "everything", and there will be no end of everything. I see that most everything keeps changing with time, and don't see how it is completely reversible (entropy keeps increasing), so that raises the issue of how could it keep going forever. We sort of get stuck with choosing among thinking that it must somehow recycle or end, without any third option we can conveniently think of. I suppose we can sort of consider that it could change forever into an infinite number of different forms without ever repeating, but that is really just the no-end with infinite changes over infinite time subset of no-end.

I can understand that some people want to think that absolute knowledge of all physical laws and the detailed states of every bit of matter and energy at a single point in time could theoretically allow an absolutely accurate prediction of the future. In that sense, "predetermined" seems at least theoretically logical. However, it is also impossible as a practical matter, to have such detailed knowledge of the present, and not just for us mere mortals. The Heisenberg Uncertainty principle would seem to indicate that such detailed knowledge is not even possible.

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"Science begets knowledge, opinion ignorance.
I wish to apologise for starting a thread which might raise certain areas that we all agree not to discuss here. This was certainly not my intention.

Let me please lead us away from any resultant difficulty. The block model leads, imho, to a logical impossibility in that it is ridiculous to suggest that every particle in the Universe has a world line which is fixed by Physics or anything else. As Unclear Engineer correctly points out, this is forbidden by the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle for starters.

This whole idea was cleared up decades ago when Laplace's idea was overthrown by Quantum Mechanics and the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle.

"In the history of science, Laplace's demon was a notable published articulation of causal determinism on a scientific basis by Pierre-Simon Laplace in 1814.[1] According to determinism, if someone (the demon) knows the precise location and momentum of every atom in the universe, their past and future values for any given time are entailed; they can be calculated from the laws of classical mechanics.[2]"

Sourse: Laplace's demon - Wikipedia

Taking away this unacceptable consequence of the BLOCK model, what is its position?

If we take the scientific view of world lines, these simply represent the actual historical representation of what has already taken place, without any Laplacian implications. They include quantum 'options' which have already taken place, without any suggestions of future prediction, which is the province of quantum effects.

So our world lines (and the worldlines of every particle) simply represent the history of the Universe (but in totally unknowable detail when it comes to every elementary particle).

The next idea to be considered is that the worldline of our past experience certainly contains a succession of 'real' moments. These are accessible as 'memories', but it is a matter of experience that we are unable to access the 'moment' itself, reproducing the same degree of 'reality'.

So we are left with the idea that the worldline contains an interface, in accordance with our experience, which is the present moment, the 'travelling now'. Does it help us in any way to consider worldlines in a spacetime block model of the Universe? That is more a question for metaphysics or philosophy, so we are unlikely to provide answers here, unless we can introduce some form of scientific experiment which provide reproducible results.

Cat :)
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"Science begets knowledge, opinion ignorance.
Perhaps this represents a reasonable modification to the block model.

Sorry, I have been having trouble getting this link to function, but you can read it using your slider on the right and 'down' arrow. :)

Cat :)
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OK, I read it, and found it to be somewhat misleading, and maybe intentionally disengenous.

In particular, the parts about the different perceptions of "simultaneous" by different observers who were in differential motion to each other were misleading. Special Relativity shows us that "simultaneous" requires the same location as sell as the same time for the observers. So, this part seems to be intended to confuse, to lay the groud work for further misunderstanding.

However, I do agree that we have some major things to learn about time/time passage. General Relativity shows us that the rate of time passage is somehow related to the mass of objects in the vicinity. That much we can verify, and have done so. We also have some strange phenomena that seem to defy our understanding of time passage, for instance, the double slit / single photon paradox. And then there is "entanglement", which, at least to some, seems to defy the speed limit of light travel.

Relativity theory makes time look mathematically similar to spacial dimensions, at least for the purpose of calculating the distortions of time passage rate by speed and mass. But, so far, nobody seems to have found any real way to travel through time. However, there was recently an article about an experiement that is said to have created a "slit experiment" in time rather than space. See . I have not looked at that in detail to see if what is stated is indeed a rational way to interpret the actual results. But, at least it does show that people are working on the subject.

Part of our problem is that we really just do not understand the real world at quantum-level size. We imagine that there are "photons" that have properties of both waves and particles, but we really have no physical understanding of what that means for the properties of phtons, or even how something can have properties of both. We simply measure the effects and ascribe them to "photons", as if we actually know what a photon is. However, most people get so comfortable with their imagined "photons" that they forget that they are, to a large degree, really a figment of our imagination. There are many such imagined quantum entities, including "fields", which turn the engineers' defintion of a "field" backwards, so that fields exist and particles are a disturbance in the fields, rather than the engineers' definition where the particle is what creates the field around it.

So, I agree with Harry that our minds can play tricks on us as we try to explain observations by developing theories. I think we have a lot to learn, yet, about the properties of time, especially at the quantum level. But, fo far as I have read, time itself does not appear to be "quantized" to specific increments. No, the Uncertainty Principal does not do that, although some imagine it that way.
Time is not a physical item.
You cannot manipulate or change whatever.
GR allows us to compare time relative to your location and impact by surrounding gravity.

EMR is influenced by gravity particularly electromagnetic dipolar compact objects and where an event horizon occurs.
We communicate by EMR and therefore its impact by surroundings will be relative.

It's all relative.
Time is relative to the method used to record time.
Been there done that.
Time Machine is my favorite movie.
The old and the new movies.
At the Event Horizon the recoding of Time from an observer never changes, records the same time, since EMR cannot escape to communicate.
but! the clocks held in both positions will record the same time.

Time is not a physical item, therefore cannot be manipulated.
Harry, take a look at the link I provided in poat #36. The researchers do seem to claim to have manipulated time. But, I have not delved into it sufficiently to understand if I agree that their results realistically show actual manipulation of time.
Certainly, time is physical, when and where it is "spacetime," and can be manipulated at coordinate point x, y. z, t (= 0). Don't think box or cube dimensionality, at least not directly. Think 3 perpendicular diameter. 6 perpendicular radii, spherical, with center point, the 4th and 7th dimension (always the same dimension), being 'X' (t = 0) marks the spot. You can't help but manipulate that space(time) all the time. And you won't be the only one in a universe of constant moment and movement since 'c', the absolute of 'momentum', of 'speed' or 'velocity', per the principle of uncertainty, knows, or rather would know, no such thing as 'position'!

Then there is light cone of time.
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Oct 31, 2022
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How does everyone feel about the block Universe idea?

The idea that we exist as fixed paths through the (4 dimensional) block (worldlines)? 3-dimensional space 'moving' in 4th-d time.
That our births and deaths, as well as 'now', are equally 'existing' - are all real accessible 'locations'?
(This does not imply possible physical time travel).

That the whole course of the Universe is 'fixed' - from the BB (whatever the big bang was) or from before the BB, to whatever the 'end' may be. Also, a cyclic system is not ruled out.

Or do you disagree with my interpretation?

Cat :)
I live in the "now". Do you live in the same "now" as me? The consequences of any answer but yes are all paradoxical
I believe that the 60 second duration that will occur in 60 minutes, will occur at the same time everywhere. All physical entities can be distorted. Time can not, because time is not physical. That's how and why it's everywhere.

Time is omnipresent. And it's rate never varies. And it is why, light takes billions of years to reach us. Time is a common pillar of the cosmos.

A precept for all measurement and narrative. The missing ingredient for understanding the energy/mass not space time or the standard model....or quantum mechanics. It's structure. All physicality has structure. Physicality IS structure. Energy, mass, light, gravity, force and acceleration.......have structure.

The method by which the ratio of mass and energy IS set, is with structure. But modern science denies structure where it is necessary(particle) and invents it where it does not exist(space). Space needs they can vary it. But space does not change. Only the physicality within it. Space, along with time is not physical. There's nothing there. To change. Static is not from or a part of space. It's only orphan emissions from mass and matter, flowing thru space. This EM blanket superpositions at various points and quick potentials can be measured. But it's just a weak background flux. It's an excrement of matter. And it pollutes the space in our cosmos' region. 13 billions years of orphan emissions.

In our current state of science, we have a false light narrative, and we attempt to explain mass and matter physicality by using time and space for reference.....which is/are not physical.

We need a new strategy and new leadership for further understanding. It will be the small scale materials researchers, or biologist who discovery the importance of structure for matter properties, not physicists.

Have you seen the new images of proteins and how proteins replicate other proteins? Structures assembling other structures in a super mechanical dynamic fashion. It's an eye opener. A mechanical assembly device...a machine.
It doesn't matter what concept or precept is under study.....physicality rules. The concept of probability, randomness and chaos are false concepts and are use to explain the unknown. They use these terms because in today's science no one admits they don't know what they are talking about. Physicality will not permit any probability, randomness or chaos.

Even with the introduction of life.....which adds choice to physicality...........all non-human interaction is predictable. All life choices are predictable, except for human choices. Human choice has dominion.

And this is the real crux. How can there be choice.....and still be predetermined? The answer is......that the choice has purpose. Normally. Only man....can make a choice without purpose. And he does all the time. Because he can.

A man will make many choices without purpose to prove/make the concept of nonsense. Nonsense comes from man, not nature. Probability, randomness and chaos only exist between the ears. Because only we make it. All other lifeforms are guided with purpose. We have none. So we invent a purpose. What's yours?
I take it you don't believe in the uncertainty principle?
I agree he doesn't. Also, he is not widely read, else he would have read of the 'Many Worlds' Theory within Quantum Mechanics which, though I had heard of it before, and liked and used the term "many worlds" -- along with my torque, my ratcheting, of it up to "many universes" -- I hadn't read up on until I got hold of Sean Carroll's 'Something Deeply Hidden'.

He, Sean Carroll, is still a creationist though, even though, at bottom, he is a quantum physicist. Something "does not exist until it is observed." The worlds of "Many Worlds" do not exist until we make decisions or decisions are made for us every moment of time. Decision pathing does not exist until the instant of decision, or instant of requirement. He either doesn't know, or never heard the principle that, ultimately, no information is ever created or destroyed or is unknown by the universe however free or not we are to choose a path. As Einstein said, "God does not play dice with the universe!" As Stephen Hawking said much later in his comeback, "Oh, yes He does play dice with the universe, only they're loaded!" Though some seem to be very much so, I, as a happy husband of fifty-plus years, a father, grandfather and great-grandfather, haven't been dissatisfied with playing with such "loaded" dice regarding my own 'frontier trek' through my multiverse universe . . . my many worlds . . . my many universes.

Though! I find myself still having mission in life (being a lifelong interested historian and cosmologist that I still am -- now even more so -- even at my late date in life) to advocate opening the frontier system, the frontier universe, up for my children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren . . . for all of the children here and all to come.

"Communication across the revolutionary divide is inevitably partial." -- Thomas S. Kuhn.
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To continue the last above....

"Though! I find myself still having mission in life (being a lifelong interested historian and cosmologist that I still am -- now even more so -- even at my late date in life) to advocate opening the frontier system, the frontier universe, up for my children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren . . . for all of the children here and all to come."

I don't care one wit if it won't be a perfect state, or even close to perfect. Even the most imperfect of opening frontier states is far better, far greater, than the most perfect (Utopian (Dystopian)) state of any 'Iron Curtain' closed system. I know my frontier histories and natures . . . my frontier worlds , , , my frontier universes . . . my frontier states: my systematic states of opening; of energizing! And money, wealth, is never, has never been, anything more than a token of energy. Prosperity, survival, of the many is never, has never been, anything more than a result of an opening frontier system . . . a clear form of 'dark energy' energizing system.

The universe at its largest most infinite-absolute (thus most infinitesimal) scales, and its smallest most infinitesimal-absolute (thus most infinite) scales, always comes home right here, wherever here is, to roost.
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