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by Simon at 19:02 17/07/04 (Blogs::Simon)
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In one way, yes, the prospect of an uncorrected millenium bug was a possible future that affected its own past - but this theory extends to 'inanimate' objects as well as thinking beings, and that's the hardest concept.

So yes, in a strictly scientific sense it's independent on consciousness. In a philosophical sense, it depends on whether you admit to some kind of overarching universal consciousness.

But really, we're talking about a bunch of electrons, protons, quarks and stuff bumping into each other, turning into other stuff and emitting energy and matter all over the place and throughout all time.

We don't really have a good idea of 'time' - we perceive it passing at a rate of 1 second per second, and always in one direction (past -> present -> future). Other things (ie bits of stuff) 'perceive' time differently, at least we think they do, based on relativity.

You might have heard of the experiments that send atomic (very accurate) clocks off in high speed jets around the globe, then bring them back and see if they still have the same time as an identical one left behind on the ground? It turns out that the one that went off in the fast plane ends up a bit behind the one that stayed still - that's a simple demonstration that there's no 'absolute' time - time is relative (lunchtime, doubly so).

The faster you go, the 'slower' time seems to pass for you relative to someone who's not moving. When you get to the speed of light, if the person who stayed behind uses a powerful instrument to look in on you, then you appear to be not experiencing the passage of time at all. This is why I said earlier that it's all the same instant for a photon.

So, if you travelled away from earth in a spaceship at the speed of light for a while, stopped, turned round and came back, then you would appear to have aged less than those who stayed behind - it's called the 'Twin paradox' in relativity.

Here's where it gets even more confusing :-) Relativity and quantum mechanics are mutually incompatible theories - relativity breaks down at the subatomic level, and qm doesn't work at anything other than the subatomic level - but they *both* produce accurate models and allow scientists to predict stuff that can then be tested experimentally.

One of the biggest problems facing physics since the start of the 20th century has been to reconcile these two theories - and that's why people are searching for some kind of 'Grand Unification Theory' that encompasses the All.

With all these fundamental questions, which demonstrate clearly that we really don't know what's going on (:-)), popping in the concept of a backwards-acting causality is an interesting approach, especially since the equations that model the behaviour of the very fast, very tiny stuff in qm don't depend on 'time' going in any particular 'direction'.

At the fundamental level, some of the latest thinking is that there's a kind of weird vibrating, foaming, something that's the underlying fabric of the Universe. At this infinitesimely small scale, it seems possible that matter and energy (eg electrons, photons) 'pop' in and out of existence constantly - it's even been measured in the lab (it's called the Casimir effect, or 'zero point energy').

Who can say what kind of odd interactions there may be between the tiny bits of stuff that make up my brain and the tiny bits of stuff that make up everything else in the Universe - certainly I can travel 'backwards' and 'forwards' in time in my mind - ie I can remember the past and imagine the future.

Part of the fun I get out of ideas such as these is that there's much going on in the field that each new discovery might overturn the whole 'Standard Model' of physics, and we'd have to replace it with something completely different. That'd be very exciting indeed!


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Oi - that's *my* theory! Simon - 14/07
    Re: Oi - that's *my* theory! David Crowson - 14/07
    Re: Oi - that's *my* theory! scott wright - 15/07
       Re: Oi - that's *my* theory! Simon - 15/07
          Re: Oi - that's *my* theory! scott wright - 15/07
             Quantum stuff is counter-intui... Simon - 15/07
                Re: Quantum stuff is counter-i... Dominic Search - 15/07
                   Re: Quantum stuff is counter-i... Simon - 15/07
                      Re: Quantum stuff is counter-i... Dominic Search - 15/07
                Re: Quantum stuff is counter-i... scott wright - 17/07
                   Redirects Simon - 17/07
          Re: Oi - that's *my* theory! Dominic Search - 15/07
             Ting! Of *course* Simon - 15/07
       Some more Simon - 15/07
    Re: Oi - that's *my* theory! Gordon Hundley - 15/07
       Re: Oi - that's *my* theory! Simon - 16/07
    Strange time-symmetric effects Simon - 13/02