Do Stars prove the past and future exist?

Stars and the assumption of past and future.

Fig.We may misinterpret the part of a shell of light hitting our eyes as a point of light, or a 'now dead' star. We might also assume that because some matter is in the process of coalescing this means there 'is' a future. But are we not in fact just observing that matter is just existing and interacting in different ways everywhere?.

Scientific observation indicates that throughout the universe there are vast quantities of hydrogen atoms. Some of these atoms are in the process of coalescing, some are bunched up so much they are fusing to form hydrogen and are releasing photons, and some photons are being emitted from such 'stars' as starlight. But in each of these cases the atoms etc always are just existing and are just doing something.

It's easy to assume that the reliably consistent changing nature of stars 'very obviously' proves there is a past (and possibly future), but his may not quite be the case. The following point is a very tricky point. Easy to miss if we have strong confirmation bias, or if you read the following with the initial assumption that it 'must be' the result of the authors own confirmation bias. (i.e. the assumption that it must be wrong, as opposed to it being a suggestion that may be worth considering as possibly right, or, wrong).

The point is, that just 'saying' coalescing atoms 'will be' a star 'in the future', or just saying expanding shells of light 'were' a supernova (etc) 'in' the 'past, is useful, and helps us understand and describe the process, but does not actually prove there 'is' a past or a future.

‘Saying’ that we are seeing an existing star as it ‘looked a thousand years ago in the past’, or that we are ‘looking back in time at a star that no longer even exists’, is ‘romantic’ but not scientific.

If we do this we are confusing what we see, ‘a particular group of photons existing and moving in space now’, with the central part of the star that became the light.  Thus what we see does not prove that ‘time’ or the ‘temporal past’ exist, it only ‘proves’ that matter, light etc, can exist, and transform, now, into many different guises, and move, and change and interact, ‘now’.  And all we are ever seeing, if we are looking, is light that exists ‘here’, and is entering our eyes ‘now’.

And therefore, imo, all that the hydrogen atoms involved in stars or star light actually prove is that matter can exist, move change and interact in space. Similarly, all that our 'thoughts' about them, or descriptions about them 'in the past or future' actually prove is that matter can exist move change and interact  within our brains.  Nowhere is it actually proved there 'is' a past.

And critically the whole point of this works comes down to some key questions, e.g.

    "Is there a temporal past, or is there not a temporal past?"

This question is critical, firstly, because if there 'is a past', then 'there is a past', and we should either be able provide

    1- a valid explanation as to why we even suspect there is a past.

As opposed to just the 'idea', in our heads now, that it's 'obvious'. and,

    2-Scientific experimental proof of the pasts existence.

As opposed to avoiding this requirement by saying, 'you don't know what your talking about', or 'everyone knows it does' or 'Relativity proves this' (without showing where), etc, and

    3-Some kind of proof that 'matter just existing and interacting is not enough to "mislead us into just assuming there is obviously a past".

i.e. no matter how familiar the idea is, and much we feel this must be true, or how comfortable we are with the idea, as Prof Richard Feynman says "If it disagrees with experiment, it is wrong".


And, secondly, because if there is not a past, then, there is not a past. period. 

And if there is not a past, then it's illogical to assume there is a thing called time that flows into, or creates or adds to this 'past'. Especially if we cannot show that just matter existing and interacting is the real cause of our assumption.


m.marsden


Comments