iSoul In the beginning is reality

Objections to multidimensional time

Multidimensional time is held to be impossible or the stuff of science fiction. Despite this there is an extensive literature on multidimensional time. However, with few exceptions multidimensional time is held to be merely a formalism or undetectable. If multidimensional time is considered to exist, it is something very different from time as is commonly known.

On this website we have shown that multidimensional time is readily understood through elementary transportation and physics. In what follows we present short counter-arguments to some objections to multidimensional time.

Objection 1. Time is measured by clocks, which measure only one dimension.

We can just as well say space is measured by rods or rulers, which measure only one dimension. Both clocks and rods measure one dimension with each use but may be employed to measure multiple dimensions separately – or with three instruments. Three dimensions of time are measured from one-dimensional measurements, as are three dimensions of space.

Objection 2: Direction is a property of space, not of time.

First, this is begging the question. The question is whether temporal direction exists. Second, the association of direction with space it just that: an association. One can just as well associate direction with time. That is, direction can be defined temporally as well as spatially. Third, entities in motion have both spatial and temporal properties that arise together. The difference is in how they are measured.

Objection 3: Only one dimension of time is observed.

Whether that was ever true, it is true no longer. I have been pointing out how multidimensional time may be observed. This is a question of looking at the instruments (as Galileo once tried to get his opponents to look in a telescope).

Objection 4: We cannot go backwards in time as we can in space.

It depends on what you mean by “backwards”. We can measure time forwards or backwards. One way is counting up, and the other way is counting down. For example, we can set an alarm to count up from the present moment to a specified time, or we can set an alarm to count down from the present moment a specified amount of time. We can use clocks that run clockwise or clocks that run counter-clockwise.

Objection 5: Time flows in one direction.

Yes, a clock moves in one direction. And a ruler has a sequence of numbers in one direction. The sense of time flowing independently of us is related to the use of time as an independent variable. If length is an independent variable, then length will seem to flow on in one direction. But if time is a dependent variable, it may be measured in multiple directions, just as length is. See previous posts here and here.

Objection 6: The arrow of time is one-directional; we cannot change the past.

No past measurements can be changed. That applies to measurements of length as well as time. One could as well suppose there’s an arrow of length that disallows changing past measurements of length. The mistake is thinking that the past has only to do with time and not other activities. All activities take place in the past, present, or future – not just watching the clock.

Objection 7: Events are ordered by time, and the sequence of events has one dimension.

Events may be ordered in multiple ways. One way is by the calendar and the clock. Another way is by the location where they occur, which may be the distance from a particular location such as a city center. Or events may be ordered by their importance. Narrators have many ways of ordering events.

Jesus’ brothers and sisters

The Gospel According to John, chapter 7:2-10 reads:

2 Now the Jews’ Feast of Booths was at hand. 3 So his brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea, that your disciples also may see the works you are doing. 4 For no one works in secret if he seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.” 5 For not even his brothers believed in him. 6 Jesus said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always here. 7 The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil. 8 You go up to the feast. I am not going up to this feast, for my time has not yet fully come.” 9 After saying this, he remained in Galilee. 10 But after his brothers had gone up to the feast, then he also went up, not publicly but in private.

Three times the text mentions “Jesus’ brothers”, or as the footnote states, it can be translated, “Jesus’ brothers and sisters”. Who are these brothers and sisters?

1. Literally speaking, someone’s brother or sister is a person with the same parents. Since Jesus is uniquely the Son of God (John 3:18), he cannot have any brother or sister in the literal sense. Therefore, these verses cannot be read literally.

2. Someone’s half-brother or half-sister has one parent in common. Is it possible that Joseph and Mary had natural children after Mary gave birth to Jesus? John 19:26-27 reads:

26 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” 27 Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.

This action of Jesus as he was dying makes no sense if either Joseph were still alive or Mary had other children who would take care of her. So Jesus did not have a half-brother or a half-sister.

3. Someone’s step-brother or step-sister is a child of a parent from a previous marriage. Is it possible that Joseph was widowed and had children before marrying the Virgin Mary? The John 19 passage above shows this would make no sense because if either Joseph were still alive or Mary had other children, they would take care of her. So Jesus did not have a step-brother or a step-sister.

4. In some cultures such as first-century Jewish culture another relative such as a cousin may be called a brother or sister. This is the remaining possibility and must be the meaning of the passage. These brothers and sisters were likely cousins of Jesus.

The conclusion is that Jesus of Nazareth was an only child.

Displacement vs. arc length

As pointed out here, average speed does not equal the magnitude of average velocity. But the instantaneous speed does equal the magnitude of instantaneous velocity. For example, the average velocity of one orbit is zero but the average speed is positive.

Consider a section of a curve as below:

The arc length of this section of the curve is Δs. The displacement is Δr. This with the horizontal and vertical differences Δx and Δy makes a triangle. The Pythagorean theorem gives the hypotenuse of the triangle:

(Δr)² = (Δx)² + (Δy)².

Clearly Δs is longer than Δr since the shortest path between two points is a straight line. Now consider a differential version of this:

Then (dr)² = (dx)² + (dy)². But in this case ds is not shorter than dr since they are both differentials, that is, infinitesimals.

So the differential ratios with denominator Δt as Δt → 0 equal dr/dt and ds/dt, which are equal. The instantaneous speed uses either the differential displacement or the differential arc length.

But determination of the arc length is much more difficult than determination of the hypotenuse. So the instantaneous speed, velocity, and acceleration are defined in terms of the hypotenuse, not the arc length. After all, arc length can be determined by integrating the differential hypotenuse.

So the displacement is used instead of the arc length.

Nominal breakthroughs

Modern science is quantitative, not qualitative. The top breakthroughs in modern science have broken through traditional distinctions of quality or kind. Consider the following:

(1) Newton’s theory of gravitation broke through the traditional distinction between the sublunar and supralunar universe (e.g., the earth and the heavens). All motion is subject to the same laws.

(2) The atomic theory of matter broke through the traditional distinctions between different kinds of matter (e.g., water, earth, air, and fire). All matter is merely a combinations of atoms (or subatomic particles).

(3) Darwin’s theory of evolution broke through the traditional distinctions between different kinds of organisms (e.g., humans and animals). All species are merely variations of life (or genes).

(4) Einstein’s theory of relativity broke through the traditional distinction between space and time. All dimensions are subject to the same laws.

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Hartford Appeal

The 1975 Hartford Appeal deserves to be better known. It may be viewed here. A book was written about it: Against the World for the World: The Hartford Appeal and the Future of American Religion by Peter L. Berger and Richard John Neuhaus (New York: Seabury Press, 1976). A 40th year anniversary reflection was written by Richard J. Mouw (see here). What follows are the 13 false themes identified:

Eighteen theologians and religious thinkers from nine denominations gathered at the Hartford Seminary Foundation, Hartford, Connecticut, January 24-26, to draft a declaration in response to themes in contemporary Christian thought which they viewed as “pervasive, false, and debilitating.”

Theme 1: Modern thought is superior to all past forms of understanding reality, and is therefore normative for Christian faith and life.

Theme 2: Religious statements are totally independent of reasonable discourse.

Theme 3: Religious language refers to human experience and nothing else, God being humanity’s noblest creation.

Theme 4: Jesus can only be understood in terms of contemporary models of humanity.

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Wise knowledge

Presuppositions are a priori suppositions, usually unstated. They are not inevitable. Presuppositions may be replaced with suppositions. That is, presuppositions may be made explicit.

For example, someone might say, “I will flip a coin. If it is heads, I will adopt presupposition A; if it is tails, I will adopt presupposition B.” In that case, neither A nor B are presuppositions; they are suppositions that are chosen a posteriori.

Mathematics is the discipline that is based entirely on suppositions. It is purely conditional. “If X is supposed (or given), then Y follows necessarily.” If X is rejected, then something else may follow.

The existence of mathematics shows it is possible to have knowledge that is truly universal. Science is the attempt to mathematize all knowledge and remove all subjectivity. That is the “view from nowhere”. See here for how induction works through formal definitions and conditions.

But is it wise to remove all subjectivity? No, for the simple reason that it would turn us into mere objects. The person in us cries out, “I am not a number; I am a free man” (The Prisoner). We are subjects and so want a “view from somewhere”.

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Middle ontologies

As the previous post noted here, nominalism seeks a minimal ontology, that is, a minimum of qualities. This qualitative parsimony leads toward the ultimate minimum ontology: an ontology of one. That is, the assertion that there is only one quality, one kind of stuff, whatever it may be called – matter, energy, or whatever.

This is a bias toward one extreme. Compare the opposite extreme: quantitative parsimony, which leads toward the ultimate of one member in each kind of thing so that each thing is unique. This has the advantage that it allows the individuality of every thing to be emphasized rather than obscured by being merely one member of a large class of things.

But either bias is a bias and so predisposes the search for knowledge toward a biased answer. It would be better to adopt a neutral ontology, or seek one, in order to avoid biasing the result. Such an ontology would be between these two extremes, somewhere in the middle. That allows a great deal of flexibility for research and discussion, contrary to the take-it-or-leave-it attitude that goes with an extreme ontology.

A middle ontology could be a common sense ontology, at least as a starting point, since common sense recognizes some qualitative distinctions. A middle ontology could be a mid-entropy ontology, with some notion of middle to select the best frequency or probability distribution. In any case, the search for knowledge should prefer middle ontologies, and only if all middle ontologies fail should an extreme ontology be considered.

Scientific nominalism

Nominalism has three senses:

  1. A denial of metaphysical universals.
  2. An emphasis on reducing one’s ontology to a bare minimum, on paring down the supply of fundamental ontological categories.
  3. A denial of “abstract” entities.

William of Ockham, the name most associated with nominalism, agreed with the first and second senses, and in a lesser way, the third sense. The scientific principle called “Ockham’s razor” (or “Occam’s razor”) focuses on the second sense.

Ockham’s “nominalism,” in both the first and the second of the above senses, is often viewed as derived from a common source: an underlying concern for ontological parsimony. This is summed up in the famous slogan known as “Ockham’s Razor,” often expressed as “Don’t multiply entities beyond necessity.” Although the sentiment is certainly Ockham’s, that particular formulation is nowhere to be found in his texts. Moreover, as usually stated, it is a sentiment that virtually all philosophers, medieval or otherwise, would accept; no one wants a needlessly bloated ontology. The question, of course, is which entities are needed and which are not.

What this means for science is not a vague simplicity but qualitative parsimony:

This distinction is between qualitative parsimony (roughly, the number of types (or kinds) of thing postulated) and quantitative parsimony (roughly, the number of individual things postulated). The default reading of Occam’s Razor in the bulk of the philosophical literature is as a principle of qualitative parsimony.

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Terminology discussion

In order to describe 3D time some new terms and new meanings for old terms have been introduced in this blog. The reasons for this are discussed in this post.

It would be possible to add a prefix to terms already in use but that over-emphasizes the similarities – or opposition if a negative prefix is used. In some cases, there are existing words that could be easily adopted. Most importantly, there is a need to emphasize that 3D time requires a different way of looking at the world than is commonly done.

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Problems in mechanics, part 3

This post continues a series of problems (part 1 here, part 2 here) based on the website Free Solved Physics Problems, this time concentrating on dynamics problems for time-space corresponding to problems in space-time.

Note: A newton is how much force is required to make a mass of one kilogram accelerate at a rate of one metre per second squared (1 N = 1 kg ⋅ m / s2 ). An oldton is how much rush is required to make a vass of 1 kilogram-1 expedite at a rate of one second per metre squared (1 O = 1 kg-1 ⋅ s / m2).

Problem 6.

A boy of mass 40 kg wishes to play on pivoted seesaw with his dog of mass 15 kg. When the dog sits at 3 m from the pivot, where must the boy sit if the 6.5 m long board is to be balanced horizontally? Solution here.

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