How our brains create time (Humans)

by dhw, Monday, July 08, 2019, 10:23 (451 days ago) @ David Turell

Dhw: Part of that arrogance is the idea that if we were not here, nothing else would be here either. Of course concepts are impossible without someone/something to do the conceiving. That does not mean the thing being conceptualized does not have an independent existence of its own! “Concept” can mean how something should be done, or how something is done, and “time” is our concept of how things are done, namely in a sequence of before and after, cause and effect. I truly believe that our planet and our solar system and billions of solar systems and galaxies existed long before we did. If you wish to argue that they could not have existed without some “a priori intelligence” (i.e. your God), I shan’t argue with you, just as I shan’t argue with the atheist who says that intelligence could not have existed without some a priori combination of materials to engender it. Neither of these arguments, in my opinion, alters the fact that everything we know about reality indicates that there is a sequence of before and after, cause and effect, and that constitutes time whether there is anyone to observe it or not.
Dhw: I do not accept that time is a mental concept. I see “time” as the word we have invented to describe something which has an objective reality of its own. See above.

TONY: Quantum physics shows us that matter exists in a state of superposition until observed. So, no, matter does not exist in a defined state without consciousness, and now it appears that time does not either. I suspect that what will be found in the final analysis is that information and energy will also follow this trend, all needing something to process their meaning prior to being made real and locked into our reality.

DAVID: I see this comment as being correct for whole organisms and for the universe, while single cells can use information they are given by processes they are given.

I don’t know, Tony, what you mean by “a defined state”, and I don’t know what either of you mean by “time”. I have explained above precisely what I mean – namely, the sequence of before and after, cause and effect. Do either of you seriously believe that the Earth did not exist before we arrived on it and gave names to all the realities we observe, and formulated concepts to try and explain them?

DAVID: I agree with you, but if time is simply before and after, what is space-time?

dhw: Do tell me.

DAVID: Einstein's invention which works to understand relative related motions in the universe.

How does this invalidate the concept of time as a sequence of before and after, cause and effect?

DAVID: No organism but humans see time. It exists only for us and is real only for us. It only exists in our heads.

So you really do believe that there is no such objective reality as before and after, cause and effect? Try standing in front of a moving bus.

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