Recommend
24 
 Thumb up
 Hide
101 Posts
1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5  Next »   | 

BoardGameGeek» Forums » Everything Else » Religion, Sex, and Politics

Subject: On the Nature of Time on my Birthday rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Marshall P.
United States
Wichita
Kansas
flag msg tools
"Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution" - Theodosius Dobzhansky
badge
There is grandeur in this view of life, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
On the Nature of Time

"What then is time? If no one asks me, I know what it is. If I wish to explain it to him who asks, I do not know." ~Saint Augustine

Last year on my birthday I wrote on the nature of meaning in our lives (mainly the lack of same). On this birthday it seemed appropriate to tackle the nature of time as I am becoming increasingly aware of its passage (and that it can’t continue passing for me forever).

Have you ever wondered: what is time? Why does it “flow”? Why is there a “now”? Why do we remember the past and not the future? Can one be “outside of time”? It’s surprisingly difficult to think about time in terms of these questions. The concept of time is so deeply embedded in our consciousness and thought processes that almost any effort to contemplate its nature is contaminated from the outset.

This year’s article is my attempt to think clearly and fundamentally about time. To answer those questions posed above. I've read the latest books from prominent physicists such as Carroll, Stenger, Greene, and Hawking (where else are you going to find the fundamental arrow of time if not in fundamental physics?) and I've spent a great deal of my own time thinking about time. This article will summarize my exploration of time. If you read through it, I hope it won't be a waste of yours.

To begin, what did I think time was before I started thinking about time?

WHAT IS TIME?

”Time is what prevents everything from happening at once.” ~John Archibald Wheeler

Physicist Sean Carroll went around asking random people to define “time” as research for his book on the ultimate theory of time: From Eternity to Here. He got answers like:

“Time is what moves us along through life.”

“Time is what separates the past from the future”

“Time is how we know when things happen”

If Mr. Carroll had asked me a few years ago what time was, I would have answered something along the lines of “time is a measure of change.”

Mine is not a bad answer because it turns out that change is a necessary condition to have time (imagine if you can a universe in which nothing changes. No clock ticks, no particles change momentum, no fields oscillate. This is a Universe in which there is no concept of time) but it doesn't really answer what time is.

For the record, Carroll’s own answer is undoubtedly the best one, albeit a bit literal and not particularly useful in answering the questions above. Carroll says that time is the coordinate for a location in the 4D universe of “ space-time”. With two such coordinates you can know the “duration” between respective events.

As I said, literally correct, but not yet enlightening. But, of course, this is where Carroll starts his exploration of time not where he ends it.

Where shall we start our exploration of time?

THE RIVER OF TIME

“Time seemeth to be of the nature of a river or stream” ~Francis Bacon

Perhaps the most intuitive way to think about time is as a river. Time, whatever it is, flows and drags us along with it. This concept of time (which underlies most science fiction time travel plots) is one of an absolute temporal framework which exists independently of us. Time marches on as it were.

The river of time is external to us. It is a thing unto itself against which we measure the duration of our lives. This is the Newtonian framework of time, and is, I believe, what we all intuitively feel.

The river is a workable approximation of time in our everyday, mundane world of “medium” energy, but (as we’ll see) it breaks down at more fundamental levels. As a concept of time it actually raises more questions than it answers. For example, if the river exists, why is there a “now”? What is special about this instant that we perceive it and not another instant?

It could be that there is nothing special, that every moment is being perceived by some instantiation of ourselves. But this is a solipsistic answer and highly unsatisfying. There is no way to falsify this prospect, even in principle. This makes it a fairly useless concept. It seems the question of “why now?” demands an answer.

So we don’t know why there is a now, nor do we know why the River “flows” anyway. And even if it flows, why does it flow one way and not the other? (why does cause proceed effect and not vice versa? Why don’t the shards leap into the form of a vase?)

Such questions are not helped by using the river of time model. So let’s leave the river, shatter the absolute framework of space and time and see if relativity can help us in our questions.

THE RELATIVITY OF TIME

”General relativity provides the choreography for an entwined cosmic dance of space, time, matter, and energy" ~Brian Greene

Most modern thinking of time begins with the theory of general relativity. It was with this theory that Einstein shattered the Newtonian framework of absolute space and time against which all motion and duration are measured. Einstein showed that time is not invariant between observers, time is local. It is the speed of light that is invariant.

The fact that the speed of light is constant in all reference frames really twists up our expectations from everyday life. The thing is, you can use light to make a clock; and if two observers moving relative to each other are sharing photons of light to track each other’s time, then something has to give. And what gives is the concept of absolute time.

It’s actually not that complicated. Wikipedia has a pretty good explanation if you want more.

Anyway, Einstein kept calculating and eventually showed that one way to understand time is to add a dimension to space to make a thing called “space-time”. So what is that?

SPACE + TIME = SPACE-TIME

”…. the distinction between past, present, and future is only an illusion, however persistent” ~Albert Einstein

Brian Greene in his book The Fabric of the Cosmos uses a loaf of bread analogy as a way to think about time in general relativity.

Imagine a loaf of bread. I’m sure the image conjured in your mind is of a three dimensional object. But let’s do what physicist often do and simplify the problem by reducing the number of dimensions. Let’s say there are only two dimensions of space represented by the width of the bread and the height of the bread. The length of the bread, then, represents “time”. Now cut up the bread into slices along the length, each slice represents an instant of time. You can imagine “now” as being the slice you presently perceive. Your slice is actually quite big; it cuts across the entire Universe! It contains everything in the Universe that you would think is happening at this instant (even though for things really far away from you, you won’t see them happening until light from those events can reach you). This imaginary loaf of bread represents “space-time”.

So far, the “bread” analogy doesn’t actually bring much more to the table than the “river” analogy. It doesn’t help us understand why any given slice is perceived as “now”, nor why “now” should move from one slice to the next in the direction of the future. But what it can do for us is to help us think about the local nature of time.

Usually bread is sliced perpendicular to its long axis, but sometimes (especially with French bread) it’s sliced at an angle. And this angle turns out to be a good way to think about the localness of time. A motionless observer has a normal slice of time, but if an observer is in a moving reference frame then his “slice” of time is angled. He perceives different events as happening “now” relative to the motionless observer. Each observer, each reference frame, has its own slice of time at an angle determined by local conditions. That’s what it means for time to be local – each reference frame has its own clock.

Another weird thing about space-time in general relativity is that the whole loaf seems to exist all at once. With the loaf being sliced up at all angles it’s inevitable that an observer on the other side of the universe will have a slice of time that cuts into your future. This implies that your future is out there, being observed, just waiting for you to get to it. Of course this has strong implications for the concept of free-will. But I’m not going to explore those implications any further here.

There’s a lot more that could be said about general relativity and space-time, but I’m going to leave it here because I don’t think more discussion on GR actually gets us closer to the goal of understanding time at a fundamental level. GR is a macroscopic theory fundamentally incompatible with our theories quantum mechanics. It’s an excellent description, but it’s not an ultimate explanation. For that, we have to search in the world of particles.

Just remember, the take away from this section is that time is local. We’ll be coming back to that concept.

TIME AND THE LAWS OF PHYSICS

”For centuries, man believed that the sun revolves around the earth. Centuries later, he still thinks that time moves clockwise.” ~Robert Brault,

Consider a glass of ice water sitting on a bar with an analog clock hanging on the wall in the background. We can all run this scene forward through time in our minds: the hands of the clock will rotate “clockwise”, the ice will melt until the glass contains entirely water, and the water will warm up to the ambient temperature of the room.
But reset the scene and ask people to run it backwards in time in their minds. Most people will say that the clock will run “counter clockwise” and the water will freeze into complete ice cubes. But this isn’t what would happen according to our knowledge of the laws of physics. What would happen is that the ice would melt backwards in time just as it would forwards in time. The jiggling of the particles in the glass governed by the laws of chemistry and ultimately by the Standard Model of physics, will inevitably result in the ice melting no matter which direction of time is plugged into the equations.

There is nothing inherent in the fundamental laws of physics that defines a unique “arrow of time.” Time appears to be a totally reversible concept. You cannot observe the glass and the clock and figure out which way time is moving. Be that as it may, it is no less true that we experience a definite direction to time. We remember the past and not the future. How then, do we account for this arrow of time?

Enter entropy….

FROM ORDER TO DISORDER

“There is no concept in the whole field of physics which is more difficult to understand than is the concept of entropy, nor is there one which is more fundamental.” ~Francis Sears

From the timeless principles of physics there emerges, on a macroscopic level, a thermodynamic statistical direction to time, a direction defined by increasing entropy.

But what is entropy? It is often colloquially (and confusingly) defined as an increase in the “disorder” in a system. Try to set this definition aside for now, because it will not help in understanding the arrow of time.

A more precise way to define entropy is that the entropy of a macroscopic system is proportional to the log of the number of possible microstates which result in the identical macrostate. In other words, how many ways can you imperceptibly rearrange the micro constituents of a system without changing the overall macroscopic appearance of the system? If there are a lot of ways to do the rearrangement, then the system has high entropy. If there are only a few, then the system has low entropy.

Take, for example, the pages of a book. There is only one way – one microstate – in which the pages of the book can be arranged which results in a comprehensible macrostate. Obviously that microstate is when the pages are arranged in numerical order. Then the book makes sense as a whole. There are a large number of microstates however, that will result in a macrostate of gibberish. If we toss the pages in the air and arrange them in the order we pick them up, it will most likely result in a confused meaningless book (some pages may be upside down, lost, or anything). And there are a thousand, million, billions of ways to result in a confused meaningless book. It doesn’t much matter which specific random arrangement of pages we get; the macroscopic result is the same.

A book with a random arrangement of pages has high entropy. A book with the single correct ordering of pages has low entropy. The second law of Thermodynamics states that the entropy of a closed system can only stay constant or increase, it cannot decrease. Therefore, if the book is to change entropy it will be in the direction of ordered pages to disordered pages (hence the colloquialism that entropy is an increase in disorder).

If the microscopic constituents of a system are free to rearrange themselves in any random order than the system will quickly revert to its state of highest entropy simply because of the overwhelming probability of selecting one of the high entropy states relative to the low entropy states. In fact, most low entropy states would not be expected to be randomly selected in many times the age of the Universe. How then do we get the low entropy states that we observe around us? And how then are these states preserved for more than an instant?

The second law of thermodynamics does not prevent a system decreasing in entropy, it merely requires that such a system have useful energy, or work, applied to it (thus it is an “open” system) in order to achieve the decrease. So we are free to build low entropy systems like books, computers, cars, and nature is free to evolve low entropy organisms like worms, cockroaches, and people. And these low entropy structures can remain for some time in that state because the laws of physics do not allow for spontaneous selection of any possible microstate. New microstates in a closed system can only be reached through small perturbations in the constituents of the system and these perturbations can take some time to accumulate enough to change the macrostate in a direction of increasing disorder.

In other words, we can spend some energy to print a book with the pages in the correct order, and we can bind the book to prevent small perturbations from rearranging those pages, and in this way a state of low entropy can be maintained for quite some time. And, in unguided nature, low entropy energy streaming into a system can be used to maintain complex low entropy structures (such as living organisms) and even to decrease the entropy of those structures. But, cut off the energy, or remove the barriers to cumulative perturbations, and ALL systems will inexorably increase in entropy.

But we have strayed from the point at hand. Is entropy really the source of the arrow of time?

THE ARROW OF TIME

”Ultimately, the reason why we can form a reliable memory of the past is because the entropy was lower then.” ~Sean Carroll

The statistical laws of thermodynamics, including the ubiquitous second law, really are the only laws providing us with our macroscopic sense of the “arrow of time.” On this, all relevant physicists seem to agree. There is no dispute.

Time “flows” because entropy defines one-way processes which never happen in reverse (uncooking an egg, unbreaking a vase, etc…) even though the underlying mechanics of those processes are completely reversible. Statistically, they are simply overwhelmingly more probable to occur in one direction than in another. This is such an accepted idea that most physicists I read simply state it as a brute fact.

In his book From Eternity to Here Sean Carroll attempts to answer the obvious follow up question: if the arrow of time really is defined by the direction of increasing entropy , how, then did entropy get to be lower than its maximum?

According to Carroll, the answer is that we have a low entropy boundary condition in our past at the time of the Big Bang. The universe began with low entropy and has been unwinding ever since (driving an arrow of time along the way). As Carroll puts it we have “time” because of our proximity to the Big Bang much like we have “up” because of our proximity to Earth. In each case the Big Bang and the Earth represent local “boundary conditions” which temporarily break the global symmetries of time and direction. If there were no Earth and its gravity (or if we were far from it) there would be no “up or down”. If there were no Big Bang (or if we were far from it) there would be no time. And indeed, that seems to be where we are heading; to a timeless formless void. It’s the “cold death” hypothesis for the end of the Universe. And we’ll get to this “end of time” by moving (through time) far enough away from the Big Bang such that the low entropy boundary condition is no longer relevant. All will be a rarefied formless gas of stray particles upon which no direction of time is imposed.

Carroll devotes his entire book to this search for the arrow of time, and he finds it in entropy with a boundary condition at the beginning of the Universe (he goes on to explore how the boundary condition itself arose, but that is beyond the scope of this article). He calls this “fundamental”. At the time I read the book I disagreed with him. I called it “emergent”. It seemed to me that an arrow of time defined by the second law of thermodynamics “emerged” from the more fundamental laws applied statistically to large systems of particles. I couldn’t see how that was “fundamental”. It seemed to me there had to be a truly fundamental arrow of time driving all those particles to go through their perturbations which eventually cascade up to macroscopic changes in the system.

I acknowledged that the entropy gradient of the Universe was driving a macroscopic arrow of time, but that didn’t seem like the arrow we were looking for. I kept reading…

ATOMS AND THE VOID

”Every particle in Nature has an amplitude to move backward in time" ~Richard Feynman

Enter physicist Victor Stenger and his book Timeless Reality : Symmetry, Simplicity, and Multiple Universes . Stenger isn’t explicitly looking for the arrow of time the same way that Carroll is, but he is indeed “modeling” the fundamental nature of time in order to advance his interpretation of quantum mechanics.

There are well known paradoxes in every popular interpretation of quantum mechanics. One well known one is the EPR paradox whereby two particles are created together, separated, then one is measured thus instantaneously determining the state of the second particle. Most interpretations of QM struggle to make sense of this paradox without invoking some form of superluminality or a non-local wavefunction.

Stenger tries to interpret the paradox with a model he calls “atoms and the void” (as in nothing exists besides discrete particles moving about in a total void of nothingness). Part of this model involves strict time reversibility. In other words, Stenger maintains that if we accept that particles can move backwards in time as well as forwards then the paradox disappears. No superluminality or non-locality is required. And he argues that this time reversibility assumption is strongly suggested by nature, which (as we’ve seen) imposes no direction of time at a fundamental level.

Stenger argues that we should take nature quite literally; there is no “arrow of time”. Particles can flit back and forth through time much like they bounce around in space and in so doing communicate information from the “future” which resolves QM paradoxes without those particles travelling faster than light or being “entangled” in some weird, non-local, wavefunction.

Whether Stenger is right or not in his interpretation of QM I make no judgment here. I bring him up only because of his strong emphasis on the timelessness of particle physics, and his emphasis on symmetries of nature. It’s very hard to quit looking for an arrow of time fundamental to the laws of physics. Stenger was the one who helped get me over the hump in that regard. But before I got there I spent some time confused about anti-matter.

ANTI-MATTER AND TIME

“For every one billion particles of antimatter there were one billion and one particles of matter. And when the mutual annihilation was complete, one billionth remained - and that's our present universe.” ~Albert Einstein

Nature maintains certain symmetries at a fundamental level. One of these symmetries is called CPT (charge, parity, time) symmetry. If you take a particle and invert its charge (matter to antimatter and vice versa), invert its parity (mirror image), and invert its momentum (time reversal) then the new particle is indistinguishable from the original one.

If you take a normal electron and reverse its direction of time, then it would appear to be a positron (anti-electron). If you also reversed its charge and parity, you would get the electron back. Thus, one way to interpret anti-matter has been that it is regular matter moving backwards in time.

For awhile this threw me, and I thought we had found the fundamental “arrow of time” (I wondered why no physicist was trumpeting this great discovery). We can define the arrow of time by whether we have matter or anti-matter. Whatever process resulted in a Universe of predominately matter (even if it was just a random quantum fluctuation frozen in place) also determined the “arrow of time”. We are moving forward in time because we are made of matter, not anti-matter.

I thought I had it figured out. There is an inexorable direction to time, fundamentally due to the fact that we are made of matter and that matter is moving through time in a certain direction (as opposed to anti-matter). As this matter moves about as part of a closed system, it naturally does a random walk through different microstates. This drift through microstates will inevitably result in the law of entropy and explain how time “emerges” from fundamental physics to the everyday mundane world.

I was wrong.

ON THE NATURE OF TIME

”Time is making fools of us again.” ~J.K. Rowling

The first clue I got was when I tried to think about what a galaxy made of anti-matter would look like. While there are no galaxies known to be made of antimatter such a thing is technically possible and can’t completely be ruled out (even if it is unlikely). According to my model, the galaxy should be moving backwards in time with super novas “unexploding” and stars sucking in light until they swelled up and dissipated into rarefied gas. But, of course, I realized it wouldn’t be like that. It would be evolving indistinguishably from a matter galaxy. And it would so evolve because its entropy would be increasing.

I realized that this matter / anti-matter dichotomy wasn’t fundamental at all. It really is entropy driving the fundamental arrow of time. Even if we defined anti-matter to be moving backwards in time, it wouldn’t affect the “arrow of time”. Anti-matter systems would still evolve in the forward direction of time as defined by entropy. Entropy wins.
With particles then, it’s best not to think about the arrow of time. Victor Stenger maintains that the mistake most people make (even physicists) is to impose our macroscopic arrow of time on the microscopic world. It doesn’t work. When it comes to particles, it’s just a matter of how you measure it.

I was getting closer but I still wasn’t quite there.

THE LOCAL BRAIN MODEL OF TIME

”Men talk of killing time, while time quietly kills them.” ~Dion Boucicault

The next thing I thought was that if time really is driven by the increasing entropy of the Universe what about pockets of decreasing entropy? Would we perceive these as moving backwards in time? Perhaps the most familiar pocket of decreasing entropy is your freezer. Is sticking water in your freezer and turning it into ice really moving it backwards in time? Of course not.

It’s not really clear in our everyday macroscopic lives that we are immersed in a Universe of increasing entropy. Much of what we perceive and experience, it can be argued, is actually local decreases of entropy. Yet we perceive it all to be moving forwards in time? What gives?

And this is where I have formulated an idea (simplistic and obvious perhaps) that I have not seen put forward elsewhere. Taking the concept from General Relativity that all time is local and combining that with the fact that time is driven by entropy, yet we perceive all changes as moving forward in time despite their actual change in entropy, I conclude that our entropically driven time is local to us.

What I mean is, that the increase in entropy that is driving our perception of time isn’t in the system we are observing it’s in us.

It is the increase of entropy inherent in the function of our brains (as we convert low entropy energy from our food into heat, chemistry, and electricity) that defines our arrow of time. Any change that we perceive in a system external to us will be perceived as moving forward in time regardless of its own change in entropy or the nature of its particles. Because our brains are irreversibly increasing the entropy of their environment as we think and perceive.

That we are a machine for increasing the entropy of the Universe comes with a consequence of an arrow of time. There is no great river of time external to us; imposing the direction of time on us by dragging us along in its current. There is only our organic brains, marking their own time as they feed off the low entropy from the nearby Big Bang.

That all of our brains are in the same environment and constructed very similarly explains why we all share the same arrow of time. And it explains why we get confused and think that the arrow of time is some thing external to us, inherent in the fabric of nature. It isn’t. Except to the extent that a low entropy condition after the big bang is inherent in nature, but the reason for that condition is beyond the scope of this discussion.

All of this is not to say that consciousness is necessary for time. Far from it. I only mean that any process in the universe which increases the entropy of the universe at the expense of low entropy local conditions will have an arrow of time. The sun as it fuses hydrogen, the Earth as it radiates infrared photons, a tree as it metabolizes and grows, you as you live and think. All of these processes share an arrow of time in the direction of increasing entropy. All of them can exist because they find themselves in the peculiar position of being in a universe that is not yet at its maximum entropy state.

A state for which, once reached, time will cease.

This “local brain” model of time has implications for some of the questions asked at the beginning of this article.

TIME FAQ

Heathen: "Why did God create the cosmos at that arbitrary time?"

Augustine: "But at that same moment He also created time."


~ Augustine of Hippo

What is time? Time is the local change in macrostates driven by entropy.

Why does time flow? The flow of time is a consequence of the function of our brains which operates to locally increase the entropy of our low entropy environment.

Why do we remember the past and not the future? The past is the direction of time with lower entropy. We remember it and not the future because it is incredibly statistically unlikely for our brains to assemble and function from a high entropy condition.

Why is there a now? This question really only makes sense in the River of Time model where you have an external flow between the definite past and the defined future and we must wonder why we are precisely “now” on that flow. In the “local brain” model of time, there is only the current state of the system. At a fundamental level it is only particles flitting about with no regard to the direction of time. Taking any one instant as special and calling it “now” is pointless.

Can one be outside of time? No. Any change to a system external to you will be perceived by you as moving forward in time. Even something which doesn’t change will be perceived to be moving forward in time. Remember, it’s not other things which are moving forward through time it’s you. Everything which you can perceive will be perceived to be moving forward through time as a consequence of the fundamental functioning of your brain.

And that’s it. That’s what I think time is. It’s entropy local to your brain. All physics authors agree that the arrow of time is a consequence of entropy. But from there they each go their separate ways in pursuit of whatever question they fancy. Stenger goes after QM interpretations, Carroll goes after the low entropy boundary condition at the beginning of the Universe, and others don’t pursue time any farther at all.

So let's wrap this up and bring it back to my birthday!

MORTALITY

“Time? What time do you think we have?” ~Saruman the White

The entropy of the universe is probably dominated by the super massive black holes in the center of galaxies (it turns out that the volume inside the event horizon of a black hole is a volume of maximum possible entropy). Given this assumption, it’s possible to estimate the total current entropy of the universe as: 10^102. The maximum possible entropy of the universe is estimated as 10^123. So, in one sense, there’s plenty of time left.

Not so much time left for me though. But that's not a consequence of the entropy of the universe. As far as the universe cares I could go on forever so long as I was being fed low entropy energy. No, the reason my duration is short has to do with the peculiarities of evolutionary biology. I am evolved to die. Why is not so hard to understand. Environments change, immortal organisms don't. Sooner or later an immortal organism would find itself so unfit for its environment that it would be out-competed by mortal organisms who are able to keep their fitness level high relative to the environment. Immortal genes won't get passed on.

Anyway, that is yet another diversion away from the main point about time. And the only point left to make about time is that you, the reader, have probably spent too much of it reading this. I spent entirely too much writing it (I apologize if it was disjointed, I worked on it over multiple sessions for a long time). I hope it was worth your time.

Next year on my birthday I intend to write an article offering positive proof of the non-existence of God. I’m recording my intention here so I don’t back out on it. Mark your calenders!








30 
 Thumb up
5.55
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dave G
United States
Illinois
flag msg tools
badge
El Chupacabratwurst
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Uh...happy birthday?
12 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
United States
Boise
Idaho
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmb
Whoa. I do not have the time to read that post. But hey, happy b'day anyway.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Welcome Rolling Stones
Latvia
Bullshit
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb

tl;dr

Happy Birthday. How old are you? 6000?
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Destiny's got her hand way, way up in their puppets! It's an unpleasant tingling! The deepest of wriggles!
United States
Wichita
Kansas
flag msg tools
But my greatest power is this: When Destiny speaks, she speaks to me. She says hi, by the way.
badge
Oh! And I've been killing the bees!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
So thoughtful, and yet you continue to use the fucking worthless serial comma. My private war against that devil rages on unabated.

And, what the Hell, happy birthday.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Junior McSpiffy
United States
Riverton
Utah
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Time is what keeps everything from happening at once.

So, does this side of the sun look familiar to you? You've been here often enough....
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dave G
United States
Illinois
flag msg tools
badge
El Chupacabratwurst
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
mistermarino wrote:
So thoughtful, and yet you continue to use the fucking worthless serial comma. My private war against that devil rages on unabated.

And, what the Hell, happy birthday.


You can go to hell, bite me, and eat a bag of dicks. You can pry my Oxford comma from my cold dead hands.
12 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bojan Ramadanovic
Canada
Vancouver
BC
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Happy birthday Marshal and thanks for this.
Local-brain model of time is what I was converging on myself too - but you presented it here more cogently then it was in my head yet
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Necessary Evil
United States
Glen Arm
Maryland
flag msg tools
Yes, I play the Bass.
badge
Sweet Holy Moses, Fruit F*cker Prime!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Happy Birthday and thanks for that .

-M
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
The Steak Fairy
United States
Columbia
South Carolina
flag msg tools
Games? People still play games??
badge
Specious arguments are not proof of trollish intent.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
TL;DR. Happy birthday. If I finish your post in time for your next one I'll be surprised.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
J
United States
Hawaii
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
bjlillo wrote:
Sorry we're all too stupid to actually talk to you Marshall.

I might be too stupid but I'd have to read it to know for sure.

Happy birthday, Marshall!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
The Steak Fairy
United States
Columbia
South Carolina
flag msg tools
Games? People still play games??
badge
Specious arguments are not proof of trollish intent.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
djgutierrez77 wrote:
mistermarino wrote:
So thoughtful, and yet you continue to use the fucking worthless serial comma. My private war against that devil rages on unabated.

And, what the Hell, happy birthday.


You can go to hell, bite me, and eat a bag of dicks. You can pry my Oxford comma from my cold dead hands.


Thank goodness that Marshall's birthday provided at least one benefit to somebody else. The bag of dicks thing is a tad homophobic and disturbingly cannibalistic in the absence of any reference to species, but the overall sentiment is SPOT FUCKING ON, as emphatic imitators of the British might type.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
J
United States
Hawaii
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
bramadan wrote:

Local-brain model of time is what I was converging on myself too

Me too. Eerie.
5 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Moshe Callen
Israel
Jerusalem
flag msg tools
designer
ἄνδρα μοι ἔννεπε, μοῦσα, πολύτροπον, ὃς μάλα πολλὰ/ πλάγχθη, ἐπεὶ Τροίης ἱερὸν πτολίεθρον ἔπερσεν./...
badge
μῆνιν ἄειδε θεὰ Πηληϊάδεω Ἀχιλῆος/ οὐλομένην, ἣ μυρί᾽ Ἀχαιοῖς ἄλγε᾽ ἔθηκε,/...
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Marshall;

My only comment is to quote someone whose name I've not bothered to google "Do not confuse the map with the territory." What is time is a question which like what is mass, etc, ultimately becomes merely philosophical and no longer meaningfully physical.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Belgium
flag msg tools
Meaningless means there's a strong limit to how much I can mess up!
badge
This overtext is not in use.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I think you have a fundamental problem in what you are saying.

Some concept of time is a prerequisite in defining the direction of entropy. Entropy tends to increase through time. If we don't already have a concept of time, it's meaningless to talk about entropy increasing. So we certainly can't use increasing entropy as a basis for our conception of time. I'm really not sure that you conception of time isn't circular.

More vaguely, I'm not sure about what you are saying about the brain. While certainly brains increase the amount of entropy in the universe, it's not clear to me that brains themselves are always moving from a state of lower to higher entropy. I know very little about the formation of the brain, but I'm willing to bet that there are times in the development of human brains where they are acting like a fridge and decreasing their own entropy at the cost of increasing the entropy of their surroundings. During these times, if your idea holds true, we would experience time differently.

Of course this might be in the womb, and who knows, maybe we all did experience time differently then? I don't really think so.

That said, happy birthday.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
いい竹やぶだ!

South Euclid
Ohio
msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmb
Time is an illusion; lunchtime, doubly so. Happy birthday!

2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Interdum feror cupidine partium magnarum europae vincendarum
United States
Bama by way of San Diego
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Dolphinandrew wrote:
I think you have a fundamental problem in what you are saying.

Some concept of time is a prerequisite in defining the direction of entropy. Entropy tends to increase through time. If we don't already have a concept of time, it's meaningless to talk about entropy increasing. So we certainly can't use increasing entropy as a basis for our conception of time. I'm really not sure that you conception of time isn't circular.

More vaguely, I'm not sure about what you are saying about the brain. While certainly brains increase the amount of entropy in the universe, it's not clear to me that brains themselves are always moving from a state of lower to higher entropy. I know very little about the formation of the brain, but I'm willing to bet that there are times in the development of human brains where they are acting like a fridge and decreasing their own entropy at the cost of increasing the entropy of their surroundings. During these times, if your idea holds true, we would experience time differently.

Of course this might be in the womb, and who knows, maybe we all did experience time differently then? I don't really think so.

That said, happy birthday.


Close.

Time is just a by-product of entropy.

Oh, and Happy Squirting Out day.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Marshall P.
United States
Wichita
Kansas
flag msg tools
"Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution" - Theodosius Dobzhansky
badge
There is grandeur in this view of life, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
49xjohn wrote:

tl;dr

Happy Birthday. How old are you? 6000?


No silly, that's how old the Earth is.... um, plus or minus 4.5 billion years.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Marshall P.
United States
Wichita
Kansas
flag msg tools
"Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution" - Theodosius Dobzhansky
badge
There is grandeur in this view of life, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
bramadan wrote:
Happy birthday Marshal and thanks for this.
Local-brain model of time is what I was converging on myself too - but you presented it here more cogently then it was in my head yet


I'm truly gratified to hear that, thanks laugh

Now I just have to watch out for DDJ ninja
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Marshall P.
United States
Wichita
Kansas
flag msg tools
"Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution" - Theodosius Dobzhansky
badge
There is grandeur in this view of life, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
GameCrossing wrote:
Time is what keeps everything from happening at once.

So, does this side of the sun look familiar to you? You've been here often enough....


I try not to look straight at the sun goo

But the Sun itself rotates once about every 25 days. So I've probably seen the same side of it about 200 times (were I looking).
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Belgium
flag msg tools
Meaningless means there's a strong limit to how much I can mess up!
badge
This overtext is not in use.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
bobby_5150 wrote:
Time is just a by-product of entropy.


You can compare the entropy in 2 systems in an absolute sense, but you can't say that entropy is increasing in a given system without time. And it's that increase that seemed to be required for the concept of time.

Change doesn't exist without time, just as time requires some sort of change to be meaningful.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Marshall P.
United States
Wichita
Kansas
flag msg tools
"Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution" - Theodosius Dobzhansky
badge
There is grandeur in this view of life, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
jarredscott78 wrote:

I might be too stupid but I'd have to read it to know for sure.



We're both beefcakes. We can talk about blasting our pecs and our glutes. We'll always have our glutes.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Interdum feror cupidine partium magnarum europae vincendarum
United States
Bama by way of San Diego
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
mdp4828 wrote:
49xjohn wrote:

tl;dr

Happy Birthday. How old are you? 6000?


No silly, that's how old the Earth is.... um, plus or minus 4.5 billion years.


I hope it's not the minus!!!
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
William Boykin
United States
Texas
flag msg tools
badge
For BJ.....
Avatar
mb
Happy Birthday Marshall!!!

Go play a GOOD game today!!

Darilian
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Marshall P.
United States
Wichita
Kansas
flag msg tools
"Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution" - Theodosius Dobzhansky
badge
There is grandeur in this view of life, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Dolphinandrew wrote:
I think you have a fundamental problem in what you are saying.


Quite possibly.

Quote:
Some concept of time is a prerequisite in defining the direction of entropy. Entropy tends to increase through time. If we don't already have a concept of time, it's meaningless to talk about entropy increasing. So we certainly can't use increasing entropy as a basis for our conception of time. I'm really not sure that you conception of time isn't circular.


But this is the issue isn't it? If our concept of time doesn't come from entropy where does it come from? As we drill down into physics, there is certainly a concept of time because there is change (and there is change because there is more than one thing in the universe that can exist in different states relative to the other things). But a unified arrow of time doesn't emerge. That (which is the time we experience) comes from entropy I think.

Quote:
More vaguely, I'm not sure about what you are saying about the brain. While certainly brains increase the amount of entropy in the universe, it's not clear to me that brains themselves are always moving from a state of lower to higher entropy. I know very little about the formation of the brain, but I'm willing to bet that there are times in the development of human brains where they are acting like a fridge and decreasing their own entropy at the cost of increasing the entropy of their surroundings. During these times, if your idea holds true, we would experience time differently.


I agree, our brains aren't always moving from a state of lower entropy to higher entropy. Sometimes just the opposite. But our brains are moving the universe to a state of higher entropy. They can do this because the universe is not in its state of maximum entropy. And when they do this we experience time.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5  Next »   | 
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.