1— The Bootstrap Paradox
Time traveling is a popular concept not only in science fiction like Interstellar but also in fantasies like Harry Potter. But, after reading this, you will realize that the time-traveling parts in those time travel movies are always a paradox.
Imagine you are a time traveler. You decide to meet the great greek philosopher, Pythagoras of Samos, and introduce him to the fantastic relation among the three sides of the right-angled triangle. You introduce and you leave.
Time goes by and he publishes it as ‘The Pythagorean theorem’ and you realize you were a part of the discovery of the legendary pythogorean theorem.
But this leads to an paradox. Who is the founder of the Pythagorean theorem in the first place? Because you helped him, but with a theorem by his past self. But his past self also has someone (your past self) helping!Dinelka, “6 Scientific Paradoxes That Will Blow Your Mind” at Medium (December 28, 2021)
Don’t miss the other five.
You may also wish to read: Has a 243 year-old puzzle been solved via a “quantum solution”? At Quanta: In a paper posted online and submitted to Physical Review Letters, a group of quantum physicists in India and Poland demonstrates that it is possible to arrange 36 officers in a way that fulfills Euler’s criteria — so long as the officers can have a quantum mixture of ranks and regiments.
6 Replies to “At Medium: Six scientific paradoxes on offer that will “blow your mind””
Time travel in fiction will always have problems, with most ignoring the paradoxes. There seems to be an inability to grasp a paradox has occurred or no interest in addressing the obvious problems.
One of the biggest flaws that I have seen on any given movie dealing with time travel is, Back to the Future, Part 3. When he goes back to the old west to save Doc, he uses a time machine that Doc has left for him. Since there was already one Delorean used by Doc, there would be two when he went back to save Doc. All the parts needed to fix the second would be on the first.
Some of these aren’t really paradoxes, just confusions. Ravens and Apples starts with a pure propositional logic statement, then takes it as “evidence” for a factual relationship. Logic doesn’t work that way.
Of note, Gödel held that such self-refuting logical contradictions inherent in time travel were sufficient, in and of themselves, “to undermine the Einsteinian worldview from within.”
The main flaw in Einstein’s reasoning seems to be that he envisioned time to be an actual physical entity. Yet if we treat time, (via common sense), as it really is, i.e. “a numerical order of change in space” and as “only a mathematical quantity of change that we measure with clocks”, then it is found, via a comparison between “photon clocks’ and ‘atom clocks’, that it “confirms Gödel’s vision: time is not a physical dimension of space through which one could travel into the past or future.”
Given the high level of respect that Einstein has earned over the years, some people might be shocked that anyone would dare question Einstein’s view of time as being a physical dimension of space.
But this is not the first time that Einstein’s conception of time as being a physical dimension of space has been seriously questioned.
Before we get into the prior ‘serious’ questioning of Einstein’s conception of time as being a physical dimension of space, it is first necessary to list the properties of the immaterial mind that are irreconcilable with the view that the mind is just the material brain.
Dr. Michael Egnor, (a brain surgeon, and professor), lists six properties of the immaterial mind that are irreconcilable with the view that the mind is just the material brain as such, “Intentionality,,, Qualia,,, Persistence of Self-Identity,,, Restricted Access,,, Incorrigibility,,, Free Will,,,”
As to more clearly defining the specific mental attribute of the ‘Persistence of Self-Identity (through time)’, (which may also be termed ‘the experience of ‘the Now”), it is important to note that we each have a unique ‘subjective’ experience of being outside of time. In fact we each, seemingly, watch from some mysterious outside perspective of time as time seemingly passes us by. Simply put, we very much seem to be standing on a stationary island of ‘now’ as the river of time continually flows by us.
Yet this creates an irresolvable paradox for reductive, (atheistic), materialists.
Dr. Suarez states the irresolvable dilemma for reductive, (atheistic), materialists as such, (paraphrase) “it is impossible for us to be ‘persons’ experiencing ‘now’ if we are nothing but particles flowing in space time.”
Likewise, Stanley Jaki states the irresolvable dilemma for atheistic materialists as such, “There can be no active mind without its sensing its existence in the moment called now.,,, There is no physical parallel to the mind’s ability to extend from its position in the momentary present to its past moments, or in its ability to imagine its future. The mind remains identical with itself while it lives through its momentary nows.”
And ‘the experience of ‘the now” (and/or ‘the persistence of self identity through time’), also happens to be exactly where Albert Einstein got into trouble with leading philosophers of his day and also happens to be exactly where Einstein eventually got into trouble with quantum mechanics itself.
In 1922 Einstein had a rather heated disagreement with philosopher Henri Bergson over what the proper definition of time should be. Specifically, Bergson held that “was the experience of waiting for a lump of sugar to dissolve in a glass of water.” It was a declaration that one could not talk about time without reference to human consciousness and human perception.” Whereas Einstein flat out stated that “The time of the philosophers did not exist.”
In fact, as the preceding article touched upon, the disagreement was so heated between Einstein and Bergson, (over what the proper definition of time should be), that that disagreement ended up preventing Einstein from ever receiving a Nobel prize for relativity.
In 1935 Einstein had another encounter with another philosopher, Rudolf Carnap. In that encounter Rudolf Carnap approached Einstein with the question of whether it was possible to turn ‘the experience of the now’ into a scientific knowledge. Einstein’s answer was ‘categorical’. Einstein answered that “The experience of ‘the now’ cannot be turned into an object of physical measurement, it can never be a part of physics.”
That specific answer that Einstein gave to Carnap on the train, “The experience of ‘the now’ cannot be turned into an object of physical measurement, it can never be a part of physics.” was a very interesting statement, and/or ‘scientific’ claim, for Einstein to make to the philosopher since “The experience of ‘the now’ has, from many recent experiments in quantum mechanics, established itself as very much being a defining part of our physical measurements in quantum mechanics.
For instance, the following delayed choice experiment, (with atoms no less), demonstrated that, “It proves that measurement is everything. At the quantum level, reality does not exist if you are not looking at it,”
Likewise, the following violation of Leggett’s inequality stressed “the quantum-mechanical assertion that reality does not exist when we’re not observing it.”
The Mind First and/or Theistic implications of quantum experiments such as the preceding are fairly, and pleasantly, obvious. As Professor Scott Aaronson of MIT once quipped, “Look, we all have fun ridiculing the creationists,,, But if we accept the usual picture of quantum mechanics, then in a certain sense the situation is far worse: the world (as you experience it) might as well not have existed 10^-43 seconds ago!”
In further demonstrating the primacy of ‘the experience of the now’ over time, it is now also found that “quantum mechanics can even mimic an influence of future actions on past events”
As the following article states, “a decision made in the present can influence something in the past.”
To clearly illustrate just how provocative this finding actually is, in the following 2018 article Professor Elise Crullis states that “entanglement can occur across two quantum systems that never coexisted,,, it implies that the measurements carried out by your eye upon starlight falling through your telescope this winter somehow dictated the polarity of photons more than 9 billion years old.”
Thus in conclusion, recent experiments in quantum mechanics, (contrary to what Einstein himself thought was possible for experimental physics), have now shown, in overwhelming fashion, that ‘the experience of the now’ is very much a part of experimental physics.
Also of note, because of quantum indeterminism, this ‘backward in time causation’ found in quantum mechanics does not create any irresolvable ‘time-travel paradoxes’ as it did in Einstein’s relativity. As the following study found, “The loop is avoided by the fact that the choice to abort an event thus forecasted leads to the destruction of the forecaster’s past.” and “causality remains intact as long as the future is masked by quantum indeterminism.”
Of supplemental note, the ‘entangled time’ findings from quantum mechanics also happen to provide a viable ‘mechanism’ for ‘backwards in time causation’ in order to satisfy the ‘backwards in time causation’ requirement in Dr. Dembski’s ‘old earth’ theodicy, i.e. in reconciling the ‘old earth’ theodicy problem of death preceding the fall of man.
I don’t understand why they keep calling time a “dimension”. It is clearly not a dimension, but a “variable” which gets added to the 3 dimensions of space to form a particular metric (of s^2 = r^2 – t^2). From special relativity, a car moving on a road is moving in time relative to a pedestrian, yet the same pedestrian has no difficulty still observing and even interacting with all those cars, which we would have to place at different points along the time “axis” if time were indeed a “dimension”.
And if time is not a dimension, then the notion of traveling back (or forth) in time is kind of meaningless.