Is the nature of space-time an argument for determinism?

As I understand it, the fact that time is equivalent to the spatial dimensions means that every point in space-time is just as real as the present. For instance, the EinsteinsHund of tomorrow night drinking with his buddies (at least that’s how it’s planned) exists just like the one being born and the one typing this post at the moment.

If I’m right in this conception, does it not follow that the universe is deterministic? If the future already exist, how could a present event change it’s outcome? Or is the assumption of a multiverse an argument against determinism?

Have you predetermined that the EinsteinsHund of tomorrow night that changes his mind and stays home to read a book cannot exist, or is it predetermined that both(and oh, so many others) exist?

By the way, an assumption of a multiverse is not necessarily an argument against determinism-It just means that there is room for every eventuality to be determined.

Well, this question is the gist of my OP. There is a “me” that does something tomorrow night, and this “me” is real. So how could I change anything about that “me” of tomorrow, now?

ETA: regarding your second post: I understand that, but it would mean that the version of “me” in my universe could determine the outcome in this universe, doesn’t it?

Without knowing what that something is beforehand, it’s all quesswork. If your raise your left hand as you read this, was it predetermined, or was it free will? Without the ability to “see the script” beforehand, it just guess work as to whether the script even exists. Until we have one single instance, one observation of the future we can futz with…

It would mean that you were predetermined to make one of an (X) number of choices.

The edit time was too short, so I’ll expand on my last post: I meant that if we assume a multiverse, a certain decision of mine leads to a branch of a universe in which the outcome is different as if I’d never took this action, so I’d determine my future. The whole of the multiverse could still be deterministic including all possible outcomes, but we’d be able to determine our own path, so to say.

OR: A version of you would take the path predetermined for you in this universe, while a split version of you would take the path predetermined for him in that universe, and so on, and so on. An infinity of predetermined paths.

If our four-dimensional universe is embedded in some higher-dimensional realm, and if there are entities with points of view that operate in those higher dimensions (God, or Q, or whatnot) then, yeah, our entire universe, past-to-future, beginning-to-end, might appear as “an object.”

We’re just characters in the movie…but those guys in their higher dimension own the DVD, and can jump ahead to watch the ending any time they want.

Our time is in a higher time,
with higher persons in it
And those times have bigger times,
and bigger, without limit.

Or something.

(Fritz Leiber proposed this kind of “Big Time” in his sf novel, “The Big Time,” wherein people could use time travel technology to change the past. Ordinary time runs along the calendar in the usual way: A.D. 1940, 1950, 1960, etc. But “Big Time” is the sequence in which time travellers act. If I go back and kill Hitler “before” you go back and kill Caesar, I still win.)

By the way, I have problems with this idea that we can “create” whole universes just by deciding to tie our left shoe one morning instead of our right. That is one mega-shitload of energy and matter to pop into existence all of a sudden, and not only pop into existence but do so in such a nice pattern that took our universe a right bit of time to get it together. Actually, when you stop to think about it, the multiverse theory is basically saying that our universe is less than a microsecond old since we must be the offshoot of someone’s decision.

Well, I have the same problems with this kind of multiverse theory. I only mentioned it in the OP because I thought that it would be brought up in this discussion at some time anyway. So if we do away with the multiverse theory, is my original argument sound?

If the argument is sound, and you were able to predetermine that you were going to be out with the boys having a few tomorrow{which is the only way to verify the truth of the theory), then you have a predicament, because one of two things will then happen:

  1. You will have foreknowlenge of your own thoughts of what you will decide to do, as if you are a guest in your own mind. You will simultaneously think the thoughts you would have thought, while at the same time knowing ahead of time that you were going to make them. After the predicted event is over, I predict you will be glad you went drinking.
  2. You will have your own mind, and think your own thoughts, but you will not be in control of your body, which will go through all the motions that it would have gone through if you hadn’t read the script. This scenario is easier to handle-just go along on the ride and enjoy the beer.

These are interesting thoughts, but they seem to be more an argument against free will, which I’m not interested in this thread (btw. I think that free will is a paradoxical concept, but that’s for a different thread). I just want to know if the physical argument I made in the OP makes sense.

If spacetime does exist as a continuum from past to future I’m not sure if terms like “predestination” even have real meaning; such terms assumes the passage of time, whereas in such a universe the future has “already happened”. In such a universe asking if the future is determined is like asking whether or not World War II will happen; that’s not merely predetermined, it’s a simple historical fact. In such a world the passage of time is just an illusion of perspective, and everything that will ever happen has already happened.

After rereading, I’m a bit confused about this sentence. As I understand it, determinism implies that I’m just not able to determine my future, because there’s only one possible outcome governed by physical realities. So you’re arguing against a point I didn’t make, or do I have a wrong grasp of the concept? :confused:

Again, that’s exactly my argument, but just like Czarcasm you seem to have another definition of determinism in mind than I.

As I understand it:

Determinism = I’ts not possible to determine the future, everything in space-time is “fixed”, i. e. determined.

Indeterminism = There’s some entity (call it free will) that has the means to influence the outcomes.

If I’m wrong here, please get me on the right track.

We can apply cartesian coordinates to things
Ergo, there is only one way to graph reality

I’m pretty sure the conclusion doesn’t follow from the premise. I can chart the height of a ball being thrown through the air over time, but just because I know where it is currently and where it has been, doesn’t mean that I know where it is going. Once we get to that future point, I’ll be able to plot it, but not until then.

I think that what quantum physics tells us is that, until the result matters, the interaction of two objects is undefined, and at the point at which the result is necessary, the result of the interaction is probabalistic, not deterministic. This means that while we can predict the future to some amount of probability, there’s no underlying model of the universe which supports the ability to give conclusive answers. And the further into the future you go, the more difficult the prediction becomes, due to probability chaining.

That’s actually a better worded version of my argument. Can we all agree that this would equal determinism? Because I still think that up until your post, everyone in this thread had the opposite definition of “deterministic” than I. I see that you challenge my position (I’ll come back to this in a later post), but I first want to be clear on the definitions of the concepts we are talking here.

Definitely yes to the notion (under some MW ideas) that our universe is only a tiny fraction of a second “old.” However, it contains a complete record of its past. Our universe consists of nothing more than “the present.” That’s exactly the same as in the standard physics views of our time…or Newton’s.

I don’t know if it’s right to say that every quantum event – every Uranium atom’s decay – “creates” a whole universe. But…even if it does, why not? You worry about all the mega-shitload of matter and energy – but what’s the deal? It just means that the universe is that much more incomprehensibly big. It’s unutterable vastness simply extends into other dimensions than we thought.

It isn’t all that much different from the “runaway inflation” notion that’s popular in some places, where the expansionary/inflationary phase of the big bang is still running riot somewhere, creating new vast tracts of space. Or that every Black Hole has a “Big Bang” at its heart, creating a new cosmos.

It only means that our concept of a “mega-shitload” is the universe’s concept of a really tiny amount!

Is there an extra word “not” in your definition of Determinism? As I understand the word, it is possible to determine the future. Or, perhaps more accurately, the future is determined, even if sure knowledge of it is denied to us. The date of my death is already destined, engraved on cosmic stone, and nothing anyone can do will change it. As your second clause puts it, everything is “fixed.” Like a cheap roulette wheel in a low-class casino.

Also, between determinism and volitional indeterminism also lies random indeterminism: some events happen randomly, such as radioactive decay of atoms. This is not related to any kind of volition, but it does undermine absolute determinism. It means that the future isn’t engraved in cold stony destiny, because a quantum event might be the cause of a macroscopic event – Schrodinger’s Cat.

Slowly, slowly the fog of my confusion lifts. It seems to be a semantic misunderstanding . When you say it is possible to determine the future, you mean that theoretically with sufficient information, the future could be predicted or extrapolated, right? What I meant with “determining the future” was an active process to influence the future in some way. My argument was that this is not possible because of a “fixed” space-time, so that no matter what happens today, I’ll be at the point of space-time tomorrow night (hopefully having a good time with my buddies) which already exists.