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The second biggest problem has to do with this thing he has for “principles.

For example, you jump back to the big bang: But, since we actually can’t observe these universes, I admit that it’s a highly suspect conclusion. At least, to date, no one has come up with one that really works. The notion of an effective theory represents a maturing of the profession of elementary-particle theory. Simplicity and beauty, then, are oee not of truth but of a well-constructed approximate model of a limited domain ti,e phenomena.

Time Reborn: From the Crisis in Physics to the Future of the Universe

Mathematics is an evolving human language within which true statements are deduced non-empirically from sets of axioms. It looks ugly, and it is very much at odds with most of the science I know. One needs, for example, to understand the currently accepted “standard model” of particle physics bosons, hadrons, fermions and all that.

What happens is the reader—the one that can be counted on as having almost no basic theoretical understanding—is walked through two thousand years of math and physics and is spit out on the other side completely ready to accept whatever current cosmological theory to which Time Reborn has spent the last pages building.

Time Reborn by Lee Smolin – review | Books | The Guardian

Smolin sketches rebkrn alternative path for modern physics. The point seems to be that there exists at least one global time which is consistent with such and such phenomena.

This was the thing that kept bothering me throughout the book. What does this sequence of instants look like? The core problem with this book, I fime, is that it sets itself up as an argument for the proposition “time is real,” when it’s really an exposition of the potential scientific fruitfulness of the poetic idea “time is real.

He goes so far as to discuss meta-law infinite regress avoidance and has interesting ideas about breaking down the distinction between laws and initial conditions, but he doesn’t apply any of this to his “principles. Smolin spends much of the book addressing and attempting to dispel the myth that time is an illusion. I would like to say that I was immediately attracted by the elegance of the scheme, but that would not be true.


If space is quantized, so there are a finite number of points with a certain size. Of course, this opens up another question. April 29, at 9: Although time is certainly part of the problem in the infinite regress case it seems nonsensical as well as explanatorily unhelpful for time to extend forever in the pastwe have precedent in biology for how it can play a role in the solution to the dichotomy: Smolin also has cause to suggest a Principle of Precedence to buttress his ideas in QM.

Part I describes established physics and its history from the time of Plato and the main established ideas, Newtonian physics and Leibniz ‘ philosophical views that countered Newton’s e.

Time Reborn – Lee Smolin

And it is energy flow that drives the creation of complexity and self-organization, which leads to planets with life on them. Smolin’s underlying argument is that by taking mathematical models derived from isolating physical systems under study from their context and relationships, physicists have developed powerful models with elegant mathematics–but because the systems under study aren’t really isolated, the models are only approximations. I don’t know enough about Leibnitz to know if PSR has been thoroughly demolished in the analytic turn of philosophy of the 20th Century but the theory of indiscernibles seems pretty irreproachable on a naive take.

He believes that a better description of time lies at the heart of some of the big questions, such as the marriage of quantum physics and general relativity. The alternative in my false dichotomy would be that instead of attempting to be increasingly and incrementally reductionistic forever, some grand ultimate explanation is instead constructed that is expected to be taken ti,e the last word, but which is so abstract, magical, complex, unnatural, or irreducible that it lfe vastly more strongly for an explanation than the thing it was invented to explain in the first place.

Metaphysics should illuminate possibilities and show compatibilties or incompatibilities, not select among those possibilities; that’s science’s job, and if science can’t do it, then it’s a meaningless task.

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Time Reborn

Logic is not the mirror of causality. To privilege Time he must downplay space. What he suggests smolln that instead of laws of physics that eternal and everlasting, physicists instead treat physics in a more “relational” way, in which they are viewed as dynamic systems of behaviors. I however argue in the book that they cannot be completed by extending the model to encompass the universe as a whole. Feb 08, Jafar rated it really liked it. But there are a lot of sane people who are not aware that certain physical evidence GPS system shows that the time dilating effect is not reciprocal during relative motion.

Not because it’s crazy or wrong or radical but because it fundamentally undermines a book that’s otherwise trying to promote testability in science and demystification of abstract fundamentals. May 14, at 1: I am in fact shocked. April 29, at 1: Putting all of our eggs in the shape dynamics basket might be too simple of a path to take at this point.

Should we simply recognize mathematics for the religious activity it is? To me, the idea that mathematical objects are metaphysically “real” and separate from physical reality is no less supernatural and mystical than Deism or religious mythologies. While Barbour’s book got mentioned, I rebor Smolin had addressed its arguments more. He casually defines time as change, but I don’t feel satisfied that this distinguishes time from anything else in a clear smoln way, let alone that it illuminates what it is about time that makes it “real” in Smolin’s definition but not in Einstein’s.

Views Read Edit View history. This would satisfyingly collapse the Platonistic distinction between form and matter. I have read that book a gazillion times. You say there is a global time, preferred inertial observers, and so on.

I could understand bits and pieces of the book, and found them rather fascinating, like the suggestion that black holes can spawn new universes. There is this strange, unscientific view that things are either “real” or “emergent” which plagues lwe.