Tuesday, May 6, 2014

My FQXi essay is posted

FQXi is running its annual essay context on "
How Should Humanity Steer the Future?
". I have submitted an essay, and it is posted online for FQXi community and public voting. The links to this and previous essays are here.

I had a hard time taking this essay seriously. These contests attract a lot of crackpot essays pushing ideas that have little to do with the official topic. Judging from my past scores, I have been downrated by people who think that I am wrong about something. But they do not say in the online discussions what is wrong. If I had submitted to a peer-reviewed journal, then the referee would have to say what is wrong or trivial or otherwise deficient in the paper.

You can read, comment, and rate my essay on the FQXi site. If you follow this blog, then you will recognize my opinions about time. For the most part, I mock the views of mainstream scientists. I quote them in detail so that it is clear that I am not just attacking a straw man.


  1. I read your paper. I thought it was interesting. However, I do not think it is society that is backwards in its thinking about time or free will. Treating time in a static or non moving fashion as space time does, or using 'block time', does not make one clever and sophisticated, it merely makes one oblivious to observation and wrong.

    If a representation of an actuality is created, such as a portrait of a person for example, the representation may in some way initially resemble the subject, but it by no means is the subject, and does not partake of the underlying properties of the subject. This is why we can look at paintings and photographs of people who have long since died and turned to dust. The continuity of the representations of the people are not linked to the actuality or functioning of the people they were modeled after, the two are NOT and never were equivalent. In the same manner, mathematical constructs such as space time which claim to 'represent' actual time in a diagrammatic form where the past and present are considered in one diagram are not actual time, and do not function as the subject they depict. Time is not a VCR tape, it can not be fast forwarded, rewound, or paused like a VCR tape. If the scientist or physicist forgets this, and creates a model that can treat actual time as the equivalent phenomenon or process as the illusion of something moving in time lapse photography, then there is a serious theoretical problem with both the assumption, and the results generated of those assumptions thereof.

  2. Please allow me to demonstrate with a simple thought experiment (a la Einstein) to make my point. If said space-time espousing mathematician or physicist were to approach my front door and inform me time is an illusion and my free will is a delusion thusly allowing himself and other like minded technocrats to seize my person and my property in order to better manage 'humanity' etc.., I shall interpose a steel toed boot traveling at an undisclosed (definitely non-zero) velocity into the subjects coccyx, whereupon I predict (given adequate velocity of the boot) the subject will be imparted with enough kinetic energy to rapidly travel (airborne) a short arc trajectory down the steps on my front porch whereupon the subject's face will hopefully absorb any remaining velocity using an ablative technique to prevent them from sliding into the street (and oncoming traffic).

    If the mathematician's theory was correct about time being an illusion, and my having no free will, then said subject would have been incapable of colliding with my steel toed boot, or the concrete sidewalk at the bottom of the steps, and I would have been innocent of any wrong doing, since I lacked any free will to be accountable for my actions. If time is an illusion, things don't actually move (well, without a period of time they sure don't), and said subject doesn't believe in evil anyway, so my making moral decisions about denying myself the satisfaction of kicking said subject down the stairs is moot.

    If my theory is correct, said subject will be enlightened by the the experience of having one's ass kicked off my front porch, thus confirming sudden movement is indeed possible, and more so painful, as is the ablative impact with the concrete sidewalk, thus nullifying the concept that time is an illusion. My decision to school said subject would be a (gleeful and counterfactual) exercise in free will. The only murky part of my thought experiment is whether I should feel bad about my choice to give a physics demonstration to said subject. I am still undecided on this final point of morality, and if the said scientist were to get up off his face plant on the sidewalk and came back up the stairs, I would be glad to repeat this thought experiment as many times as deemed necessary until I felt I had enough additional data to resolve my uncertainty.

    In all seriousness, my small thought experiment above has more intellectual rigor than most of the entries in the contest. I truly pity the future in the hands of such giants of intellectual ineptitude.

  3. New book out in 2014.

    "Einstein's Opponents: The Public Controversy about the Theory of Relativity in the 1920s"

  4. CFT, your arguments convince me, but I doubt that they would convince the block time philosophers.