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A-Theory of Time, or B-Theory of Time?

n7
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4/16/2014 8:22:20 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Either the moving spotlight theory or the B theory. I think the best reason is time dilation
404 coherent debate topic not found. Please restart the debate with clear resolution.


Uphold Marxist-Leninist-Maoist-Sargonist-n7ism.
philochristos
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4/16/2014 8:25:33 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
A theory because it at least seems true. B theory leads to all sorts of counter-intuitive results.

1. If the B theory is true, then the appearance of a flow of time is inexplicable.

2. If the B theory is true, then backward time travel is theoretically possible, and that leads to unsolvable paradoxes.

3. If the B theory is true, the causation is an illusion. Or, if it's not an illusion, then it must mean something other than what it seems to me, which is that one thing happening results in another thing happening.

4. If the B theory is true, then nothing ever really happens.

5. If the B theory is true, then so is fate.

All the arguments I know of for the B theory are insufficient to warrant belief in the B theory. One example is that it's mathmatically consistent and fits scientific models.

But in those cases the B theory is simply a mathematically consistent model. It's similar to electrical current. While, in reality, negatively charged particles flow in one direction, current is always calculated as if positive charges were flowing in the opposite direction. That just makes the math easier. Mathematically, there's no difference between negative charges flowing in one direction and positive charges flowing in the other direction. So "current" is just a mathematically consistent model for electricity. It doesn't describe the reality of the matter.

In the same way, a positive charge moving in one direction is mathematically equivalent to a negative charge moving in that same direction, but backward through time. So a B theory is a very useful model to talk about the universe and time, but that's all it is--a model. It simplifies things the same way current as the apparent flow of positive charges simplifies things. I don't think it describes the way things really are.
"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
Rational_Thinker9119
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4/16/2014 8:50:41 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 4/16/2014 8:25:33 PM, philochristos wrote:
A theory because it at least seems true. B theory leads to all sorts of counter-intuitive results.

1. If the B theory is true, then the appearance of a flow of time is inexplicable.

This is not true. Some recent experiments show that the appearance of the flow of time is due to the nature of quantum entanglement [https://medium.com...]. The experiment shows that observers within the universe would experience time, even though the Wheeler-DeWitt equation describing the universe lacks a time unit.

In my opinion B-Theory isn't really a theory of time, it is a theory of space on a block...We call it space-"time", but to me, merging time with space is ontologically equivalent to cutting time out of the picture... But that is just semantics.

2. If the B theory is true, then backward time travel is theoretically possible, and that leads to unsolvable paradoxes.

It doesn't lead to unsolvable paradoxes. In fact, physicist Paul Davies, when speaking on the retro-causal effects of quantum mechanics, argues that these paradoxes can be avoided without having to appeal to other dimensions.

"There's a famous story, I think originating with Richard Feynman, about the time traveler who goes back in time and, in an adaptation of the grandmother-killing scenario, decides to shoot his younger self to see what would happen. He takes a rifle with him, seeks out his younger self and raises the rifle to shoot through the heart. But his aim isn't very good, it's a little bit wobbly, so he hits his younger self in the shoulder instead, merely wounding him. The reason his aim isn't so good is because he's got this shoulder wound from an earlier shooting incident! So you see, it's possible to conceive of temporal loops of that sort without encountering a paradox." - Paul Davies


3. If the B theory is true, the causation is an illusion. Or, if it's not an illusion, then it must mean something other than what it seems to me, which is that one thing happening results in another thing happening.

That is true, but that is exactly what B-Theory states. That there is no time flow for events to actually happen. Counter-intuitive, sure, but not a reason to reject B-Theory if we good external reasons to believe it is true.


4. If the B theory is true, then nothing ever really happens.

Sure.


5. If the B theory is true, then so is fate.

Sure


All the arguments I know of for the B theory are insufficient to warrant belief in the B theory. One example is that it's mathmatically consistent and fits scientific models.

But in those cases the B theory is simply a mathematically consistent model. It's similar to electrical current. While, in reality, negatively charged particles flow in one direction, current is always calculated as if positive charges were flowing in the opposite direction. That just makes the math easier. Mathematically, there's no difference between negative charges flowing in one direction and positive charges flowing in the other direction. So "current" is just a mathematically consistent model for electricity. It doesn't describe the reality of the matter.

In the same way, a positive charge moving in one direction is mathematically equivalent to a negative charge moving in that same direction, but backward through time. So a B theory is a very useful model to talk about the universe and time, but that's all it is--a model. It simplifies things the same way current as the apparent flow of positive charges simplifies things. I don't think it describes the way things really are.

The reason I believe B-Theory is probably true, is because the Minkowskian spacetime interpretation of Special Relativity entails it, and I think that interpretation of Special Relativity is true.

To me, if there are good reasons to believe something, then even if it counter-intuitive, it should be accepted. Just look at Quantum Mechanics, it is extremely counter-intuitive, but we have good reasons to believe it is true.
Rational_Thinker9119
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4/16/2014 8:58:20 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 4/16/2014 8:25:33 PM, philochristos wrote:
A theory because it at least seems true. B theory leads to all sorts of counter-intuitive results.

1. If the B theory is true, then the appearance of a flow of time is inexplicable.

2. If the B theory is true, then backward time travel is theoretically possible, and that leads to unsolvable paradoxes.

3. If the B theory is true, the causation is an illusion. Or, if it's not an illusion, then it must mean something other than what it seems to me, which is that one thing happening results in another thing happening.

4. If the B theory is true, then nothing ever really happens.

5. If the B theory is true, then so is fate.

All the arguments I know of for the B theory are insufficient to warrant belief in the B theory. One example is that it's mathmatically consistent and fits scientific models.

But in those cases the B theory is simply a mathematically consistent model. It's similar to electrical current. While, in reality, negatively charged particles flow in one direction, current is always calculated as if positive charges were flowing in the opposite direction. That just makes the math easier. Mathematically, there's no difference between negative charges flowing in one direction and positive charges flowing in the other direction. So "current" is just a mathematically consistent model for electricity. It doesn't describe the reality of the matter.

In the same way, a positive charge moving in one direction is mathematically equivalent to a negative charge moving in that same direction, but backward through time. So a B theory is a very useful model to talk about the universe and time, but that's all it is--a model. It simplifies things the same way current as the apparent flow of positive charges simplifies things. I don't think it describes the way things really are.

So, the best argument for B-Theory to me is:

P1: If the Spacetime interpretation of Special Relativity is true, then B-Theory is true

P2: The Spacetime interpretation of Special Relativity is true

C: Therefore, B-Theory is true

---

P1 is uncontroversial, and and even the most hardcore A-Theorists like William Lane Craig accept P1, and even argue FOR P1. P2 is the controversial premise...
philochristos
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4/16/2014 9:20:13 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 4/16/2014 8:50:41 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
At 4/16/2014 8:25:33 PM, philochristos wrote:
A theory because it at least seems true. B theory leads to all sorts of counter-intuitive results.

1. If the B theory is true, then the appearance of a flow of time is inexplicable.

This is not true. Some recent experiments show that the appearance of the flow of time is due to the nature of quantum entanglement [https://medium.com...]. The experiment shows that observers within the universe would experience time, even though the Wheeler-DeWitt equation describing the universe lacks a time unit.

Well, that's over my head.

2. If the B theory is true, then backward time travel is theoretically possible, and that leads to unsolvable paradoxes.

It doesn't lead to unsolvable paradoxes. In fact, physicist Paul Davies, when speaking on the retro-causal effects of quantum mechanics, argues that these paradoxes can be avoided without having to appeal to other dimensions.

I've actually read his attempt at solving these paradoxes, and I found them completely unconvincing. I don't remember exactly what they were, but I read about them in his book on time travel.

"There's a famous story, I think originating with Richard Feynman, about the time traveler who goes back in time and, in an adaptation of the grandmother-killing scenario, decides to shoot his younger self to see what would happen. He takes a rifle with him, seeks out his younger self and raises the rifle to shoot through the heart. But his aim isn't very good, it's a little bit wobbly, so he hits his younger self in the shoulder instead, merely wounding him. The reason his aim isn't so good is because he's got this shoulder wound from an earlier shooting incident! So you see, it's possible to conceive of temporal loops of that sort without encountering a paradox." - Paul Davies

Oh yeah, I remember. His argument is that these paradoxes aren't necessary since it's possible to go back in time and not kill your grandfather (or whatever the case may be). The reason this doesn't solve the paradox is because the paradox arises from the mere possibility of killing your grandfather. If it's possible to go back in time, then it's possible to kill your grandfather before your father is conceived. If that's possible, then it's possible to prevent your own existence. But that is impossible. So it's not possible to go back in time.

3. If the B theory is true, the causation is an illusion. Or, if it's not an illusion, then it must mean something other than what it seems to me, which is that one thing happening results in another thing happening.

That is true, but that is exactly what B-Theory states. That there is no time flow for events to actually happen. Counter-intuitive, sure, but not a reason to reject B-Theory if we good external reasons to believe it is true.

I agree that an intuitive conclusion can be overcome by good external reasons. I just don't find any external reasons sufficient to overcome my intuition that there really is causation. It would take a LOT to overcome that intuition for me.

The reason I believe B-Theory is probably true, is because the Minkowskian spacetime interpretation of Special Relativity entails it, and I think that interpretation of Special Relativity is true.

Well, I may be a stubborn A-theoriest simply because I don't know enough. If so, maybe I'll change my mind in the future.

To me, if there are good reasons to believe something, then even if it counter-intuitive, it should be accepted.

I agree with that in principle. But I think they have to be weighed against each other. I mean philosophers have been wrestling with Zeno's paradoxes for centuries with no consensus on what the resolution is. So it's obviously a difficult problem. Parmenides used Zeno's paradoxes to "prove" that the external world does not exist. His argument went something like this.

1. If the external world exists, then motion is possible.
2. Motion is not possible.
3. Therefore, the external world does not exist.

His defense of 1 was just the observation that in the apparent external world, things are moving. His defense of 2 was Zeno's paradoxes of motion.

Even though a person may not know how to solve Zeno's paradox, I think their strong intuition that the external world really exists is sufficient to overcome Parmenides' argument. And let's face it, it's a strong argument.

So I don't think any ole reason to accept the B theory of time is going to be sufficient to overcome my intuitions that lead me to believe the A theory is true. The reasons are going to have to be pretty spectacular.

Of course since you're an idealist, this may not be the most ideal example for me to give you, but I hope you at least see my point.

Just look at Quantum Mechanics, it is extremely counter-intuitive, but we have good reasons to believe it is true.

That is a very good point. I have to admit that reality is very strange, and the strangeness of it cannot be avoided no matter what worldview you subscribe to. That, to me, is a good reason to be somewhat provisional about at least some of my intuitions.
"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
Rational_Thinker9119
Posts: 9,054
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4/16/2014 9:47:16 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 4/16/2014 9:20:13 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 4/16/2014 8:50:41 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
At 4/16/2014 8:25:33 PM, philochristos wrote:

Well, that's over my head.

Fair enough. It just doesn't seem to me that the apparent flow of time cannot be explained on a tenseless view.


2. If the B theory is true, then backward time travel is theoretically possible, and that leads to unsolvable paradoxes.

It doesn't lead to unsolvable paradoxes. In fact, physicist Paul Davies, when speaking on the retro-causal effects of quantum mechanics, argues that these paradoxes can be avoided without having to appeal to other dimensions.

I've actually read his attempt at solving these paradoxes, and I found them completely unconvincing. I don't remember exactly what they were, but I read about them in his book on time travel.

"There's a famous story, I think originating with Richard Feynman, about the time traveler who goes back in time and, in an adaptation of the grandmother-killing scenario, decides to shoot his younger self to see what would happen. He takes a rifle with him, seeks out his younger self and raises the rifle to shoot through the heart. But his aim isn't very good, it's a little bit wobbly, so he hits his younger self in the shoulder instead, merely wounding him. The reason his aim isn't so good is because he's got this shoulder wound from an earlier shooting incident! So you see, it's possible to conceive of temporal loops of that sort without encountering a paradox." - Paul Davies

Oh yeah, I remember. His argument is that these paradoxes aren't necessary since it's possible to go back in time and not kill your grandfather (or whatever the case may be). The reason this doesn't solve the paradox is because the paradox arises from the mere possibility of killing your grandfather. If it's possible to go back in time, then it's possible to kill your grandfather before your father is conceived. If that's possible, then it's possible to prevent your own existence. But that is impossible. So it's not possible to go back in time.

Davies has a response to that:

"If so, we must find some way of avoiding the paradoxes, maybe by giving up freewill. In daily life we imagine that we are free to do most of what we want, but if you find yourself in a causal loop, you might discover that you just can't do anything that is going to change the world in a manner that is inconsistent with the future you've come from." - Paul Davies [http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net...]

So, he is saying that perhaps you are determined not to do anything that is logically contradictory, and that scenarios like Paul Davies, where you don't kill yourself, cannot happen. Which, would be necessarily true anyway.

Also, it wouldn't really be possible to "go back", as that would imply temporal becoming. Everything is just static (nothing happens after all).


3. If the B theory is true, the causation is an illusion. Or, if it's not an illusion, then it must mean something other than what it seems to me, which is that one thing happening results in another thing happening.

That is true, but that is exactly what B-Theory states. That there is no time flow for events to actually happen. Counter-intuitive, sure, but not a reason to reject B-Theory if we good external reasons to believe it is true.

I agree that an intuitive conclusion can be overcome by good external reasons. I just don't find any external reasons sufficient to overcome my intuition that there really is causation. It would take a LOT to overcome that intuition for me.

There would definitely still be causation, it just wouldn't be temporal causation. It isn't causation that it being claimed to be illusory here, just the flow of time. My mother is still the cause of me, it is just a tenseless causeless relation (even William Lane Craig accepts this).


The reason I believe B-Theory is probably true, is because the Minkowskian spacetime interpretation of Special Relativity entails it, and I think that interpretation of Special Relativity is true.

Well, I may be a stubborn A-theoriest simply because I don't know enough. If so, maybe I'll change my mind in the future.

Well I'll try to make it easy to understand. The Spacetime interpretation of SR entails tenseless time because if time is woven in with space, then time is extended as space is extended. However, space isn't extended with temporal becoming (if there was only space, and no time, there would be no flow of time). So, if time is extended just as space is extended (which follows if they are the same 4d object), then it follows that time is extended with no time flow. Thus, time would be static:

"Minkowski's interpretation is tenseless because it is described in terms of a 4-dimensional geometrical object called spacetime. All points in spacetime exist. Things are extended in time just as they are in space. Hence, there is no temporal becoming." - William Lane Craig [http://www.reasonablefaith.org...]

The reason I believe the Spacetime interpretation of Special Relativity is true, is because a half-century long experiment by NASA that just ended in 2011 confirmed it [http://science.nasa.gov...]. If William Lane Craig's view is correct (the neo-Lorenztian interpretation), then Newton's Theory of Gravity should be true (gravity should be a force between two objects). However, Einstein's Theory of Gravity is the correct one (gravity is a dip in a 4d object known as spacetime).


To me, if there are good reasons to believe something, then even if it counter-intuitive, it should be accepted.

I agree with that in principle. But I think they have to be weighed against each other. I mean philosophers have been wrestling with Zeno's paradoxes for centuries with no consensus on what the resolution is. So it's obviously a difficult problem. Parmenides used Zeno's paradoxes to "prove" that the external world does not exist. His argument went something like this.

1. If the external world exists, then motion is possible.
2. Motion is not possible.
3. Therefore, the external world does not exist.

His defense of 1 was just the observation that in the apparent external world, things are moving. His defense of 2 was Zeno's paradoxes of motion.

Even though a person may not know how to solve Zeno's paradox, I think their strong intuition that the external world really exists is sufficient to overcome Parmenides' argument. And let's face it, it's a strong argument.

So I don't think any ole reason to accept the B theory of time is going to be sufficient to overcome my intuitions that lead me to believe the A theory is true. The reasons are going to have to be pretty spectacular.

Well, if an argument is valid, and the premises are true, then you must accept the conclusion now matter how counter-intuitive. Would you agree?

So, my argument was that the ST interpretation of SR entails B-Theory. The ST interpretation of SR is true. Ergo, B-Theory is true. This is what convinces me.


Of course since you're an idealist, this may not be the most ideal example for me to give you, but I hope you at least see my point.

Just look at Quantum Mechanics, it is extremely counter-intuitive, but we have good reasons to believe it is true.

That is a very good point. I have to admit that reality is very strange, and the strangeness of it cannot be avoided no matter what worldview you subscribe to. That, to me, is a good reason to be somewhat provisional about at least some of my intuitions.
Rational_Thinker9119
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4/16/2014 9:48:29 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 4/16/2014 9:20:13 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 4/16/2014 8:50:41 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
At 4/16/2014 8:25:33 PM, philochristos wrote:
A theory because it at least seems true. B theory leads to all sorts of counter-intuitive results.

1. If the B theory is true, then the appearance of a flow of time is inexplicable.

This is not true. Some recent experiments show that the appearance of the flow of time is due to the nature of quantum entanglement [https://medium.com...]. The experiment shows that observers within the universe would experience time, even though the Wheeler-DeWitt equation describing the universe lacks a time unit.

Well, that's over my head.

2. If the B theory is true, then backward time travel is theoretically possible, and that leads to unsolvable paradoxes.

It doesn't lead to unsolvable paradoxes. In fact, physicist Paul Davies, when speaking on the retro-causal effects of quantum mechanics, argues that these paradoxes can be avoided without having to appeal to other dimensions.

I've actually read his attempt at solving these paradoxes, and I found them completely unconvincing. I don't remember exactly what they were, but I read about them in his book on time travel.

"There's a famous story, I think originating with Richard Feynman, about the time traveler who goes back in time and, in an adaptation of the grandmother-killing scenario, decides to shoot his younger self to see what would happen. He takes a rifle with him, seeks out his younger self and raises the rifle to shoot through the heart. But his aim isn't very good, it's a little bit wobbly, so he hits his younger self in the shoulder instead, merely wounding him. The reason his aim isn't so good is because he's got this shoulder wound from an earlier shooting incident! So you see, it's possible to conceive of temporal loops of that sort without encountering a paradox." - Paul Davies

Oh yeah, I remember. His argument is that these paradoxes aren't necessary since it's possible to go back in time and not kill your grandfather (or whatever the case may be). The reason this doesn't solve the paradox is because the paradox arises from the mere possibility of killing your grandfather. If it's possible to go back in time, then it's possible to kill your grandfather before your father is conceived. If that's possible, then it's possible to prevent your own existence. But that is impossible. So it's not possible to go back in time.

3. If the B theory is true, the causation is an illusion. Or, if it's not an illusion, then it must mean something other than what it seems to me, which is that one thing happening results in another thing happening.

That is true, but that is exactly what B-Theory states. That there is no time flow for events to actually happen. Counter-intuitive, sure, but not a reason to reject B-Theory if we good external reasons to believe it is true.

I agree that an intuitive conclusion can be overcome by good external reasons. I just don't find any external reasons sufficient to overcome my intuition that there really is causation. It would take a LOT to overcome that intuition for me.

The reason I believe B-Theory is probably true, is because the Minkowskian spacetime interpretation of Special Relativity entails it, and I think that interpretation of Special Relativity is true.

Well, I may be a stubborn A-theoriest simply because I don't know enough. If so, maybe I'll change my mind in the future.

To me, if there are good reasons to believe something, then even if it counter-intuitive, it should be accepted.

I agree with that in principle. But I think they have to be weighed against each other. I mean philosophers have been wrestling with Zeno's paradoxes for centuries with no consensus on what the resolution is. So it's obviously a difficult problem. Parmenides used Zeno's paradoxes to "prove" that the external world does not exist. His argument went something like this.

1. If the external world exists, then motion is possible.
2. Motion is not possible.
3. Therefore, the external world does not exist.

His defense of 1 was just the observation that in the apparent external world, things are moving. His defense of 2 was Zeno's paradoxes of motion.

Even though a person may not know how to solve Zeno's paradox, I think their strong intuition that the external world really exists is sufficient to overcome Parmenides' argument. And let's face it, it's a strong argument.

So I don't think any ole reason to accept the B theory of time is going to be sufficient to overcome my intuitions that lead me to believe the A theory is true. The reasons are going to have to be pretty spectacular.

Of course since you're an idealist, this may not be the most ideal example for me to give you, but I hope you at least see my point.

Just look at Quantum Mechanics, it is extremely counter-intuitive, but we have good reasons to believe it is true.

That is a very good point. I have to admit that reality is very strange, and the strangeness of it cannot be avoided no matter what worldview you subscribe to. That, to me, is a good reason to be somewhat provisional about at least some of my intuitions.

(correction)

*So, he is saying that perhaps you are determined not to do anything that is logically contradictory, and that scenarios like Paul Davies, where you don't kill yourself, MUST happen.
philochristos
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4/16/2014 10:12:24 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 4/16/2014 9:47:16 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
At 4/16/2014 9:20:13 PM, philochristos wrote:

Oh yeah, I remember. His argument is that these paradoxes aren't necessary since it's possible to go back in time and not kill your grandfather (or whatever the case may be). The reason this doesn't solve the paradox is because the paradox arises from the mere possibility of killing your grandfather. If it's possible to go back in time, then it's possible to kill your grandfather before your father is conceived. If that's possible, then it's possible to prevent your own existence. But that is impossible. So it's not possible to go back in time.

Davies has a response to that:

"If so, we must find some way of avoiding the paradoxes, maybe by giving up freewill. In daily life we imagine that we are free to do most of what we want, but if you find yourself in a causal loop, you might discover that you just can't do anything that is going to change the world in a manner that is inconsistent with the future you've come from." - Paul Davies [http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net...]

So, he is saying that perhaps you are determined not to do anything that is logically contradictory, and that scenarios like Paul Davies, where you don't kill yourself, cannot happen. Which, would be necessarily true anyway.

If his only reason for thinking you're determined to not create any paradoxes is to avoid the paradoxes, then this doesn't strike me as being a good response to my objection.

To me, if there are good reasons to believe something, then even if it counter-intuitive, it should be accepted.

I agree with that in principle. But I think they have to be weighed against each other. I mean philosophers have been wrestling with Zeno's paradoxes for centuries with no consensus on what the resolution is. So it's obviously a difficult problem. Parmenides used Zeno's paradoxes to "prove" that the external world does not exist. His argument went something like this.

1. If the external world exists, then motion is possible.
2. Motion is not possible.
3. Therefore, the external world does not exist.

His defense of 1 was just the observation that in the apparent external world, things are moving. His defense of 2 was Zeno's paradoxes of motion.

Even though a person may not know how to solve Zeno's paradox, I think their strong intuition that the external world really exists is sufficient to overcome Parmenides' argument. And let's face it, it's a strong argument.

So I don't think any ole reason to accept the B theory of time is going to be sufficient to overcome my intuitions that lead me to believe the A theory is true. The reasons are going to have to be pretty spectacular.

Well, if an argument is valid, and the premises are true, then you must accept the conclusion now matter how counter-intuitive. Would you agree?

Yes, but if the conclusion is absurd, then that is a reason to think one of the premises that lead to it is false even if you can't figure out why it's false. That's why there's been so much discussion about Zeno's paradoxes. Everybody seems to agree there's a flaw in the reasoning somewhere because they're convinced that motion is possible, but they can't agree on where exactly the flaw is. So my point is that my intuitions concerning temporal becoming, temporal causation, etc., are such that it would require a great deal of evidence to convince me otherwise.

So, my argument was that the ST interpretation of SR entails B-Theory. The ST interpretation of SR is true. Ergo, B-Theory is true. This is what convinces me.

Well, I can't fault you for believing in the B-theory even if I'm unconvinced. Based on the explanation you gave, I can see how you came to that conclusion, and I don't know how to refute it, but I'm still unpersuaded.
"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
n7
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4/16/2014 10:56:54 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 4/16/2014 8:25:33 PM, philochristos wrote:
A theory because it at least seems true. B theory leads to all sorts of counter-intuitive results.

1. If the B theory is true, then the appearance of a flow of time is inexplicable.

2. If the B theory is true, then backward time travel is theoretically possible, and that leads to unsolvable paradoxes.

I assume you mean the grandfather paradox. This just means killing your grandpa is impossible, but that doesn't mean time travel in whole is impossible. For example, it's impossible to make a square-circle, but it's possible for you to make a square and a circle. Not sure if that's a good analogy or if the argument is good or if I presented it well, but I think that's answers it.

3. If the B theory is true, the causation is an illusion. Or, if it's not an illusion, then it must mean something other than what it seems to me, which is that one thing happening results in another thing happening.

4. If the B theory is true, then nothing ever really happens.

5. If the B theory is true, then so is fate.

All the arguments I know of for the B theory are insufficient to warrant belief in the B theory. One example is that it's mathmatically consistent and fits scientific models.

But in those cases the B theory is simply a mathematically consistent model. It's similar to electrical current. While, in reality, negatively charged particles flow in one direction, current is always calculated as if positive charges were flowing in the opposite direction. That just makes the math easier. Mathematically, there's no difference between negative charges flowing in one direction and positive charges flowing in the other direction. So "current" is just a mathematically consistent model for electricity. It doesn't describe the reality of the matter.

In the same way, a positive charge moving in one direction is mathematically equivalent to a negative charge moving in that same direction, but backward through time. So a B theory is a very useful model to talk about the universe and time, but that's all it is--a model. It simplifies things the same way current as the apparent flow of positive charges simplifies things. I don't think it describes the way things really are.
404 coherent debate topic not found. Please restart the debate with clear resolution.


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philochristos
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4/17/2014 6:32:46 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 4/16/2014 10:56:54 PM, n7 wrote:

2. If the B theory is true, then backward time travel is theoretically possible, and that leads to unsolvable paradoxes.

I assume you mean the grandfather paradox. This just means killing your grandpa is impossible, but that doesn't mean time travel in whole is impossible.

I think it does. My argument goes like this:

1. If it's possible to travel back in time, then it's possible to kill your grandfather.
2. If it's possible to kill your grandfather, then it's possible to prevent your own existence.
3. It's not possible to prevent your own existence.
4. Therefore, it's not possible to travel back in time.
"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

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Illegalcombatant
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4/17/2014 7:14:31 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 4/16/2014 8:17:20 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
Which one do you think is the correct view, and why?

A long time ago I considered how I don't think hitler exists well not "now" cause he is dead. He exists in the "past" and I exist in the 'Now". And the "past" doesn't really exist, it exists only in memories and photo's but it's just an illusion, the "past" doesn't really exist to talk about existing in the "past" is just a function of language that isn't literally true.

At this point you may think that would lead me to A theory........but wait there's more !!!

Then I considered how some one from a thousand years from now would see me as living in the "past" and thus does not exist, in the same way I view hitler as not existing.

But hey hang on, I am dame sure I exist in what I call "now" just as much as hitler would regard himself as just as real living in the "now" just as the person from a thousands years reading this post (maybe) would regard themselves as real living the "now" yet we would all view each other as not really existing due to those other guys existing in the past or future.

This lead me to believe that all "time" past/present/future (depending on your position) is just as real. I don't see any reason to think my "now" is any more or less real than those two other people I mentioned, even though from my relative view one does not exist (cause they are in the past) the and other does not exist (cause they are from the future), ergo B theory.
"Seems like another attempt to insert God into areas our knowledge has yet to penetrate. You figure God would be bigger than the gaps of our ignorance." Drafterman 19/5/12
Sidewalker
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4/17/2014 7:58:39 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 4/16/2014 8:17:20 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
Which one do you think is the correct view, and why?

Both

McTaggart"s paradox is just a semantic paradox, the A and B series are just terminological variants, neither is convincing without reference to the other, they are co-aspects of time, it isn"t an either/or question and it doesn"t establish the unreality of time, it is about the descriptive limitations of language, and nothing more.

Time is a relational term, the very nature and use of the word "time" implies that it is referential to a dynamic; it isn't self-referential, it refers to relationships between other things or events, therefore, the application of ontology to time as an entity "in and of itself" is misplaced.

When looked at from the point of view of the essential vision they offer, the A series and the B series coincide fundamentally, when considered in their respective expressions of their referent, the A series and the B series need one another to support and complete each other. As McTaggart pointed out when he developed the concepts of the A and B series, neither is complete without the other.
"It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive." " C. W. Leadbeater
zmikecuber
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4/17/2014 9:29:35 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 4/16/2014 8:17:20 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
Which one do you think is the correct view, and why?

I tend towards B-theory for theological reasons.

1. If A-theory is true, God can't know the future. If B-theory is true, God can know the future. I think God knows the future, so I think B-theory makes more sense then.

2. The Eucharist. It's supposed to be that all throughout time, and all around the world, the body of Jesus is being offered to God the Father as a sacrificial offering for the sins of man. Sure, WLC says that then "evil" is also always present, but the Eucharist counter-reacts that. Furthermore, if there's a hell then there's always "evil" present. Does WLC think that God will destroy the devil?

3. The doctrine of divine simplicity. As a Catholic, I'm bound to believe in divine simplicity since it's been declared an article of faith at the 4th Lateran Council and Vatican I. But if A-series is true, then God is divided up into pieces. There's the "God" that existed 10 minutes ago, and the part of "God" that exists now. To quote CS Lewis.. "But God has no history. He is too completely and utterly real to have one." ~C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, p.169

All in all, it just makes more sense to me.
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Illegalcombatant
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4/17/2014 9:47:09 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 4/17/2014 9:29:35 AM, zmikecuber wrote:
At 4/16/2014 8:17:20 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
Which one do you think is the correct view, and why?

I tend towards B-theory for theological reasons.

1. If A-theory is true, God can't know the future. If B-theory is true, God can know the future. I think God knows the future, so I think B-theory makes more sense then.

2. The Eucharist. It's supposed to be that all throughout time, and all around the world, the body of Jesus is being offered to God the Father as a sacrificial offering for the sins of man. Sure, WLC says that then "evil" is also always present, but the Eucharist counter-reacts that. Furthermore, if there's a hell then there's always "evil" present. Does WLC think that God will destroy the devil?

3. The doctrine of divine simplicity. As a Catholic, I'm bound to believe in divine simplicity since it's been declared an article of faith at the 4th Lateran Council and Vatican I.

As some sort of intelligent self aware entity you are bound to think for yourself and not just accept something because some one declared it as an article of faith.

But if A-series is true, then God is divided up into pieces. There's the "God" that existed 10 minutes ago, and the part of "God" that exists now. To quote CS Lewis.. "But God has no history. He is too completely and utterly real to have one." ~C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, p.169

All in all, just another brick in the wall
"Seems like another attempt to insert God into areas our knowledge has yet to penetrate. You figure God would be bigger than the gaps of our ignorance." Drafterman 19/5/12
Installgentoo
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4/17/2014 11:08:43 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
It's not an either/or question for me. B-theory makes sense of some situations, like the start of the Big Bang, and A-theory makes sense of other situations, like the existence of intervals of time during the Big Bang.
Rational_Thinker9119
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4/17/2014 6:48:30 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 4/16/2014 10:12:24 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 4/16/2014 9:47:16 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
At 4/16/2014 9:20:13 PM, philochristos wrote:

Oh yeah, I remember. His argument is that these paradoxes aren't necessary since it's possible to go back in time and not kill your grandfather (or whatever the case may be). The reason this doesn't solve the paradox is because the paradox arises from the mere possibility of killing your grandfather. If it's possible to go back in time, then it's possible to kill your grandfather before your father is conceived. If that's possible, then it's possible to prevent your own existence. But that is impossible. So it's not possible to go back in time.

Davies has a response to that:

"If so, we must find some way of avoiding the paradoxes, maybe by giving up freewill. In daily life we imagine that we are free to do most of what we want, but if you find yourself in a causal loop, you might discover that you just can't do anything that is going to change the world in a manner that is inconsistent with the future you've come from." - Paul Davies [http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net...]

So, he is saying that perhaps you are determined not to do anything that is logically contradictory, and that scenarios like Paul Davies, where you don't kill yourself, cannot happen. Which, would be necessarily true anyway.

If his only reason for thinking you're determined to not create any paradoxes is to avoid the paradoxes, then this doesn't strike me as being a good response to my objection.

Well, lets examine your argument from the other post you made in this thread:

P1. If it's possible to travel back in time, then it's possible to kill your grandfather.
P2. If it's possible to kill your grandfather, then it's possible to prevent your own existence.
P3. It's not possible to prevent your own existence.
C. Therefore, it's not possible to travel back in time.

I think P1 is false. If you were to travel back in time, and killing your grandpa would cause a paradox, then you simply couldn't kill your grandpa no matter how hard you tried. It would be like sitting down with a pen trying to draw a square cirlce. Therefore, if time travel is possible, killing yourself would be impossible, because paradox's are impossible, and that would cause a paradox.

Basically, the direct contradiction is entailed by the ACT in the journey of the time travel; not time travel itself.

So, I believe what Paul Davies is saying is that it is not the time traveling that is impossible, it is certain acts while on that temporal journey that would be impossible.

Also, grandfather paradoxes are easily avoided by appealing to other dimensions. If one was to do that, the P2 of your argument could be shown to be false (or at least unsupported) as well.


To me, if there are good reasons to believe something, then even if it counter-intuitive, it should be accepted.

I agree with that in principle. But I think they have to be weighed against each other. I mean philosophers have been wrestling with Zeno's paradoxes for centuries with no consensus on what the resolution is. So it's obviously a difficult problem. Parmenides used Zeno's paradoxes to "prove" that the external world does not exist. His argument went something like this.

1. If the external world exists, then motion is possible.
2. Motion is not possible.
3. Therefore, the external world does not exist.

His defense of 1 was just the observation that in the apparent external world, things are moving. His defense of 2 was Zeno's paradoxes of motion.

Even though a person may not know how to solve Zeno's paradox, I think their strong intuition that the external world really exists is sufficient to overcome Parmenides' argument. And let's face it, it's a strong argument.

So I don't think any ole reason to accept the B theory of time is going to be sufficient to overcome my intuitions that lead me to believe the A theory is true. The reasons are going to have to be pretty spectacular.

Well, if an argument is valid, and the premises are true, then you must accept the conclusion now matter how counter-intuitive. Would you agree?

Yes, but if the conclusion is absurd, then that is a reason to think one of the premises that lead to it is false even if you can't figure out why it's false.

This assumes that static time is absurd. To me, that strikes me as odd for a couple of reasons. First of all, there are more B-Theorists in philosophy than A-Theorists [http://philpapers.org...], so if it was absurd, then it seems likely to me that more philosophers would have picked up on that. Also, all static time theory essentially says is that temporal becoming is an illusion. How is that absurd to say that? Everytime I look down and walk, I am subject to the illusion that the ground is moving beneath me, and I stand still. Everytime I watch a Sun rise, it honestly looks like the Sun rises, but we really go around it. B-Theory just says that temporal becoming is just another illusion...How is that absurd? Illusions are common.

That's why there's been so much discussion about Zeno's paradoxes. Everybody seems to agree there's a flaw in the reasoning somewhere because they're convinced that motion is possible, but they can't agree on where exactly the flaw is.

Nobody is saying temporal becoming is impossible, I am only saying that it isn't the case. My reasoning is based on scienfitic discovery, which has truths that aren't necessary truths.

So my point is that my intuitions concerning temporal becoming, temporal causation, etc., are such that it would require a great deal of evidence to convince me otherwise.

I wouldn't put too much faith in human intuition, it doesn't have a great track record.


So, my argument was that the ST interpretation of SR entails B-Theory. The ST interpretation of SR is true. Ergo, B-Theory is true. This is what convinces me.

Well, I can't fault you for believing in the B-theory even if I'm unconvinced. Based on the explanation you gave, I can see how you came to that conclusion, and I don't know how to refute it, but I'm still unpersuaded.

I guess you just place too value on naive realism, which is the view that the world really is how we experience it.
Rational_Thinker9119
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4/17/2014 6:55:28 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 4/17/2014 9:29:35 AM, zmikecuber wrote:
At 4/16/2014 8:17:20 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
Which one do you think is the correct view, and why?

I tend towards B-theory for theological reasons.

1. If A-theory is true, God can't know the future. If B-theory is true, God can know the future. I think God knows the future, so I think B-theory makes more sense then.

What's your argument for God not being able to know the future under A-Theory?


2. The Eucharist. It's supposed to be that all throughout time, and all around the world, the body of Jesus is being offered to God the Father as a sacrificial offering for the sins of man. Sure, WLC says that then "evil" is also always present, but the Eucharist counter-reacts that. Furthermore, if there's a hell then there's always "evil" present. Does WLC think that God will destroy the devil?

3. The doctrine of divine simplicity. As a Catholic, I'm bound to believe in divine simplicity since it's been declared an article of faith at the 4th Lateran Council and Vatican I. But if A-series is true, then God is divided up into pieces. There's the "God" that existed 10 minutes ago, and the part of "God" that exists now. To quote CS Lewis.. "But God has no history. He is too completely and utterly real to have one." ~C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, p.169

All in all, it just makes more sense to me.
Rational_Thinker9119
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4/18/2014 12:37:50 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 4/18/2014 8:09:41 AM, Smithereens wrote:
If I find good enough reason to believe B theory, then B theory it is.

Well, I do believe A-Theory is the default position. I just think we have a defeater for that...
tBoonePickens
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4/18/2014 4:03:44 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Well, if we define time as change, we can clearly see that you can have "no change" or time stopping; "less change" or time slowing down; "more change" or time speeding up; but you cannot have "negative change" and thus not travel back in time. These are all things that have been observed to coincide with SR. So A-Theory it is!
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johnlubba
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4/19/2014 1:39:22 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 4/16/2014 8:25:33 PM, philochristos wrote:
A theory because it at least seems true. B theory leads to all sorts of counter-intuitive results.

1. If the B theory is true, then the appearance of a flow of time is inexplicable.

2. If the B theory is true, then backward time travel is theoretically possible, and that leads to unsolvable paradoxes.

3. If the B theory is true, the causation is an illusion. Or, if it's not an illusion, then it must mean something other than what it seems to me, which is that one thing happening results in another thing happening.

4. If the B theory is true, then nothing ever really happens.

5. If the B theory is true, then so is fate.

All the arguments I know of for the B theory are insufficient to warrant belief in the B theory. One example is that it's mathmatically consistent and fits scientific models.

But in those cases the B theory is simply a mathematically consistent model. It's similar to electrical current. While, in reality, negatively charged particles flow in one direction, current is always calculated as if positive charges were flowing in the opposite direction. That just makes the math easier. Mathematically, there's no difference between negative charges flowing in one direction and positive charges flowing in the other direction. So "current" is just a mathematically consistent model for electricity. It doesn't describe the reality of the matter.

In the same way, a positive charge moving in one direction is mathematically equivalent to a negative charge moving in that same direction, but backward through time. So a B theory is a very useful model to talk about the universe and time, but that's all it is--a model. It simplifies things the same way current as the apparent flow of positive charges simplifies things. I don't think it describes the way things really are.

B theory it is then.
johnlubba
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4/19/2014 2:26:45 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 4/17/2014 9:29:35 AM, zmikecuber wrote:
At 4/16/2014 8:17:20 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
Which one do you think is the correct view, and why?

I tend towards B-theory for theological reasons.

1. If A-theory is true, God can't know the future. If B-theory is true, God can know the future. I think God knows the future, so I think B-theory makes more sense then.

2. The Eucharist. It's supposed to be that all throughout time, and all around the world, the body of Jesus is being offered to God the Father as a sacrificial offering for the sins of man. Sure, WLC says that then "evil" is also always present, but the Eucharist counter-reacts that. Furthermore, if there's a hell then there's always "evil" present. Does WLC think that God will destroy the devil?

3. The doctrine of divine simplicity. As a Catholic, I'm bound to believe in divine simplicity since it's been declared an article of faith at the 4th Lateran Council and Vatican I. But if A-series is true, then God is divided up into pieces. There's the "God" that existed 10 minutes ago, and the part of "God" that exists now. To quote CS Lewis.. "But God has no history. He is too completely and utterly real to have one." ~C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, p.169

All in all, it just makes more sense to me.

But God has no history. He is too completely and utterly real to have one." ~C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, p.169

That's is Because God is absolute, He is the past the present and the future all at once,
Adaptable
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4/19/2014 10:36:39 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 4/18/2014 12:37:50 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
At 4/18/2014 8:09:41 AM, Smithereens wrote:
If I find good enough reason to believe B theory, then B theory it is.

Well, I do believe A-Theory is the default position. I just think we have a defeater for that...

Let's not forget about the theory of Thermodynamics. This directly coincides with the B theory.

For example, the same water you and I drink and use for other means, is the same water that was used over two thousand years ago by someone to bath in. Think about it.

Perhaps you never thought about the possibility the bird you just seen fly in in your back yard is the same bird someone seen two thousand years ago.
Smithereens
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4/20/2014 7:34:31 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 4/18/2014 12:37:50 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
At 4/18/2014 8:09:41 AM, Smithereens wrote:
If I find good enough reason to believe B theory, then B theory it is.

Well, I do believe A-Theory is the default position. I just think we have a defeater for that...

...Lol, you just gonna leave me hanging?
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Rational_Thinker9119
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4/20/2014 3:41:54 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 4/20/2014 7:34:31 AM, Smithereens wrote:
At 4/18/2014 12:37:50 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
At 4/18/2014 8:09:41 AM, Smithereens wrote:
If I find good enough reason to believe B theory, then B theory it is.

Well, I do believe A-Theory is the default position. I just think we have a defeater for that...

...Lol, you just gonna leave me hanging?

Leave you hanging? I don't remember you asking me anything...
Smithereens
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4/21/2014 3:16:38 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 4/20/2014 3:41:54 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
At 4/20/2014 7:34:31 AM, Smithereens wrote:
At 4/18/2014 12:37:50 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
At 4/18/2014 8:09:41 AM, Smithereens wrote:
If I find good enough reason to believe B theory, then B theory it is.

Well, I do believe A-Theory is the default position. I just think we have a defeater for that...

...Lol, you just gonna leave me hanging?

Leave you hanging? I don't remember you asking me anything...

You claim we have a defeater for the A-theory proposition. May I ask as to what it is?
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Rational_Thinker9119
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4/23/2014 8:43:07 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 4/21/2014 3:16:38 AM, Smithereens wrote:
At 4/20/2014 3:41:54 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
At 4/20/2014 7:34:31 AM, Smithereens wrote:
At 4/18/2014 12:37:50 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
At 4/18/2014 8:09:41 AM, Smithereens wrote:
If I find good enough reason to believe B theory, then B theory it is.

Well, I do believe A-Theory is the default position. I just think we have a defeater for that...

...Lol, you just gonna leave me hanging?

Leave you hanging? I don't remember you asking me anything...

You claim we have a defeater for the A-theory proposition. May I ask as to what it is?

Well, I find the argument convincing at least:

P1: If there exists a 4d object called spacetime, then time is tenseless
P2: There exists a 4d object called spacetime
C: Therefore, time is tenseless
Sidewalker
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4/23/2014 9:00:20 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Test post
"It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive." " C. W. Leadbeater