What "arrow of time" do you agree with most?

Posted by: PetersSmith

The problem of the direction of time arises directly from two contradictory facts. Firstly, the fundamental physical laws are time-reversal invariant; if a cinematographic film were taken of any process describable by means of the aforementioned laws and then played backwards, it would still portray a physically possible process. Secondly, our experience of time, at the macroscopic level, is not time-reversal invariant. Glasses can fall and break, however shards of glass cannot reassemble and fly up onto ta

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4 Total Votes
1

The quantum arrow of time

According to the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics, quantum evolution is governed by the Schrödinger equation, which is time-symmetric, and by wave function collapse, which is time irreversible. As the mechanism of wave function collaps... e is philosophically obscure, it is not completely clear how this arrow links to the others. Despite the post-measurement state being entirely stochastic in formulations of quantum mechanics, a link to the thermodynamic arrow has been proposed, noting that the second law of thermodynamics amounts to an observation that nature shows a bias for collapsing wave functions into higher entropy states versus lower ones, and the claim that this is merely due to more possible states being high entropy runs afoul of Loschmidt's paradox. According to one physical view of wave function collapse, the theory of quantum decoherence, the quantum arrow of time is a consequence of the thermodynamic arrow of time   more
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2

The cosmological arrow of time

The cosmological arrow of time points in the direction of the universe's expansion. It may be linked to the thermodynamic arrow, with the universe heading towards a heat death (Big Chill) as the amount of usable energy becomes negligible. Alternativ... ely, it may be an artifact of our place in the universe's evolution (see the Anthropic bias), with this arrow reversing as gravity pulls everything back into a Big Crunch. If this arrow of time is related to the other arrows of time, then the future is by definition the direction towards which the universe becomes bigger. Thus, the universe expands - rather than shrinks - by definition. The thermodynamic arrow of time and the Second law of thermodynamics are thought to be a consequence of the initial conditions in the early universe Therefore they ultimately result from the cosmological set-up   more
1 vote
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3

The radiative arrow of time

Waves, from radio waves to sound waves to those on a pond from throwing a stone, expand outward from their source, even though the wave equations allow for solutions of convergent waves as well as radiative ones. This arrow has been reversed in care... fully worked experiments which have created convergent waves,[8] so this arrow probably follows from the thermodynamic arrow in that meeting the conditions to produce a convergent wave requires more order than the conditions for a radiative wave. Put differently, the probability for initial conditions that produce a convergent wave is much lower than the probability for initial conditions that produce a radiative wave. In fact, normally a radiative wave increases entropy, while a convergent wave decreases it[citation needed], making the latter contradictory to the Second Law of Thermodynamics in usual circumstances   more
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4

The causal arrow of time

A cause precedes its effect: the causal event occurs before the event it affects. Birth, for example, follows a successful conception and not vice versa. Thus causality is intimately bound up with time's arrow. An epistemological problem with using...  causality as an arrow of time is that, as David Hume maintained, the causal relation per se cannot be perceived; one only perceives sequences of events. Furthermore, it is surprisingly difficult to provide a clear explanation of what the terms cause and effect really mean, or to define the events to which they refer. However, it does seem evident that dropping a cup of water is a cause while the cup subsequently shattering and spilling the water is the effect. Physically speaking, the perception of cause and effect in the dropped cup example is a phenomenon of the thermodynamic arrow of time, a consequence of the Second law of thermodynamics. Controlling the future, or causing something to happen, creates correlations between the doer and the effect, and these can only be created as we move forwards in time, not backwards   more
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5

The thermodynamic arrow of time

The arrow of time is the "one-way direction" or "asymmetry" of time. The thermodynamic arrow of time is provided by the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which says that in an isolated system, entropy tends to increase with time. Entropy can be thought ... of as a measure of microscopic disorder; thus the Second Law implies that time is asymmetrical with respect to the amount of order in an isolated system: as a system advances through time, it will statistically become more disordered. This asymmetry can be used empirically to distinguish between future and past though measuring entropy does not accurately measure time. Also in an open system entropy can decrease with time. British physicist Sir Alfred Brian Pippard wrote, "There is thus no justification for the view, often glibly repeated, that the Second Law of Thermodynamics is only statistically true, in the sense that microscopic violations repeatedly occur, but never violations of any serious magnitude. On the contrary, no evidence has ever been presented that the Second Law breaks down under any circumstances." However, there are a number of paradoxes regarding violation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics, one of them due to the Poincaré recurrence theorem. This arrow of time seems to be related to all other arrows of time and arguably underlies some of them, with the exception of the weak arrow of time. Harold Blum's 1951 book Time's Arrow and Evolution "explored the relationship between time's arrow (the second law of thermodynamics) and organic evolution." This influential text explores "irreversibility and direction in evolution and order, negentropy, and evolution." Blum argues that evolution followed specific patterns predetermined by the inorganic nature of the earth and its thermodynamic processes   more
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6

The particle physics (weak) arrow of time

Certain subatomic interactions involving the weak nuclear force violate the conservation of both parity and charge conjugation, but only very rarely. An example is the kaon decay. According to the CPT Theorem, this means they should also be time irr... eversible, and so establish an arrow of time. Such processes should be responsible for matter creation in the early universe. That the combination of parity and charge conjugation is broken so rarely means that this arrow only "barely" points in one direction, setting it apart from the other arrows whose direction is much more obvious. This arrow is not linked to any other arrow by any proposed mechanism   more
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7

The quantum source of time

Physicists say that quantum uncertainty gives rise to entanglement, the putative source of the arrow of time. The idea that entanglement might explain the arrow of time was by Seth Lloyd in 1960s, when he was a 23-year-old philosophy student at Camb... ridge University with a Harvard physics degree. Lloyd realized that quantum uncertainty, and the way it spreads as particles become increasingly entangled, could replace human uncertainty in the old classical proofs as the true source of the arrow of time. According to Lloyd; “The arrow of time is an arrow of increasing correlations.   more
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8

The psychological/perceptual arrow of time

A related mental arrow arises because one has the sense that one's perception is a continuous movement from the known (past) to the unknown (future). Anticipating the unknown forms the psychological future which always seems to be something one is m... oving towards, but, like a projection in a mirror, it makes what is actually already a part of memory, such as desires, dreams, and hopes, seem ahead of the observer. The association of "behind ⇔ past" and "ahead ⇔ future" is itself culturally determined. For example, the Aymara language associates "ahead ⇔ past" and "behind ⇔ future". Similarly, the Chinese term for "the day after tomorrow" literally means "behind day", whereas "the day before yesterday" is referred to as "front day." The words yesterday and tomorrow both translate to the same word in Hindi: ("kal"), meaning "the day remote from today." The other side of the psychological passage of time is in the realm of volition and action. We plan and often execute actions intended to affect the course of events in the future. Hardly anyone tries to change past events   more
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