Why time is not an illusion
Blog 20151230 Why time is not an illusion
When I ask folks what time is, I generally get one or two of these:
1. Time is a dimension.
2. Time is a measurement.
3. Time is an illusion
Readers know, of course, that time is motion (the title of one of my most popular Blogs). The upshot is that almost no one else knows what time is. I understand why regressive physicists consider time to be a dimension—they could not be hired if they thought otherwise. Without it, relativity and Big Bang Theory would suffer an early death. The solipsism embodied in the second definition is common, and well-preserved in positivism and operationalism. My response to those who think time is a measurement is this: The dinosaurs experienced time, even though they were incapable of measuring it.
I was always intrigued by the silly statement that “time is an illusion.” This is the definition of “illusion”: “a thing that is or is likely to be wrongly perceived or interpreted by the senses.” Growing up, I used to do some simple magic tricks that clearly were illusions. Nonetheless, I am under no illusion that a great deal of time (motion) has occurred since. The silver hair tells me as much. Then I got this anonymous comment giving me a clue to what was up:
“as time is illusion, cause and effect do not exist. Our concepts about time and cause and effect are deeply erronously."
Despite the misspelling, the comment clearly shows the necessary connection with indeterminism. As determinists, we assume that there are material causes for all effects. Of course, anonymous is correct to a certain degree: cause and effect do not exist, they occur, as described by Newton's Second Law of Motion. On the other hand, hardly anyone denies causality for some events. Even if you lived in a basket, it would be impossible to deny that eating food (a cause) might produce an effect (continued life). This all goes to show how the radical adherence to logic based on indeterministic assumptions leads to nonsense. Thenceforth, we can consider the statement “time is an illusion” to be pure indeterminism. And like all indeterminism, we can disregard it as psychobabble handed down to thwart the advance of the scientific worldview.