The Arrow of Time from an Overlooked Physical Law

I’m reblogging this as a counterpoint to a recent book by John Gribbin, “The Time Illusion,” claiming that the ‘block world’ picture of spacetime is settled science. In fact, it is not. There is no real physical evidence for the ‘block world’ model, and there are counterexamples to the claim that relativity requires such a model. The inability of the block world to provide a complete explanation for the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics is another reason to keep an open mind regarding alternative, ‘growing universe’ models.

Transactional Interpretation


In this post, I’m going to disagree with the following statement by physicist Sean Carroll concerning the nature of time:

“The weird thing about the arrow of time is that it’s not to be found in the underlying laws of physics. It’s not there. So it’s a feature of the universe we see, but not a feature of the laws of the individual particles. So the arrow of time is built on top of whatever local laws of physics apply.”–Sean Carroll,

That is a common position, but it could very well be wrong. Specifically, what could be wrong with it is the claim that the arrow of time is “not to be found in the underlying laws of physics.” That claim comes from ignoring the possibility that there could be real, dynamical, irreversible collapse in quantum theory. If there is such collapse, that provides the missing link between physical…

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3 thoughts on “The Arrow of Time from an Overlooked Physical Law

  1. I agree that space and time are not fundamental although perhaps my reasoning is different from yours. I think that both space/distance and time are essentially relations between pairs of our observations by senses, and that the creation of these relations requires a certain memory involving our brain. In the case of spatial relations such as distance, above, and below, the brain/memory uses sensory inputs to create them. In the case of temporal relations, the brain/memory creates them in spite of the fact that no sensory input ever has any temporal content.
    I read your ‘de Broglie waves as the “Bridge of Becoming”
    between quantum theory and relativity’ and have a question. You say “The spatial axis is no more, and no less, than the de Broglie phase wave; and the temporal
    axis is no more, and no less, than the de Broglie group wave.”
    I have a question: I am looking at de Broglie’s thesis (“On the theory of quanta,” Dissertation. Translated in 2004 by A. F.Kracklauer), FIGURE 1.3.1. It is a Minkowski diagram showing world-lines for a body moving with velocity v = beta multiplied by c. Here, primed axes are spacetime axes fixed in the body and unprimed axes are those of an observer w.r.t whom the body moves in the x-direction. The origins of both frames coincide. The trajectory of the body is a line inclined at an angle less than 45 degrees to the t-axis; this line is also the time axis (t’ axis) for an observer at rest with respect to the body. The slope of ot’ (with ox) has the value 1/beta. The slope of ox’ is beta. De Broglie calls ox’ as symmetrical reflection of ot’ across the bisector of xot. Lines parallel to ox’ are lines of equal ‘phase’ for the observer at rest with the body. He then derives equation 1.3.1 showing that the phase velocity is c/beta; just above that equation, says that the phase advance is in the x-direction. Later on in his thesis, he shows that the velocity of the body is the same as the group velocity of these waves. Since ox is the direction in which the body is moving, it seems to me that de Broglie is saying that the group velocity and the phase velocity have the same direction in the absence of external forces. So although it may be true that the moving body itself is the source of spacetime axes, I do not see how the phase and group velocity which have the same direction can be two independent axes of the spacetime. What am I missing? Thank you in advance for your explanation.

    1. Thanks for your question. I think you may be confusing the time axis with a spatial direction of motion of travel. The different slope just indicates different rates of motion in the same spatial direction, doesn’t it?

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