Farm_Ecology
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Experiencing time.

Our experience of time is uni-directional, and following an increase of entropy. We feel our lives flowing forward at a relatively constant pace. All life on earth appears to following this pattern. But more important than anything, is our experience of it. Looking at time backwards would make just as much logical sense, had you spent your life doing so.

The question is, why do we experience time in this way?

I would like to hear general thoughts and speculations, specifically from physicists.

If you travel back to the beginning, DNA must prevent itself from being destroyed. Is it a simple matter of our experience of time following this direction due to life's function as a continuation of DNA molecules?

Any ideas are welcome.
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Mpagtches
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*subscribes to thread, but doesn't say anything remotely useful on the subject*
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Sesshomaru24U
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I think this question is a bit too complex for most.
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skunkboy
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No one can travel faster than light into the past or the future. So James T. Kirk is just an imaginary captain. He doesn't exist in the real world.

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MAINE.
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(Original post by Farm_Ecology)
Experiencing time.

Our experience of time is uni-directional, and following an increase of entropy. We feel our lives flowing forward at a relatively constant pace. All life on earth appears to following this pattern. But more important than anything, is our experience of it. Looking at time backwards would make just as much logical sense, had you spent your life doing so.

The question is, why do we experience time in this way?

I would like to hear general thoughts and speculations, specifically from physicists.

If you travel back to the beginning, DNA must prevent itself from being destroyed. Is it a simple matter of our experience of time following this direction due to life's function as a continuation of DNA molecules?

Any ideas are welcome.
What does the bit i bold mean exactly? Are you basically just saying all life seeks to preserve itself?
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Farm_Ecology
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(Original post by MAINE.)
What does the bit i bold mean exactly? Are you basically just saying all life seeks to preserve itself?
DNA specifically. The idea being that life evolved as a bi-product of DNA sustainability.
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MAINE.
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(Original post by Farm_Ecology)
DNA specifically. The idea being that life evolved as a bi-product of DNA sustainability.
so you are basically just saying all life seeks to preserve itself.
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Farm_Ecology
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(Original post by MAINE.)
so you are basically just saying all life seeks to preserve itself.
No, I'm not. DNA, in of itself, cannot really be considered life. Life developed as a means of preserving DNA.

That life seeks to preserve itself is an extension of my point, in the same way saying societies seek to preserve themselves is an extension of life doing so.

It's a point about chemistry, not biology.
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NYU℠
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(Original post by Farm_Ecology)
DNA specifically. The idea being that life evolved as a bi-product of DNA sustainability.
Firstly: Why would it be the case that the chemicality of DNA would effect the subjective experience of time? I see no reason to suspect that mere chemical properties can give rise to effects within phenomenology.

Secondly, and more complexly:
DNA must prevent itself from being destroyed
I realize that you're using language simplistically here, but that simplistic language is a pitfall that needs to be overcome. You're attributing an axiomatic rule to DNA whereby it must oblige by some principle; but importing obligation in this way additionally import intentionality and consciousness. DNA clearly has no intentionality or consciousness, as such, there can be obligatory rule whereby DNA must do something. It is merely a case of happenstance that it does whatever it does.

The same is true of e.g. evolutionary theory and natural selection. 'Evolution' doesn't 'select' traits in any sense of consciousness or intentionality. Certain mutations randomly happen, which randomly happen to be useful, which contributes to the further inheritance of the relevant gene.

Since DNA has no intentionality or consciousness, it cannot have this sort of causal effect on time (or the experience of time) originating from some sort of obligatory rule. DNA cannot force time to function in a particular way so that DNA can preserve itself; rather, DNA and time would be independent happenstances, - things of mere coincidence - which could not share a direct causal relationship. There's also a question of this sort of rule importation being a statement of a very strange sort of backwards causality.
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Farm_Ecology
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(Original post by NYU2012)
Firstly: Why would it be the case that the chemicality of DNA would effect the subjective experience of time? I see no reason to suspect that mere chemical properties can give rise to effects within phenomenology.
It depends on exactly why we experience time in one direction. If its simply a matter of subjectivity and the biology of the brain, then it would (potentially) be related to DNA. Life being a mechanism by which to preserve DNA in one direction.

(Original post by NYU2012)
I realize that you're using language simplistically here,
You're right, I did just use simplify the concept.

But must doesnt imply intentionality, (for example, that box must be a certain size to fit through that hole). In this case, DNA must be self-preserving, otherwise it wouldn't continue to exist.

(Original post by NYU2012)
Since DNA has no intentionality or consciousness, it cannot have this sort of causal effect on time (or the experience of time) originating from some sort of obligatory rule. DNA cannot force time to function in a particular way so that DNA can preserve itself; rather, DNA and time would be independent happenstances, - things of mere coincidence - which could not share a direct causal relationship. There's also a question of this sort of rule importation being a statement of a very strange sort of backwards causality.
Because DNA is essentially responsible for the biological functions of the brain, and our brain is responsible for our experience of time, there is a relationship between DNA and our experience of time (just not a direct one). The very fact that we are aware of time is part of our DNA.

Of course, the issue of the apparent directionality of time might be a question of physics, not biology.
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NYU℠
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(Original post by Farm_Ecology)
It depends on exactly why we experience time in one direction. If its simply a matter of subjectivity and the biology of the brain, then it would (potentially) be related to DNA. Life being a mechanism by which to preserve DNA in one direction.
But the relation to DNA isn't going to be the the contingent fact that DNA just happens to perpetuate itself.

In this case, DNA must be self-preserving, otherwise it wouldn't continue to exist.
DNA musn't be anything. Must literally means 'is obliged to.' DNA cannot have obligations, it has no consciousness; it cannot carry out acts. DNA merely happens, by chance of evolution, to perpetuate itself. It has no obligation to be self-preserving. Even take in a looser sense of 'is bound to happen', the statement isn't true - DNA isn't bound to be self-preserving; it's merely a contingent fact of the universe that it does what it does.

Additionally, it merely does what it does because some sort of 'time' exists. Without the existence, loosely speaking, of time, DNA wouldn't perpetuate anything it would just be. The fact that DNA does perpetuate itself is a contingent fact of the universe which is necessarily dependent (though not causally) on the existence of time.

How is a contingent fact (DNA perpetuation), which is itself necessarily dependent on a different fact (time's existence), going to causally give rise to some effect which constitutes how we experience the dependent-on fact?
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dozyrosie
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(Original post by Farm_Ecology)
No, I'm not. DNA, in of itself, cannot really be considered life. Life developed as a means of preserving DNA.

That life seeks to preserve itself is an extension of my point, in the same way saying societies seek to preserve themselves is an extension of life doing so.

It's a point about chemistry, not biology.
There is no reason to believe DNA is fundamental for life, neither Carbon or Oxygen.
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Implication
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this troubles me

in our brains we think of events as described by spatial coordinates that evolve with the parameter time

in relativity we model the universe as a 4 dimensional manifold of which time is just an extra coordinate. so rather than thinking of the universe as evolving with respect to any parameter, we think of a 'static' universe and then assign a time coordinate to every event as well as a set of spatial ones

in 'reality' (whatever that means) it seems likely that neither our intuitive sense nor the relativistic sense is actually correct

i don't know why we see time the way we do. i suspect looking at time 'backwards' would make far less sense due to causality violations though
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TheFarmerLad
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(Original post by Farm_Ecology)
Experiencing time.

Our experience of time is uni-directional, and following an increase of entropy. We feel our lives flowing forward at a relatively constant pace. All life on earth appears to following this pattern. But more important than anything, is our experience of it. Looking at time backwards would make just as much logical sense, had you spent your life doing so.

The question is, why do we experience time in this way?

I would like to hear general thoughts and speculations, specifically from physicists.

If you travel back to the beginning, DNA must prevent itself from being destroyed. Is it a simple matter of our experience of time following this direction due to life's function as a continuation of DNA molecules?

Any ideas are welcome.
Great question though I think though if anyone had a legit answer to this then they'd win the Nobel Prize. The theory of Entropy is based upon the second law of thermodynamics which claims that energy has to applied to create order, apply no energy and things become disordered.Therefore applying it to the universe means that everything is tending to disorder, hence the arrow of time must be forward..
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Implication
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(Original post by MathsAstronomy12)
Great question though I think though if anyone had a legit answer to this then they'd win the Nobel Prize. The theory of Entropy is based upon the second law of thermodynamics which claims that energy has to applied to create order, apply no energy and things become disordered.Therefore applying it to the universe means that everything is tending to disorder, hence the arrow of time must be forward..
i think that argument may be somewhat circular

somewhere in the talk about creating order, applying energy etc. i believe there is something implicit about the directionality of time
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miser
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There seem to be two broad categories of possibility: the first is that time actually does flow 'forwards', and so it's not merely behaviourally useful for organisms to perceive it that way; and the second is that time doesn't flow 'forwards' (or maybe even at all), and it's an illusion because it was convenient or useful for organisms to develop.

There doesn't seem to be any empirical experiment one could do to determine which case is true. We can observe causality, but that doesn't imply that one causal direction ought to be 'forwards' and the other 'backwards.' As for thought experiments, we could imagine if time flowed 'backwards,' we would be completely oblivious to the fact, since we're effectively looking in the wrong direction.

Now, if time did flow 'backwards,' then perhaps we would still evolve a perception contrary to that fact. If the brain's responsible for making decisions (i.e., for actively participating in the creation of causal relationships), then the brain's role would still be in making decisions which facilitated the existence of the future, except that that future had already in some sense happened. It might therefore be a natural consequence to evolve a method of thought which makes this behaviour intuitive.

It should also be remarked that if the future has indeed in some sense already happened, then this negates the possibility of free will. This is because the future cannot be freely influenced by thoughts occuring in the present moment. Therefore, if a person has a particular reason to believe in the existence of free will, then time cannot also be perceived to flow 'backwards'.

My personal intuition, which is effectively all I have on this topic, is that time probably doesn't 'flow', or at least it doesn't seem to make sense to think of it 'flowing' in a physical sense. This is because it seems difficult to reconcile intuitive temporal concepts such as the idea of 'now' with physical reality. There also doesn't seem to be much reason to believe it flows 'forwards' except that it feels that way, which doesn't seem a particularly good reason on its own.
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