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Does Time Run Backward in Other Universes? - Comments

kram50's Avatar Comment 1 by kram50

This is a litle too much for me to get my head around! Very interesting indeed though.

I have been amazed all my life at the vastness of space and every now and then I have a mini freak-out just thinking about it.

I can't believe that we are the only planet that supports life!!

Fri, 23 May 2008 17:14:00 UTC | #174773

Don_Quix's Avatar Comment 2 by Don_Quix

I often feel like time is running backwards in this universe. Especially after a few too many pints!

Fri, 23 May 2008 18:03:00 UTC | #174783

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 3 by mordacious1

This is one of those areas that physicists love to speculate about. Yes, it is very interesting, in fact I love reading books about this. But...let's get our minds around multiverses first, and then we can tackle the arrow of time in those universes. Although, like I said, the speculation is great.

I'm pretty convinced that in the quantum world time can run backwards. A subatomic particle can be in two places at once and move so fast that it can run into itself. But we do not know enough about even the possibilities of multiverses (sorry, repeating myself) yet.

Fri, 23 May 2008 18:17:00 UTC | #174786

Quine's Avatar Comment 4 by Quine

Is there a falsifiable hypothesis in there somewhere?

Fri, 23 May 2008 18:27:00 UTC | #174789

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 5 by mordacious1

Are you referring to the article: then no.
or to my poorly worded post: probably.

Fri, 23 May 2008 18:37:00 UTC | #174791

rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 6 by rod-the-farmer

This reminds me of the old joke about the question on the physics exam...

Define "the universe". Give two examples.

Fri, 23 May 2008 18:44:00 UTC | #174793

Quine's Avatar Comment 7 by Quine

mordacious1, the article; your post was perfectly fine.

Fri, 23 May 2008 18:57:00 UTC | #174801

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 8 by mordacious1

To me, we're getting more science topics rather than religious ones lately. I prefer the science ones, the ol' Hitler was an atheist crap was getting old. Although the posts like "In God's Name" do get my blood boiling.

Fri, 23 May 2008 19:33:00 UTC | #174817

King of NH's Avatar Comment 9 by King of NH

This is an (In God's Name) interesting article. The concept of (Hitler was an Atheist) time fascinates me, but I (Darwin recanted evolution) think there is a huge gap of understanding between what a (Dawkins is a Sinner!) scientist means by 'universe' and 'time' and what the rest of us mean.

(Atheism is a Religion)

Fri, 23 May 2008 20:02:00 UTC | #174827

moderndaythomas's Avatar Comment 10 by moderndaythomas

I love entropy. It's apparent when I visit my sock draw.

Fri, 23 May 2008 20:58:00 UTC | #174834

Wosret's Avatar Comment 11 by Wosret

This isn't science, this is a lump of steaming bullshit and absurdity. This doesn't even begin to make sense. I have never actually read about the whole idea of a multiverse, but if this article underpins it, then I completely agree that this is no different than theology.

Before the big bang? But if the prevailing view (that the big bang created space and time) is true, that is a nonsensical statement. The statement presupposes the truth of his ideas.

The universe started out orderly? As far as I understand it, the prevailing view is that the universe started out in a state of maxium entropy, the complete opposite. Not to mention that order and chaos are merely projections of our ability to draw links between the interactions of phenomena, and draw probabilistic conclusions based upon them. There is no fundamental difference between the two beyond our ability to predict.

Unnatural? Now that statement really takes the cake, does he pretend to a complete and absolute knowledge of nature? That he can then decide when something is comforming or not with it? Intuitively assuming this? Like creationists intuitively assume that life is inherently unnatural? Requiring a super intelligence to constitute? What charlatan nonsense.

This all aside, time is just a lable we give the motion of matter, it is relative to its movement. It isn't really a thing at all, I wasn't aware that there was a problem.

Seems like the problem of sin, requiring the cure of salvation.

This seems to be completely pulled out of someone's ass, and doesn't appreciate the prevailing views of cosmologists. Sounds like new age non-sense, with better use of scientific lingo. They can have it.

Fri, 23 May 2008 21:44:00 UTC | #174839

bucketchemist's Avatar Comment 12 by bucketchemist

So, if there are universes in which time is reversed, that means that in those universes very complex phenomena can precede the existence of simple phenomena. Dawkins was wrong, Teilhard de Chardin was right, there is a God, its just that in this universe he/she/it appears at the end of time whereas elsewhere he/she/it is at the beginning.

Fri, 23 May 2008 21:52:00 UTC | #174841

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 13 by mordacious1


Actually, many cosmologists study this seriously, and it is science. It is the "what if" of science. Some black hole physicists, Hawking is one I think, but am not sure, believe that black holes can create other universes. Others believe that during the big bang, more than one universe could have been created.

Physics does not rule any of this out. The theories are there, take them or leave them, but it is real science.

Fri, 23 May 2008 21:55:00 UTC | #174842

Wosret's Avatar Comment 14 by Wosret

They can't rule it out, that doesn't make it science. Just like ID this isn't even wrong it's useless. It can't be tested or falsified, that means it isn't science, and it claims things are unnatural.

Some cosmologists, maybe. I don't care.

Fri, 23 May 2008 21:58:00 UTC | #174843

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 15 by mordacious1


Years ago, everyone said that about black holes. Now they are accepted in the scientific community. I have to say though that multiverses will be harder to prove.

Fri, 23 May 2008 22:01:00 UTC | #174844

Wosret's Avatar Comment 16 by Wosret

15. Comment #184202 by mordacious1

Years ago, everyone said that about black holes. Now they are accepted in the scientific community. I have to say though that multiverses will be harder to prove.

(*Sigh*) wouldn't this "argument" work equally well with any unfalsifiable or testable claim about the universe? When the hypothesis about black holes was not testable or falsifiable, it wasn't science either. Nor is this until a way to test or falsify it is forwarded. Until then, it's brain candy, nothing more.

And since this article contradicts things that are in fact supported by evidence, I'll accept the far more likely option, that this is bullshit.

Also, the whole "unnatural" claim; that is inherently impossible to falsify without omniscence.

Fri, 23 May 2008 22:05:00 UTC | #174845

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 17 by mordacious1

Oh, one more thing I left out. Since String Theory is so popular nowaday, many scientists, and this does include Hawking, believe that at the quantum level, multiverses can explain the 11 or so dimensions needed to make this theory plausible.

It's been awhile since I've read up on this subject, so I'm definately speaking off the cuff here. But I don't think any serious quantum physicist can work in the field without either accepting the possibility or coming up with an alternative. Science is not just known facts, and at the quantum level I think it will one day be possible to test/falsify multiverses.

Fri, 23 May 2008 22:20:00 UTC | #174848

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 18 by mordacious1

Sean Carroll, by the way, is not some off the wall journalist but is a senior physicist at Cal Tech. I have read some of his stuff about dark energy and it is brilliant work. Of coarse, some people (Mitchell?) probably think this is science BS too. One of my favorite science topics, though.

Fri, 23 May 2008 23:04:00 UTC | #174853

Christopher Davis's Avatar Comment 19 by Christopher Davis

This is slightly related...I think.

The whole thing about a subatomic particle being able to "be" in two places at once (I believe Einstein referred to the phenomenon as "spooky action at a distance"), could that possibly be an effect of a limited ability to perceive time?

I mean suppose even with our high-tech gadgets, humans can only perceive time in some sort of discrete "packets". If something were moving quickly enough back-and-forth in space, is it possible that we could only perceive it as occupying (at a minimum) two seperate positions?

I'm not trying to be clever here, this is some shit that hit me one night after drinking about 4 pints of Guiness while reading an article similar to the one above. If anyone with a background in this field knows of something that I can read that will allow an educated layman to see why this idea is utter rubbish I'd actually appreciate it.

Fri, 23 May 2008 23:19:00 UTC | #174855

Wosret's Avatar Comment 20 by Wosret

It's ten dimensions, and it makes a unifying equation of physics plausible, which only works with ten dimensions, it's all on paper, and has zero actual evidence to support it.

Who gives a shit if Hawkings believes it? Does he have evidence? Seems like a fallacious appeal to authority otherwise. "Look, this smart guy believes it, thus it must be true."

Dark energy is a proposed hypothesis to explain the expansion, and total mass of the universe, and does happen to have both support, and is falsifiable, so they are hardly in the same league. It also explains an observation, which string-theory does not, it explains an invented problem, and makes an equation work.

You seem to not understand the difference.

Fri, 23 May 2008 23:23:00 UTC | #174856

Wosret's Avatar Comment 21 by Wosret

19. Comment #184213 by Christopher Davis

They aren't just watching the particles move, they are also measuring them with equipement, if it were moving at such high speeds, and back and forth, then the equipement would presumably notice. (I'm a uneducated layman, but I'm just harbouring a guess here.)

Personally, I haven't the foggiest what's going on, and wouldn't even dare guess. When they figure it out I'm looking forward to hearing about it.

Fri, 23 May 2008 23:27:00 UTC | #174857

robhu's Avatar Comment 22 by robhu

Does Hawking really think that new universes are created inside black holes?

I thought it was only Lee Smolin who thought that (his theory of Fecund Universes explained in The Life of the Cosmos).

IIRC while this theory is interesting (and fun I'd say) it is a long way from being a mainstream view - there is quite a lot missing from the theory to start with. I think Smolin's theory was kinda falsifiable, although I can't remember exactly how.

Mitchell seems to be right AFAICT, what is proposed in this article lacks falsifiability. We need to be very vigilant about what we consider to be good science - we really shouldn't respond wit things like "Years ago, everyone said that about black holes. Now they are accepted in the scientific community. I have to say though that multiverses will be harder to prove." as that implies that because something wasn't accepted in the past but now is that the standards for testing future things should be low. As it happens there were falsifiable tests for black holes, and they passed those tests.

"Where we have strong emotions, we're liable to fool ourselves" (Carl Sagan)

Sat, 24 May 2008 00:26:00 UTC | #174860

calyx's Avatar Comment 23 by calyx

I think you are being unecessarily hostile to this idea, as you have yourself said, its just brain candy. What's so wrong with discussing this sort of thing, its interesting to me and i'm sure it is to other people too, I'm not about to say that I believe any of this, if something has no evidence to support it I won't believe it, but I can still find it interesting.

On another note, it's been suggested that once that new particle accelerator get's going, in a book about string theory that I was reading the other day, they may find some new particles which will offer some circumstantial evidence for string theory.

Also I don't think im wrong in saying that the work that these people are doing on these theories and other's in the past have opened up new testable theories and are helping to advance our knowledge of the universe.

"this is no different than theology"

Which Is why I have to utterly disagree with you on that point.

Sat, 24 May 2008 00:28:00 UTC | #174861

lozzer's Avatar Comment 24 by lozzer

I do enjoy articles like this.It puts so much mysticisms and fantasy into reality!Makes science ever so more interesting.

Sat, 24 May 2008 02:52:00 UTC | #174874

Colwyn Abernathy's Avatar Comment 25 by Colwyn Abernathy

The basic laws of physics work equally well forward or backward in time, yet we perceive time to move in one direction onlyâ€"toward the future. Why?

Beats want some toast?

Sat, 24 May 2008 03:31:00 UTC | #174876

ferfuracious's Avatar Comment 26 by ferfuracious

~It would seem to be much more likely for the universe to fluctuate straight into a hot big bang, bypassing the inflationary stage altogether. Indeed, as far as entropy is concerned, it would be even more likely for the universe to fluctuate straight into the configuration we see today, bypassing the past 14 billion years of cosmic evolution.~

How do we differentiate between a universe that fluctuated into inflation and one that fluctuated into its current state? They would look the same, no?

Sat, 24 May 2008 03:39:00 UTC | #174877

Demotruk's Avatar Comment 27 by Demotruk

Mitchell, nobody is asking you to believe what the author is proposing is true.

Testable hypotheses don't just form fully thought out in people's heads. There is a phase in science where people have to discuss problems, possible solutions, and then try and figure out how to make them testable. Just because you can't think how to test the idea of a multiverse, doesn't mean it can't be done. We don't know how they might impact our universe, and thinking and speculating might come up with an answer.

Now, if he tried to get it into classrooms without testing it, or even tried to convince other scientists of it's truth without creating a testable hypothesis, he would be acting unscientifically. But then, if in an academic arena, whenever a new idea is proposed, you were to shout "that's untestable, bullshit!!" without giving it due thought, you wouldn't be acting very scientific. An idea can evolve into a hypothesis with further discussion and thought. Why would you try to stifle that?

I'm not saying I agree with his hypothesis. I'm not sure if his criticism of inflation is fair. But I'm not going to immediately cry bullshit either.

Sat, 24 May 2008 04:10:00 UTC | #174880

julianstirling's Avatar Comment 28 by julianstirling

"Technically, it is the number of digits, or logarithm, of that number."
Number of digits? You are thinking of log base 10 not the natural log! It is the number of times you would have to multiply 2.7182818.... by itself to get the number of micro states. Then times by Boltzmann's constant 1.38x10^-23. (My thermodynamics exam was this week, I couldn't let that rest!)

"I love entropy. It's apparent when I visit my sock draw."
Rearranging macroscopic objects does not increase the number of accessible microstates, therefore no change in entropy!

"They can't rule it out, that doesn't make it science. Just like ID this isn't even wrong it's useless. It can't be tested or falsified, that means it isn't science, and it claims things are unnatural. "
Before you can test a theory in science you have to have a workable hypothesis, then you look at ways to test it. Once the hypothesis really comes together there may be certain predictions about the universe it can make. It is stupid to rule out something because it is at the edge of what we understand, if we did that science would never progress.

"Oh, one more thing I left out. Since String Theory is so popular nowaday...."
It depends on who you talk to, many physicists think string theory is crap now, as one of it's only tested predictions was out by a larger factor than any other experiment in the history of science (120 orders of magnitude). And normally when they get a prediction, then they end up finding they have thousands of equally possible predictions. I am not saying it is wrong, it is just far less popular than the TV says it is.

Sat, 24 May 2008 04:49:00 UTC | #174883

sb84's Avatar Comment 29 by sb84

Mitchell, I think the scientists who work on this are actually trying to find ways to make it falsifiable. That's one big difference with theology. It may turn out not to be falsifiable, but at least they can work on it for a while.

I think one of the main points here is simply that if your theories allow for something that doesn't occur in the presently observable universe, you have to account for that. Either there is a reason why it doesn't happen (like a "law of entropy"), or there is no such reason and you have to deal with the possibility that somewhere else things work differently.

And if you say "yes, there is a law of entropy" then you owe it to yourself to try and explain it. Otherwise (at least in the eyes of many) you are just describing and not explaining.

[edit] To clarify: not that there is anything intrinsically wrong with "just" describing; maybe that is all we can really do. But if you believe that the job of science is to "explain", then I think you have to go all the way.

Sat, 24 May 2008 04:59:00 UTC | #174886

the great teapot's Avatar Comment 30 by the great teapot

Do winkimtots have snort werzels?

Sat, 24 May 2008 06:06:00 UTC | #174890