But entropy increase is simply an empirical observation. It’s not found anywhere in the equations. And that is the problem. Nobody denies that entropy increases, that time exists (well, actually some do), or that causes precede effects. The problem is that none of this is found in the equations of either quantum mechanics or general relativity. And those are the only fundamental theories about reality we have. ...He is responding to my comments that physics has a direction of time, and that causality is fundamental to physics.
Second, the problem with the Big Bang, has Smolin very clearly explains in his book (see: http://tinyurl.com/ohaum9e) does, in fact, present a problem for people who accept at face value the implications of general relativity and the so called block-universe: if one denies the fundamentally of time, then one has to conclude that the biggest discovery of modern cosmology, that the universe had a beginning, is in a deep sense an illusion. I’m not taking sides here, simply pointing out that there is a fundamental problem that keeps physicists up at night.
He admits that he is not a physics expert, but where does he get this stuff?
Entropy increase is not just an empirical observation. It is fundamental to modern physics. So is time and causality. They are baked into the equations as well as the theories. I don't see how you can study physics at all, and miss these points. Where do I start explaining it to him?
Update: Pigliucci responds:
“You have a funny idea of science.”Comments on his site are strictly moderated, so he deletes any comment that offends him. Of course he is free to insult commenters like me.
Ah, yes, I love it when people tell a scientist that he has funny ideas about science, meaning that he doesn’t understand the basics.
He says he is a scientist, having previously worked in biology before switching to philosophy and the study of pseudoscience.
He gets his info about physics from philosophers, and from Lee Smolin. Smolin is way out on the fringe of physics. His last book is concerned with philosophical questions like whether time is real.
Asking whether time is real is not a scientific question. Obviously it is real in the sense that it is measurable, and it is essential to both our practical and conceptual understandings of the world. What could be more real than that?
Philosophers can argue that pretty much anything is not real, but an illusion. Maybe we live in a simulation. Maybe time is a disguise for something else that is not understood, and we cannot understand the unreality of time because we don't understand the something. Philosophers commonly engage in such silliness, not scientists.