One thing that atheism seems to need is time for the simplest elements of existence at the Big Bang to evolve into all that we see around us. But here’s a quote from the physicist Paul Davies on the block universe:
“Physicists prefer to think of time as laid out in its entirety – a timescape, analogous to a landscape – with all past and future events located there together . . . Completely absent from this description of nature is anything that singles out a privileged special moment as the present or any process that would systematically turn future events into the present, then past, events. In short, the time of the physicist does not pass or flow.”
In other words, Davies seems to be saying that our “block universe” is all already here right now, and is static (past, present, and future). Another way I’ve heard the block universe discussed is as a time-space landscape where every discreet and logically possible quantum moment is both “somewhere” and “somewhen.” These other past and future moments are as present and existent as this very moment, but are not experienced by our individual consciousnesses because we just happen to inhabit this particular and very different somewhere/somewhen place in the grid.
In short, all of our block universe’s “time moments” are as present and real as Sydney, Los Angeles, and Calcutta are present and real. We just are not in a position in space/time to see and experience more than a tiny fraction of them.
But this all raises a HUGE question: How can such an elaborate thing just “be there” from the very beginning? In other words, isn’t a block universe the ultimate improbability—a grand, flash-assembled 747?
I realize that God doesn’t necessarily help, for who made the God who flashed into existence the block universe? But if time does not exist, and if it is only an illusion, then that must mean that everything in some sense just “popped” into existence all at once and has been “fully formed” and is now herewith present for all of eternity, doesn’t it?
I’m not a physicist, so maybe I’m grossly misunderstanding the implications of the “block universe.” Perhaps somebody out there can direct me to a good book or link on this issue to set me straight. But below is physicist Julian Barbour on his version of the “block universe.” It seems like he’s suggesting that everything—past, present, and future—is just here right now, and has always been here. But then I ask again: Where did all these frozen “Platonic” time-form moments of the block universe come from (if they didn’t evolve)?
Paul Davies quote source: http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/local/scisoc/time/chennotes.html