I'm not a physicist. If I weren't so lazy and I had unlimited time perhaps I would become one so I could answer a question that's been bothering me for a while. Only today this question occurred to me in a different form than it had previously.

Does the future exist?

When I read Stephen Hawking's book A Brief History of Time, and in particular where he describes how time can be thought of as another dimension with space comprising space-time, I started to imagine the implications this would have if the universe had an actual creator.

My initial conclusion was that if space-time is tangible and if the universe was created by an entity which must necessarily exist outside of the universe and that creator has the ability to observe all of the universe then all of the following must be true.

  1. The creator would be timeless from our perspective, being outside of space-time.
  2. The creator would observe all points in space-time simultaneously, including (assuming the historical accuracy of the Bible or Qur'an for a moment) the "original sin" event, the death of Jesus, the birth of Mohammed, and my death. In effect, the creator might be called omniscient about events in the universe.
  3. The creator would have dictated the nature of space-time so not only would it be observed but it would also have been designed. In effect, free will could not exist. An omniscient creator and free-will are mutually exclusive.

Unfortunately, I don't know how physicists really understand space-time. I know that it is theorized that traveling to some point in non-contiguous space-time is possible in one direction (the past) but probably not the other (the future). Logically, if the future does not exist then one cannot travel there. However, if the future does exist, if space-time is complete and tangible, then our speculations about determinism are no longer so speculative. The events which happen at any point on the space-time continuum are set and the idea of free will (however you define it) is obsolete.

I invite discussion and, hopefully enlightenment, from people who have a different perspective and a better education. I personally don't think that space-time is complete or that time exists in both directions based on what I've learned so far.

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Free Thinker, what I said was
”No observation or experiment ever confirmed or suggested more than 3 spatial dimensions.”
I notice that you avoid confronting this claim right to my face, but still tries to discredit it:

“But because nobody really knows for sure, that leaves the door open to the possibility that one of these models truly represents reality in a legitimate way.”

“Nobody really knows for sure” must be the most common excuse around for not accepting reality. It takes Jehova door-knockers about 2 minutes to start singing that tune after they discover that hitting my door bell was not their most successful move that day.
I call it an excuse, because it is not an argument. It doesn't argue for or prove anything. And no, it doesn't make extra dimensions possible. For that you need an argument!
So far it is nothing but the same stuff that gods, santas and unicorns are made of, pure fiction! It has nothing to do with science, and that goes even if you try to sugar the fantasy with words like truly and legitimate.

The word theory or theoretical can have different meanings. In science, however, a theory always starts with observations. Which is why you'll have to observe an extra dimension before starting to create multidimensional universes. Until you do, these “theories” have nothing whatsoever to do with reality.
It's just math hocus-pocus in the true spirit of Plato!
Just to add another voice to this discussion, the existence of 11 dimensions is what would be required if the "Superstring Theory" was correct. As has been already mentioned in this thread, quantum physics and general relativity disagree at the boundary condition where gravitational force is such that the escape velocity exceeds the speed of light (aka "the event horizon") . A generally held belief in science is that any single failure of a theorem is sufficient to disprove it. The Superstring theory is an attempt to formulate a "TOE" (Theory of Everything"), also sometimes called a "GUT" (Grand Universal Theory). So far, there has been no experimental validation of Strings, it is instead sort of a mathematical curve fit to a number of observations, and requires 11 independent variables if it is to work.
NASA has an experiment is the planning stage. "LISA", the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna, consists of three nodes in orbit about the Sun, forming an equilateral triangle centered on the 5th Earth LaGrangian point, with each node at 3 million miles from the others. The expectation is that the collapse of distant stars into neutron stars or black holes produce gravity waves that will be measured by laser interferometers on the LISA spacecraft. There is a functional gravitational interferometer already operating on the Earths surface that has failed to detect any such gravity waves. LISA should be nearly 10,000 times more sensitive. (The surface interferometer is useful in combining images captured by separate telescopes.)
So, there may be extra dimensions in the universe that we have not yet detected, but so far there has been exactly 0 experimental results.


I joined the discussion late. If, by "this thread now seems to have wandered off topic and straight into the pure imaginary world of multidimensional universes", you're referring to the casual and superficial references to "extra" dimensions, then I think it was I who brought that up. It was my first post and was addressed to Tom. As anybody can plainly see, my brief mention of extra dimensions was aimed squarely at Tom Thompson talking points 1 and 2 (1. the creator would be timeless and 2. the creator could simultaneously observe all of space-time). The remaining (and main) part of my post went to addressing Tom's talking point #3.

Roy briefly pointed out my error about 10 versus 11 dimensions and I briefly acknowledged him. I wouldn't characterize this exchange as off-topic or derailing ANYTHING. The mere mention (tied to Tom's talking points) of extra dimensions doesn't constitute "improper use of math" or "replacing reality"; particularly when it was NEVER mentioned without also being accompanied by the caveat that it's "far from proven". You appear to be the only one who doesn't recognize that nobody is claiming those extra dimensions are anything but theoretical. "Dark ages" my derriere!

By trying to characterize things as something they're not, you're the one attempting magic.
Okay, klypp,

NOW we've wondered off topic. Thanks a lot! :-)
I'd say that the future probably exists.
The sun will probably(99.99'%) come up tomorrow. My alarm clock will probably (99.9%) go off. I'll probably(50.1%) get up and go to work.
You should read Free Thinkers comment above. He addresses causality of inanimate versus animate objects. The fact that you can predict an event with specific causality is not necessarily a proof that the point in space and time at which the event occurs exists.
Your probabilites, Max, demonstrate forecasting. I think the future (short or long term) plays into our thoughts and decisions more than we might realize.
Thats why I try to trick the future by taking completely irrational and unexpected actions on random occassion just for the fun to observe if reality keeps up with my sudden changes, mostly this happen when Im extremely drunk ;) Like one time when I was on bandcamp..;)
LoL, Anders,

Children do that naturally :-). On one camping trip, after 7 hours of driving, we set up camp and got a fire going. My son, who was about 9 years old at the time, stumbled into the fire and burned his feet bad enough that we had to pack up and leave. A total of 2 hours camping and 14 hours of driving.

Needless to say, I didn't anticipate that contingency.
Tried that. Whenever I try to trick the future, the future still happens.
You are doing it wrong mate, when you try these advanced things you need to first take 50 deep fast breaths, second, bend forward and put the head between your legs while still standing, like this everything turns up side down for a moment and all physical law dissolve into to river of existance. After that you might experience a false feeling of waking up to reality, Ignore the bleeding bump on your head and the satiric head ache, It is just an illusion and you can gratulate your self to have travelled back in time for about 10 seconds! ( Try it and youll see you are right back in the moment where you first bend over to time travel;)
The discovery of the Infinite loop!;)
Life as an infinite loop. Have always though that life might be a bit recursive. The future is actually Groundhog Day.. Would explain a lot. Thanks :)



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