1. Is space time a Kantian concept – that is, just a concept of the mind at work? That is that there is no ‘out there’ – it’s in the ‘mind’?

  2. Relativity might work but it certainly requires a stretch of the imagination to accept for example that the speed of light is constant. Think about that, that if we rode on a photon all of the past and all of the future would happen at once. Sure it is all mathematically sound, but does that really mean that there is something ‘out there’ as Kant’s conceptual world?

  3. And if you don’t agree, then why is light singled out for this special, and very odd treatment?

  4. Did Einstein place space time ‘out there’ and with that acceptance create the problem of non–local phenomena like entanglement? What about the Quantum Zeno Effect?

  5. Was Einstein with all his brilliance casting a shadow over quantum mechanics, after all Max Planck once said: ‘This mind is the matrix of all matter.’ While Schrödinger asked ‘Who are we?’

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    $\begingroup$ if we rode on a photon You can't, that's the key. $\endgroup$ – jinawee Jul 4 '14 at 8:39
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    $\begingroup$ You could have closed it after many answers or good answers or too long answers were given. Currently only one good was given and that wasn't even long. $\endgroup$ – stathisk Jul 4 '14 at 10:44
  • $\begingroup$ For a more mathematical reason why "riding a photon" is impossible, consider my answer to this question. $\endgroup$ – Kyle Kanos Jul 4 '14 at 12:28
  1. Give a physically distinguishable definition of "out there" vs. "in the mind" and we can try to discuss this further.

  2. As jinawee comments, there are no frames of reference that move with the speed of light, since the photon we "ride on" would have no speed at all by definition of a comoving reference frame, and that contradicts the constancy of the speed of light in all frames.

  3. I think this amounts to asking why the laws of physics are, well, the laws of physics, which is a debate I think you should take to the philosophers. That the speed of light is the limit, that the metric of spacetime is really to a good approximation the Minkowski metric is really just the way the world is.

  4. Again, what is "out there"? Also, what about entanglement and the Zeno effect? They are phenomena of quantum physics, which can be empirically tested. How could Einstein create them?

  5. Einstein didn't like quantum mechanics, that much is true. He disliked it for its non-determinism, famously saying "Gott würfelt nicht" ("God does not play dice"). Discussions of the mind/consciousness and of the nature of humankind are off-topic for this SE, as they are not part of any physical theory. I again direct you to the philosophers for this one.

  • $\begingroup$ Regarding 5. Roger Penrose, IIRC, said that a grand unified theory would have to explain consciousness as well. Also Max Tegmark published a paper where consciousness is treated just as another state of matter. So, not all people among physicists agree with this SE. $\endgroup$ – stathisk Jul 4 '14 at 10:51
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    $\begingroup$ @Zet note that these publications are not part of mainstream physics, and therefore off-topic on physics.SE $\endgroup$ – Danu Jul 4 '14 at 13:54
  • $\begingroup$ I understand that they are offtopic for this SE, since the question was blocked. All I'm saying is that they are ontopic as far as real science is concerned. Also, to add to the previous two, I just remembered an article from Nanopoulos about brain function and QM published ~20 years ago. $\endgroup$ – stathisk Jul 4 '14 at 14:50
  • $\begingroup$ 1. Thank you.Please also read my comment above re philosophy. 2. Re your point 4. What if those phenomena were just the way the mind processes information on the Kantian model? How do you know there is distance travelled and what is speed without distance? Are we too much trapped in a Newtonian mindset, having only partly moved thanks to Einstein? Einstein took a big jump in 1905, but it seems to me, it was only a partial one. Had QM evolved before Relativity, would we doing different calculations today? I suggest we need fresh eyes and not those of an iconic man with a 1905 mindset. $\endgroup$ – Remco Jul 5 '14 at 5:41
  • $\begingroup$ @Zet: Penrose's (or any modern) ideas about (proving) consciousness are wrong. Man as he is has no consciousness. To understand fundamental laws of the universe man has to study the universe AND himself at the same time. The same fundamental laws govern stars/galaxies AND man's psychology (say, all organic life). It is the greatest illusion that man thinks he is conscious. It's a nature's trick for a man unable to see reality as it is. Among scientists Einstein/Tesla (and some other) felt this, but didn't have a chance/luck to find some clues about exact knowledge of man/universe. $\endgroup$ – sabiland Jul 5 '14 at 7:24

(1) Spacetime isn't all in the mind. Spacetime is just the gravitational field and it has degrees of freedom independent of your brain, so it's not all in your mind. You can't make an even happen on Tuesday just by thinking it happened on Tuesday.

(2) As commented by others, you can't ride a photon. Also, the way to figure out whether something is real is whether your current explanation of the world says that it's required to explain stuff. If so, the best guess is that it exists.

(3) Why is light singled out as having the highest speed? It's not. Any massless particle travels at the speed of light.

(4) Einstein didn't make space and time independent of our thoughts, they already were independent. Entanglement is not non-local, common opinion to the contrary notwithstanding. As for the Zeno effect, it is an example of something that happens to quantum systems when they interact with other systems in certain ways. This happens independent of what you happen to think about it, so yes it is "out there."

(5) The fact that Einstein misunderstood quantum mechanics and how the world works can hardly be an argument that casts doubt on the idea that the world exists independent of our thoughts.

  • $\begingroup$ It would be so awesome if people that downvote, also explain why. $\endgroup$ – stathisk Jul 4 '14 at 14:51
  • $\begingroup$ Good response, thank you. We accept a space-time concept that is beyond comprehension, but dont stop to ask if there is distance for things to travel. Does light actually travel to the eyes from the stars (as some physicists like Aage Bohr says it doesnt and other physicists whisper it doesnt?) Do we need to recalculate the 1905 papers by going further than Einstein? What if the full reality of what Kant proposed is correct - that it is just our Newtonian mind 'concept' at work? Are we trapped to say, "this forum is for physics only"? Shut up and just calculate? $\endgroup$ – Remco Jul 6 '14 at 1:55
  • $\begingroup$ I don't agree that space-time is beyond comprehension, see the general theory of relativity. Light does travel from the stars to our eyes. The rest of what you said isn't clear enough for an answer. $\endgroup$ – alanf Jul 7 '14 at 8:39

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