# Naked Science Forum

## On the Lighter Side => New Theories => Topic started by: Eric A. Taylor on 17/03/2011 11:02:19

Title: Does the future already exist?
Post by: Eric A. Taylor on 17/03/2011 11:02:19
The book I'm reading right now has made the claim that the future already exists. The idea is that all of space-time (past, present and future) exists as a lump. The example given was a loaf of bread. Each location and each event are points within the loaf of bread. The events that happen at the same time according to two different observers depends on how they are moving relative to one another. This was given as an explanation of Relativity. So if one observer is moving near the speed of light he or she will say that two events happened quite a long time apart when two stationary observers will say they happened at the same time. This would mean that someone is seeing what another would call the future.

This bothered me because it seemed to suggest that the future is already set in stone precluding free will. The future is just as unchangeable as the past. No matter how hard I try I'll never prevent the launch of Challenger on 28 January 1986.

There is another theory I've never been comfortable with that my idea settles. The theory states that anytime something happens that has a chance of turning out in more than one way a new universe is created where all of the possibilities happen. I've never liked the idea of new universes popping into being every time someone decided between wearing the blue or the green shirt today.

But what if space-time was like a maze. One which you can not see what's ahead and you can only go one way. Reaching a dead end in the maze means your own end. When you decide to turn left or right in a maze you are not creating more maze, it's already there but you will never see that part of the maze you didn't take.

So in November 2012 I'll be faced with an intersection of maze where I can vote for Obama or whoever the Republican is. Down one corridor is a reality where Obama wins a second term and the other where the Republican wins. Both corridors exist but we'll only see the results of one.
Title: Does the future already exist?
Post by: imatfaal on 17/03/2011 15:52:41
Eric

The relativity question must be approached by understanding frames of reference - if you are to influence an event you must be in a frame that can communicate at sub-luminal speed with that frame.  No frame can communicate with 1986 - even though other positions/frames may still be observing 1986.  You can only alter events that take place in your future, with a lower limit that is calculated by how long it will take light to travel from your frame to that of the object.   Whilst relative velocities will alter relative passage of time, it remains true that an action can only affect object within its future light cone; alternatively an object can only be affected by events in its past light cone

With regard to the multiple histories - that seems to be the sort of idea that whilst interesting is, when truth be told, fairly unhelpful; if something can never be observed, understood and predicted then what is the point?  So great, everything is predestined because every possible combination of events happens; in the end who cares?
Title: Does the future already exist?
Post by: Dominus on 19/03/2011 14:39:44
Eric, if I may say some, as far as Relativity goes, there is no present, whilst past and future exist under the same “celestial vault” and are both physically treated on the same footing. I am here referring to the four-dimensional continuum advocated by Minkowski and fully endorsed by Einstein. Either, take it or leave it.
As for the rest, I think some scientists are heavily speculating perhaps more than some chaps like myself. The only difference being, they have a wider audience.
Title: Does the future already exist?
Post by: Heikki Rinnemaa on 19/03/2011 15:38:06
Hi Eric.

My thought of future or past.

i think that we,,i mean human kind,,cannot solve problem how universe or even our earth has born,,or what is the age now earth,,,or what happend example 1 000 000 000 years to future.

My point is that we,, human scientist,,has research only few hundreds years,,and of cource,,we can research example 100 000 or 1 000 000 year what was happend,,but this is,,how i say,,something we can researh,,but mainly we use mathematical formulaes,,and all formulaes has some todays information,,now-thought,,and we dont known exactly is this now-formula accurace past of future,,hmm,,i made image,,to clear what i want to say.

Title: Does the future already exist?
Post by: Eric A. Taylor on 23/03/2011 21:49:21
Eric, if I may say some, as far as Relativity goes, there is no present, whilst past and future exist under the same “celestial vault” and are both physically treated on the same footing. I am here referring to the four-dimensional continuum advocated by Minkowski and fully endorsed by Einstein. Either, take it or leave it.
As for the rest, I think some scientists are heavily speculating perhaps more than some chaps like myself. The only difference being, they have a wider audience.

This is what I'm saying. All of space-time, which includes all events that have happened, are happening, and will happen for all of time (regardless if that "time" is infinitely long) is this maze I imagine. Instead of having more than one universe there is only one. But that single universe has many different corridors in the same way that a big maze is just one maze with a lot of different paths.

There is not really more than one you in the maze, but the other possibilities that could have been realized had you made different decisions are still there.
Title: Does the future already exist?
Post by: Jolly- Joliver on 26/03/2011 20:58:35
The book I'm reading right now has made the claim that the future already exists. The idea is that all of space-time (past, present and future) exists as a lump. The example given was a loaf of bread. Each location and each event are points within the loaf of bread. The events that happen at the same time according to two different observers depends on how they are moving relative to one another. This was given as an explanation of Relativity. So if one observer is moving near the speed of light he or she will say that two events happened quite a long time apart when two stationary observers will say they happened at the same time. This would mean that someone is seeing what another would call the future.

This bothered me because it seemed to suggest that the future is already set in stone precluding free will. The future is just as unchangeable as the past. No matter how hard I try I'll never prevent the launch of Challenger on 28 January 1986.

There is another theory I've never been comfortable with that my idea settles. The theory states that anytime something happens that has a chance of turning out in more than one way a new universe is created where all of the possibilities happen. I've never liked the idea of new universes popping into being every time someone decided between wearing the blue or the green shirt today.

But what if space-time was like a maze. One which you can not see what's ahead and you can only go one way. Reaching a dead end in the maze means your own end. When you decide to turn left or right in a maze you are not creating more maze, it's already there but you will never see that part of the maze you didn't take.

So in November 2012 I'll be faced with an intersection of maze where I can vote for Obama or whoever the Republican is. Down one corridor is a reality where Obama wins a second term and the other where the Republican wins. Both corridors exist but we'll only see the results of one.

I think you mean is there fate, are things set or deterimined(although detreminism has a few sides to it).

To a degree I would say yes. Speaking from a religious persepective, God gave man free will, which lead to the fall, and ultimately will express itself on the day of judgement, when people are to be assesed acording to their actions/lives, faith and apreciation.

It is said that God can see the future as easily as the past, therefore God knows what is to happen on the day of judgement, that however is God, no one else knows. Leaving us free still to adjust ourselves as we choose to, with in that reality certain things are decided by god to happen, other things are not nessecerily.

I way I like to see is like a road, you can drive on the left or the right yet certain things you will happen upon, which ever side you drive on. But that's a religious perspective and just one of many others.

to quote Jesus "For all your worrying can you add but a day to your life" Kinda like when the petrol runs out that's it, but I think how you drive could effect the condition of your car.

Peace.
Title: Does the future already exist?
Post by: Madidus_Scientia on 27/03/2011 06:56:20
If your god gave man free will, and can also see the future, then he didn't give man free will. Think about it.
Title: Does the future already exist?
Post by: Jolly- Joliver on 27/03/2011 23:55:43
If your god gave man free will, and can also see the future, then he didn't give man free will. Think about it.

Seeing what a person will do, with their free will does not deny that free wil, think about it.
Title: Does the future already exist?
Post by: Madidus_Scientia on 28/03/2011 01:12:37
With free will your actions would be unpredictable, therefore god would not be able to see your future. If he knows what you will do then how is it free will?
Title: Does the future already exist?
Post by: Jolly- Joliver on 28/03/2011 02:47:53
With free will your actions would be unpredictable, therefore god would not be able to see your future. If he knows what you will do then how is it free will?

To quote the bible "God knows all the knowledge there is"

Oscar Wilde "The fool to the Gods and fool to man are very different... for the gods the fool is the man that does not know himself"

If you know someone you will know how they will act, it's still their free choice to do so.

If you could watch all time, seeing how people use their freedom does not take that freedom away.

Besides if you can see all time, you do not need to predict anything, you can just look.
Title: Does the future already exist?
Post by: Madidus_Scientia on 28/03/2011 07:24:27
If you know someone you will know how they will act, it's still their free choice to do so.

If god is all knowing, then it already knows when it creates you a certain way exactly how you will be and think, and therefore exactly what you will do with your "free will" all the way until you die, since it sees all of time. So you have no choice in the matter, it's god that makes every decision you will ever make when it creates you. Therefore, if god knows the future then you do not have free will.
Title: Does the future already exist?
Post by: JMLCarter on 28/03/2011 22:46:22
Nice logic, while we are in that vein has the following been considered...

In order for an entity to be actually omniscient it would need to have knowledge of all the measurable/variable properties of the universe.
For such knowledge to be 100% accurate and comprehensive, the entity would necessarily contain as a minimum a complete model of the universe, including itself. That would mean infinite regression, which it is impossible to make real (there's always another step).
Which suggests that no entity can be omniscient, only, for want of a better term, "vastly knowledgeable".
Title: Does the future already exist?
Post by: Madidus_Scientia on 29/03/2011 00:49:57
I agree.
Title: Does the future already exist?
Post by: Jolly- Joliver on 29/03/2011 07:43:48
If you know someone you will know how they will act, it's still their free choice to do so.

If god is all knowing, then it already knows when it creates you a certain way exactly how you will be and think,

The bible will disagree, for while god made us and knows us, an eliment of choice is still present.

and therefore exactly what you will do with your "free will" all the way until you die, since it sees all of time. So you have no choice in the matter, it's god that makes every decision you will ever make when it creates you.

No sorry cannot agree, your basically saying we are all god.

Therefore, if god knows the future then you do not have free will.

Again God seeing the future does not prohibit free choice, seeing the future means that on any given path things will happen, yet God effects the destiny of man, acts within it, changes courses. Seeing a given future does not mean the whole thing is set, God just watches.

As a greater point if there is a God reality can be however that God decides, having a god does not preclude free will at all.

Going to think up an anaology using movies......
Title: Does the future already exist?
Post by: Madidus_Scientia on 29/03/2011 08:01:34
The bible will disagree, for while god made us and knows us, an eliment of choice is still present.

What some old book says doesn't concern me. If "he" doesn't know what we will choose then he isn't all knowing. If he does know,... well see my earlier posts.

Quote
No sorry cannot agree, your basically saying we are all god.

I don't see how you came to that conclusion.

Quote
Again God seeing the future does not prohibit free choice

Then how can he know the future without knowing what choices you will make?
Title: Does the future already exist?
Post by: Jolly- Joliver on 29/03/2011 13:39:26
The bible will disagree, for while god made us and knows us, an eliment of choice is still present.

What some old book says doesn't concern me. If "he" doesn't know what we will choose then he isn't all knowing. If he does know,... well see my earlier posts.

Knowing what you will do, does not effect the free choice to do so. There is only an effect upon a free choice if God actually intervined, and either encouraged or prevented an action, why would God act at all within the creation is if was all fixed?

Quote
No sorry cannot agree, your basically saying we are all god.

I don't see how you came to that conclusion.

Because God would be making every choice, we would all be just acting as an extencion of gods thoughts.

Quote
Again God seeing the future does not prohibit free choice

Then how can he know the future without knowing what choices you will make?

Doesn't matter you are still free to choose them.

As I said before God can make reality as God chooses, meaning that seeing the future and giving man free will are still possible, For God.
Title: Does the future already exist?
Post by: Madidus_Scientia on 30/03/2011 07:18:48
Knowing what you will do, does not effect the free choice to do so.

I have explained a few times why this is not logical but you just seem to keep asserting otherwise without explaining how my logic is wrong.

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why would God act at all within the creation is if was all fixed?

Well as far as I can see, he doesn't. Anyway, if he knows the future he already knows how he's going to interact.

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Because God would be making every choice, we would all be just acting as an extencion of gods thoughts.

As a consequence of gods thoughts, yes.

Quote
Doesn't matter you are still free to choose them.

Back to square 1 again. Again, if god is all knowing and sees the future, then before you are even born he knows exactly what choices you will make throughout your whole life. There is no way you can do something outside of what god expects you to do, otherwise he is not all knowing. So you have no choice in the matter, you will do exactly as god expects throughout your whole life, so if god is all knowing you have no free will.

If you are still not convinced, instead of just asserting otherwise, explain how my logic is wrong. Otherwise we're just going in circles.

You haven't addressed JMLCarter's point either.
Title: Does the future already exist?
Post by: Eric A. Taylor on 30/03/2011 08:33:27
The book I'm reading right now has made the claim that the future already exists. The idea is that all of space-time (past, present and future) exists as a lump. The example given was a loaf of bread. Each location and each event are points within the loaf of bread. The events that happen at the same time according to two different observers depends on how they are moving relative to one another. This was given as an explanation of Relativity. So if one observer is moving near the speed of light he or she will say that two events happened quite a long time apart when two stationary observers will say they happened at the same time. This would mean that someone is seeing what another would call the future.

This bothered me because it seemed to suggest that the future is already set in stone precluding free will. The future is just as unchangeable as the past. No matter how hard I try I'll never prevent the launch of Challenger on 28 January 1986.

There is another theory I've never been comfortable with that my idea settles. The theory states that anytime something happens that has a chance of turning out in more than one way a new universe is created where all of the possibilities happen. I've never liked the idea of new universes popping into being every time someone decided between wearing the blue or the green shirt today.

But what if space-time was like a maze. One which you can not see what's ahead and you can only go one way. Reaching a dead end in the maze means your own end. When you decide to turn left or right in a maze you are not creating more maze, it's already there but you will never see that part of the maze you didn't take.

So in November 2012 I'll be faced with an intersection of maze where I can vote for Obama or whoever the Republican is. Down one corridor is a reality where Obama wins a second term and the other where the Republican wins. Both corridors exist but we'll only see the results of one.

I think you mean is there fate, are things set or deterimined(although detreminism has a few sides to it).

To a degree I would say yes. Speaking from a religious persepective, God gave man free will, which lead to the fall, and ultimately will express itself on the day of judgement, when people are to be assesed acording to their actions/lives, faith and apreciation.

It is said that God can see the future as easily as the past, therefore God knows what is to happen on the day of judgement, that however is God, no one else knows. Leaving us free still to adjust ourselves as we choose to, with in that reality certain things are decided by god to happen, other things are not nessecerily.

I way I like to see is like a road, you can drive on the left or the right yet certain things you will happen upon, which ever side you drive on. But that's a religious perspective and just one of many others.

to quote Jesus "For all your worrying can you add but a day to your life" Kinda like when the petrol runs out that's it, but I think how you drive could effect the condition of your car.

Peace.

I'm not saying there is fate at all. In my imagination time does not flow like a river, rather WE move through time. Imagine the maze has pictures on the wall that represent each instant. If I were to visit the part of the maze that corresponds to "England, early 1970's"  I might see Chris Smith being born. (I don't know what year he was born)I walk down the hall a bit and I can see him being chewed out for setting the cat on fire (again I have no idea if he ever really did this, but I'm sure he got into trouble for at least one thing growing up) A little farther down, say around 1990 I might find an intersection that represents Chris' decision to go to medical school. Down one path we'd see Chris earn an MD, start the Naked Scientists talking for years on the radio and giving lectures on virology. Other paths may lead us to see Chris flunk out of school, become a drug addict, get busted and spending years housed by the State. Both of these realities are just as real as the one Chris remembers, both are part of THIS universe, but Chris only remembers being a successful and talented radio personality because he CHOSE not to become addicted to drugs.

We are still free to choose in the same way that a person in a maze is free to choose their own path. Their is no "fate" because all possibilities exist already, until the end of time.

Just as we can see the past, so we can visit the "future" Perhaps down one path, in the year 2065 we'll find Chris, a very old man, explaining to his great-grand kids some scientific enigma, down another we'll see where Chris' intersects with some nutter who was fed up with his awful puns and knocked him off. Both futures are real, but which one he'll experience depends on not only his own choices, but those of all the nutters as well.
Title: Does the future already exist?
Post by: Geezer on 30/03/2011 08:51:09
Just as we can see the past, so we can visit the "future" Perhaps down one path, in the year 2065 we'll find Chris, a very old man, explaining to his great-grand kids some scientific enigma, down another we'll see where Chris' intersects with some nutter who was fed up with his awful puns and knocked him off. Both futures are real, but which one he'll experience depends on not only his own choices, but those of all the nutters as well.

But that means all possible futures exist, which is completely different from saying "the future exists".
Title: Does the future already exist?
Post by: Madidus_Scientia on 30/03/2011 08:51:51
If every possible future already exists but it just depends which way we go, isn't that just another way of saying there is no future?
Title: Does the future already exist?
Post by: Geezer on 30/03/2011 09:22:51
If every possible future already exists but it just depends which way we go, isn't that just another way of saying there is no future?

Pretty much!
Title: Does the future already exist?
Post by: Jolly- Joliver on 30/03/2011 10:22:32
If every possible future already exists but it just depends which way we go, isn't that just another way of saying there is no future?

Which asks what is it that causes the "Way we go", if Choice then, Looking at it, there are all the possible outcomes and a choice deciding a path of one of them, from the many possibles, see the future as a maze, God sees the maze, and God being able to see that maze, doesnt take that free choice to turn left, or right, or up, or down away.

God playing a role in that maze, could direct certain movements, and also not at other moments, many possibles, fate, free choice all existing together, in a maze of future events that could and also could not come.
God being aware of all the possible choices, a person in the maze could make, doesn't take away their free will to make a choice at a given moment.

To any given outcome there could be many variable possiblities to achieve the same end, choice could be seen as part of that variable process. What does it matter if going left or going right a person ends up in the same place eventually? The end fixed, yet with freedom.

Marx said "Men make there own history but never in circumstances of their own choosing"

The reality created by God, you exist that circumstance, a free choice allows independence and movement= God's not a control freak.

Title: Does the future already exist?
Post by: Jolly- Joliver on 30/03/2011 10:41:03
Quote
why would God act at all within the creation is if was all fixed?

Well as far as I can see, he doesn't. Anyway, if he knows the future he already knows how he's going to interact.

As far as you can see, yet according to scripture he does. The latter is an assumption, does it not depend on the, sort outcome?

Title: Does the future already exist?
Post by: Madidus_Scientia on 02/04/2011 08:41:28
Wiybit you just keep repeating what I've already shown to be illogical, you're just trolling now. So I'm not going to bother repeating what I've been trying to get through to you, you need only read my previous posts again, if you ever read them properly at all.

As far as you can see, yet according to scripture he does.

So what?
Title: Does the future already exist?
Post by: Eric A. Taylor on 02/04/2011 18:34:49
If every possible future already exists but it just depends which way we go, isn't that just another way of saying there is no future?

In this model past present and future need to be thought of a little differently. Instead of thinking of future events as nonexistent (say the President of the United States in 2112, who has not yet been born) you need to imagine time spatially. All events in time exists in space-time, just as both Indianapolis, In and Portland, Or both exists in different places. The flow of time we feel is US moving through time, not time passing us by.

This is why time dilation happens (google "twins paradox") When two objects (our twins) are not moving, relative to each other, both will agree as to how much time has passed. They are both moving though time at the same speed. Now one twin decides to go on a short trip at 90% C. That twin trades some of his time velocity for space velocity to move away from his twin. Now they are NOT both moving through time at the same velocity (velocity here differs from "speed" in that speed is scalar and velocity is vector) It's hard to imagine moving through time at any speed, because our definition of "speed" uses time itself (distance over time) but that's what we are doing, moving through time at near the speed of light.
Title: Does the future already exist?
Post by: Jolly- Joliver on 02/04/2011 21:32:24
Wiybit you just keep repeating what I've already shown to be illogical, you're just trolling now. So I'm not going to bother repeating what I've been trying to get through to you, you need only read my previous posts again, if you ever read them properly at all.

No let me remind you again that I have said repeatly, God can make reality how ever he wants it, if that means free will and him seeing all the many possible futures a person could have based upon free choices, then that's that. Your logic as you call it, doesn't work.

For those that believe in God, God decides how reality functions, and can change it at the drop of a hat, if God wanted to.

You work in a fixed way, 1 + 1 = 2.

God seeing all the possible futures a person could have does not take away their free will, Sorry you do not get it.

As far as you can see, yet according to scripture he does.

So what?

Again, you do not understand, so everything!
Title: Does the future already exist?
Post by: Madidus_Scientia on 03/04/2011 06:51:36
So you're saying that god is outside logic so he can do anything even if it doesn't make sense.

If that's the kind of "explanation" (or non-explanation) that satisfies you then you're welcome to it.

But since debates are based on reason, and your arguments are outside of reason, you are also outside of the debate.
Title: Does the future already exist?
Post by: Madidus_Scientia on 03/04/2011 07:01:56
Now one twin decides to go on a short trip at 90% C. That twin trades some of his time velocity for space velocity to move away from his twin. Now they are NOT both moving through time at the same velocity

I'm not sure I understand you properly, but are you implying then that time is not relative, but there is some sort of absolute standard of time? And one of the twins is going faster than the other, rather than just relative to each other?
Title: Does the future already exist?
Post by: Eric A. Taylor on 06/04/2011 02:56:05
Now one twin decides to go on a short trip at 90% C. That twin trades some of his time velocity for space velocity to move away from his twin. Now they are NOT both moving through time at the same velocity

I'm not sure I understand you properly, but are you implying then that time is not relative, but there is some sort of absolute standard of time? And one of the twins is going faster than the other, rather than just relative to each other?

Newton thought there was such a thing of absolute space and absolute time. For two about 300 years this was debated ad nausea without much progress. One camp held that space was a real physical thing on which matter was placed. Think of a stage play. The actors move about the stage doing things and saying things, but when the play is over and the actors go home, and they take down the set the stage still exists. The other camp argued that without matter there would be no space. Think of an alphabet. I can say that that I is four letters down from D, that other letter E, F, G, and H are between D and I but without the letter (matter) then there is no such thing as space. Newton also felt that time was absolute. That an hour in London is an hour in Detroit and in the moon and any other place.

Basically motion needs a reference point. You see a sign on the side of the road that reads "speed limit 100 KPH (or 60 MPH)" but 100 KPH relative to what? Motion through space needs to have some sort of reference to have any meaning.

There is however absolute space-time. This is why we can say "moving through time".

In American Football the player must move the ball 10 yards down field to get a "first down" before being tackled. A running back who can run at a speed of 3 feet per second (about 5 MPH) should be able to reach the first down marker in about 10 seconds. He takes the snap and runs for 13 seconds before being tackled but is still short of the first down, why? He ran cross way down the field so he did run more than 10 yards but much of that 10 yards was used running to the sideline. In the same way, if you want to move through one of the 3 spacial dimensions you'll need to move crosswise to the time dimension which means it will take a little longer for your hour to pass.
Title: Does the future already exist?
Post by: old_bob on 11/04/2011 16:52:50
boy meets girl, they click, they have kids. But that was after boy meets girl,  they didn't click, they didn't have kids, so the future was moulded as soon as they split up after the first date. Their two kids tom and anne were never born....whereas after the click,  fred and sue were born...
Title: Does the future already exist?
Post by: Eric A. Taylor on 14/04/2011 02:12:48
boy meets girl, they click, they have kids. But that was after boy meets girl,  they didn't click, they didn't have kids, so the future was moulded as soon as they split up after the first date. Their two kids tom and anne were never born....whereas after the click,  fred and sue were born...

Both histories exist in the same way that two different corridors exist in a maze.

In the 1930's Neville Chamberlain came to a split in the maze. one led to war, the other APPEARED to lead to piece. Unfortunately for the world Chamberlain decided to take the piece corridor, which turned out to lead to a war much worse than it should have been. This is the history we know and "remember". But the history in which Chamberlain lead the Allies to remove Hitler before he became too strong also exists down another corridor.
Title: Does the future already exist?
Post by: Madidus_Scientia on 14/04/2011 08:33:33
I don't see why it is necessary to postulate that every possible future already exists, what does it explain or predict?
Title: Does the future already exist?
Post by: yor_on on 25/04/2011 20:58:15
Well, some fight for the 'many worlds' scenario, but it gives me a headache as it become infinitely vast, as I see it, almost instantly. Because where do you draw the line? when a particle interact? And just how many particles do you think interact each second in our universe? Said to be 'infinite' too? and each interaction split a whole universe in all possible possibilities? Which then in their turn do the exact same? It's like one, five, a googol, infinity ~ ..

I don't know, seems like the universe makes it hard for itself if so. Easier to assume that all probabilities exist in a 'static' universe. With us taken for a ride by our macroscopic 'arrow of time' if so. And then with 'free will' as our macroscopic steering wheel(s). Ah, maybe :)

Title: Does the future already exist?
Post by: Madidus_Scientia on 26/04/2011 14:22:33
Indeed, it would imply every time a particle bounces off another and goes one way, it creates another universe, while in another universe the particle bounced the other way. Where does the energy come from to keep creating all these universes?
Title: Does the future already exist?
Post by: Democritus on 28/04/2011 06:58:35
Of the tenses, past, present and future, I have the biggest problem with the present tense. The concept of 'now'. Just thinking about it confounds me. I like this quote from St. Augustine:
"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."

I also like the quip that goes something like.. time is that which prevents everything happening at once.

Speaking of Augustine, there is a pretty good read regarding his ideas about time by Robert Jordan in the Review of Metaphysics edition of way back in March 1955. Here's a taste:

"His
analysis turns up a paradox, the resolution of which is said to
constitute Augustine's contribution to the nature of time. The
matter may be condensed into something like the following: We
speak of long and short times but only in terms of the past or the
future. But neither the past nor the future exists. A thing
exists only in the present, existence being used here in the full
bodied sense of actuality. Now, the present cannot be long. It is
not spatial and cannot be divided, despite our apparently ineradic
able tendency to spatialize and divide it. Any selected unit,
such as a day or an hour, is subject to continuous abridgment.
Hence the present cannot really be long or short. It just is."

While the entire article is a tad long to download and read, and naturally from time to time refers to matters theological, it is a worthwhile resource for this conversation, in my view. There may be other views. Anyway, here's the link, if you wish.

http://www.gclorusso.com/augustine/references/pdf/Time%20and%20Contingency%20in%20St.%20Augustine.pdf

One last quote from Augustine anticipating the big bang theory by 1,600 years:
"Thus there can be no doubt that the world was not created in time but with time. An event in time happens after one time and before another, after the past and before the future. But at the time of creation there could have been no past, because there was nothing created to provide the change and movement which is the condition of time."

So, there it is.. the future does not exist. Augustine said so. [:)]
Sincerely
Democritus

Title: Re: Does the future already exist?
Post by: Nomad on 04/03/2015 19:15:34
We all make decisions everyday.  The future is the result of those decisions.  If the future already exists for someone in another frame of reference, then they are able to observe the results of those prior decisions.  None of this alters the fact that we have to choose our actions and make our own decisions.  Someone operating outside our frame of reference with access to the entire timeline of our existence, aka...GOD, would seem to nullify our ability to exercise free will.  Perhaps the point being missed here is that just because the author knows what the ending is, doesn't mean that we aren't making choices at any given moment in time.  Perhaps we are a cosmic event stuck on repeat while GOD as the observer, is asleep in the easy chair watching TV.  That would explain alot:)
Title: Re: Does the future already exist?
Post by: PmbPhy on 04/03/2015 21:00:50
If the future already exists for someone in another frame of reference, then they are able to observe the results of those prior decisions.
It's not meaningful to say that the future exists for someone in another frame of reference since the future is the set of all events after a particular time as measured in a particular frame. That set of events is different in other frames but it can't be said that they don't exist in that frame. It's that "exists in the other frame" that is tricky and causes problems.
Title: Re: Does the future already exist?
Post by: Finding the Elephant on 24/03/2015 09:28:14
I think it needs to, however it doesn't mean it is the future that will occur for us. In other words, we don't need to see the arrow of causation as limited to a one past and one future scenario. Consciousness may have agency over space-time due to the possibility it may not reside in space-time, disrupting the determinism of space-time, and creating an additional line of causation, that is, going from x past and x future to y past and y future. The hardest thing to swallow about this is the suggestion that we can and do change history. Sounds crazy I know. A little hypothesis I am working on.
Title: Re: Does the future already exist?
Post by: Thebox on 24/03/2015 09:56:43
The book I'm reading right now has made the claim that the future already exists. The idea is that all of space-time (past, present and future) exists as a lump. The example given was a loaf of bread. Each location and each event are points within the loaf of bread. The events that happen at the same time according to two different observers depends on how they are moving relative to one another. This was given as an explanation of Relativity. So if one observer is moving near the speed of light he or she will say that two events happened quite a long time apart when two stationary observers will say they happened at the same time. This would mean that someone is seeing what another would call the future.

This bothered me because it seemed to suggest that the future is already set in stone precluding free will. The future is just as unchangeable as the past. No matter how hard I try I'll never prevent the launch of Challenger on 28 January 1986.

There is another theory I've never been comfortable with that my idea settles. The theory states that anytime something happens that has a chance of turning out in more than one way a new universe is created where all of the possibilities happen. I've never liked the idea of new universes popping into being every time someone decided between wearing the blue or the green shirt today.

But what if space-time was like a maze. One which you can not see what's ahead and you can only go one way. Reaching a dead end in the maze means your own end. When you decide to turn left or right in a maze you are not creating more maze, it's already there but you will never see that part of the maze you didn't take.

So in November 2012 I'll be faced with an intersection of maze where I can vote for Obama or whoever the Republican is. Down one corridor is a reality where Obama wins a second term and the other where the Republican wins. Both corridors exist but we'll only see the results of one.

Let me answer this for you, the future is always there and something's in the future are set in stone such as the Sun will eventually die, we will all eventually die.

however actions in a timing period of time can not alter a future unless by invention or science.
Example- if I could prove any of my own ideas to be true,I would in effect change the future and the past at the same time by alteration of the present.

Title: Re: Does the future already exist?
Post by: BigBuddha on 24/03/2015 22:23:55
Gentlemen,

Here are my thoughts, please chew on them a bit, see how they taste and let me know how I did.

Firstly one of the first scientists, Siddhartha Gautama. Studied at length the question of time and came to a conclusion that may fail theories of time space and relativity but passes the test of relevance. Meaning whenever you need to answer a related question that needs this answer for a variable, plug it in and it works. His answer was, there is only the present moment. That is not to say that time does not exist because that would be silly. Time is just our understanding of the nature of the current moment's transition to the next. Think of a motion picture frame by frame. In our current frame the effects of past frames linger but the past is burned away as it becomes the now. The future is not yet in existence because all the pieces of the present to include decisions we make have not yet manifested however as they do the now disappears and the future becomes the now. Seamless and perfect. No past, no future just now. Could other theories be true, maybe but this will always pass the relevance test.  Does it matter if the future already exists? No, because for all practical purposes it does not. Generally speaking an inability to perceive or affect either the past or future further aides the argument for this theory.

As for the God question. Quoting scripture in a science forum is juvenile at best. Use logic to form your argument. I will not repeat the adequate explanations of why if there is a future then there can be no free will and therefore god... whatever. But what I will say is try this other test of relevance. When the question of GOD comes up substitute...all existence, the entire NOW frame for GOD. Us included not separate and it works. Example who created the universe? Spontaneous big bang=self creation= GOD did. Bam. Knocked that out in an afternoon.  What is God's will? All things in the universe operate according to the laws of science which we continue to discover. If everything is god then these laws must be gods will. The way the Now evolves over time is the will of GOD. Nothing more. If I pray to god will it help? Only if by praying you mean that you get off your ass an do something about it. Anything else is coincidental. Is GOD good? Depends on your point of view I imagine. Overall I would say the Muslims have it right on this front. Just say thanks for the opportunity to exist. Praise be to god who created and provides for us all. Or however you'd say it.

Sorry I started to get off topic.

As Siddhartha once said don't just take my word meditate on it yourself, find the real truth for yourself. If what I say is true it will not fail under harsh examination.

And my man Einstein said "any idiot can make a thing bigger and more complicated it takes real genius to move in the other direction". So if it passes the relevance test and is super simple why develop a more complicated theory.