On 7/22/2011 10:46 AM, Jason Resch wrote:

On Fri, Jul 22, 2011 at 3:30 AM, Stephen P. King <stephe...@charter.net <mailto:stephe...@charter.net>> wrote:

    On 7/22/2011 2:11 AM, Jason Resch wrote:

    On Fri, Jul 22, 2011 at 12:44 AM, Stephen P. King
    <stephe...@charter.net <mailto:stephe...@charter.net>> wrote:

        On 7/22/2011 1:24 AM, Jason Resch wrote:

            All the relevant parts of relativity which imply block
            time have been confirmed.  The above is like arguing
            against gravity because Newton's theory wasn't compatible
            with the observations of Mercury's orbit.

        Hi Jason,

           Could you be more specific? Exactly which "relevant parts
which imply block time have been confirmed" and how?

    Special relativity, time dilation due to speed, non simultaneity
    of events reported by observers in different reference frames,
    and so on.

    And to Brent's point, regarding the conflict between relativity
    and QM, that issue is with GR, SR is not in conflict with QM.

    This paper explains it well: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/2408/


    Hi Jason,

        I will check that paper, thanks! But here is the thing about
    the implications of relativity of simultaneity: Since it prohibits
    any form of absolute synchronization of events, this in turn
    restricts how the entire space-time manifold can be considered as
    parceled up into space-like and time like regions.

Imagine that spacetime is a 3 dimensional instead of four dimensional. Now take any object's velocity through that space time, and consider a plane perpendicular to the direction of that velocity. The content of that plane is considered the "present" for that reference frame. This is more clear if you consider euclidean space time rather than Minkowski space. The only difference you need to make to convert spacetime to Euclidean is to imagine that every object's velocity through space time is c. /Relativity Visualized/ is a good book which explains this view, but this site also explains it: http://www.relativitysimplified.com/ . It enables an intuitive understanding of all the strange effects like time dilation and length contraction. Since we see only the three dimensional "shadow" of objects, an object with a different velocity is rotated in space time. It is like having an umbrella pointed straight at the sun vs. it being tilted, if it is tilted its shadow becomes compressed along the direction it is tilted.

    In other words, there cannot exist a single Cauchy hypersurface
    what acts as the set of initial (or final) conditions for a GR
    field equation for the entire universe.

The fact that relativity iplies a unique present for every reference frame is one of the main arguments for block time. How can the car driving past you have a present containing different real objects than yours? Presentism assumes the present is the set of real objects at a given period of time, but what is real to you now in this moment is different from what is real to me in the same moment if we are moving relative to each other (even if we are at the same location). See: https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Rietdijk%E2%80%93Putnam_argument

The paper I cited also goes on to counter objections made to that argument.



Hi Jason,

None of those papers address the concern of narratability that I am considering. In fact they all assume narratability. I am pointing out that thinking of time as a dimension has a big problem! It only works if all the events in time are pre-specifiable. This also involves strong determinism which is ruled out by QM. See http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/determinism-causal/#StaDetPhyThe for a general overview and tph.tuwien.ac.at/~svozil/publ/1994-calude.pdf for a discussion that involves computationalism.

The idea that time is a dimension assumes that the events making up the points of the dimension are not only isomorphic to the positive Reals but also somehow can freely borrow the well order of the reals. Please do not think that I am trying to knock Special or General Relativity, they both represent time in terms of local readings of clocks and therefore bypass the question that I am considering. The block universe idea assumes a unique and global ordering of events, the actual math of SR and GR do not! My claim is that the idea that time is a quantity like space only works in the conceptual sense where we are assuming that all events are chained together into continuous world lines. We get this idea from the way that we consider a history of events, much like the layers of strata of stone studied by paleontologist with its embedded fossils. The point is that none of that reasoning follows given the facts that I laid out. It is impossible to define a unique Cauchy hyper-surface of initial (final) data that completely determines all of the world lines in the space-time block in a way that is consistent with QM.

arxiv.org/pdf/gr-qc/0406024 ,
http://www.jstor.org/pss/51794 ,

When we add to this difficulty the fact that QM does not allow us to consider all observables as simultaneously definable, because of non-commutativity and non-distributivity of observables; the idea that events are representable as pre-specifiable partly ordered sets from the Big Bang singularity's event horizon into the far distant future falls flat on its face. The point here is that the block universe and its related notions of time assume something that is physically impossible. As a concept it may work just fine and allow us to do all kinds of calculations that seem to bypass or even disallow this problem, but if you look carefully at the assumptions and methods in those calculations you will inevitably find that the solutions involve a splitting of space from time which is a step backwards from Einstein's theories. The Hole Argument is related: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/spacetime-holearg/
    This is a very subtle and difficult issue that I am considering here.



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