Friday, May 23, 2008

Time's Arrow

Scientific American has an article about time's arrow this month. I've written about this subject a month ago and I've known about it for years. This is all yawn-inducing crap. And yet I regularly see so-called scientists oohing and aahing about it in pretend amazement while giving the subject a pretentious name like "The Cosmological Arrow Of Time". There is nothing special about the human perception of time being asymmetric.

Human bodies and human minds are computational devices so it's really obvious that they should work from a low-entropy state to a high-entropy state. After all, general computation has this nasty habit of producing entropy. So much so that it all-but requires the production of entropy to happen. Hence why complex computations like human minds only happen in ways that allow for the production of lots of entropy.

Furthermore, the low-entropy state of the big bang doesn't need any explanation - it's just a quirk of our universe. To the extent that it needs an explanation then the Anthropic Principle is explanation enough. If our universe didn't have a low-entropy end somewhere (ie, a "past") then it could never support complex computations like human minds to observe it.

All this painfully-forced "amazement" on the part of physicists is another example of how difficult certain people (the physicists involved) find it to believe that their subjective impressions have no relation to the laws that govern the universe. Here the subjective impression of time "flowing" versus the physical reality of its being a static dimension with the quirky property of conserving information. Elsewhere the subjective impression of being indivisible versus the quantum mechanical fact of decoherence.

Even physicists start cooing like idiots when reality starts demanding they give up some cherished notion they grew up with. It's painful to watch. The only thing more painful is when perfectly obvious facts like the Mathematical Universe Hypothesis are rejected out of hand. Or when something like Goedel's Incompleteness Theorems gets brutally butchered.


Anonymous said...

Wow, perfectly obvious facts are rejected out of hand? That's really bad! Is it really true? What is this Mathematical Universe Hypothesis that has been thusly rejected? Who named it that? Why did they name it an "hypothesis" if it is a fact?

Richard Kulisz said...