Sunday, November 21, 2004

One of my favorite physics books is The End of Time by Julian Barbour. In it, he makes the claim that time does not exist, and that motion and the appearance of change are illusions... I found an interview with him at Science and Spirit:

"But if I am right - that everything is static - then I think the powerful impression we have of motion is evidence for the creativity of nature. Nature is so selective in the experiences that it presents us with, so creative in the process, that we put the wrong interpretation on phenomena which are correctly apprehended. The Copernican revolution is always at hand to show that this is not mad: nothing could be more obvious than that the world doesn’t move, yet Copernicus persuaded us otherwise."

and this:

"I once asked Richard Dawkins about this: where do our sexual urges, or the taste of fruit, or a sense of beauty come from? Of course, you can give mechanical explanations and say they are correlations with hormones and so on. But the whole edifice of Dawkins’s world - of atoms rushing around in space - would work perfectly well without me being aware of beauty or the taste of an apple. So why is there this redundancy, why this extraordinary extravagance on the part of nature, if the secondary qualia don’t play any part? So my pipe dream for the future is to develop a theory where these things would count."


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