Dear Jesse,


----- Original Message ----- From: "Jesse Mazer" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Sent: Friday, May 06, 2005 5:02 PM
Subject: RE: Bitstrings, Ontological Status and Time

Stephen Paul King wrote:

No, I disagree. The mere a priori existence of bit strings is not enough to imply necessity that what we experience 1st person view points. At best it allows the possibility that the bit strings could be implemented. You see the problem is that it is impossible to derive Change or "Becoming" from Being. Think of this in terms of thermodynamics, if we assume a universe that is in perfect equilibrium there will never be any possibility of a deviation from such equilibrium unless we introduce some mechanism to "disturb" it. If we use the mechanism of a "quantum fluctuation" then we are forced to introduce some kind of "potential to change" into a structure that by definition has none.
This has long been a problem for thinkers trying to understand the notion of Time. Unless we assume some form of change or Becoming as existing a priori to time and that out notion of Time is a "local" measure of change, we are forced to construct ideas where we ask questions like how fast is a second. We end up with a Time_ 1 to measure the rate of change that is somehow different from the usual time (Time_0) and this, in turn, would have to have a Time_2 and thus a Time_3, etc.- an infinite number of times, each to measure the rate of change of the one below it.

Why do you need to believe that there is any "change" at the ultimate level at all?


Honestly I have not problem at all with the idea that at the "Ultimate" level of existence any notion of a measure of change, i.e., time, vanishes. It is then we consider that there is no differentiation that occurs over the continuum between that Ultimate level and the Physical level that I am trying to speak.

The idea of "block time" has always seemed plausible to me, where events in the future and past (or various parallel futures and pasts, from a multiverse point of view) are just as real as events at other spatial locations in a single moment (and relativity suggests that there is no unique definition of the 'present moment' anyway). This point of view is discussed in a nice article from Scientific American by physicist Paul Davies:



The problems that I have with the "block time" idea are exactly the same as the problem that I have with COMP, that a pre-specified orchestration or harmony, as Leibniz proposed in his Monadology, exists that is both necessary and sufficient to explain the inescapable "flow" that we experience. Any kind of pre-specification, especially of a world as complex as the one we experience, requires the solution of some problems know to exist in the computational complexity class named NP-Complete. These kinds of problem as such that even if P=NP is true the computations must be run for a polynomial number of steps. Where does the notion of "running a polynomial number of steps" occur in a realm that is Timeless Being? Well, let's try something...

The idea that "solutions" exists to these problems as Platonic forms in itself does nothing to address how these solutions are communicated. Do you recall that Plato himself had to invent the notion of "noesis" to give a name to the idea that somehow, by some mysterious means, our finite and imperfect minds somehow could connect to the Perfect and Timeless Forms.

Now, if it could be shown that there is a coherent and consistent way that "noesis" can occur, much like Sir Roger would have us believe, I would be very happy since I like the idea very much, but I will not pretend that I have some kind of difficult to explain "logic system" that "proves" that it exists. I find this idea equivalent to some the notion of "action at a distance" ... I will stop ranting now. ;-)

I have tried to explain the problem of "block time" in several posts, here on the Everything-list and on the F.o.R. list, the idea of block-time simply ignores the fact that a "block space-time" - the notion from which "block time" is derived - required that at least the initial or the final boundary of such a "block" have associated with it definite physical quantities, such as the positions, momenta, spin, charge, color, etc. We know from QM that this idea simple does not stand up to empirical evidence. It is, at best, a fantasy and as such we should not ever find our selves having to use it to justify reasonings when even a casual reader of a laymen's book on physics knows better.
I am familiar with Davies' ideas, I have read every one of his books and found them self-aggrandizing and lacking in original content. For one thing, his statement "Nothing in known physics corresponds to the passage of time." really bothers me; who among us believe that the "known physics" is complete and omniscient? We still do not have a good and predictively falsifiable quantum gravity theory published!

Kindest regards,


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