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on 15 June 2013
Reading this book leaves me in despair. There is something deeply wrong in the collective thinking process that scientists use when such basic academic rigour as "check your terminology" is ignored.
Nowhere in Prof Smolin's book does he attempt to breakdown the word Time. He, like all scientists who write on the subject (Carroll, Hawkin etc), starts with a muddled assumption about the word Time, and then tries, pathetically, to explain this muddle using wacky science. And fails.
Start with the basics, Prof Smolin - look in your dictionary. The understanding of Time lies in the word. It's a semantics thing NOT a physics thing.
The truth is, if you distil down the (various and broad) dictionary definitions of time (www.thisistime.co.uk) it is in fact a very simple concept:-

1. It's a measurement, calibration and referencing framework for change (events and intervals). [Intervals can themselves be re-defined simply as external event calibration; so time is an abstract framework for measuring and referencing events], and
2. Time is a mass noun that also refers to change (events and interval), but as an indefinite, unspecified set (as is the intrinsic quality of mass nouns).

That's makes time a subtle, slippery, abstract thing - it has two root meanings that appear very similar, and are easily confused and interchanged - but academics who write on the subject have no excuse for not making the differentiation.

Science doesn't have the answer to "what is time". Semantics does. And it is very simple. It's a word used to frame and reference events. Yes, it's an abstract.
Physicists are too inebriated by this sort of uber-abstracting to want to hear this simple thing, I know.
If you enjoy this pseudo-intellectual confusion, then read the book. If you like clarity and rationale save yourself Time, don't bother.
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on 29 September 2014
Time Is REAL, However it's not if you take it Back to it's Base State or from an ethereal state (Consciousness). We can measure the movement of physical things in distance and time because time only pertains to the realm or dimension of the physical. Certainly time is a product of thought since all things begin as an idea; but, thought cannot be measured so the concept of time cannot be applied to it. Therefore, the idea of time, which exists in a realm of thought, was made manifest in the dimension of the physical. The human brain identifies events by listing them one after another - in a straight line - that is how we were programmed to accept the movement of physical things. Think of it this way: if you remove all clocks from your life, time will no longer be knowable since minutes and seconds do not float around in the air. Time only exists on a clock and in the mind's memory of a clock. Therefore, when you no longer see life through a physical body, physical eyes, and a physical mind, time in a linear sequence will no longer be observable - instead everything will be observable All At Once since there will be nothing linear by which to view things.

Time only exists to measure something physical. Our eyes receive photons that bleach the back of the retina; then, as the bleached part of the retina recovers, chemical and electrical signals are produced, causing the physical brain to interpret those signals into something it can understand. And usually that understanding was programmed into our brains by our parents. So what we "see" is not necessarily the truth of things, but an interpreted understanding of what "appears" to be true, based off of how far away we THINK something is.
It is all a physical understanding. When the physical is removed and all that is left is Consciousness, there is nothing physical to measure. Therefore, all things are understood to be happening All At Once. Everything is viewable All At Once.
Consciousness is not a physical thing; However, all things that are physical exist As Part of Consciousness because all things that are physical began as an idea from Consciousness. For a simpler term, we could say all things exist INSIDE of Consciousness, even the physical. Therefore, if you imagine, as a Conscious Energy, that you are next to Earth and wish to go to Mars; since Mars is INSIDE of this invisible Consciousness, your trip to Mars would literally take place in NO TIME at all. That is, no measurable time would pass between wanting to be at Mars and actually being there. It would be instantaneous.

So when i said time is measuring the gaps between nothing, and that it's not Real, all i was trying to say, is time is just measuring Destination points between every breathe i take, every wag of my toe, every bus that goes by and every bird that flys in the sky, from one point to the other.... Which is why Time in the Physical sense is real, but only Real when taking that into Consideration...

TIME is just DISTANCE, and DISTANCE is the Measurement between one point and another? so how can you Measure Time?
Time is Just Infinity, like the Universe, so becuase it has not been set between a certain point, THAT ALONE MAKES TIME INVALID. (Unless you conclude that time is measuring all these points forever, but time itself is Infinite)
if anything, all TIME does is measure each day, (which is the same day) 24 hours every day.... and it has been created into months and Yrs, which as given the illusion of time.. but really you can't MEASURE INFINITY

I MEAN HOW CAN TIME BE REAL ANYWAY THE YEAR IS 2015, and all it does is count backwards to the allege fictional birth of JESUS CHRIST WHO NEVER EXISTED ANYWAY, (biblical MYTHOLOGY AND NO SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE) least Plato WHO DID EXIST, one of the smartest men to exist, even concluded time was an illusion, even Albeit Einstien made this Quote "time is an illusion albeit a persistent one" another one of the GREATS (who are you btw?)

For even if TIME WAS REAL The Greg Calender is wrong in every way anyway, SO THEREFORE WE HAVE BEEN LIVING A LIE ALL THESE YRS CONCERNING TIME, BECAUSE THE MAYAN ONE WAS THE ONLY CALENDER THAT WAS THE MOST ACCURATE AND THAT EXPIRED IN 2012.... the calender was changed by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582 (according to the inaccuate calender of course)
The Year is actually 2017 now, (despite this poxy calender said we went into the new yr, it's still 2017) and that's only counting back to a fictional man's birth who wasn't even born on DEC 25 EVEN IF THE CALENDER WAS FIXED AND HE DID EXIST LMAO )(no wonder time is taken as seriously as jesus, since they are both illusions) - biggest illusion yet is Gullible people believing in their existence! AND it would take too long to explain how the Greg Calender is not accurate...

One of the Lesser known Reasons why the Mayan calender was even created, was to set an event between 2 points (EX from the current day to the event day) all the other days that was on the Calender was not to be even thought about, they was just BLANK EMPTY SPACES, what matter was the Measurement between the distance between those 2 points! (because time is infinite and therefore is omnipresent just like thought, which makes it invalid unless your talking from an etheral sense and then time only exist as (ALL AT ONCE) which too me is as good as not believing in time anyway)

some of the scientists already believe they is a way where they can bring 2 points (stars which are too far apart) and bring them together and create a wormhole (because again it's distance and the distance can be altered or manipulated because time does not exist)
which of course, is thru the illusion of speed and time, all you have done is used a shortcut and you have taken a shortcut in time..... (people time travel everyday without realizing it) people are all in their own times, because even though a pebble can be a planet to dustmites, and we are just that to this planet, since this a big rock floating around in space, but in reality, is only a pixel compared to the rest of the universe, so you could be so many pico seconds within pico seconds away from me if you was in the street for example
or even sitting across from me, because we are still DISTANCE from each other! (However not from an Etheral level)

how long does it take you to get to me, is all time is? yeah you can do it faster or slower but that's all time is? (and without knowing it, you are Manipulating it already) you might do it in fewer seconds than you did before but that doesn't mean you've used less time, THAT DISTANCE IS TIME. (Those shortcuts are time, stop thinking time is eternal, it exists everywhere all at once)

regardless of how fast someone gets there

Imagine just Looking up at the Night sky now, what are you doing? you are simply Looking back in time, how the stars use to look millions of yrs ago, (not how they look now) but millions of yrs ago? already that is a window in time, and HERE IS THE BIG CLUE... they are millions of light yrs away and guess what comes with that? DISTANCE, PRESICLEY.. the bigger the distance the more time has been ALTERED.

So now we have to imagine how to get there without the stars changing millions of yrs in the future? if we had a space ship, and we travelled fast as the speed of light and go to a certain star, by the time we get there, we have time travelled millions of yrs in the future (since time is known to go in a linear fashion even though this can be Manipulated) so we have to find a way to get to those STARS how they are right NOW? how? well simply, we could NULLIFY OR PARALLEL TIME, why the spaceship is the only thing MOVING GETTING TO THE POINT IT WANTS...

if time were real then we could not have time zones since there could only be ONE time for all things. We could not have multiple times occurring all at once. However, we can have multiple thoughts that occur all at once since thoughts do not take place on a time line. Think of it like this: there is thought - but thought does not happen here or there, up or down, left or right, then or now. Thought simply exists. And because thought exists without barriers, it exists everywhere at once. Answer this; can you see thought with human eyes? Can you feel thought with your hands? Can you lock thought up in a box? Can you restrain thought in any physical way? If you found that you cannot, then you can understand that thought is boundless, limitless and not under the control of any physical properties - including time. Therefore, in a Near Death Experience, the body is not playing a part in what the individual is experiencing; that makes thought omnipresent. ( and the only thing that can be OMNIPRESENT, NOT GOD UNLESS YOU WISH TO MAKE THOUGHT AND CONSCIOUSNESS GOD) Within this unlimited, unrestricted thought moment, all things can be experienced; including births, ancestors, children that have yet to be experienced in the physical, etc. All thought exists all at once and can not be separated so everything you've ever known or ever will know can be experienced simultaneously.

P.S You only Bash Me is Because i am one of the few that is on a Book's comment section that totally is against the Kind of stuff i Read, Because Unlike you people, i tend to be more Open minded and Read a Variety of Controversial Subjects to strengthn and test my Hypothesis

P.S And when i Said "I don't need to read this to know the truth", Doesn't mean i Have not read it, it means i do NOT NEED TO READ IT (TO KNOW THE TRUTH) as i already Stated, Unlike most people, i am open minded and choose to read things, that other people would not agree with ,which therefore they would refuse to read! it just won't change my opinion on things! i have one perspective, you have one... however i can see from both since i am one further step ahead of the game...
But in ALL as i've stated, there is only Oneness!
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on 1 January 2017
Physics has a curious relationship with time. Most laws are time-reversible; famous ones that aren’t, like the Second Law of Thermodynamics, are approximate and emergent from underlying reversibility; in relativity a universal time cannot be defined consistently, and instead provides us with a static space-time. It’s almost as if physics doesn’t believe time exists.

Smolin is having none of that. For him, time is the fundamental property of the universe, whatever else may emerge. We are not flies caught in the amber of a static space-time; time itself is real.

How can he say this, when all the physical theories seem to point in the other direction? His argument is that those theories are local, and cannot be simply extended to apply to the entire universe. Those theories assume that crucial parts of the process must be outside the region they describe. This is what Smolin dubs the traditional Newtonian paradigm of doing “physics in a box”. It rests on some underlying assumptions: (1) the configuration space is timeless; (2) the forces, and hence the laws the system is subject to are timeless. If all the possible states of the system are predefined, and the laws under which the system evolves are predefined, then time does seem to be nothing more than an accounting variable: which of those states the laws say the system is currently occupying. What if the possible states of the entire universe aren’t predefined, because its laws aren’t predefined?

Smolin argues that this Newtonian paradigm, powerful as it is, cannot be extended to provide a theory of the entire universe. It is not a simple task to make a truly universal theory: one that doesn’t just apply to every part of the universe, but that applies to the whole universe at once.

He also argues that our current theories are approximations: physicists pretend that the system inside their box is an isolated system, unaffected by the rest of the universe, and they go to a lot of experimental effort to make that approximation as good as possible. Good approximations make effective theories, but they are only as good as their assumptions (energy ranges, for example). These approximations inevitably break down whenever a theory is extended to encompass the entirety of the universe.

So the timeless nature of isolated, local, approximate theories cannot be taken to imply that the universe itself is timeless.

Having argued that the laws cannot be extended naively to imply a timeless universe, Smolin also argues that there is no reason to assume that the laws themselves are timeless: "To make laws explicable, we must consider them as much a part of the world as the particles they act on. This brings them into the purview of change and causality."

Smolin explicitly links this view with his proposal for an evolutionary universe, where a new universe is born in each black hole, with its laws of physics being a mutation of its parent’s laws, as explained in his earlier work, The Life of the Cosmos. Smolin is a Leibniz fan: as well as following Leibniz’ relational view, he uses the Principle of Sufficient Reason: that everything must have a reason or cause, to show that the laws must also have a cause, an explanation. I wonder: do random mutations to the laws of physics obey this principle? (In passing: I was amused to discover that Smolin was introduced to Leibniz’ ideas by Barbour, but has come to rather different conclusions!)

This mutational view does not mean that Smolin thinks the laws, despite being changeable by mutation, are set at the beginning of the universe, and fixed thereafter. He gives an example of how a quantum system might be free to choose a result in a situation for which there is no precedent. Smolin suggests that this principle of precedence could be subject to experimentation, by preparing some genuinely novel quantum states, and measuring them. I’m not sure of the scope of the system’s freedom, however. What about all those more advanced alien races who have already done these experiments? Do those set precedents? Also, the second time a measurement is done, there is only a single precedent from which to select randomly; this seems to imply determinism.

I like his idea of explicable evolving laws; although I still wonder, does a random choice fit with the principle of sufficient reason? And I must admit, I’m not sure why these “principles”, of sufficient reason, of precedence, of whatnot, are allowed to be timeless and universal, when nothing else is. He mentions the need for meta-laws, laws to say how the laws change, but doesn’t go into this as deeply as I wanted. Are the meta-laws timeless? If so, why? If not, what governs their change? I didn’t get the answers here: Smolin refers his book with philosopher Unger, The Singular Universe and the Reality of Time; maybe the answers will be there. For the time being, I have a few new ideas for student projects: growing cellular automata or graphs with rules that depend on configurations, and only deciding on the rule when a new configuration is seen.

Smolin finishes up with more social concerns. He explains that our notion of the fundamental laws of nature as being timeless leads to a damaging distinction between the timeless natural (hence good and right being changeless) and the ephemeral artificial (hence bad and wrong being change). Rather, everything changes and evolves, and we should embrace that fact.

This is a clearly written and thought-provoking book. It makes plain some issues with physics, and its thesis, about time and change, opens up some fascinating possibilities. Well worth the read.
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on 16 April 2015
A boy writes his telephone number on a tennis ball and throws it to a stranger, who catches it. If you want to know more, you'll need to buy the book. The story exemplifies Smolin's easy fluent narrative style. This is a book with no formulae, and the easiest way into special relativity that I've seen in a pop science book. At the same time, Smolin is generally true to science, and he lets you know when his ideas are reaching into conjecture and metaphysics.

The parable of the tennis ball elegantly shows the two views of time that Smolin contrasts in this book. The flight of the ball follows a parabola, following Newton's laws of motion, which Einstein's General Relativity generalises. These laws treat time as another static dimension. There is no "now" or flow of time, or even a direction -- a movie of a tennis ball in flight would look the same run forwards or backwards. This static timeless view of the world is what this book is arguing against.

What happens at the ends of the ball's flight exemplify the other view of time, which Smolin is trying to bring back into physics, a view that gives time direction and flow, and cannot simply be treated as another dimension. The boy who writes the phone number is deciding to change his future, and is transmitting information forward in time.

Conventional physics has only the second law of thermodynamics to offer, that disorder increases, but this law leaves many questions unanswered, such as why everything was so well-ordered in the first place, or the apparent direction of causality, or the strange time-asymmetric "collapse" of the wavefunction in quantum mechanics. In particular, if there is such a concept as "before the big bang", time has to be more than just some emergent property of the known universe.

Smolin does not so much answer these questions as pose them, but I think he does well to do so. He criticises the multiple universes or Goldilocks theory on the grounds that it is unverifiable. However, some of his own conjectures strike me as being metaphysical in the same way. Surely the way to determine whether the universe is finite or closed is through experiment, rather than metaphysical argument.

I find Smolin rather too vague about the detail of what he means by time that is independent of space -- a time that can exist before the Big Bang, and which could define the ordering of the two ends of a EPR experiment. (I do not think it is necessary to define an ordering in that case, and the concept of direction of causation is all he needs in general. But what do I know.)

Smolin's theory of the evolution of universes via black holes, though contentious, does have the benefit of being testable. If it proves true, it surely wins Smolin a Nobel prize, and also confirms him as one of the most visionary physicists of our generation.
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on 22 January 2015
I thought that Lee Smolin's "The Trouble With Physics" was a timely and important critique of string theory's dominance of the research agenda in fundamental physics, given that it has failed to deliver - or even progress towards - testable predictions about reality. I was looking forward to his new book, which purports to offer some new approaches which might start to bring theory back on an intercept course with experiment.

Central to Smolin's proposed new approach is the idea that time is "real", in the sense that there is such a thing as "the present moment", which is qualitatively different from the future and the past, independently of any observer perceiving it to be so. The fact that pretty much all scientific advances since Gallileo have suggested the contrary (that all moments are equally real and it is a subjective experience that the present moment is fundamentally different from those that have gone before or are yet to come) is, Smolin suggests, a mistaken notion that is holding scientific progress back.

Smolin offers no data or experiment to support this conclusion, but merely a set of logical and linguistic arguments - Time Reborn should therefore really be classed more as philosophy than science. Unfortunately, Lee Smolin is not a good philosopher, and his arguments turn out to be a house of cards built on flimsy foundations.

Things start off badly when Smolin hints at a sympathy for platonism - a 2400 year old metaphysical system basically expressing Plato's inability to comprehend the concept of an abstraction. Much ink is dedicated to what Smolin calls the Newtonian Paradigm of science - experiments performed repeatedly on isolated systems from which conclusions are drawn about the underlying laws that are operating. Smolin suggests that because a system can never be truly isolated (it is always at least gravitationally affected by its environment), anything we conclude from such experiments can be at best an approximation to a fundamental "law" because there will always be other factors at play. He seems either not to understand or to be skeptical of the idea that what remains true across multiple repetitions and in many environments is deduced to be an underlying law, even though any specific experiment is always going to be affected by other factors. This is reminiscent of Plato's failure to understand that an abstraction is basically just grouping objects by their commonalities and ignoring their differences. It cannot and does not try to capture every single detail of specific concrete objects. Similarly, scientific "laws" do not purport to capture every aspect of a system, but hopefully to model what is common between them. To conclude (as Smolin does) that there can be no such thing as a universal law because there is never a perfectly isolated system that embodies it seems to rather miss the point.

Smolin further suggests that physics has hit a roadblock because it tries to apply the Newtonian Paradigm to cosmology (the study of the whole universe), but fails because the universe cannot be isolated (from the observer, at least) or repeated. Smolin criticises scientists for trying to apply a method which works on small parts of the universe to the universe as a whole, but then repeatedly commits the equivalent philosophical error - many of his arguments boil down to logical arguments constructed in domains where the words used cannot reasonably be assumed to apply - broadly what would be called a "category error". Just because we can ask "What was happening before time began?" it does not mean there must be an answer, for instance (Smolin's arguments are not so crude, but often resolve to a similar misuse of logic).

It is Leibniz that gets the most name checks in the book though, with Smolin citing several of the philosopher's principles as guides. The Principle Of Sufficient Reason is the first pillar on which Smolin attempts to construct his cosmology, though I am not sure Leibniz would condone Smolin's interpretation of it. Starting from his Principle of Sufficient Reason and through dubious logical gymnastics Smolin deduces a series of principles which he believes a valid cosmological theory must embody. At each step he seems to try to make the case that reconceiving time as fundamental and "real" both implies and is implied by his arguments, though I don't think he ever makes a convincing case for it either way.

Time Reborn starts off pretty unconvincing and gets even more so as it goes on. By the midpoint it had become a real slog to get through, as Smolin deduces new conclusions and principles from arguments he has failed to convincingly make earlier. It all comes across as sophomoric philosophical speculation with little or no connection with scientific experiment. By the time Smolin is basing his arguments on things like a "Principle of no unreciprocated action" that he basically pulls from nowhere (just the observation that it worked for Einstein - I don't think it was a major motivation for General Relativity, to be honest) he might as well just be filling the page with the word "bibble". At one point he suggests that a new understanding of quantum mechanics might be based on a "principle of precedence" - essentially that the universe makes up the results to any given experiment as it goes along, constrained only by the rule that it must be consistent with the results of previous experiments. How such consistency is enforced is never even speculated about, and no method by which we could prove that the result of an experiment we have never performed was undetermined before we performed it is suggested. It seems basically to be motivated by a desire to show that the future is "open", in that novel events can happen which are not determined by the history of the system, and therefore that humans might have "free will", because that would be nice. Maybe, but it's not science.

I do agree that string theory has taken physicists on a detour down what is looking increasingly like a blind alley, and that fresh new ideas are needed to get the discipline back on a productive course. Those ideas have to be driven by the data though - theories which can explain the data we already have better than existing theory, or ideas for novel experiments that might yield fresh leads. Second rate philosophy and speculation ain't going to do it.
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VINE VOICETOP 1000 REVIEWERon 22 January 2014
The aim of the book is to restore time to its `rightful' place as a `real' quantity in the description of the universe. For most readers, and also most scientists (despite what Smolin says) time is already `real'; we observe its passage daily as things, including ourselves, decay. On the other hand, there is the paradox that although we live `in time' we commonly judge our activities by timeless standards; Smolin gives `truth' and `justice' as examples. In the scientific context, what he means is not that the laws of nature don't contain a time variable, because some of them obviously do, rather the form of the laws themselves are timeless. Newton's laws of motion are the same now as when he discovered them and will remain so indefinitely; that is the assumption on which physical science at present is based. Progress within this framework is made by making improvements to experiments and treating the outcomes as timeless. Smolin starts by reviewing how this has become the orthodox view.

Smolin believes that the orthodox view is an illusion that stems from a common belief (the Newtonian paradigm) which assumes we can predict the future state of any system from its initial conditions and the laws acting on it and, crucially, that this can be extended to the universe as a whole. One consequence of this is that the universe would ultimately reach equilibrium where entropy is maximized and a universe such as ours could occur only briefly as a random fluctuation, which leads to some very weird predictions and essentially renders scientific research pointless. Smolin believes the Newton paradigm is a fallacy, because in practice physics deals with closed systems, and we have to accept that the laws as we know them are approximations. In his view everything can evolve, including the laws of nature. He also believes that the conventional viewpoint has led cosmology into its present dilemmas and that by restoring time, a new cosmological theory might emerge that will satisfy Leibnitz's `principle of sufficient reason', i.e. there has to be a rational answer to any reasonable question that we may ask about why the universe has some particular feature. He shows that such a theory would have no symmetries or conservation laws and the outcome of future experiments would be determined by the collection of past cases. Needless to say, these are very radical ideas, and it will take a lot of evidence to persuade the vast majority of physicsists of their correctness. Although at present there is not a scrap of evidence to support these ideas, one has to admire Smolin for still insisting that any new theory would require experimental verification, contrary to some theorists who, out of frustration one feels at not being able to think of suitable experiments, advocate `following the maths' and going where it leads. Interestingly, Smolin thinks that maths may actually be inhibiting the development of a new cosmological theory.

I am not sure for whom this book was written. The subject is very esoteric, even for particle physics/cosmology, and to understand Smolin's views, which are very unorthodox, requires much concentration and thought. It is certainly not for the fainthearted and cannot really be classified as `popular science'. It is not helped by his repetitive style of writing, some very poor hand-drawn diagrams and his tendency to wander off the point. Having said that, he does make one think about things that are usually taken for granted.
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on 21 December 2014
Physics has encountered a tough problem in explaining why the fundamental constants which define the masses, charges and interactions of particles have the values they do. This impasse, decades in duration, was analysed by Lee Smolin in his 2006 book, "The Trouble with Physics".

Foremost among attempts at its resolution are schemes containing a plethora of universes, possibly an infinitude, of which our local one just happens to be the way it is; if it weren't we would not be here to wonder about these things. Hardly a falsifiable proposition, and therefore not scientific, as Smolin points out.

Mind you, his preferred scenario is also replete with universes, though in his universes a selection mechanism is at work which zones in on our particular cosmic environment as a fruitful one for propagation of more universes via black holes. Cosmic "genes" (fundamental constants, initial conditions) that are good for production of black holes are good also for galaxies, stars, planets and, ultimately, us. This theory is at least capable of making predictions which are falsifiable (or not) using available data sources.

Time is implicit in his hypothetical process. But universal time is associated with the concept of simultaneity which is ruled out by relativity. Smolin and his associates are working on a resolution of this conflict which might, as a bonus, explain non-local aspects of quantum entanglement without invoking the notorious hidden variables which have themselves been pretty well ruled out by clashes with Bell's theorem.

So far, nothing has come of this approach, though the reality of time is supported by the emergence of complexity in a universe which should by rights be heading for equilibrium. The discussion of how this happens through the intervention of gravity and the effective re-setting of entropy's clock when stars light up is fascinating and rewarding to read.

But, apart from a few such illuminating insights, this book makes tedious reading. It suffers from poor style, lack of conciseness in presentation of ideas, sloppy diagrams and a great deal of repetition. The epilogue is a rambling discourse upon life, the universe and everything, including subjects as diverse as ecology, economics, moral values, the origin and nature of consciousness - even global warming. Read this section first and you might save yourself an awful lot of time.
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on 3 October 2014
Time Reborn Lee Smolin, "Is the elephant in the room wearing the emperor's new robe?" M.Marsden

While I respect professor Smolin and his work, and I completely agree there is a crisis with the theory of time, but I have a fundamental problem with the reasoning behind this book from the outset. Because, it starts from the position "time is real", as opposed to checking our most basic observations and building from there. E.g. that "matter seems to exist", and "matter seems to be moving and interacting within and around us".

I think if Lee Smolin built up logically from these simple, checkable observations, (that things `just' exist, and `are' moving and interacting) he might find that they alone may be enough to mislead us into (imo probably wrongly) assuming terms like the "past", "future" and thus "time" are scientifically valid ( as opposed to just being (admittedly very useful) `ideas').

For example, in the preface of "Time Reborn" it is suggested...

1-Whatever is real in our universe is real in a moment of time, which is one of a succession of moments.

2-The past was real but is no longer real. We can, however, interpret and analyze the past, because we find evidence of past processes in the present.

3-The future does not yet exist and is therefore open. We can reasonably infer some predictions, but we cannot predict the future completely. Indeed, the future can produce phenomena that are genuinely novel, in the sense that no knowledge of the past could have anticipated them.

4-Nothing transcends time, not even the laws of nature. Laws are not timeless. Like everything else, they are features of the present, and they can evolve over time.

(Smolin, Lee. Time Reborn: From the Crisis in Physics to the Future of the Universe (Kindle Locations 132-133). Penguin Books Ltd. Kindle Edition. My numbering)

But if we consider each of these suggestions objectively, without just taking common assumptions as `probably' being true, then I think the following possible flaws are found...

1-Whatever is real in our universe is real in a moment of time, which is one of a succession of moments.

Despite the idea that there are "moments", and "successions of moments", this does not seem to be actually observed, or scientifically proven. All we seem to observe is a vast collection of matter, each part of which, seems always and only to be somewhere, doing something, moving and changing.

Comparing some motion, to the motion of a hand rotating on a numbered dial, does not prove there are `moments' or successions of moments, it is only if we just assume there are `moments' , we see nothing to disprove this. (which is in no way a scientific proof our assumption is correct).

2-The past was real but is no longer real. We can, however, interpret and analyze the past, because we find evidence of past processes in the present.

This quote implies there is a thing or place called "the past", that might be legitimately scientifically discussed, but no experimental proof exists to show this is more than just an idea. If a human is looking at an example of motion, some of the physical contents of their brain may indeed be being reorganised. And we may wish to `call' these patterns "memories of `the past'" , but themselves they prove only that matter `is' existing, and interacting , and not that a thing called `time' also exists, and involves a `past'.

Also the statement "The past was real but is no longer real", is , with respect, illogical...
A key question that needs to be answered here, may be,

Q- "is there a 'past', or is there not a `past, but only a mistaken and confusing idea of a `past'... that leads to (imo) self invalidating sentences like... "The past was real but is no longer real"?

The suggestion "We can, however, interpret and analyze the past, because we find evidence of past processes in t, he present. " seems invalid, because all the evidence we see around us seems only to prove that "matter exists, and `is' moving and interacting". Therefore we cannot analyze `the past', or prove it is a valid concept, we can only analyse the patterns in our minds, and the formations of matter around us.

3-The future does not yet exist and is therefore open. We can reasonably infer some predictions, but we cannot predict the future completely. Indeed, the future can produce phenomena that are genuinely novel, in the sense that no knowledge of the past could have anticipated them.

Without substantial proof, as per the scientific method, I would suggest the term `the future' may be invalid, and reference only an `idea' within human minds. As such the `idea' proves only that matter exists, and can be coaxed into intricate formations in human minds. The idea of `the future' may make the basis for a theory and hypothesis, which thus needs scientific proof, none of which seems evident.

The suggestion "We can reasonably infer some predictions", used the word "predictions", which implies there is a `future', that we can predict. I would suggest that while we may write down `it will rain' on a piece of paper all this proves is that matter (us, the pen, the paper) exist, and can `be' interacting. The atmosphere around us is also changing, but this proves only that matter ( air, water etc) exists, and is moving and interacting. At no point do we see anything come out of , or go into a `future', so claiming our note is a `prediction', of a `future', is, imo invalid, unless one can prove the matter in the universe is not "just" existing and interacting constantly in countless ways.

Re: "the future can produce phenomena that are genuinely novel",
I would suggest there only seems to be a consistent set of universal matter, which under the laws of nature, and intelligent manipulation, where energy is available, can be constantly being configured in countless ways, all of which are just, always, possible.
To suggest a thing called "the future" also exists, and, extra to the laws of nature and energy, produces each formation does not seem to be observed. E.g. Watch an approaching cloud, it "is" changing as it "is" approaching, but all of its matter seems only to exist, and we don't actually seem to see any thing, or phenomena "come out of", or proof of , the existence of a "future".

4-Nothing transcends time, not even the laws of nature. Laws are not timeless. Like everything else, they are features of the present, and they can evolve over time.

This statement is only true IF a thing called "time" exists. The laws of nature seem only to show how matter is existing, and how it is interacting in all locations. The suggestion "these laws are not timeless" , would need to be verified by an experiment that showed that extra to energy, physical interactions `also' need a thing called `time' to be existing and `passing', and a valid reason for even suspecting this (let alone a proof), should be given.

It is agreed the laws of nature themselves may `be' changing, and changing in all locations, and in all directions, but to say they `can evolve over time', one would have to prove time exists, and explain what `over' time meant.

More to the point I suggest that any of the statements above need to be shown to require more than "just matter existing and interacting" to be valid, for the more complex conclusion that `a thing called time also exists' to be reasonable proven, rather than just an accepted, (and probably very misleading from the start) Argumentum ad populum, that a thing called time must exist'.

The fact, extra to just personal opinion, and shared assumptions, there seems to be no scientific proof, or experiments as per the scientific method, to demonstrate that `the past', `the future', or `time' are more than useful ways of describing motion - but no scientist seems to notice or care about this - seems to me to be the "elephant in the room" here, and the fact many people seem to just accept that a completely unobservable `past, and completely unobservable `future', and completely unobservable thing called `time'... just exist `exist' makes as much sense as proving a naked emperor proves invisible clothes exist, hence I wonder not is time reborn, but whether the elephant in the room is indeed wearing the emperor's new robe.

Matthew Marsden. (Auth).
A Brief History of Time-lessness (r2): "Does Time exist?", "What is Time?","Is Time-Travel possible?" - We examine how all these questions may unfounded, if everything is 'timeless'.
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on 31 August 2013
In this eminent book Lee Smolin tackles such crucial issues as the nature of mathematics and of the laws of physics, determinism, the reality/illusion of time and, ultimately, the moral lessons to be learnt from the different points of view. (PC = personal comment)

Mathematics, laws of physics
As J. von Neumann said: `a mathematical formulation necessarily represents only a theory of some phase (aspects) of reality, and not reality itself.'
Also for Lee Smolin, `mathematics is only a hand maiden to science. It comes in reality after science.' `Those burdened by the metaphysical presupposition that the purpose of science is to discover timeless truths represented by timeless mathematical objects might think that eliminating time, and so making the universe akin to a mathematical object is a route to a scientific cosmology. But it turns out to be the opposite.' `The ultimate governing language of science is language.'
The mathematical `laws' of physics are only formulas which, of course, can explain behaviors of the physical forces.
(PC) Naked numbers don't exist in the real world; they have to be combined with real things: `1 cow + 3 sheep = 4 animals.'

Physical determinism is sometimes called `the Newtonian paradigm' or `Laplace's demon'. It states that one can predict the future state of any system from its initial conditions and the laws acting on it.
(PC) In this view all actions (also human ones) are predetermined. This is the same vision on life as the one formulated in Calvinistic Predestination. Man has no personal responsibility: he only can guess if he is elected or not.

Laws of combined physical forces and time (PC)
If time has to be eliminated in order to better understand the action of a physical force, why not?
Another matter is the elimination of time for events (facts) provoked by a combination of physical forces.
The perhaps only universal physical law of `action and reaction' points unambiguously to a process in time (present, future, past) of successive interrelated events. Lee Smolin gives a luminous example of one such process: `the Darwinian biology is the prototype for thinking in time because at its heart is the realization that natural processes developing in time can lead to the creation of genuinely novel structures.'

Moral lessons (PC)
Determinism and the illusion of time are not only outlandish concepts, but also immoral ones.
Calling the dropping of an atom bomb (an event) and its future effects (they are still going on) an illusion in a deterministic (forgive them, for they had to do it) universe, is nothing less than a monstrous insult of the victims.
Also, all those who continue to believe in a timeless `block universe' could be in for a nasty surprise: a world transformed into a terrestrial island full of `penguin bunches' composed by human beings who were chased from their homes by climate change.

One can only hope that all true scientists support Lee Smolin's truly crucial vision that `time will turn out to be the only aspect of everyday experience; that there is an arrow of time, a strong ordering of events in time.'

This thought-provoking book is a must read for all those who want to understand the universe we live in.
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VINE VOICEon 14 August 2013
Time has reality,it runs and we age.To Einstein the passing of time( and to theoretical physicists) was an illusion.Difficulties that face contemporary physicists-eg the difficulties of bringing reality into line with the rest of currently accepted reality-lies in overturning this orthodoxy and reaffirming the view non-physicistshare, their experience of the reality of time.The reason physicists have come to reject the reality of time,is their bewitchment by the beauty and success of the mathematical models they use into mistaking these models for reality. Timelessness,though not a feature of our world,is a feature of mathematics.Timeless truths,like 2+2=4,are eternal truths.If we can have timeless truths in mathematics,why not in physics?We forget that the objects of mathematics-numbers,curves etc-do not exist,whereas physics concerns itself with what does exist,and in the domain of things that do exist,time is inescapable. The postulation of timeless mathematical laws is never completely innocent, for it always carries a trace of the metaphysical fantasy of transcendence from our earthly world.Either the world is in essence mathematical or it lives in time.Husserl spoke of the"mathematisation of Nature".Galileo and Newton played their part,the 1st for discovering that falling bodies are described by a simple mathematical curve, the 2nd for showing that the force that impels those falling bodies along that curve is the same force that impels the earth along its path around the sun and that sends apples crashing to the ground.After Newton we lived in a single, unified world as eternal and divine as a mathematical curve.

Though Newton's theories of gravity were superseded by Einstein's,the world of general relativity,no less than Newton's laws of motion,is still represented by a mathematical object,and it still invites us to regard the world(mistakenly) as pristine and timeless.When we deny the reality of time,we are confusing a mathematicalmodel with what it is modelling.Even the laws of physics evolve and change over time.Theories of multiple universes may be based on fundamental misconceptions.This book is aimed at the general reader,and is very easy to grasp,without jargon.Even if everybody believes an idea in a field of physics,that can't be shown,then you should challenge it,investigate the opposite.He's following in a tradition of Pierce (philosopher) and Dirac,that laws evolve in time.If the universe is emulatable by a computer,then we are also emulatable by a computer.Therefore you'd be able to make a computer that was conscious,as intelligent as we are,in artificial intelligence.If the present moment is real,then there is not a precise mathematical model of reality.He's for Leibnitz's theory of a whole universe based on the principle of sufficient reason,where everything lives not in space but in a network of relationships.

There is no mathematical model for the flow of present moments.The world works fundamentally in time,there is no timeless purity.There is room for our imaginations, novel ideas, works of art,solutions to our political problems. We're not just atoms moving around in empty space, obeying mathematical laws.There is no equilibrium, just change and time. Everything changes and everything evolves,so that as human beings we work this change and evolve our societies and our thinking.This colours our conception of who we are,what the meaning of life is.The experience we have of life in time is driven by deep needs that include ourselves.Our conception of who we are is coloured by everything we love and look forward to,not as epiphenomena, illusions,that would alienate us from our deepest needs.We must liberate ourselves from false metaphysics or the real world being a transcendent, timeless, mathematical world to a picture of nature in which it's still governed by those laws,but in which novelty,the present moment is real and in which our experiences have a real place in the natural world.Our view becomes more optimistic.

In economics there is supposed equilibrium if the market's left to itself.This is not the way real markets function. They are historical,time-dependent,based on change. But the dogma is there is one equilibrium,which you should not interfere with or regulate.But when many equilibria are possible,the notion that politics plays a role becomes paramount,the notion that regulation make sure you're in an equilibrium with some conception that people are treated with fairness,and there is some stability and justice in the market become important.History and politics change.Politics should not be a war between static positions,it should be the art of proposing novel solutions.Ourdesire should be to work this change into our thinking for the best happiness of everybody.He rules religion out because of the 2 rules that govern science and also govern how a democratic society works:if there is an issue that can be decided by appeal to the evidence,by rational argument from the evidence,we must so decide.

This is the way juries work,parliaments work and science.If a prediction goes against him or an experiment,he's prepared to say the idea is wrong.As long as people of faith are willing to concede those theories he has definitive proof about,theory of evolution, the human causes of climate change,he's happy to live in a pluralistic society in which people believe in metaphysical things of a religion that he doesn't believe.He's for the public understanding of science(hence the clarity),hes' willing to take them into the process of science in the making. He's willing to expose ideas he can make a scientific case for,which are not yet demonstrated by experiment,and he trusts the public have the interest and the maturity to know how to separate a discussion about science in progress from a report about science that's been settled.Science is dependent upon the public good will because in particle physics,astronomy,cosmology,the experiments and observations are very expensive, they need the public to understand the adventure that they're on in order to have the support,that they're spending the money for good reasons for matters of fundamental importance,deepening our knowledge of nature. He's cleverly left out the maths or put difficult stuff online so we can follow the ideas. One of the best science books I've read in some time.
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