[Avodah] "The Fall and Hypertime"

Micha Berger via Avodah avodah at lists.aishdas.org
Wed Aug 5 02:53:57 PDT 2015

I think a philosophy book just came out detending a variant of RSSchwab's
"two clocks" explanation of ma'aseh bereishis.

RSS's shitah appeared in AOJS's Challenge (ed. R Aryeh Carmel, R/Prof
Cyril Domb pg 164 onward.

<http://www.simpletoremember.com/faqs/Science_and_Judaism.htm> surveys
the area and summarized RSS as follows:

    Similarly, Rav Shimon Schwab talks of two types of time, cosmic
    time and earthly time. The 6 days of creation are counted according
    to cosmic time, during which period millions of years may have
    passed according to our measure of time.

(Althugh I disagree with their next sentence on REED's position.)

Now for the book. I just got this review

> he Fall and Hypertime
> Hud Hudson, Oxford University Press, 2014, 211pp., $65.00 (hbk),
> ISBN 0198712693.
> Reviewed by Trent Dougherty, Baylor University

> Hud Hudson's book is a brilliant and creative defense of the following
> proposition.

>     There is a conflict between a literal reading of the book of
>     Genesis and science only if one assumes that the hypertime hypothesis
>     is false.

> The import of Hudson's thesis is that those who allege a conflict between
> science and a literal reading of Genesis are not basing that claim merely
> on science but on controversial metaphysics as well.,,,

> To understand the hypertime hypothesis (hereafter "HH"), begin
> with the "growing block" theory of time, one of the standard set of
> options. According to this theory, the past is real and "still exists"
> as a "block" as spacetime and the future is "open," i.e. the future
> does not exist. The block grows as the quantity of either space or
> time increases. Hudson notes that there is nothing more intrinsically
> mysterious about the block losing parts than its gaining parts. He
> then points out that it is also not more intrinsically mysterious that
> a "morphing block" shrink or grow not just in units of hyperplanes
> ("slices" of the block) but also in sub-regions of hyperplanes. As a
> result, there are no in principle limits to the ways in which a block can
> morph, to the "shape" it can take. Furthermore, there is no good reason
> why the hyperplanes (or sub-regions thereof) might not be "reshuffled"
> in a different order.

> Because the universe is here modeled as a spacetime block, the temporal
> dimension only measures changes within the block. Hypertime measures,
> as we may think of it, changes to the block (though technically blocks
> at different hypertimes are numerically distinct,and there remains a
> question concerning the status of various essentialisms about blocks
> with respect to their parts). That means that at any given moment on
> the hypertimeline, there can be a complete spacetime block, a complete
> physical universe distinct from blocks at different hypertimes. Given
> infinite hypertime, this generates a plurality of worlds not unlike that
> of David Lewis. Hudson applies the possibility of this plurality in three
> ways: to an understanding of omnipresence (which I will not discuss), to
> (three versions of) the problem of evil (one of which I'll discuss below),
> and in defense of his main thesis. The way HH helps with an understanding
> of omniscience and the problem of evil gives it credit and motivates
> it as a viable option so that its application to the main thesis is
> not ad hoc (though it's being ad hoc would not prevent its success for
> its purpose). I will describe the application to the problem of evil,
> offer a criticism, then describe its application to the main thesis.

> If there is a plenitude of spatiotemporally discrete universes, then it is
> difficult to infer from any empirical observation that the actual world
> is not the best possible world. It is important to remember that on the
> hypertime hypothesis the spacetime blocks at different hypermoments are
> only one portion of total reality. Our observable universe is a drop
> in the bucket. So an argument from evil against the existence of God
> from ours not being the best possible world would have to argue that
> the observable universe could not even be a part of the best possible
> world. That is not clearly an easy argument to make.

> This move takes the form of what is traditionally called a "defense"
> rather than a "theodicy"...

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             When we are no longer able to change a situation
micha at aishdas.org        -- just think of an incurable disease such as
http://www.aishdas.org   inoperable cancer -- we are challenged to change
Fax: (270) 514-1507      ourselves.      - Victor Frankl (MSfM)

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