On Peter Lynds’ recent work on the nature of time, motion, and consciousness.

Another argument in the category of “something we think of as perfectly ordinary and measurable turns out to be the product of interactions“: some ground-breaking work in understanding of time, anchored by a new paper in the Foundations of Physics Letters (available in PDF) that raises some challenges to our notion of time and motion. The author is a “broadcasting school tutor” (I don’t know what that is, either, but someone who’s business card says “futurist” is in no position to make fun) in New Zealand. Here’s the abstract:

It is postulated there is not a precise static instant in time underlying a dynamical physical process at which the relative position of a body in relative motion or a specific physical magnitude would theoretically be precisely determined. It is concluded it is exactly because of this that time (relative interval as indicated by a clock) and the continuity of a physical process is possible, with there being a necessary trade off of all precisely determined physical values at a time, for their continuity through time.

The paper described by the article is pretty controversial– some reviews think its brilliant, while another said, “it is clear that the author’s arguments are based on profound ignorance or misunderstanding of basic analysis and calculus. I’m afraid I am unwilling to waste any time reading further, and recommend terminal rejection.” (Ouch!)

However, the work appears to offer a solution to Zeno’s paradox (available, again, as a PDF).

So where does our sense of time come from? Lynds makes the argument that it is a product of consciousness. As he puts it in the abstract to yet a third article (also available as a PDF— isn’t science publishing great?):

The conclusion of physics, within both a historical and more recent context, that an objectively progressive time and present moment are derivative notions without actual physical foundation in nature, illustrate that these perceived chronological features originate from subjective conscious experience and the neurobiological processes underlying it. Using this conclusion as a stepping stone, it is posited that the phenomena of an in-built subjective conception of a progressive present moment in time and that of conscious awareness are actually one and the same thing, and as such, are also the outcome of the same neurobiological processes.

All the articles are relatively short, and I think worth looking at. They’re certainly unlike anything else you’re likely to read today….

[via Arlington Institute Future Edition]