Why Haven't I Heard of the Blockworld Before?

Copyright 2014 by Donald R. Tveter, don@dontveter.com
(and tweaked from time to time)

This document may be freely distributed provided it is complete and unchanged.


Good question! The basic answer is that you haven't been reading books and papers on modern physics or philosophical papers or books dealing with time. Oh, and, even within physics it is kind of an obscure subject and there are five reasons for that.

Reason number 1 is that it sounds crazy. Almost everyone, including most physicists, are locked into a view of the world that came from the 19th Century, before Einstein's special relativity appeared in 1905. Philosophers call it presentism. In presentism, it looks like we have all these particles here and they were formed at the Big Bang and all the particles are moving forward in time, the past is gone and the future isn't out there yet.

The blockworld view says something else altogether. It says the past, present and future are all equally real and all of it is frozen in place like a sculpture carved in stone, then it is our consciousness that is moving through the blockworld. This is very hard to believe even though it is obviously true. To quote Einstein:
For we convinced physicists the distinction between past, present, and future is only an illusion however persistent. 1

Reason number 2 is that the blockworld seems to imply that there is no such thing as free will and physicists generally want to believe in free will. It looks like whatever happens in the blockworld, including whatever it is we decide was fixed in advance. Physicists would be right that we have no free will if all people consisted of is matter since it is the matter that is frozen in place. But if there is a spiritual part to a human being, a human soul, that is moving through the blockworld, the human soul could be free to make decisions.

Reason number 3 is that the blockworld concept that comes from relativity and it has been widely believed for a long time that relativity and quantum mechanics (the other part of modern physics) don't fit together very well. To physicists, this makes it look like something important is missing and so they've spent an awful long time trying to make relativity and quantum mechanics fit together. But times are changing a bit. One researcher involved in the study is physicist Antoine Suarez and here is a quote from him:
... the ongoing work on nonlocality is helping us to better understand the relationship between quantum theory and relativity. Initial mis-understandings and controversies hid a deep unity which is now appearing. Relativity and quantum theory share the very same experimental basis, and derive from the same principles. They are two inseparable aspects of one and the same description of the physical reality. 2

In addition to Suarez there are also a small number of physicists who are proposing the relational blockworld interpretation of quantum mechanics where they argue that relativity and quantum mechanics fit together very nicely. 3

Reason number 4 is big. Physicists who've been studying the matter all realize that the blockworld implies that there is a God who made this world. For instance, here is Suarez again quoting another physicist he worked with, Nicholas Gisin:
Who ever makes the world seems really eager to show us that "the spacetime does not contain the whole physical reality" (Nicolas Gisin). 4

Then physicists J. Brian Pitts and W. C. Schieve have this to say:
One also knows that the experiments violating the Bell inequalities are compatible with the orthodox relativity if one is prepared to embrace "superdeterminism" ... .

However, this view's demanding philosophical underpinnings, such as its denial of (libertarian) free will and evident need for an all-determining Agent to correlate the initial conditions of the world, might limit its appeal ... 5

That "all-determining Agent" would be God and as they say, this view "might limit its appeal". :-) They also say:
On the other hand, the 3 major monotheistic traditions all have (or had) strands that affirm theological determinism: Pharisaic Judaism [55], Reformed/Calvinist Christianity, and Islam. That there might be a natural affinity here is suggested by the language (e.g., ([47]) about events being "already 'written in a book'." The resemblance to Psalm 139:16 (NASB) cannot be accidental:
Thine eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Thy book they were all written, The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them. 6

At first I had four reasons but now I'm adding a fifth. The subject is basically very theoretical and at this time it does not appear that study of this subject will produce anything practical like bigger bombs or faster computers. So there is no reason for anyone to invest in it.

Those are the reasons you haven't heard about the blockworld before. The important bottom line from all this is that the blockworld proves there is a God, He has a plan for this world and there is a spiritual part to human beings, a soul that is moving through the blockworld. It is all pretty hard for scientists to embrace, so they haven't, at least not so far. Of course it is all rather easy for Bible believers to embrace. When will those scientists catch up?

1. Brian Greene quotes Einstein on page 139 of Greene's book, The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time and the Texture of Reality, Vintage Books, 2004.

2. Deriving Bell's nonlocality from nonlocality at detection by Antoine Suarez, 2010, p6, accessed January 21, 2014.

3. So far information on the relational blockworld interpretation of quantum mechanics can only be found in these rather advanced physics papers:

"Deflating Quantum Mysteries Via the Relational Blockworld", http://arxiv.org/pdf/quant-ph/0503065v3.pdf, by Stucky, W.M., Silberstein, Michael, Cifone, Michael, October 28, 2005, accessed January 21, 2014.

REVERSING THE ARROW OF EXPLANATION IN THE RELATIONAL BLOCKWORLD: WHY TEMPORAL BECOMING, THE DYNAMICAL BRAIN AND THE EXTERNAL WORLD ARE ALL "IN THE MIND" by Stucky, W.M., Silberstein, Michael, Cifone, Michael, 2005, http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/3249/1/ZiF_05_stu.pdf, accessed January 21, 2014.

"Quantum to Classical Transition per the Relational Blockworld", http://arxiv.org/pdf/quant-ph/0605105v2.pdf, by Stuckey, W.M., Silberstein, Michael, Cifone, Michael, 2006, accessed March 6, 2013.

"Unification per the Relational Blockworld", http://arxiv.org/pdf/0712.2778v4.pdf, by Stuckey, W.M., Silberstein, Michael, 2007, accessed January 21, 2014.

"Reconciling Spacetime and the Quantum: Relational Blockworld and the Quantum Liar Paradox", Foundations of Physics, Springer, Volume 38, Number 4, April, 2008, pp348-383, http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/3776/1/RBW_FoP_Final_Version_07.pdf , by Stuckey, W.M., Silberstein, Michael, Cifone, Michael, April 2008, accessed January 21, 2014.

"Genuine Fortuitousness, Relational Blockworld, Realism, and Time", http://www.johnboccio.com/research/quantum/Dan.pdf by Peterson, Daniel J., December 13, 2007, accessed January 21, 2014.

"An Argument for 4D Blockworld from a Geometric Interpretation of Nonrelativistic Quantum Mechanics", http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/3214/1/BW_from_NRQM.pdf and http://arxiv.org/pdf/quant-ph/0605039.pdf by Silberstein, Michael, Stuckey, W.M., Cifone, Michael, 2006, accessed January 21, 2014.

4. Deriving Bell's nonlocality from nonlocality at detection by Antoine Suarez, 2010, p8, accessed January 21, 2014.

5. Pitts, J. Brian, Schieve, W.C., February 5, 2008, "Flat Spacetime Gravitation with a Preferred Foliation", http://arxiv.org/pdf/gr-qc/0101099v1.pdf , pp6-7, accessed January 21, 2014.

6. Ibid, p7.