Regress Type Arguments Are The Single Biggest Problem In All Of Fundamental Science And Philosophy
    By Sascha Vongehr | December 11th 2011 09:00 AM | 32 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Sascha

    Dr. Sascha Vongehr [风洒沙] studied phil/math/chem/phys in Germany, obtained a BSc in theoretical physics (electro-mag) & MSc (stringtheory)...

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    Those who somewhat grasp Einstein’s general theory of relativity are proud to be elevated over the folk-philosophical level. They understand that the Big Bang did not explode to expand space outwards into some “meta-space” that contains space. There is space, but not necessarily an outside, a space of space. The latter would start a so called regress without definite termination (similar to the Regress argument), namely the questioning of where that space of space in turn is located and what its physics would be. Such leads to the next level of the space outside of the space that contains space and so on.

    It is almost common knowledge today that “meta-space” is a conceptual error. Moreover, it was precisely relativity theory that unified space and time. Nevertheless, the ‘meta-level mistake’ is still committed even by most scientists when it comes to the nature of time. This stubbornness is a symptom and just the tip of a huge, inert iceberg that refuses to get out of our way.

    In the following, we will see via “time of time”, “randomness of randomness”, “real reality”, stuff being “actually actualized”, and “conscious awareness”, that progress on all the major questions in fundamental research is held back by the regress error hampering our thinking in a profound way. It is the same silly way it confused already thousands of years ago, which renders physicists’ pride about having understood that space needs no outside pace especially childish. They took the pride, but sure did not learn the lesson yet.

    This is not about intelligence. Einstein was highly intelligent. He could have resolved the Einstein Podolsky Rosen paradox a century ago if he did not commit regress error thinking. His desire for “real reality” and misunderstanding randomness as “random randomness” made it impossible for him to understand the core of quantum mechanics in spite of being the very person who rejected space of space and time of time like no other before him.

    Why oh why is it so darn difficult for even the most intelligent scientists and philosophers to avoid the regress error?

    This topic is dear to me also personally, because one of several reasons for claiming my own thinking to be “next level” is that I try to avoid regress, but the result is that many even very educated people just cannot access my arguments. Simply through refusing regress error terminology like “actually actualized”, my work is perceived as pseudoscientific drivel unrelated to the “real” physics of why “time flows” or whether parallel worlds “really exist”.

    However, this is not about me, but You! Regress error thinking is the single most difficult hurdle for all of fundamental science still today. It did not just delay acceptance of relativistic space-time historically, but it slows down progress in quantum physics and the science of mind to an unbearable crawl. Such a long time after Wittgenstein and Ayer, we still use regress error type terminology and the circularity of the unquestioned first step in the regress, trying to express ‘what one cannot talk about’ (in Wittgenstein’s words). But let’s be constructive: If you want to make progress on the very foundations of fundamental science, stop calculating and spend a full week trying to find where you yourself commit this error. The following hopefully helps.

    1) The Flow of Time washing away Rationality

    Once time is inside our description in order to take care of changes, there is no further “meta-time” that allows this terribly misleading “flow of time”. You measure flows in terms of time; there is no further time for time that allows time to flow itself.

    This is yet more obvious than “space in space”; after all, our universe could well be a three dimensional membrane in a ten dimensional “meta-space” for example. However, if time needed to flow, this would imply meta-time (How fast does it flow?). Assuming that time needs flow, we immediately have not just regress without definite termination, but an infinite regress: Time of time of time of time of time of …

    There is no meta-time that allows the present to slowly climb the time axis into the future. There is no mysterious ghostly glow of the present that some feel must distinguish the present from the rest of time. Slowly more and more people begin to realize this, but writers like Julian Babour make a living out of confusing people by pushing the regress error into a different realm.

    Babour style ontology tells us that “only time capsules exist” without telling us clearly what “exist” is supposed to mean in this context. Such is not the reason for why “time of time” is nonsense. Flow of time does not make any sense; it is plainly not a consistent use of language! (It would only make sort of sense inside an Einstein-ether with emergent time that lives in an outside, ‘relatively absolute’ time. However, such is far removed from what people (or Babour) ever consider and we are here discussing the fundamental nature of time. Fundamental time just cannot flow, and it is not because of physics!)

    2) Nature of Consciousness

    People are conscious, that is the phenomenon in need to be explained and it still is not completely explained, but the debate is basically stuck in the mud of how consciousness is conscious. Highly intelligent people fight about what is basically meta-consciousness: the phenomenal subjective “first-person” feeling of “conscious awareness” is mostly ill-defined as some sort of conscious consciousness. Daniel Dennett has made much progress on this, but the vast majority of people, philosophers and scientists alike, are not able to comprehend it. And it is not lack of intelligence, but lacking the ability to question one’s own way of thinking.

    What is perhaps most intriguing about it: One of the main problems of the “critics” of Dennett is actually that they do not understand that time has no time! One of the central points of Dennett’s is the difference between a so called “Orwellian” versus “Stalinist” consciousness and how this difference actually does not exist because the “difference” is simply meaningless temporal terminology. The time resolution on which consciousness emerges and the work of Benjamin Libet on timing is involved here, and people like P. Churchland (both) and Searle do not understand it because they do not grasp the nature of time. Searles' “Chinese room” is infamous and one of the silliest instantiations of starting an infinite regress (understanding of understanding).

    Adding quantum goop to a zombie brain in order to have consciousness is nonsense, but that does not mean there is no deep relation between consciousness and quantum mechanics. Sadly, whenever you point this out, people immediately confuse it with mystery quantum goop proposals, simply because this regress error type thinking is so wide spread that everybody tacitly assumes you do it too.

    3) Quantum Physics

    The biggest problem with understanding quantum physics today is the ill-understood nature of probability and randomness. The folk-philosophical understanding of randomness implicitly assumes some meta-randomness to ensure that equivalent possibilities are equally likely. This problem with probabilities leads to the so called ‘measure problem’ and it should not surprise that the measure problem is the biggest problem in current cosmology, because cosmology is the scientific field where also space of space and time of time are most problematic.

    In a many world model, the 50/50 randomness between tossing a coin and obtaining heads versus obtaining tails is taken care of via the equivalence of the different branches labeled “heads” and “tails”. Nevertheless, most people are unsatisfied without some sort of extra ingredient like for example an equal volume of the branches. The thought is similar to imagining a pointer that randomly selects points in the branches. The feeling is that if both branches have equal volume, the pointer lands with equal probability.

    A pointer “Directly Real” (short "DR") meta-randomly selects one of two volumes in a many world model.

    This totally wrong picture assumes a sort of further meta-randomness that makes some god-like pointer randomly select, because the pointer only falls 50/50 into the different branches if all points inside the branches have the same probability to be selected in the first place. In other words: equal probability is assumed in order to let it arise via the equal volume fractions. This is a circularity which is here though due to starting a regress: What makes the meta-randomness random? Meta-meta-randomness? (This topic is in more detail explained in “Empirical Probability versus classical fair Meta randomness”)

    4) Nature of “Reality”

    The issue that somewhat underlies all the others is direct realism, which is a naïve form of realism which demands reality to be “really real”, you know, like existing with “truly true truth”. For example, the quantum physics problems lead to considering entangled many world models which are tautologically true (this is in detail discussed in “Many Worlds Tautological Truth: To Be Or Not To Be Is Not The Question”).

    The problem people have with accepting many worlds is that they desire to know if those other possibilities are more than merely (relatively) actualized for the observers for whom they are actualized. People demand to know whether such worlds are really truly “actually actualized”. And if one points out that this is no more than bad terminology, one gets either insults or some sort of incessant follow up of ever more terminology nonsense like that one does not really mean this or that but whether parallel worlds “really exist” or whatever.

    Over and over new formulations that are based on regress error thinking and circularly (un)defined terminology are presented, quite similar to academic philosophy actually, and if you stay consistent with refusing to adopt any of the bad terminology, you are accused of not answering any questions or caring about the “real issue”. Just one thing I have not yet come across: Anybody who is committing the regress error realizing it and improving. Why oh why is it so difficult?

    UPDATE: I forgot to include “Free will” being the "willing of will" (meta-will).
    Also, the throwing of fair “meta-coin” whenever we reach a branching point in the many-world tree rests on the wrong picture of slowly creeping along time (meta-time necessary to allow an actual reaching of branching points).
    So, meta-time necessary to step out of time and decide freely or throw a meta-coin shows again that these misleading pictures support each other. Problems will persist if we do not get rid of all of them together by refusing any terminology that is circular due to regress.


    More from Sascha Vongehr sorted Topic for Topic


    Larry Arnold
    I am not sure whether to take you seriously or not here. I don't necessarily think you have reached "the next level" because if you have, there you go, you have invoked recursion again (again).

    I thought it was rather cool when Indiana Jones discovered the Aliens who live in the space between spaces, in a kind of isn't it cool how you can make simple words and sentences sound very profound kind of way.

    Of course space is all there is, if it wasn't it wouldn't be space. As to whether space is, or can expand, that is debatable because it all comes back to measurement, and having something to measure against. All measurement is derived from anthropometric measures (now who is getting tautologous here?) and all thinking is derived from what it is that whatever we are allows us to think, partly because we are embodied beings who are self referential.

    Perhaps space does not expand, it is just that we get smaller. Smaller and smaller in the frame of reference as we attempt to understand worlds beyond what was once the only world we allowed, the distance we could walk and the furthest that we could see. In terms of our conception of ourselves we have got smaller. Of course I am speaking metaphorically here, but then again all language is metaphorical according to one particular thery. All we know is that there appears to be an outside of us for us to be relating to it. Space does not relate to an outside of space, I agree that it is an absurd notion, however what sense would it make if we were not here to experience it? Would it then have to make sense to itself? It's a non question.
    "the next level" because if you have, there you go, you have invoked recursion
    Neither is every "next level" recursion, nor is recursion the beginning of a regress without definite termination.
    Of course space is all there is, if it wasn't it wouldn't be space.
    No. Our 3D space may well be inside a 10D string theoretical bulk space for example.
    As to whether space is, or can expand, that is debatable
    No! Accelerated metric expansion is well defined and has been confirmed by observation - even a Nobel has been awarded.
    Larry Arnold
    Neither is every "next level" recursion, nor is recursion the beginning of a regress without definite termination.

    You may have a point there, but it is somewhat arrogant to assume the termination has been reached with your epistemology

    Other than that you have missed something that I was saying, because I was dealing with metaphor from whence all language springs, not mathematics or symbolism here.

    That is to say that when I was very small, I was very big, when I crawled across the room, space stayed in front of me, and whatever was behind did not exist any more until I turned round. Space was just a local extension of me until I grasped the "permanence of objects" and all of that was reliant upon authority, and the trust in that authorities reasoning. At some stage in my history I read about Copernicus, which triggered a particular revolution in removing mankind's world and hence mankind from the centre of things. Later on, much later on the expanding universe thery came into being giving it all another "perspective" (note I persist in visuo-spatial metaphors for want of any better language)

    With that the notion of our species being the be all and end all, the summation of existence and centre of all things came rather unstuck, and we became a very small thing in a very large universe.

    One might still argue a symetry that we occupy a niche in terms of our dimensioning that puts us at some balancing point between the very small and the very large, but that is bordering on conceit too.

    What is debatable, is anything that can be questioned, no matter how absurd the question, such as to ask you how many fingers I was just holding up on my left hand just now.

    The problem with a very notion of expansion is, that in human terms, (whether these are real or not) it requires something to expand into, and hence most people will think regressively, it's the way the mind works, and yours too, you are not exempt.

    Did Descartes reach the next level, did Kant? Well I have to say in my estimation George Berkeley did contributing to the conceptual framework, and then Thomas Young to the empirical one. Now that is a touch regressive but I don't think any of us could start out with a clean slate and figure out as much as we suppose to know of the "out there" without there having been some process, and much error along the way.

    Laurence - do I come to your column and tell you that autistic kids should just pull themselves together and if they don't a good smack will do it? No? That is the level on which you are "commenting" here.
    Larry Arnold
    Point made, but there is still something to be understood here.

    You have identified what you see as a problem. However I identify a rather different one that has brought us into conflict.

    It is not possible in these days that anyone of us can have that comprehensive depth of knowledge to understand the complexity of those fields we are not involved in, we are amateurs in each others territory.

    When I cited Thomas Young, I was thinking of the book that described him as the "last man who knew everything" indeed when I read that was in itself  a revelation to me, as I had thought prior to that, that completeness ended with Thomas Aquinas.

    It's remarkable that Young could have left a lasting impression in so many different fields as he did even at that late stage in what we call "science". It is surely impossible today, so let's have a little more tolerance.

    I find that the more one looks at the literature based in more than one epistemology, the more contradictions one finds. None of us (internet notwithstanding) have the ability to encompass it all, and what I find most distressing is that there are quite gross errors committed by those deep within particular silos, because they do not know how some other discovery has wiped out the consistency and truth they claim, because in there system all is still hunky dory.

    Of course I don't have your expertise, I am generalising, but tell me, what else can I a mere mortal do?

    My argument is that at what ever level that one declares oneself to be rational, the "next stage", "the cutting edge", whatever, one still has all that cultural baggage, that social nuancing, that "garbage" that means that truth, accuracy, whatever it is you are aspiring to in a description of the way things are clouded by a lot of things you don't acknowledge because it is invisible to you.

    If I am commenting from the level of primordial slime, so be it, at least I have an interest in learning more.
    I like the thrust of this article .... Another way of speaking about time is in the phrase "many-fingered time" from John Wheeler. In his Einstein's Vision book (in German (1967 (i think)), he describes a Super Space in which each point is a 3-geometry equivalence class of objects. As you fan out from one point to an array of possible new ones (via some Wheeler-Dewitt Schrodinger-like equation), the 3-geometry of the initial state bulges and pulses in complex and localized ways (as the matter in it shifts), thereby creating "many-fingered time".
    I wouldn't say for sure that this "Super Space" is a regress. It is more like a Hilbert Space. 

    Nice article Captain S. I looking forward to digesting the rest of it and sweeping away me regress errors.
    As I stated, space in space is not necessarily regress without definite termination. In string theory or say general emergent gravity, there is a well defined and terminating tower of nested spaces.
    The Stand-Up Physicist
    What is your take on Minkowski's famous quote about spacetime? I think you know my position, but was curious about your view, not seen in this particular blog.
    You mean
    "Henceforth space by itself, and time by itself, are doomed to fade away into mere shadows, and only a kind of union of the two will preserve an independent reality."
    ??? Independent of each other or of observation or what? Which time and space - emergent ones or fundamental ones? Shadows as in hyper-dimensional projections? He means the union cannot fade away in another useful description? Let me guess: the guy never heard about stringtheory, holography, conceptual duality, emergent gravity, ...
    Alfred Differ
    Over the years I've learned not to care too much about the number of dimensions someone assumes are 'real' or the number of regresses they make while modeling their problems.  If the model is useful, that's good enough.  I started down this path with the realization that the number of degrees of freedom in a problem defined the 'dimensions' of the solution space to start.  Reducing that space to something that is commonly accepted as 'real' is something of an art and wonderful fun when people manage to do it.  I don't treat one or the other as fundamentally more 'truthful' though.  I don't see why I should since that might lead me to mistake the model for the thing being modeled.

    Regress is a natural thing for us to do since it is what our brains must do for us to consider ourselves.  If I want to remember something, I fashion an 'alternate time' and relive the memory as if it was the present.  The fact that my memory isn't a recording or even close to perfect doesn't change what I attempt to do.  If I want to contemplate what might happen if I make a certain choice, I fashion another 'alternate time' and live it for awhile to learn/predict outcomes.  If I consider myself as a machine, this is just what I do in order to work with memory.  It's the same trick for recall and prediction and almost the same for predicting the actions and reasons of others.

    I think there is an excellent case to be made that people don't give enough thought to the implications of their regressions when they construct models, but you'll have to ask them to model their modeling efforts to help them see this.
    -Dream Big. --Grow Up.
    I completely agree that when we build models, we may regress as many steps as we find useful. I personally argued this very point with emergent relativity, because 'space in space' can be extremely helpful even if it were to be fundamentally untrue.

    The problem is that people consistently refuse the most elegant and powerful models much like they refused relativistic time, because they are obsessed with a terminology cluster f*** brought on by regress error thinking. Without this "but are the parallel worlds really real or perhaps not actually actualized" nonsense (and the academic sophistry is basically this but in long sentences wrapped around pseudo-profound words), we would have long ago understood quantum physics much further.
    Alfred Differ
    I suspect you are right on some of this.  The alternate worlds stuff strikes me as good fodder for exploratory narratives or fantasies, but that says more about how we function than the world around us.  I don't know if it would have save a lot of time, though.  It's hard to avoid thinking the way we think.  Maybe we should do it a lot more until we are so sick of it we try something new in disgust.  8)
    -Dream Big. --Grow Up.
    I don't know if it would have save a lot of time,
    All the gazillion man-years wasted on the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen and related problems, on defending classical reality against non-locality, on defending non-locality (instead of modal realism), and more ...

    Imagine all this time would have instead been used to improve on what special relativity already implied even before (!!!) quantum physics needs to be considered, namely that a fundamental description is an Einstein-local relational one that looks at consistency of past-light cones (nothing more is the quantum picture and its consistent histories of observers, except for added entanglement). We could have been where we are now already 50 years ago at least.
    Alfred Differ
    That would be nice, but I'm not convinced it is even remotely possible.  I've sat in on enough seminars to watch the audience as well as the speakers.  Most of us don't understand each other, but nod politely and try occasionally to close the gap.  If we weren't making regress errors we would be doing something else that might or might not be productive.

    One of the best bits of insight I got regarding physics occurred when I was defending my dissertation in a one-on-one with one of my professors.  He was willing to sign off if I could convince him what I was doing was worth it which is the usual deal, right?  I worked him for a couple weeks if memory serves and he eventually came to the conclusion that I knew enough.  It was the way he said it though that stuck with me.  He told me he had reached a point where he wasn't willing to go any deeper into my subject unless he intended to make it his research topic too.  He wasn't certain I was right, but he was certain that his lack of willingness to go deeper shouldn't stop him from signing.  I got my second of three signatures that way. 

    I suspect a lot of us do this when faced with insights offered by others.  If those insights look to be valuable enough, we expand our attention to include them.  Otherwise we halt at some point and accept the ignorance.  For example, it was a post of yours about Christian's work regarding Bell's theorem that drew me to this site, but I'm not sure what your position really is or how far I want to go into it.  My background is clifford algebra and its uses in physics, but I'm deciding whether to expand my interests enough to go deeper into what you talked about with your challenge.
    -Dream Big. --Grow Up.
    In many ways you have correctly understood the problem. But I think you are approaching that understanding from the top down rather than bottom up, which is just a fancy way of saying your analysis of how we go wrong is backwards. Maybe it does not matter. Perhaps your role is to call attention to the irrational fact and not so much to explain the nature of the irrational process.

    I wish you great success in your work. I am your fan.


    Adding quantum goop to a zombie brain in order to have consciousness is nonsense, but that does not mean there is no deep relation between consciousness and quantum mechanics.
    I don't suppose there's the slightest point in asking "and what might that connection be?"?
    Hi Someone sent me link to your discussion having looked at my videos on 'timelessness'

    I`m not quite sure exactly what you mean by regress type argument - but i can help with the subject of time.

    the conclusion of my work is this. If, when trying to understand how the universe works, we start by asking questions like 'what it TIME' or 'does TIME exists' then we risk polluting the very thing we are trying to explore - by implying in our loaded question that a thing called TIME may, or does exist.

    Instead it may be wiser to first ask 'what do we see in the universe around us?' - to which a good starting answer is 'We see objects, existing and moving'.

    We then ask 'Are objects existing, moving and interacting enough to explain all that we see' (i.e we don't insist that things move 'over a thing called time'. - to this question i think the amazing answer is 'yes - if things could JUST exist , move, and interact, this would explain all that we observe AND also be enough to mislead us into thinking a thing called TIME also exists'.

    The key here is to see that while we may look at our internal, mental physically existing 'memories' and 'call' them 'the past', in fact all our memories prove is that as things move and change, and as we watch them, the contents of our minds can also be changed (forming what we call a memory) - but our memories do NOT prove that as things move and happen 'a thing called time also passes - and a record of all events is also created in a thing we might call the 'temporal past'.
    SEE 'X Plaining away the past >

    If you read the opening of Einstein's 1905 'electrodynamics' paper you can see that (despite popular assumption) he does not prove anything other than that things can move and change and interact often in unintuitive ways. but he does not prove the existence of a 'future' or a 'past' or a thing called 'time' which might flow between them. Instead he seems to just assume that 'TIME' exists, and then goes on to write 'relativity' in the language of time, and as if time has been proven to exist elsewhere and by someone else.

    So we can say IF time exists, then relativity tell us a great deal about it, and time can be seen as a fourth dimension.
    BUT relativity does not prove the existence of TIME -so unless the existence of time is proven elsewhere 'all' relativity show us is that fast moving things 'change' more slowly than stationary things (SR) and things under strong gravity/acceleration also change more slowly than other things (GR).

    -So, sorry if ive posted this in the wrong place - but my conclusion is that the universe is just as we constantly and directly see it to be - filled with things just moving changing and interacting 'now' - i.e 'timelessly'.

    Hence , space-time is just space-motion, time does not exist and is not a 'fourth' dimension - hence all other discussions on 5th dimensions etc should be very carefully reconsidered.

    matt mars

    So we can say IF time exists, then relativity tell us a great deal about it,... BUT relativity does not prove the existence of TIME
    You are wasting your time. ;-) If time does not "exist", how can you even talk about it? You are so happy about somewhat understanding the regress error regarding time that you do not realize being caught up in it regarding "existence".
    Hi Sascha,

    Thanks for the reply, sorry about the typo. (I guess we all
    make them, be great if you could enable a post edit option ;^).  

    I`ll think about 'Regress error re existence' at some point - not clear on that yet, but, ...
    Anyway, you say...

    are wasting your time. ;-) If time does not "exist", how can you even
    talk about it?”

    I think this may be a logical error... So, my reply would

    To talk about something I personally assume we just need
    ‘energy’. I have energy therefore I can talk about something. (likewise remove
    all my energy and I stop talking, and doing anything else). So I may well be wasting
    my energy – (and a few 'telomeres') talking about probably non-existent ‘time’ :^)

     ‘Time’ may or may not exist. Just as, say the Yetti,
    Aether, or ‘phlogiston’ may or may not exist. So I can talk about things that
    may or may not actually exist. If they happen to exist then I am talking
    about the actual thing, but if they happen not to exist then I am just talking
    about a mistaken idea or assumption. Critically I also can’t assume that because
    I/we apparently talk about something- this always counts as a proof that it

    So- the error may be, that we assume, that extra
    to all that we actually observe, a thing called ‘time’ also exists, and is
    needed for us to be able do anything. And therefore we assume it follows that
    even talking about time proves its existence. But this is an invalid, circular

    For the original assumption that ‘time’ exists to be taken
    seriously we need some valid initial reason for making such a grand assumption about
    the ‘invisible’ existence of something apparently all pervading, yet totally
    undetectable. And then also proof that it exists. And I don’t think we actually
    have any such initial reason or subsequent proof.

     Consider the ‘logic’ behind the following...

    Person A assumes or declares, that for things in the world to
    be able to move, extra to just energy, things also need another undetectable
    thing called ‘Time’ to exist and flow. They also state
    that ‘Time’ generally ‘flows’, in ‘one direction’, from a ‘Temporal
    Future’, through the present, and into the ‘Temporal past’.

    As an experiment to prove this, they insert a battery into a
    toy car, and confirm that the car moves if the battery is charged. And also
    declare all their other claims have been proven.

    Now I would say that the toy car experiment does

        -that for the car (or other things) to move and change ‘energy’
    is needed.

      - That energy can ‘flow’ from a battery through a motor.


    But the toy car experiment does not prove...

       -that as things move a thing called Time is also needed
    and must ‘pass’

       -That an undetectable thing called the Future exists

       -That an undetectable thing called the Past exists

       -That as things move ‘time’ flows from the future through
    the present and into the past

       -That the present is an infinitely thin 3d slice through
    a 4d universe

       -that ‘the past’ exists as a record of all events in some
    way and is constantly added to.

       -etc etc etc.

    I would say that unless the existence of these things
    can be proven elsewhere then they are just, and only ‘assumptions’. (Useful as
    they are).

    However, person A claims that because they ‘stated’
    that for the car to move energy and an extra thing -  ‘time’ was needed’
    – and then because the car moved, the existence of energy and Time and
    all its attributes had been proved – this can be seen to be invalid – all that
    was proven is that the toy car moves if energy is free to flow.

    ( See > related discussion “things don’t ‘take time’ to
    move” (excuse video quality and ‘munching’ sounds) >

    What I’m saying , in all seriousness, is if we look
    carefully we may see that while the idea or ‘tool’ of time makes great sense
    and works well, in fact all we constantly observe is that things exist, move
    and change (following Relativistic rules etc – but always and only ‘now’ and
    where ever they happen to be ‘now’). To claim time exists we would at least need
    to show...

    1-      A
    good reason to even suspect ‘Time’ existed in the first place

    2-      An
    experiment that proved Times existence and function.

    3-      Proof
    that ‘the future’ actually really, in some way, exists and ‘arrives’

    4-      Proof
    that ‘the past’ actually really, in some way, exists (and is added to)

    5-      To show
    what ‘drives’ time

    6-      What
    time’s effect in the universe is (extra to what energy does)

    7-      What
    creates ‘the past’, why the past is created, and where the past is stored.

    8-      What
    creates ‘the future, why the future is created, and where the future is stored.etc


    (re ‘1’ we may think we have a legitimate reason to suspect
    Time/the past exists – but we have to consider that despite common assumptions
    - the physical contents of our minds do not actually also prove the existence
    of ‘another’ record of all events held in some way in a ‘temporal past’ some

    As I say, I haven’t seen anywhere where Einstein (or anyone
    else) actually shows or proves the actual existence any of these things, or a
    good reason why it is ‘obvious’ they exist. Einstein seems to just assume they
    exist, because other people assume they exist. Can you point me to any web
    links to such proofs?

    (You may at first think you know many, but I think you may
    find they all seem to actually just be unfounded ‘assumptions’, and over-extrapolations
    of the observation that everything does indeed exist, move and change etc where
    energy and momentum operate.)


    Ps love the blog. Sorry if these posts are too long etc, and
    I guess they are going off the subject of – ‘Regress Type Arguments’, but I
    notice your site has a lot on Time/Relativity etc, so hopefully I’m not
    crashing the party too much.


    Daniel Burnstein
    If we could describe any physical system at any scale without using the relational concept we call time, could we still consider time as a property of physical reality?
    Daniel L. Burnstein
    I forgot to include “Free will” being the "willing of will" (meta-will).
    Also, the throwing of fair “meta-coin” whenever we reach a branching point in the many-world tree rests on the wrong picture of slowly creeping along time (meta-time necessary to allow an actual reaching of branching points).
    So, meta-time necessary to step out of time and decide freely or throw a meta-coin shows again that these misleading pictures support each other. Problems will persist if we do not get rid of all of them together by refusing any terminology that is circular due to regress.
    Daniel Burnstein
    I agree that clearing up terminology will help reveal the problems you outline in this article, but I think fixing the problems will require changing the way physics theories are formalized and developed.

    Developing theories axiomatically from the ground up in a formally rigorous way (that is, without bending the rules set forth to fit whatever outcome), differentiating between mathematical and physical truths, differentiating between mathematical axioms and physical axioms, and between the object and the subject, may help as well.
    Daniel L. Burnstein
    "Regress error thinking is the single most difficult hurdle for all of fundamental science still today."
    WOLFGANG PAULI!!!! He and Jung worked on this problem for 30 years in their private discussions.

    Deep topic and not easily resolved in a Web Format. I think the twin paradox's of Russell paradox in naive set theory, and the Grelling -Nelson paradox in language may not be two separate paradoxes at all. The also may only exist in context to regress error thinking itself. It's interesting that a paradox exists that is shared by both science, and the humanities. The discourse between science and the humanities is rather strained in today's world , and when they blend it tends towards paranormal-ism from the humanities side, or scientism from the scientific side. Or maybe visa versa at times as well. We have to resolve paradoxes and generally I would say resolution of paradoxes has more to do with how we think, rather than what we think. Changing how we think, is a deeper than science by itself but science should guide us and can guide us if we are honest with ourselves. At the end of the day maybe interpersonal dishonesty expressed in either religious or scientific jargon is truly the deeper problem we face individually and collectively.

    Hello Sascha. I really would like to get my teeth into your arguments and understand better what you are writing. I hit a road block on one of your previous articles, the one called Empirical Probability versus Classical Fair Meta-Randomness.

    My incomprehension has to do with the quantum die that you do not explain well. I do not understand your branching diagram. I fail to see how your quantum die explains how with the Zeros, the branching will be in three parts, whereas with the other two branches with the Ones, there is no branching at the level shown. I printed out your technical article at arXiv, yet it doesn't look any clearer at a glance. 

    Are there instances where branching really is in three or more paths simultaneously, or can every node be seen under greater magnification as composed of elementary two-way splits? 

    Your branching diagram is easy enough to understand by itself. It is its physical quantum basis that eludes me. Otherwise, you just have a made up model with a bunch of words padded around it. 

    Often, I do not have time to see your articles freshly after you post them. I apologize for the long delay in reporting my difficulty. I appreciate the handy links in your Internet Primer on the fundamentals. Still, when I get tripped up on what looks to you like a little thing, I really can't pick myself up and continue down your path, even if I keep landing on my feet.

    You should probably comment under the other article - this discussion does not fit here. Anyway - as the quantum die you can adopt the EPR setup. Just draw the tree that describes the observations of all the parallel Alices. In order to get the correct quantum probabilities, you need to enter precisely those extra branches into the tree.
    Your articles are getting really heavy with hyperlinks to previous articles which have their hyperlinks .... With each link back, you presume that you have covered the issues and difficulties and are happy to move on in the construction of your edifice, as if each arch and span is practically perfect.
    "The feeling is that if both branches have equal volume, the pointer lands with equal probability."
    It is not a feeling so much as it is a definition of probability.

    The democratic sum over all pathways with each pathway (on a given level) apriori treated with equal probability ~ one man, one vote ~ is hardly the poissonous regress issue you make it to be. 
    The alternative would be to come up with hidden-variables to account for why probibilites should NOT be taken with the fair-dice randomness that comes from basing probability on the "volume" of pathways. Of course, you do not want to introduce hidden variables, if you don't need them. That's for quacks.
    I'll try to get to your many cross-linked articles on EPR. At a glance, you seem to gloss over the fact that the "particles" involved in EPR like experiments are indistinguishable ~ they can be swapped with no observable change. That to me is what makes it fundamentally not like classical human-scale physics with specks of dust or bowling balls. The fact that fundamental particels do not have individuality is a lot better starting point for high-school physics and chemisty than your "many-worlds" emphasis.
    The lack of individuality with atomic particles (large molecules even)  is what allows one to speak of performing identical experiments over and over, with no hidden variables or hidden-branching complexifying the building up of the statistics. The scientific method would not work in the hard sciences without it. It's built right into what we mean by state vectors and the "Born rule". 
    Just my hunch before lunch. Of course, I could be completely misunderstanding everything you say .... with so many pathways and hyperlinks .... there is a high probablility ~ frequency ~ for that to happen.

    The alternative would be to come up with hidden-variables to account for why probibilites should NOT be taken with the fair-dice randomness that comes from basing probability on the "volume" of pathways. Of course, you do not want to introduce hidden variables, if you don't need them.
    Well, "fair-dice" just means that every time the volume increases, an infinite number of "dice throwing people" step out of all the possible pathways into possibility-space level 2, throw the dice and jump back onto one branch bearing the magic reality ticket. Meanwhile someone must be deciding the outcome of throwing the dice which implies another dicethrower at level 3.
    I think an answer along the lines on an eternal ergodic hypothesis can work, but not without the eternal bit and a dash of smearing to remove degenerate orbits.
    As to whether space is, or can expand, that is debatable

    No! Accelerated metric expansion is well defined and has been confirmed by observation - even a Nobel has been awarded.

    Hmm... how do we know that all material things are not shrinking, leaving Space static? Think scale relativity...

    how do we know that all material things are not shrinking
    Because "metric expansion" is defined to include that.
    I'm coming to this party a bit 'late', and bringing over a question I'd originally posted on another thread...

    If my understanding of many-worlds models is correct, the dominant formulation holds that there are separate universes which decohere at each 'decision' point - to use your example, a coin toss.

    I realize that visual models when talking about physics are rather severely limited, but for a while now I've had this vision in my head of a Pachinko game board. There are all those little steel pegs, off of which the balls bounce when you drop them, and when they fall the balls' motion always makes me think of water, in a way. They're all individual things, but they seem to flow down over the pegs as a contiguous sheet.

    Well, that got me thinking. If you were to drop just one ball over and over and over again, at some point or another it will have followed every possible path down the board - so in one sense, the steel pegs act as 'decision' points where the ball's direction has changed in some stochastic (that is, contingent, not random) fashion.

    By being deflected, the ball takes a particular path and doesn't take any others - but the other paths remains there, and have always remained there, even though the ball didn't go that direction. If we were to drop another ball, it would take a different path - but it would be mad to assert that the different path it took resulted in the creation of a whole new Pachinko board just to accommodate the ball.

    What I'm wondering is whether this is applicable to the cosmos itself. Whether every possible decision, every possible permutation, already exists and has, in one sense, already been chosen; it's only our limited perspective that keeps us from seeing the whole Pachinko board as our particular steel ball bounces along from peg to peg.

    As far as I can tell, this is consistent with many-worlds models, with the important distinction that it doesn't require branching off into other universes at each decision, because it's all already 'out there', even though we might not be able to see it. (Integrating with your comments about time, maybe it's this motion along that cosmic Pachinko board which we're perceiving as time - motion that we can't control, for whatever reason.)

    What I'm wondering is whether any of the above makes any sense at all. The reason I bring it up is because it does seem sensible to me, but it's pretty bloody difficult to engage physicists in this sort of discussion. I think it comes off as new-agey or crackpot or mystical, but I don't actually know whether it is or not.

    I am not sure sascha if the problem isn't rooted in our collective agreement as to what logic is. Christianity holds hard the wikipedia definition of logic. "the study of fundemental principles"... Reductibily that is stated as neurological activity in a monkeys brain justified by neurological activity in the monkeys brain. As a harsh naturalist evolutionist I call that autistic/aspergers regressive confusion and christian where modality and axioms are objective primary... Now that is hilariously stupid to this syntheste. Regressive thinking is just ocd to me due to reading writing.

    Inteeligent design is god as a geek with a pocket protector. I have no idea why scientists cant see that its cultural religion is in its own image. Would seem that scientists would take it as a compliment as deeply confused as it is.