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What I mean is, is there a past, future and present? or just a NOW which changes?

I'm a computer programmer so the second alternative is from my programming experience. In this second alternative, I mean to ask, are we just in a stateful system like Conways game of life where there is just a NOW and then the system updates and then we are in a different NOW. In the conways game of life, there is never any past stored in the computer memory. In this case, the past is just an illusion from us recording events which have happened in our brain.

There is a distinct difference between the two, if there is actually a past, future and present then there is opportunity for things in the future to affect things in the past or time-travel might be possible. However in a stateful system like the game of life, then that really cannot happen.

Secondly, do any experiments confirm or deny either of these two options, is this already a decided problem in physics?

Conways game of life

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Actually, Phil, this is not a topic addressed by physics in part because there is not any observable difference between the two interpretations. A "stateful system" can simulate time travel just as well as if there is "actually" a past, present, and future, for example. You might have better luck taking this question to Philosophy. –  David Z Dec 13 '11 at 10:00
    
how can time travel be possible in the stateful system I described? If someone time travelled backwards in time, although they are in a different "state", the people he left behind in the future are still going on with their lives. In this case, it is different to the stateful system I described. –  Phil Dec 13 '11 at 13:28
    
I mean, the stateful system I described cannot do time travel because it cannot go backwards according to the rules. ... well, I see a difference between the two systems. I had hoped others would see a difference. –  Phil Dec 13 '11 at 13:59
    
I think its amazing that this is seen as a physics question physics.stackexchange.com/questions/2605/… which I would consider a biology question, but this question is not. –  Phil Dec 13 '11 at 14:17
    
If you can propose an experiment which would distinguish between your two interpretations, that would be a first step toward making this a physics question. –  David Z Dec 13 '11 at 15:02
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closed as off topic by Qmechanic, David Z Dec 13 '11 at 9:57

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