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No, seriously: Physicist longs for explanation of the arrow of time that explains as much as Darwin does

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passage of time, imaged/S. Sepp

A theoretical physicist seeks to explain the low entropy of the universe’s initial state:

A common assumption among scientists today is simply that, for some as yet unknown, possibly quantum-mechanical reason, the universe just did begin in such a state. This is the “past hypothesis.” It invokes the fact that all standard explanations in physics involve both laws and initial conditions: The outcome of any laboratory experiment is determined both by laws and by the conditions under which it is started. The past hypothesis extends this traditional way of thinking to the whole universe. It relies on law and on an initial condition.

But the reliance on an unexplained initial condition to explain two of the most striking features of the universe—the growth of entropy around us alongside the steady growth of structure in the universe at large—leaves Penrose and others like myself dissatisfied. What drives scientists is the desire to explain and understand phenomena. We all want to emulate the way Charles Darwin explained so much with just four words: evolution by natural selection.Julian Barbour, “The Mystery of Time’s Arrow” at Nautilus

Barbour and his colleagues have come up with theory for the arrow of time based on law alone, which he goes on to explain.

It is interesting that he invokes Darwin, whose theory is based on randomness alone (natural selection acting on random mutations).

Actually, Darwin and his followers simply imposed a vision on the natural world: In their vision, masses of complex, specified information simply arise naturally in the struggle among life forms, though we have yet to identify a single example. (The equivalent of the multiverse in physics?)

Evolutionary biologists are now quick to tell us that Darwinism is passé, even as they continue to pay homage to its enforcers. Darwin’s followers’ real genius has been cultural: They harnessed a social revolution against the idea of cosmic order and called it biology.

Darwinism seems like an explanation because it is an interpretation of life the way adherents understand it—which is a rather different enterprise from an explanation in science.

It will be interesting to see how Barbour’s thesis fares, considering his choice of patron.

See also: Arrow of time points to missing dark matter

Cosmologist tells us how time got its arrow Something is wrong here. Just recording, just recording…

Studying time’s arrow with philosophers

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Did time’s arrow originate in a quantum source?

Is There Any New Research Worth Noting On The One-Directional Dimension Of Time?

and

One theory on the origin of time: It’s all in our heads

6 Replies to “No, seriously: Physicist longs for explanation of the arrow of time that explains as much as Darwin does

  1. 1
    FourFaces says:

    Time cannot flow by definition. This is why spacetime is a block universe in which nothing happens. There is only the changing present.

  2. 2
    AaronS1978 says:

    It’s OK I can be explained by Darwinian evolution simply that our present is the only present that survived

  3. 3
    AaronS1978 says:

    It was selected naturally

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    As to:

    “We all want to emulate the way Charles Darwin explained so much with just four words: evolution by natural selection.”

    Any theoretical physicist who begins the presentation of his novel hypothesis for time by wishing to “emulate the way Charles Darwin explained so much” disqualifies his novel hypothesis for time from being taken seriously off the bat.

    As Wolfgang Pauli stated,, “Treating the empirical time scale of the evolution theoretically as infinity they have then an easy game, apparently to avoid the concept of purposesiveness. While they (Darwinists) pretend to stay in this way completely ‘scientific’ and ‘rational,’ they become actually very irrational, particularly because they use the word ‘chance’, not any longer combined with estimations of a mathematically defined probability, in its application to very rare single events more or less synonymous with the old word ‘miracle.’”

    “In discussions with biologists I met large difficulties when they apply the concept of ‘natural selection’ in a rather wide field, without being able to estimate the probability of the occurrence in a empirically given time of just those events, which have been important for the biological evolution. Treating the empirical time scale of the evolution theoretically as infinity they have then an easy game, apparently to avoid the concept of purposesiveness. While they pretend to stay in this way completely ‘scientific’ and ‘rational,’ they become actually very irrational, particularly because they use the word ‘chance’, not any longer combined with estimations of a mathematically defined probability, in its application to very rare single events more or less synonymous with the old word ‘miracle.’”
    Wolfgang Pauli (pp. 27-28)

    In other words, for Julian Barbour to wish to emulate Darwin’s theory with his novel hypothesis for time is, in actuality, for him to wish that his novel hypothesis could also be, basically, a unfalsifiable pseudoscientific religion:

    Darwin’s Theory vs Falsification
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8rzw0JkuKuQ

  5. 5
    ScuzzaMan says:

    … is, in actuality, for him to wish that his novel hypothesis could also be, basically, a unfalsifiable pseudoscientific religion

    That is exactly what every scientist wants. It’s not the thrill of discovery but of celebrity. You might say that Darwin-envy has a sound basis in evolutionary psychology …

    But … Barbourism?

    It would be too rich.

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    scuz at 5 🙂 ha ha ha

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